AMERICAN AUTHOR GEORGE FITCH wrote: “A motorcycle is a bicycle with a pandemonium attachment and is designed for the especial use of mechanical geniuses, daredevils and lunatics.” He was widely quoted at the time; his bon mot is now available on a teeshirt.
IN THE ABSENCE OF AN Olympia Show a Motor Cycle correspondent recorded the highlights of the National Motor Cycle, Bicycle, and Accessory Show at New York’s Madison Square Garden: “The show model Cleveland was enamelled pure white throughout, even to saddle, handle-bars, etc, and was then mounted in a large gold frame lined with black velvet. Just inside the frame a row of electric lights ran round the sides and were fitted with reflectors so that the rays were directed on the motor cycle…A new motorcycle was placed on the market at a very low price; it was, in fact, to be the ‘Ford’ of the motor cycle world. It was exhibited under the name ‘Tiger Autobike’ and was of very light weight and fitted with a two-stroke engine, but a close examination did not impress me very favourably…The accessory exhibits were on the whole rather a poor showing, and the sidecars leave much to be desired in the way of comfort and finish…Considerable interest was evinced in the motor cycle machine gun and motor cycle ambulance exhibited by the National Guard.”
BAYERISCHE MOTOREN WERKE was established at Munich to make aircraft engines; hence the quartered blue-and-white roundel that represents a spinning prop and still adorns every BMW motorcycle.
ROY ARTLEY RODE HIS four-pot Henderson the almost 400 miles from San Francisco to Los Angeles in a record 10hr 4min.
EXACTLY 37 BIKES were registered in Tokyo
“‘TWEE TAKT’ IS DUTCH for two-stroke. Incidentally these handy little machines are growing in favour in the Netherlands…American motor cycle manufacturers are striving their utmost to capture trade in Holland, where, prior to the war, British machines were the most popular. In the absence of British supplies, mainly due to the European conflict, most of the American makers have appointed Dutch agents and sent over supplies of machines.”
“WE ARE INFORMED THAT certain motor cyclist despatch rider sections are being dismounted and the men put into the infantry. The men concerned were greatly surprised on receiving these orders. It is obvious from this announcement that there has been no shortage of despatch riders for some months past.”
“EXTRACT FROM A SUNDAY NEWSPAPER: ‘The engagement was announced yesterday of Miss Margaret Elinor Kingsborough, the only lady despatch rider in the British Army, her fiance being Dr Cody, assistant surgeon. Indian Medical Service. Miss Kingsborough is the only daughter of the Rev Thos Kings borough, rector of Kildalton. County Armagh. When the Ulster Volunteer Force was being organised Miss Kingsborough, who is an accomplished motor cyclist, offered her services, and, being accepted, performed several daring feats throughout Ireland and across the Channel.’”
MEMORABLE MUSING FROM IXION… “A Tale without a Moral: Second Lieutenant Buggins got thrown off his gee on a very, very ‘ard, ‘igh road. Moreover, the men laughed. Moreover, just as he had neatly cut out First Lieutenant Wuggins with the very pretty barmaid at the Fox and Hounds in the neighbouring town of Sloshton, Wuggins, in most unsportsmanlike and ungentlemanly fashion, refused to contribute to his own discomfiture by taking Buggins into Sloshton on his big ‘Met’ six evenings a week. On the seventh evening, Buggins, being junior sub, was usually orderly officer. So Buggins hied him to town, and bought a motor bicycle, on which to beat all records into Sloshton, and (delirious dream) to joy-ride Miss Jenkins pillionwise. Buggins showed off his new purchase round the camp. One of the DRs, requested to pick holes, remarked that the silencer extension would get some crumpled if ‘sir’ had a left-hand side-slip. The next DR respectfully ventured the remark that the machine was as silent as a Rolls-Royce, at which Buggins swelled visibly, until the DR explained that, by reason of the aforesaid silence, ‘sir’ would probably run over somebody before the week was out. Chief artificer is consequently ordered to remove the extension pipe. He does so. After mess Buggins starts for Sloshton, his engine emitting a veritable Brooklands crackle. En route Buggins overtakes the CO riding a blood mare. Blood mare objects to Buggins’s crackle, and throws CO; CO conceives a prejudice against Buggins. Buggins is presently transferred to the third line, as result of said prejudice. First line goes to France, and is concerned in a bayonet charge against uncut wire and concealed machine guns. All officers of Buggins’s company wiped out. Buggins is safe at Sloshton, wooing Miss Jenkins nightly, in absence of Wuggins on active service. Strange but true; Buggins’s life was saved by a badly designed silencer extension pipe. This tale has no moral; it is merely a study in causation.”
MORE ENGAGING IXION PROSE without such a sting in the tail… “One of the Mighty Fallen: The other day I ran across AE Catt, hero of a winter six days record ride, and found him gleefully bestraddling a two-speeded baby two-stroke. He had bought it in a fit of pique, consequent upon brief ownership of a Yankee single-cylinder. Forsaking British goods reluctantly, owing to war scarcities, he fell in with one of those hopeful but muddy-brained concessionnaires, who expect to make money by supplying Englishmen with Yankee single-cylinders. I have a great respect for some Yankee twins I could name, but I gang very warily where Yankee singles are concerned. Your Yankee manufacturer does not really care a couple of splitpins for single cylinders I am not quite sure why he makes them; they are of no service in a business which is wrapped up with speed records, and I can only suppose that even in America there are a few riders who can’t afford the 7hp, and anyhow, he meditates, the British market is stupid enough to prefer singles on the whole. So he takes a circular saw, bisects his twin, and calls it a single, with the result that you have to take two days off if you want to decarbonise. It has never dawned on the average Detroiter’s brain that, though you cannot easily make the cylinders of a 7-9hp quickly detachable, it is a sinful 4hp which needs its engine dismounting from the frame for a carbon scrape. After a dose of this sort AE Catt invested in a British two-stroke, and when I saw him he was off on a long business trip.”
“THE CHILD’S SKICYCLE OR SCOOTER has long ceased to be a novelty, and has taken its place among the child’s regular playthings, but any attempt to propel the toy by motor power takes it out of the reach of the average junior, and we are afraid that this invention will not obtain the popularity its forerunner had. Mr Joseph Maina, of Brixton, London, is responsible for this novelty under patent No 7,056, 1915. He has incorporated the power unit, consisting of a twin four-stroke engine, en bloc with the front wheel. The two cylinders are placed vertically on either side of the wheel, and drive by a reducing gear on to the axle. Simultaneous firing by one plug in a combined compression space tends to simplicity. We presume the magneto is geared off the axle, but ignition, carburation, and lubrication details are not clear in the patent drawings. The principal departure from the ordinary is the endeavour to utilise the exhaust.to give extra power. The escaping gases are directed through vanes in the centre of the front wheel after the manner of a turbine, the intention being to add impetus to the already driven wheel, but we believe this idea has been, experimented with before, and has proved to be a fallacy. The frame is similar to the usual skicycle, with refinements in the springing arrangements. The lower part of the frame is to be made to fold over alongside of the front wheel for easy storage. Generally, the machine may be said to be effciently designed, with the exception of the use of the exhaust to aid propulsion, but we are very dubious of it coming into public use. It would be unreasonable, and even dangerous, to allow a juvenile free use of such a machine on the pavements, and should it be confined to the roadway, the child runs a grave risk of being killed by other faster vehicles.”
“FROM TIME TO TIME ADDITIONS to the number of ‘motor scooters’ or ‘auto-ped cycles’ make their appearance, usually emanating from USA, but the latest invention of this type is from an English source, the patentee being Mr EV Hammond, 88, Louisville Road, Balham. The water-cooling system forms the frame, a cylindrical tank or radiator supports the steering column, and the flow and return pipes, from a water-jacketed two-stroke engine, make up the triangular frame. Mudshields are provided in front, in one with the footboards, and a glass windscreen is fitted in front of the steering wheel, which is preferred to handle-bars. Truly it is a quaint contrivance, and, despite its novel features, one cannot help smiling at the prospect of such a machine ridden by a tall man. The inventor is bent upon keeping the rider warm at all costs, the saddle being clipped on to the rising hot water tube, but this is counteracted by the absence of a back mudguard; thus whilst the rider’s knees and legs are being well toasted, his back will be subjected to an ever increasing poultice of cold mud. We presume petrol is the motive power, but there is no provision in the specification for the tank or oil. Springs are not forgotten, although it may appear so from the illustration, but a cunning device embodies springs inside the front forks. Friction drive on a tyre tread will slip directly wet roads are encountered, and so provision is made for pulling the back wheel into harder contact with the driving pulley when necessary. It is an exceedingly ingenious machine, but whether it will prove efficient is very doubtful, and, even so, whether members of the British public will go tobogganing about our streets and roads, somewhat after the manner of the comic trick cyclist of the music halls, is quite another matter.”
“THE MOTOR SKICYCLE: A READER suggests that the motor-propelled ‘scooter’ would be useful for busy departmental managers and others in getting about quickly from one part to another of a large works!”
“A VISIT TO THE SUNBEAM WORKS: During a visit to the works of John Marston, Ltd, of Wolverhampton, we were able to inspect a number of Sunbeam motor cycles in the different stages of manufacture, and every facility was courteously afforded us to examine the different parts as they emerged from the different processes. Throughout, the impression conveyed to us was one of first-rate material, exquisite finish, and a care in matters of detail, which attributes in themselves explain the popularity and success of the world-renowned Sunbeam. The Sunbeam Co, like many other leading firms in the motor cycle trade, are constantly being dazzled with large orders for their products, which they are unable to accept, for the reason that a good proportion of the works is busily occupied in the manufacture of sundry munitions of war, and, apart from that, a fair percentage of the output of motor bicycles has been regularly absorbed by the Russian Government. During our tour of the works we were particularly interested in the new 8hp twin-cylinder model, and noted the fact that these engines are entirely stripped for inspection and assembled again with Sunbeam care and precision before being built into the frame. The 8hp Sunbeam is very fast on the road, and is, moreover, quiet and controllable at all speeds. We are told that 55mph is quite possible, and TC de la Hay, whose name is well known in competition circles, told us of a trip he had from London to Wolverhampton which occupied so short a time that we refrain from publishing it. The Sunbeam is not cheap, but no one would expect it to be after an examination of the finish, which is above reproach. Complete with a first-class sidecar outfit and every refinement of which the most enthusiastic sidecarist has ever dreamt, the price can be made to come out at very little short of £150.”
“A MOTOR CYCLIST CORPS is being formed in South Africa for service in East Africa. This will greatly please South African riders, a great number of whom have made the journey home to England at their own expense specially to enlist in the different motor cyclist sections of the British Army.”
“NUMEROUS READERS OF THE Motor Cycle who have crossed to the Isle of Man will be Interested to hear that the turbine steamer formerly known as the Viking is now doing yeoman service under another name in HM Navy, while another Manx boat is engaged in mine-sweeping.” Isle of Man residents were swift to point out that of the Steam Packet’s fleet of 17, 15 were in the Navy: one as a long-distance transport, six short-distance transports, the rest on patrol across the globe. The Ramsey, it was reported, “has already paid the penalty of her excessive pluck.”
THE WEST AUSTRALIAN TT WAS RUN over a 150-mile triangular course based on Perth. The race was a handicap based on riders performances in previous events. The winner, in 3hr 52min 50sec, was L Perry (3½hp Rudge, 45min handicap) at an average of 38.5mph, ahead of HV Norton (2¾hp Sunbeam, 35min handicap, average 39.5mph) and CJ Lewis (7hp Indian, scratch, average 45.3mph). The next five bikes home were a Premier, a BSA, an Indian, a Triumph and another Beeza. There was also a sidecar class, won by W Franz on a 4hp BSA with his fiancee as passenger.
FOR THE FIRST TIME in British history the civilian population was in danger of attack from sea and air. In response headlights were restricted. Within six miles of the coast and in districts delineated by special lamp posts there was a 12 candlepower limit “dimmed by one sheet of tissue paper”. In 74 East Coast towns and cities light restricting screens had to be fitted. The AA and Motor Union arranged to have lamp discs made for issue to their members.
“‘MECHORNS’ FOR SIDECARS: I apologise for the above atrocity—please puzzle it out,” Ixion wrote. “ I print it as a horrid warning against American abbreviations, and to introduce the advice of a sidecar owner who does a lot of his mileage in very heavy traffic. He has fitted his mechanical hooter to the sidecar tube, and sounds it with his foot, thus leaving both hands free for other duties. 1 wonder how many of the mechanical hooters on the market are strong enough to withstand the thrust of my No 10 boot, especially when I am in a petulant mood (or ‘peeved’, as the Americans would say). Anyhow, I personally conceived the same brilliant notion, but when I examined the slender shaft of the plunger of my own hooter, the angle of its stem, and the watch-like fragility of the mechanism inside the casing, I decided it had best remain hand-operated.”
“NOW THAT COMPULSORY SERVICE is at hand, we may pause to record the services that it has been the privilege of this journal to render in the matter of voluntery recruiting…motor cyclists as a body, being mostly of a young and energetic class possessed of overflowing patriotism and enthusiasm, were destined to take a great part in the world conflict…It is a tribute to British patriotism that never an appeal has passed unanswered, whether it has been Royal Engineers, Motor Machine Gun Service, Royal Flying Corps or Army Service Corps, Motor Transport. We look back with no little satisfaction upon having passed the 6,000 mark, this number representing recruits whose applications for enlistment we have handled personally…Henceforward, our energies are to be directed more to the examination of men applying for the specialised sections of the Army in which motor cyclists figure most strongly, and certifying their proficiency.”
“THE FOUR FIRMS REGULARLY supplying motor cycles to the Government, viz, Triumph, Douglas, Clyno, and Phelon & Moore, have within the last three months paid visits to the war zone, and we predict that this belated move will produce results of general benefit to the country, not to mention the convenience and safety of the motor cyclists using the machines.”
“EAST WINDS HAVE THEIR DRAWBACKS,” Ixion wrote, “but their first withering blasts in spring contain a secret thrill for the present scribe. After months of perilous slithering (ugh!) on a wheezy, crawly little baby two-stroke, to get out the big TT, tuned to the nick, during winter slime, to take it out knowing that the surfaces are safe and hard, to open the throttle, and eat up ten or twenty miles of road, is well worth the subsequent agony of recovering one’s circulation by a huge fire. And so say all of us!”
THE WAR DID NOT PUT AN end to all motor cycle competition; a score of enthusiasts headed to Cheltenham for an attempt on “two famous Gloucestershire test hills, namely. Gambles Lane, also known as Rising Sun. at the top of the Cleeve Hills, Cheltenham, and Nailsworth Ladder, near Stroud. After being accustomed to the darkened streets of London or the busy manufacturing Midland towns, the sight of the streets being a blaze of arc lamps, with many illuminated flashing signs, would have led one to suppose that ppeace had broken out’, had it not been for the number of uniformed soldiers, including several wounded, to be seen in the brilliantly lighted streets, who served to remind one constantly of the horrid truth…Among those to arrive overnight were a quartette of Harley-Davidson sidecar outfits, one of which was piloted by W Cooper, now engaged with the, company who will be remembered as the successful driver of Bradburys and Humberettes in the past. His passenger was Mr Duncan Watson, the new London director of the Harley-Davidson depot. George Brough, of Nottingham, was also present, mounted upon a nearly new 3½hp horizontal overhead valve twin Brough, Mr Whiting, the Australian designer of the Whiting spring frame, was also there with his latest model fitted with a 3½hp JAP engine…Undoubtedly the finest solo attempt [on Sunrising Hill] was that of George Brough, who came up at a tremendous speed, and had to cut out several times…A little OK showed up conspicuously, climbing steadily and surely with power in reserve…WW Moore on the experimental model all-chain drive 4hp Douglas made a clean ascent of The Ladder, a formidable ascent rising out of Nailsworth village…Moore’s first climb was a most spectacular one, as he attempted to take the hill fast, with the result that he skidded all over the track, finally striking a large bank, which threw him high into the air and caused a fall…” Despite reporting the hillclimb, The Motor Cycle made no bones about its view of Sunday competitions: “Sunday competitions to ninety per pent of motorists are unpalatable, and we have openly stated our views upon them on several different occasions. In war time in particular we must repeat our strong disapproval of them, as nothing is more likely to bring motor cycling into disrepute…we may express the hope that Sunday contests of the kind will not be continued…The sight of able-bodied men indulging in ‘sporting’ events on Sundays, particularly in war time, cannot be commended, and we should not be surprised if the Auto Cycle Union were tempted to step in and denounce events of this kind. This is an age of prohibitions, and if the ACU do not deal with the matter with a firm hand, it is quite within the bounds of possibility that the Government may go a step further and introduce a partial prohibition of private motoring.”
“WE VERY MUCH WONDER if those motorists and motor cyclists who are special constables, and who in many cases have given their services, with their machines, to the Metropolitan police force, realise that they are being employed so far to relieve the police of their ordinary duties that they (the police) are now free to trap motorists indiscriminately. We should not be at surprised to hear of several resignations among special constables for this reason…there has been a large accession of young police recruits to the force, many of them men of military age, who would undoubtedly be doing better work in fighting for their country than skulking behind hedgerows in plain clothes, doing work as unpleasant as it is un-English.”
FOLLOWING HIS RECORD-BREAKING runs across the USA in 1914, Erwin ‘Cannonball’ Baker took his Powerplus Indian to Australia where he set a 24-hour world road record of 1,028 miles 30 yards. En route Baker set 18 and 12-hour world records of 876 and 576 miles, and Aussie records at 200, 300, 500 and 1,000 miles, as well as three, four, five and six hours. The 1,000 miles was covered in 21hr 3min; an average of 48mph. “The only stoppage other than for food and fuel (fifty minutes) was to change a valve. There was a high wind and rain throughout, and Victorian roads, over which the run was made, are nothing to boast about, though doubtless a comparatively good circular course was chosen.” Ivan Hart-Davis, who made a number of record-breaking End-to-End runs (see Features, 1911) called Baker’s performance “marvellous” and suggested that after the war he should have a go at the End-to-End (Harry Collier set the first 24-hour record at Canning Town in 1909 when he covered 775 miles 1,340 yards).
“THE INDIAN AGAIN: Following Baker’s records in Victoria comes a cablegram from Melbourne stating that on February 21st Jack Booth, on a 7hp Indian, broke the world’s half-mile road record, the time being 18.8sec. This works out at an average speed of 95.74mph, and it should be noted that it was made over a level road with no wind. The highest speed ever accomplished on a motor cycle at Brooklands was that of just over 92mph, by S George on an eight-valve Indian.”
THE ‘LIGHTWEIGHT’ JIBE AT THE END of that caption indicates a certain tetchiness with regard to our colonial cousins across the pond. That attitude, no doubt engendered by the American isolationism that was keeping them out of the war, combined with American eagerness to take economic advantage of the war, was confirmed by the following: “‘KEEP OUT!’. This notice is fixed on the door of the experimental department of the Indian factory at Springfield, Mass. From which one gathers that every step is taken to keep secret until perfection all efforts for improving the Indian motor cycle. Why not a soldier with fixed bayonet—that is, provided the USA army authorities have a man to spare.” With an ever growing casualty list and the advent of conscription the Brits were clearly unimpressed by the American army’s seeming reluctance to join the fray. And if confirmation were needed of growing anti-Americanism, America’s most successful vehicle had become an object of ridicule. The Motor Cycle asked readers to send in their favourite Ford jokes and published dozens of them. Here’s a small selection; be warned, they are excruciating:
✪ “Say, how much do you want for your Ford car?” “£70; and I’ll throw a squirrel in with it.” “Why a squirrel?” “Well, it will be useful to run behind and pick up the nuts.”
✪ It is a case of “A short life and A-merry-can”
✪ It is said that Henry Ford has made plans to shorten the wheelbase in 1918, the reason ascribed being that he can thus get more cars into this country.
✪ A man, after numerous unsuccessful attempts to obtain the return of his Ford car which had been stolen, put an advertisement in the evening paper to this effect: “If the person who stole my Ford car last week does not return it to me by eleven o’clock to-morrow morning he will have to keep it.” Next morning, on looking out of his window into the street below, he found it packed with Ford cars as far as the eye could see.
✪ Mr Henry Ford’s statement about the War Loan, as is well known, has made him very popular among the Allies. It will be recalled that when the loan was floated in the States he urged Americans to have nothing to do with it, and said that he would tie a tin can on to the loan commission’s tail and scuttle it home again. Why a tin can? Why not a Ford car?
✪ Henry Ford has been lately dubbed the “Pieces Maker”.
✪ A Ford will go anywhere—except in Society.
✪ A gentleman drove up on a Chinese Rolls Royce one day and happened to stop near a school playground. It was cold, and on dismounting he proceeded to spread a rug over the radiator to keep it warm. An intelligent little boy, seeing this, ran up to the owner, and exclaimed, “It’s no good hiding it, guv’nor, we saw what it was.”
✪ A sportsman drove up to the garage at Ascot in a Ford car. “Ten shillings,”
announced the attendant. “Right,” said the sportsman, “it’s yours,” duly handing over his Ford.
✪ A man strolled into a garage one day looking for a job, and bragged that he could tell any make of car by the sound of the exhaust. Being amused at the claim, a garage employee thought he would give him a test, and so, after blindfolding the newcomer, started up a six-cylinder Napier. “Napier!” ejaculated the blindfolded one. Correct! Next a Vauxhall was started. “Oh, that’s a Vauxhall,” was the correct diagnosis. At that moment a mechanic at the other end of the garage let a box of spanners fall down a long flight of steps. “Ford!” exclaimed the clever one.
✪ Why is a Ford like the first-born of a lady of means? Because it has a new rattle every day.
✪ History lesson: Mr Henry Ford, the man who popularised…walking!
“FEW ENGINEERS HAVE SHOWN more inventive genius in the construction of motor bicycle engines than Mr Granville E Bradshaw, the works manager of ABC Motors, Ltd, Hersham, Walton-on-Thames. The little machine…is, curiously enough, the outcome of the war. It is not intended to place it upon the market at the present time, but it has been built purely as an experiment. The tiny over-square (60x40mm) 226cc engine was designed originally for the purpose of driving dynamo sets for the Government, being especially suitable for this purpose on account of its even torque and excellent balance [see Timeline, 1915]. To test the engine to destruction, and also with a view to seeing how it would behave under road conditions, it has been placed in a motor bicycle frame, and a very charming little machine has been the result.” The frame and forks had been designed for a racer that was abandoned at the outbreak of the war; the whole bike weighed over 100lb but ABC reckoned that, with a purpose-built sprung frame, the bike could have weighed just 75lb—the engine, including flywheel, mag and car, weighed 27lb, developing 4½hp at 4,500rpm. Top speed was said to be 48mph. “We took the machine out for a short run, and found it delightfully smooth running, being even better balanced than the 500cc…it took quite a steep hill on top gear with ease. At the present moment an Albion two-speed gear is fitted, and with a view to testing the smoothness of the engine the chain drive is solid—that is to say, no transmission shock absorber is incorporated…we should never have thought it the case when actually riding the machine.”
“OF ALL COUNTRIES, WITH THE exception perhaps of America, there is little doubt but that in Great Britain motor cycling has been most popular, and consequently motor cycles have reached a greater degree of perfection than anywhere else. Until quite recently no one could say that a Continental machine of any kind was a thing of beauty. Now, however, things are improving, and many of the Continental makers are turning out machines on decidedly British lines. This will be noticed to a considerable degree in the photograph of the latest 8hp Frera, a machine of Italian origin…This machine is fitted with a 45° twin-cylinder engine of rather unusual size, the capacity being 1,140 c.c. The valves are situated one above the other, the inlets being meclianically operated by long tappet rods. The inlet dome is easily detachable, complete with the valve and seating…A countershaft three-speed gear box, provided with a handle-bar controlled ulti-disc clutch, is fitted. The chain transmission is neatly enclosed in oil-tight chain cases. The machine is built specially for sidecar work, and lugs for the sidecar attachment are incorporated in the frame.
“A HARLEY DAVIDSON MOTOR CYCLE with the rear wheel jacked up has run continuously in the showroom of a Phoenix, USA dealer for eight days and twenty-two hours. During this time the machine, according to speedometer, covered 4,310½ miles.”
“I ALWAYS TIME DELIVERY OF my new machines, when possible, for a date at which I have plenty of leisure,” Ixion confided. “I know that I shall have to procure a registration number; paint or ‘transfer’ it on to the plates, which means taking the plates off, and replacing them; fitting a speedometer—say three hours, if one does not have to write to the speedometer maker for a fresh bracket which will really fit; fitting a lamp—say an hour, etc, etc. So that—with ordinary luck—one may take the road on the third day after delivery. Judge of my amazement when the newest machine arrived already numbered, already be-lamped both fore and aft, and—miracles have not ceased—already speedometered! I was doing 50mph within an hour of signing the railway receipt. No, gentlemen! No, no, NO! Wild horses will not drag from me the name of the laudable firm, at any rate till the war is over; they are up to their necks in munition work, and the rush of orders which this small publicity would ensure, would bring down their grey hairs with sorrow to the grave. But when the war is over, you shall hear the name; and the rest of our sleepy, stupid old trade will soon file their petitions.”
“HEAVY FINE FOR ‘JOY-RIDING’: Lieut CAB Budd, who is home on sick leave from the Front, was recently fined £10 at Eastbourne for riding a motor cycle at a dangerous speed. When he was stopped by the constable, a lady asked him if he was a despatch rider, but the motor cyclist answered ‘No, I am a joy-rider.’”
“DOES JOY-RIDING EXIST? The ACU is making enquiries from
the various motor cycle clubs with a view to ascertaining what amount of pleasure motoring is taking place throughout the country. The object is to combat the idea, which the daily papers are endeavouring to circulate, that motor cycles are used to a great extent for joy-riding at the present time.”
“MOTOR CYCLING IN THE PHILIPPINES: Recently racing and hill-climbing contests were held at Bagnio, the capital of the Philippines, and were enjoyed by tho inhabitants and natives.”
“A YOUTHFUL DESPATCH RIDER: We read that a 13 years old Jewish boy, Reuben Ginsberg, is now on his way home to Montreal after serving twelve months in a Canadian regiment. It is stated that he acted as despatch rider most of the time, and was wounded at Ypres.”
“MOTOR CYCLES ON THE ITALIAN FRONT: The mud…is inches deep and the roads full of pot-holes, which render motor cycling a most arduous and dangerous task, and several casualties amongst the despatch rides are due to falls and skids which cause collisions with other motor traffic. That is one of the reasons why the sidecar has been so largely adopted in the Italian Army…The largest number of motor cycles are of British make…an order for 100 WD Triumphs has just been placed. There are already some Triumphs in service, besides Rudges, Ariels, Douglas, Matchless, Clyno and Indians, and the Italian machines are Stucchi, Borgo, Frera, and Bianchi. The Motosacoche, both 3 and 6hp are largely used, the latter, of course, with sidecar…There are about 150 soldiers working in a most up-to- date and well-equipped workshop, where certain parts, if they cannot be supplied promptly by the makers, are made on the spot. This workshop has also started turning out some motor sleighs…the first model was fitted with an Indian 7-9hp engine…the motor service in the Italian Army…seems to be organised on business-like lines, and works with method and regularity.”
“IF MOTOR CYCLING IS ENJOYED in moderation and brings health to the brain-weary city worker, it ought not to be denied him if no one suffers in consequence. And no one does. There is plenty of petrol in the country, and even if there were less than there is now the amount wasted in the services would more than suffice to allow every motor cycle in the kingdom to enjoy a few hours’ fresh air in the country during the week-end. It is argued that a brisk country walk is better for the health than a motor cycle ride. This may be so, but those who live in our large towns have to spend train or tram fares to reach a suitable starting point for their perambulations. Wherein then comes the saving? And what about the numerous delicate women who cannot walk? Are they to be denied a health-giving ride in the sidecar? The more one considers it the more one thinks that the appeal of the National War Savings Committee was, as Mr Gerald Biss says in his excellent article in the Sunday Times, the outcome of ‘gross prejudice and misconception, ill-judged and worse expressed’. Let us therefore use our motor cycles in moderation; let us buy British machines when we can get them, or if we buy those of foreign make, let us pay the extra duty with all cheerfulness, but let those who have their machines use them for health and business, but certainly in no way so as to prejudice the nation’s good.”
SISTERS AUGUSTA AND ADELINE Van Buren rode took 60 days to cross the USA from New York to San Francisco aboard their Powerplus Indians. The Motor Cycle remarked: “Their dress, though perhaps somewhat unconventional, is undoubtedly neat and serviceable…They encountered many difficulties, such as land-slides, desert wastes, and broken down bridges. The weather conditions were especially adverse, but, in spite of all these and the atrocious road surfaces encountered in many parts, especially, of course, during their journey across the American desert in Western Utah, their Indians brought them through in splendid style.” The Americans took a less understanding view of their breeches; they were repeatedly arrested for outraging public morals. The sisters were active in the national Preparedness Movement which was designed to get the US on a war footing to support the allies on the Western Front. One reason for the ride was to prove women could ride as well as men and would be able to serve as military dispatch riders, freeing up men for other tasks. Despite completing a ride few men could match the sisters’ applications to be military dispatch riders were rejected. A colonial motorcycling magazine praised the bike but not the sisters and described the journey as a “vacation”. A newspaper accused them of using the national preparedness issue as an excuse to escape their roles as housewives and “display their feminine counters in nifty khaki and leather uniforms”.
SO MANY MEMBERS OF THE Glasgow MCC had joined up that a motion was carried “nem con” (unanimously) to suspend all activities until the boys came home.
“IMPORTS OF CARS AND MOTOR CYCLES TO BE PROHlBITED: It will come as no surprise to those readers who have closely watched the course of events to learn that the British Government has decided to place a ban upon the importation of motor cars for private uses. The term ‘Motor Cars’, of course, includes motor cycles within the meaning of the Government Acts…the ruling will apply equally to all countries, including the British Dominions and Colonies.” The ban was soon extended to include tyres and tubes. However, there was a loophole. Clearly suspecting dodgy dealings The Motor Cycle reported: “In spite of the so-called prohibition of imported motor vehicles, 253 motor cycles came into the country last month [July]. The prohibition came into force, on paper at any rate, at the end of last March, but vehicles for which a deposit had been paid could be imported after that date. So it is to be presumed that the foregoing is the explanation. In the meanwhile it will be interesting to see which arrives first—the declaration of peace or the end of the stocks of foreign-built motor cycles on which deposit was paid by March 27th.”
FIGURES ISSUED BY THE US Department of Commerce relating to exports from the United States of motor cycles in 1913, 1914 and 1915 show clearly the trade obatained by the Americans due to British motor eye manufacturers being engaged on munition The numbers exported are: 1913, 4,131; 1914, 6,556; 1915, 14,836.
THE MOTOR CYCLE WAS PUBLISHING a steady stream of obituaries; allow this one to represent so many fallen riders: “We learn with extreme regret that Graham Price, the well-known private owner competitor rider of Bat motor cycles, who was attached to the Royal Flying Corps, has met his death during a fight in the air witli an enemy aeroplane. Like so many brave motor cyclists, he became an expert pilot, and, like so many others, alas he has gone to swell the ever-increasing motor cyclists’ roll of honour. Graham Price was a keen competition rider, and his name often figured in the principal events in 1914. In the last London to Edinburgh run he gained a gold medal for the double journey on a 5hp Bat and sidecar. Riding a. similar mount solo in the Scottish Six Days he experienced bad luck, and retired on the second day; but in the English Six Days, when he again rode a solo machine, he earned a gold medal. In the early days of the war Price joined the Royal Engineers, as a despatch rider, and was in the famous retreat from Mons. It was only at the early part of this year that he obtained his commission in the RFC, and it was only a short time ago that we heard of this aviator attacking at the same time three Fokker and two other enemy aeroplanes. His parents have received a personal telegram from the King condoling with them in their loss. An officer in the Dublin Fusiliers who served for twelve months in France as a despatch rider with poor Price pays a high tribute to his qualities as a soldier. This writer considered him to be by far the most efficient despatch rider he had ever come across, and the best friend and comrade one could wish for. He had a peculiar genius as a motor cyclist. Another example of his fine character was shown by a letter he recently sent to his mother, in which he said: ‘If I am killed do not grieve for me, but feel proud that you had a son to give in the country’s cause.’ It is sad to think that when the next important motor cycle trial is held many familiar faces will be missing.”
“SIR–I HAVE COLLECTED 200 NAMES of different makes of motor cycles. Can you tell me how many there are altogether? My favourite day in the week is Thursday, when I get The Motor Cycle. I used to get a comic paper, now I buy The Motor Cycle with my penny. My father has a Quadrant. When I am fourteen I shall have either a TT Zenith or a TT Rudge-Multi or a TT Douglas.
JACK WATERHOUSE (Age 7).
[There are about 300 models of motor cycles on the market, but these include the several models made by each manufacturer. If our correspondent has a list of 200 different makes he cannot have missed many.We congratulate him. —Ed.]
SIR,—CAN I SIT IN ON A FEW of the Ford stories you are listening to? Thanks! There was talk that Ford was going to paint his cars yellow in 1915 and sell them in bunches the same as bananas, but nothing came of it. That will be enough, seeing that you are receiving so many from other readers. We have had an unusually hard winter this season, just one snowstorm after another. Have ridden three American lightweights to date, and think the Indian featherweight to be the best of the lot. That one has three speeds, a clutch and a kick starter, and, much more important, a get-away that is astonishing for a two-stroker. By golly! if the local agent does not look out I shall be wearing out his demonstrator for him. Just for a trial the other day, O’Brien, of the Hendee Manufacturing Co, took me on the luggage carrier, and went out in a snowstorm. We bucked four inches of the beautiful white stuff for six miles, and the engine just purred along all the time, and we weighed 340lb at that. There was a time when I thought the carburetter controls on the handle-bars were unsightly; possibly I do still, but that is forgotten in my enthusiasm over the Amac and B&B carburetters. Some day, and it is not far distant, our riders are going to fall hard for the twin two-stroke, for that, to my mind, would be ideal; just like a Henderson four-cylinder without the weight or cost. Well. I have to save some stuff for another letter, hence the period goes right here.
ELLIOTT B HOLTON,
Secretary, New Jersey Motor Cycle Club,
Newark, NJ, USA.
“TIME WAS—AND NOT SO LONG ago either—when I doubted “whether the average rider would forsake acetylene in the near future,” Ixion recalled. “The crudest acetylene outfit can be made to work somehow, provided water and carbide are available; and a get-you-home system is a comforting possession…But, when all is said and done, there is nothing to touch the switch-on lighting systems for convenience. I am out most nights of my life just now, and I feel the difference more than I did. Moreover, I have garnered a lot of experience of first-class electrical outfits on sidecars and light cars; and I must confess that I should now plump for electricity every time so far as these vehicles are concerned. If, then, an electrical outfit of equal merit is soon to be offered us for solo work, nothing but price is likely to hinder its victory.”
“AN AMERICAN VERSION OF despatch riding: An American contemporary gives a very lurid account of the dangers to which DR’s are exposed when on duty. The account is that of a Boston boy who served as a DR with the Allies during the fighting around Ypres, and finishes by stating that ‘out of a corps of thirty-one riders, with whom Robinson started on duty at Ypres, only four wese alive when he left’. This statement gives a wholly exaggerated idea of the dangers to which motor cyclist despatch riders are subjected. Of one section which left for the Front early last year, only one man has been lost. Several illustrations of Robinson are given purporting to be taken while on duty near Ypres. He is seen mounted on an Indian motor cycle which is fitted with a pillion seat. Rather an unusual type of mount for a DR.”
“THE BRITISH MAGNETO AND THE MOTOR. CYCLE: Those motor cyclists who have the interests of their country at heart will be interested in a booklet which will be ready shortly, reviewing the efforts of The Motor Cycle in fostering a British magneto industry. It is well to recall that The Autocar and The Motor Cycle were the only two journals which, BEFORE THE WAR, openly exposed the fact that the British motor trade was entirely dependent upon German magnetos. We shall be pleased to supply a copy of this pamphlet to any motor cyclist who cares to make application to the Editor.”
“THE WAYS OF DESPATCH riders: Writing from France, Donald E Parsons, ASC, MT, says: ‘You know the WD Douglas has the two-speed gear box and no clutch. Well, I have seen riders of these mounts stop the road wheels and keep the engine running; then when they want to move off they paddle for a yard or so and slip in the low gear—still with the engine running. Of course, the rear tyre makes an excellent emergency clutch, but I don’t envy the job our workshop staft-sergeant will have when the gear dogs do strip. It would make the designer weep, too, to see them drive on the exhaust valve. They ignore the throttle.’ The practice referred to is not so damaging if only an expert is handling the machine. Provided the engine is revolving at the same speed as it would be when driving the machine, the dogs will engage without noise, and the drive will be taken up without shock. We have several times done this on this make when fitted with an automatic carburetter.”
ANYONE WHO HAS CHANGED A TYRE OR TUBE on a spoked motor cycle wheel knows all about rim tape. It seems the idea originated with Messrs Leo Swain & Co of Deansgate, Manchester as the Leosco ‘tube saver’: “an endless band of good red rubber, thickened in centre and tapered to the edges, which is intended to be stretched over and bedded down in the rim. It effectively prevents contact between the inner tube and the often rusty bed of the rim.”
“HILL-CLIMB FOR PUBLIC SCHOOL BOYS: What was termed the Public Schools Motor Cycle ‘Championship’ was run off at…Snowshill, near Broadway, Worcestershire…rain fell heavily in the morning, and somewhat heavy showers were the order of the day…Though it had been announced by the promoters of the gathering that there were nearly 150 entries for the event, only thirty-two
competitors put in an appearance. Whether this was due to the action of the ACU in questioning the advisability of holding such an event in these times—quite apart from the fact that no permit had been obtained—or whether it was due to the unfavourable weather, or a combination of the two, we cannot say, but nevertheless the event naturally lost much of its promised importance. The ACU contended that the holding of the event was in direct opposition to the overtures of Government departments, who are endeavouring to limit unnecessary motoring, the defence of the organisers being that, as the competition was only open to public school boys, it would be very instructive for them should they join the Royal Flying Corps, MT, or other specialised branches of His Majesty’s Forces, while the expense incurred would be infinitesimal…All machines were weighed at the foot of the hill. The lightest machine was the Baby Triumph, which turned the scale at 140lb. It was ridden by DH Hulbert, Rossall School, and son of Mr F Hulbert, the well-known motor department manager of the Triumph Co, who was also present as a spectator on a Triumph sidecar. The heaviest machine was the electrically-equipped Harley-Davidson, which, after causing the scale tripod and rope to collapse, finally recorded 375lb! The times were taken by Messrs WH Wells and FW Barnes. Quite a number of
the competitors were attired in the uniform of their respective school’s OTCs, which gave support to the promoters’ arguments that the meeting was a desirable event, as it enabled competitors to keep up practice and maintain a knowledge of mechanics that would be beneficial hereafter when the contestants were old enough to join the Forces. The best climb in Class I (single-speed under 300cc) was that of JV Prestwich, Harrow, son of Mr JA Prestwich, the maker of JAP engines. His little Calthorpe, fitted with a 2½hp JAP engine, though clearly not running at its best, made a good climb, and was fastest on time in this class. The performances were generally poor, all competitors making extremely bad starts. General observations: It was interesting to contrast the performances of these lads and their way of handling their machines
with that of old experienced riders in the good old hill-climbs of bygone days, and most made poor starts, probably due to over- anxiety, which was not allayed by the starter, who seemed to take great delight in hustling them…Contrary to the experience of most hill-climbs, there seemed little enthusiasm among the competitors to know the results, and at the Lygon Arms Hotel in Broadway, when the results on time were announced, not more than five of the competitors were present to hear them…The starter, W Cooper, was very free with his advice to the competitors, who seemed unwilling to open the throttle and start off with a rush on the greasy road, telling them to ‘open the throttle wide and let the engine do the rest’, but when later he tried the hill himself in the grease he did not appear quite so enthusiastic about the open throttle idea…CC Bemrose, whose school is in the Isle of Man, told us that they have never been officially allowed to witness the TT races. He had, nevertheless, usually managed to get away somehow or other to see them…An interesting feature of the event was the number of sons of well-known men in the motor cycle trade who took part…Evidently The Times representative was present! On Friday that journal referred to the event having been held on Thursday [it was in fact Wednesday], and to the entry of ‘150 competitors, and about 40 schools were represented’. Let us hope the Board of Trade officials were not misled.”
“THE AMERICANS ARE NATURALLY somewhat annoyed at the prohibition of the importation of motor cycles and parts into this country, but several of the leading makers assert that they anticipated it, and have in consequence large stocks at their English depots. This probably accounts for the large number of machines imported during the past month. Mr Walter Davidson, of the Harley-Davidson Motor Co, says that the American market is in splendid shape this year, and will probably absorb all of the motor cycles all the American manufacturers can put out.”
“AMERICAN JOURNALS: ON THE SUBJECT of the prohibition of imported motor cycles, Motor Cycling and Bicycling (Chicago) writes as follows: ‘While the ostensible object of the British Government is to prevent the spending of money for luxuries, it is pretty well understood on this side of the water that the British motor cycle manufacturers have ‘put one over’ on the British motor cycle-riding public. It has been noted that American motor cycles have been supplanting the home-made product in the affections of the riders across the pond, therefore the English manufacturers, whose machines are commandeered for war purposes, or whose factories are devoted solely now to the manufacturer of war munitions, got the Government to stop the importation of American machines to save the British after-the-war market. This is a dog-in-the-manger act.’ This, of course, is absurd. The same paper has lifted the greater part of a photograph which appeared in a recent issue of The Motor Cycle. The inscription under this fragment reads ‘English motor cycle battery with motor cycle riders as escort; the kind we need in this country.’ The usual courtesy with which one journal should acknowledge extracts from another also seems to be a crying need in the country which is too proud to fight, but not, it seems, too proud to ‘requisition’.”
SIR,—NOTICING AN ENGINE THUMP of increasing magnitude in my 1915-16 Enfield, I took the machine to Enfields, Holborn Viaduct, and suggested it might be gear trouble, whereupon the company agreed to locate the fault and let me have the machine within two hours. Calling back ten minutes under this period, I found the last nut just being tightened. But this is the wonderful part of the affair. It was not the gear at all, but a side bush in the crank case that had gone. So it amounts to this: my engine had been totally dismantled, new side bush fitted, and re-assembled ready to drive away in 1hr 55min, as agreed. To the very efficient mechanics at the Enfield London depot I take off my hat; to the firm, my very best thanks.
SIR,—I THINK I HAVE RATHER a novel use for my motor cycle during the time when I am at school and am not allowed to use it. The machine is a 3½hp Ivy-Precision with a three-speed Sturmey-Archer hub gear. The brake rim is fixed to the right side of the wheel, while the brake works on the outside of it. The inside of this is used as a belt rim, with a cord drive to the lathe in our metal shop. Attached to the pulley by means of a chuck is a 2ft aeroplane propeller. As petrol is so expensive, I have removed the float chamber, and have attached the coal-gas supply to the rest of the carburetter (an Amac). After several experiments it was found that combustion did not take place unless the extra air was stopped up. The carbon deposit was decreased, as was also the exhaust, which was led away by an iron pipe. Starting is extremely easy, for as soon as the gas is turned on and a slight swing given to the belt rim (the belt rim being separate from the wheel) the engine fires immediately. The power is about four-fifths of that given by petrol.
“THE MOTOR CYCLE IN CHINA: In many parts of China motor cycles are still a novelty. Roads, or rather the lack of them, are, in the main, responsible for the comparative lack of progress. The following, however, is not an article dealing with the possibilities of the motor cycle trade in that part of the world, but a reproduction from a Shanghai paper of, some impressions of motor cycling in North Kiangsu. It is such an amusing description that we reproduce the article in full and exactly as it appears in The North China Daily News: ‘Within two years two men up here have got motor cycles. Above the line of Tsingkiangpu and Pengpu rice is not cultivated, and the fields are not cut up by canals. Roads are possible, but not in repair…The single cycle which follows the barrow track runs easily and some excellent trips have been made. When the sidecar is attached many difficulties must be negotiated. The longest trip yet made in one say, with the sidecar attached, was from Hsuchowfu to Suchien, a distance of 80 English miles. It was against a driving, east wind which wind brought snow and rain in its train. The traveller in the ordinary vehicle must have been held up in a mud hovel without fire and without the food that he would like. The novelty of this arouses much excitement. Even the hares get jealous at this trespass on their domain of swiftness…Gradually he drew away from us. So the driver changed to his fastest gear. Now it was ‘nip and tuck’. His ears softly dipped and danced on his shoulders as he sped along. Applause put the last ounce of speed into his flying form. Yet the red monster was neck and neck, not gaining an inch! The driver then injected extra gasolene. The machine fairly lifted itself and bounded forward. In another moment the challenger must be under the wheel; when he doubled all the while going at top speed…He had fairly won. What man-made machine could take that turn at that speed and yet go off on an even keel? As one passes through the country the excitement among the towns and villages was phenomenal. It was not fright nor ill will, It was plain curiosity pure and simple. Drive into a village where everyone is nursing arms in homes or tea shops. The steet bare, but for an occasional hawker or two. Drive out at the other side and look back. It is as if one had struck a hive of bees. They tumbled out in crowds, looking at the fleet visitor. One leaves the gate and streets China-blue with people, to go ahead and surprise another town. Stop on the street for a moment and the crowds behind fall over those in front. After one or two trips it is an old story and’ they will only be excited at an aeroplane. The motor cycle is here to stay.”
WITH PETROL IN SHORT SUPPLY the price rose to about two bob 3s 11d (20p)/gal. That would be roughly equivalent to £12/gal (£2.65/lit) today. To cope with petrol shortages motorcycles were soon being run on paraffin or even coal gas stored in gasbags mounted in trailers. AJS piped in town gas to run engines on the bench so as to make the most of scarce petrol supplies. It reported: “The engines showed no signs of overheating and ran perfectly regularly, although the speed and performance were not quite as good as when using petrol.”
IN RESPONSE TO ROCKETING petrol prices and shortages the Binks carburetter Co offered Binks XXX fuel, a ‘heavy fuel’ with a specific gravity of .772. It was about half the price of petrol. “A Binks carburetter is not essential to its use, though naturally very much better results are obtained by following the Binks system all through. Any good carburetter, fitted with a hot air intake, would probably yield satisfactory results. The chief disadvantage of the fuel is that an engine cannot be started on it from cold, and therefore a subsidiary tank and a two-way tap for a supply of petrol for starting are necessary.” Comparative tests were made using a 1914 3½hp P&M outfit owned by a Motor Cycle staffer. “Time was lost when the Binks fuel was used by the necessity for constantly having to retard the firing point, and finally the compression of the engine was reduced by inserting a 1/16in copper packing between the cylinder and the crank case. This almost cured the knock, and better running was experienced…The manner in which it would tick over, responding instantly to a movement of the throttle lever, was most gratifying, and it was difficult to believe we were using a fuel little lighter than ordinary lamp oil.” On the flat with no wind the P&M averaged 27.4mph over a short test course at 72.8mpg running on Shell petrol. On Binks XXX average speed fell to 26.4mph but consumption also fell, to 88mpg. The comparison was repeated on long climbs against a strong headwind. On petrol the P&M did averaged 20.6mph at 48mpg; on XXX it averaged 19.8mph at 60.8mpg. “Mr. Binks states that most standard touring machines prove slightly faster on Binks fuel than on petrol, and this would probably prove to be so in the case of twin-cylinder machines, as the fuel gives a very strong explosion, but in the case of a ‘single’ it is almost impossible to press the engine above a certain road speed…Unless the carburetter be quite drained of the heavy fuel, this remains in the bottom of the float chamber, and is difficult to get rid of when attempting to start up on petrol. A tap for draining the pipe and float chamber would be useful. A careful scrutiny must be made for air leaks…the motor cyclist who adopts this or similar systems must make up his mind that careful adjustments will prove necessary ere the best results can be obtained. With any type of carburetter a hot air intake is desirable, and with single-cylinder machines it will probably prove necessary to reduce the compression. Imperfect carburation should not be allowed to continue, and freedom of exhaust is more necessary than if petrol be the fuel.”
BINKS WASN’T THE ONLY FIRM to react to rocketing petrol prices. Coal By-Products Co of High Holborn marketed ‘Spots’, a petrol additive that was claimed to increase the carbon content of the petrol, boosting power while cutting fuel consumption by 25%. The Motor Cycle tested Spots on a 3½hp WD P&M. A one-quart reserve fuel tank supplied by the Service Co was used for the test. “The night before the test was carried out, half of one of the ‘Spots’ tabloids was placed in a carefully measured gallon of petrol. Next, 8oz of the treated spirit were placed in the tank, and this was done on Brooklands track, and a start was made from the beginning of the mile, the object being to see how far we could run on the treated spirit.” They ran dry at 4½ miles; repeated the run on petrol and ran dry at 3½. That equated to 90mpg and 70mph; a saving of 25%. There was no apparent increase in power but neither was there a decrease. The Motor Cycle concluded: “It would be interesting to see how the treated petrol would behave when given a series of tests by such official bodies as the Auto Cycle Union and the Royal Automobile Club.” However, when the test was repeated using a 1916 6hp Enfield with an Amac carb fuel consumption with and without Spots was identical.
IN RESPONSE TO ENQUIRIES about petrol substitutes the Blue ‘Un collated a list: Benzolite, Petroline, Petrolior, Beatsol, Russelline, Harwood’s Motor Fuel, Wital, Kempol, Petrofin, Binks Fuel, Hall’s Motor Spirit, Triple fuel (in three grades), Magic and White Oil. With riders becoming increasingly desperate to find fuel for their bikes, suppliers were happy to oblige…
“ACCORDING TO RELIABLE INFORMATION which has reached Lord Montagu via Denmark, the Stettiner Co, of Germany, lias already erected eleven to twelve large coalite plants to increase the supply of benzole. Year’s ago, practically all the British automobile journals urged our own government to move on the matter, but without result. Everybody now knows how, at the eleventh hour, the sale of benzole was prohibited, and the whole supply taken for high explosive shells. Had the output of benzole been encouraged, there would probably have been no shortage of motor spirit to-day for military or civilian purposes.”
“MANY ENTERPRISING GARAGES are stocking, and are able to supply in either large or small quantities, white oil, which is a highly refined kerosene. When mixed with a small proportion of ordinary spirit excellent running is obtained, and if starting is effected on petrol the fuel can be used neat.”
“ONE GOOD MAY COME OF the shortage of supply. I ride a 2¾hp Sunbeam with Amac carburetter. Thanks to a tip in your paper, I put pins in the holes above the jet, and increased my mileage per gallon from 90 to 108. Then I added Spots, and on the last two-gallon can of Pratt’s I got 134 miles per gallon. My running is done with many stops, and on a long run I am sure I could improve on those figures.
VEHICLE OWNERS EXPRESSED STRONG views on the petrol census and rationing. The main theme was that the use vehicles were put to and essential milage had been ignored when allocating rations. Motor cycles, of all sizes, were to get six gallons for three months (doctors did get more); cars got 24 gallons, even if their owners had asked for less and had reported that they only used their cars for occasional joyrides.
“ANALYSING PETROL SUBSTITUTES: It is reported that the Petrol Control Committee has taken samples of many petrol substitutes, and is having them analysed. If it were discovered that a substitute contained petrol, it would be interesting to know who would be liable to a fine. The purchaser could not be blamed unless it could be proved that he knew it contained petrol.”
“SOMETHING NOT NEW: Under the heading, ‘A New Motor Engine’ The Times printed the following paragraph the other day: ‘According to the Nationaltidende, an inventor named Ellesammer has succeeded in constructing a carburetter making it possible to use benzol instead of petrol for motor engines’ We congratulate The Times on this wonderful discovery. It seems possible that alcohol is meant, and that the inventor is probably Elleham, who manufactures the only motor bicycle turned out in Denmark.”
“THERE IS TALK OF TAXING all that is left to run on, and of not allowing us to buy our white spirits or paraffin—which is no spirit at all—without first entering the sale on our petrol tickets. And the reason for this state of affairs is mostly due to the meddlesome interference of certain half-penny evening papers.”
“PURE PETROL VERY RARE: Complaints are increasing in number that most of the petrol one buys nowadays is adulterated—usually with paraffin. If such is the case it is scandalous in view of the price charged.”
“PETROL SUBSTITUTES POPULAR: Motor cyclists are settling down to petrol substitutes, of which there are about a score of brands. We have questioned many motor cyclists, and rarely find any using neat petrol. Heavy fuel is much more satisfactory with an air-cooled engine than with one of the water-cooled type.”
“RATHER LATE IN THE DAY: A new feature introduced into Pell Mell, the revue at the Ambassadors’ Theatre, is a satire on the Petrol Control Committee.”
MOST OF THE DEVICES INTRODUCED to facilitate the use of paraffin or ‘heavy fuels’ to replace petrol relied on heating the fuel on its way to the carburetter, or between the carburetter and the engine. The Grado vaporiser “is more ambitious than many devices we have seen: not only does it heat the fuel on its way to the float chamber, but the mixture is reheated in its passage to the engine…This method of double heating, combined with the usual partial vaporisation by the carburetter, should transform the liquid paraffin into a perfect vapour…A petrol injection is needed to start the engine, and a small tap is provided forj this purpose over the induction pipe manifold.”
“SIR,—BEING A RIDER of a Harley-Davidson, I wish to inform other riders of this machine that I have been running on pure Kempol without the use of petrol. Machine fires right off from first kick. I have been using it for the last two months, and I must say that I do not care if petrol is stopped altogether.
“SIR,—I HAVE FOR SOME time suspected that petrol is being
adulterated with paraffin, and I have been experimenting in order to find some chemical test which will demonstrate the adulteration. The following test will prove, more or less conclusively, whether petrol contains paraffin or not: Take a quarter of a test tube of petrol and add three or four drops of nitric acid. There will be a distinct dividing line or meniscus formed which splits the solution into two halves. The top layer is petrol; the bottom is paraffin. Add a few drops of chloroform and shake. A deep yellow precipitate will fall to the bottom of the tube, while a pale green precipitate will form at the top of the solution. This test is perfectly simple, and should be of use to motor cyclists who are doubtful as to the purity of their petrol.
EJ Ll JONES-EVANS.”
“LAST WEEK A MIDLAND rider had his Douglas motor cycle requisitioned by the military authorities who were stationed in his district repairing telephone wires. This is the first time we have heard of motor cycles being commandeered since the early days of the war.”
“MOTOR CYCLISTS AND THE AIR SERVICE: AS Jones, of the ASC, MT, writes: ‘As an ASC man receiving 6s per day, I believe it is unfair. I have offered to transfer to the Royal Flying Corps, which would automatically reduce my pay to 2s a day, but the request has been refused.'” Despatch riders were paid roughly a third the rate given to Army lorry drivers, but nearly twice the pay of the PBI in the trenches.
ANY COMPETITIVE EVENT IN THESE DAYS admitting ‘slackers’ would not be tolerated. Thus the Birmingham Motor Cycle Club’s annual Easter Monday reliability trial was confined to ladies, Service men, Reserve men, munition workers, and all other war workers, but there were no openings for single men eligible for service. We have no doubt that the organisation of an isolated competition such as this for the genuine workers forms a very welcome respite. It provides something to look forward to, and may fairly be characterised as recreative motoring as opposed to joy riding pure and simple. At the starting point at Griffin’s Hill, Selly Oak, one was cheered to note the proportion of khaki-clad competitors, whilst navy blue was not
entirely absent. There was the same old starting point for Birmingham club trials…Practically all the fifty-eight entrants were sent off at minute intervals from 9 a.m. over the 146 miles course, which, though devoid of ‘freak’ climbs, was sufficiently sporting to promise much weeding before the competitors arrived back in Birmingham. It was drizzling with rain as the riders moved off toward Beacon Hill in the face of a gusty wind blowing from the South-West…We passed ER Troward doing something to his machine—he had complained of a fractured fuel pipe at the start—and later Sec Lt HR Davies busy with his back tyre…Dropping back again to the Worcestershire side, the competitors wended their way to within half a mile of Upton-on-Severn, or Severn-on-Upton as a wag put it, bearing in mind the recent floods, and then turned to the right for Gloucester. The roads now being dry and hard, the men had no difficulty in keeping to the 20mph schedule, fr frequently we passed groups chatting and smoking…Two competitors ran out of petrol on Birdlip—Rose (4¼hp BSA sc) and Coates (8hp Sunbeam sc) who had two spare tins of spirit strapped to his carrier…The burly Haddocks, astride a little two-stroke
Diamond, went up comfortably, as is his wont. The 4hp Sunbeam sidecar driven by JE Greenwood, the Sunbeam designer, showed up conspicuously, as also did Cooper (Harley-Davidson) and JR Alexander (Indian sc)…Unhappily Lt HT Alesservy, since his last appearance in competition, has had his right foot amputated, after being wounded at the Dardanelles by machine gun fire. He handled his Alorgan throughout very dexterously…There was quite a crowd to see the competitors restart, motor cyclists pre-dominating. Those who are acquainted with Midland trials will hardly need telling that Rising Sun or Gambles Lane was the first test after lunch. There was the usual crop of failures, intermingled with star ascents, which show up skill in tuning, handling the machine, and selection of gear ratios. Again a crowd took the greatest interest in the proceedings, and appeared thoroughly to enjoy the fare…Sgt A Milner, who will be remembered by many as a very clever trick rider, amused everyone by bouncing his front wheel high off the ground. His little Levis had no difficulty in climbing the hill…JE Rose (4¼hp BSA) came up fast with front stand down, and when within a few yards of the top the stand apparently caught a rut, and caused him to fall…W Cooper (Harley-Davidson sc) came to a standstill just below the steepest part, but by slipping his clutch he reached the top in
a succession of jerks, being assisted by the onlookers. This was hard luck, as he had an otherwise perfectly clean sheet…Miss Hough (GP Morgan) showed great skill in driving, for when at the steepest part she was baulked by a sidecar and had to thread her way through spectators at the side of the road…E Frassetti (Indian sc) again made a star ascent. Miss Lottie Berend, his passenger, was the only one we noticed to lean in the proper direction on the bend…Bell’s Harley-Davidson sc ‘roared up’, to use a term beloved of motor cyclists…Ratcliffe’s Norton sidecar was very fast, but the bark—it was ear splitting with the throttle open! Altogetner forty- four competitors of the original fifty-two starters passed us on Sudeley Hill…At the time checks, by the way, one or teo competitors had cut things so fine that they literally dashed up to the officials and almost threw their watch cases, narrowly avoiding collisions with machines in the roadway…competitors generally voted the event a very successful one and excellently arranged.” Twenty riders won gold medals; 11 failed to finish. “By the way: Cpl J Drew had his leave cancelled, and had to return without competing…The five Indians entered all gained gold medals…We hardly recognised Haddock when he proffered a handshake. He is now clean shaven, and wittily remarked that there had been a ‘Hair Raid’…The two members of our staff who covered the trial were mounted on military models—a 4hp Triumph, such as supplied to despatch riders, and a Clyno sidecar outfit largely used by the MMGS. Both behaved in an exemplary manner climbing all hills with ease…A new Humber ‘after the war’ model was driven round the course by Sam Wright. It has a 3½hp horizontally opposed twin engine and three-speed countershaft gear box…AE Kibble (4hp Triumph) ran over a dog in Broadway, which caused him to fall and hurt his foot. He was taken into a house, but was able to proceed after resting awhile.”
MOTOR CYCLISTS HAVE BEEN so accustomed to engines having cranks and oscillating connecting rods with their big-end and gudgeon pin bearings that the possibility of building an engine without these adjuncts has probably not occurred to many. Such engines have, however, been designed and built (we are not alluding to turbines) in two series, viz, steam and internal combustion engines, and differ from the usual type in the important features to which we have just alluded, eg, the place of the crank is taken by an eccentric cam, the gudgeon pin bearing is entirely absent as the double connecting rods are fixed rigidly to the pistons, and, in fact, the usual methods of converting a reciprocating to a rotary motion have been entirely superseded in a most novel and ingenious manner. The engine to which we refer is known as the Lewis: this engine we recently had the pleasure of inspecting in Mr Lewis’s little workshop at Dinas, in the Rhondda Valley, and we can assert that we were much impressed by the ingenuity and originality of design. The engine we saw had two opposed cylinders, but it was so arranged that two more cylinders could be fitted at right angles. The system also admits of six or eight cylinders, but in every case the cylinders must be in pairs and set opposite to one another. The pistons are also connected together in pairs by rigid connecting rods, such as are shown in Fig 1, each connecting rod being constructed of two steel plates carrying two hardened rollers between them and having slots through which the main engine shaft passes. This shaft carries on its centre a specially shaped cam mounted eccentrically which takes the place of cranks. If the cam were circular in shape it would be evident that both rollers could not be in contact with it during the whole period of revolution, for the diameter is the greatest chord which can be drawn in a circle therefore, in Fig 2 the rollers A and B would touch the cam, but some play would be allowed to C and D.
This would, of course, cause a knock, and so the cam is not made truly circular, but so constructed that the lines which pass through the centre of rotation (not the centre of the cam) shall all be equal in length (see Fig 3). It will be evident that the direction of the piston thrust will always be through the centre of the engine, and that all the cylinders will be in the same vertical plane. It is also claimed, that the shape of the cam gives a very even torque, and does away with the secondary forces which the angularity of the connecting rod causes to be present in the usual type of engine, and which cannot be balanced by a revolving weight on the flywheel. The balance of the four-cylinder engine should, therefore, be excellent. The engine we saw had stationary cylinders and a rotating shaft, but it is quite possible to reverse this procedure and make the cylinders revolve. Owing to the small size of the engine, 12in over all, there would be no difficulty in fitting a rotary engine into a motor cycle frame, and a four-cylinder made on the four-stroke principle, having a bore of 2in and stroke of 1in (just over 200cc capacity), is claimed to give 4hp at 4,000rpm. The valves are operated by scroll cams (see Fig 4), which bring forward a peg once in every two revolutions of the engine; this peg lifts a tappet, which in turn raises the valve. All the exhaust valves are operated by a scroll on one side of the engine, and the inlet valves similarly worked on the other side. The flywheel is, of course, outside, and is about 6in in diameter. The weight of the four-cylinder engine (without magneto) is 21lb. In the rotary model this weight can be still further reduced, as a flywheel would be quite unnecessary, for the engine itself would take its place. Another point which is worthy of mention is that the construction of the engine admits of very large bearing surfaces, which, of course, mean very satisfactory wearing qualities. Curiously enough, the Barry engine, which many of our older readers will remember as a design of much originality, also hailed from South Wales. At Mr Lewis’s workshop we also saw a most fascinating little steam engine of the rotary type, the case in which the engine revolved taking the place of the cylinder heads, the surfaces being ground true and made steam tight by a film of oil. This engine, which measures only 6inx4in, is said to be capable of exerting 4hp at 7,000rpm with a steam pressure of 150psi, and it is so free from vibration that it can be run at this speed attached to a small stand and simply set up on a wall without any fixings. It can be reversed in a moment by throwing over the eccentric cams with a small lever. When this is done the engine quickly comes to rest and then starts up in the reverse direction. Such an engine, combined with a suitable flash boiler and condenser, should be ideal for a steam motor cycle.
“OUR AMERICAN CONTEMPORARIES are evincing great interest in the part that motor cycles are playing in the punitive expedition against the Mexican, Villa. It is considered that the Mexican scrap is a test for the military motor cycle—and upon its success or otherwise depends its adoption in numbers by the whole army of the United States.”
FROM IXION: “GOTT STRAFE ENGLAND! I possibly, suffer from the unenviable distinction of being the only Englishman whom the Germans do not hate! At any rate, I have just received news from a civilian interned in the big concentration camp at Ruhleben that he has read one of my articles reprinted in a German motoring journal, which referred to me in quite complimentary fashion.” [The term “concentration camp” did not, of course, have the nightmare connotation it acquired under the nazis].
“UP TO WITHIN A SHORT TIME ago we had had very little road experience of the new 6hp (76mmx85mm) 90° P&M twin, but when the invitation was received from Mr B Marians to take an extended run in one of these combinations we accepted it with alacrity. It was as long ago as November 19th, 1914, that we described this fine machine, and since that period some little improvement has been made, but naturally as the whole of the firm’s output has been taken over by the Government, very little attention has been devoted to the new model. At the present time it has reached the stage of almost complete finality, with the exception of the change speed gear mechanism, which still needs simplification. We may recall that the P&M four- speed gear box is a combination of the dog clutch gear and the well-known expanding P&M. The dog clutch gear merely serves the purpose of lowering the ratios of the P&M gear, and no matter whether the gear box is in use or not the expanding gear serves as a friction clutch on either of the speeds. The small lever shown on the tank in the illustration is drawn backwards so that the dogs are engaged. This means that the two lower gears are in operation. Therefore to start, the pedal on the gear box is kept horizontal; this puts the gear in neutral. To start, the pedal is pressed down with the heel and the drive is taken up on the low gear, while pushing forward the pedal engages the second speed, but to engage the third speed the pedal and the lever have both to be actuated at the same time. To engage the top the lever only is pushed straight forward, and the exhaust valve lifted or the throttle shut. The company is now engaged in designing a simple gate which will enable all these operations to be carried out by means of one lever. The chief modification in the machine in which we were taken out is the dynamo drive, which is taken off the layshaft of the gear box and is carried out in a very simple and efficient manner. A detail improvement has also been made in the actuation of the dog clutches; this is now carried out by means of a rack and pinion operating the worm which moves the fork in the gear box and shifts the dogs. The outfit reached the appointed place dead to time, and within a very few minutes we were ably piloted westwards out of London by Mr Chidley, one of the P&M demonstrators. Emerging from Roehampton Lane at Alton Road, which is quite a respectable gradient with a sudden approach, the machine astonished us by climbing on top speed, especially as it is a hill which calls for a change down on most motor vehicles. Kingston Vale is exceedingly rough, and over this surface we were pleased to note the exceedingly comfortable riding of the sidecar. The back possesses a very deep spring cushion; and the body itself is, moreover, suspended on very carefully selected C springs, which render the riding most luxurious; in fact, it would take a very expensive car to provide such comfortable riding as the P&M sidecar affords. Kingston Vale was taken at a very comfortable speed, and here we appreciated the even running of the engine and the absence of vibration. Our journey was continued along tne main Portsmouth Road, past the Hut, and on through Ripley to the fork a mile from that village, where we turned to the left, and went through West Clandon to Newlands Corner, taking the hill which was the scene of the Army and Navy hill-climb last autumn. This caused another surprise, as the engine comfortably took
that quite considerable gradient on third speed, and accelerated well after the first bend had been negotiated. All the time we had been travelling against a very stiff north-westerly gale, but this happened to be more or less in our favour as we took the hill. Near the summit rain came down in torrents, and we stopped for shelter under some friendly trees. Here we met several wounded soldiers from an adjacent hospital enjoying an outing in thecountry. Two were walking, one was driving a pony chaise, when suddenly another pony chaise came hurtling down the hill ‘all out’ with the seat empty, and the pony apparently out of control. The pony made for the sidecar like a bull at s gate, but fortunately saw it in time and swerved to the left, missing a water cart by a hair’s breadth, and bolted away out of sight. Its acceleration as the gradient increased must have been extremely rapid. What happened to it we know not. The incident evidently caused no little amusement to the one or two convalescent men who followed afterwards. We next made our way down the beautiful road which flanks the hill, from which the finest view in Surrey can be observed, and, passing the Silent Pool, we made for Shere. At the entrance to the village there is a signpost pointing to Effingham and Leatherhead. Taking the acute angle curve we made our way up the country lane which ultimately terminates in Combe Bottom, a well-known Surrey test hill, which was included in the One Day Trial some three years ago. Even now it is not very well known, and it is quite a good test. The surface was extremely rough, and became worse as we got higher, and necessitated a change to third speed, especially as we had received a rather bad check at the bottom through meeting a herd of beautiful Jersey cattle. The surface, though rough and loose in places, was negotiable, but at the corner, just where the gradient is 1 in 5, the road was tolerably good, and the climb was made in excellent style on second speed. Here we stopped and took a few photographs, then continued over the high land and through the woods, whose winter sombreness was just beginning to be relieved by the vivid green of the budding larches. Then we joined the Leatherhead-Guildford road, following this as far as Effingham, where turning left again we met the Portsmouth Road, and stopped at the Hut for tea. Afterwards we took over the combination and found it to be exceedingly comfortable to drive, possessing ample acceleration, wonderful staying power, smooth running thanks to the excellent balance of the 90° twin, plenty of power, but not very much speed, though we must admit we did not attempt to push it at any time. It gave us the impression of being an exceedingly comfortable machine which was capable of keeping up an even pace all day and under all conditions. There is practically no slowing for hills, and the way the machine battled against the heavy head wind on the outward journey was quite a revelation. The position of the driver was comparatively as comfortable as that in the sidecar, and certainly the Lycett saddle on which we were seated was exceedingly well sprung. We found the change speed with the two pedals and lever not too difficult. The only real difficulty was the foot brake, which is placed on the near side of the machine instead of the off side, where we had been accustomed to find it with our old reliable 3½hp of the same make. Altogether it was an exceedingly enjoyable ride, and we found the machine, after practical road experience, to be in every way worthy of the famous firm which produced it. Although times without number the engine was allowed to slow down to such an extent that any ordinary engine would have konked itself to a standstill, the new 90° P&M twin stuck to it magnificently, and never a sign of a knock or konk could at any time be discerned.”
OUR FIRST RIDE ON THE 1916 Powerplus Indian was a very brief affair, consisting as it did of a short run tHrough tlie traffic, up one of the Hampstead hills, and back again to Euston Road. The combination ran so well, and the new side-by-side valve engine appeared so sweet running and flexible, that we looked forward to an extended trial with this fascinating machine. The other day, while calling at Maude’s Motor Mart, we happened to mention this to Mr G Pettytt, and he kindly suggested we should take out a slightly used second-hand combination of this type which he had for sale. Now it is one thing to drive a machine which is the manufacturers’ demonstration mount, and consequently always kept at concert pitch, and another thing to take a chance second-hand model from a dealer’s show room, as was the case on this occasion, and we were certainly agreeably surprised. This particular Indian was fitted with the Splitdorf magneto dynamo, which worked particularly well, and a most luxurious Mills and Fulford sidecar, to which was fitted an excellent Cape cart hood and a Dunhills windscreen with side shields, all of which tended to add greatly to the passenger’s comfort. Our first drive was made to a small village near Aldershot, where we had a business call to make. It was a plain, straightforward run, and presented no difficulties, but it sufficed to demonstrate the excellence of the clutch and the ease with which the change speed could be manipulated. The clutch has a duplex control, and may be actuated either by the foot or hand. The latter method was seldom employed, as the leverage of the pedal had been well calculated, and the clutch operation was quite delightful on account of the small effort required to withdraw it. many american machines need the clutch to be not absolutely in engagement to prevent ‘snatching’, but with the Indian this was unnecessary, as the drive was at all times quite smooth. It was in acceleration and hill-climbing that the machine particularly excelled, and owing to the splendid balance of the engine, which was as good as one could expect in a V twin, it was delightfully smooth running. We were also much interested to note the absence of valve clatter, which was due to enclosing the valve stems and guides and the abandonment of the overhead inlet valves. During the journey just referred to the most noteworthy performance was the climbing of the Hog’s Back on top in the teeth of a south-westerly gale; the engine pulled magnificently, tackling the steep portion in excellent form and picking up rapidly when the gradient eased. Both on this occasion and on the next day we were particularly impressed by the cool running of the engine and the total absence of any knocking under any circumstances. Much bad road surface was traversed on both days, when the springing of the frame was much appreciated. The climbing of Reigate Hill on top speed was another feat which excited our enthusiasm. So far we have dealt only with the good points of the machine. To say that there was no fault to find would be an exaggeration, but we purposely refrain from the other kind of criticism, as the machine did not belong to the maker’s London house. We may say frankly, however, that there was little with which we could find fault. Our second day’s run was made in heavy rain, which, we are happy to state, in no way affected the ignition or lighting systems. Altogether we were most favourably impressed with the Powerplus Indian. POWERPLUS FEATURES: 7hp twin-cylinder Engine, 79x100mm = 990cc. Side-by-side valves. Three-speed countershaft gear. Spring frame. Dynamo lighting, mechanical pump.
WE HAVE RECENTLY BEEN ABLE to sample one of the few 1916 model 8-10hp Hendersons at present in this country. Although the present engine has a cubical capacity of 978, and the cubical capacity of last year’s model was 1,065, we cannot say that we noticed any difference in power. The great charm of the four-cylinder Henderson is its extreme flexibility, which permits one to crawl on top speed without slipping the clutch almost at walking pace. From the latter speed the engine will accelerate to almost any degree, and a wonderful acceleration it is. Up to about twenty-five miles an hour the engine is quite imperceptible, though at speeds over that there is a slight tremor, which, though noticeable, is not unpleasant. A share of the credit for the ample power, flexibility, and acceleration is due to the excellent Schebler automatic carburetter with which the 1916 Henderson is fitted. All one can find fault with in the Henderson is its weight, a point not noticed when the machine is started, but one which renders it somewhat awkward to handle while wheeling it about. Another point open to improvement is the kick starter, which does not appear very strong and does not give sufficient surface for the foot. On the occasion when we took over the machine the engine started on the third kick, but it did not behave quite so well in our hands, and eventually the pin of the kick starter broke. The engine thereafter was started by pushing the machine along with the low gear in and the clutch out, then engaging the clutch wth the hand lever and quickly declutching it again. In the open country the Henderson’s acceleration was exhilaratingly glorious, and, although no opportunity came of letting the machine out on the road, we had a very good inkling of the speed it would attain. On hills it was a real joy to drive, and would take quite respectable gradients at a fast speed, slow down at corners, and then quickly pick up again as if the road were level. The excellent saddle, which properly fitted the body, hinged at its forward end and its rear end suspended on coil springs, was delightfully comfortable, and further comfort was due to the 28x3in tyres.
“NO MATTER WHAT THEATRE OF WAR a British motor cyclist may visit, there he will find motor cycles rendering yeoman service, scurrying hither and thither with important despatdies. And just as certain as one is to find motor cycles, one will see the Coventry-made Triumph, a machine represented in its thousands throughout the different war zones, as a result of continuous productive effort on the part of the manufacturers since the outbreak of war. During the spring and summer it has been our good fortune to possess a 1916 model Triumph, so that we are able to speak of it from personal experience. It has huge flat bars just as supplied to the Army, and the riding position provided by these Semi-TT bars is very comfortable, but, above all, increases appreciably one’s feeling of safety and controllability over the machine. On long runs,
however, a touch of back-ache is not unknown to riders who are not out regularly. The 4hp Triumph of 1916 is practically identical with the 1915 design, detail improvements only having been effected. For many years the Triumph Co pinned their faith to the ‘square engine’, a bore and stroke of 84x86mm and 85x88mm having been retained for a considerable period. But a couple of years ago an entirely new design of long stroke engine was adopted. The capacity of the new engine is 550cc, the bore and stroke being 85x97mm respectively… In every respect the engine is more sturdy and substantial than its predecessors…The 1916 Triumph is not excessively fast—for that matter, it is geared too low to show up its best paces. The real merit of the latest Triumph is in its ability to maintain a high rate of speed without complaint and without trouble ensuing. High averages on the old 3½hp models were possible, but sooner or later a valve gave out, and, drive you never so cautiously, a hill would be encountered which would suddenly slow the machine and cause excessive knocking. The difference with the ‘four’ is that one may punish it severely, and yet, after the end of a fast non-stop run, accelerate speed on a really severe hill and fly over the top with the greatest ease…In addition to the new type engine, 1915 marked another real departure in Triumph practice, and that was the adoption of combined chain and belt transmission and the fitting of a countershaft gear. Thus transmission troubles were swept aside, for with large diameter pulleys belt breakages are entirely unknown (the belt is a 1in section), and the enclosed chain is well able to look after itself…The Triumph carburetter is a magnificent instrument. It enables consistently easy starting—indeed, we have amazed many riders who have been in trouble at different times with engines that start sluggishly by the manner in which our machine has started from dead cold at the second push of the pedal…At all ordinary speeds the new Triumph holds the road beautifully, and, thanks to the excellent clutch fitted to the Sturmey-Archer gear and its convenient method of operation by lever on the left handle grip, one may pursue a tortuous course in traffic with every feeling of safety. On the open road there is something very nice in being astride a powerful machine. Twenty miles an hour with the throttle but a quarter open, and the engine longing to be let out, as proved by the way it jumps ahead when the throttle lever is opened but a fraction. Devouring hills on top gear is probably the most exhilarating experience, and one can indulge in any amount of this sort of thing without complaint from the engine…Occasionally one yearns for the comfort of a spring frame, for our roads are deteriorating at an alarming rate, due to the abnormal traffic in certain centres and the small amount of road repair work now possible. In consumption our Triumph has gradually improved. Originally it did 65mpg, but latterly, on summer roads, the figure has been nearer 80…The various changes of speed are effected with remarkable ease, though we are not surprised that despatch riders have adapted the gear control to be operated by the foot, for in the top gear position the knob-ended lever is apt to chafe on
the rider’s thigh…Our experience with the Triumph extends to about 1,500 miles, including some fast work. For that matter, what is the use of a steady 4hp mount built for speed, and with dropped handle-bars too, unless one may be allowed to toy with the throttle lever? One run of sixty-two miles along the Fosseway in pouring rain was accomplished without a dismount. Only once has the engine ceased firing involuntarily, caused by the waterproof terminal jumping off the sparking plug due to striking a pot-hole violently at speed…By the way, one day we had rather a shock. Not having had occasion to use the lamp and generator set, and assuming that all was well, seeing that the machine is a duplicate of those supplied to the War Office, we had not observed that the King of the Road lamp was of the swivelling variety, and rendered it liable to confiscation and the rider to be fined. The experience is all the more amazing as the War Office Clynos have exactly the same type of lamp (supplied to War Office specification), and recently the High Wycombe police authorities distinguished themselves by stopping one of these khaki-finished machines, seizing the lamp and fining the driver.”
“DURING LAST WEEK WE drove two sidecar combinations—one British and one American. The Britisher had a semi-automatic lubrication system and a two-lever carburetter which was most difficult to throttle down. The American mount had completely automatic lubrication, to which we did not have to give a thought, and a splendid automatic carburetter capable of an infinite amount of external adjustment when required. Needless to say, we unfortunately preferred to drive the latter. English manufacturers must wake up.”
“MOTOR CYCLES IN THE MEXICAN CAMPAIGN: Judging by our Chicago contemporary. Motor Cycling and Bicycling, the great source of trouble with the motor cycles attached to the United States force operating against [guerilla leader Pancho] Villa is the lack of good riders. The desert tracks have caused their share of trouble, but the average man put in charge of a USA military motor cycle appears to be an absolute ‘dud’. One would have thought an appeal for expert motor cyclists to act as despatch riders for the duration of the campaign would have resulted in better service being obtained from the machines that the USA military authorities have recently purchased. There are thousands of keen, young Americans who would jump at the opportunity.”
“THE RAC HAS CONDUCTED AN exhaustive enquiry, which proves conclusively that pleasure motoring has practically ceased to exist. This, for the most part, refers to cars, but the principal motor cycle clubs have also been consulted. The returns from the garages all over the country show that if all private motoring were banned the number of men released for more useful work would be negligible.”
“THE DISTURBED STATE STATE of affairs in Ireland [the Easter rising] is likely to result in the abandoning of the majority of the motor cycling competitions which were to take place this year.”
WHEN THE MOTOR MACHINE Gun Service was first formed it was known as the ‘Suicide Club’. The Armoured Car Section of the MGC is now popularly referred to in the camps as the ‘Hush, hush’ section.
“IDEAL SPRINGTIME WEATHER AND SPRINGTIME spirits marked the first munition workers’ holiday on the Lakeland heights. If ever there was an occasion when pleasure motoring was justified in these warring times, surely this was one of them. Jaded workers from the whirring machine-shops of West Cumberland—where, especially in the aircraft section, work proceeds at fever heat night and day—came forth into the pure air and pure delight of trying their motor cycle mounts against the mountains…It was obviously to be a record gathering of its kind, and there were thrilling moments on the way. One was all eyes and ears at every meeting of the byways, for lost riders were hurrying to make up lost time. Some never arrived until evening when all was over. The writer had come over from Kendal on a lusty AJS sidecar outfit driven by Harry Whinnerah, a celebrated hill-hunting character in
these northern dales. George Braithwaite, the expert competition rider of the peaceful, palmy days of trials galore, gave us the doubtful benefit of his dust. We followed his trail over Underbarrow, Gummershow and Gawthorp Moor, and through Broughton-in-Furness to the sharp, right-hand turn up Duddondale at Duddon Bridge. In the end, the Rake and Walna Scar proved quite sufficient for a full day’s sport, and one of the best withal…With the munition men victimised by the hill-hunting fever, the Rake itself occupied all attention. There was much excitement as we approached the foot of the climb, and everybody was gazing skywards almost in the correct Zeppelin attitude. The attraction was soon obvious. Far above us the grey line of roadway curled out of the larchy underslope up to a gap in the skyline between huge purple precipices and a pale khaki-coloured speck of life was moving slowly aloft threading the perilous zigzag heights with a tiny white wisp of cloudlike smoke following its passage. It was George Brailhwaite on his small Royal Ruby machine, the first man up the hill, and, as later events proved, the man to make the best and easiest ascent…Stoneythwaite Rake must rank as the worst hill in Lakeland, with its six difficult corners and stone-strewn gradients, where 1 in 3½ is the prevailing incline…Several of the ascents were thrilling for the spectators…Stanley Bewsher made an exceptionally fine climb on his big, single-geared 8hp Bat…JG Bethwaite on 7hp Indian was most astonishing; probably he frightened everybody except himself. Time after time those up aloft heard the heavy roar of the engine, and finally the hero of many a despatch-riding adventure appeared round the bend close below. The powerful Indian was bucking and plunging like a wild cart-horse held in a leash. For an instant the rider forced it in the straight upward way. But the approach to the ‘hairpin’ was refused. After a fearsome swerve, suddenly, and amidst a noisy, dusty uproar, machine and rider dashed off the road into mid-air. There was a startled cry from the spectators, a lucky click by the camera man, and everybody pressed to the rescue. The rider and machine had fallen seven or eight feet on to a soft bed of old bracken, which might almost have been placed there for their special reception…After refreshments at the New Field Inn—which, under its new management and with its fascinating surroundings, motor wanderers would do Avell to remember—an attack was made on Walna Scar…The successful ascent by Harry Whinnerah on the 6hp AJS standard sidecar machine was a meritorious
performance, and one that is likely to rank as a record for a consider able time. It needs some familiarity with precipices close at hand, or at wheel, to drive a two-tracked machine for half a mile with one tyre two or three inches from the edge of nothing…Under damp conditions the climb would be impossible. Such were the writer’s impressions as he clung to any available hold on the AJS behind the plucky driver who, despite the physical loss, can do more with one arm than most men with two. Our worst trouble was in ‘Slate Tip Gulley’, as someone named the half-way obstacle. Our mighty dash into the sliding mass flung the machine and its load broadside off the track into a grassy hummock, where part of the frame became embedded. Another attempt at slower speed and kind help from some ‘hefty’ munitioners landed us on to the grassy slopes which finally led to victory. This climb to a height of 2,100 feet above sea-level will rank as the highest point yet reached by a sidecar in the Lake District. The man who can pilot his machine over such heights as Walna Scar need fear no roads in France or on the rugged heights of Serbia…”
“THE WHOLE BRITISH MOTOR CYCLE COMMUNITY will mourn the loss of one of its most distinguished members, Rear-Admiral Sir Robert Keith Arbnthnot, Bart, CB, MVO, who perished with all his brother officers in the Defence in the great naval battle. He was fifty-two years of age, had seen nearly forty years’ service in the Navy, and was one of our most able senior officers. No better all-round sportsman ever rode a motor bicycle. He thought cars only fit for women and invalids, and considered that the sidecar spoilt a motor bicycle. Sir Robert’s affections were purely for the fast solo mount. Few people realise what he did for the movement, but that he did it an enormous amount of good is an undoubted fact. He became a devotee just at the time when motor cycling needed all the encouragement it could get.” As well as a third place in the 1908 TT Arbuthnot won gold awards three years running in the Edinburgh run. He generally sailed with his Triumph and Douglas on board and regularly entertained his fellow enthusiasts on board the ships he commanded. The Blue ‘Un concluded: “We have lost a dear and valued friend with whom we have spent many joyous days both in England and France, and also one glorious week-end at sea. The nation can ill-afford to lose such men as he, who died as he would have wished with his face to the enemy, his beloved ship his coffin, and the boundless ocean, on whose bosom he had spent his life, his grave.” (Fast forward a few weeks): “It has occurred to us that a fit and proper way of perpetuating the memory of the late Sir RK Arbuthnot, Bt, CB MVO, would be that the Auto Cycle Union, of whose committee he was an active member, should put up a challenge cup, to be known as the Arbuthnot Trophy, to be competed for by officers of the Royal Navy. We do not, of course, suggest that the competition would be held until after the war.” Within weeks over £180 had been raised (worth more than £11,000 today) helped by donations from the ACU, RAC, Siegfried Bettman and Mauritz Schulte (Triumph), Hendee (Indian), the Gloria Co, The Motor Cycle, Temple Press (Motor Cycling), P&M, Triumph, (Triumph), BSA, Humber, Douglas, Zenith, Brown Bros, Rudge-Whitworth, Norton, ABC, Enfield, Matchless, New Imperial, Godfreys and Lucas. “Steps will shortly be taken to have the trophy made, which will take the form of a statuette of the late Rear-Admiral in undress naval uniform, and is to be competed for in an annual motor cycle competition, open only to naval officers.” The Arbuthnot Trophy Trial was established in 1919. It faded away in 1937 but was relaunched in 1982 as an annual reliability trial for British vintage and classic motorcycles, open to all-comers, even land-lubbers. The Admiral would be pleased.
“ON MONDAY LAST, AT WEST BROMWICH, a motor cyclist was fined 20s for riding to the danger of the public. The police alleged that defendant was travelling at 20mph and turned a dangerous corner without slowing down. Defendant said his machine was an old one, and he was prepared to let the policeman ride it, and if he could get 20mph out of it he would give it to him. Apparently this sporting offer proved of little avail.”
“MOTOR CYCLING IN THE EAST INDIES: Roads in Sumatra and Java are excellent, especially in the latter island. Java is more highly developed than Sumatra; there are over 10,000 miles of good roads. The latter, combined with beautiful scenery, make motor cycling very delightful.”
“THE APPEARANCE OF A NEW TWO-STROKE machine of the single-cylinder type is nothing unusual nowadays, there being different makes innumerable, but the twin-cylinder machine has been left severely alone by most makers, and it remains for a few firms, given to much experimental work, to introduce a novelty of this kind. Messrs Alldays and Onions, of the Matchless Works, Birmingham, have now in course of manufacture an excellent model of the twin type. Their light- weight single two-stroke Allon needs no recommendation. It is very well-known, and when it is said that the new twin incorporates all the workshop and road experience gained with the lightweight, coupled with the usual first-class workmanship which characterises the products of this factory, it will be readily understood that the new
model is a really good thing. There are practically no additional complications, and it is in effect merely a doubling of the single-cylinder with necessary alterations to details. Following the usual Allon practice, the two cylinders and the upper half of the crank case form a one-piece casting, in itself a clever piece of work. Each cylinder is of the three-port type, bore 70mm, stroke 76mm, the pair giving 584cc and rated at 5 to 6hp…the machine was run in ‘free’ at varying speeds from normal to high for a space of over five minutes, it yet showed no signs of distress, and would have run no doubt for a much longer time without trouble…Transmission is by heavy chain to a three-speed counter-shaft gear box, and thence by 1in belt, over large pulleys, to the usual belt rim. The clutch is of the cork inset type, controlled by grip lever and Bowden cable from the left handle-bar alongside the valve release lever. The front brake is hand applied, and works in a V rim. The rear brake is on car lines, internal expanding metal-to-metal, operated by foot lever…Mudguarding is well looked after, and a neat guard over the top of the belt rim will no doubt go far to keep the belt free of mud. If we may offer a suggestion, it is that a good wide undershield, preferably in one piece with the leg shields, would add to the general appearance, and effectively combat the mud nuisance…a short trip on the out-skirts
of Birmingham served to show the Allon’s paces, and, despite the fact that, like the usual works test machine, it had been severely handled with a consequent loss of tune, yet it easily pulled a heavy sidecar and a twelve stone passenger at a speed which was quite fast enough for safety. A speed of 30mph was easily maintained at half throttle, and its limit is probably in the neighbourhood of fifty miles per hour. The exhaust produces a remarkable drone, not excessively loud, and like nothing else but an aeroplane engine, the unusual noteattracting attention; it was amusing to come across people staring into the sky, and to see their surprise on finding that a motor cycle was the cause of the familiar hum. The handle-bar clutch control was particularly useful in traffic dodging, and the machine is practically no more diffi- cult to manage than an ordinary two- stroke liglitweight. The kick starter is very efficient, and the engine never once failed to start at the first kick. It is fairly economical; sixty miles per gallon can be obtained with the sidecar attached. Only a few test machines are running at present, but the model will be on the market almost immediately; in faet, a number of the first orders are about to be completed, and in a few weeks time many of these interesting machines will be seen on the road. To the man who hankers after the simplicity of the two- stroke lightweight, coupled with the reserve power necessary for sidecar work, it is just the thing.”
WE OFTEN CHRONICLE THE DOINGS of motor cyclists in Western Australia, Victoria, NSW, and South Australia, but seldom anything is heard about the pastime in the great north-eastern State of the Commonwealth. There is a motor cycle club of Queensland that holds regular competitions, though as a result of the war these have been reduced in number. A reliability trial was held recently, the winner being NG McNeil (3½hp Rudge).
“THE ANNUAL 300 MILE motor cycle race was held at Dodge City, Kansas, on a dirt track of two miles to the lap. The event attracted a crowd estimated to number 20,000 or more. The race was won by Irving Janke, on an eight-valve racing Harley-Davidson,” Janke averaged 79.5mph to set a US record. On the same day another eight-valve Harley, ridden by Red Parkhurst, clinched the two-mile US championship with a win at the Sheepshead Bay track in Brooklyn.
“THE MOTOR CYCLE RECRUITING SECTION: This section was instituted with the sole object of assisting readers and directing them to the many different branches of the Army and Navy for which their special knowledge suited them. At the outbreak of war numerous letters reached us (and continue to arrive) from men at home and overseas possessed of motor engineering knowledge, explaining their difficulty in obtaining particulars of Specialisad Sections (notably the Motor Sections), recruiting officers being invariably occupied by the demands of the line regiments. The Editor is Inspecting Officer for the MMGS, Heavy Section, Machine Gun Corps, and RE Despatch Riders. Throughout, the work has been purely honorary, and Recruiting Commissions have not been accepted. To date 9,868 readers have taken advantage of our proffered assistance.”
“GLANCING THROUGH LATEST copies of our American contemporaries makes one long for the end of the war and the return of competitions. At present on the other side of the Atlantic hill-climbs and club runs are in full swing, and a great part of the papers is devoted to descriptions’ of the events.”
“A 220 MILES ROAD RACE WAS HELD recently by the National Motor Cycle Club of Buenos Ayres. Results were as follow: A Bernasconi (Harley-Davidson); C Santiago (Indian); J Hourdebaight (Indian). Winner’s time, 5hr 33min 30sec. This is the second year in succession Bernasconi has won the event.”
“LEGLESS AND ONLY ONE ARM but still a keen rider: A Los Angeles cripple, A Leroy, is touring the American Continent on a Harley-Davidson sidecar. Leroy has both his legs off at the hips and his left arm at the elbow, but he is able to sit in the sidecar and operate the specially adapted controls. There is no saddle on the machine at all, which is started by a hand lever at the side. The handle-bars are displaced by a rod fastened to the head of the steering column and at its other end to the stump of Leroy’s arm, with which he steers.”
“THE ITALIAN GOVERNMENT HAS NOW decided to try the Douglas motor cycle, and has ordered a hundred machines of the three-speed clutch type. Hitherto the Italian Government has not looked favourably upon the lighter types of motor cycles, so the decision is of more than ordinary interest. The Prince of Udine of the Italian Royal Family has also ordered a 4hp Douglas.”
“J COOPER, OF GOSPORT, WRITING concerning his Harley-Davidson machine, claims to have attained the speed of 74mph with another man on the carrier. He states that he is perfectly willing to take anyone who cares on the pillion seat, so that he may prove the truth of his remarks by his Cowey speedometer. No doubt hundreds of readers will jump at the opportunity!”
“WE OBSERVE THAT MANY MOTOR cyclists are making a practice of carrying a spare tin of petrol on their machines, as we have advised. This seems to be the surest method of getting home when visiting doubtful districts, and one may travel free from worry as to a possible shortage of fuel.”
“IT IS GRATIFYING TO NOTICE the increasing number of girls and women riding motor cycles. Sidecar outfits in particular appear to be very popular with the feminine sex, and it is quite common to see a lady taking a friend for a run. When the seasoned riders of the pre-war days come home after the war one of the surprises they will experience will be in the number of lady motor cyclists on the road.”
“AMERICANS ARE NOTHING IF NOT enterprising, and no doubt a desire to strike something original in the magneto line has led to the latest feature of the Schickel lightweight two-stroke, which has a considerable sale in the States. Following on the lines of the Ford flywheel ignition device, the Schickel Motor Co has produced a magneto which is enclosed, in, and forms part of, the outside flywheel. A small inspection hole in the wheel, with a movable cover, is intended to allow examination of the contact points. It is certainly a novel idea, but whether it is a step in the direction of the perfect magneto remains to be proved.”
“SIXPENCE PER GALLON ON PETROL must be regarded as a success from a motor cyclist’s point of view. The stir created when the new rates of taxes on motor cycles, varying from £2 2s to £4 14s 6d, were promulgated has no doubt had good effect, for not a week has passed but this journal has been able to provide evidence of the unfairness of the proposals…Stress was laid upon the fact that motor cyclists would be called upon to pay £4 14s 6d for their machines, whereas several makes of small light cars weighing four or five times the amount of a motor bicycle would get off for £4 4s…Mature consideration has brought about the adoption of a petrol tax which, we think, will meet with general satisfaction. Motor cyclists can congratulate themselves that, in addition to owning the cheapest motor vehicle ever devised, they likewise possess the most economical mount, so far as petrol consumption is concerned.” Every owner of a motor cycle or car was required to fill in a census form, Petrol Form 1, listing each vehicle’s registration number, the owner’s “profession or occupation”, average fuel consumption, “present stock of motor spirit”, estimated monthly fuel usage and “purpose for which each vehicle is used”. The form warned: “Any person knowingly making a false entry in this return will be guilty of an offence involving liability to heavy penalties under the Defence of the Realm Act.” And the Blue ‘Un concluded: “The new tax may fall heavily on some, but it is at any rate a fair tax, for it will fall most heavily on those who make most use of their machines, and do most damage to the loads. Another point is that those who could not afford to pay a very largely increased tax, and would consequently have had to give up their machines altogether, will now only have to reduce their distances. This cannot be considered a great hardship…Every motor cyclist who has duly filled up. his petrol census form will be entitled to purchase a certain amount of petrol during a certain time, and upon payment of the extra duty of 6d. a gallon will receive a permit for the amount in question.” The Chancellor of the Exchequer was asked what would happen to a motorist “stranded far from home with an empty tank and his petrol licence showing that he had purchased all the petrol to which he was entitled. Mr McKeima stated that the unfortunate motorist would not be able to buy any more and would have to trust to a friend coming along who would offer a helping turn.”
THE MILITARY WERE KEEN to put ‘side carriers’ to work carrying everything from post to ammunition. The Army had also requisitioned huge numbers of the horses that had hauled tradesmen’s carts, not to mention the men who drove them. The Motor Cycle pointed out that a sidecar outfit was the answer to both problems. Each combo could replace at least two horses in terms of the goods it could deliver; young women and boys could be trained to drive these outfits. Sidecar manufacturers lost no time in producing specialised sidecarriers to carry everything from laundry to wet fish. And sidecarriers could easily be replaced with conventional sidecars to serve as family transport. Detailed cost analysis indictaed that an outfit’s running costs were much lower than a horse and cart’s.
“I AM ONE OF THE LUCKY FEW (outside Service men, bien entendu) who are running the latest 2¾hp Douglas,” Ixion wrote, “and it is extraordinary how each successive year brings an increase of power to this little engine. When I sampled its earliest model, I was frankly amazed at the plucky way in which it romped up long hills, and yet every spring since has added a new kick to it. The latest example is simply bursting with willingness, and rips away on top gear in astounding fashion; on a recent trip West, which included some fearful hills, I never found it necessary to drop below second gear. Moreover, the extra power is not attained by any sacrifice of flexibility, as sometimes happens. We all know what it is to rejoice on discovering that the 1916 edition of our pet 3½hp can do 5mph more than the 1915 edition; and presently to discover with a sigh that the slow running has been spoilt, or that the petrol consumption has gone up rather appreciably. But the new Douglas, possibly owing to carburetter improvments, is better at both ends of the scale; it can storm along in more masterful fashion than one expected; and eke it can tick like a sucking dove.”
“HOW THE USE OF A MOTOR CYCLE can be extended: So far development has resulted in perfect reliability; in the future, therefore, attention has to be given to refinements. First must come cleanliness, and then comfort; better still, both should be evolved together…Up to the present cleanliness has been studied only from the point of view of keeping the rider’s garments free from mud, and the Great War, which is turning out to be the greatest reliability trial ever held, will render the post-war models of the WD pattern better than ever in this respect. Mud that clogs bearings and working parts must be excluded, so the result is that not only the machines but the rider as well are protected…Now it should be perfectly possible for a man to ride a motor bicycle in the height of summer for a considerable distance without overalls, and it should also be possible to ride in flannels to the river, the tennis court, or the cricket ground, but few machines even of 1916 pattern will allow this to be done. The rendering of an engine practically oiltight can be accomplished, but all that can be done at the present time is to keep the speed down and use as little oil as possible if one desires to keep particularly clean on a short run. When times are again normal and trials are held once more the Auto Cycle Union, at the end of the next six days trial, should arrange for the machines to finish up at Brooklands, undergo’ a short speed test, then see that the riders are garbed in clean holland overalls, set a minimum speed of thirty miles an hour, send them round the track for, say, ten laps, and give a prize to the cleanest man and machine at the end of the test.” [This article might be the seed that grew into The Motor Cycle’s campaign for the clean, simple ‘Everyman’ motor cycle.]
“‘CLEVELAND TRIUMPHS AGAIN’: The above is a heading to an advertisement in an American contemporary of the Cleveland lightweight, that has been illustrated in these pages. The heading is rather amusing, in view of the undoubted external likeness of the Cleveland to the Baby Triumph.” The US Excelsior company began to build Triumph L18 Juniors under licence. These American Triumphs, uprated to 269cc, stayed in production for four years.
SIR—I AM AT PRESENT ENGAGED in designing a steam motor cycle, and, having a large workshop in which I can work, would be glad to hear of anyone interested and willing to experiment with me.
SIR —ON THE CHESTER ROAD NEAR STONEBRIDGE I was resting by the roadside when three testers came along on two-stroke machines. The leader looked curious in the distance, and seemed as if his hat were over his face. To my surprise, he was riding backwards, his handle-bars behind him. He nodded to me as he passed at 20mph, and that threw him out and upset his balance. His bicycle ran up the bank, down again, and wobbled across the road, and the rider, evidently forgetting his position, tried, to steer his back wheel, and ran up the opposite bank. No damage was done, although he narrowly escaped being run over by his two companions. He then rode to the top of the hill, turned his machine, got on again backwards, and came blinding along at, I should think, 25mph.
[We publish the above letter, not because we share our correspondent’s admiration for the rider referred to, but because we hope it may be a warning to others to avoid such pernicious practices. The rider endangered not only his own neck, which may be of small consequence, but also the life and limbs of anyone who might have been using the road in a proper manner. We trust that the’ police will rigorously put down dangerous driving of this kind.—Ed.]
“I NEVER THOUGHT I SHOULD write a word against the belt-rim brake, and I may yet have to withdraw the hint I now offer,” Ixion revealed. “The belt-rim brake has always appealed to me as the simplest, most foolproof, most reliable, and easiest adjusted brake it was possible to apply to a motor cycle. But after years of aversion of the band brake, and even greater aversion of the concealed internal expander, I have been driving an external band of modern design, and it has proved a revelation. When I first needed it, I needed it very badly. I had foolishly counted on finding a lonely hill deserted, and was sliding down much too fast when I met a herd of bullocks, jammed between hedges on a very bad corner. I crushed on the band, expecting to feel the usual stagger of the hind part of the machine, and to experience something of a dry skid, possibly mild, possibly demanding much resistance on my part. Not a bit of it. The machine slowed down perfectly smoothly without a wobble or a protest. I held my pen in leash for a thousand miles, expecting chatter, glazing, or adjustment difficulties to crop up in due course; but so far they have not appeared, and as I ride other machines with belt-rim brakes ‘in between whiles’, as the cumbrous colloquialism goes, I have every chance to muse on the merits of the other type. I look like revising one of my sturdiest allegiances.”
“DESPATCH RIDERS IN THE IRISH Rebellion. The official despatch of General Sir JG Maxwell dealing with the Irish rebellion contains a tribute to the work of motor cyclists. The following quotation shows that the despatch riders undertook dangerous work: “I wish to acknowledge the great assistance I received from…the Civilian and Officers’ Training Corps motor cyclists, who fearlesslycarried despatches through streets invested with snipers.”
“SIR, YOUR ARTICLE IN last week’s issue on the sidecar de luxe has made me wonder why, in these days of petrol economy, motor bicycles and sidecars are not being used occasionally in place of taxis.
“SIR, I AM A TOMMY FROM the Dardanelles, just resting at a convalescent camp near Manchester through trying to stop a shell out there. I would like to get into communication with a patron of your well-known paper, The Motor Cycle, residing in the Manchester district, who would care to teach me to manage a motor cycle. The reason I ask this favour is because I want to transfer into the Signal Service for further service in France.
“I ALWAYS BELIEVE IN KEEPING on good terms with the police,” Ixion remarked, “and when one of the local constables accosted me the other day as I was referring to a map, I demonstrated the many novelties on my ABC to him, as he evidently had a smattering of mechanical knowledge. Suddenly his eye spotted my Watford speedometer, which on all ABC machines is calibrated to 80mph for reasons which need not be laboured here. He looked at me very meaningly, and said, ‘I see I must keep a special eye on you!’ I have not owned a Bonniksen speedometer yet, but unless memory betrays me, their needles go round and round the dial ad lib instead of registering such accusing digits as ‘8o’. Anyhow, I ask Mr Bradshaw if he considers it wise or kind to give his customers away to the police so completely. I feel quite nervous now whenever I go put.”
“THE QUADRANT ‘AFTER THE WAR’ MODEL: Our readers will join with us in the fervent hope that it may prove to be a 1917 model…We have been able to inspect an entirely new model…The frame has been redesigned, with a top tube sloping direct from the head. This necessitates a broad tapering tank, which held one and a half gallons of not petrol, but pure paraffin…The power unit is of the usual sturdy type associated with this firm, but of smaller capacity than formerly, 85×88 mm (499cc) nominally 3½hp. The valves follow the usual Quadrant practice, the inlet being situated behind the cylinder, and the exhaust on the right-hand side. The transmission is all-chain through a BSA three-speed countershaft gear, with foot-operated clutch and kick starter. Mr Tom Silver, who is responsible for this machine, had experiences in the use of heavy fuels in the early days of the motor industry. Now the increasing difiiculty in obtaining petrol has led him again to experiment with paraffin as the ‘moving spirit’. He has perfected a small addition to the ordinary carburetter by which it is possible to run any machine on paraffin only. It consists of a cylinder about four inches long by two inches diameter placed round the inlet pipe with a connection to the exhaust port, so that some of the hot gas passes around the induction pipe and heats the sprayed paraffin sufficiently to cause it to vaporise thoroughly before reaching the cylinder…For starting purposes a small tank of petrol is carried…A few minutes’ running on petrol and the induction pipe is sufficiently warm for the change to be made by turning off the petrol and turning on the paraffin…When the engine had warmed up to the normal we were able to stop and restart by paddling off, not once or twice by luck, but many times, without the slightest difficulty, the engine firing within a couple of yards of the start every time. No appreciable difference in power was noticed, but we had not the opportunity of testing it on a good hill. Knocking seemed absent, although we deliberately attempted to make it knock…Mr Tom Silver accordingly placed a Quadrant and sidecar at our disposal, with the auxiliary tank filled with petrol. The main tank was empty—in fact, bone dry—and, driving on the lighter fuel, we repaired to an oil shop to fill up with paraffin. The engine started at the first kick down of the starter pedal, and we moved off, with Mr Silver driving, so smoothly and quietly that our first im- pression of the 3½hp Quadrant was its silent running. After a few minutes’ running we turned off the petrol and opened the paraffin tap. The air lever had been fully open, and, without changing the positions of either the air or the throttle, we continued our way without noticing any difference in the running. The vaporiser was now warm, but it was still possible to bear the hand upon it…A drove of cattle emerging from a side road necessitated a quick pull up. However, we were able to pick up speed again without resorting to a lower gear, but for the first time we noticed a difference with paraffin, as it was not possible to accelerate so quickly…there does not appear to be any of the usual disadvantages connected with the use of paraffin. There is no black smoke from the exhaust, nor acrid fumes. Overheating does not take place, neither does the plug soot up, as is sometimes the case when heavy fuels are used. Maximum speeds are not so good as with petrol, probably due to the fact that it is impossible to open the throttle fully lor want of more air than the petrol carburetter will give, therefore it would appear that an extra air inlet in the induction pipe, such as is used on cars, might increase the range of throttle supply.”
“DURING THE LAST FEW DAYS the exhaust of most motor vehicles is reminiscent of
the pungent odours associated with engines of the early days. This is undoubtedly due to the fairly general use of petrol substitutes or petrol mixtures in carburetters either incorrectly adjusted or unsuited to their use.”
“MOTOR CYCLE TRADERS IN DODGE CITY, Kansas, USA, have received a shock in the form of an order from the municipal authorities ordering them to move their garages and repair shops from the main business district within ten days. Such high-handed action is difficult to understand. Legal authorities of the motor cycling associations are coming to the assistance of the agents concerned.”
“IXION WAS NOT GIVEN TO HYPERBOLE, which makes this panegyric to the ABC all the more remarkable: “Genuine originality is very refreshing to a jaded journalist in days when most machines follow broadly accepted lines; the thrill of such novelties as the Scott and Douglas debuts is not a common experience. The ABC machines occupy a unique position in that everybody is talking about them, whilst comparatively few people know them, since the factory is run on the system of a limited output of deluxe machines. As one of the few riders who have taken delivery of the latest model, I may be allowed to discourse on its merits…The engine is the heart of the machine, and the ABC engine differs from every other engine—car or cycle—which I have ever sampled in that it combines the maximum of efficiency with the maximum of refined running. It can hiss like a snake at 2mph or bellow like a bull at 65mph. The first feature is obtained by an extraordinarily excellent balance; if the engine is run throttled down with the clutch out, a hand, laid on any portion of the machine, will feel no vibration. The speed and revving capacities are probably shared by several other first-class engines, though I fancy the ABC has the legs of most; and in this connection it must be remembered that its specification includes every weighty luxury imaginable, and its total weight is probably about 300lb…The clutch…is perfectly smooth in action, and is fitted with both hand and foot control, the leverage in both cases being so good that the little finger suffices to operate either lever or pedal. Both brakes go on as silkily as a spoon enters a tin of treacle; you cannot jam them, and the maximum power of the front brake is insufficient to lock the front wheel or upset the steering. The steering angle and balance are so
designed that I can ride ‘hands off’ at 45mph…Both cylinders can be detached, leaving the crank case in situ—an uncommon feature on horizontal twins…four ratios—the maximum for practical purposes with a rigid drive—are provided, and the two higher gears, which often require interchanging at high road speeds, can be changed on the valve lifter, which is simpler than the use of the clutch. The chain drive is so adequately cushioned that it feels exactly like a belt in perfect condition; indeed, the machine can be driven with only one cylinder firing, full compression being retained in the idle cylinder without shock or jar being received via the transmission. The kick-starter is fiilly enclosed, and is dirtproof. An automatic carburetter is employed, which gives an approximately perfect mixture at all speeds, after the exhaust pipe, from which hot air is taken, is warmed up…in actual practice, the mixture appears perfect after 300 yards…The frame is sprung fore and aft, without loss of lateral rigidity, and the springs deal indifferently with either horizontal, vertical, or compound shocks yet they never bounce or clash. The lubrication is mechanical and automatic, the rider’s duty being limited to opening a tap on starting out…The standard engine develops over 12bhp. In other words, the machine embodies all the theoretic ideals which motor cyclists are prone to associate with the millennium…In actual riding it is difficult to imagine that the most critical purist could find any point to criticise, except the weight; and weight is naturally inseparable from a luxurious specification combined with substantial workmanship. Does a rider desire to travel slowly? He may climb the test hill at Brooklands at less than 3mph without slipping his clutch, supposing he is an adept balancer. Does the user wish for a speed burst? He can do approximately 45mph on second gear, 60mph on third, and towards 70mph on fourth…Road vibration is as near as no matter non-existent. I made my tests over country roads, scarred all over with war potholes, and ridged by two deep ruts and a central hump. I failed to register any bumps up my backbone…on frosty mornings, despite the temporary absence of a hot air supply for the carburetter, the engine started in response to one or two thrusts of the kick-starter without any priming…In conclusion, I am well aware that the glowing claims which I now make for the ABC will be taken with a grain of salt by my readers, but I think that as the machine becomes known riders will gradually be forced to admit that a machine of quite astounding intrinsic excellence has been added to our gallery of stars.” [PS Ixion later revealed “…the actual weight of the jigger was considerably overstated, partly because I came to it fresh from a baby two-stroke, partly because Mr Bradshaw’s typist struck a ‘3’ instead of a ‘2’ in writing to me on the subject. The weight is not more than that of the ordinary vertical single-cylinder 500cc.”
FROM THE TIMES: “THE DESPATCH riders are a constant source of wonder and admiration. Their missions are often of the most perilous, and the mortality among them has been considerable. Behind the lines one sees them all day and everywhere, pounding along on their motor cycles, soaking wet and cased in mud, or, in dry weather, covered with dust and grime, so that their features are quite indistinguishable, somehow threading their way through all the blocks and intricacies of the traffic, among horses, guns and lorries and columns of marching men. And at night, wherever one is, in the stillness or through the noise of the ghuns, somewhere on the nearest road the ceaseless urring goes on. Individually, I presume, they sleep some time. Collectively, they never stop, the constant playing of their shuttles going on day and night through all the complicated fabric of the moving armies.”
THE DUTCH VOLUNTEER MOTOR BRIGADE staged a 36-hour, 560-mile non-stop trial. “Quite a feature was the number of Douglases, which performed remarkably well. A couple of two-stroke James also made a very good showing. Thirty-one competitors finished the total distance to time.”
“FOR YEARS MOTOR CYCLISTS have clamoured for a more certain method of lubrication than the usual ‘hit or miss’ hand pump type or the drip feed…perfection will not be approached until the feed of oil to the engine is governed with the throttle opening, so that the engine shall supply itself with just the proper amount of oil needed according to the work it is called upon to do…We have seen in the past mechanical lubrication alone, and throttle controlled lubrication alone, but what, we believe, is the first attempt to combine the two methods is now being developed by Messrs. Best and Lloyd, of Cam- bray Works, Handsworth, Birming- ham. It consists of a small pump run preferably off the timing gear by worm drive. It is intended to be fitted to the side of the crank case. An eccentric cam operating on the roller head of the pump plunger makes the necessary down- stroke, the return being given by a small spring of piano wire. Two ball valves in the lower part of the casting alternately admit and let out the oil.”
DOT’S 2¾HP JAP-POWERED DEBUTANTE featured “a new design of lightweight frame…It consists of a double framework of small gauge tubing, while the power unit, tank, etc, are carried between the two frames. The two sections are connected together at several pomts by small cross members, so that they form a rigid structure, and the design is of special advantage in that the frame members do not come in the way of any portion of the internal mechanism, so that any design of twin- cylinder engine can be fitted”. It was an early example of a duplex frame. “The makers claim that this frame possesses extraordinary shock absorbing qualities, and it will be observed that the saddle is mounted on two laminated springs, which should impart a luxurious floating motion to the rider. The saddle position is extremely low. The transmission is inside the framework, and by a simple arrangement of shields attached to the frame members the whole of the mechanism can be enclosed.”
A MOTOR CYCLE DEALER IN Wellington, New Zealand, reckoned that 60% of motor cycles in the country were used for business.
“AUSTRALIAN AUTO COPS: The Sydney police force is to be augmented by a motor cycle corps for ‘scouting duty the suburbs’.”
“A NOVELTY FROM AUSTRALIA: Evidently our motor cycle cousins ‘down under’ suffer considerable discomfort on their very bad road surfaces. Our own English roads are bad enough, but they are smooth compared to the average road in Australia. With the idea of minimising, if not entirely eliminating, handle-bar shocks, Mr Percy MacLean, of Hamilton, New South Wales, has invented a curious looking device, which is to act as an insulator between the handle-bars and-the frame. From the illustration it will be seen to consist of two powerful graduated springs, a series of arms, and no fewer than seven pivots. The thinner parts of the springs take the small vibrations, the thicker parts coming into action to absorb the larger shocks. Our contemporary, The Motor of Australia, speaks very highly, not to say amusingly, of this invention, describing it as ‘an appliance that makes the holding of the handle-bars of a motor cycle as easy as stroking the hand of one’s best girl.’ Neither article being at hand we have no means of verifying this statement. A terrible picture is drawn of the woes of motor cyclists in the Commonwealth due to bad roads—health is sadly impaired, heart strain and digestive troubles being the direct outcome of ‘clinging for dear life to the handles to prevent them being shaken from one’s grasp’. Making due allowance for journalistic eulogies, it is certain that the invention is reasonable and effective, and should go far to eliminate discomfort.”
EXACTLY 158,047 MOTOR CYCLES were licensed for use on British roads (up from 142,646 in 1915), compared with 148,818 cars. There were 139,651 motor cyclists in England and Wales, 13,299 in Scotland and 5,087 in Ireland. After 1916 the totals fell due to the fuel restrictions as well as the number of enthusiasts who were on active service.
A NOVEL CHAIN GRIP: The motor cyclist making chain adjustments often wishes that he possessed a third hand; some small tool for temporarily holding the ends of the chain in position is almost a necessity. There are several devices for this purpose now on the market, and another very simple tool comes from an American source. It consists of a piece of steel wire formed with a coil in the centre, the ends being made to fit between the rollers. All that is necessary to use it is to cross the ends and insert them in the chain ends. Both hands are then free to work.”
“MOTOR CYCLING IS BECOMING increasingly popular in Japan, not only amongst the resident foreigners, but also amongst the Japanese themselves. Prices run rather high, owing to the cost of freight and the import duty…This fact alone debars all but the relatively small, moneyed class from the pleasures of motor cycling…The agents for the various makes of machines carry practically no stocks of spares, and competent repairers are very few. The female Japanese rider has not yet appeared, and I am convinced will not appear for a few generations to come, as the woman occupies a very low position in the relations of the. sexes…The few main roads are reasonably good, but are spoilt by the extensive use of loose gravel, which, thrown periodically upon the road surface, is left to the traffic to roll in…There is, it is rumoured, actually a steam roller in Tokio, but it is not used because the road bridges are unable to tarry it…Except in a few of the most important cities there are no rules of the road. In the country the people have no conception of a speed above that of a trotting rikisha man…generally, when the motor cycle is all but upon them they are seized with panic…The speed limit for cars is 12mph. Needless to say, this limit is habitually exceeded by car drivers…The people are generally very helpful and considerate to the motor cyclist in trouble or enquiring the way. A curious, jostling crowd always throngs round the halted motor cyclist. The various members explain the working of the machine to one another; burn their fingers on the engine; ask questions as to speed, etc; and unwittingly impede the rider’s movements…Petrol of a kind can be obtained in nearly all the towns and larger villages. It is used by the Japs for cleaning purposes, and is sold in one pint beer bottles…Japan as a motor cycling country has its advant- ages, however. There is no speed limit for motor cycles, though ‘driving to the danger’ is a punishable offence.”
“MOTOR RACES AND AEROPLANE DISPLAYS that were to form part of the programme of the American Liberty Day celebration at the Sheepshead Bay Speedway, near New York, on a recent Sunday, were called off at the last moment because the Sunday Observance Committee obtained an injunction. This is interesting in view of the opposition to Sunday competitions in England.”
“MOTOR CYCLE VS OSTRICH: An officer with General Smuts’s force writes of his experiences from Kondoa Irangi. After describing how an apparently pro-German rhinoceros had over turned one of the armoured cars, he tells the following story of a race with an ostrich: “When riding a motor cycle one day an ostrich took it into its tiny head to keep pace with me. I opened my machine out full, but the Ostrich had no difficulty in keeping up, and if it had liked I am sure it could have beaten me hands down.”
“BRITISH MOTOR CYCLES FOR RUMANIA: A batch of over 300 Douglases are now en route to the Rumanian Government, the makers having received permission to ship them a few days before the entrance of Rumania on the side of the
Entente was announced.”
“A SWEEP IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA: We are informed that HV Norton,
a name well known in Western Australian motor cycling circles, has recently won in four consecutive events the track championship, petrol consumption trial, two days’ reliability trial, and hill-climb. Norton used the same machine (BSA) for each competition.”
“THE SOUTHERN PART OF SOUTH AMERICA: Right at the bottom of South America, in the town of Punta renas, are a number of motor Cyclists, and we are told that British machines are preferred, solely by reason of their reliability and excellent finish. The first machine imported was an LMC in 1911; now there are about forty. The LMC is owned by a Mr DP Bradley, who is at present at home. He speaks very highly of the way in which the LMC has stood up to six years of heavy overseas usage, and it must be gratifying to the makers, who have given more attention than the majority of other British firms to the requirements of Overseas riders. In the early part of 1914 Mr Bradley, together with a friend mounted on a Douglas, made a remarkable run across the continent at the bottom of South America. The distance traversed was about 400 miles, being from Punta Arenas (Chile) to Port Gallegos (Southern Patagonia) on the Atlantic, and then across the Andes to Esperanza on the Pacific.”
“AN INTERESTING CASE WAS tried at Barnsley last week, where a motor cyclist was charged with driving a motor cycle and sidecar to the danger of the public. The defendant stated that he controlled the machine from the seat of the sidecar, an attitude which the Chairman described as ridiculous. In spite of the defendant’s assertion that he had complete control of the motor cycle he was fined 20s.”
“IF ANY READER HAS A Grand Prix Morgan for sale, there is an offer in the advertising columns of our last issue of numerous vehicles for it in exchange. The advertiser referred to will give all the following for such a machine: ‘Well-known 1913 light car, two motor cycles, tricar, and Dennis car, and perhaps some cash.’ Some cash!”
THE MAGAZINE MOTOR CYCLING OF AUSTRALIA WARNED: “In the interests of British motor manufacturers it is most desirable that they should fully realise the great strides American builders have made. The tendency has been to under-rate American competition, and British manufacturers have frequently ignored warnings from their own representatives. British manufacturers should not ignore opinions expressed in the Dominions, because if we do not build here we are certainly in an excellent position to test machines under conditions that do not exist in England, and of which the manufacturer is ignorant. American road conditions are mostly similar to ours in Australia, and the Colonies possess good testing grounds from which to obtain data further to improve machines, particularly as regards springing methods and frame construction.”
INDIAN MADE A SURPRISE ADDITION to its range for 1917. The well established 5hp and 7hp Powerplus V-twins were joined by the ‘Lightwin’ flat twin. The Motor Cycle reported: Probably the most striking feature of the latest production is the compact appearance of the power and transmission units, which are carried unusually low down in a cradle, or loop, frame. It will cause disappointment to many to learn that the capacity of the engine is but 257cc, giving a rating of 2¼hp The bore and stroke are 50.8 and 63.5mm. The length of the stroke is noteworthy, as the flat engine has hitherto been arranged with approximately square dimensions, and it should be interesting to see how in practice the long stroke compares with the short…A small glass window is fitted in the sump, through which the height of the oil can be ascertained. The sparking plugs are arranged in the uppermost part of the cylinder head, just above the inlet valves, and should therefore keep as free as possible from oil. The magneto, which is a special type of fixed ignition Dixie, is mounted on the flat top of the case. A feature of the magneto is that it is driven at engine-shaft speed, having a special outside distributor arranged on the right-hand side to direct the high-tension current alternately to each cylinder. The higher speed at which the magneto is run should greatly facilitate starting…Immediately behind the silencer and just beneath the rear cylinder is situated the gear box, which is of the three-speed pattern, and incorporates a Raybestos-lined plate clutch. The gear is operated by a quadrant lever on tlie side of the tank, while the clutch is actuated by a pedal on the left footboard. The usual Indian kick-starting device is also incorporated…the front down tube is divided into two, thus forming very neat hangers for the horizontal engine. Front spring forks, exactly similar to those fitted to the two-stroke lightweight Indian and on the early model 5hp V-twin Indians, are used. The action of these forks is somewhat similar to the famous Triumph front fork…Girders are not considered necessary, we are told, owing to the lightness of the machine. A most neat and compact appearance has been obtained by placing engine, silencer, and gear within the main frame, enabling the rear stays to be brought up close, so giving a delightfully short wheelbase, a somewhat unusual thing when the horizontal type of engine is fitted.” The Blue ‘Un slipped in an interesting postcript: “Some months ago we described and illustrated in these pages an experimental ABC horizontal twin lightweight, which was intended as an ‘after the war’ production. A strikingly similar mount described in this issue is the very latest product of the Indian factory.” Soon after Hendee ceased production of its lightweight two-stroke. Ixion asked, “Has the two-stroke been scrapped out of deference to American prejudices or because the Hendee Co have satisfied themselves that the miniature flat twin has the two-stroke beat for ordinary purposes? We may have to wait a long while for this piece of information.”
MATCHLESS GOT IN ON THE FLAT twin act with a732cc debutante: “No members of the motor cycle business deserve greater success than H Collier & Sons. Since 1903 the two sons have devoted their lives to the movement, and, by engaging in many competitions and races, have sought to evolve the perfect motor cycle. Having known both Charlie and Harry Collier for the past thirteen years, we have watched the progress they have made in the design of their machine, and have always admired their devotion to their business, which was also their pleasure. Now, for the first time, they have designed their own motor, and a very successful production it is. Being absolutely up-to-date in their ideas, they have evolved a 5-6hp flat twin embodying the very latest practice in motor cycle engine design. Furthermore, being cognisant of the magnificent future for British motor cycles in the Overseas Dominions, they have placed upon the market a well-tried and
thoroughly efficient spring frame, while not only has the absence of vibration of the flat twin led them to adopt this form of engine, but also the fact that the ground clearance is much greater than is possible in the case of the V type engine…the tubular tank of steel, containing two gallons of petrol, forms the top member of the frame, and has a slight upward slope towards the head. The down tube forms a sort of loop, and acts as a support for the engine…The system employed in the springing of the rear portion of the frame…is to interpose coil springs between the movable rear forks and the rigid portion supporting the rear carrier…The question of accessibility has been carefully studied in the design of the new Matchless engine arrangement, which is so carried out that the cylinders may be removed without taking the engine out of the frame…An interesting experimeut is the fitting of aluminium alloy pistons, which so far have given every satisfaction…The clutch consists of two steel plates, hardened and ground, engaging with a central plate of cast iron forming part of the sprocket. An arrangement has been made so that, in the event of the machine being used as a solo mount, the clutch may be controlled by means of a Bowden wire from the handle-bar…The mudguarding has been particularly well carried out, the guards being 5½in in diameter, while an additional mud-shield is fitted to the down tube, and is arranged so as not to impede the cooling. This is continued below the power unit, and acts as an efficient undershield…The same system of springing as is employed in the rear of the machine has been adapted to the sidecar, inasmuch as both the wheel and also the sidecar body are sprung on coil springs.”
“APROPOS OUR RECENT ARTICLES on the subject of single vs twin, we hear that the BSA Co has under test a 6hp twin-cylinder mount. It is unlikely to be marketed until after the war, the firm’s energies being applied to munitions. In the meantime we may be sure that the new BSA will receive an exhaustive test on the road. An acquaintance of ours has already tried its paces, and was greatly impressed.”
“AT THE PRESENT TIME, as will have been gathered from recent issues of The Motor Cycle, there is something akin to a boom in ‘flat twins’, as we have styled these horizontally-opposed engines. Some twelve machines are already well known to the motor cycling public, and among them the productions of Messrs WE Brough and Co, of Basford, Nottingham. The 3½hp model of the firm, or, as they are pleased to call it, ‘The Pup’, has proved its worth, not once, but many times, in competition, and it speaks well for the machine that it seldom appears in the second-hand market, and when it does, always commands a very high figure. The larger machine now makes its appearance in an improved form, and, without overstating the case, we may say that it is a very fine product in every way, but, unfortunately, for the present, it is not obtainable, for the simple reason that Messrs Brough are much too busy on important Admiralty work, which must not be delayed or interfered with in any way. The 5hp flat twin must remain in being only, so far as two or three models are concerned, awaiting the termination of the war, when it will take its place as a standard model.” The 692cc twin was designed from the outset to be sold as an outfit. Transmission comprised a ½in primary chain, three-speed Sturmey-Archer gearbox and belt final drive.
ORGANISED MOTOR CYCLE COMPETITION had all but ceased ‘for the duration’ but there were still challenging outings to be had. When the Nottingham &DMCC went hill-climbing in the Peak District club secretary WW Weldon “suggested to members that they should bring with them their passengers and luncheon baskets”. Features included “a stony, winding track of about 1 in 4 to the left of the road entering Matlock Bath”…The pilot should have been Mr I Cohen, the designer of the Sturmey-Archer gear, who spends his week-ends in search of ‘impossible’ climbs testing the invention for which he is responsible. Unfortunately, the previous day he broke the special piston of his 4hp Norton, and spent the morning of the event fitting another which had to be jury-rigged. Consequently, when he joined the party later his sidecar machine did not show up so conspicuously as it usually does.” Nonetheless, on a rocky stretch of 1 in 5 “Cohen’s Norton sidecar, though buffeted about on the boulders, stuck to its guns, but the other members of the party, with the exception of a rider of a WD model Triumph, had too much respect for their machines—and wisely refrained. From the summit of this hill a corresponding rise on the opposite side of the valley was observed. Closer investigation, however, proved it to be a mere footpath leading from a disused lead mine, only fit for motor bicycles. The Triumph rider, reconnoitring for the party, made a clean ascent at the first time of asking, despite two stone ridges six inches high and a thirty yards pitch roughly measured at 1 in 3…The lessons of the day were that gradient alone cannot stop the modern three-speed motor bicycle. Where it is possible for the tyre to obtain a grip at all, and also, incidentally, for the rider to retain his seat in tlie saddle, the present-day motor cycle may be relied upon to succeed every time. Anotlier point demonstrated was,the uselessness of a foot-operated clutch on rough surfaces. Boulders constantly threw macliines out of their path, and only by the rider steadying himself with his foot and easing the hand-controlled clutch could the ascent be continued successfully.”
“BRITISH MAGNETOS ARE CERTAINLY making good,” Ixion wrote, “and on the whole I have had a very good time with those that come my way. As one might expect, the smallest details are those which cause trouble…In all points our baby industry seems to have caught up the long start which we foolishly allowed Herr Bosch to snatch; and I have good hopes that, when the war is over, we shall see a British magneto with a rocker arm which cannot stick up—an innovation which will save practised riders much annoyance, and protect tyros from straining their hearts and bursting the ganglion which controls the swear nerve.”
THE SALES MANAGER OF a US manufacturer covered 60,000 miles in a world tour of potential motor cycle markets, taking in China, Japan, Java, India and “the Colonies”.
WHEN A SANITARY ENGINEER needed to insprct six and a half miles of sewer beneath the streets of Passadena, California he did it in style. A motor cycle was lowered into the tunnel; “the engineer rode on the carrier, scrutinising the walls as he was driven along by his companion”.
“SIR,—‘SOME MAY COME, AND some may go,but Norton goes on for ever’. Nothing on earth, or Brooklands, in my opinion, will ever oust this magnificent production. Usual disclaimer.
HW WILLIAMSON (Lt), MGC.”
“SIR,—AS MUCH AS I APPRECIATE the good points of the models supplied to us, I am longing to return to my own mount, namely, a Harley-Davidson, which machine carried me with full camping equipment across the USA, a distance of 3,125 miles, to New York, without the slightest mechanical trouble, A great portion of this distance was over trails which even out here at the Front we would not designate as roads. It took seven weeks to complete the journey, this, of course, including stops for sight-seeing, such as Chicago stock yards, Lake Erie, and Niagara Falls, not forgetting Milwaukee, the home of the Harley-Davidson. The worst roads encountered were in Dakota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. In the latter State we had quite a hostile reception from the German settjers, who appeared to guess our ultimate destination, but we pushed on, and finally landed in Broadway, New York, none the worse for our experiences. After a week’s sojourn in New York, we boarded the Adriatic, reaching Liverpool in eight days.
R FRANK (Cpl) RE.”
“WE HAVE RECEIVED FROM a correspondent a booklet dealing with the Koehring Mixer. What the Koehring Mixer is or what it does is no concern of our readers or ourselves, but in the pamphlet is to be found a rather cunning eulogy of the sidecar, which we reproduce below in the real ‘American’ language: ‘The Man with the Sidecar—We have seen beautifully finished, costly automobiles with all the ‘class’, distinction, snappy lines, and freak tops that fancy paint-mixing and money could produce but the most beautiful family car we ever saw was a second-hand motor cycle with a home-made sidecar. The sidecar wasn’t even painted. It carried the other two-thirds of the family—a wife, who, you could be mighty sure, had given her youth and good looks to the family welfare, and a youngster dolled up like a little princess in a fairy chariot. The man on the motor cycle plainly showed that he was not the ‘son’ of anybody, and that his living came from hard work. His motor cycle outfit was the product of industry, thrift, and his own ingenuity. We maintain that he is a better man than many of the nabobs who ride in the stunning big car, for several reasons: First of all, he built part of his outfit with his own hands. How many nabobs can even turn down their grease cups? Secondly, there’s no hypocrisy or four-flush about him. Best of all, he takes the whole family along; he finds companionship where he should find it—with his family, not with the ‘boys’ or at the neighbouring saloon. We believe that the sidecar is the sign of a real family man, a symbol of his thoughtfulness and affection. Our hats are off to the man with the home-made sidecar.”
“MOTOR CYCLIST INFANTRY IN GERMAN EAST AFRICA. More Experiences of Motor Cyclists with General Smuts…from a letter received from an officer serving with the South African Motor Cycle Corps: Up to ten miles from Voi (the junction of the new line being built to German East) the ground rises slightly, and the road is straight and very good. My platoon was the advance guard, so it was a grand sight to see the 400 BSAs thundering along with their exhausts open. When the corps is on the move it covers seven miles of road, and the engines make a noise just like the breakers on the sea shore. We made fifty miles the first day, which was very good when one takes into consideration the numerous stops which were made to enable the men to adjust their kits and machines I might mention, incidentally, that our kits take some fastening on, as we carry everything on the cycle. There is about 140lb of kit and equipment, viz, blankets, change of clothing, spare boots, three days’ rations, 300 rounds of ammunition, dynamite, cooking utensils, rifle, bayonet, sou’wester suits (oilskins), overcoat, semaphore flags, and a hundred and one other things too numerous to mention. We slept the first night by a river, and started oflf again just as dawn was breaking. The temperature was 120° in the shade, and encountering many rivers with their cold water
every couple of miles was a godsend. We again slept on the banks of one of the numerous rivers and struck camp just as the sun was peeping over the horizon. We struggled along manfully all day over the worst roads it has been my misfortune to see, but darkness overtook us before we reached our destination, ie New Mosche, which it was essential for us to reach that night. The roads were bad in daylight (never once getting beyond first gear), but, good heavens, riding the same roads at night with all the men knocked up was simply appalling. However, we pitched up at New Mosche (well in the enemy’s country), at about 11pm dead beat. The next day the CO told us we could devote to overhauling the machines, and I can assure you it was needed—Seventy-five per cent of the footboards had gone, and nearly every handle-bar required to be straightened, but with the exception of minor repairs, such as replacing nuts, straightening forks, etc, there was no material damage. From New Mosche onwards we had sand so deep and soft that the footboards were dragging in the sand that had been made by those in front, and when a poor unfortunate fellow stuck you can just imagine the language that was thrown at him by those in the rear. It was impossible to turn out and pass the offender. However, everything comes to an end, even a road in German East Africa, and on the third day we pitched up at Kondoa Irangi. It was about 11am as we rode down the slight
incline into Kondoa Irangi, and the Huns gave us our first baptism, of fire, putting about twenty shells into us from the long range gun (brought from the Koenigsburg), but as we were riding at one hundred yards distance between each cycle nobody was hit. We took up a portion of the defence known as ‘Observation Kop’, and sweated here for six long weary weeks, enduring many hardships. When our large guns got down to us we were able to retaliate a bit. Up to the present, after 2,800 miles, with the cycles very much overloaded and used over the worst roads (?) in the world, there is not one machine that cannot take the road at once. Only one gear box has been taken down, and this was owing to the rider having forgotten to fill it up with oil; consequently it seized. The footboards have nearly all been torn away, and 50% of the carriers have broken, owing to the excessive weight loaded on to them. We have found that Dunlop tyres are the best for this rough work, as they appear to be hard and able to resist the action of the sand, and the thorns break off before they penetrate supiciently deep to puncture the tube.” An English lorry driver with Motor Machine Gun Service British East African Expeditionary Force, possibly piqued that he didn’t get to ride one of the Beezas, wrote home: ““…we and the SA motor cyclist corps (rather a ragtime crush, who can’t ride for toffee) rushed in, and there was great competition to be the first Britisher to cross the German cross-Continental line.” A Motor Cycle correspondent had a chat with South African Motor Cycle Corps rider: “He was gathering a few dried sticks preparatory to making a fire when I called him over and invited him to use our Primus to boil his billy can. Accepting with thanks, he put his tin on the stove, and then set about getting his blankets down for the night. ‘He’ was a South African despatch rider attached to our MMGS armoured car, which at that time was acting as a ‘mobile blockhouse’ on outpost duty. In this distressful
country the army is nearly always on the move, and the DR has no base billet to return to each night. He must carry absolutely every atom of his kit and equipment with him, and the luggage carried on my new friend’s BSA would have made some of our home riders open their eyes. Firmly strapped across the carrier were a large kit-bag and a roll of blankets done up in a waterproof sheet, surmounted by a mess-tin and a tin of ‘bully’. On the near side a spare belt was coiled up under the pannier bag, and on the off side a despatch and map case. The saddle downtube carried a spare inner tube in its leather case and a spare water bottle. Bags holding flour, coffee, and sugar were tied to the handle-bar, together with an enamel drinking mug and a tin of beef fat. Attached to the front fork was a long rifle holster, in which were a rifle and signalling flags, while on the other side of the fork were a native spear and a bow and arrows—souvenirs. A spare pair of puttees wrapped round the tank served as knee-grips. The rider himself—a tall, well-built, sun-brown Colonial—wore just a tunic shirt, open necked and with sleeves rolled up, and riding breeches and leggings. On the road he carried water bottle and haversack on either shoulder, with his knife, spoon, and fork shoved down the top of one legging and pipe down the other—decidedly unpleasant articles to fall on in the rather likely event of a spill. After tea or dinner, or whatever you like to call a meal of bully, coffee, and dough cakes fried in fat—our staple food out here—we sat together on the back of the car, and, with pipes pulling well on sweet Boer tobacco, exchanged motor cycling experiences. He told me that the DR’s Corps was recruited at 5s 6d a day about the beginning of this year, and after very little training landed in German East Africa, all equipped with new BSAs. The majority of the men had been through the German West African Campaign. ‘Of course,’ he said, ‘you fellows out from home feel these roads far more than we do. They have plenty of roads in SA with six inches of sand like these, but you are used to riding on billiard tables. The Americans are much better in this respect, and that is why they are so popular down below. Still, on the whole, we prefer English makes; they are so well made. See how these have stood up to it’—nodding his head towards the BSA. ‘It’s a terrible load they’ve got, especially over these roads, but now we trust ’em more than horses. Wish the clutch were on the handle-bars, all the same, and I’ve had to bend the bar out, too. Almost all of us art going to come home to join up again and see what France is like after this. I wonder what sort of a job despatch riding is over there; out here we have to cook all our own “scoff”, such as it is, never seeing a trace of civilisation, and riding through the sandy bush for hours on end. But I suppose slithering through shell fire all day must be very merry hell…’.”
IN ITS FIRST YEAR OF PUBLICATION The Motor Cycle was moved to warn its readers to wrap up warm as the nights drew in. In the intervening 13 years specialist motor cycling gear had evolved but the ‘multi-layer’ method of trapping air was little know—unless you came from somewhere cold…”Being a Canadian and used, as readers can imagine, to great cold, I will outline a few hints and tips as to how to keep warm on the coldest winter day…The usual method in England employed to keep out the cold generally amounts to smothering oneself in multitudinous clothing, leather waistcoats, or leather coats, overalls, oilskins, etc, until one looks like a petrified mummy. Have you ever seen an ordinary no account grey pirate of a two-legged sparrow try to keep warm? He puffs his feathers out at very nearly right angles to his body, with the result that he creates a warm air jacket around himself, and that is the whole secret of keeping warm…First get, beg, borrow, buy, or steal a real witney blanket, and make what we call a parka. Now blanket is about the finest material we can get for keeping out the cold, and, strangely enough, it ventilates in the most extraordinary way. For instance, many a time have I seen my ‘pard’ ‘packing’ a trail for the dogs. (That is worse than pushing a 7-9hp combination in compression on low gear, I can assure you, and getting whiter and whiter every minute through his perspiration oozing through and freezing solid on the outside.) Make your parka on the very loose side, so that when you buckle it across the middle you have an air space all round your vitals as in the sketch…there being more rain than not, you must wear an overall over the parka…Now although you have your parka on, I suppose it is needless to tell you that you must still wear your flannel shirt and vest and pants. My own plan is to wear a silk vest next to the skin and a wool one over that. The same with your nether garments…It may astonish you, but the most
vulnerable parts of your anatomy for feeling cold, or rather for conveying cold to your system, are the shins…Personally, I wear field boots, one pair of silk socks, one pair of heavy wool over them, and a pair of Canadian socks…if you cannot get them…take some old sweater and cut off both arms, slip your leg into the arm, and pull to its full length so that the sweater arm covers from just below the knee to the heel. Now take the heel part and turn it back until it reaches about the middle of the calf. The doubled over part fills every cranny of the loose part of the boot (looseness again, you see, tells), thus forming a very warm nest for the ankle and effectually warming the foot down to the toes, the upper part of the sweater warming the shin bone and lower leg. For the thighs, a good thick pair of Bedford cord breeches will do with your wool pants; but, to feel really warm, over the pants should be worn very loose wool breeches cut on the same principle as the Bedfords as in the illustration. You would have to have these made, but they repay you, as cold is a thing of the past when wearing them. Now as to gloves. You cannot do better than purchase a pair of bag gloves with the index finger free from the bag part, but be sure to get a pair that straps at the wrist. You will want a pair of similar gloves of light wool inside them. For headwear I have never worn anything more cosy than a racing helmet, and I cannot recommend anything better; but, attached to mine, however, is an adjustable flap that I can pull down at will to protect the eyes in rain. To close. Do not forget a woolen muffler round your throat. This will keep the draughts from exploring too familiarly. Never go out feeling cold. If you do feel cold stamp or run about until you feel warm, or try and start your engine on paraffin (I guarantee this will warm you), but do not go near a fire to get warm whatever you do. HM“
“VOLUNTEERS ARE AT LAST TO BE RECOGNISED under certain conditions. The announcement of the terms of recognition was made officially last week, and would please thousands of our readers who are members of motor volunteer sections. Another development of interest to men on Home Service is the decision to form sidecar machine gun batteries for attachment to cadet battalions.”
“MOTOR CYCLE RACING IN SPAIN: We have received an account of a motor cycle race which took place in the Paseodel Principe and Boulevard, Almeria, Spain. The course was 152 kilometres, and the competitors were sent off at intervals of five minutes. M Herrera, mounted on a New Imperial motor cycle, was despatched first, and, finishing the course in 71min, easily proved to be the winner. Jose Martinez, on an Alcyon, came in second, and took 15min longer to cover the ground. We are always pleased to hear of such successes; it shows that the British makers are still endeavouring to hold the market abroad, and are putting good material in the goods they do send out. It is by superior workmanship and durability that we shall keep our Overseas trade, and nothing will be more beneficial to us than to see a single British machine coming out on top against a crowd of foreign makes.”
“A CURIOUS COINCIDENCE: On the very day previous to our leading article appearing on the British magneto, in which it was stated that neither individually nor as a body have the British motor cycle manufacturers expressed their determination not to use foreign magnetos after the war…Adjutant Pilot Baron and Adjutant Chazard had bombed the Bosch magneto factory in Stuttgart. Dense smoke was seen rising from the factory as the result of the bombardment. The French are evidently in earnest about this matter, even if the British are not.”
“THERE SEEMS TO HAVE BEEN a tendency of late to relegate the two-stroke machine to the background, and we have, not infrequently, heard the opinion that its popularity will not last. We are at a loss to know on what foundation such statements are made…the thoroughly good two-stroke engine will always command a considerable popularity; its even, smooth running, quick acceleration, and simplicity will outweigh any minor disadvantages, most of which are rapidly being eliminated; noisy exhaust, oil slinging propensities, extravagance in petrol, and carbonisation now cause very little, if any, trouble to the owner of a modern well-designed engine. The Sun Cycle and Fittings Co for several years past have marketed a rery reliable series of lightweight models…The heart of the machine is still that excellent engine, the VTS, of British manufacture, dimensions 70x70mm, giving 269cc, or approximately 2½hp…A very neat type of decompressor or release valve is fitted, operated by Bowden cable…A British-made magneto, the Thomson-Bennett, is fitted as standard, a sign of the times which points to the rapid advance of British magnetos, and gradual ousting of the numerous foreign makes. The silencing of the exhaust is one of the most notable improvements, an unusual type of exhaust box being employed. It is rectangular in section and tapers from front to back; the interior is divided into two chambers, and the exhaust ultimately reaches the open air through a flat-ended tube. An Albion countershaft gear box is incorporated in the two-speed models, driven by Hans Renold chain running in an oil bath gear case…Perhaps the chief alteration in appear- ance is the back mudguard and carrier. This guard is now made 7in wide, and flatter in section than usual, set well up to give plenty of clearance, and a neat grooved fitting to the bottom stays is added. Side wings are omitted, and it is next to impossible to get the guard choked Up with mud. The carrier is set further back and slightly lower, and forms in one with the guard a very substantial piece of work. Tank, frame, Druid forks, brakes, and all the usual fittings are of noted British manufacture, and go to complete an excellent specimen of the two-stroke lightweight motor cycle. It is very interesting to note that a number of these machines are destined for Portugal, our ally being one of the latest to buy in the English market.”
THE POLICE IN THAT EXTENSIVE district known as the Metropolitan area are more active than ever against motorists. A page of The Motor Cycle would hardly suffice to deal adequately with the police traps in the Metropolitan area, and many and varied would be the tales of woe revealed…All these are placed where there is no apparent danger and there is a temptation to exceed the limit slightly…Special constables who are motor cyclists or car owners should remember that by joining the Special Constabulary they release officers of the regular police force for this un-English practice.”
IN SOUTH AFRICA THE Pietermaritzburg MCC’s annual trophy run, took in 157 miles of “typical Overseas roads”. Of the 23 entrants 13 were on big American twins, but the winner rode an ABC.
“THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT proposes to increase the licence fees on motor cycles, and to prohibit all speed trials. It recommends these drastic proposals because, in its opinion, races and overloaded sidecars seriously damage the roads. Moreover, it contends that motor cycles are the noisiest machines on the road, hence the proposed prohibition of trials. A special sub-committee has been appointed by the Victorian and NSW MCCs to prevent, if possible, these proposals being carried into effect. It points out and illustrates a report showing the serious damage done to the roads by untaxed horse and bullock teams. To suggest that rubber tyres damage some of the Australian roads is worse than accusing a camel of damaging a desert tract in the Sahara.”
“MULTI-COLOURED BALLS SMELLING, and sometimes looking, like moth ball, which are claimed to remove carbon deposit from the pistons and cylinder heads of internal combustion engines” were being touted by a number of firms. The Autocar commissioned an analysis of the magic balls with a predictable outcome.
FOR THE FIRST TIME ALL twin-track vehicles were required to show two front lights; logically enough, one on each side.
“AS IT IS MORE AND MORE difficult to get repairs carried out, motor cyclists will have to rely still more on their own skill and resourcefulness, and we advise those who contemplate overhauls during the winter months to read all the books they can on the management of their mounts.”
“THE HARLEY-DAVIDSON MOTOR Co have just completed, through their London headquarters, an order for over 300 sidecar outfits, several thousand tyres, and a big stock of spare parts for the Russian Government. The whole consignment was shipped within three days from receipt of order.”
“THE WISCONSIN AIRCRAFT ENGINE had many features that were seen as the future of motor cycle engines. It was a DOHC straight six “largely constructed of an aluminium alloy, the crank case, the pistons, and even the cylinders being of this metal”.
“THE TERM ‘FLAT TWIN’: Under the heading ‘A few Spare Links’, EB Holton, writing in an American contemporary, says: ‘Here’s one from the other side, and, as it is good, I hope we adopt it into our own lingo. It is the English appellation for a double opposed motor, and is “flat twin”. The beauty of it is that it fully describes the type, and at the same time is short.’”
ONE CYLINDER OR TWO? The horrors of the global war did not shut down the debate between afficionados of one-lungers and V-twins. Their relative merits,notably speed, fuel consumtion, rider comfort and ease of maintenance, were picked over endlessly in the editorial and readers’ correspondence pages of the Green ‘Un and Blue ‘Un alike. Norton was among the leading advocates of sporting singles so no prizes for guessing which side James Lansdowne took when he wrote to The Motor Cycle: “So far as sheer speed goes, the single has generally proved itself the equal, if not the superior, of the twin of equal capacity. Neither the usual V twin nor single can be perfectly balanced, but the difference in vibration, or absence of vibration, of a good single and V twin is negligible (frequently unnoticeable), and I have more than once heard pronouncements in favour of the single on this score. This is opposed to correct theory, and is merely evidence that, as a type, the single is most advanced. The notion that a single is uncomfortable or unpleasant to drive inay be dismissed at once; this is borne out by numerous riders of all ages. I believe, in the matter of economical fuel consumption, the average single is ahead of any type of twin. It would be interesting to learn the usual mileage per gallon of various 500cc twins as compared with singles of the same cc, both solo and with passenger, particularly during winter riding. Comparisons of speed, power, or acceleration, with decisions in favour of the twin, are most frequently made by the owners of hig twins against presumably 500cc singles; such comparisons will not greatly help us. 7hp, whether developed by a single or multi-cylinders, should score on these counts every time; but if equal capacities be compared, then I venture to say the simple single will give an astonishingly good account of itself to its critics. Perfection is not claimed, there being room for improvement in this, as in all types, but there is a place for it in the scheme of things—a big place—and it is impossible to say that it will not occupy a bigger place than other types in the future, as it certainly does to-day, and purely on account of its intrinsic merits of simplicity, economy of upkeep, and general all-round efficiency. It is at present the utility mount par excellence. I have also read ‘Ixion’ on single vs twin. I regularly turn to his articles with interest and pleasure, but my faith in the soundness of his deductions or decisions received a severe shock when I read that he would give up motor cycling altogether rather than ride a single or a heavy twin, which statement will be taken to mean that, in his opinion, such are unfit to ride. Surely ‘Ixion’ cannot mean this, or has his keenness for the road and motor cycling interests, so far deteriorated? I hope not.”
IXION COULD BE DEPENDED ON to make a valid point with oodles of style: “Inaccessibility, Thy Name is——! Tyro Juggins, Esq, was proudly showing off his new machine to a circle of local enthusiasts, when the shabby veteran on the outskirts of the mob asked how the gear box was lubricated. Mr T Juggins had got the book of the words by heart before receiving delivery, and mentioned a plug in the top of the gear case. The veteran meekly asked to have the plug pointed out to him. After considerable search the plug was discovered to be situated on the forward curve of the gear box roof, deadlocked in front by the crank case, at the back by the gear box itself, above by the magneto, and enfiladed from both flanks by the steel brackets supporting the gear box and the magneto. In other words, before grease could be injected, it was necessary to remove the belt, two chains, various sprockets and pulleys, and, last but not least, the magneto. As a member of the mob remarked when homeward bound, “That’s the worst of those assembled machines made of parts with proprietary gear boxes.”
NO APOLOGIES FOR PRESENTING more of the same: “The approach of wet and mud has sent me back to a creepy-crawly again, to wit, a baby two-stroke and rather a nice one at that. Mothball my petrol, but the little beasties are unco’ slow after the big ‘uns. A pal of mine says they are the only sporting mounts left, because, if you take them to really hilly country, you are not always too certain of getting up, and their exhaust reminds you painfully of the old diminuendo, “I-think-I-can, I t-h-i-n-k I can, I fear I can’t!” of the old 2¾hp Lincona belt days. Anyhow, my baby is in topping tune just now; slow, but sure, you know. It brought me recently up a two-mile hill, commencing with a fierce pitch of 1 in 6, and on the easier landings it positively accelerated to about twenty miles an hour. The babies have one merit the 1905 abominations never had; they are tolerably easy to restart on a grade; one does not have to go down to the bottom again, or search for a side lane out of which to pick up a new rush. Just give them three yards with nobody in the saddle, and they reach their climbing rpm again. Mine is doing wonders at present, and I think its rejuvenation is largely due to a Sphinx plug, which does not get hot. Mr Prestwich tells me the plug which stood up best in his tested septette was a Sphinx, and mine seems to be of the true Egyptian brand.”
“CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR PARENT journal, The Autocar, which celebrates its twenty-
first birthday…The Autocar is a year older than the British automobile move- ment itself, as it first saw the light on November 2nd, 1895, when it was not lawful to use a motor car or motor cycle at above four miles an hour, and unaccompanied by a man and a red flag. Until The Motor Cycle enjoyed a separate existence in the spring of 1903, our parent journal dealt with motor cycle matters.”
AT RUDGE-WHITWORTH’S AGM chairman C Vernon Pugh reported that Government work “had reached a very large and very important figure, and that the output of the company’s own natural trades—cycles, motor cycles, and motor wheels—had correspondingly shrunk, and was now almost at vanishing point. Continuing, he thought it would be a problem, which the directors would regard with a considerable amount of anxiety, how the output of those natural products would be resumed when the present urgent necessity for Government needs slackened and, as they hoped, disappeared.” He added that the Rudge workforce had grown from 1,817 in July 1914 to 5,770.
FAR, FAR FROM WIPERS…A rider from Parramatta, New South Wales, reported on the perils of motor cycling Down Under: “A short time ago I was spending a holiday in the Illawarra district, and had a very amusing experience. There was a spot where the track passed near a water-hole, which, according to the stories told by the local ‘blacks,’ was inhabited by a ‘bunyip’. Now, the ‘bunyip’ is the aboriginals’ idea of a ghost or spook. For instance, if a spot is supposed to be haunted, the aboriginals will say that a bunyip lives there. This imaginary creature is supposed to inhabit swamps and water-holes, and is greatly feared by the natives. I was passing this particular spot one very dark night on my way back to the station where I was staying. As I drew near the water-hole I heard a strange shuffling noise ahead of me. I had a splendid lamp (a very big P&H), and as I looked ahead I saw what seemed to be a mass of glittering stars, stretched across the road and into the bush on either side. I promptly lowered the Zenith’s gear, and let the machine crawl slowly forward; at the same time I got out my Colt’s .44, which I had in my hip pocket. The ‘mass of stars’ started jumping about as I got closer, and I began to feel ‘a wee bit queer’. I listened intently for any sound which might give me a clue to the meaning of the strange phenomenon. The glittering mass was now only about twenty-five yards ahead of me, and as I stood beside my machine I could almost feel my hair standing up. Not a sound could be heard. Suddenly a loud ‘Baa’ broke the ominous silence, and relieved my suspense. It was only a flock of sheep standing in the darkness, with their eyes glittering in the light of my lamp. I felt rather sheepish, I can tell you. In a country like this (Australia) motor cyclists often have very novel experiences. I have had a Brooks saddle almost eaten by a cow who suddenly developed a taste for leather, and, again, I have had tyres eaten through by a cockatoo.”
“MESSRS AJ STEVENS and CO, of Wolverhampton, have obtained a great reputation for their three models—the 2¾hp single and the 4hp and 6hp twin—but they have always shown a marked preference for the twin. It will be recalled that he single-cylinder machine ridden by Eric Williams won the Junior TT Race in 1914, yet the firm have never looked upon the single as a permanent feature of their programme and we were not, therefore, surprised to hear that they will, discontinue its manufacture after the present stock of parts is exhausted, and concentrate upon twins. The 2¾hp mount has many admirers who will express disappointment at its disappearance. This decision is in accordance with the belief, which the makers firmly hold, that the twin engine is an infinitely better mechanical proposition, and will undoubtedly supplant the single-cylinder in public favour in time to come…”
“A STARTING TANK: A CORRESPONDENT tells us that a friend of his fitted a starting tank to an old machine a year or so ago, but something went wrong, and it exploded. In this case, however, the tank was fitted to the cylinder head, and so, doubtless, became very hot, which probably made all the difference.”
“ON MONDAY LAST AN IMPORTANT Order was issued by the Press Bureau to the following effect: ‘The Minister of Munitions hereby gives notice that, in exercise of the powers conferred upon him by the Defence of the Realm (Consolidation) Act, 1914, the Defence of the Realm (Amendment) No. 2 Act, 1915, the Defence of the Realm (Consolidation) Regulations, 1914, and all other powers thereunto enabling him as from the 15th day of November, he hereby prohibits until further notice any person, firm, or company engaged in the manufacture or repair of any vehicle designed for mechanical transport or traction, or any part of such vehicle, from carrying out in any factory, workshop, or other premises without a permit issued under the authority of the Admiralty, the Army Council, or the Minister of Munitions, any work consisting in the manufacture, assembling, or erection of any new or unused motor, internal combustion engine, designed or adapted for mechanical traction, or of any new or unused motor cycle, motor chassis, motor waggon, or of any tractor or other motor vehicles of any kind propelled by mechanical means.’” With that civilian motor cycle production, already at a low level, ceased for the duration…or not. “When the Minister of Munitions issued his Order at the beginning of last week many manufacturers interpreted it in its blackest manner; but we have good reason to believe that there is a bright side to the Order, and that motor cycle manufacture will not come to a standstill. The Government is not an obstructionist, and the only difference will be that in future it will grant permits for all motor cycles which are manufactured. We have good grounds for stating that the permits will be issued freely.” Within a couple of weeks “a motor cycle near London” (which sounds like Matchless) were granted “a permit from the Minister of Munitions to finish fifty-two partly completed machines” and a sidecar body specialist was told it was unaffected by the order and could carry on regardless. However another manufacturer was refused permission to assemble existing parts for export.
THE BOSCH MAGNETO CO, British subsidiary of the German giant, was ordered to close under the Trading with the Enemy Act.
NORTH RIDING COUNTY COUNCIL voted to buy three sidecar outfits, to be based at Stokesley, Malton and Northallerton. The replaced police horses and traps.
NEW BIKES WERE IN SHORT SUPPLY so the trade responded with a three-day show of almost 100 bikes (and lots of cars) at the Agricultural Hall in Islington. Entry cost half a dollar (2/6d if you insist) and at this show every exhibit was for sale. Bikes were checked and issued with ‘certificates of condition’; anything too old or too tired was rejected out of hand. The Blue ‘Un noted: “Naturally, the second-hand motor cycle and car dealers up and down the country are strongly opposed to the second-hand motor show now being held at the Agricultural Hall. They, perhaps, rightly regard their own stocks of second-hand motor cycles as a miniature show in themselves, and, moreover, they go on all the year round…The organisers of the Agricultural Hall Show propose to hold exhibitions of second-hand motor cycles and cars in several different centres throughout the British Isles, viz, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Dublin.” Half the vehicles on show were sold. On the last day the remaining 92 bikes went under the hammer; 40 found new homes. The organisers wereconfident enough to book the venue for another sale. Meanwhile, dealers were still advertising 1917 models of, among others, BSA, Calthorpe, Coventry Eagle, Enfield, New Hudson, Norton, and Rover.
AN AMERICAN CORRESPONDENT reported that petrol was in plentiful supply in the Land of the Free at less than half the British price. Even small-town garages had “automatic measuring pumps supplied from tanks underground. Air pumps are fitted in garages for blowing up the tyres, worked by motor engine.” He concluded: “I have not seen many motor cycles here. The fact that cars are so cheap is probably the reason. The native loves comfort, and is not, in my opinion, such a sport as a Briton.”
A DEAF ENTHUSIAST HAD to resort to the law, with the support of the ACU, to force his county council to issue him with a licence. The Motor Cycle pointed out that “it has been proved over and over again that a deaf motorist is not a danger on our roads—in fact many expert motorists of to-day are deaf…It is on record that in the year i903 a licence was granted to a man who was blind, so that no physical defect, under the present regulations, debars a man from holding a licence to drive a motor vehicle.”
“TO THE HOME READER motor cycling in the Colonies conjures up visions of wild wastes of sand and rock; devoid of any kind of road, perilous crossings of rivers in flood, or deep dried-up water courses, and adventures with wild animals, these ideas being derived chiefly from accounts of exciting cross-country journeys as recounted in our columns from time to time…we frequently hear complaints from Overseas readers of the unsuitability of English standard models. The chief defects are want of ground clearance
and insufficient or unsuitable mudguarding…the latest product of Norton Motors, Aston, Birmingham…is quite a special design, and not merely a standard model altered in detail. Its outstanding feature is exceptional ground clearance; there are 6¼in to spare below the crank case. This increase, about 2½in more than the standard type, is obtained by a careful rearrangement of the frame tubes and the Norton method of carrying the gear box. A horizontal stamping is cranked up behind the engine, under which the Sturmey-Archer three-speed countershaft gear is bolted, so that no part of it projects below the bottom of the crank case…the tank has been increased in size to accommodate two and a quarter gallons of petrol and over threequarters of a gallon of oil…The engine
is the Norton ‘big four’, 82x120mm bore and stroke, giving 633cc…The back mudguard is 7in wide and set 2½in away from the tyre tread, with no restriction at the forks; it is given additional strength by a central liner…The front guard is also wide and set the same distance from the tyre, the bottom edge being kept at crank case level, 6¼in from the ground. Additional leg shields can be fitted if desired…The chains are protected by a strong, serviceable metal cover, but it is intended to market a completely enclosing type of chain case…Handle-bar clutch control, B&B carburetter with starting jet, and a chain-driven CAV magneto complete a very fine model…Although of special design for Overseas, we see no particular reason why it should not become popular in this country, as its deviations from standard practice in no way decrease the usual Norton good points of speed and power, coupled with reliability in every way. It undoubtedly fills the bill for the needs of the average Colonial rider, and the makers look forward to a considerable demand when business resumes its normal course after the war.”
“AMONG THE VARIOUS OFFERS in exchange for motor cycles and combinations, to be found in the last two issues of The Motor Cycle, are: Thoroughbred horse–‘sure Derby winner’, 20hp motor car, freehold cottage in Devonshire, diamonds, jewellery, motor launch, a solid oak music stand, roll-top desk, 7in lathe, watches, pleasure trap, typewriter, flute, piccolo, pianola, banjo, violin, two drum tambourines, a new accordion, and a sugar boiler.” And on the far side of the pond, the US magazine Motor Cycling also carried an ad seeking a trade: “For three-speed twin, will trade complete motion picture outfit, with gas machines, Powers’s electric, with rheostat; taken in on mortgage. Good as new; worth 250 dollars. Packed in travelling trunk.”
“THE DUTCH MOTOR CYCLE CLUB has received the patronage of the Queen of Holland, and will now be known as the Royal Dutch Motor Cycle Club.”
“ENGINES WITHOUT OIL: An American firm has succeeded in impregnating graphite with metal, thereby combining the self-lubricating properties of the graphite with the tenacity of the metal used. The question arises in the mind as to whether we shall eventually have an oilless engine and bearings.”
“SIDECAR MACHINE GUNS FOR CADETS: No doubt the excellent work rendered Overseas by the sidecar machine gun outfits which form the equipment of the Motor Machine Gun Service, has led the authorities to approve the formation of motor machine guns in connection with Cadet Corps. Henceforward the operation of machine guns and their rapid concentration at most favourable points by means of the mobile motor cycle and sidecar will form part of their training, and the youths are looking forward to the latest departure with no small amount of enthusiasm.”
“SIDECAR MACHINE GUNS ON HOME DEFENCE: In connection with the home defence forces, a Motor Machine Gun Section is to be formed. Offers of sidecars are invited.”
IXION REPORTED: “A DR GRAVELY informs me that when the little end bush of his engine gave out, he made a new one out of a Hun shell fuse, and successfully covered 500 miles on it.”
“WHY,” IXION WONDERED, “IS IT that your brilliant engineer so seldom possesses the necessary imagination to render his work ideal from a user’s standpoint? If he plans a car engine it is usually perfectly accessible when it is lying on the bench, but requires a spanner incorporating eight universal joints and a lazytongs handle when it is installed in the chassis. If he designs a powerful twin he forgets (a) that it will probably be used with a sidecar, and (b) on which side the sidecar will go. As a consequence he mounts such items as the oil and petrol fillers and the carburetter on the sidecar flank. By means of long swan-necked funnels one may succeed in replenishing the tanks, but only a professional contortionist can handle the carburetter details comfortably unless the sidecar is first removed, and some of the best modern sidecars are as good as brazed up solid with the cycle frame.”
“THE MOTOR CYCLE SHOW held at the Chicago Coliseum gives a very good indication of the trend of motor cycle design America. Probably the most notable and drastic change in design is the introduction by the Hendee Company of the small flat twin lightweight, which, ndoubtedly, anticipates a greater demand in the future for the lighter twins as solo mounts in place of the heavy 7hp twins as heretofore. Although the baby two-stroke has apparently made little headway, some firms are still manufacturing them, so there is evidently a certain demand for these machines, though evidently nothing like so great as that which exists in this country…The three-speed gear, usually placed in the
countershaft, is also a feature of practically all 1917 models, while electric lighting outfits are now almost universal on all but the lightweights. In looking through the specifications of the latest models, it is interesting, and at the same time almost amusing, to notice how the horse-power ratings of the engines have gone up, although the capacities remain the same. It is quite common to see what are generally known in this country as 7hp twins rated at 16hp, while 6hp is the common rating for many single-cylinders under 500cc…Enclosed valve springs are becoming standard on most American mounts…Several of the big twins even now require the engine to be removed from the frame before the cylinders can be taken off. In the Excelsior provision is made so that the tank tube can be removed so as to give room for dismantling cylinders. The Henderson power unit is undoubtedly a very neat piece of work, and contains a three-speed gear box situated at the rear end of the crank case, the bottom half of the crank case casting forming the lower half of the gear box.”
“WHEN SUMMONED AT BRENTFORD recently for exceeding the speed limit, Mr Rowland Williams stated that he considered it a national scandal that three able-bodied men, excellent materia! for the Army, should be kept at home to undertake work of this character.”
“WE REGRET TO ANNOUNCE the death of Mr Frederic S Hess, the inventor of the helmet made obligatory by the ACU for the last Tourist Trophy Race in the Isle of Man. This helmet was undoubtedly the means of saving the lives of a number of competitors, and has proved to be as useful in racing as the shrapnel helmet in warfare.”
“A MEETING OF MOTOR CYCLE manufacturers was held at the Grand Hotel, Birmingham, at which Mr Humphries, of Humphries and Dawes, makers of the OK motor cycle, proposed, and Mr Downs, of New Imperial Cycles, seconded, and it was carried nem con [unanimously]: ‘That this meeting favours co-operative action by British motor cycle manufacturers, through some organisation from which foreign manufacturers’ influence must be completely absent, with a view to complete co-operation with other British industries and the preservation of the British motor cycle industry in future.’”
OXYGEN ACETYLENE WELDING HAD only been around since the turn of the century; with motor cyclespares in short supply it was coming into its own. “We spent a most interesting morning recently watching repairs to motor cycle cylinders, crank cases, and crankshafts by means of the oxy-acetylene welding process, carried out by Messrs Barimar of London WC…Outside the building is a large acetylene generator, while inside are oxygen cylinders. The two gases are mixed and issue in correct proportions through a special torch. The first job we saw involved a flange broken off the base of a cylinder. Only one original corner of the flange was left, and the remaining three pieces were welded on, and also the spigot. Watching the repair through darkened spectacles, one saw the workman with a stick of cast iron in one hand and a torch in the other sealing up the joints of this cylinder casting, filling up the holes, and finally building up the spigot which pro jects into the crankcase. As soon as the repair is completed, the cylinder is taken into the adjoining workshop, and all roughnesses are carefully ground down, most ingenious appliances being used for this operation. The emery wheel is on a flexible shaft, so that it may be moved about in any position…e saw many examples of broken aluminium crank cases due to a broken” connecting rod smashing its way through the ends or side. When this happens the broken part is neatly welded in position, and, as will be seen in the accompanying photograph, the patch is practically invisible after it has been finally dealt with…A valve had been sent in two pieces so. that the stem might be welded up and made as good as new, and numerous crank cases had also been received in which the main bearing bosses had been cracked and allowed the bearings to come adrift…One of the most interesting repairs shownto us in operation was the welding of a new tooth on to a broken gear wheel…At the present time, when spares are difficult to obtain, this work is of extreme importance, and many motor cyclists who would otherwise scrap broken parts of their machines will be glad to know where they, can be effectually and skilfully repaired.”
“THERE APPEARS TO BE NOTHING in the USA in the journalistic line which occupies the same position as The Motor Cycle does in England. The two principal motor cycle papers seem to ignore the private owner, and to devote their energy to fostering the trade, and the trade only, while, curiously enough, they are both introducing pedal cycles into their pages.”
SIEGFRIED BETTMANN REVEALED THAT 560 TRIUMPH employees had joined up; 25 had been killed and 70 been wounded. He promised that those who were able to work would be taken back by the Triumph Co, and if the directors had to sacrifice their salaries and their fees those men would not be allowed to be deficient in anything that was necessary to “uphold them and to enable them to live in relative comfort”.
OLIVER GODFREY, WHO WON THE 1911 TT ON AN INDIAN, was killed in action while flying with the RFC. In 1911 Indians came first, second and third; that year Godfrey also won the 70mph handicap race at Brooklands. In 1914 he tied with HR Davies (Sunbeam) in the Senior TT. The Motor Cycle described him as “…of a bright and genial disposition…an excellent sportsman in every sense of the word…undoubtedly the finest exponent of the Indian machine in Great Britain”. Godfrey, in partnership with 1912 Senior TT winner Frank Applebee, also founded Godfreys, a high-profile motor cycle dealership in Great Portland Street, London W1. His death clearly didn’t stop the shop touting for trade, witness this ad: “Christmas travelling. Travel by road, and leave the railways free for soldiers on Xmas furlough. It is not only patriotic to do so, but more healthy and economical. GODFREYS can supply you with just the motor cycle or combination to suit you—and can supply from stock.”
THE MOTOR CYCLE REPORTED: “We are at the present moment riding a two-stroke machine fitted with a throttle-controlled lubricator…of late months we have seen three designs of throttle-controlled lubricators specially designed for two-stroke machines. Two years ago, in dilating upon this subject, we suggested that the throttle-controlled lubricator is surely ideal and perfectly automatic, relieving the rider of all lubrication worries. We went on to state that from these considerations alone it was to be hoped that some discovery would be made that would overcome the objections outlined.” Fast forward to 1963: Yamaha won worldwide acclaim at the All Japan Motor Show when it launched ‘Autolube’ an “automatic lubrication system which completely revolutionized two-stroke engines”. Yamaha claimed to have debuted this technology at the 1961 French Grand Prix. Knowledgable motor cyclists snorted in derision.
BRITAIN IMPORTED 1,192 motor cycles in 1916, compared with 4,531 in 1915 and 2,559 in 1914. Exports were 12,851, 10,927 and 20,877. There were 160,290 motor cycles registered in the UK; 131,805 in England and Wales, 19,147 in Scotland and 9,338 in Ireland (the island of Ireland, of course, this being pre-partition). The motor cycle parc in 1915 was 147,904. Petrol imports rose to 161,814,766 gallons in 1916 from 144,574,891 in 1915.
“I MUST NOT GRUMBLE,” Ixion, remarked, “for I have had very few punctures during the last two years, but when the spell of luck broke of course I got a really shocking puncture in inky darkness and pouring rain. The tyre, as you will expect to hear, was a brand new 3in with steel studs in the tread, and as stiff and unmanageable as it could be made. There was no divided axle, no handy railway bridge or barn, and my supply of carbide wasn’t excessive. There were no tyre levers in the standard kit, nor in the repair outfit. I draped my oilskin neatly over the back wheel to keep the tube as dry as possible, crept into the tent thus improvised, propped my head lamp to throw a fitful glare on the job, and turned the water as low as possible. Wiping my hands dry and clean, I gouged the reluctant cover off the rim at last with the aid of a stumpy screwdriver and two or three stamped spanners; by this time, of course, my hands were wet and gritty, as the whole tail of the machine was drowned in mud. There is only one worse experience in motor cycling, and that is tackling the same job in a blizzard, and the worst of it is that there is no cure for it; it is still a rotten job even if you have a drop-out wheel and a spare tube. Thank goodness, it is far easier than it used to be, for there was a time when tyre solution wouldn’t stick imless it was treated delicately, whereas modern solutions dry quickly and stick closer than a dun.”
IXION WAS PONDERING DECOKING (or, as the great man put it, “decarbonisation”): Now it is apparently certain that the thumping big V twin can never be decarbonised very simply and quickly unless it is, for example, fitted with a bolted-in top tube to the frame, so that the whole of the top hamper can come away quickly, and leave the cylinders clear to be lifted off. It is easier, but still not really easy, to design a big horizontal twin so that its cylinders whip off smartly. Of course, as the super-efficient engine is developed, the thumping big twin may be eliminated altogether in favour of a ‘revving’ small twin. If this does not happen, I wonder if the four-cylinder will come into its own? Imagine a four-cylinder, set rather low in rather a deep frame. Fit it with a detachable cylinder cover, and with overhead valves. Add, if you like, a second joint lower down between the monobloc cylinder casting and the crank case. It will be difficult to design a twin of the same cc to equal this for general handiness and accessibility.”
The usual Christmas jollity was, for obvious reasons, absent and The Motor Cycle’s Christmas greeting page could hardly have been more warlike. Let this yarn, published earlier in the year, stand in for the traditional lighthearted or adventurous Christmas story. It is whimsical and oh so poignant. Truth be told, it reduced me to tears.
SHORT IS THE BLISSFUL HOUR that comes before the sunrise: yet when life is as full of incident as he found it by Cape Helles an hour may be an eternity. There is a limit for tired nerves, worn out with sudden alarms and more sudden death on all sides, and it is in that hour full of shadowy mists that all men’s souls sail from the peninsula on the wonderful hospital ship that carries them home and back in an hour, leaving them at the dawn with memories to fight for, and courage to see them through.
He lay in a cramped position at the entrance to the best dug-out on the peninsula ; beside any such work in Flanders it would have appeared rather like a bunker on suburban links. Beside him was a new tunic which in the most natural manner he had removed from all that was left of one of his friends the previous night. Its chief merit lay in its low population.
The hospital ship had deposited him on the Portsmouth Road with his Zenith, and looking over his shoulder he was pleased but not surprised to find that ‘she’ was there too. Hospital ships are very thoughtful. As he turned round towards Weybridge he felt her hand drawing the cigarettes from his pocket, and a minute later a lighted Virginian was pushed between his lips. He raised his right hand in thanks. “Mustn’t let her all out,” he shouted over his shoulder, “that tyre on the front wheel’s got a very weak spot; it’ll go sooner or later.” Yet when he got close to the station he found that a short ‘blind’ before the hill could not be avoided. “Shall I?” he shouted, and a tightened grip was enough answer.
They were just picking up well when the tyre went; in a fraction of a second he realised that he had no control over the machine, and fixed the very spot amongst the heather at the side where they should pitch. Yet they seemed to be minutes reaching it. He felt as though he had just stopped everything for a little, while he examined the spot, looking into each yellow flower and noticing every drop of dew. The noise of the burst had been appalling; and yet he seemed quite used to it; vaguely he remembered having heard it once at quite frequent intervals, somewhere out of England, when—ah! yes…he raised himself on a stiff elbow, almost drenched in the dew. Well, anyhow, the first hour’s sun would dry that thoroughly; it didn’t take long in such a climate…But where was the ‘bus?… . Oh! of course, he had been dreaming. But how vivid it had been. “What was that, Speeby?” he shouted. “H.E.,” growled a voice behind him. “Double L,” he added with a laugh, curling himself up again.
It seemed as though he had been driving for hours, every nerve in his body seemed tense: every muscle strained. He knew there was something at stake something big: and somehow he felt he was winning; there was a wonderful rush of wind in his face, yet his eyes were quite unaffected: he couldn’t be wearing a helmet, since he felt his hair waved back in the breeze, and his head was cool; he felt somehow as though he had just had a glorious shampoo. That made him laugh. He couldn’t somehow stop laughing…it seemed so jolly fine to be winning so easily there was nothing ahead of him on the track! He was simply unbeatable. What if he stopped and lit a cigarette and then went on? He shrieked with laughter at the idea. What a jest it would be!
Somewhere behind him there came a little purring that grew a bit insistent. His confidence seemed to leave him suddenly: both machines were roaring now, but what a splendid cackle! His hands got hot and sticky, and he felt his grip on the bars loosening. Perspiration began to pour from him: then a shadow started crawling up behind him. He could see the machine out of the corner of his eye: it was certainly gaining. With a roar that startled him it overtook and passed him. Well, it was hardly worth while going on, now. He seemed to be drifting just anywhere. Two or three machines passed him. Then suddenly a very small voice right in his ear distinctly said. “Who ran that belt through?”
With a long sigh he rubbed his eyes and sat up. “Whoa…what…?”
“Who ran that belt through?”
“Who did what?”
“Oh, do wake up, you chump: didn’t you hear a machine gun?”
“No…well, yes: I suppose I must have: I seem to remember it.”
On the Portsmouth Road.
He was leaning on his Zenith just where the road turns at the entrance to Ripley, explaining very carefully to someone that that house over there was the twelve-pound house; referring to the newly painted golden medallions on the great iron gates. He seemed to be surrounded by every motorist he had ever known; he recognised every machine, and every detail on it: dirty knee-grips here; enormous exhausts there; he caught sight of a Brough, and waved his hand and shouted, “Hullo! Ken.”
“Harry’s comin’ along on somethin’ rather sweet, isn’t he?” said someone; and they all stopped talking and listened to the perfectly running engine.
He stretched lazily and opened his eyes. Ever so far above him the blue sky reached out to infinity.
Straight overhead an aeroplane passed on an early morning reconnaissance. How clearly he saw it, he could even distinguish the exhaust… that engine sounded pretty healthy. With a puzzled look in his eyes he repeated to himself very softly: “Harry’s …comin’ along on somethin’ rather sweet, isn’t he?” Who could have said that just now ? Good lor’, he must have been dreaming.
He roused himself and scrambled to his feet.
Crossing over he kicked Speeby affectionately “Come and help with the breakfast,” he said.
“Comin’, sir,” said Speeby, sitting up.
He burst into a shriek of laughter at the “Sir.” A slow smile dawned over Speeby’s face. “I dreamt I was on a ship,” he explained.
As usual, let’s end this review of a year with a selection of period adverts. The prosaic lists of bikes and offers of riding gear and accessories must have read like something from another world to the lads at the front…
And here’s an Indian ad and a ‘vacation guide’ cover from the US, which had yet to sign up for The Great War…