December 2014  Classic bike news


Lot 50. A 1952 Douglas 348cc 90 Plus. This was the top-selling bike at Bonhams' recent Harrogate Sale held on 12th November 2014 at the Great Yorkshire Showground. The hammer came down at £13,455 including premium. Features on the Douglas include a Radiadraulic front fork, swinging arm/torsion bar rear suspension, and a 25hp OHV flat twin lump. It might have been called a 90 Plus, but it was more like 75 Maybe. However, the sale price was pretty good, meaning high. This bike, we hear, has won various show awards. But it's probably deeply frustrated and repressed having been kept on display rather than used. Overall, Harrogate wasn't a notable sale; at least, not as far as the bikes were concerned. There were 59 motorcycle lots; a mix of Brit, Jap and Italian. One bike was withdrawn. Seven were unsold. Que sera, sera.


December 2014 Classic bike news

John Robert "Joe" Cocker: 1944 - 2014
British Bike Bits for Interceptor Mk2s
Billie Honor Whitelaw: 1932 - 2014
Mike Hailwood print from the ACU
Ian Patrick McLagan: 1945 - 2014
One million Ducati dreams: Official

Cool Ducati 60 limited edition poster
European H.O.G Rally 2015 details
Goldtop Large Leather Care Kit
Mann-Hailwood-Beart bikes to sell

Norton Dominator SS for 2015?
Akrapovič custom "World Premiere"

Andy's Tiernan's Triumph 3HW
New style police court bright idea

First seven Hesketh 24s set to ship
2015 Limited Edition Rocket Three X
"500 Nortons headed to Australia"
Swinton execs fined £928,000

Old Empire Imperial Ducati Typhoon
Sterling Autocycles replica flat tanker
Ultra Low Emission Zone update
Barn Built Cafe Racer Dot Com kit

November 2014 Classic bike news

Noise complaint e-petition appeal
Bonhams Bond Street Sale 2014
Gold plated Speed Twin on eBay
"True Greats" sale at Coys
£12.50 per day classic bike charge
Frankie Fraser: 1923 - 2014

Driving licence changes for January 2015
"Last V1000 Hesketh" is produced
1964 Triumph TRW: asking £5,000

Warning: Have you seen this man?

Watsonian GT4 Sports Touring chair
Triumph recalls various 2014 models
Rare 1934 BSA R34-4 now on eBay
H&H Chateau Impney auction
Bell Bullitt RSD Viva helmet
Hedon crash helmets

Terblanche shifts to Royal Enfield
Greeves Motorcycles Ltd is for sale

Vapour blasting service by SVS ...
Andy Tiernan's 2015 calendar
NMM 30th anniversary Vincent draw
New Broughs unveiled at EICMA

Bernard Stanley Bilk: 1929 - 2014
Sump's moving. Expcet prolbems
New emissions threat from TfL
Stolen Triumph Tiger Cub alert

October 2014 Classic bike news

Matchless Model X: new teasers pics

Time to switch off London's traffic lights?

Limited edition "space age" Ural MIR
John "Jack" Bruce: 1943 - 2014

London to Brighton Run Sale
UK adult minimum wage rise

Alvin Stardust: 1942 - 2014

Oops! We screwed up
£104,540 Flying Merkel at Bonhams
Cheffins Cambridge Sale results

Fonda's chop: $1.35 million. Sold!
New Sump T-shirt "spy shots"

Herb Harris Vincents for Bonhams

BSA M-Series clutch chain wheels
Samuel Truett Cathy: 1921 - 2014
Police bail time limits proposed
Slovak Aeromobil drives and flies
H&H Duxford Oct 2014 Sale results

Ace Cafe's "Ultimate burn up" ride
Venhill generic switchgear

Johnny Foreigner clampdown plan
Holly Ariel Cyclone makes: $457,500
Bikesure-Sump insurance link
Atalanta relaunched and unveiled
Plausible Ferrari safety fear recall
No deathanol increase before 2017, promise
Council vandalises Bansky artwork
Lynsey De Paul: 1950 - 2014
Metzeler Sportec Klassic launched
New Mitas motocross mudpluggers
October tax disc changes crash DVLA website
2014 London-Brighton Run reminder
Triumph unveils the T214 Bonnie

"Nurb's" by Fred "Krugger" Bertrand

September 2014 Classic bike news

Bob Crewe: 1930 - 2014
Graham Coxon's bike collection charity auction
GSXR-powered Bond Bug for sale

Norman Hyde's half century, and not out
Distinguished Gents charity ride

Mole Benn Collection for Stafford

Battlesbridge urgently needs your support
British Customs "Cassidy" project
Andrew Victor McLaglen: 1920 - 2014
Captain America's bike is for sale
The DVLA wants your classic view

Triumph Thruxton Ace unveiled

H&H Duxford Sale: 8th October 2014
Donald Alfred Sinden: 1923 - 2014
British Customs gel saddle: $329.00
New Bristol car promised by 2015
Free vintage Brit movie screenings
The Scottish independence myth
Triumph 250cc single project "on hold"
Bonhams Beaulieu 2014: Top lot
Elvis Presley found alive on moon
Ex-Buddy Holly Ariel to be auctioned
Three car shows bought by Mortons
Worst ever Netley Eurojumble?
New "road tax" complications ahead
"Anti-social" Ace Cafe warned off
IKON shock absorbers/dampers

August 2014 Classic bike news

Ken Rees, the real Steve McQueen?

Mortons buys Fast Bikes magazine
William Henry "Bill" Kerr: 1922 - 2014
Britain First "hijacks" The Royal Crown
National Motorcycle Museum robbery URGENT APPEAL: £20,000 REWARD
Ugly Fish Slingshot Ozzie shades
New Heritage Buses Festival 2014
Watch the Foley beheading video and get nicked—Met Police
1953 Triumph Terrier. £10,000. eBay
Richard Attenborough: 1923 - 2014
Don't forget the 2014 Brighton Speed Trials
New domestic abuse laws mooted
"Last Hughie Hancox restoration"
McQueen's 1930 Chief: $100,000. Sold
170,000 Continental tyres recalled
Bob Derrick, RIP
Matthew Thompson ePetition opened
The Empire buys Wrighty's Show
Confederate Hellcat Speedster X132
BMF 2014 Tail End Show cancellation

European Bike Week: 2 - 7 Sept 2014
Stephen Hill's off the wall design
Lauren Bacall: 1924 - 2014
Video recording at English local council meetings is "now legal"
Jean Panhard: 1913 - 2014
Harley-Davidson Road Glide returns
Romney Marsh inaugural bike auction 2014
Motorcycling in the 1970s - new eBook series
Foundry Matchless 500cc G9 bobber
2015 69-inch Indian Scout launched
Classic Car Boot Sale goes Olympic
The UK "tax disc" is soon to vanish
Savatech Sport Force tyre recall

July  2014 Classic bike news

Ex-McQueen 1912 Harley X8E to sell
Half price Gasolina boots at Foundry
Dora Bryan: 1923 - 2014
The 42nd International British Biker Meeting
Harley-Davidson VRSC V-Rod guide
Kieran Shortall: 1959 - 2014
James Garner: 1928 - 2014

"Quadrophenia Lambretta" to auction
Electric cars for 10 Downing Street
Johnny Dawson Winter: 1944 - 2014
Cheffins' July Cambridge Auction
Northampton Classic Club Scramble
Coys Auction kicks off at Blenheim
Dave Bickers: 1938 - 2014
Government scraps 60mph limit plan
MyLicence insurance honesty checks
Ex-servicemen's charity Euro jolly
Mecum's July 2014 Harrisburg sale
So who the hell are you people?
Francis Barnett "makes a comeback"
2014 Indian Chieftain at Sturgis

June 2014 Classic bike news

Ariel Motorcycles launches the Ace
Eli Wallach: 1915 - 2014
Francis Matthews: 1927 - 2014
Government set to limit CCTV cars
New Harley-Davidson Sump features
Harley-Davidson "LiveWire" concept
High Beech tea hut under threat
The Hesketh 24 is officially unveiled
Bonhams' Banbury "Record" Sale
Avon & Somerset Police's Ariel Atom
1937 Matchless Model X eBay scam
Cotswold Classics is bust
Northants Classic MX Club appeal

May 2014 Classic bike news

VMCC petition seeks blood

£60 million left on TfL Oyster Cards

AJS Model 18 & Matchless G80 guide

London Congestion Charge hike

Banbury Run 2014 reminder

Maserati centenary celebrations

Mechanical Art Devices Exhibition

First UK Royal Enfield Store opens
Dangerous Dogs Act amendment
Police dog ePetition wants your vote
Fiat-Chrysler chooses London
New logotype for Royal Enfield?
Sump plates for Triumph T140s/T120s

Cheffins April Cambridge Sale results

Bournemouth Wheels Free Festival
Efrem Zimbalist Jnr: 1917 - 2014

Charges dropped against Les Allen

Two civic plaques for George Brough

48% of bikers want to vote away your right to decide—IAM

Clarkson utters the "nigger" word

April 2014 Classic bike news

New political T-shirt from Sump
Mark Upham nabs Brough's Brough
Ex Hailwood/Surtees Sportmax sells
Reunion of the Rockers, 3rd May 2014

u r txtng. stp drvng u mrn
Looking for a Stafford alternative?

Another implied classic bike threat from London Mayor Boris Johnson?

Houston Motorcycle Auction results

Government to scrap camera cars?

Cheffins Vintage Sale: 26th April 2014

The Stranglers Bonneville raffle

Rare DKW SS250 leads Duxford Sale

BSA C15, B25, B40, B44 & B50 aficionados look this way
Johammer electric motorcycles
Death comes calling at Bonhams
Wal Handley's Lagonda to sell at H&H

Vincent Series C Rapide raffle

Classic British Bikes book

Stuff we like: Bell Bullitt Helmet - TT

Triumph Model P from Andy Tiernan

Foundry First Anniversary Ride In
April - Houston Motorcycle Auction
Ernest "Ernie" Lyons: 1914 - 2014
UK campaign to reinstate .22 pistols

March 2014 Classic bike news
DVSA to name and shame ex-MOT stations
Mick Woollett: 1930-2014
Richard Edmonds Sale - March 2014
Captain Maurice Seddon: 1926-2014

Introducing Stephen Hill, pop artist

Classic bike tax discs are on a roll
Kempton Park bike jumble sells out
BSA Bantam 3-string steel guitar
Boris Johnson to ban classic bikes?
Gruppo Bertone's in trouble. Again
Paris bans cars and motorcycles
Southend Shakedown & Margate Meltdown:
2014 biker diary dates

Rabers British motorcycle parts
Agostini and Cooper to headline
Mallory Bike Festival

Second Classic Car Boot Sale rocks
Anthony Wedgwood Benn: 1925-2014

Hinckley bullish about 2014 sales
UK bike parts distributor now accepts bitcoins

New BSA M20 T-shirt from Sump

New AA-Halfords "safety" campaign

Bandit 9 customs - Made in China

Secret British Government webcams
in the home...

Anglia's first classic sale "success"

UK magazine sales continue to drop

De Bruir Parachuter leather backpack

February 2014 Classic bike news

New Lotus Bike: Not Made in Britain
Met set to pay out huge rape compensation
Any information on this outfit?
National Motorcycle Museum appeal
"Whole life sentences" ruled legal
Brian Hampton appeal bid update
Tom Armstrong Manx Norton for sale
Martin Squires Sketchbook Volume 4
ACA's first classic motorcycle sale
New Rocker T-shirts from Sump
Alex Botwright steps down as Fenman Classic Bike Show chairman
"Droves" at Bristol Classic Show
Kool new Davida candy coloured lids
Rare 1930 MGC makes £15,297
Nobody hurt in small earthquake
Royal Enfield "Valentine's Day sale"
Chris Bushell takes over Nourish
SPS Harley-Davidson "Speed Demon"
New 69 Club T-shirt from Sump
Mr & Mrs Oil Drip: under the hammer

January 2014 Classic bike news

Vintage Boot Sale, London
Chelsea Bridge tea stall petition
Stylish café racer T-shirt from Sump
Triumph again tops UK big bike sales
2014 Brighton Speed Trials is back on
First British motorway pub has opened
Hurricane tank from Burton Bike Bits
1936 Brough SS80 and chair on eBay
General Jumbo control freaks ahead
Festival of 1000 Bikes is cancelled
New congestion charge "con"
Bonhams Sale: "New records set"
Twenty jobs at Triumph Motorcycles
Cafe racer rival for Triumph Thruxton
Phil Everly: 1939 - 2014
Stuff we love: Vanishing Point (1971)
Derringer electric board track bicycle
Illegally fingerprinting the kids

December 2013 Classic bike news

Von Dutch 500cc Triumph to sell...
Cool oil on canvas by Robert Carter
Camera car consultation deadline: motorcycles ignored again
Save the Brighton Speed Trials
Ronnie Biggs 1929 - 2013
Cool stuff from Bonhams Bally sale
Alex Phillip's Clubman Vincent sale
Motorcycle traders look this way
Triumph financial losses overstated
New from Zippo
What's happening to classic prices?
BSA M20/B33 rigid rear lifting handle and mudguard stay
Peter O'Toole: 1932 - 2013
Custom Sunbeam S8 up for sale
Triumph posts a £12.8 million loss
Holden Cars Oz production to end
British Customs "Vintage Vendetta"
Stan Tracey: 1926 - 2013
New Brough SS100. First UK view
Voxan electric motorcycle unveiled
Ten years for Alexander Blackman
Say goodbye to the UK "tax disc"
New radio pulsing bike stop tech
Jake Robbins' Spit and Polish forks
EU plan to trash British road signs

November 2013 Classic bike news

"21st century" Hesketh 24 promised

Lewis Collins: 1946 - 2013

Watsonian Meteor sidecar returns

VMCC Hewing: jumped or pushed?

Brad Pitt Davida lid up for grabs

Andy Tiernan/Nick Ward Calendar

OK-Supreme missing parts appeal

Southern Classic Off-Road Show

For sale: 1964 BSA C15T - £2,850

1938 Matchless Model X - Cheffins

For sale: 1957 AJS Model 30. £3,300

Monstercraft Brat Kit for XS650 Yams

Bonhams Las Vegas, 9th Jan 2014

Young drivers see less, warns RAC

Lightmare campaign reminder

Interesting UK prison facts and stats
1935 Excelsior tops Harrogate Sale
Royal Enfield Continental screens
Stolen T100 returned after 46 years
Hövding invisible cycling helmet
SR400 Yamaha vs baby Triumph?
Ring of Red: respectful or mawkish?
McQueen's "Bullitt" tweed on sale
Jake Robbins taper-girders
Rare 350cc Triumph 3SW at Bonhams
Sump Magazine is now on Facebook
US Government ponders lid laws
Harley-Davidson's new streetsters
Milton Keynes's "driverless cars"
New T-bird, first whitewall radials
Weiss Montana heated glove
Upham's Brough project unveiled
Circa 1925 Douglas RA for Harrogate
Caterham Cars launches bike range
Cameron visits Henry Cole's Gladstone
bobber factory

British solicitors under threat
Norton's first US Commandos sent
Graham Stark: 1922 - 2013

October 2013 Classic bike news

Cheffins' Cambridge sale results
Lou Reed: 1942 - 2013
The Glory Days of British Motorbikes
Triumph Experimental by Mick Duckworth
Liverpool's bus lane suspension
Regent Street Motor Show update
Francis Beart Manx makes £61,980
The Breathometer is coming
Harley-Davidson recalls 25,185 motorcycles
Triumph T120 TT Special hits £16,000
Cool 1939 Triumph T100 on eBay
Superbikes of the 70s from Panther Publishing
"Project" Vincent-HRD Meteor offer
Rare 1938 600cc eBay Triumph 6S
Copdock Commando prize winner
Cambridge cops are nicking bikes
H&H at Duxford: 16th October 2013
Has Triumph run out of ideas?
Rat-out a trader, win ten grand
SuperBike sold, yet again
Norton "export volumes rise"
Last call for the classic Land Rover

September 2013 Classic bike news

Haynes retrenches and regroups
Billy Fury Tribute Night at the Ace
Gear Gremlin First Aid Kit
Ellis e-petition gathers momentum
Southbank car & bike boot sale
Pistons & Props: 28th-29th Sept 2013
Bike buyers robbed at gunpoint
1901 Ariel Quadricycle comes home
RAC demands 5p per litre fuel cut
1st Annual Motorcycle Film Festival,
Brooklyn, NY

"3D gun" on display at the V&A
Grayling's magistrates reform woes
Twenty's plenty in the Square Mile
Cool Ariel Square Four on eBay
Royal Enfield Continental GT roars
Weise Hi Viz jackets for cissies
Triumph T120R eScam taken offline
Bonhams' Beaulieu 2013 sale results
Satnav drivers "returning to maps"
Kenneth Horatio Wallis: 1916 - 2013
H&H invites October Duxford entries
Indian built 500cc Harley-Davidsons?
Brough stuff at Bonneville 2013
Triumph Rocket-3 streamliner details

August 2013 Classic bike news

Huge classic bike collection to sell
£4,600 Harley-Davidson FatBoy scam
Two classic Honda CX500 kits
Stolen BMW R80ST plea for help
Ace Classics (London) 2013 calendar
Sid Bernstein: 1918 - 2013
Judge denies Muslim burka motion
Brent Council shuts Ace "race track"
VW injunction blocks security hole
Bonhams return to Beaulieu in Sept
Pistol-packing copper is still busy on the job
Peter Fonda sues over Easy Rider T-shirt
Southern Classic Off-Road Show
Karen Black 1939 -2013
EU threatens MOT tests for caravans
New Norton T-shirt from Sump
2014 Indian range announced
Werner Lang: 1922 - 2013
Three staff arrested at Les Emery's

July 2013 Classic bike news

Cheffins Cambridge July results
Three "rare" Triumph TSXs on sale
Film company seeks Enfield riders
David Dixon: 1933-2013
Rare Triumph 6-1 on eBay: £16,000
Swinton fined for swindling
York council's 20mph slap in the face
French TV channel will be filming at the Ace
Lesney's Matchbox 60th anniversary
Free tickets to the South of England SuperBike Show and Bike Jumble
"... and do you take this poof to be your lawfully wedded husband?"
Henry Cole's "Gladstone" bobber
Triumph TRW pricing news
David "Fluff" Brown: 1930-2013
New Norton Domiracer breaks cover
£20,000 T120 Bonneville in sight
"Motorways are a rip off!" say IAM
Mortons postpones Big Kent 2013 event
VMCC Velo and Norton raffle update
Vincent Black Shadow T-shirt
Welsh Assembly votes away rights
June Pendine Trials "weathered off"

June 2013 Classic bike news

Roger LaVern: 1937 - 2013
2012 UK road deaths and injury figures
Cheffins fairground biker: £1100
Brake lights that see round the bend
Bonhams' 2013 Banbury highlights
New police powers and penalties
Bonhams & Banbury 2013 reminder
Cafe Racer Festival at Montlhery
Dirt Quake II
Historics at Brooklands results
Cameras to monitor cycle boxes?
Peter Williams £65,000 replica

May 2013 Classic bike news

TT rider Yoshinari Matsushita killed

2013 Brighton Speed Trials cancelled

Ton-Up Day 14th July 2013

Johnny "Chester" Dowling's
getting his kicks again

87 bikes for Historics at Brooklands

Sump seizes Kempton trader's stock

Welcome to classic Britain

DomiRacer liquidated and set for auction

Ray "Doors" Manzarek: 1939-2013

Indian's "sneak peek" at the Chief

Streetfighters magazine closes after 22 years

Bruce Main-Smith stops trading

Bike Shed custom bike exhibition

AJS-Matchless Club draw 2013

Bryan Forbes: 1926 - 2013

Watsonian-Squire Open Weekend

Call to lower the legal age of consent to 13

Royal Enfield's new UK home

April 2013 Classic bike news

Genuine Sump T-Shirt back in stock

VMCC Jan-Jun 2013 Velocette raffle

Storm conversion for XS650 Yams

Drive it Day for classic cars and bikes

Petition to ban mobile phone drivers

£246,400 Vincent; £246,400 Brough

Royal change to the laws of succession

Margaret Thatcher: 1925-2013

Ex-McQueen Indian Model F to sell

Eric's Cafe Racer Corner

Peter "Pip" Harris: 1927-2013

Pendine Sands Speed Trials 22/23 June 2013

Dr James "JK" Kelly Swanston: 1908-2013

Mortons buys Normous Newark

March 2013 Classic bike news
2013 Pioneer Run snowed and iced off

Dambuster charity motorcycle ride

One hundred cafe racers wanted

Hide your classic, and go to jail

Eddie Presbury "cheap" bike art

Norton acquires Donington Hall

James Herbert: 1943-2013

1973: New cut-off date for "historics"

Triumph T140D floating disc from
Norman Hyde

Rare Brough Superior BS4 to sell

First Vincent Lightning also to sell

British justice for sale, says Grayling

Indian reveals new 111-inch engine

Yamaha Bolt challenge to Triumph?

Triumph still in the number one spot

February 2013 Classic bike news

£6975 Triumph Tiger Cub, sold!
Ray "Dalek" Cusick: 1928-2013
Triumph Speed Triple R "Dark"
Despatches. Free eBook from Sump
Bonhams' Grand Palais "success"
Le breathalyser fines "postponed"
Government set to scrap 80mph speed limit hike plan
Driving test interpreters for the chop?
Reg "Wild Thing" Presley: 1941-2013
Bonhams Paris Grand Palais Sale 2013
New licence withdrawal powers

January 2013 Classic bike news

Freddie Williams: 1926-2013
Where's the Gaffer's Gallop film?
Andy Tiernan's ebay warning
2013 Triumph Rocket 3 Roadster
Insulting to be made legal again
One hundred years of Aston Martin
$480,000 1939 BMW Rennsport
Burtons' Triumph TRW register
James Austin's Classic Shows
Winter Restoration Show 2012
2013 Triumph Tiger Sports 1050
Winter Classic Bike Guide Show



John Robert Cocker: 1944 - 2014

He was better known simply as Joe Cocker, one of the most distinct rock and blues voices of his era. Born in Sheffield, Cocker's greatest claim to fame, and his springboard to hit success, was his unmistakeable cover of the Beatles' song With a Little Help From My Friends taken from their Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album. It reached number one in the UK in 1968.


But there was much more to him than that.


Armed with that song and enough personal gusto to start a riot, Joe Cocker took his act to Woodstock in 1969, turning the hit from a tuneful, unhurried, mellow, soul-searching ballad into a tortured (and some would say "tortuous") angst-ridden musical melodrama. The audience loved this on-the-edge white British bluesman with a voice like a gravel slide, and quickly took him into their hearts, lounges, bedsitters and squats.


What unquestionably heightened the song's impact was Cocker's compelling on-stage performance underpinned by his trademark body spasms interspersed with bursts of something approaching rigor mortis. The world had seen nothing quite like it (not from a white man, anyway). The press was unsure how to deal with it. But his record company knew they had a winner.


And something of a loser too.


His flirtation with hard drugs soon turned into a heroin addiction. His all-too-frequent visits to the bottle also gave him an alcohol problem to wrestle with. And he liked his ciggies (up to 80-a-day according to some Cockerites)



He toured extensively, not least the USA, and invariably travelled as part of a motley group of musicians and supporters. He was something of a gonzo-artiste in that he never merely "reported" a troubled world through his numerous song covers, but also lived life in the hard lane and experienced as much as possible. He wrote and co-wrote some of his material, but never penned anything that took him as high as The Beatles had taken him.


Soon enough, his weaknesses led to various public embarrassments from freezing on stage, to collapses, to arrests, to forgetting who the hell he was, and who the hell anyone else was around him. During particularly bad times he was hospitalised. On good days he rode motorcycles—notably around his Colorado, USA ranch or across Snake Pass in Derbyshire, England.


For many years, he all but vanished into the wilderness, then cleaned up his act and reappeared and began the slow climb back to where he needed to be. But now, sadly, he was (arguably) famed more for merely being a musical survivor rather than being a contemporary rock and blues God.


Nevertheless, he enjoyed some great highs (of various kinds) and compiled a more than respectable back-catalogue of hardcore warbling material. And he continued working almost until the end.


Joe Cocker's singles include:


Delta Lady (1969)

You Are So Beautiful (1974)

Up Where We Belong (with Jennifer Warnes, 1982)


His albums include:


With a Little Help From My Friends (1969)

Sheffield Steel (1982)

Have a Little Faith (1994)

Fire it Up (2012)


In the course of his career, he appeared on stage with such musical luminaries as John Lee Hooker, Bo Diddley, Leon Russell, B B King, Carlos Santana, and even Luciano Pavarotti. And he was "out there" with hundreds of song covers, all of them bearing the gritty, pain-wracked Joe Cocker signature. The best British blues voice ever? Some think so.


Joe Cocker is survived by his wife, Pam (of over 25 years), and a stepdaughter. He was aged 70 and lived life to the max, and even one or two steps beyond.

— Dexxion




British Bike Bits for Interceptor Mk2s


British Bike Bits? You'll know this company better as Burton Bike Bits (based in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire) which currently supplies parts for dozens of classic motorcycle marques, not least Triumph, BSA, Norton and Royal Enfield. The business claims to have around 30,000 lines on its shelves, and we're not doubting that for a second.


Well Burton is now developing a new and purely online web portal through which you can buy those essential spares—especially if you're a Royal Enfield Interceptor Mk2 pilot. Burton has a large stash of New Old Stock (NOS) items for these bikes, and many of these parts will fit other models in the Enfield range.


So does that mean that Burton Bike Bits, as a trading identity, is dead? Not at all. It's got no intention of going anywhere, not when there's so much goodwill tied up in the name.


For the foreseeable future at least (and possibly well beyond), the two sites will run side by side. But there will be some rationalisation going on, so what you don't find on one, you'll probably find on the other.


Also, British Bike Bits (or Burton if you prefer) is now catering to Hinckley Bonneville owners. It's early days yet for these bikes (parts wise), but the range will undoubtedly grow.


Meanwhile, keep the websites on your "favourites" list.



Del Monte




Billie Honor Whitelaw: 1932 - 2014

When it comes to classy and classic actresses, you can't get much more classy and classic than the late Billie Whitelaw who has died aged 82. Women, in particular, loved her for the tough (yet somehow fragile) characters she frequently played in the theatre, the cinema and on TV.


If you needed a female who could hold her own against pretty much anyone, Billie Whitelaw might well be the actress to send for. And if you needed an actress with depth of character and wit and intelligence, that was definitely Billie Whitelaw.




Albert Finney and Billie Whitelaw in Gumshoe (1971). If you haven't see this movie, it's a gem. A Liverpool bingo caller by day, and a private dick by night. Cue all kinds of games and intrigue. Frank Finlay fans will also enjoy this one. And Billie Whitelaw gives a great performance.


Her career began in the early 1950s and, arguably, reached its peak between the early 1960s and the mid-1970s with movies such as Payroll (1961), Charlie Bubbles (1967), Gumshoe (1971) and The Omen (1976). But she was active right up until 2007 when she appeared in her final movie, Hot Fuzz.


Fans of gritty crime stories will remember her as Violet Kray (mother to Ronnie and Reggie) in The Krays (1990) for which she won an award as best actress. Fans of Daphne Du Maurier will remember her as Aunt Patience in the TV series Jamaica Inn (1983).


If you were generally growing up in the Mods & Rockers era of the 1960s, you might recall Billie Whitelaw for her role as (daughter) Mary Dixon in the police series Dixon of Dock Green (starring Jack Warner as the avuncular East London beat bobby). She also handled more multi-dimensional roles as Margo in The Dressmaker (1988), and as Grace Poole in Jane Eyre (1996).


But it's perhaps her Mrs Baylock character, nanny to Damien (the child-of-Satan) Thorne in The Omen that sent a chill through millions of hearts and made her face so memorable.


If her career had begun and ended there, it would still be notable. But she also enjoyed a 25-year professional theatre relationship with Irish playwright, Samuel Beckett, and played numerous roles that were often written especially for her, or at least heavily reworked to bring her personality and acting talents to the fore.




Billie Whitelaw in Hot Fuzz (2007). Not as we'd like to remember her (she was usually tough without a gun). But it was her last movie role.


Billie Whitelaw—who was born in Coventry, Warwickshire and grew up in Bradford, West Yorkshire—was twice married (once to actor Peter Vaughan) and had a son, who survives her.


She received numerous BAFTA awards, and in 1991 was appointed CBE. Billie Whitelaw was an unmistakeable face with an unmistakeable presence. She was, quite simply, a great English actress.






Mike Hailwood print from the ACU


The Auto Cycle Union (ACU) has some leftover Mike Hailwood prints that it wants to unload. But it's all in a good cause; that being the ACU Benevolent Fund.


We must confess that we don't actually know what that is. But if it's got the word Benevolent and Fund in the title, we're making the (not unreasonable) assumption that any revenues are probably going to do some good to someone who needs a little help.


The prints are £50 each. They were painted by artist Rod Organ (we don't know anything about him either, but we're suspicious of his name). And the image shows Mike Hailwood (we know who he is) at the 1967 Isle of Man (we know where that is) Junior TT riding a Honda Six (and we more or less know what that is).


The prints are 28” x 20”. The fifty quid cost includes postage and packing. Send your cheques (we remember what those are) to: The Auto-Cycle Union Benevolent Fund, ACU House, Wood Street, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV21 2YX.




UPDATE: We just checked, and the fund was started in 1951. Its object is to help the families of ACU members "in times of hardship". It's not an insurance scheme, and it's quite possibly a lifeline for some. So support it if you can please.

— Big End




The Small Faces. Left to right: Steve Marriot, Ronnie Laine, Ian McLagan and Kenney Jones. Their star burned briefly, but very brightly.



Ian Patrick McLagan: 1945 - 2014

Spare a passing thought, if you will, for Ian McLagan who has died aged 69. He was the keyboard player with sixties band, The Small Faces—a four piece Moddy Boy combo that most of you modern rockers out there wouldn't know much about.


But The Small Faces, who morphed into The Faces, briefly enjoyed huge success in the flower power era with hits including Sha-La-La-La-LeeAll or Nothing , Lazy Sunday Afternoon, and their most well known, Itchycoo Park.


They were highly flamboyant fashionistas who partied hard, indulged themselves with whatever pleasures were available, and unsurprisingly featured heavily in the mainstream and music press of the day. Publications such as New Musical Express, Rave and Jackie collectively dedicated hundreds of pages to the group's hedonistic exploits.


Lead singer Steve Marriot (1947 – 1991) was fast becoming a huge teenage idol when the band suffered the usual internal tensions and began the inevitable (indeed almost obligatory) meltdown.


In 1968, at the height of the group's popularity, Marriot left the band. Ronnie Wood and Rod Stewart arrived to replace him. All too quickly however, Stewart's star was soon outshining the other members causing The Faces to become little more than a backing band.



▲ Left to right: Mojo (2014), New Musical Express (1966), Record Collector (2013) and Uncut (2012). Seems that The Small Faces are still a band that a lot of people are closely listening to. In 2007, a plaque was erected in Carnaby Street, London W1 in recognition of the band (and legendary producer Don Arden, 1926 – 2007).



Ian McLagen was a Londoner, born in Hounslow. He came into pop music via skiffle and rock'n'roll by learning the concertina, the guitar and keyboards. Just as The Small Faces were about to sack their own keyboard player, McLagan appeared on the scene. He was the right age, had the right image, enjoyed the same music, and generally hit the right notes, both instrumentally and socially.


So he was hired.


The Small Faces, however, weren't his first professional musical outing. McLagan had earlier formed a band called The Cherokees which later became the Muleskinners.


After The Faces collapsed in 1975, Rod Stewart went entirely solo. Ronnie Laine (1946 – 1997) left the band too and eventually went solo. Ronnie Wood joined the Rolling Stones. Ian McLagan looked for new musical avenues to explore and unsuccessfully reformed The Faces. He briefly formed his own group (Ian McLagan's Bump Band), and later worked with Bonnie Raitt, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and The Rolling Stones.


Ian McLagan was twice married, and is survived by a daughter and a step daughter. He was 69 years old.

— Dexxion




One million Ducati dreams: Official


It's a modern classic. The Ducati Monster. The Bologna factory knows it, and is milking it for all it's worth, and has just given away a prime example of the species to some lucky Italian sod. Why? Because:


"Between 1946 and today we have designed, built and delivered one million dreams that have become reality to Ducatisti."


That's according to Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali, and that number represents a huge production run of motorcycles for a "small" manufacturer and is a cause for celebration (we felt much the same way after our one millionth beer, and our one millionth call girl; it puts a drop of moisture in the eyes, ya know?). [More...]




Cool Ducati 60 limited edition poster

How is it that when the British use girls in motorcycling advertising— such as the tacky, slutty 1970s Norton Commando ads—the females look like a bunch of bimbos, but when the Italians do it, they do it with exuberance and panache?


Take the poster above. This is Lot 12 at Bonhams' Bally's Hotel and Casino sale at Las Vegas, USA which goes down on Thursday 8th January 2015. It's a limited edition Ducati poster that's being flogged with five advertising prints. The estimate is a reasonable $150 - $300 (£95 - £190).



So okay, the Norton slappers were symptomatic of another era when the British couldn't get enough cheap smut and giggled at the word "bum".


Whereas the Ducati 60 hailed from a time where there was still a little innocence left in the world (which is amazing when you think that the 60cc, 40mph, 3-speed, four-stroke air-cooled single was introduced just four years after the end of World War Two).


Nevertheless, the wops have shown us once again just how classy they can be and have managed to stay well clear of mild pornography and have instead given us memorable images such as this.


We can almost forgive them for Mussolini.



— Del Monte




European H.O.G Rally 2015 details


There's no such word as "pre-book". Okay? Everyone is saying "pre-book" lately, and it's driving us nuts. You either "book" or you don't "book". But you can't book before you book because ... well, because you've already booked.




So nobody needs to pre-book for the 2015 Harley-Davidson 24th European H.O.G.® Rally which, apparently, is going to set light to Andalucia, Spain. You simply need to book because this is a ticketed only event, and you might want to get your entry pass while it's going.


The date it's all booked to happen is 18th - 21st June 2015, which is a Thursday to Sunday. Andalucia is the very hot bit at the bottom of Spain where all the illegal immigrants die trying to paddle across on inflated truck inner tubes from North Africa to Europe.


The specific location is Puerto Sherry which is between Cádiz and Jerez. And if you need directions, just follow the Harley in front. This four-day event will draw Harley-Davidson riders from all over the world, and you can expect all the usual attractions from food, to booze, to a custom show, to bike games, to new bikes from the factory, to music, to biker gear, to wild sex in the woods, and so on.


It's not clear if you need to own or ride a Harley to attend this shindig. But when it Rome, etc. And if you do attend, upon your return to wherever, you'd better check for illegal immigrants hiding in your saddlebags or clinging to the underside of your swinging arm.


These days, they get in everywhere. And none of 'em book or pre-book.



— Del Monte




Goldtop Large Leather Care Kit

It costs £24.99 and Christmas is coming. So take a hint, why don't you? This is a comprehensive box-set designed to look after those expensive leathers that's you've been riding around in all year. Come to that, it will help look after those nasty cheap leathers too.


Either way, you need to keep the water out, and keep your kit fresh and supple. And yes, it's a pain in the saddle having to do these duck-waxing and dubbing-yer-boots chores. So get the missus to do it (or whoever your significant-other happens to be).


But it makes a real difference to the whole riding experience if you simply feel good and can move about without squeaking/cracking/crunching clothing (cue brassy fanfare and cut to a shot of a smiling biker steaming off down an empty switchback road somewhere in the Lake District).


Goldtop, suppliers of motorcycle gloves and sundry riding apparel to the likes of thee and we, have put together the above kit with instructions on how to deploy it.


So either you're smart and you want it. Or you're stupid and you don't. And yes, we have laid that on a little thick, and we didn't mean it. But there's a reason why these products exist, and the great British weather (or filthy foreign weather) is at the heart of it.


Go check Goldtop's website and read all about this and other leather care products. They've got gloves, rocker scarves, rocker socks, leather boots, and ... well, we can't remember what (all that beer has overtaken us again).


But if nothing else, look after your leathers this winter, or risk a bad case of trench foot, finger fungus and various other bodily ailments that we're too squeamish to mention.


It happens, brother. It happens...







Mann-Hailwood-Beart bikes to sell


That's Dick Mann in action (above), one of the greatest motorcycle riders in the history of the sport. He's newsworthy once again on Sump because two of his bikes (a 1962 500cc Matchless G50 road racer, and a circa-1965 500cc BSA Gold Star flat tracker) are being auctioned by Bonhams on Thursday 8th January 2015 at Bally's Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, USA.


To make the sale even more exciting, a 1957 FB Mondial 250 Bialbero Grand Prix Racer owned by the inimitable Mike Hailwood will be on the same block.


And to put a cherry on this particular cake, a 1961 Norton Manx 350 GP Racer built by legendary tuner Francis Beart is looking for a new owner.



▲ Lot 196: Ex-Dick Mann circa 1965 BSA Gold Star Flat Tracker. Estimate: $90,000 - $100,000 (£57,000 - £64,000).



▲ Lot 195: Ex-Dick Mann 1962 Matchless G50 Roadracer. Estimate: $100,000 - $120,000 (£64,000 - £76,000).



▲ Lot 154: Ex-Mike Hailwood 1957 F.B. Mondial 250cc Bialbero GP Racer. Estimate: $100,000 - $130,000 (£64,000 - £83,000).



▲ Lot 155: Ex-Jimmy Guthrie 1961 Beart Norton Manx 350cc Manx Racer. Estimate: $50,000 - $70,000 (£32,000 - £45,000).


Overall, Bonhams (which supplied the images) is fielding a formidable line-up of classic motorcycles at this sale including a 1959 Harley-Davidson KR750 flat tracker ridden by National Champion Joe Leonard.


We counted 335 lots (assuming there are no breaks in the sequence). And there are one or two motorcycles that we've seen before doing the rounds and searching for new owners including a Triumph TR6C custom painted by Kenny "Von Dutch" Howard which failed to launch at Las Vegas in January 2014. See Sump December 2013.


Nevertheless, there's some very exciting stuff on offer, and we expect to see one or two records broken at this auction.


Other top lots include bikes from the Herb Harris Collection, such as:


Lot 236: 1949 Vincent Touring Rapide with Blacknell Bullet Sidecar. Estimate: $100,000 - $120,000 (£64,000 - £76,000). Full Harris Vincent restoration with electric starter


Lot 250: 1954 Vincent Black Prince Prototype. Estimate: $250,000 - $300,000 (£160,000 - £190,000). Development machine and Earl's Court show bike


Lot 237: 1946 Vincent HRD 1X Prototype Series B V-twin. Estimate: $350,000 - $450,000 (£220,000 - £290,000)



▲ Lot 237: This, we understand, is the first Series B Vincent HRD. It was used as a development bike, then relegated to a works sidecar hack. Decades later, Herb Harris recreated the bike using the original engine. The £220,000 - £290,000 estimate is a lot of money for a "parts bin special". But the motorcycle, or what remains of the original, has "history". So decide for yourself what it's worth.


▲ Lot 236: Herb Harris is no ordinary Vincent collector. This 1949 Rapide c/w Blacknell Bullet sidecar is one such gem. The chair was originally fitted to a Black Shadow, but has since parted company. The Rapide is fitted with an electric starter and is painted in a rare Vincent factory colour.

[more information and images here]


[Dick Mann BSA Gold Star flat tracker sale]

[Dick Mann Matchless G60]

[Mike Hailwood FB Mondial 250 Bialbero sale]

[Francis Beart Norton 350 Manx GP Racer sale]





Norton Dominator SS for 2015?

Norton Motorcycles has announced the launch of a new Dominator called the Dominator SS. Tentatively priced at £19, 950, the firm reckons they'll be initially manufacturing just 50 of these "fully homologated road going bikes". A "private preview" at an "exclusive evening" will be held at Donington Hall, Derbyshire in January 2015. A world launch will follow sometime after.


norton-logoThe engine for the new Dommie will almost certainly be the existing 961 twin. But that isn't the new Dominator SS (above). That's just an artist's mock up.


The original Dominator SS's were the 600cc and 646cc parallel twins of 1961/1962. The SS stood for Super Sports or Sports Special, depending on who you ask and believe. Twin downdraught Amal carburettors were standard. Ditto a Slimline Featherbed frame (a narrowed Wideline Featherbed chassis). And the bike is still highly regarded by Norton fans as one of the best of a very good bunch. Top speed was around 110mph with a claimed 49bhp on tap. The model was discontinued in 1967.


Finally, it might be worth mentioning that when a firm talks of an "exclusive evening", it means that only certain people will be included, and everyone else will be shut out. That's in stark contrast to, say, Triumph which builds "everyman" motorcycles and are happy to have anyone's bum on their saddles.


Worth a thought or two maybe. Here's a larger shot of the new SS.








Akrapovič custom "World Premiere"


If you thought that the Slovenian firm, Akrapovič, made only exhausts, you've got some homework to do. Rather, this company likes to get the funk out every now and again and shake a little dust from the world's preconceptions. This is exactly what their Full Moon motorcycle concept (above) is all about.


[Read more about the Akrapovič Full Moon custom]





Andy's Tiernan's Triumph 3HW

You'll have to be quick if you want this one because classic bike trader Andy Tiernan feels he might have underpriced this, and he's toying with the idea of raising the ante.


But for the moment (9th December 2014), he'll let it go for £5,000, and that's a pretty good price for a decent example.


"And this one is a very nice example," confirmed Andy when we got him down off the roof of his premises where he'd been repairing tiles. "It was a lot cleaner than I realised and came in about a week ago. We've photographed it and made sure it's running well and have written our usual report. And now it's for sale."




The 3HW isn't as rare as some of the military bikes of WW2. But they don't chug around the block anywhere near as often as, say, a BSA M20 or a Norton 16H.


These OHV 350cc pushrod singles are just as reliable and good for around 60-65 mph. They're generally reliable and sorted (subject to the usual age-related woes). They clatter like almost all Triumphs (of that eras, anyway), and most of them were snapped up by the RAF—hence the RAF blue livery (which looks a little pale to us, but there's no Pantone number for the correct hue because there IS no correct colour; just whatever's in the tin at the time it was painted).


The drum brakes are merely okay (at best), but there's a little engine-braking available too if you handle it right. Handling is surprisingly nimble. Suspension is typical girder/rigid. Sounds crude, and it is. But you could tour the world on this attractive low-tech single if you had a mind to.




Built in 1944, this bike was registered for civvy street in 1947. The 4-speed gearbox is, we hear, doing what it should. The bike starts (hot and cold) and it rides nice. It's running on 6-volt electrics. The mileage is 30,597. And the lower rear bush on the girder fork link is slightly worn. Otherwise, it's a peach, so what are you waiting for?





— Girl Happy




New style police court bright idea


Now here's a new old idea. Police courts. In the good old days of TB, rickets and typhoid, that's what they used to call magistrates courts, the idea being to have magistrates—which are lay people drawn from ordinary walks of life—sit in judgment of their fellow citizens and deal with all the low-level crime from stealing a loaf of bread to throwing rotting food at the local beadle to lifting handkerchiefs in the town's marketplace.


Only, times have changed, and the usual suspects have got trickier and trickier to process, and that means expending time, money and energy that the government simply can't stomach in the current scorched-earth campaign of cutting public services.


It's not entirely clear how these new courts will work, or even if they'll be introduced. But spending weeks of valuable magistrates court time dealing with some scrote who's nicked a bottle of Brut and a pair of trainers from Poundshop simply isn't good value. What the advocates of police courts want is a system whereby a suspect can be fast-tracked into prison, community service or a stiff fine within "24 hours of being charged".


That, of course, will mean having a hanging judge close at hand able and willing to dispense justice at the drop of a policeman's hat, and it will rely upon the aforementioned scrotes actually pleading guilty to whatever offence is being thrown at them.


Under the plan, serious offences (murder, rape, armed robbery, etc) will still be dealt with at Crown Court level. And magistrates courts will also be maintained for looking after the slightly trickier stuff. The police courts, on the other hand, will be a third level, or a first level depending on which way you're looking at this thing. And each court will have limited sentencing powers at its disposal.



The infamous Special Patrol Group (SPG) of the 1960s morphed into the Territorial Support Group (TSG) in the 1970s. These guys here are hard at work interviewing a "likely" suspect. In 1979, New Zealander anti-racist demonstrator Blair Peach (image immediately below) was, allegedly, coshed to death by an SPG/TSG officer. No charges were ever brought.



In the 1960s, the London Metropolitan Police Special Patrol Group (SPG) used to rove around in vans persuading people, both guilty and innocent (and more often black than white) to admit to any number of crimes. But that kind of behaviour, although still prevalent, is frowned upon these days. So the dubious concept of fast-track police courts are the next best/worst thing.


Now don't get us wrong. We're all for rapid justice, as long as it IS justice. But justice sometimes DOES take time. That's how it works. That's how the weak minded (in particular) are protected from the over-zealous antics of the men and women charged with upholding the law.


Put another way, we can see huge scope here for all kinds of abuses of powers. We don't want to shoot this one down before it's got wings, but we're keeping it in our sights.


And so should you.

— Dexxion




First seven Hesketh 24s set to ship

By the end of this month (December 2014), the first seven Hesketh 24s will be ready to ship. At £35,000, these are no cheap imports. Rather, they're expensive British-built exports. And Hesketh supremo, Paul Sleeman, reckons that 60 percent of bikes will go overseas.


Displaying the new motorcycle recently at the Classic Bike Show (NEC Birmingham, 14th- 16th November 2014), Sleeman (pictured immediately below) was upbeat about the future of the business. His staff of 6, operating from the Hesketh factory in Redhill, Surrey, are building 24 examples of this limited edition model. Following that, we understand that Sleeman is anticipating manufacturing 50 bikes per annum, the details of which have yet to be determined.


The overall commercial strategy is to keep the business at a "manageable size", thereby avoiding the huge investment required for high volume production whilst maintaining the all-important cachet of exclusivity.


The bike clearly "wowed" visitors at the NEC show with numerous orders being placed there and then. The build quality is said to be high, the bike looked "sorted", and the general specification is impressive.


But what's equally impressive is the speed with which the project has unfolded. As with most overnight successes, there are usually thousands of long nights in preparation. And so far, Sleeman hasn't done much wrong and appears to have managed the brand with the kind of professionalism lacking in many rival businesses.


Sleeman, who in 2010 bought the Hesketh name and chattels from Mick Broom of Broom Development Engineering, has taken giant strides and appears to have a very viable product ready to market.


See Sump June 2014 for more on the Hesketh 24.



— Del Monte



2015 Limited Edition Rocket Three X


Triumph is promising a Limited Edition Rocket Three X for 2015. Five hundred bikes will be built, each numbered, and each painted by Joe Black's 8 Ball outfit in Ripley, Derbyshire (the custom colour maestros).


The idea is to celebrate ten years of the Rocket Three. At 2,294cc, it's still the world's largest capacity production motorcycle. At around 770lbs (wet), it's still one of the heaviest.


The X model shares all the basic underpinnings of the stock Rocket, but will be supplied with a very special paint job, said to be as deep as the Grand Canyon, and as black as Stalin's heart.


The side panels will be hand numbered. The black wheels will be pinstriped in silver. And Triumph will be hoping that this one keeps them squarely in the black too (but maybe someone should tell Hinckley that black ain't the new black anymore, and that it's actually passé).


So what's with the X initial, anyway? Well it could refer to an unknown quantity or a mystery. And it could simply mark the spot. But it's probably just X for ten, as in Roman numerals.


Let's hope the Rocket is still around in another decade. And to celebrate that auspicious day, let's also hope that Triumph can offer a little more than a refresher paint job and a number on the side.



— Big End




"500 Nortons headed to Australia"

Did you hear the one about the British bike manufacturer that's just secured a 500-bikes-per-annum sales deal with the Australians?


Well we've just heard it. And we're not sure if we're laughing.


The punch line came recently from Norton's international sales manager Mark Pinfield. And that 500-bike deal is said to be good for 500 machines per annum for the next five years. Additionally, Norton Motorcycles (we hear) is said to be anticipating annual sales of £350,000 of clothing and Norton branded goods to this lucrative Antipodean market. [More on Norton motorcycles exports to Australia...]

— Dexxion



Swinton execs fined £928,000


Back in Sump July 2013 we reported that insurance firm Swinton had been fined £7.4million by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for "mis-selling". In other words, the company had been aggressively flogging add-on services to ignorant customers.


Well three Swinton ex-directors have now been given a collective £928,000 kick where it hurts for doing things they ought not to be doing.


Such as what?


Such as "performing significant influence functions" (don't you just love this legalese?). Peter Halpin (former chief exec) is one of the offenders. Anthony Clare (former financial director) is another. And the third monkey is Nicholas Bowyer.


The trio stood to collect bonuses of around £90 million if they could ratchet up operating profits to £110 million. All they had to do was "run a sales-focussed company to the detriments of customers". We don't know either exactly what that means. We're just little people, after all.


Various bans have since been imposed on these guys preventing them from doing normal business-type things. But what difference does it really make? Chances are that they'll retrench, regroup and come out fighting again.


We're in the wrong bleedin' game here. How about you?

— Del Monte




Remember John Reed aka Uncle Bunt? He was the UK's premier custom bike builder back in the 1970s and 80s, a man who was always pushing the envelope and daring to be very different. Well there's more than a touch of Reed in Alec Sharp's work. Distinct. Surprising. And challenging. Watch this new contender closely.



Old Empire Imperial Ducati Typhoon

Alec Sharp is the guy behind Old Empire Motorcycles. The firm is based in Diss, Norfolk.


Sharp is one of those rare custom bike builders with energy, vision and flair. His latest creation is the above 1995 Ducati 900ss artfully re-crafted into the tubular belle pictured here.


[more on Old Empire Motorcycle's Ducati Typhoon]




Sterling Autocycles replica flat tanker


This is bound to be a pretty divisive motorcycle. One camp will tell you that it's a cool, latter day replica of an 1920s flat tanker motorcycle, but with the convenience of a modern engine, oil-tight mechanicals, decent brakes, "classic style" and a reasonable turn of speed to boot.


The other camp will tell you that it's a cheesy fake; a grotesque and misplaced homage to a style of motorcycle that died a natural death almost one hundred years ago.


And they'd both be right. And wrong.


[more on the Sterling Autocycle replica flat tanker]




Sump's own 1983 Triumph TSX. Soon we'll be expected to pay £12.50 per day to ride this "factory custom" into Central London ...



... but our 1968 Triumph TR25W Trophy will be exempt.



Ultra Low Emission Zone update

A week or so ago, the London Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) proposals threatened to charge all pre-2007 vehicles including motorcycles) £12.50 per day to enter the capital. Well we've since been contacted by Sumpster "Mick", who runs a 2006 Bonneville and a 1973 Daytona.


He advises us that there's now a supplementary statement from Transport for London (TfL) proposing that pre-1973 vehicles will be exempt from the charge.


It's not clear yet if this is a firm position, or merely a talking/negotiating point. But it does imply some flexibility (and sanity) on the part of TfL. Here's the exact working from the supplement:


"It is proposed that the small number of vehicle types that are currently exempt from the LEZ would also be exempt from the ULEZ. These include agricultural vehicles, military vehicles, historic vehicles, non-road going vehicles which may be driven on the highway (for example excavators) and certain types of mobile crane. These vehicles typically use engines certified to different standards than road-going engines. Some of these vehicles are proposed to be exempt owing to their unsuitability for conversion to an alternative fuel or engine replacement. The Mayor continues to seek improvements to these other vehicles, such as non-road going vehicles, as set out in the MAQS."


Note that TfL has qualified historic vehicles as "pre-1973".



Meanwhile, our "dirty" 1945 BSA M20 will also be exempt ...



... but a "clean" 2006 Bonneville will cost you £12.50 per day.



All sounds a little ... unfair? Well that's how it works when you introduce any rule, or law or "bedroom tax". There are winners and there are losers, and there ain't always a lot of sense in between.


Best you can do is to tell it to TfL and remind them that motorcycles ain't really the problem, air-pollution wise. There simply ain't enough of them on the roads these days to have an impact on the environment.


Just be careful how you word your electronic missive, mind. We wouldn't want City Hall deciding that they might as well rope in all powered two-wheelers regardless of age.


It could happen.


See this story: £12.50 per day classic bike charge


— Del Monte




Barn Built Cafe Racer Dot Com kit

If you're into Brat style bobbers, and an awful lot of you evidently are these days, you might want to check out this guy. He's only recently come our way, and we don't know much about him except for what we've read on his site. But he's clearly got a little bike artistry in his soul. And although it ain't exactly our thing, we can't knock the other's guy ride and vision.


It's not the first CX500 based custom kit we've featured on Sump. And it probably won't be the last. Most of the Brat scene revolves around cheap bikes that are cut, shut, chopped, bobbed and generally deconstructed, and then reconstructed in often (but by no means always) unexpected ways.


This guy has done exactly that, and he appears to be an industrious so-and-so, so we're giving him a free plug. And no, he ain't related to us, and we wouldn't know him from Adam. He's just some creative type guy named Andrei who's beavering away on the other side of the pond (in Michigan, USA actually).




The kits include a wrapped exhaust system, a carbon fibre seat unit, various bracketry, a modified swinging arm, a dual LED tail light, a replacement rear shock and some other funky stuff. The price is around £850 (at current exchange rates), and you can earn that kind of money in a few weeks of serious begging outside of your local railway station or cash machine.


He's on eBay if you hunt around, and he looks like he's got his particular hobby horse by the throat and knows exactly what he's doing.


Anyway, we're done talking here. Go check his site and see if he's got anything for you this Christmas.




Also see Sump August 2013 for another CX500 kit.

Big End






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