▲ 1919 GCS. Those initials are little known in motorcycle circles, so draw close good people and tune in. GCS stands for George Cyril Stillwell, a company founded in 1912 in Melbourne, Australia. The firm typically based its product around proprietary components. Engines from JAP or MAG or Reading Standard. Burman or Sturmey-Archer gearboxes. BTH magnetos. Druid forks. Chater Lea frames. Etc. This F-head 750cc V-twin is fitted with a MAG engine and runs a Sturmey-Archer 3-speed hand-shift transmission. Final drive is a Brammer blocked V-belt. The front brake is a stirrup. GCS later became Stillwell & Parry. The last production bikes were built in 1923, but we hear that a few individual machines were assembled up to 1926. This example is said to be the only survivor of its type. It was sold by Mecum Auctions in 2019. Bonhams will be offering it on 10th October 2020 at its Barber Museum Sale in Birmingham, Alabama USA. The estimate is $60k - $70k (£47k - £54k). Update: The bike didn't sell.


October 2020  Classic bike news

Motorcycle news | Biking headlines | Latest motor bike stories | Press


Motorcycle news


2021 Triumph Trident on the way

How to write a great motorcycle for sale advert

100 years of Alvis exhibition

Allan Jefferies BMW prize draw offer

Kickback Show: entries sought

Calling all coffin dodgers...

One liners - Vic Eastwood

Coventry-Eagle Flying-8 "tin" sign

Catalytic converter thefts on the rise

Poet's Corner: 1959

One liners

Incoming: nuclear hype from BMW!!

Harrison OK-Supreme to auction

2019 Brighton Speed Trials date

February 2019 Classic Bike News

H&H upcoming auctions reminder

One liners

Peter Halsten Thorkelson: 1942 - 2019

Charterhouse February 2019 results

59 Club May ride-outs to St Paul's

Nippy Normans "handy" airline tool

One liners

New classic car metal garage signs

2019 Kickback Show seeks sponsors

Bauer print sales take another dive

Australian cops speed camera poser

One liners

Henry Cole wants your shed

London Classic Car Show 2019

Christopher Chope's FGM backlash

Albert Finney: 1936 - 2019

International Motobécane gathering

One liners

Charterhouse Auctions reminder

Bud Ekins' Husqvarna MX360 Viking

2019 Bristol Classic Show postponed


Henry Cole's Motorbike Show returns

Oxford Bradwell wax cotton jacket

Norton Commando Winter Raffle

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 details

80 years of AMC with Colin Seeley

One liners

A blue plaque for Rex McCandless

"Barn find" RE Constellation to sell

Kawasaki Zed series restoration manual

Bonhams Stafford Sale hits £3 million

Weise®  Boston Jeans tried & tested

One liners

Star attractions at Barber Sale

Andy Tiernan 2019 charity calendar

Zhongneng buys Moto Morini

Bonhams Autumn Stafford preview

Charles Geoffrey Hayes: 1942 - 2018

Mark Wilsmore's bikes to auction

2019 Street Twin & Scrambler boost

Two Wheeled Tuesdays invitation

Bonhams Alexandra Palace Sept Sale

NextBase 312GW dashcam tested

Charles Nicholas Hodges

Suzuki Motorcycles from Veloce

2019 BMW R1250GS & R1250RT
Dudley Sutton: 1933 - 2018 

Oxford Products Kickback Shirt

One liners

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Sport unveiled

Burton Leon Reynolds: 1936 - 2018

Comet Classics Open Day

H&H Auctions seeking consignments

One liners

Motus Motorcycles is bust


June 2018 Classic Bike News

One liners

Trump & Harley-Davidson toe to toe

"Governator's" Harley-Davidson sold

Car Builder Solutions recommended

Dirtquake VII 2018 at Arena Essex
One liners
Mecum Auctions at Monterey 2018
H&H NMM auction shapes up further
Chris Chope gets 'em in a twist
Daniel David Kirwan: 1950 - 2018
Reg Allen Motorcycles is closing
One liners
World Motorcycle Rally 2018
Glynn Edwards: 1931 - 2018
Den Hartogh Museum Sale
Grip-Tite Sockets, tried & tested
Donald Trump's US trade war starts


May 2018 Classic Bike News

The Daily Not News

IOM jaywalker in the hoosegow

Rare Norton Hi-Rider to auction

Clint Walker: 1927 - 2018

Ducati Museum Hailwood exhibition

Tougher protection for cops mooted

One liners

New London-Brighton Run route

April 2018 Classic Bike News

Bonhams Spring Stafford results

Royal Enfield Interceptor NMM raffle

60th International Motor Scooter Rally

New Honda "Monkey Bike" for 2018

Carole Nash's dangerous roads

An Austin Anthology from Veloce

Bonhams Stafford Sale reminder

One Liners

Bradford Dillman: 1930 - 2018

Stolen Vincent Comet & BSA Bantam
Spirit of '59 Triumph Bonnevilles
We've been adrift, but we're back in port

Autonomous Tesla claims a cyclist

Motor insurance premiums fall

March 2018 Classic Bike News

Watsonian's GP700 & Indian Chief

Bonhams Stafford Sale April 2018

One liners

We Ride London new demo date

Dee Atkinson & Harrison March Sale

Bull-it Men's SR6 Cargo trousers

Franklin's Indians: Veloce Reprint

One Liners

Kenneth Arthur Dodd: 1927 - 2018

Carole Nash Google Petition

New Musical Express is out of print

1954 500cc Triumph-Matchless chop

1,800 bike collection to be auctioned

Art Exhibition at Sammy Miller's

2018 Cardiff Classic Motorcycle Show

John Lennon's monkey bike: £57,500

One liners

This day in history

February 2018 Classic Bike News

Foscam Wireless Camera system

Pioneer Run eBook: now £2.99

Oxford Clamp On brake lever clip

One liners

2018 Curtiss Warhawk unveiled

Here's the latest bike scam attempt

George Beale appointed H&H director

Next Kickback Show 7-8th April 2018

"Alley Rat" - 2018 UK BOTK winner

One liners

Defeat the online scammers with Skype

Triumph Hurricane scammer alert

CCM Spitfire-based Bobber for 2018

Cafe Racer Dreams: 8 bikes stolen

Coys' Feb 2018 London Excel Auction

Thieves ransom Triumph Thunderbird

Harley-Davidson recalls 251,000 bikes

"Police biker" banker convicted

Bringsty Grand Prix Revival 2018

Two new Weise wax cotton jackets

Murderous solicitor is still on the books

£7k - £10k Triumph 'X-75 Hurricane'

Retro wireless GPS speedometer

"Anvil Motociclette...

2018 Triumph Speed Triples launched

Royal Enfield Flying Flea stolen

Brühl Twin Turbine Motorcycle Dryer

January 2018 Classic Bike News

Laser Power Bar Extension Wrench

One liners

Harley-Davidson quits Kansas City

Online traffic accident reporting plan

Silverstone Auctions February 2018

12th Annual Dania Beach Show

Black Lightning sells for $929,000

Online motorcycle scammer alert

One liners

AJS Tempest Scrambler for 2018

Charterhouse's February 2018 sale

Can anyone add info on this rider?

HJC FG-70s Aries Yellow helmet

One liners

Peter Wyngarde: 1927 (ish) - 2018

Death Machines of London - Airforce

Lancaster Insurance; reality check

One liners

"Fast" Eddie Clarke: 1950 - 2018

Bonhams' Las Vegas Sale reminder

Ban on credit/bank card charges

December 2017 Classic Bike News

Information on this picture wanted

Levis Motorcycles set for comeback?

One Liners

Oops, we screwed up [again - Ed]

H&H December 2017 sale at the NMM

Immortal Austin Seven from Veloce

Triumph T140V for sale: 237km

Irresponsible journalism from MCN?
Hagon Triumph Bobber mono-shock
Bruce Alan Brown: 1937 - 2017

MCN closes its biker forum

Arm rural UK coppers suggestion

Bought a Sump T-shirt? Check your email...

Falling bike sales, 11 straight months

Triumph Birmingham is set to close

New electric black taxi breaks cover

Semi naked girl straddles an Indian!!

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

Sump news archive



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New call to keep British Summer Time


Story snapshot:

Should the UK keep BST all year round?

And what impact has Covid-19 had, if any, on this question?


We were wondering when this subject would reappear on the political agenda, and it seems that the time has come round again (pun intended). We're talking of course about the annual ritual of turning back the clocks from British Summer Time (BST) to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) every autumn to add an extra hour of daylight in the morning.


British Summer Time first arrived in 1916 (The Summer Time Act). The idea was to put an extra hour of daylight during the summer months for both industrial and recreational purposes, and of course to save energy. During WW2, this daylight saving shift was particularly apposite. In fact, in the war years Britain enjoyed Double British Summer Time (DBST). That is to say GMT +2).


Currently in the UK, British Summer Time (BST) begins on the last Sunday in March each year, and reverts to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) on the last Sunday in October. And each year there are arguments for and against maintaining this arrangement; notably providing extra morning light for school children, and with regard to road safety concerns—not least the safety of bikers.



▲ William Willett (1856 - 1915). A builder and businessman, Willetts wasn't the first to suggest daylight saving time (DST). The notion has been around for centuries. But he was a significant promoter of the idea and published pamphlets and campaigned for change. He died of flu shortly before DST made it into UK law. Take a hint lawmakers...



So what, if anything, has changed this year? The simple answer to that is the Covid-19 emergency. The novel Coronavirus, as most people are aware, spreads far more easily in enclosed environments/space. Consequently encouraging more outdoor activity seems, on the face of it, to be the wiser move. And increased daylight naturally helps facilitate that.


Of course, with a new national Covid-19 lockdown phase on the horizon, this extraneous activity question might be a moot point. Nevertheless, there are serious implications here that warrant a careful approach. And yes, "winding the clocks back" has just occurred in the UK, so that particular horse might have bolted for what's left of 2020.


Except that this is a time of national emergency, and it might yet be possible for the government to introduce emergency measure with regard to the clocks (albeit probably with huge implications for industry, commerce, transport and other activities). Either way, it will hurt someone.



Organisations such as RoSPA, the RAC, the IAM (Institute of Advanced Motorists) are all on the case again and studying the implications of any possible changes, and ostensibly all these groups are in favour of maintaining British Summer Time all year round.


Meanwhile, it seems that the majority of British people (59% according to a YouGov survey) agree; BST is the popular way to go. However, there are probably other surveys that indicate the opposite.


For our part, we've long been of the opinion that BST (GMT +1) is, on balance, the right move forward. Actually, we'd like to see DBST, largely because our lifestyle here at Sump hasn't much regard for mornings and favours the evenings.


But you might see it differently.


So if you're on speaking/email terms with your MP, you might want to take this opportunity of rattling his or her tree and sharing your opinion.


Don't waste time, now. It's always later than you think.


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Fowlers of Bristol 2020 Bonneville Build Off winner


Fowlers win 2020 Bonnie Build-Off


Story snapshot:

9 UK dealers fought it out

Military style Triumph Bonnie custom homage eats the biscuit


Fowlers of Bristol has won the 2020 Bonneville Build-Off Competition with the immediately above entrant entitled VE Commemorative Bike—which wasn't our choice, but looks to be a fairly worthy winner. The paint isn't quite right, for us. And we would have preferred chunkier tyres, a blackout headlight and a stencilled Triumph logo (or similar) on the tank. But that's nitpicking stuff. Basically it just doesn't honk our horn.



There were nine bikes in the comp which was open only to UK-based Triumph motorcycle dealers. Norfolk Triumph's flat tracker inspired and oddly named "Flat Bonnie" took the Design Award (see the bike image immediately below). TV celeb and architect George Clarke presented the prize. Check the colour scheme and the finish, painthounds.



Other awards were for Inspiration Winner; Paint and Custom Winner; and Retail Choice Winner. But all the dealers fielded credible challenges.


You can read more about the competition via the link below—but note that the link might not remain active for ever (it's on Triumph's site). So better check it out sooner rather than later.


There's some great handiwork there.


See: Classic Bike News 2020 Bonneville Build-Off challenge


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2021 Triumph 660cc Trident riding


2021 660cc Triumph Trident launched


Story snapshot:

New Hinckley middleweight is gunning for Yamaha's MT-07

£7,195 is the asking price


Take a good look at the above Hinckley upstart because this is the bike that's going to kick some Yamaha MT-07 ass. That's the plan, anyway. The capacity is 660cc (same as the existing Street Triple). The cylinders number three (naturally). The power is a claimed 81PS (80bhp/60kW) @ 10,250 rpm. The torque is a claimed 64Nm (47lb-ft) @ 6,250rpm. The engine is Euro5 compliant.


And it's all new. The motor, chassis, and cycle parts. Hinckley knows it's got a serious hill to climb if it wants to give the Yammy a whammy, and from where we're sat we think it's got a good chance—subject to that critical price point which is already looking challenged given that the MT-07 can be had for around £6.5k while the Trident is asking £7.1k. Then again, the Triumph badge on the tank carries a little extra gravitas, and we suspect the Triumph build quality will be just that little bit higher. But maybe not.


Nevertheless, the Yamaha is sex-on-a-stick for many riders, and the MT-07 has built up a considerable head of steam. And it's a twin rather than a triple, which means different strokes for different folks.




2021 Triumph 660cc Trident engine



Engine & transmission: Liquid-cooled, 12 valve, DOHC, inline triple
Capacity: 660cc
Bore: 74mm
Stroke: 51.1mm
Compression: 11.95:1
Max power: 81PS (80bhp/60kW) @ 10,250rpm
Max torque: 64Nm @ 6,250rpm
Fuel injection: Multipoint sequential with electronic throttle control
Exhaust: Stainless steel 3-into-1 header system with low single sided stainless steel silencer
Final drive: X-ring chain
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate, slip and assist
Gearbox: 6-speed
Chassis: Tubular steel perimeter frame
Swinging arm: Twin-sided, fabricated steel
Front wheel: Cast aluminium, 17 x 3.5 in
Rear wheel: Cast aluminium, 17 x 5.5 in
Front tyre: 120/70-R17
Rear tyre: 180/55-R17
Front suspension: Showa 41mm inverted separate function fork
Rear suspension: Showa monoshock RSU, with preload adjustment
Front brakes: Nissin 2-piston calipers, 2 x 310mm discs, ABS
Rear brakes: Nissin single-piston caliper, single 255mm disc, ABS
Instruments: Multi-function with colour TFT screen
Width (handlebars): 795mm
Height without mirror: 1,089mm
Seat height: 805mm
Wheelbase: 1,401mm
Rake: 24.6 degrees
Trail: 107.3mm
Dry weight: 189kg (415lbs)
Tank capacity: 14 litres (3.1 gallons)

Colours:  Sapphire Black, Matt Jet Black & Silver Ice, Silver Ice & Diablo Red (note some colours carry extra charges)


2021 Triumph 660cc Trident


Other features include a ride-by-wire throttle and two riding modes (road and rain). And Triumph thinks it's offering a good balance between mid range grunt and top end thrills, but without losing that low down torque.


As ever, Hinckley is offering a range of optional extras, many of which are now de rigeur for bikers; options such as a quickshifter/blipper, a connectivity module, tyre pressure monitors, etc.


Service intervals are a welcome 10,000 miles, and a two year warranty is part of the Triumph promise.


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Joe Ryan barn find classics to sell


Story snapshot:

Legendary Irish bike tuner's collection comes to light

H&H to auction the bikes at the NMM in November


Tommy Robb, Raymond Spence, Ralph Bryans, Cecil Crawford and Sam McClements. If you recognise these names, you might also recognise the connection to near legendary engine tuner Joe Ryan.


Through the 1950s to the 1970s, Joe Ryan prepared machines for some of the great Norton riders of the day who claimed victories at the IOM TT and at the Ulster Grand Prix. Ryan died in 1997 at the age of 84, and (unsurprisingly) as well as being an engine tuner, he was a collector.



Well eight of his treasured motorcycles have recently been unearthed in a straw covered barn in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland having been squirreled away since who knows when.


The Joe Ryan barn-find bikes are:


c1922 Norton Model 9 Brooklands Special 500cc. Est: £8,000 - £10,000.
c1923 Zendher 110cc. Est: £3,000 - £5,000
c1911 Triumph 3-1/2hp TT Roadster. Est: £7,000 - £9,000
c1925 AJS E6 Big Port 350cc. Est: £7,000 - £9,000
1923 Douglas Model TS 2-3/4hp. Est: £5,000 - £7,000
c1913 Triumph 3-1/2hp TT Roadster. Est: £4,000 - £6,000
c1923 Kenilworth 75cc. Est: £3,000 - £5,000
c1935 Rudge 250cc Sports 4-valve. Est: £6,000 - £8,000


That's a fairly eclectic collection. But it's odds on that the bikes are in reasonable to good condition.


As you can see, the estimates range from £3,000 - £10,000 with the bikes being offered for sale by H&H Auctions on 14th November 2020 at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull.



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Bonhams Winter Sale, Bicester


Story snapshot:

Rare Vincent-HRD Python Sports is on the list

It's the rescheduled Autumn Sale, take note


Bonhams is gearing up for its Winter Sale at Bicester, Oxfordshire on 5th - 6th December 2020. Details are pretty scarce at present, and lot numbers are yet to be assigned. But we can tell you that over 50 motorcycles and "motorcycle related cars" from the National Motorcycle Museum (NMM) Reserve Collection will be up for grabs.


Reserve Collection? These are largely duplicate bikes or machines that don't fit comfortably into the museum's lists.


We're still looking through that collection and will be adding to this story as and when appropriate. Meanwhile, we want to draw your attention to the immediately above (and immediately below) 1933 500cc Vincent-HRD Python Sports powered by a Rudge four-valve single engine.


It's a fairly rare machine and is one of just 8 known (complete?) survivors from a batch of 107 produced at Stevenage, Herts between 1932 and 1934. What killed it off was the advent of Phil Irving's 499cc single cylinder Comet and the Meteor, both of which arrived in 1935.


Vincent-HRD had, up until then, been installing Rudge and JAP engines. But there were numerous "issues" relating to both supply of the engines and some issues with the technicalities, and the Rudge and JAP units (for all their prowess on the race tracks) were quickly pensioned off once a home brewed motor was available.



No doubt Bonhams will supply some more details on this particular example; a bike that's carrying an estimate of £20,000 - £25,000—and we note that the firm offered another Python Sports in Las Vegas in January 2017 with an estimate of £76,000 - £96,000. But that didn't sell.


Our guess is that this bike (featured here) will pass its top estimate, but we've no idea where it will go after that. They're just too rare and little known, and they represent one of the quirkier facets of the Vincent marque and history that will no doubt cool some of the anticipated heat, especially in today's more cautious market.


Museum director James Hewing has been quoted as saying;


"We are pleased to be offering enthusiasts and collectors the opportunity to acquire motorcycles from our Reserve Collection, with those that have been restored in our own workshop having a solid silver plaque fitted to them confirming the provenance.

"This year’s events have given us the time to assess our reserve and duplicate inventory, and we can now look forward to reopening having freed up some desperately needed storage space."


The sale will also liberate a lot of much needed cash too for the NMM. And we ought to make it clear that there are other non-museum bikes in the sale. We counted around 109 machines (give or take a couple). And there is some interesting stuff there carrying what looks, in many instance, like pretty low estimate.


Stay tuned, etc...


Below are some of the other lots that caught our eye


▲ 1929 AJS 9hp. £8,000 - £14,000 estimate.


▲ 1921 Douglas 10hp. £10,000 - £15,000 estimate. Well built. Distinct.

▲ 1951 498cc Triumph TRW. £4,000 - £6,000 estimate. These are smooth, gentle and refined sidevalves are capable of 65 - 70mph. But they're best enjoyed at 55mph. Underrated and largely overlooked.

▲ 1975 741cc Triumph T160 Legend. Created by ex-Triumph race shop foreman Les Williams who produced a limited run of these beautiful triples and got them oh so right. It seems that only 60 or thereabouts were hand built by expert hands. Shades of the Heskeths are lurking here. But the Legend came first. £8,000 - £12,000 estimate. Meanwhile, if you'd like one of these with a 750cc Meriden Bonneville engine, search the web for "Triumph Buccaneer"; another very classy limited run re-imagining.

▲ 1910 500cc Favourite. These rare Australian bikes were built by Bill Smith in Petersburg (later renamed Peterborough in response to turn of the century rejection of anything German; 58 other towns also changed their names). The frame and engine are identical to those of the Abingdon King Dick (Kerry Abingdon) motorcycles built in Tyseley, Birmingham. But unlike King Dick, the front fork is Druid. £12,000 - £15,000 estimate. Three time London to Brighton entrant.

▲ 1965 Series 1 736cc Royal Enfield Interceptor. Big, bold, and powerful—if a little vibey. These handsome twins were a knockout in the 1960s and eclipsed just about everything else on the British market. Today they look better than ever, and Bonhams think this will fetch somewhere between £8,000 - £10,000. That blue is almost pornographic.


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2021 Honda MX125 "Grom". 5-speed. 9.6bhp. 58mph. No UK prices yet

Kempton Park Autojumble cancelled for Sat 24th Oct 2020 - refunds offered

Carole Nash Irish Motorbike & Scooter Show 2021 shifted to March 2022

New UK gov plans. Handling mobile phone while driving to become illegal

RAC London to Brighton Run (Sunday 1st November 2020) cancelled

UK gov threat to seize direct control of TfL (Covid-19 funding crisis intrigue)


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▲ We love the olde-worlde charm of these primitive, seat-of-the-pants boat-tailed microcars of the 1920s and 1930s. Trouble is, the sales brochure picture-perfect England of yesteryear is gone, if it ever really existed. Hard to see where you'd use this today, but we'd give it a go...



H&H A | B | C Auction 21st Oct 2020


Story snapshot:

Buyer premium: 12.5% (+ VAT @ 20%) for cars & motorcycles
15% (+ VAT @ 20%) for Automobilia

There's not really anything at this online auction that primes our carburettors. Not motorcycle-wise, that is. But we like the look of the above 1933 BSA Three Wheeler which is Lot 225 and is carrying an estimate of £10,000 - £12,000.


This machine was designed by F W Hulse using the Hotchkiss 1,021cc twin cylinder air-cooled engine. Interestingly, unlike many other three wheelers of the era, this Beezer (built at Small Heath) featured front wheel drive. One of its chief rivals was the sportier V-twin driven Morgan, but the BSA is said to be much easier to operate and offered greater comfort. Think "family machine" rather than "sportster".



At its peak, BSA was manufacturing around 2,000 units per annum, mostly bought by people looking to take advantage of the considerably lower vehicle purchase tax rates of around £4 per annum—which compared to around £1 per horsepower per annum for four-wheelers.


Prices were between £100 and £125. Manufacturing standards were pretty much as good as it got for the era. What eventually sounded the death knell for these three wheel microcars was, of course, the advent of vehicles such as the once ubiquitous Austin 7 which drove many of the smaller manufacturers straight into the poor house. Many of the surviving three-wheelers did so by morphing into four-wheelers as an when taxation and market conditions allowed—not that many off these firms survived for very long.



This example has been restored and hasn't seen much action since. It's been re-wired and has also been converted to 12-volt electrics. There's a V5C present and a stack of related paperwork on file.


Regarding the auction itself, it's an online only event, and that seems to be the future for many auctioneers looking to (a) move with the digital times, (b) cut their operational overhead and (c) maintain a healthy coronavirus distance.


Of course, being the difference between television and theatre it won't suit everyone. And it's hard to know how the online-only move will impact prices, if at all. We'll just have to wait and see if we can figure it out.


Meanwhile it looks like there are 27 motorcycle lots on offer; a mix of complete bikes and motorcycling bits & pieces, etc. The rest is cars and car stuff.


The date, in case you missed it, is 21st October 2020. That's a Wednesday, and the fun (such as it is) starts at noon.




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MV Agusta teams up with Hertz Ride Rentals

Bike trade insurer Wilby rebrands


Ducati Scrambler 1100 Pro gets the Dark treatment

BMW reveal R1250RT with radar cruise control
Thieves take over £20k of stock from Maidstone Harley dealer


Ducati Multistrada V4 gets 60,000km service interval by dropping Desmo

2021 BMW R1250RT now available with Radar Cruise


KX-inspired Royal Enfield Cruiser spotted again… but this time undisguised


Norway removes wire rope barriers

Orders for Langen’s two-stroke are now open


The 'KX inspired cruiser' from R.E.bears about as much similarity to the original KX as a Chinese 125 does to a Vincent Black Shadow  Hopefully Royal Enfield aren't going to start making the tenuous links to history that Triumph do with some of their models and 'limited editions'. Unlike the KX the new cruiser isn't a V Twin and has an engine capacity of approx. half that of the KX. Perhaps the inspiration was the colour of the frame?...They're both black. This isn't Royal Enfield 'hate speech' either. I own a Royal Enfield in amongst my various bikes and consider it a good machine overall
—The Village Squire

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Bonhams' Oct 2020 Barber results


Story snapshot:

Some very low classic bike prices here

Very modest results overall with nothing sensational happening


The top selling motorcycle lot at the 10th October 2020 Barber Motorsports Museum Sale in Birmingham, Alabama, USA was the immediately above single cylinder 1934 Benelli Monalbero (Lot 132).


Monalbero translates as single camshaft; in this instance a single overhead camshaft driven by a right-side train of gears. But it's not a factory bike. This 496cc racer, as we understand it, is a "re-imagining" of what might have been had the Benelli brothers decided to make a track version of the firm's contemporaneous Sport street bike.


As best we can tell, the bike was created in France some years ago and was subsequently imported to the USA where it was restored. Bonhams evidently had elevated hopes for this lot because the estimate was $55,000 - $65,000. In the event, it sold for $69,000 (£ 53,031) including premium, which means that the auction house was on the money.


But other lots at this sale fell well short of the estimates. Check this:


1970 BSA 650cc Firebird. Est: $5,000 - $7,000.  Sold for: $3,220


1973 750cc Norton Commando. Est: $10,000 - $14,000. Sold for: $8,050


1988 885cc Triumph Thunderbird. Est: $4,000 - $6,000. Sold for: $2,415


1965 500cc Triumph T100. Est: $4,000 - $6,000. Sold for: $2,300


1977 BMW R100S custom. Est: $4,000 - $6,000. Sold for: $2,415


2005 82-inch H-D Evo custom. Est: $5,000 - $7,000. Sold for $3,680




▲ The firm did a little better with this 1990 BMW K1 (Lot 126) which carried an estimate of $5,000 - $7,000 and sold for: $5,750. We're still waiting for these to hit some really big numbers, but it evidently hasn't happened yet. Maybe it won't. Not in our lifetimes, anyway.



▲ Meanwhile a 1937 1,200cc Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead (Lot 115) was looking at $60,000 - $70,000, and changed hands for $63,250.



▲1928 BMW R57 (Lot 134). This bike was looking at $50,000 - $70,000. It sold for $51,750.



▲1967/74 750cc Triumph flat tracker (Lot 145). Bonhams estimated $4,000 - $6,000 for this motorcycle. But it sold for...wait for it...$1,265 or £972. Of course, you have to be careful getting your mind and opinion around stuff like this. There are often underlying issues at the sale and/or details that need looking into, such as clear provenance or documents or whatever. Nevertheless, a sub-£1,000 750cc Triumph is practically giving it away. Or is it?



▲ Elvis Presley Roustabout poster (original, 22" x 28", Lot 32). That's "The King" astride a Honda 305 Superhawk (which probably didn't much impress Harley-Davidson when the movie was distributed in 1964). This piece of cinematic art sold for $382 (£293). But many other bike marketing and racing/club posters in the sale failed to sell. Like the music record market, we suspect that it's a heavily nuanced scene, and we don't know much about it. Nevertheless, it feels like buyers are being more and more selective and cautious. The poster was framed, incidentally, and Bonhams recommended "closer inspection". Hmm.



We counted 76 motorcycles in the auction catalogue. But one bike was withdrawn. That leaves 75 of which 22 didn't shift, thereby leaving 53 sold. That gives a conversion rate of 70%, which isn't bad—but Bonhams has done way better than that in other sales. And as ever, hard numbers don't really tell you too much anyway until you correlate the information with exactly what did sell and what didn't.


Our general impression is one of continued cooling in the classic bike market, but it's impossible to know how much of that is due to Covid-19, either directly or indirectly. So we're drawing no firm conclusions. We're just watching. That said, we can't think of a better time over the past 20 years or so to buy a classic bike.


Trouble is, it's not exactly the greatest time to get out and ride one.




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Harley-Davidson mental wellbeing aid


Story snapshot:

It's World Mental Health Day again

Bikers reveal their innermost fears, hang ups and psychiatric woes


Mental health is a big topic these days. There was a time when admitting to being depressed or suicidal would earn you a clout around the head and/or a suspicious frown, both literally and metaphorically. But things have moved on, and these days some folk wear their mental health problems like a badge of pride.


That's a pretty cynical comment. We know that. But you don't have to look far for the evidence. However, most people with psychiatric issues are apt to simply suffer in silence thereby compounding their problems.


Harley-Davidson is aware of this, and the company quite rightly sees motorcycling as one way of tackling that inner torment and misery that most of us feel at one time or another. Not that it's exactly the motorcycles themselves that inject a feelgood shot. Not in our view, anyway. The really important thing is to simply get out into the wider world and throw some perspective on our issues—and motorcycling is simply a convenient and enjoyable mechanism with which to mobilise and expand your emotional viewpoint. Other options include anything from walking to cycling to hang gliding or whatever. The danger zone is when you sit at home brooding alone, etc.


To that end, Harley-Davidson has created a series of six man/woman-in-an-armchair videos in which biking folk talk about how the freedom of two wheels has impacted their lives bringing freedom, fulfilment and at least some kind of relief.


Yes, it sounds like a lot of navel-gazing, ego-centric, self-absorbed couch misery. And at its most basic, and cruellest, that's exactly what it is. Misery unleashed. And the reason why Harley-Davidson has made the aforementioned movies (aside from hoping to flog a few extra bikes and bolster its credentials as the most vibrant social biking platform on the planet) is that tomorrow, 10th October 2020, is World Mental Health Day. It comes around every year at the same time.


.... and we should mention that we're happy to believe that H-D also has some genuine goodwill in the mix. The company has enough problems at the moment without us putting the boot it.


There are six videos on the H-D YouTube channel. There's a link below if you care to take a look. We did exactly that, and so far there's not much uptake. That might be because some of the biking rags and websites still don't feel comfortable about discussing and highlighting "mental problems", or maybe people both in and out of the biking industry generally don't care too much.


Or maybe anything.


So take a look if it suits you. The link will take you to the H-D channel, but you'll possibly have to trawl around to find exactly what's what.


And a note to Harley-Davidson: Get those guys off the armchairs and talk to them from the saddles, ideally when moving along in the breeze. Don't just tell us. Show us.


Meanwhile, if you're having similar "issues" we suggest that you take 'em out into the wider world and move your life's story further down the road.


It works (and don't ask us how we know that).


Harley-Davidson YouTube Channel


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