It's Dragon Rally time again. This was how the Dragoneers

looked 40-odd years ago outside the White Lion Inn,

Whittington, Shropshire. Here in 2011, you'll be pleased to

discover that the masochistic spirit is alive and well.

Check out the book launch story below...

 February 2011       Classic bike news


Dave Degens at South of England Ardingly Classic Bike Show

Vincent's last Black Knight to be auctioned at Race Retro.

Xenon light protest

1936 Rudge Sports on eBay

Last call for the 31st Bristol Classic Motorcycle Show

Triumph Speed Twin repro panels

Slosh: new ethanol proof fuel tank sealant from Draganfly

Kawasaki W800 cafe racer

Vinnielonglegs under the hammer

50 years of the Welsh Dragon Rally

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

Dave Degens at South of England Ardingly Classic Bike Show


Look, we only had a couple of snaps sent by Keith Fryer and we needed to do something creative with them. So we stuck one in a pair of goggles and tinted the goggles a fetching shade of rose and tried to make something of it.


Yes, we could have done better. But there was a good film on telly that we wanted to watch, so we just did what we could while the adverts were on.


Anyway, it's a plug for Julie Diplock's South of England Show at Ardingly on Sunday March 20th 2011. Plenty of scruffy, fat, bald blokes buying classic bike bits, plus showbikes, and Dave Degens & his 650cc Dresda Triumph (hosting a bike clinic), and 200 private entries, and club stands, and free parking, and catering, and so on. Open: 10.00am. Entry: six quid (or a fiver for senior citizens and Real Classic readers saying: "You are Mr Kolly Kibber and I claim the Daily Messenger prize"—Brighton Rock joke).


So go there. Spend money. Enjoy the first shots of the Spring classic bike hunting season.

— Del Monte




Vincent's last Black Knight to be auctioned at Race Retro


It goes under the hammer on February 26th 2011 at H&H's Stoneleigh Park Race Retro auction and is expected to fetch between £35,000-£40,000. What makes it special, or, at least, more interesting is the fact that it's the last Black Knight produced at Stevenage.


If you're not in the know, the Black Knight was the Vincent that everyone wanted, but nobody bought. That's the folklore, anyway. But the truth is a little more complicated.


Vincent had been losing sales hand over fist between 1950 and 1953 where production numbers dropped from around 2800 units to around 450. Other manufacturers were not only playing catch-up, but in many respects were leaving Vincent behind.


Something had to be done, and total fibre-glass bodywork was deemed the answer. On paper it sounded good (probably as good as, say, Raquel Welch wearing a garden shed), but in the showrooms, these Series D Vinnies flopped. Yes, there were numerous technical refinements such as a 60-watt dynamo (Lucas), and Amal Monobloc carbs, but in the eyes of the Vincent purist, more was lost than gained—and the glass bodywork (with all its production problems) pretty much killed the beast.


Today, however, these bikes are sought after, and this particular one is likely to draw a big crowd and a lot of readies. Restoration of this machine began in 2007 and was completed 18 months later. Suffice to say that pretty much everything that can be done to a Vincent was done to this Vincent, including indicators and an electric start. Then the owner (Tony Pollard) decided he was unhappy with it (seat height too tall or something), so it's under the hammer.


The engine number is: F10AB/2/11133. The frame number is: RD13033F. The registration is: TGK 168. And yes, there is an MOT (as if that makes any difference).


It's not the last Vincent ever built, note. But according to H&H (unless we're misreading their ambiguous sales copy), it's close—being the last but one.


It's going to sell, and we're predicting a very large number. And if the next bloke has longer legs, maybe he'll even get to ride it for a bit before it goes in a vault. The Lot number is 13, by the way (Note: This bike actually sold for £38,000).


Meanwhile, at the same auction, owner Tony is also flogging a 1949 Series B Rapide (Lot 17, complete with indicators and Mikuni carbs). The estimate is £25,000-£28,000 (Note: This bike actually sold for £29,750). And if that's still too rich for you, check out the Bond below ...


1951 Bond Minibike up for grabs



Yes, it's a little daft. But Laurence Bond dared to be different (or maybe one of his mates dared him). Either way, in 1950 he produced the Bond Minibike for anyone else who wanted to cut a different dash.


In the early postwar years, there was a rash of these Villiers powered bikes (or, according to Villiers-haters, a running sore of them). Bond launched his with a 99cc Villiers 1F lump (or, in this case, bump), and went for the monocoque look with a rigid rear end and (initially) a rigid front. Trouble was, with its quirky split rim balloon tyres and copious guards de la mud, it failed to make anyone else's front very rigid. So Laurence had to think again.


A 125cc De Luxe Jap-engined version followed, by which time telescopic forks were fitted. But even with legshields and footboards and direct lighting, this 3-speeder failed to ring anyone's bells, and in 1953 it was game over (and Mr Bond concentrated on three-wheelers).


This bike is the 1951 De Luxe model and the estimate is £3000-£4000  (Note: This bike actually sold for £1,320). It hasn't been ridden since 1980, we hear, which is a bigger shame than Gaddafi getting six million bootprints on his nether end. But you can put that right by putting in a bid. It's lot number 15, and we like it plenty.

— Dexxion



Xenon light protest


It's not often we agree with a London taxi driver (and we'll try not to do it again) but we think taxi-man Ken Perham is onto something that needs a lot deeper investigation.


We're talking about disability glare from xenon headlights that are a mixed blessing (at best) and a major motoring menace (at worst).


Ken's gathered compelling evidence to show that the xenon searchlights as fitted to the likes of modern BMWs, Audis, Range Rovers, etc, contribute to many road accidents—not least least accidents involving motorcyclists who are easily lost behind the powerful headlight beams.


It's not merely night use that's the problem, but also the growing fashion for daytime running lights. No, it's not a new concern. Disability glare has been a worry since headlights were invented (in the old days, drivers used to close one eye as they passed each other at night). But modern technology had turned halogens into near-lasers thereby blitzing out pretty much everyone else except the vehicle coming at ya. And closing one eye isn't going to help much on modern traffic-soaked streets where every millisecond counts.


The upshot is that Ken wants to stamp out this problem, and together with co-complainer, Roy Milnes, he's drawn up a petition and needs you to stick your monicker on it.


You can lend some weight to this campaign by following the link below. It's a serious issue that shouldn't be ignored. Go to the website. Read the blurb. Do what you have to do.

— The Third Man




1936 Rudge Sports on eBay


There are seven days left on this as from today, Thursday 17th February 2011, and this one's a peach. 249cc. Twin-port. Radial head. Four valves. Single. Rudge. If that doesn't press your buttons, you could be on the wrong web site.


This pretty little bike is advertised as one owner since 1936, which will make it two owners if you buy it. The price at the moment is £4,421.77, with three bids in the hat. It's in Leicestershire, by the way.



If you're not familiar with Rudge-Whitworth Cycles, these were always classy bikes with a quality build and a proud racing heritage. Like a lot of companies of their day, Rudge had big ideas. However, unlike a lot of competitors, Rudge's thinking was sound.


Rudge struggled in the depression era and were eventually bought by Electric & Musical Industries Ltd, aka EMI. What started in 1894 ended just before the Second World War.


The frame number on this bike is 5770, the engine number is T1292. We want this little Rudge the way Nick Clegg wants to be loved, but the piggy bank is all out of bacon at the moment, so we're not buying, just watching and thinking larcenous thoughts.


There's also an ultra-rare 1929 300cc Scott single for sale from the same owner (image below).



Talk to John on: 01536 770614 (we hear that his health isn't what it ought to be, and wish him well).


Footnote: The Rudge has now been sold for £7685.85

— Del Monte



Last call for the 31st Bristol

Classic Motor Cycle Show


Mortons are quoting big numbers for this year's Bristol Classic Motorcycle show, such as 18,000 visitors, 1000 bikes, 770 trade stalls, 100 years of motorcycling, etc.


We'll take 'em at their word, but after a couple of months of the worst winter weather we've seen in years, it's odds-on that everyone in the classic bike community will be champing at the bit and desperate to gadabout in the time-honoured way.

With that in mind, Carole Nash are once again sponsoring the show which will be held on 19th and 20th February at the Royal Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet. Somerset. So if you're still down with cabin fever, here's an opportunity to drive away the winter blues.

— Girl Happy












Triumph Speed Twin repro panels


Okay. Here's the story. There are two types of Speed Twin instrument panels. Steel on the left, Bakelite on the right. Except that the one on the right is a repro.


So okay, it's not exactly Bakelite. But what did you expect? This is 2011, and no one's made anything from Leo Baekeland's thermo setting resins for about half a century. But these hot-moulded Speed Twin/Tiger 100 instrument panels are at least sensitively made and will be a lot more durable than the originals. They're colour-fast over extended time periods and will resist cracking unless you give them serious abuse.


More to the point, any NOS Bakelite items you might stumble across are probably long past their sell-by date and not fit for purpose. So you'll just have to take what's on offer.


Which isn't to talk these down. Far from it. They're being offered by

Ian Wright, the BSA M and B Series specialist, and Ian doesn't do things by halves (not when he can do them by pints).


They cost £26 plus shipping. You can contact Ian via his significant other's email (Ian being more at home behind a lathe than a computer). Will also suit Tiger 80s, etc. And no, the instruments and switches don't come with the panels, just in case you were wondering.


Chances of getting a lousy deal from Ian? Zero.


 UPDATE: These panels are no longer available.

— Dexxion



New ethanol proof fuel tank sealant from Draganfly


Ethanol resistant? No, ethanol proof. 100%. That's what Suffolk-based Draganfly Motorcycles are telling us.


That old tank sealant that you've been happily relying on for the past ten years is quite possibly—if not probably—breaking up and filling your fuel lines and carburettors with all kinds of muck and gunge that you just don't want there.


It's the ethanol that does it. It's as corrosive as Jeremy Paxman and does all kinds of horrible things to your mechanical innards.


"Slosh", say Draganfly, is the fix. First, you need to thoroughly flush your tank and get rid of whatever protection you thought you had, and then slosh this new stuff about. End of story—until the oil companies foist something even more destructive upon us. But until then, you don't have to put up with it.


So if you want to get soundly sloshed, it'll cost you £22.62 for a 425ml tin, which includes VAT and delivery in the UK. Sound like something worth getting tanked up for? We haven't tested it, so we're sitting out this one. Consequently, don't just fit and forget. Do some serious research and check the forums and ask your mates. Tank sealing is something of a black art and an unreliable science. It works for some, but not for all.


Be aware.

— Del Monte




Kawasaki W800 cafe racer


Also available in silver or gold, this is Kawasaki's new W800 cafe racer—but you probably won't be seeing it here in Blighty unless you make a fuss about it. It's intended for the Japanese home market only, but motorcycle manufacturers and importers have been known to cave in under pressure.


In fact, we've got a suspicion that Kawasaki want to bring this bike to the UK and is simply looking for reaction. Full details of the bike are not available yet, but few people will be buying it for the details. The looks alone will find a ready market. A classic in the making? We think so.

— Del Monte



Vinnylonglegs under the hammer


721,703. That's the mileage racked up on this 1955 998cc Vincent Black Prince. Or, looked at another way, that's one million kms, thereby making it perhaps the highest mileage Vinnie in history (unless you know otherwise).


Owner Stuart Jenkinson, from Northumbria, bought the bike new from St. Andrew’s Motors in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and is said to be the only person who has ever ridden it—aside from the Vincent works tester.


Three times rebuilt, the Black Prince has been Stuart's faithful mount used for everything from commuting, to shopping, to transcontinental touring having travelled pretty much all over Europe—including 40 trips to Greece, each of over 3000 miles, plus Germany, Belgium, Austria, Slovenia, Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia, Czechoslovakia, Montenegro, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Hungary.


In 1980, Stuart found himself using the Vincent as the lead vehicle in a continental touring business. Modifications include a re-designed front fairing, modified upper front frame section from a Series C Vincent, a four gallon Series C fuel tank, upgraded electrics, disc brakes, Koni dampers, and five gallon pannier boxes.


But after more than half a century, man and machine are destined to be parted, and we feel it's a crying shame. In fact, we think there should be a law against it requiring an Act of Parliament and approval by the home secretary before Stuart can dispose of this Stevenage ultra-high miler. But it's out of our hands.


Bonhams will be auctioning the bike at the International Motorcycle Show in Staffordshire on April 24th 2011. The reserve is £35,000-£40,000.


You can do what you want, but we're thinking of renting a huge mob, attending the auction, and screaming NO SALE! NO SALE!. Think it'll get much support?


Footnote: A mathematically-minded Sump visitor has suggested that the mileage on Vinnielonglegs is highly implausible. 721,000 miles over 55 years, we learn, works out at around 250 miles per week on average. Given that the bike would probably not have been used every day, or even every week, the average-per-week is even higher. Additionally, with the engine having been rebuilt only three times, is such a high mileage even possible? Any other (authenticated) high mileage bike fables are invited.


Footnote: Vinnielonglegs failed to make its reserve and reached only £28,000.

— The Third Man



50 Years of the

Historic Welsh

Dragon Rally


It separates the men from the boys—or so it's been said. We're talking about the legendary Dragon Rally, organised by the Conwy Motorcycle Club and held every year in North Wales, often under the most tortuous conditions.


Snow, ice, rain—and even glorious sunshine—won't keep true Dragoneers away. And the rougher it gets, the more they like it. But if you want to become part of it, you'd better book early because tickets sell out quickly. In fact, this year's reservations are c-l-o-s-e-d.


To mark what has become something of a motorcycling rite-of-passage, not to mention the 50th anniversary of the event, Carol Morgan has written a book to give you the inside track of what exactly goes on during those frost-laden nights on a Welsh mountain, with nothing but dozens of frigid souls desperately seeking body warmth, and 5000 Celtic sheep for company.


If you want amusing stories, you've got 'em. If you want photographs of old friends in the prime of their youth, you've got them too. If you want lashing of mud, chilblains, primus stoves, oily bikes, etc, etc, you've got all of that. And if you want to get a copy of the book—which will be launched at this year's rally on February 12th & 13th—it will cost you £11.99. But you'd better quick. It's a limited print run, so talk to Carol Morgan before you get much older.

— Del Monte



Round Kurland Latvian Rally


Juris Ramba is reminding us that entries for this year's Round Kurland Rally will close on 15th April 2011. Never heard of this event? Well sit back and let us explain ...


The rally is held each year in Latvia in memory of motoring pioneer Alexander Leutner. It's limited to historic motorcycles and will this year feature a Reliability Road Trial.


Riders will start out on Friday 15th July 2011 at the ski resort hotel Milzkalns in the Tukums region, and will cover around 650 kilometres over three days.


The weather will be fantastic, and there will be lots to see in what was once tsarist Russia—but is now a small Baltic state (and EC member since 2004) of which most of us know little. Or nothing. But Juris knows it like the back of his riding gauntlets and has got the whole thing by the throat. Cue castles, palaces, forests, beautiful women, lots of beer, good food, great roads and a fantastic northern biking experience.


There will be support for breakdowns, and there will be vehicles to ferry baggage between the various stages. Juris has also worked out a money-saving deal for transporting bikes en masse from the UK to Latvia.


Interested? Okay. Contact Juris at the site detailed below. But remember, this is an event for historic motorcycles only. There are places for just 50 vehicles.

— The Third Man



Mike Hailwood Memorial Run


Britain's greatest motorcycle racer? You won't find many people who'll disagree with that, least of all the regulars who attend the annual Mike Hailwood Memorial Run.


For 2011, the event falls on Sunday March 20th. It starts as ever at the old Norton factory at Bracebridge Street, Aston, Birmingham. From there, riders will visit the site at Portway where forty year old Mike and his ten year old daughter, Michelle, were killed in a collision with a truck that was executing an illegal turn. The run concludes at the cemetery at Tanworth-in-Arden, Warwickshire, close to Mike's home.


Mike Hailwood (born Stanley Michael Bailey Hailwood but more affectionately referred to as Mike the Bike) began his racing career in 1957. He won at the Isle of Man TT no less than fourteen times, his last win being in 1979. He was also successful at motor racing, worked for a while at Triumph, and was awarded the George Medal (2nd highest civilian bravery award) following his involvement in a spectacular crash at the 1973 South African Grand Prix after pulling rival motor racer Clay Regazzoni from a burning car (Mike had himself also been injured during that smash).


The memorial event is organised by the Birmingham Tester Run and is sponsored by Carole Nash Insurance. This year, note, is the 30th Anniversary, and a big turnout is hoped for. Frame-building supremo, Ken Sprayson, will give a talk about Mike at the service.


Even if you can't make it by motorcycle and need to drive, you're still very welcome. Registration isn't required, but check out the website to see what the etiquette is. Total mileage on the run will be about ten. It starts at 11.15am.


Mike Hailwood:1940-1981. Michelle Hailwood: 1971-1981

— Del Monte




Triumph Tiger 90 register


Look, we know that these half-litre Trumpets don't light everyone's fuse. Which is odd really because once you put away your six-pack macho pretensions and take them for a blast, they're a hoot.


They're easy starting, a doddle to maintain, lightweight, flickable, pretty, fuel efficient, smooth and—best of all—affordable (whatever that means to you). And they give you a fair head of steam too for all-round Sunday riding/commuting/bank getaways (but if nosebleeds are your thing, better get the V-Max instead).


However, they lack the muscle of their bigger Bonneville brethren, so they get overlooked—which is at least partly why Justin The Tiger 90 Man is looking to develop a register and put owners and buyers in touch with one another and fly the flag, etc. You know the score.


Justin's got a website with plenty of detailed info on what is one of the most overlooked Triumphs in the cat pack. So put down those dumbells, step away from the mirror and check it out.

— Girl Happy


Crash Card launched at the Ace Cafe


Here's how it works. You pick up a Crash Card at any number of motorcycle shops, biking cafes, tyre depots, etc, fill in your personal details and stick it under the lining of your lid. Then you stick a green dot on the right side of your crash helmet. Then you have a crash.


The attending ambulance crew recognise the green dot, remove your lid, grab the card, see that you're allergic to everything from peanuts to paracetamol and give you the required treatment. Simple. Or is it?


The scheme was piloted in 2009 in Essex and was recently "launched" at the Ace Cafe (17th January 2011). Sounds okay in principle, but in practice it's probably fraught with problems—not least the fact that a little green dot on the side of a lid isn't likely to be very easy to spot at night (for instance) after you've slid down the road, etc.


Also, there's not an awful lot of space on the card for your medical history. Also, we're not convinced that putting the card under the lining in your lid is the best place for it. Also, you can add to that any number of other issues you care to mention (borrowed lid confusion, time wasted searching for a little green dot on a multicoloured lid, deciphering handwriting, etc). In fact, there's a pretty good comedy sketch in there somewhere.


If it makes you feel more secure, you'd better go and get yourself a card (with a spare one for your wallet). But we're not going to be rushing out for one of these. In fact, the way the health service is going in the UK, you'd probably be best advised to simply stick a few fivers in the lining.


If you've got health issues that need special attention, our advice is not to put much faith in a little green dot and a piece of yellow cardboard. Try some dog tags, a tattoo, and/or a much bigger sticker on each side of your lid explaining what your particular problem is.


Footnote: When we checked the website of the Ambulance Motorcycle Club (who dreamed up this scheme), we found that they'd spelled the word "information" as "infomation". No big deal in itself, but it underlines the fact that this scheme relies upon good literacy, which appears to be in short supply these days.


The bottom line? We think this one's a little dotty.

— Dexxion



raffles a
Trident for 2011



The Vintage Motorcycle Club is this year raffling a 1975 T160 Trident. Monetary value aside, these bikes are a class act that were all-conquering in their day—and can still put a little hair under your toupee if you give 'em half a chance.


When Triumph built the T150s and T160s, the bikes were riddled with production problems. But pretty much all of that has since been sorted.


Second prize, incidentally, is a Davida lid. Third prize is a subscription to Old Bike Mart and The Classic Motorcycle. But the Trident is the big one, and if you want a chance at winning it, each ticket will cost you £1 (Sterling). The draw will be on Friday 24th June 2011.


You can buy tickets from the VMCC HQ on 01283 540557, or by e-mail at

— Del Monte




Harley-Davidson Sportster Custom


What's that you're saying? "That ain't a classic bike!" Well actually it is. The Harley Sportster is just about as classic as a motorcycle can get. They've been around in one form or another since the late 1950s, and H&D make 'em better and better every year, albeit in small increments.


This one is the new 2011 Custom version, which, between you and us, is pretty much the same as all the others over the past few years except that along with a 1200cc V-twin engine, belt final drive, a five speed 'box and a rubber-mounted engine, it's also got a fat front wheel—which, come to think of it, ain't that new either (didn't they have one of those on the Forty Eight Sportster last year?)


But it's a different colour anyway. Well, differentish. The point is, it's out there and it's a pretty cool piece of Yankee iron and aluminium and ... well, that's it. The 2011 Sportster Custom (and we don't even get a commission for saying all this).


They're priced at around £7500, and you can "customise" these when they're still tracking down the assembly line. That's the new Harley manufacturing culture, apparently; you're not only there for the delivery, you're also there at the inception. Nice.


Footnote: We're advised that factory customisation might not be available outside of the USA. So check with your dealer.


— The Third Man



KLN 804, where
are you?


Ian McCrerie from Lancashire is trying to track down the above Vincent HRD. Why? Because it used to belong to his father, Alan, who's pictured here riding it back in 1951 with his brother Stuart in the chair. The location, incidentally, is Lands End. That's all the information that Ian has, and he's trying to find the bike on the QT so that he can present his 86-year old dad with an up-to-date picture.


He knows the bike is still around, incidentally, because the registration number shows up online. But the bike itself is proving more elusive. He's asked the Vincent Club, we hear, and they don't know. But maybe you do. So if you can help, drop us a line at Sump and we'll pass it on.


— Girl Happy



Light aero engines from Kingswood
to Cathcart


Not the world's catchiest title, but an interesting subject perhaps for many classic bikers, not least those riding Douglas motorcycles.


But whether or not it's interesting enough to stick their hands in their pockets and stump up seventeen quid is another matter.


Published by Redcliffe Press, Brian Thorby's account covers the development of Douglas motorcycle-to-aero engines from the early 1920s up until the outbreak of World War 2—the "golden age of civil aviation".


We haven't read it, but Redcliffe says it's "profusely illustrated throughout". If you're interested in the work of renowned Douglas designer Cyril G Pullin and want to explore the links between classic bikes and classic aircraft, this one might give you something better to do in the evenings than watch TV. 232 black and white pages. Softback.

— Del Monte




Bonhams' Paris Grand Palais Auction draws near...


Bonhams' "Automobilia, Motos de collection et Automobiles d'exception au Grand Palais" kicks off on 5th Feb 2011, which is this Saturday (or last Saturday if you're reading this next week). It takes place (or took place) in Paris and, as ever, has some interesting lots. But it's a mistake to think that auctions are exclusively for the super rich. Fact is, there's usually something for pretty much all pockets.



Lot 225, for instance, is 1924 BSA 349cc Model L which is carrying an estimate of €5200-€6200—thereby putting it in reach of most classic bikers. These post-WW1 BSAs have a very special charm and are generally reliable machines with a ready re-sale market. You're unlikely to get rich investing in them. But your money is reasonably safe if you buy at the current market level.


The Model L was introduced for 1923 and was a general hack for BSA's traditional working class/business clientele. It appears to be a warmed-over older restoration, and carries P&H acetylene lights. It hasn't been run for some time, we hear, but seems to be all there. On the money? We think it's a little low.


Or if AJSs are more to your taste, Lot 226 is a 1929 AJS 248cc Model M12 (see image immediately above). This sidevalve is a rare one-year-only model descended from the longer-running K12. It comes with a V5/V5C and is described as "in good condition".


The frame number is: 135712. The engine number is (confusingly?): M12 1921. The estimate is €3500-€4700—which to our minds is also little low. But that might simply be strategy rather than a true indicator of Bonhams' expectations on the day.


Alternately (or even additionally), we liked the look of the two 616cc
V-twin Wanderers (below) built by Winkelhofer & Jaenicke. Lot 208 (immediately below), is circa 1923. This bike has matching engine and frame numbers (whatever that means to you), turns-over, and has a few parts missing. In its day, this was a high-specification machine built for gentlemen and the military. Frame no. 54279 Engine no. 30386. It's expected to fetch €17,000- €20,000.



Meanwhile, Lot 214 (below) is a restored Wanderer from around 1922 which is said to be "as original" and all correct. The frame number is: 26932. The estimate is €20,000-€24,000. Restoring the one above to the condition of the one below is likely to eat most, if not all, of the price differential between the two. So leaving it "au naturel" is probably the way to go. Hasn't the world already got plenty of over-restored bikes?


FOOTNOTE (6/2/2011): The auction has now passed. Here are a few of the results:


Lot 201: 1955 Vincent Black Knight - €55,200 (est: €33,000- €37,000)

Lot 202: 1949 Vincent Rapide - €34,500 (est: €26,000- €30,000)

Lot 203: 1950 Vincent Comet - €10,925 (est: €7500- €9000)

Lot 204: 1936 Brough Superior SS80 - €44,850 (est:€38,000- €45,000)

Lot 208: 1923 Wanderer - UNSOLD

Lot 214: 1922 Wanderer - UNSOLD

Lot 225: 1924 349cc BSA Model L: €4,370 (est: €5200-€6200)

Lot 226: 1929 AJS 248cc Model M12  €2,300 (est: €3500-€4700)

Lot 227: Circa 1921-1925 Megola. Not sold. (est: €145,000- €200,000)


The euro is valued at 84.4 pence as of 6/2/2011.

Images courtesy of Bonhams.


— The Third Man



£144 Lucas ammeter on eBay. Sold!


...of course, bidding on something on eBay isn't the same as sticking your hand in your PayPal pocket and actually buying it. But there were 16 bids on this "pre-war ammeter" [that had been] "stored in a box of Norton WD 16H / Big 4 parts for the best part of fifty years."


Sixteen bids might well represent just two people going toe to toe in an auction frenzy, but it's telling that the hammer price managed to reach anything like this level. Must be the rare brass bezel that did it. Chances are that this will end up on a WW2 despatch bike where prices for complete machines and parts are hitting record levels.


We would have pegged an item like this at £30-£40 tops. New ones are, after all, available for around twenty five quid. But the market has spoken, and the market (or at least some of the market) wants classic originals, and if the buyer completes the transaction, then that's what this ammeter's worth.


For now.


We've long been expecting a massive price crash in the classic bike sector, but there still isn't much evidence of it.


So while the market is strong, you'd better nip out to the garage and see what's in those old boxes that you haven't look in since the first Sputnik went up. As ever, where there's muck there's brass, and brass appears to be where it's at at the moment.

— Del Monte



BSA A10 Golden Flash eBook from Sump MagazineBSA Golden Flash

eBook from Sump


It's not our first eBook, but it's the first one that we're not giving away.

This 100-page, full-colour essay on BSA's classic A10 is yours for £4.99.


It's basically a "reprint" of our Sump Golden Flash buyers guide, but with dozens of extra highly-detailed images coupled with fresh insights into these wonderful British classics.


We've already posted a page with the usual hard-sell, so we won't labour it here. But if A10s are your thing, go to our BSA Golden Flash page and check it out. Can't imagine that many of you will be disappointed by this book.

— Dexxion




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