You BSA M20 boys have got to eat less. Seriously. For a while, we've been noticing that T-shirt sizes around the world are getting significantly larger. We started out selling SMALL, MEDIUM, LARGE and EXTRA LARGE, and soon we got enquiries for 2XL. And then someone asked for a 3XL. And now we've got an enquiry for a 4XL.
Q. So how big (read; F-A-T) do you have to be to wear a 4XL T-shirt?
A. Pretty bloody big.
In fact, we could camp out in a 4XL T-shirt and find garage space inside for the bikes. We could parachute with a 4XL tee. We could make a couple of bedspreads from one. The possibilities are endless.
But what makes it more interesting is that our 4XL enquirer wanted one of our BSA M20 T-shirts, and it's been clear for a long time that the vast majority of our 2XL and 3XL tees are also BSA M20 shirts.
Conversely, our Triumph Bonneville tees tend to be bought by guys/girls looking for MEDIUM and LARGE. And yes, we do keep 2XL and a 3XL in the Triumph Bonneville design. But we don't sell anywhere near so many of those sizes.
▲ We're thinking of printing a few T-shirts with this written on the front, and maybe the back too. Think it will sell? Skinny blokes needn't apply.
Conclusion? We ain't figured it out. But it could be that the M20 tees are bought by fat guys and girls who don't necessarily ride an M20 and just like the design. Or it could be that fat blokes/birds are morbidly attracted to M20s and buy the T-shirts to complete the ensemble.
Or it could be that M20 riders don't actually travel very far anymore and end up sitting around in a field en masse stuffing their faces. Or it could be that we made up this story as an excuse to stick a few more Sump T-shirts under your schnozz.
Except that we didn't make it up (but hey, we ain't beyond seizing a little promotional opportunity when the need arises).
The simple fact is, BSA M20 guys are apparently big/fat/huge, but our BEEZA GEEZA tees tend to be worn by more moderate-sized BSA people. Meanwhile, our Triumph Bonneville T-shirts are worn by even more moderately-sized dudes (probably with ballooning biceps, triceps and six-packs, like ours). And our Sump T-shirts are also fairly evenly spread between MEDIUM, LARGE and EXTRA LARGE.
We can trace similar patterns throughout the other T-shirts in our range without any obvious sizing spikes. And it's clear that no one, but no one, out-fats the BSA M20 T-shirt buyers. It's official.
So what do we care? Postage costs, that's what. We don't charge extra postage for FAT BASTARDS. Like airlines, we just absorb the increased overhead. But look, if you M20 people could just ease up on the donuts and get your weight/size/fatness down to, say, XL or even 2XL, we'd very much appreciate it.
So will your postman and undertaker.
— Girl Happy (and reasonably skinny)
Auction maestros Bonhams tried to flog this bike back in November 2011 at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles (see Sump November 2011). The estimate was £39,000 - £53,000. But the bike didn't sell.
Now it's back on the board, and the figure of £100,000 is being bandied around. But it's not Bonhams pushing it. Instead, auction house Profiles in History, which specialises in Hollywood memorabilia, reckons it can do what Bonhams couldn't and find a big money buyer. Fonzie's leather jacket is also up for grabs, and the estimate for that is said to be £30,000.
▲ W650 Kawasaki custom. Easily mistaken for a flipped Triumph.
Think Urban Rider, think trendy King's Road, London cool biker fashion store. Etc. This outfit stocks brands such as Tucano Urbano, Premier, Stylmartin, Roland Sands Design, Belstaff (the David Beckham type stuff), Alpinestars, Hedon, Bell and Biltwell. They also cater for the modern scooter market.
What's happened now is that this business has begun offering workshop services. That includes stuff like carburettor balancing, fork swops, tuning, electrical work, fabrication and bespoke builds. It's all happening in partnership with "renowned mechanic Mario Dengra", who we've never heard of (and who might not have 'eard of us either. Ya can't know 'em all, canya?).
Anyway, some of their stuff looks pretty good. Expensive, mind, but the good stuff invariably costs a bob or two. And the firm has obviously got vision. So keep looking, we say.
You don't have to have a beard like an arctic explorer, eat macrobiotic food and haunt trendy districts like Shoreditch in East London. But it sure helps.
If you want to pay Urban Rider a visit, you're advised to check what's actually in stock at any given time. Much of what you see on their website isn't, apparently, hanging on hooks in the store.
Now ain't we heard that before somewhere?
— Del Monte
... but for one day only, and that day is Saturday 31st October 2015. Apparently, there will be an indoor autojumble (pitches are £30). Racers Carl Fogarty and Jamie Whitham will be strutting around and pressing the flesh. A "Try a Bike" training session for newcomers is being organised. Some book signings will take place. And the museum shop and restaurant will be open for the usual purposes.
Also, you can witness the draw for the 998cc 1947 "Shadowised" Vincent Rapide that the museum is raffling (see Sump May 2015). The bike is said to be worth around £40,000. So someone is going to get one hell of a thrill. And hey, there's probably still time to buy a few tickets if you're feeling lucky/desperate.
We know that director James Hewing is working hard to re-invigorate the museum and raise its profile, so be nice and get along there if you're in the vicinity, or if you fancy a different day out.
— Del Monte
Venhill, the cable and brake hose specialist, has introduced a simple fix for classic bike owners struggling with reconditioned "clocks".
Specifically, reconditioned speedometers and rev-counters are often returned to a customer with differing tolerances on the cable drives behind the clock. That means that owners may encounter fitting or slippage problems with inner cable ends.
Venhill's solution is simply to offer different-sized/non-matching brass cable ends. British bikes usually require ends that are 3mm across the flats. Japanese bikes usually require 2.5mm ends, also across the flats.
Additionally, this upgrade makes it easier for owners of British bikes to fit Japanese clocks by ordering a cable with different sized cable ends (i.e. a cable that fits a traditional British speedo drive unit at the wheel or gearbox, but with an inner cable that will fit a Japanese speedometer).
Typically, a Triumph T150 Trident speedo cable retails for £17.17 including VAT. A Honda XR500 (1970-'80) speedo cable sells for £28.86. Bespoke or custom speedo cables can be made to requirements for £37.20.
Incidentally, we don't know if this is really a new idea. Sounds a little "obvious" to us. But we tend to chuck our speedos and rev-counters away, anyway, or just stare at a dead dial. Who needs 'em, huh?
— Del Monte
The new Sump Bad-Ass Biker T-shirts have arrived. Trouble is, we don't want to flog 'em now. Why not? Because they're simply too cool and ... well, bad. Not bad like Michael Jackson. No, Sir. These are more Lee Marvin bad. Charles Bronson bad. In fact, here are some picks of Marvin and Bronson looking bad in our T-shirts. See what we mean? Pretty bad, huh?
Anyway, we need the petrol money, so we're offering these T-shirts for sale at £19.99 plus p&p. The first 17 have already been sold. That's because some of you bad Lee Marvin/Charles Bronson types sent us emails reserving one (hell, one extra-tough guy bought three straight off the online peg. Honest). And these aforementioned reservers will be notified tonight (or by tomorrow at the latest), and will get their shirts at the discounted price of £17.99.
The normal price, however, is £19.99 plus p&p, which ain't too bad. And that's exactly what you'll be paying if you want to look like a bad-ass hoodlum.
It's a mean Lee Marvin/Charles Bronson world out there. And these days, if you want to look and feel good, and get the girls, and thump the blokes around a bit, and scare the pants off 'em down at the Co-op, ya gotta be bad. Rarghhhh!
— Big End
Generally, we don't advertise our new web pages. We just hang them up online and let people find 'em, or not (and we're constantly adding new material and/or updating old stuff, so check around if you have tthe time).
In this instance, we decided to put a link to our new BUYING A CRASH HELMET guide. There are two reasons for this. The first is simply that we figure the page will have some useful information for some of you Sumpsters. Maybe even ALL of you Sumpsters. The second reason is that we need to give Google a wake-up kick and ensure that the page gets indexed sooner rather than later. So the links from this news page will give our crash helmet page a leg up. That's how it works. Don't blame us.
If you want to take a look at the page, click one of the links around here and let us know where we've got it wrong. But the feature is still being developed; ditto the graphics. And it's a BIG page. So there are bound to be a few literals and suchlike here and there. Just bear with us, if you will. And if you do visit the page, take a look at the sections on statistics and safety. Might interest you. Vaguely.
Sump BUYING A CRASH HELMET guide
— Girl Happy
Don't panic! The show is still on. Romney Marsh Classic Motorcycle Bikejumble, Marsh Road, Hamstreet, near Ashford, Kent, TN26 2JD
(on the A2070 6-miles south of Junction 10 of the M20). Etc.
This is simply a reminder that organiser Julie Diplock is in cahoots with Newland & Wood, a local auction house, and they're handling a sale of classic bikes.
You need to arrive between 10am and noon if you want to register your bike in the auction. There's no charge for that, but there's a ten percent commission on sales of up to £500, and five percent on sales above that amount.
Currently, there's a brace of Kawasaki Z650s on offer, a BSA A10 chopper, a BSA A65 bobber, some custom bikes in pieces, plus some other stuff that we forgot. And there will probably be more lots as the deadline draws nigh. Anyway, you can find out what's what at the show, and you just might snag a bargain. Tip: Bring some hard cash (they probably accept cards, note, but at autojumbles, cash is still king).
Alternately, just go to the show and gawp at bikes, and kick tyres, and feed your face, and bump into people, and haggle over the bike jumble stuff. You know how it works. It's what you were born for, ain't it?
— Del Monte
We've had Goldtop products on Sump once or twice, and we're happy to introduce you to another. It's a 100% silk scarf featuring a classic black & white chequered pattern, and it retails for £34.99.
The weave is heavy. The scarf measures 176cm x 28 cm including tassels, and it will arrive at your door in a black presentation box.
It looks like the perfect gift for the rocker in your life, or simply as a private treat.
Also, check out the rest of Goldtop's website for gloves and boots. There's some interesting stuff there, and the range is growing.
One more thing; Casey at Goldtop is constantly looking out for old Goldtop adverts and products from the golden years. So if you've got anything like that in your private archive/stash, perhaps you could make contact, huh?
— Girl Happy
▲ That's Bantam John in the chequered shirt. He always looks relaxed, he's got more stock than most UK classic bike parts dealers, and we've see him a lot busier than this...
We went, we left, we didn't do much in between. We didn't even buy much stuff because nothing much caught our eye or baited our wallets. That's how it goes sometimes. There are no guarantees. But it seemed to us that this year's Carol Nash Eurojumble at Netley Marsh was the worst we'd been to. And we weren't the only unhappy bunnies.
So what was the problem? Well, the Beaulieu Autojumble mostly; same as ever. The Netley Marsh autojumble runs from Thursday to Saturday. But the public get onto the site only on the Friday and Saturday. Trouble is, most of the dealers have done what they came to do by Friday night and take off for Beaulieu the following day.
Beaulieu is just down the road, after all. And Beaulieu has a lot more to offer (albeit less so for the hardcore motorcycle jumbler). The organisers of "Netley" are Mortons Media Group, the same empire-building guys who own just about all the classic rags and a good number of the major shows and jumbles, including "Stafford".
▲ It's said that there's no such thing as junk. Well we ain't so sure anymore. Certainly fings ain't what they used to be. But there was still a few surprises, with the emphasis on "few".
A couple of people we spoke to felt that Netley had become dull and formulaic. Like Normous Newark or the Bristol Show (both also owned and run by Mortons). A couple of other visitors lamented the long queues. More than a handful of people told us simply that the great autojumble days are done, which is hardly news. But you can't blame Mortons for that.
However, there's unquestionably more and more old tat being marketed these days as genuine autojumble fodder (whatever that means to you). But when you've travelled a few hundred miles to get there (never mind the guys we met who came from Germany and Holland), you naturally expect a little more bang for your buck.
▲ Netley isn't a bike show. It's an autojumble for the hard men and rivet counters, but quality stuff at sensible prices is harder to come by.
Most of the bike traders complained that the pickings were thin. But that ain't Mortons fault either (and traders are pretty much always unhappy these days wherever you go).
One trader said he had a "good show", but he wasn't directly trading. He was simply "flag waving" and handing out business cards and flyers.
One visitor told us that the "spirit of Netley is dead". Another told us a couple of things that we can't repeat, not without a lawyer present to make sure we get the wording right.
The bottom line is that Netley has just become stale. Plenty of folk work during the week, and are working harder than ever. That means they simply can't make Netley until the Saturday, and by then the show's over. And that make's Carol Nash's Eurojumble something of a non-event.
▲ Seemed like plenty of people attended. But the gulf between asking prices and buying prices is widening. Netley has largely become a staging post to hook up with old friends and/or deliver parts to customers.
The solution? Who knows. Mortons could theoretically reschedule and hold Netley on, say, a Saturday and Sunday. But there's still Beaulieu to see off, and that will probably continue to dominate the Saturday.
Or Mortons could relocate Netley to somewhere else (but perhaps not too far away). Except that Netley has some momentum attached to it, and it's got a recognised name, and Darth Mortons paid hard cash for the show and naturally wants to make good on its investment. Also, Netley and Beaulieu going down on the same weekend offers a bigger punch for traders who might shy off if Netley stood alone.
Or Mortons could hold a one-day event. But it's the same dilemma. Netley or Beaulieu? Or neither? And which day? Friday? Or Saturday? Or even Sunday? Except that Beaulieu has Sunday sewn up (as well as Saturday).
Get the picture?
We know some people who picked up some interesting stuff at the jumble. But we also saw plenty of guys and girls leave empty handed, and that's not a good sign.
Looks like Mortons needs to think very carefully about its next move and find some way to inject more interest in the jumble, perhaps by upscaling it to a full-sized show. But that would take a lot of nerve, confidence, and cash. And maybe a bigger site. So it's probably a non-starter.
Or maybe the Empire could buy Beaulieu (well okay, probably not).
What it comes down to is this: We can't see ourselves going back to Netley for a long time, and maybe never. Life's too short, the queues are too long, the picking are too lean, and the world has moved on.
We're not apologising for this, so unload your weapons and calm yourselves. Many years back we launched Sump featuring only British classic bikes. That's safe and familiar territory for us. But as Bob Dylan said (and as we're fond of re-mentioning), "Things have changed", and we're constantly fitting new links to our drive chain. That's why, over the past few months, we've significantly added to our classic buyers guide page with various non-British marques, and we'll keep adding them.
Fact is, we just love bikes. Actually, we love pretty much anything with wheels, wings, a hull and an engine. Or even pedals. But we're sticking with bikes.
However, on our pages we occasionally handle some crossover stuff, and the above Kawasaki W800 fits squarely into that ethos. It ain't British, but it's British at heart. And anyway, we don't care. If it rolls, it rocks.
The W800 Kawasaki is quite simply a great bike and worthy of closer inspection. It looks knockout, it's priced right, it's still available, and it rides like the laid back, well-mannered cruiser it is. And if you own one, we'd be interested in some snapshots coupled with your ownership/riding experiences [Editor's note: Don't forget to mention the bit about buying British, etc).
We've recently also added a guide on the new Confederate P51 Fighter (image immediately above). This machine ain't gonna be everyone's cuppa, but it's an interesting and amusing example of engineering excess coupled with OTT styling.
Check our buyers guide page.
— The Third Man
The top selling motorcycle lot at the Bonhams Sale held at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu on Saturday 5th September 2015 is the (immediately) above 1930 770cc BSA V-twin. The hammer came down at £10,350 including premium. See Sump July 2015 for more on this bike.
There were 21 motorcycles in the sale, and there was nothing spectacular. But a couple of machines caught our eye. The first is this 1937, 245cc OK-Supreme Flying Cloud (immediately) above which sold for £4,600.
Bicycle manufacturer Humphries & Dawes, trading simply as OK, founded the firm. That was in 1882 at Hall Green Works, Birmingham. By 1899 this dynamic duo had moved into powered bicycles and were displaying a range of sidevalve singles of 350cc, 500cc, and 600cc. By 1911, the company had developed a Precision-powered two-stroke ready for production, and the following year they took 9th place in the Isle of Man TT. Not bad.
The First World War years saw the company producing parts and equipment for the British government. Post war, production dramatically increased, so much so that OK claimed to be building over 20,000 bikes per annum, largely underpinned by the successful OK Junior.
In 1926, Charles F Dawes left the company to found Dawes Cycles (which soon enjoyed a reputation as a quality bicycle manufacturer). Ernie Humphries continued with motorcycle development, and in 1927 he changed the company name to OK-Supreme.
The following year, Humphries bought the HRD factory and tools from Howard R Davies. But it was Phil Vincent who purchased the HRD name which, as history recalls, led to the founding of Vincent HRD, eventually becoming Vincent Motorcycles.
The OK-Supreme company lasted until 1939.
This 245cc OHV (Over Head Valve) example (images from Bonhams) was one of the last machines of the line. The Flying Cloud range was launched in 1933 and was powered by a 250cc JAP engine. In fact, during this period most OK-Supremes were JAP-powered. But over the years, the firm had produced numerous engines of its own, including V-twins. One of the best known engines was the inclined OHC (Over Head Camshaft) Lighthouse engine first produced in 1935.
We're advised that the Flying Cloud model offered by Bonhams at Beaulieu had been in the same family since new. It was featured in the April 1976 issue of Motorcycle Sport. It seems that the bike hasn't seen much use and spent most of its life in a museum.
For shame, for shame.
Anyway, the £4,600 sale price looks pretty reasonable to us. Let's hope the bike sees some tarmac before it gets mothballed again.
Finally, we quite liked the (immediately) above 1932 499cc James Model D2. This half-litre sidevalve V-twin hasn't, apparently, been mucked around too much since it was built. Nevertheless, some mechanical work has been undertaken including new pistons and rings, new valves (Triumph) with larger diameter stems and collets, re-cut valve seats and a refurbished oil pump.
A recon dynamo was also installed, an electronic ignition (shame), and an electronic regulator was fitted (shame). And yes, we know this modern electronic stuff will make the bike run better and start easier, etc. But we're traditionalists here at Sump, and with our own bikes we try (wherever reasonable and possible) to stay faithful to the original design with all its foibles and challenges.
Then again, the on-board electronics might mean that this bike will see some fresh air and collect its share of airborne bugs, so it's perhaps a fair trade off. But how much did it fetch on the block? A very modest £4,600 including premium.
Eat your hearts out.
— Big End
His full title was Edward Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, and he was one of the most controversial aristocratic figures of his age. He was also a Conservative politician, the founder of the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, Hampshire, an Oxford college student, an ex-Lieutenant in the Grenadier Guards, and a convicted sex offender.
Lord Montagu, as most people referred to him, died on 31st August 2015. He was 88 years old. He became a baron when he was aged two (following the sudden death of his father in a car crash) and held the title for another 86 years. Not a record, but it's close.
In the 1950s, Edward Montagu was twice prosecuted for breaking the English homosexuality laws, the first time through his alleged relationship with a 14-year old boy scout (1953), the second time with an RAF serviceman (1954).
At Winchester Assizes, he denied the first offence and was acquitted. What followed, according to Edward Montagu, was a witch hunt. He was convicted of the second offence (also at Winchester Assizes) and was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment. It's perhaps worth noting that the specific offence for which he was convicted would not be an offence in modern Britain.
Subsequently, Edward Montagu (who admitted being bisexual) became widely ridiculed nationwide, not least because he chose to challenge the current homosexuality laws and became something of a cause célèbre—and it's said that as a direct result of his challenge to the status quo, the "gay" laws were indeed changed.
His motoring interests were largely attributed to the influence of his father, John Douglas-Scott-Montagu, 2nd Baron. John Montagu was a car enthusiast. It was his mistress, Eleanor Thornton, who was the model for the proto Spirit of Ecstasy, the winged mascot/ornament as found on the radiator or every Rolls Royce car since 1911.
The Montagu family owned numerous personal cars; vehicles that led directly to the founding of the National Motor Museum, arguably Lord Edward Montagu's greatest legacy. That was in 1952.
In 1956, he founded the Veteran and Vintage Magazine. During that same era, he held an annual jazz festival in the grounds of Palace House, the family's stately pile near Beaulieu, Hampshire. That festival ran for five years. He was also active in his local community and frequently appeared in public, in the press, on TV and on the radio.
Whatever else you might think of Edward Montagu (and opinions are polarised), he was clearly a colourful and outspoken figure with a huge zest for life and a lot of guts for taking on the British establishment at a time when homosexuality was considered a mental illness and was often treated more harshly than child molestation.
An interesting video on the life of Lord Edward Montagu was released in 2013. It features commentary from (Triumph T140 owner and actor), Oliver Tobias, Nick Mason (Pink Floyd drummer and classic bike fan), ex-racing driver Jackie Stewart, Prince Michael of Kent, ex-racing driver and TV celebrity Stirling Moss, and the semi-retired racing commentator Murray Walker.
Edward Montagu was twice married. He had two children by his first wife, and one by his second. As an example of the British aristocracy, with all its foibles, weaknesses and idiosyncrasies, it's hard to imagine a more representative figure than Edward Montagu. But in his time, he certainly achieved more than most of his contemporaries.
Well this is embarrassing. For Triumph. The US government has slapped a $2.9 million fine on Triumph Motorcycles for failing to notify the National Highways Transport Safety Administration (NHTSA) about a potential design hazard on its Street Triple R model.
It seems that 1,368 bikes built between 2012 and 2013 were recalled in the USA last September (2014) after it was discovered that four bolts holding a cable guide could work loose and interfere with the steering, thereby possibly/maybe/theoretically causing an accident. [More...]
If you're "into" classic bikes today, there's a pretty good chance you were "into" them when they weren't classics but simply modern bikes. And that means that you were quite possibly a Beatles fan (unless you were a hooligan and opted for The Stones and/or The Who).
Either way, you might enjoy this volume. Why? Because it's reckoned to be a new collection of photographs, many of them rare and unseen and detailing life in the 1960s. The lives of the Beatles, that is. But these kind of books are often interesting for the background detail such as ... well, old motorcycles, cars, passing street furniture, Teddy Boys, British coffee bars, sexy meter maids, defunct high street shopping chains, girls in mini skirts, police boxes and all the other ephemera that used to be so familiar, and then quietly dissolved into history.
We ain't see this book (we're planning on nicking a copy from our local bookshop as soon as possible), but we've got no doubt it will make a pleasant diversion for a couple of hours.
It's written and edited by Tom Adams, "award winning television producer and author". We've never heard of him either, but we've heard of literary agent Andrew Lownie who sent us the press release and is handling the publishing rights, etc.
Adams has had access to 3,000 Beatles pictures, most of them from The Beatles Book Monthly, a magazine which for 40 years maintained a running photographic document of The Fab Four's comings and goings. This new coffee table tome is all black and white (what else?). It covers the years from 1963 to 1968. There are 192 pages. And Omnibus Press is the publisher. Want an ISBN? Try: 1783058676.
The price is around £25 depending on where you buy. It looks like a steal (as we'll find out later), and will probably make a pretty decent present for any Beatles fan in your life, or simply as a present for yourself and an opportunity to recapture something of those magical years.
— Girl Happy
He'll be best remembered, and possibly only remembered, for playing Jim Douglas, the hapless race car driver and (initially) reluctant owner of The Love Bug in the movie of the same name. But he was a prolific actor, a popular figure, and a very familiar face on both sides of the Atlantic, and much further afield.
This is Dean Jones who has died aged 84.
He was born in Alabama. He began his film career in 1956 with the movie Somebody Up The Likes Me starring Paul Newman and based upon the life of legendary middleweight boxer Rocky Graziano.
Jones played against Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock (1957); against Glen Ford in Imitation General (1957), and against Frank Sinatra in Never So Few (1959).
The American TV western series Stagecoach West (1960 - 1961) gave Jones a huge public exposure boost. He consolidated his fame when he took the lead role in Ensign O'Toole, a comedy show detailing life aboard a US naval destroyer. The series was aired in the US between 1962 - 1963.
He also starred in a number of Disney comedies including That Darn Cat, co-starring Hayley Mills, and he generally played much the same character. Hapless. Boyish. A little ruthless at times. Square. But fundamentally decent.
There were three Love Bug movies. He took the lead role in them all (and made cameo appearances in the 1997 remakes of The Love Bug and That Darn Cat).
In later life, Dean Jones appeared in Other People's Money (1991) starring Gregory Peck and Danny DeVito, Beethoven (1992) starring the impeccably deadpan Charles Grodin; and Clear and Present Danger starring Harrison Ford. Jones was still working up until 2008 when health problems forced him to retire.
For much of his life, he suffered from depression and, as an antidote, became a devout "born again Christian". In 1998 he founded the Christian Rescue Committee (CRC), its remit being to provide support for those persecuted for their faith.
Dean Jones died in Los Angeles. He is survived by his second wife, numerous children and grandchildren.
As a "feel good movie", The Love Bug takes some beating, and there are worse things to be remembered for.
Take a test ride on any Harley-Davidson Dark Custom™ and you're in with a chance to win the bike and get an expenses paid trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA where you'll meet HD's chief stylist (Dais Nagao) who will help you bling-up the bike, free of charge.
But if you've already bought a Dark Custom™ following a test ride (taken between 1st September 2015 and 31st October 2015), Harley-Davidson will refund your money.
As a further temptation (as if you need one) the factory is throwing in a California trip, use of a bike, surfing lessons (surfing lessons?) and maybe even a little private adult entertainment if you ask nicely (it might happen).
However, this competition is open only to those living in Europe, the Middle East and Africa—but we've no doubt that Harley-Davidson will have other offers in your neighbourhood and if you check around.
The Dark Custom™ models include the Harley-Davidson Street® 750, Iron 883™, Forty-Eight®, Street Bob®, Street Bob® Special and Fat Bob® models. And note all the little "R" and "TM" symbols attached to those names. Harley-Davidson guards these things very jealously and will kick your teeth in if you transgress. If you want to read more about these bikes, click here for Sump's August 2015 news story.
All in all, it sounds like a prize worth having. So mosey down to your local Harley-Davidson corral and ride a bike around the block and few times and demand a competition form. Buying a bike is optional, but you could do a lot worse than treat yourself to a 2016 Harley-Davidson (just don't tell Triumph we said that).
— Sam 7
Apparently, a lot of folk are. These high-tech crash helmets should have been capping hundreds of heads by May 2015. But delivery has now been pushed back to December 2015.
Well, this is a little more interesting than a manufacturer having a few production problems. The issue revolves around the way the financing was raised. We're talking about crowdfunding, which is basically hundreds or thousands of investors responding to an appeal for developmental cash for a new project or service. You can think of it as alternative finance, meaning a 21st century way to raise money when, for instance, the banks and mainstream tech investors think you're a lousy risk. [More...]
Viv Brackett at the Sammy Miller Museum in New Milton, Hampshire, has sent us a couple of snapshots of two very rare Moto Guzzis that will be ready for eyeball-approval at this year's International Stafford Show on 17th & 18th October 2015. And that will be a Saturday & Sunday.
The red and silver bike immediately above is a 1950, 496cc, 42-44bhp, 120-degree Bicilindrical GP racer. Carlo Guzzi, we understand, developed this crotch rocket from a 250cc single by bolting on an extra cylinder. Result? Something pretty spectacular. And race winning.
The legendary Stanley Woods won the 1935 Senior TT on a 500cc Bicilindrical racer narrowly beating Norton's Jimmie Guthrie into second place. Over the years, Moto Guzzi refined the package and wrung 47bhp from it. The final year was 1951.
The bike immediately above, meanwhile, is a 1957 V8 GP racer that, we understand, never actually won a race. It was designed by Giulio Cesare Carcano and features a 499cc, DOHC, water-cooled, V8 that knocks out a claimed 71bhp.
Eight Dell'Orto carburettors fuel this beast. It's said to weigh 326lbs dry, and is good for a cracking 171mph. However, the chassis technology left it wanting, and falling off at high speed was the rule rather than the exception.
As a technical tour-de-force, it put Moto Guzzi right up there with the best of 'em, and way beyond the majority of 'em. But it was also a fragile machine that suffered innumerable embarrassing technical failures that eventually sealed its retirement fate and saw it put out to graze. And that's where it's been ever since; on the verdant nostalgia circuit, a GP racer that might have been, but never was.
All the same, if and when you get to Stafford, it's worth a prod and a poke. Just make sure you wash your hands first. Tip: Ask Sammy to fire it up. Some sounds stay with you for life.
This is a tongue-in-cheek poke at the "bad-ass" biker culture with a message that the vast majority of us will closely identify with. So don't take it seriously. Or, alternately, do take it seriously and have a heart attack if that will make you feel better.
We've got the prototype "BAD-ASS BIKER" design with us right now, and we're busy tweaking it here and there and arguing about it before we pull the print-and-retire-to-bed-with a bottle-of-beer lever and let the machinery do its work.
If your eyes ain't what they used to be (and what the hell is what it used to be?) click right here, or click on the T-shirt image above. An even bigger image will pop right up in your kisser and you can enjoy the T-shirt design and message all over again.
The price for this original, copyrighted creation will be £19.99 when they go on sale (but only £17.99 if you order one now—and thereby help us gauge demand). The sizes will be offered in small to extra-extra large. The shirts will be as black as Tony Blair's shrivelled heart. And we expect to have the BAD-ASS BIKER tees ready for sale in about a week or so. Two at most.
If you want one (and why would you not want one?), fire off an email and we'll put your name on the list and will contact you when we want payment.
We think these are absolutely the baddest T-shirts around. But are you bad enough to put yourself inside one of them?
UPDATE: The BAD-ASS BIKER T-shirts are in stock.
The kid is dead. We're not doubting that for a second. And it looks like his brother (Galip) and mother are also dead, plus 10 other "refugees". But the story widely reported in the BBC, the wider British media, and probably in the media around the rest of the world, is that Aylan Kurdi, the boy who washed up in Turkish waters minus his life on 2nd September 2015, was escaping with his family from war-torn Syria.
And that's true, but it ain't the truth.
What's not so finely reported is the fact that the Aylan family was actually safely on Turkish shores when the father (Abdullah Aylan) put the family in an overloaded raft and decided to make the short trip from Turkey to the Greek island of Kos.
It seems that Aylan senior was trying to reach "mainland" Europe. Except, we also hear, it was only a stepping stone to Canada (where he had relations) which was the final destination. The notion that this family was desperate to escape Syria for the sanctuary of Europe now looks very shaky.
Supposedly, David Cameron is to blame. Angela Merkel is to blame. The European Union is to blame. Isis is to blame. President Assad of Syria is to blame. You're to blame. We're to blame. In fact, everyone else is to blame except the prize-prat who stuffed his family, without life jackets, without survival equipment of any type, and without back-up into an unsuitable boat and set off looking for a better life. Well he made his stupid move and now his wife and kids are dead. And it looks like this guy should be arrested and tried at least for child neglect.
Can't blame a bloke for wanting to improve his lot. Can't blame a bloke for taking chances. But there are chances, and then there are chances, and in this instance, the risks were simply too high.
Wherever the truth of this tale lies, it's not what it seems. And it's certainly not what the BBC newsreaders are telling us (and there are bound to be other stories, insights and agendas here being either exaggerated, ignored or suppressed).
▲ At least one of these characters is unable or unwilling to distinguish fact from fiction. But can you spot the odd one out? We couldn't.
The BBC used to be the greatest news organisation in the world. And maybe it still is. Maybe all the other networks have sunk even lower. But times have changed, and the British Broadcasting Corporation has long since abandoned whatever impartial credentials it once boasted in favour of popularism, voyeurism and sensationalism. And if you can't trust Aunty Beeb, who the hell can you trust? [Editor's note: Since when could you ever really trust the Beeb?]
The BBC knows exactly what it's doing. It's wilfully and irresponsibly suppressing various aspects of the entire "migrant/refugee crisis" in a flagrant effort to wrench a little extra outrage and emotion from a world that currently can't seem to shed enough tears. The BBC charter comes up for renewal on 31st December 2016. That will be a perfect opportunity to tear down the corporation, flush out the nonsense, remove a few heads and start again.
The moral? As ever, believe half of what you see, and almost nothing of what you hear.
▲ Bill Turnbull & Sian Williams. Two of the Beeb's most recognised mouthpieces. They're not the biggest culprits. But do we really believe a word that any newsreader tells us? Apparently most of us do.
The current migrant debacle is a full-blown, human tragedy, for sure, and it's a crying shame that a couple of innocent kids (in particular) had to die. But the truth here, both concerning this incident and the entire "refugee" crisis has been well and truly kicked into the long grass. It seems almost certain that the vast majority of migrants boarding trains in Hungary, jumping trucks in Calais, landing on Italian beaches, or paddling from Turkey to Greece in dinghies and makeshift rafts are simply illegal immigrants hoping to bust through the border.
That's not to say that the "West" doesn't carry some responsibility for the manifold screw-up in the Middle East. But much, if not most, of what we're seeing in the press at the moment is simply social and economic opportunism, and has nothing whatsoever to do with the desperation of survival.
Keep all this in mind when you next switch on your TV or open your newspaper.
We'd never heard of this machine either, so don't feel ashamed if you've been out of the loop. The motorcycle world is a big planet, and you can't know 'em all, can ya?
The Austel Pullman above was the brainchild of the late Chris Castell, engineer and designer from Maidenhead, Berkshire. It was he who created Austel Engineering which developed a number of outfits using an Austin Mini engine as the motive power, and then fabricating an appropriate chassis.
Between 1985 and 1991, we're advised that Castell built a number of bikes, steadily developing his designs, each with a foot-operated automatic gearbox, chain final drive, a side-mounted radiator, a leading link "Lotec" front fork, and alloy wheels. As with, say, Albert Crocker's fabled bikes, no two Austels (a combination of Austin and Castell) are alike. The estimate is that 11 combos were created, 10 of them before Castell died, and one that was assembled after his death. [More...]
We received an email about this place, but we're not sure what the sender way saying. It was written in quaint old Europeanese by a Belgian guy named ... well, whatever Belgians are named.
No ... wait a minute ... we just found the email, and his name is Johan Schaeverbeke, and here's what he said. Maybe you can figure it out...
Hallo for your information;
Coming to the continent: close to Bruges and Ostend, at the coast you’ll have the biggest motorhotel in Europe: Bikersloft Groenedijk: www.grd.be
In the bldg. you’ll have the only for public open motorcycle museum in belgium and far over the boarders.
greatings johan schaeverbeke
Well, Johan, your English language skills stink, and it sounds like a shameless request for an advertising plug. But we're an agreeable bunch here at Sump, and we bet you've got a pretty decent museum and hotel over there in those far off foreign fields stained with the blood of the English dead, etc, and we'll be very pleased to drop in when we next pass and give you some Anglo-Saxonese lessons.
Meanwhile, if any of you Sumpsters are headed that way, please remember Johan and do what you can to improve his English.
Merci pour l'e-mail (note: Google Translate doesn't handle Flemish, so we had to make to with French—and France is near Belgium, ain't it?).
— Del Monte
This ain't exactly new news. It's more like newish old news. But it's news to us, so we're passing the word. George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer (and Prime Minister David Cameron's best mate), recently visited the Norton Motorcycle factory at Donington Hall in Leicestershire and handed over four million quid.
Not in cash, you understand. It was probably more of a nod-and-a-wink with a promise of a cheque in the post. The momentous meeting took place at the end of July 2015 and gave Stuart Garner, head honcho at Norton, the opportunity to break out a union jack, park a bike on it, and show the birdie some expensive teeth.
But what the hell is the Chancellor doing handing out hard-taxed public cash to some rich ex-firework salesman with a penchant for antelopes and Yamaha LCs? [More...]
Back Street Heroes has been bought by Mortons. Nuff said?
— Big End
It was actually the 18th Sammy Miller Run. It took place on Sunday 30th August. The weather was good, and around 100 riders took part. That's what it said on the press release we received, and we'll believe pretty much anything that hasn't been disproved by experts.
The route, we hear, was 52 miles long. It got rolling around the leafy lanes of Hampshire and The New Forest, and this year it included a shorter, 30 mile long romp for owners of veteran machines.
A bunch of guys from Belgium also made the trek; specifically Steven Van Trimpoint riding a 1970 Vespa Primavera; Peter Verbruggen riding a 1952 L’Avenier; and
Hedwig Van Trimpoint riding a 1953 Gillet-Herstal.
We'd like to know how they got past Calais without bringing over a few illegal immigrants. But the immigrants are increasingly desperate, and the ways and means are manifold...
Don Rickman (of Rickman Brothers fame) handed out a bunch of trophies. One of them went to James Devereux and his 1931 Ariel SG which took the Best Machine award (Sammy Miller Trophy). And Don Rickman himself took a Best Veteran award for his 1903 Ariel.
▲ John Rands and his 1950 GPO (General Post Office) BSA Bantam. It doesn't look like he got an award for anything, so we're giving him the Sump Award For Best JPEG With A Press Release During August. Go knock 'em dead, John.
Apparently no one's bike broke down, and no one had a heart attack or went crazy with a machete. We mention that because these events, worthy though they are, generally come across as dull as ditchwater when you read the reports.
But don't misunderstand us.
We genuinely love the ordinariness of biking events and spend a fair amount of time tramping aimlessly around autojumbles, or sitting on walls at bike shows throwing peanuts at the birds and doing nothing of any bloody use to anyone. But unless something amazing happens, or unless there's a truly breathtaking photo, there usually ain't nothing much to talk about. And that's a fact.
But hey, the day went well, even though it seems that Sammy Miller (OBE) wasn't there. He was up on the Isle of Man "wowing the crowds at the Classic TT", which made us raise an eyebrow of two. After all, if you can't support your own event, why should anyone else? Or are we looking at this all wrong?
Anyway, we don't want to be mean-spirited, so we've stuck a couple of snaps on Sump and have given Sammy a mention. Whatever else we might think, he's done a pretty amazing job down there in New Milton, Hants with his museum and restorations and stuff. He's one of the cornerstones of the British classic bike scene, and he punches above his weight.
So be a sport and make a trip sometime soon. It's not a bad day out, and there's some great riding to be had in the general neighbourhood.
Finally a note to Sammy; if you're still around next year (and we hope you are), make a note in your desk diary for the 19th Sammy Miller Run. We're sure that your public will appreciate your attendance.
— Big End