about-us-sump-magazine

 

2007 61-cubic inch (1,000cc) Crocker Big Tank. It's titled as a 1993 model, but LA-based Albert Crocker (1882 - 1961) built his last machine in 1942. So what's the deal? Well the answer is simple. This motorcycle was cobbled together from parts as a display machine. A few original components are in the mix, but alas, some engine parts are missing. The bike was part of the Jim Lattin Collection (Lot S100) which Mecum Auctions offered for sale on 1st - 2nd June 2018 at Las Vegas. The start price was $90,000. But it didn't sell. Surprised? We're not. We love Crockers with a passion. Good examples with the right provenance fetch around $300,000. But a replica is a replica, and in a jittery market the big money collectors and investor want the real deal.

 

 

June 2018  Classic bike news

 


 

June 2018 Classic Bike News

One liners

Trump & Harley-Davidson toe to toe

"Governator's" Harley-Davidson sold

Car Builder Solutions recommended

Dirtquake VII 2018 at Arena Essex
One liners
Mecum Auctions at Monterey 2018
H&H NMM auction shapes up further
Chris Chope gets 'em in a twist
Daniel David Kirwan: 1950 - 2018
Reg Allen Motorcycles is closing
One liners
World Motorcycle Rally 2018
Glynn Edwards: 1931 - 2018
Den Hartogh Museum Sale
Grip-Tite Sockets, tried & tested
Donald Trump's US trade war starts


 

May 2018 Classic Bike News

The Daily Not News

IOM jaywalker in the hoosegow

Rare Norton Hi-Rider to auction

Clint Walker: 1927 - 2018

Ducati Museum Hailwood exhibition

Tougher protection for cops mooted

One liners

New London-Brighton Run route


April 2018 Classic Bike News

Bonhams Spring Stafford results

Royal Enfield Interceptor NMM raffle

60th International Motor Scooter Rally

New Honda "Monkey Bike" for 2018

Carole Nash's dangerous roads

An Austin Anthology from Veloce

Bonhams Stafford Sale reminder

One Liners

Bradford Dillman: 1930 - 2018

Stolen Vincent Comet & BSA Bantam
Spirit of '59 Triumph Bonnevilles
We've been adrift, but we're back in port

Autonomous Tesla claims a cyclist

Motor insurance premiums fall


March 2018 Classic Bike News

Watsonian's GP700 & Indian Chief

Bonhams Stafford Sale April 2018

One liners

We Ride London new demo date

Dee Atkinson & Harrison March Sale

Bull-it Men's SR6 Cargo trousers

Franklin's Indians: Veloce Reprint

One Liners

Kenneth Arthur Dodd: 1927 - 2018

Carole Nash Google Petition

New Musical Express is out of print

1954 500cc Triumph-Matchless chop

1,800 bike collection to be auctioned

Art Exhibition at Sammy Miller's

2018 Cardiff Classic Motorcycle Show

John Lennon's monkey bike: £57,500

One liners

This day in history


February 2018 Classic Bike News

Foscam Wireless Camera system

Pioneer Run eBook: now £2.99

Oxford Clamp On brake lever clip

One liners

2018 Curtiss Warhawk unveiled

Here's the latest bike scam attempt

George Beale appointed H&H director

Next Kickback Show 7-8th April 2018

"Alley Rat" - 2018 UK BOTK winner

One liners

Defeat the online scammers with Skype

Triumph Hurricane scammer alert

CCM Spitfire-based Bobber for 2018

Cafe Racer Dreams: 8 bikes stolen

Coys' Feb 2018 London Excel Auction

Thieves ransom Triumph Thunderbird

Harley-Davidson recalls 251,000 bikes

"Police biker" banker convicted

Bringsty Grand Prix Revival 2018

Two new Weise wax cotton jackets

Murderous solicitor is still on the books

£7k - £10k Triumph 'X-75 Hurricane'

Retro wireless GPS speedometer

"Anvil Motociclette...

2018 Triumph Speed Triples launched

Royal Enfield Flying Flea stolen

Brühl Twin Turbine Motorcycle Dryer


January 2018 Classic Bike News

Laser Power Bar Extension Wrench

One liners

Harley-Davidson quits Kansas City

Online traffic accident reporting plan

Silverstone Auctions February 2018

12th Annual Dania Beach Show

Black Lightning sells for $929,000

Online motorcycle scammer alert

One liners

AJS Tempest Scrambler for 2018

Charterhouse's February 2018 sale

Can anyone add info on this rider?

HJC FG-70s Aries Yellow helmet

One liners

Peter Wyngarde: 1927 (ish) - 2018

Death Machines of London - Airforce

Lancaster Insurance; reality check

One liners

"Fast" Eddie Clarke: 1950 - 2018

Bonhams' Las Vegas Sale reminder

Ban on credit/bank card charges


December 2017 Classic Bike News

Information on this picture wanted

Levis Motorcycles set for comeback?

One Liners

Oops, we screwed up [again - Ed]

H&H December 2017 sale at the NMM

Immortal Austin Seven from Veloce

Triumph T140V for sale: 237km

Irresponsible journalism from MCN?
Hagon Triumph Bobber mono-shock
Bruce Alan Brown: 1937 - 2017

MCN closes its biker forum

Arm rural UK coppers suggestion

Bought a Sump T-shirt? Check your email...

Falling bike sales, 11 straight months

Triumph Birmingham is set to close

New electric black taxi breaks cover

Semi naked girl straddles an Indian!!


November 2017 Classic Bike News

Riding Japan; new touring website

British motor racing anniversary day

Triumph T140 restoration guide

Ratchet handle taps & dies - Chronos

White Helmet Triumphs reach £12K

H&H's first timed automobilia auction

Goldtop £50 off gloves—limited offer

London pillion rider ban idea

Ford Design in the UK - Veloce

Thruxton Track Racer Kit offer

Want to post a comment on Sump?

New Davida "Koura" full face helmet

One liners

NMM BSA Gold Star winner details

Norton 650 twin scrambler planned

RE travel book: Hit the Road, Jac!

Stoneleigh Kickback Show April 2017

Brough Superior Pendine racer

One liners

H-D Battle of the Kings 2017 winner

New Royal Enfield 650 twins launched

NMM's 2018 Speedmaster prize

Meriden Off Road Tiger Cubs

One liners

Andy Tiernan's 2018 calendar

Scrappage scheme classic car poser

Norton launches the California

Scooter gangs face new response

One liners



September 2017 Classic Bike News












Bobby Vee: 1943 - 2016
EX-WD 500cc BSA WM20: £6,325
Essential autojumble sweatshirts
Mahindra has bought the BSA brand
Dave Cash: 1942 - 2016
BSA M20 "Blueprints" back in stock








New BSA M20 "Blueprint" T-shirt


VMCC Pip Squeak Run April 2016
Ed "Stewpot" Stewart: 1941 - 2016
Calling British spares manufacturers
Stupid biker gives away his KTM 690
Festival of Motorcycling autojumble


December 2015 Classic Bike News

Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister: 1945 - 2015

"Motorsport" CBE for John Surtees

Rare Vincent 2-stroke Uniflow Engine

Mick Grant replica 961 Norton racer

Old Biker's Mantra T-shirt from Sump

Evel Knievel's XL1000 movie bike

H&H Chateau Impney Sale results

Broughs of Bodmin Moor to sell

Flying Tiger Moto Man poofy soap

Petrol drops to £1 per litre

Porsche Sunbeam S8 special to sell

Ural gets on the scrambler trail

Anthony Valentine: 1939 - 2015

Huge UK government tax disc loss

Optimate 5 Voltmatic charger on test

Watsonian Squire T100 sidecar


November 2015 Classic Bike News

Redesigned Sump Triumph T-shirt

Great service at Welders Warehouse

Ural's 2016 Dark Force combination

Wheelrider project seeks backers

Andy Tiernan's 2016 calendar is here

A blue plaque for Triumph founder

Victory Ignition Concept custom bike

Matlock Bath Mining Museum appeal

Swedish Italians head for France
Side view assist tech from Bosch

David Beckham's Outlaw movie

New Triumph Speed Triple for 2016

Steve McQueen's Chevy camper van

Kickback Show London Dec 2015

George Barris: 1925 - 2015

NMM to raffle a 1959 T120 Bonnie

Royal Enfield splined clutch drums

"Led Zeppelin" chop sold at auction

Have you seen this Ford Mustang?

Bonhams Hendon Sale Dec 2015

Movies we love: The Family Way

Bonhams 2016 Las Vegas line-up

Triumph's new Bonneville line-up


October 2015 Classic Bike News

Mark Howe Murphy: 1932 - 2015

Comet Classics' Pride at the NEC

Stand up for Owen

Old Empire Motorcycles Gladiator

Record money at Bonhams' Stafford

Richard Davies: 1926 - 2015

Gear Gremlin bandana fleece thingy
Yamaha 125cc Resonator concept
Odd things are happening on Sump...
Weise "affordable" Lima gloves

Triumph's 2016 Bonneville teaser

Another Hayward T140 belt failure

Second generation HUD for bikes

Marzocchi closes. It's official

Gordon Honeycombe: 1936 - 2015

Indian Scout IKON shocks

Harley-Davidson XA to Wheatcroft

The Complete book of BMW Motorcycles

So who's answering the Sump phone?


September 2015 Classic Bike News

Fat bastards. And skinny dudes

Fonzie's Triumph to auction. Again

Urban rider's workshop initiative

The NMM opens its doors for free

Great speedo cable fix from Venhill

BAD-ASS BIKER T-shirts are in stock
Buying a crash helmet; a Sump guide
Romney Marsh Classic Bike Jumble
New Goldtop silk scarf

Worst Netley Marsh autojumble ever?

New Kawasaki W800 buyers guide
Bonhams Beaulieu 2015 results
Lord Edward Montagu: 1926 - 2015
Triumph's $2.9 million US recall fine
New Fab Four coffee table book
Dean Carroll Jones: 1931 - 2015
Harley-Davidson test ride competition
Still awaiting your Skully AR-1 lid?
Two rare Italians headed for Stafford
Sump BAD-ASS T-shirt coming soon
Who the hell can you trust anymore?
Austel Pullman 1300 combo to sell
Oldtimer Motoren Museum
£4m government grant for Norton
BSH sells out to Mortons Media
Sammy Miller Run August 2015


August 2015 Classic Bike News

Jake Robbins Royal Enfield custom

Music we love: Everyday Robots

Ebay: Rare 1956 250cc Indian Brave

For sale: Ex-display team TRW?
91 English & Welsh courts to close?

"Tougher and darker" HDs for 2016

Yvonne "Bat Girl" Craig: 1937 – 2015

Confederate P51 Combat Fighter
Subscribe to Sump - it's free

Cheffins Harrogate Sale August 2015
Lambeth Council bans nitrous oxide
TRF's £10,000 green lane appeal
Harley Street 750 set for Sept launch
Trouble: Triumph bobber on Ebay
Great new T-shirt designs from Sump
George Edward Cole: 1925 - 2015
Sammy Miller at Donington Classic
185,272 Harley Baggers recalled
Fifth Classic Car Boot Sale, London
Mecum Harrisburg results Aug 2015
Mecum Monterey Sale August 2015
Ace Cafe Beijing has opened
Free disc locks courtesy of the Met Police


July 2015 Classic Bike News

Where BSAs Dare

Rare 1912 Pierce at Netley
7 pence per minute to talk Triumph
Cheffins Cambridge Sale: 25th July
Matchless sunglasses: "Only £299"

Cool BSA Bantam diesel special
Brighton Speed Trials 2015 reminder
New Royal Enfield despatch bikes
M.A.D X-ray Art Exhibition Matchless
1964 Speed Twin bobber on eBay
Chris Squire: 1948 - 2015
Movies we love: Smokescreen (1964)
Road race & exhibition for the gents


June 2015 Classic Bike News

Christopher Lee: 1922 - 2015

Triumph Motorcycles: 1937 - Today

News about Roy Bacon

France bans earphones on the road

Road deaths up: first rise for 14 years

Daniel Patrick Macnee: 1922 - 2015

Tri-Cor is now Andy Gregory

Matchless-Vickers to stay in Britain

Samsung truck video safety tech

First middle lane "road hogger" fined

Brando's Electra Glide to auction

Pulford® wax cotton jacket, in "sand"

James "Hansi" Last: 1929 - 2015

Suzuki's UK café culture campaign

Disappointing Historics June Sale

DVLA "paperless counterpart" fiasco

Classic face masks, Boken style

Vibrating steering wheel idea for dozy drivers


 

May 2015 Classic Bike News

Council streetlight switch-off warning

Twinkle: 1948 - 2015

Historics' Brooklands sale draws near

Classic bikes for sale reminder
Hope Classic Rally: all for charity
Riley "BB" King: 1925 - 2015
Grace Lee Whitney: 1930 - 2015
Stondon Museum April sale results
RE buys Harris Performance Products
Geoff Duke: 1923 - 2015
Classic Motorcycle Restoration and Maintenance
NMM's winter raffle winner details
Stafford Sale: "£2,262,109: 86% sold"


April 2015 Classic Bike News
Norman Hyde polished T100 headers

Cheffins Cambridge Sale results

Harley's "Job of a lifetime" winner details

John Stuart Bloor is now a billionaire

BSMC Show, Tobacco Dock, London

"Rusty Blue" Route 66 motorcycle kit

Erik Buell Racing closes its doors

One of the Love Bugs is up for sale
Ronnie Carroll: 1934 - 2015
Sixty museum bikes to be auctioned
Goldtop classic fleece-lined gauntlets
Harley-Davidson Kansas lay-offs
Mecum's Walker Sign Collection results


March 2015 Classic Bike News

Ted Simon's website is "hacked by Isis"
Frank Perris: 1931 - 2015
ULEZ Zone charges for motorcycles
We're all down with a nasty disease
Eric "Shaw" Taylor: 1924 - 2015
E J Cole Collection at Mecum's

Rare 500cc Linto for Duxford Sale
Classic Car Boot Sale final reminder
DfT road safety website is to be axed
Autocom GPS bike tracker is "coming soon"
Jem Marsh: 1930 - 2015
New Triumph Thruxton book from Panther Publishing

New drug-driving regulations are here

HMS Sump is torpedoed!
New £350,000 Jensen GT for 2016

RE Continental GT, soon in black


February 2015 Classic Bike News

Lincoln bans legal highs in public places

Leonard Simon Nimoy: 1931 - 2015

Cheffins Cambridge Sale: Apr 2015

Race Retro Feb 2015 auction results
£4.7 million grant for Brooklands

Full size "Airfix" motorcycle kits
Two Francis-Barnett bikes "launched"
Gerry Lloyd Wells: 1929 - 2014

Harley-Davidson's "dream job" offer
Road accidents & preventable events
The velocity of money? What's that?
ACA auction Saturday 7th March 2015
Sump's new road safety stickers
Kickback Stoneleigh to be televised


classic-bike-news-january-2015

 

January 2015 Classic Bike News

1948 Land Rover manufacture exhibit
UK Triumph Scrambler sales jump
Mecum Kissimmee Sale results
Ikon Basix shock absorbers
Sump BSA M20 metal sign—£14.99
Another great Marlboro Man has snuffed it

Mixed Bonham results at Las Vegas
Stolen Norton appeal for information
The Reunion by Jack Elgos
VMCC December 2014 raffle winner
Brian Horace Clemens: 1931 - 2015
Metal classic bike signs from Sump
Rod Taylor: 1930 - 2015
Derek Minter: 1932 - 2015
Tiernan's looking for a Flea crate
Jerry Lee Lewis Duo Glide to sell
"Killer drivers" sentencing review
Harley-Davidson recalls 19,000 bikes
Cutaway engine bonanza at Bonhams


Sump news archive

 

 

We've got plenty more classic bike news for you to enjoy. Check out the links below.

 

 

 

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

August 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

June 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

December 2012

November 2012

October 2012

September 2012

August 2012

July 2012

June 2012

May 2012

April 2012

March 2012

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

October 2011

September 2011

August 2011

July 2011

June 2011

May 2011

April 2011

March 2011

February 2011

January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

October 2010

September 2010

August 2010

 

 

 

 

H   O   M   E

T   O   P

S   H   O   P

 


2018 Norton Atlas 650cc

Norton releases new image of proposed 650cc, 70-100bhp Atlas scrambler


Max Nightingale (Alpha Bearings) has died aged 59. Trading status unclear


Birmingham council proposes London-style congestion charge by 2020


New craze. Kids snatching car doors open. Drivers braking hard in surprise


Hot weather exploding car fuel tanks myth debunked. Social media hoax


McQueen Triumph headed for Concours d’Elégance at Salon Privé 30/8/18


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Donald Trump and Harley-Davidson

 

Trump & Harley-Davidson toe to toe

 

Story snapshot:

Washington's on the tariff rampage

Milwaukee's said to be heading east (or is that west?)

 

It wasn't so long ago that US President Trump was vociferously singing the praises of Harley-Davidson and citing the firm as a great and enduring example of American manufacturing and enterprise. But those salad days are over. H-D is now threatening to shift a chunk of its motorcycle production overseas in an effort to mitigate the impact of the new US-Euro trade tariffs, and that's a slap in the face for poor old shoot-from-the-hip Donald. On Twitter he wrote:

 

"I’ve been very good to Harley-Davidson. If they move [overseas], watch, it will be the beginning of the end — they surrendered, they quit!"

 

The trade tariff row with the EU began when Trump threatened to slap a 25% levy on steel imports from the European Union, Mexico and Canada, plus a 10% tariff on aluminium imports. After much arguing, negotiation, sabre-rattling and delay, Trump carried through his threat, and the EU has since fired off a broadside imposing tariffs on a range of US imports. Unfortunately, Harley-Davidson, among other US firms, is caught squarely in the middle.

 

This effectively increases the showroom price of all Harley-Davidsons sold in Europe—although the price hike may not immediately (if at all) affect the current stock on the showroom floor.

 

Harley-Davidson has seen some very lean picking in recent times, and the Milwaukee, Wisconsin firm urgently needs to address this problem and keep its product price competitive. Specifically, the younger market (both in the US and in the very important European market) needed to keep MoCo in the black is simply not there; not in sufficient numbers, anyway. And that market is not likely to accept higher prices on the showroom sales tickets.

 

Currently, Harley-Davidson produces bikes in Bawal, India; notably the Street 500 and the Street 750 models. But Sportsters, Dyna and other H-Ds are also assembled here as CKD (Complete Knock Down) kits for the Asian market in order to avoid Asian trade tariffs.

 

This is a reasonably mature plant that's predicted by many financial analysts to be the likely manufacturing hub for other H-D motorcycles. Therefore, if the firm produces Europe-bound models at its Indian plant, it will avoid the 31% duty hike on US-built products. And for the EU market, that's around 40,000 bikes.

 

Naturally, it takes time to shift/recreate the tooling, and more time to train the workers and get high quality bikes rolling off the assembly line. In the meantime, sales could be badly hit. To that end, H-D has been quoted as promising to subsidise the sale of European bikes which is likely to cost somewhere around $66 million/£50 million (based on an average subsidy-per-bike of $2,161/£1,650).

 

Whether or not Harley-Davidson actually manufactures other models in India or "merely" assembles them from imported parts remains to be seen. H-D has, after all, recently opened a manufacturing/assembly plant in Thailand that's also tipped to be the new hub for Europe-bound bikes. And for many other analysts, that's a far more likely build location—and one or two H-D execs have corroborated that belief.

 

Donald Trump reckons that any Harley-Davidsons produced overseas will be hit with massive taxes when they arrive on US soil. It's a boast that mimic's Trumps threat to the Ford Motor Company following Ford's plans to build cars in Mexico—and the threat underlines Trump's ignorance and political clumsiness, because bikes built overseas will stay overseas (unless privately imported). Moreover, it's not clear that DT even has the presidential powers to throw such taxes around on a whim.

 

2015 Indian Scout

 

It's not only Harley-Davidson that's feeling the pinch. All US-built motorcycles of over 500cc are subject to the new 31% EU import tariffs. Polaris, which owns Indian, currently has a little more bedrock beneath its factories. Or so it's claimed. But trade wars can last for years, and like all wars, there is usually a lot of collateral damage. Pictured is a 2015 Indian Scout, by the way.

 

 

All eyes are squarely on the Trump/Harley-Davidson row, but Polaris Industries—which builds its Indian range of bikes entirely in the USA—is also subject to the EU tariffs. For the moment, Polaris is reasonably sanguine about the situation. But then it can afford to be. Its sales are holding up reasonably well, and it's still growing its market.

 

Nevertheless, like H-D, Polaris is also facing higher import duties on the raw materials needed to manufacture its products. Beyond this, there's a minefield of incoming tariff rules and regulations from all over the world that almost nobody can possibly keep up with. Consequently, whatever the news is today, it'll be significantly changed or re-thought come tomorrow.

 

Perhaps the best that Harley-Davidson can do is to hide in the White House bushes for a few days and wait it out. Chances are that Donald Trump will have a new row to contend with. And as we've seen with North Korea's "Little Rocket Man", The Prez is a forgiving chap when he's had a moment to calm down a bit, and when his advisers have had an opportunity to redirect his ire.

 

Also see: Donald Trump's US trade war starts

 


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If this wasn't so sad, it would be laughable. Trump was amusing on reality TV, but he's not amusing anymore. Harley-Davidson should continue to run its business the way it sees fit. The company, like all American companies, would love to build its product entirely in the USA. Of course they would. But there are realities to be faced in a global world. This is what you get when you start a trade war. Trump should have thought this one through. But then, Trump can't think anything through. Hail to the chief.—SloMo


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"Governator's" Harley-Davidson sold

 

Story snapshot:

Arnie's personal Hog fetches $38,400

Fonzie's bike sells for $179,200

 

The estimate was $30,000 - $50,000, and the hammer came down at $38,400. Convert that to sterling at today's rate (25/6/18) and the price is around £29,000. What makes this bike special/interesting is that it was once owned by Hollywood superstar and ex-California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

 

The "Governator" bought the bike back in 1987, the FLSTC Softail originally ran with a stock 1340cc Evolution engine. But that was changed to a RevTech unit. The ignition cover was engraved/embossed with Arnie's initials, a fishtail silencer was added, and sidecar mounts are fitted. The army green livery was matched on a crash helmet.

 

Said to be one or Schwarzenegger's personal bikes, he rode it around for a while (it's showing 15,560 on the clock), and we hear that it was used in 2000 in the Bon Jovi video for the song Say It Isn't So.

 

 

Good investment value? We don't know, and naturally time will tell. But someone's probably going to have a lot of fun showing this off and maybe even riding it. Pity it wasn't also signed by Arnie. The auction house which handled this, by the way, was Julien's Auctions which specialises in TV and movie memorabilia. The sale happened on 23rd June 2018 at Las Vegas, Nevada USA.

 

Meanwhile, we note that the 1949 500cc Triumph TR5 Trophy used in the 1970s US TV series Happy Days and (occasionally) ridden by the dubious character Arthur Fonzarelli changed hands at the same auction for $179,200 (roughly £135,000). That's a lot more than we'd expect for a not very significant motorcycle that was rarely viewed in a dated (but still marginally enjoyable) American sitcom. And note that this bike has been kicking around the auction houses for a while looking for the right buyer (See Sump September 2015 for details).

 

Of the two motorcycle we'd probably pick the Trophy—but not at that price, and not necessarily because Fonzie once or twice parked his rear end on the rear end.

 

Triumphs are major celebs in their own right. True? False?

 

www.juliensauctions.com

 


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Car Builder Solutions recommended

 

Story snapshot:

Well established kit car parts firm helps keep our bikes running

Highly recommended—and we've haven't even been bribed

 

We don't recommend many traders, but when we do, we bloody-well mean it. These guys, as their name suggests, are focussed on the car market; specifically kit cars and modified performance cars and suchlike (and we've got one or two of those). But there are plenty of products here that will suit motorcycle builders, so we're inviting you to peruse their website and/or online catalogue and commit whatever you can to memory.

 

We've been using Car Builder Solutions (CBS) for years, and only very rarely has a product not matched our expectations—and most of that was probably because our expectations were unrealistically high. But overall, we've been buying good value gear from people who understand what they're flogging, and who can get the item or items to your door usually next day, or possibly the day after (depending on what time of the day you place your order).

 

They don't have call-steering on their phone lines, so pretty much every time you dial in, you get a real person talking intelligent and coherent English (but yes, we have caught an answerphone once or twice). They build their own vehicles too, so they understand most of (if not all) the practical issues in the garage or shed. They've got a dizzying number of parts in the range (tens of thousands), and are constantly adding to the collection. And importantly, they will discontinue products if customer feedback suggests that the item in question is not up to standard (as opposed to continuing to flog suspect parts).

 

 

And there's more.

 

To ensure you get a good look at the products, many (or most) of the items are shown from various angles that you can rotate on screen courtesy of a little doo-dah or mouse. Additionally, the comprehensive CBS catalogue carries many fitting tips and workshop aids, and the firm also has a large presence on YouTube where they demonstrate how to do this or that.

 

You can visit them down at Staplehurst, Kent. We were there once or twice many years ago, and they really do carry the stock they sell. You can buy selected tools from CBS pertinent to the products (wire strippers, pop rivet guns, hole saws, air tool connectors, tube straighteners, etc). Finally, the company attends kit car shows and similar, so you can collect face to face.

 

For us, we've been happy to have items sent (courier or Royal Mail)—and there's a no-quibble returns policy. Put simply, it's hard to see how CBS could do anything better. This is easily the most sorted, the most efficient, the most knowledgeable, the most reliable, and the most comprehensive kit car/modified car parts firm we've EVER dealt with. And CBS helps keep our bikes rolling too.

 

Marks out of ten?

 

Ten.

 

www.carbuildersolutions.com

 


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I agree, an excellent source of parts. The owner is also a builder of rather nice British bikes—Ian


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Dirtquake VII 2018 at Arena Essex

 

Story snapshot:

Guy Martin will be attending

18th August 2018 is the date

 

This annual run-what-ya-brung extravaganza is back for its seventh outing, and we're doing what we can to help promote it. But we have to say that having examined the organiser's website, it doesn't look particularly exciting this year—and a lot less exciting than the poster immediately above makes it appear.

 

The only celeb currently listed (as of 23rd June 2018) is Guy Martin, and because he's so hugely over-exposed in the biking media and on TV, etc, it's hard to get too excited one way or t'other. Not that we're celebrity groupies, you understand. But the presence of one or two interesting, vocal and colourful personalities (as opposed to the same old same old diehards) invariably adds a little extra excitement to a biking festival.

 

That said, this event has in the past drawn out some pretty weird and wonderful (and dangerous) characters, so a certain amount of thrills and spills are probably more or less guaranteed.

 

The gates open at 10am at the Arena Essex speedway oval, and you're invited along to strut your peculiar stuff and shift your atoms as fast as you possibly can (assuming entry hasn't closed). The organisers are hoping to keep this spectacle spectacular, so you're strongly encouraged to wear fancy dress and whatnot—but make sure you're also wearing appropriate safety gear. If you're showing too much skin, you won't get in.

 

Here's how the organisers describe the event:

 

"Irreverent racing is at the heart of DirtQuake. The action takes place on high-adrenaline, loose-surface oval circuits without the hassle, rules and costs usually associated with motorsport. DirtQuake is inclusive – giving riders, enthusiasts and even pro racers a unique chance to take on all comers."

 

We're also told that the event will once again be televised, so if the cameras love ya, this could be your fifteen minutes of fame. Actually, we should mention that the organiser is North One Television which also produces The Gadget Show and (oh wot a total surprise!) all of Guy Martin's TV progs.

 

Check the website for spectator ticket details.

 

www.dirtquake.com

 


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H-D marks 115th anniversary with 10 replica bicycles. $4,200 each


Scotland follows London and will ban pavement parking (with exceptions)


UK police warn inflatable fake speed camera inventor with 7 year jail threat


10th Brackley Festival of Motorcycling reminder. Sunday 12th August 2018


DVSA Enhanced Rider Scheme relaunched. Instructors wanted


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Mecum Auctions at Monterey 2018

 

Story snapshot:

The date is 23rd - 25th August 2018

The place is Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa, CA 93940

 

So far, only four motorcycle lots are on the roll call, but we expect that to increase hugely over the next few weeks. The top items are the above 1915 61-cubic inch (1,000cc) Harley-Davidson Model 11K boardtrack racer (Lot R420), and the (further below) 1956 Mondial F2 (Lot 236).

 

The H-D doesn't have a lot to say for itself, except that it's evidently in great condition (externally, anyway), has numerous (unspecified) high-performance parts fitted, has an ultra rare (but also unspecified) fork assembly, is said to be very correct right down to the "NOS Schrader tube valve stems", and received a winner's award at the 2017 Greenwich Concourse d' Elegance (Most Outstanding Motorcycle).

 

The Model 11K is an F-head, air-cooled, 45-degree V-twin that knocks out around 12bhp (depending on whose numbers you believe). It weighs roughly 260lb (118kg) and is good for around 100mph—which, naturally, was a fabulous speed back in 1915, and is pretty impressive even today.

 

Harley-Davidson was a little slow in arriving at the US racing start line. Indian and Excelsior were early entrants, but when Milwaukee finally came hunting trophies, it quickly put up some fierce and compelling competition and changed the shape and sound of the American motorcycle racing scene.

 

This Model 11k was from the start intended as a pure racer, and it sold for $250. At Monterey, this motorcycle will be offered on a "Bill of Sale" meaning that it's not road legal.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, the (immediately above) DOHC Mondial F2 is giving even less away. But we can tell you that it's from a private collection, is fitted with a factory 175cc racing engine, is a four-speeder, and is "extremely rare".

 

Mondials were hugely successful on the Italian circuits during the 1950s. Fabio Taglioni (following in the footsteps of Alfredo Drusiani) is the man largely responsible for the development of these bikes.

 

No estimate for either the H-D or the Mondial has been posted. The other two lots currently listed are, respectively, Lot T26, a 1937 74-cubic inch (1,200cc) Indian Chief, and Lot T157, a 1959 650cc BSA Super Rocket.

 

More on this sale as and when.

 

www.mecum.com

 


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1972 Triumph TR6

1972 650cc Triumph TR6 TT replica. This motorcycle was an insurance write-off (Category C, 2003). But you can never totally write off a Triumph. £5,000 - £6,000 is the estimate. Sounds like strong money, but that finned primary chaincase is already making us feel gooey...

 

H&H NMM auction shapes up further

 

Story snapshot:

Plenty of lots on offer for the average biker

We think there could be some great bargains here

 

We've been checking out the forthcoming H&H sale to be held at the National Motorcycle Museum (NMM), and there's some stuff coming up that will suit a wide range of motorcycle riders—as opposed to motorcycle collectors.

 

The auction will happen on 26th July 2018, which is roughly one month from the posting of this news item. So far, 189 lots are on offer, the majority of them being pretty ordinary bikes of the kind you might find in the average garage. And that's the kind of stuff we like. Everyman (or everywoman) motorcycles.


We've screen-grabbed a few of them for your interest and edification. Lot numbers haven't yet been assigned, and H&H has (not for the first time) been a little mean with the descriptions. Here they are anyway:

 

 

1939 Francis Barnett Cruiser

When it comes to Villiers powered two-strokes, you don't get a lot more stylish and stately than this 1939 250cc Francis Barnett Cruiser. Launched in 1933, the concept included the fitment of extensive body panels to keep the gentleman (or gentlelady) rider as clean as possible, and also perhaps to hide as much of the mechanics to help make motorcycle ownership more palatable. That's a cast aluminium exhaust expansion box at the front, incidentally. This example is part restored and needs a fresh spanner or two. All major parts are present. No estimate is (yet) posted. We like it plenty. How about you?

 

1974 T150 Triumph Trident

1974 Triumph T150. £5,000 will start the bidding. H&H is anticipating around £10,000 - £12,000 for this Category C insurance loss in 1998 and 1999. The bike, we hear, was rebuilt with the help of Colin Wall of the National Motorcycle Museum. The carbs are new. It's in running order, but there's no mention of a current V5C. Ten years ago, few people wanted these "breadbin" and "ray gun" Triumphs. But typically, they're starting to look pretty good, and they make great classic tourers.

 

1971 Honda CD175 K3

1971 Honda CD175 K3. The estimate is £1,500 - £2,500. Long term ownership. Matching numbers. Needs re-commissioning. There are half a dozen or more similar classic Hondas in the listing, and they look better with every season. Might be worth a punt if you've got a few bob spare and need a fresh shot of nostalgia.

 

1953 MV Agusta Pullman

1953 MV Agusta Pullman. If you like attention, forget the E-Type and take this down the pub. The engine of this Mk1 is just 125cc, but when you've got pose, who needs power? Launched in 1953, this scooter-motorcycle hybrid was a success. MV Agusta flogged thousands, largely because the bike had presence, simplicity and quality engineering; a shrewd combination. The estimate is £4,500 - £5,000. Check below for a red (1953) example that was sold by Coys of Kensington in August 2016 [Note that we had earlier wrongly suggested that this bike was about to come up for sale on 30th June 2018. Apologies—Ed. The estimate was €7,500 - €9,500, but it looks like the MV didn't sell. However, an MV Agusta Super Pullman at the same sale sold for €8,249].

MV Agusta Pullman

 

Cotton Trials motorcycle

1963 Cotton Trials. No estimate and no reserve. If you have to wonder what's nice about this 197cc Villiers two stroke, it probably isn't for you. The bike was found in a stable, and it needs some fresh oats. But it's ideal for Pre-65 Trials and looks to be all there. Cool little mo'sickle, and there's another Cotton Trials in the sale if you lose out on this one.

 

1929 Levis 6 Port

1929 247cc Levis 6-Port Super-Cooled. Levis was already producing a 4-Port Model Z and decided to up the ante with this new sporting contender. Said to be good for 60mph, Levis claimed this three speeder punched above its weight and "compared favourably" with larger capacity two strokes. Levis was founded in 1911 and ended production in 1940. The firm isn't so widely known today. But in its time, it was a very serious player and competed successfully at various levels including the TT. The price of the 6-Port was around £37 plus whatever extras you favoured (speedometer, horn, lighting equipment, etc). This example (part of a deceased's estate and said to be completely restored) is expected sell for between £5,000 and £6,000. £2,500 will get the bidding started.

Levis Motorcycles were produced in Stechford, Birmingham by Butterfields Ltd. This was a highly innovative firm that fixed its colours firmly to the two-stroke mast and rightly deserved the self-appointed slogan, "The Master Two Stroke". However, there were also four-strokes in the range, including a 247cc sidevalve, a 346cc OHV single-port, a 346cc OHV twin port and a 498cc single. See: Levis Motorcycle set for comeback?

 

1953 Series C Vincent Comet

1951 Vincent Comet Series C. There's no estimate listed for this 499cc single, and there's no start price either. The engine, we hear, looks correct, but the bike has been re-framed. Does that matter to you? If not, this could be a first viable step on the Vincent ladder. V5 plus green logbook. Will require re-commissioning.

 

Overall, we think there might be some great bargains to be had, not least for newer riders hoping to get on the classic bike ladder. Or is that treadmill? Prices are fairly flat—if not depressed—at the moment. The sale starts at 1pm. Consequently, with 189 lots on the list, there are likely to be some fast hammer falls. Get the idea?

 

The venue for the sale is: National Motorcycle Museum, Coventry Road, Bickenhill, Solihull, West Midlands B92 0EJ. There will be viewing on the same day, from 9am. The buyers premium is 15% (including VAT @ 20%). Admission to the sale is free, but for five pounds you can buy a pocket guide.
 

www.handh.co.uk

Also check out: 1971 Norton Hi-Rider at this sale

 


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Chris Chope gets 'em in a twist

 

Story snapshot:

MP for Christchurch, Dorset says "knickers!"

The lynch mob is gathering for ex-transport minister

 

Poor old Christopher Chope, Conservative MP for Christchurch, Dorset. An ex-transport minister, we many years ago interviewed Chope at his Marsham Street, London office and found him to be perfectly affable and civilised, but clearly a time-serving minister with as much interest in transport (least of all motorcycles) as we have in football.

 

Which is none.

 

However, to most of the politically-minded females of the UK, and a fair proportion of men, Chope's name is pure mud, and it gets muddier by the day. He's currently featuring on either page one, two or three of the major newspapers, and the TV and radio news networks have also been spreading the nasty gossip.

 

In case you've been in the garage too long, here's the underlying story. A woman named Gina Martin was at a concert in Hyde Park in 2017 and discovered that two men had taken a photograph up her skirt. She snatched the camera and reported the incident to the cops, but they decided that they had no powers to deal with it. She was wearing underwear, after all, so the offence of "outraging public decency" couldn't be used. The picture simply wasn't "graphic" enough.

 

As a result, Gina Martin launched a campaign to have a new law introduced, and Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse and Tory justice minister Lucy Frazer obliged. It was Hobhouse who got a new private member's bill rolling (as opposed to a government sponsored bill), and that was called The Voyeurism (Offences) Bill.

 

The first reading was on 6th March 2018. This is a purely introductory moment to let MPs know that the bill is on the agenda. The second reading was on 15th June 2018. Note that these private member's bills (or backbench bills) usually have very little time to be discussed. Most of the house usually isn't present, some of the MPs are probably asleep, one or two might have died on the benches, and there are other grievances and heartfelt issues competing for airplay and attention.

 

On this occasion it was expected that the bill would go through "on the nod". In other words, to hell with a debate, just wave it through to the next stage. But to stop a bill, it requires a single MP to shout "object", and this is what happened. Christopher Chope MP took a political pistol from his pocket and killed the bill dead, and most of the rest of the UK is now looking to string him up.

 

From this angle, we're not sure which girl is Gina Martin (we need to check our upskirt phone—not funny, Ed), but we think it's the girl on the right. Or the left. Either way, this is the shot posted on the Care2Petitions website. Yes, "upskirting" is an issue that needs to be addressed (pun intended), but not at the expense of hasty legislation. Note the cunningly censored background faces in the pic.

... and this is modest Gina as pictured posing in The Telegraph. And clearly you can look, but don't go too low (so no squatting, pervs. This is a family magazine).

 

Why the hell would anyone want to stop a bill that stops the "pervs" from invading a woman's privacy? That's the current battle cry. But we can think of a couple of reasons, one of which is simply that it's rarely, if ever, wise to wave new bills through "on the nod". Chope might have serious psychological issues going on upstairs, and/or he might also be a "perv" and protecting his mates, and/or he might simply have a perverse sense of humour, and/or he might have other reasons.

 

But he certainly claims that his objection is that he thinks the bill should have a full and proper debate and not be waved through a busy and potentially dangerous legislative junction. In Scotland, it's already against the law to take upskirt snapshots without permission. See the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009 for details. And largely because the Scots have enacted such a law, there's a long queue of people down south who want parity (and this begs the question of why Scotland should have got the law ahead of the rest of the UK given that we're all in the union, but let's not go there right now).

 

The point is, The Voyeurism (Offences) Bill will now have to be re-introduced as a second reading, and that can be murdered again by another "object!", not necessarily from Chope. In the meantime, the forces of Hobhouse Good can go to work against the forces of Chopeian Evil and try and convince him to repent and recant. And to help matters along, the majority of (if not all) the UK newspapers are soundly on-message.

 

It's vilification day.

 

The social medianauts are hard at it damning this bloke to hell and back. He's received hate mail, has had his lead jerked by (some) friends and colleagues, had been the butt (no pun intended) or numerous jokes and cartoons, and he's had knickers strung across his constituency door. Currently, he's probably not going out of his house even with a hat and dark glasses, but he's clinging stubbornly to his views.

 

One member of the usual lynch mob has written online:

 

"This is your country's democracy at work, people! Hundreds of MPs fight tooth and nail to get your vote overturned. One minor MP wakes up from lying asleep on an empty House of Commons and shouts "I object to a sexual offence being outlawed!" and it happens.

 

Another wailed:

 

"This man is a disgrace - how can anyone not support a bill that preserves the dignity of the women of the UK. He should resign immediately."

 

Etc.

 

There was a time when women happily stood on air vents and told the waiting photographers to watch the birdie. Now we're reduced to smartphones and strategically placed selfie sticks. It's a sad world...

 

 

But imagine the situation if a backbench MP introduced a bill to curb noisy motorcycle exhausts, or introduced a bill mandating leg-protectors for motorcyclists, both of which (on the face of it, from some perspectives) sound reasonable enough. Noise can be a nuisance, after all. And saving people's legs is a worthy cause.

 

In this instance, how many bikers would want that bill to go through "on the nod"? And how many would want someone like Chope to yell "object!" and help force a proper debate—that, okay, may or may not ever happen. Private member's bills, after all, very rarely make it through to law.

 

As we understand it, Chope isn't necessarily against an upskirting law. He's simply using his parliamentary privilege to block a hasty piece of knee-jerk backbench thinking. For instance, what if you (more innocently) photograph a woman lying down and are treated to a slightly wider angle? Should that result in an arrest? What if you're a photojournalist covering a drunk women story and get an eyeful of whatever? What if the bill also looks down bras ("downblousing") as well as upskirts? And how much upskirt is upskirt? Would the law include a Scotman's kilt? Would this new law include loose-fitting shorts? Would a downblousing law include CCTV operators? And why not extend the law to making it illegal to photograph someone's fatness? Or skinnyness? Or face? Or whatever? Where does it start? And where does it end?

 

In short, how do you frame any or all of this to prevent an abuse of whatever new powers the coppers get? It ain't as simple as the lynch mob believes. Actually, the lynch mob isn't even thinking that far ahead. It just wants a head in a noose, and in this case it's Chope's—and then they can go after all the "pervs".

 

Some would yell, "Get real, girls. If you don't want a camera up your kilt, don't wear a kilt." But the girls, like public figures in general, clearly want full control of their publicity, meaning that the pervs will just have to learn to point and squirt only at what's immediately on display, and only from whatever vantage point is demanded by the lady in the frame.

 

The moral? We need to think long and hard before any new law is introduced. There are always unwanted and unintended consequences, and those left field maverick voices from Christchurch and elsewhere are sometimes exactly what we need to keep some perspective on a complicated issue.

 

 

Update:  Chope has since been quoted by the Bournemouth Echo as saying that upskirting is "vulgar, humiliating and unacceptable." He's further said that he didn't even know what upskirting was until the bill tried to muscle through the second reading without due scrutiny.

 


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Ram Jam City was recorded in 2000 and featured mostly demo tracks from the early years. Not Danny Kirwan's best stuff, but an interesting collection for the more hardcore fan.

 

Daniel David Kirwan: 1950 - 2018

 

Story snapshot:

Fleetwood Mac's troubled other guitarist died on 10th June

Peter Green era band member was 68

 

If you're a Fleetwood Mac fan, and if you're of a certain age, the chances are you're an early Fleetwood Mac fan. We're talking about the classic line up of Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood, John McVie, Jeremy Spencer and of course Danny Kirwan who has died aged 68.

 

Fleetwood Mac was formed in 1967 by Green who enlisted Fleetwood and McVie and then Spencer. But the underlying tale of exactly how the band came about varies slightly depending on who you listen to. However, few are denying that Kirwan came along two years later (1969) and helped transform a great four piece combo into an even better five.

 

Kirwan's instrument was lead guitar (Gibson Les Paul) which initially threatened to cause some musical imbalance in the band by diluting the hard, bluesy, raw sound favoured by the founding four. But in the event, Kirwan's sensitive touch, original compositions and thoughtful arrangements honed an already cutting edge. And if you're a particular fan of Jigsaw Puzzle Blues (which was the flip side of Albatross—and a re-arrangement of an old 1930s clarinet ditty) you'll understand exactly what we mean.

 

While we're talking about Albatross, those soulful and searing guitar harmonies are as much Kirwan as Green, and that's also Kirwan playing the solo on Oh Well (Part 1).

 

The twin guitar sound of Green and Kirwan (which in some ways anticipated Irish rockers Thin Lizzy) helped carry the band through the next couple of years, but the not unusual frictions were soon developing between members.

 

Peter Green left the group in 1970, and John McVie's wife Christine signed up and played keyboards.

 

But the game was already up as far as the classic bluesy Fleetwood Mac era was concerned. The group would soon be dominated by the more poppy influences of Stevie Nicks and Lyndsey Buckingham.

 

Danny Kirwan left the band in 1972. Actually, he was sacked, largely because of the aforementioned friction which left him almost completed isolated on a personal level and which allegedly resulted in regular and highly inconvenient outbursts of temper. We don't really want to go any further into the gossip, suffice to say that it was time for Kirwan and Mac to go their separate ways.

 

Kirwan briefly forged a low-key solo career. His style was ... well, a little confused at times, his music being generally populated by short bursts of interesting ideas and suggestions that didn't always develop into compelling tunes. He both played guitar and sang, but his voice simply didn't have that edge or emotional command necessary to elevate him into the first league. Which isn't to say that his solo stuff is bad, but it's a long way from the wonderful of-the-moment racket that made the late 1960s Fleetwood Mac so great.

 

His album Second Chapter was released in 1975. Midnight in San Juan was released in 1976. And his final album, Hello There Big Boy was pressed in 1979.

 

After that, a sad decline followed that saw Danny Kirwan battling mental health issues and concomitant social problems. He left the music scene entirely, and beyond that point not a lot is known about him or his life. He did marry in 1971, but it was short-lived. And he fathered one son.

 

In 1998 Kirwan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (with regard to his Fleetwood Mac era), and there was some talk about a reunion, which never happened.

 

If you want a song to sum up the sound, mood and style of Danny Kirwan's contribution to Fleetwood Mac, try his bluesy/psychedelic song Dragonfly released in 1971. It was the band's first single following the departure of Peter Green, and it was a commercial failure. Nevertheless, we think it's an underrated 2 minutes and 54 seconds that's a suitable monument for a great guitar player, a gifted songwriter, and a very troubled personality.

 


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Reg Allen Motorcycles

 

Reg Allen Motorcycles is closing

 

Story snapshot:

Long time classic Triumph dealer has called it a (long) day

The future of the London Motorcycle Museum is in question

 

In the late 1970s a bunch of us used to ride out to Reg Allen Motorcycles in Hanwell, West London to check the merchandise, to talk Triumph, and maybe to even buy something. Can't remember that we ever spent much, and as such we probably weren't very popular. Proprietor Bill Crosby kept his peepers on us throughout, no doubt half expecting us to try and nick something. But we never did, and it's doubtful that it even occurred to us.

 

We simply weren't those kind of guys.

 

Well those days are long gone, and Reg Allen's time as a viable business is rapidly coming to an end. The news has just come in that the shop will be closing permanently, and naturally it marks the end of an era for a lot of people, not least Bill Crosby and family.

 

Reg Allen Motorcycles in the 1950s - Triumph dealer

 

Reg Allen Motorcycles was established before WW2. In 1958, Reg Allen wanted out, and Bill Crosby wanted in. So he bought the name and business, and two years later he purchased the shop premises too.  For many years Crosby bought and sold a range of British bikes, and in 1977 he became an official Triumph dealership and Triumph spares stockist. Quickly he built a fairly good reputation and developed a strong customer base.

 

He wasn't the only Triumph spares shop in that part of the world. Roebuck Motorcycles in Pinner was another very useful place to go. And there was also Harwoods at Richmond. But Reg Allen's had a huge stock and carried plenty of custom goodies and suchlike. His establishment, with a corner position close to a main road, was a minor mecca.

 

When the Meriden Workers Co-operative (Triumph Engineering Co Ltd) finally closed in 1983 (having seized control from Norton Villiers Triumph in 1977), Bill Crosby travelled to Meriden and bought vans loads of parts and also managed to grab some interesting prototypes that he displayed in his premises.

 

At the time, he expressed a lot of doubt that John Bloor would ever rebuild Triumph and start volume production. But Bloor did, and unfortunately for Bill Crosby he was subsequently sidelined as a dealer. As a result, he kept trading in Meriden Triumph spares, and soldiered on handling motorcycle rebuilds and general repairs.

 

In 1985 he took on a Norton Rotary dealership, which wasn't a success. In 2000 he took on Royal Enfield, and in 2006 he became an AJS dealer (Chinese built AJSs).

 

London Motorcycle Museum

 

Bill Crosby at the London Motorcycle Museum astride a Triumph T120. The museum also houses what's claimed to be the last Meriden Bonneville, a 1929 OHC Triumph prototype, various Triumph TRW prototypes, the P1 Triumph Trident prototype, various prototype OHC Triumph Triples, and a Slippery Sam Triumph Trident replica. Visit before it's too late. Or is it already too late?
 

 

While this was ongoing, Bill Crosby was also investing a lot of time, money and energy into the London Motorcycle Museum that he founded in 1997 (officially opening in 1999). Based in Greenford, Middlesex, the museum has become something of a second home for many motorcyclists in West London, and further afield. For many years, Ealing Council offered a 100% rates subsidy, but this was recently withdrawn. Moreover, we're told that the council back-dated a demand for rates payment.

 

There have been other problems and intrigues regarding Ealing Council which Bill Crosby, supported by his wife and sons, has been relentlessly tackling. In late 2016, Crosby publicly sought support for the museum in terms of financial gifts/donations.

 

However, business trading pressures have continued, notably from rival dealers with "flashy showrooms". Meanwhile, classic bike riders are, as Crosby points out, simply not laying down many miles anymore, so the service and repair side of Reg Allen has in recent times not been very profitable—and it has to be said that Bill Crosby is now in his 80s and doesn't have the energy that has carried him so far and for so long.

 

 

 

We don't yet have details of exactly when the doors will close. But as we understand it, Reg Allen will continue to sell stock online for as long as it reasonably can.

 

So check out what's on offer. But keep in mind that Bill Crosby won't be giving away anything. He's still hoping to keep the museum viable, and he'll welcome any donation you care to make.

 

 

www.reg-allen-london.co.uk (link disabled, so cut and paste)

See also: Sump Reg Allen Motorcycles feature

See also: Sump London Motorcycle Museum story, Jan 2016

 


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fonzie-tr5-triumph-trophy

Fonzie's Triumph to sell (yet again) 23.6.18. See Sump Sept 2015 for more


£350,000 competition launched for "decisive" police roadside breathalyser


IOM Steam Packet reports 6% drop in 2018 TT visitor bikes (13,236)


Suzuki is offering £500 discount on GSX-R125 & GSX-S125. Ends 30/6/18


Land Rover shifts all Discovery production to Slovakia. UK jobs to go


Banbury Run reminder for this weekend (17/6/18). See Sump events page


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fiva-world-rally-2018

 

World Motorcycle Rally 2018

 

Story snapshot:

Hungary is the venue

A four day ride will take place, but booking is closed

 

The 2018 World Motorcycle Rally is scheduled for 21st - 24th June 2018, and this year the venue is Hungary. Organised by FIVA (Federation Internationale Vehicules Ancien), the four day ride will be centred between the cities of  Budapest, Eger, and Cegléd.

 

Under FIVA rules, there are seven categories of bikesthis year dating from 1904 to 1980and because Hungary is the venue, it's expected that a fair number of Hungarian designed and manufactured machines will be in attendance (Pannonia, Csepel, and Danśvia).

 

All riders are required to have FIVA ID cards or proof of their motorcycle's age/eligibility. The¸ landscape is mostly flat, but there is some high country further down the road. So take note. The organisers recommend bikes of at least 150cc, and provision will be made to transport luggage between the designated hotels and spas. Each day will see rides of 150km to 200kms, or thereabouts.

 

 

The arrivals reception will happen at the Aqua World Resort in Budapest on 21st June 2018. And take note that if the organisers don't like the look of you or your bike (poor condition, lack of insurance and/or inappropriate riding gear) they reserve the right to beat you up or something and refuse you access (but there's nothing to stop you riding along in maverick fashion—not that we'd ever encourage such behaviour, you understand).

 

However, the official application for entry expired in March 2018, so the event is pretty much signed and sealed. Or is it?

 

The "participant's fee" is €480 for a single room, and €380 (each) for a double room. The price includes various perks, drinks, connections, etc. It's late in the day, but if this sounds like something you might want to get involved in, we suggest you contact the organiser poste haste and see if there's some space/latitude.

 

For more on this event, check the link below—but note that we've disabled it. Why? Because we suspect the link will quickly date, and we don't want a dead one on our hands if we can avoid it.

 

So cut and paste.

 

www.fivaworldmotorcyclerally2018.hu (Disabled link: see text)

 


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Left to right, Dennis Waterman, Glynn Edwards, and George Cole in Minder. This comedy-drama was one of the best-loved and most enduring British TV productions ever. It's not timeless, but as a history lesson on London life in the 70s and 80s, you can't get much better.

 

Glynn Edwards: 1931 - 2018

 

Story snapshot:

Co-star of the Minder TV series has died

He was aged 87

 

Most people will remember him as Dave Harris, the long suffering barman in the hit British TV series Minder. But more dedicated British movie fans will see his shadow all the way back to films such as The Hi-Jackers (1963), Zulu (1964), Smokescreen (1964), The Ipcress File (1965), and Get Carter (1971).

 

In fact, Glynn Edwards who has died aged 87 appeared in 24 movies and 17 TV productions. That's hardly a record, but many of these shows were very memorable and include Z-Cars, The Human Jungle, Steptoe and Son, The Avengers and The Professionals. And because most of us have seen the re-runs so many times, Edwards' face and demeanour is etched upon our collective consciousness.

 

So okay, it's doubtful that the majority of TV viewers and movie goers could put a name to that face. He was generally simply that bloke who was in that show the other day, etc. But onscreen, his nature and style was usually (but not always, see further below) genial and patient, and he never tried to upstage or eclipse the other professionals with whom he worked.

 

 

Crooked Glynn Edwards astride a Royal Enfield in the Hi-Jackers (1963). This is a great little British B-movie with Anthony Booth (Tony Blair's late father-in-law) starring as a ripped-off truck driver looking for answers. For balance, Edwards later played a motorcycle policeman in Bless This House, the 1970s TV sit-com starring Sid James and Diana Coupland.

 

 

Born in Penang, Malaya, his father worked on a rubber plantation. Following his mother's death when Edwards very young, he returned to England and was raised by his grandparents in Southsea, Hampshire (his father died soon after). As an amateur actor, he took various small roles and gigs in minor productions, then spent some time in Trinidad, Jamaica working (among other things) as a sugar farmer.

 

Presently he returned to the UK and eventually joined the legendary Joan Littlewood Theatre Workshop where he honed his talents and steadily found work onstage in productions such as The Quare Fellow, The Hostage, and Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be.

 

 

Some reckon that Get Carter (1971) was the greatest ever British gangster movie—if so, The Long Good Friday (1980) comes dangerously close. Here, Glynn Edwards (as Albert) is about to get sliced by Jack Carter (Michael Caine). Great acting, but nasty stuff.

 

 

 

We liked Edwards for the aforementioned genial character parts he usually took. But he was versatile, and more than a few times he played sinister types who happily murdered our expectations and surprised us with the depth of their nastiness.

 

He married three times (the first being to the late actress Yootha Joyce), and more or less retired after the Minder TV show—which ran from 1979 to 1994 and gave us 114 episodes across 10 series (plus a later re-made short series for Shane Richie).

 

Glynn Edwards appeared in slightly less than 100 of those episodes, usually seen serving drinks from behind the bar at the Winchester Club and forlornly trying to get Arthur Daley (George Cole) to settle his tab. Edwards was aged 65 when the series ended.

 

Most of Glynn Edwards' later years were spent living in Spain with his third wife. But more recently he returned to the UK and lived quietly enjoying walks and trips around the country, much of it in and around Edinburgh, Scotland.

 

He's always popping up somewhere on TV, so we can't say that we'll really have a chance to miss him. And for an actor, that's a pretty decent legacy.

 

Never completely gone. And never quite forgotten.

 


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Yep, nice chap that Glynn Edwards. As Mr Pelham, he was the only one to give Reginald Perrin [The Fall and Rise of Reggie Perrin - Ed] the time of day when he was down on his luck. You will remember that Reggie did a stint on Pelham's pig farm prior to opening his Grot Shop empire. Superb mag. All power to the Sump. —Roj, Sheffield

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▲ 1931 Ford Model A Race Car. Lot 283. This vehicle has seen some track action. But reading between the lines, it might not be as original as you'd like. That said, it's a cool looking toy, and Bonhams has posted an (unlikely) estimate of just £2,200 - £3,500. [Update: Sold for £18,238]

 

Den Hartogh Museum Sale

 

Story snapshot:

"World's largest Ford museum collection" to sell

Everything must go at no reserve

 

It's essentially a sale of early Fords, but there are a fair number of motorcycles in the mix, so stay tuned for the next few paragraphs. We're counting over 200 cars and around 50 bikes, all of which are being offered with no reserve.

 

 

If you're out of the loop, the Den Hartogh Museum in Hillegom, near Amsterdam has for 21 years been building and maintaining a vast collection of early Fords such as the Model A, Model B and Model C. Dozens of types of vehicles are represented from delivery vans, to ice cream vans, to fire engines, to runabouts, tourers, pick-ups, speedsters and similar. The museum has long been a mecca for aficionados who will mourn the break up of this fantastic group.

 

Piet den Hartogh founded the museum. He bought his first Ford in 1956. The legend is that he was inspired by the Fords that were used by his father who began a transport business with horse drawn carriages and barges.

 

 

▲ Circa-1943 Harley-Davidson WLA. Lot 1. This 750cc flathead requires re-commissioning and, like the 1931 Ford Model A above, requires close inspection by prospective buyers. NL registration docs. Current status unknown. £7,900 - £11,000 (or thereabouts) according to Bonhams. [Sold for £16,211]

 

 

▲ 1928 BMW R52. Lot 4. "An older restoration which has deteriorated since, the frame and engine numbers of this machine appear to be within the range for the year." Make of that what you will... [Sold for £27,357]

 

 

▲ No documents or keys, and the engine turns over. The estimate is £9,700 - £14,000 which suggests that Bonhams just doesn't know how to price this bike. The more you look at the lots, you wonder just how choosy this museum has been regarding exhibits in terms of originality. Keep that in mind.

 

 

▲ Lot 13, 1936 600cc OHC Ariel Square Four. This 4F/6 model is, we think, the prettiest of the Squariels. Ariel's Jack Sangster was so impressed that he hired Turner more or less on the spot. That was in 1928. This bike needs more than fettling, we suspect. But it looks all there. Bonhams' estimate? £12,000 - £16,000. No docs. [Sold for £15,198]

 

 

In the 1990s, Piet's wife encouraged her husband to develop a museum, and that continued for the next 21 years or so. However, Piet died in 2011, and with his departure died some of the momentum. Three years later the family, with daughter Greske in the driving seat, thinned the collection and sold around 50 vehicles. But now the time has come to close the museum permanently and disperse the rest of the vehicles.

 

Said to be the largest Ford museum in the world (certainly of its type), the range and quality is hugely impressive. We've been sat here at Sump picking our favourites and slavering over the estimates which look low enough to be somewhere between dangerously shrewd and thoroughly dishonest.

 

 

▲ 1931 Ford Model AA. Lot 120. This one ton dumper truck is estimated at £11,000 - £13,000. But we suspect that if anyone buys it at that money, it will quickly appear on eBay at two or three times that price. [Sold for £22,291]

 

 

The sale will happen on 23rd June 2018, and if you feel like a good cry, we suggest you skedaddle over to Amsterdam and watch this fantastic collection get hammered. That said, on the positive side it will also mean that ultimately a lot more people actually get to see (and perhaps hear) these machines do what they're supposed to do.

 

www.bonhams.com

 


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Grip-Tite Sockets, tried & tested

 

Story snapshot:

£29 for a set of seven

Imperial or metric

 

Rounded nuts and bolts can drive you crazy. But these Grip-Tite sockets came to our rescue the other day and quickly removed a bunch of fasteners that were hard to get at and seemingly impossible to shift.

 

For details, check the following link which will take you to our Classic Bike Workshop section or hit the link at the bottom of this news item. If you've got any useful feedback on these doo-dahs, pass it along.

 

We don't know the firm that supplied these tools, incidentally, and we always tell it as we find it. Put simply, these Grip-Tites are simply gripping.

 

grip-tite-sockets.htm

 


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Donald Trump's US trade war starts

 

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The US has slapped tariffs on steel and aluminium imports

The EU has responded tit-for-rat-a-tat-tat-tat

 

The diplomacy has failed. The big economic guns are being locked and loaded. The generals have been summoned. And the long-feared trade war between the United States of America and Europe, Canada, Mexico, Brazil et al has started.

 

As a direct consequence of the newly announced US steel and aluminium import tariffs, numerous top American commercial brands have been targeted for special retaliatory treatment. Meaning EU import tariffs. These brands include Jack Daniels and Jim Beam whiskey, Levis-Strauss jeans, Nike sportswear, and Harley-Davidson and Indian motorcycles. They're part of a list that currently runs to 10 pages.

 

The underlying story is simple enough. For many years, the 164 members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have been relatively happily trading goods and services, all bound by common rules and practices with a sophisticated dispute resolution structure in place. This imperfect organisation has, it's generally agreed, been a positive mechanism and has done more good than harm.

The man of steel (and aluminium) in action. He's got one eye on the US rustbelt, and arguably both eyes closed when it comes to the intricacies of world trade and the implications of tariffs. Modern global politics reads increasingly like a comic book. Thrills await with every turn of the page...

 

 

However, US President Donald Trump came into presidential office on a campaign ticket that included rectifying what he views as unfair practices regarding the dumping of steel and other metals into the American market, and he's finally had to put up or shut up—and Trump (love him or loathe him) is anything but a quiet man.

 

Consequently, on 31st May 2018 a momentous deadline passed. Specifically, the EU—plus various other countries—were given an ultimatum by Trump demanding that they capitulate and accept US import tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium.

 

Earlier this year (2018), the EU stated unequivocally that it refused to accept unconditional surrender. It's "blackmail" said French President Emmanuel Macron. British Prime Minister Theresa May merely called the tariff's "unjustified". So Trump told the Eurocrats and the British government to go stand in a corner and discuss it for a while longer, and then surrender. That didn't happen, and so the shooting has started.

 

In recent years, American steel has been hit hard, largely as a result of Chinese steel producers (subsidised by the Chinese government) that have been dumping steel onto world markets. To combat this, in 2016 Barack Obama slapped tariffs on the Chinese. These tariffs, however, have had very limited effect, largely because China is way down the list of nations that sell steel to the Yanks, and because China is cash rich and fairly resilient at present. So Trump has taken the fight elsewhere and is now squabbling with his friends rather than his enemies.

 

The EU claims that the USA is acting illegally. The terms of WTO membership are pretty clear. If you agree to zero tariffs on given products or produce or services, you're naturally expected to stick by your promises. And the USA agreed to zero rating on the various metals in dispute. Additionally, the WTO rules forbid a nation from discriminating against specific member states—which is exactly what Trump has done. He's (carefully?) selected a few targets, and he's let 'em have it.

 

Boom, boom, boom.

 

However, the "get out clause"—or, in this instance, the Trump card—is that a member state can pretty much do what it likes and abandon WTO restrictions when and where matters of national security are involved. And that can be anything.

 

Or nothing.

 

So EU reprisal tariffs are about to be slapped on the aforementioned Yankee brands (in particular), and on a range of metals, foodstuffs and so on. And meanwhile, the diplomats are trying to thrash out a compromise and/or a face-saving surrender. As a direct result of Trump's actions, the Dow Jones index reacted sharply losing 500 points within hours, albeit stabilising slightly at the end of the day's play. The EU calculates around €2.8bn worth of trade is at stake here, so the Eurocrats are desperately trying to bulwark their financial shores.

 

 

Harley-Davidson and Indian Motorcycles are the brands that will probably mostly interest Sumpsters, and for the immediate future there shouldn't be any price rises. The current season's stock has already been purchased and is on the European mainland. But come the autumn when the new deliveries arrive, it seems highly probable that a price hike is going to hit dealers and consumers alike.

 

Harley-Davidson sales have been struggling lately, whereas Indian (owned by Polaris Industries) is doing much better—but by no means can it afford to be complacent. It could all be bad news for UK dealers. But then again, the fear of rising prices could also conceivably stimulate sales as buyers rush to get ahead of the tariffs. Fact is, in the fog of war, there probably aren't many folk who really know what the hell is going to happen, never mind how to deal with it. War has its own dynamic.

 

And note that a looming trade war is, of course, not just about motorcycles. The impact could hit car manufacturing in the UK which is struggling to recover its composure following a recent collapse in sales, and it could/will hit aviation, general engineering and British steel making as world suppliers look to offload their product onto cheaper markets outside of the USA. In this global economy, the complex connectivity of the various industries is likely to throw up all kinds of unforeseen consequences.

 

It was just a couple of months ago that Donald Trump was showing his support for Harley-Davidson (although, note, we Photoshopped the H-D logo onto his cap). But now, he's hardly likely to be in Milwaukee's good books. See Sump Classic Bike News January 2018

 

 

 

So who's right? Well that depends on where you stand. If you live and work in Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Alabama, Michigan or Illinois, Trump is right. He's looking after his national interests which is what he's supposed to do—assuming that a trade war is the best way to advance that cause.

 

But if you live on this side of the pond, you're more likely to agree with the EC and Whitehall, both of which have condemned Trump's maverick move.

 

Here at Sump, we're just watching to see what happens—and as with the Great War, it could "all be over by Christmas". Only, the impact of globalisation clearly still has a lot of energy and erratic momentum, and we suspect that here in the West, things will steadily ratchet down (which technically speaking isn't actually possible) to a succession of new lows.

 

And then there's the question of how the new tariffs might hit Triumph—which, along with other European producers of 500cc-plus motorcycles, has long been threatened with extra heavy import hikes following the EU's refusal to accept US hormone adulterated beef.

 

It's war, ladies and gentlemen. And like all wars, it could get very bitter and very messy.

 


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Hi Sump. Great mag. Daily read. Love the graphics. I wasn't a Trump supporter, and I certainly didn't vote for Hillary either. But something needs to be done about the mess that globalisation has got us into. Free trade is vital for good international relations and general commerce. But free things usually come at a price. Our spineless politicians have for years let the US economy slide. Now Trump is trying to crack the whip and force an overdue debate. It could be messy, as you say in your piece. But it's messy now. Keep up the good work. —Greg Sanders, Ohio


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May 2018

 

Quality news is currently in very short supply. Everyone's struggling to fill their pages. Here's a brief round-up of the non-stories and trivial reports currently circulating the motorcycling press. No snoozing, please...


TT fans stop traffic to help ducklings cross Quarry Bend - Visordown


5 steps to getting your lid #ride5000miles ready - MCN


Volvo delivers demo car to your door - British Dealer News


Top 10 most common MOT-exempt bikes - Visordown


Suzuki reveals 2018 Merch (Suzuki Toaster) - Bennetts Bike Social


Guy puts dirt bike engine in Barbie Mustang, Becomes legend - RideApart


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Well done Sumpheads. I too have been watching how news is slowly degenerating and dumbing down, and not just the motorcycle rags which I don't buy anymore. Today's TV news, the newspapers and the radio news all sounds like it was written by idiots for idiots. Coupla days ago I listened to BBC newsreader Ben Brown wittering on for ten minutes about The Two Ronnies "Fork Handles" comedy sketch simply because the script was up for sale (for the second time). My missus reads The Daily Mail which every day announces a new cure for arthritis, cancer and pretty much everything else. I despair. We are a society in crisis. —JackTheLad, in my garage


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IOM jaywalker in the hoosegow

 

Story snapshot:

Practice races held up by wandering Yorkshireman

Stranger in town faces marshals and a posse

 

You have to appreciate the irony of the Isle of Man court which has just jailed James William Ford, a 67 year old TT visitor from Bingley, West Yorkshire.

 

Ford, we hear, was spotted walking along the tarmac at the village of Crosby just minutes before the start of an IOM race practice session. As ever, the roads were closed to the general public, and race marshals leapt into the corral and told Ford to bugger off.

 

When that didn't work, the marshals arranged for the Yorkshireman to speak on the radio to the clerk of the course, Gary Thompson, who also suggested that Ford might take his problems elsewhere or the sheriffs would be called.

 

"Well they'd better be big lads," Ford is alleged to have said. "Because I ain't moving." That's not a direct quote, but you get the gist. So the cops came mob handed and nicked Ford.

 

Under local laws, this low down cowboy was charged with obstructing the race and failing to comply with a race marshal's instruction, and he was convicted and given a month's spell in the pokey plus an exclusion order banning him from the island for 5 years. Extreme? You tell us.

 

 

Police Sergeant Andrew Reed (pictured immediately above) was later quoted as saying that Ford's actions were "dangerous and irresponsible"—presumably as opposed to being perfectly safe and totally responsible when hurling yourself around public roads at anything up to 200mph.

 

Hence the irony.

 

Don't misunderstand us. If people want to top themselves competing in the TT, good luck to 'em. But nicking this Yorkshire puddinghead and giving him 26 days porridge for being a menace sounds a little unfair when two spectators were killed in 2007; 11 spectators were injured in 2013; a group of spectators were narrowly missed by a sidecar outfit in 2017; and when around 250 riders have been killed overall since the fun began. 

 

These are just the casualties that we can remember. There are probably others that can be attributed indirectly, if not directly, to the TT.

 

Total annual expenditure at the TT is somewhere around £30 million (IOM government figures), which underlines the morbid truth that there are dangers that you can afford, and dangers that you can't. Or won't.

 

Let's keep things in perspective here, huh?

 


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Hi Sump, another bloke on the IOM has just been nicked for driving the wrong way over the mountain in a one way system. They called him "dangerous and irresponsible" too, but it looks like his mistake is more "honest" and he doesn't have the attitude of the other bloke. So he'll probably only get a fine. The moral: When all else fails, apologise. Works for me. —Sunshine Boy, Penrith


Serves him right, obviously a complete bonehead who cannot comprehend common sense, putting himself and other people in danger. Once he would have been flogged and sent to Australia, but they have enough criminals at the moment, mostly in government. —J.Connolly, NZ


It's one thing for the riders to risk their own necks, but it's another thing if a brain dead spectator wants to further endanger lives. I agree with the court. —Dave Kelly


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Rare Norton Hi-Rider to auction

 

Story snapshot:

Factory chopped Commando expecting £7,500 - £8,000

UK registered from new, and in running order

 

So okay, there's rare and wonderful. And there's rare and not so wonderful. And naturally this 1971 Norton Hi-Rider is both, and neither, depending on your outlook. But if you were around when these motorcycles were new from the crate, and if you're not a hard line Norton purist, you might well now be casting a reasonably favourable eye behind your rose tinted spectacles.

 

The idea of a factory Norton chopper was pure kitsch, of course. And taken out of context it's hard to see this bike in any other way. But 1971 was an exciting and eventful year for many of us in the UK. It wasn't just the wonderfully overblown trappings of the glam rock era, or the industrial turmoil that saw the lights going on and off at the most inconvenient times, or the IRA murderers routinely hitting the headlines, or the first airing of the (then essential) Old Grey Whistle Test, or the "confusion" of newly opened spaghetti junction in Birmingham (which wasn't very confusing at all).

 

The underlying excitement was also due in part to the on-going chopper craze which began a few years before the movie Easy Rider (1969) hit the screens, but drew fresh impetus after Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper set those famous Harley-Davidson Panhead wheels rolling.

 

Those 14-inch ape hangers did nothing for the handling. Nevertheless, they certainly kept the rider on the right cultural highway. The (largely unsatisfactory) front drum brake gave way to disc in 1973. And those peashooter silencers, then as now, made exactly the right sound.

 

 

Norton's Hi-Rider was a direct, shameless and very cheesy attempt at cashing in on that craze, and it came about following Dennis Poore's latest trip to the USA, or so the legend goes. Dennis Poore, as you might recall, was the much maligned head honcho at Manganese Bronze Holdings (MBH) which bought Norton in 1966. The British bike industry was in crisis, and everyone still standing was drinking at the last chance saloon.

 

Poore, we hear, had personally seen the chopper cult take a grip on the young American riders of the day, and US sales of Nortons were crucial for the revamped company's survival. No one at Norton Villiers was very impressed with this motorised Raleigh chopper bicycle concept. Everyone who was anyone knew exactly what Norton's heritage was all about, and that was building racing—or at least sporting—motorcycles. Everyone also knew what the oft-derided beach-beatnik/bar hopper Harley-Davidson Sportster was all about, and the Sportster market was partly what Poore had in his sights.

 

Ex-racing driver Dennis Poore had the unenviable task of salvaging an unsalvageable British motorcycle industry, and he was going to be nobody's friend. But when Norton was shedding pounds, the Hi-Rider brought in a few extra pennies. This 1975 shot shows poor Poore in typical defensive form.

 

 

The first Hi-Riders were 750cc. They were hastily conceived and designed, and the Norton marketing people who allegedly dreamed up the moniker did what they could to give it legs. Or wheels. The headlight was smaller than standard at 5.5-inches. Ape hanger handlebars were de rigueur. The saddle was based upon the aforementioned Raleigh Chopper. And that included a notional cissy bar for that sleeping bag or bedroll if ever you fancied a night in the back garden.

 

From the start, the British press was unimpressed. They were shocked even, and Poore got it in the neck in a dozen ways. But surprisingly, the Yanks took a different view. They were a little—or a lot more—laid back and weren't hamstrung by that legendary British reserve and inflexibility. Instead, they saw the Limey Hi-Rider largely as a fun motorcycle; a local boulevard cruiser with a decent turn of speed as and when required. Consequently, Poore flogged a fair number of examples (albeit with significant market variance). Unsurprisingly, the bike did better the further west you travelled.

 

Amal 30mm carbs were standard issue, but it looks like Mikunis have (wisely?) been retro-fitted. There's no word on the mileage, but we're guessing it won't be very high.

 

 

In 1973 the 750cc engine was upgraded to 850cc. Mercifully, the Hi-Rider was never cursed with Norton's ill-fated (and ill-fźted) Combat engine—which didn't mean that the bike was without its problems. In developing the Commando, Norton had made numerous fundamental mistakes, largely due to the firm's slash-and-burn cost-cutting orthodoxy. But the bikes were generally never ridden that hard anyway, and some weren't ridden at all—perhaps partly due to delayed embarrassment, and perhaps partly because a few likely lads anticipated a future investment nest egg and squirreled their Hi-Riders in warm sheds and dry garages and cosy living rooms.

 

We've ridden a couple of these high boys and they crank along pretty good. They are, after all, essentially Norton Commandos, so the engines shake around a little at traffic lights, and then smooth out between 2,500 and 3,500rpm. The power output is quoted as anything up to 60bhp for the 850cc model, and if you believe in visiting aliens, you can chuck that figure in the same box. Realistically, we reckon it's more like 45bhp for the 750, and maybe a few more for the 850. Performance-wise, you could still probably hit the magic ton. But with those 'bars, it's more a question of the ton hitting you.

 

The saddle design naturally makes no practical difference to the rider-masochist (and a pillion is pretty much out of the question). But those 'bars (as mentioned, and as is the way with ape hangers) take some getting used to. The peanut fuel tank won't carry you far, but two imperial gallons was (by some folk) considered sufficient given the 50 - 55mpg economy.

 

Beyond that there's really nothing else to say about the Hi-Rider experience. But if you want to enjoy the full Dennis Poore factory chopper escapade in the way it was envisioned, it's time to rake out those platform shoes, Paisley flared trousers and Ban-the-Bomb medallion. Seventies chops, after all, were as much about the hippy culture as the biker culture, which simply enhanced the wonderful absurdity of the least practical motorcycle form ever conceived and constructed.

 

This Hi-Rider is to be sold by H&H Auctions on 26th July 2018 at the National Motorcycle Museum Sale. The estimate is £7,500 - £8,000, and the starting bid is £3,750.

 

Peace and love, man.

 

www.handh.co.uk

 


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Clint Walker enjoyed motorcycles on and off the set. This publicity shot dates to 1959 and the film Yellowstone Kelly. That's US actress Andra Martin (b.1935) up front, and that ought to be John Wayne behind. But Wayne was otherwise committed, so Walker got the girl.

 

 

Clint Walker: 1927 - 2018

Story snapshot:

Star of Cheyenne TV series has died aged 90

The Hollywood movie star appeared in 41 films

 

His full name was Norman Eugene Walker, but his first billing was as Jett Norman in the US movie Jungle Gents (1954), one of many films in the Bowery Boys comedy series. However, Walker didn't even get a credit for that brief end-of-movie appearance.

 

The name "Clint" came along the following year when Norman Eugene Walker appeared as Cheyenne Bodie in the US TV series Cheyenne which ran until 1963. That's how most people will remember actor Clint Walker who has died aged 90.

 

Born in Hartford, Illinois, Walker worked on a riverboat and in a factory before joining the United States Merchant Marine. That was in the closing stages of WW2. Following that, he enjoyed a series of indiscriminate jobs from sheet metal worker to night club bouncer—this last position no doubt being suited to his huge six foot six inch frame and Charles Atlas physique.

 

After drifting to Los Angeles, California he came to the attention to the legendary Cecil B DeMille and took a role in The Ten Commandments (1956) also starring Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner.

 

Left to right, Trini Lopez, Frank Sinatra, Clint Walker and Brad Dexter. This first ever Japanese-American co-production enjoyed mixed critical response for its anti-war overtones and phoney acting (notably by Sinatra). But it's a reasonably enjoyable piece of hokum if you're the lots-of-ketchup-on-my-burger type. NOBODY EVER WINS is the final line. Fade and cut.

 

 

Walker later appeared in None But The Brave (1965), a war movie underlining the futility of armed conflict starring (and directed by) Frank Sinatra. Walker played the role of Marine Aircraft Wing Captain Dennis Bourke who takes command of a squad of island-stranded marines and becomes embroiled in an on-off battle of wits and bullets with an equally stranded squad of Japanese soldiers. Cue existential debates, political negotiations, strategic military dilemmas and ingrained tribal loyalties.

 

Two years later Walker returned as Samson Posey in The Dirty Dozen (1967), Robert Aldrich's fanciful and OTT WW2 yarn starring Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, Telly Savalas, Jim Brown, Robert Webber, Robert Ryan, Ernest Borgnine and numerous other now well-established names (including singer/actor Trini Lopez).

 

 

But by far, Clint Walker was a western actor, and that was exactly where he preferred to be. Notable/memorable films and moments include Night of the Grizzly (1966), Sam Whiskey (1969), The Great Bank Robbery (1969), More Dead Than Alive (1969), Yuma (1971), Pancho Villa (1972), The White Buffalo (1977) and Maverick (1994) in which Walker took a cameo role.

 

His acting style was generally cool and unemotional. His screen presence was ... well, substantial. His lines were usually delivered in a clear and authoritative (but never particularly memorable) manner. And it always seemed that movie and TV directors and producers were never able to find exactly the right role that gave Walker the kind of commanding and iconic parts enjoyed by, say, John Wayne.

 

After his early success with Cheyenne, it seemed that Walker was more famous simply for being Clint Walker than for the other parts he played. But he continued accepting roles here and there, his career (such as it was) gently spiralling down to a low ebb. His final role, for instance, was not as the Clint Walker that we remember, but simply as the voice of Nick Nitro in the live-action/special effects comedy Small Soldiers (1998).

 

 

The brightly coloured poster belies the fact that Fort Dobbs (1958) was a modest B&W western that failed to hit the big time at the box office. The morality was a little dubious. The plot was convoluted. Walker was still honing his acting skills. But the storyline hit most of the right spots and gave us Indian attacks, gun-running, chases galore, more bullets than Royal Enfield and Virginia Mayo providing a satisfactory love interest.

 

 

A staunch Republican, Clint Walker married three times and fathered one daughter. In 1971 following a skiing accident he was pronounced dead, but made a quick and full recovery, and he eventually settled in California where he spent the final years of his life.

 

He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and earned one or two minor awards. But for all his height, weight, bulk—and despite his powerful voice (which was capable of some pretty tuneful warbling)—he never achieved the more rarefied altitude of his Hollywood contemporaries. And today, there's at least one generation, and possibly two, that would be unable to put a face to his name, or vice versa.

 

Clint Walker "The Big Guy" and wife Susan in 2008.

 

 

But we like Clint Walker's workaday and generally reserved style and remember him as a good-enough actor, which is usually good enough for us. We looked to see how widely his death had been reported, but we couldn't find mention of it on any news channel. No doubt, however, in the US his status is rated a little higher and will have earned him a few thoughtful and respectful words on the network news.

 

We hope so.

 

www.clintwalker.com

 


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Mike Hailwood's 350cc Ducati Desmo

Hailwood's 1960 350cc Ducati Desmo racer.

 

 

Ducati Museum Hailwood exhibition

 

Story snapshot:

Three racebred Desmo dukes on display

Temporary exhibition will last until September 2018

 

The Ducati Museum in Borg Panigale, Bologna, Italy is hosting its first temporary exhibition. This one is entitled: THE DESMO TWINS OF YOUNG HAILWOOD, aka Mike the Bike (1940-1981).

 

Three racing Ducatis built between 1958 and 1960 are at the core of the display, specifically Hailwood's 125cc, 250cc and 350cc Desmos created by the late Fabio Taglioni (1920-2001) and kept in fine fettle by ace Ducati mechanic and engineer Oscar Folesani. The bikes were all crafted at the request of Mike's father, Stan Hailwood.

 

Left to right, Stan Hailwood, "Mike the Bike" Hailwood, and Ducati mechanic Oscar Folesani

 

Hailwood campaigning his 250cc Desmo at Silverstone, 1960

 

The show is open right now and will stay open until 15th September 2018. If you're planning a trip to Italy any time over the next few months, and if you're a Ducati/Hailwood fan, you might want to swing by this museum.

 

At Sump, we've never been initiated into the Ducati fold, and so we haven't yet made the Bologna pilgrimage. But from what we're hearing, it's a pretty cool way to spend half a day of your life.

 

www.ducati.com

 


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Tougher protection for cops mooted

 

Story snapshot:

Police pursuit drivers/riders get Home Office reassurance

On street bike thieves can expect a tougher response. Maybe

 

The UK Home Office has moved to quash the "myth" that police drivers and riders are unable to pursue the new wave of British "moped criminals" whilst said ne'er-do-wells are on the move minus their crash helmets.

 

The response comes in the wake of vociferous and angry protests from the "motorcycle community" following the recent violent bike theft phenomenon which has seen numerous victims clubbed, slashed, stabbed and doused with acid.

 

London is the epicentre of these attacks. But the problem, which is an unwelcome feature in many cities, goes beyond bike theft and includes mobile phone snatching, laptop robberies, camera theft and simple muggings.

 

British police forces, we understand, operate according to broad Home Office guidelines, but they enjoy a great degree of latitude regarding exactly how to implement such advice. Put simply, chief constables can pretty much tell their officers to do whatever needs to be done providing that such action can be legally justified. And officers, for their part, are clearly anxious to forcefully tackle this problem, but not without implicit and explicit guarantees aimed at protecting their interests, both professionally and personally, should push come to an overly hard shove.

 

We haven't actually seen any clear and definite new proposals from the government. It looks more like the Home Office is simply paying lip service to police officers and chief constables—whilst throwing bones to the media—but without sticking Whitehall's neck out any further than it already is. In other words, nothing has actually changed, except perhaps the general agreement that it's time to get a lot tougher.

 

It's a tricky balance between enforcing the law and stopping these thieves in their tracks, but without overly risking the safety and security of the bystanding public. At Sump still believe the ultimate solution lies more in preventing bike theft simply by making it unattractive, impractical, unprofitable if not impossible. But that requires a lot more input from the motorcycle trade which still looks a long way from providing a technical solution.

 

When you're next looking to buy a new bike, make sure to ask about heavyweight and imaginative security features. Bikers can mostly fix this problem with their wallets. It just requires a concerted effort on the showroom floor.

 

See also: Amber Rudd to restrict acid sales, Sump October 2017

 


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"Revolutionary" Scottoiler xSystem. Motion activated. £199. 5 flow rates


1947 BSA C11/1953 Francis-Barnett Falcon. Dover Transport Museum raffle


Terminator 2 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy to auction. June 5/6/7/8 2018


Continental Tyres 2019 Harley tour competition. 9 nights, 1,500km, + bike


Bosch unveils one-time-use, anti-slide, side-thrust assist technology


Curtiss Motorcycles unveils electric Zeus at Quail Lodge [Check here too]


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New London-Brighton Run route

 

Story snapshot:

122 years of history in the trashcan

Entrants to be split into two groups

 

Yes, it's bloody sacrilege. But it's gonna happen, and we suspect it will claim a few casualties (heart attacks, strokes, suicides, etc). The story is that the established London-Brighton Run route from Hyde Park Corner to Wellington Arch, Constitution Hill, past Buckingham Palace, down The Mall, round Parliament Square and over Westminster Bridge and due south to Madeira Drive, Brighton is under assault.

 

Seems that someone has pulled the pin on this grenade and has decided that traffic congestion is a problem (as if it ever wasn't), and so the usual suspects are going to be split into two groups with the secondary cars (Group B if you prefer) headed instead past Westminster Abbey and over Lambeth Bridge where they'll converge with the A-Team (or whatever they'll be called) somewhere near Croydon.

 

If you're not indoctrinated into the London-Brighton lore, it probably won't make much difference to you. But if you've got any passion for British motoring tradition, you'll probably be crying round about now.

 

The Westminster Bridge route is, of course, the one depicted in the movie Genevieve, notably in the final scene where the starring 1904 Darracq (supposedly with a mind of its own), limps over the bridge to the notional finishing line as agreed by rival entrants Alan McKim (played by John Gregson) and Ambrose Claverhouse (played by Kenneth Moore).

 

 

This is the first time in its 122 year history that the run (not a race, remember) has switched its route. And it begs the question of how the organisers will decide who gets to be in the classic Westminster Bridge photoshoot, and who gets the Lambeth rat run.

 

Additionally, it's reckoned that the new route will open the event up to more spectators and generally enhance the tradition—which sound exactly like the old Dunkirk spirit of spinning a bitter defeat into a glorious victory.

 

Regardless, this year's event will be held on Sunday 4th November. And once again, Bonhams will be organising an auction on the preceding Friday.

 

As ever, only cars built before 1905 are eligible to enter—and we wouldn't be at all surprised if one or two of the participants decide to boycott the 2018 event in protest (especially if they've been relegated to what might be referred to as a bridge too far).

 

Yes, times change as they must. But here in Blighty, some things are changed at your peril.

 

www.veterancarrun.com

 

See: Sump Classic Bike News August 2017

 


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BSAOC's Diamond Anniversary

 

Story snapshot:

Open Day at Market Harborough, Northamptonshire

The UK's "largest single marque club" invites you to a party

 

It's sixty years since the BSA Owner's Club (BSAOC) formalised its existence as a one-stop-shop for all things related to BSA motorcycles. Since then, the club has grown hugely and currently claims to be the largest single marque motorcycle club in the UK. The BSAOC is also custodian of the official factory records dating back to 1907. This includes despatch records, factory parts books, handbooks, catalogues and service sheets.

 

 

If you want to share in the celebrations (such as they are), the club will be commemorating its diamond jubilee at Market Harborough Rugby Club on Sunday 27th May 2018. The postcode is: LE16 9HF. And you don't have to own or ride a BSA to get in through the gate. Just turn up. Celebrate. Ride home safely.


We don't have any details regarding the entertainment, etc. but we're assuming that the club has got something significant in mind—or will it all simply reduce to a bunch of blokes and birds standing around on the grass kicking tyres, arguing over rivets and wondering where the party is?

 

To find out, contact: Phil Bull natsec@bsaownersclub.co.uk. But we have to say that a big club like this ought to be able to promote itself and its six decades on the frontline with something a little better than the dismal details we found on the website.

 

Tut tut.

 

www.bsaownersclub.co.uk

 


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Manx Norton courtesy of Aste Bolaffi

 

Aste Bolaffi breaks into classics

 

Story snapshot:

Established Italian auctioneers move into motorcycles and cars

Thirteen biking lots are on offer

 

Italian auction house Aste Bolaffi—noted for its professional interest in everything from fine art to furniture to jewellery to exotic wines & spirits—is about to holds its first classic car and motorcycle sale.

 

If all goes to plan, the event will happen on 23rd May 2018 at La Pista Di Arese in Milan, Italy. This newly restored 1,428 metre track was once the home of Alfa Romeo. More recently, the site has found new significance as a test centre for all kinds of driving disciplines and skills.

 

 

Aste Bolaffi will be holding the auction inside the now iconic main building designed by architect Michele De Lucchi. And to make this inaugural event extra special, attendees are invited to watch one or two of the automotive lots take to the track for a little innocent parading and showboating (no details here).

 

There are 13 motorcycle lots and 60 car lots currently listed in the catalogue. Most of the bikes are racing machines, the most optimistic of which is an undated Norton Manx (main image this story) carrying an estimate of €36.000 - €40.000.

 

 

Overall, it's a fairly modest collection of two-wheeled hardware and isn't likely to ring alarm bells anywhere else in the auction world. But bigger things have grown from less, and no doubt the larger and more established players (Bonhams, Mecum, H&H, etc) are likely to watch this one with passing interest and ensure that their respective positions are secure. We'll be watching this one too, but we don't anticipate any great shock or surprises.

Aste Bolaffi was established in the early 1990s, but the firm claims roots dating back 130 years. Note that 15% commission will be added to the hammer price.

 

www.astebolaffi.it

 

 


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DPD raises pay and cuts penalties

 

Story snapshot:

Delivery man's death prompts significant corporate changes

Plus a few words on the gig economy

 

The next time you have motorcycle parts (or anything else) delivered to your home, office, workshop or wherever, you might want to spare a thought for Don Lane. Lane, 53, was a self-employed DPD driver from the Bournemouth, Dorset area who recently made national news regarding a cancelled hospital appointment—and who subsequently collapsed in December 2017, and died in early January 2018.

 

Actually, he'd missed a few appointments.

 

Silly boy, you might think. Should have put his health first, etc. Only, Lane's (typical) contract with DPD (Dynamic Parcel Delivery) meant that any driver who failed to show up for work, or who couldn't provide a replacement driver, was liable to be fined £150 per day. Lane had already been hit with such a penalty and didn't much fancy another, so he took a chance; a chance that cost him his life.

 

DPD is one of numerous UK firms operating in the gig economy. Rival companies include Deliveroo, Hermes and Yodel—and the list is growing with plenty of hopefuls (including taxi firm, Uber) looking to break into this lucrative sector.

 

Typically, self-employed drivers working for the big name UK delivery outfits are officially operating on minimum wage, but in practice earn considerably less. Currently, the UK minimum wage for adults aged over 25 is around £7.83. These drivers buy/lease and operate their own vehicles, pay their own vehicle and public liability insurance, pay their own fuel costs, handle their own maintenance expenses, and deal with their own taxation burdens. They are also generally expected to make a minimum of one hundred-plus drops per day in their target areas, and are frequently worked to near total exhaustion.

 

If these drivers fail to make a drop—perhaps because of poor addressing or because the recipient isn't available to take delivery—the driver usually has to return at his or her expense. And occasionally that involves multiple returns. As such, the average earnings per drop can reach as little as 50 pence. Once in a while, the driver is actually subsidising the delivery.

 

Since Lane's death, DPD has said that it will guarantee a minimum wage of £8.75 per hour for its drivers, and will scrap the £150 per day no-show penalty. It will also, we understand, now offer drivers the options of working as a self-employed franchisee, or operate as a self-employed driver, or work directly on the company payroll—no doubt at a lower rate. The difference in contracts, take note, has very different legal implications.

 

However, whichever way you look at it, the business models of the big delivery firms rely upon pushing drivers to the absolute limit whilst creaming off their corporate cut.

 

 

For many of us, the only way to get parts for our bikes is via delivery services. But are we simply fuelling the employment problem and helping the uber-rich get uber-richer? And is there an alternative—such as via a new kind of regular motorcycle market place, or by local bike shops doubling up as parts delivery points? Or maybe you've got a better idea?

 

 

Dwain McDonald, CEO of DPD, has been quoted as saying: "[We are working on a] complete reappraisal of every aspect of our driver package. That will also give drivers the opportunity to have worker status, which means they will get a steady wage, sick pay, 28 days’ holiday and a pension. Our aim is simple – to make DPD the carrier of choice for delivery drivers and for our drivers to be the best rewarded in the industry."

 

DPD also claims that the "average annual salary" (under these terms and conditions) will be £28,800. Furthermore, worker-status drivers will not have to pay their own vehicle costs, etc.

 

Note the weasel-worded "average annual salary" which suggests that some, or many, drivers will still be earning way below that amount.

 

Currently, the UK government reckons that over one million people are now working regularly in the gig economy. A spate of recent legal challenges hasn't entirely clarified the legal position or provided the kind of employment assurances needed to make this sector a healthy place to earn a crust. However, many UK workers feel that they've little viable option but to hit the highway the DPD way.

 

Meanwhile, here at Sump we're unable to yet make any meaningful contribution to the widening gig debate. It's just another depressing and demoralising facet of the ongoing globalisation paradigm fuelled largely by the rampant www and exploited by the more uber-ambitious among us.

 

Ultimately, Don Lane has to take the full responsibility for his life's decision. But it's easy to see how everyday financial pressures lead to these kind of tragedies. You can see his mistake. But you can't really call him a fool.

 

Beyond that, aside from making sure you're at home when the delivery men and women call (which isn't always realistic), and aside from tipping the drivers an extra quid or so (thereby helping the corporations maintain their dodgy policies, practices and profits), what can we do? We'd be interested to hear some views on this.

 

DPD is owned by the French La Poste group. It currently counts 38,000 employees, and in 2017 posted a revenue of €6.8 billion.

 

 

 


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NZ Speedway champion Ivan Mauger (1939 - 2018) has died aged 78


Supervised L drivers will soon be allowed on UK motorways (4/6/2018)


The Norton Commando 961 is to be offered for sale in India (£24,000)


AMA Bonneville Speed Trials, Utah returns 25th - 30th August 2018


The Met Police (London) launches a "Be Safe" anti-bike theft campaign


The Banbury Run will mark its 70th anniversary, Sunday 17th June 2018


Mahindra launches 397cc Jawa Special. Euro 4 compliant. UK? Maybe


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Touratech Travel Event 2018

 

Story snapshot:

Motorcycle travel kit firm invites trekkers to a Welsh party

Free to all, but first come first served

 

We're told that 2000 worldwide visitors found their way to the Touratech Travel Event 2017. And if they can find their way all the way to Wales from who knows where, who can tell where they might end up?

 

That's the thinking of the organisers, anyway; to meet riders with an interest in serious travelling, to exchange stories and anecdotes, to explore details of the relevant kit required, to ride a few demo bikes, to attend a few workshops and generally psyche themselves up for that global tour they've always promised themselves.

 

BMW, Ducati, Honda, KTM, Suzuki, Triumph and Yamaha will, we hear, be in attendance, and they'll be hauling their show trucks and marketing equipment, so expect a little soft and hard sell.

 

If all that sound like something worth starting your motor for, you can tackle the first leg of your great personal journey by riding down to Rheola Grounds in Neath, South Wales and joining the activities.

 

It's a free event, note. It will start on Friday 11th May 2018 and will finish on Sunday 13th May 2018. Here's the full address: Glynneath Road, Resolven, Neath, South Wales, SA11 4DT. Check the Touratech website for times.

 

Keep in mind that there are limited places, so register your interest sooner rather than later. The word is: NO WRISTBAND, NO RIDE OUT.

 

Sounds like an adventure in its own right.

 

www.touratech.co.uk

 

WARNING: INCOMING SUMP WHINGE!!

 

We were going to grab a few screen images from the Touratech site to help illustrate this story and make it more appealing and attractive to visitors. But we couldn't find any shots worth grabbing (bikers crossing raging rivers or traversing rope bridges or being shot at by bandits, etc). Then we noticed that the event exhibitor list still hasn't been completed with just a week to go), and most of the rest of the site doesn't look too clever. No big deal. Not in cosmic universal terms. But we figure Touratech, which manufactures some great kit, ought to be able to do a little better than this. Next year guys, huh?

 


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Alan Clews CCM founder

 

Alan Clews: 1938 - 2018

 

Story snapshot:

The founder of CCM has died aged 79

Ex-scrambler turned businessman leaves a lasting legacy

 

Alan Clews, scrambles rider, businessman and founder of CCM (Clews Competition Motorcycles), has died aged 79. A self-made man, his riding career began in the 1960s in which he was both a very credible performer in the dirt and a familiar face on the international scene. During that era, Clews was working in a chain of newsagents owned by his wife's family. But motorcycle competition was where his real passions lay. However, laying his hands on the right racing equipment was tricky.

 

In the 1960s, the BSA Competitions Department was fielding some pretty convincing B50 works specials. These factory hot-rods were hard to obtain and expensive to boot. Refusal to sell one to the hoi polloi was the company rule rather than the exception. But in 1971, when the Competitions Department closed, Clews shrewdly purchased a huge inventory of B50 engines and sundry BSA components. Soon he was building bikes in his garage to his very exacting specifications, and in doing so created a new tool with which to crack a very hard nut.

 

His first bike was a highly successful B50-based creation with a good power-to-weight ratio, point-and-squirt handling, top-line tuning—and something of a handful in the wrong hands. Nevertheless, as word spread, and as the plaudits rolled in, other riders wanted some of the same. And so CCM was founded.

 

 

In the 1970s, the age of the four-stroke motocrosser was all but at an end—at least as far as the established British bikes were concerned. Japanese, Spanish and Swedish motorcycles ruled. But for a few more seasons, CCM four strokes pitched into the breach time and time again and, with the right man in the saddle, on the right circuit, and with a favourable lucky wind, the Beezas often came out either on top, or very near it.

 

However, if Clews wanted to stay in the game—as a businessman if not merely as a rider—it was clearly time to up the ante, power unit-wise. The answer came courtesy of Austrian manufacturer Rotax which agreed to supply him engines thereby helping keep CCM in the top league, which in turn did nothing to hurt the Rotax brand.

 

In 1984, Armstrong bought the company, but Alan Clews remained at the centre of operations. Military MT500 bikes, also powered by Rotax engines, were soon being built by Armstrong-CCM. Harley-Davidson subsequently acquired the rights to this model in 1987. The full story of these bikes is, of course, a little more complicated. Regardless, the shifting fortunes and acquisitions helped keep the CCM flag flying in a reasonably profitable, but never certain, breeze.

 

 

In 1998 the Robson family bought the CCM name and chattels. During this period, the company manufactured a Suzuki DR-Z400 powered off-roader. It was a good machine. Nevertheless, by 2004 the business was no longer viable and the firm went bust. It was then that Alan Clews re-purchased the company and assets and gradually breathed new life into CCM with a wide range of bikes and options based upon a BMW GP450 engine. There soon followed the R35 Supermoto and the FT35 flat tracker.

 

Since then, CCM has widened its appeal with a range of factory customs and specials based on its 600cc Spitfire concept, and the company has gone from strength to strength. That said, many feel that CCM has shifted too far from its origins and has devalued its heritage, not least by incorporating numerous Far Eastern engines and sundry foreign components into its product. And that's unfair because it's quite simply a global world with global realities, and there are few, if any, manufacturers who create a complete motorcycle in-house. Moreover, CCM has always been a pick'n'mix motorcycle company, and there's a long tradition of that kind of commercial expediency going back to the beginnings of biking.

 

 

What we're focusing here is simply Alan Clews' energy, innovation, imagination, dedication and staying power that's kept CCM vibrant and competitive for nearly five decades. And that's something we can all doff our lids at, n'est-ce pas?

 

Over the years, CCM riders include Jimmy Aird, Vic Allan, Vic Eastwood, and John Banks. The company has in recent times been managed by Clews' son, Austin (pictured above with Alan).

 

Funeral details have not been released, so if you're a CCM fan or a friend of Alan Clews, you might want to keep an eye on the company website. The man deserves a good send off.

 

Also see: CCM Bobber - Sump February 2018

www.ccm-motorcycles.com

 


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Vauxhall sacks entire dealer network

 

Story snapshot:

326 dealers will lose their franchise

Some of them will be invited back into the fold

 

Vauxhall Motors has given walking papers to every dealer in its 326-strong (or, apparently, 326-weak) UK car sales network. As of now, they've all got two years notice, which doesn't sound like fair warning when you consider the investment that goes into establishing a Vauxhall car showroom. But no doubt the contracts have been signed in blood with the terms and conditions as tight as a duck's ... well, mouth. So there's probably not much that the current dealer principles can do about it—except perhaps look towards the burgeoning Chinese and Korean brands which are always hungry for a larger slice of the cake.

 

We're not talking simply about the investment cost of the bricks and mortar, or the shop fittings and stock. There are other heavy expenditures involved including delivery vehicles, tools and equipment, staff training, insurance, local planning costs, advertising programmes and dozens of other expenses that are usually seen and understood only by the bosses and the company accountants.

 

 

At the end of the two year notice period, some of those dealers will be invited back into the fold—subject, no doubt, to new terms and conditions. Actually, Vauxhall's current owners reckon that most existing dealers will still be on books 24 months down the line. Moreover, the forecast is that few if any of the current 12,000 or so jobs will be lost—and if you believe that, you could be overdue for your next reality check up.

 

The suggestion is that many of the employees will simply shift to other car franchises (not necessarily Vauxhall). Except that the general employment trend in the motor industry is headed down.

 

 

Vauxhall Motors was founded in 1857 by Alexander Wilson. The company, located at 90–92 Wandsworth Road, Vauxhall, London manufactured pumps and engines. Andrew Betts Brown came along in 1863 and bought the firm. He renamed it Vauxhall Iron Works. The first complete car was built in 1903. Two years on, the company relocated to Luton, Bedfordshire—which is still the spiritual home of Vauxhall.

 

US firm General Motors (GM) bought the company in 1925. In 1929, GM partly acquired a stake in German firm Opel, and two years later GM fully owned that company. For decades, Vauxhall and Opel have since been pretty much synonymous, albeit tweaked for their respective markets. In 2017, the French conglomerate Groupe PSA bought both brands. And PSA, note, also owns Peugeot, Citroen and the lesser known DS brand.

 

 

So why have all the dealers been effectively sacked? Well, as you might expect there are various reasons. These include poor performance across the range (with some dealers well below par), a radically changing marketplace, over exposure in certain areas, inadequate exposure in other areas, pressure from new brands, over production, etc, etc.

 

In 2017, Vauxhall sold 195,000 cars in the UK. That's 22 percent down on the previous year and compares to an average 5.7 percent drop in overall UK car sales. A similar re-franchising exercise will be happening across the channel in mainland Europe with regard to the Opel brand.

 

 

Are we going to climb on our soapbox and whinge about this kind of irresponsible advertising that condones, if not encourages, excessive driving behaviour at the wheel? Not this time. We're simply going to tell you that the Astra is one of the firm's greatest successes. Over four million have been built and sold since it was introduced in 1979.

 

 

 

Currently, Vauxhall (PSA) has just confirmed plans to built its next generation vans at the Luton, Bedfordshire plant. But the future of the Vauxhall plant at Ellesmere Port, Cheshire which produces the Astra model, is looking a lot less positive. In recent times, 650 jobs have already gone in the wake of two job cut programmes. More losses are anticipated.

 

This kind of re-franchising isn't a new phenomenon, incidentally. It happens from time to time, and every time it happens it's painful for most of the dealers involved.

 

In terms of the size of its dealership network, Vauxhall is in number two position trailing behind Ford. But after the dealer purge (which is the right word for it), Vauxhall is expected to be in third position. It's not clear which dealership network will take its place.

 

www.vauxhall.co.uk

 


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Confederate Motorcycles is back (ish)

 

Story snapshot:

Curtiss is staying put and still going electric

But the old Confederacy is, it seems, back on the march

 

If you're a regular Sumpster, you might remember the (immediately) above graphic from Sump, August 2017. But we make absolutely no apologies for re-using it today. That's because (a) we like the look of the Confederate Flag, (b) it's appropriate to the following story, and (c) it saves us having to work-up another image.

 

What's happened is that last year we reported that the Confederate name and brand was, in the light of rising political hysteria, considered by the company as too toxic to continue, so owner Matt Chambers cast his net around for something less divisive. Hence the re-brand to Curtiss in honour of Glen Curtiss, aviator, aviation pioneer and pioneer biker.

 

You can read all about that story via the link you've just passed. Meanwhile, some of you will perhaps be pleased to hear that the Confederate name, rights and intellectual property has recently been bought by Ernest Lee LLC, a firm of lawyers and venture capitalists that was founded in London and Pennsylvania, but now operates across 20 or more countries.

 

We checked and couldn't find too much about these largely invisible guys and gals, and we spotted no obvious motorcycle connections. But the contact details took us to Florida, USA, and it appears that most of the company activities are US focussed (largely on contemporary tax issues which, some might suggest, is another hot potato and becoming as toxic as the politics of race and gender).

 

Meanwhile, you can decide for yourself if it's a co-incidence that Confederate General Robert E Lee and the company name (Ernest Lee) has any political, personal or other associations.

 

Either way, the current promise that Confederate Motorcycles will sooner or later be back in the market place sounds suspiciously like the old "The South will rise again" battle cry. But if you'll give Ernest Lee the benefit of the doubt, we'll join hands with you.

 

 

The new company will be called Confederate Motorcycles LLC. In a recent interview, an Ernest Lee spokesperson was quoted as saying, "[We] believe the Confederate name is no more synonymous with racism than is ‘Rebel’ or the Confederate Flag itself. We acknowledge that there are some that disagree with our viewpoint, but [we] felt that allowing individuals to discuss their differences of opinion is paramount to the democracy in which we all live."

 

It's not the first time politics has impacted on automotive engineering and marketing. Swallow Sidecars, which became Jaguar, allegedly felt the need to dispense with the SS100 moniker for fear of being associated with the Schutzstaffel aka SS, the militarized wing of the German Nazi party.

 

And poor old Ferdinand "Ferry" Porsche spent years trying to live down the fact that he'd once been an honorary officer in the aforementioned SS claiming that the dubious accolade was at the personal insistence of SS Chief Heinrich Himmler, "There was no way I could refuse," Porsche had said more than once during his life (1875 - 1951). Either way, that must have been a seriously big albatross flapping around his private horizons.

 

We don't yet know what kind of bikes the new Confederacy will produce. Curtiss (aka the old Confederacy) is still going electric (we hear). But we're figuring that it's probably not yet over for the petrolheads wedded to bikes such as the Hellcat, the Wraith and the Fighter—that's assuming that actually building motorcycles is part of the wider game plan. Ernest Lee is, after all, a coterie of tax lawyers with all that that implies.

 

Finally, if Ernest Lee really wants to rub some salt in the open Confederacy wound, the company might try suggesting new bike model names such as the Confederate Lynchburg, the Confederate Bull Run, and the Confederate Ball's Bluff, all of these being greater or lesser military successes by the Southern "rebels". On the other hand, we're all friends now, ain't we just?

 

Stay tuned, Sumpsters.

 

See: Sump Classic Bike News August 2017

 


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