The one on the left is a 1939 998cc Vincent Rapide Series A, estimated at £180,000-£220,000. The one on the right is a 1955 998cc Black Shadow, the last Series C, estimated at £70,000-100,000. Both bikes belonged to the late Brian Verrall, and both are to be sold by Bonhams on 29th April 2012 at the Stafford Show.
These machines, we hear, pretty much span the entire Vincent production run, both of which are rare and highly desirable by blue chip collectors.
Also at the sale is:
● Ex-Mission Impossible III Triumph Bonneville Scrambler ridden by Tom Cruise, estimated at £12,000-15,000.
● A 1931 Douglas 750cc sidecar outfit, believed to be one of only three works-models built (and rumoured to have been owned by Jack Douglas, grandson of company founder, William), estimated at £35,000-£45,000.
● A 1934 996cc "two of everything" (oil pumps, carbs, magnetos and cylinders) Brough Superior SS100 previously part of the Murray Motorcycle Museum collection in the Isle of Man, estimated at £150,000-180,000.
Once again, it's all beyond the financial means of greasy oiks like us. But when the revolution comes, etc, we know where the payback's gonna be, huh?
Bonhams, who supplied the pic (ta very much), will no doubt do very well once again at Stafford. We'll tell you exactly how it all went down when the results come in.
● The Brian Verrall 1939 Series A Rapide sold for £225,500.
● The Brian Verrall 1955 Series C Black Shadow sold for £124,700. (thought to be the highest price paid for a Shadow).
● The "Tom Cruise" Bonneville sold £13,800.
● The 1931 Douglas 750cc sold for £40,250.
● The 1934 "two of everything Brough" sold for £242,300.
— Sam 7
According to Somerset Road Safety, drivers who know (and presumably like) someone who rides a bike are much more likely to watch out for other bikers on the street.
To that end, the organisation has launched a new poster campaign with posters that are available to anyone in the area who's prepared to display them. The idea is to portray bikers as ordinary people—and notably as people who in turn might save someone else's life; hence the biking fireman, nurse and doctor in the images (see pics above and below).
Meanwhile, figures are being cited that show that bikers make up just one percent of traffic, but account for one-fifth of deaths and serious injuries. In 2010, 403 motorcyclists died in the UK and 4,780 were seriously injured.
You need to know, of course, exactly what is defined as a "serious injury". But that said, all of us understand that bikers don't crumple as neatly as vehicle crumple zones, and we're glad that someone has come up with a new approach and has shown a little initiative.
"When will you need a biker?" is the slogan. But more to the point now is when will all the other local authorities get on board and take this initiative nationwide?
Sound like something you can support? Good. Talk to Jim Newman on 01823 423430. or try this link: firstname.lastname@example.org
Meanwhile, you might consider forwarding the idea to your MP, local paper, local road safety officer, or whoever. What comes around, goes around, etc.
You're right; George Brough never made an SS120. But Alex Card did.
Who is Alex Card? Alex is, or was, the late proprietor of Carmac Ltd, a man well known in classic bike circles who spent most of his life building frames and engines and gearboxes. For many years, Alex owned both the Brough Superior name (and intellectual rights), and the JAP name (and intellectual rights). His dream was to build brand new Brough Superior motorcycles, which led to the creation of the above Brough "SS120".
It's on eBay right now (as of 26th March 2012), and the asking price is one pound short of eight grand. We can't see it getting anywhere close to that, but the www is a funny thing, and eBay is even funnier. So maybe we're wrong.
This bike, we hear, was built in 1992. It's running a 1340cc/80 cubic inch engine, a three-speed Sturmey Archer gearbox, Triumph wheel hubs, and repro Castle forks. The frame is repro too.
The Card family (Dave and Les) still own the JAP name and still make JAP engines and spares. But the Brough Superior trademark, and everything that went with it, was sold in June 2008 to Netherton Industires Ltd, currently captained by Mark Upham, owner of British Only Austria, GmbH.
If you want to take a look at the bike before it sells, or not, here's a link:
— The Third Man
Remember the good old days when you could top up the tank and nobody cared too much about a few pennies over? We do. Back in the 1970s, and even the 1980s in some parts of the country, the pennies just weren't as important as they are today where most petrol stations live and die not by what comes out of the pumps, but by how many bags of crisps and bottles of Pepsi they sell.
Well, the relentless rise in the cost of fuel is soon likely to detonate a fuel bomb in some parts of the UK, effectively wiping out your favourite rural service stations - or so says Brian Madderson, chairman of RMI petrol, a trade body representing "petrol retailers and forecourt operators".
Currently, as of Monday 26th March 2012, the average price of a gallon of petrol is nudging £1.30 per litre, with some outlets charging as much as £1.40. In old-fashioned classic bike terms, that's £5.85 and £6.30 per gallon, respectively.
Where it hits the rural classic biker is that (a) the pump price is up to eight pence per litre more expensive than town petrol, and (b) rural garages, unlikely town-based supermarket chains such as ASDA, Tesco and Sainsbury, simply can't afford to sell fuel at zero profit. The result could finally lead to the "petrol deserts" that have been talked about for the past few years.
There are 8,500 petrol stations in the UK of which around 1,900 are rural stations. The vast majority of these (around 95%) are independently owned, and it's these station that face collapse as motorists and motorcyclists look to cut costs and buy fuel only at supermarket outlets or more competitive fast-road chains such as BP, Shell, etc.
Meanwhile, the RMI is talking to the Office of Fair Trading asking it to intervene in the thorny issue of "predatory pricing". If ever there was an instance of flogging a dead horse, that looks like it. We've already seen the dramatic decline of the rural post office and the local pub. Looks like the rural petrol station is also about to be consigned to the dustbin of history.
If you want to do something about it, tell the supermarkets and/or vote with your wallets. But can you afford it?
Meanwhile, better make the country garage experience last while it's going.
Seen one of these before? If you have, talk to Eldon at Owens Motorcycles in Wrexham, North Wales. The bike is clearly a BSA WM20 or M21 circa 1940-45 with most of the familiar bits—until you get to the back end. Then it all goes sort of pear-shaped and two wheels appear where there's usually just the one.
Eldon reckons the bike might have been used on an RAF airfield at some time, but to us, the angle-iron rear sub-frame looks a little more amateur.
Either way, Eldon has been around for almost three decades. He turns up some equally interesting oddities from time to time, and is always looking to make a deal. Check his website, or call him on: 01978 266087.
— Girl Happy
Jampot Spares is dead. But the AJS & Matchless Owners Club spares scheme is very much alive and well. It's simply been rebranded.
Why? For legal reasons. Long ago, the spares scheme used to be organised around club member's garages and sheds, with everyone collecting parts and making them available to other club members as and when needed.
Later, that system was changed. The parts became centralised in Kettering and were managed under a new legal instrument. Club member Jim Gunn looked after this system for many years. But in January 2012, Jim retired.
The club have since appointed a new operations manager, Gary Line. And the spares scheme is now called: The AJS & Matchless Owners Club Ltd Parts Service.
The contact details are the same. The great service is the same. The parts are all where they used to be. It's just the legal identity that's changed. Personally, we like the Jampot name. But what's it got to do with us?
Anyway, if you ride an AJS or a Matchless, joining the club will give you access to spares, technical info, dating info, help and advice. The club also has bikes for sale, and runs a busy social scene. And they remanufacture parts and are constantly adding to its stock.
Can't be too many reasons for not joining, can there?
— Del Monte
Here's a gadget that all bikers ought to have. It's another helmet cam/bike cam and retails for one penny short of two hundred quid.
We haven't tested it (yet), and the press release didn't specify if it's new. But what the hell? It's worth a second airing even if it's been around the block. This device is 91mm long, and weighs 85 grams and is waterproof to 20 metres. So if you accidentally ride your bike into the canal, your loved ones will be sure to catch your last gasps.
We've got a helmet cam of our own and use it all the time, and we recommend them, in principle. But not all helmet cams are very convenient. This one looks better than most and captures high definition video at 1920 x 1080 pixels, and that's about as good as it gets with available technology.
It records, we're told. at a frame rate of 30 per second—which is minimal as far as we're concerned. But it will also operate at 60 frames per second (fps) at a lower resolution of 1280 x 720 pixels.
Yes, it's got audio, most of which will probably be windblasted on the move, and you can take snaps at 12 megapixels. All importantly (and unlike some mini-cameras) it's got a 120-degree wide angle lens. That will capture the entire road ahead, but there will be some unavoidable distortion.
There's an anti-vibration sensor built in, and the lithium battery will power it for 2.5 hours (or so we're told). You can recharge it from a USB port. But if you're planning to use it for long trips, you're going to have to work out some way to top it up.
We've got a POV-1 helmet cam, and that takes rechargeable AA batteries and is equipped with a playback screen. This gizmo has no screen, so isn't as flexible on the move, but is still quite probably a handy piece of kit.
Also, be warned that some of these lithium-powered devices are not fitted with replaceable batteries. Instead, the power is wired in. That means that when the battery goes south, the device is junk.
It needs a micro SD card, and will take one up to 32gb. But take care again; not all SD cards are the same. You'll want a high quality one, or you could be faced with multiple equipment crashes.
The buttons on the side of the camera are designed to be operated with gloved hands, by the way. You can download the recordings to Windows computers or to Macs. Or you can watch your stuff on TV with the included cables. The kit also comes with mounting clips and cable-ties. It will be shockproof, up to a point, and will probably survive any crash that you can survive.
Lastly, it's fitted with "extra bright LEDs" and a laser thingy to help you get your aim right.
With this device, you won't be guaranteed to read number plates at a distance, least of all at night. So if that's your concern, you've got to use it intelligently and talk to the built-in microphone when you've got any concerns. And yes, you can make YouTube videos with it.
Interested? Talk to Motohaus Powersports on 01256 704909 or visit www.motohaus.com.
Meanwhile, check out the link below for more on helmet cameras:
http://www.sump-publishing.co.uk/camera not very obscura.htm
If you don't know who Willie G is, you certainly know his work.
As head of styling for Harley-Davidson, with 49 years in the saddle, Willie was responsible for some of the best remembered (and often the most divisive) Harleys since the early 1970s; bikes that include the V-Rod, the Fat Boy, the Low Rider, the XLCR "Cafe Racer", and the bike that set the firm on a completely new "factory custom" path, the 1971 FX Super Glide (image below).
Now, at age 78, Willie (grandson of company co-founder William A Davidson) is letting go of the bars and handing it all over to someone else. It's a regrettable decision, he says. But it's the right decision.
But he's not leaving the firm. He'll still be on call and performing the role that he's been performing for decades, which is an ambassador for Harley-Davidson; a man never far from the grass roots of the business and with more motorcycle miles under his boots than most of his customers. And he'll also be advising on special projects.
The seminal FX Super Glide was launched in 1971 at a time when HD was fielding two basic model types; the 74-cubic inch/1200cc FLH Electra Glide and the 61-cubic inch/1000cc XLH Sportster. At that time, choppers were in vogue, and Willie was one of the first to recognise that (a) the company was stagnating, and (b) there was money to be made if the firm launched a ready-made custom bike straight from the box.
The result was the front end of a Sportster grafted on to most of a FLH, plus a boat tail rear end, high handlebars, and a new red, white and blue livery.
The new FX (Factory Experimental) Super Glide, however, wasn't well received (least of all the boat tail which it shared with the Sportster) and Harley-Davidson soon toned it all down the following season. Nevertheless, this was the seed that put Harley back on the motorcycle map and helped propel it to the big time where it is today.
Affable, urbane, shrewd and forward-thinking, Willie G has been the public face of Harley-Davidson since the 1980s. It's hard to imagine someone else filling his shoes; shoes that were occasionally wet with controversy.
Motorcycle News recently quoted Willie as saying: "What’s most rewarding has been to see the impact our motorcycles have on the lives of our customers. Everything we do in styling is based on the notion that form follows function, but both report to emotion.”
And that sounds exactly like the kind of pseudo-esoteric, ad-speak Harley-talk we've come to expect, and love, from William G. Where would Harley have been without him?
— Del Monte
What's it all about? Put simply, in November 2012 Barack Obama is up for
re-election. At the US gas pumps, he wants to soften up the increasingly disaffected American voters. To do this, he needs to dump reserve oil onto the market in large amounts, and to that end, he need a little "British cooperation", which means persuading us to dump some of our own emergency supplies.
He also needs to look statesmanlike and presidential, and that's largely why he's currently David Cameron's best mate and has been busy flying the British Prime Minister around on Air Force One and saying reassuring things about the Falkland Islands, etc. This, incidentally, is the same Barack Obama who came to office back in 2009 and could barely look the Brits in the eye or find a kind word to say about us (in stark contrast to the relatively good Blair/Bush relationship).
Then there's Afghanistan which is playing badly both back in the US, and here in Britain, and both men (also for political purposes) need to get the troops out and somehow make an ignominious withdrawal look like a victory.
For Cameron's part, a little hobnobbing with the world's most powerful man won't in the slightest damage his kudos, and here in Blighty, we could use plenty of American tourist dollars during the 2012 Olympics.
Underlying all this is simply the high price of petrol/gas which is hitting consumers and industry and threatening to choke economic recovery on both sides of the pond. That's causing Cameron and Obama to grit their teeth and forge uneasy alliances to stave off a political and public revolt.
Where it affects you, as a classic biker (or simply as a motorist, person, businessman, or whatever) is that the release of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Oil Reserves can, and probably will (as expected), have a significant impact on the stock market, force down the price of crude, and make the oil producers very uncomfortable.
Back in June 2011, the US dumped 30 million barrels onto the market and, in doing so, sent heavy ripples through the FTSE, Dow Jones and right around the world. The stocks took a fall, but fairly quickly recovered. But this time, with the Iran nuclear situation in rapid escalation, things could turn out very different.
Britain's own oil reserves are a small fraction of what the Yanks are holding. So it's probably more likely that Obama is simply seeking UK endorsement of his (likely) actions.
Meanwhile, what are the chances of the Israeli's launching a pre-emptive strike in the near future on Ahmadinejad's regime? High. And if and when the big punch comes, we could all be wishing that prices at the UK pumps were "just" £6.20 a gallon.
So for the time being, keep the bikes topped up and stick an extra jerry can or two in the garage. Or, better still, in the shed at the other end of the garden away from your heaps. If Obama gets it wrong, there could be shortages, or big price hikes, on the way.
— Sam 7
For years we've been looking for something to wear when waxing the Sump BSA M20. But we couldn't find anything that we wanted to drape over the toned and curvaceous temples of our six-packed bodies. So we decided to address the problem, and design and print our own.
These shirts are quality items and will enhance your riding enjoyment, enrich your soul, and generally make you the envy of your friends, etc, down at your local BSA M20/M21 club. At the very least, they'll provide some useful rags further down the line with which to handle the aforementioned waxing.
Ownership of an M20/M21 is, of course, optional. But ownership of at least one of these T-shirts is ESSENTIAL if you want to hold your head up high in polite biking society.
We've got small, medium, large and extra-large. The shirts are £15.95 each plus £3.00 postage and packing for the UK, and £4.00 postage and packing everywhere else in the galaxy.
If you buy two or more shirts, the postage is fixed at £3.00 (UK) and £4.00 (all the way out to Alpha Centauri). So start feeling up your wallet, make your payment and prepare to look cooler than a Penguin's whatnots. And remember, when these T-shirts are gone, we'll just go and print some more.
Take me to the payment portal...
— The Third Man
Mick Walker, author, mentor, sponsor, racer, and one time
well-established bike dealer has died aged 71.
We knew Mick slightly and always found him genial and modest, and never far away from the end of his phone. For some time he'd been battling cancer and was keen to press on with the completion of his autobiography, which was recently published.
Mick was a Wisbech, Cambridgeshire man. In 1960, he started out on a Lambretta Li150 scooter. The following year he bought a 250cc Ducati. By 1965 was enjoying his first road race at Snetterton. Over the next seven years he campaigned machines that included AJS, BSA, Triumph, Honda, Norton, Greeves and Ducati.
In 1969, he founded Mick Walker motorcycles. By the late 1970s, he was a Cagiva importer and subsequently became involved with Ducati and Moto Guzzi.
In the 1970s, he branched out into race sponsorship and backed riders that included Manx Grand Prix winners Dave Arnold and Paddy Reid. He was later a contributor to Classic Bike magazine and became an auction consultant for Cheffins.
From 1983 to 1987, Mick was editor of Motorcycle Enthusiast. In 1985 he published his first book, appropriately enough: Ducati Singles.
See article on Mick further below.
— Del Monte
These have just gone on sale and are designed for 2009-onward Triumph Bonnevilles fitted with 17-inch wheels (just like it says on the heading). The price is £186 including VAT (or £155 if you're buying from overseas).
You can install this item without removing the forks, and if you want to fit a Hyde mudguard (as distinct from the Hinckley Triumph mudguard) the underside of the CNC solid aluminium alloy brace is drilled and tapped. The finish is satin. Talk to Norman on: 01926 832345. Or visit his website.
— Girl Happy
Thirty classic motorcycles from the Harry Lindsay collection are to be sold by Bonhams on 29th April 2012 at the 32nd International Classic Motorcycle Show in Stafford.
Bonhams are expecting to raise over £200,000 at the sale, which is a bit like saying Richard Branson expects to earn a few bob this weekend.
Special attractions include an ‘as new’ McIntosh Norton 500cc Manx (estimated at £25,000-30,000) plus a matching McIntosh Norton 350cc Manx (estimated at £22,000-27,000).
But wait. Who is Harry Lindsay, anyway? Now in his 86th year, Lindsay was the Republic of Ireland's Vincent agent and can boast "good friendships" with Phil Vincent, Reg Armstrong (1952 Senior TT winner), and Stanley Woods (29 times Grand Prix winner, and 10 times TT champion).
The Lindsay collection includes (don't hold your breath whilst reading this lot):
● Ex-Stanley Woods/Bert Perrigo 1939 BSA 350cc B25 Competition
● 'As new’ McIntosh Norton 500cc Model 30 Manx (£25,000-30,000)
● McIntosh Norton 350cc Model 40 Manx (£22,000-27,000)
● 1912 Rudge Whitworth 499cc (£8,000-12,000)
● A brace of Norton 500Ts including the 1948 Rex McCandless-designed pre-production model supplied by Norton to Chick Gibson (£7,000-10,000)
● Circa 1928 Dunelt 499cc (£6,000-8,000) to list but a few.
Other consignments include:
● Circa 1900 Singer Gents Motor Bicycle (£19,500-23,000)
● Sammy Miller restored 1904 Humber 2¾hp (£17,000-20,000)
● 1912 Matchless 8hp Model 7B (£14,000-18,000)
● 1992 Titchmarsh Seeley-Matchless 496c G50 racer (£6,000-8,000)
● 1937 Brough Superior 980cc SS80 (£30,000-35,000)
● 1955 Vincent 998cc Series D Black Shadow (£60,000-70,000)1936
● Vincent-HRD 499cc Series A TT Replica (£30,000-36,000)
● 1928 Grindlay-Peerless 346cc (£5,000-6,000)
● Ex-Gerald Selby 1937 Rudge 499cc Ulster TT Replica (£4,500-5,500)
Harry is said to be sorry to sell up, but recognises that the time has come to move on the responsibility for these bikes. But he would like to stay in touch with the machines, so if you buy one, don't be a stranger.
The bike image (immediately) above is a pre-production, 1948 Norton 500T Trials, also from the collection (£7,000-10,000, picture courtesy of Bonhams).
Stafford is a prestige show for the number one auction house which currently has a lot of wind in its sails, or is that sales? So expect to see a lot of money pouring into their coffers.
— Del Monte
Yeah. The illustration (left) is pretty awful. But that's what came down the wire, so what do you want us to do?
The underlying story is that the AMC club in Kettering, Northants (one of the best run clubs in the history of motorcycle clubdom), is about to produce 100 brand new, state of the art, all spinning and dancing crankshafts for AMC 650cc twins.
Cast in a place called Italy, which we think is near a place called France, the cranks are being manufactured from (wait a minute; we gotta sit down before we say this bit) Austempered Ductile Iron (ADI), which apparently is a whole lot better than the Spheroidal Graphite Nodular stuff as used in the "better" original AMC cranks, quote/unquote.
The club hasn't rushed into this. These kinds of projects are just too expensive, and club committee activity usually pours a lot slower than warm grease. But they've finally jerked the big start lever, and the wheels are in motion.
An Austrian firm (no relation to Arnold Schwarzenegger) has handled the machining, and an Austrian university had twiddled the CAD design buttons, so it's all up-to-the-minute technology ready to bolt into your ancient, wheezing, coughing, clapped-out AJS or Matchless motorsickle.
The price is somewhere north of €850 (that's eighty-fifty euros for anyone with poor eyesight who has trouble reading the little euro thingy)and yes, that's a lot of moolah. However, as any AMC pilot knows, these twins are already pretty damn good and worth preserving, and when your crank's gone, life just ain't worth living anymore. Are we right, or what?
Talk to the AMC boys for more info. And if you're our there, guys, next time send a better picture, huh? We got a reputation to maintain here.
Take a look at the highly contentious new Routemaster bus, above. It's just gone into service as of 27th February 2012, and is going to be slowly rolled out, so to speak, across the capital. And if you ride a motorcycle, you could be getting a closer look at these than most of the London traffic because Westminster council wants to permanently share the bus lanes.
At present, since January 2012, bikes have had permanent legal access to only selected bus lanes in the capital, most of which are Red Route lanes. But after a long study, Westminster City Council has concluded that traffic flow for motorcycles has improved by twenty percent, and bikes haven't made the slightest difference to bus movements, neither on the move, nor at stops.
That's why the council has yesterday, 6th march 2012, launched a new consultation document as part of its plan to permanently "open" eight additional bus lanes across Central London. The consultation will run for three weeks.
Sounds like small potatoes? Don't you believe it. Motorcycle access to the bus lanes in Central London is a godsend, and bike accidents have decreased as a result. Additionally, travelling through Central London is just that little more relaxed when you don't have to keep a constant vigil over where you can and can't stray without incurring a penalty ticket—and they've got cameras everywhere, including on the buses.
If you want to have your say on this, email John Birch at email@example.com. There's no doubt that other interested groups, including the vociferous cycling lobby, will have views of their own which aren't necessarily very supportive. So do what you have to do to balance the books. An email will take you less than a minute and can make a huge difference out there on the street—not least because other councils around the country are likely to be heavily influenced by Westminster's moves.
Meanwhile, the new 87-seat/open rear deck Routemaster has run into a lot of flak due to its high cost of £1.4 million per bus when compared to the £190,000 cost of a conventional double decker. But we say, what the hell; they scrapped our precious Jump Jets, trashed our aircraft carriers, wrote-off Concord and ripped up most of our red telephone boxes; we're running out of national icons and desperately need a fresh shot of something interesting. And if this bus isn't a modern classic, we'll come back in fifty years and will apologise.
The new Routemasters will run with a conductor who will do everything but collect fares and drive the bus. But the open rear deck will be closed during the evening.
The buses are built by Wrightbus in Northern Ireland and are powered by electric motors charged by a diesel generator. Braking is regenerative (i.e the wheels are equipped with mini-generators to capture the energy that would normally be wasted in friction). The buses are said to be very "clean", petro-chemically speaking.
Condemned as a vanity project for London Mayor, Boris Johnson (who's up for re-election on Thursday 3rd May 2012), the new bus beat a number of designs to first place—which, in some respects, is a pity because one or two of the other options were a lot more Routemasterish, if that makes any sense.
But the bus has finally arrived and is currently operating on the Victoria Station to Hackney, East London route. The first passengers have given it the thumbs up, despite a few teething problems. More importantly, Boris has kept to his last election pledge to remove all those awful, road-hogging bendy buses and give us something that most of us want, even if it's not yet clear if the operators will be able to afford it.
The original AEC (Associated Equipment Company) Routemaster was retired from service on 9th December 2009.
Don't forget to send that email.
— Sam 7
Who's Britain's most prolific motorcycle author? It's got to be Mick Walker who's penned over 130 titles on everything from AJS, to Ducati, to Greeves, to Moto Guzzi, to almost whatever you care to name.
But he used to ride as fast as he writes, and you can read all about it in his autobiography which is launched this month.
Mick, who hails from Cambridgeshire, has had a chequered life (in various senses of the word). He used to run Mick Walker Motorcycles, became an importer, a tuner, a team boss, and later sponsored World Superbike Champion, James Toseland. And then there's all those books.
If you're an old or absent friend of Mick's, and if you don't owe him money, you might want to drop him a note wishing him well. He's dealing with some serious health issues at the moment and might be grateful to reconnect.
Either way, his autobiography has got to be an interesting read, so buy it and read it if that kind of thing floats your boat. The price is around thirty quid, and Redline is the publishers.
— Del Monte
These two rags on the right are currently the motorcycle market leaders which, along with others in the sector, have seen their audited sales shrink over the past year.
Classic Bike is down to 42,709 from 45,369—a drop of 5.9%. Meanwhile, Bike has seen sales slide to 51,471 from 57,472—a drop of (oops!) 10.4%.
Neither publication is likely to be panicking just yet, but it helps underline the state of the UK economy—not least in the media sector which, pretty much across the board, continues to see advertising revenues fall, and sales plummet.
Here are some more gripping sales stats:
● Motorcycle News, down from 106,446 to 101,058 (-5.1%)
● Ride, down from 42,218 to 40,430 (-4.2%)
● Fast Bikes, down from 26,008 to 25,525 (-1.9)
● Performance Bikes down from 21,385 to 21,061 (-1.5%)
● Superbike down from 22,393 to 16,192 (-27.7%)
There are no figures on the sales of Morton's titles (The Classic Motorcycle, Old Bike Mart, Classic Bike Guide, etc) because Morton's magazines aren't ABC audited. But if the numbers were particularly high, you'd expect them to be audited and trumpeted to advertisers. But they ain't, so you can draw your own conclusions.
The real concern—if it is a concern to you—is Superbike which already saw sales fall 33% in 2009-2010, and has now dropped by a further quarter. For a while, we've been expecting to see at least one of the classic magazines fall. But it hasn't happened yet, which perhaps shows just how resilient the market is. However, some rationalisation of portfolios is likely to be on the cards for 2012 which could completely change the picture by this time next year.
— The Third Man
Well Bonhams is pretty chuffed. At the recent Vintage and Classic Motorcycles sale at Bristol (18th February 2012), the firm sold a whopping 96 percent by lot, and 94 percent by value.
The revenue was £316,231 which was double the £158,750 estimate.
This sale drew a lot of attention due to the Chichester Collection of fifty barn-find bikes (see Sump December 2011), all of which were successfully sold with many doubling, trebling and even quadrupling their estimates.
Other Brit bikes sold included the following:
1955 Vincent 998cc Series-D Rapide (£27,600)
1938 Ariel 995cc Model 4G ‘Square Four’ & Sidecar (£12,075)
1947 Velocette 349cc KSS MkII (£9,775).
But which bike topped the sale? That would a very ratty 1932 Brough Superior Black Alpine 680, tactically estimated at £28,000-35,000, but sold for £64,220—which is a lot of dosh for a motorcycle that needs pretty much everything fixing. But that's what the air is like in Brough country.
— Girl Happy
For the past few days we've been watching this one on eBay and loosely thinking about putting in a bid. We're not actually sidecar people here at Sump, but if we were to buy one, it would probably be something exactly like this.
Interestingly, the 500cc BSA M20 and the fibreglass sidecar date from the same era, technically speaking. The M20, designed by Val Page, appeared in the late 1930s, which was about the time when glass reinforced plastics (GRP) were taking off.
Various people are credited with the invention/development of the materials/techniques including Russell Games Slater; Glasgow-based Chance Brothers; and Austrian scientists Dr Pollak and Dr Neumann. But the fibreglass name, it's said, is actually the trademark of the Owens Corning company; except that they're an American firm and spell it "Fiberglass".
Owens Corning developed the product as an insulation material that was pretty much guaranteed not to rot. But when that was coupled with polyester resins, invented a few years earlier, it sparked a revolution that would ultimately render obsolete materials such as bakelite. Where GRP really took a leap forward was in the boating industry, which it revolutionised.
But we're talking about motorcycles here, not canoes, which brings us back to the eBay BSA M20. As of today (Sunday 4th March 2012) the bike's got 13 bids, but the £2500 reserve hasn't been met.
Until recently, we would have expected this to fetch £3000-£4000. Or thereabouts. But it's a niche within a niche, and wallet's and tightening. Wouldn't be surprised if it went unsold. But we'll know in a couple of days.
The year of the bike isn't given, but think late thirties to mid forties and you won't be far out. But take note that it's located in Aberdeen, Scotland, which is a long way from just about anywhere, and that's going to cool buying interest. Nice little toy, though.
— The Third Man