If you're getting a slow service from us over the next few days (particularly email) please be patient. We're upgrading the servers and checking the plugs and timing and all that techy stuff. But as usual, we don't know what the hell we're doing, so we need a little space to sort it out.
Stay with us...
— Big End
A week or so ago we carried a small news item regarding Harley-Davidson's new Milwaukee Eight engine, the latest "big twin" in the company's history. Well these are the first images officially released by the factory, and these shots turn (intelligent) rumour into fact.
What makes this new engine special is that it carries the first factory built four-valves-per-cylinder heads for the air-cooled "big twins" (as distinct from, say, the four-valves-per-cylinder liquid-cooled V-Rod or Revolution X Street 750 models which are built around completely separate H-D engine architecture).
Eight valves are ancient history for most of the world's motorcycle manufacturers (including H-D). But this is slightly different. It's the next evolutionary step in the Evolution/Twin Cam engine concept, and it suddenly makes all the other air-cooled V-twins in the Harley-Davidson range look a little dated.
However, we should qualify the words "air-cooled" because these first Milwaukee Eight engines actually feature oil-cooled cylinder heads. So it's more accurate to refer to them as air/oil-cooled. The engines will be used in Street Glides, Road Glides, the Electra Glide Ultra Classic, and Freewheeler trikes.
The new basic "Eight" motor is 107-cubic inches, or 1,753cc, and from where we're sat it looks pretty good. The immediate visual difference between this unit and existing big twin Evo/Twin Cam engines are those rocker boxes with the distinct bulges. But no doubt there will be numerous other distinguishing marks once H-D turn the lights back on. Fuel injection is a given, and each head features dual spark plugs for a more controlled burn. A single counter-balancer shaft is also fitted which, says the factory, "cancels 75 percent of the primary vibration at idle". And the engines are said to run cooler and more efficiently (as you'd expect).
▲ 2016 Street Glide featuring the new 107-cubic inch Milwaukee Eight engine. Full liquid-cooling will be a feature on various other heavyweight tourers in the range.
Details have also been released of a 114-cubic inch (1,870cc) Twin-Cooled variant with liquid-cooled cylinder heads and radiators. This unit will power Ultra Limited models, the Road Glide Ultra, and Tri Glides.
And you can look out for suspension upgrades too such as a new 49mm fork with more sensitive damping (aka “dual bending valve fork technology”), and rear suspension units with much improved pre-load adjustment.
Milwaukee Eight facts
1. The bore & stroke of the 107ci is: 3.937 x 4.375-inches
2. The bore & stroke of the 114ci is: 4.016 x 4.5-inches
3. The crankshaft arrangement is still a "knife & fork".
4. The ignition timing is said to run "more advanced, more often".
5. The compression ratio is 10:1 (107ci) and 10.5:1 (114ci)
6. New "knock sensors" retard the timing upon near instant ECU demand.
7. The crankcase is said to be 23 percent stronger for little extra weight.
8. The idle RPM has been cut from 1,000 to 850.
9. A new alternator supplies 24 - 25 amps at 850rpm.
10. A "self-torque-boosting" clutch has been fitted offering a lighter pull.
11. Bikes without "lowers" (front panels) use "Precision oil-cooled" engines.
12. Bikes with "lowers" (front panels) use "Precision water-cooled" engines.
Harley-Davidson air-cooled "big twins"
F-Head (JD): 1914-1929
Twin Cam: 1999-present
These new Harley-Davidson engines certainly look like winners all round, and we can see Indian and Victory gazing on with both envy and concern. The factory, as ever, has worked hard not only to get the sound right, but to also get the feel right. The counter-balancer, for instance, could have dialled out even more primary vibes. But we understand that Harley-Davidson focus groups have in the past rejected that, so the engineers made the appropriate adjustments to give its customers all the pleasure, but without the pain.
We're looking forward to getting astride one of these as soon as they hit the shores. How about you?
— The Third Man
Over the past decade we've been closely watching the prices rise for Triumph X-75 Hurricanes. Seems like only yesterday you could pick one up for around seven grand. Then these 750s cracked the £10,000 barrier, then £15,000, and more recently £18,000. Last year we heard that someone was asking £21,000, but we never found that seller and never confirmed the sale, so it might have been just idle hearsay.
However, this 1973 bike is now on eBay UK and is looking for £29,999, which is a huge chunk of change, but not necessarily unreasonable in today's classic motorcycle market. It's said to be an unmolested and therefore totally original example. Apparently, it's been in a museum in the USA and was recently brought back to Blighty. The mileage is recorded as 8,362.
If you're interested in acquiring this 43-year old machine, the price (quoted elsewhere on the eBay page as £35,000) includes VAT, and note that the bike is still US registered. Check eBay and look for "freddythefatfrog" operating as Classic Bike Imports trading from Holt Heath, Worcestershire. At least, that's where the bike is said to be located.
This firm seems to have a lot of other classic stuff on its site. We don't know them, so check 'em out for yourself sometime. But come back here soon after.
Meanwhile, check here for more images of, and information relating to, the X-75 Triumph Hurricane.
— Big End
Harley-Davidson has just been massively fined for selling its Screamin' Eagle Street Performance Tuner ignition remapping modules. The implications could be huge. See: Sump August 2016 Motorcycle News...
We ain't ashamed to admit it. We like the 1970s Scottish pop band, The Marmalade, and we don't want any treatment for it. The group was formed in Glasgow in 1961. Originally their name was "The Gaylords", and we figure they're glad they changed that in time and settled on "The Marmalade" (albeit with a brief stop-over as "Dean Ford and The Gaylords").
That said, there's something of an irony here because "The Gaylords" was, and still is, actually a notorious Chicago street gang as opposed to ... well, whatever else you might have been thinking.
Anyway, The Marmalade (variously referred to simply as "Marmalade") enjoyed a string of hit records between the 1960s and the 1970s including Cousin Norman; Reflections of my Life; Radancer; Baby Make it Soon; and Wait for me Mary-Anne. But the band's only UK number one was their cover of Lennon-McCartney's OB-LA-DI, OB-LA-DA. The group also enjoyed some success in the US charts, and we're pleased to say that this combo is still active on the nostalgia circuit.
▲ The Marmalade was never The Jam. But they had some great pop moments in the 60s and 70s. Follow the trail and you'll see some interesting loose, and not so loose, musical connections (Alan Parsons Project, Badfinger, and Matthews' Southern Comfort).
Well, we've just spotted a YouTube documentary that will perhaps entertain and amuse the Marmalade advance guard which includes many Sumpsters. It's been there since 2012, but for all the usual reasons we don't get around the Tube as much as we used to.
The image at the top of this news story is snatched from the video, but there's not actually anything on motorcycling aside from the one segment of the members sat astride Harley-Davidsons.
Still, the 39-minute film is a nice insight into a band that, in one form or another, has endured over decades. We make this qualification because none of the original members (Patrick Fairley, William Junior Campbell, Dean Ford, Raymond Duffy, Graham Knight) are still onboard the project. Instead, you can think of the current group in much the same way as you might think of Meriden-to-Hinckley Triumph inasmuch as the faces are different, but the spirit is the same and the show rolls on.
If you want to check out the video, search YouTube for "Marmalade Documentary". If it's still there, you'll find it.
— Del Monte
Summer's already coming to an end, and the days are drawing in. Unless you're planning to jet off to the sun, the only reliable antidote we know for the shock of another approaching winter is an autumn inoculation, and you can get your shot at the Romney Marsh Bikejumble which takes place on 18th September 2016 at Hamstreet, Kent.
Aside from the riding delights of Romney Marsh itself, you can expect indoor and outdoor stalls, plenty of new and used spares through which to browse, the usual refreshments, seating in a large marquee, and free parking. Bring your dog, but please make sure the mutt is jumble-trained and doesn't cock a leg or otherwise disgrace himself/herself, etc (ditto for the wife/hubby and kids).
There will also be a BikeMart display-to-sell area with free pitches for private vendors, or ten quid for the pros (and you're advised to book asap to ensure a spot). And while we remember, there will be a bike auction starting at noon. To enter a bike is free. The sales commission is 10% up to £500, then just 5%. Following this link for more on the Romney Marsh Bike Auction.
Admission to the jumble is a very modest £4. £3 for over 65s. Free to under 16s. It starts at 10am.
We said this before, but it bears repeating; this is great biking country, and you're strongly advised to head on down to Dungeness afterwards and chill-out by the sea. This area is supposed to be Britain's only desert. But whether that's true or not, it's still got a great vibe. Just remember to get that Romney Marsh Bikejumble inoculation. Winters can turn pretty nasty...
Telephone: 01797 344277
— Queen of Sump
It's more than a rumour, but slightly less than a fact. However, it certainly appears that Harley-Davidson is about to release details of a new 8-valve V-twin motor dubbed the Milwaukee-Eight.
The new engine's capacity, as the image suggests, is 107-cubic inches. That translates as 1,753cc. The reasoning, as we understand it, is simply to ensure that the new V-twin is Euro-4 compliant and also meets the ever more stringent US emissions regulations. The bikes featuring this engine are expected to enter production in 2017.
There's nothing else to say at present, aside from the fact that the image above was leaked by the factory, or otherwise. But we added the logo and a few valves for illustrative purpose. So until H-D actually tells us that a new four-valve-per-head engine is coming, we'll treat the information accordingly.
More news as and when, etc...
— Del Monte
There's a story doing the rounds that Dot Motorcycles currently operating from the old factory in Ellesmere Street, Hulme, Manchester is about to close. Well we checked, and it seems that it's both true and untrue.
Roy Dickman, who for decades has been keeping Dot owners supplied with whatever spares he can lay his hands on, today explained that he certainly is looking to downsize, but a shift isn't exactly imminent. The move, if and when it comes, could be a month away, or two months, or longer. In fact, he's been mentally moving out for the past few years, and it might be a few more before it happens.
But Roy is 76 years old and, like most of us, he's feeling the creaks and aches. So it's time to rethink the whole project. However, suitable properties at the right price and in the right shape are hard to come by, and then there are the practical difficulties of moving. Consequently, his relocation continues to be a work in progress.
Early this year, we reported that his premises had been raided which resulted in the loss of numerous precious bikes, tools and equipment.
Well those bikes have yet to be recovered. So please take a look at our news item and see if you can help. The purloined bikes included a Triumph and a BSA, and they've got to turn up somewhere.
But what's going to happen to the old factory building? To be demolished? Rented out? Converted? Left empty? We put that question to Roy who said, a little wryly, "That's a bit cheeky, isn't it?"
While you ponder that response, here's a link to the Dot factory motorcycle theft story.
— Queen of Sump
According to the Scottish rozzers, these bikes are actually "Safety Camera Motorcycles" not "Speed Camera Bikes". Semantics aside, we all know what we're talking about, and that's the issue of more speed cameras positioned at the roadside intent on nicking all who refuse to obey the posted limits.
Motorcyclists, say the police, are not the intended targets of this new two-wheeled initiative. However, their press release advises us that:
"... [whilst] motorcycles account for only 1% of all traffic on the road, they also account for 13% of fatalities."
— and the press release adds...
"It is hoped that this [camera] motorcycle will resonate positively with the biking community, highlighting that they are travelling on some of our most dangerous routes and influence riding behaviour accordingly."
— which is basically another way of letting us all know that it takes a biker to catch a biker, and these camera/safety bikes are going to be positioned in or around the usual roadside killing fields that would otherwise be awkward for larger speed/safety camera vans (i.e. behind bushes, litter bins, and possibly billboards, etc).
Actually, we're not entirely unsupportive of this initiative. All of us want to either speed when it suits us, or otherwise muck around on the road. It goes with the biking/motoring territory. And some of us (naming no names, but we've got them on the list) take it too far and often put others at risk, if not in the cemeteries.
Ultimately, the status quo is going to change, either through more cameras or through direct control of motor vehicles via autonomous systems or satellites or whatever. But the 1,713 people killed on the roads in 2013 (the latest figures we could find as we penned this news item) is still way too high, and pretty much all of it is due to speeding and stupidity (which some would say is pretty much the same thing).
The amazing thing is, of course, that so few people are killed. And that's a testament not to how sharp we are behind the handlebars or the steering wheels, but how good the design engineers are at creating traction control gizmos, pin sharp braking systems, safety shells and suchlike that keep us alive.
Now check these figures to see which way the wind is blowing which is in fact improving hugely overall.
UK Motoring fatalities, year by year
2000 3,409 - 0.4%
2001 3,450 +1.2%
2002 3,431 - 0.6%
2003 3,508 + 2.2%
2004 3,221 - 8.2%
2005 3,201 - 0.6%
2006 3,175 - 0.9%
2007 2,946 - 7.1%
2008 2,538 - 13.8%
2009 2,222 - 12.5%
2010 1,850 - 16.7%
2011 1,901 + 2.8%
2012 1,754 - 7.7%
2013 1,713 - 2.3%
Meanwhile, the government clearly has a moral obligation to protect people from the stupidity of others, and if those authorities can't afford to put more officers on the beat and on patrol (which is a given), they'll have to achieve their ends by other means whether fair or foul. Let's get real.
And yes, people will argue that speed isn't a factor in road accidents. But the hard truth is that speed is ALWAYS a factor. Ask Isaac Newton. And that's why the camera/safety bikes are on the roll along with the vans and prowl cars. So the choice is ours to either slow down, pay the man, or get lucky.
We don't have any information yet about the English, Welsh or Northern Ireland police following suit. But it's odds on that it's coming to a road near you. And if and when you do get your lead jerked, don't be surprised to hear the police officer politely tell you that, "I'm therefore going to give you a safety ticket, Sir..."
Perceptions are everything, huh?
— Sam 7
You know how it is when you're prepared to sell your soul to satisfy your latest must-have motorcycle obsession (but can't find a convenient devil to negotiate the trade?) Well that's how it is for us whenever a Crocker motorcycle comes up for sale as this example is about to on 18th - 20th August 2016 at Monterey, California, courtesy of Mecum Auctions.
This particular example is a 1938 model built by Albert Crocker at his factory at 1346 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles, California USA. Commonly referred to as a "Small Tank" Crocker due to the 2.5 gallon (US) capacity, this 61-cubic inch/1,000cc OHV, 45-degree V-twin was, and probably still is, good for around 110mph—with, it's said, a money back guarantee if any Crocker owner is beaten by a rider on a standard Indian or Harley-Davidson.
The AJS & Matchless Owners Club is raffling the above 1959 650cc Matchless G12. The tickets are £1 each. The draw will take place on 27th November 2016 at the Motor Cycle Live Show at the NEC, Birmingham.
Tickets can be bought online, and at the time of writing 3,020 are available via the web. However, these sales will close on 20th November 2016. After that, you'll need to put pen to paper and write to the membership secretary.
Postal applications to:
AJS & Matchless Owners Club
Unit 3, Robinson Way,
Telford Way Industrial Estate,
Telephone: 01536 511532
Here are the other prizes:
2nd: A brand new AJS 125cc Euro motorcycle
3rd: A voucher for £100 for AMOC spares
4th: 1 year's subscription to Classic Bike Magazine
5th: 1 year's membership AJSMOC
The club also advises that if you win either bike, you'll have to make your own arrangements to collect it, etc.
— Queen of Sump
Remember when The Sweeney hit the TV screens back in 1975? If you do, you might want to sit down while you read this because those bones could probably use a rest. The underlying news is that the man above (centre) is Tom Clegg, director of some of the greatest British TV shows, who has died aged 81.
Quite simply, The Sweeney was the most exciting British cop show bar none. We can't think of anything that even comes close to the impact of this classic TV series about the legendary Flying Squad, those seriously hard men of Scotland Yard. Popular folklore reminds us that when this show was being broadcast, you could never find a copper on the beat or in a patrol car or examining bones at a murder scene.
They were all at home or down at the nick watching the action unfold and, allegedly, wondering how much closer to the truth it could get (which apparently wasn't much closer).
Chief inspectors, politicians and the usual tut-tuttists were said to be appalled at the behaviour of this mob of semi-anarchic coppers who observed the rules only to see how far they could be bent out of shape. To Jack Regan (played by the late John Thaw) and George Carter (played by Dennis Waterman), you were either a citizen or a villain. There were no grey areas. No concessions. And if you were a villain, you were fair game for a beating. Or worse. And ever trying to keep this crime fighting duo in line was the late Garfield Morgan (as Detective Chief Inspector Frank Haskins).
What added much spice to the show was the fact that the real Flying Squad had, during that period, been heavily censured for bribery and corruption and being a little too cosy with the nation's villains. And heads were about to roll.
▲ Dennis Waterman staring as Terry McCann in the hit show Minder. The cars from this TV series recently sold for big money. See Sump Classic Bike News March 2016 for details.
Tom Clegg was the man who got The Sweeney up and running. It began in 1974 with the pilot show called Regan. Soon after, Thames Television's Euston Films division got the green light and Regan & Carter hit the streets in a way that had never been seen before.
Gone were the old trench coats, trilby hats and middle class accents. The Sweeney (or Sweeney Todd in cockney rhyming slang, a reference to the fictional demon barber of Fleet Street) wore parkas and leather jackets and spoke with street-level London accents.
The Sweeney, created by Ian Kennedy Martin, was eminently watchable then, and is still very watchable today. It ran until 1978 over four series' of 50 minute episodes. And then, wisely (or at least fortuitously) it was scrapped before it outlived its welcome.
But Tom Clegg had much more than The Sweeney in his portfolio. He also directed episodes of:
Van der Valk (first aired in 1972 starring Barry Foster)
Space 1999 (1975 - 1977 starring Martin Landau and Barbara Bain)
The Professionals (1977 - 1981 starring Martin Shaw and Lewis Collins)
Return of the Saint (1978 - 1979 starring Ian Ogilvy)
Sweeney 2 (1978, movie starring John Thaw and Dennis Waterman)
Minder (first aired in 1979 and starring Dennis Waterman)
McVicar (1980, movie starring Roger Daltrey)
Bergerac (1981 - 1991 starring John Nettles)
The Chinese Detective (1981 - 1982 starring David Yip)
Sharpe (1993 - 1998, Napoleonic War series starring Sean Bean)
Bravo Two Zero (1999, two-part movie)
Rosemary & Thyme (2003 staring Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris)
That's not a comprehensive list. Clegg's name appeared in the credits of numerous other TV shows and productions.
He was born in Kirkham, Lancashire. His parents ran a shop repairing shoes, boots and clogs. A grammar school boy, Clegg later did a stint of National Service in Singapore with the RAF.
He later studied photography and found work as a cameraman, first for Granada and then for ABC. Among his early work was a production for the Hammer House of Horror series entitled Children of the Full Moon starring Diana Dors and Christopher Cazenove.
In 1957 he married, and was later separated from his wife, but remained close friends. She died earlier this year. Tom Clegg is survived by his two sons. The next time you watch an episode of the Sweeney, you might want to look for Clegg's name. It's nice to keep the dead alive as far as is possible, especially when they put so much into the lives of the rest of us.
It began as an upbeat crowdfunded start-up firm promising a new high-tech crash helmet with 360-degrees vision coupled to a heads-up display, and has (apparently) ended in collapse and the threat of litigation.
The news broke a couple of weeks ago that Skully CEO and co-founder Marcus Weller and brother Mitch had parted from, or been ousted by the firm. Then there was loose talk of bankruptcy. Then news broke that Marcus Weller had been asked to sign a confidentiality agreement preventing him from discussing business with existing investors. Then we heard that the website was to be shut and that operations/sales would cease. And now we hear that a legal action has been launched in San Francisco by a former employee against the Wellers alleging misuse of funds. And there's plenty more talk and rumour bubbling away, suffice to say that some of it might even be true.
Whatever's going on, Skully has certainly been beset with problems, largely related to the firm's inability to deliver the goods. And there have been numerous problems regarding investors and capital assets and a compromised deal with the Chinese
The bottom line is that it's all become a dog's dinner, and unless someone pulls a very smart rabbit from a hat filled with cash, it's all over bar the court judgments.
At the time of writing (11th August 2016), the website is still up and running. But we're not sure about the rest of the company.
See: Sump Motorcycle News September 2015
— Sam 7
You can view it a harmless bit of girl power fun from the organisers. Or you can view it another cynical objectification of women by the commercial supporters. Or you can view it as desperate marketing by all involved. Either way, Triumph Motorcycles Ltd is clearly hoping to cash in on the recent Babes Ride Out UK event at Merthyr Tydfil, Wales (5th - 7th August 2016) and was a leading sponsor.
This "Ladies Only Campout" originated in the USA and was also sponsored by Triumph (of America). What started as a "no frills" tent party on a dry lake bed has over the past few years grown from an assembly of 50 to a gathering of around 1,200.
All girls, of course.
Or babes, if you prefer.
We were however surprised to see that Triumph had lent its support for this event. Hinckley Triumph generally takes a fairly responsible view towards its business and marketing ventures, so why was the Leicestershire-based firm backing a gathering for "babes" as opposed to an event simply for "women" or "girls"?
We contact the Big T and were promised a return telephone call from UK and Ireland Manager Martin Hough only to have that option closed in favour of being asked to submit questions by email.
So we did as requested and began by suggesting that the term "babe" has been variously defined as:
An innocent or naive person
A young woman, especially one considered sexually attractive
And we added that "babe" is variously used as a synonym for:
Therefore, does Triumph Motorcycles feel that its support for the event is likely to alienate those female riders who (a) don't consider the term "babe" very PC, and (b) might not generally consider themselves as a "babe" and will therefore avoid the event (and by implication Triumph Motorcycles)?
We also asked if Triumph is likely to reconsider its future support for the babe bash and whether we could look forward to a few more patronising, non-PC and inherently discriminatory sponsorships from our favourite motorcycle manufacturer?
▲ Triumph Motorcycles has vehemently denied that it's developing a new Babeville model in fetching pink. Said a Triumph spokesbabe, "That colour is in fact Vagina Magenta."
In return, we were emailed by Nigel Land, Global Head of marketing (or should that be Global Hunk of Marketing?) who wrote glibly:
"The link below [www.babesrideout.com] will take you to the Babes Ride Out website and you can clearly see that neither their aim nor the result of their activity is intended to objectify women, it in fact empowers the female riders to share their collective passion and experiences of riding and encourage greater participation.
"Our belief is that this group is focussed and passionate about their role as a riding group for female riders to meet with likeminded people and to share their passion for biking. We already support them in the US, so when they proposed a ride in the UK it was a natural extension of this relationship. We share their aims to further open up the world of motorcycling through inclusive (isn't that exclusive? - Ed) communities.
"Please note that their name and identity was established well before we at Triumph became involved and supported their activity. As with many events and groups we are engaged with including The Bike Shed and The Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride, we neither influence nor direct their naming, branding or communication."
Don't misunderstand us. At Sump, we're not very PC either and tend to say whatever we think whenever we think it, regardless. And naturally, it is possible to overdose on political correctness (and to that end, most of us could probably use a brief sojourn in rehab).
But Triumph Motorcycles is a global player turning over millions of pounds and frequently deals in sensitive issues, not least due to its various overseas manufacturing plants that employ workers with unique customs, religions and local sensibilities. Consequently, you might expect someone at Hinckley to have considered the connotations and use of the phrase "Babes on Bikes" which ultimately, if you pare it to the raw meat of the matter, actually means Vaginas on Wheels (Hey, I like the sound of that - Ed). But the wholly unsubtle word "babe" is evidently viewed as harmless both by the organisers and the sponsors, but not by thousands, or millions, of other women who consider it demeaning, deeply patronising, belittling and therefore offensive. Worse still, many women will consider it a stab in the back by members of their own gender.
That doesn't mean that all men, or women, view "babes" in that light. Far from it. But enough people evidently do, and you have to wonder why the term "babe" was used at all if it wasn't intended as a sexualised objectification. The ride could have been called "Ladies on Wheels", or "Girls on Bikes" or whatever. But of all the possible alternatives, "babes" was selected, and there's a reason for that.
Of course, Triumph has for years been busy selling its wares to Penises on Wheels, cunningly disguised as sales to men. Or boys. Or lads. But in this more sensitive era when words, terms and phrases and apt to detonate without warning, you might have expected Bloor's Bozos, Bimbos, Beefcakes and Skirts to be a little more savvy, if only to ensure that the firm's treasured PR stash doesn't suddenly vanish.
Now, is our ignition a little too far advanced over this issue? Or has Hinckley carelessly ridden through something unpleasant?
Footnote: The Babes Ride Out event is presented by VC London, a girls-only motorcycle club/collective. We wondered why the club was called "VC" rather than the more usual "MC". It soon transpired that the "V" stands for "Vicious", and you can figured out for yourselves what the "C" stands for.
Check this link for more on the "Babes" organisers
This is Indian's new Scout flat tracker designed to kick dirt in Harley-Davidson's face and propel "America's first motorcycle company" (their words, not ours) all the way to the winner's podium (on the dirt ovals if not the showrooms).
The bike has been designated as the FTR750 which, Indian advises us in case we couldn't figure it out, stands for Flat Track Racer (but what the "750" means is anyone's guess, huh? - Ed).
The bike has just been unveiled at the 76th Sturgis Rally in South Dakota, USA. Two surviving members of the legendary Indian Wrecking Crew trio, Bobby Hill and Bill Tuman, were at the event to lend credibility to the moment. But Ernie Beckman passed away in 1999—and that's Tuman's #51 displayed on the bike which was the last time a guy riding an Indian won the US Grand National Championship in ... well, 1953. Still, Indian Motorcycles, owned by Polaris Industries, is hatching plans to put that right asap.
The bike features a "high-revving, custom V-Twin engine developed in-house and wrapped in a unique steel frame that allows for a tight wheelbase, large centrally located airbox and unique lightweight carbon fibre body."
So that's pretty much par for the course and, in itself, isn't too much to get excited about. Nevertheless, plenty of motorcyclists are already getting aroused about this motorcycle, not least due to its svelte-ish looks, but to us it doesn't look particularly wonderful.
Of course, the acid-test is how well (or badly) it performs, and that won't be known until it lines up on the grid with the competition, none of whom have been sitting back idly playing with their tools.
Meanwhile, the FTR750 will be posing for snaps at the AMA Paddock at the Black Hills Speedway during the fans walk, and it will also be shown in the Indian Motorcycle factory display on Lazelle Street throughout the Sturgis Rally week.
See Sump Classic Bike News June 2016 for more on this bike.
For decades, California motorcyclists have been splitting lanes: i.e. motoring between traffic lanes. It hasn't exactly been entirely legal, but the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has long turned a blind eye to it provided the splitting was handled "sensibly". In fact, the CHP and the Department for Motor Vehicles (DMV) both posted website guidance on how to behave when passing through that potentially lethal space between rolling traffic. In essence, lane-splitting was not treated as illegal. And neither was it formalised by legislation.
But guess what? Someone complained. And that someone reckoned that the CHP had no business making policy on the hoof. The law is the law, and that law must be enforced by the appropriate enforcers. Etc. So in 2014, the CHP and the DMW removed their website guidance making it less clear what the legal, or illegal, position was.
Fast forward to 2015 and enter California State Assembly member, Bill Quirk (Democrat, City of Hayward) who introduced AB51; a bill that, if and when passed, would make lane splitting legal. Formally. Officially. Undisputedly.
The original draft of the bill suggested that bikes should be moving at no more than 15mph faster than the vehicles being passed, and travelling at no more than 50mph under any circumstances.
However, after much lobbying from interested parties (both pro and against AB51), the bill was redrafted and simplified. What was left was a simple definition of what constituted a "lane" leaving CHP to handle the specifics. It's vague, but it's more concrete than it's ever been, and it means that riders can't automatically be penalised for doing what comes naturally in traffic flows.
The bill still has to be officially signed into law by California Governor Jerry Brown (that's Brown on the right, and that's Quirk on the left). But seeing as on Thursday last (4th August 2016) there was a vote on the bill that saw 69 members in favour of it and zero members voting against, it looks like Jerry Brown's monicker is a forgone conclusion.
But there's always that wild card.
What it means is that California is the first state in the union to make lane-splitting law, formally speaking—and where California goes, other states usually follow sooner or later.
But that doesn't mean that motorcyclists can't be nicked for dangerous riding. And if you check YouTube and look for...
Crazy!!!! Lane-splitting & Motorcycle Accident
... and you'll see a good example of what happens when lane-splitting goes awry (but you'll have to watch for 5 minutes and 50 seconds before you see the biker get his come-uppance for riding like an idiot). We grabbed a couple of stills as shown above.
Given the footage on YouTube, and given the number of motorcycle accidents on California's roads, what was the rationale behind legalising lane-splitting?
Simply that riding between vehicles when stationary or moving is, on balance, viewed as safer. Yes, some riders will push it to the limit, and beyond, but rear-end smashes are also commonplace, and anyone who rides a motorcycle knows that it's often far safer to be threading sensibly through the melee on high alert, than to trundle along sleepily in the crush. It's the difference between active biking and passive biking.
There have been arguments from rider groups worldwide that lane-splitting also helps relieve congestion. But that's a trivial consideration. There are simply way too few bikes to make any significant impact on traffic density and flow. The active biking issue is, we feel, far more persuasive.
The state of Nevada recently came close to making lane-splitting legal (AB236). Washington state has a bill on the hotplate. Proponents in Texas, Arizona have tried to introduce lane-splitting bills, but for various reasons they've all failed (timed-out/vetoed). Oregon is considering it. Utah is set firmly against it.
Australia, meanwhile, has laws in some states that allow lane filtering, but not lane-splitting. While other Oz states have laws expressly against it, or no specific law one way or the other.
Lane-splitting in New Zealand is common, and the police appear to be fairly relaxed about it if the manoeuvres are handled sensibly.
In Canada, lane-splitting is viewed as extremely dangerous, but it's not clear if there are any specific laws against it.
Finally, lane-splitting is something we take for granted in the UK where the practice has always been (generally) accepted. Long may that continue.
— Big End
Thor Motorcycles of Bodmin, Cornwall are inviting everyone and anyone to mosey on down to their emporium on Saturday 6th August to test ride bikes from their Indian and Victory range.
We don't know the firm, and we've no connection with them. But it looks like they've got a pretty sophisticated set-up down there, and Cornwall's a cool place to be at any time of the year, but especially around August.
Thor Motorcycles is heavily into British bikes (new and used), American bikes (also new and used), and custom bikes (not necessarily in that order). And they'll build you a complete custom bike to order (see the chopper image at the top of this story). Other services include servicing, repairs, MOTs, welding, and the sale of general motorcycle accessories and motorcycle clothing.
But this coming weekend (6th August 2016, remember) is more about demo riding the latest Victorys and Indians, so take along some ID and your licence. The demo hours are 10am - 4pm.
Telephone Thor on: 01208 831774
— Del Monte
The terrorists are winning. That's not likely to be a popular viewpoint among Joe Public or even Joe Biker. No one, after all, wants to be on the losing side. But that appears to be exactly where the UK is at the moment with the deployment of these new "elite" motorcycle cops toting pistols and machine guns, and a few other nasty gadgets.
It's called Operation Hercules.
The cops will be riding shotgun (and machine gun) on BMW FG800GS bikes and prowling the UK capital's streets ready to pounce when the next lunatic with a grudge goes on a rampage. However, whether the new ballistic bobbies can react faster than, say, someone detonating a suicide vest, remains to be seen. But at least they'll be able to provide a reassuring presence after the carnage.
▲ Armed and extremely dangerous. But when you've really got to blow yourself to bits in a shopping mall, these artillerymen will be no more than a few minutes behind and ready to hog the press cameras...
The terrorists are winning because it's them who are calling the shots, literally. The fear of an attack is pretty much a constant factor of daily life in half the cities around the planet. And the terrorists know and exploit it. But with this gun-ho and masked mob, our fears can now be kept on the boil, not least when the latest campaign of roadside checks get under way and we find ourselves routinely staring at the barrel, if not down the barrel, of a SIG carbine or a 9mm Glock.
Mistakes are inevitable.
Six hundred of the new high visibility rozzers will be based in London. That's for starters. More are set to follow and will be deployed at other likely cities. Of course, when Birmingham and Manchester are in lockdown with wall-to-wall armed police, there's always fertile murder ground to be had in Eastbourne, Norwich, Harrogate, Skegness and maybe even Nether Wallop and Chorlton-cum-Hardy.
This isn't really about effective policing, and we'll get very poor bang for our buck. This is probably really about using the terrorist threat as an excuse for Bernard Hogan-Howe (London's Commissioner of Police, to lobby for more (much needed) cash for more coppers whilst providing the beautifully persuasive illusion of meaningful public security. Whereas the chances are that new recruits would probably be more effective, in the wider scheme of things, when deployed on more routine and trivial matters like murder, rape, slavery, armed robbery and suchlike.
Don't misunderstand us. We need armed police to keep shooting back. But that's not the same as having a militaristic force straight out of a comic book prowling the streets scoping for the next threat that will almost always happen someplace else, and usually a few minutes before the emergency services get the alert.
Better to have a force that's quietly and discreetly popping up when the need arises rather than a pumped-up mob of law enforcement officers scaring the bejezzzus out of half the UK population.
Dixon of Dock Green would roll over in his grave.
We hope we're not going to have to retract this story. But Royal Enfield hasn't officially announced the news, neither has Pierre Terblanche's website, and we've lost his bloody phone number again. However, it's being widely reported that Terblanche has resigned less than two years after joining RE, and his Wikipedia page has echoed the news (not that we ever use Wikipedia - Ed).
A South African famed among motorcyclists for his work with Ducati and Cagiva, 60-year old Terblanche was based at Royal Enfield's new R&D centre in Leicestershire where he held the position of Design Director. He's also worked for Confederate, Moto Guzzi and Volkswagen.
In recent years, Royal Enfield has been heavily investing in new motorcycle designs, new manufacturing facilities, and has been head-hunting the "right" people to further the firms lofty ambitions. So Terblanche's could be viewed as very bad PR. However, there's usually a lot of complicated reasons and politics for these kind of moves, so we're not speculating further. Better to wait for the press releases and then have some fun seeing who's put a more interesting spin on things.
See Sump Classic Bike News November 2014
— Big End
Mortons Media Group has sent us a reminder that Friday 2nd & Saturday 3rd September 2016 is the date for the 2016 Carole Nash Eurojumble aka Netley Marsh.
Charterhouse Auctions will be there at some point hoping to flog a rare 1939 Series A Vincent Meteor restored by Sammy Miller's workshop. The estimate is £50,000.
There should be some club activity too, and therefore the odd bike display. But Netley Marsh is really about buying and selling interesting autojumble stuff which is harder to find these days, but arguably makes the hunt all the more rewarding. Expect to bump into quite a few traders from mainland Europe, not least Holland, Belgium, France and Spain. Use it also as a chance to hook up with dealers and receive parts ordered in the post, etc.
If you haven't visited Netley, it's on the west side of Southampton, Hampshire on, or very close to, the A336. A one day pass will cost you £8 for the Friday and £5 on the Saturday.
2016 is, apparently, the 23rd year for this event.
— Del Monte
Q. When is an Indian Camelback not an Indian Camelback?
A. When it's a 1920 Hayward scooter engine fitted to an unidentified pushbike frame (see image immediately above).
Here's another one.
Q. When is a circa 1922 Indian Boardtrack racer not a circa 1922 Indian Boardtrack racer?
A. When it's an AJS V-twin engine in another unidentified bicycle frame (see the blue bike further below).
These questions arise following H&H Auction's recent "successful" (quote/unquote) sale at Donington Park, Leicestershire on the 28th July 2016 in which eight motorcycles were listed as Indians, of which six were total fakes. Here are the offending bikes: [More...]
Talks are underway regarding the possible sale of Hesketh Motorcycles. The current owner of the Hesketh manufacturing right is Paul Sleeman who, together with 5 staff members, operates from Redhill, Surrey. The last of the promised £35,000 Hesketh 24s has recently been sold, but the bikes still need to be built, which requires funds. Sleeman is also said to have two new models in the pipeline: the Sonnet (image immediately below) and the Valliant.
The sole UK Hesketh dealership is Moto Corsa in Ashmore (near Salisbury) Wilts. It's run by Mike Russell de Clifford. Clifford has been steadily expanding his operation and now believes that he has the capacity to shift Hesketh production to a new location at Gillingham, Dorset.
To that end, billionaire Dr Geoffrey Guy, a Moto Corsa customer who made his fortune through cancer treatment drugs, is reported to have bought the Hesketh name and brand, which is not to be confused with owning the manufacturing rights.
Guy, we understand, will initially be funding the last of the Hesketh 24s. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen how much further the Hesketh project can go. One of the biggest problems has always been finance. But with Guy's big pockets, that could very quickly change.
Hesketh Motorcycles begun in 1980 by Alexander, 3rd Lord Hesketh. The manufacturing of the V1000 started in 1982 and with a couple of years had stalled due to technical and financial problems. Development engineer and test rider Mick Broom bought the remnants and maintained the brand for many years, and even added to it with the Vortan and Vulcan concepts.
Broom sold the rights in 2010. Paul Sleeman was the new owner, and two years later Sleeman announced a new model, the 24, named after the number on the race-winning Formula 1 car driven by British racing driver James Hunt (1947 - 1993). Twenty-four machines were planned.
Moto Corsa (image immediately above, Mike Russell de Clifford centre) was founded in 2004 and was originally based at Three Legged Cross, Dorset. In 2012 the business moved to Ashmore, Wilts. The firm is currently an official dealership for MV Agusta, Brough Superior, Hesketh, Norton, Energica, Moto Guzzi and Aprilia.
Note that much of this information is early reporting and is drawn from conflicting sources. Look out for an update (and possible corrections) as and when.
— Big End
No, we're not talking about that porno site you've been locked into for the past few years. We're talking about your other favourite site. Meaning this site. We were partly offline for an hour or so this evening, not because we didn't pay the bill again, but because (a) we've recently picked up a LOT of new visitors, and (b) we threw up a lot of graphic-heavy pages this afternoon, and (c) we simply got the bloody bandwidth allocation wrong.
In any case, we're always skating near the edge of the ice, and tonight we fell in. But we climbed straight out and allocated more bandwidth, and no one got hurt. By the end of next month, of course, we expect to have picked up a lot more visitors, and we'll have uploaded a lot more pages, and we'll probably be skating near the edge again.
Such is our lot.
But life's no fun if you don't live a little dangerously (and these days, if you overlook the booze, the motorcycle riding, the silly antics in the garage and our occasional arson binges around the neighbourhood, that's about about as dangerous as it gets for us).
Anyway, apologies if you got a fright and thought we were gawn for good. We just got a little careless. Meanwhile, make sure you've got us bookmarked on your browser, ideally next to your porno stuff. That way, you'll never be more than a few mouse strokes away from complete satisfaction.
Indian Motorcycles has announced updates to the 2016 range of bikes that includes a power restrictor kit making the bike suitable for UK resident A2 licence holders. The kit can be ordered pre-delivery, and it can be subsequently removed when all the test hurdles have been jumped.
It's probably a wise move by Indian and helps underpin the fact that the company is gunning for a younger than traditional market. The A2 licence category currently means that a bike must be at least 395cc; the rider must be at least 23 years old; the engine power must be between 20 and 35kW with a maximum allowed power to weight ratio of 0.2 kW/kg.
The metric stuff is mostly Greek to us (we're imperial guys and girls), but it means the bike you're riding can deliver anywhere between 33hp and 47hp, and it must weigh above 385lbs. In other words, slow and ponderous is fine.
The Indian Scout Sixty was launched in 2016. The "Sixty" refers to 60 cubic inches, which translates to 999cc. The factory claims 78hp with 65 lb-ft of torque @5800rpm. It's also a 60-degree (liquid cooled) V-twin.
— Queen of Sump