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Friday, 10 February 2017

Friday bike

Another rarity from the past...

1979 Honda CB 750 'Phil Read Replica'

In 1977, Phil Read won the Isle of Man TT Formula 1 race (and world championship) on a bike based on the CB 750 F2 which had been introduced in 1976. Looking to capitalise on his success, Honda Britain launched the 'Phil Read Replica'. They contracted bike builder Colin Seeley to convert standard F2s by fitting a fairing, seat unit, lower bars and rearsets, larger aluminium tank, and a silencer modelled on the racebike's exhaust.

These were rather expensive at the time - £1895, £360 more than a standard F2. Colin Seeley was contracted to build 400 Replicas, but a disagreement with Phil Read meant that only 150 were completed. Honda Britain then had the remaining 250 built with different paint, one of Seeley's silencers, and renamed the CB 750 SS.

Of the original 150 Replicas, apparently only 35 are still in existence, plus an unknown number of SSs. Personally, I haven't seen either in at least 30 years, but I have seen two Replicas for sale - one on auction with a £10,000 to 13,000 guide price, and the other priced at £25,000!

Friday, 3 February 2017

Friday bike

This week's is a bike that I'd only seen once, had completely forgotten about, and only remembered due to a chance remark.

1964 Royal Enfield 250cc Turbo Twin Sports

I was talking to someone about bikes and mentioned that my Bonneville had its ignition key on the side of the headlight. They said they had never seen a bike without its key at the handle bars, so I said that my Honda CL 350 had its key under the tank, I remembered bikes with their keys on the sidepanels, then I remembered a bike with its key on top of the crankcases.

Back in 1976 just after I'd left school, I was out one day and one of my former classmates stopped to say hello on a Royal Enfield Turbo Twin Sports. I remembered him switching off the crankcase mounted key. We had a chat then he rode off. That was my only sighting of a Turbo Twin.

It was a bit unusual as most Royal Enfields of the time were four stroke singles, but the Turbo Twin was fitted with a Villiers 4T two stroke twin engine. It was also one of the last British built REs, with four stroke production continuing to this day in India.

You'll have noticed the lack of turbocharger, so why the name? Apparently it was due to the rubber mounted engine being so smooth and quiet, it was 'like a turbine'!

Royal Enfield Turbo Twin Sport Specification

  • Engine: Villiers 249cc Mk 4T two stroke twin
  • Transmission: Villiers Four speed to rear of engine
  • Carburettor: Villiers S25 plunger type
  • Electrics: Lucas 6 volt
  • Fuel capacity: 3 ½ gallons
  • Weight: 298lbs
  • Performance: top speed 75mph/standing ¼ mile 21.6s
  • Fuel consumption: 96mpg @ 30mph/52mpg @ 60mph
  • Ground clearance: 5 ½ inches

Friday, 27 January 2017

Friday bike

As there's been talk in the media about Ducati launching a V4 sportsbike, let's remember their previous V4.

1963 Ducati Apollo 1256cc

Read all about it here.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Friday, 13 January 2017

Friday bike

Sometimes I feature a new brand or a brand I hadn't heard of before, but this week I'm sadly going to feature a brand that going to disappear. Polaris Industries have decided to cease production of their Victory range of bikes and concentrate on their Indian stablemates. It's always a bit sad when a brand is discontinued, so I'm going to feature the most outrageous Victory.
Statement from Polaris where they say they are going to maintain spares and service support for existing models for the next ten years.

Victory Cross Country Tour

Yes, it's completely over the top and it looks like something Dan Dare would ride, but I love it for being so over the top.

Just look at these specs!

General information
Model:Victory Cross Country Tour
Rating:Do you know this bike?
Click here to rate it. We miss 2 votes to show the rating.
Price as new (MSRP):US$ 21999. Prices depend on country, taxes, accessories, etc.
Engine and transmission
Displacement:1737.14 ccm (106.00 cubic inches)
Engine type:V2, four-stroke
Engine details:Self-adjusting cam chains, hydraulic lifters
Bore x stroke:101.0 x 108.0 mm (4.0 x 4.3 inches)
Valves per cylinder:4
Fuel system:Injection. Electronic Fuel Injection with dual 45mm throttle body
Fuel control:Single Overhead Cams (SOHC)
Cooling system:Oil & air
Transmission type,
final drive:
Clutch:Wet, multi-plate
Driveline:Carbon Fiber Reinforced Belt. Primary drive: Gear drive with torque compensator.
Exhaust system:Dual-Large Bore Slash-Cut with Common Volume
Chassis, suspension, brakes and wheels
Rake (fork angle):29.0°
Trail:142 mm (5.6 inches)
Front suspension:Inverted cartridge telescopic fork, 43 mm diameter, 5.1 in / 130 mm travel
Rear suspension:Single, mono-tube gas, cast aluminum with constant rate linkage, 4.7 in / 120 mm travel, air adjustable
Front tyre:130/70-R18
Rear tyre:180/60-R16
Front brakes:Double disc. Floating rotor with 4-piston calipers. ABS.
Front brakes diameter:300 mm (11.8 inches)
Rear brakes:Single disc. Floating rotor with 2-piston caliper. ABS.
Rear brakes diameter:300 mm (11.8 inches)
Wheels:Dunlop Elite 3 tires
Physical measures and capacities
Dry weight:383.0 kg (844.4 pounds)
Weight incl. oil, gas, etc:398.0 kg (877.4 pounds)
Seat height:667 mm (26.3 inches) If adjustable, lowest setting.
Overall length:2,747 mm (108.1 inches)
Ground clearance:148 mm (5.8 inches)
Wheelbase:1,670 mm (65.7 inches)
Fuel capacity:21.95 litres (5.80 gallons)
Oil capacity:4.70 litres (0.31 quarts)
Other specifications
Color options:Gloss Black, Gloss Blue Fire, Two-tone Turbo Silver and Black
Electrical:12 volts / 18 amp hours battery.
Carrying capacity:Trunc and saddle bags space

Windscreen, Heated Dual-zone Seat, Heated grips.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Friday bike

Another one you've probably never heard of.

1970 Balkan MK50 2JU25

Found mention of this in an article and as I'd never heard of this bike before, decided to do some digging.

Balkan were a Bulgarian manufacturer who built a range of two stroke bikes from 50 to 250cc. Virtually unknown outside of Bulgaria, they ceased production in 1975. This particular model was labelled as 1970, and I found a photo of what looks like an earlier version.


General moped information
Model:Balkan MK50 2JU25
Rating:64.7 out of 100. Show full rating and compare with other bikes
Engine and transmission
Displacement:49.00 ccm (2.99 cubic inches)
Engine type:Single cylinder, two-stroke
Power:3.30 HP (2.4 kW)) @ 6500 RPM
Top speed:65.0 km/h (40.4 mph)
Bore x stroke:40.0 x 39.0 mm (1.6 x 1.5 inches)
Fuel system:Carburettor
Cooling system:Air
Transmission type,
final drive:
Fuel consumption:2.20 litres/100 km (45.5 km/l or 106.92 mpg)
Greenhouse gases:51.0 CO2 g/km. (CO2 - Carbon dioxide emission)
Chassis, suspension, brakes and wheels
Front brakes:Expanding brake (drum brake)
Rear brakes:Expanding brake (drum brake)
Physical measures and capacities
Dry weight:61.0 kg (134.5 pounds)
Weight incl. oil, gas, etc:70.0 kg (154.3 pounds)
Power/weight ratio:0.0541 HP/kg
Overall height:1,015 mm (40.0 inches)
Overall length:1,860 mm (73.2 inches)
Overall width:
655 mm (25.8 inches)

I think 'touring' is a bit optimistic!

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Looking back at 2016

It’s that time of year again when I look back at what I’ve been up to and I’ve done and not done.

Firstly, after 2015 being the year when I had 3 full time jobs, I’ve stayed in the same job all year. Things are going well and I don’t think that it’s very likely I’ll be looking for anything else.

An unexpected and unplanned year as far as bikes are concerned. I started the year with my silver Traveller being used for riding to work, my white Traveller being close to being back on the road, my Yamaha SZR 660 project nearly completed, and my Honda CL 350 project stalled.

My plan was to use the silver Traveller as my ‘trips’ bike, the white Traveller as my commuting bike, the Yamaha to be completed and sold, and the Honda to be worked on. However it didn’t quite work out that way!

I got the white Traveller completed and on the road by April and started commuting on it. This gave me time to do some jobs on the silver Traveller in readiness for summer runs. However, in late summer I started feeling that I wanted a change as I’d been riding only Skorpions for 16 years, so in August I bought a 2003 Triumph Bonneville T100.

I can’t really explain this change of heart, but I think you can get a bit jaded with riding the same bike, I had a bit of spare money and it came up at the right price at the right time.

This meant that one of the Skorpions would have to go and I quickly found a buyer for the white bike. He flew over from Ireland and rode it back.

New owner taking part in toy run

This meant that the silver bike now became my commuter. It was OK at doing the job, but riding a 660cc bike in stop/start traffic isn’t ideal so I started thinking about what to replace it with. As I rarely have the opportunity to do more than 50 mph (80 km/h) during my commute, something smaller and with an automatic clutch would be ideal. As luck would have it, as soon as I started looking, a Honda PCX 125 scooter came up near my work at the right price!

In the 41 years I’ve been riding bikes I’ve never owned a scooter and had only ridden one a couple of times, so was a bit hesitant. Two minutes into the test ride I knew I’d made the right decision! It’s great fun to ride, very easy through traffic, fast enough, and uses about half the fuel the Skorpion did.

As for my remaining bikes, the silver Traveller will be for sale soon, I’ll have to finish the SZR 660 and get it sold (didn’t I say that last year?), then get back to work on the CL 350 (likewise!)

Didn’t manage any big trips on the bikes this year, but I’ve got some things planned. I did have a trip to France for work, so at least I got away once in the year.

I’ve been continuing with the yoga classes I’ve been going to, and early in the year started going swimming regularly. I used to swim a lot about 25 years ago, but moving house, getting married, etc got in the way and I stopped going. A friend encouraged me to go again, and I could barely manage one length of the pool! However I persevered and now do 30 lengths of a 25 metre pool once a week. I once did 40 lengths, but I thought my arms were going to drop off! I also go for a 30 minute walk round a park every day at work, and with this, yoga and swimming I’ve been feeling a lot better and fitter.

Not much to report socially – 2 concerts, 1 comedy night, 2 meals out, and no dates.

Got a lot of plans for next year, but that’s another post!