It was just a few weeks ago that we discovered, or rediscovered, Mark Murphy. His was a sound that for years had been on the periphery of our ears, fading in and fading out without making much of an impact, the kind of rare voice you never quite track down because it's always playing on someone else's radio, or is in the background in a movie or TV show. And now he's gone and died on us before we could send him some fan mail.
If you're not a jazzaholic, Murphy probably won't mean much to you. But some of you will know and appreciate him. Born in New York State, he built a reputation as a cool, soulful and ultra-smooth vocal improviser knocking out not only the old standards, but a few left-field tracks to keep it edgy. If you supplied the tune, Murphy would spontaneously produce improvised lyrics and random vocal pops and burrs, magically turning something merely great into something wonderful.
If you were Rockering around in the 1960s, you might have caught sight of Murphy on the box or suchlike. He came to London during the early part of that era and stayed a while picking up occasional acting roles, but music was his real passion and he presently hopped a flight back Stateside and found happiness on both American coasts by recording everything from swing to bebop to blues to bossa nova, with the usual classic crooning underpinning.
But he was largely a jazzman's jazzman, meaning that other professionals looked up to him in something approaching awe, while the wider general public mostly turned a deaf ear.
He recorded his first album in 1956 (Meet Mark Murphy, Decca), and his last in 2013 (A Beautiful Friendship: Remembering Shirley Horn, Gearbox Records). If you like George Fame, you'll love Mark Murphy. If you like Nat King Cole, you'll love Mark Murphy. There's a touch of Sammy Davis Junior too, plus any number of influences. Murphy kept his ear close to the beat and brought it all home in his inimitable way. He did the odd Beatles cover too.
If you want to hear some of his stuff, we suggest you listen to Speak Low and take it from there. And if you hate this music (and what's to hate?), just stand clear, if you will. You're blocking the noise.
But if you like a spot of vocal jazz, and if ever you need some serious ear therapy, you might give this guy a try. Murphy spent his final years in a New Jersey rest home for actors. He was 83 years old, and still in voice.
We'll be looking very closely at this guy's back catalogue. Itain't over until the jazzman sings, huh?
If you're headed for the Classic Motorbike Show at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) on the 13th - 15th November 2015, you might want to check out Comet Classic Motorcycles' stand.
Why? Because this year, Comet is sponsoring the Pride of Ownership Competition in which 25 to 30 motorcycles/scooters will be hoping to walk off with the top prize. [More...]
Okay, we're not making any apologies for this story, but we ain't gonna ignore it, and we're not going to bang on about it either.
Most people give financial aid to others as and when they can, and these things ought to be private and personal. So pay attention or move on as you see fit.
The character in the image (right) is Owen Picker. He's not a biker, and never was. He's just a sixteen year old guy who suffers from quadriplegic cerebral palsy and, we hear, has pretty much lost all independent mobility. Also, he's said to be more or less in constant pain.
Anyway, the upshot is that he needs around £32,000 for a high tech stand-up F5 Corpus VS wheelchair gadget, which includes £24,000 for the chair, and the balance for insurance and extra warranty.
If you're anything like us, you mistrust most of these campaigns. And we've got no special insight into, or connection with this one. But we're gonna stick a tenner into this guy's wheelchair-gadget fund, and then we're gonna forget about it and move on. You can do as you see fit.
Some might argue that being motorcyclists, we've got a special connection with personal mobility, etc. Except that mobility is important for everyone.
The campaign is called STAND UP FOR OWEN. So stand up or sit down. We'll try not to run anything else like this any time soon.
STAND UP FOR OWEN
— Big End
We've featured these guys before on Sump (see this amazing Ducati Typhoon). The firm is based in Diss, Suffolk, and has sent us details of its Victory custom low rider—and because the bike is still smoking hot, we're throwing it over to you guys.
There's some clever and very discreet work on this machine. So take a little time out, if you will, and see what gives.
Lastly, you can get up (fairly) close and personal with this bike at Motorcycle Live 2015 at the NEC in November. It'll be there somewhere on its own plinth.
Old Empire Motorcycles Gladiator
Is it possible that auction maestros, Bonhams, has now sold more Brough Superiors than George Brough himself? At times, it certainly seems possible. In fact, there are moments when the names "Bonhams" and "Brough Superior" are almost synonymous.
Take the Stafford Sale on the 17th and 18th October 2015. Bonhams (never short of a Brough or two) had no less than four Superiors on the block; one of them complete and running, and three projects. The cheapest of the trio was Lot 191 (image immediately above). This 1937 Matchless-engined SS100, which was first displayed at the 1936 London Olympia Show, was sold for £208,700. [More...]
Need a thick, truculent, irritating, loudmouthed Welshman for your drama or situation comedy? No problemo. Just call Central Casting (or whatever the British equivalent is) and ask for Richard Davies. Except that Richard Davies has died and won't be taking on any more roles this side of eternity.
During his life, it can be argued that Davies did the Welsh no favours whatsoever by reinforcing a classic (and not very pleasant) Celtic stereotype. But this is comedy and drama, remember? And when it comes to thick and unpleasant Brits, the Welsh are by no means over-represented (and appear to punch above their weight in the acting and music professions).
And besides, ya gotta eat.
Davies was born in Merthyr Tydfil in Glamorgan, Wales. He was the son of a railwayman and did a tour of dirty duty down the coal pits before switching to drama and joining a repertory company in London. Then war came (WW2) and he spent some time in the Burma Military Police. However, his acting talents didn't go unnoticed, and he was called up by the Combined Services Entertainment Unit where he trod the boards until hostilities ceased.
Post war, Davies returned to repertory. In 1955 he appeared with Michael Redgrave, Sheila Sim and Denholm Elliott in The Night my Number Came Up. In 1964, he took a role in Zulu and appeared alongside Michael Caine and Stanley Baker.
By then, television had discovered him, and vice versa, and Davies took roles in productions such as Z-Cars and Coronation Street. But the part for which he will perhaps be best remembered (by members of the Sump generation) is that of Mr Price, the science teacher in the popular (but terminally lame) TV comedy series, Please Sir first aired in 1968.
He later appeared in The Fenn Street Gang (a Please Sir spin-off); Oh no, it's Selwyn Froggitt, and Fawlty Towers. And if you check his CV, you'll find mentions of Dr Who; The Sweeney; One Foot in the Grave; Van der Valk; Whoops Apocalypse; and Oh! What a Lovely War.
In short, Davies was always out there somewhere, doing his bit for comedy and drama, but not necessarily meeting the approval of his fellow Welshmen. If you remember Davies at all, it will probably be as a passing character actor who achieved no great heights, but was nevertheless loosely keeping us entertained by being the butt end of someone else's joke or abuse (which is often the same thing). And because he did it so effortlessly, it's all too easy to overlook the fact that he was a good actor, albeit one who rarely enjoyed a great part or was given memorable lines.
Richard Davies is survived by his second wife, two sons and a daughter.
Gear Gremlin ought not to call this thing a "fleece". Why not? Because the word "fleece" also has negative connotations. For instance:
obtain a great deal of money from (someone), typically by overcharging or swindling them.
Therefore, Gear Gremlin ought to instead call this thing a "muff". That's a nice word, and a word that most of us are familiar with. Hence the expression, "I'm looking for a nice muff." Or, "Hey, anyone know where I can get a nice muff around here?"
But instead, Gear Gremlin prefer to call this a "fleece", which is their business (and might not be helping sales). That aside, we recently received a couple of these things in the mail, and we've been trying them out (in bed, in the bath, on the phone and even on the bike).
The first thing you notice is that you need a neck like a giraffe to wear one of these fully extended twixt shoulders and chin. They're about two feet long, so you have to bunch 'em up to ensure that they fill the gap around your collar. Cunning stuff, huh?
Also, they ain't manufactured from one long tube of fabric. No, there are two types of fabric in the tube; one type is kind of fleecy (with a seam down the back or front or side or whatever), and the other bit is kind of ... well, not fleecy. This second type of fabric is the usual high-tech, polyester, stretchy, wicking material that enables you to wear this pretty much anyway you want and sweat like a pig and stay dry. Or dryish.
Tip: we cut one of ours in half and used it as a neck thingy and a bandana.
The fleecy fabric ain't exactly high class looking. It feels like the same kind of stuff they use to make baby romper suits (not that we'd know about that from recent personal experience, you understand). That fabric is however very warm, and you'll be glad of it unless or until is starts raining heavily. And even then, it's probably a fairly efficient gasket.
Beyond that, it's hard to say much else about these things except that they ain't very sexy and they do what they're supposed to do, which is keep out the draughts. Also, you can wear 'em as a beanie (or a face mask or a balaclava if you're thinking of holding up a post office).
The price is £13.99 which sounds a bit fleecy, but it's about on par with similar items on the market (but there's got to be about two quid's worth of cardboard packaging with every item, which isn't exactly "green").
Our advice? Buy one. Stick it in your pocket. Remember it when you need it. And be creative. In this life, you just can't have enough muffs. Are we right?
The Key Collection on: 0117 971 9200
— The Third Man
Did Yamaha ever make a resonator guitar? We don't know. Never seen one, anyway (and that's an Ibanez below, which cunningly sounds Spanish, but was founded in 1957 in Nagoya, Japan).
Dobro and National are the firms mostly closely associated with resonators. These curious instruments were introduced way back in the 1920s and were designed to make a louder orchestral racket than a standard acoustic (but were later enjoyed simply for their distinct clanging-rattling sound). [More...]
...but it's nothing to get excited about. We've simply got a few techy things to do around here to improve functionality and bring us out of the digital stone age into the digital bronze age. Something like that, anyway.
It's another example of how, just when you thought you had the universe by the throat, you suddenly realise that you were clutching only air and need to get a new grip.
What it means for you is that phantom pages could pop up and dissolve. Or bits and bobs might start moving left and right, or up and down, and images might unexpectedly lose resolution or expand. Also, it's just possible that your computer will explode and kill ya, so if you see anything glowing red, duck.
And if you're using a mobile phone, things might get even weirder. That's because we're developing a parallel and more mobile friendly site (which is a paradox because we hate the bloody things).
If you're a mobile man, or woman, you can follow the link below and check out what we're doing. But don't expect too much just yet (and it might not look right on a PC or Mac). And if you care to give us some feedback on problematic functionality, Allah will think kindly of you, etc.
Anyway, stay with us, keep nosing around Sump, and no flipping channels. Normal service will be resumed as soon as we figure out which bit goes where, and which switch to pull.
We haven't yet shoved our mitts in a pair of these, but we're gonna tell you about them anyway. They're new, they're from Weise (just like it says in the heading above), and they're designed primarily for winter use (but naturally, you can wear 'em all year round, and in all weathers). They're claimed to be top-of-the-range quality, and the price is £49.99—which, we understand, is "affordable".
Of course, we know of some guys and gals who can't afford to breathe anymore and have a very different idea about what is affordable and what's not, but let's not go there at the moment. It's complicated stuff.
These gloves have a 40-gram Thinsulate™ thermal layer with a "waterproof, wind-proof and breathable" inner liner (so at least the gloves can afford to breathe, huh?) [That ain't funny—Ed].
But don't go away yet because there's more. These Lima gloves are manufactured from (a) full-grain leather and (b) some kind of up-to-the-minute textile. The knuckles are armoured. And there's double-layer leather sewn in at key areas.
To keep these gloves hugging your delicate fingers, there are stretch panels here and there, and there's some NASA Velcro® stuff and an elasticated cuff section to keep the breeze at bay and ensure they don't fly off if and when you crack the ton. Finally, there's some reflective piping on the periphery intended to help ensure those all-important hand signals stand out at night.
In a more serious tone, these actually look pretty good and, if it's important to you, probably won't look too out of place on your later classic bikes (80s and 90s stuff, etc). But most of you Sumpsters are also riding modern motorcycles (which are featuring more and more on Sump), so you could be in the market for these.
Weise Lima gloves come in sizes S to 3XL, and in case you missed the price, it's £49.99 including VAT. Call 0117 9719200 for more info.
— Del Monte
On 28th October 2015, it looks like Triumph Motorcycles will be officially unveiling the new and much awaited 2016 Bonneville. The firm has posted a 30-second piece of "footage" on its Official YouTube Channel showing flashing images of (new?) motorcycle components, plus various graphics and snapshots of older Meriden bikes in the Bonneville range. The music is big and overblown (and all that kind of cinematic Captain America meets Jurassic Park noisy boomy stuff). And the video poses the questions: "What is real character?" and "What does it mean to be original?"
Heavy trippy hippy stuff, huh? Our minds, dude, were totally blown, ya? Meanwhile, we're told by Triumph that "Something big is coming".
Well let's hope it ain't the price.
There are no clear images showing the new bike in its entirety, and speculation is rife that the new Bonnie will be liquid-cooled and offered in various guises including a cafe racer and a bobber.
Certainly all kinds of capacity claims have been mooted, but we ain't repeating them because the simple truth is that no one really knows for sure, except perhaps those most intimately associated with Triumph.
The only thing we are expecting (and there's no certainty about this either) is that the new machine will be more visually faithful to the original Meriden-era bikes. Beyond that, you'll have to take a peek at the YouTube video and make up your own mind.
Tip: Don't watch it if you suffer from epilepsy.
Official Triumph YouTube channel
— Girl Happy
A Sumpster from Australia has contacted us with details of a Hayward belt drive failure that was pretty much identical to ours. We know and like Tony Hayward, and he's worked hard at developing his products—and he believes in them. Nevertheless, this needs closer examination. If you're thinking of buying a T140 belt drive system (from any manufacturer), first check our CLASSIC BIKE WORKSHOP page.
Tony Hayward: 01244 830776
— Del Monte
We know we're going to be in the minority here with our immediate reaction to this Dan Dare gadget (see further down this story). But that's okay. It gives us a lot more space, and in this increasingly crowded universe, you can never get enough of that. Es correcto?
This news story is about the second generation Bike HUD system. It's been launched by what sounds like a go-getting British firm, and apparently they've spent a lot of money developing this (£260,000 for HUD 1, and £200,000 for HUD 2), so they'd very much like to capitalise and get their hands on your dosh.
HUD, in case you're not hip to the latest techy groovy awesome buzz words, stands for "head-up-display". It's the optical thingamajig that fighter pilots use so they can conveniently and efficiently shoot down enemy aircraft and drop ordnance on ... well, on whoever's definitely not flavour of the month and needs to be murdered from a high altitude.
Commercial aviation pilots use the HUD system too. And so do lots of other professionals (and amateurs) who need (or think they need) up-to-the-nanosecond information projected immediately in front of their eyeballs. Or even onto their eyeballs.
Bikesystems is the British firm in question. It's run by a guy named Dave Vout. The company is based at Stoke-on-Trent, one-time centre of the British pottery industry. What makes this system so appealing and potentially very profitable is the fact that it can be retrofitted into most crash helmets (as opposed to the Skully project which is crafted into a purpose-built lid).
▲ Useful intelligence? Or just more information for information's sake? This 2nd gen Bike HUD device ensures that you get no distractions on the road (except for the device itself). The readout shows gear, time, engine revs and speed. How did we manage without these?
We haven't quite got the heads-up on this system and we haven't tried it. So our reaction has to be considered in that context. But it certainly looks a lot more complicated than a tin opener. Seems you have to hardwire it into your brain bucket and attach wires and sensors and stuff onto your bike's speedometer and centre stand and gearbox and indicators and ignition and whatnot.
Then you ride along on your bike looking like Robocop, and the little gizmo sitting right in your field of view relays all kinds of information that most of us obtain via traditional means. Ultimately, the best that appears to be said of this system is that you can check your speed without taking your eyes of the road for a millisecond.
We've never had much trouble glancing at the speedo or altimeter, or checking whether the undercarriage is up. And we generally know what gear we're in because ... because we just know. In any case, it doesn't seem to matter which gear we're in as long as we're in the appropriate gear for the engine revs and the road conditions, etc. And although the device is supposed to give you a readout in your peripheral vision, we prefer to reserve our peripheral vision for monitoring errant traffic and stray dogs and girls bending over to pick up whatever they'd dropped.
Anyway, this HUD 2 device is out there on the market priced at around £350, and we hope Bikesystems sells one to every man, woman and child in China, India, Germany, Russia and wherever, and in doing so brings the money back home to Blighty.
But here at Sump, we probably won't be buying. When we're on a motorcycle, it's the techy, digital, instant-information-at-any-price demands of the modern world that we're riding away from (and we're generally not going fast enough to trigger a speed camera, anyway). But we're strange like that.
It's been coming for a long while, and now it's happened. Officially. Tenneco, the giant US parent company of Marzocchi, has confirmed the closure of the Bologna, Italy workshops with the loss of 127 jobs. Since the beginning of 2015 the stories have been flying around, specifically that Marzocchi was looking for a buyer. There was in fact an announcement to that effect in July this year, but over the last few months it was hoped that salvation would come from somewhere. But hope has now been all but lost.
And here is the news, Gordon Honeycombe, writer, actor, playwright and historian has died aged 79. But Ronald Gordon Honeycombe, to give him his full name, was most famous to a generation of Brits as "that baldy bloke who reads the news".
At least, that's how we referred to him. We were just kids then, and baldness was akin to a social disease, and naturally we wondered if it was contagious. What made it "worse" was the fact that Honeycombe was so often paired with the likes of Reginald Bosanquet, Alastair Burnet and Sandy Gall, all of whom were follicly well-endowed. Bosanquet died in 1984. Burnet died in 2012. But Sandy Gall is still around.
Gordon Honeycombe came from an era when newsreaders could handle more than a dozen words printed on a teleprompter and didn't need to bat stories back and forth with their co-presenter; an era when newsreaders had stature and respect; an era when "breaking news" meant something other than a crude, transparent and sensationalistic ploy intended to persuade us to stay awake for another excruciating minute.
He began his working career as an actor, but he jumped ship (as it were) when a newsreading job presented itself. He had no experience, but he was eager and willing, and he had a voice that was easy on the ear, and a smile that was easy on the eye. His starting wage was £25 per week.
Sometimes, as we yawned through the news, his head shone, and we watched it with grim fascination. And there's no doubt that the make-up girls (or boys) were constantly waiting in the wings to dab on a little powder as and when the studio lights did their worst.
If you remember him, you would have seen him on the box between 1965 and 1977. He was working at the time for ITN and had a political falling out with the bosses following his support for the national firemen's strike. He left and became a full-time novelist and a crime historian, but later returned to the TV screen for TV-am. That was in 1984. He stayed for five years, just as bald, just as tall and lean, and looked thoroughly out of place. The world had moved on "since his day" and a new kind of trivial, unsubstantial, airhead mindset had got a grip. He was in any case tired of the British weather and was seeking a fresh start, so Honeycombe emigrated to Australia where he stayed until the end.
He was born, incidentally, in what is now Pakistan. He went to Oxford, did a stint of National Service in the Royal Artillery (mostly in Hong Kong), and was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company.
If you see his name on the cover of a book, and if you're the bookish type, pick up a copy and have a browse. He was a well respected writer, and his output will no doubt be on the shelves for many years to come.
In 1993 Gordon Honeycombe became a permanent Australian resident and reported the satisfying news that he was happy with his lot and perfectly settled in Perth. He never married.
Can you catch baldness from watching bald TV newsreaders? Seems that a lot of us did.
Far be it from us to call the Northumbria Police a bunch of useless, lying, backsliding, time-wasting idiots. And we wouldn't dream of calling the British Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) a bunch of malicious halfwits, but the recent news report regarding a speeding charge levelled at a certain Mr Neil Herron has given us a new crisis of faith.
It seems that Sunderland-based Herron was nabbed by a LTI20.20 Ultralyte 100 Home Office approved laser gun after allegedly travelling at 40mph through a 30mph limit. This was in January 2014.
However, the vehicle Herron was driving just happened to be fitted with a telematics gadget that recorded his true speed and location along with other aspects of his driving behaviour (just as it's designed to do).
Not wanting a fine and points on his licence, Herron resolved to challenge the charge and, 18 months later, had the dubious pleasure of bringing his evidence to court. Faced with this defensive reaction, the CPS promptly dropped the case, whilst the Northumberland Police failed to respond to numerous requests for more information on their radar equipment, specifically the calibration records and maintenance logs, etc. So Herron was acquitted.
It's thought to be the first time that a speeding charge has been challenged and defeated by on-board telematics equipment, but we're certain it won't be the last. Increasingly it seems, the police and the CPS (and local councils) are happy (or, at least, prepared) to bully road users into court armed with either no evidence (at best), or flimsy evidence (at worst), and often fully mindful of the dodginess of their own equipment and/or procedures.
Fact is, much of the speeding equipment used in the UK is woefully inaccurate leading to bogus charges, expensive defence cases, and a whole lot of grief and time-wasting.
Meanwhile, it's quite common for the CPS to present charges without the slightest intention of pursuing the case if and when it's challenged. In fact, this kind of legal opportunism has become the rule rather than the exception. So maybe it's time to start making CPS staff more personally accountable for their actions or negligence (rather than hide behind official procedures), and time to compel the police to actually attend court to follow up their charges.
Would that actually work? We don't know. We're just little people. But throwing out random, casual or unsupportable charges in the hope that some of them will stick, or that road users will simply pay up and accept the points, simply isn't acceptable.
The moral? If the coppers are armed, you need to arm yourself in response. And telematic systems and on-board cameras are the way to do it. Just keep in mind that dogs occasionally bite their masters.
Mind how you go.
UPDATE: We don't actually know what vehicle Mr Herron was driving. We used the Range Rover in our graphic for purely illustrative purposes.
We don't know which type of satellite was used, either.
— Sam 7
Generally, we don't share the emails we receive from Sump visitors (usually about their bikes). Such emails are usually private, and we want to respect that. But this email was a little different. It sounded like it deserved a few more ears than ours. And we've lately been getting a fair amount of mail asking for T140 advice. So if you ride a Triumph T140 or aspire to owning one, make of this what you will... [More...]
Confession time, everyone, so duck. The truth is, until the press-
release from Mortons Media Group (www.classicbikeshows) dropped in our inbox, we'd never heard of Pete Thorne. Maybe we're spending too much time in the garage. Or maybe it's just fate or something.
But apparently, Thorne is a pretty well known minor celeb and is widely recognised by people who (a) own a working TV set and (b) watch The Motorbike Show. Anyway, it seems that he'll be hosting a Restoration Theatre on the 17th & 18th October 2015 at the annual Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show (to use the full title).
We've never been to a Restoration Theatre, but as long as they sing a few songs and have a decent intermission for a spell at the bar, it sounds like more fun than a party political broadcast. But let's not be nasty. The odds are that Thorne is a decent bloke who knows his stuff, and it's never too late to learn, is it? [Actually, when you're on your death bed, it probably is a little too late - Ed]
John McGuinness, road racing "superstar" will be guest of honour, and Bonhams will be offering around 230 motorcycles for sale. You can buy advance tickets right now. A one-day adult pass will set you back £11 (or "just" £11 to use the full title). Discounts for senior and junior citizens apply.
— Big End
That's a 1956 BMW Rennsport RS500 Type 256 immediately above. The bike (Lot 54) will be auctioned on Tuesday 13th October 2015 at H&H's Duxford Sale, and they're anticipating around £160,000 - £180,000.
We're advised that just six of these motorcycles were built by the factory, specifically by Rupert Bauer using an ex-Siegfried Schauzu factory short-stroke five-speed engine. Noted racer Walter Zellor finished 2nd in the 1956 500cc World Championship astride one of these bikes. The present owner has had his mitts on the Beemer for the past 40 years, and it's time to move it along. This BMW, by the way, is carrying the highest estimate of any machine in the sale.
The next contender is this (immediately above) 1938 DKW SS250 racing split-single (Lot 36). We've seen it before, and in recent history. Look back at Sump April 2014 and you can read about H&H's hopes of flogging this machine. But in the event, no one was interested enough and it didn't sell.
We're talking of course about the current model Indian Scout as manufactured by Polaris Industries which, in 2011, bought the Indian Motorcycles name and rights.
Australian firm Ikon (think: Koni) has developed an upgraded rear shock absorber/damper for the Scout. The units are part of Ikon's 7610 series, and the firm claims a "dramatic improvement".
The Wheatcroft Military Collection at Donington Park, Leicestershire, has acquired an XA Harley-Davidson—or, more accurately, has acquired another XA. Apparently, the museum already has five of these experimental HDs on display, and now it has six.
So what was the XA? Well, the "X" stands for "experimental". And the "A" is for "army". The 23hp, 738cc bike (nominally a 750) was developed during the early part of WW2 following the capture and examination of a sidevalve/flathead BMW R71 (and not a BMW R75 OHV twin as is often stated). The US government was suitably impressed with the sophistication of German motorcycle engineering, particularly the fact that the R71 was equipped with a shaft drive making the bike well-suited to hostile natural environments. In particular, it was noted that the flat-twin layout kept the cylinders significantly cooler than a conventional V-twin, thereby reducing wear, extending the maintenance cycles, and prolonging oil-life. The XA, incidentally, carried a throttle on the left and a clutch lever on the right.
"Every model since 1923". That's the claim on the cover of this new book by established author Ian Falloon. So naturally we checked, and as far as we can tell, it's true. Every model since 1923. Every production model, that is.
Not that we're BMW experts. But we've owned a few, and have lusted after many others. And this book certainly covers all the ground that we're interested in. And more.
Overall, it's impressive stuff. Plenty of images, new and old, black & white and colour. Plenty of technical shots too, and a lot of images we haven't seen before. So okay, the cover is a little uninspiring. It looks like this tome is a directory rather than a heartfelt examination of the marque complete with new insights and interesting/oblique opinions, etc. [More...]
Want to find out more about Sump's telephone policy? Okay, click on the phone graphic on the right, or hit this SUMP TELEPHONE LINK. We want to stay in touch, but it's not always quite as simple as that...