November 2011  Classic bike news


Above: 1939 598cc Panther Model 100
De Luxe. The quintessential pre-war British single? Some would say so, and we wouldn’t argue. With a bore and stroke of 87mm x 100mm, and a compression ratio of 6.5:1, you’d be very lucky to see 75mph in real world riding condiitons. But these Cleckheaton, Yorkshire-built bikes have a charm unlike anything else in the British bike stable. Back in 1939, the price was around £69 plus change, but this one has an auction reserve of £10,000-£12,000. H&H will be moving it on to a new owner at their Buxton Pavilion Gardens sale on 7th December 2011. This one’s a twin port, which means that that heavyweight Brooklands can has a matching item on the other side. The primary cover was pressed steel for this year, which was a retrograde move from the cast alloy case of the preceding model. But a little lost oil never stopped a Panther from punching holes in the breeze, and with looks like these, we’d forgive it pretty much anything.

October 2011 Classic bike news

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

September 2011 Classic bike news

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

August 2011 Classic bike news

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

July 2011 Classic bike news

New DVLA organ donor rules apply

Davida "fighter pilot" visor

Unique DOHC 250cc Velo sale

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


June 2011 Classic bike news

Don Godden :1936-2011

Ted Simon Foundation

Norman Vanhouse

Romney Marsh Bike Jumble

"2000 visitors" at Enfield Weekend

"Gold Star number one" on eBay

Ugly Fish biker specs from Down Under

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


May 2011 Classic bike news

Lambeth Council redefines potholes

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

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

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

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

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

April 2011 Classic bike news

£2 million netted by Bonhams at the 2011
Stafford Show

Judges throw out No To Bike Parking Tax case

Dymag relaunched

Tory MP moots dangerous and reckless
cycling law

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

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

Two Norton racers added to
Bonhams' Quail Lodge auction

March 2011 Classic bike news

Kawasaki W800 suspension mods

Spring Veterama 2011

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

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

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

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

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



February 2011 Classic bike news

Dave Degens at South of England Ardingly Classic Bike Show

Vinnielonglegs under the hammer

50 years of the Welsh Dragon Rally

Charge warning light driver

Round Kurland Latvian Rally

Mike Hailwood Memorial Run

Triumph Tiger 90 register

Crash Card launched at the Ace Cafe

VMCC raffles a T160 Triumph Trident for 2011

Harley-Davidson Sportster Custom

KLN 804, where are you?

Douglas: Light aero engines from Kingswood
to Cathcart

Bonhams' Paris Grand Palais
Auction draws near...

£144 Lucas ammeter on eBay. Sold!

BSA Golden Flash eBook from Sump

January 2011 Classic bike news

Record sales for Rolls Royce

1942 Royal Enfield WD/CO for sale on eBay

WW2 Waltham watch for sale

Steve McQueen Husqvarna for sale at Bonhams

New Royal Enfield V-twin denied

Carbon fibre T140/T120 frame

BSA-Indian bobber on eBay

VAT rise hides dealer price hike

Meriden blockade stepped up

Ealing to boot bikes from bus lanes?

Harley-Davidson share price rise

New Norvil Catalogue

Triumph leading UK big bike sales

Rare Megola heading for Bonhams' Grand Palais Paris auction

Draganfly John Bull knee grips & toolboxes

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

BSA Golden Flash eBook from Sump


December 2010 Classic bike news

$15,000 tin toys auctioned

Captain Beefheart 1941-2010

Two old Texans head for Bonhams' big one

Two more HD dealers hit the skids

Prince Charles: "I hate motorbikes"

1925 Brough Superior prototype set to smash marque auction record

Police supt changes speeding plea

UK blocks Euro wide motoring fines plan

"Select" MPs call for new drink driving purge

New old stock US container bonanza from Burton Bike Bits

US Government bailed out Harley with $2.3billion

April ‘Real Classic’ Malvern Classic Bike Show date change

Calling Panther owners...

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

Simulated riding research "shock"



November 2010 Classic bike news

Penning's Triumph?

Royal Enfield Fury set to launch

Roberto Rossi Rivale Bonneville

Amazing key fob camera

White line warnings

1926 Indian Scout tops Bonhams'
18th Harrogate sale

Zero emissions racer hits cyclist

Fall in London bus driver assaults

120,000 tons of Aussie salt on the way

Off duty New York cop shoots bike thief

Rare AMC Rickman Métisse auction

1929 Scott 3-speed Flyer TT Replica

Michelin wants its windows back, please

5p off Shell V-Power—for one day only

Stolen bike recovery rate falling

Accident Exchange

Royal Enfield and Watsonian Squire
are flying again

Bike theft risk

Douglas: The Complete Story

High level Hinckley Bonnie exhausts

The end for Pontiac

Oxford speed cameras back in the frame

Bonhams to auction rare Hildebrand
and Wolfmuller

Norvin cafe racer from Sump Magazine

October 2010 Classic bike news

Low sun warning from the IAM

"Plain clothed" traffic wardens

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

Bud Ekins memorabilia auction

Brough Superior makes a record £286,000

Triumph 675R Daytona tank badge intrigue

Philip Hammond criticised over insensitive
suicide remarks

EC rejects ABS "switch off" option

100 Years of AA Ireland stamp issued

Norman Hyde triple pistons

Norvin cafe racer auction result

Quarter of a million pound Brough?

Dave Aldana's Rocket for sale

Andy Tiernan Air Ambulance calendar

Big UK freeze on the way

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

New sliding gear for BA or BAP gearboxes

Triumph Trident and BSA Rocket Three oil pumps from Hyde

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

Triumph Tiger XC images released

2011 Adventure Travel Film Festival

Keis bodywarmer

Eric Patterson at the Ardingly Show

Motorcycle Action Group organising
mass lobby of Parliament

Tom Swallow James Comet for sale

Mayor Johnson launches
motorcycle safety campaign

Sussex Police on TV

2011 ABS Triumph Speed Triple

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

Norman Wisdom 1915-2010

New driving test rules take effect

125p per litre petrol soon?

New Rocker culture book

Legendary 100 Club set to close

Cycle lobby to challenge motorcycle
bus lane access

M4 bus lane now open to cars

Norvin cafe racer to fetch £29,000?

1931 500cc Sunbeam Model 9 Plus

September 2010 Classic bike news

New VMCC Devon section proposed

Michael Scott Wade

Pensioner jailed for assaulting Hells Angel

Schwarzenegger signs noise emissions bill

Harley-Davidson extended warranty offer

Biker cleared of filming hysterical gun toting cop

New buckles from Chequered Flag

Thefts at Triumph Live

£33 billion road safety economy drive

Norfolk Speed Cameras "facing the axe"

The "sun shines down" on Netley

AJS-Matchless Calendar 2011

Morgan to build cycle cars again?

Biking Brigadier's charity appeal

Blueye eyewear

BSA kevlar clutch plate kit

Bedford is next to open bus lanes to motorcycles

Stolen 1931 Sunbeam Lion

Francis Barnett trademark for sale

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

Friends of Speedway film appeal

Triumph - Britain's largest automotive company?

Ariel Square Four repro 'rods from Draganfly

3D Wonderbra distraction

Police predict a riot

Johnny "Chester" Dowling

Easy Rider special screening

Scottish police need help

Repro Triumph Speed Twin forks

1937 Stevens auctioned for £12,980

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

Canadian optical "safety" illusion

1200cc shaft-drive Triumph spotted

Councils cut the streetlight budget

Real Classic sold to Mortons Media

Helmetless bike thief dies in smash

Triumph X-75 Hurricane at Cheffins

Rare 1932 Triumph XO?

Superbike magazine sold to Vitality Publishing?

Two killed at the Manx Grand Prix

Hinckley Bonnie wheels

Crash proof Volvo?

Ace Cafe Reunion

Bike Parking Tax demo

Velocette M Series

War Department's 1940's day

BSA M20 bobber

Norton Commando hits 129mph at
Bonneville Salt Flats

Matthew Dieckmann killed in bike/car crash


August 2010 Classic bike news

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


Classic Bike Events


Royal Enfield Bullet Desert Storm


Okay, here's the latest shock-and-awe offering from Royal Enfield; the 2012 Bullet Desert Storm. Sounds a little full of itself, we know. Desert Storm, huh? But Royal Enfield and the military go together like ... well, guns and ammunition, and we still haven't tired of the permutations of this most perennial of motorcycles.


In fact, we think the "sand" paintwork looks pretty cool, and we don't give a hoot that there's a little too much chrome on this one for a serious military mount (but that's nothing that a trip to Halfords and a few cans of matt black paint can't fix). It's not supposed to be an army bike. It's just a nod towards REs roots—not to mention a sly flanking manoeuvre intended to squeeze some notes from your wallet. But trade is the name of  the game. That's what makes the world go round.


As with all current Enfields, this one is powered by the latest fuel-injected, 5-speed, pushrod engine complete with kick- and electric-start. Electrics are, of course, 12-volts. The headlight's halogen. Tyres are Avon Road Riders.


Royal Enfield has over the years supplied tens of thousands of bikes to British and Commonwealth armies. But this one's clearly intended for non-combatants, and if you want one, it'll cost you £5195. It does come with mirrors, by the way. But we digitally nipped 'em off because that was the largest picture box we had.

—  The Third Man




Bonhams to auction WW11 POW

The bike's been all around Europe raising money on the The Great Escape 2 charity ride, and now it's going under the hammer on 1st December 2011 at Mercedes Benz World, Weybridge, Surrey.


Created from a standard Triumph Bonneville T100 and modelled loosely on the bike that Steve McQueen/Bud Ekins rode in the movie The Great Escape, Bonhams are expecting it to sell for between £9000-£12,000.


The Great Escape 2 ride started out in June 2011. The "McQueen" bike (above, picture courtesy of Bonhams) was accompanied by five other machines, all Hinckley Triumphs and all prepared by Laguna Motorcycles in Maidstone, Kent.


The bikes covered 3,200 miles visiting twelve European countries and taking in various "Great Escape" sites. The objective was to commemorate the lives, and deaths, of fifty RAF officers who, on direct instructions from Hitler, were shot for attempting to escape Stalag Luft III in March 1944.


The registration number, incidentally, will be sold off with the bike along with a V5C and a current road fund licence.


Monies raised from the ride are being donated to Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion. The target of £10,000 was achieved, but donations are still coming in. Want to do your bit?

—  Del Monte


One hundred years of Watsonian


One hundred years. That's how long Watsonian (now Watsonian-Squire) has been in business. You might have thought that the wheels had completely fallen off the sidecar business yonks ago. But not so. Thanks partly to movies such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Watsonian-Squire has seen a boost in this small, but dedicated market and continues to field a quality product that doesn't look like disappearing in the foreseeable future.


Quite simply, some guys need to be pried off their outfits with a crowbar, and Watsonian are anticipating an extra long lever with these revised models.


Based on their established GP Manx design, the new Aviator (above, paired with a 500cc Royal Enfield) is a nod towards the glory days of the RAF, hence the "Battlegreen" paintwork, the sharks teeth (a la 112 Squadron), and the chopped down screen reminiscent of early wood and canvas bi-planes.


In fact, the 85kg sidecars are built of fibreglass with a steel perimeter frame and have, we're advised, loads of legroom and a boot, to boot.

Prices start at £3995 (in plain black without decals). The factory are expert at fitting these to just about anything, and if you're new to sidecars, they'll help with tuition too. Or you can opt for the standard GP Manx chair as shown above attached to a Triumph Rocket-3—which is an awful lot of power for.

Want to find out more? Contact Watsonian-Squire on 01386 700907 or visit

—  Girl Happy



Newly minted Commando bearing shells from Andover Norton

This is all a bit technical, and we've had to much to drink again. So we're (hic) going to give it to you in Andover Norton's own words. Now pay attention, because they're not going to repeat it:

"Andover Norton now have stock of newly manufactured Commando con-rod bearing shells which offer improved wear characteristics over the original equipment items.

They still have the high quality Lead-Bronze bearing substrate of the original shells, but offer a more advanced bearing surface than the original Lead-Indium overlay treatment. They now have a superior Lead-Tin-Copper finish overlay for a longer service life and greater wear resistance. Sometimes original is best, but if improved technology is available it is wise to make use of it for this type of demanding application!

· std. size part no. 06.4285
· -0.010” part no. 06.4286
· -0.020” part no. 06.4287

All at £34.80 + VAT.

For information please contact your preferred Norton parts dealer, Andover Norton can also be contacted directly on 01488 686816 or visit"

Got all that? Good, because we're opening another bottle here (hic).


—  Del Monte




Du Pont Collection to be auctioned


"Fifty bikes spanning seventy years of history". That's the long and short of the Du Pont family motorcycle collection that Bonhams is putting up for sale in January 2012.


Included in the auction will be the following:


- an unmolested 1903 Indian Camelback
- an early factory restoration 1908 Indian Camelback
- a factory restored 1908 Indian twin
- a rare and original 1909 Pope single
- a circa 1915 Indian twin board track racer
- what is believed to be the last Indian Chief supplied to a dealer


There's also a 3000-mile 1951 Vincent Black Shadow, a 1959 ex-Francis Beart Norton Manx, plus bikes from Triumph, BSA, Merkel, Ner-A-Car, Harley-Davidson, Gilera, Honda and Yamaha.


If you can't find something in this lot to suit you, try collecting garden gnomes. But the real question is: Can you afford any of it? To find out, keep an eye on the Bonhams website (link below).


The event, specifically, is the Second Annual Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Sale to be held on January 12th at the Imperial Palace Hotel & Casino on The Strip. You don't have to be there in person, remember. But you have to "be in it, to win it". So register an interest.


—  The Third Man



New McQueen photo


It's beginning to look as if dying was a pretty good career move for Steve McQueen, because interest in him today is as great, or arguably greater, than it was during his lifetime.


Like Elvis, James Dean, John Wayne and Evel Knievel McQueen's in danger of becoming something of a one dimensional all-purpose public caricature with a high recognition value, but with a depth of personality that few care to scratch let alone explore.


Well this new tome (above) aims to put some meat onto the bones of the legend. Published by Motorbooks, Steve McQueen: A Passion for Speed is written by Frédéric Brun and features lots of hitherto unseen snaps of the co-called King of Cool, an epithet that's becoming so tired that it makes us yawn.


But Motorbooks has done a pretty good job of packaging up the guy between a different pair of book covers, and there's no doubt that McQueen fans will feel a fresh blast a cool with one.


The book's not just about his bikes, note. McQueen was into cars and aircraft too, and pretty much anything that moved. But any true McQueenite will know that and will expect no less.


Exploited in life and exploited in death, the man might well be resting in peace, but the legend isn't. Which is a shame really, because it seems that underneath the fakey Hollywood glitz, he was a pretty ordinary guy at heart, and one who enjoyed the same things that most of us enjoy.


The recommended retail price is £25. ISBN: 978-0-7603-4248-0.


—  Dexxion




Hot Work by Hepworth & Grandage


Here's a treat for all you culture vultures suffering from an overdose of cabin fever and lousy TV. The Yorkshire Film Archive has posted a movie on its website entitled "Hot Work" and is available now for you guys, and girls, to check out.


Commissioned by noted piston manufacturer Hepworth & Grandage Ltd, who trade under the more familiar brand name of Hepolite, this production details 34 minutes and 38 seconds of classic British motorcycle sport, and is one of the best biking documentaries we've seen.


With commentary by Grand Prix road-racing  champion Geoff Duke OBE (who does an excellent job of tying together the narrative threads), this video transports you back to the mid-1950s to the world of trials, scrambles, speedway, road racing and even a little stock car action.


The film maker is Charles Harold Wood; a renowned Yorkshire celluloid maestro with a back-catalogue off 3,000 titles whose handiwork can also been seen in old Gaumont and Pathe newsreeels. But you won't be thinking about any of this when you get your peepers on this film which is the perfect armchair antidote for the lengthening autumn nights and long winter to follow.


Expect to see footage of the Banbury Run, the Scarborough Road Races, the Scott Trial and Odsal Speedway. Featured riders include Dave Curtis, Jeff Ward, Johnny Giles, Don Rickman, Arthur Lampkin, Dave Bickers, Jeff Smith, Allan Jefferies and Geoff Broadbent.


We don't know how long the film will be online, so do yourself a favour and put the bike tools away, kick out the in-laws, slap the brats off to bed early, put out the dog, open a bottle of something that isn't particularly good for you, and watch it now.


—  The Third Man




2012 Triumph Speed Triple R

The 2012 Triumph Speed Triple R had debuted at the 2011 Milan Show showing off what promises to be another two-wheeled hit for the Hinckley, Leicestershire-based firm currently suffering from an overdose of the Midas touch.

The engine, we hear, is the same-old-same-old 1050cc three cylinder lump that almost no one has yet been able to find much wrong with, and which has powered this bike to pole position in its class. The gearbox, however, has been tweaked to make it just that little bit slicker

But what makes the "R" different from the stock Speedster is the rolling chassis upgrades which include a multi-adjustable Ohlins 43mm NIX30 front fork, a matching Ohlins TTX 36 rear shock/damper, forged aluminium five-spoke PVM wheels, and four-pot radial monobloc calipers from Brembo.

And it's still got switchable ABS if you want it.

The colours are Crystal White or Phantom Black, and to make sure everyone else knows you're not riding a common or garden variety Speed Triple, the sub-frame has been splashed with red and Triumph has stuck an "R" on the tank.

The pundits are anticipating a ten grand price tag, which all sounds okay, but we think that Hinckley has mucked up the 2011 and 2012 graphics big time and ought to put the bikes on the emergency drawing board and sort it out before anyone else notices. A bike like this deserves better.

—  Girl Happy



Brussels protest ride gathers pace


According to Motor Cycle News, their planned protest ride to the European Parliament scheduled for 22nd November 2011 has picked up support in the shape of Steve Baker, MP (Tory, High Wycombe), and more recently Mike Weatherley, MP (Brighton & Hove, and incorrectly listed on the MCN website as "Steve"). Oops.


Baker, by the way, is aged 40, ex-Royal Air Force and is said to be anti-war, but pro-nuclear deterrents. He's also campaigning against High Speed 2 (the proposed ballistic link between London and the North East) even though it misses his constituency by a comfortable margin. And he's "actively campaigning against the implementation of the Tobacco Display Ban".


Mike Weatherley, meanwhile, is aged 54, a qualified ski instructor, rides a bicycle, loves rock music in general (and Iron Maiden in particular), is anti-fox hunting, and was recently embarrassed when his estranged second wife was "outed" as a prostitute.


As for the protest itself, that's being waged against "stifling EU measures [designed to] make bikes impossible to modify".  These measures, according to MCN, include "so-called onboard diagnostic systems on new bikes [that] could detect non-standard parts and trigger a warning light until the 'fault' is rectified by a dealer. Routine faults could be reported in code decipherable only by a dealer, preventing home-servicing."


Worrying stuff.


Except that the die is still some way from being cast, with the eurocrats currently being largely unable to get enough heads around the same table at the same time to agree, or disagree, about anything.


But a protest ride is a protest ride, never mind that MCN's march on the mandarins is "timed to coincide with a committee vote on the proposals [and] will start and finish at [the] European Parliament Brussels."


Sounds like the shortest protest ride in history. But still, we have to commend the increasing interest in legislative matters more recently shown by the wider British biking press; interest that co-incidentally appears to be inversely proportional to falling sales of their newspapers and magazines.


But let's not be cynical. If you want to lend your support (and don't we all love MCN?), check the MAG and BMF websites for more details of the current EU "anti-bike" proposals (some of which are, note, largely phantom), and be grateful that so far, classic bikes in the UK are still mostly immune from the ravages of Brussels bureaucracy.


But take note too that there's much political infighting going on here between MCN and the riders' rights men including MAG, the BMF and the Federation of European Motorcyclists (FEMA), not all of whom are in agreement about whether to support this protest. Specifically, FEMA has (a) got aerated over the fact that there are "inaccuracies" in the MCN online petition, and (b) is unhappy that the anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) is lending its muscle to the ride and thereby muddying the political waters.


It's beginning to look like the script to a soap opera, which is why we're staying clear and going down the pub. You can read all about it on Facebook, whatever that is. Nothing like a consensus, huh?

—  Dexxion



Von Dutch Bonnie:

last chance to buy


Most people still don't know who the hell Von Dutch was, so let us clue them in. Von Dutch was the Golden Age Southern Californian god of pin-striping. Born as Kenny Howard, he was also known as Joe Lunch Box Bach and had a long standing love-hate relationship with alcohol that finally punched his card.


Von Dutch built bikes and cars and painted them and mucked about with knives and guns too. In fact, he'd paint pretty much anything for a challenge. Born in 1929, he died in 1992 aged 63, after which his daughters flogged his name to a clothing outfit (pun intended), and that's why you see a lot of female trendy types walking around with Von Dutch splashed across their boobs.


Anyway, some of his stuff is up for auction tomorrow (Saturday 12th November 2011) at the Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles. Bonhams is handling the sale, and will also be auctioning items from Ed (Big Daddy) Roth and Steve McQueen's collections, plus various celebrity cars and suchlike.


We have mentioned this before, but here's your last chance to get on the phones and place a bid. Items range from a Von Dutch business card, estimated $500-$700 (immediately above), to a rebuilt 1966 650cc Triumph Bonneville estimated at $18,000-$20,000 (main image).


Now that's a lot of money for a Bonnie with some flames slapped on the tank. But the provenance is strong, and the kudos of riding it down to your local drag meet is hard to beat.


Note that it's not clear if Von Dutch actually owned the bike. It looks more like a paint job for a customer. So keep that in mind. And there's a 1965 Rickman Triumph Metisse, also striped and also estimated at $18,000-$20,000.


If there's a king of Krazy Kustom Kulture, Von Dutch is as good a guy to hang the crown on as anyone else.

—  Del Monte




Triumph Tiger Explorer 1200


£11,000-£11,500. That's said to be the price tag on this new addition to the Triumph range, a bike designed to kick some BMW GS ass and win the war all over again.


Three cylinders, 1200cc, 135bhp, shaft drive, fly-by-wire, switchable ABS, cruise control, traction control—plus a whacking great alternator kicking out enough power to run a range of electrical accessories and most of Hertfordshire.


Sounds like pretty heavy ammunition, but the BMW has got deep roots and a loyal fan base which will make it a very bloody battle. Then again, Triumph has a brand second to none and is currently riding a wave of sharp design and fielding products that people want to buy.


But oh-oh! Look at the seat height on that one. We haven't got a tape measure handy, but it looks like a significant number of potential customers are gonna need a grappling hook and a head for heights if they want to straddle that seat. Doesn't Triumph know that plenty of guys (and gals) have got the heart, but not the legs?


Apparently they do. Which is why a low seat option is on offer—which is usually a high seat with half the stuffing pulled out, which isn't exactly what the vertically challenged are after.


No word yet on when the first bikes will hit the shops, but flat economy or not, these Tigers are likely to sell fast. But is BMW worried? They certainly ought to be.

—  Dexxion




picks Davida


Remember Rollerball? We do. Directed by Norman Jewison, Rollerball hits the cinema screens back in 1975 and made a lot of people sit up and pay attention.


Basically, it's an allegory about individualism versus the state, except that in this futuristic beat-em-up bonanza, corporations have replaced countries leading to conflict and intrigue both on and off the track (which sounds spookily prescient, huh?).


James Caan is the hero who becomes bigger than the game, so the men in suits want to take him down a few notches and restore order and reassert control over the hoi polloi, etc. You get the idea.


Anyway, cue knuckledusters, spiked helmets, rollerskates, body-armour, track motorcycles and lots of blood and violence as sports teams compete to be the best and settle their individual macho differences.


So okay, the movie ran out of steam about halfway through, but the imagery lives on long after the sketchy plotline has faded from memory.


Well, Sideburn magazine is certainly happy to resurrect some of the visual excitement on Saturday 19th November 2011 when their Rollerburn event kicks off at the Newark Showground, Lincolnshire. This promises to be nine hours of controlled mayhem, and includes a gaggle of girls in fishnets plus motorcycles plus live bands plus a roller derby plus a bike show plus... well, you'll find out the rest when you get there.


Davida is supplying the helmets which recreate the colours of the original Rollerball teams (Houston, New York, Madrid, Tokyo), and Davida will no doubt supply you with replica lids as part of their usual custom painting program—or any other colour lid that takes your fancy.


Tickets are a miserable ten quid, which makes this one of the best value events around. Check the websites below for more info.

—  The Third Man




$250,000 Brough offered online


Apparently, if you want a brand new Brough Superior and can stump up the readies, you'll still have to wait until 2013 to take receipt of your retro wheels - unless, that is, you buy it straight off the Builtwell website.


Builtwell? It's a new clothing store for the "men of character" - like Steve McQueen and Ernest Hemingway and James Dean and Paul Newman - and flogs a lot of very expensive and high quality clobber including shirts at $260, and $3,500 leather jackets and whatnot. The theme of the site changes every couple of months or something, so in the foreseeable future it'll probably be angling or scuba diving or Grand Prix racing. You get the drift.


But for now, you can buy a genuine fresh-from-the-factory "reserved" SS100 Retro Pendine Racer, allegedly the "most coveted model in the Brough Superior stable", and it'll cost you just a quarter of a million rectangular pictures of George Washington.




Frankly, we're beginning to OD on Broughs. But in an ever polarised world, where some blokes earn more in a single insider-trading deal than the rest of us earn in a lifetime, if you're not Broughing it, you must be roughing it. That's the word on the street. Wall Street, that is.


Anyway, take a look at the Builtwell site and see how your character shapes up. Then take yourself down the pub and drown your sorrows in some suds. It's a hard life when you have to do the bulk of your shopping at ASDA and Primark, huh?

—  Dexxion



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


The government has issued proposals to scrap the MoT test for bikes and cars manufactured before 1960.


Why? Supposedly, it's all down to a Tory/Lib Dem commitment to cut bureaucracy and red tape. But some would argue that it's just a desperate act by a desperate government hoping to save a few pennies at a time when the kitty is less than empty.


According to Mike Penning, Minister for Transport, classic bikers and classic motorists have already got it pretty well figured out when it comes to routine maintenance and fitness for the road. Therefore, why do they need anyone else poking around their greasy bits?


But it is just a proposal at the moment, and if you want to have your say, check out the link below. For our money, it sounds like a questionable move. Human nature being what it is, people get lazy and complacent, which could eventually put a lot of very dodgy vehicles in the hands of a lot of incompetent mechanics. And we're not talking merely about a few extra vehicles, but tens of thousands—many of which are easily capable of the national speed limit, and beyond.


On the other hand, very few accidents are due to mechanical failure, and the proposals, if implemented, would firmly shift the full responsibility for vehicle maintenance back to the owner/operator where it belongs (not that an MoT certificate was ever a guarantee of vehicle integrity beyond the moment it was issued).


Moreover, there are many countries around the world, including numerous US states, where regular road safety checks are not mandatory.


Vehicles in Manitoba, Canada (for instance) are required to be tested only when first registered, or when changing hands though the trade. Once purchased, no further testing is required by the current owner. Some other Canadian territories have no safety testing regimes at all.


Bulgaria tests only the brakes. The Netherlands, meanwhile, doesn't test vehicles more than 50 years old.


In the UK, various classes of vehicles, including some military, historic and industrial, are MOT exempt.


At the other extreme, New Zealand requires older vehicles, HGVs and rental cars to be checked out every 6 months.


Interestingly, numerous studies have failed to show conclusively that countries and states with mandatory vehicle inspection programmes actually have better road safety records than countries and states without. Part of this is due to flawed methodology, and part of it is due to different criteria and inconsistent accident reporting. Either way, this one is likely to see a lot of polarised viewpoints.


According to the government, two thirds of pre-1960s vehicles travel less than 500 miles a year, and their MoT failure rate is considerably lower than post-1960s vehicles. The bottom line, however, is simply one of cost-effectiveness. In short, is it worth subjecting old crocks to MoT tests where there's a lot of "pain" for very little gain? That's the thinking, anyway.


The closing date for the consultation is January 26th 2012.

—  The Third Man



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