October 2011  Classic bike news


Above: You would have thought that sometime over the past fifty years or so, a British pushrod single would have lapped the Isle of Man Mountain Course at over 100mph. Maybe a Velocette. Or a BSA Gold Star. Or a Vincent Comet.

But apparently not. Instead, it seems that Yamaha dealer Steve Linsdell, co-owner of Flitwick Motorcycles in Flitwick, Bedfordshire, is the first to do so. This record was taken on 31st August 2011 with Steve riding in the 500cc class in the Manx GP.

The much-modified, record-breaking 1970 Royal Enfield features a Titchmarsh-Seeley frame, a disc front end, magneto ignition, a Dell 'Orto carb and a fairing (not shown). Steve's best lap hit 102.097mph. On the Sulby Straight, meanwhile, the bike hit 129.7.

Impressive stuff, huh, for what most people still regard as a relatively humdrum, but worthy, motorcycle? But is that record for real? Answers on a postcard, please.

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


Classic "Rode Safely" YouTube vid


If you're stuck for something entertaining to watch on the box tonight, try this instead. Made by Liverpool motorcycle dealer Victor Horsman, this movie dates from 1955 and takes about forty minutes end to end. But it's an interesting snapshot of Britain in the 1950s, with a solid road safety message at the core.


Entitled "Rode Safely" (sic), the movie features a number of well-known and well-respect TT and ISDT riders of the era including Nobby Clark, Bill Quinn, Eric Wilson, Keith Walker and Ken Morris.


Some nice footage and plenty of staged accidents are underpinned by cool-headed, pragmatic middle-English dialogue patiently explaining how to do just about everything on two wheels without crashing into car doors, running over kiddies or flipping your sidecar outfit on its roof.


Gripping stuff.



—  Del Monte



VMCC BSA Rocket Gold Star raffle closing...


The VMCC's current raffle, which kicked off in July 2011, will be drawn on Friday 16th December 2011, with the winner being notified pretty much immediately—which gives you just a few weeks to get yourself a ticket.


The VMCC (Vintage Motor Cycle Club) organises a couple of raffles each year; January-June, and July-December. The last winner was Mr J Kidd from Kirkaldy, Scotland who rode away on a 1975 750cc Triumph T160 Trident.


This time, first prize is a 1963 650cc BSA Rocket Gold Star, and someone is going to stick it under their Christmas tree this year.


Second prize is a  Davida “Classic” helmet. Third Prize is a years subscription to Old Bike Mart & The Classic Motorcycle. Tickets cost £1 each.


Chances of winning this, when compared to, say, the National Lottery are high. But as they say, you have to be in it to win it. For a larger image of this bike, click here.


—  Girl Happy




Steve McQueen T100 Bonneville


You can't blame Hinckley Triumph for wanting to make some dosh, especially when cash is in such short supply, but we wish they'd chosen another way to get it.


What we have here is the latest T100 Bonneville offering from Hinckley, served up as a homage (or is that fromage?) to Steve McQueen. Because frankly, it's about as cheesy as you can get.


Modelled very loosely on the 1960 Triumph TR6 Trophy piloted by McQueen (and Bud Ekins) in the movie The Great Escape, this 2012 machine will be supplied in faux olive drab with plenty of black bits, a single seat, a rack on the back, and a limited edition number and certificate to prove that it's one of just 1100.


In the movie, the bike was supposed to be a German despatch machine or something, and probably fooled 99% of the viewers glued to the big screen. But to anyone with any knowledge of pre-1970s motorcycles, McQueen's bike looks as fake as a Chinese Rolex.


But don't get us wrong. We love the Hinckley Bonneville and have piloted a few over the years. But this one, along with the Meriden Jubilee Bonnie and Royal Wedding Bonnie, really ought to have been recycled before delivery.


Hinckley will no doubt sell all 1100 without much trouble, and the bikes will bring back a lot of much needed export dollars. But couldn't the factory have come up with something really special rather than a fake of a fake that was fence-jumped by someone other than they guy who got 99% of the credit?


Apparently not.


No prices yet, but the barmy-army T100 goes on sale next year (2012). Steve McQueen would roll over in his grave (or maybe Bud Ekins would do it for him).

—  Dexxion




Moby Dick fails to reach estimate


£240,000-£280,000. That was the estimate Bonhams had in mind for this piece of classic bike history when it came up for auction at the firm's October sale at Stafford. But the hammer came down when the bidding reached "just" £210,500—inclusive of buyer's premium, which means that the bike fell way short of expectations.


Originally, this 1929 Brough Superior SS100 (engine number JTO/C 20728/T) was supplied with a 980cc JTOR JAP engine, but owner Charlie Hobbs wanted more power and stripped the motor and went looking for extra horses.


Two years on, the bike was running 1140cc with new pistons specially made by J A Prestwich (JAP). A very respectable 57bhp was claimed with the maximum speed touching 106mph.


But Hobbs was unsatisfied and took the bike to Ted "Barry" Baragwanath (pictured left). Baragwanath, a well-known and well-respected Brooklands sidecar racer and tuner (who also ran a motor repair business in North London and was noted for wearing a winged collar with his riding gear) coaxed the horsepower up to around 65 from 44. This was achieved by increasing the compression ratio (to 8.3:1), fitting two Amal carburettors, installing higher lift cams, and generally pressing all the right tuning buttons.


Moby was now able to hit 115mph in top gear (3rd), and reach 109mph in second. Despite all this, Hobbs didn't fare as well as he'd hoped at Brooklands, but he did better at the Gatwick Speed Trials in both the solo and the sidecar class.


In 1936, the Brough was bought by brothers Ken and Ralph Bilbé who raced it with some success at Brooklands and further clocked up 23 speeding ticket on the road. By 1940, Moby Dick was sold and passed through the hands of Alfred J Cain and Tom Eccles, the latter of whom kept the bike for 40 years. In 1980, Louis Holland bought the bike, but soon sold it to Roger Bilbé (son of Ralph) who had been patiently tracking down the machine.


In April 1999, Moby returned to Brooklands for the first time in sixty years, still in the ownership of Roger Bilbé.


Bonhams is bound to be disappointed at the result of this sale, and will no doubt be looking anxiously at their next sale at Harrogate to see if this represents a new downward trend (see item below).


For more on this, see Sump September 2011.

—  The Third Man




Bonhams back in Harrogate


These Brough's keep on coming, and Bonhams is happy to keep floggin' 'em off. The latest is the above 1928 SS100 ex-sprinter that goes on the block on 16th November 2011 at Yorkshire's most famous spa town. The estimate is £165,000-£185,000.


Brough Superior club president Dick Knight purchased the bike in the 1970s and converted it back to road use twenty-odd years later. It's a fairly well-known machine and the provenance looks good. But what about that estimate? We think it's on the money.


Other notable attractions at the Harrogate auction include:


- 1955 Vincent Series-D Black Shadow (estimate £34,000-38,000)

- 1950 Norton 500cc International (estimate £17,000-20,000)

- 1939 Ariel Square Four (estimate £12,000-16,000)


Bonhams will also be auctioning a number of "barn finds" including :


- 1956 BSA CB32 Gold Star (£300-500)

- circa1956 Triumph 5T (£200-400).


With inflation now running at around 5.2 percent in the UK, that money stuffed under your mattress is worth less and less every day, which makes classic bike auctions more and more attractive seeing as this is one sector of the struggling bike industry that's still on an upward climb. The bubble has to burst sometime, but it hasn't happened yet.


Make your play.

—  Girl Happy




Grand Prix helmets set  for launch


Okay, our dinner's on the table and the beers have been opened, so we're not going to waste time with this one. Seems there's a new crash helmet manufacturer on the block and they're launching their funky-coloured range this December (2011).


The 1960s/1970s flavoured lids are both Jet style (1.94lbs) and full-faced (2.76lbs), all made from fibre glass, and designed for the style conscious rider—which is pretty much all of us, huh?


These lids, note, are ECE 22.05 certified which, it seems, is the current European standard. But does that make them approved for use on the roads. Apparently so. And all over the continent too. Just open the box, pop one on, and get rolling.


We haven't yet tried one of these, so you'll have to do your own leg work. The price of the open-face lid is £172. The full-faced lid (not shown) is £192. Prices include VAT. Sizes range from XS to XL, and you're spoiled for choice with fifteen colour combos, including seven metal flake options. The outer lining, by the way, is hand-stitched leather. The inner lining is washable velour.


If you're a bike business looking for a new product line, Grand Prix are seeking resellers. So you know what you have to do.



—  Del Monte



Sammy Miller's honorary membership


Sammy's involvement with AJS and Matchless motorcycles long pre-dates the creation of his motorcycle museum in New Milton, Hampshire.


For instance, Sammy's first Irish road race, we hear,  was astride a 350cc 7R AJS. Well now he's become an honorary member of the AJS and Matchless Owner's Club and has another certificate to hang on his wall along with his numerous  trophies.


Something and nothing? Well that probably depends upon which side of the certificate you are. Sammy certainly looked pleased with himself, and some would say that his contribution to British motorcycling has been justly rewarded. That's the club view, and we're certainly not arguing about it.


Pictured left to right is Roger Limb (club PRO), Sammy Miller, and Rob Swift (club chairman).

—  Girl Happy



New law is set to target dangerous drivers


Drive or ride dangerously in the UK and you face a maximum penalty of two years in clink. Drive or ride dangerously and kill someone, and the maximum penalty rises to fourteen years. But if you cause an injury, minor or serious, the British courts are not at liberty to factor that in and can impose only the lower of the two sentences.


But that could be set to change.


Road safety groups and individuals have long been lobbying for a change in the law in which the consequences of injuries caused by dangerous driving is factored into the punishment. The government has finally capitulated through plans to introduce a new maximum penalty of five years.


That would leave us with three offences:


Dangerous driving - maximum of two years jail

Causing serious injury by dangerous driving - maximum 5 years jail

Causing death by dangerous driving - maximum 14 years jail


Under the new plans, judges will be able to adjust sentences to address the distress, pain and damage caused by dangerous driving/riding, a move which will significantly shift the onus further onto the offender. This new legislation, says the government, could lead to an extra 230 prison places at a cost of around £10 million, but whether it works as a deterrent remains to be seen.


It also remains to be seen whether the government is prepared to shell out the extra money given the current state of the economy in which police and prison staff numbers are in decline.


The new offence will be tabled as an amendment to the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill which is currently at Committee Stage.

—  Del Monte



$13,975 for a BSA M20?


That's the starting bid, anyway. But the buy-it-now price is $17,900. It's been up on eBay before, but it didn't find a buyer, so it's back again.


The seller is St Louis Car Museum—or, more accurately, St Louis Car Museum and Sales. Spot the difference?


The St Louis, Missouri organisation/firm was established in 1991 and "actively buys, sells and trades everything ..." from an 1908 ABC Highwheeler Model C to a 1958 Edsel to a 2012 Shelby Mustang to a 1985 Yamaha RZ350. They flog aircraft too.


The outfit also handles vehicle storage, all of which makes it sound less like a bona fide museum and suspiciously like a car dealership.


Anyway, in view of the walking-speed performance, you'd think the last accessory you'd need for your M20 is a sidecar. But these bikes aren't about performance (we know because we've got one). They're all about charm and nostalgia and dressing up, etc.


It's a 1939 model with a "military" engine number. There's a video with the listing, and it looks and sounds about right. But $13,975 to get the ball rolling?


Good luck to the "museum" if they can flog it at anywhere near this price. But bad luck to the mug who digs his or her hand that deep in their pocket/purse. Our valuation? Well, £13,975 is about £9003 at tonight's exchange rate (9th September 2011). We figure that £5000-£6000 is a more realistic figure.


—  Dexxion




Indian production re-started


By the time you read this, the first 1720cc Indians built by US firm Polaris Industries will be coming off the production line.


Polaris took over the company earlier this year (as reported by Sump back in May) and planned a range of three bikes, now confirmed as the Classic Chief, Chief Dark Horse and Chief Vintage. The first machines will undergo technical evaluation to ensure they comply with current regulations, and then the big lever will be pushed and Polaris will be churning them out.


At least, that's the plan. Or hope. But there's a recession on (in everything but name), and Polaris already own "rival" Victory Motorcycles.


Additionally, it's not clear whether these new Indians will be on the UK warpath because Alan Forbes (ex-Rezillos front man and long time Indian restorer and Indian parts supplier) is laying claim to the brand in the British market—and Forbes has already had a less than totally successful stab at launching the Dakota-4 (immediately above) here in Blighty, and might not yet be done with his plans.


Then again, we can see Forbes and Polaris getting together in the very near future, if they haven't done so already, and hunkering down to a little old-fashioned horse trading. The Indian brand in the UK is a popular one and can undoubtedly take a large slice of Harley's pie. It's hard to imagine Polaris not factoring in a little local revenue into their long term business plan, especially while times are so tough.


But Forbes has invested a lot of his own time and money into his Indian business plans. And there's always personal feelings at stake.


Still, it would be a shame not to see one of the great American icons in significant numbers back on British streets, even it the original company went bust more than half a century ago back in 1953.


—  Dexxion



London Motorcycle Museum expansion plans


Gotta million quid to spare? If so, Triumph specialist Bill Crosby, founder of the London Motorcycle Museum, would like to have a chat. Bill, proprietor of Reg Allen Motorcycles in Ealing, West London has been campaigning the museum since it opened in 1999.


It houses around 400 bikes, most of which are Triumphs, and with a significant number being prototypes that Bill acquired over many years—not least during the final months of the Meriden Workers Cooperative.


The problem, however, is that the museum needs to develop its identity to include bikes of other marques from around the world, which in turn requires more space, which requires more dosh.


There are various possible grants available, including the national lottery fund and the local authority. But so far, the pennies simply haven't fallen into the right pocket and growth has been slowed. However, Bill, aged 79, is nothing if not persistent, and aided and abetted by sons Mark, Gary and Sam is constantly trying to find that elusive pot of gold.


We've visited the museum some years ago,and whilst it doesn't have the glitz and pizzazz of the National Motorcycle Museum or Sammy Millers, it nevertheless does contain some very interesting stuff, especially for Triumph men, and will be a whole lot better once the big money starts to flow, which it probably will sooner or later.


You can visit Bill at his shop at 39 Grosvenor Road, Hanwell, London, W7 1HP (Triumph, Royal Enfield and AJS), or visit the Museum at Ravenor Farm, Oldfield Lane South, Greenford, Middlesex UB6 9LD (open Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays, 10am to 4.30pm). It's just a short ride from the Ace cafe and will make for an interesting diversion.


Entry is £5.00.


— The Third Man



2012 AJS and Matchless owners club calendar


So that's another year almost done with, which makes it calendar season again, and that's why we're looking at a couple of winsome wenches decorating a 1939 Matchless Model X outfit (eyes right, everyone).


The AJS & Matchless Owners Club have evidently been out and about with their polaroids and Instamatics and it's the same "successful" 1940s/1950s formula as last year with girls in various states of undress, and is either cheap and tacky, or harmless fun (depending on your sexual politics, etc).


Either way, the calendars will officially be launched at the Classic Mechanics Stafford Show and, apparently, the November Classic Motor Show at the NEC where you can get a close up look at the calendar girls who are helping with this year's Matchless G12 raffle.


But you can buy the calendars now online at the club website. Prices are £8.95 (UK), £9.95 (Europe), and £10.95 (World). Postage and packing is included.



— Girl Happy



Riders Digest is bust


It's nearly always a shame when an independent magazine hits the skids, but that's what's happened to Riders Digest. This pint size tome has become a familiar feature over God knows how many years. We've been picking 'em up since we were in short trousers, or so it seems, but the last issues have now gone to that great printing press in the sky.


What happened? The recession, that's what. People ain't buying, so businesses ain't selling, so magazines ain't getting any ad revenue. It's as simple as that.


Editor Alan Dowds is understandably disappointed. The mag carried a lot of interesting features and had a unique style and voice. But all might not be lost. Dowds is said to be thinking about an online magazine, but there's still the thorny problem of ad revenues—unless, of course, you can monetise your publication in some other way.


If you want to send your commiserations, Dowds is still monitoring emails, but don't expect a prompt response. Planning a new mag, or a new version of an old mag, takes a lot of thought and planning, and in the current climate, things just ain't happening quickly.



— The Third Man




Fonzie's Bud Ekins Triumph sale


Is this the coolest Triumph around? Probably not, but Arthur Fonzarelli—the character played by actor Henry Winkler in the US TV series Happy Days—made these wheels among the most famous on the planet.


Not that you ever saw much of them if you watched the show. Usually there was just a three second clip of the bike on the opening titles, followed by the occasional shot of the Triumph parked in a garage or something with Fonzie standing beside it and combing his tresses.


Nevertheless, it's a stand-up piece of TV history and will attract Bud Ekins fans because it was actually his bike too (albeit after the show was finished with it). It's a 1949 Triumph TR5 Trophy scrambler; a machine that Ekins prepared for the show's producers simply by removing the front mudguard, raising the 'bars and spraying the tank silver.


There were actually various bikes used on the production, but this one is most closely associated with The Fonz (who, it seems, couldn't actually ride it properly). We don't yet know what the reserve is, but it goes under the hammer at Bonhams' Classic California sale on 12th November at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles.


But what's New York-born Winkler, now aged 65, up to these days? Well, he's been busy directing movies and TV shows, writing books, and encouraging people to back Barack Obama. And just last month, he also received an honorary OBE from us Brits for services towards children with special needs, which is pretty cool.


The reserve price for this bike hasn't yet been posted, so your guess is as good as ours what it will fetch. But Ekins memorabilia is becoming increasingly sought after, largely due to the Ekins-McQueen connection. So we could be talking about fairly big bucks here.


— Del Monte



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