Friday, February 27, 2015

Norton and Triumph at 1950 Clubman's TT

Norton mounted Ken Arber (77) overtakes H E Gilbert on a Triumph at the 1950 Clubman's Senior TT. Arber went on to finish fourth at 74.41mph average whilst Gilbert was right at the bottom of the finishers with 62.07mph.

The photo is annotated as 1948 but thanks to the official TT site database it was simple to work out the right year..

Norton International overtakes Triumph Tiger 100

Thursday, February 26, 2015

1904 Quadrant project

In the last few weeks the mortal remains of a 1904 Quadrant have found a new home in my workshop. Obviously this is a very heavy project but one I reckon is quite achievable. I've had a fascination with the early pioneer machines for a while now and building one up from this starting point was pretty much going to be the only way that I could ever lay my hands on one.

What I've got is a frame, a complete engine without ignition or carburation but with some spares and drawings for a petrol tank. Given that most parts for bikes of this age bar the engine and frame were generic I think I have a good chance in finding appropriate parts or fabricating what I can't find. 

In its day the Quadrant was a sporting mount, in 1903 Tom Silver (in the picture below) set a new record for riding from John O' Groats to Lands End and then set off on a 6000 mile ride around Southern Africa. How wild would it be to try and replicate that journey! More on Tom Silver's exploits on the Go-Faster site.

Looking on the positive side, coming across a machine in this condition can allow a certain laissez-faire attitude in bringing it back to life; you don't have to be too precious about using it because no matter what beatings you meter out to it you can relax in the knowledge that you are not damaging an irreplaceable original antique.

Finally, it goes without saying that if you have any parts that may be useful please do get in touch. There's plenty to find...

1904 Quadrant project.
This is what it will hopefully end up like, Tom Silver with his
Quadrant in 1903.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

A pair of Velocette Venoms

A tasty pair of Velocettes from back in the day. I am guessing both are Venoms, though they could be Vipers, there's not much difference visually between the two models.

A pair of Velocette Venoms.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Classic and vintage motorcycle events in Europe 2015

The time has come around again for a listing of excuses to pack up and head across the Channel on two wheels. Once again I haven't managed to find any decent calendar of continental events online so here is my humble offering. By no means comprehensive it simply represents a list of events that I have either been to in person, friends have been to, or I have heard good things about. If you have feedback or events you know of that should be in the list then how about getting in touch.

There's the usual caveat that only a rash fool would use this page as the sole information source before heading off into the sunset. Check details for yourself, dates change, events get cancelled.  

A few new events in the list this year and one biennial in and one out. Get out there and enjoy, don't be scared to take something old on a long trip, they were made for it, breakdown cover is cheap and a wonderful thing and there's a great joy to be had riding with friends on machines you've put together yourselves. Even roadside tinkering and repairs aren't so bad. 

20 to 22 March: Veterama, Hockenheim, Germany.
- Very big autojumble.

25 and 26 April: Iron Bikers, Circuit Carole, France.
- Circuit based event near Paris for 50s to 80s bikes.

1 to 3 May: John Bull Rally, Belgium.
- Organised by the BSA Owners Club Belgium but open to all old British bikes. Gets great reviews.

9 and 10 May: Vintage Revival Montlhery, nr Paris, France.
- Pre-war bikes and cars. Biennial event. Absolutely superb, can't recommend this one enough.

17 to 23 MayMotogiro D'Italia, San Marino.
- Hooning around Italy on small bikes! Touring event for big cc lovers too.

22 to 24 May: 10 Years of 6 Volts, Gullegem, Belgium.
- Celebrating 10 years of the Belgian 6 Volt Moped Club.

23 and 24 May: Ton Up, Lurcy Levy, France.

30 and 31 May: Coupes Moto Legende, Dijon, France.
- All old bike enthusiasts should visit at least once.

31 May: Rando Cyclo, Sars Poteries, France.
- Event for those who favour fewer horsepower. Double check the date if planning to go, I always find it difficult to get info on this event.

4 to 7 June: MC Piston Cantabria Tour, Cantabria, Spain.
- I rode a MC Piston event last year and it was great. Expect wonderful scenery, great hospitality and laid back but efficient organisation.

6 and 7 June: Autodrome Heritage Festival, Montlhery, France.
- Car and bike, no idea what it is like but any event at Montlhery is worth a visit.

11 to 14 June: Wheels and Waves, Biarritz, France.
- New wave custom and classic event. Liable to be massive this year.

20 and 21 June: Cafe Racer Festival: Montlhery, France.
- In the title and ditto the above re Montlhery.

4 and 5 July: Biker's Classics, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium.
- Racing for more recent classics.

5 to 11 July: Milano-Taranto, Italy
- Like the Moto G but lower key and possibly more hardcore.

12 July: Stella Alpina Rally, Bardonecchia, Italy.
- Ride up a mountain with fellow enthusiasts.

16 to 19 July: Round Kurland Rally, Latvia
- Latvia isn't so far if you take a couple of different ferries.

17 to 19 July: Classic Bikes Chimay, Chimay, Belgium
- Belgian vintage street racing. I went along last year. Great fun, proper street racing, Belgian beer. Close to the town. Camp at the circuit for the full experience.

8 and 9 August: 17th Journée Coyote: Nogaro Circuit, France.
- Weekend track event. Looks like mostly more recent classics.

15 August: Oldtimerdag Ruinerwold, Ruinerwold, Netherlands.
- Old vehicles take over Dutch town.

21 to 23 August: Belgian Classic TT, Ardennes, Belgium.
- Belgian road racing.

25 to 30 August: Irish National Rally, Munster, Ireland.
- Perenially popular jaunt through Irish countryside.

4 to 5 September: Red Bull Alpenbrevet, Grimsel, Switzerland.
- For me Red Bull is the Devil's own piss but don't let big corporate sponsorship put you off: a 1000 moped endurance run over Swiss Alpine passes must by its very nature be an awesome event. Double check the dates, they are not announced at time of writing and I've gone by unofficial information.

4 to 6 September: Glemseck 101, Glemseck, nr Stuttgart, Germany.
- New wave customs and cafe-racers, corporate sponsorship and hipster drag racing.

18 to 20 September: Trophee Gerard Jumeaux, Circuit Carole, North of Paris, France.
- Classic racing French style.

19 and 20 September: Bol D'Or Classic, Magny Cours, France.
- Good if classic endurance racing is your bag.

18 to 20 September: Circuit des Ramparts d'Angouleme, Angouleme, France.
- Glamorous vintage cars racing around medieval town.

28 September to 4 October: MC Piston Rally Meeting, Santander, Spain.
- Rode this event last year. Excellent. Great atmosphere, hospitality and stunning roads. Opt in to the event as much as you like, the three day tour at the beginning was great. Very good value. Possibly the largest old bike road riding event in Europe.

4 to 11 October: Rally de Colombres, Colombres, Spain.
- This is what the MC Piston event started out as. MC Piston moved the rally to Santander and some guys formed a club called Moto Club Indianos and carried on running it was it was.

9 to 11 October: Veterama, Mannheim, Germany.
- Huge autojumble.

18 October: Moto Retro Leuven, Leuven, Holland.
- One day bike jumble.

20 to 22 November: Salon Moto Legende, Paris, France.
- French show.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ariel Square Four

MKII Ariel Square 4 1000cc with enormous double adult sidecar fitted. Plenty of room for three kids.

High end family transport: MKII Ariel Square Four outfit.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

VMCC Dorset Winter Run

Sunday morning and it wasn't raining or snowing nor too cold for the time of year. Seemed like a good idea to get out on the Norton for a ride, the last chance before heading back to sea for work and five bike-less weeks. The VMCC Dorset Section Winter Run wasn't far to get to for the start so I headed over to Gillingham along with twenty or so other folks.

I've had a thing for these earles forks MZs for a while. I did own
one for some time but it wasn't on the road and needed a fair bit
of sorting out. At the time I needed the money so I passed
it on. Certainly not everyone's cup of tea but I hope to get
 a decent roadworthy one to experience sometime along the way.

Detail on the MZ ES250/1 Trophy.

AJS 650cc twin. I followed this bike on the run
for a good while. Postwar AJS / Matchless
bikes don't have a reputation as roadburners
but this machine kept up a lively pace in
touring comfort.

BMW R80 ST is fairly ideal for winter roads.

Lovely original AJS 16MS at the lunch stop

Detail on the AJS 16MS. Original Lucas battery case.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

1958 Norton full range brochure

Stylistically wonderful Norton brochure from 1958 with the brilliant strapline 'Dominating this jet age'. At the time the 99 Dominator 600cc was about as good as it got in terms of parallel twins, lacking slightly in power to the sporting 650s of other manufacturers but more than making up for it with handling and class. The '58 range represented Norton at their peak, sales were strong and the wideline frame combined with the panelled tank with circular badges is in my opinion the finest looking of the line. 

1958 Norton brochure front cover.

1958 Norton brochure page 1.

1958 Norton brochure page 2.

1958 Norton brochure page 3.

1958 Norton brochure page 4.

1958 Norton brochure page 5.

1958 Norton brochure page 6.

1958 Norton brochure page 7.

1958 Norton brochure page 8.

1958 Norton brochure page 9.

1958 Norton brochure page 10.

1958 Norton brochure rear cover.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Rigid AJS and Matchless

A pair of old photographs of an AJS 16M and a Matchless G3L Competition model. Better quality photos than the usual family album fare and new looking bikes, perhaps they were taken for publication?

AJS 16M.

AJS 16M in the background and a Matchless G3L Competition
to the fore.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Dragon Rally 2015 pt 4

More Dragon Rally machinery.

Well used Norton 16H.

Jawa with strange Christian shopping basket atop the front

BSA M20. Pretty much an ideal bike for the Rally.
Shopping trolley trailer.

Vincent Black Prince. Great to see it used in earnest. Bravo!

We saw this Royal Enfield Bullet diesel combo riding to the
Rally. If you like slow bikes this should be pretty much your
ideal. This contraption is viciously slow.

Incongruous massive double adult sidecar hooked up to a
BMW K100RS. 

Awesome eighties airbrush art unicorn coupled with Vetter
luggage for full effect.

Great winter rally bike. BMW R100 combo with EML sidecar.

Hmmm... wonder where that BMW EML combo above comes

Beautiful Garrard sidecar coupled to a BSA Thunderbolt.

Love and Hate. MZ thug with box sidecar and skis.

Sprite trials bike.

I used to have a BMW R100R just like this one.
Seeing this made me feel quite nostalgic. Great
bike, undergeared for motorway use but superb
handling and brakes and a blast to ride on twisty
Lovely unrestored New Imperial.

Rider's view of the New Imperial.

This Velocette was ridden over from the Netherlands.

Another MZ combo with box chair.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Dragon Rally 2015 pt 3

A few pictures of bikes at the Dragon Rally that caught my attention. Something great about the rally is that every one of the bikes there is used and used properly. Somehow they look sexier with a little road dirt and use. Great to see folks making an effort to turn up on some fairly unlikely machinery.

Austell Pullman from the early 90s fitted with a BMC car
engine. Designed as a sidecar bike and sold as a kit. The
most charitable description of the looks is 'functional'.
Somehow appealing though and very practical.

These two mopeds were bought for the rally and ridden
down the day before. A Honda Camino and a Peugeot Vogue.
Had a chat with one of the guys and he said that both 'peds
were very capable of the trip mechanically but that comfort
was lacking. He was on his 43rd consecutive Dragon!
Bravo gentlemen, bravo.

Peugeot Vogue moped.
Very tidily turned out Triumph TR6.

Rare Villiers-engined Panther.

Plenty of MZs around and about.

Skis! Not quite sure how they work but they
looked very purposeful.

Guess the charging on this Norton 16H isn't very good!

Norton 16H again.
A trio of Honda Cubs.

Indian Scout 101 from 1928. I didn't walk around the whole
site but I'm pretty sure this was the oldest machine there.
Well done that man!

Close up of Indian Scout 101.