Friday 31 January 2014

Friday bike

This is the Hero RNT 150, a protype scooter from Indian firm Hero MotoCorp, the biggest manufacturer of bikes in the world. Hero previously built bikes in an agreement with Honda, but in recent years have been building their own designs.
The RNT has a 150cc direct injection turbo diesel engine producing 13.5 hp, and has a number of interesting features. It can be used as a generator producing 1500W of power (6.5A at 230V), so you could power a house from a scooter parked outside. The LED headlight is removable and can be used as a torch/flashlight due to its rechargable battery, and an optional electric hub motor can be fitted to the front wheel to increase the power.
The 'beak' above the front wheel is a luggage carrying platform, and it also has pannier mounts as standard (which probably double as a sari guard - compulsory in India).
Whether the scooter or any of its features ever reach production will have to be seen, but a properly designed diesel scooter or bike, rather than the bodged up bikes with industrial diesel engines in bike frames that we've seen so far, would have a place in the market. Imagine this reduced to 125cc to suit European laws, and the very good fuel consumption of the diesel engine would make sense as a commuter. 

Friday 24 January 2014

Friday bike

Found this on a Facebook group, another bike I'd never heard of.

1971 American Eagle 350

The American Eagle 350 was based off a Kawasaki 350 twin, and this particular example was listed on US Ebay. (Reached $1851, below reserve).

I've found very little information on American Eagle other than they were active in the late 60s/early 70s, and built a number of off road bikes using Italian made copies of Husqvarna engines. They also sold rebadged Laverda 750 twins (a previous Friday Bike), an example of which Evel Knevil used as a 'jumping bike'.
They sold a 150cc Laverda with replacement glassfibre bodywork, which I think had a certain charm.

If anyone has any more information, please let us know.

Saturday 18 January 2014

Friday bike update

Thanks to my friend Gareth who identified the Honley 250 Venturer as a rebadged Minsk TRX 300i.
Minsk are a Belarus based company more famous for their Soviet era 125cc two strokes, but have moved on to more modern designs.
Three TRXs recently took part in an event where they rode 10,000 km (6200 miles) through Belarus, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Armenia.

Interesting to see if these sell in the UK, and more choice of models from more manufacturers is always a good thing. Especially if they are singles you can tour on!

Minsk Facebook page.

Friday 17 January 2014


Some more events round Scotland this year.

Friday bike

This is the Honley 250 Venturer, a bike I'd never heard of before and know very little about. I saw it on Ebay, listed by a dealer in Huddersfield at £3500. Couldn't find any info other than:


'Honley' is a village near Huddersfield, so the shop has probably had the bike specially badged. Very neat looking, BMW influenced, and with good accessories,  it looks a very practical bike, BUT it's probably built in China and that brings the usual quality/durability/spares concerns. However, I could be wrong and if anyone knows any more about this bike, please let me know.

Friday 10 January 2014


Friday bike

I'd posted this old advert for the Norman B4 Sport on Facebook with the caption 'It's good to feel wanted' as a joke.
The B4 Sport was a fairly ordinary bike fitted with a Villers 250cc two stroke twin engine, and its only real claim to fame was that the fuel tank was designed in Italy giving it a more stylish look than contemporary rivals. It was only built for one year, 1961, so is now very rare.

I was offered one of these about 30 years ago by the brother of a friend of a friend, solely because of the name on the tank. I think he wanted £40 for it in running condition, and although I wasn't looking for a bike at the time and had no interest in British bikes, I did seriously think about it. However, he was offered a lot more for it by someone wanting to transfer the registration number, so sold it to him instead. This probably meant that after the number transfer was complete, the bike was probably dumped!

More reading: here and here.

Wednesday 8 January 2014


Amazing to think that Elvis would have been 79 today. (or maybe he is.........)
Good taste in bikes.

Sunday 5 January 2014

First meeting of the year

A few of us had arranged to meet up at the Falkirk Wheel on an 'if it's good enough weather, go by bike – if not, go by car' basis. I got up at 07:00 and it was fairly cold outside, cold enough for parked cars to have frost on their windows. I did a few things then noticed that not only was the house a bit cold, but there was no hot water. I checked to see if the gas boiler's flame had gone out (this has happened when it's been very windy), and found water on the floor of the boiler cupboard. It appeared to be dripping out of the boiler itself, so I had a mad search to see if it was possible to turn the water supply off to the boiler without having to turn it off to the whole house. Luckily it is, so it was turned off, electricity disconnected, and the water mopped up. Guess who'll be phoning Scottish Gas tomorrow!
I went out to the garage and this is what I saw on the temperature display on the white Traveller.

I got the bike out and went for petrol. It wasn't too bad, and by 11:00 it got up to a reasonable 7 degrees. Warm clothes on and met with my friend David for the ride to Falkirk. It's about 35 miles (56 km), almost entirely on motorway, so wasn't too bad. It was a bit drizzly and spray from other vehicles was annoying, but the traffic was very light and we were there in about 40 minutes, and ready for a nice, warm cup of coffee.
My Traveller, and David with his BMW

Stuart was already there, (he had thought we were meeting at 11:00 rather than 12:00), so we sat and had a chat whilst waiting for the others to turn up.
The café has a sloping glass side which allows good views of the Wheel when it is rotating. Even though it was a miserable day, they were enough people going on the boats to make this a regular occurrence.
The others soon turned up and we spent a good afternoon chatting about bikes, trips past and future, etc., etc. Turned out that David and I were the only two to come on our bikes, the others chose their cars.

(l to r: Stuart, Gareth, mr.combo, David, Bill, Donnie and Kawa)

David and I headed back home and the weather was a bit wetter than on the way over. Not 'proper' rain, but that annoying drizzle that means you have to keep wiping your visor. Again the traffic was fairly light, so we made good progress.
A good start to the year, and hopefully the first of many trips and meetings.

The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift that moves boats between two canals of differing heights. Here's some video explaining it:

Friday 3 January 2014

Friday bike

2004 Vetter Torpedo

Not much detail of this other than it was designed by Craig Vetter, used a Harley-Davidson engine, and was sometimes referred to as the 'Defiant' - groovy!

More info.


Don't try this at home!

Wednesday 1 January 2014

New Year Resolutions

Usually are:

1. Do something more often.
2. Do something less often.

And are abandoned by about the second week in January. I found on another blog a copy of Woody Guthrie's Resolutions from 1942/43. Some interesting ones there!