Friday, December 2, 2016

1923 Cleveland two stroke

This little two stroke Cleveland has been lurking around my garage for a few years now. She was dragged out today for a quick photo shoot following a Cleveland related correspondence with a fellow enthusiast based in Spain.

As far as I know my machine is a 1923 model (engine number 33198 if anyone out there knows for sure). I bought it at the Netley Marsh autojumble I think seven years ago for no other reason that it is quirky, I had the money in my pocket and the price was right. The Cleveland had apparently spent most of its life in France and had come from a small French museum before I bought it. The bike is pretty much complete barring footboards and it is fitted with the wrong handlebars. If anyone out there can help with these parts I'd much appreciate it. In fact if you could lend a footboard I would have a few cast up to cover anyone else who might want one.

Two stroke Clevelands are wonderfully eccentric devices, part rip off of the two stroke Triumph and also mechanically with a few similarities to a Neracar. No coincidence as Carl Neracher had a spell at Cleveland before coming up with the Neracar. The engine is in line with the frame and drives the gearbox via a worm gear. The unit gearbox is a two speeder, gears are selected by a rocking pedal and the clutch is operated by the long lever to the left of the tank. The magneto sits rather strangely behind the gearbox, the drive chain is immensely long and the gear box sprocket is very large and the rear wheel one quite small.

The Cleveland is next in line for attention once I finally finish my Model 19 Norton. I'm looking forward to taking it out and about on runs - I haven't seen one on the road in the UK before. It's all a slow process though as the bikes I keep on the road seem to demand constant attention too...

Thursday, December 1, 2016

BSA Gold Star 1960

Brochure from the tail end of Gold Star production. Though the Goldie is best remembered in Clubman's trim the cover page of the brochure is pushing off road success.

1960 BSA Gold Star brochure front cover.

1960 BSA Gold Star brochure page 1.

1960 BSA Gold Star brochure page 2.

1960 BSA Gold Star brochure rear cover.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Jack Hearne Cycle for sale

The minor clear out continues. Having now parted with a couple of motorcycles and one cycle frame with only one small twenties scooter incoming to take their place I am rediscovering the joys of being able to move around my workshop unrestricted once more.

Latest in the cull is my late sixties / early seventies Jack Hearne. I bought it originally as frame only out of nostalgia as I used to work for Jack a few years back. Jack Hearne is a name that has popped up in this blog a few times, for more related posts follow this link. Jack was a prolific frame builder through the sixties and seventies in Southern England; he was noted for a very fine finish on his frames, the frames themselves are of high quality but no nonsense generally being without signature fancy lug work or unorthodox design. The frame on this cycle is 19.5", given that I am over six foot tall I've decided that having had fun building the cycle up it is perhaps time for it to move on....

Condition is fair and rideable. There are a few chips on the paintwork but at least it is original, the handlebars and stem have a few scratches, the chainset has a few dots of rust but really it is fairly tidy though definitely not a show bike. It hasn't been used much since being built up, I had a lot of trouble with the chain jumping off, I've just recently fitted a fresh chainset, bottom bracket axle and chain. Turns out that most of the problem was with a cheap ebay chain, I fitted something of better quality and now it runs smoothly and skip free. Lesson learnt.

Spec as follows:
  • GB handlebars and stem
  • Nervar fluted cottered crankset
  • Wolber Model 58 rims (27 x 1 1/4) with new Schwalbe tyres
  • Campag hubs (slightly more recent vintage than the frame)
  • Mafac 'Racer' brake set
  • Campag Nuovo Record rear mech and six speed block
  • Recent leather saddle, Selle Italia perhaps? Looks nice, not particularly comfortable (for me at least!)
  • Frame material unknown, Jack normally built with 531 so this is a fair guess. Quite nice fancy Nervex lugs. Frame number 5165
Price: £375

I am happy to post it, round about £20 for most of the UK. Massively expensive everywhere else.
Having said I am having a clear out I am always happy to entertain proposals of swaps and part exchanges. My tastes are eclectic. Try me.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Royal Enfield 225cc Sports Model 200

1925 Royal Enfield 225cc Sports Model 200.

The reverse of this photo is labelled as 'taken 1929', looking at the spec of the bike it seems to be a 1925 model. The Sports Model 200 225cc two stroke was distinguished from its more common sibling the Model 201 by having footrests instead of foot boards, sports handlebars and a rather nice two in to one exhaust from the twin port motor. There was also a Model 201a which was the open frame model. The 201a is commonly known as the ladies model but was sold by Royal Enfield as, 'Designed and built for the lady or gentleman who prefers not to wear special clothing when motorcycling.'

Friday, November 25, 2016

Hardy Trial 2016

Several weeks before a long distance trial entering seems like a marvelous idea. A day before when I realise that I am woefully ill prepared and time is running out I begin to question my own stupidity. And then on the day when Storm Angus was battering the South of the country I really felt like just turning the alarm off and staying in bed.

The Hardy Trial was doubly challenging for co-entrant Matt who had his CCM pinched from his car's bike rack from right outside his house by three scrotes in a transit van just as he was about to depart from the Midlands with family to spend the weekend of the trial chez nous in Dorset. Matt is gamer than I as, gutted though he was, he simply did a bike swap and loaded up his trusty RE Crusader and brought it down to ride.

As it turned out only our 6am ride to the start was damp and the rain held off for the rest of the day from our 8am flag off onwards. This was doubly remarkable as the following day saw some serious flooding in the area. Sure, the going was very waterlogged but at least we weren't getting wet as we rode.

Bike disaster also befell co-rider Toby as his Honda XL 250 wasn't playing ball on the morning of the trial. That left Dan on his rigid G3L Matchless, myself on Dan's generously lent Bullet (still haven't bought a trials bike since I sold my Bullet, duh!) and Matt on his wholly unsuitable (though veteran of several LDTs) Crusader all riding together.

We made it around the course without major mishap. Many sections were footed as you might expect ploughing around on a heavy antiquated behemoth trying to cut it with Beta Alps and Gas Gas Panteras but we had fun and didn't break any bones so overall a top result.

The Hardy goes through some stunning scenery, the distances between sections are not too great and it makes for a properly enjoyable day out if this is your kind of thing. Totally recommended.

Dan eyeing up a tricky section on his Matchless.

Fellow competitors on suitable bikes....

The Matchless is going well here.

And not so well here. Dan did alright in the end though and
got top in class, albeit a class of four. I fell off in the same place
about two minutes later.

Not something you see often. Greeves Sports
Twin rolling chassis with BSA A7 motor.

Shiny classic Suzuki out having some fun.

The BSA Greeves again. Beeves? Greeser?

Yours truly, looking in control but in reality just on the verge
of binning it.

Royal Enfield Crusader way away from its natural habitat.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Rare image of a 1923 Matchless race bike

This blog doesn't normally include scans from magazines as content but the below image is so rare that it deserves an exception. In the pioneer days and through the fifties Matchless were well known for their racing machines and successes but during the twenties and thirties there was something of a hiatus.

The image depicts Fred Neill. Fred was a dispatch rider during WW1; on demob he got a job in the Matchless 'engine shop' and worked his way up to Charge Hand before moving to the Testing Department, the Experimental Dept and Service Dept in turn. Fred raced the TT in 1923 (dnf) on a Matchless and rode the ISDT through the 20s. The image is believed to show Fred on a works racer from 1923.

Later on in his career Fred Neill became the Matchless service manager and wrote the Pearson's Handbook on Matchless motorcycles.

The image is taken from the Motor Cyclist's National News vol 1, number 1. Feb 1949.

Matchless man Fred Neill with 1923 works racer.
Postscript: thanks to Bob McGrath for correcting that the image is in fact from 1923, not 1926 as I first wrote (this was in fact the year given in the Motor Cyclist's National News).

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Workshop hand cleaners with microbeads - beware!

I keep politics away from this blog. RDM is about old bikes, enthusiasm for the same and celebrating this that unites us. There's some folks consider sensitivity to the environment as politics, it's not, it's just plain common sense. Of course our lives are a compromise and we can barely claim our hobby to be green but there are always steps you can take to avoid wanton pollution and waste.

The other day I ran out of workshop hand cleaner and nipped down to the local car spares shop to stock up on some new. I've always bought Manista Natural as it smells nice and citrusy and, well, 'natural' sounds good doesn't it. Something led me to read the ingredients and it seems the grainy-ness of the cleaner that I had always assumed was sand or something natural is in fact from polychips.

So, the bottom line is, if you are washing your hands with Manista or other brands of cleaner containing polychips / microbeads you are washing tiny grains of unfilterable plastic down the sink. Small grains of plastic that will find their way in to every waterway and ocean, into sea creatures and quite possibly on to your dinner plate if you eat seafood.

Of course Manista isn't the only handcleaner product out there with microbeads in it, there are several others. I guess they just incensed me by having the tenacity to call the product natural. Personally I took the tub of Manista back and swapped it for good old fashioned Swarfega without beads....

There's an article on the BBC website on microbeads. Hopefully they will be banned in the UK from 2017.