Friday 26 April 2013

Aren't Motorcyclists Wonderful People - Part 4

Friday bike

Seen this bike before? More than a passing resemblance to the BMW F650 'Funduro', or the Aprilia Pegaso of the late 90s?

This is the Jialing JH 600, built in China. It's got a 600cc 4 valve single cylinder engine and is the first bike built in China with fuel injection. Woooo!

It's in a fairly low state of tune with a claimed 40 bhp and a top speed of 100 mph (161 km/h), although a US journalist could only get 94 mph (151 km/h) out of one during a test ride.

The bike passes the Euro 3 emision and noise test, so could be sold in Europe and the US, but until the Chinese manufacturers get their build/reliability standards up to a level that would be acceptable in the West, it's unlikely anyone would buy one. Judging by this forum they've still got a long way to go.
It's a pity because I could see this as a useful runabout/touring bike, much in the same way the MZ ETZ 250 was in the 80s and 90s. (Back when I rode them.) However, as it stands, I would much rather own a 10 or 15 year old BMW than a new one of these, in the same way that I would rather have a 10-15 year old Honda CG 125 than a new Chinese 'clone'.
Just for mr combo here's a picture of a sidecar version, as used by the Chinese Army.

And a video:

Bargain corner

Was in my local Aldi this morning and saw they had paddock stands reduced to £19.99. I'd been thinking of buying one as the Yamaha hasn't got a centre stand, so thought that I'd give one a try at that price.

Opened the box and this is what you get:

Two 'loops' (for different widths for front and rear use), two 'arms', rollers, height adjusters, two lifting ends, and some nuts and bolts. There's also some instructions.
It all goes together easily enough. It's fairly cheaply made, but seems robust enough. The flat lifting ends (top left of picture), are actually made of some plastic/nylon material, but seemOK. The forked lifting ends (right side of picture, below loop) are supposed to fit to the bottom of your forks and will fit the Yamaha reasonably, but not the Skorpion or the Honda.
Wheeled the Yamaha out, adjusted the height and width of the lifting ends, and the bike goes onto the stand very easily and safely.

Bike is very secure on the stand, but the Yamaha has a particular problem.

Due to the cool, racing style, 'banana' swing arm, the only place you can lift the bike from is below the spindle, which makes it impossible to remove!
I lifted the Skorpion just to show how you can postion the stand on a bike with a more sensible swing arm

Verdict: worth the money if you're only going to be using it occasionally. If you're likely to need to use a paddock stand more often, or have a heavy bike, it would probably be better (and safer) to buy a higher quality stand.
Changing between front and rear use requires removing two nuts and bolts, changing the loops, and refitting the bolts. As these stands are very cheap I'm seriously thinking of buying another one and keeping one for the front and one for the rear to avoid having to keep changing. I'll make some new lifting ends to suit the Yamaha swing arm and the Skorpion forks (The Honda is light enough to not need a stand), but I'm fairly happy with my purchase.

Also in Aldi were fabric motocyle jackets for £50. To be honest, I didn't think they were worth the money and people like Hein Gericke would have something better for the price. There were also some garish full face helmets reduced to £19.99. I imagine they pass some sort of safety test, but they were really shoddy and looked like they would fall apart fairly quickly.

Sunday 21 April 2013

On my travels

Sorry things have been a bit quiet on the blog, but my current job involves a lot of working away from home, and this coupled with getting some work done on the house (and buying the Yamaha), has meant that I haven't really had much to blog about.
I've been to some really nice places (plus one that wasn't so nice, so I'll not mention that!), unfortunately in the car, but now that the evenings are getting longer I've managed to take some photos after work.
A few weeks ago I was in Chesterfield, Derbyshire - famous for its church with the leaning spire.

Despite numerous stories as to the reason, the spire only started to lean after the original wooden tiles were replaced with much heavier lead.
There's lots of really good and well preserved architecture.

As well as some unusual street names!

Well worth a visit if you're in the area.

Also worth a visit is Newmarket, Suffolk - home to lots of things to do with horse racing. Horse breeding and racing seems to be the major industry, and even the pavements are segregated with the piece next to the traffic for humans, and the bit behind the fence for horses.

Nice clock tower:

And in the window of a barber's shop was a very well restored Jawa twin port single (250cc?)

                                    (Extra joke in the name for Glaswegian football fans!)

Note the ethnically confused restaurant!

I also found a Gentleman's Club, unfortunately closed when I passed.

 I thought this was a good idea - a club where gentlemen could sip Madeira whilst discussing the topics of the day - where the best tailors were, where to buy monacles and cravats, whilst the womenfolk shopped for hats and ribbons.
The club also seemed to be interested in European folk culture, putting on performances by traditonal dancers from Poland and Lapland - well, I think that's what the sign meant.

I'll be working at home for the next while, so hopefully there will be more bike based posts.

Friday bike

I think most of us tend to think of scooters as starting with the famous Vespa and Lambretta models. However, scooters had been built much earlier and one of the most stylish of the pre WW2 era was the Salsbury.

 Groovy or what?

From Wikipedia:E. Foster Salsbury and Austin Elmore developed the Salsbury Motor Glide, a scooter with a seat above an enclosed drivetrain, and began production in 1936 in California. In 1938, Salsbury introduced a more powerful scooter with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). This was the first use of a CVT on a scooter.[20] It was such a success that Salsbury attempted to license the design to several European manufacturers including Piaggio. The Motor Glide set the standards for all later models. It inspired production of motor scooters by Powell, Moto-scoot, Cushman, Rock-Ola, and others.[21] 

And here's a chap showing the correct riding costume to be worn with the Salsbury.

And here's one in action:

Friday 12 April 2013

Friday bike

Yet again, Stuart guessed this week's Mystery bike  - the Hoffmann Governeur.

Hoffmann were based in the town of Lintorf, near Dusseldorf, Germany, and between 1949 and 1954 built a number of small motorcycles. The Governeur was their flagship bike and was produced in 250 and 300cc versions. During this period, Hoffmann also built 60,000 Vespa Scooters under licence. It would seem that Hoffmann's own bikes were only produced in small numbers and are very rare today. I saw one in a museum in France last year, the first time I'd heard of the make.

It's most unusual feature was an 'all chain' gearbox, where the shafts were linked by a series of chains.

This was a similar design to that used in Victoria and Zundapp motorcycles of the time.

Found a 'walk round' video.

Note British numberplate. There are apparently three Governeurs in Britain - the black one in the video,

this one in the Sammy Miller museum, and one on this wonderful website where I stole most of the pictures and information.

Landmarks 2013

Back in January I posted about doing mr combo's 'Landmarks' photographic challege. He's now posted this year's event on his blog.

Last year's photographic challenge seemed quite popular and I was asked if there was to be another one this year. I must admit to having run out of ideas for actual places or, as was done last year, particular items, so after a bit of thought I came up with the list below.

As you can see, this one will give you plenty of scope to use your imagination. The only rule is that the photo must somehow, no matter how tenuous, be linked to motorcycles or motorcycling. Once again you have until the end of the year to complete it. So, get out and about and be sure and let us see the results.

Even if you don't complete the whole list, please let us see any photos that you do take. You can send them directly to me and I will post them here or, if you have a blog of your own, you can post them there and send me the link.

As an incentive, this year I'm going to offer a small prize. I’ll pick a couple of the best photos and send the photographer something. I don't know what this will be as yet, but I'm sure that I can come up with something suitable, and small if the photographer comes from overseas!

Without further ado, here are this year’s ideas for photos:

Black & White

Something that makes you smile
12 O’Clock

Looking down

If you'd prefer something more concrete you can always try your hand at last year's list instead. Details are here.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Friday bike update

I featured the Yamaha SZR 660 a couple of weeks ago as my Friday bike. At long last I now own one!
Look how small it is! I'm 5' 8" / 172cm, and can easily get my feet flat on the ground. The bike's mostly all there and looks mechanically sound, it just needs a lot of cosmetic work. The seller had said that there was a carb problem and it would run, but not tick over. I connected a remote fuel tank, wired it to a good battery, and with the aid of a little 'cold start' (di-ethyl ether), I got it running for a short while. I'll give the carb a good clean out, but when it was running there were no unusual noises and no smoke from the exhaust, so the engine seems OK.
It's been sitting unused for a while - I found an unfitted 2007 tax disc with the documents!
I've still got work to do on my other bikes, (especially the CL 350), so this will be put on hold until I've more time. I don't think it'll need too much work to turn it into a nice usable bike, but don't quote me on that!
And yes, the handlebars are a bit low - I don't really think you could 'tour on this single'!


As regular readers will know, one of our favourite destinations is Applecross, Wester Ross. This is situated in North West Scotland, about 200 miles (320 km) North of Glasgow, and the road there includes the Bealach na Bà, the steepest climb in Britain and one of the most scenic and challenging roads to ride on your bike. Link to some pictures from a cycling club.
Next month there's a music festival in the village:

So if you've been looking for an excuse to go, this might be the weekend. I don't know yet whether I can make it. I'm not sure where (or even if) I'll be working that week, but if I can, I might pack the beads and kaftan and head up.
Link to event website.

Cool cars

Had intended posting about a cool car I came across, but just as I'm about to write it, another one comes along so I'll feature them both.

First car was one that I remember from my childhood. When I was about 8 or 10 (late 60s) I remember a Renault Dauphine parked near my school. Not a common car in Britain, it stuck in my child's mind as it was a lot smoother and sleeker than other cars, and I thought that was why it was called a 'Dolphin'.
I particularly remember the grills on the back to cool the rear mounted engine.

I'd completely forgotted about this car until my memory was jogged by one for sale on Ebay. I like how it mentions 'Its still got the "town horn" and "country horn" which are in working order. '

Next car was sent to me by mr combo.

How about a fairground dodgem body fitted onto a Reliant Robin chassis!
 Street legal, and on Ebay at the moment (Don't all bid against each other!)

Saturday 6 April 2013

Mystery bike

OK, what's this week's 'Mystery bike'? I'll give you a clue - it's not a BMW.

Friday 5 April 2013

Friday bikes

Yes, 'bikes' as I've got a bit of catching up to do.

Firstly, Stuart correctly identified the Mystery bike of a couple of weeks ago as an Argentinian built Tehuelche. This was a 75cc four stroke single with a gear driven overhead cam built between 1957 and 1964, with 5000 models constucted. It was unique in being the only truly Argentinian motorcycle as other bikes built their were licenced copies of other manufacturers' machines.

1960 model

In addition to the gear driven cam, the engine was also unusual at the time in being completely built from aluminium. There's a Wikipedia entry, and also a Spanish language website about the marque.
This includes a restoration project, including photos showing the constuction of the engine.

Last week's Mystery bike defeated even Stuart. He was right about the Villiers engine, but the bike was built as far away from Glasgow as you can get - Sydney, Australia.
Waratah 250cc
The Waratah company built a variety of bikes from 1914 to 1948, some rebadged BSAs, whilst others were their own designs using Villiers engines. The bike in the picture is a model they produced from 1934 to 1940.
Waratah 125cc 1948

More information on this website which links to details other Australian built bikes.

Monday 1 April 2013

Mystery bike

I'm going to be away from home until the weekend, so you've plenty of time to identify this one.

I want.....

.... one of these!

Imagine the fun walking about the street in that! I'd want mine to have big loudspeakers playing this:

A busy week

Sorry for being a bit quiet recently, but I had a really busy week.
As regular readers will know, I've been working away from home for the last few weeks. I've been contracted by a large company with a number of factories spread around the country to carry out an inventory of their electrical spares. Currently each factory has a separate non-computerised stock control system, and the plan is to have one company wide computerised system. So basically what I do is go to each factory, identify each electrical spare, input it into a large spreadsheet and cross reference it with suppliers catalogue numbers. It's a bit boring, but it's well paid and I would have been unemployed otherwise.
After a number of weeks at various factories I had a lot of data to input, so it was planned that I would spend a week at home typing away at my computer, or that was the plan....
I had started typing last weekend in the hope that I would be finished before the end of the week, the weather would have improved, and I might get out on the bike. So far, so good.
I live in a semi detached house and had discussed with my neighbour a plan to have the building roughcast as the original finish had started to look a bit tatty, (it was built in 1961, so has lasted well). As I was working away from home I had left all the decisions to her, and the last message I got was that the work would be started 'in a few weeks'. On Monday I look out of the window and see the roughcasters' van and one of the guys carrying a large board with colour samples on it going into my neighbours' house. I went to see them and we decided upon a colour. Then the roughcaster said he'd be starting in the morning! My neighbour had forgotten all about the agreed starting date and hadn't told me. This meant that I had to prepare the outside of my house in a bit of a hurry! I had a canopy to remove from above my front door, numerous plant holders to take down, and demolish a dilapidated brick built porch from the back. Luckily, my brother Stuart came round and helped with the porch, but it took me a full 3 days to get all the work done, working just ahead of the roughcasters. This meant that I only managed a few hours each night inputting data and the job was slipping further and further behind.
The roughcasters were finished by Friday and I have to say that I was very impressed by the work they had done. I just wish that I'd had more time to prepare things.
While this was going on, I was also waiting for a couple of phone calls. First was from a potential employer that had phoned on Monday saying that they were just sorting out details of a job I'd been interviewed for, and that they would definitely phone me by Friday (inferring that I'd got the job). Friday came and went with no phone call, not really surprising as they same company were definitely going to phone me about three weeks ago, but didn't.
Remember my recent Friday bike, the Yamaha SZR660 where I'd said 'this could change soon....'? A couple of days before I'd written this, my friend Terry had sent me an advert for a non running SZR locally. I contacted the seller saying I was interested and gave him both my phone numbers, and said I'd be able to come and see it any time as I was at home that week. He got back to me a couple of days later saying the bike was still for sale and to arrange a time. The problem sounded like the carb needed cleaned out, but as the bike was cheap I was willing to buy it unseen as I'm familiar with the engine. It had a bit of cosmetic damage, but nothing I couldn't fix so it sounded like a good project – basically a 'more sporty Skorpion Sport'.
However, despite a number of e-mails, the seller still hasn't got back to me, and I even got Terry to e-mail him posing as another potential buyer, but he hasn't received a reply either. The bike is still listed as 'for sale' on a website, so why isn't the seller contacting two potential buyers? Some people...
By Saturday I was feeling physically and mentally worn out, but I still had all the inputting to do. I got up early and worked all day trying to clear the backlog. I'd arranged to meet some people that night, but by the time I was due to go out I was feeling really run down and unwell. I went out, but wished I hadn't, and went home as soon as I could. However, I couldn't sleep as I was suffering from a terrible headache and felt even worse when I got up in the morning.
I was still too unwell to go to Yorkhill Easter Egg Run. This is a charity event where motorcyclists go for a ride on a route through Glasgow (many in fancy dress) to raise money for the Royal Hospital for Sick Children , known locally as 'Yorkhill' (area of the city it's in.)
As you can see from their website, there was a good turnout, so lots of money would have been raised, people had a good day out, and it's always good PR for motorcyclists.

This is from last year's Run, there are some other videos on YouTube taken from a fixed point, and it takes about 13 or 14 minutes for all the bikes to pass, so there must have been hundreds of bikes there. 
You can still donate by phone via the Website. There's also a  Facebook page, from where I stole these pictures:

Anyone fancy doing this next year?


Five minutes after I post this, someone uploads video of this year's event.