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Friday, 19 October 2012

Friday bike

This week's 'Friday bike' is interesting enough on its own, but there's also an unusual story attached to it. Currently on Ebay there are a number of ex-French Army Cagiva T4E 350s. One here.

It's the standard 'over the counter' T4E of the era, just painted green. At one time, a number of European NATO countries got together to decide on a standard military bike, and chose the Cagiva. It was a fairly typical trail bike of the time with a Yamaha influenced air-cooled four stroke single engine. Makes sense you'd think - use a common, established design to makes spares easier, and the various countries would be in a good position to negotiate a good deal from Cagiva. The British Army was due to get the Cagiva to replace their Can-Am 250s and BSA B40s, until then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, vetoed the plan. Apparently, she passed a decree that the British Army wasn't to use any equipment used by the French! (She suffered from that inexplicable Francophobia that many on the political Right seem to have). This meant that the British Army ended up with the inferior Armstrong MT 500, which being a unique bike at the time would have cost a lot more than the Cagiva. I wonder how much this pig headed dogma cost the British taxpayer!
Back at the bikes for sale. It looks like the seller has a number of these, plus some Cagiva 125s (also ex-French Army), and a Moto Guzzi Nuovo Falcone (a previous Friday bike) formerly owned by the Yugoslav Army here
Although the Cagivas have been registered in Britain, the seller includes the really cool French military numberplate (handy for show use).

Nice bikes, but like all ex-miltary and police vehicles, you have to ask why are they getting rid of them? Caveat emptor, as my old Latin teacher would say!

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