Diary of Classic Bike Hire
8th December 2015,
We end another year and have relutantly decided to change the business model for Classic Bike Hire to focus on film and event hire only. We will not be offering self ride hire any longer. A number of issues brought us to this decision, the main one being that a single self ride going out on a Sunday ties one of us to being available, and on stand by for any issues, which also means forgoing the second pint on a Sunday afternoon just in case the phone rings, so from now on we will concentrate on weekday hires for films, events etc. We will honour all outstanding vouchers for 12 months.
6th Jan 2012, another year of successful hires! I completed my Long Way Home in August 2011, a great adventure, and one I am keen to do again. Details are on www.QatarRider.Weebly.com
I've rescued a 2008 Ural from an unfortunate life in the desert. She's called Olga and should make a fine companion for Boris, although I think he has a long way to go before I would consider him safe with a fit young Russian! Olga may well be the next steed for the Long Way Home MkII. I've realised that the slower you go, the more you see, the more you see, the more you remember, and Olga will never be accused of being fast!
29th Oct 2010, I return to dear old Blighty from the sands of the desert. I bought a KTM ADventure 990 for the Long Trip Home, so have now spent a small fortune on GPS mounts and big screens to make it more useful. Nothing is cheap in Qatar and I know that the bike will be worth peanuts when I return to Europe, but that's the way it is.
The bike hire business did well this summer, all quiet now for the winter. I hope that Boris will finally get a front brake, the Venom may get its long awaited rebuild, and we will probably sell the WLA, a Bantam and the Thunderbolt. None of them rent out much and space is at a premium, so all have to either earn their keep, unless of course they were bought with the heart in the first place!
12th March 2010, back in the UK for a few days at the start of the season. We plan a few changes in the line up, but strict rules apply, one out, one in, as we have no more space. The general plan is to swop out some of the bikes I bought with my heart and replace with bikes bought with my head, so the Velocette and the WLA will probably go, to be replaced my something easier to ride, a Triumph Thunderbird is a distinct possibility.
4th Jan 2010, Happy New Year! So another year rolls by, and another successful year for Classic Bike Hire. Phil was worked his magic on the Norton 650SS and pronounced it as fit for hiring, so those who hanker after the classic cafe racer will be happy! The Triton continues to be fettled and is looking good, a few finishing touches required. Then there is the sad case of Boris the Dnepr side car, poor, poor Boris! He's still in the garage, still has front brake problems. The whole front end has been replaced with new Dnepr parts, and still no discernable braking effect! Hopefully Kempton autojumble will yield some donor parts, but then we say that every year!
2nd Aug, A quick weekend home for my son's 21st. I call in to see Phil and Graham and end up buying a very tidy BSA A65 Thunderbolt. I've never been a BSA fan, but the bike is excellent and I may have to reform my opinion! As space is limited, it's one in, one out, so the 16H has gone, poor old soldier, it never rented out and was just too slow, so it's been laid to rest!
24th Jun, I return to Blighty after 6 months and hire out one of my own bikes, the '66 Bonny to go to Normandy for a great weekend, the bike is faultless. I'm very please with the effort Phil and Graham are putting into Classic Bike Hire and I'm most impressed with the amount of work and attention to detail Phil spends on maintenance. All this comes and a price, and we have had to raise our prices to account for the higher maintenance and the fact that Phil and Graham are running a business, whereas for me it was always a hobby!
Phil has been out and about racing a very nice MV Agusta, the bike is not on the fleet, so dont ask! A fine photo of him at Donnington flying the flag for Classic Bike Hire.
We plan some changes to the line up, we're keen to get a modern Bonneville on the books and we may say goodbye to the Norton 16H, and the Ducati 916. The 916 was my personal crotch rocket, but it increasingly fails the 'what shall I ride today' test! Old age is creeping up on me....
25th Jan, the winter maintenance continues. The '66 Bonny has new primary and secondary drive chains. Phil tracked the timing issues with the Super Rocket down to a mis-match in the taper of the existing mag driving gear and the new electronic mag replacement, the result was that the shaft never locked properly on to the gear, so drifted out after a few miles. The new 5 speed gear cluster has arrived for the Triton, Phil's going to rebuild it inside the existing pre-unit case, the result should be a major improvement, and coupled with a skimmed front anchor the Triton should be transformed. The Velocette is due for a complete overhaul in February, it's already had a new petrol tank and mag replacement, and the 650ss is due a new gearbox. The result should be a fully fettled fleet with the obvious exception of poor old Boris, who needs a modern front brake teased into the existing leading link forks, but he should not complain as he has been allowed inside for the winter, I fear me may start expecting the same in the summer, but as soon as the V Storm returns he will be banished to guard dog duties.
26th Nov, good news! we have agreement in principle that Phil and Graham of FCL will take over Classic Bike Hire for the next few years. This is excellent news as they have a wealth of classic bike experience and Phil knows all the bikes as he has MoTd them all and fettled many of them. They are based in the village, so the logistics are simple, and I'm more than happy with their proffessional reputation and I'm sure Classic Bike Hire will be in safe hands.
19th Sept, we finish the season with the Goodwood Revival, and the mixed blessing of my posting to Qatar. Mixed as this means I wont be able to run Classic Bike Hire through the autumn, but I can't afford to say no to the tax free salary! (You don't really think I can pay the mortgage just renting out old bikes do you?) I hope that next year Classic Bike Hire will have a full time manager who can carry on the noble cause of letting people try their luck riding cronky old bikes! I'll keep you posted, but I've removed my mobile number from the welcome page as it cost a fortune to answer calls in Qatar and it's two hours head as well, so if you want to contact me please do so by email, rob at Classic Bike Hire dot com (reformat using Mk1 brain cell, done to reduce spam).
14th Aug, the Panther is off the road following accident damage, may be fixed for next year, Boris continues to demand more front suspension parts,and the V Storm build is going slowly, waiting for parts as well. Otherwise the Bonnevilles continue to give good service, as does the Commando and the Tiger 110, the Super Rocket is in disgrace (timing/carburation) and the Velo awaits a new fuel tank. The Harley went up the the Bulldog bash and the 16H finally has a working period speedo.
19th June, mid summer, at least in terms of the callendar, many bikes out, Boris still languishes as my latest interest is a kit car, you can see details at V Storm, it's not exactly a Classic Bike, but it does have an Aprilia engine in it and when built it might even weigh less than a hog!
25th May, I reaplced the duff mag on the BSA Super Rocket with a 6v Boyer and mag replacement from Keith at Classic Solutions, It works well and has a spark on it that can kill small animals! I've nominated two more dates for ride outs, see the ride out page for details.
23rd April, had the first rideout of the year on Sunday, the weather was good, as was the company, who chose an eclectic selection of Brit iron for their pleasure, the Triton, the 66 Bonneville, the BSA, Velo and Commando. The magneto on the BSA decided it liked the pub too much and refused to spark after lunch, so another mag replacment has to be fitted. The Velo's oil leak at least proved there was still oil in the tank, she's now in for new gaskets everywhere. The Commando and Bonneville were faultless, the Triton excercised everyones starting technique, the mag replacement ensures a spark, but 10.5:1 compression still needs a few pounds on the end of the kickstart lever!
16th March, the gods conspire against me! I knew it would rain all day when I got 11 bikes fired up, fully fueled and oiled on Saturday ready for a 7 bike ride out on Sunday. There's not much fun to be had riding in the wet and certainly not when you're paying for it, so the ride out is to be rescheduled. The goods news is that my efforts on Saturday mean that every bike on hire apart from the 916 is up and running. (The 916 is still in winter storage). The 650SS is in fine form with its new mag replacement, but filling the Velocette's fuel tank revealed a small leak which means the tank will have to be sealed.
12th March, much fettling in the workshop in preparation for the coming season. I've fitted a mag replacement from Classic Solutions to the Velocette, it's a wonderful gadget, she starts first kick every time, you never have to worry about the spark, it's always there, and she ticks over much more evenly, thoroughly recommended. I've fitted one to the 650SS as well, I was short of the correct drive sprocket, Keith at Classic Solutions popped one in the post, it arrived the next morning, so top gadget and top service, many thanks. Boris continues to try my patience, waiting on axle bushes at the moment, one day......
17th Feb, took the WLA shopping to Godalming and called in on an old friend, Matthew Burns, who has just started up again in the estate agency business, the WLA was too good a photo opportunity to miss! The first ride of the season on the WLA is still intimidating, but I managed to get off the line without staling and negotiated all the traffic with only a few swear words as motorists stopped for no apparent reason. After a few miles there was a broad smile on my face, it's a great bike!
10th Feb, surprise surprise, Boris failed his MoT! His wheels are not entirely circular, which might be all well and good on the Steppes, but not acceptable on the A281. An email to Leszek should bring a supply of new spokes, fingers crossed for the next time. Otherwise more fettling, the WLA passed its MoT, the BSA has a duff dynamo, and both the Norton 650SS and the Venom are due a conversion to electronic ignition courtesy of Classic Solutions.
14th Jan, A weekend of oil changes and fettling! No major problems to report. I store 4 bikes off site in the winter so I have enough room to work on the bikes that remain. This weekend was change-over weekend, so I had to choose which bikes my partner would trailer over there and which I would ride, honours fell to the Triton as the steed of choice. I've fitted a Classic Solutions mag replacement with Boyer unit. This works really well, the Triton still stalls if you fail to blip the throttle, but now you can start it astride the machine with a prod on the kick start, a huge improvement (it starts when hot too!). The honours for the return trip fell to the Tiger 110, which started up after a few kicks. It was an easy choice as the BSA had serious incontinence, must be the cold in the shed, and the Harleys left foot clutch didn't appeal!
is very nearly ready for his MoT, just a rear brake to fettle and then the test. Fingers still crossed.
9th Dec, a good weekend of fettling, after a trip to the autojumble at Kempton the 650SS has new rear shoes and the 16H has a speedo drive. Loads of parts arrived for Boris from Leszek in Poland. I fitted new carburetors, control cables and twist grip as well as a new fuel tap and freshly sealed tank. Boris showed his appreciation and fired up straight away, so I played him his favorite tune while sitting on him in the garage, after 3 minutes there was smokescreen which could have concealed the Potemkin. Maybe he feels smoking is now his only pleasure having cut out drinking altogether. One day soon he will face the scrutiny of Dr Phil for his MoT, fingers crossed.
25th Nov, Boris has gota go to rehab, da, da, da! I had to dry the old commie out with some tank sealer followed by 4 days of cold turkey. He's a sly old devil, I think he had second guessed my plan, so he'd filled his gearbox up with 2 star so he could return to his old ways. The gearbox and engine sump have been duly drained and filled with the proper stuff. Boris looked very glum, so I played him his favorite tune.(Takes some time, but worth it!) Why is it the worst regimes always have the best tunes?
11th Nov, the 650SS has returned from a major fettle by Phil at FCL in the village. He is a top quality mechanic with an uncanny eye for detail, he spotted and fixed many minor issues, so I feel confident that the engine rebuild will prove reliable. I took the Norton over to Rockerbox in Farnham as a shake down, mechanically perfect, a loose number plate pointed out by a fellow biker (thanks mate) and a bust speedo drive, soon fixed.
Boris has new front forks supplied from Poland, many thanks to Leszek at Oldtimer Garage just in case there is someone else out there in dire need of parts for a post war Dnepr! Unfortunately Boris has a serious drink problem and reeks of fuel every morning, so I think I'll have to dry him out!
14th Oct, the Sunbeam is making progress! I've given up worrying about authenticity and fitted a modified sidestand as the rear stands are as rare as smiling Frenchman after last nights glorious performance in the rugby. I had a sidestand in stock which was too short, so chopped the toe off it, bent some round tube oval, ground the two ends down and whacked the ends into the tube, ran a weld round the join, hey presto, the Sunbeam can now stand up on its own! Fired with this success I went on to fettle a part for the gear linkage, not quite in the same league as Humbernut (a mythical character blessed with supernatural powers over all things metallic who features in the Real Classic magazine), but most rewarding, and if any nerd tells me its not original at least I shall be able to say, 'I know, I made it myself!'
I've ordered some new front forks for Boris from Poland, seemed a sensible thing to do, fingers crossed they arrive and are good uns.
30th Sept, my sanity must be in question! I've just bought a Dnepr K-750 outfit. First nailed together in 1966 and used by the Russian army during the cold war, the outfit come complete with short wave radio, trenching tools but sadly no machine gun, just the mounting hole. It's almost exactly the same as the pre war BMW R-71. The engineering on it is quite appalling! The 'cast' parts look as if they have been beaten into shape with a lump hammer. The material quality is just as bad, most odd for a country which had just put a man into space, but couldn't make ball bearings! I've called him Boris in honour of the next mayor of London, but he's some way off getting an MoT as the front forks need a lot of work to sort out the wear and tear of 40 years of riding on Russian roads.
14th Sept, a bit of luck, I was stripping the Harley to get to the gearbox, removed the primary drive cover, and found the chain in a heap! So instead of facing a full gearbox rebuilt, it's about 50 euros for a new chain, and the old girl should be back on the road within the week.
6th Sept, I've just bought a Norton 16H, wartime jobbie, 1943. I've had a few requests for Despatch Riders bikes, both for hire and film, and it's an area I'm interested in with vague plans for doing tours of the Normandy beaches on wartime bikes, so the Norton may be the start of something. There are plenty of niggling little details, like plastic tie wraps and a missing speedo, but it has the makings of a nice bike. The poor old ES2 has been taken down to the bottom of the metaphorical garden and shot! It's a nice bike, but no one wanted to rent it as it hasn't the appeal of a Commando or a Bonneville, still I got what I paid for it, so can't complain. Doubtless I will now be flooded with requests to rent wheezing old British singles!
3rd Sept, another excellent Goodwood Revival. We had a massive amount of interest and it was nice to see familiar faces and a few past customers. We had about 6 bikes out at various points over the weekend, so just about every bike in the garage is dirty! I sneaked the Triton on to the Shell Woad Corner garage for a bit and had great fun firing it up to ride it back to the stand, it wasn't exactly necessary to start it but couldn't resist hearing those reverse cone meggas!
24th Aug, spent the day on a book launch ferrying Amanda Lees round central London from one book signing to another. She's a game gal, trusting both me as the rider and the '68 Bonneville as the transport, I'd like to say we both behaved faultlessly, probably only true of the Bonneville!
19th Aug, just done the Cranleigh Classic Car show, a bit wet, but still a good show. We're doing Wings and Wheels and will be at Goodwood Revival as well. The poor old Harley has been excused active service as after 65 years the gearbox has a few too many moving parts in it, so is due for a gearbox rebuild this winter. Otherwise it's been a bit of a lottery with the weather, the bikes can and do go out in the wet, it's just not much fun!
14th June, collected the Venom from Richardsons in Ripley who had done an excellent job sorting out a whole load of niggles at a very fair price. That leaves the Norton 650SS to go and then all the bikes (except the Sunbeam of course) will be up and running. May was busy, which sort of explains the lack of diary entries, lots of bikes out on hire, I bought a 4 bike trailer and took 4 modern bikes down to the Alps, offloaded them and spent 3 glorious days cranking the 916 up and down countless alpine passes. Trailering the bikes down the autoroute worked well, sure it was 12 hours instead of 10, but 26mpg between 4 and the comfort of a decent MPV is worth 10 hours of agony and/or boredom on a bike. (I must be getting old!)
29th April, the Panther and chair have been on a severe diet and she's decided to go topless! I ditched the fairing, sidecar roof, rear bumper and spare wheel and carrier, must have removed about 100 pounds and reduced the drag coefficient to something approaching that of a brick. Anyway, an all round success, cruising speed is now 50-55 and the poor victim in the chair can be seen to grimace at every corner. Another plus is that the rider can see the nearside wheel, no more 'woops, was that the kerb!'
25th April, An epic diary entry; we went up to a family wedding in Scotland last weekend, I passed the flight dreaming of riding back on a 'combination', a proper Wallace and Gromit affair. After an exceedingly good lunch, we strolled down Grantown High St and I popped into the newsagents to buy a copy of the local free ads. There it was, as requested, a '56 Panther Sloper 600 single with period BSA chair! Bikes are bikes, but family is family, so we agreed the wedding could go ahead as planned on the Saturday just so long as I could get to Inverness on the Sunday. Close inspection did not disappoint, in original condition, but with some recent work, a new piston and magneto rewind, and regularly used, which was a key concern as I thought through the sense of riding a 51 year old outfit some 600 miles home. I really hadn’t planed this, so needed a jacket, helmet and gloves at a minimum. The local ads turned up trumps with a jacket in Grantown itself, and before we collected the bike on Monday morning I called in at Mitchells for a helmet and gloves.
Fully equipped, I handed over the cash and sat for the first time on an outfit. Ronald showed me over the controls and starting procedure and warned me about the prodigious thirst Panthers have for oil, check every 50 miles! Engaging first gear I managed a reasonable getaway and headed for the first junction, a left turn, followed by a roundabout which involves both a left turn on to it and a right turn off it. I had heard about sidecar handling before I ventured out, and all I can say is that reality is worse! Left hand corners can be negotiated with care, and you're convinced the thing will tip over, right hand corners start off as 'straight ahead' until panic sets in and you apply a huge amount of steering, then the thing suddenly shoots to the right. Readers of this might think the set up is wrong, but I'm reliably informed this is quite normal and what driving a sidecar is all about.
I was getting to know the outfit a bit better, just as well as we had the best part of 600 miles to go. I called in at Grantown and lightened ship as much as possible as my partner had sensibly decided to take the plane home, with my luggage. I waved a cheery goodbye and chugged off to the A9 and the south. She seemed happy at 40 mph, so there we sat, chugg chugg. I watched the world go by and discovered the delights of a slower speed of travel. Then it rained, and rained and rained. I pressed on, a true biker to the core, the water began to fill my boots (Gortex my ass!), then my jeans were soaked, the jacket started to leak a bit, but the Richa gloves where good and the huge period fairing kept the worse of the 'Scots mist' off me. By 7pm I had reached England near the Kielder forest, a bleak part of the world in bright sunshine, most inhospitable in the driving rain. The light was going as a pub appeared. I enquired about a room, as a large puddle formed at my feet, indeed that had one, but ... just as I though the landlord was going to explain his 'no wet bikers on a Monday' policy, he kindly offered to tumble dry my jeans while I slumped in a hot bath, a true gentleman! 3 pints and 14oz of fine Scottish steak later and I was ready for bed. The Redesdale Arms is thoroughly recommended.
I woke at 6, spied no rain, so kicked the big pussy into life and off we thudded for what turned out to be 11 hours in the saddle. The routine was stop every 80 miles to check the oil and either fuel for the bike or for me. Everywhere we stopped the kind comments came from complete strangers, some questioned my sanity, some complimented the bike. Newcastle in the rush-hour was invigorating, breakfast at Morrisons was excellent. A passer by commented that the bike could do with some TLC, he was right, she looked as is if she had just been ridden 250 miles through a field. I vowed to clean her up at the next stop.
So the miles rolled, or crept by, insignificant places that were only 12 miles away became really terribly interesting. Somehow knowing London was 'only' 130 miles away made things worse not better. We chugged on, never missed a beat, happy in our routine. We swung round the M25 just before the rush-hour and I pulled into the drive just before 6pm.
Would I do it again? Probably not, but I now know the bike is reliable, that speed is not everything, and I met some interesting people who I would never have talked to if I was driving a modern car with a tank range of 600 miles and a cruising speed of 90.
If you fancy your chances, she is of course available for hire, the ideal trip is probably to the local with 'er indoors' in the chair and to park right outside, or saddle up for a few days of slow speed touring, just be prepared for lots of questions and smiling, interesting new friends.
10th April, took the Triton round the M25 in the rush hour, a cruel test for any bike, we survived, but it is not to be recommended. The Triton is a bike for short trips to the pub with lots of people watching, trying to creep through Surrey villages without waking the dead is not an option.
Took the 916 out for a pre-hire road test. Oh boy, what fun! After the Triton the 916 rearranges your senses as well as your gear foot coordination, a true classic.
1st April, the Commando is a good un! I rode out to see my mate who has the 850 Mk III, by comparison the Mk III is a big lardy thing, the 750 is faster, lighter and much more fun, why does everyone rate the Mk III? The 750 has the Combat engine, notorious for exploding in bits, but this one was rebuilt many years ago and is strong, and has that lovely crisp exhaust note that all good high compression engines have.
I've also added my 916 to the fleet. I'm a bit apprehensive, so I'm limiting it to proven bikers only with current big bike experience.
27th March, I've just bought a Commando, the previous one I listed (see below) created some interest, and I thought a Commando would compliment the other Brit Parallel Twins. I collect it on Thursday, it's up and running, available for hire from April.
16th March, took the Tangerine Dream out for a pre hire road test, wonderful sunshine, throaty burble of the 650 twin, open roads, just what it's all about. The eagle eyed may have noticed that the Commando is no longer listed, this is a friends bike who was happy to let me hire it out, but the insurance company have said no way, no insurable interest, no insurance, a shame, but there seems to be no way round it.
6th March, the bikes are now covered by RAC
recovery, so if the worst happens, at least you can get back to base, let's hope it isn't used. Apart from that the 650SS rebuild has slowed a bit after Tony the wizard machinist had a few health problems, all the others are serviced and ready to go (well except the Sunbeam of course!)
8th Feb, I've set up an eBay shop, not sure how it will work out. I've put the adverts for a days hire in the motorbikes for sale section with a Buy it Now price (same as on this website). The adverts cost 6 quid an insertion, but I'm getting over 500 hits and a few watchers, no sales yet...
2nd Feb, called NJB Shocks Ltd to check if the new shock absorbers I bought from him at Kempton were the right ones for the 650SS, he assured me they were and was only too happy to let me fit them, ride the bike and see if they did the business. That's what I call excellent customer commitment! They are now fitted, just the engine to go, it could be some time.....
19th Jan, the Harley passes its MOT! The ride there was my first outing on a foot clutch, left hand tank change machine. To say it's different is an understatement! I seemed to spend most of the time with my left foot hovering over the clutch pedal to be sure of disengaging drive within an instant. Doubtless practice will help. While there I collected the Triton and took it for a blast. It's my kind of machine, noisy, quick, very poised, a lot of fun, ready for spring. Is that now?
13th Jan, started the year by 'buyin mahself some Milwaukee pig iron', yup, a Harley. Well it happens to us all at some time! As you might expect, she's seen a few birthdays, born in the USA in 1942, saw service with Uncle Sam, then got dressed in civies in the early '60s. 45 cubic inches (750c to you and me) which 'kicks' out a whole 23 bhp. The controls are a bit odd: a left foot clutch, left hand gear selector and right foot rear brake, only the throttle and the front brake are where you would expect them. An MOT and general fettle is requried, but she runs and should be on hire soon.
12th Jan, I should have an arrangement soon with a BikeSafe expert rider who will be able to accompany people on rides. He's well qualifed, has ridden just about everything, and decent company, details will follow.
10th Dec , had a look at the magneto on the Dominator, I've always been a bit frightened of these things and have in the past just sent them off to the specialists for a rewind, with variable results. This time I stripped it down, pulled out the armature and cleaned off all the cack, including lots of brown poo on the bit that the brushes contact. I swaped the brushes over and voila! a spin of the wrist and a lovely fat spark! I soon found new brushes on eBay, so ordered a full set, that with some new copper HT leads should see the spark back on a permenant basis. So, magnetos? A doddle!
17th Novemer, A red letter day! The Triton passed its MOT! The simple expedient of filing the silencers with stainless steel gauze fixed the noise problem, and all courtesy of Kleeneze! (Seriously, stainless steel pan cleaners are tailor made for the job) So, after 10 years off the road the Triton rides again, what a bike!
4th December, the Norton 650SS rebuild is in full swing, the forks are off to Best Electroplating to get chromed, the crank is in for a regrind and new shells, while the mag is on the bench. I've sourced another Mag for the Velocette, so hopefully the infamous 'first kick' start will soon be a reality. With 11 bikes in total, there is always some thing to do!
14th November, feel most chuffed, I've just welded a steering stop lug on to the Triton, probably 4 hours work, total cost of parts, zilch! (One was missing, which is an MOT faliure) The nice people at the DVLA have registered it as a Triton, so just the noisy pipes to fix, then a re-test and out on the road (fingers crossed).
24th October, it looks as if we will have a few bikes at the Classic MPH show at Earls Court, courtesy of Parc Ferme, who hire out classic cars. We met them at Goodwood, nice cars too!
20th October, took the Triton out for the first time for its MOT, what a bike! It was not entirely suprising that it failed for being too loud! I'll try various mods to the megaphone exhausts to see if I can get the noise down while keeing the original appearance.
30th Sept, been on holiday, so only just realised we had 3 bikes out on the Ace Cafe run, I felt like the base commander in the Dam Busters waiting for all the bikes to return safely as Sunday evening approached, they all got back safely. More importantly, I've just bought a Triton, well the collection woudn't be complete without one would it? I've got to get it registered as a Triton, then MOT etc, then road test. It's very loud very hairy, no test pilots!
7th Sept, finally got everything sorted out after the Goodwood Revival. We were swamped! Wonderful response, shame we didnt get to see any racing! We had three winners to our Guess the bike from the exhaust sound' competition, they each get a free days hire on a bike of their choice. We have 4 bikes doing the Ace Reunion on Sunday, fingers crossed for fine weather and clear roads.....
24th Aug, lashed out a huge amount of dosh on a Bob Newby belt drive for the 650SS. Beautiful engineering, and hopefully, no more concerns with leaking primary drive cases.
13th Aug, the BSA rides again! While I'm still not enamoured with the overall standard of engineering, there is nothing quite like starting an engine for the first time, wonderful!
11th Aug, saw a Norton ES2 at Richardsons in Ripley, seemed a fair price, matching numbers, upmolested, and it started, so it's now on the books, cheap cheap, 50 quid a day!
30th July, the BSA A10 rebuild continues. Normally I like this sort of thing, but the 'engineering' of the A10 is quite appaling, no wonder they went bust! I now know that BSA really means Bits Stuck Anywhere! It will be a long time before I buy anything else from Armory Rd. Every bolt has to be put in in the correct sequence, even the head and and thread end matter, the the exhaust pipes have no adjustment short of bending the bracket, ugh!
26th July, the 'new' Bonneville is a good un! I rode round the M25 in the rush hour on it, hardly fair on a 40 year old motorbike, but a good test. She's leak free, starts when hot, no problems to report......
22nd July, my partner was up in the Wirral, so called in on those nice people at Davida helmets. Picked up three more helmets, so we no have medium, 2 large and an XL. These helmets are the bees knees, just thing for a classic motorcycle. I've added a rather nice retro leather jacket and a 'see through' armoured jacket specially for the hot weather.
11th July, having visited Goodwood for the Festival of Speed, I'm getting excited about doing the Revival Meeting in September. I hope to cross link to/from the Goodwood website. Then I need at least one more pre -1966 motorcycle, which I think I've found, a rather nice '66 Bonneville in tangerine.
8th July, finaly got so anoyed with the standard clutch on the 916, I fitted a posh aftermarket jobbie obtained from Stuart at www.Spareshack.com, what a difference! It is so light I had to stop and check it was still working, should have done it years ago!
30th June, did the Classic Bike Guide day, hard work!. I invited 2 mates to come out for a days fun, ended up runing round after the photographer and despite frequent offers, we did'nt get to the pub 'til 4:15! What does Tim Britton run on? It certainly is'nt beer or lager. Watch out for the August issue for the full story.
26th June, We are doing a day with Classic Bike Guide at the end of the month, the idea is to get 2 or 3 bikers who have not ridden old British bikes and get them to try out the fleet and see how they take to right foot gear changes etc. Watch out for the article in Classic Bike Guide, should be August or September.
10th June, investigate the Super Rocket's smoking problem. It's stuffed! Send the whole engine in for a proffessional re-build, not cheap, not quick, but hopefully worth it. Strip the frame etc prior to powder coating. I now hate BSAs with a vengance! Ghastly design! No wonder they went bust. I think I'm becoming a Triumph man!
9th June, A Bonneville was added to the fleet! A '68 model, see the page for details, very nice indeed!
2nd June, took the Tiger 110 to the Isle of Man, cheated a bit in that we trailerd it up to the Wirral, then under the Mersey, on to the ferry and stated in Douglas. We sorted some accommodation for the 2007th, see the IoM page for details. The Tiger never missed a beat!
26th May, hire number 2, success! Good old Triumph Tiger!
22nd of May Hire number 1! The BSA went to Le Mans, it did return, but smoking badly....