Friday 31 August 2012

Cool album cover

Friday bike

This week's bike is one that I'd forgotten about, but was featured in a lot of magazines in the 70s, and I once saw one in a museum.
The Silk 700S was basically a modernised Scott engine in a Spondon race based frame. Very expensive and rare, only 148 were built and one has come up on British Ebay less that 100 miles from my house (No, I'm not thinking of buying it!)
Some pictures found on the Web:

And this is the bike on Ebay:

As you can see, it in 'mid restoration' but seems to be mostly there. Ebay listing: here, and there's a gallery of photos of the restoration so far.

Some articles on the Silk, here, here, and here.

If anyone reading this buys the one on Ebay, let us know.

Saturday 25 August 2012

Before the Kindle

These e-book readers are the coming thing, are they not?

Retro bikes 1

Came across a really cool 'retro' bike on Ebay that I hadn't heard of before.

A 1999 Suzuki ST 400 Tempter. Japanese home market bike not sold in the UK (why do they Japs keep all the cool bikes for themselves?), the engine looks similar to the 650 Savage custom that we got.

Just look how slim it is

Did a bit of looking around the Web and found a couple more pictures. This one (re)painted gold:

 Looks a bit like a mid 60s Ducati. And this one for sale in New Zealand with an aftermarket silencer that give it a more 60s look.

If any one is interested, the one in the top picture is on sale on British Ebay here.

I also found a 'walk round' on YouTube, the tank badges will confuse old codgers!

A couple more retros, this time new and for sale on Ebay:

A Skyteam Ace 125 Cafe Racer, looks a bit like a 60s Honda, and

A CPI Sprint 125, styled to look a bit like a BSA (check the tank badge!)

Both probably built in China, with all that that bring with it.

More retros later...........

Friday 24 August 2012

Friday bike

Here's another bike that I found on the Web. There are a number of V-twins based on the Royal Enfield singles running around, but this one caught my eye not only because it looks really 'traditional', but also because the builder has put so much detail onto his website.
The 'Enfield Musket' (good pun there!) was built by Aniket Vardhan, an Indian living in the US. He 'officially' went to the US to study for a Masters in Industrial Design, but claims the real reason was that he loved the sound of Harley Davidsons!
He carved wooden patterns of his crankcase design, then found a company to cast them.
Just imagine making the pattern (on the left).

Looking at the finished bike just illustrates what a good designer and engineer Aniket is - I hope he got his Masters!

His website has lots of details of the bike's construction, along with pictures and videos. In this video, he explains the silencers he's fitted, then starts the bike so you can hear the superb sound it makes. Great stuff!!

Monday 20 August 2012

Coupes Moto Légende 2012--Au-fil-des-allées

Found a gallery of pictures from the Coupes Moto Légende that we attended earlier this year. Click.
The gallery is in French, but the only things you need to know are 'Lancer le Diaporama' means 'start the slideshow', and 'Suivant' means 'next'.

Lots of very nice bikes, including this Vincent Black Lightning:

What a rare and exotic machine, so rare and exotic that Richard's going to sing a song about one. Take it away.....

Love how Loudon Wainwright III looks like he's falling asleep, and Suzanne Vega's face just says 'how are we going to follow that?'

Saturday 18 August 2012

Friday bike

Sometimes you find something interesting on the Web, and when you search further you find all sorts of unexpected goodies.
I found the picture below and thought 'that's this week's Friday bike', but when I searched further.....

Yes, that's a V 12 built from two Honda CBX 100 engines! Only information I had was that it was built by Andreas Georgeades, so Googling that brought up details of an extraordinary character.
Andreas was born in Greece, but grew up in South Africa where he became a successful racer in the early 60s. Winner of a bronze replica at the Isle of Man TT, he competed in the European Championship for some years before moving to Canada. There he continued racing, and built a race bike using a 600cc 4 cylinder Honda car engine. The engine was watercooled, but he converted it to aircooling by cutting the waterjacket off and adding fins! This was before Honda had released the CB750, so he probably had the only privately owned Honda 4 at the time.
He's obviously a man who wants 'more', and has (so far) built 3 Ferrari powered bikes.

 A remarkable man - successful racer, incredibly talented engineer, and probably a bit mad! Articles on him: here, here, here, and here.
I also found a video of the V12 going - just listen to that sound!

Sunday 12 August 2012

For every occasion.....


Friday bike

I think I'll be changing this to 'Weekly bike' as I'm always too busy on a Friday to post something! On Friday I was working in Newcastle until 17:00, then had a job in Edinburgh (popped into mr combo's to pick up some ladders), worked there until about midnight, then got in about 01:30 on Saturday. However, my current job will be finishing in two weeks time and as I could have plenty of time before I get something else,  there could be a lots more posting on work getting done on my bikes!

Today's bike is billed as the 'World's Lightest Motorcycle - 125lb 125cc 125mpg - (57 kg ready to ride)'. Built by FX Bikes of New Zealand, the 'Mountain Moto' looks like a downhill mountain bike with an engine.

The website has a number of videos with this one best illustarting the niche the bike could fill - halfway between a mountain bike and a motocrosser:

I can see what the attractions of this bike are: an introduction to off road motorbikes for mountain bikers; a light, easy to handle off-roader; and the miltary in both New Zealand and the US have tested it for suitability. You could imagine an Army patrol with one of these on the back of a vehicle which could be sent ahead for reconnaissance.

Can you buy one? Well..... not quite! You can order one and they will let you know 'over the next 12 months or so' when your bike will be delivered. Also, the ex-factory price of US$3995 (£2546/3250 Euros) is a bit high for what this bike is. (Remember this price is 'ex-factory', so there are taxes, transportation from NZ, and any dealership costs and profit margins to be added.) Pity, because I think the concept is good, and it might be worth FX collaborating with one of the big manufacturers to bring this bike to the market. Either than or move production to China (like most mountain bikes), and drop the price substantially. Let's hope this isn't the last we see of it. Website Facebook Blog

Sunday 5 August 2012

Breakfast run

Kawa had posted on Facebook asking if anyone fancied meeting up for a breakfast meeting last Sunday. The venue was the 'Glen Café' at St Mary's Loch, somewhere I hadn't been for a LONG time. In fact, I don't think I've been in the time that I've owned the Skorpion, so that's at least 12 years.
So I headed down in 'typical Scottish summer weather' – sunny for 15 minutes, overcast for 15 minutes, drizzly rain for 15 minutes...... repeat all day!

This is the approximate route, I used the M8 and M74 motorways to get past Glasgow, then rode on what was the 'old' A74, the main road south before the motorway was built. This used to be a real nightmare to ride as it was very busy and slow, but since the motorway was built, it is almost deserted and the long sweeping curves make it a joy to ride.
I stopped for fuel at Moffat, then headed up to the café, where I was the only customer. Soon after, there was a steady stream of motorcyclists and cyclists, and I helped a cyclist with his bike after it suffered a problem with the gears. (I had better tools than him – his lightweight, folding 'multitool' wasn't really up to the job). Interestingly, he was on a Cyclo-cross bike, a sport I hadn't seen since it used to be on television when I was a teenager. I had thought that it had died out following the introduction of mountain bikes, but he said it was still alive and well, and that he regularly competed in events.

Next to the café there's a fine monument to writer James Hogg, the 'Ettrick Shepherd', that'll make a good subject for a future post on sculpture.

More bikes came and went, but no-one I knew turned up. I headed home intending to take the Douglas/Muirkirk/Mauchline/Kilmarnock route, but by the time I got to Moffat, the rain turned very heavy, so I headed back by the motorway. When I got back, I had a message from Kawa saying that he had headed out but had suffered a radiator leak and had turned home. Despite the changeable weather, it was a good day out and an enjoyable run on the Skorpion. Well worth a visit if you're in the area.

Saw this bike there (which I think Kawa has featured in the past). It'll upset some people (BSA single with Chinese engine and wheels), but I think it's more important to keep a bike on the road than leave it in a shed, original but unused. Anyway, it's the owner's bike and it's up to him what he does with it.

Friday 3 August 2012

.... and you CAN tour on a 100 year old bike

Found this on the Web - the blog of an 'older' rider travelling from Nepal to Belgium on a 1910 FN motorcycle.

Now that's what I call SERIOUS touring!!

Friday bike

Mr combo's recent post reminded me of a bike that I saw many years ago. Indian are one of those brands that have a mysterious and 'cool' image (certainly cooler than 'a certain other, more successful US manufacturer'). However, this usually only applied to the 'original' Indians built before 1953. After that, the Indian name was used on a variety of motorcycles, some good, some not so..... There's a short history here.
The bike I'm going to feature is from 1971-76 when the Indian name was owned by one Alan Newman, who used the badge on a range of Taiwanese built 2 strokes. These were from 50 – 175cc and used a selection of engines from Hodaka, Italjet (Morini), Fuji, and Minarelli. The one I saw was a 175 (I think), and was outside John George Motorcycles in Glasgow (remember them?) Only things I remember about it were – the cool tank badge, the fact that it was an 'Indian', the fact that it was also brown (a brown motorcycle?), and that it was unusually loud. It also looked very cheaply made! Only one I ever saw, and the only time I'd hear of one in the UK.
I looked round the Web and this is similar to the bike I saw: 

Also found this 'period' advert:

Needless to say, I didn't see any of these 'Indians' at the Indian Rally I was at a few years ago. pics

Thursday 2 August 2012

... and you CAN tour on old bikes


Hein Gericke

Sad news this week that Hein Gericke (UK) have gone bust. One of the big players in the motorcycling clothing and accessory business, they must have become victims of the recession and the move to Internet shopping. I'd used their shop in Glasgow a few times and always found them friendly and helpful, and I once bought a jacket for my wife in the Aberdeen store. I was working in Aberdeen and popped into the shop to buy something and spotted the jacket reduced in their sale. The girl in the shop put the jacket on while I photographed her with my phone and e-mailed the picture to my wife so she could see what it looked like. Now, that's what I call service! Shame to think that these people will probably all lose their jobs.
Their 'Closing Down Sale' is about to start, so there might be bargains to be had. See their website.

Just to lighten the mood, here's a video of a song with a suitable title. Notice I didn't take the obvious route and post the Queen song of the same name, but something more obscure, and one that I remember from the period. Notice that it isn't that Clint Eastwood, and that the black people in the audience are really getting into it and singing along, whilst the white people look bamboozled! Such was the variety of acts on 'The Old Grey Whistle Test'!