A whole year has passed!                                  Jan 2018

Me on the New Hudson before the gearbox selectors turned to putty.

Hello again! Welcome to 2018.

(if that doesn't make sense, you need to visit http://vinvetmotorcycle.simplesite.com/

to see the first 12 months of this site, and catch up with progress to date).

Looking back, I surprised myself at the amount of waffle I managed to come up with in 12 months. Hopefully you didn't get too bored along the way!

3 months left to earn the £999,995 necessary to turn me into a millionaire, so precious little chance of that happening. Shame really, I could do with some serious amounts of funding to turn these piles of junk into rideable motorcycles.

Robbing a bank doesn't seem like a viable option these days, what with the boys in blue getting ever smarter (or is it me getting dumber?) They do look like boys though, fresh out of school! I guess I'll just have to join the oldest profession in the world, and start hanging around on street corners.

Workshop maintenance                                     Jan 2018

Feels odd typing 2018, suppose I'll get used to it.

Very little to report motorbike-wise over the Christmas break/into New Year (Happy New Year by the way). Timber entrance door and 2 windows of workshop were ready to fall out of their apertures, so I decided to replace them with upvc. Major exercise creating space for installers to work, and then re-establishing workshop layout after they had finished. Steel grilles removed/reinstalled, all windows now lockable, so feels that bit more secure. AND NO PAINTING!

In the process of shifting stuff round, I got to thinking I might sell a sidecar (I have a 1930s Superbe launch type sidecar to go on the KX, and a 1950s Watsonian sidecar that I had thought about putting on the Bullet-but decided against years back). Dragged the chassis and body out for a photo session in readiness.

Disconcerting - sold a Bantam, now considering selling a sidecar - where's it going to end?

Bit too early for me!                                               Jan 2018

1901 Royal Enfield

Not one of my bikes, but just came across this image and thought it was worth putting out there.

I've had a passion for Royal Enfields for over 40 years now, but even I would draw the line at trying one of these out (if there are any left in existence). High centre of gravity, twisted leather crossover belt, 1.5hp or similar. This really was a motorised bicycle.

Site order                                                              Jan 2018

Well, I did threaten to re-jig the site so that most recent content was at the top.

Top and bottom of it, I can't be ar*ed! I still think it is better to read something in the correct order - you wouldn't start a book from the back would you? (I'm showing my age now - I still read books!), so you'll just have to put up with scrolling through.

At least it's all good, solid, entertaining stuff that you won't find anywhere else. Hopefully, I'll be forgiven my idiosyncrasies (that doesn't look right, but spellcheck reckons it is!).

My lads think the problem is my age, and that's never going to get better.

Vintage Motorcycle Transporter Mar 2018

I've been chewing over what form of transport to go for now that my business lease car has gone back. The last 4 weeks have been difficult, still working, but sharing the wife's car. I'd make an appointment for a job, then find out she had something booked!

I'd decided I wanted to go a bit further afield with attending rallies/runs/events once retired, with the intention of taking one of the 1912 bikes for event participation. Riding to and from a veteran orientated event (pre 1915) is not something I particularly wish to do, especially if over 50 miles away. So, what to buy (not too big) that would fit a motorcycle inside?

Finally decided on a VW Caddy Maxi Life, after talking with a number of retired beardy types with old bikes. This is the long wheelbase Caddy van, but with 7 seats, side windows (and doors), and a tailgate instead of rear doors. Picked it up Friday, now need to start customising it to the allotted task. Although it has tinted glass, I'm going to install dark film to the side/rear windows (similar to a drug baron's motor), to thwart inquisitive eyes. With 5 seats removed, the internal loading bay length is approx 2.2m, so I might struggle fitting the Enfield KX in (although I did speak with someone that had managed to fit a Brough Superior in), but the little veterans will be no bother. It is wide enough to fit 2 bikes in, side by side, so the Mrs will be able to ride as well!

The Pioneer Run 2018 Mar 2018

I'd love to say that I've been to the Pioneer Run, but that is a notch that still has to be carved on the bedpost (maybe next year as a spectator). Last Sunday (18th) was the date for this year, but as a lot of you will know, unusually in the UK we are suffering from a few snowy spells, popularly christened "Beasts from the East", as an easterly wind from the cold land mass of Europe crossing the North Sea inevitably means snow for us.

Saturday/Sunday was afflicted with a double whammy of snow and subzero temperatures, yet the Pioneer Run still went ahead (although many refused to ride their bikes in the circumstances). A couple of videos have appeared:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xgab5F3StaI

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_SG8nxADGc

The practice of spreading salt laden grit on the roads in this country will ensure a corrosive paste was thrown up over some priceless machinery - the batch of early trikes would have been far better left in the van IMHO.

4 wheeled Enfield Mar 2018

Fancy doing a 1000 mile trial on this?

I know this site is about motorcycles, but I found this, and couldn't resist. There is a high percentage of Royal Enfield content on here, so when I found this quadricycle had been sold by Bonham's back in November 2017, I was very interested. I've nicked a couple of their photos, but I'm also including the link back to the sale (follow the link to find out how much it sold for). I won't be parting with that amount for an Enfield, plus I don't have enough space left in my workshop......did consider an extension at one point, but it was only a pipedream.

http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/24123/lot/201/?category=results&length=90&page=2

The description is a bit ambiguous, referring to it as a 1901 model, yet also describing 1st owner as Edward Boyd Hargreaves in 1904.....I can't identify the differences that would have existed in specification, so we'll just have to appreciate it for what it is, a very rare survivor!

I have a photo somewhere of Messr's Iliffe and Grew on the quad entered in the 1900 1000 mile trial. If you will excuse me yet further, I will root it out and upload it sometime.

Quad way back in 1902 Mar 2018

How the well-heeled lived back then!

Turns out I was mistaken (partly) about the accompanying photo. A note on the back confirms the date as 1902, the location as Twyning Fleet (near Tewkesbury), and the occupants as N. Grew and H. Duret (not sure about last name due to poor/faint script - best guess).

Beamish Great War Steam Fair Apr 2018

Apologies to Paul, but hell, it's the bike that is important!

Just back from a weekend visiting Beamish Museum, County Durham: http://www.beamish.org.uk/

Went up for 2 days of their 4 day special event, where pre 1920 vehicles (invite only) circulate the site road at a speed of 12 miles an hour or less (some a LOT less). Bicycles, motorcycles, forecars, motor cars, omnibuses, charabancs, trams, lorries and steam traction engines were all in evidence.

Saturday was too wet and dangerous for the motorbikes (a lot of oil, mud, slippery tramlines and stone setts, and grease in various areas), but Sunday was a good, dry day and everything was out. I went particularly to look at the Museum's 1915 3hp Enfield (which unfortunately disgraced itself by deciding to open a petrol leak from one of the tank mounting bolt points). A montage of photos to give the general feel follow (apologies to Paul for decapitating him). A bit more bike info on the 1912 prototype page.

I'm no good with buses, but I know the top one is a Riley forecar.

Various vehicles outside the Masonic Lodge, and a brave gent on an Ordinary bicycle (penny farthing to you and me)

Doncaster Model Engineering Show May 2018

2" scale model of 1890s Hildebrand & Wolfmuller

In itself, not motorcycle related, but one of the exhibits was!

I pop along to the northern model engineering show every few years, as there are a few machine tool stockists in attendance, so I often pick supplies up for my lathe or milling machine. Formerly in Harrogate, the last 2 03 have been at Doncaster Racecourse, usually the 2nd weekend of May.

I've always been interested in the REALLY early motorcycles, and the ideas/routes/concepts that were tried before everything became established practise. I honed in on the 2" scale model of a Hildebrand & Wolfmuller from the mid 1890s constructed by Herbert Strumm. Unfortunately Herbert wasn't at the stand to talk with, but I understand that he only had photos and other gleaned information from an actual example in a German museum (they were made in Munich).

I adore the full size machines, but I'm afraid I don't have the dedication or patience to make something like this! Maybe when my riding days are over - although knowing my luck, my eyesight will have gone by that time!

Spring Beaulieu May 2018

I've done it 2 years now, but really, it's not worth it. I went down this time with hope that it would be better than last year, but came away disappointed. No finds at all, the only thing that saved the weekend was picking up a 1929 New Hudson gearbox from Trowbridge, that I'd won a few weeks earlier on fleabay.

Workshop alterations June 2018

Not much bike activity in the last few weeks, even though I supposedly have all the time in the world now I'm retired! Some of the mundane things have been taking priority, like getting the vegetable plot planted up.

Last month, the good old Myford ML7 disappeared to a new owner, so I'm now on with resurrecting the Harrison L5 lathe. I've had it at least 20 years, but it's never been powered up in that time. It came into the garage in 2 pieces on a trailer, and was lowered down to the workshop (2 storey building) using the girder runner, and block and tackle.When I built the garage/workshop 26 years back, I left a 9 x 4 ft hole in the 1st floor (structural) so that bikes and machinery could be transferred up or down as required. Good for security as well, you can't get a bike out of the ground floor up to the road (1st floor level) unless it comes up through the hole!

Back to the lathe, it has previously been lubricated with grease where it should have had oil, so all the clumps of grease need removing and everything lubing with oil (I also found out it had been used as a wood lathe when I started stripping it - sawdust everywhere - mixed in with clumps of grease - nice). Needs a full strip down to sort it. Also trying to decide how to drive it (was originally 3 phase, but I've only got single phase - converter or vfd?). Not quite as sexy as a vintage motorbike, but maybe a photo when I get it up and running.

Banbury 2018 June 2018

A few photos to follow, as you may have worked out from previous content, I'm a sucker for the unusual, less common makes of bike. Nortons and Triumphs may be very nice, but they've never floated my boat, and they are everywhere!

Found a few choice parts, valve spring mentioned elsewhere, a 3 vane cam block for the 2 speed gear - with good cams (one of mine has had a cam ground down for some reason).

Clockwise from top left: Rex Acme, Matchless, Omega, OK Supreme

A book written in 1931, about the early years of the motor bicycle industry (words chosen carefully), written by Eric Walford under the banner of the British Cycle & Motor Cycle Manufacturers and Traders Union. As a Member of the Institute of Automobile Engineers, and a Patent Agent involved with automotive patent applications (as well as an early motorcyclist), he was well placed to record the early history. Ranging from Edward Butler's motor tricycle of 1884 (predating Gottlieb Daimler by 1 year), up to 1903/4, I found the content of the book fascinating.

 

Clockwise from top left: James, Rex, NUT, Campion

Also found some new clutch parts for the Bullet, so may be able to resolve my slightly slipping 4 plate clutch after many years.

Autumn Netley Marsh/Beaulieu autojumbles Aug/Sept 2018

Cracking do at these 2 events this time! The photo shows all the contraband I came back north with - however the New Hudson racing pattern wheels were an "off ebay" deal from a month earlier - cost me an arm and both legs!

Quite a good haul this time

Parts picked up will fit the 1930 New Hudson, 1922 yet to be identified bike, 1912 Enfield prototype, 1937 Enfield KX, 1929 NH. A couple of items were "speculate to accumulate" objects, such as the main shaft out of a large Enfield twin that is similar to the 1912 bikes, but much heavier construction, and the rocking pedal gearchange, again 2 speed gear related, but for a 225cc 2 stroke. A set of lathe chuck jaws picked up on the way home turned out not to fit. Looks like I'll have to buy a new chuck after all - ouch.

Lathe rebuilt and working - at last! Oct 2018

Well, it feels like it has taken forever, but the old Harrison L5 (a year older than me) is finally back in one piece, wired up to a new 240v 3 phase motor and digital inverter. The lathe has been in my workshop gathering dust and slowly rusting for over 20 years, but no more! After a thorough strip down, clean up and adjustment in various places, fitting a few 'trick parts' and eventually finding a loose wire connecting the remote 'pod' to the inverter, it finally runs as I had hoped (that loose wire caused me some real headaches).

The original speeds were 31-720 rpm, through an 8 speed geared head, but now the sky is the limit. I changed the motor pulley to give a higher top speed, and also worked out what it would give me at 90Hz, and also slowest speed at 20Hz (the UK runs on 50Hz as standard), so now I have 8 speeds x 3 (at 20, 50 and 90Hz), and anything inbetween. I can now get as low as 14 rpm and as high as 1514 rpm. The wonders of modern technology.

 I have to admit the lathe is a bit of a mongrel - it is an ex-college machine, and was updated to metric graduations, cross slide and top slide feedscrews, whilst retaining the imperial leadscrew probably in the '70s, but I feel more comfortable working in imperial measurements (can't beat a 'few thou'). However this does mean it can cut metric and imperial threads.

I wonder if I ought to go the whole hog and fit a digital readout system?

Something to deliberate on, but whilst I'm doing that, I'll have to put it to work to clear the backlog of jobs that has built up since my Myford moved on to a new home.

I had thought about buying a new Asian/Chinese lathe, but I'm glad I persevered with the L5, it's built like the proverbial brick outhouse, and should last years, with excellent accuracy.

Merry Christmas 2018

Unfortunately, December has been full of domestic mundanity as I've been trying to maintain a little harmony/damage limitation by agreeing to decorate the hall, stairs and landing. Now regretting succumbing to this suggestion from SWMBO (if this acronym doesn't mean anything, google it) - should have started on something smaller, like the WC to gain some brownie points. A total of 15 doors to paint/stain, including 2 pairs of louvre doors (which godforsaken idiot invented those?) - they take forever to paint. Haven't found a spray gun for non drip gloss yet. At current rate of progress could be still at it in March!

The scaffolding needed for wall and ceiling papering is going to be interesting......

 

Hoping to find a Christmas card image that I used a few years back for the usual message, but in case it doesn't turn up, Best Wishes to all, and a Very Merry Christmas.

 

Bit late Jan 2019

Well couldn't find the old hand made Christmas card, will have to search again, but with 11 months in hand, that can wait a bit!

Decided to run this site for 2 years, as I've not managed to put as much 'stuff' on here this last 12 months, as I did in the first year. Hopefully will manage to make some progress with other bikes also, so I can reintroduce some of the other pages that were in the 2017 site.

Is the world populated by Scrotes? Feb 2019

WARNING: I'm going to get mildly offensive and have a short rant, so if you are of a delicate nature look away now. I would hate to be responsible for causing mental anguish.

 

This morning I opened my email account to find this:

 

Hello

I`m Chris from USA, Just want to let you know that I have Royal Enfield 1912 prototype parts. Get back to me on my email if you are interested

Best regards

 

In case you are ever on the receiving end of an attempted scam from 'Chris', his email address is cj707425@gmail.com

 

Now 'Chris' might be a very nice man, or even a very, very nice man - but I suspect not!

My response (I don't normally respond to these emails, but this morning it tweaked a nerve) was as follows:

 

Don't be silly, take the trouble to look up the meaning of PROTOTYPE. The fact that it is a prototype means no one has parts! Try scamming some one else.

 

We all know where this would have led, if I had been taken in by this amazing solution to all my problems.........

It's good that these knobheads have so little intelect as to make their emails immediately identifiable as a scamming attempt, but they do wind me up! What sort of mentality do these scrotes possess? I have spent my entire life from the age of 16 WORKING for various organisations, some good, some not so good, in order to support my own little world including my hobbies, wife and 2 offspring (not necessarily in that order). What little money I have available is rightfully mine, accumulated through effort, manpower, employment etc. What sort of twisted mentality allows these scrotes to think they also have a right to my little pot of cash? I'm not a charity (and neither are they deserving causes).

I may be 'old skool', or maybe I have a reasonable amount of moral fibre, but I wouldn't/couldn't stoop to this kind of activity.

 

When I rule the world, there will be much cleansing of the human phsyche! 😉

Next outing Mar 2019

I recently joined the Sunbeam Motorcycle Club, as they are starting to get a few events 'up north' (well, at least as north as Yorkshire). Going through the latest magazine, I started thinking about the possibility of popping down to the Pioneer Run, a round trip of about 600 miles.

The arrangements are made, and I'll now spend Saturday night kipping in the car, in readiness for the early set off of the first bikes from Epsom. A nice bacon buttie whilst wandering round before the set off should be just the ticket. Maybe one day I'll take one of the early Enfields down and make my own way down to Brighton. Before it came into my custodianship, the model 160 used to be a fairly regular attendee, but it's last attendance was in 2010.

It appears that the route is to be changed this year, due to increasing traffic problems/congestion. In excess of 300 pre 1915 motorbikes sounds like a cracking recipe. Hopefully a few photos and report when I get back.

Pioneer Run - part 2 Mar 2019

Well, it happened! I made it to Epsom, then down to Brighton, dropped in with friends in Farnham, and then back to God's country before my pass out expired. A few things didn't go exactly to plan, it was only just above freezing on Saturday night, my bacon buttie was eaten without bread (someone forgot to pack it), and I had to get out of the van at the coldest part of the night (5.00 am) for a pee! Sleep sadly was severely lacking and by 10.00pm Sunday, I was falling asleep whilst trying to converse with friends - don't seem to have the staying power that I used to have.

By 7.00am Sunday, vehicles were starting to arrive, and what fantastic machinery was being unloaded! I've always thought the Banbury Run gets a good turn out of early stuff, but this was something else - where else would you see 5 Leon Bollee tricycles/forecars made in 1896/7, or marques as obscure (nowadays) as Phoenix Trimo, Rexette, Phelon (forerunner of Panther), Romaine etc (all built before 1905).

I took a few photos (to follow after sorting), but unfortunately the sun was out early, very bright, and at a low angle - most shots ended up too light, so apologies for the quality. Once down a Brighton I only had the phone camera, but didn't take any more until I came across http://www.vinandvet.eu/ with a stand on Madeira Drive. An early bike with no paint or badges on the tank looked familiar - it turned out to be one of only two 1904 Royal Enfields known to survive. Had a good chat with Phil about it, but even though it isn't for sale yet, he gave me an idea of likely price, and it's outside my price range, but as its so rare I took a snap.

As I've mentioned previously, I like unusual, rare, even bizarre machines, so most of the following shots fall into that category.

Clockwise from top left - 1907 Vindec Special (check out those front forks), 1913 FN, 1904 Phoenix Trimo, 1913 Wilkinson

Clockwise from top left - 1913 Flying Merkel and 1913 Indian, 1913 Excelsior, 1904 JH Smith and 1908 Moto-Reve

1904 Royal Enfield with original Minerva engine - not quite unique - but very close!

The collection is about to increase July 2019

Well, it seems that I'm no longer to be safe in my 'man cave' under the garage!

My wife has been getting increasingly fed up of being left on the sidelines when I tootle off on these old vehicle runs, so we've been looking around for a suitable bike for her. Vertically challenged, she needs something pre 1931, light, low, with reasonable brakes, hand change gearbox and hand clutch, no great turn of speed, that she can call her own.

And she has settled on a particular model (which I won't disclose yet), so we've been looking out for something for a few months. An advert/post was seen on facebook of all places (which I am very new to, so communication was a bit awkward until we got to phones). A deal has been done, without even having the chance to kick the tyres - the bike is about 300 miles away.

Should have it back home in a couple of weeks, so look out for a new page.