April 2012  Classic bike news


How much is it worth to you to get your hands on Tom Cruise's 865cc Triumph Scrambler? Well, the world is going to find out when Bonhams takes an auction hammer to it at the Stafford Show on 29th April 2012. It's one of five Bonnevilles built and modified by Triumph for the film Mission Impossible III. Only two of the machines were actually used in anger, and this is one of them. Who says so? Todd K Andersen, Vice President for Triumph Motorcycles (America) Ltd. Bonhams (who supplied the image) has set the estimate at £12,000-£15,000. But does that sound a little low? Tom Cruise ain't Elvis, but he is an A-list celebrity. We think this one is undervalued. And if someone murders Tom Cruise the day after it sells, the new owner could be in for another killing. Tempting, huh?

UPDATE: This bike actually sold for £13,800.

April 2012 Classic bike news

H&H Duxford sale lacks lustre

Bert Weedon: 1920-2012

Norton set to race at the 2012 IOM Senior TT

Three Crockers head for Stafford

New Genuine Sump T-shirt - £15.00

Antique Bike Day at "mythical Montlhery"

H&H Hurricane to sell at Duxford

80th Royal Enfield birthday party

Dirt Quake: motorcycle mayhem

Radical new parking tax introduced

Continental wax cotton jacket from
Chequered Flag

Thames water "pride" initiative

2012 Festival of 1000 Bikes

Jim Marshall, OBE: 1923-2012

New Triumph Bonneville T-shirt

Frank "Radco" Farrington has died

Think Bike, Think Biker "a success"

Supercool Sump "Goggles" T-shirt

1939 Triumph Speed Twin on eBay

The Humber Bridge scraps bike tolls

March 2012 Classic bike news

Ex-Brian Verrall Vincents to sell

Somerset targets faceless bikers

£80,000 Brough Superior SS120

An end to rural petrol stations?

Interesting BSA WM20 3-wheeler

Jampot Spares scheme has rebranded
Interphone Motion Cam
Willie G Davidson retires
Big release of US oil reserves expected
BSA M20 & M21 T-shirt—£15.95

Mick Walker: The ride of my life

British bike magazines losing sales

Bonhams Bristol Sale: Sold out. Almost


February 2012 Classic bike news

Brightspark "EasyCap" Condensor C03

"Autopilot cars within 10 years"

Derek and Don Rickman: The Métisse Story

Norton Transformer video

DVLA set to close all regional offices by 2013

In search of Mr Nelk

1,000,000 UK drivers are aged 80+
Spare some change for the BNP?
Drivesafe goes live
Dennis Slaughter gets an MBE
"Time warp" c1917 BSA 4¼hp sold at Bonhams' February Paris Sale
OEC-Anzani replica outfit
Girder Fork & Classic Motor Cycle Club
Kevin Schwantz to ride at the 2012 Festival of 1000 Bikes


January 2012 Classic bike news

AP Racing brake calipers are back on sale.
But not just yet ...

BMW to fit Datatags as standard
£65.72 KLG spark plug (and tin) on eBay
London Mayor Johnson opens Red Route bus lanes to bikers, permanently
8th Hotrod Hayride
Daylight saving bill thrown out
"Mandatory French high-visibility vests" to be replaced by armbands?
"Dayglo" e-petition gathers support
France bans SatNav speed camera warnings
Eighty bikers quiz MEP Pete Skinner
South of England RealClassic Show & Bikejumble Sunday 11th March
Du Pont Vegas sale hits $1 million
"High visibility jackets" to become
compulsory in France

New Tiger Cub on the way?
New winter classic show gets off to
a warm start

New Raleigh bicycle book
Continental time for British bikers?
MEP Pete Skinner's biking surgery
Triumph to build bikes in India
Carole Nash free iPhone app(lication)
VMCC July-Dec competition winner
"Wrong way" cycling to be legalised?
Dealer decals from Val Emery

December 2011 Classic bike news

Manx Norton screen for Thruxton Bonnies

2012 Andy Tiernan calendar

Top five UK biker gripes revealed

Harley-Davidson sued over "dodgy" ABS warning light

London bus lane victory for bikers

JVB Brit Bobber—yours for €15,000

Annual SORN to be scrapped. And V5Cs too?

Royal Enfield Crusader info wanted

"Joint enterprise" bikers cleared

50-plus classics found in a hall

BBC online road death map

Warning: London Low Emissions Zone, 2012

November 2011 Classic bike news

Royal Enfield Bullet Desert Storm

Bonhams to auction WW11 POW

One hundred years of Watsonian

Newly minted Commando bearing shells from Andover Norton

Du Pont Collection to be auctioned

New McQueen photo book

Hot Work by Hepworth & Grandage

2012 Triumph Speed Triple R

Brussels protest ride gathers pace

Von Dutch Bonnie: last chance to buy

Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200

Rollerburn picks Davida

$250,000 Brough offered online

MoTs to be scrapped for pre-1960s bikes and cars?

October 2011 Classic bike news

Classic "Rode Safely" YouTube vid
VMCC BSA Rocket Gold Star raffle closing...
Steve McQueen T100 Bonneville
Moby Dick fails to reach estimate
Bonhams back in Harrogate
Grand Prix helmets set for launch
Sammy Miller's honorary membership
New law is set to target dangerous drivers
$13,975 for a BSA M20?
Indian production re-started
London Motorcycle Museum expansion plans
2012 AJS and Matchless owners club calendar
Riders Digest is bust
Fonzie's Bud Ekins Triumph sale

September 2011 Classic bike news

80mph limit back on the agenda?
Diabetes driving licence woes
Thirty years of the Suzuki Katana
John Favill to talk at Coventry
Tell it to Penning
Thomas Humber gets a plaque
10th anniversary of the Davida Jet
"Gus Kuhn" Commando: £6,670
Wideline Featherbed from Andover
Mike Wheeler: new Royal Enfield dealer
2012 Triumph 675 Daytona unveiled
1936 Panther on eBay - £14,999
Three dead at the 2011 Manx

August 2011 Classic bike news

Hughie Hancox:1938-2011
John Howard Davies: 1939-2011
Radical shake up of the MOT regulations?
Custom BSA takes World Championship freestyle second
MOSI's Customising, Culture and Harley-Davidson exhibit
Cheffin's T140 Bonneville bargain
Mick "Hesketh" Broom hospitalised
Solicitors from Hell
Gary Nixon: 1941-2011
Vince Cable's Norton Loan
Bill Saker's new venture
Rick Edwards: 1967-2011
Rockingham Classics & Sports have closed

July 2011 Classic bike news

New DVLA organ donor rules apply

Davida "fighter pilot" visor

Unique DOHC 250cc Velo sale

Scott Hardy UK charity bike ride
H&H Buxton auction results
Captain America's Harley on show
Avon Tyres unearths Vincent film
Coventry-Eagle Flying-8 at Quail
Braking News
New Ariel badges from Draganfly
Last ever Brough Superior SS100
H&H's Rare Brough Superior racer
Harley-Davidson shares intrigue
Frost Automotive's "ethanol fix"
Coventry Transport Museum exhibit pays homage to the Ace Cafe
Classic Vespa ACMA on eBay
Hightown Crows


June 2011 Classic bike news

Don Godden :1936-2011

Ted Simon Foundation

Norman Vanhouse

Romney Marsh Bike Jumble

"2000 visitors" at Enfield Weekend

"Gold Star number one" on eBay

Ugly Fish biker specs from Down Under

£45,600 for a British Anzani V-twin engine
Road Safety Minister Penning launches new "Think!" initiative
Draganfly's 35th birthday
Andover Norton Commando production racer head steady
Roy Bacon dating certificates doubts
New T120 & T140 pistons from Norman Hyde
First Daventry Motorcycle Festival
Travelling with Mr Turner


May 2011 Classic bike news

Lambeth Council redefines potholes

McQueen's Husky breaks auction record
New EC legislation threat to online
classic bike spares traders

Big Dog Motorcycles is bankrupt
Sheriff of Cambridge buys Hyde Harrier
Jubilee prototype

500,000th Hinckley Triumph arrives
Ultra rare AJS Porcupine heads for
Bonhams' Carmel Auction

Lambrettas back on the streets
The Norman Club is 10 years old
Electronic speedos and tachos from SRM
A Gagg & Sons is selling up
Cambridgeshire bike shop doubles as a
post office and grocery store

Cat & Fiddle cameras are switched on
Indian Motorcycle acquired by Polaris

April 2011 Classic bike news

£2 million netted by Bonhams at the 2011
Stafford Show

Judges throw out No To Bike Parking Tax case

Dymag relaunched

Tory MP moots dangerous and reckless
cycling law

Hailwood's TT Cromwell to be auctioned
Hobgoblin Enfield Bullet winner
New ethanol warning
T120, T140 & T160 clutch cush drive "rubbers" from Tony Hayward

MAG gets a grip
Harley-Davidson 883 SuperLow Sportster
gets a Watsonian chair

Two Norton racers added to
Bonhams' Quail Lodge auction

March 2011 Classic bike news

Kawasaki W800 suspension mods

Spring Veterama 2011

Cylinder Head Shop ties up with BLR
Engineering and G&S Valves

Francis-Barnett: The Complete Story
Bike death on Mike Hailwood memorial run
BSA A7, A10 & Ariel Huntmaster
dynamo belt drive kit

Captain America's chopper on the block
UK Government switches drink drive
emphasis to drugs

Shadows' bassist Jet Harris dies
Moto Guzzi celebrates 90th birthday
Pre-65 Motocross Club extra event
Electric bikes debut at the 2011
Red Marley Hill Climb

New rocker book from Mick Duckworth
Welcome to The Manor Cafe
Bristol cars go in administration
Battistinis Retro Revival
Steve McQueen bounds back on the big screen
1938 350cc Excelsior Manxman
sells for £26,640



February 2011 Classic bike news

Dave Degens at South of England Ardingly Classic Bike Show

Vinnielonglegs under the hammer

50 years of the Welsh Dragon Rally

Charge warning light driver

Round Kurland Latvian Rally

Mike Hailwood Memorial Run

Triumph Tiger 90 register

Crash Card launched at the Ace Cafe

VMCC raffles a T160 Triumph Trident for 2011

Harley-Davidson Sportster Custom

KLN 804, where are you?

Douglas: Light aero engines from Kingswood
to Cathcart

Bonhams' Paris Grand Palais
Auction draws near...

£144 Lucas ammeter on eBay. Sold!

BSA Golden Flash eBook from Sump

January 2011 Classic bike news

Record sales for Rolls Royce

1942 Royal Enfield WD/CO for sale on eBay

WW2 Waltham watch for sale

Steve McQueen Husqvarna for sale at Bonhams

New Royal Enfield V-twin denied

Carbon fibre T140/T120 frame

BSA-Indian bobber on eBay

VAT rise hides dealer price hike

Meriden blockade stepped up

Ealing to boot bikes from bus lanes?

Harley-Davidson share price rise

New Norvil Catalogue

Triumph leading UK big bike sales

Rare Megola heading for Bonhams' Grand Palais Paris auction

Draganfly John Bull knee grips & toolboxes

Hildebrand & Wolfmüller sells for a record $161,000 at Las Vegas

BSA Golden Flash eBook from Sump


December 2010 Classic bike news

$15,000 tin toys auctioned

Captain Beefheart 1941-2010

Two old Texans head for Bonhams' big one

Two more HD dealers hit the skids

Prince Charles: "I hate motorbikes"

1925 Brough Superior prototype set to smash marque auction record

Police supt changes speeding plea

UK blocks Euro wide motoring fines plan

"Select" MPs call for new drink driving purge

New old stock US container bonanza from Burton Bike Bits

US Government bailed out Harley with $2.3billion

April ‘Real Classic’ Malvern Classic Bike Show date change

Calling Panther owners...

Eight Vincents on offer at Bonham's 1st Las Vegas sale

Simulated riding research "shock"



November 2010 Classic bike news

Penning's Triumph?

Royal Enfield Fury set to launch

Roberto Rossi Rivale Bonneville

Amazing key fob camera

White line warnings

1926 Indian Scout tops Bonhams'
18th Harrogate sale

Zero emissions racer hits cyclist

Fall in London bus driver assaults

120,000 tons of Aussie salt on the way

Off duty New York cop shoots bike thief

Rare AMC Rickman Métisse auction

1929 Scott 3-speed Flyer TT Replica

Michelin wants its windows back, please

5p off Shell V-Power—for one day only

Stolen bike recovery rate falling

Accident Exchange

Royal Enfield and Watsonian Squire
are flying again

Bike theft risk

Douglas: The Complete Story

High level Hinckley Bonnie exhausts

The end for Pontiac

Oxford speed cameras back in the frame

Bonhams to auction rare Hildebrand
and Wolfmuller

Norvin cafe racer from Sump Magazine

October 2010 Classic bike news

Low sun warning from the IAM

"Plain clothed" traffic wardens

100,000 anti terror suspects stopped in 2009: zero arrests

Bud Ekins memorabilia auction

Brough Superior makes a record £286,000

Triumph 675R Daytona tank badge intrigue

Philip Hammond criticised over insensitive
suicide remarks

EC rejects ABS "switch off" option

100 Years of AA Ireland stamp issued

Norman Hyde triple pistons

Norvin cafe racer auction result

Quarter of a million pound Brough?

Dave Aldana's Rocket for sale

Andy Tiernan Air Ambulance calendar

Big UK freeze on the way

Helmut Fath's URS outfit sells for
£102,700 at Stafford

New sliding gear for BA or BAP gearboxes

Triumph Trident and BSA Rocket Three oil pumps from Hyde

AJS 7R & Matchless G50 looking for £25-£28k & £28k-32k, respectively

Triumph Tiger XC images released

2011 Adventure Travel Film Festival

Keis bodywarmer

Eric Patterson at the Ardingly Show

Motorcycle Action Group organising
mass lobby of Parliament

Tom Swallow James Comet for sale

Mayor Johnson launches
motorcycle safety campaign

Sussex Police on TV

2011 ABS Triumph Speed Triple

Bonham's £12,000-£16,000
1939 Triumph Tiger 100

Norman Wisdom 1915-2010

New driving test rules take effect

125p per litre petrol soon?

New Rocker culture book

Legendary 100 Club set to close

Cycle lobby to challenge motorcycle
bus lane access

M4 bus lane now open to cars

Norvin cafe racer to fetch £29,000?

1931 500cc Sunbeam Model 9 Plus

September 2010 Classic bike news

New VMCC Devon section proposed

Michael Scott Wade

Pensioner jailed for assaulting Hells Angel

Schwarzenegger signs noise emissions bill

Harley-Davidson extended warranty offer

Biker cleared of filming hysterical gun toting cop

New buckles from Chequered Flag

Thefts at Triumph Live

£33 billion road safety economy drive

Norfolk Speed Cameras "facing the axe"

The "sun shines down" on Netley

AJS-Matchless Calendar 2011

Morgan to build cycle cars again?

Biking Brigadier's charity appeal

Blueye eyewear

BSA kevlar clutch plate kit

Bedford is next to open bus lanes to motorcycles

Stolen 1931 Sunbeam Lion

Francis Barnett trademark for sale

'53 Squariel sells strong for £11,900 at
Bonham's Beaulieu

Friends of Speedway film appeal

Triumph - Britain's largest automotive company?

Ariel Square Four repro 'rods from Draganfly

3D Wonderbra distraction

Police predict a riot

Johnny "Chester" Dowling

Easy Rider special screening

Scottish police need help

Repro Triumph Speed Twin forks

1937 Stevens auctioned for £12,980

Police officer guilty of killing 60s pop star's son

Canadian optical "safety" illusion

1200cc shaft-drive Triumph spotted

Councils cut the streetlight budget

Real Classic sold to Mortons Media

Helmetless bike thief dies in smash

Triumph X-75 Hurricane at Cheffins

Rare 1932 Triumph XO?

Superbike magazine sold to Vitality Publishing?

Two killed at the Manx Grand Prix

Hinckley Bonnie wheels

Crash proof Volvo?

Ace Cafe Reunion

Bike Parking Tax demo

Velocette M Series

War Department's 1940's day

BSA M20 bobber

Norton Commando hits 129mph at
Bonneville Salt Flats

Matthew Dieckmann killed in bike/car crash


August 2010 Classic bike news

Schwarzenegger to rule on noisy bikes
Northamptonshire police compensation claims
Kawasaki W800 is rolling
Interesting helmet research
Ace Classics to race at Goodwood
Bikers carjack celebrity wife
Taxi driver wasn't dead
New Amal parts for monoblocs
Val Emery Decals
Cameron & Clegg scrap pub plans
England gets the thumbs up
RoSPA's Communiqué
Villiers book
New three cylinder Triumph engine confirmed
Road pricing survey results
Drag Bike Racing - from Veloce
Road sign cull
The Fabulous Teddys
Davida 92
Draganfly's new plunger tubes
ID Document Bill
Morton's picture archive online
MO1 magneto replacement
Eddie Crooks
Triumph & The Stranglers
Royal Enfield Pub opens
Peter Williams Autobiography
Helmut Fath's outfit auctioned
Sammy Miller bikes on the block
8 Vincents auctioned
New V5Cs
TR3OC Breakfast
"Lewis Leathers" Enfield Bullet


Classic Bike Events




H&H Duxford sale lacks lustre


There were 95 lots and 30 didn't sell, which means that a little under
1-in-3 bikes managed to slip away from the auction hammer on 19th April 2012. And of those that did find buyers, the prices were generally hardly exciting.


But a 350cc 1956 Douglas Dragonfly (image above, Lot 32) made a respectable £13,440, while a 1973 Triumph Hurricane (see further down this page) estimated at £14,000-£16,000 failed to sell.


Go figure.


Meanwhile, of the four Ariel Square Fours at the sale, only two found buyers: a 1947 model for £7,840, and a 1956 model for £8,512.


A 1937 Square Four estimated at £12,000-£14,000 failed to sell (see Sump February 2012). And a 1952 Squariel also went back in its box, unwanted.


Top seller was, not surprisingly, a 1939 Brough Superior SS80 that fetched £44,166.


Overall, this has to be a very disappointing auction for H&H who are trying hard to catch a similar wave to the one that Bonhams is riding. Certainly, results like this are likely to do little to encourage the punters.


The underlying suspicion here at Sump, however, is that the classic bubble has already burst. Certainly, we're seeing a lot of private classic bike stock coming (if not flooding) onto the market in recent weeks, not least on eBay. And average classic bike prices certainly seem to be flattening, if not falling.


But these are strange times with world finances doing odd things, not least due to the collapse of the Dutch government, the shake-up threatened by the French presidential campaign, and the continuing slump in various European markets. We'll be watching prices very closely to see if this really is the beginning of the end of the boom, or just a spasm that will sort itself out.

— The Third Man




Bert Weedon: 1920-2012


We've still got a Bert Weedon "Play in a Day" guitar instruction book. It's around here somewhere mixed in with the bike brochures and shop manuals and suchlike (probably in the suitcase under the bed).


If you grew up in the UK in the 1950s and 1960s, Bert Weedon was a home-brewed king of twang who gave pop stars like Marty Wilde, Adam Faith, Billy Fury, Cliff Richard and Tommy Steele exactly the right guitar-picking intros and backing they needed to propel them to the top of the charts.


But to others, he was more famous as being the guy who gave them their first guitar chords and licks.


Weedon was born in East Ham in East London, the son of a tube train driver. He got his first guitar at age 12, bought from Petticoat Lane market, and started out as a formal, classical player.


By the late 1940s, following a tour of duty in the London rescue services shaking his fist at Hitler and saving lives, Herbert Maurice Weedon, was playing electric.


Soon after, he found himself strumming along in Stephane Grappeli's band sitting in the chair that had earlier been warmed by no less a guitar maestro than Django Reinhardt.


In the late 1950s, Guitar Boogie Shuffle gave Bert his first big break in the charts, and from then on he was pretty much constantly in demand as a session musician.


In the 1960s he moved into broadcasting, and for a while enjoyed his own TV show. He gave live performances all over the country performing in theatres and clubs. But he was kind of uncool too with his straight-looking, "square" appearance. However, without his famous (and famously thin) guitar manual, there might never have been Pete Townsend, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards, all of whom came from the same self-taught-in-your-bedroom school of rock'n'roll musicianship.


If you've still got a collection of sixties or even seventies vinyl, chances are that there's a fair amount of Bert Weedon in there somewhere, either directly or indirectly.


He was awarded an OBE in 2001, and died aged 91 on 20th April 2012. That's a pretty good innings, of course, but it's always a loss when great men who've lived great lives breathe their last.


The next chord twanging from the Sump Telecaster will be for Bert.


— Dexxion



Norton set to race at the 2012 IOM Senior TT


It's got an Aprilia RSV-V4 engine, a Spondon frame, Brembo brakes and Ohlins suspension—and the hallowed Norton name on the aluminium tank.

But is it a Norton?


Norton boss Stuart Garner certainly thinks so (but there would be many who feel otherwise). And he does part-own Spondon Engineering, which helps keep it all in the family, so to speak. Or then again, is it really a Spondon-Aprilia with Norton pretensions?


Either way, Norton is preparing to race the Norton/Not-a-Real-Norton/Possibly a Spondon-Something-Or-Other at the 2012 Isle of Man TT, and good luck to 'em.


Aprilia isn't jointly behind the project, except as an engine supplier. But what an engine. The RSV V4 lump has mucho-mucho track cred, and the word is that Norton is in with a chance of riding away from this event not with the winners cup, perhaps, but certainly with its corporate head held at a reasonable angle.


The bike has been frantically cobbled together at Donington Park (home of Norton), and the firm's machine shop has been busily crafting everything from "wheel spindles to throttle bodies".


Meanwhile, the company is still "committed to its road bike business", we hear. But Garner is evidently looking for a few racing plaudits perhaps to help underpin (or draw a line under) a difficult few years in which customers have been complaining about repeated failure to deliver the goods.


Let's hope that Norton gets out there and pulls a big fat racing rabbit from a hat, and then returns next year with something that everyone agrees is a Norton not just in name, but in spirit too.

— Sam 7


Three Crockers head for Stafford


Update:  This 1937 "Big Tank" Crocker sold at Bonhams' Quail Lodge sale on 16th August 2012. The price was $302,000 (£196,874). Engine number: 37-61-25.


Update:  This 1937 "Big Tank" Crocker sold at Bonhams' Quail Lodge sale on 16th August 2012. The price was $291,000 (£189,703). Engine number: 37-61-24.


Update:  This 1940 "Big Tank" Crocker sold at Bonhams' Quail Lodge sale on 16th August 2012. The price was $302,000 (£196,874). Engine number: 40.61.109



If this lot doesn't make the 2012 International Classic Motorcycle Show (Stafford) the biggest yet, we'll eat our Triumphs. You're looking at a trio of the most coveted items of motorcycling Americana, and Bonhams is practically bringing 'em to your door.


Why? Because auction maestros Bonhams know exactly how to make grown men sit up and pay attention, and then cry—and there will be a lot of tears flowing on 28th and 29th April when these hunks of Yankee beef get unwrapped.


Albert Crocker built his legendary motorcycles between 1934-1941.
The total number manufactured is around 175. Around one hundred of these were his iconic 100-mph, 1000cc/61 cubic inch V-twins (Crocker also built single cylinder speedway bikes plus the utilitarian Scootabout (1940 - 1941).


The three Crockers above (in descending order: 1937, 1937 and 1941) will be on display throughout the Stafford show before disappearing back across the pond where Bonhams will be auctioning them.


Jay Leno, we hear, already owns a Crocker. Steve McQueen used to own one (which was sold in 2006 for £175,000). Most of the rest of us are never going to get to see one, let alone park one in our garage. But if you want to get within spitting distance of this "Holy Grail" of motorcycling, get along to Stafford. It's the 32nd annual show, and is sponsored once again by Carole Nash.


Albert Crocker


Albert G Crocker was born in 1882. He began his career with the Aurora Automatic Machine Company which manufactured Thor Motorcycles. Crocker worked as a factory rider, and later as a designer, and enjoyed his share of success on the board tracks and dirt tracks of the era.


He became an Indian motorcycle dealer operating in Denver, Colorado, and was soon the company's Kansas City rep. In the late 1920s, he relocated to Los Angeles and bought the Freed Cycle Company and traded once more in Indians.


Working with engineer Paul Bigsby (the guy who designed the classic guitar tremolo arm of the same name), Crocker set about creating a series of speedway bikes propelled by 750cc Indian Scout V-twin motors.


He quickly realised that two-cylinders and short-tracks didn't sit well with each other, and so created a Scout-based 500cc single. From across the pond, British JAP-powered bikes gave Crocker a run for his money forcing him to shift his horizons a little and relinquish the board tracks for the road.


His first 1000cc V-twin, launched in 1936, was an OHV hemi with exposed valve gear. The gearbox was integral with the frame. Aluminium was used everywhere it could be used including engine cases, handlebars, fuel tank, tail light, instrument panel and footboards.


This bike, it's claimed, produced 50 bhp @ 5800 rpm. The weight was around 480 lbs (218 kg).


Crocker's bikes were no commercial threat to Harley-Davidson and Indian. But in terms of prestige, Albert G was a nuisance of the first order. His machines regularly trounced Harleys and Indians. One hundred miles per hour was the Crocker benchmark, with one-twenty on tap for extra special bikes. But then, they were all special. Crocker's bikes, after all, were hand built; each slightly different and improved over the one before.


He famously offered to buy back any bike that was beaten by a Harley or an Indian, and it's said that no one ever asked him to make good on the challenge.


To cut out the middleman, he sold direct to the public, but his bikes were still expensive to produce, and expensive to buy.


By 1941, when the US entered the second world war, materials were in short supply. Albert Crocker stopped bike production and threw his machine shops into defence work. Post-war, the times had changed and the golden age was over.


Albert Crocker died in 1961. He was 79.

— The Third Man



New Genuine Sump T-shirt - £15.00


So crucify us, but we couldn't help it. Just when our Sump "Goggles" T-shirt was getting started (and doing very well, thank you), we went ahead and created another. Why? Who knows? Bloody-mindedness? Sexual deviancy? Curiosity? Greed? Malice.? Or just for the hell of it?


Either way, here it is. Fifteen quid's worth of prime 100% pre-shrunk black cotton, conceived, designed and printed in England, and ... well, you don't want to know all that technical stuff. You just want to know if they're a decent bit of clobber and worth your hard earned money, and they are. And they look good too.


It's an original design unavailable anywhere else, and will age nicely. The postage, incidentally, is a flat rate regardless of how many T-shirts you buy.


You can click on the links (above and below) and visit the appropriate page for more info, and then you can buy or not buy. But make sure you read the small print on the shirt...


Great T-shirts are great things. You live with 'em, and suddenly you can't live without 'em. And these are highly addictive. So be warned.


— Del Monte




Antique Bike Day at "mythical



The French Terrot Club of Ballancourt sur Essonne is 20 years old, and they want to push the boat out a little and invite every classic biker in the world to go along and join in their 2012 celebrations.


To make it just that little bit more interesting, our Gallic comrades are planning to ride en-masse around the "mythical circuit of Linas-Montlhéry (Essonne), in the southern suburbs of Paris".




It happens on Saturday 23rd June 2012, and it's open to anyone riding any classic bike, scooter, tricycle or whatever from year dot to 1965.


We don't know anything about this "mythical circuit", but we've been told it's 3.405 kilometres. The rides will be organised in 20 minute sequences or something.


Anyway, the French usually know how to organise interesting, memorable and stylish events, so check your diaries, and check Sump events. We haven't yet got anything else listed for that day, but we update continually.


Meanwhile, grab a French phrase book and visit the Terrot Club site, s'il vous plait. It'll take some figuring, but all the info you'll need is probably there somewhere.



— Del Monte


Want to comment on this story? We'd like to hear from you.





H&H Hurricane to sell at Duxford


Admit it. Most of you looking at this Triumph Hurricane think it's kind of silly really. A whacking great 750cc BSA 5-speed triple engine, extended forks, a cartoon exhaust system, buckhorn bars, no centre stand and a fuel tank holding barely enough holy water to carry you 60-80 miles down the road—provided you keep the throttle shut most of the way.


But, as with any old Corvette Stingray, AC Cobra, or Bugatti Veyron, practicality was never the issue. All these big boys' toys were built primarily to impress, and when it comes to impressing the hoi polloi, the Triumph X-75 Hurricane is up there with the best of 'em, and we wouldn't boot one out of the Sump garage if it was knocking and wanted to come in.


This particular Craig Vetter-styled Trident/Rocket Three, to be sold by H&H Auctions, was one of around 1183 built (depending on who you talk to). Originally conceived as a BSA, the bike eventually made its debut as a Triumph. Why? Because BSA had bought the farm, and Triumph was the still-viable other half of the group.


Here are the vital statistics:


Reg Number: LAF692L
Frame Number: TRX75XH02032
Engine Number: TRX75XH02032


It looks like a pretty complete example, and is being sold as genuine (imported in 2008 from Orlando, Florida, USA). But you'll have to do your own rivet counting when you get down to Duxford.


These days, Hurricanes are fetching good money, but there has been a fair amount of price variance over the past couple of years. Much of that is because there are numerous "fakes" around fashioned from Tridents and Rockets and whatever, and that distorts the market. And it's perhaps partly because collectors are still shuffling their pennies from one pocket to another trying to keep pace whilst looking for the next investment trend.


This bike has an estimate of £14,000-£16,000, which we think is about on the money. Look for Lot 93.


If you're interested, pootle along to the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, Cambridgeshire on Thursday 19th April 2012 (and notice how we managed to write this entire news piece without once mentioning the words "choppers" and "Easyrider"?).


UPDATE: This bike didn't sell.

— The Third Man




Footnote: Also of interest (to us) at the Duxford April sale is this 1945 5T Triumph Speed Twin (image immediately above, courtesy of H&H). Very few of these were made during what was the last year of WW2.


In 1940, Triumph had been bombed out of Priory Street, Coventry and quickly relocated to their new home at Meriden. Late in 1945, the firm began production again for the 1946 season.


Essentially, the '45 500cc Speed Twin was the same as the pre-war bikes, the striking difference being the telescopic forks that replaced the girders and gave the bikes a far more elegant look.


This 5T is estimated at just £4500-£5500, which is a pittance when compared to its pre-war antecedents which appear to fetch around £15,000 (see further below). Listed as Lot 54, this bike carries the registration number: 727 UXW. The frame number is TF4339. The engine number is 465T78666. It's a panel-in-the-tank model, still a very usable all-round classic, and can't possibly devalue unless something catastrophic happens on the world stage. We're tempted to put in a bid ourselves.


Meanwhile, check out Sump February 2012 for some more info on four Ariel Square Fours that are also in this sale (Roger Banks Collection).


Overall, this looks like an exciting event with a wide range of bikes to suit most pockets. But have H&H set the bar a little too low in an effort to compete with rivals Bonhams? We'll see on the day.


UPDATE: This bike sold for £6,160 (exclusive of commission, and VAT on the commission).




Want to comment on this story? We'd like to hear from you.



80th Royal Enfield birthday party



The world's longest running production motorcycle? That's the claim from Royal Enfield importers Watsonian Squire, and we can't think of anything older.


The Bullet name was first introduced in 1932, but the Bullet as most of us know it, dates back "only" to 1948. Which makes the "80th" claim a little disingenuous. Seems to us that the Royal Enfield Bullet is "only" 64 years old, and the modern incarnation bears only superficial resemblance to anything that ever came out of Redditch, Worcestershire.


But let's not quibble. These Indian-built bikes, which first rolled off the production line in 1955, have earned their right to a little celebration. And we certainly don't want to be called party-poopers.



It's the seventh annual open weekend organised by Watsonian Squire at their Cotswold HQ. The fun takes place on 23-24 June 2012 at Blockley, Gloucestershire. Entry is free, and there will be test rides available of the new, fuel-injected models. But bring both parts of your licence and something appropriate to wear.


The details of special guests haven't yet been posted, but when Watsonian and Co tell us, we'll tell you. Meanwhile, you can check out Sump's events calendar (see the button at the top of this page) to find out what else is happening over that weekend. But if you're looking for a relaxed, laid-back, careless kind of day, the Enfield bash will probably fit the bill.


www.royal-enfield.com or call 01386 700907.

— Girl Happy


Want to comment on this story? We'd like to hear from you.




Dirt Quake: motorcycle mayhem


We had to check our calendar when we read this one and ensure it wasn't April 1st. Specifically, it was the bit in the press release about chopper racing. So we checked it out a little, and yup, it certainly looks legit.


This event, we hear, comes from the team that organised Rollerburn - which happened back in November 2011 at Newark Showground.


But Dirt Quake is something else, and it kicks off at Brandon Speedway Stadium, home of Coventry Speedway, on Saturday 19th May 2012 and promises vintage flat track racing, run what you brung (flat track), an autojumble, a custom bike show, bands, booze and suchlike. Plus, of course, the aforementioned chopper racing. Tickets are dirt cheap at a tenner.


It starts at 4.30pm which means it'll be running late, so if you're travelling, you might want to factor in some overnight accommodation.


Sponsors include the UK's top helmet manufacturer, Davida, who tipped us off. So we're going to mention them again a couple of times and recommend you visit their website.






What more info? Don't look at us. Visit the links below.




— Sam 7


Want to comment on this story? We'd like to hear from you.





Radical new parking tax introduced


Don't panic. It doesn't apply to motorcycles. Yet. But it might still affect you, either directly or indirectly.


What's happened is that Nottingham City Council is the first council in the UK to introduce a Workplace Parking Levy (WPL). In other words, a tax upon workplace parking.


The new law came into force on 1st April 2012 and demand that any employer offering eleven or more parking spaces to their employees will be charged £288 for each vehicle, per annum.


Firms with less than eleven company parking spaces will not be charged, but will still be obliged to register with the authority. Parking spaces for customers will not be charged, and will not need to be registered under the scheme.


The revenue raised will be used exclusively to fund public transport infrastructure in the city. In other words, motorists will be (indirectly) charged so the bus passengers can get a cheaper and easier ride through the metropolis.


This idea isn't new. It's been floating around for some time, but now it's here. The big question is how will employers react? Pass on the cost to employees? Cut the parking availability? Or pay the charge themselves? Or move out of the city? Either way, it's a harsh tax at a time when British firms are struggling to survive, let alone make a profit.


What makes it worse is the level of inefficient bureaucracy that will follow such a scheme. It will have to be policed, after all. There will be fines to be collected. There will be permits that need to be issued. There will be summonses and court appearances. There will be huge IT costs. There will be contradictions, and exceptions, and errors, and inevitable conflict. And they're going to need a lot of new clipboards and a new model army of jobsworths.


Some firms will naturally (and justifiably) do all they can to avoid this tax, perhaps by splitting their businesses into two or more legal entities, or through other creative ruses.


Moreover, you can be sure that WPL will eventually be coming to a town near you. And take note that this isn't really a motoring tax at all. It's a general tax issue, because it will have a knock on effect that will cost us all dearly. Given time, there's little doubt that Notts City Council will shift the goalposts and begin taxing any firms with employee parking spaces. That's how taxation works; register and be damned.


Next April, 2013, the cost will rise to £334 per space. From 2014, Notts is predicting a rise to £364. From April 2015 we're looking at £381.


Is it any wonder that each year hundreds of thousand of Brits are pulling up stakes and emigrating? Amusingly, Notts City Council's motto is: Vivit post funera virtus. Or, virtue survives death.


Well it seems to us that there's nothing virtuous about robbing Peter to pay Paul. But here in Britain, we've had all the guts knocked out of us since Dunkirk, and we probably won't resist too much. There seems no limit on how much crap we're prepared to take these days.


Vive la revolution, etc.



— Dexxion


Want to comment on this story? We'd like to hear from you.




Continental wax cotton jacket from Chequered Flag


They call it the Continental and they tell us it's new. Well we'll believe anyone once.


It's supposed to have lots of new features as requested by customers, but we haven't been told what they are. However, this jacket can be customised with  "a select number of flags by the user" which can be interchanged to "suit geographic location".


The flags show Britain, Wales, Scotland, America, France, Germany, and Italy (can you spot the odd one out there?). Maybe they should have called this jacket the Intercontinental and stuck a Chinese and/or Indian flag in the list. That might have boosted orders. Except that Barbour already uses the Intercontinental name, don't they?


Anyway, the jacket is £169.99, has pockets for body armour, and looks pretty stylish with that funky tartan lining. Pity you can't see that when you put one on. But that would defeat the object. If you want one, check the link below  in the usual way.



— Del Monte




Thames water "pride" initiative


There's little enough to be especially proud of in Britain these days (Triumph Motorcycles excepted) so it comes as a welcome boost to our wilting morale to hear that Thames Water wants us all to play dirty and feel self-satisfied about it.


What's it all about? The 2012 drought. That's what. Worldwide, the UK is famous for rain. But it seems that this year there isn't enough of it to splash around, especially in the South East of the country where practically everyone lives. The reservoirs are dry. The rivers are shrinking. The edges of our fields are beginning to curl.


The recent hosepipe ban, we hear, isn't enough. Thames Water

wants us to stop washing our cars too as "a badge of honour", which presumably includes motorcycles. To that end, they've started issuing bumper stickers that dirty motorists can use to advertise the fact that they're soundly on-message.


Moreover, Thames Water wants us to flush the toilet less often, accumulate mounds of washing before cramming it in the Hotpoint, starve the dishwasher until there isn't a piece of clean crockery in the house, and spend a lot less time in the shower, and ideally with a friend.


Thames Water, by the way, is Britain's biggest water firm. It was founded in 1989 and employs around 4,600 people. Every major pipe in their network leaks more than a Downing Street Cabinet briefing, but they're pretty good at stopping-up profits at £208 million for the year ending March 2011. That, actually, represents a big drop (pun intended) from the £453 million recorded the previous year. But it still leaves 'em pretty liquid in a struggling economy.


Why we allow a private firm to handle our drinking, washing, dishwashing and lavatory flushing water is beyond us. True, state run utility companies always waste money. But on the other hand, private outfits always siphon off a lot more than they deserve often leaving their customers high and dry with significantly lower quality products and services.


Still, here at Sump we're doing our bit and are now steadfastly refusing to wash our classic heaps for another year or so, and we're sticking to drinking beer rather than tap water until the emergency is over.


It's a hard life if you don't weaken, huh?

— Dexxion




2012 Festival of 1000 Bikes


From all accounts it looks set to be the biggest and best Festival since its return in 2006. We were there a few seasons back, and it was disappointing—and definitely lacking in the all-important lustre. The VMCC, it seems, were evidently still tweaking their product and looking to get that elusive formula right.


Last year, however, was huge and saw the organisers back on form, notably with the return of Kenny Roberts, and this year all the right fuses are burning.


The Festival will take place on the 6th, 7th and 8th July 2012 at Mallory Park. Expect to enjoy a raucous mix of Historic Grass Track, Pre-65 Trials, Past Masters Machines and Star Riders, autojumble stalls, food, beer and plenty of dust.


As we reported back in February this year, Kevin Schwantz and Randy Mamola will also be in attendance.


Unless you've got somewhere more compelling to be, make a date with your diary. It's got to be a lot more fun than watching a hoard of sweaty, ego-centric, drug-fuelled athletes abusing their bodies at the 2012 Olympic Games—which looks set to gridlock half of London if not half of the South East of England.



— Del Monte





Jim Marshall, OBE: 1923-2012


For many, he was the sound of a generation; a musical generation that included Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townsend, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page. In fact, it's hard to imagine the 1960s and 1970s without that legendary Marshall crunch that helped put the rock into roll and gave Fender and Gibson guitars a whole new tonal arena to play around in.


If you grew up in that era, the Marshall sound was as familiar as the clatter of Bonneville valve gear, the crack and bark of a loaded Villiers engine, and the unmistakeable twitter of a Gold Star exhaust.


The "Father of Loud", he was born James Charles Marshall on July 29th 1923. From an early age, he suffered from serious bone-disease health problems, but overcame them, learned to tap dance, spent some time in the British Army, and later became a very competent drummer and drumming teacher.


That led to the opening of a shop in West London selling drumming gear, which in turn led to the selling of amplification products. At that time, US firm Fender was the leading manufacturer of such equipment, but Marshall was persuaded to take on the Americans at their own game and, with technical help from engineer Dudley Craven, had soon stripped, analysed and reworked the circuit of the popular Fender Bassman amp.


What followed was a world-class, highly versatile British-made amplifier championed by rapidly rising newcomer James "Jimi" Marshall Hendrix, and now the stuff of legend.


In recent years, Jim Marshall (who in 2003 was awarded an OBE) suffered from various health issues and finally succumbed on April 5th 2012. He was aged 88.


If death means that your influence on the world has ended, we're pleased to report that Jim Marshall is still very much alive.


Rock on.

— Dexxion




New Triumph Bonneville T-shirt


Hey, ain't there enough Triumph Bonneville T-shirts in the world already?  Well actually no, which is why we designed this one.


At Sump, we just love the Bonnie and run two prime examples. We even wrote a book on T140s (it's around here someplace...). So it was only natural that we just had to have a decent shirt to cover our backs when strutting our Bonneville stuff down to the supermarket or post office, or anywhere else for that matter.


What you see above is exactly what you get, and no less than you deserve. Rich black cotton (100%); four usual sizes (S, M , L and XL); red, white and blue colours (brings out the patriot in ya); plenty of nice words (motorcycle and ... well, stuff like that); and a lowly £15 price tag to make your wallet or purse sigh in financial pleasure.


What's that? Too expensive? No problemo. Just log onto eBay, point your mouse in the required direction and buy some of the usual rubbish for a fiver. But if you want the one and only, Made in England, kick-ass, born under a bad sign, effin-and blindin, don't-step-on-my-blue-suede-shows, Sump Bonneville T-shirt (hey, who writes this stuff?), there's only one place to get it. And that's right here.


So follow your nose and take a trip to our Paypal virtual cash register. Make your play, do what's necessary, be thankful for what you've got, and leave the rest to us.

— Dexxion



Frank "Radco" Farrington

has died


Classic motorcycle writer, technical expert, Norton owner, restorer, and famed bike show judge, Frank Farrington has died.


For many years, Frank—aka Radco-— wrote articles for The Classic Motorcycle. He also penned the much sought after handbook The Vintage Motorcyclists' Workshop, copies of which (allegedly) change hands for hundreds of pounds in the right market.


If you've ever been to the Stafford Bike Show, you will be familiar with Frank's easy going and knowledgeable style. As we understand it, Dennis Frost will be trying to fill Frank's shoes.


At the time of writing, we don't have any more information. But we'll update this story as and when possible.

— The Third Man



Think Bike, Think Biker

"a success"



The Department for Transport (DfT) has told us us that their recent Think Bike, Think Biker campaign was seen no less than eight times each by a whopping 92 percent of British drivers.


The TV screening ran from 2nd March 2012 to 24th March 2012. Messages were also broadcast on various radio networks and on petrol station forecourts.


The cost? A relatively small, but very welcome, £1.2 million.


Whilst we applaud any reasonable efforts by the DfT to cut motorcycle road injuries and fatalities, we can't but help suspect that a large proportion of the aforementioned drivers, if later challenged, would no doubt reply with something like: "Sorry, mate. Just didn't see the ad".


Or is that just a little too cynical?  Either way, better not get into the habit of expect them to see us. A better message might well be: Think motorist, Think Moron.


Some drivers, of course, are perfect saints. But you can't spot them at a glance, so better keeping planning for the worst and hoping for the best. It saves a lot of disappointment.


And skin.

— Dexxion




Supercool Sump "Goggles" T-shirt


When it comes to cool T-shirts, they don't come much cooler than this. In fact, the guy who printed them froze off four fingers during production and now thinks he's Scott of the Antarctic.


We've just received the first batch and we can't stop wearing 'em. In the shed, in bed, in the bath and on the street; they look terrific and get a lot of attention. And yes, those "trompe-l'œil" goggles look pretty convincing.  But they're just painted on.


The message reads simply: Sump, with our strapline: All this and the open road. That's it. Simple. To the point. Classy.


Available in black only, we've got small, medium, large and extra large. The price is £15 plus £3.00 postage and packing for the UK, and £4.00 everywhere else.


These are quality shirts, 100% pre-shrunk cotton and printed right here in the UK.


Click the above t-shirt for more info plus a link to PayPal. But stand back and turn up the heating first; it could suddenly get a little cool around here...


— Sam 7




1939 Triumph Speed Twin on eBay


Doesn't seem that long ago that you could pick up one of these for around £7000-£8000. This one's up to £9300 (as of Wednesday 4th April 2012) and there are eighteen bids and the reserve hasn't been met, and still eight days to go.


When it comes to all-round, usable, practical, easy-to-live-with British classics, it's hard to beat Edward Turner's magnum opus. So okay, the brakes ain't up to much by modern standards. And the forks, like most girders, are a little slow and ponderous. But a sorted Speed Twin still has plenty of umph for most classic bike riders, will cruise very happily at 60-65mph with enough on tap for safe overtaking. It will also return 60-80mpg depending on how you crack the throttle.


Normally, you'd expect to find 5T Speed Twins in amaranth red, but Triumph offered them in black too—which we think is actually kind of fetching. In many respects, this is the ultimate British pre-war classic. And they ain't getting any cheaper. We'd buy it in a flash. but we're kind of ... er, embarrassed at the moment, financially speaking, and the garage is full anyway.


Edward Turner, for all his faults, knew exactly what he was doing when, n the late-1930s, he started work on this one—and this bike is as beautiful today as it ever was. Imagine having that as your personal legacy? Takes some beating, huh?


Update: The Speed Twin sold for £15,000.

— The Third Man



The Humber Bridge scraps bike tolls


It's been coming for a while, and now it's arrived. The Humber Bridge has scrapped the £1.50 toll for motorcyclists, and has cut the charge for cars from £3 to ... £1.50.


Why? Because the government has written-off £150 million from the Bridge's £332 million debt. The move was necessary to check the interest payments that were out of control.


The news of the write-off was actually announced last December (2011). But today, the 1st April 2012, was the date scheduled for the changes to come into force, just in time for the new tax year.


The tolls on the bridge (the second most expensive in the UK, incidentally) have long been controversial. Hauliers and various medical lobby groups have for years been campaigning alongside the Scunthorpe Telegraph, the Hull Daily Mail and the Grimsby Telegraph.


Additionally, the bridge is in need of major repair and maintenance work; work that will be easier to commission with almost fifty percent of the debt scrapped.


Over 200 people have died either jumping or falling from the bridge since it was opened in 1981. It used to be the world's longest single span suspension bridge, but currently it's number five on the list.


— Del Monte





▲ Top



Genuine Sump T-shirt:
Original - Preferred

£14.99 plus P&P


Copyright Sump Publishing 2012