It's a 1971 Husqvarna 400 Cross and it used to belong to the late "great" Steve McQueen. That's the headline story. But the underlying news is that the 23rd Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show will take place on Saturday 15th October and Sunday 16th October 2016 at Staffordshire County Showground, and the above "Husky" will be on display.
The bike, we hear, has been preserved exactly as Steve McQueen left it, which includes a couple of spare spark plugs taped to the frame, and the signatures of Bud Ekins and Chad McQueen (son of Steve) scrawled on the air box.
On 25th November 1984, four years after the "King of Cool" died, the bike was sold at the Steve McQueen Estate Auction at Imperial Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. Since then, the Husky has passed through three subsequent buyers before being acquired two years ago by the current owner (or "custodian" if you really must).
We don't have a full account of the prices paid each time the bike was moved on. But we can tell you that in May 2011 it changed hands for $144,500 (£110,925) including buyers premium.
Now, here at Sump we're frequently off-message and off-script, which is perhaps why it strikes us as a little ghoulish every time we hear about this bike being dragged out of a shed or garage and put back on the block for the next round of profit. Don't misunderstand us. Making money is fine, and we're happy to make as much as possible. But the whole this-used-to-belong-to-mcqueen-and-now-i'm-going-to-be-the-next-to-capitalise-on-it is depressing.
We're not big McQueen fans. Actually, we're not fans at all. But we've got no real grievance against the bloke either. We've just overdosed on McQueen mania and could use a break. Nevertheless, being the sentimental and romantic sods that we are, we'd like it if just for once, a more dedicated sounding McQueen fan could actually buy the bloody bike and, hell, even ride it around or something. And we figure that McQueen would approve.
But of course, at these prices that ain't likely to happen. Instead, the Husqvarna is probably going to be dragged out every so often and be displayed like Lenin's cadaver for everyone to have a good gawp before being re-sold to the next investor.
What's that? That's life? Get over it? Well yeah, we know that, and we're mostly over it already. All the same, there's a nasty aftertaste in our mouths, but probably nothing that a few beers won't put right.
Meanwhile, let's not forget Mortons, which owns the Stafford Show and sent us the press release, and is therefore expecting a little publicity payback. So here's another reminder that it's Stafford Showtime again. So expect hundreds of trade stalls and autojumble plots, a special Suzuki Village (featuring "the two RG500s which Barry Sheene powered to world championship success in 1976 and 1977"), trials demonstrations, expert advice in the Restoration Theatre, and of course the Bonhams Sale which, as ever, has some interesting lots looking for new owners.
The Husky, incidentally, was apparently bought by McQueen during the filming of On Any Sunday. And four of the faces from that near-legendary documentary (Dave Aldana, Don Emde, Mert Lawwill and Gene Romero) will be present at Stafford to field questions and tell the tales, etc.
Adult advance ticket prices are £12 for one day (£14 on the gate), and £24 for two days. Advance discount tickets are on sale until 11.59pm on Sunday 9th October 2016. The Stafford Show hours are 9am to 6pm on Saturday, and 9am to 5pm on the Sunday.
Lastly, as you pass by the McQueen Husqvarna, just make sure you remove your cap. In this world, you're supposed to show appropriate respect for the dead, and this is probably as near as any of us will ever get to this much-missed and much-respected actor who's bound to have an airport named after him sooner or later.
We've lost count of how many words we've read on Vincent Motorcycles. 10,000? 100,000? More? Less? Meanwhile, new Vincent publications come around fairly regularly, many promising to offer more than the last, or promising to fill in the gaps, or claiming to present the subject material in a different way.
But we can't think of anything in recent years, Vincent-wise and book-wise, that's told us very much more than we already knew. Not that we're experts, mind. We read, we absorb, and we usually forget everything after the first few beers. There's a limited amount of data you can stuff in your head, huh?
But if something stands out in print, it usually stands out in our noggins. And as we said, nothing very recent has done that.
Well, Veloce Publishing has just released a new book of its own on Vincent motorcycles. The author is long-time Vincent owner, aficionado and serial blogger, Philippe Guyony (that's him immediately above).
The book is sub-headed "The Untold Story since 1946", and the marketing blurb is making a lot of bold promises and claims. But until we actually lay our hands on a copy, we'll reserve judgement. Suffice to say that it's a 400 page tome with 875 black & white/colour images, and Veloce is advertising it on its website at (gulp!) £100.
That's a heap of dosh for any book (and naturally, it's being heavily discounted in the usual monopolised corners of the market). But in our time, we have seen one or two books that really were special and worth a one and two zeros. Or thereabouts. So maybe this is one of them.
But before you decide, we've posted some more info on this book on Sump's Motorcycle News page. Check it out, and then visit Veloce's site.
— The Third Man
The Imperial War Museum (IWM) at Duxford, Cambridgeshire has in recent years been pretty good to H&H Auctions. For instance, last October H&H went to the IWM and flogged a couple of Ferraris with a combined value of £8.5million. And yes, you read that right; 8.5 with another five zeros tagged on. Big numbers for sure, and up there with the best of them.
And in October 2012, H&H also raised a few eyebrows when it flogged a Brough Superior motorcycle for £291,200, a bike that was once the property of George Brough himself, and later VMCC founder Titch Allen. So okay, H&H was expecting around £400,000 for those illustrious wheels. Nevertheless, the sale represents some kind of marker.
Well this year (2016). H&H is fielding a pretty convincing line-up of motorcycles, none of which sends us into a high (or even low) orbit, but one or two bikes in the catalogue are more than mildly desirable.
Take the above 1979 Harley-Davidson XLH1000 Sportster. We had one of these Ironheads when they were new, and they were pretty stupid bikes. The brakes were useless (worst we've ever squeezed). The vicious engine vibration limited excursions to maybe 50 miles max. The generator failed repeatedly. The starter demanded a 100 percent charge (as opposed to 99.9 percent) and still needed a threat with a hammer. The bike didn't handle, didn't crack it on, and flaked paint like dandruff. And if you ever took a peek in the primary case, the oil had turned to emulsion paint. But it was a pretty cool junior Hog at a time when all HDs were very rare on the street, and it attracted exactly the right kind of people (i.e. girls). Most of all, the Sporty made us feel that life was great (as opposed to today when we think life is merely tolerable, but is probably still great).
Well, this example is anticipating £6,500 - £7,500 and is listed as unregistered. We don't know actually what that means. But if the bike has never seen a licence plate, it's a snip at that price. Otherwise, it's probably a little optimistic for a used Sportster of that vintage (but might be a good investment machine). There are no further details yet, but we'll be watching this closely to see if the past thirty-odd years has been kind to these motorcycles, or whether history has no intention of rewriting itself.
In 1979, a Harley-Davidson Sportster such as this cost around £3,400 - £3,600 new. And that helps put the price of the new bikes into perspective where a 2016 883cc Iron costs around £7,500. Not bad for three and a half decades of inflation, especially when the Iron handles (reasonably well), stops (reasonably well) has a rubber-mounted engine, is equipped with a decent alternator, starts like a nagging wife, mostly keeps the oil inside, and returns reasonable performance for an air-cooled, pushrod, single-carbed, environmentally emasculated V-twin.
Beyond that, and more perhaps seriously, H&H is fielding the following:
▲ c1980 Egli-Vincent by Patrick Godet. H&H is expecting to sell this 1,000cc Vinnie for between £50,000 and £60,000. And if you don't fancy blue, there's a near identical one on offer in black.
▲ 2004 Matchless 500cc G50 Beale Replica. In classic racing circles, these lightweight bikes are still contenders. And so they should be. George Beale is an ex-Isle of Man TT winner and a master builder. No details on this bike yet. But that looks like a Ceriani fork up front, and a 6-speed gear cluster in a magnesium case is de rigueur. The estimate is £25,000 - £27,000 which looks about right.
▲ 2011 500cc Tonkin Tornado. If you're looking for a street legal Manx Norton, Steve Tonkin could be the bloke to talk to. Check YouTube for a video of either this bike, or one that's very similar. The estimate has been posted at £25,000 - £27,000. The ultimate British cafe racer? Maybe.
▲ We also like this diminutive 1959 250cc BSA C15S. It sits just right. It looks like easy-going, backroad fun. And C15s generally have a nice, unfussed feel. But in the current market, the £5,500 - £6,500 estimate looks a little strong. Hard to see it fetching anything above £4,000.
You can find The Imperial War Museum at Duxford at the Cambrigeshire end of the M11 motorway around 55 miles north of London. Here's a postcode: CB22 4QR. Great place for a motorcycle auction. Hundreds of classic/WW2 aircraft on display.
— Del Monte
We figured that a diving helmet was an equally appropriate (and more amusing) image for this news story as say, a pair of motorcycle gloves.
That's because the same logic must apply to swimmers and divers as it does to motorcyclists. Meaning that if you're going to ride a bike at any kind of speed, you really ought to wear hand protection of some kind. Likewise, if you're going to splash around in any kind of deep water, you probably ought to wear a diving helmet. Or a snorkel. Or an aqualung. Or a nose clip. Or water wings. Or all of the above.
But should any of these items be compulsory? We don't think so. But the French government evidently does. That's why from 20th November 2016, EVERYONE in France who rides a motorcycle, moped, trike or quadricycle will be compelled to wear hand protection. No ifs. No buts. And that applies to pillions.
If you refuse or forget, the gendarmes will present you with a €68 fine (£58), and you'll cop one point on your driving/riding licence (and God only knows what the froggy rozzers will do if they catch you wearing a burka and no gloves).
French biker groups such as the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC) have naturally thrown up their hands in despair and are looking at ways of fighting this stupid law. Generally speaking, the FFMC feel that wearing gloves is perfectly acceptable and even desirable. And most of their members do. But as ever, it's the compulsory aspect that rankles. That's why they're now showing the French government the finger. Actually eight fingers and a couple of thumbs.
So what can you do about it? Probably not much. Or if it really bothers you, and if you want to ride gloveless for some reason, just play the game and pay the fine if and when you're apprehended. Alternately, if you're not a French resident, just avoid France. Fortunately, touring the country isn't compulsory. Yet.
We don't have details about what kind of gloves are being mandated. Shorties? Gauntlets? Mittens? Armoured? Cotton? Chain mail? But we're assuming that fingerless gloves are a no-no.
But why is the French government doing this? Probably simply as a bit of national window dressing to bolster their road safety credentials and show that they're on the case. And maybe there's a pinch of ordinary Gallic perversity in the mix too.
Can't be long now until all French citizens are compelled to wear Day-Glo clothing at night, parachutes on aircraft, ear plugs at rock concerts, sun block on the beach, and condoms at every conceivable opportunity.
The top selling motorcycle lots at the recent Robert White Collection Sale (Monday 19th September 2016) was jointly achieved by the (immediately above) 1951 Vincent Series C Black Shadow (Lot 564), and a c1921 640cc Megola Touring Model (Lot 610, see further below). Both machines are listed as selling at £82,140, including buyers premium.
"Listed as?" We're simply being cautious here because there looks like one or two inconsistencies on the Bonhams web site that we're still exploring. So as ever, we're stating no more than we know, or believe to be true.
The Shadow was estimated at £50,000 - £70,000, so it comfortably achieved this and more. The late Robert White (see Sump Classic Bike News June 2016) bought the Vincent in 2009 at the Bonhams Stafford Sale. Until that time, we understand that the bike had been in the same family for 46 years, which is an amusing way of disguising the true number of owners (four are listed on the V5). The bike is reported to be in original condition and will require re-commissioning.
Moving on, the (immediately above) radial-engined 640cc Megola was the brainchild of Fritz Cockerell. It was produced in Germany between 1921 and 1925. With no clutch and no transmission, this innovative motorcycle was designed to be started on the stand, and then pushed away taking it from zero-mph all the way to around seventy—although a racing version managed to hit a creditable 85mph.
The frame was essentially a riveted and welded steel box within which (at the business end) resided the fuel tank. The fuel was pumped to a header tank located on the right side of the front fork, and from there found its way into the engine via gravity.
With leaf spring suspension front and rear, the Megola ride was said to be very comfortable, but the torquey engine mounted within the front wheel provided for some interesting and idiosyncratic handling quirks, not least due to the inherent gyroscopic effect. Nevertheless, it was a machine that could be mastered by the stubborn. Megola produced around 2,000 examples. Fifteen original bikes are known to be in existence, with possibly another eight replicas either on the road/museums/sheds, or being built.
This circa-1921 Touring Model was built four year ago and is based upon a genuine Megola engine found in Brno, Czech Republic. The carburettor and magneto, we understand, are also original. The lighting is courtesy of Lucas. But the frame is a replica.
The purchase price of this machine is said to be €180,000 (unless we're reading this all wrong). Bonhams mooted an estimate of £120,000 - £140,000. But on the day, the hammer fell at just £82,140. The sale included numerous restoration photographs, photocopied literature, starting instructions, and the purchase invoice.
Meanwhile, an MV Agusta 500cc 4-cylinder Grand Prix recreation (image immediately above) was expected to achieve £70,000-£90,000, but it sold for just £48,300; well below bottom estimate.
Another MV Agusta, this being a 500cc 3-cylinder Grand Prix recreation (Lot 596), carried an estimate of £80,000-£100,000, but didn't sell.
Beyond that, this 1974 750cc Ducati SS (Lot 574, image immediately above) was expected to find £60,000 - £70,000. But the Duke sold for £52,900, once again below its lower estimate.
The (immediately) above 1,301cc Henderson KJ Four safely achieved its estimate of £35,000 - £40,000 and sold for £40,250. Other American bikes in the sale included:
1920 Ace Four (Lot 569) £49,450
1929 Henderson Streamline Four (Lot 570) £48,300
1940 Indian Four (Lot 571), £40,250
1940 Indian Four (Lot 600) £44,850
1947 Indian (Lot 601) £26,450
1940 Indian Scout (Lot 602) £20,700
And we can't close this news feature without mentioning the (immediately) above Egli Vincent (Lot 582, listed as a 1968/2004 model). It sold for a very creditable £55,200.
We're still awaiting a press release from Bonhams providing greater insight into the sale (which included cameras and motorcars). But certainly, the motorcycle side of this auction looks a little disappointing. If our assessment is correct, it all adds further weight to the suspicion (and it is more a suspicion than a conviction) that the classic bike market is beginning to contract significantly, albeit with some notable highs and gains.
Best not take anything for granted for the foreseeable future, as if any of you ever did...
— The Third Man
Serial speedster Guy Martin once again flirted dangerously with his death wish when, on 18th September 2016, he crashed his Triumph Infor Rocket streamliner at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah bringing an end to his 400mph record breaking attempt. Luckily, he was uninjured. He's already hit 274.2mph on practice runs, which leaves him with around 125mph left to find.
It's not clear what happens now, suffice to say that Martin will no doubt be up and running at the next possible opportunity. The current record stands at 373.63. See Sump Motorcycle News, August 2016 for more on this obsessive exercise in human folly.
— Big End
The National Motorcycle Museum (NMM) is raffling the (immediately) above 1990 588cc F1 Norton in its Summer Raffle (May 2016 - Oct 2016). The draw for this "£22,000" bike will take place on Saturday 5th November 2016 during the Museum Live open day.
Second prize is a 1950 500cc Norton ES2 (image immediately above) which is said to be fully restored and with matching numbers.
Third prize is the usual "luxury classic weekend" at the Windmill Village Hotel which is about six miles from the NMM. Exactly how much more luxurious this is when compared to, say, your cosy front room with your own bed upstairs hasn't been made clear. But it's the thought that counts.
As ever the price of the tickets didn't come down the wire with the press release. But it's probably £2 (we did phone the NMM to check, but typically, no one answered the phone). If you want to try your luck, the contact details are below. The raffle is open only to UK residents.
Lastly, is it smart to raffle two Nortons when there are all those AMC, Ariel, BSA, Triumph and Vincent boys out there, etc? You tell us. That aside, prizes one and two look like a pretty good return for a couple of quid, and someone's gonna get them.
Telephone: 01675 444123
— Del Monte
Alec Sharpe and Rafe Pugh have been up to their stylish old tricks again. We've tried many times to stop 'em, but boys will be boys—and the custom bike boys will be boysier. Come and take a look at their latest creation and see if it does it for you. [Old Empire Motorcycles Snipe...]
This item comes under the sub-heading; "Movies we love". And, more specifically: "Classic British movies we love." We watched it last night, and we're thinking of watching it again this evening. And if there's nothing much happening during the week, who knows?
Why? Because we think this is one of the all time great sci-fi/doomsday movies, not least because it gives us another chance to ogle Janet Munro who gets top billing on the poster, but actually plays a supporting role.
The star is unequivocally Edward Judd who turned up in the odd episode of The Avengers, The Sweeney and The Professionals, but is probably best remembered from The First Men in the Moon, 1964, an adaptation of the 1901 HG Wells story of the same name.
The plot to The Day the Earth Caught Fire is simple enough; Russian and American scientists have detonated test atom bombs on their respective sides of the world. That's knocked the planet out of kilter leading to freak weather conditions and a total shift in the meteorological patterns.
Worse still, things are heating up, both literally and metaphorically for Judd, who plays jaded journo Peter Stenning, a man whose personal and professional lives are in tatters. Then along comes Janet Munro, as Jeannie Craig, to add a love interest (and a fair amount of flesh). It's getting very hot and misty outside, and it's definitely getting steamy in Jeannie's flat.
▲ Edward Judd and Janet Munro in The Day the Earth Caught Fire. Sadly, Munro died aged just 38. But Edward Judd (who, interestingly, was born in Shanghai) reached the respectable age of 76 and died in 2009.
What makes the film especially interesting is that the plot is set around old Fleet Street, one-time heartland of Britain's newspaper industry. As a glimpse into the machinations of the Daily Express HQ, this movie is hard to match let alone beat. To add authenticity, real life and near legendary Daily Express editor Arthur Christiansen plays editor "Jeff" Jefferson. So okay, Christiansen's acting is klunky and he delivers his lines like a speak-your-weight machine. But magically, he gets away with it all and is totally convincing.
Meanwhile, actor and national British treasure (albeit Australian born) Leo McKern (aka Rumpole of the Bailey) plays Bill Maguire, a time-served, competent, pragmatic and reliable old news hack and Peter Stenning's only friend. Between the two men the drama unfolds and we learn that the Earth's nutation (periodic variation of the axis) has been shifted catastrophically. It's going to get warmer and warmer until everyone fries.
The only hope for mankind is that the detonation of more A-bombs, in exactly the right place, will set things right. We could give away the ending, but we ain't going to. And we ain't gonna tell you why, either. Either you already know, or you're going to enjoy it for yourself when you watch it for the first time.
As a glimpse of old London in the very early 1960s just before "the sixties" really kicked off, this movie is wonderfully evocative. There's footage of Battersea Fun Fair (which will be well remembered by many rockers); Chelsea Bridge (another classic rocker haunt); Ludgate Circus; Trafalgar Square; Parliament Square; the old Daily Express building; Whitehall; numerous shots of the London skyline and embankment; and always the river Thames on call.
▲ Edward Underdown, Edward Judd, Leo McKern and Arthur Christiansen discuss the strange meteorological changes that are warming up the Daily Express news room. Underdown was said to be writer Ian Fleming's choice for James Bond. Producer Albert R Broccoli disagreed.
But once again, it's the insights into the Fleet Street press rooms during the exciting hot metal era that make this film work so well. It's gritty, authentic, punishing and atmospheric.
The budget for the film was £200,000; a respectable amount for 1961. The director was Val Guest who also directed The Quatermass Experiment, 1955; Quatermass 2, 1957; Expresso Bongo, 1959; and a couple of dozen other films and TV show episodes. Prolific writer and Bethnal Green boy Wolf Mankowitz penned the screenplay.
There's an amusing cameo of an early Michael Caine playing a uniformed policeman directing traffic, and more acting support comes courtesy of Bernard Braden (remember him, anyone?), John Barron (who plays "CJ" in The Rise and Fall of Reggie Perrin), and Reginald Beckwith (playing the matrimonially challenged publican in the Fleet Street bar).
Yes, there are flaws in the movie. The plot is a little unlikely (although it would have been perfectly believable in 1961 when the power of atomic energy was yet to be fully understood by the public). The action slows a little in places, notably when the director exposes Jeannie's charms (at least as far as the censor would allow) and probes Stenning's domestic problems. And Edward Judd, arguably being more suited to light comic-drama roles, is a little wooden in his performance.
But the dialogue is sharp and incisive. The tension builds believably. The special effects, although often commented on as nothing special, are wonderful (especially the shot of the dried up Thames). And there are any number of social and political themes intertwined in the tale.
For us, it's Leo McKern who adds the necessary gravitas to this movie. Take him out, and we'd give this flick six out of ten. But with him in the frame, this movie gets a nine. And a bit.
— Big End
Speedwear has sent us details of its new Dark Brown wax cotton motorcycle jacket. We haven't actually seen this product in the cloth. Therefore everything we tell you is simply what Speedwear told us.
So here goes...
It's made from "heavy duty twelve ounce brown wax cotton". It's clearly styled along traditional lines, but it's not a three-quarter jacket. It's a shorty designed to fit just over your waistline. There's brown moleskin at the cuffs and collar—and take note that this moleskin has nothing whatsoever to do with a mole, except that it looks and feels like the hide of one of your least favourite garden mammals (it's actually cotton).
The lining is tartan. There's an inside zip pocket. The cuffs have storm flaps. There's a brass zipper and brass roller buckles. You can fit armour if you're a cissy (or you can risk breaking the odd bone like real men). There's the usual reinforced areas here and there. There's a removable pile liner. And the jacket is supplied with "interchangeable flags on the pocket to suit geographic location". We (still) don't know what that's all about, but we're just plebs and have gaping holes in our general and biking knowledge. But it probably means something to someone.
Overall, it look like a fairly decent bit of clobber, especially when you factor in the price which is £119. Sizes are S to XXL.
— Queen of Sump
The British government is said to be looking at a new law aimed at kneecapping white collar crime which is annually costing the economy millions whilst occasionally even threatening the stability of the entire national banking, insurance and related finance industry.
Also referred to as corporate crime, the range of white collar offences includes everything from simple embezzlement, to insider trading, to tax evasion, to creative accounting, to Ponzi schemes (paying dividends to existing investors with monies raised from new investors), to common or garden variety fraud and corruption dodges.
Specifically, the new (mooted) law is intended to make failure to report a (white collar crime) an offence. As it stands, there are few hard statutes compelling bank managers, secretaries, company chairmen, directors and similar to point the finger at whoever's got their fingers in the petty cash, or shifting unusually large sums around the globe. In fact, the existing laws relate only to bribery.
But if the new laws, now being drafted under the Criminal Finance Bill (2016) get the green light, that will change and in due course various (white) collars are likely to get felt. In theory, anyway.
So should you be concerned? Not yet perhaps. But there are a couple of points worth noting. Firstly, such laws could be perilously hard (and expensive) to enforce thereby resulting in an increased burden on all such corporate firms which will inevitably see their costs passed down the food chain to we little people.
Secondly, the suggestion is that there's no point having the home team play fair if the away teams are playing dirty and committing professional fouls. And in the global village, practically all the teams are away teams.
Thirdly, it's inevitable that when the $#!t hits the fan, someone's going to have to carry the burden, and that's as likely to be the weakest link in the chain as the masterminds who originally forged the illegal scheme.
Lastly, such laws would shift the burden of law enforcement from the state to the company and even to the corporate individual thereby helping absolve the government/police/etc of any responsibility, whilst still leaving them with the ultimate power of reprisal (which is never a healthy arrangement).
Moreover, if such laws are introduced, it would undoubtedly help soften us up for other laws compelling us to police our neighbours, which few of us are equipped to do, and which few of us want to do, and which further erodes the necessary demarcation line between the government and the private citizen.
British citizens are already living in a new socio-legal paradigm in which the right to silence has effectively been removed; that is to say, the refusal of an accused to respond to police questions can now be referenced in a criminal trial (as opposed to the laws existing prior to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 which made such reference inadmissible).
British citizens are also now expected to assess, collect and return their own taxes whilst refraining from doing anything to minimise their financial burden (even when such machinations are entirely legal).
British motorists have long since largely accepted the notion that they can be fined purely by number plate evidence captured by a roadside camera thereby leaving them guilty until proved innocent.
Since 2010, a precedent was set depriving British citizens the right to trial by jury in a criminal matter (following jury tampering, a trial was heard only by a judge with no jury present, and the accused were duly convicted).
Beyond that, DNA, fingerprint and photographic information is now routinely collected and stored, with photographs being used by the police on digital line-ups, even when the arrested suspect was released without charge, or was discharged by the courts. And the thorny spectre of identity cards has never been totally exorcised.
Meanwhile, in various countries around the world, private citizens are now obliged to carry breathalysers in their vehicles, and there is talk in some think tank circles suggesting that such a law should be introduced here. For starters.
What it ultimately means is that the line between the politicians, the judiciary, the law enforcers, the revenue collectors and Joe Public is further being blurred leaving us all in a kind of modern self-criminalising, self-policing, self-convicting, and self-sanctioning society more akin to a socialist state than a mature western democracy.
Worried? Maybe you should be. A little, anyway.
— Sam 7
The perfect pre-war British motorcycle? We think so. At least, that's what we're thinking today. Tomorrow, of course, it might be different. It certainly was different yesterday. But right now, on this sunny September afternoon, with the average UK temperature in the high teens or low twenties, we're looking at this beautiful 500cc (actually 498cc) Tiger 100 and thinking that if we had to pick a single motorcycle upon which to pootle around on what's left of this green and pleasant land, we'd probably pick this bike.
The 63mm x 80mm, Triumph Tiger 100 was the sporting version of the seminal Speed Twin that was revealed in 1937 and first sold in 1938. The idea behind the "100" was simple; to create a motorcycle that could be ridden to work five days a week, and on Saturdays or Sundays be quickly converted into a racing steed.
That was why the cylinder head ports were expertly polished. That was why the engine internals were also polished. That was why the pistons were forged high-compression slippers (as opposed the 5T's full skirt items), up from 7.2:1 to 8:1. That was why the silencers were, via detachable end-caps, quickly converted into megaphones.
Other distinguishing features include (but are not limited to) narrower rubber-mounted handlebars, a friction-damped throttle twist grip, a larger oil tank (1.2 gallons instead of 6-pints), a slightly stronger crank, and plenty of extra chrome. New diecast tank badge were also introduced thereby replacing the 5Ts embossed badges.
▲ 1939 Triumph Tiger 100 aluminium-bronze cylinder head. The valves hammered directly into the bronze rather than into valve seats. How many of these heads survive isn't known. But it can't be more than a handful or so. Or can it? Tell us please if you know.
The original 5T Speed Twin featured six studs on the cylinder base. That arrangement certainly worked well enough on a road bike, but it wasn't ideal. The joint was weaker, and oil leaks weren't uncommon. So by '39, that design had been upgraded to eight studs, which is how it was on the first Tiger twins.
The Tiger 100 didn't appear until 1939, and it disappeared when WW2 kicked off. The launch price was around £80. Post war (1946), the T100, now fitted with a telescopic front fork, returned with the price massively hiked to around £180. Understandably, very few were sold in near bankrupt Britain.
Performance-wise, the 5T was no slow poke. On a good day Edward Turner's illustrious parallel twin, could hit around 85 - 90mph. But the Tiger 100 pushed that Smiths needle a little further around the clock to the "magic ton". The 5T was said to be good for 26hp @ 6,000rpm. But the T100 claimed around 34hp @ 7,000rpm.
To further warm up this factory hot rod, an aluminium-bronze cylinder head was an optional extra costing another £5 (roughly one-to-two week's wages for the average UK working man). And that's what makes the above motorcycle so unique. The 1939 Tiger 100 is rare enough, but that race-bred head, designed for better heat dissipation than the standard cast iron 5T Speed Twin item, makes it just that little bit more special.
Handling at high speed, however, was far from perfect. Yes, the Tiger had been created with an updated Speed Twin frame that gave it extra trail. That increased straight-line stability. But it wasn't really enough. However, despite its skittishness on hard bends, the Tiger gave the rider plenty of feedback as opposed to suddenly breaking away. It was largely a case of the devil you know...
Meanwhile, both bikes ran Amal carburettors (up from 15/16th on the 5T to 1-inch on the T100). Both bikes ran Lucas magdynos. Both ran 20-inch wheels (3.25 and 3.50, respectively). Both ran Triumph girder forks. Both ran 7-inch brakes front and rear (with concomitant extra engine braking on the Tiger).
To make the bike visually distinct, Triumph painted it silver, as opposed to the 5T's Amaranth Red.
Bonhams will be selling this restored motorcycle on 19th September 2016 as part of the Robert White Collection. The sale will take place at Bonhams' HQ in Bond Street, London. The estimate is £10,000 - £15,000. Normally we'd say that this is right on the nose. And normally Bonhams gets it right. But lately things have been looking as shaky as a T100 frame. We've seen some large price falls of classic bikes with regard to private sales, trade sales, and auction sales.
Then again, we've also seen some huge and unexpected jumps (witness the recent Triumph Hurricane X-75 that sold for just shy of thirty grand). Generally, the classic bike market has been a little volatile for a while. But currently, we wouldn't advise that you smoke anywhere near it until the fumes clear.
See Sump Magazine's Speed Twin and Tiger 100 Buyers Guide
— Big End
He was the last man killed by the late, great John Wayne; on screen that is. But most of the world will remember him best, if at all, as the man who took the lead role in The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, the US TV western series that ran between 1956 and 1962. We're talking about actor Hugh O'Brian who has died aged 91, which in our book is pretty good shooting.
Until The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, it's said that TV westerns such as The Lone Ranger and The Cisco Kid were always aimed at kids. But O'Brian's Wyatt Earp introduced a new adult TV component to the genre and helped cement the image of the clean-cut legendary marshall with his black frock coat, gold brocade waistcoat, flat brimmed had, stringed tie—and a pair a six guns strapped to his thighs.
The real Wyatt Earp (1848-1929) was a highly dubious character who was apt to operate on both sides of the law when the occasion suited him. But there was little, or nothing dubious about O'Brian. He was born Hugh Charles Krampe in Rochester, New York with Irish, French and German in his blood. During his youth, his family were on the move many times as his father struggled to make a living as a salesman. Eventually the Krampes settled in Chicago.
He was studying at the University of Cincinnati when WW2 broke out. He joined the US Marines, served as a drill sergeant and was demobbed in 1945. Amusingly, the man who would later play the most famous frontier lawman of them all intended to study law and had set his gun sights on Yale. But instead, he drifted into acting and took on a variety of mundane jobs to pay for drama lessons.
Originally he was professionally billed as Jaffer Gray, but later changed his billing to Hugh O'Brian (having misspelled his mother's maiden name of O'Brien). His movie career began with Never Fear (1950) which saw Universal take a liking to him. He was, after all, tall, clean cut, rugged looking and handsome. He had presence too and the camera "liked him". Another 18 movies soon came his way, films in which he played both good and bad guys, and guys who, liked Wyatt Earp, were often somewhere in between.
▲ Hugh O'Brian as Jack Pulford in The Shootist. In the film, Pulford/O'Brian was terminally plugged by John Wayne, but he outlived The Duke by forty years. Interesting how fact and fiction blurs the comfortable truths in life.
Then ABC-TV came along looking for a guy to clean up Tombstone, Arizona Territory in a new TV series, and the consultant to that series promptly nominated O'Brian. Two hundred episodes later, having sorted out the Clantons, the McLaurys and Bill Claiborne at the OK Corral (with the help of brothers Morgan and Virgil, and of course the equally dubious dentist Doc Holliday) O'Brien was one of the most familiar faces on TV and became something of a sex symbol; a kind of Clint Eastwood, 1950s style.
O'Brian later starred with John Wayne in The Shootist (1976), Guns of Paradise (1990, another Wyatt Earp story), The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw (1991) and Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone (1994).
Clearly, the legendary ghost of the frontier marshall had to a greater or lesser degree typecast O'Brian. But he was more than a celluloid cowboy. He also founded the Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) development programme; a non-profit organisation inspired by the missionary Dr Albert Schweitzer (who O'Brian once met). It's said that more than 355,000 young people in 20 countries have benefitted from the scheme.
Hugh O'Brian married for the first time in 2006 at the age of 81. He and wife (Virginia Barber) had been together for many years and finally tied the knot. He survived for another ten years before time took its toll.
He was never the best of the best of his profession, but he was a long way from the worst. Overall, Hugh O'Brian was a reliable and focussed leading man, and a solid and dependable supporting actor.
His fame and celebrity is now rapidly fading (less so in the USA than here in the UK). But we can remember him just a while longer.
One of the perversely satisfying things about getting older is the steady and very deliberate disengagement from popular modern culture.
We've never seen that Strictly Dancing show thingy, for instance. We've no idea who the bloody Kardashians are. And until we downloaded an image from the Distinguished Gents website, we couldn't have picked out Don Draper from a police line up if he was the only bloke in it (see image on the right).
But apparently, he was in some TV show called Mad Men (whatever that is), and he wore a suit and sat on a classic bike or something, and now he's a minor world icon. Consequently, other contemporary blokes want to emulate him, and .... well, beyond that we don't really know what the hell is going on. And we're trying hard not to know, hence the perverse pleasure we're taking these days in matters of cultural isolation (as mentioned above, etc).
▲ This is typical of the kind of bike you'll want to be seen straddling on the Distinguished Gentlemans Ride. It's classic, custom and eye-catching. But we figure that any two wheels will do if you otherwise look the part.
Anyway, the next Distinguished Gentlemans Ride, which is somehow related to all this, kicks off on 25th September 2016, and the organisation is looking for more riders. Ostensibly, the idea behind the event is to raise money for men's health charities. But as ever, it's really just an excuse to dress up in tweeds, grow a handlebar moustache, chug on a pipe and ham it up for whoever happens to be watching. The charity stuff is, as usual, an afterthought.
Still, we've got an interest in men's health (in a low key, cough-cough, let's-not-actually-discuss-it kinda way). So good luck to 'em if they manage to raise some more dosh. We'd take part ourselves, you understand, but there's no way that anyone would mistake us for gentlemen, or ladies. And besides, we've got deep-seated misgivings about self-stereotyping, and we're consciously resisting the trained dog ethic.
▲ Apparently, there are now distinguished ladies on the ride. We don't mind, except that part of the aim of this event, as conceived by Australian founder Mark Hawwa, was to improve the image of blokes on bikes.
▲ Here's another Distinguished Lady, and mercifully she ain't got a moustache. Some would say that this event is really just about trying to look cool, which, of course, is about as uncool as it gets.
However, if you want to take part, there are dress codes (naturally), and you'll need to be riding a classic bike, or a brat bike, or a chopper, or a cafe racer, or similar. The event is sponsored by Triumph Motorcycles (who we have heard of), and Zenith Watches (who we've also heard of, but confused with the carburettor manufacturer), and Hedon helmets (who we upset when we expressed a view about the firm's product), and Undandy (who we've never heard of).
At the time of writing, there are 24,120 riders in dozens of countries, and you could be the next on the list. So far, around $1,000,000 has been raised. But the target is $5,000,000
Wanna be a part of this?
Ambition is a wonderful thing. And a realised ambition is even more wonderful, which is why Davida is pleased to announce a road legal version of its Speedster crash helmet which gets its first airing at Intermot in Cologne on 5th - 9th October 2016.
The Speedster is 26 years old. It's a great looking lid built to a very high specification. In fact, as far as we're concerned, it's always been as good as, or even better than any other open-faced lid on the market. But that all-important road-legal certification has been absent.
Until now. Well, soon...
From 2017 you'll be able to pop one of these on your noggin' safe in the knowledge that the appropriate bureaucrats have stamped it fit for road-going purposes, etc. The specific certification is ECER22-05 & DOT FMVSS No 218. But what that gobbledegook means is that these helmets will put you on the right side of the law when on the street.
Davida call it the Speedster V3, which could be Version 3 or Victory 3, or maybe something more esoteric. We're told that it's got the same low profile composite shell as before, but the manufacturing process has been improved or something. The liner is leather, and you can opt for black, brown or (perhaps appropriately) nut brown.
The lid will be available in 3 shell sizes and 6 helmet sizes from XS (54) to XXL (61). If you want to fit a visor or a peak, you can ask for studs. But it seems a shame to poke holes in this thing just so you can see where the hell you're going.
There's no price yet. But the current Speedster is usually somewhere between £250 and £320. The V3 lid won't be available until 2017, but you can send Davida an email or something and reserve yours. It should be available at most Davida dealers around the world, or buy direct from the Wirral, Merseyside-based manufacturer.
Finally, keep in mind if you will that Davida is a British firm. So buy British whenever you can, etc, especially if you're American (we need to claw back some of those dollars that Google, Amazon, Walmart, ExxonMobil, General Motors, Apple, Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Ford, PayPal et al keep taking from us. What comes around has to go around).
Check this link for more on Davida.
— Queen of Sump
If you're in the neighbourhood of Ipswich, Suffolk (and as far as we're concerned the whole country and a large chunk of Europe is in the neighbourhood) you've got just over four weeks to prepare for the October 2016 Copdock Show.
If you've already visited this extravaganza, you don't need us to tell you what a great day out it is. And if you haven't visited, considered yourself now told. Organised by the excellent Copdock Classic Motorcycle Club, this is by far one of the best shows in the country.
Let's repeat that: This is by far one of the best shows in the country.
Why? Because of the range of entertainment, the quality of the autojumble pitches, the size of the venue, the number of custom, classic and performance bikes on display, the beer, the real ale, the club village, and the general vibe. Last time we went, we had to be dragged out by our ankles. It's a family event, but it ain't all bouncy castles and candyfloss. This is an event for bikers young and old, in spirit if not in body.
And then there are the Suffolk skies which, for some odd meteorological reason, have a special quality (spend some time in that neck of the woods and you'll see exactly what we mean).
▲ Fancy a Triumph Bonnie flat tracker? Well this one (shown here being prepared) is being raffled in aid of The Nook, a children's hospice in Norfolk. 2016 is the 25th anniversary of the Copdock Show, and the prize is intended to mark the moment whilst also doing something for the kids. Look out for tickets at the event. Don't be mean. This is England.
This year's show, as before, is sponsored by CAM Rider. Confirmed attractions include:
Dougie Lampkin MBE
2 Bros +1 Stunt Team
Moto-Stunts International (MSI)
Ken Fox's Wall of Death
Vintage Speedway Cavalcade
The Custom Marquee for "All things custom"
Classic Pre 65 Scramble Bike Cavalcade
Guest of Honour, Jim Redman MBE
Advance tickets are £8.50. On the gate you'll pay a tenner. Accompanied under 14s go free.
If you're looking to rent an autojumble pitch or fancy bringing the club along, contact the organisers.
Unless there's an earthquake on the day (which ain't likely in Suffolk) the chances are that you'll come away with some great memories—and possibly the above Triumph custom if your luck's in.
Go to Copdock.
— Del Monte
The mileage is said to be just 214. It's claimed to have had just one owner from new since 1956. It looks in perfect condition. It's unrestored. It's a greatly underrated and overlooked bike. It was built for the Canadian Army. And it's now back here in Blighty.
£10,000 is the asking price, which makes this the most expensive 500cc TRW sidevalve twin we've ever seen, or ever heard of. Normally, we'd be inclined to think that the seller is a hopeless dreamer. But we're not so sure lately. Classic bike prices are still fluctuating wildly—as witnessed by the Triumph Hurricane X-75 further down this page which, we understand, has just been sold for £29,995 (also via eBay).
The seller of this TRW is Millennium Motorcycles in St Helens, Merseyside. The firm's eBay name is: motorcyclefinder. The bike is on a classified advert, so there's no bidding. You either buy it at the seller's price, or you don't buy it (or you can call them on: 03309 005191 and make an offer).
Today's date, by the way, is: Tuesday 30th August 2016.
If you want to read more on the Triumph TRW, check the link you've just passed. Somewhere on Sump we've posted a buyers guide on this wonderful motorcycle.
There are plenty of spares around. They motor along very nicely. They sound pleasant enough. And we'd be very happy to own one, but not at ten grand.
— The Third Man
Okay, firstly here are the top ten selling lots at the Mecum Auction Sale at Monterey, California on 18th - 20th August 2016.
Lot S143 1939 Brough Superior 11-50 outfit: Sold for $160,000
(Est: £275,000 - $350,000)
Lot S32 1942 Indian 442Four Cylinder: Sold for $121,000
(Est: $200,000 - $250,000)
Lot T148 1913 Excelsior Twin: Sold for $100,000
(Est: $125,000 - $150,000)
Lot F132 1915 Harley-Davidson J Model: Sold for $97,500
(Est: $95,000 - $125,000)
Lot F176 1939 Indian Four: Sold for $95,000
(Est: $95,000 - $100,000)
Lot S153 1914 Flying Merkel Twin: Sold for $85,000
(Est: $150,000 - $175,000)
Lot F175 1912 Indian Racer: Sold for $80,000 (image immediately above)
(Est: $80,000 - $90,000)
Lot S23 1910 Harley-Davidson Single Belt Drive: Sold for $72,000
(Est: $55,000 - $75,000)
Lot S38 1916 Harley-Davidson 16T V-Twin Board Track: Sold for $50,000
(Est: $40,000 - $55,000)
Lot S12 1913 Indian Single Board Track Racer: Sold for $50,000
(Est: $35,000 - $45,000)
We don't know what to make of this sale. Some bikes sold way below their estimate. Other's were spot on. A 1938 Crocker was expected to fetch between $300,000 and $350,000, but it remained unsold.
A 1935 Brough Superior 11-50 (see image immediately above and check Sump Classic Bike News August 2016) was expected to be the top selling lot, and so it was. But the optimistic $275,000 - $350,000 estimate realised "just" $160,000 (£122,000), which must greatly disappoint Mecum.
Meanwhile, a 1942 Indian 442 (immediately above) sold for way below its bottom estimate ($200,000 - $250,000) and changed hands for $121,000. But note that we had originally penned an estimate of $120,000 - $130,000, which is either our mistake, or it suggests that Mecum raised the estimate after we'd ran our story. We're seeking clarification on that point.
To put it all in context, we're also seeing a lot of other stuff in the USA and elsewhere around the world either selling for "crazy" prices, or not selling at all. If this is a reflection of wider economic fears, it's a little troubling, but not yet anything to get aerated about.
On the plus side, we took a special liking to the unrestored 1912 Indian racer (Lot F175) which is said to be 90 percent original and still showing some of the factory paint. The Indian lettering on the tank, however, looks a little too perfect and suggests that someone in the not too distant past has been busy with a lettering brush. But most of the rest looks fairly "honest" and has the right patina.
Evidently someone at the sale agreed and paid $80,000 which was a direct hit on the bottom reserve. The original seat, front rim and tyre were included in the sale.
We're still awaiting an official report on the sale from Mecum.
— Big End
This isn't really news, but we've got a smoking press release in the inbox which serves as a reminder to all of us when we're on our bikes and loitering around traffic lights.
A new study (yawn) by the University of Sussex reckons that if you shut your car windows and switch off the heating/ventilation fan when you're sat at the lights, you'll cut your intake of noxious hydrocarbons and suchlike by as much as 76%.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) adds weight to the study by suggesting that around 7 million global premature deaths are linked to air pollution.
If you ride a motorcycle, you'll have to make whatever provisions are viable (snorkel, aqualung, or simply holding your breath). The key thing is to get to the front of the queue (which not all bikers do), and then get the hell away from the lights a millisecond after they turn green (which most smart bikers do anyway).
There are face masks on the market for around twenty quid. Urban cyclists wear them, and naturally urban cyclists need them more because they're sucking in a lot more fumes than us shallow breathing bikers.
At Sump, we've never tried these things. But then, we don't live in a city and enjoy a lot of country air instead. So we suck in dangerous pesticides instead.
Wherever you live, just do what you have to do. But keep in mind that there really is a lot of invisible and dangerous stuff in the atmosphere, and most of it lingers around roads, car parks, and petrol stations.
Suck it and see.
On the other hand, if the guy behind has been tailgating you and gets hung up at the lights inches from your exhaust pipe, and if you've got an oily old classic with a choke lever, you know what you have to do. It's murder, but you'll probably get away with it.
— Del Monte
It employs 60 staff, has been in business since 1993, and it's one of the world's leading Jaguar restoration companies—if not the leading. It used to belong to founder, Peter Neumark. But now it belongs to the employees.
Just like that.
Neumark isn't at death's door (not as far as he knows). He hasn't fallen on his head. And none of his family have been kidnapped. It's simply that he believes in the business, and believes in his staff, and he wants to ensure the company continues at the forefront of the classic car world in the event of ... well, in the event of the future.
Long established department store John Lewis operates the same model, and it has done for years. The John Lewis staff own the business and take a cut of the profits along with their wages. It's incentivising, it's morale boosting, and it works.
Say Neumark, "Restoring cars in a traditional manner has been something of a dying art. We have just over 60 people here but we have seven apprentices. That's one for every 10 members of staff. We believe these skills are very important and should be maintained."
Based in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, the firm turned over £5million last year. The highly skilled and dedicated workforce handle all aspects of restoration on vehicles including Jaguar, Aston Martin, Maserati, Humber and Sunbeam—plus one or two pet projects cooked up in the style of the classic road-burners of yesteryear.
The firm is currently looking for fabricators with hands-on experience of creating panels from flat sheet and English-wheeling them right onto whatever piece of exotica is waiting on the shop floor. A relocation package is being offered along with an appropriate wage. Immediate start is welcomed.
In these days when it sometimes seems hard to find anything in the UK worth putting a lump in your throat, this is a timely reminder that there are still British craftsmen quietly beavering away in workshops—a disproportionate number of which are still based in the Midlands, once the engineering heart of the nation. And now these fabricators, machinists, electricians, upholsterers and engine builders have become their own bosses, all 60 of them. It's inspiring.
Think Triumph or Norton Motorcycles will follow suit anytime soon?
— Del Monte
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.
UPDATE: The seller reports that the Hurricane recently sold for £29,995.
— 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