1941 WL45 Harley-Davidson. The US troops of WW2 called this 750cc, 45-degree, 65mph, flathead V-twin "The Liberator", but it wasn't only the Yanks who rode 'em and loved 'em. The Soviet Union, the Chinese, the British, the South Africans and many other allied armies campaigned these 45s in pretty much all theatres of battle. Built between 1937 and 1952, these sidevalves were simple, rugged, durable, and easy to maintain. Around 90,000 examples were built (depending on who you ask) of which hundreds, if not thousands have survived. The WL was the civilian version. The 1937 price was around $360. The WLA ("A" for army) followed in 1940. But many civvy bikes were rounded up and pressed into service. Post war, these motorcycles formed the basis for the original choppers. They clank and rattle and are hopelessly inefficient, technically speaking. But master one, and there's a good chance you'll love 'em. We do. This example is from South Africa. Mecum Auctions will be offering it for sale at its Las Vegas, Nevada auction between on 23rd - 27th January 2017. No estimate has been posted. UPDATE: Sold for £30,800.


November 2017  Classic bike news


November 2017 Classic Bike News

Riding Japan; new touring website

British motor racing anniversary day

Triumph T140 restoration guide

Ratchet handle taps & dies - Chronos

White Helmet Triumphs reach £12K

H&H's first timed automobilia auction

Goldtop £50 off gloves—limited offer

London pillion rider ban idea

Ford Design in the UK - Veloce

Thruxton Track Racer Kit offer

Want to post a comment on Sump?

New Davida "Koura" full face helmet

One liners

NMM BSA Gold Star winner details

Norton 650 twin scrambler planned

RE travel book: Hit the Road, Jac!

Stoneleigh Kickback Show April 2017

Brough Superior Pendine racer

One liners

H-D Battle of the Kings 2017 winner

New Royal Enfield 650 twins launched

NMM's 2018 Speedmaster prize

Meriden Off Road Tiger Cubs

One liners

Andy Tiernan's 2018 calendar

Scrappage scheme classic car poser

Norton launches the California

Scooter gangs face new response

One liners

September 2017 Classic Bike News

Bobby Vee: 1943 - 2016
EX-WD 500cc BSA WM20: £6,325
Essential autojumble sweatshirts
Mahindra has bought the BSA brand
Dave Cash: 1942 - 2016
BSA M20 "Blueprints" back in stock

New BSA M20 "Blueprint" T-shirt

VMCC Pip Squeak Run April 2016
Ed "Stewpot" Stewart: 1941 - 2016
Calling British spares manufacturers
Stupid biker gives away his KTM 690
Festival of Motorcycling autojumble

December 2015 Classic Bike News

Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister: 1945 - 2015

"Motorsport" CBE for John Surtees

Rare Vincent 2-stroke Uniflow Engine

Mick Grant replica 961 Norton racer

Old Biker's Mantra T-shirt from Sump

Evel Knievel's XL1000 movie bike

H&H Chateau Impney Sale results

Broughs of Bodmin Moor to sell

Flying Tiger Moto Man poofy soap

Petrol drops to £1 per litre

Porsche Sunbeam S8 special to sell

Ural gets on the scrambler trail

Anthony Valentine: 1939 - 2015

Huge UK government tax disc loss

Optimate 5 Voltmatic charger on test

Watsonian Squire T100 sidecar

November 2015 Classic Bike News

Redesigned Sump Triumph T-shirt

Great service at Welders Warehouse

Ural's 2016 Dark Force combination

Wheelrider project seeks backers

Andy Tiernan's 2016 calendar is here

A blue plaque for Triumph founder

Victory Ignition Concept custom bike

Matlock Bath Mining Museum appeal

Swedish Italians head for France
Side view assist tech from Bosch

David Beckham's Outlaw movie

New Triumph Speed Triple for 2016

Steve McQueen's Chevy camper van

Kickback Show London Dec 2015

George Barris: 1925 - 2015

NMM to raffle a 1959 T120 Bonnie

Royal Enfield splined clutch drums

"Led Zeppelin" chop sold at auction

Have you seen this Ford Mustang?

Bonhams Hendon Sale Dec 2015

Movies we love: The Family Way

Bonhams 2016 Las Vegas line-up

Triumph's new Bonneville line-up

October 2015 Classic Bike News

Mark Howe Murphy: 1932 - 2015

Comet Classics' Pride at the NEC

Stand up for Owen

Old Empire Motorcycles Gladiator

Record money at Bonhams' Stafford

Richard Davies: 1926 - 2015

Gear Gremlin bandana fleece thingy
Yamaha 125cc Resonator concept
Odd things are happening on Sump...
Weise "affordable" Lima gloves

Triumph's 2016 Bonneville teaser

Another Hayward T140 belt failure

Second generation HUD for bikes

Marzocchi closes. It's official

Gordon Honeycombe: 1936 - 2015

Indian Scout IKON shocks

Harley-Davidson XA to Wheatcroft

The Complete book of BMW Motorcycles

So who's answering the Sump phone?

September 2015 Classic Bike News

Fat bastards. And skinny dudes

Fonzie's Triumph to auction. Again

Urban rider's workshop initiative

The NMM opens its doors for free

Great speedo cable fix from Venhill

BAD-ASS BIKER T-shirts are in stock
Buying a crash helmet; a Sump guide
Romney Marsh Classic Bike Jumble
New Goldtop silk scarf

Worst Netley Marsh autojumble ever?

New Kawasaki W800 buyers guide
Bonhams Beaulieu 2015 results
Lord Edward Montagu: 1926 - 2015
Triumph's $2.9 million US recall fine
New Fab Four coffee table book
Dean Carroll Jones: 1931 - 2015
Harley-Davidson test ride competition
Still awaiting your Skully AR-1 lid?
Two rare Italians headed for Stafford
Sump BAD-ASS T-shirt coming soon
Who the hell can you trust anymore?
Austel Pullman 1300 combo to sell
Oldtimer Motoren Museum
£4m government grant for Norton
BSH sells out to Mortons Media
Sammy Miller Run August 2015

August 2015 Classic Bike News

Jake Robbins Royal Enfield custom

Music we love: Everyday Robots

Ebay: Rare 1956 250cc Indian Brave

For sale: Ex-display team TRW?
91 English & Welsh courts to close?

"Tougher and darker" HDs for 2016

Yvonne "Bat Girl" Craig: 1937 – 2015

Confederate P51 Combat Fighter
Subscribe to Sump - it's free

Cheffins Harrogate Sale August 2015
Lambeth Council bans nitrous oxide
TRF's £10,000 green lane appeal
Harley Street 750 set for Sept launch
Trouble: Triumph bobber on Ebay
Great new T-shirt designs from Sump
George Edward Cole: 1925 - 2015
Sammy Miller at Donington Classic
185,272 Harley Baggers recalled
Fifth Classic Car Boot Sale, London
Mecum Harrisburg results Aug 2015
Mecum Monterey Sale August 2015
Ace Cafe Beijing has opened
Free disc locks courtesy of the Met Police

July 2015 Classic Bike News

Where BSAs Dare

Rare 1912 Pierce at Netley
7 pence per minute to talk Triumph
Cheffins Cambridge Sale: 25th July
Matchless sunglasses: "Only £299"

Cool BSA Bantam diesel special
Brighton Speed Trials 2015 reminder
New Royal Enfield despatch bikes
M.A.D X-ray Art Exhibition Matchless
1964 Speed Twin bobber on eBay
Chris Squire: 1948 - 2015
Movies we love: Smokescreen (1964)
Road race & exhibition for the gents

June 2015 Classic Bike News

Christopher Lee: 1922 - 2015

Triumph Motorcycles: 1937 - Today

News about Roy Bacon

France bans earphones on the road

Road deaths up: first rise for 14 years

Daniel Patrick Macnee: 1922 - 2015

Tri-Cor is now Andy Gregory

Matchless-Vickers to stay in Britain

Samsung truck video safety tech

First middle lane "road hogger" fined

Brando's Electra Glide to auction

Pulford® wax cotton jacket, in "sand"

James "Hansi" Last: 1929 - 2015

Suzuki's UK café culture campaign

Disappointing Historics June Sale

DVLA "paperless counterpart" fiasco

Classic face masks, Boken style

Vibrating steering wheel idea for dozy drivers


May 2015 Classic Bike News

Council streetlight switch-off warning

Twinkle: 1948 - 2015

Historics' Brooklands sale draws near

Classic bikes for sale reminder
Hope Classic Rally: all for charity
Riley "BB" King: 1925 - 2015
Grace Lee Whitney: 1930 - 2015
Stondon Museum April sale results
RE buys Harris Performance Products
Geoff Duke: 1923 - 2015
Classic Motorcycle Restoration and Maintenance
NMM's winter raffle winner details
Stafford Sale: "£2,262,109: 86% sold"

April 2015 Classic Bike News
Norman Hyde polished T100 headers

Cheffins Cambridge Sale results

Harley's "Job of a lifetime" winner details

John Stuart Bloor is now a billionaire

BSMC Show, Tobacco Dock, London

"Rusty Blue" Route 66 motorcycle kit

Erik Buell Racing closes its doors

One of the Love Bugs is up for sale
Ronnie Carroll: 1934 - 2015
Sixty museum bikes to be auctioned
Goldtop classic fleece-lined gauntlets
Harley-Davidson Kansas lay-offs
Mecum's Walker Sign Collection results

March 2015 Classic Bike News

Ted Simon's website is "hacked by Isis"
Frank Perris: 1931 - 2015
ULEZ Zone charges for motorcycles
We're all down with a nasty disease
Eric "Shaw" Taylor: 1924 - 2015
E J Cole Collection at Mecum's

Rare 500cc Linto for Duxford Sale
Classic Car Boot Sale final reminder
DfT road safety website is to be axed
Autocom GPS bike tracker is "coming soon"
Jem Marsh: 1930 - 2015
New Triumph Thruxton book from Panther Publishing

New drug-driving regulations are here

HMS Sump is torpedoed!
New £350,000 Jensen GT for 2016

RE Continental GT, soon in black

February 2015 Classic Bike News

Lincoln bans legal highs in public places

Leonard Simon Nimoy: 1931 - 2015

Cheffins Cambridge Sale: Apr 2015

Race Retro Feb 2015 auction results
£4.7 million grant for Brooklands

Full size "Airfix" motorcycle kits
Two Francis-Barnett bikes "launched"
Gerry Lloyd Wells: 1929 - 2014

Harley-Davidson's "dream job" offer
Road accidents & preventable events
The velocity of money? What's that?
ACA auction Saturday 7th March 2015
Sump's new road safety stickers
Kickback Stoneleigh to be televised



January 2015 Classic Bike News

1948 Land Rover manufacture exhibit
UK Triumph Scrambler sales jump
Mecum Kissimmee Sale results
Ikon Basix shock absorbers
Sump BSA M20 metal sign—£14.99
Another great Marlboro Man has snuffed it

Mixed Bonham results at Las Vegas
Stolen Norton appeal for information
The Reunion by Jack Elgos
VMCC December 2014 raffle winner
Brian Horace Clemens: 1931 - 2015
Metal classic bike signs from Sump
Rod Taylor: 1930 - 2015
Derek Minter: 1932 - 2015
Tiernan's looking for a Flea crate
Jerry Lee Lewis Duo Glide to sell
"Killer drivers" sentencing review
Harley-Davidson recalls 19,000 bikes
Cutaway engine bonanza at Bonhams

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Riding Japan website


Riding Japan: new touring website


Story snapshot:

Ever thought of touring Japan on a motorcycle?

This new Japanese website will give you some pointers...


There are a lot of places in the world where we haven't been and have (at least vaguely) considered touring on a motorcycle. Australia. New Zealand. Canada. Argentina. Alaska. Antartica. Stoke-on-Trent*. But it's never occurred to us to tour Japan.


Don't ask us why. Might be something to do with WW2. Might be the language problem. Might be the food. Might be that the country, whilst very traditional in spirit, is actually very fast and modern in practice—and we tend to follow the curve of history rather than get ahead of it.


We've seen Japan on the map. And we know they have motorcycles there. And we know that they're mostly a friendly bunch. And we know that they drive on the left as we do in the UK. But for some reason, we've never entertained the idea of riding the Japanese range on two wheels. Or on four wheels, come to that.


Riding Japan website for touring bikers


We don't know who's behind this Riding Japan website. Could be a private site, or some corporate thing, or the Japan National Tourism Organisation. Regardless, there might be something here worth exploring.



So when an email landed on the digital doormat this morning asking us (with the utmost politeness, we might add) if we could help promote a new website aimed at extolling the fun and games to be had on Japanese highways, we figured it was something that wouldn't cause us any pain. Moreover, it might interest one or two of you more adventurous Sumpsters.


"Riding Japan" is the site. It's officially launched on 1st December 2017 (which is tomorrow). On the site you can flip a drop-down window and studying the information, such as it is, in dozens of languages including English. And very quaint language it is too, which only adds to the charm. Here's a sample:


How do you get a motorcycle to ride in Japan?

It has two options.
You own motorcycle in your country, carry it to Japan.
Or you can rental a motorcycle in Japan.
Since Japan is an island country it is not easy to carry a motorcycle.
Therefore, "rental" is usually a common way.


See what we mean—and we don't mean that in any disparaging way. Meanwhile, the site is pretty basic. The images could be more evocative and stylish. The copy is (so far) pretty thin. But at least you're getting the information straight from the horse's mouth.


Anyway, we've said our piece and done our bit for international relations, so check the site and see if you can put Japan on your horizon. It still isn't quite working for us yet. But we're a fickle bunch, and we might just get there—if we live long enough.




*No disrespect intended to the good folk of S-O-T, etc.


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Hi Sump people, yeah interesting news story and very timely. I've been thinking about touring Japan for a long time and needed a push start. My late dad was stationed there for a while as a liaison officer with the Royal Navy. I travelled much of the country by car with him and family, and have been meaning to bike it with wife. It's on the list of things to do before I croak, and I'm now looking to go in the Spring. Meanwhile, here are some links for others thinking along the same lines.—John Bodman


Thank you for introducing our site. RidingJapan is a totally personal site for now. We are planning to improve the contents little by little. I hope we are a useful site for you. —Norihiro

I quite agree it would be tricky to carry a motorbike across water to get to an island (like Japan) although it looks like the Chinese are building stepping stones if you started from that direction.  I do remember, in the ‘good old days’ (i.e. when one was a bit younger) pushing various assemblies of unreliable motorcycle machinery sometimes quite considerable distances in order to get home. Pushing a motorcycle, particularly old British ones, can have a number of benefits, firstly it does keep one fit, it builds muscles where you may not have had any before, and most importantly it allows you to retrace your journey at a sufficiently leisurely pace that you can recover some of the parts that may have previously fallen off.  If you’re really lucky you even end up with more parts than you set out with. Thinking about this, I cannot emphasise enough the benefits of motorcycle pushing (or carrying if you’re Japanese and prefer that).  We didn’t get to where we are today without motorcycle pushing. Just think what a nation of lardies we’d be without the unreliability of the British Motorcycle ..... what? ...oh – I hear you say we now almost exclusively ride Japanese motorcycles? Hm, does this explain something? I think I’ve said enough. —MWHC

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British motor racing anniversary day


Story snapshot:

It's 120 years since the first motor race was held on British turf

Brooklands Museum played host today, 29/11/17


It was 120 years ago in 1897 that the British Motor Club organised a series of races held on the quarter mile oval track at Richmond Park. The competitors campaigned De Dion Bouton tricycles, the idea being to mark the first anniversary of the 1896 London to Brighton Emancipation Run.


Unfortunately the Richmond Park track is long gone, and so to mark the 120th anniversary of that inaugural race, the organisers looked for another suitable venue. The obvious choice was the (relatively) close and newly restored finishing straight at Brooklands where the Brooklands Museum is located. That track was re-opened in June 2017. It's part of the Brooklands circuit which is claimed to be the world first purpose-built motor racing track.


Today, 19 De Dion Bouton-powered tricycles (plus one Automoto) took to an oval track at that locale and entertained hundreds of visitors with their two- and three-wheeled "high speed" competition.


Here's the rider list:


No1    Clive Pettit, 1898 De Dion Bouton
No2    Robert Lusk, 1898 Rochet
No3    John Wilton, 1898 Marot Gardon
No4    Nick Canfor/Michael Everett, 1898 De Dion Bouton
No5    Michael Edwards, 1898 De Dion Bouton
No6    Shaun Crofton, 1899 Dechamps
No7    Caroline Sibley, 1900 De Dion Bouton
No8    James Tubby, 1900 De Dion Bouton
No9    Stephen Brett, 1900 Phebus
No10  John Elliott, 1900 Automoto*
No11  Mark Bennett Odlum, 1900 De Dion Bouton
No12  Henry Brooks, 1901 De Dion Bouton
No13  Bernard Holmes, 1898 M.M.C.
No14  Roy Tubby, 1898 Rochet
No15  Philip Bewley, 1899 Clement
No16  Goy Feltes, 1899 Clement
No17  Peter Fryer, 1899 Phebus
No18  Nicholas Pellett, 1899 De Dion Bouton
No19  Nick Penney, 1899 Corre
No20  Guest rider, 1899 De Dion Bouton


On the fixture was a one-mile scratch race, a one-mile handicap race and a five-mile race for the De Dion Bouton Club UK Championship.


Entry to Brooklands Museum was (as usual) £13.50 for adults, with a £2 discount for concessions. Beyond that, another £15 was the extra charge levied for a talk and a lunch (shepherds pie & vegetables, or a vegetarian option plus fruit crumble & custard).



We appreciate that everything has to cost something. But £28.50 per adult who wants to watch a bit of harmless racing, slope round a (fairly small) museum and stuff his/her face with some basic British nosebag sounds as steep as nearby Test Hill. On the other hand, it helps keep out the riff-raff like us.


The image at the top of this feature, incidentally, wasn't taken on the day. It's a library shot from an earlier De Dion Bouton racing event, but it gives you some idea of what went down at Brooklands.


Overall, it looks like a pretty decent way to spend a day. But when the next anniversary comes around, you might want to consider sandwiches to help save a bob or two.


Just a thought.





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Triumph Bonneville T140 Restoration Guide


Triumph T140 restoration guide


Story snapshot:

750cc Bonneville owners will love this one

Stick this book between your Meriden & Haynes manuals


We like this restoration guide and we recommend it. That's the long and short of it. But we wouldn't be doing it justice to leave it there. So we'll explain.


We've taken T140s to pieces (both in whole and in part) many, many times. And every time we do it, we forget something—and if we've been at the hard stuff the night before, we usually forget pretty much everything. So we trudge back indoors, kick the paperwork and furniture around for a while until we find our workshop manuals, and then we trudge out again. And then we sort it out, more or less. Get the picture?



What this book does is take an entire T140 apart for restoration and rebuild every single part. Yes, a Haynes manual does that too. But this volume adds clarity, depth and perspective. Haynes manuals tend to work largely on the basis that things will disassemble and reassemble reasonably well, whereas this book shows you how often that doesn't happen, and what to do about it.


Every part is photographed. All the issues (or at least the vast majority) are laid bare. Problems are explored. Solutions are found. The war is won.


Mark Paxton is the author and restorer. He writes simply and he takes simple snapshots, which is what you want. When you're up to your elbows in gearbox oil with the mainshaft and layshaft clusters and selector forks tumbling onto the floor, you don't want to read Shakespeare or look at David Bailey images. You just want cold, hard facts. And that's what you get.


Triumph Bonneville T140 Restoration Guide back coverWhat we especially like is that the restoration guide demystifies T140s. It's not going to make you a top restorer; not unless you've got some hidden skills and general engineering knowledge. But it will show you how pretty much anyone can take a T140 Bonneville to bits and reassemble it in pretty much the way Meriden Triumph intended. And there's an encouraging section on sorting out the paint too.


Expect around 150 pages. Expect around 1,000 images (Veloce's numbers). Expect helpful hints and tips. Expect re-caps, timely revelations, and words of warning and encouragement. The covers are soft. The book dimensions are 270mm x 207mm. The ISBN is: 978-1-787111-49-3


On the downside, the index is a little thin. So you might have to spend some extra time leafing through the pages hunting for what you want. Our advice is to read the entire book cover to cover before you set to work. Then you might consider marking whatever you need to mark and work your way through the guide when you've got the spanners out.


Veloce is asking £45, and for many folk—if not most—that's a painful extraction of cash for a book. But then, this publication represents an hour or two (or maybe three) of workshop labour if you were to take your bike to a professional to get it rebuilt. So you can run the numbers for yourself.


And remember, just because you have this book at hand, it doesn't mean you're rebuilding the whole machine. You can use it to fix whatever you want to fix. The bottom line is that wherever you buy it, and whatever you pay up to the publisher's asking price, it will be money worth spent.


Mark Paxton did a good job.




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Chronos tap and die set - ratchet handle


Ratchet handle taps & dies - Chronos


Story snapshot:

Good value home & workshop/semi-professional kit

Fifty quid, UNC or metric


We have to confess that we didn't much like this set when we first tried it. It comes from Chronos Engineering Tools, and it caught our attention because of the included ratchet handle. No big deal, of course. Ratchet handles are everywhere; only, we hadn't noticed one on a tap & die set. That's probably partly because we don't get out enough, and partly because we've already got plenty of taps & dies, and we just weren't looking in the right direction.


Chronos ratchet tap and die setIf you know anything about taps and dies, you know the basics (which is pretty much all we know). You drill a hole to the correct size (as dictated by your tap & die/drill size chart. Then you get your equipment ready (stop sniggering). Then you squirt a lot of oil over whatever it is you're about to screw into [they're still sniggering - Ed]. And then you do the business and cut a neat thread.


Of course, you have to keep the tap or die perpendicular to the workpiece/job. And you have to rotate the tap (or die) in the appropriate direction—and you have to back it off at regular intervals to clear the flutes of swarf, etc.



Any old excuse to put a picture of The Sweeney on Sump is excuse enough for us (and we're not talking about that Ray Winstone movie remake rubbish). Meanwhile, if you don't like the (original) Sweeney, you could be loitering on the wrong website...



However, sometimes you can't conveniently rotate the handle back and forth. That's because you're not at the workbench. You're under the bike trying to recover a thread someplace that's hard to get at without a major stripdown—and you don't want to do that because The Sweeney is on TV in about fifteen minutes and you've seen that particular episode only eight or nine times, so you just want to get the job done and dusted.


That's where the ratchet handle comes in. It allows you to ... well, ratchet your way into a job when and where space is tight. You ratchet forward to cut the thread (assuming it's a right hand thread). Then you slide the ratchet handle off and ratchet it back a little. Then you flip it again and so forth.


It's a little slow and tedious. That's what we didn't like about it. It's fiddly. You have to keep switching it back and forth. But when The Sweeney is on the box, ya gotta do what ya gotta do any way you gotta do it. Anyway, we persevered and quickly found a few applications for this 38-piece kit which is available both for UNC threads and metric.


Here's what's in the box:

1 x Ratcheting wrench
1 x Locking tap adaptor
1 x Round die adaptor (25mm )
1 x T handle tap wrench
1 x each hand UNC tungsten steel tap (6-32, 8-32, 10-24, 12-24, 1/ 4"-20, 5/16"-18, 3/8"-16, 7/16"-14,1/2"-13)
1 x each tungsten die M3, M4, M5, M6, M8, M10, M12
1 x each tungsten tap M3, M4, M5, M6, M8, M10, M12


The set is supplied in a steel case and is good enough to keep most home workshoppers reasonably satisfied—and it will get you out of trouble when you've simply got to get back to the TV. That's the USP (Unique Selling Point). It's very useful for when you're up against it. And like a lot of tools in our toolbox (coil spring compressors, torque wrench, flexible magnetic pick up tool, nut splitter, crank pinion extractor, etc), it might not get used much, but when we need it, we're glad we had it to hand.


But it's not top quality stuff. We managed to break a tap by being a little heavy handed (as usual), and we probably wouldn't have done that quite so easily with a more serious, heavy-duty kit. But then, a top quality engineer's rig will cost you three or four times the Chronos asking price of £50.54 (including VAT).


So we're happy to bring this kit to your attention and tell you that it worked for us. But we'd strongly recommend that if you buy this set, you also talk to Chronos about a more conventional T-handle and die stock.




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White Helmet Triumph T140s


White Helmet Triumphs reach £12K 


Story snapshot:

Impressive sale results from Charterhouse Auctions

Highest priced Harris Triumph T140s ever?


In October (2017) we carried a news story about six "White Helmets" Triumphs that were about to be sold by Charterhouse Auctions. Well that sale happened on 16th October, and the results are impressive. In the event, we counted eight bikes (if you include projects, meaning incomplete machines). So it's possible that one failed to sell or was withdrawn (Charterhouse results aren't clear on this point).


Of those eight motorcycles which were supplied by Triumph spares manufacturer L F Harris based in Newton Abbot, Devon, three projects sold for £2,700, £4,000 and £4,200 respectively. The five complete bikes sold (respectively) for £7800, £9200, £9,800, £10,000 and £12,000. Beyond that, the sale turned over dozens of engine and cycle parts from cranks to frames to wheels to tinware—and most of it representing pretty good value for money.


Check here for the full White Helmets Triumphs story

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I bought a Les Harris Bonneville way back in the early 1990s. I had previously owned three Meriden T140s, and the build quality was highly variable. One on those T140s was excellent in almost every respect. The other two were dogs (one was a TR7T Tiger Trail variant; the other was a T140V). The Harris Bonnie was priced very low because they were mistrusted. But the one I bought was smooth, reliable and fun to ride. It had better switchgear, better brakes (Brembo), better forks (Paioli I think), and it was oil tight. I put around 15,000 trouble-free miles on that bike and sold it to my cousin for slightly less than I paid for it, and I wish I hadn't now. The market still mistrusted them. Interestingly I see that the White Helmet bike shown in the picture is Meriden-spec, not Harris-spec, so I suppose they were made from left over parts. Can't see £10K or £12 there. But you're really paying for the provenance and not the bike.—Siddy

Similar experience here. I bought a Harris Bonnie in 1995 and toured France, Spain, some of Portugal and later Belgium and Holland. used it for commuting for a while, and I got some UK travelling done. Almost nothing went wrong except a split battery, some issues with the paint at the rear of the frame, a snapped spoke and some minor wiring connectors. Seventeen thousand miles, and I've still got the bike (but I don't get so much time to use it now).—Andy Franklin

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H&H timed auction


H&H's first timed automobilia auction


Story snapshot:

Mostly car items on offer, but might interest some bikers

Online bidding only


Think eBay if you will, because that's effectively how this timed auction works—except that H&H Auctions are the people behind it. The idea is that a sale of automobilia will run exclusively online for a week between Saturday 26th November 2017 and Saturday 3rd December 2017. Buyers can post a bid, and whoever's got his or her hand deepest in his or her pocket when the auction ends walks away with whatever it was on offer. The clock starts ticking at 3.30pm on the 26th and stops at 6.24pm on the 3rd.


Simple enough.


There will be a viewing day. But oddly (to us), that day will be on Friday 2nd December 2017, one day before the auction closes. And if that's how you prefer to do your buying, you'll need to scoot along to H&H's headquarters in Warrington, Cheshire. WA4 4SN.



Steve McQueen on the film set of Le Mans, 1971. Starting bid £50. Estimate £100 - £150; Dunlop sign, starting bid £10, no estimate; Shell sign, starting bid £10; Howes & Burley sidelamp, starting bid £50. Estimate £100 - £150. Note that the illustrated items are not to scale.



So what's in this sale?


Well, being an automobilia sale it's pretty much aimed at the classic car market. So expect Rolls Royce radiator mascots, Lalique glass mascots, old enamelled signs, tool kits, sales brochures, posters, signed photographs, gas lamps, books, footpumps and suchlike.


But there are a few items that we think will interest motorcyclists, hence the main image at the top of this news story. That image details a "Lodge: The Best Plug in The World for motorcycles" pictorial celluloid showcard. The dimensions are 9-inches x 13-3/4-inches".


H&H describes it thus: "Features superb pictorial of a pre-war racing motorcycle and early spark plug. Some discolouration, but nevertheless a very striking garage sign."


Being celluloid, we imagine that this showcard loves a naked flame, so keep that in mind if you're placing a bid. Note too that for "artistic" reasons we've slightly enhanced the image. In the photos we've seen, it looks a little flatter. But then again, it might well look perfectly clear and bright in good light. So check it out, etc.


It's perhaps worth mentioning again that this is the first such event from Messrs H&H (or Hope & Hamilton if you prefer). Therefore it might not draw as much attention as some other sales. Consequently, you might pick up some good bargains either for your personal collection (if you have one), or for general re-sale. Whatever you buy, note that all estimates are subject to a buyer's premium of 15% including VAT.


At the time of posting this news story, it's 11.48am on Thursday 23rd November 2017. So if anything takes your fancy, that gives you 3 days and 3 hrs to prepare for your first bid and light your fuse.


Check the link below for more details of the sale.




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Goldtop jackets, gloves and boots


Goldtop £50 off gloves limited offer 


Story snapshot:

Buy any jacket or boots and get a £50 glove discount

Limited time offer, note


For a limited period (until Sunday 26th November 2017) if you buy any Goldtop jacket or boots, you'll also get a £50 discount off any pair of gloves. And presumably, if you pick a pair that costs less than fifty quid, you'll get them for free.


Kasey at Goldtop is currently marketing 30 styles of gloves. We've got a pair of his gauntlets, and we like 'em just fine. We haven't yet tried any of the Goldtop jackets or boots, but we trust Kasey to offer a great product at a fair price—and yes, we do know him a little.


But we've got no other commercial interest here, and we're all bribed-out for this month. We just like independent businesses like his, and we like to see them get ahead.


When buying online, just use the code GLOVEMEUP. If you don't ask, you won't get. And remember that the offer is time-limited.


Kasey will see you alright. Okay?




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Sian BerryLondon pillion
rider ban idea


Story snapshot:

Scooter-jacking/acid attack plan

"Temporary move only"


Meet London Assembly Member Siân Berry (image right). If reports are to be believed (and the reports look pretty convincing), she's just raised the highly controversial idea of placing a temporary ban on motorcycle pillions in the British capital as a way of putting an end to—or at least moderating—the current phenomenon of scooter jackings and related acid attacks.


The idea of a pillion ban has been tried in other places such as Honduras which, a few years ago, was faced with a spate of drug gang related ride-by shootings. So Berry has mooted the idea of trying a ban here in the UK. And she's not alone. Other voices are coming forward to support the suggestion in the belief that although a ban on motorcycle pillions would be an inconvenience for a small proportion of riders, the move could seriously hamper the more nefarious activity of the thieves and bike-jackers.


And that's their words, not ours.


Ms Berry, incidentally, is deputy chairwoman of the London Assembly’s police and crime committee. So it's well within her brief to explore ways of tackling the scooter crime "epidemic". To that end, she's already suggested this idea to senior Metropolitan Police heads who are said to be a little more circumspect about supporting the notion.


Given that the police are in many instances reluctant to give chase to the scooter criminals, regardless of whether they're riding solo or "two-up", it's hard to see how banning pillion riders per se is likely to make much sense, or much difference. Moreover, London has many motorcycle commuters who ride two-up five days a week and would be facing serious travelling problems if a ban on pillions was suddenly introduced.



Additionally, the capital now has half a dozen or more motorcycle taxi services in operation whose business would be threatened unless the legislators could draw a line between the various types of two wheelers that are implicated in crime, and those that aren't.


On face value, this sounds like dangerous idea that could set a very negative precedent for both motorcyclists and other road users. On the other hand, all ideas that might help solve the bike-jacking epidemic are perhaps worthy of a close inspection. And then there's the question of what the word "temporary" really mean. One month? Six months? A year?


Can't see this idea getting much altitude before a legal challenge shoots it down. So for now, we're just watching. And it bears watching...



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Why am I not surprised that the powers that be are looking at new ways to limit and clip motorcycle freedoms instead of doing what really needs to be done which is put a strong police presence back on the street? Recently I witnessed some scumbags trying to hack through a motorcycle chain in a side road from Oxford Street. This was broad daylight with an angle grinder. The thieves only rode off (on stolen bikes probably) because a couple of rent-a-cops saw what they were doing and crossed the street to challenge them. And where were the real coppers? Somewhere else as usual. Policing in this country is a sick joke. —Richard Perry

Sounds like a good idea to me, protect the many and inconvenience a few...........progress.—John

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Ford Design in the UK


Ford Design in the UK - Veloce 


Story snapshot:

The glory days of motor manufacturing at Dagenham, Essex

224 pages, 320 images, £45


70 years of success: that's the very appropriate sub-heading of Nick Hull's fascinating history of the Ford Motor Company, a firm whose designs and innovations helped define and redefine British motoring—and in doing so gave us some of the most memorable and best loved cars ever to trundle down the Queen's highway.


Way back at the turn of the last century Henry Ford, both literally and figuratively, arrived on these shores bringing with him his legendary Model T and its derivatives. Having successfully mobilised tens of thousands of Americans, he was looking to expand his empire, and Britain was the next obvious choice.


Initially, Ford cars were merely assembled in the UK from parts shipped over from Detroit. But soon after, it became clear that full scale manufacturing was the way to go, first at Trafford Park, Manchester, and later at Dagenham, Essex. To facilitate this industrial development, the firm bought the nearby Thameside marshlands for £167,700. What followed was one of the most exciting epochs in British automotive history.


As with the story of AMC, Ariel, BSA, Triumph, Velocette or Vincent—and any number of other UK motorcycle firms—the Ford saga is thick with drama, intrigue, excitement, characters, industrial politics, humour, failure and success.


You can pick your own favourite era of Ford manufacturing. For us, it's the 1950s through to the 1970s; a period that gave us the Consul, Zephyr, Zodiac, Cortina, Classic, Consul Capri, Anglia, Escort, Corsair, Capri, Granada and Transit. But Nick Hull's account goes beyond these years and shows us how and why the huge plant at Dagenham Marshes was begun, why it prospered, and what led to the decline of complete Ford vehicle manufacturing on these shores.


In its hey day, that factory was huge. Ford wasn't merely in Dagenham. Ford was Dagenham. Assembly shops. Paint shops. Foundries. Machinist stations. Upholstery facilities. Design studios. Lofting studios. Modelling studios. Welding stations. Canteens. Conveyors. Parts shops. A medical centre. Offices. An internal railway system. A riverside dock. And much more. For most of this period, you could motor along the A13 for miles marvelling at what Henry Ford and his successors had achieved.


And it wasn't just cars. During WW2 Ford Dagenham manufactured thousands of Bren gun carriers and hundreds of thousands V8 engines that were used in dozens of military vehicle types. Meanwhile, thousands of local businesses grew and prospered alongside the factory servicing the related needs of the company and offering specialised services.


When in 2002 the plant finally ceased making complete cars (the last being the Ford Fiesta), it was a bitter blow for the local community (which hasn't fully recovered), and it also hit the wider UK economy hard. But engine production continues at Dagenham. However, the "glory years" are gone, albeit not forgotten.



Nick Hull's book, which deserves a better cover, takes us back to the beginning and gives us a potted timeline right through to the present day. We received a copy about a month or two ago, and it's been excellent occasional reading that's effortlessly transported us back through the decades and, sadly, reminded us of how much has been lost.


The writing is methodical and workaday and gets right on with the narrative without pretence or digression. The well-remembered car models and designs are given new perspective. The characters who starred in this ongoing tale are brought to life once again. And the "moment of it all" is savoured.


If there was any criticism, it's simply that we would have liked to see more on the cars of the 1950s through to the 1970s, and perhaps just a little more of the 1930s, whereas at least half of this book focuses on vehicles from the 1980s onward. But maybe we're just showing our age.


That said, there are some great images in this tale detailing the design, the clay crafting and the prototyping of the vehicles, some of which never made it through to full scale production. There are over 220 pages to leaf through, hundreds of images to study and enjoy, dozens of sketches and diagrams to examine, and a lifetime of achievement to be celebrated.


The dimensions are 250mm x 250mm. The ISBN is: 978-1-845849-86-3. The covers are hardback. The image quality is very good. Veloce is asking £45 for the book.


If you're looking to expand your knowledge of this era, or simply want to look beyond UK motorcycle manufacturing and widen the context, this book is a very worthy account.




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Thruxton Track Racer Kit offer

Story snapshot:

£1,950 "worth" of accessories offered for a limited time

Standard Thruxtons are around £12,200 new


Buy a new Triumph Thruxton R between now and 31st December 2017, and Hinckley will throw in Track Racer Kit notionally worth £1,950.


The kit includes a café racer fairing, a pair of brushed stainless steel slip-on exhausts, a rear mudguard removal kit, front and rear short-stem LED indicators, a leather tank strap and grey-diamond knurled handlebar grips.


Triumph Thruxton features include:

Steel tubular frame with Aluminium swingarm

6-speed gearbox with gear position indicator
Dual 310mm discs up front with Brembo M50 2-piston calipers
220mm disc at the rear with Nissin 2-piston caliper
ABS system (switchable)
Adjustable 43mm Showa inverted fork with 120mm travel
Adjustable Ohlins rear shocks with 120mm travel

Chromed 2-into-2 exhaust system
Traction control (switchable) with assist clutch
3 riding modes: Road, Sport, Rain
LED tail light and running light
USB port under the seat


Triumph Thruxton R for 2017


Even in its standard form, the Thruxton R is a good looking bike—and it looks a lot better up close. Euro 4 compliant, this liquid cooled 1,200cc parallel twin engine churns out a claimed 97bhp at 6,750rpm with maximum torque of 82lbs-ft at 4,950rpm. Weight is around 440lbs (203kg) dry.



These bikes are, we think, one of the best looking new cafe racers currently on the market. Triumph worked hard to make these right for the intended market, but Hinckley naturally didn't do it for free. And that's the problem for many would-be buyers. At around £12,200 new, a standard Thruxton R is quite simply a lot of money and pushes the bike beyond the reach of many.


No doubt, Triumph has decided to mitigate this by offering the Track Racer Kit which makes the numbers suddenly look a whole lot better. And currently, sales of Thruxtons and many other Triumph are slowing a tad. So if you've been thinking about putting one of these in your garage, you're probably not going to get a better deal than this.


Buy British, we say. As usual.

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Sump is a great way to read all the biking and non-biking news. And it's free! Can't say fairer than that. My biking days are now over, but if I were to win the lottery then a Thruxton R would be on my list. Thanks.—William Tomkinson

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Sump Magazine comments



Want to post a comment on Sump?


Story snapshot:

We're trialling a feedback feature

Behave yourselves, please...


Okay, this is a trial thing. But we're hoping it will go the distance. What's happened is that we've been asked many times to organise some kinda feedback field on Sump for comments, observations and suchlike. And we've long been considering it. We're talking years, not months.


Finally, we've decided to give it a try and see how well it goes down. So here goes. We didn't want to run scripts (sequence of instructions) in the background and all that clever techy stuff. We're simple folk around here, and we want to keep it simple, computer-wise.


So just hit the megaphone button below any of the features and fire off an email with your thoughts. We'll keep your email addresses private, but you can put whatever name you like. And note that we'll be moderating comments, which means we'll check 'em over before they go online. Why? Because we don't want the comments to degenerate into columns of marketing junk, other forms of spam, flaming wars and similar. And we want to edit and make sure everything makes sense.


But broadly speaking, you can say whatever you want as long as it's constructive and reasonably fair minded.


Good enough, folks? Let's hear it then...


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Davida Koura full-face crash helmet


New Davida "Koura" full face helmet


Story snapshot:

New retro lid unveiled at the EICMA Show

The UK launch will take place at the 2017 Motorcycle Live event


Last month (October 2017) we ran a small news item on the imminent launch of Davida's first full face crash helmet. Well that helmet was officially revealed at the recent EICMA Show, and these are the first clear images that we've seen.


The hand holding that lid belongs to David Fiddaman, founder and owner of Davida. But it wasn't the most flattering picture we've ever seen, so posterity is going to be kind to Dave (on Sump, anyway) and we've put him out of the frame.


Davida Koura crash helmet



Our first impressions of this helmet are mixed. On the one hand, the design is evidently very much retro. It looks like it might have been unearthed in a loft in a box of biking gear dating from the 1970s—and we don't mean that in any disparaging way. On the other hand, we're certainly not rushing to the Davida website to order one (or "pre-order" as everyone is fond of saying these days).


That said, product design is a funny thing. You can love it at first sight and hate it a few weeks later (such as with most Alfa Romeo cars, for instance). Or you can hate it at first sight, and really hate it months or years later (such as pretty much everything James Dyson has manufactured—brilliant engineer and entrepreneur though he is). And naturally, you can love stuff from the moment you first set eyes on it, and deepen that love affair as the years roll by (which is how most of us around here feel about T140 Triumphs).


In short, you need a little perspective before you make up your fickle mind. So we're just mulling over this one and will decide some other time whether it's more Dyson than T140.


We've just checked the Davida website, and there's not much information on offer except to say that (a) the lid has been designed with input from Italian MotoGP & F1 racing helmet experts, and (b) that the helmet is certified to ECER22-05, and is expected to soon be followed by DOT FMVS 281 & ACU Gold.


Note the word "expected".


If you want to catch an early glimpse of it, the helmet will be unveiled in the UK at the Motorcycle Live Event at the NEC, Birmingham on 18th - 26th November 2017.


And what's the name of this new crash helmet? Well, Davida calls it the "Koura", which apparently is a New Zealand crayfish, or a district in Lebanon—neither of which seems applicable (we'll try to remember to ask Davida some time).


Or maybe we're just missing something. We often do.


See also: Davida's first full-face lid is imminent



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It's about time that Davida got around to making a proper crash helmet for riders who want to keep their good looks. Welcome to the 21st century, Davida. Will be looking out for one if the price is right. —Gavin Cutter

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Ducati has started building its 1,103cc V4 Panigale. The firm's first four

Benelli Imperiale 400

Benelli has revealed 10 new bikes at EICMA including this Imperiale 400

Elon Musk's Tesla has unveiled an electric truck with a 500 mile range

Arch Motorcycles KRGT-1S

New Arch KRGT-1S. S&S 2,032cc V-twin. 122lbs-ft. No price yet

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NMM BSA Gold Star winner details


Story snapshot:

500cc DBD34 Summer Raffle prize was won by a Dutchman

See the Winter Raffle reminder below


If you've ever wondered what a 1960 BSA 500cc DBD34 Gold Star Summer Raffle winner looks like, we can put you out of your misery. He looks pretty much like this guy—Bart Maatje from the Netherlands.


The raffle has been running for three months, and now it's over. The winning ticket (No: 9001753) was drawn by road racing "superstars" Freddie Spencer, Peter Hickman & Maria Costello. It happened at the National Motorcycle Museum LIVE open day on Saturday 4th November 2017.



The runner-up prize was a 1955 BSA C11G 250cc motorcycle. That was won by James Taylor from Lincolnshire. His ticket was No: 0160289

Dave Cross from Northamptonshire bought Ticket No: 5015751, and he won a "Luxury classic weekend hotel break for two people".


Finally, the National Motorcycle Museum (NMM) has reminded us—and has therefore reminded the tens of thousands of Sumpsters perusing these pages—that the NMM Winter Raffle is offering a 2018 Triumph Speedmaster as the first prize.


For details, check the link you've just passed.


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Norton 650cc scrambler concept


Norton 650 twin scrambler planned


Story snapshot:

175bhp, 100bhp and 75bhp options mooted

Projected bikes to be built in the UK and overseas


No doubt the success of Triumph's Bonneville scramblers coupled with the general resurgence of interest in parallel twin engines has helped spur Norton Motorcycles into developing this new parallel twin scrambler concept from Donington.


Currently, the bike, which has been the subject of much discussion at this year's EICMA Show, appears to be more wishful thinking than manufacturing fact. Certainly there's nothing turn-key at present.


Nevertheless, Norton CEO Stuart Garner is sounding pretty bullish about the project, and we've got no doubt that the current motorcycle market would very much like to see a bike such as this on the high street. The only question is whether Norton can put sufficient commercial weight behind it and bring the bikes in at the right price.


Currently, Norton is busy signing contracts with numerous firms in China and India, the idea being to build a new range (or multiple ranges) of bikes for both the home and overseas markets, with manufacturing taking place both here in Blighty and overseas depending where the bikes will be sold. But keep in mind that Triumph has its Bonnies built in Thailand, not Hinckley.


The engine for this proposed bike is pretty much one half of the firm's creditable V4 racer. A 270-degree crank, we're told, will spin at the heart of this 4-valve per-cylinder, 650cc, liquid-cooled engine. Three power options will be offered: a 175bhp supercharged model, a 100bhp pot-boiler, and a 75bhp option for those with more limited funds who simply want a cool and more modest bike for general zipping around, joyrides, posing or commuting. Wheels are likely to be 18-inch or 19-inch front and 18-inch at the rear. ABS is a given. Traction control is pretty much de rigeur these days.


Naturally, Norton is raiding the archives looking to include as many retro styling cues as possible in order to bolster its heritage claims, etc. A scrambler model will be first along, followed by a more roadster/touring oriented machine. That's the plan, anyway.


Norton motorcycles logo


The target weight for these bikes is around 140kg (308lbs) which sounds nice on paper and will sound better in the showrooms, but that's a tall order for a strong, durable, practical bike with sufficient features to keep the market happy whilst also keeping the legislator's sweet with regard to issues such as induction noise and exhaust noise, emissions issues, braking requirements and so on. And lightweight bikes demand more expensive lightweight alloys. Keep that in mind.


The price? Well, we're hearing numbers ranging from £10,000 - £12,000, and we'll believe that if and when we see it.


Norton has got form regarding failure to deliver the goods, so we're just keeping an open mind about this bike. No doubt the will is there, but hopeful/upbeat stuff like that often gets lost on the road to reality. Then again, Norton is hungry and ambitious, and Garner's a tenacious man who's done a fantastic job of getting this far with a brand rebirth project that's had its fair share of failures to launch.


Meanwhile, the parallel twin and/or scrambler market is getting very crowded lately with Ducati, BMW, Moto Guzzi, Royal Enfield, Yamaha and others marketing some great bikes, each firm looking to consolidate its footholds on the middleweight retro showroom floor.


It isn't that Norton isn't perfectly capable of building the bikes. It's just, as we suggested, the question of building enough at the right price in an increasingly saturated market to make the books balance.


See also: Norton - Zongshen engine deal




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I'll be amazed if Norton manages to build these Scramblers at anything like a sensible price. I've got a Ducati Scrambler and it's a very cool looking bike. I would like to buy something British, but Norton would have to build something very clever to make me sell my Duke. Nice idea, though. Let's see one in the flesh sooner rather than later. —Paul Pollock

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Jacqui Furneaux riding her Royal Enfield


RE travel book: Hit the Road, Jac!


Story snapshot:

WARNING!!! If you read this tale, you'll want to travel

£9.99, and available now from Amazon


40,000 kilometres, 20 countries, 7 years, one Royal Enfield motorcycle, and no plan; this is the story of Jacqui Furneaux's epic ride across the Far East, through much of Australia, a small piece of New Zealand, across the Pacific to Central America, north through the USA into Canada, and then back to the UK. 


Hit the Road, Jac  - by Jacqui FurneauxYes, the world is filled with travel books, and there are more than a couple of motorcycle travel books out there in the wild (Jupiter's Travels; One Man Caravan; Rugged Road, etc).


Nevertheless, everyone's story is a different adventure, and some are way more adventurous than the next—and this book clearly falls in the latter category.


An ex-nurse and a long time motorcyclist, Jacqui Furneaux left the UK in 2000 and travelled by plane to India where she collected a brand new 500cc Royal Enfield Bullet. She was fifty years old.


What followed was a daring, scary, comedic, romantic, stubborn, dramatic, violent, death-defying and often lonely journey armed with her obvious wit, her natural resilience, yards of self-reliance, a bag of tools, a spare can of petrol, a few changes of clothes, around £300 per month and a large knife.


On the journey, Furneaux faced (and faced down) amorous brothel keepers, ruthless pirates, mad drivers, madder sailors, wild animals, and any number of other hazards that are all part of a day's ride for the average global motorcycle trekker.


The writing is "immediate" and "everyday", meaning that it reads like the diary it is. So forget any pretence at literature—and we say that without a hint of criticism. The voice is just right. The tone is spot on. And you feel that you couldn't get closer to the adventure unless you were riding pillion.


We haven't read the entire book. We've read only extracts. Nevertheless, we can smell the petrol and the oil and the hot rubber. We've already got sand in our ears, road dust in our eyes, mosquito bites everywhere and an aching in our bellies for an adventure of our own.


Jacqui Furneaux is currently back in the UK, no doubt rebuilding her life and perhaps even planning the next long ride into the unknown. There's still time.


Jacqui Furneaux's Royal Enfield 500cc Bullet


Here at Sump, we can't but help admire people who do things like this. On the one hand, we think they're pretty stupid and irresponsible risking their lives on these harebrained jaunts into the third world, and beyond. But on the other hand, we only wish that we were able to be this stupid. Riders such as Jacqui Furneaux really know how to live, and you can only do that when you risk everything you have and live for the moment.


And what a moment.


Go check the website. Buy the book. Start planning your own next moves. There's probably a journey like this in just about everyone. The trick is having the courage to go and tease it out.




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Why would you ride around the world on a Royal Enfield when there are about 100 much more suitable bikes? Granted you can fix an Enfield with a strip of barbed wire and a rusty bean can. But you'll probably have to fix it every fifty miles. That's why she took seven years to make the trip. Still, she's a very plucky lady. Respect and all that. —BMW Boy

Dear BMW Boy, thank you for your comment following the brilliant Sump review of my book, Hit the Road, Jac! Yes, I am a bit stupid, otherwise I'd have stayed safely behind doors watching other people doing exciting things on TV! I had owned several Japanese motorbikes since passing my test at the age of 24 and very good they all were too except for a beautiful Honda 400x4 which, sadly, fizzled to a halt every time it rained. Why an Enfield? Well you'll just have to read the book! I hated the thing to start with but gradually fell in love with it and now, seventeen years later, wouldn't dream of riding anything else. It has taken me through rivers, across deserts of thick sand, long stretches of mud, mountain tracks. It is steady and reliable. The excellent fuel consumption meant that I could ride a track in Australia where people on 'proper' road bikes couldn't go because they couldn't carry the necessary fuel. I also waved goodbye to some people on a certain type of German motorcycle in Islamabad because I did some maintenance with some spanners whilst they waited weeks for some sealed units to arrive from their homeland. So do think again! Enfields are great!—Jacqui Furneaux

[Note to Jacqui] No words to tell you how much I admire what you've done. I fully agree with you about the compulsory Bavarian bike which shows your friends and neighbours that you are the adventurer of the family. The right bike to travel on is the bike you own when you decide it's time to go. And having owned plenty of bikes, and travelling more and more often and far, my final choice was to own a simple bike; one that's easy to repair and lightweight, easy to set on track when fallen down, fairly economical with petrol, and giving no temptation to the more simple minded who may like to steal a bike. The only possible choice is to find old RE or German MZ. Those bikes were made to be maintained by the average local mechanic. As a bad mechanic, I preferred the MZ 2stroke.—Olivier Servant

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Stoneleigh Kickback Show April 2017


Story snapshot:

75 customs in the 2018 National Championships

Stoneleigh Park is the venue


So okay, it's still 2017, and April 2018 is five months away. Nevertheless, when you get to a certain age, the clock of your life slips into top gear and blasts along at full throttle. So we're giving you plenty of warning with this one, and you can make a note of the date on your calendar as you see fit.


Kickback is organised by Lorne Cheetham. He's a hard working guy with vision, ambition and drive, and many of you would already have enjoyed a Kickback Show.


His next shindig is 7th - 8th April 2018. It will happen at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, and the show will play host to the 2018 National Championship For Custom Bikes.


You can expect not less than 75 examples of the custom motorcycle fabricator's art as practiced by the loftiest professionals and the lowliest amateurs (and no one should underestimate the skill and creativity of the amateur, huh?).


Other treats include the Best Young Builder award, a professional stunt show, burn-ups, fire-ups, food, free parking, trade stands and the Shed Jumble. There's probably more going on than this, but we've got short attention spans around here and diminishing cranial capacity. So we're cutting it short.


Just go check your calendar (and if you haven't yet got one, Andy Tiernan will flog you one), and make a date. We don't know Lorne, incidentally, and we've got nothing invested in this event—except the hope that it gets bigger and better every season.


Tickets are £12 on the gate. Discounts for advance payments, etc.




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2018 Brough Superior Pendine


Brough Superior Pendine racer


Story snapshot:

SS100 V-twin gets sexed up

Bike on sale for 2018


"Pendine" is to the UK what "Bonneville" is to the Yanks. Well, sort of. This famous 7-miles stretch of beach along Carmarthen Bay in Wales has over the last century played host to hundreds of motor racing competitions and record attempts on both two and four wheels—and it's seen its share of disaster too.


Malcolm Campbell chose Pendine for his first record breaking attempt in his legendary 350hp "Bluebird" Sunbeam.


J G Parry-Thomas was killed there whilst racing "Babs", a 450hp aero-engined special that was once "Chitty 4" and owned by Count Louis Zborowski.


Speedway racing, sprinting, speed testing, and sand racing, Pendine has seen it all, heard it all, and is always ready for the next hopeful. And so it was perhaps only natural enough that Mark Upham's reborn Brough Superior company should pick up the Pendine moniker and attach it to one of the firm's bikes.



The 2018 Pendine Brough Superior is powered by the same 100bhp V-twin as used in the current 997cc, 88-degree V-twin SS100. But the stylists have transformed the bike with a pair of high level exhausts c/w slash cut silencers, a minimal nose-fairing, and a boat-tail seat unit.


Brough Superior Pendine for 2018


A new swinging-arm with a right-side shock absorber/damper has also been designed to lengthen the wheelbase and improve straight line stability.


There's no word yet on pricing or availability. But these bikes ain't exactly hanging on a rack. Waiting for delivery is part of the dubious appeal of enjoying high-end luxury motorcycles and cars. That said, the firm has made giant strides since the 2013 SS100 was launched.


We can see a long queue for this one.


More on the SS100 Brough Superior



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Nice, but I can't see this being used on any beach. Actually, I can't see this being used at all. It's a rich man's ornament, isn't it? —Sergio

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Chinese-owned Benelli has revealed a new 373cc single Imperiale retro

New bike sales Jan - Oct 2017 down 15.5%. 92,913 units. Honda tops


A new range of Moto Guzzis based on an 850cc V85 concept is planned

Sunday 12th Nov 2017. Ring of Red M25 & M60 poppy rides. Wear red


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H-D Battle of the Kings 2017 winner


Story snapshot:

Perugia Harley-Davidson is the 2017 Custom King

But what the hell has that got to do with Pink Floyd? Read on...


You have to be a Harley-Davidson dealer. You have to base your custom bike on the Sportster platform (Iron 883™, Forty-Eight® or Roadster™). You have to spend no more than $6,000. And 50 percent of the parts used have to be drawn from the Harley-Davidson parts catalogue.


That's the rules for entering the Harley-Davidson Battle of the Kings (BOTK) annual competition, now in its third year. And if that sounds like a recipe for original, inspiring, innovative, thought-provoking custom bikes, you must be a very special chef. Here at Sump, we've tried hard to get on message with this yearly nepotistic corporate rivalry, but we can't.


It's like listening to the last couple of Pink Floyd albums—and we lurve Pink Floyds almost as much as we lurve sex in car parks (details on request). The point being that Floyd pretty much ended up plagiarising their own material with every new song sounding suspiciously like a perfectly crafted, beautifully engineered parody of the original music that once made the band so great.


These BOTK bikes are all ... well, nice. Yeah. Shiny and clean and colourful and whatnot. But it's all become just blarghhhh. The same old same old Pink Floyd, self-promotional, navel-watching exercise in motorcycle masturbation. It's like Groundhog Day on wheels. What H-D calls a custom, we call a pastiche. What Milwaukee calls originality, we think of as a cut-and-paste job.



All that aside, the winner this year is Perugia Harley-Davidson which operates out of some place in Italy that we can't pronounce. 191 H-D dealers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa were in the fray, and we're advised that 80,000 votes were cast. A short list of 10 dealers was eventually created, and at the 2017 EICMA Show in Milan, a name was pulled out of a crash helmet or something.


So Perugia Harley-Davidson is the 2017 Custom King, and their offering is a motorcycle dubbed "Bombtrack" which doesn't do, say or mean anything to us either. Maybe they should have called the bike "Endless River" or "The Division Bell."


But are we just being mean and grouchy? We maybe. A little. But not entirely. This custom competition, with its various constraints and parts-bin orthodoxy, simply lights a fuse that just won't fizz. Not for us. So maybe we need to get out more or something.


Meanwhile, congrats to Perugia anyway. If you've won something, you must be a winner. That's how it works, huh?




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2018 Royal Enfield Interceptor engine cutaway


New Royal Enfield 650 twins launched


Story snapshot:

648cc, SOHC Interceptor

648cc, SOHC Continental GT650


Royal Enfield has unveiled two new motorcycles for 2018: the Interceptor and the Continental GT650. Both bikes are powered by a new 648cc, 78mm x 67.8mm, parallel twin engine with the power output quoted as 47bhp @ 7,100rpm with 52Nm (38lbs-ft) @ 4,000rpm.


The vertically split crankcase features a 270-degree crank driving a single overhead camshaft operating 4-valves per cylinder. The Bosch fuel-injected, air/oil-cooled engine drives through a geared primary to a chain final via a 6-speed gearbox.


The front rubber is 100/90-18. The rear is 130/70-18. The front brake caliper is evidently nothing to speak of and grips a single 320mm disc. The rear caliper is equally anonymous and operates on a 240mm rotor.


Royal Enfield Interceptor for 2018


2018 Royal Enfield Interceptor. It's got the hallowed RE name. It wears the hallowed Interceptor badge. But it's not exactly dangerous, is it? And the Interceptor was a wonderfully dangerous motorcycle in its day.


2018 Royal Enfield Interceptor


Even from this angle, the best we can say about the styling is that it looks okay. Actually, it looks about 10 years too late. But let's give Royal Enfield some slack. The firm has made a giant stride forward, and we can see a lot of people being very happy with one of these.




It's hard to say anything too conclusive about these bikes. Royal Enfield simply hasn't provided much detail yet, and what information is available is mostly marketing hype telling us that:


"The Twin Is In: The 650 Twin is the rebirth of Royal Enfield's legendary parallel twin cylinder engine. And it's driving two Royal Enfield classic motorcycles - the Interceptor and the Continental GT. While classically styled and visually beautiful, the new engine is Royal Enfield's most forward-looking yet, with a cleaner, elegant look, fewer components, less weight and easier maintenance."


But we have to say that we're not exactly overwhelmed. Royal Enfield has for months been talking big and promising plenty—and okay, the launch of two new bikes is a major leap forward for the increasingly hungry and ambitious Indian firm.


Except that it's not really two bikes at all. It's one bike wearing two shirts and fooling no one. Currently Royal Enfield is awash with money, and parent company Eicher Motors could set fire to its bank roll and watch it burn for months. Consequently, this feels more like a wasted opportunity to equip at least one of the bikes with some more toys, upgrades and accessories even if the accessories are optional extras (actually, we have seen some optional extras, but not enough to send the launch vehicles into a significantly higher orbit).


We're thinking about twin front discs, a cockpit fairing, (more serious) clip-ons, rear-sets, a power hike, different pipes, etc. Granted, with just 47bhp on tap, neither bike is likely to carve a groove in anyone's tarmac. Nevertheless, a few more bells and whistles would have improved the kerb appeal if not the swerve appeal.



2018 GT650 Royal Enfield


2018 Royal Enfield GT650. Nice poise for the boyz, but not enough toyz. No doubt there will be some extras on the shelf sooner or later. But we think they should be revealed now while the camera flashbulbs are hot. The bikes probably look a lot better up close. They often do.


2018 Royal Enfield GT650


Actually, it should be said that RE is aiming the bike at A2 licence category holders, which rationalises the power output. But another 20 or 25bhp, via re-mapping or re-plumbing would draw in a very appreciative crowd. Royal Enfield calls the 'bars "clip-ons", incidentally. However, we would have liked them clipped on a little lower than that.



2018 Royal Enfield GT650 engine



For all that, it's great to see the long established Royal Enfield name re-revived, and we've got no doubt that the firm will be working a lot harder over the next few months and years hoping to take an increasing slice of Triumph's cake. But Triumph still has a huge lead here, and we don't see Hinckley overly concerned. Yet.


Still, the world motorcycle game plan just got a little more interesting. The bikes are expected in Europe in April 2018. We're still awaiting pricing details.




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Let me lay my cards on the table. I had a Royal Enfield Super Meteor that I rebuilt, it had real issues. Even though it sounded like it was routinely destroying every chain and bearing it had when it ran, it started 1st or second kick every time and never let me down. It even went around corners well enough and was a pleasant thing to ride. The question is then, have Lal and his lads just missed the point entirely? I do understand Enfield India want to make something that appeals to their local market and the Asian markets; but these offerings are only remarkable because they are so mundanely unremarkable. Rumoured to make close to 60bhp, the original 1960 MkII had 10 to 15bhp more than the new Indian one! After some issues with the Constellation and the MKI, the MkII was a well-considered and fairly well developed bike. It handled well, it was smooth, reliable and didn’t vibrate badly and it was as we say, "sorted". I believe it had the quickest ¼ mile as well! In many ways it was better than the Nortons, Bonnies and Beesas of the day. I know sacrilege!! There was also a MKIII in development when RE went bust in the UK. I think it was about 780cc and would have been called the 800. Why are Indian Royal Enfield effectively going backwards? With advances in both materials technology and engine development knowledge, I suspect they could have nicked the BMW boxer idea of oil cooled valves and a big oil cooler and got a reliable 75bhp and 65 lb/ft out of an 800 engine whilst still achieving good fuel economy and very reasonable production costs. They could have cleaned up with it in the "retro", market sector. I’d have bought one! Not now though. Watch this space for the Hitchcock, long stroke, 775cc conversion. You are doing a great job at Sump btw, always enjoyable and I really like the eclecticism. Sump is my favourite bit of motorcycle press. Keep it up. —Mad Ol’ Jack

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NMM's 2018 Speedmaster prize


Story snapshot:

Tickets are £2 each

Or is that five for a tenner?


The National Motorcycle Museum's Winter Raffle is open as from today, 6th November 2017. The first prize is the above 2018 Triumph Speedmaster. Second prize is a luxury hotel break and dinner for two. Third prize is a Triumph Visitor Experience Factory Tour for two—and note that the competition is open to UK residents only (excluding Northern Ireland).


Now, the NMM has in the past organised some compelling raffles with pretty good odds. The bikes offered have been everything from BSAs to Nortons, Triumphs and even Vincents. Better still, if you missed out on the first prize, there was usually a pretty decent second prize bike on offer.




But that's changed now, and second prize is the aforementioned hotel break and dinner which, if we're honest, feels like a bit of a let down. Don't get us wrong; a prize is a prize, and a dinner is a dinner. But if you start high and then fall low, people are apt to notice the imprint in the dirt.


So we're lamenting the loss of a motorcycle as a second prize. But maybe the economics simply don't stack up at present. You need to look at the numbers.


But that aside, there's another point here worth mentioning—and we've mentioned this before somewhere on Sump (can't find it at present).


The thing is this, the raffle tickets are offered at £2 each, but they're sold in multiples of five. Therefore you have to pay at least £10 if you want a single ticket. Therefore the tickets are NOT £2 each but are £10 for a handful, and that's not the same thing.


Sharp practice? Sounds like it. But let's just call it shrewd marketing. We have mentioned this to the NMM (a year or three ago) and they pretty much shrugged it off. So we called this morning and spoke to Renee Dos Santos (shop manager) who went quiet for a moment, then said, "I don't know anything about that. I just sell the tickets."


No doubt we've upset a few people with this news item. But people are fragile souls these days, and they shatter easily (and we won't let that stand in the way of a fair news story). Nevertheless, there's a relatively small issue here that's worthy of a passing mention.


So if you're reading this James (Hewing), NMM director (image immediately above), maybe you'd once again like to reconsider the marketing of these tickets. The tickets are only £2 each if you can buy them each.


Of course, a ten quid ticket, or 5 two quid tickets with a chance to win a Triumph Speedmaster is pretty good. We might even buy one (or five) ourselves. But we still think it's a little disingenuous to present the prices this way.


What do you say, James?




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Meriden Off Road Tiger Cubs


Story snapshot:

Tiger Cub specialist in the spotlight

Terrier framed sprinter catches our eye


No special reason for this news item, except that we ran across this Cub whilst trawling the web and thought we'd share it. Actually, we first saw it some months ago and meant to take a closer look. But what with one thing and another, etc...


Anyway, we've got a special interest in Triumph Tiger Cubs, but we haven't decided if this is exactly our style. Nevertheless, it looks like there's some quality engineering work going on here, and there are bound to be some Tiger Cub fans who haven't yet discovered this outfit.


So here you are.




We don't know the firm, except through the usual grapevine. The business is run by Chris Davies, was set up in 2012, and operates out of Brierly Hill in the West Midlands. Services include engine/gearbox rebuilds, aluminium welding, cylinder head refurbs, general restorations, parts and paint. And no doubt if you've got a special build in mind, Chris will be happy to talk and see your project is viable.


The Tiger Cub has been out and about challenging sprint records and suchlike. We haven't been following that closely. But if we're in the right place at the right time, we'll throw something together. Good enough?


Telephone: 07955 555112



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Ángel "El Nino" Nieto, noted Spanish motorcycle racer has died aged 70

Two hurt in London-Brighton Rally road accident. 1902 Benz overturned

Brooklands Museum, Military Vehicles Day. 10am - 4pm. 19/11/17



New Moto Morini Milano unveiled. Bialbero Corsa Corta, 1187cc V-twin

Only Fools & Horses Reliant Regal to sell Silverstone Auctions 10-11/11/17


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Andy Tiernan's 2018 calendar


Story snapshot:

Two strokes are the theme this year

The East Anglian Air Ambulance is the benefactor


The theme for Andy Tiernan's latest calendar is two stroke motorcycles. And once again, the artist is Suffolk man Mike Harbar who's produced six eye-catching drawings in pencil and watercolour.


We took a particular fancy to the above 1952 350cc Mk1 EMC (Ehrlich Motor Company) which is why you're now looking at an image of it. The other five bikes are:


1924 499cc Dunelt Model C

1929 500cc Scott Squirrel

1940 342cc S.O.S Magnetic

1925 250cc Levis Model K

1913 269cc The New Comet



As ever, the calendar also carries a potted history of each motorcycle marque, and it makes for interesting reading too. But aside from the obvious benefit of having a calendar on the wall, this one also lists some of the major show dates for 2018—and the sales of the calendar will go towards keeping the East Anglian Air Ambulance in the sky and ready to come to the aid of whoever needs it. It's one hell of a service that's easy to take for granted. So if you can support it, please do.


Just send a cheque payable to "EAST ANGLIAN AIR AMBULANCE". And note that Andy makes nothing out of this calendar, but try not to hold that against him.


UK residents should pay £10 for each calendar. That will also cover second class postage. If you're a European resident, the calendar will cost you £14 (postage included). And if you live elsewhere in the world, it's £15.50 (also with postage included). And one more thing, you can pay via PayPal at: AndyTiernanCalendarDonation@outlook.com. But a cheque is preferable, if you will.


Here's the postal address: Andy Tiernan, The Old Railway Station, Station Rd, Framlingham, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP13 9EE, United Kingdom.




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Standard Ten car


Scrappage scheme classic car poser


Story snapshot:

Innocent classic car avoids the crusher, but gets jailed

Ford Motor Company finally does the right thing


This tale is a simple one, so we'll tell it simply. A 1959 Standard Ten saloon that was headed for the crusher courtesy of the Ford Motor Company has been granted a reprieve.


A guy in the north of Scotland was looking to buy a new Ford Transit van. To qualify for a hefty discount under the UK government's scrappage scheme, he needed to put something in the pot. In this instance it happened to be a 1959 Standard Ten saloon that, as we understand it, was both roadworthy and carried a current MOT.


Different manufacturers set different requirements for suitable crusher candidates. Supposedly, the owner of a given vehicle is required to have had it in his/her possession for a minimum period (60 days or 90 days or similar). And supposedly the vehicle in question should be Euro 1- 4 emission rated.


Euro 1 was introduced in 1992. Euro 4 was introduced in 2005 and came into effect the following year.


Practical Classics magazineHowever, this Scottish guy offered his (non-Euro emissions rated) Standard Ten as part-exchange, and Ford said okay, so end of story. Except that classic car groups, backed by Practical Classics magazine got wind of it and were deeply troubled by the notion of an otherwise decent little classic family runabout going to recycling, especially as the Standard Ten is getting a little thin on the ground (but not exactly endangered).


The Ford Motor Company initially refused to relent and insisted that the car must be destroyed. That's the scrappage principle, after all. One in. One out. But the negative publicity, if not a sudden flush of common sense, changed the firm's corporate mind. So an agreement was thrashed out with the other interested parties whereby the Standard won't be crushed, but will not be allowed back on the road either.


Consequently, the "Ten" will most likely be headed to a museum or used in some other strictly off-road capacity (promotional vehicle or wall art or trendy office desk or whatever).


Danny Hopkins, editor of Practical Classics, reckons that something fundamental needs adjusting here. There is, he argues, a difference between some old banger headed for recycling, and a viable classic car effectively being "vandalised".


And we broadly share his view. Trouble is, where exactly should the "historic" axe fall? And if, as in this case, vehicles are to be saved only due to special intervention/negotiation, how long is that vehicle supposed to remain off-road in a museum? One year? Ten years? One hundred? And what's the point of saving a classic car only to stick it in mothballs?


Standard Ten


The 948cc, 63mm x 76mm, 4-cylinder Standard Ten was built between 1954 and 1960. With just 33bhp, a single Solex carb and pushrod operated valves, the car struggled to reach 69mph. But these were well-built machines priced at £580. 172,500 were manufactured in the UK, Australia and India. The Standard Motor Company was founded in Coventry in 1903.



Plenty of other perfectly viable (and even desirable) classics have already been crushed under the scrappage scheme first introduced in the UK in 2009. The stories/fables come up in the press every once in a while—and it's hard to blame the sellers who are naturally trying to get maximum return for whatever investment they've made in their classic vehicle. And the Ford Motor Company wants to turn a profit too. You have to be realistic.


So on a more personal level, if you owned an old jalopy/heap/rust bucket, and if one of the big car manufacturers was willing to apply, say, a £7,000 discount toward a new two-litre whatever, would you sell? And note that some manufacturers are offering anything up to seven grand "on selected models".


Ford certainly was.


So far, there's no scrappage scheme for motorcycles, and we can't see one on the horizon. The government, of course, gets a hefty tax bonus on sales of new cars, and the government could also get a tax bonus on new bike sales. But the will doesn't appear to be there at present—and no doubt there are many other factors at work and at play.


Meanwhile, a nice little Standard Ten saloon has been saved for posterity and placed on a pedestal of some kind until the scrappage scheme gets the overhaul it evidently urgently needs.




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The UK government would be happy to have all motorcycles off the road. There's never going to be a scrappage scheme for two-wheelers. It's probably only Triumph's manufacturing clout that stops the legislators from freezing out motorcycles completely. —Dave Hillerman

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Norton launches the California


Story snapshot:

New bike to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Commando

Limited edition run of 50, and then maybe a few more...


You might have thought Norton could have come up with a more original and more evocative name than "California"—not that we've got anything against that great American state. It's just that Moto Guzzi has already been there and done it, and we would have preferred something more ... well, British.


And that's not simply down to rampant patriotism. Instead, it's because this new bike is intended (on accountancy notepaper at least) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Commando. Consequently, we wouldn't have minded if the new addition to the Norton range was called, say, the "Britannia". Or the "Buckingham".


▲ Was this the blueprint for the new Norton California? Bonhams sold this 1972 Norton Hi-Rider "factory chopper" in 2011 for £5,792. Prices have since climbed a little, but not hugely.



Or, given the high 'bars and the banana yellow livery, Norton might have called it "The Hi-Rider" as some kind of twisted homage to a broadly similar, and very unsuccessful, choppersque bike introduced in 1971 by an earlier incarnation of the company.


Better still, Norton currently has a distributor in California; a dealership that operates out of a city called Westminster in Orange County. And "Westminster", you'll probably agree, has a certain English ring to it. But instead, the bike is called the "California" (possibly because that's currently where the Norton money is), and that's probably the end of that.




Here's what Stuart Garner's Norton has to say about the new California motorcycle (and note the "easy riding" reference and the klunky grammar/syntax/punctuation, etc):


"Norton launch the new Norton Commando 961 California. "The easy riding roadster." A classic hand built English roadster has heart, passion and a soul. The California oozes all of these qualities and more; timeless style, classic looks with the best of current performance components in ABS Brembo brakes, Ohlins suspension and that fabulous hand made Norton chassis. The California is available immediately, Norton will announce a very special offer this week around the 50th Anniversary of the Commando.


Norton, we understand, is planning a numbered limited edition run of the California, and then the bike will be available as an off-the-peg production model, also called the California. Given the rising number of millionaires and billionaires in China, India and Russia we're expecting at any day the Norton Hunan, the Norton Bengal, and maybe the Norton Siberia. You can laugh, but think how ridiculous the name "Triumph Bonneville" sounded the first time you heard it.




We don't have a confirmed price yet for the California. But you can pick up a new 961 Commando for somewhere between £15,500 and £16,500.


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Scooter gangs face new response


Story snapshot:

Four new police F700 BMW motorcycles are on the prowl

Stingers and DNA sprays are to be deployed


The London Metropolitan Police is "fighting back" against the scooter gangs that have been terrorising the capital over the past few years. Increasingly brazen, the mobile robbers have been linked to around 16,000 crimes including bag-snatching, mobile phone & laptop theft, muggings, shop-lifting, burglaries and even murder. Closer to home, thousands of scooters and motorcycles have been bike-jacked and broken for parts.


As if it could be much worse, the robbers have been assaulting bike-jacking victims with powerful acids causing life-changing injuries and disfigurement.


So much for the history lesson.


Well now, in an overdue effort to combat the problem the coppers have re-equipped themselves with a quartet of F700 BMW motorcycles, plus stingers, plus DNA spray, plus a game plan designed to run the villains to ground.


Villains? That word almost dignifies the antics of these lowlifes who have been using wildly disproportionate force to relieve everyday people of relatively small sums of money. But seeing as this is a family publication, we're toning down our language.


Knocked-off mobile phones are routinely sold for less than £100, and often for just a tenth of that. Ditto for laptops. And even the theft of a complete scooter or motorcycle often realises just a few hundred quid on the black market. Not much for reward for the damage done.



▲ Cressida Dick, the 57-year old Commissioner of the Met Police, earns £230,000 a year following a "self imposed" £40,000 pay cut. We're getting a little teary-eyed over that. Now who says crime doesn't pay?



Cressida Dick, head of the Met reckons that bobbies on bikes is the answer to the problem, and here at Sump we can see that having a fast, determined, well-organised and suitably equipped reaction force could make some difference on the street. That said, there are 32 London boroughs, so divide that number by four motorcycles and you can see that the blue line is going to be stretched a little thin.


Meanwhile, the real problem regarding scooter and motorcycle theft is simply the fact that they can be stolen. The motorcycle industry simply isn't taking the problem anywhere near seriously enough, and motorcycle pressure groups and well intentioned motorcycle demonstrators are still aiming at the wrong target.


As we've suggested before on Sump, this is largely a technical issue. As soon as the bikes can't be stolen (via gearbox locks or instant brake locks or new thinking on steering locks, etc) the bikes won't be stolen—at least not in the huge numbers that the biking world is currently facing. And as soon as serious tracking devices are installed (complete with delayed activation and ignition shutdowns) the rozzers will be better able to run the thieves to ground.



We know that the Met Police has budgetary problems, but it might still be worth reminding the force that...



... Triumph also makes motorcycles.


But naturally, an increased police presence on the street can only help deal with related scooter crime, so we're grateful for that. However, chasing robbers after the fact is no substitute for combating the problem before the fact. And if you've just been doused with sulphuric acid and find yourself in the back of an ambulance on your way to the hospital, it will probably be little comfort to hear that the cops chased the villains for an exciting 15 miles around London before collaring them in an alleyway.



Interestingly, Commissioner Cressida Dick has also invited the general public to "channel their outrage" and "mobilise" against the scooter gangs, which sounds suspiciously like a clarion call for vigilantes—but is probably just a poorly conceived and offhand remark.


That said, if you manage to grab one of the thieves and happen to beat him (or her) within an inch of their life, and if the police nick you for it (which is a distinct possibility), you might want to try the Cressida Dick defence when you have your day in court.


Might work.


See also:

London scooter acid attack solution?

Acid attack? What should you do?

Amber Rudd to restrict acid sales


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Heard the expression an eye for an eye? That's how they do it in the third world, isn't it? Maybe if these b******* got what they dish out it would put an end to this nasty crime. —K.T from Doncaster

Bike manufacturers haven't done enough to make bikes thief proof. I remember many years ago when cars were simple to nick. Usually you needed a screwdriver or a bunch of old keys. Then the manufacturers finally did something to tackle the problem. Today, cars are much harder to steal, but more needs to be done. Bikes security would also get sorted double quick if bikers just stopped buying for a few months. It just needs the will of the group.  Alan Beckwith, Triumph Explorer/Yamaha XJ600 Diversion

Car crime is around 80% down over the last 20 years. That's government figures, so go figure. —Mr Jakeson


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Keanu Reeves' Arch Motorcycles to launch 3 bikes at EICMA Nov 2017

12 bikes nicked from BVM Moto, Stroud. No CCTV. No alarm. No brainer

Brad Pitt's Bonnie to be sold by Coys at London Motorcycle Show, 17/2/18


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