Tuesday, 21 May 2019

More from the SCBS 2019

More from the SCBS 2019

Back at the Museum on the Monday after the Bike Show and time to reflect on the bikes at the show. As always there were some choice pieces of kit and below are a few of the bikes I thought were particularly good.
The Ariel 4 valver. Very rare.

Matchless G2, I had one of these. I liked it.

Douglas, 1914 with gearbox below the rear cylinder.

BSA C12.

BSA round tanker 1926

This Monday was an international affair with visitors from New Zealand, South Africa, America, Canada, Japan and this nice young lady from Latvia who wanted a picture of her sitting on my LE.
The bike is no prize winner as it does get used. I rode it to the show on Saturday and again to the Museum. After the picture shoot I fired up the LE and gave her a ride around the car park. She loves bikes and really enjoyed the experience. She said it was a very light and easy to handle machine. My surprise was that I managed the rise and fall of the slope two up and didn’t fall off on the uphill slope turn at the top of the car park and the engine pulled very well, even cold. Not bad from a 192cc engine that is 56 years old. Here are some pics taken by our regular visitor Martin.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Southern Classic Bike Show 2019

Southern Classic Bike Show 2019

I get notification of the Southern Classic Bike Show around the end of February and I need to the the request in for the club stand by the end of March. This gives me plenty of time to get in touch with the usual club members who have a bike to show and be able to attend the event. All done in plenty of time before going to India in April for a traditional wedding. This trip to India I managed to stay in good health and came back in time to get to a Wey Valley Observed Sunday and a trip out on a back by one run that had a stop at the new look Ryka's. It was a busy Sunday with lots being sold at the shop at which I help out. Not surprising as there were over 220 bikes in the car park. Back at the Museum on the Monday and trolling through a bike magazine I found this advert.

The first ever Southern Classic Bike Show from 1986.
I didn’t see this in 2016 but there is on sale a book that is a photographic record of some of the interesting bikes that have been seen over the last 30 years.Not all things go to plan. The week before George had phoned me to say he would not be able to bring his KSS along as the headlamp glass had vibrated free and self destructed so he had no usable headlamp and would bring along his Venom sports instead. I notified Mortons of the change of bike also George had to go to a funeral on the Friday and would not be able to help me set up the LE Club stand I had arranged to meet up with Chris at the Admiral Hawke in Sunbury to do a trailer swop on the Wednesday before the show that was not a problem however on the way home I had a tyre self destruct and had to do a wheel change on the hard shoulder of the M4 near junction 3. Even with a speed limit of 60mph it was not a pleasant place to be.

Gita help me get the stand set up on the Friday afternoon and when I got home checked out my LE and got all the bits I needed for the early start in the morning. All ready for Saturday. Up at 6am and off to Kempton Park at 7am and arrived just before 8am. Chris was already there and we quickly unloaded his Police LE from my trailer. Where was George? By 08:30 Phil had arrived on his Valiant. About this time I had a call from Gita who said that George was stranded in Greenford and would not be coming along. Down to three bikes on display and we had the biggest space ever!

I was hopeful that George would not remain stranded and get his bike going again.
It was another full on day with lots of interest in the bikes along with a bit more promotion for the LMM. We met some of the old faces and were introduced to some new ones. Denis Frost, Velocette man through and through and the Club Historian was pleased that we were promoting the club and agreed it was time for some new banners and photos that I could get from India at reduced prices but I would need electronic copies to replace the paper ones we have that will not last much longer.

Late in the morning George arrived and helped out to the end of the day. He had to do a bit of shopping for parts to try to cure the Venoms’ ills. He had gone to the funeral and did 100 miles on it with no problems the day before. I introduced him to George’s corner where I wanted to position his bike that had pictures of him and his bike watching the procession of vintage bikes of the Pioneer Run near 


There were some nicely turned out bikes at the show but what dis catch my eye was this Tricati and Pete had got the frame and the engine mated but not completed as an offer he could not refuse persuaded him to let it go and I thought his may have been this one.

It turned out to be a good day at the show until I heard of the death of one of the Wey Valley Club members who had died in his sleep a few days ago. He was no older than me! He was a character and rode bikes with sidecars. He even instructed a member in advanced riding techniques for outfits.He was Graham Newton, a larger than character who gave so much to the Wey Valley Bike Club and so much more to improving motorcycling riding. We shall all miss him.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

An Indian Motorcycle Museum

A Motorcycle Museum in Assam.

There is more from India. Just a a museum I was introduced to by my nephew, Chinmoy and his friend who took me off on a day trip to visit this unusual place. It is located in the village of Medhikuchi about 20km from Guwahati. It was an adventure as we headed into a National Park with a gated entrance over a cart track only to find, by chance from a passing motorcyclist, that the museum had moved location to the other side of Highway 37. It was only about ten minutes away. We arrived and walked up a slight hill through the entrance that was under construction and close to the top, where it levelled out was where the museum was. 

Three distinct areas with 3 open sides and a roof was where bikes, cars and Jeeps lived. It was typically Indian with only just enough cover to keep the weather off. It was minimalistic but understandable with the limited finances available to the Owner of the Museum, Pickloo Deka who has put together this collection of motorcycles mostly wartime with what was left behind but also a collection that is from the fifties to the eighties. I think that as vehicles become worn out they will probably end up at Pickloos door. He is an enthusiastic collector one proud possession is a Grand Piano, another is the air raid siren along with a multitude of clocks, old radios and twenties style HMV gramophones. He has enough stuff to create a theme based cafeteria. Progress in development is slow as Pickloo has a full time job and any spare cash is put into developing the Museum. He has an uphill struggle as there are few Museums in India where the philosophy is buy new and throw the old stuff away. 

What do you want to keep it for? There are a few Classic Car Clubs who try to preserve the Indian Heritage but not many, unlike the UK which is a Museum in itself and full of history. Few want to preserve the old stuff and in my travels I see the old Colonial Post Offices gone to ruin as no one wants them. Pickloo is unusual in wanting to preserve something. We spent a long time going around his exhibition discussing the motorcycles and cars he has along with his exceptional collection of 1500 American service helmets. If you want one he has them! He is a genuine man who wants to build something special and needs all the support he can get. If you in Guwahati in Assam pay him a visit. He speaks good English and is very knowledgable about the cars and bikes he has. I had a very pleasant time discussing the woes of Museums and what could be done with this site. I keep thinking of ideas to generate cash which is what he needs and from a sponsor if he can find one. I wish him well as I know it is an uphill struggle to make his dream a reality.

More news from the emission zone front, after my email to the editor of Road magazine the MAG print there has been a whole load of campaign information printed about the questionable information used in determining the pollution levels of engines. This is from Issue 82 May/June 2019 pages 50 and 51. Our good old Villiers two stroke engine does not pollute any more than modern two strokes being low on carbon dioxide levels and NOx. No-one seems to be able to measure the blue smoke factor but are Euro 3 compliant at less than 0.15g/km CO2 cause they don’t use any fuel to speak of however a Euro 6 compliant 2.0ltr diesel at 0.21g/km is acceptable!!! How ludicrous is that? We have the information now to discredit any information that is put forward saying old motorcycles are more polluting than modern ones. Of course all this is put together on a computer model and we all know how rubbish those models are as they exclude too much relevant information from the model logic. I have said to representatives of MAG to get someone to write a paper that supports their ideals, get it published and quote that against those who use duff data. Perhaps I should write one myself?

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Enfields in India

India Trip April 2019

It started with a wedding invitation from a good friend. His daughter was to be wed in a hotel in Guwahati, India. Flights were booked and with the collapse of Jetair rebooked with Air India. It felt like someone didn’t want us to go. We did go and had a great time staying with family and meeting a few of the Assamese pop stars. A trip to Gangtok in Sikkim was organised and this where the motorcycle interest starts. 

For some reason we had to get lots of copies of things to be allowed into Sikkim and this took ages. Someone doesn’t want us to get there again! The next day in, lovely sunshine, views of the Himalayas came and went with passing clouds, as the day progressed the air became more humid and the views became murk. Time to stop sight-seeing and then a pleasant burble of a twin cylinder motorcycle passed by: an Enfield with two exhausts. It could only be the new twin. It carried on by and I didn’t get a good look at it. In going around Gangtok, which is a town on a hillside there were numerous Royal Enfields around.

More than I had seen anywhere else. I guess that the low speed pulling power of the single was ideally suited to the terrain. The older ones clattered around like an old British bike but the new ones were so quiet mechanically. In a few days we would be in Delhi on the final leg of our trip and there would be a good place to have a look at one as there were 20 showrooms to choose from. I did a web search when I had internet access and discovered a new model, the Bullet Trials. I had an idea to get a good look at a Himalayan, the Twin and this trials model. I chose two of the closest showrooms to where I was staying and with a driver to take us around went in search. The first one was a bit difficult to find but had all three models. Outside was a twin which was an Interceptor, a parallel twin with a 270 degree crank and a six speed box with some 50bhp on tap. It looked a little like the old Norton Dominator.

At the same showroom was this Bullet trials factory replica and it looked the business for classic trials. I was hoping to get aboard a Himalayan but the only one was parked outside and difficult to get at so after a nice chat with one of the sales reps we went off to a second showroom. Still no luck in having a twin or Himalaya on display but access to the trials model was much better and this one I had a chance to sit on and get a feel of it. I did like it and the seat height was low enough for me to get my feet on the ground even though it was on the centre stand. The 350 had about 20bhp on tap and the 500 25bhp. 

Modest by today’s’ levels but it should be satisfactory for the job. Think of the performance of the Ariel ridden by Sammy Miller in the fifties and how successful he was on that machine. It is about power delivery rather than ultimate performance. On leaving this showroom another twin was spotted and looking at it, it was slightly different with lower bars and was a Continental GT.

I wonder how many other variants there are. I did not see one Continental on display, but there were Thunderbirds in various guises, Classics and Bullets, perhaps the demand was not there? We had a great time looking at Royal Enfields, driver, nephew and me.

Friday, 5 April 2019



I am steadily working my way through Road, the MAG magazine, about surveys that have been carried out and being treated as gospel by the powers that be that are completely false. When questioned about the results you will find some things have been omitted. One such survey has made a global assumption that there are only one percent of the journeys in London are on motorcycles and it turns out that motorcycle journeys are more that two percent of the traffic. The accident statistics can be halved straight away so riding in London is much safer than the powers that be have used to try to remove motorcycles from the traffic. Lies, lies more lies and then there is statistics! Along the same theme I have finished reading RoadSmart the IAM magazine winter 2018/19 that has a report in it on pages 40 and 41. Dutch of the BikeShed supporting motorcycling and on the other side of the coin is Dr Claire Mcloughlin Communications Manager of the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change. In her summation she quotes a report from 

that is dated October 2011. The report does not mention which vehicles had been tested and that information would have to be verified and then updated against a selection of newer bikes that are emission compliant and the equipment being a reliable source of data. It says that bikes are 300 times more polluting than cars . It does say motorcycles use less fuel and produce much less CO2. But the other stuff it did not identify. I sent this on to MAG for them to pursue. If this information is relied upon, and probably has been it sounds like doom for all old bike users or at least until the bikes are 40 years old!

One sunny day at the Museum a fairing, covered in dust bird droppings and cobwebs was sitting around waiting for a new owner. In my enthusiasm I gave it a wash with a view that it might just get a better price. One all the muck was off I could read what it was The Avon Streamliner and with the help of Martin who looked up the faded registration number it belonged to a SORN 1957 red BSA 650. Someone who still owns that BSA might want to know what happened to the fairing if so please contact me on the Museum e-mail.

On my last duty at the Museum I was quite surprised to see the Greenford Police LE on display. It looked fine but I have still not completed the reassembly. It still needs a wiring harness, handlebar switch and left twist grip. The right one is Amal so if anyone has a left Amal grip it would help to finish it off. 

I still have the screen to repair and paint and the apron to be refurbished. It is in two parts and glued together and looks like underwear for a very large lady. The screen is held together by 4BA nuts and bolts so I need to get some ordered from the BA bolt shop.

Recently we have had some good numbers of visitors and that included a party of eighteen French students that I had the honour of taking them around the Museum and answering questions. Not in French I must add but there was a bit of Franglais. A couple of students had some real interest in the Triumph Thunderbird cutaway and it was a real pleasure to be taking some technical details about bikes. Much of my new found knowledge was from finally reading Ian Spalding’s MotoGP Technology. It is a book for the anoraks with much interpretation of the detail changes that you can see to make the bikes go better. It took me months to read and absorb the detail. It is a shame that Ian is not part of the BT Sport team as he was with Eurosport. I miss that sort of stuff.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

Greenford Police LE Update 6

Greenford Police LE Update 6

Finally the Greenford Police LE is back at the Museum. It took all day to put the body back over the engine and transmission and provided much entertainment for the visitors on Monday 25th February. With Brian and Fred around and even Martin lending a hand the bike grew in the Minter Cafe and by the end of the day I had the wheels in place with front brake working after a fashion and throttle cable in position but with a spacer missing that I had to find in the box of bits still remaining at home. Here is the pictorial progression through the day.

The following week the 4th March it was time to finish some things off fitting the correct bolts that I had not found the week before and getting leg shields and headlamp attached fitting the clutch cable and realised I didn’t have the speedo cable around anywhere. There was not much more I could do as I needed some 2BA bolts of the right length and the ones I had were too long. That would have to wait for next week. For some reason we had a busy day with 11 people and the international flavour was kept going with a couple of guys from Malaysia. As I was assembling the LE there was one keen visitor who wanted to know more about the Police LE. I said that it was stationed just up the road at the local Police Station on Oldfield Lane South. He said that his Father had been posted to this particular station and probably road this machine regularly during the course of his duties. Later he had been posted to a remote district in the wilds of Yorkshire. I ask if he would send me some details about his Father’s time at Greenford. Who would believe that a visitor would arrive on this particular day and have some information about a specific machine to add to its history. Life amazes me in that such co-incidences happen and at this museum. Unusually three guys arrived as we opened and stayed all day viewing the progression of the final assembly with much interest and helpful comments. It is just fun to have days like this. I think I will need to do more assemblies in the Cafe, however with so many people around at once it did get a bit crowded. At the ned of the day I tidied up and put the LE in the little barn scooting it across the yard and trying the brakes that kind-of worked. They will need a bit of fettling to get them working properly and perhaps next week we might try a fire-up to see that the engine still runs.

Now with all the bits bolted on and with wiring still to do.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Greenford Police LE Update 5

Greenford Police LE Update 5.

It was so close to being finished then trying to put the rubber around the fuel filler neck catastrophe with a few scratches and then I saw a dent in the rear mudguard and in a place that just drew your eye. You may not notice it but I kept seeing it to the point of having to do something about it. A few minor dings can be ignored, but not this one. 

So where have I got to? I laid out all the bits I needed to fit, took a photo and then started to put bits back on. I found that I was not strong enough to pull the 3/16 stainless pop rivet and bought a stronger gun with more leverage to finally get these things to pull. This took about week to arrive from an E-bay purchase as did the rubber grommets for the filler neck and as I was about to fit the number plate bracket the rubber fitting strip disintegrated and I had to get a new one. It is 6mm diameter with a 1mm slot just right for going over sheet metal and around curves. Again waiting a few days for it to arrive and then ran out of 2BA stainless bolts to fit that with more delays in the assembly. I have knocked the dent out and prepared the area for repainting and now the weather is intervening and it is too cold, even for two pack to cure with heat in my garage and until the paint goes on I’ll not be fitting the tail light bracket. 

I did fit the side strips and touch up the stainless rivets so they were no longer shiny. I’ll do the same with the other rivets when I crack the last can of aerosol 2K. I have spent more time sitting at my computer than I have in the garage and the house needs decorating so while waiting for the weather to get warmer I’m decorating living room, kitchen and about to start the stairs to fill in the time. I have a car project on the go as well and that has meant trips up and down the M4. I have the urge to finish off this LE but things are just getting in the way. 

I had planned to get way at the end of February but have not managed to book anything so I’m at the Museum every Monday enjoying the international feel of people visiting from the far flung corners of the earth and this last Monday was no exception with visitors from China and later in the day from France enjoying the Fabrique en Angleterre. The Home of Triumph is freezing as the heater is broken and there doesn’t seem to be a replacement part for it. The Minter Cafe is toasty when I remember to put the heater on. At some point during the day all us volunteers congregate to discus the woes of the world and a motorcycling history lesson. Two threads to this both looking at the BSA M20. I have had this comment before that I presented to the BSA owners club referring to the god “Gold Star” the starting point for this is the OHV version of the M20 the M23 in the late thirties. Suggested by the BSA owners club as the revered first “Goldie” the Empire Star being that origin. The M20 engine has a massively long stroke of some 106mm and the real Goldie was almost square 85mm bore 88 stroke. I’m sure you would never get the revs from the long stroke motor. 

The other conversation was about how successful the M20 was during World War two. We have the Germans to thank for that. Triumph was doing really well until one dark night in Coventry an incendiary fell and set fire to the Triumph works that adjoined Coventry Cathedral. Not only did Triumph get ablaze so did the Cathedral. Everyone remembers the Cathedral going up in smoke but there is no remorse for the Triumph factory going the same way. This got Triumph a new factory at Meriden and BSA had to build more bikes. Unlucky for some of the squaddies as the military recognised after the war the M20 was not really fit for the job and in 1947 when things settled down a trial for a new military bike was set up and all manufacturers were asked to submit machines for testing. The criteria was a 500cc side-valve twin with good ground clearance, light weight, reasonable speed and inaudible at 400 yards. The M20 was none of these. The trial was over three days with entries from BSA, Douglas and Triumph. The BSA was a look-alike Triumph the Douglas was the transverse twin the DV60 and Triumph had the TRW. Day one the BSA failed, Day two the DV60 failed with a gearbox problem and last man standing was the TRW and was in production from 1947 to 1964.