An e-petition has been launched demanding that anyone who buys or rents a property close to a motorsport racetrack should waive his or her rights to silence. In other words, don't complain about the walls and windows vibrating if you choose to move into the area.
You can understand what the e-petitioner (Darron Coster) is whingeing about. Motorsport venues in the UK are constantly under threat of closure, or have closed, as a result of noise complaints from the nation's NIMBYs (Not In My Back Yarders).
Except that Darron is misguided.
The fact is, motorsport makes a bloody racket, and persistent noise is a modern evil and damages health. We don't personally mind racetracks, you understand. We live miles from anywhere that's anywhere. But people have to live somewhere, and the UK's population is growing while the coast is eroding.
It's daft demanding that people should forgo the right to try and improve their environment (whatever that means to you). You might as well argue that moving near a polluting factory means that you can't complain about pink rivers and three-legged fish.
In this country, it's increasingly difficult to find, at an "affordable" price, anywhere at all to live, and there's a reason why property is often significantly cheaper when it's close to a racetrack.
And people move to such areas for other reasons, such as the need to be close to their job, or their new job, or their family, or their friends. And don't the children of incoming home owners and residents have rights? Or should their rights be signed away too?
To suggest that a racetrack should remain a noisy area in perpetuity isn't going to impress the legislators. Nor should it.
Fact is, things change. The world moves on. Smoking in pubs is yesterday's norm. So is drinking and driving. So is beating your wife. So is baiting bears.
Motorsport is fun, and long may it continue. But it isn't essential to life (although for many, it's a close run thing). Meanwhile, buying or renting a house is essential, and people are going to seize whatever opportunity comes their way, and then make whatever changes they feel are necessary to improve their lot. And if that means Cadwell Park or Thruxton eventually closes, then so be it. It will be a shame. It will be a loss. And it will be a blow. But everyday life comes first. So get over it.
What's really needed are new initiatives to enable domesticity and leisure, in all its forms, to happily co-exist. Such as new acoustic barriers, or new engine noise suppression technology, or compensation for local residents, or radical sound cancelling devices, or simply by increasing the use of electric racing motorcycles, or whatever.
If you want to bolster Darron's argument (which currently has around 11,000 supporters and needs 100,000 by the end of March 2015 in order to force a parliamentary debate), there's a link below. But for our part, we're turning a deaf ear to this one.
Action on Hearing Loss
— Sam 7
▲ Lot 15. This 1950 998cc Vincent Black Shadow Series C sold for £63,100 including premium. Since new, this bike appears to have covered just 19,803 miles. So much for the long-legged international cruiser distinction. In the course of a year, you can rack up that kind of mileage on a pushbike. But hey, it ain't our business...
£12.7 million. That was the figure turned over by Bonhams at its Bond Street Sale held on 30th November 2014. The top selling motorcycle lot was the 1929 Brough Superior SS100 Grand Sports (see main image and main caption, this page). The top selling car lot was an ex-works 1969-70 Porsche 908.02 'Flunder' Langheck Group 6 Racing Sports-Prototype. That fetched £2,185,500 including premium.
▲ Lot 31. 1939 Miles M14A Hawk Trainer III. Sold for £46,000 including premium. The UK produced 1,200 of these aircraft between 1937 and 1941, with another 100 built in Turkey. Wind up the 130bhp de Havilland Gypsy Major I four-cylinder inline engine and cruise at 124mph, or climb to 18,600 feet. Makes motorcycling look tame, huh?
Bonhams say that it's only the second year that the firm has held this sale. Nevertheless, the world renowned auction house managed to achieve over 80 percent sold in this "record breaking sale". Then again, there were only 31 lots, of which just two were motorcycles.
— Girl Happy
Why anyone would do this to a 1949 500cc 5T Triumph Speed Twin, or any motorcycle, we don't know. But it's out there, it exists, it lives and breathes, etc (cue dramatic music) and the seller is asking £20,000.
There's five days left to run as of Saturday 29th November 2014 (round about 8.30pm). And there probably won't be another anytime soon.
It sounds like something Auric Goldfinger would dream up, except he'd commission a bike in solid gold, not gold plate. The eBay listing tells us that the motorcycle has been completely rebuilt and runs perfectly. No oil drips either, it's claimed.
The seller adds that he'll exchange the bike (or part-ex it) for a British racing single, and adds, "No site (sic) seers, and don't bring the wife."
As if we would...
— Del Monte
Coys are describing this sale as "an important auction of fine historic automobiles", which might well be true. But it's bit lacklustre in the motorcycle department.
The sale takes place of Tuesday 2nd December 2014. The venue is the Royal Horticultural Society, Lindley Hall, Vincent Square, Westminster, London, SW1P 2PE. Coys is claiming 364 lots. But the numbering starts from 100 and ends at 467, and there might be omissions in the sequence. So we're confused and taking them at face value.
Regardless, there are certainly (currently) 19 bikes on offer, of which just two are British (a 1967 Triumph T120 estimated at £7,000 - £8,000, and a 1996 Triumph Metisse 500c estimated at £5,000 - £6,000. These are Lot 401 and Lot 402, respectively).
Arguably, the most interesting bike in the sale is the (immediately above) 1956 Mondial 125 Bialbero GP Ex Works racer. This is Lot 406 and carries an estimate of £100,000 - £120,000. But our eyes are on the bike image above that, a 1931 Indian Four 1300 Model 402, said to be the rarest of the Indian Fours. This machine is estimated at a cool, but not exactly frozen, £70,000 - £80,000.
Beyond that, there's the odd 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/2 - 6 C Berlinetta (Lot 443) estimated at £1 million - £1.4 million. We were thinking of bidding on that, but we're torn between it and a 1964 Works Prototype Porsche 904/6 Carrera GTP (Lot 444) estimated at £1.1 million - £1.3 million.
Then again there's a French edition poster from the James Bond movie "You Only Live Twice" that we haven't got in our collection of essential 007 film memorabilia (and note that foreign edition film posters feature high in this sale thereby padding out the lots).
Nevertheless, this Robert McGuinness-painted piece of soft porn is estimated at £600 - £800 and depicts (quote/unquote) "a bevy of Japanese beauties washing 007 and his gun!"
Dirty lucky sod.
▲ Here at Sump, we ain't exactly yer average Ferrari-loving types. But ever since we saw the Love Bug in 1968, we've had a thing for Yankee muscle cars and Italian exotica. This short-nosed 275 is said by some to be the finest of its type. Think of it as a rich man's Datsun 240Z.
▲ With its ladder frame chassis and plastic (GRP) body, this 180hp two-litre 904 racer is one of the world's most expensive kit cars. Porsche needed to build 100 (within 12 months) for homologation purposes, and so they did. Squint a little and it's almost a Ferrari, huh?
— Big End
If Boris Johnson and Transport for London get their way, that's how much it will soon cost you to ride your BSA A10, Triumph Speed Twin or Norton Commando into Central London. In fact, that will be the charge for the vast majority of motorcycles on the road.
£12.50 per day.
Earlier this month, Sump reported this worrying possibility with the rise of the London Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ). Well, things have moved on a little, and Transport for London (TfL) has since published details of the proposed charges.
The cut-off date for the new tax is 2007. What that means is that if, by 2020, you ride a motorcycle that's thirteen years old or more, you'll be required to stump up £12.50 per day to travel into Central London. But why pick on 2007 as the cut-off point? Well that was when the Euro 3 emissions standard came into force.
The charge will apply 24 hours per day, 365 days per annum. And as it stands, it will be the same for bikes and cars. Sound unfair? Well in view of the fact that motorcycles account for just one percent of London vehicle emissions, it certainly rings a dull note.
But petrol cars, according to TfL, account for only three percent, while diesel cars account for 18 percent. And the real argument, some would argue, is whether or not EVERYONE should pay something regardless of which transport mode they favour.
Supposedly, this is a clean air initiative. And on one level, it probably is. But it's really a thinly-disguised tax because if you want clean air, you ban offending vehicles completely rather than let them slip in for a "small daily charge" and thereby help murder the local populace with their filthy exhaust fumes.
It might be that TfL subsequently relents and allows various concessions for older bikes. But there's no logic here, except perhaps that old bikes add "colour" to the character of London. Your average old British single is, after all, probably a hundred times dirtier, emissions-wise, than almost any 2007 motorcycle. There's no escaping that. And TfL will naturally want to rationalise charges so that one size fits all. But TfL might buckle a little if we all make ourselves heard.
You might also argue that manufacturing new "clean" bikes creates an awful lot of CO2 and dangerous fumes, and possibly much more than the average classic bike is likely to expel over the next 50 years or whatever. Only, you probably won't get far with that one. TfL wants your money, either from dubious emissions taxes, or by forcing/encouraging you onto its buses and trains.
The usual riders rights groups are said to be preparing to combat this threat. Except none of the groups have much credibility left, do they? So it probably comes down (as ever) to individual action. So make your play and follow the links below.
If you've ever toyed with the idea of fitting an environmentally-acceptable and TfL-approved electric motor to your Bantam, Dominator or Black Shadow, you've got six years to sort it out if you want to avoid the ULEZ charge.
See: Sump's earlier story on this threat.
TfL Ultra Low Emission Zone consultation link
— Sam 7
He was once one of the most feared British gangsters of the 1950s and 1960s, a man who spent 42 years behind bars for a variety of crimes (most of them vicious, and many involving various forms of torture), a man who (it's said) once buried a hatchet in a rival's head pinning his victim's hand to his skull, a man who was one of the lynchpins of the notorious Richardson gang, and a man who (allegedly) literally got away with murder.
Actually, multiple murders.
Francis Davidson Fraser was born in South London, specifically Cornwall Road SE1. One of five children, he grew up in what was then a post-WW2 slum district and quickly became involved in low-level crimes of theft and black marketing, and then much more serious crimes of violence.
He soon became an associate of London gangster Billy Hill, and later joined Charles Richardson's outfit, the most serious criminal rival gang to the legendary Kray Twins.
London's Soho district, notorious for prostitution and gambling, was where much of "Razor Fraser's" criminal activities were centred, largely around fruit machines which were (then as now) a highly lucrative money-maker. He almost became one of the Great Train Robbers, but declined at the last moment because: "I was on the run from the law."
▲ Fraser boasted Native American blood. He was twice declared criminally insane and punched (or hatcheted) well above his weight and height (five feet four inches). The British public drew vicarious thrills from his serialised vicious exploits. In a hundred years, they'll probably rename Heathrow Airport after this notorious London gangster.
He claimed to have invented the Friday Gang concept (worker's payroll robbery). He claimed to have been the first to wear a stocking mask (not that he needed it). He claimed to have no regrets, and that, at least, rings true. And amazingly, despite having supposedly notched-up dozens of kills, he was never convicted of murder.
Attempts were made on his life too. Part of his mouth was shot away during an attempt on his life. On another occasion, he was shot in the leg shattering his thigh bone. Overall, Frankie Fraser was evidently a man who made Al Pacino's Scarface, Bob Hoskins' Harold Shand and Michael Caine's Jack Carter look like wimps.
▲ When you absolutely have to nail someone to the floorboards and remove their toes with bolt cutters, Charles Richardson (left) and brother Eddie were once the guys to call.
In later years, he became a celebrity all over again after his biography, Mad Frank: Memoirs of a Life of Crime was published (1994). Two more volumes followed, all ghost-written and highly detailed with grisly accounts of his exploits during his golden years of violence.
Even at the age of 89, Fraser found himself being served with an Anti-Social Behaviour Order (ASBO) for making a nuisance of his himself at the nursing home where he spent his last years.
He did find time to marry (Doreen) who died in 1999, and he had four children by her.
Frankie Fraser, who made it all the way to a grand old ninety, adds credence to the notion that only the good die young. Fraser was just about as mean, nasty, vicious and generally undesirable as they come. And he was thoroughly proud of it.
If there's life after death, you can be sure that there's also death after death with guys like Frankie Fraser on the warpath.
— Del Monte
Here's a reminder that the UK driving/riding licence is about to take the next step from paper to full digitisation.
Currently, there are two basic types of licences in circulation; the old "paper type", and the plastic photocard.
The photocard, by "virtue" of its design, doesn't carry licence endorsement history. That's why the DVLA issues a colloquially named "paper part" (officially called a Counterpart Driving Licence). And that's what car rental companies usually ask for when you want to hire one of their vehicles.
The paper part.
If you don't have it, the hire companies can check with the DVLA via a phone call, and via a small charge (usually a fiver or a tenner). But from 1st January 2015, that "paper part" will no longer be issued, nor will it be required. You'll need only your old-style "paper licence", or a photocard without the "paper part" (is it any wonder that Johnny Foreigner thinks we're quaint?).
Old style paper licences will continue to be valid until they expire. If you're still alive when that happens, and still wanting to stay mobile, the DVLA will exchange the paper for a new style plastic photocard subject to whatever statutory requirements are in force at the time (age limit, health status, eyesight, etc). In fact, you'll be automatically issued with a photocard whenever you apply to update your licence details.
There's no charge for this updating. But you will be charged every ten years for a renewal photocard (currently priced at £20). And we're reminded by the DVLA that if you fail to update your details, not least any change of address, you could be looking at a fine of up to £1,000.
▲ We don't want to worry you, but the DVLA has been known to remove motorcycling entitlement following (photocard) licence renewal applications. Be prepared, and do what you have to do to stay legal on two wheels.
Be warned that occasionally the DVLA screws up and removes licence entitlements, such as your right-to-bike. So keep a record. And note that some riders seem to have temporarily misplaced their old licence when updating. It happens. Just be careful, huh?
Finally, another word of warning. The usual online fraudsters are said to be taking advantage of the licence changes by directly contacting all and sundry (by email) whilst purporting to be from the DVLA. The fraudsters are asking any number of bogus questions aimed at collecting identity data.
We know that you Sumpsters ain't stupid enough to fall for that, but you might know someone who is. So pass the word, if you will. The DVLA does not email anyone asking them to update personal details.
Not yet, anyway.
— Del Monte
Or is it really simply the next V1000? We don't know either, but the Hesketh press release said that the firm wasn't making any more, so we're supposing that this really is it. The last one. The end of the line. The swansong. But you can't buy this one (image above) because it's sold. All that needs doing to the bike is the fitting of a couple of extra parts plus a little fiddling around, and then it's gone.
▲ The new Hesketh 24. £35,000. 2000cc S&S engine. Only 24 will be built. "The bike itself blends cafe racer with American muscle," says Hesketh owner Paul Sleeman. Good luck to 'im, we say.
Apparently, the V1000 has been in continuous, if low volume, production for 32 years. The new Hesketh head honcho and company owner is Paul Sleeman, and he's clearly very pleased at where he's taken this epic project. However, he recognises that he wouldn't have a business at all if not for Lord Hesketh, Bubbles Horsley, and Mick Broom who backed the bike for so long.
But now it's so long to the past and hello to the future, which Sleeman reckons is the new Hesketh 24 that was displayed recently at the Classic Motor Show at the NEC. We wasn't there, but our spies were, and we're told that the new 24 looks a lot better up close than it does in photographs.
We've heard that one before, and often that's because it's true. Let's hope Sleeman can write another interesting and profitable chapter in the Book of Hesketh. It's a page turner.
Want more info on the Hesketh 24? Check Sump News June 2014.
— Girl Happy
TRWs have been rising in value for the past five to ten years. We particular like these Meriden military nailheads and have been watching them carefully. But we're constantly behind the prices, and those prices don't look like falling anytime soon.
This example is currently on offer by Suffolk-based classic bike dealer, Andy Tiernan, and he's asking £5,000. That's a sizeable chunk of change in today's classic bike market where mid-range prices are generally either falling, or under stress.
Nevertheless, Andy knows his business, and he tends to market bikes appropriately. That's why he's been in the game since the early 1970s, and he clearly feels that five grand is about where it's at for a decent TRW.
▲ 1964 Triumph TRW. Never sold new to the public, these military bikes are now acquiring a growing following. But is £5,000 a bridge too far? Suffolk dealer Andy Tiernan doesn't think so. This TRW is "new in stock", and we think it's generally underrated machine.
Andy's describing the bike as "presentable", which is Andy-code for a decent enough mount, but it's neither perfect, nor is it a rat. He also describes it as having excellent manners. Which is perfectly true. You could take one of these to a Buckingham Palace Garden Party safe in the knowledge that it wouldn't disgrace itself.
Better still, you could lope along your favourite back roads on one enjoying 50-55mph cruising, 70mph at the top end, 45-55 mpg, and reasonable handling. And they're looking better with every passing year, which is more than can be said for the rest of us.
Sump's carrying a buyers guide on Triumph TRWs. Check it out if you need help making a decision, or are just curious. Alternately, just call Andy Tiernan and make a deal. He's usually pretty agreeable and accommodating.
Meanwhile, check this Sump July 2013 feature on TRW pricing, and make up your own mind.
We have. He goes by the name of Kasey and he sells about five billion styles of gloves, not least repro classic Goldtop Gloves. We bumped into him at the Copdock Show, Ipswich in 2013, and he was there at his stall happily plying his five-fingered trade (or ten-fingered if you've got two hands)
Which is why you should take care. He's got glove-itis and he's infectious.
He knows his business inside out, laughs more than Tommy Cooper, is a mine of amusing anecdotes, and has some pretty good deals going. And if you cross paths with him, there's every chance you'll buy something. Or even two somethings.
Which probably won't be a bad thing. Pretty much all of us could use a new pair of gloves, right? Take a hint, Kasey...
He sells gloves, gauntlets, scarves and boots, plus leather care products. He's not exactly Woolworths yet, but he's on the way.
Anyway, he's just been in touch with us bringing us up to date with progress (smart move). He's got a new website and a Facebook page, and we suspect he's still got more energy than a nuclear power station.
Go check him out as and when you need some fresh leather on your mitts. Or check him out anyway.
— Big End
We're told that this "new for 2015" chair (above) is based upon Watsonian's current RX4 outfit, but with a 15-inch "split style" wheel instead of a 13-inch 5-spoke aluminium alloy item. The mudguard is a "minimalist hugger" design with a "combined LED tail light/indicator unit".
There's another LED indicator fitted into the passenger step, and a wraparound screen that folds up for easy access to the 30-inch wide bench seat. The GT4 weighs 98kg. Prices start from £6,195 including VAT.
For 2015, Watsonian has also introduced a fitting kit to allow owners of the Royal Enfield Continental Cafe Racer (image immediately above) to latch onto its established Meteor sidecar. The firm tells us that the Meteor, the design of which was based upon a WW2 aircraft drop (fuel) tank, "perfectly complements" the Continental. But from where we sit, it's only the fact that they're both painted red that makes them a matched pair.
And we're not sure why you'd want to hook up a cafe racer with a third wheel and a GRP bucket. But maybe we're missing something subtle here. However, it's not an ugly package, and people tell us that there's an awful lot of fun to be had from outfits, not least when the bad weather sets in. So we're not knocking 'em per se. In this life, you have to get it while it's going.
Anyway, if you want the Meteor chair, the entry-level price is will set you back £3,995 plus VAT.
— Girl Happy
▲ 2014 Triumph Bonneville. Every season, this bike gets better and better (and Triumph does supply them with mirrors). But it's one of a number of Hinckley models now being recalled for a minor electronic fault.
If you own one, there's no great panic here. But it seems that the electronic control unit (ECU) of various models have some kind of glitch that can lead to over-fuelling in the engine.
Triumph say the worst that might happen is that one cylinder might inappropriately activate a fuel injector causing the engine to run over-rich and even flood the plug. Or you might experience starting issues. Either way, you need to mosey on down to your local dealer who will, without charge, replace the component (similar to the one in the image on the right).
Affected models are:
America, Bonneville, Bonneville T100, Rocket III Roadster, Rocket III Touring, Scrambler, Speedmaster, Thruxton, Thunderbird, Thunderbird Storm, Tiger 800 and Tiger 800XC.
So far, the recall is aimed at UK, Ozzie and Canadian bikes. But wherever you are in the world, you might want to check with your dealer.
— Girl Happy
This bike is really for the collectors, or maybe for the occasional parade. It's a pre-war 350cc OHV twin-port single and has a lot of olde-worlde charm. The bidding still has 6 days to run, so you've got time to make a pitch if you think you'd like to share a garage with it.
The current price (as of 23rd November 2014) is £1,550, and 5 bids have been posted (which might mean 5 people in the fray, or just 2 or 3 hopeful souls gently slugging it out). However, buying it could get a little complicated. Why? Because this pint-sized Beeza is registered in Holland, but is located on Spain's Costa Blanca, and is being offered by a UK seller.
The seller, however, assures eBayers that it's not a scam, and claims that the bike is "original, complete and unrestored". It hasn't been run for the past few years, mind. So some re-commissioning will be needed.
The R34-4 is a three-speed hand-change model. So if you're interested and are not familiar with using anything but your foot to change gear, you should prepare yourself for a more sedate (and initially confusing) style of riding.
Rated at 3.48hp, these machines were used as solo mounts, or for hauling lightweight chairs. Features include instruments in the petrol tank, and quickly-detachable wheels. Brakes are negligible, but you've got a little engine torque to slow you up and soften the crash.
We're not endorsing this particular bike, by the way. We've got no connection with the seller (a trader who generally imports left-hand drive vehicles into the UK). Therefore, the bike might be a peach, or might not be so hot. We're just pointing you at it in case you're interested.
Telephone: 01572 495005 or 07505 554415, or look it up on eBay.
— Del Monte
You've got around ten days left until H&H Auctions' Chateau Impney Sale on 3rd December 2014. It's primarily a car sale, take note, and there's some pretty exciting four-wheeled exotica on offer, such as the above 1953 XK120/150 Fixed Head Coupe Jaguar (Lot 99). So okay, the car is a bitsa. But these ain't any old bits. This is a regular Six Million Dollar Man on wheels.
The Jag has a long, interesting and respectable history, and it's competed in various rallies—but not for some years, we hear. The vehicle was originally exported to Gold Coast, Africa (now Ghana, Africa), but was repatriated in 1954 and used as a general run-around. A USAF airman owned it for a spell, and it was from him that the current owner bought the car and has owned it ever since. The estimate is £35,000 - £45,000.
Of the 25 bike lots being fielded (now 29 bike lots), just 6 of them are British (now 7, or 8 if you include a Jawa-engined Rickman Metisse), and none are outstanding. But the above (and below) T140 cafe racer (Lot number 10) appeals to us—albeit not at the estimated price, which is £14,000 - £16,000.
Purists, of course, will frown. A "genuine" Triton, some would say, ought to be based around a classic Meriden-era T110 engine, or maybe a T100. The Johnny-come-lately 750cc T140 unit lump doesn't quite have the "authoritative" look of the pre-unit motors. And (Brembo) disc brakes all round instead of a twin-leading-shoe, or even four-leading-shoe drum at the front, and a single-leading-drum at the rear?
Nevertheless, it looks like a fairly practical and sorted cafe racer with a nice poise and at least most of the right styling cues. It's registered as a 1965 bike, by the way, which is a few years before the T140 engine was introduced. But it's the right era for the Slimline Featherbed frame.
Other features include Marzocchi forks, a Pazon electronic ignition unit, Mikuni carburettors, a Quill stainless steel exhaust system, and an aluminium alloy tank. All good stuff. But £14,000 - £16,000?
We'll see about that...
In the same auction are the following:
1954 BSA Road Rocket (Lot 4) £4,000 - £6,000
1962 Triumph TR6 Trophy (Lot 6) £8,000 - £10,000
1962 Norton Atlas (Lot 6) £7,500 - £8,500
2006 G50 Seeley Superlight George Beale Rep (Lot 9) £18,000 - £20,000
An uninspiring sounding "Triumph Triple" racer (Lot 11) £12,000 - £14,000
But what and where is Chateau Impney, anyway? Well, it's in Worcestershire, near Droitwich Spa, a hotel and exhibition centre operating within a 19th century house built in the Louis XIII French style. During WW2, the Ministry of Defence requisitioned the property. It was used as a billet for officers and cadets undergoing training. POWs were also contained within the grounds.
Surprisingly, perhaps, a single room at the Chateau could cost you as little as £59 per night, or so we were advised when we checked.
— The Third Man
We featured a pretty cool looking Bell Bullitt crash helmet back in Sump, April 2014, and we're still saving up our pennies to buy one (whilst keeping pretty busy down in the local bike park hoping we can nick one).
But these Bullitt lids are rare beasts. They're not exactly endangered, but you just don't see them all that often in the wild.
Well this newcomer will, in some small way, no doubt help change all that. Bell call it the Bullitt RSD Viva (the firm is no doubt figuring that there's still plenty of mileage left in the word "Bullitt" and it's extracting every last drop).
The lid is a Roland Sands designed limited edition creation. The shell is composite, which could mean anything. Or nothing. The liner is machine washable. The lid has various clever vents. The visor can be popped open in traffic. The trim is leather. The cheek pads are 3D formed.
In fact, it sounds pretty much like ... well, a regular crash helmet. And anyway, most of the techy talk goes right over our heads (who really understands all this stuff except the people who design, build and test these helmets? Not us).
But we trust Bell and we're sold on the looks and the graphics. And if you're really interested in what kind of safety certificates it's got, we're advised that the Yanks, the Ozzies and the Eurocrats have all approved it.
The helmet is offered with both the clear bubble visor (above), and a plain, flat, tinted visor. But it's that bubble thingy that does it for us, uncomplicated souls that we are here at Sump.
So where can you buy one? Well they're on eBay at around $449, which is roughly £300 in BritCash give or take a little change. Or try Moto Central which is currently offering them at around £320. Or try The Cafe Racer. Can't actually see this model on their site (not at the time of writing), but The Cafe Racer deals in Bell lids and certainly carries the earlier Bullitt brain bucket.
— Del Monte
These lids, apparently, have been around since 2011. At least, the company has. But it's the first we've heard of 'em.
The name, as you can see, is Hedon, which might be a reference to a "head on", as in "head on crash". As in "don't have one if you can help it". Or it might stem from something like, "Hey, let's head on down the caff, huh?" Or it might even be some kind of cockeyed word play about sticking one on your bonce.
But no, apparently Hedon refers to hedonism; the pursuit of pleasure. And we can vouch for the fact that a shiny red helmet can definitely be a precursor to a pleasurable experience.
The firm, trading from Hillingdon, West London, was launched by "Lindsay and Reginald". That's them in the snapshot immediately below. Reg, we assume, is the one who evidently needs to wear his lid to drink a glass of dangerous fizzy pop.
We checked the Hedon website and died sixteen gory deaths as we waded through the excrutiatingly overblown copy. Here's a sample. But first a warning: Don't read this unless you're wearing a helmet and haven't eaten in the past 24 hours.
"Hedon’s goal is simply to provide the most pleasant experience on everybody’s journey for Hedonism. In 2011 Lindsay and Reginald, with extensive experience in design and helmet crafting, came together to create Hedon. Tired of conventional style, they set out on a mission to rethink the urban rider’s protective headgear. They wanted something bold, refined and nostalgic with comfort as a driving point above all else. A necessary accessory for the discerning rider.
"Lindsay and Reginald has [sic] always approached design with an eye for raw beauty and originality. Each Hedon helmet has it’s [sic] own unique signature marked in their definitive style and distinctive materials they are crafted from. A fine blend of the old and the new, deftly forged using traditional craftsmanship along with modern technology. They believe when form and function come together seamlessly, style is effortless."
But you can't blame a guy (or gal) for trying. These lids, we're told are made from fibre glass and carbon fibre and brass and leather and whatnot.
The lining is "Merlin anti-bacterial", whatever that is. The sizes are XS-2XL.
These lids actually look pretty good, In fact, we're thinking of getting a few, just as soon as we have our hair done, nails trimmed, bikini-line waxed and visit our therapists.
Prices range from £299 (for the red one above) to £450. We're also advised that these helmets are ECE 22.05 certified, and delivery takes up to 35 days. The firm, by the way, trades as Hedkase Limited. Read what you will into that.
Should Davida be worried? Probably not.
— Girl Happy
He was a Volkswagen man, a Cagiva man, a Moto Guzzi man, a Piaggio man, a Norton man, and—perhaps most famously—a Ducati man. But now he's a Royal Enfield man having signed on for a voyage of unknown duration.
A South African by birth, 58-year old Terblanche also designed the Confederate Hellcat, and it was at Confederate where he was most recently employed.
We use the word "designed" advisedly when what we really mean is "styled". Because that's what Terblanche is; a stylist who also has a background in boat design and graphic design. Regardless, you can now expect to see evidence of his handiwork on Royal Enfield motorcycles. And there's the rub isn't is?
If the same bee buzzes from flower to flower, you're likely to end up with a lot of cross-pollination and homogenisation—meaning, in this case, a new range of Royal Enfields with distinct Terblanche design cues. And that kind of thing isn't always very desirable when individuality and originality are the watchwords. Or is he going to take Royal Enfield in a totally new direction? Or, on the other hand, will Royal Enfield, concerned about losing its core market, be more likely to restrict him to an overly tight brief?
Much the same cross-pollination issues cropped up with legendary Ariel man Val Page who gave us a range of Ariels that were not unlike the range of Triumphs and BSAs that he also worked on during that era. Ditto Edward Turner and the similarities between the Ariel Red Leaders and the Triumph Tiger 70, 80, 90 and even Speed Twin.
Nevertheless Royal Enfield is said to be very chuffed and is looking forward to a new generation of cool and "western styled" 500cc and even 400cc bikes. And these kind of career moves are usually interesting. So good luck to Terblanche and Enfield, etc.
— Girl Happy
We're talking about Richard Deal's outfit which put the brand back on the motorcycle map in 1999 when he registered and relaunched the name. He's looking for £350,000, which is a lot of money in today's uncertain economic climate.
Then again, the deal (no pun intended) includes 10 bikes, all the tools, jigs, fixtures, castings, moulds, benches, hydraulic presses, manufacturing machinery, spares, intellectual property and so on. The current business turnover is £300,000, and there's a new(ish) bike offered as part of the deal (still no pun intended). This is a Greeves 280TI; a lightweight two-stroke trials machine (image immediately below) weighing in at just 76 kilos and featuring a variable squish cylinder head, Marzocchi forks, an Olins rear monoshock, and Grimeca brakes.
Richard Deal already produces new Anglians and Pathfinder models, and okay, he hasn't sold as many as he'd wanted. But there's clearly scope here for an individual, or group of individuals to run with this particular ball and scores a few new touches.
But why's he selling? Because he's just turned 70, and he's been working brutal hours, fighting a long sales and manufacturing campaign and has earned a retirement rest—and anyone involved in motorcycle engineering at any level will appreciate just how much blood and sweat has gone into this project.
Greeves was founded in 1951 by Bert Greeves, MBE. The legend is fairly well known. But in case you're not familiar with it, Bert Greeves began by developing and producing the Invacar which he designed for his disabled cousin, Derry Preston-Cobb. At that time (early 1950s), England had more than its fair share of disabled ex-servicemen, not to mention ordinary folk struggling with chronic mobility conditions.
With a contract from the Ministry of Pensions & National Insurance, Bert Greeves established a factory in Thundersley, Essex and achieved much success with his Invacar project. In private life, he was also a trials man, and presently he designed and built two-stroke motorcycles by incorporating his own views on what was important and what wasn't.
In trials competition, Greeves machines acquitted themselves extremely well, not least when in the hands of riders such as Brian Stonebridge, Peter Hammond, Jack Simpson, Norman Sloper and the redoubtable Dave Bickers (see Sump July 2014). Models include the Hawkstone, Essex, Scottish, Anglian (image immediately above) Sports Twin, Challenger, and East Coaster. The Greeves diehards are a fiercely loyal and enthusiastic bunch, not all of whom have seen eye to eye with Richard Deal.
We've no idea whether or not the sale offer represents good value as a going concern. But it's worth remembering that the Greeves brand has a lot of steam behind it which could, if handled right, mine a long seam of gold in the fashion industry (a la Belstaff and Barbour).
We'd prefer to see some rich businessman come along and pick up exactly where Richard Deal left off, and that's producing Greeves two-strokes from a collection of workshops in Essex. But you have to be realistic. The logo on a T-shirt or leather jacket is possibly worth more than the logo on a petrol tank.
We spoke to Richard Deal who said, "It will be a wrench selling the business. I've worked very hard on this and have brought it a long way over the past 14 years.
"But it's the right time to look for someone else to take over. I've had interest from 4 or 5 people, but it's still early days."
Would he rent out the workshops as a going concern?
"I would consider it," he said. "I've got three staff working for me. Robert, my mechanic and electrician, Keith the welder, and Charlie who looks after the machining work. They're all great guys and they know their business. But I am looking for an outright sale of the stock, brand and rights. Any leasing of the workshops is another matter that can be discussed."
Greeves Motorcycles Ltd is based in Chelmsford, Essex. The Greeves Anglican sells for £8,100. The new 280TI sells for around £6,995.
Telephone: 01245 227667
— Big End
We don't often recommend bike businesses, not because there ain't some very good firms out there in the classic bike world looking for your custom, but because we simply can't get around to reviewing them all.
But we can and will happily recommend Southampton Vapourblast Services. This firm understands motorcycles at all levels, from building, machining, restoring and riding.
They understand how mechanisms are supposed to work, and why they fail. They understand bearing surfaces and how to look after them. They know what's salvageable, and what's junk. And they also know how to handle parts and safely package items for the postman to throw about.
In short, we'd trust SVS with anything in the Sump garage (and there ain't many people or businesses we can say that about).
SVS also offers ultrasonic cleaning. This works by using sound waves and little bubbles and ... well, clever stuff like that. It's all pretty technical, but as you can't get drunk on it, we ain't all that interested in the details. This process is ideal for carburettors and fine castings, whereas the vapour blasting process will freshen up crankcases, gearboxes, castings, hubs or what have you.
You can also use these processes for cleaning up burrs on freshly machined components, or for tidying welds, or prepping jointing surfaces for rebuilding, or whatever the hell you need to do in order to clean up your act. Alternately, you can work with greasy, ragged, not-fit-for-purpose parts on your next rebuild and do a half-assed job.
Sump tip: Don't scrimp on the basics.
British, Jap, German, Italian, and American parts are handled with equal care. And while we remember, SVS can offer a while-you-wait service. But make sure you give them some sensible notice.
We could go on about this company, but we ain't gonna. Just talk direct to SVS and find out for yourself what the big deal is. And tell 'em Sump recommended them. Can't hurt.
Telephone: 07860 953960
This year, the theme for Andy's annual calendar is eccentric vehicles. As ever, the artwork is by the redoubtable Nick Ward, and as ever, the proceeds from the sale of the calendar are going to the East Anglian Air Ambulance, and as ever, the calendar is produced in memory of David "Beret" Berry (Andy's fitter who died in 2006 in a motorcycle accident).
To illustrate this great classic bike tradition, we picked the above 1931 BSA Commercial Van Model TW5. But we might equally have picked any of the other sketches (of which there are six) because they're all good and deserve a frame on a wall somewhere.
Suffolk classic bike dealer Andy Tiernan doesn't make anything from this. But don't let that stop you putting your hand in your pocket and finding some spare change. Send a £10 cheque, if you will, made payable to: East Anglian Air Ambulance.
The address is: Andy Tiernan Classics - Calendar, The Old Railway Station, Station Road, Framlingham, Woodbridge, Suffolk, IP13 9EE. Your payment includes two UK second class postage stamps. But if you're from overseas, contact Andy direct at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Need we remind everyone that these air ambulances save lives, not least the lives of bikers? Please support it if you can, either for your own use, or as a gift for someone else.
— Big End
We're talking about the National Motorcycle Museum (in case you don't know what "NMM" refers to). The Vincent in question is the above 1951 1000cc Rapide that's just been won by Ms Sharon Shaw from London who is evidently about as happy as a girl can look beyond winning the national lottery and/or spending a night with George Clooney (whoever he is). Her ticket number was: 1285048.
We're consoling ourselves that at least Sharon and hubby are genuine classic bike people (as opposed to passing chancers) who, until further notice, will be parking the Vinnie alongside their two BSAs.
The second prize in that esteemed lottery was a 1952 125cc BSA Bantam D1. Ms Rachel Daynes from Wales, owner of ticket 0895555, won that bike, while 3rd prize was a "classic" weekend break for two (which isn't likely to impress many of the hopefuls who have just had a Rapide slip through their fingers—but let's not be bitter).
If any or all of that has whetted your appetite for another punt, the NMM Winter Raffle (November 2014 - April 2015) is offering a brand new Norton Commando 961 (image below). The bike is said to be worth £18,000 and will be supplied with factory extras and special paintwork.
The 2nd prize in this raffle will be a 1958 BSA C12 250cc that's been restored in the museum's workshop. And you can guess what 3rd prize is.
The tickets cost £2 each, or you can buy them in a book of ten. But what are the odds against winning? Well if the bike is costing around £18,000, there has to be at least 9000 tickets on offer. So you're looking at odds of maybe 9000-1, which (in lottery terms) are actually pretty good.
But the NMM is shrewder than that and wants to make a profit, so we're talking about maybe 18,000-1 or even higher. Which is still not bad.
Just remember that it's not just the winning that counts. It's living in hope that matters.
— Girl Happy
You know how it is when you look at your wife over the breakfast table and still can't decide if she's butt ugly or beautiful? Well that's how it is when we munch our figurative cornflakes and scrutinise images of Mark Upham's relaunched Brough Superior. Ugly? Classy? Double ugly? Sexy?
Meanwhile, Upham's done gone and launched two new models, the Brough Superior Black (above), and the Brough Superior Titanium (below). Both are designated SS100. The misshapen/bewitching/gorgeous/grotesque bikes have been strutting their foxy stuff on the catwalk at the EICMA Show at Milan, Italy (6th - 9th November 2014) and are pegged to go on sale sometime towards the end of 2015. And that means we're not sure if these are actually 2015 models or 2016. And does it matter, anyway?
▲ The Brough Superior stand at the 2014 EICMA show. Heavy on tradition, but where are all the celebs and wealthy punters? Nice try, Mark, but a little further point-of-sale development probably won't hurt none...
Development of these bikes has been a continuous process, and that's fitting enough because that was George Brough's vision; a process of relentless upgrades and modifications built around a common platform.
Whatever else people might say about Upham, he's certainly ploughing his own furrow here and has taken his project a lot further down the road than many other pretenders. So good luck to him.
He's invited us over to Austria to test ride the bikes for ourselves, and we just might take him up on that in the near future and see exactly how ugly or how pretty these machines are across an asphalt breakfast table.
Prices are tipped to be around €50,000. But in the Rolls Royce tradition, if you have to ask, you probably can't afford it.
More on the "new" Brough Superior, Sump December 2013
— The Third Man
... but we all know him as Acker Bilk. Or even "Mr Acker Bilk" as he was frequently billed. With his trademark bowler hat, striped waistcoat and goatee, he was one of the most instantly recognisable faces on the Trad Jazz music scene, a man who made the clarinet almost sexy, a constant touring musician and composer of no mean talent who ploughed his own field for around six decades and always gave his fans and audience exactly what they wanted.
No, none of us here at Sump were Acker Bilk fans. When we were growing up (assuming we actually have), guys like Acker Bilk, Kenny Ball, George Melly, Humphrey Lyttelton and John Dankworth were way too "square", too middle of the road, too "blue rinse" and obscure for our crude adolescent tastes.
But throughout the sixties, when we were straddling our first bikes (and occasionally straddling members of the opposite sex), Acker Bilk was part of the soundtrack of our lives, not least with Stranger on the Shore, a massive hit in its day, and one that's still selling by the thousands each year to older generations who have worn out their original copies, and to new generations who have discovered him for themselves.
He was born Bernard Stanley Bilk, a West Country man who early on in life lost his two front teeth and the top of one of his fingers. As with Django Reinhardt and Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) and Dr John, Bilk didn't mope about his loss. He simply created his own style around his damaged digit helping to prove that it ain't what ya got, it's what ya do with it that counts.
We ain't gonna suggest that you now all rush out to your local high street charity boutique and buy or shoplift an Acker Bilk record with which to review this man's craft (and God only know that there are plenty of his platters on offer at Save the Children and Sue Ryder). But if you happen to catch an earful of Stranger on the Shore, or Aria, or Limehouse Blues, or Bagatelle or Cuban Love Song, you might want to linger a moment longer and mark the passing of another classic Brit.
When he wasn't clarinetting (which, take note, has a very different meaning in urban dictionaries), he might be found at his easel painting canvasses and expressing himself in tones and hues of a different kind. He was made MBE in 2001, remained a modest man, and is survived by his wide, daughter and son.
But where exactly does the "Acker" come from? Apparently, it's a West Country sobriquet for "mate" or "friend" or "pal".
— The Third Man
Do not adjust your set, and stay tuned to this channel, etc. But note that Sump's usual service may suffer a little over the next week or two. That's because we're relocating, and that means moving half a dozen computers, a lot of books, T-shirts, files, beer and stuff, and we're shifting all our bikes.
Additionally, we've got various utility and net accounts to migrate, plus the usual debugging issues to contend with when our spaceship lands. So although we're going somewhere else, we ain't really going anywhere at all; not as far as your computer is concerned, anyway.
Just stay with us, if you will.
You can still order books and T-shirts. We can pretty much handle that without much extra delay, if any. But we're going to be struggling to stay up with the news and features while we resettle, and our email responses to your various queries and comments might be a little slower.
Just keep watching this screen and no flipping channels. Soon enough, we'll be back where we want to be. Okay?
— The Third Man
We warned about this back in Sump March 2014, and now the threat has possibly moved a step closer. London Mayor Boris Johnson has just announced a consultation into the proposed Ultra Low Emission Zone for London (ULEZ). And the emphasis is on the word "ultra".
The idea is to help reduce the likelihood of Londoners dying prematurely from the usual noxious mix of hydrocarbons and nitrates and whatnots. The Mayor controls Transport for London (TfL) and he's ambitious and looking at the top job in the land as and when he can oust Prime Minister David Cameron.
The consultation is open until 9th January 2015, but it sounds like a formality and a foregone conclusion because Johnson's also announced that the new ULEZ will begin operating from 2020.
"All cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses and heavy vehicles will need to meet the new (and as yet unspecified) emissions standards or pay an additional daily charge to travel within the zone". And ultimately, that means that after 2015, Londoners will still be allowed to die prematurely as long as road users pay a tax for it.
Think that the new standard won't be retrospective? Well maybe not, but keep in mind that retrospective emission controls (and taxes) were applied in January 2012 when the London Emission Zone (LEZ) was introduced which ensnared thousand of diesel vans that suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of history (see Sump December 2011).
▲ Transport for London's rosy toy town image of a cleaner London atmosphere. New exhaust emissions standards are coming that, for tens of thousands of vehicles, possibly including classics, will hike the cost of travelling through the capital.
Classic motorcycles are clearly going to fall foul of the new standards. Thousands of relatively new bikes will also likely be on Johnson's radar. The only questions are whether classics will be ignored for their insignificant contribution to the capital's dirty air, or permitted to move without further charge on special occasions only, and by arrangement.
Worried? Maybe you should be. And maybe not. Either way, TfL is looking for feedback, and you might take the trouble to drop them a line. It might make a difference, but don't put money on it.
TfL Ultra Low Emission Zone consultation link
— Girl Happy
The bike was nicked on 1st October 2014 from Buckinghamshire, HP22. It's a 1954 T20 and belongs to a guy named Nigel Eastwood. He's currently posting the Cub on eBay and is offering a £500 reward.
The registration number as shown above and below is, of course, too good to be true. The actual number is:158 YUK.
The frame number is 17384. The engine number is: T12017384. And Nigel's number is: 07799 097920. So if you see the bike, you know what you have to do, which is kill the thieves, recover the bike, call Nigel, collect the reward and hand it over to the charity of your choice (minus a hundred quid or so for a bigger lock). Or just call the coppers.
Is now a good moment to remind all you Sumpsters of the importance of CCTV equipment, ground anchors, SmartWater, GPS tracking technology, attack dogs, tripwires and suchlike?
Christmas is coming. Treat yourself to an early security present.
— Del Monte