October 2014  Classic bike news

 

Triumph has announced three new spins on the familiar Bonneville theme: the Spirit and Newchurch (above), and the T214 (see main news copy for more on this bike). The three Bonnies were unveiled today (30th September) at the 2014 Cologne Intermot Show. The Spirit, with its blue and white livery, gets the satin black treatment, plus a headlight from the Scrambler and a rear mudguard from the Thruxton. Meanwhile, the oddly named Newchurch (a reference to Neukirchen in Austria, home of the Tridays Festival), is offered in a red and white livery with cast wheels and more satin black instead of the more usual chrome. No prices yet. Delivery is expected by early 2015. Nice?


October 2014 Classic bike news

Alvin Stardust: 1942 - 2014

Oops! We screwed up
£104,540 Flying Merkel at Bonhams
Cheffins Cambridge Sale results

Fonda's chop: $1.35 million. Sold!
New Sump T-shirt "spy shots"

Herb Harris Vincents for Bonhams

BSA M-Series clutch chain wheels
Samuel Truett Cathy: 1921 - 2014
Police bail time limits proposed
Slovak Aeromobil drives and flies
H&H Duxford Oct 2014 Sale results

Ace Cafe's "Ultimate burn up" ride
Venhill generic switchgear

Johnny Foreigner clampdown plan
Holly Ariel Cyclone makes: $457,500
Bikesure-Sump insurance link
Atalanta relaunched and unveiled
Plausible Ferrari safety fear recall
No deathanol increase before 2017, promise
Council vandalises Bansky artwork
Lynsey De Paul: 1950 - 2014
Metzeler Sportec Klassic launched
New Mitas motocross mudpluggers
October tax disc changes crash DVLA website
2014 London-Brighton Run reminder
Triumph unveils the T214 Bonnie


September 2014 Classic bike news

Bob Crewe: 1930 - 2014
Graham Coxon's bike collection charity auction
GSXR-powered Bond Bug for sale

Norman Hyde's half century, and not out
Distinguished Gents charity ride

Mole Benn Collection for Stafford

Battlesbridge urgently needs your support
British Customs "Cassidy" project
Andrew Victor McLaglen: 1920 - 2014
Captain America's bike is for sale
The DVLA wants your classic view

Triumph Thruxton Ace unveiled

H&H Duxford Sale: 8th October 2014
Donald Alfred Sinden: 1923 - 2014
British Customs gel saddle: $329.00
New Bristol car promised by 2015
Free vintage Brit movie screenings
The Scottish independence myth
Triumph 250cc single project "on hold"
Bonhams Beaulieu 2014: Top lot
Elvis Presley found alive on moon
Ex-Buddy Holly Ariel to be auctioned
Three car shows bought by Mortons
Worst ever Netley Eurojumble?
New "road tax" complications ahead
"Anti-social" Ace Cafe warned off
IKON shock absorbers/dampers


August 2014 Classic bike news

Ken Rees, the real Steve McQueen?

Mortons buys Fast Bikes magazine
William Henry "Bill" Kerr: 1922 - 2014
Britain First "hijacks" The Royal Crown
National Motorcycle Museum robbery URGENT APPEAL: £20,000 REWARD
Ugly Fish Slingshot Ozzie shades
New Heritage Buses Festival 2014
Watch the Foley beheading video and get nicked—Met Police
1953 Triumph Terrier. £10,000. eBay
Richard Attenborough: 1923 - 2014
Don't forget the 2014 Brighton Speed Trials
New domestic abuse laws mooted
"Last Hughie Hancox restoration"
McQueen's 1930 Chief: $100,000. Sold
170,000 Continental tyres recalled
Bob Derrick, RIP
Matthew Thompson ePetition opened
The Empire buys Wrighty's Show
Confederate Hellcat Speedster X132
BMF 2014 Tail End Show cancellation
reminder

European Bike Week: 2 - 7 Sept 2014
Stephen Hill's off the wall design
Lauren Bacall: 1924 - 2014
Video recording at English local council meetings is "now legal"
Jean Panhard: 1913 - 2014
Harley-Davidson Road Glide returns
Romney Marsh inaugural bike auction 2014
Motorcycling in the 1970s - new eBook series
Foundry Matchless 500cc G9 bobber
2015 69-inch Indian Scout launched
Classic Car Boot Sale goes Olympic
The UK "tax disc" is soon to vanish
Savatech Sport Force tyre recall


July  2014 Classic bike news

Ex-McQueen 1912 Harley X8E to sell
Half price Gasolina boots at Foundry
Dora Bryan: 1923 - 2014
The 42nd International British Biker Meeting
Harley-Davidson VRSC V-Rod guide
Kieran Shortall: 1959 - 2014
James Garner: 1928 - 2014

"Quadrophenia Lambretta" to auction
Electric cars for 10 Downing Street
Johnny Dawson Winter: 1944 - 2014
Cheffins' July Cambridge Auction
Northampton Classic Club Scramble
Coys Auction kicks off at Blenheim
Dave Bickers: 1938 - 2014
Government scraps 60mph limit plan
MyLicence insurance honesty checks
Ex-servicemen's charity Euro jolly
Mecum's July 2014 Harrisburg sale
So who the hell are you people?
Francis Barnett "makes a comeback"
2014 Indian Chieftain at Sturgis


June 2014 Classic bike news

Ariel Motorcycles launches the Ace
Eli Wallach: 1915 - 2014
Francis Matthews: 1927 - 2014
Government set to limit CCTV cars
New Harley-Davidson Sump features
Harley-Davidson "LiveWire" concept
High Beech tea hut under threat
The Hesketh 24 is officially unveiled
Bonhams' Banbury "Record" Sale
Avon & Somerset Police's Ariel Atom
1937 Matchless Model X eBay scam
Cotswold Classics is bust
Northants Classic MX Club appeal


May 2014 Classic bike news

VMCC petition seeks blood

£60 million left on TfL Oyster Cards

AJS Model 18 & Matchless G80 guide

London Congestion Charge hike

Banbury Run 2014 reminder

Maserati centenary celebrations

Mechanical Art Devices Exhibition

First UK Royal Enfield Store opens
Dangerous Dogs Act amendment
Police dog ePetition wants your vote
Fiat-Chrysler chooses London
New logotype for Royal Enfield?
Sump plates for Triumph T140s/T120s

Cheffins April Cambridge Sale results

Bournemouth Wheels Free Festival
Efrem Zimbalist Jnr: 1917 - 2014

Charges dropped against Les Allen

Two civic plaques for George Brough

48% of bikers want to vote away your right to decide—IAM

Clarkson utters the "nigger" word


April 2014 Classic bike news

New political T-shirt from Sump
Mark Upham nabs Brough's Brough
Ex Hailwood/Surtees Sportmax sells
Reunion of the Rockers, 3rd May 2014
u r txtng. stp drvng u mrn
Looking for a Stafford alternative?
Discount helicoil kit: £35.24

Houston Motorcycle Auction results

Government to scrap camera cars?

Cheffins Vintage Sale: 26th April 2014

The Stranglers Bonneville raffle

Rare DKW SS250 leads Duxford Sale

BSA C15, B25, B40, B44 & B50 aficionados look this way
Johammer electric motorcycles
Death comes calling at Bonhams
Wal Handley's Lagonda to sell at H&H
Classic Bike Bargains - new feature

Foundry first Anniversary Ride In
April - Houston Motorcycle Auction
Ernest "Ernie" Lyons: 1914 - 2014
UK campaign to reinstate .22 pistols

Stuff we like: Bell Bullitt Helmet - TT

Another implied classic bike threat from London Mayor Boris Johnson?


March 2014 Classic bike news
DVSA to name and shame ex-MOT stations
Mick Woollett: 1930-2014
Richard Edmonds Sale - March 2014
Captain Maurice Seddon: 1926-2014

Introducing Stephen Hill, pop artist

Classic bike tax discs are on a roll
Kempton Park bike jumble sells out
BSA Bantam 3-string steel guitar
Boris Johnson to ban classic bikes?
Gruppo Bertone's in trouble. Again
Paris bans cars and motorcycles
Southend Shakedown & Margate Meltdown:
2014 biker diary dates

Rabers British motorcycle parts
Agostini and Cooper to headline
Mallory Bike Festival

Second Classic Car Boot Sale rocks
Anthony Wedgwood Benn: 1925-2014

Hinckley bullish about 2014 sales
UK bike parts distributor now accepts bitcoins

New BSA M20 T-shirt from Sump

New AA-Halfords "safety" campaign

Bandit 9 customs - Made in China

Secret British Government webcams
in the home...

Anglia's first classic sale "success"

UK magazine sales continue to drop

De Bruir Parachuter leather backpack


February 2014 Classic bike news

New Lotus Bike: Not Made in Britain
Met set to pay out huge rape compensation
Any information on this outfit?
National Motorcycle Museum appeal
"Whole life sentences" ruled legal
Brian Hampton appeal bid update
Tom Armstrong Manx Norton for sale
Martin Squires Sketchbook Volume 4
ACA's first classic motorcycle sale
New Rocker T-shirts from Sump
Alex Botwright steps down as Fenman Classic Bike Show chairman
"Droves" at Bristol Classic Show
Kool new Davida candy coloured lids
Rare 1930 MGC makes £15,297
Nobody hurt in small earthquake
Royal Enfield "Valentine's Day sale"
Chris Bushell takes over Nourish
SBS Harley-Davidson "Speed Demon"
New 69 Club T-shirt from Sump
Mr & Mrs Oil Drip: under the hammer


January 2014 Classic bike news

Vintage Boot Sale, London
Chelsea Bridge tea stall petition
Stylish café racer T-shirt from Sump
Triumph again tops UK big bike sales
2014 Brighton Speed Trials is back on
First British motorway pub has opened
Hurricane tank from Burton Bike Bits
1936 Brough SS80 and chair on eBay
General Jumbo control freaks ahead
Festival of 1000 Bikes is cancelled
New congestion charge "con"
Bonhams Sale: "New records set"
Twenty jobs at Triumph Motorcycles
Cafe racer rival for Triumph Thruxton
Phil Everly: 1939 - 2014
Stuff we love: Vanishing Point (1971)
Derringer electric board track bicycle
Illegally fingerprinting the kids


December 2013 Classic bike news

Von Dutch 500cc Triumph to sell...
Cool oil on canvas by Robert Carter
Camera car consultation deadline: motorcycles ignored again
Save the Brighton Speed Trials
Ronnie Biggs 1929 - 2013
Cool stuff from Bonhams Bally sale
Alex Phillip's Clubman Vincent sale
Motorcycle traders look this way
Triumph financial losses overstated
New from Zippo
What's happening to classic prices?
BSA M20/B33 rigid rear lifting handle and mudguard stay
Peter O'Toole: 1932 - 2013
Custom Sunbeam S8 up for sale
Triumph posts a £12.8 million loss
Holden Cars Oz production to end
British Customs "Vintage Vendetta"
Stan Tracey: 1926 - 2013
New Brough SS100. First UK view
Voxan electric motorcycle unveiled
Ten years for Alexander Blackman
Say goodbye to the UK "tax disc"
New radio pulsing bike stop tech
Jake Robbins' Spit and Polish forks
EU plan to trash British road signs


November 2013 Classic bike news

"21st century" Hesketh 24 promised

Lewis Collins: 1946 - 2013

Watsonian Meteor sidecar returns

VMCC Hewing: jumped or pushed?

Brad Pitt Davida lid up for grabs

Andy Tiernan/Nick Ward Calendar

OK-Supreme missing parts appeal

Southern Classic Off-Road Show

For sale: 1964 BSA C15T - £2,850

1938 Matchless Model X - Cheffins

For sale: 1957 AJS Model 30. £3,300

Monstercraft Brat Kit for XS650 Yams

Bonhams Las Vegas, 9th Jan 2014

Young drivers see less, warns RAC

Lightmare campaign reminder

Interesting UK prison facts and stats
1935 Excelsior tops Harrogate Sale
Royal Enfield Continental screens
Stolen T100 returned after 46 years
Hövding invisible cycling helmet
SR400 Yamaha vs baby Triumph?
Ring of Red: respectful or mawkish?
McQueen's "Bullitt" tweed on sale
Jake Robbins taper-girders
Rare 350cc Triumph 3SW at Bonhams
Sump Magazine is now on Facebook
US Government ponders lid laws
Harley-Davidson's new streetsters
Milton Keynes's "driverless cars"
New T-bird, first whitewall radials
Weiss Montana heated glove
Upham's Brough project unveiled
Circa 1925 Douglas RA for Harrogate
Caterham Cars launches bike range
Cameron visits Henry Cole's Gladstone
bobber factory

British solicitors under threat
Norton's first US Commandos sent
Graham Stark: 1922 - 2013


October 2013 Classic bike news

Cheffins' Cambridge sale results
Lou Reed: 1942 - 2013
The Glory Days of British Motorbikes
Triumph Experimental by Mick Duckworth
Liverpool's bus lane suspension
Regent Street Motor Show update
Francis Beart Manx makes £61,980
The Breathometer is coming
Harley-Davidson recalls 25,185 motorcycles
Triumph T120 TT Special hits £16,000
Cool 1939 Triumph T100 on eBay
Superbikes of the 70s from Panther Publishing
"Project" Vincent-HRD Meteor offer
Rare 1938 600cc eBay Triumph 6S
Copdock Commando prize winner
Cambridge cops are nicking bikes
H&H at Duxford: 16th October 2013
Has Triumph run out of ideas?
Rat-out a trader, win ten grand
SuperBike sold, yet again
Norton "export volumes rise"
Last call for the classic Land Rover


September 2013 Classic bike news

Haynes retrenches and regroups
Billy Fury Tribute Night at the Ace
Gear Gremlin First Aid Kit
Ellis e-petition gathers momentum
Southbank car & bike boot sale
Pistons & Props: 28th-29th Sept 2013
Bike buyers robbed at gunpoint
1901 Ariel Quadricycle comes home
RAC demands 5p per litre fuel cut
1st Annual Motorcycle Film Festival,
Brooklyn, NY

"3D gun" on display at the V&A
Grayling's magistrates reform woes
Twenty's plenty in the Square Mile
Cool Ariel Square Four on eBay
Royal Enfield Continental GT roars
Weise Hi Viz jackets for cissies
Triumph T120R eScam taken offline
Bonhams' Beaulieu 2013 sale results
Satnav drivers "returning to maps"
Kenneth Horatio Wallis: 1916 - 2013
H&H invites October Duxford entries
Indian built 500cc Harley-Davidsons?
Brough stuff at Bonneville 2013
Triumph Rocket-3 streamliner details


August 2013 Classic bike news

Huge classic bike collection to sell
£4,600 Harley-Davidson FatBoy scam
Two classic Honda CX500 kits
Stolen BMW R80ST plea for help
Ace Classics (London) 2013 calendar
Sid Bernstein: 1918 - 2013
Judge denies Muslim burka motion
Brent Council shuts Ace "race track"
VW injunction blocks security hole
Bonhams return to Beaulieu in Sept
Pistol-packing copper is still busy on the job
Peter Fonda sues over Easy Rider T-shirt
Southern Classic Off-Road Show
Karen Black 1939 -2013
EU threatens MOT tests for caravans
New Norton T-shirt from Sump
2014 Indian range announced
Werner Lang: 1922 - 2013
Three staff arrested at Les Emery's


July 2013 Classic bike news

Cheffins Cambridge July results
Three "rare" Triumph TSXs on sale
Film company seeks Enfield riders
David Dixon: 1933-2013
Rare Triumph 6-1 on eBay: £16,000
Swinton fined for swindling
York council's 20mph slap in the face
French TV channel will be filming at the Ace
Lesney's Matchbox 60th anniversary
Free tickets to the South of England SuperBike Show and Bike Jumble
"... and do you take this poof to be your lawfully wedded husband?"
Henry Cole's "Gladstone" bobber
Triumph TRW pricing news
David "Fluff" Brown: 1930-2013
New Norton Domiracer breaks cover
£20,000 T120 Bonneville in sight
"Motorways are a rip off!" say IAM
Mortons postpones Big Kent 2013 event
VMCC Velo and Norton raffle update
Vincent Black Shadow T-shirt
Welsh Assembly votes away rights
June Pendine Trials "weathered off"


June 2013 Classic bike news

Roger LaVern: 1937 - 2013
2012 UK road deaths and injury figures
Cheffins fairground biker: £1100
Brake lights that see round the bend
Bonhams' 2013 Banbury highlights
New police powers and penalties
Bonhams & Banbury 2013 reminder
Cafe Racer Festival at Montlhery
Dirt Quake II
Historics at Brooklands results
Cameras to monitor cycle boxes?
Peter Williams £65,000 replica


May 2013 Classic bike news

TT rider Yoshinari Matsushita killed

2013 Brighton Speed Trials cancelled

Ton-Up Day 14th July 2013

Johnny "Chester" Dowling's
getting his kicks again

87 bikes for Historics at Brooklands

Sump seizes Kempton trader's stock

Welcome to classic Britain

DomiRacer liquidated and set for auction

Ray "Doors" Manzarek: 1939-2013

Indian's "sneak peek" at the Chief

Streetfighters magazine closes after 22 years

Bruce Main-Smith stops trading

Bike Shed custom bike exhibition

AJS-Matchless Club draw 2013

Bryan Forbes: 1926 - 2013

Watsonian-Squire Open Weekend

Call to lower the legal age of consent to 13

Royal Enfield's new UK home


April 2013 Classic bike news

Genuine Sump T-Shirt back in stock

VMCC Jan-Jun 2013 Velocette raffle

Storm conversion for XS650 Yams

Drive it Day for classic cars and bikes

Petition to ban mobile phone drivers

£246,400 Vincent; £246,400 Brough

Royal change to the laws of succession

Margaret Thatcher: 1925-2013

Ex-McQueen Indian Model F to sell

Eric's Cafe Racer Corner

Peter "Pip" Harris: 1927-2013

Pendine Sands Speed Trials 22/23 June 2013

Dr James "JK" Kelly Swanston: 1908-2013

Mortons buys Normous Newark


March 2013 Classic bike news
2013 Pioneer Run snowed and iced off

Dambuster charity motorcycle ride

One hundred cafe racers wanted

Hide your classic, and go to jail

Eddie Presbury "cheap" bike art

Norton acquires Donington Hall

James Herbert: 1943-2013

1973: New cut-off date for "historics"

Triumph T140D floating disc from
Norman Hyde

Rare Brough Superior BS4 to sell

First Vincent Lightning also to sell

British justice for sale, says Grayling

Indian reveals new 111-inch engine

Yamaha Bolt challenge to Triumph?

Triumph still in the number one spot


February 2013 Classic bike news

£6975 Triumph Tiger Cub, sold!
Ray "Dalek" Cusick: 1928-2013
Triumph Speed Triple R "Dark"
Despatches. Free eBook from Sump
Bonhams' Grand Palais "success"
Le breathalyser fines "postponed"
Government set to scrap 80mph speed limit hike plan
Driving test interpreters for the chop?
Reg "Wild Thing" Presley: 1941-2013
Bonhams Paris Grand Palais Sale 2013
New licence withdrawal powers


January 2013 Classic bike news

Freddie Williams: 1926-2013
Where's the Gaffer's Gallop film?
Andy Tiernan's ebay warning
2013 Triumph Rocket 3 Roadster
Insulting to be made legal again
One hundred years of Aston Martin
$480,000 1939 BMW Rennsport
Burtons' Triumph TRW register
James Austin's Classic Shows
Winter Restoration Show 2012
2013 Triumph Tiger Sports 1050
Winter Classic Bike Guide Show


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Take me to Facebook. I've got something to say.

UK adult minimum wage rise

 

The government has raised the UK minimum wage this month, which sounds good in principle, but ain't necessarily so good in practice.

 

As of the 1st October 2014, the minimum wage for a British adult aged 21 or over is a miserable £6.50 per hour, up from an even more miserable £6.31. You might think that anyone in their right mind would favour the minimum wage. But we don't. We're 100 percent against it.

 

Why? Because what the minimum wage really means is that unless an employer can GUARANTEE to pay someone £6.50 per hour, that person can't work at all. Not for that firm, anyway. That's the law. So if, for instance, you run a motorcycle shop and desperately want to take on an adult and get him or her off the dole queue, you've got to give them £6.50 per hour, or nothing.

 

Nada. Zilch.

 

It doesn't matter if the prospective employee is happy to work for a fiver an hour (and thereby get a foot on the employment ladder and maybe learn about the bike business). It doesn't matter if the only work you can offer is cleaning bikes, or answering the phone, or running errands, or some other low productivity menial job.

 

The UK government has decreed that an employer HAS to pay £6.50 per hour, or the would-be employee can stay on the bloody dole.

 

And that makes no sense at all, and especially not in an economy that's supposed to be driven by market forces. What's actually happening is that the national finances are in such a mess than the Tory-led government is maintaining a pseudo left-wing ideal which actually puts the brake on private labour exchange agreements.

 

 

£6.50 per hour, aka the current UK minimum wage. You can earn more than that in sixty minutes of begging on the streets of London. So does fixing labour prices in a free market make any sense?

 

 

So should an employer be free to offer £2 per hour? Or even £1 per hour? Absolutely. And should an employee be free to accept whatever he or she can get? Absolutely. And is it any business of the government if someone wants to sell his or her labour cheap? Absolutely not.

 

We know why the minimum wage was introduced. It was designed to stop exploitation of the workers, etc. Except that exploitation is the name of the game. It's not a dirty word. Exploitation means getting as much as you can get for as little as you need to pay. And that's the bedrock of capitalism. Where it goes wrong is when capitalism tries to become half-assed liberalism seasoned with a dose of socialism.

 

This issue affects us all, both as ordinary people and classic bikers. Why? Because the economy is stagnant. It's wrecking business, devaluing bikes, munching through what little disposable income we have, ruining pension schemes, draining savings, and (worst of all) demoralising most of the nation.

 

 

Elsewhere, parts of Europe are slipping back into recession. Germany, in an effort to force banks to lend money to the common businessman, is currently offering negative interest rates for bank-to-bank lending (as distinct from bank-to-consumer lending). And national deficits continue to spiral out of control.

 

Meanwhile, the unemployment figures are so heavily massaged that they're a shapeless mass of numbers confused by training schemes, apprenticeship schemes, back-to-work schemes, and various other sleight-of-hand Job Centre dodges.

 

Short of executing about three million British people of working age, and locking the immigration door for a decade or so, the UK is going to continue wrestling with a grossly unbalanced labour market (hence the national scandal of zero hours contracts). But the minimum wage is no answer. The minimum wage is merely another symptom of the underlying problem.

 

 

So how does the minimum wage affect you? Comrade Cameronski thinks that giving us a few extra pennies per hour is the solution. But does he even really understand the depth of the problem? We doubt it.

 

 

Part of the (wider) reason why the classic bike market is now struggling is because the minimum wage has come between employers and employees, slowing the flow of money. Yes, there are many other reasons (too numerous to mention). But telling people how LITTLE they're allowed to accept as wages is no solution. And until Whitehall or Brussels addresses this, the government isn't going to deal with the underlying problem which is simply too many people.

 

We had this problem back in the 1930s. It led directly to German, Italian and Spanish national socialism, and we know what happened after that. What's needed now is something a lot less radical than a war, but something considerably more radical than the current industrial and commercial paradigm that we're struggling to manage.

 

David Cameron, our esteemed Conservative Prime Minister, hasn't got a clue what to do. Neither does Ed Milliband's Labour Party. And these days, Nick Clegg's Lib-Dems are little more than a laugh box. As for UKIP, they're probably either spectacularly wrong about the UK exiting Europe, or spectacularly right. And even if you like their fundamental policies, are they actually fit for government?

 

There's a general election coming around in May 2015.

Sam 7

 

 

 

Alvin Stardust: 1942 - 2014


He was born Bernard William Jewry, assumed the persona of Shane Fenton, was reinvented as Alvin Stardust, and has now died aged 72.

 

A Londoner by birth, and an only child, Jewry was raised in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire. From an early age he developed an interest in music in general, and rock and roll in particular.

 

He was an avid Buddy Holly fan, and it's said that he once met Holly backstage—and later in his career recorded a single entitled I Feel Like Buddy Holly which in 1984 reached number 7 in the UK charts.

 

During his teenage years he formed his own group, the Jewry Rhythm Band. It was not a success. He became a roadie for Shane Fenton and the Fentones in which Shane Fenton was a pseudonym of a young man named Johnny Theakston. But soon after, Theakston died following chronic health problems leaving a vacuum in the band.

 

The BBC, meanwhile, had recently received a demo tape from the stardom-seeking group and was interested. However, following Theakston's death, the band had intended to break up, but were persuaded to stay together with Jewry as the front man (image above).

 

He accepted the role, together with the Shane Fenton name, and kickstarted his recording career with a string of hits such as I'm A Moody Guy; Walk Away; Cindy's Birthday; and It's All Over Now.

 

By 1973, with Shane Fenton and the Fentones a spent force, Jewry became Alvin Stardust, once again assuming the professional identity of another performer; this being Peter Shelley, co-founder of Magnet Records.

 

 

Jewry as Stardust astride a 1976 Kawasaki Z900. He was often photographed on motorcycles or wearing biker T-shirts. But as far as we know, he wasn't a bikerexcept in spirit, whatever that means to you. However, he was a down-home rock'n'roller and is certainly an honorary member of the two-wheeled ton-up tribe.

 

 

Shelley, it seems, had recently recorded the song, My Coo Ca Choo, and had performed it on one occasion on the Lift Off TV show. Unexpectedly, the record charted, but Shelley had no interest in "fronting" it any further. That was where Jewry's manager stepped in and gave a new face to the Alvin Stardust character. So Jewry, who was Fenton, became Stardust.

 

Hits include Jealous Mind; You, You, You; Red Dress; and Good Love Can Never Die.

 

He was an instantly recognised figure clad in black leather and wearing a quiff and huge sideburns.

 

His trademark performing stance, with his elbow locked at shoulder level and the microphone held in an unlikely, under-slung manner, was frequently imitated and lampooned by any would-be comedian looking for an easy laugh.

 

But Jewry had something to laugh about too, not least a string of hits, an army of worldwide fans, a career that lasted over five decades—and a good part of it as something of a teenage heart throb.

 

He migrated from music to acting appearing in numerous theatre productions from Godspell to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He appeared on TV on many programmes, and also had his own TV show for a while. He might have been B-list rather than A-list, but he was out there and entertaining people and getting by.

 

He was also busy on the nostalgia circuit, and he commanded a lot of respect as a man who didn't take himself too seriously, and always gave as much as he had to give.

 

He is survived by his third wife, two sons and two daughters.

Dexxion

 

 

Oops! We screwed up

 

We're sorry, okay. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry.

 

These days, you can get away with bloody murder, rape, and any number of unsavoury crimes if you just make a public apology after the fact. And if you're a politician, you can dismiss it all as a "moment of madness".

 

That helps.

 

But fortunately we didn't murder anyone or do anything else that warrants a spell in the pokey or a psychiatric hospital. However, in our own moment of madness we completely underestimated the demand for our new "The great affair is to move" T-shirt, and we quickly ran out of some sizes.

 

Clearly, a number of you guys and girls are (to put it bluntly) eating too much because we're now considering ordering not merely 3XL and 4XL, but DIRIGIBLE size.

 

What the hell happened to SMALL and MEDIUM?

 

Naturally, we've notified everyone who was affected (or is that disaffected?), and so far nobody's complained. But we've got an urgent second edition on the way, and we expect them any day now and will despatch them faster than you can throw a live hand grenade.

 

 

Meanwhile, if you've ordered one or more, and if you want to cancel, just let us know and we'll issue an immediate refund. No arguments. No up-selling. Just your money back.

 

We take this kind of stuff very seriously and try and offer the kind of service we expect from others. But on this occasion, we got the numbers wrong.

 

(And we're sorry)

Big End

 

 

 

£104,540 Flying Merkel at Bonhams


Bonhams is (officially) said to be very pleased with the result of its recent Stafford Sale (19th October 2014). The auction topped £1 million, with 83 percent of lots sold (including automobiles; 73% for bikes alone). But that £1 million figure is actually down slightly on last year's turnover (£1.3 million, with 80 percent of lots sold, plus a new world record for a Manx Norton at £61,980).

 

 

The top-selling lot at this year's Autumn Stafford Sale was the above 1914 Flying Merkel 980cc V-Twin, registration number SV 5376. The frame number is: 11692. The engine number is: FOR 2X 11692.

 

The auction estimate was £50,000 - 70,000, but it's likely that the estimate was set artificially low to help bring the punters in. And, naturally, it worked. The price reached £104,540 including premium.

 

 

The Mole Benn Collection of Italian exotica was another major draw, the top selling lot in this section being the (immediately above) ex-works 1954 125cc Bialbero (twin-cam) racer, Lot 291. It sold for a decent £32,200.

 

Other Mole Benn machines include a:

 

1954 MV Agusta 175 Supersport Competizione (Lot 290), £10,350

1952 MV Agusta 125CC TEL, (Lot 298), £2,300

C.1955 MV Agusta 175CC Racing motorcycle (Lot 294), £2,185
 

 

 

 

Meanwhile a collection of Barry Sheene memorabilia generated a total of £24,774, the top lot being Sheene's Arai helmet (above) which is splashed with his moniker and was campaigned in anger at various race meets. That helmet fetched £2,500 (estimate: £1,500 - £2,000). We had expected a little more from this collection, and we suspect that Bonhams did too. But you can't argue with the market.

 

 

Other sale highlights include a 1913 BSA 4¼hp (Lot 277, image immediately above). It reached £20,700 from an estimate of £5,000 - £7,000. We're told that this is a "one family owned machine", as if that makes a difference to the actual number of owners. Three? Five? Ninety-seven?

 

In 1958, the bike was found "languishing" on a Derbyshire farm, and was bought for £10. The buyer was Walter Green, later to become President of the VMCC. Over the next year, Green restored the bike, and it was restored on two subsequent occasions.

 

The BSA has seen a fair amount of asphalt having been ridden many times on the Pioneer Run, the Banbury Run and various other classic motorcycle events including a jaunt to Brussels.

 

There is some confusion over the horsepower, with two log books (buff and V5)  showing different numbers; 3-1/2hp and 4-1/2hp. Either way, the £5,000 - £7,000 estimate was surely too low for a "Pioneer bike". Except that marketing is all about tactics, as evidenced by the Flying Merkel sale above. No doubt the new owner will sort it out.

 

Also sold were the following:

 

1951 Vincent 998cc Series-C Rapide at £32,200

1951 AJS 350cc 7R at £21,275

1947 Vincent 998cc Rapide Project at £17,825

1994 Seeley G50 500cc Mk3 racing motorcycle, £13,800

1954 125cc Bialbero (twin-cam) racer (Mole Benn Collection), £32,200

 

Meanwhile, Graham Coxon, guitarist with the band, Blur, put seven bikes from his collection in the sale (See: Sump September 2014). The total raised was a not-very-impressive £24,000. But the money raised went to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. So who's complaining? Not us.

 

We spoke to James Stensel, Head of Bonhams Motorcycle Department, who said, "Yes, we're very satisfied with the sale." Satisfied, we heard, but not ecstatic.

 

The problem for this firm is, perhaps, that they've been very successful over the past few years, and there has to come a point where the sales graph stops climbing and starts falling.

 

If this is indeed what's happening, it's but a small drop. And Bonhams might well see another upward jump at Harrogate on 12th November 2014. With this auction house, there's always another surprise coming soon.

 

See the Sump September 2014 Mole Benn Collection story for more on the Autumn 2014 sale at Stafford.

 

www.bonhams.co.uk

Big End

 

 

 

Cheffins Cambridge Sale results

 

The top selling motorcycle lot at Cheffins' Cambridge Sale on Saturday 18th October 2014 was the above 1911 500cc Humber (Lot 1360). The bike fetched a respectable enough (but perhaps disappointing) £11,000 thereby missing the auctioneer's £12,000 - £14,000 estimate.

 

It's a Pioneer Run eligible machine (pre-1915), and has been in the same Goodall family since 1959. But it was last ridden in 1972. Since then, it's been hidden away.

 

During the 1960s, the bike took part in numerous Pioneer and Banbury runs, and it is recorded on the Pioneer and Humber registers.

 

 

The next highest priced machine was the (immediately above) 1963 T100 Slimline Featherbed Triumph (Lot 1361) which sold for £6,200 putting it right in the middle of the £5,500 - £7,000 estimate).

 

Overall, there were 23 motorcycle lots in the sale. All but three found buyers on the day, which is a good result. Nothing special caught our eye, pricewise, except maybe the 1923 350cc Douglas (immediately below, Lot 1367) which fetched £5,300 (estimate: £5,000 - £6,000).

 

 

That's not a bad price for one of these pretty flat tankers built by a class manufacturer with a great racing and military history. The 2-3/4 horsepower fore-and-aft sidevalve twin is definitely more of a plodder than a rodder, but if you're looking for a smooth, entry-level, chic 40-45mph flat tanker, you can do worse than these. Ride this to the trendy Barbour Store on Regent Street, London W1, and they'll think you're a movie star or something (make sure you ask for a style discount).

 

Except that this Douglas has now gone. Look for a 500cc bike if you want something a little "sporty".

 

Features include a Douglas carburettor, an EIC magneto, belt final drive (with a brake on the pulley), a stirrup front brake, manual lubrication, a two-speed gearbox with hand-change, footboards, a bacon-slicer external flywheel, and a whole lot of inter-war charm. We like it plenty.

 

 

Last, but by no means least, the above 1981 two-stroke RD 250 LC Yamaha (Lot 1370) was perhaps the real bargain of this sale.

 

In its day, the LC (or "Elsie", if you prefer) was sensational and mobilised a small army of teenagers and young men—and mobilised them at suicidal speeds. We're talking around 105mph in the right conditions (although the bikes often struggled under road test condition to hit those numbers).

 

Of course, you had to wind up the engines to the kind of explosive revs rarely seen by anything from the British motorcycle industry. And they made a very un-British racket. But these six-speeder Yams could take it. And take it. And take it.

 

The auction hammer came down on this example at just £1100, which is BSA Bantam money. Correction, it's less than BSA Bantam money. The bike, we're told, has had a full rebuild (engine and gearbox) a repaint, brake refurbishment, and comes with all parts to finish.

 

Features of the twin-cylinder LC include liquid-cooling, monoshock rear suspension, cast wheels, kick and electric start, speedo and rev counter, disc front brake (drum rear), fuel gauge and around 35bhp. The mpg, however, wasn't so hot at around 40, and the handling was interesting.

 

One or two of us around here at Sump even passed their motorcycle test/s on an LC, but we ain't saying who because we're all hard-as-nails, macho Triumph, BSA and even Harley riders and we wouldn't be seen dead on Jap crap (not when there's still so much British and American crap to enjoy).

 

Make no mistake that these Yams are modern classics, hence our clichéd sepia image treatment above. £1100 is peanuts when you consider that the typical price for a sorted Elsie is around £3,000 - £4,000, and much more for a very good, low mileage original.

 

 

People often talk about the 1930s and 1960s as being the golden age/s of motorcycling. But we think a lot, or even most, of the really exciting stuff came down the pike in the 1970s and 1980s. And the legendary, do-or-die RD250 LC accounted for an awful lot of it.

 

Then again, we were all younger.

 

www.cheffins.co.uk

The Third Man

 

 

 

Fonda's chop: $1.35 million. Sold!


That's £840,000 on this side of the pond, and that's an awful lot of money for a motorcycle with questionable provenance.

 

The auction house Profiles in History sold the world's most famous motorcycle on Saturday 18th October 2014, and despite various authenticating documents, it's been claimed that this Harley-Davidson screen icon is as fake as a nine bob note.

 

 

We ain't gonna go any further down that particular road, not that we're vaguely worried about the litigation risks (who'd sue us?), but because it's a boring subject.

 

If the buyer is satisfied, then it's game over. If he or she ain't satisfied, then it just proves that you can't necessarily buy happiness. Besides, if you can afford to splash over a million bucks on a chopper, you can probably afford to lose it. That's the orthodoxy, anyway.

 

See: Sump September 2014. Captain America's bike is for sale.

 

Girl Happy

 

 

 

New Sump T-shirt "spy shots"

 

For months, there have been rumours that these T-shirts were being designed and produced, but until we managed to actually photograph one being surreptitiously road tested on Peckham High Street, South London, we couldn't confirm it.

 

But now it's official, and the cat's out of the bag. It's a new T-shirt from Sump that's based around one of our favourite quotes; this one from Robert Louis Stevenson of Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde fame.

 

"The great affair is to move"

 

We particularly like this quote because it reminds us of what motorcycling means to us. Not primarily building or customising bikes (fun though that is). Not racing, buying or selling bikes (fun though that is too). And certainly not posing on, or trailering to shows (which is very dubious fun).

 

No, the real excitement for us lies in moving. Travelling. Getting out into the world and discovering it for ourselves—and we're betting that plenty of you Sumpsters feel exactly the same.

 

 

 

These shirts are screen-printed on quality black pre-shrunk cotton. There are five sizes (S, M, L, XL and XXL). The price is £15.99 plus postage and packing.

 

And you don't have to be a Triumph man to wear one. The guy on the Thunderbird above is representative of anyone and everyone.

 

Want to take a closer look? Okay, click on the image above, or go direct to the relevant page: The great affair is to move T-shirt.

 

And if this shirt doesn't float your boat, you can visit out main Sump T-shirt page and see if there's something else that makes you reach for your wallet or purse.

 

Del Monte

 

 

 

Herb Harris Vincents for Bonhams


On Thursday 8th January 2015, Bonhams will be handling the sale of a large consignment of Herb Harris Vincent exotica, plus a collection of cutaway engines from the same source. The venue is Bally’s Hotel & Casino on The Strip, Las Vegas, USA.

 

A Texan born and bred, Harris (image right) made his name meticulously restoring Vincent motorcycles and related memorabilia.

 

But arguably what put him on the motorcycle map was the ex-Rollie Free Vincent Black Lightning—which, in 1948, Free famously rode at 150mph at Bonneville Salt Flats wearing nothing but a grimace and a pair of bathing trunks. In November 2011, that bike was sold privately from the Harris Collection for a reputed $1.1 million.

 

But there are many other interesting machines in the Harris Collection including a:

 

1946 Vincent “1X” Rapide B Prototype

1954 Vincent Black Prince Prototype

1949 Vincent Rapide C with matching Blacknell Bullet Sidecar

1957 BSA B34 Works Racer

1962 Matchless G50 CSR Silver Eagle

1949 AJS 7R

 

 

Harris is also a noted Vincent historian. To that end, various items of his personal Vincent memorabilia will form part of the Las Vegas sale. Additionally, a large collection of precision sectioned motorcycles and cutaway engines will be going under the hammer including items from Ariel, BSA, Matchless, New Imperial, Norton, Sunbeam, Triumph and Vincent.

 

Of special interest will be the BSA Goldstar Clubman which was created for the Earls Court Motor Show and is rigged to motorise all—or at least most—of the moving parts including the front and rear suspension.

 

More on this sale closer to the auction.

 

www.harrisvincentgallery.com

www.bonhams.com

Del Monte

 

 

New BSA
M-Series clutch chainwheels

 

Burton Bike Bits has sent us details of a new batch of single-spring clutch chainwheels suitable for BSA M-Series bikes as manufactured between 1937 - 1958.

 

These cookie-cutters have 42 teeth and are machined from steel (as per the original item) and designed to fit straight onto your old chuffer without fuss or excitement. If for any reason they don't, we're sure that Burton will sort you out. They take customer service seriously.

 

But take note, these are for SINGLE-SPRING dry clutch set-ups only. Broadly speaking, that refers to wartime bikes (1939 - 1945) and later AA (Automobile Association) M21s. Other M20s/M21s use a 6-spring wet-clutch, and Burton can supply chainwheels for these too (details by email or phone).

 

The BSA part number for these single-spring items is: 66-3809 (and Burton likes to hear part numbers right off the bat, so be ready).

 

The EEC price is £118.00. So if you hail from further afield, the VAT (Value Added Tax) won't apply and you'll pay just £99.00 (plus whatever local taxes you have). Both prices are plus postage which you can ask about upon ordering, or will automatically be added when you buy online.

 

To conclude, these chainwheels will suit single-spring clutches for the BSA M20, M21, M22 and M23. Make sure you know which clutch you have (and more than a handful of M-Series bikes have been retro fitted with Triumph clutches, note). Ask too about clutch plates.

 

These items, we hear, are in stock now, but they might not be forever. So get one in your clutches while you can.

 

www.britishbikebits.com

Tel: +44 (0) 1530 564 362

Big End

 

 

 

Samuel Truett Cathy: 1921 - 2014


He was a Harley-Davidson rider, a patron of the arts, a philanthropist, a Christian, a Southern Baptist, an American, a foster parent, an anti-gay campaigner, and a fast food pioneer of no mean repute (not necessarily in that order). He was also worth around $4 billion - $6 billion depending on whose numbers you trust. We're referring to Samuel Truett Cathy, better known as S Truett Cathy who has died aged 93.

 

Cathy built his huge fortune around a humble chicken sandwich known as the Chick-fil-A, a product that's pretty much unknown on this side of the Atlantic, but has tens of millions of customers on the other.

 

 

▲ A piece of dead bird in a bun, aka the famous Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich. You'd think that a good Christian man such as S Truett Cathy would have turned to fish to feed the masses. Either way, he did his bit for the sick, the poor and (of course) the hungry.

 

 

The Chick-fil-A gave its name to a chain of restaurants around the country that became the largest privately owned American business of its type. It's said that there are currently around 1,800 Chick-fil-A restaurants in operation.

 

He was born in Georgia, USA during the depression era. One of seven children, at an early age he started selling products door-to-door and became a shrewd observer of his customers, constantly learning new lessons and adding to his commercial repertoire. He opened his first restaurant in Atlanta in 1946 and remained as the company chairman until 2013 when his son took over.

 

His religious beliefs were always central, and he taught scriptures and made special provision to allow his working staff the opportunity to attend church, even if it cost him money. Which it did.

 

Cathy rode a Harley-Davidson too and had the gas tank painted in what you might call "cow colours" that also bore the slogan: "EAT MOR CHIKIN".

 

He is survived by his wife, daughter and two sons—and, of course, by somewhere between $4 billion and $6 billion.

 

Girl Happy

 

 

 

Police bail time limits proposed

 

It's long overdue, and we'll believe it when we see it, but Home Secretary Theresa May has announced that the government will be seeking to impose strict limits on how long the rozzers can keep you on a bail leash while the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) decides whether or not to charge you, or mark your file for No Further Attention..

 

At present, there is no time limit for how long you can remain on bail. In many cases, British citizens are held for years in this particular form of legal limbo; a limbo in which their normal civil liberties are grossly infringed.

 

Such as what? Well, if you're on bail, there may be conditions set on where you can live, or who you can associate with, or whether or not you can leave the country for short or extended periods, or on how you conduct your business. There are endless possibilities.

 

Much of the delay in charging people (or not) is down to limited police resources and police time within which to fully investigate a case before presenting their findings to the CPS.

 

But some of the problem is down to everyday sloth, apathy and human incompetence, and it's this particular nettle that May is about to grasp.

 

Civil liberties groups have unsurprisingly welcomed the proposal, and so has the legal profession which, naturally, stands to pick up a little more work.

 

So exactly what time limits are being mooted?

 

Well, 28 days has been suggested, after which the police will be required to present their evidence (such as it is) to a magistrate to ask for a continuance of the bail. In theory, that could mean that the status quo effectively remains as it is. But in practice, it's hard to see the police abusing the system and automatically seeking bail extensions for all comers. The British police can be amazingly stupid at times, but they're not idiots.

 

There's a lot of ground to be thrashed out here. And Teresa May (pictured immediately above), has in the past certainly shown a lot of nerve and stamina. But the police lobby is a powerful one, so it's by no means settled that changes are on the way.

 

Doesn't affect you? Maybe not at the moment, but it could. More than once, totally innocent bikers have been nicked by the police (for a variety of spurious reasons) and held on bail for unreasonably extended periods while the boys in blue make up their minds about what evidence-gathering resources they're prepared to deploy.

 

Don't ask us how we know that.

 

If the proposals come to fruition, it should certainly speed up the judicial process. But if charged, you could all the more quickly be dealing directly with the morons at the CPS.

 

Never underestimate just how thick and incompetent this government "service" can be.

 

— Big End

 

 

 

Slovak Aeromobil drives and flies


There ain't much that could tempt us away from our classic bikes. Money alone won't buy us off (not unless it's an awful lot of money). Sex won't do it either (not unless it's an awful lot of sex). Threats of public disgrace is a non-starter. Pleading wives, begging girlfriends or entreaties from other significant-others haveno chance. In fact, only the prospect of serious and imminent violence and/or death has much prospect of reprogramming our mulish mindsets and divorcing us from our treasured wheels.

 

Fact is, we love our oily old heaps as much as ... well, as much as Rolf Harris loves kids. But this here Aeromobil could be the temptation that finally does the trick.

 

Designed by Stefan Klein and built in the Slovak Republic (his home country), the Aeromobil is constructed (surprisingly) from steel tubing (as opposed to aircraft grade aluminium) and is clad in carbon fibre panels to keep the breeze out. It's claimed that this air car can fly at over 120mph and cover maybe 430 miles on a single tank of fuel (at a lower cruising speed, note).

 

Moreover, this bird employs a similar swing-wing concept as used by Tornado fighter jets and is designed to take off and land on ordinary everyday motorways and dual carriageways.

 

 

 

It's powered by a 1211cc, 80hp, water-cooled, 4-cylinder (flat-four) Rotax 912 engine featuring two driveshafts; one to the front wheels, and one to the propeller. The dry weight is just 980lbs. There's room for a pilot and passenger, and maybe even a roof rack.

 

 

The Aeromobil has recently enjoyed its maiden flight, and it went up as hoped, and apparently came down with equal aplomb. But it's still under development, so pricing is a long way down the road. Or up the air.

 

But you're right, we've seen flying cars before. Gerry Anderson's old 1960s puppet TV show, Joe 90, had a pretty cool (if highly unlikely) flying creation (image immediately below). And if you squint, you can vaguely see the resemblance.

 

 

So maybe Klein and his rival aero-engineers were inspired by the same TV show because at any one time, there are maybe three or four credible challengers under development around the world, more than a couple of which look strangely familiar.

 

All the same, this Slovak design appears to be a lot more sorted than many, and there has to come a point where technology and design hits all the right buttons and produces a viable, practical, cost-effective airborne, road-going concept. And there has to come a point where urban gridlock prompts the well-heeled and desperate into abandoning their established modes of personal transport in favour of something that ... well, rises above it all.

 

It's the future, and it's happening. But for now, it looks like our classics are staying in the garage.

 

www.aeromobil.com

— Big End

 

 

 

H&H Duxford Oct 2014 Sale results

 

Thirty-four bike lots were fielded at H&H's Duxford Sale held on 8th October 2014. Eight lots failed to sell. Two were withdrawn. That leaves 24 confirmed kills. Not great, but certainly not disastrous.

 

Top seller was the above 1933 Excelsior C14 IOM Special (Lot 33) which was exchanged for £21,280. Most eyes, however, were on a 1981 Kreidler GP Works Racer (Lot 30) which carried an estimate of £23,000 - £28,000. See Sump September 2014 for more on the Excelsior and the Kreidler.

 

 

 

The above T140J Silver Jubilee Bonneville (Lot 20) was one of the bikes that failed to cut anyone's mustard. It didn't sell. As we've mentioned before, over the past five years or more Jubilees have fallen from grace.

 

The problem, perhaps, is that they're simply not that rare. Meriden built 1000 for the Yanks, and 1000 for the Brits and then another 400 for what was left of the empire—or so the story goes.

 

They're not particularly attractive either (but not bad). They're slightly higher maintenance than standard Bonnies (due to chromed engine cases that have a tendency to peel, and pinstriped wheel rims). No one really cares too much about celebrating the Queen's Silver Jubilee (it's just not part of the national or international consciousness). And in the past the bikes were over-hyped by sellers with really silly money being asked (largely thanks to the official Meriden "Certificate of Authenticity" that tried to force an undeserved cachet on fair but unspectacular machines).

 

Now prices have cooled a lot, which might actually make them a good buy for anyone looking for a low mileage 750 Triumph. Most T140Js, after all, were squirreled away for investment and therefore never saw much asphalt let alone weather. Keep it in mind, if you will. But if you're holding onto one as part of your pension plan, don't retire anytime soon.

 

 

 

Meanwhile, Lot 20 was a 1972 Norvil Commando which fetched £14,560 (see above). This was the next highest selling lot that eclipsed a 1960 BMW R69 combination which fetched £13,552 (image immediately above).

 

 

So overall there were no great surprises; just another reasonable auction put safely away by H&H.

 

That's an Eurofighter Typhoon (trainer) lurking over the bikes in the image above, by the way. AT £64 million each, we wonder how much longer it will be before the UK government begins auctioning them off too to further humiliate what's left of the RAF. Could be very nice pickings for H&H.

 

www.classic-auctions.com

— Big End

 

 

Ace Cafe's "Ultimate burn up" ride


That's London to Beijing, leaving the UK on 25th April 2015 and arriving in the Chinese capital 80 days later on 14th July. The 12,000 mile two-wheeled journey is being organised in conjunction with GlobeBuster Motorcycle Expeditions.

 

The ride, we hear, will pass through Turkey, Iran, and Tibet (and presumably a lot of other places). The arrival will coincide with the launch of the Ace Cafe Beijing (the Ace already has, or is planning, other franchises in North America, Europe and Japan). And there are still "spaces" available if anyone else wants to join the fun, such as it is.

 

We're trying hard to get excited over this. But we can't. Firstly, the Ace was pretty cool (mostly in retrospect) when it was an ordinary transport cafe in North London back in the 1950s and 1960s. Not that we frequented that particular establishment.

 

Instead, our personal motorcycling journeys took us through numerous other cafes and tea huts around the country, none of which had franchises elsewhere—and certainly not Beijing (then Peking).

 

These more humble catering outlets were usually anonymous vinyl and linoleum backstreet or lay-by dives serving stewed tea and dodgy fast food with enough surplus grease to give your drive chain a quick wipe over (although no one actually died as far as any of us here can recall).

 

 

▲ Has the Ace Cafe gone too far? It's 12,000 miles from London to Beijing, and even further than that from the heyday of the world's most famous biker cafe. Home delivery could be on the way ...

 

 

But some would say that the Ace is soundly killing off its own "mystique" by turning the once left-field and rebellious black leather caff into the international fashionable "petrol head" franchise operation that it's become.

 

Some would say that that Rubicon was actually crossed long ago. They'd say that the Ace is now seriously, if not terminally, over-exposed and over-hyped. As with everything else in life, after all, there's only so many people who can share the fantasy. Beyond a certain point, you're just another Hard Rock Cafe (at best), or another McDonalds (at worst).

 

And there's a second point about this tour to consider. What kind of epic international ride is it in which can you leave London on a motorcycle and plot your arrival time on the far side of the world with any accuracy?

 

80 days? Say, three o'clock by the fountain?

 

Don't get us wrong. 12,000 miles is a fearsome jaunt (albeit much of it along well-paved and well-travelled highway served by convenient fuel stops and eateries, with the emergency services little more than a mobile phone call away).

 

But if the organisers had said something like: "Those still alive at the end of this trek will limp into Beijing with most limbs still attached possibly sometime next Summer or Autumn", we'd be more impressed. That sounds like a ride worth undertaking.

 

Good luck to all, etc. But the spirit of the Ace, certainly as most old rockers remember it, is dead—and as with any spirit, you can dilute it only so much. What we have now sounds suspiciously like mere commercial opportunism that bears little relationship to that gritty, dingy, live-for-the-moment oily truck stop on the North Circular Road five decades past.

 

Long live the New Ace, huh?

 

www.globebusters.com

— Dexxion

 

 

Venhill generic switchgear

 

Not the world's most exciting story, but when you need switchgear for your custom/special/project, you need switchgear. Right?

 

Well, control cable specialist Venhill has added some necessary switches to their growing portfolio.

 

The doo-dahs are designed for standard 7/8th-inch (22mm) handlebars. Left and right side is available. Each switch block is 30mm wide. They're rubber mounted. And they cost £25.20 per side, including VAT. Here's the switching arrangement:

 

Left hand:

Main beam switch toggle
Indicator switch left/right (centre position switches off)
Horn switch, spring type

Right hand:

Kill toggle switch
On/off toggle switch
Electronic start spring button

 

Naturally, you can fit 'em to your stock T140 or Commando or A65 or whatever. They won't look right (but will probably work better). Meanwhile, custom bikes and suchlike can often wear this stuff more successfully. They're designed to plug straight into your wiring loom/harness, but it's not always that easy, is it?

 

Anyway, we haven't seen these up close, so you'll have to decide for yourself if they fit your brief and are the required quality.

 

Telephone Venhill on 01306 885111

www.venhill.co.uk

Big End

 

 

 

Johnny Foreigner clampdown plan


According to the UK government, they've been getting away with it for years; not paying speeding fines, not paying the London congestion charge, not paying parking fines, not registering their vehicles for use on British roads, and not having an MOT.

 

But the honeymoon is over.

 

That's because the DVLA and the British border guards (hah) and HMRC (Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs) and the police have finally figured out that they can share information about which vehicles are abroad in the UK, and which vehicles have ... well, gone back abroad. You'd think that some jobsworth official somewhere in the realm would have worked that out ages ago. But no. It's long been open season on British roads for anyone with foreign number plates. Until now.

 

Under a new pilot scheme, the claimed 100,000 strong annual army of foreign drivers (and presumably riders) will be on the British radar as from November 2014 until February 2015 when the pilot ends. If it's successful, the plan will be rolled out nationwide.

 

The police in Hampshire, Northamptonshire, Staffordshire, Thames Valley, West Mercia and the West Midlands will gain access to the HMRC database and will start impounding vehicles on pain of a £200 release fee.

 

So if your name's Johnny, and if you're a foreigner, current UK law requires that you register your vehicle within 6 months of entry into this "other Eden". You're also expected to pay your fair share of your fines and taxes, etc, and keep your vehicle in roadworthy condition.

 

We've no special axe to grind, you understand, but the British economy is still going down the same hole that the empire vanished into, and we need every penny we can scrounge. Give generously.

 

Girl Happy

 

 

 

Holly Ariel Cyclone makes: $457,500

 

It was bought by a Texan who plans to ride it just the once, and then loan it long-term to the Buddy Holly Museum in Holly's old home town of Lubbock, Texas.

 

As part of the late Waylon Jennings estate auction, the Ariel Cyclone went under the hammer on 5th October 2014 at Guernsey's Auctioneers located on East 93rd Street, New York.

 

MORE ON THE BUDDY HOLLY ARIEL

Del Monte

 

 

 

Bikesure-Sump insurance link


No, we ain't arranged a dedicated Sump insurance scheme with Bikesure (although we're rumoured to be considering it). And we're not specifically recommending Bikesure above other insurance companies. But we have sorted out a more informal link with this firm.

 

So how's it work? Okay, you need insurance. Bikesure wants the business. We want the referral commission. Sounds crude and mercenary when put that way, but that's how it works. We're all adults here.

 

The referral commission goes into Sump's coffers, and we use the dosh to further develop the magazine which is free-to view (and will be staying so), and it puts an extra bottle of beer in the Sump fridge.

 

If you telephone Bikesure for an insurance quote, they'll ask you for a reference. You quote:

 

G3910

 

... and tell 'em Sump Magazine sent ya. Then you answer a zillion questions and take out an insurance policy. Or not. We get the beer only when you and Bikesure do business. Here's the phone number:

 

Bikesure: 0800 089 8070

 

They don't handle only classic bikes, by the way. Instead, they have dozens of schemes for old heaps, new machines, customs and specials. Maybe some other stuff too.

 

The firm is underpinned by Adrian Flux Insurance, and we've personally got 5 bikes, a car and a house insured with them. So squeeze whatever juice you can get out of that.

 

Just remember that your insurance arrangements are strictly between you and Bikesure. We're simply tipping you the wink.

 

As with all insurance firms, haggle hard. There are some very good deals out there. And note that Bikesure can offer insurance only to permanent UK residents.

Dexxion

 

 

 

Atalanta relaunched and unveiled

 

Most of you Sumpsters (we dare to venture) have probably never heard of Atalanta Motors Ltd. And the truth is, aside from a few half-remembered facts (and one or two fictions), we knew of the company only vaguely as another long defunct British motoring marque similar to Morgan.

 

The firm was created in 1937, about the time that Edward Turner was marketing the seminal 500cc Triumph Speed Twin, and met its demise in 1939, just in time for World War Two.

 

Twenty-one cars were said to have been built, all very expensive, bespoke, and formed around an up-to-the-minute steel chassis design featuring independent coil suspension.

 

The cars were fitted with a variety of engines ranging from a 1496cc
4-cylinder OHC unit of around 78bhp, to a 1996cc 4-cylinder OHC unit claimed to be capable of 98 bhp (both bhp figures sound unrealistic). Gearboxes were either 3- or 4-speed. Other engines and transmissions were used or flirted with. But the basic Atalanta platform was as described.

 

 

There have been other firms trading (both pre-war and post-war) under the Atalanta banner. But this particular 1930s Atalanta, trading from Staines in Middlesex, just a short hop from where Heathrow Airport now stands, is arguably the predominant. The name, incidentally, recalls an "unswaying" female Greek athlete famed for her beauty, bravery, speed and strength.

 

Well, the marque is back (or almost back) thanks to the ambitions of Martyn Corfield who "relaunched" the name in 2012 and recently unveiled his first vehicle at the International Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace on 5th - 7th September 2014.

 

 

 

The Atalanta's steel chassis; note the rear combined shock absorbers/dampers fitted neatly into the side rails. Independent suspension was by no means unknown in the 1930s, but it was rare.

 

 

Corfield refuses to give too much away regarding the production models, but he has admitted that aluminium body panels coupled to an ash framework will be used, together with a choice of modern power trains. Naturally, the cars will be "brought up to date" in other crucial areas (steering, braking and suspension), and appropriate attention will be given to the detailing necessary to make this into an honest classic revival rather than another pretentious phoney.

 

 

Atalanta Sports Tourer. Should Morgan be worried? We think not. No prices are available on the new model (image at the top of this feature), but whatever is announced, you can expect it to rise and rise.

 

 

It's hard to see how Corfield can actually make a success of this. It's a very competitive marketplace out there with various historic marques being relaunched. Moreover, much of the really big money is being spent on original period cars that make for sound investments and carry the historical kudos.

 

Then again, people are full of surprises and stamina, so good luck to Corfield. But whatever happens in the future of motoring and motorcycling, it looks as if the past is simply not going to stay where a lot of people feel it belongs.

 

Big End

 

 

 

Plausible Ferrari safety fear recall


We'll believe it if you will, but this one is just dumb enough to be true. It seems that certain models of the Ferrari 458 are being recalled over safety fears highlighted by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

 

It's not the brakes, or the steering, or the engine, or the traction control, or any of the more fundamental components of these £150,000 Italian "supercars". Instead, some bright spark has figured out that if someone were to get stuck in the boot/trunk, the catch on the inside would not (easily) permit them to escape.

 

Here at Sump, it sounds like ordinary natural selection at work. After all, if you're stupid enough to get yourself stuck in the boot/trunk of a Ferrari (which is at the front, by the way, not the rear) should you really be passing down your genes to the next generation? Or should you just stay there and spare the world any more of your doziness?

 

While you're pondering that one, you might be interested to know that the US NHTSA issued 586 recall notices in 2012 that resulted in millions of vehicles being returned to dealers for remedial work.

 

Much of those remedial problems presented no immediate (or is that "Clear and Present"?) danger to drivers, passengers or other road users, and all of that remedial work provided plenty of up-selling and general servicing opportunities for motor trade dealers. Certainly, Toyota (in particular) has made a virtue of issuing recall notices and prides itself on being one of the fastest rectifiers of real, imagined or highly unlikely automotive faults.

 

In fairness, what changed things significantly in the USA was the introduction of the federal TREAD Act in 2000. Prior to this piece of legislation, car manufacturers were not required to report potential defects until a consumer/or consumers had reported it to them. In other words, the manufacturer's approach was passive.

 

But since TREAD, manufacturers are legally obliged to be active. That's resulted in dozens or even hundreds of possibly premature recall notices that, according to general industry "experts", has wasted millions of work hours for the average US consumer, thereby costing billions of dollars for the wider economy.

 

 

Both Charles Darwin (left) and Enzo Ferrari (right) warned of the dangers on getting stuck in the boot/trunk of a 458. But did anyone listen?

 

 

Here in the UK, it's VOSA (Vehicle and Operator Service Agency) that issues recall notices. VOSA is contacted by the relevant manufacturer, be it Triumph or Harley-Davidson or BMW, and a recall number is issued. Next, VOSA contacts the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) which supplies vehicle ownership data. And you can figure out the rest.

 

Overall, reliable figures for UK recall numbers aren't clear. But for 2013, it's claimed that 868,605 vehicles had their leads jerked by pretty much every manufacturer on the block.

 

On the VOSA website, Triumph Motorcycles has posted recalls that include:

 

Bonneville "luggage rack may become insecure"

Speed Triple "possible oil contamination of the rear tyre"

Rocket Three "engine may stall"

 

So far, there's nothing listed for "possibility of getting trapped in pannier or top box", but we know that the average motorcyclist is a lot more savvy than the average Ferrari owner. Or is he? Or she?

 

And not that we're picking on Triumph, incidentally. The firm actually scores very well for customer service, and there's no reason whatsoever to believe that Hinckley has a poorer track record than anyone else in the bike industry.

 

Meanwhile, the next time you pull up at the lights beside a Ferrari 458, or any Ferrari come to that, listen out for any suspicious knocking sounds at the front. It could simply be that the suspension is about to detach. But it might be more serious, such as another idiot awaiting salvation. And these days, there's no shortage of those.

 

CHECK HERE FOR VOSA RECALL NOTICES

 

Sam 7

 

 

No deathanol increase before 2017, promise

 

The UK's leading fuel supply companies have recently pledged that there will be no significant increase in the amount of ethanol in British petrol until at least 2017.

 

Currently, most UK fuel adulterated with ethanol (which is deathanol to many classic engines) is limited to around 5 percent. Under EU law, there is an option for the firms to raise that level to 10 percent. But the fuel companies are well aware that as a direct result of ethanol in fuel, thousands of classic vehicles have suffered damage to fuel systems, cylinder bores, cylinder heads and exhausts (or, at least, the owners claim to have suffered damage)

 

BP, Exxon (Esso) and Shell, amongst others, have recently clarified their positions on this threat and have advised that the classic "movement" will be given plenty of notice if and when any changes are afoot. But certainly before 1st January 2017, there will be "little or no chance of any ethanol increase".

 

That's a small crumb of comfort for anyone running classic machinery, especially if they've already suffered such damage and had large repair bills. And it would be nice to believe that this promise is nothing other than goodwill from the petrol industry. But underlying it is no doubt the simple threat of litigation and damaging PR. Ultimately, however, it looks as if a rise in ethanol-in-fuel is on the way. It's just a question of picking the right moment.

 

If you haven't yet run an "ethanol audit" on your classic bike or other classic vehicles, better do so asap. In spite of what the fuel firms are saying, we've more than once in recent times sniffed a suspiciously stronger than usual odour of CH3 CH2 OH1 around our local petrol pumps.

 

Ethanol is a natural by-product of yeast and rotten fruit. But we think there could be another kind of rot here that needs further investigation.

 

Big End

 

 

 

Council vandalises Bansky artwork

 

They said the image was racist, so they took a giant eraser to it and removed it from public display. We're talking about Tendring District Council which controls the area around the east coast seaside town of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex.

 

Controversial artist Banksy, whose street art often changes hands for hundreds of thousands of pounds, was obviously making an anti-racist statement. Except that it wasn't obvious to the morons who (not untypically for the age we live in) over-reacted and misinterpreted the message.

 

The offending image showed a group of Essex pigeons carrying placards and facing down an exotic migrant bird. The placards read:

 

MIGRANTS NOT WELCOME

GO BACK TO AFRICA

KEEP OFF OUR WORMS

 

The incident has happened just a few days before Clacton-on-Sea goes to the polls in a by-election triggered by incumbent Tory MP Douglas Carswell who has defected to UKIP (UK Independence Party).

 

UKIP is said (by some, but by no means all) to be fostering a hidden anti-immigrant agenda, and certainly the area represents something of an Anglo-Saxon (read; redneck) frontline.

 

 

▲ Now you see it...

 

 

... and now the birdbrains at Tendring have saved the universe

 

 

Head council morons have since realised their error (after it was pointed out to them) and have invited Banksy to return to the area and "donate" another work to the local community thereby boosting tourism, and maybe stuffing a few much-needed quid in the municipal coffers. But Banksy, who is famously anonymous, is said to be unmoved and unimpressed.

 

If he does return, we'd suggest a totally different message for Clacton, perhaps one that reads:

 

IN CLACTON, WE LIKE TO KEEP OUR WALLS WHITE

 

That should please everyone, including the pigeons

Dexxion

 

 

 

Lynsey De Paul: 1950 - 2014

 

Most of us here at Sump were in flared trousers, hobbling about in platform shoes and mucking around with our first choppers when Lynsey de Paul appeared on the seventies scene.

 

She was cool, independent, and slightly aloof. A kind of clean hippy in a floppy hat. And she was one of the most attractive things that ever sat on the ivory side of a piano. She enjoyed a string of hits in the 1970s including Sugar Me; Won't Somebody Dance With Me; Ooh I Do; and No Honestly. She also co-wrote Storm in a Teacup which scored a hit for The Fortunes.

 

But it was perhaps her Eurovision song, Rock Bottom, that in 1977 made her a household name. She didn't win. But at number two, she came perilously close.

 

Famously, she fell out with manager Don Arden (father of Sharon Osbourne, wife of Ozzy), and she infamously fell out with Sharon Osbourne who allegedly responded to a criticism by answering a simple call of nature in de Paul's suitcase.

 

The fallout from the Don Arden litigation, it's said, helped wreck de Paul's music performing career, but she moved into acting and film production, including a self defence video for women.

 

Despite effectively being unable to perform or re-sign with another record label, she continued to write for TV and radio, and later penned a highly forgettable electioneering ditty for the Conservative Party.

 

She was born Lynsey Monckton Rubin in Southwark, London. At the height of her career, she was personally associated with numerous celebrities including James Coburn, Sean Connery, Ringo Starr, Roy Wood, Bill Kenwright, Bernie Taupin and Chas Chandler, but she never married and never had children.

 

During her career, she picked up numerous awards, and she was the first women to collect an Ivor Novello "Ivor" for songwriting and composing.

 

At just 4-feet 11-inches tall, she was a small figure, but she always had presence, class and style and a lot of musical talent to boot. But she never really gained the general recognition she perhaps deserved and was a difficult character to "pigeon hole" thereby adding to her professional problems. Amongst her peers, however, she was well respected and admired.

 

Lynsey de Paul was a non-smoker, a teetotaller and a vegetarian, and died suddenly on 1st October 2014. Maybe there's a message in there for the rest of us. But sometimes people just die.

Dexxion

 

 

 

Metzeler Sportec Klassic launched

 

According to Metzeler, these tyres are more than merely the last and most crucial bit between your good self and the road. These tyres are actually a "revival"; a return to the glory days of the 1980s when Metzeler gave the world the ME1 CompK, "the first tire (tyre) with “bias belted” (MBS) technology". So enter the Sportec Klassics which are supposed to be the next move up.

 

We ain't arguing with that because, being Dunlop and Avon men (and women), we barely remember the ME1 CompK (and we barely remember the 1980s having been soundly drunk for most of it).

 

But we're taking Metzeler at its word because, like all good Germans, they don't really know how to lie (not seeing the point in it). 

 

All the same, the Krauts know how to lay it on thick. Check this from the press release (to be read in a German accent):

 

"The same developments put in place for the new supersport product have enabled us to design the compound that allows the Sportec Klassik to achieve excellent results in the wet, without exceeding the use of grooves and maintaining a design with a very high land-sea ratio.

 

"The tread pattern of Sportec is very robust because its footprint provides a high amount of rubber in contact with the road; both on the straight as well as when leant over. This not only offers advantages in terms of mileage, stability and road holding, but it means that all of these qualities remain after many kilometers and with the progressive wear of the tire."

 

We're not sure what "kilometers" are, or even "kilometres". But we think they're like miles, only shorter. However, it's gonna take more than these rubbers to make us shift brands. But many of you Sumpsters will see it differently, so here are the sizes:

 

Front
110/70 - 17 M/C 54H TL
110/80 V - 17 M/C (57V) TL
100/90 V - 18 M/C (56V) TL
110/90 V - 18 M/C (61V) TL
100/90 - 19 M/C 57V TL

3.25 - 19 M/C 54V TL

Rear
130/70 - 17 M/C 62H TL
130/80 - 17 M/C 65H TL
130/90 - 17 M/C 68V TL
140/80 - VB 17 M/C (69V) TL
120/90 - 18 M/C 65V TL
4.00 - 18 M/C 64V TL

 

Meanwhile, if you're an off-road man or woman, the Mitas tyres below might fit your requirements a little better...

Del Monte

 

 

New Mitas motocross mudpluggers

 

These Czech-made rubber donuts are, apparently, the highlight of Mitas Tyres' presence at this year's (50th International) Intermot Show in Cologne, Germany.

 

And that might not sound too exciting until you remind yourself that tyre technology is a wonderful and underrated thing and keeps us all blithely rolling along on our chosen highways, which is the ultimate goal of biking, classic or otherwise.

 

For some of us, anyway.

 

These new rubbers are the C-24 (rear) and C-25 (front) designed for use in extra soft muddy conditions. And we hear that there is also a C-26 and C-27 for use on extra hard and rocky terrains. The Mitas press release doesn't make it clear if the tread patterns on the latter two tyres are the same as those on the first two. So your guess is as good as ours. No prices have been listed, but your dealer will sort it out.

 

For what it's worth, we're running a few Mitas tyres on our own bikes here at Sump. And the general consensus is that they're okay—for the money. But it's interesting and amusing to note that the firm's own website describes its products as "agricultural, industrial and motorcycle tyres." Which just about sums them up. Czech 'em out sometime.

 

www.mitas-tyres.com

 — Big End

 

 

October tax disc changes crash DVLA website

 

We ought not to be broadcasting the incompetence of our government departments. Johnny Foreigner might get the idea that we're stupid over here in the UK.

 

Except that stupidity is a global disease, and we've probably got no more than our fair share of it.

 

Nevertheless, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is said to be a little red faced this morning (1st October 2014); the first day of the "tax disc" changes in which the system goes entirely electronic, and the paper disc is consigned to history.

 

The good news, however, is that 270,000 road users yesterday managed to negotiate the new online system and had their (sometimes 6 hour) wait rewarded with a digital disc to affix to their digital windscreen or display in their digital tax disc holder. However, thousands of others faced repeated screen messages advising them that the system had crashed and that they needed to try again later.

 

Driving or riding in the UK without a valid tax disc is punishable by up to a £1,000 fine and a stiff, patronising nagging at the roadside. But if you're one of the unhappy few, we figure that the rozzers, if they stop you, will show a little mercy. But don't count on it. Electronic systems tend to send out automatic fines. You might want to wait this one out for a few days with a few beers and dirty movie or two.

 

It seems that the 93-year old pay-and-display tradition is gone, but it hasn't gone without a struggle. How's that for a little Dunkirk spirit?

 — Del Monte

 

 

2014 London-Brighton Run reminder

 

As ever, official entries are restricted to pre-1905 vehicles. And as ever, the 2014 (Bonhams) Veteran Car Run leaves Hyde Park, London for Madeira Drive, Brighton. And also as ever, it happens on the first Sunday in the month, which this year happens to be 2nd November 2014.

 

But there's a difference this season. The 433 entrants will be using The Mall in Central London as part of the 60-mile route south. And it's only the second time in over 50 years since "the Queen's road" has been used in this way. The last occasion was in 1962.

 

The first vehicles will depart at 06.56, which is sunrise. That's part of the tradition too. The cars leave Hyde Park, drive around Wellington Arch, chug down Constitution Hill and plink-plink-plink past Buckingham Palace.

 

Then it's up The Mall towards Admiralty Arch, right onto Horse Guards Road, left towards Parliament Square followed by a slow trundle over Westminster Bridge past the Houses of Parliament and onward to Brighton.

 

 

The Mall looking towards The Palace. Pall Mall was a 17th century game similar to croquet. It was played in the fields beside The Mall. The flags, note, come out only for special occasions. But maybe Her Majesty will raise the colours for the London - Brighton Run. Rule Britannia, etc.

 

 

If you want to get a piece of the fun, such as it is, and if you've got a suitable long-past-its-sell-by classic bike, you might want to find yourself cruising that route or anywhere down the A23 London to Brighton Road on that particular day. Just casually, you understand, and maybe dressed in something appropriate.

 

That same weekend, there's the free-to-view Regent Street Motor Show (Saturday 1st November 2014), and Bonhams has organised its Veteran Car Auction for Friday 1st October 2014.

 

Naturally, there's the rest of Central London to enjoy. So if ever you needed an excuse to get your oily old heap out of the shed and show it off, here it is.

 

www.veterancarrun.com

www.sussexsportphotography.com

 

 — Girl Happy

 

 

 

Bonneville Salt Flats? Spain? A landfill site in Cumbria? A little imagination goes a long, long way...

 

 

Triumph unveils the T214 Bonnie

 

T214 sounds like a pretty odd name for a Bonneville, until you remember that Johnny Allen, back in 1956, set a world speed record on Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah and hit 214mph. Then it sounds ... well, still a little odd.

 

Allen wasn't riding a Bonneville, note. He was piloting a 650cc Thunderbird streamliner dubbed the Texas Cee-Gar.

 

Triumph refused to back Allen's attempt, but in 1959 Meriden nevertheless cashed-in and launched the T120 Bonneville. Cheeky sods. Now Hinckley Triumph is looking to do a little cashing-in of its own with the T214.

 

At the very least, you'd think that this bike would have been offered with a lot more grunt. But aside from a shrunken headlight and a hand-applied paint job designed to emulate Johnny Allen's colours, it's a run-of-the-mill (albeit very worthy) T100 Bonnie. 1000 will be manufactured for worldwide distribution.

 

Meanwhile, we're still arguing about how to pronounce it. Two-one-four? Two-fourteen? Two-hundred-and-fourteen? Along with the "Newchurch" (see main picture caption, top of the page), this has to be one of the dumbest motorcycle names since the Francis Barnett Plover.

 

 

Overall, therefore, we're totally unimpressed by this bike. Granted, Triumph wants to sell as many motorcycles as possible. And granted, times are still tough. And granted, it looks a perfectly nice machine. But this particular sales attempt looks more like commercial desperation bordering on outright cynicism.

 

So wakey-bloody-wakey, Hinckley. We're starting to nod off down here in Sumpland.

 

Prices are to be announced. And delivery will be early next year, which means that these bike will be a lot slower on arrival than Johnny Allen's Cee-Gar.

 — Sam 7

 

 

 

 

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