Thursday, 1 March 2018

Two Strokes and More

Two Strokes and More.

I have a whole muddle of things I have been thinking about as the snow swirls around and I’m not able to do much about anything. I’m waiting for oil seals from the LE Club as both the Valiant and the Greenford Police LE have started to leak from behind the generator flywheel. It can only be the front oil seal so I wait the delivery of new seals. When I put the heater on I can work in my garage but the space is limited and putting dabs of primer on the leg-shields to smooth them out a bit more is as much as I can do before the top coat is applied and I’m not sure when that will be. It has to be a bit warmer before that can be done

The visit to Sammy’s has made me think about two strokes not only the Villiers four but the little Tandon that was made in Ludgate Hill London and here is a small list of some of the bikes made in my area over the years. My thanks to Pete for supplying me with this information.

Ascot, Pentonville Road
Austen, Lewisham
Banamoto, Acton also made Cyc-Auto that was Park Royal
Bowden, Greys Inn Road
British Anzani, Hampton Hill
Brown, Great Eastern Street
Butler, Dalston
Calvert, Stoke Newington
Casswell, Great Eastern Street
Castell, Kentish Town
Century, Willsden Junction
Chater Lea, Golden Lane and later Banner Street
Clement, Regents Park
Cyclaid, Raynes Park
Dayton, Shoreditch and later North Acton
Duzmo, Enfield Way
EMC, Perry Vale
Featherstone, Bethnall Green
Gamage, Holborn
Grandex, Grays Inn Road
Grigg, Twickenham

Hack, Hendon
Hazel, Forrest Gate
Iris, Brixham
Ixion, Loughborough Junction
JAP, Totenham
JP, Cheapside
Kerry, Shoreditch

Kuhn, Stockwell
Kyma, Peckham Rye
Lagonda, Staines
Lindsay, Clerkenwell
Little Giant, Uxbridge
Mabon, Clerkenwell Road
Mars, Finchley
Neofold, Battersea Rise
Newman, Tabernacle Street
NYE, Leather Lane
Ogston, Acton
Pheonix, Holloway Road
Pride and Clarke, Stockwell Road
Randall, Wanstead
Rayner, Chancery Lane
Reyre-Newson, Stamford Hill
Silva, Conduit Street
Swallow, Park Lane
Trent, Shepherds Bush
Tyler, Gerrard Street
Vindec, Great Eastern Street
Weller, West Norwood
Whippet, Twickenham
Wilkinson, Acton
Wooler, Park Royal
Young, Waltham
Zenith, East Molesey

Not an exhaustive list but quite a number mostly surviving only a few years in the 1900s.

More up to date is the Villiers Four that look like a collection of 9Es in a Vee. There was a common crankcase that was pressurized by using a Shorrocks supercharger to provide the crankcase pressure, the brainchild of Bernard Hines. The following photos should explain it all.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

More from Sammy's

More from Sammy’s

Thumbing through some magazines I stumbled upon the Guzzi Vee twin racer. Sammy Millers has one and is well displayed. It was story told by Vic Willoughby “The Galloping Guzzi” in Classic Motorcycle Legends of spring 1991. Even Stanley Woods had a ride on one and Ernie Lyons of Triumph GP fame rode one at the TT in 1948.

It seems many people loved this 500cc 120 degree Vee Twin. Other bits of interest at Sammy’s was a sectioned Wooler beam crank engine, EMC and Puch split singles. Looking around and trying not to notice the 1300 trophies along one wall it makes our Derick Minter collection look quite small other bits of engines keep me occupied. There is an example of a desmodromic engine, Bradshaw’s oil boiler and the Italian Capriolo face cam engine of 1955.

I spent all day there taking pictures of all the bikes and bits I found interesting nearly 360 photos for the record to add to my already large collection from other museums. It is a never ending quest to find out more about the bikes I know about and the list keeps getting bigger!

Some of the bikes I know about like the Guzzi Vee Eight and the earlier Vee twin that Sammy had brought to Brooklands and fired it up a few years ago. We have a 1925 Beardmore Precision at the LMM Sammy has a 1923 model and what about a Duzmo of 1923. Bert L Vack raced one in the 1920 TT that had a top speed of 80mph! 

There is a 1925 Grigg not that significant other than it was made in Twickenham. Obtaining more information about things I had seen, at the last Off Road Bike Show at Kempton I saw an interesting moped that had an in-line crank. 

It had no name that I recognised on it but now I know what it is- a Cyc Auto made by Wallington Butt in 1934 and later produced by Scot in 1938 at their Shipley works.
I have now seen another Douglas DV60 and also the very rare single cylinder 150cc two stoke made for the 1938 Motorcycle Show the CL38. 

The Ascot Pullin was a master of enclosure for 1929. I think it must be more to the colour blue but is was a very technically innovation machine for its day. 

I have seen a number four cylinder machines like the 1935 Indian, 1909 FN , 1916 Henderson, 1911 Pierce but there are some British four cyders out there too. How about Mr Wooler and his flat four of 1955 and of course Ariel with the square fours I prefer the earlier OHC model to the later push rod engine that Edward Turner came up with and then there is the Haythorn of 1939, the in-line four AJS of 1929 or the 1930 OEC using the Matchless Silver Hawk engine, the Villiers two stroke four of 1962 and I know its racing but what about the AJS water cooled Vee Four of 1939 and the 1947 Porcupine.

Sammy has an amazing collection and a single visit was not enough. I did speak with the man himself in the workshops more bikes are being put back together and I am now aware of a new cleaning process that takes all the muck off aluminium and makes it look freshly cast. The finish is amazing.

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Winter Activities

Winter Activities.

When the weather is bad you may think there is not much to do but as I think of things the “to do” list just keeps getting longer. Having bought Elspeth Beards book “The Lone Rider” at the Wey Valley Advanced Motorcycle Club meeting in November it took me ages to get around to reading it. Once started it kept me reading until I had finished it. Reason for no other posts in January. If only I could read and write at the same time! The book had tales of daring, persistence, illness and disasters along with camaraderie and affection. One tough and determined lady. It is a shame that her adventure has been left so long to be told. I can’t wait for the film.

 The Greenford Police LE is moving along I used a pair of my heads to get the engine assembled  as the original ones were cracked through frost damage the oil filter was painted along with the timing cover and mated the gearbox back to the engine  and checked for a spark that arrived after cleaning and resetting the points and the exhaust system fitted, I need to get hold of a proper clamp instead of a jubilee clip that it came with. I had cleaned up the rusty and pitted exhaust pipes and gave them a coat of heat resistant paint so they looked a bit better and  after fitting the exhaust system assembly one Saturday morning I fitted my only set of foot boards and borrowed the kick start off my LE and the battery. I had to fit the footboards because they are also the kickstart stop without them the kick start mechanism would disconnect itself.  Hot wired and with a squeezy bottle of petrol all the ingredients were there for it to run. To my surprise after about half a dozen goes It showed signs of life and a few more ungainly kicks it revved away until the fuel ran out. I was only putting a carb full at a time as my set up was s leaking. Success, I can now move on to other things.

 Leg shields were handy and needed a bit of repair where the holes had become too large over the years for bolts and washers to secure. My solution was to araldite aluminium plates to the back of the leg shields then use filler on the front side to get a smooth finish before re-drilling the holes. Doesn’t sound much but that was a couple of days effort. Rubbed down I sprayed some primer on the shields. Not easy when you have to spray outside. Having a can of warm paint helps enormously. The horn received a clean up and a coat of paint too. I may need to wait for a month or two before more progress with the final coat.

Life is not all confined to my garage or study I do get out at times and a visit to the New Forest was planned and being in the New Forest Sammy Millers’ and Beaulie were so close. I went to Sammy Millers’ Museum on a very wet Saturday. Met the man himself and spent all day there. I took over 370 photos and wherever I go I see something of interest. Sammy’s racing machines are well known and as he keeps searching for new things of interest he put together a complete bike for the 50cc four cylinder engine that had been hung up on my last visit. Having spent some time finding out what surface cam engine there was in the Museum, Sammy had one already and a cutaway of the mechanism. Now I know how the surface cams operate the valves. The Sturmey Archer engine was used in the Dunelt model T30. However Dunelt were not the only people to use a surface cam engine and, also in 1930, Chater Lea had a 350cc version.

I do like some of the Italian machinery like the Moto Guzzi vee twin racer and the bacon slicer singles. The V8 is unbelievable. I had a great day and complimented by the ham, egg and chips for lunch washed down with a good mug of tea. I met some very interesting people too with lunch being spent with a member of the BSA owners club and later on a VMCC member who has recently bought a Dart motorcycle from 1922 and looking for some guidance in restoration. As Dart were made in Coventry it may be that a visit to the Coventry Transport would be useful for him. A busy day for us on the Monday with a charming lady who loved the smell of petrol, oil and old motorcycles in the little barn. A gem I would say.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Some Military oddities

Winter Studies

When it’s cold and frosty there is not much incentive to get out on two wheels to brave the elements and slippery roads so looking around there is always something lurking in a magazine to spark the interest. Sometimes the internet when Silodrome posted something about the Indian Papoose aka Corgi or from Facebook and some Italian charm. 

I have a wealth of photos to browse through and books to peruse I look for links between companies about who did what first and this leads me on to an article that I found about a Military Bike Club from Classic Bike magazine from June1994 and pick up on the Norton Big 4 outfit with the side car wheel driving set up. 

It did go into limited production for the army but it was not long before the Jeep came along and with all the other manufacturers doing something similar it soon lost favour. The strange straight on character of the sidecar wheel drive made it a hard machine to master so much so that when these were sold after World War Two the sidecar wheel drive was disabled as it was thought to be too dangerous for road use. Harry Baughan had his sidecar wheel drive trials outfit in the late thirties that Norton used unofficially. There are striking similarities in the designs. I came across another article about single trackers with some imaginative things that had handlebars and a saddle and could be related to a motorcycle like the German Kettenkrad.

There is a two wheel drive Raliegh special and a Douglas single track that would not turn and a twin rear wheel Triumph model P that had a track running over them like the modern snowmobiles. It also had a feature of leaf spring handlebars that I had only seen previously on a bike at the Old Timer Museum near Ostend.The photo is of an OEC and has a set of those interesting forks.

You can be assured that even BMW had their version of a Single Tracker. 

As for military bikes it seems that all the manufacturers did something in World War Two with mostly overhead valve engines being used but what people do think about about is the BSA M20 the main stay of motorcycling at that time when the Triumph factory was burned down taking Coventry Cathedral with it endingTriumph production for quite some time until the Meriden works was built. This leads on to what happened next and the TRW. I did see one at the Off Road Bike Show at the beginning of December but thought it unusual to have gold lining on the tank. Not something I think would be acceptable for the military use but looked well presented though.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Off Road Bike Show 2017

Off Road Bike Show 2017.

The off road bike show has come around again on a cold winters’ morning in early December. So cold this year that the heating had no effect and nearly all of us stayed in out door gear all day except the hardy. James has just returned from his around Britain excursion and was used to the cold braving Scotland in gales and heavy rain. The trusty Cub on the stand for all to see. A great achievement by any standards. 

The weather even put off some of the visitors to the show and it felt like numbers were down a little this year. Still good fun talking bikes all day. I spent some time going around the displays and Motoball is back again this year. It’s origins lay in the First World War when some of the dispatch riders decided it would be a good idea to use motorcycles to chase the ball and not run after it! Smart thinking for those who don’t want to run. Motorcycle Football had its zenith in the twenties and thirties and almost disappeared in the fifties. The main centre for this seemed to be in the West Country and as leading light of off road activities was Harry Baughan in Stroud who organised trials there. His works riders were also involved in this at the time. Harry was not impressed by one of his star riders breaking a leg and messing up the teams’ trials championship efforts that year.

Another interesting display was the MV Augusta stand and those light weights were looking a treat. The guy on the stand had recently visited the Museum and his support is much appreciated.

Wandering around I found a Brooklands Westlake a 580cc 5 valve ohc single. Looked very much like a Goldie but was in a Norton International frame using a Norton gearbox. Outside was the usual stuff. I did see the remains of a Levis at an incredible price and a purpose built moped from the thirties. 

Some unusual stuff always turns up. This year was no exception and on display was an experimental  175cc single over head camshaft Royal Enfield from 1962.

Lastly I have to mention Zoe returning for another show to sell her books. I bought the latest one and need to read it before April when she is due to do a presentation at the Wey Valley Advanced Motorcycle Club night. Another lady adventurer having just returned from her travels around Wales on a 125cc scooter. I’ll report back on the book in the New Year.

Star of the show this year was a long track Goldie and, as always, some well turned out bikes for us to see.
Back at the Museum on Monday it was not quite so cold and I did sort though a few magazines for interesting articles and found two on Military machines. A report from Classic Bike June 1994 about a Second World War Bike Club and even earlier in Classic Motorcycle from February 1983 about tracked and single tracked bikes. Even an early attempt at two wheel drive. All to be discussed later when there is not much going on.