THE MOTOR CYCLE’S CORRESPONDENT ‘CHINOOK’ reviewed the choice of multi-cylinder motor cycle engines and looked forward to the way that wartime devlopments would influence post-war design. He suggested that three classes likely to emerge were a flat-twin of about 3½hp for solos; a three or four-cylinder design of about 5hp to suit solos or light sidecars (for “riders who are neither speed merchants nor potterers, who like to ride a comfortable and controllable solo mount possessing ample power, and who take a modest delight in occasional speed dust-ups with other riders”); and a four-pot sidecar hauler developing at least 10hp. “Self-contained electric lighting, of course, shaft drive, three or four-speed gear box, and something really attractive in the way of finish”, he added. “I would vote for the integral unit system, with a minimum of oil leaking joints…The 90° four-cylinder is another highly possible proposition, having its cranks and flywheel arranged similarly to those of the Scott, but with double big ends and cranks set at 90°. This engine would be easy to house and very accessible, while its torque would be excellent and its balance perfect. It would be vastly interesting to see what could be done in this line.” A unit construction transverse four with shaft drive? He must have been mad.
THE LIEUTENANT-GOVERNOR of Malta allowed motor cycles to be ridden on the streets of Valetta for the first time.
“MOTOR CYCLISTS IN A CERTAIN SE district have noticed that a police superintendent at the local station uses his Enfield combination for his duties and in uniform, and at other times—the week-end occasionally—is to be seen in plain clothes and with a fair lady passenger! It is hardly surprising that the new Order is not being vigorously enforced in this district!”
NEW YEAR, NEW SERVICE: The Auto Cycle Union established the Motor Messenger Detachment Service. “These messengers carry despatch bags on their backs or strapped to their sidecars, in which important despatches are carried between various Government offices. They have a comfortable room in which they may wait at the Central Telegraph Office, in which there is a fire, telephone, and some comfortable chairs, while they have free access to the CTO buffet…the first messenger…was sent away from outside the CTO by Major TW Loughborough, secretary of the ACU, and an official of the GPO. He wore khaki unifonn and was riding a 3½hp Sunbeam sidecar combination. We also saw a 3½hp twin-cylinder James, fitted with a wonderful array of additional cooling radiators. Over the exhaust valve cap was an aluminium fin cooler, while the two compression taps were screwed into devices of similar pattern but made of brass. There were as well a 2¾hp Douglas, which was ridden by one of the ACU staff who has joined the Service, and a 4hp Douglas fitted with a EUK easy starter and Senspray carburetter. This latter was certainly a very easy starting machine.”
“LADY MOTOR CYCLISTS: Lady motor cyclists supplied by the Women’s Legion, of 115, Victoria Street, London, are now being used by the RFC and ASC, and are found as useful as the chauffeuses…The Women’s Legion is now giving free instructions in motordriving for Government work with free accommodation during training. The idea is that all Government motor vehicles will shortly be driven solely by “women, although we should imagine that some limitation is bound to be applied in the case of drivers for big lorries. Any lady interested should apply to the offices of the Women’s Legion.”
IXION REPORTED: “I GOT OUT on the moors with my old ABC, and a tankful of petrol. The last ime I saw GE Bradshaw, the ABC designer, he was quite out of conceit with the 1914 model, and if he condescended to talk two-wheelers at all, was full of hints about something quite different and entirely revolutionary. But all I can say is that, if he has something better than the 1914 marque up his sleeve, it will be very, very good. After chugging about on the slow speed, partially sprung, hard service WD type of jigger, a few miles of open road on a fully-insulated mile-a-minute mount was a treat to be remembered. The heavy machine began to bark under the merest paddle-off, revved till I trembled for its bearings, ate up hills as if they were not there, and slid over the war-hammered highways as if they were asphalt drives along a sea front. Some bicycle, the double-sprung ABC I had forgotten how extraordinarily good it is: and I ruthlessly turned down three more applicarions to purchase it at a tempting price.”
HARLEY-DAVIDSON SENT A TEAM of 16 instructors round US army bases to show trainee despatch riders how to handle their new bikes. They were also setting up repair and servicing courses. Walter Davidson said: “I am sure that. when we get through with this work the Army will have reduced the repairing of motor cycles to a science, and the result will be that, instead of having a number of broken-up and ‘joy-ridden’ motor cycles to damage the reputation of this type of vehicle, they will have highly efficient mechanics taking care of these machines, so that they may give 100% efficiency. The motor cycle is gradually being recognised in the United States Army as a very essential instrument of warfare, and it is our duty to hasten its recognition as fast as possible. The United States Army intend to carry a supply of spare parts equivalent to a typical factory stock, and they intend to carry a stock at each one of the cantonments in the USA. You can readily appreciate that this is an immense task, as the Army had made no provosion for taking care of the machines they had bought. When I tell you that they are taking over 75 of the very best motor cycle repair men that we can find for service ion the base repair shops in France, you will realise that they are gong after it with the prop;er sp[irit. These repair shops are going to be immense institutions employing thousands of men with every kind of machinery imaginable. We here in the factory are going to supply the necessary parts to take care of the machines, and are also working on all the repair tools which they will need to salvage the motor cycle in every respect.”
“A PATRIOTIC MOTOR CYCLE CLUB: Fifteen out of eighteen members of the Indian Motor Cycle Club, Chicago, are in training with the US Army. The remaining three are exempt from service. This is certainly a very fine percentage.”
“IN AMERICA,” IXION REMARKED, an artisan can purchase a five-seated car in return for eight weeks’ wages. In a world where you can buy 20hp five-seated cars for £80 the continued existence of motor cycles averaging £70 apiece, as the standard of the world’s markets, and not as the rank extravagances of gilded fools, is a yowling absurdity. So I had a kindly dream of some unborn genius who would do for motor cycles what Henry Ford has already done for motor cars, and sell usable solo machines at about £20 a time. It can be done, of course, and some day it will be done. If we don’t do it, the Yanks will. If they go west before they get as far as that, the Japs will do it: and if the notion does not occur to the Japs when the yellow peril is top dog, Russia will do it when she is industrialised. Then the horny-handed son of toil will be able to invest, and to taste the joys of the road. He will have than to than to trudge two miles to earth up his celery, or prop up a street corner, or sit on a hard, vertically-backed bench in the village pub until some sympathetic soul reads the visible thirst in his eyes, and passes over the pint pot.”
THE ALL-RUSSIAN MOTORCYCLE SOCIETY held one of the first motor cycle races in Russia, near Petrograd. The event was held over a kilometre with a flying start.
“ON AMERICAN MACHINES there are fittings and fittings, many of which would not be tolerated for one moment from a British factory. Their motor cycle brakes are certainly superior to their car brakes, and generally work well, though it is a marvel to me how the detail parts of many American machines ever hold together. Very often the detail finish is too appalling for words, the brake parts particularly being reminiscent of a village smithy, yet somehow they seem to hold together till permanently rusted on the frame…in the opinion of one rider, at any rate, the average Yank is nowhere in the same street as the average Britisher as an engineering job.”
FOR SOME YEARS THE WATER of a well near Ramsey, Huntingdon had smelt of paraffin. “Two pumps, situated close together, were on Friday found to yield paraffin instead of water, and at the time of writing some 1,500 gallons of oil had been obtained, while the flow showed no signs of ceasing…this is the first time that the oil has been obtained in such preponderance over the water that it could be used for lamp oil and for fuel in a stationary oil engine.”
“MOUNTED ON A CLEVELAND TWO-STROKE, CG Austin covered 542 miles in 24 hours [at Seattle, USA]. His actual riding time was 20hr 26min, and his average speed, therefore, 25.6mph. The course consisted of a round trip of 63.8 miles, which, on the fastest round, was covered in 2hr 10min. Heavy rain, fog, and powerful winds were encountered throughout the trial, the roads for the most part belong so slippery that a powerful sidecar outfit was unable to hold the pace. Austin’s dry battery lighting installation became ‘a wet battery’, and through most of the night he rode in pitch darkness, assisted occasionally by a hand flashlamp. He states that, given decent luck, he hopes to knock off 700 miles in 24 hours at an early date.”
THERE WERE 30,000 SOLDIERS at Camp Bowie, near Fort Worth, Texas, and Hendee was determined to sell them Indians. As part of this campaign “a 12in board is arranged on supports at a 30° slant with one end touching the ground and the other end elevated about 18in. The rider drives his machine on to the board at high speed, and as they leave the far end machine and rider sail through the air as high as 8ft, making a leap of about 60ft before coming to earth.” Which does sound damned impressive, don’t you think?
“SIR,—MY SON CAME HOME on leave from France on November 24th; the day after he wrote to the Petrol Control Board for leave to ride my 6hp Enfield and sidecar with myself as passenger. He enlisted at the age of sixteen years and two months on August 25th, 1914, and has gone through a great deal of fighting since. All that he requested from the Control Board was leave to use some petrol I had saved for him. On the 20th he saw in The Motor Cycle that the Petrol Board would allow leave men to get petrol for any purpose. Acting on this we went for a ride to Windermere to see some friends, and came back last Wednesday without any interference from the police. My son returned to France on the 7th inst. On Saturday morning a letter came from the Control Board to say that they could not allow him to use the petrol for the use he wanted. I understand that the Control Board are prepared to grant licences to buy petrol to men on leave, but in this case they refuse leave to use the petrol we had; also, what is the use of granting leave to ride and not replying till the men have gone back? I may say that he informed them of the date he had to return. Thanks to the announcement in your paper, we got all the riding we wanted.
“SIR,—I WAS PARTICULARLY INTERESTED in your remarks regarding a small allowance of petrol to motor cyclists who are engaged on important war work. Those of us who are engaged every day (including Sunday), with day and night shifts, absolutely all out on the manufacture of munitions, feel that if it is at all possible to spare a small quantity of petrol or substitute for an occasional recreative run something should be done to help us. I would not suggest more forms to be filled up, or any additional clerical work for the Petrol Control Department—simply a statement on our present licence that not more than two gallons per month be used for recreative purposes, and trust to our honesty. For myself, during the past two and a half years my motor cycling has been confined to occasional runs on Saturday afternoons or Sunday nights out into the country for a breath of fresh air, with peace and quietness. Even as recreative runs the petrol was not entirely wasted, for it was while away from the noise and hurry that I got most of my ideas for methods and machines which are holding records in the quick production of munitions.
WORKS MANAGER, Glasgow.”
“THE RUSSIAN COLLAPSE has released many motor cycles for the civil market, but not all those built to the Russian specification. Royal Ruby machines of this type, however, are now being used by the Portuguese troops in France.”
“IN THE PRODUCTION OF FUEL OIL from home resources recently, the existing plants at the shale works in Scotland and the gas works and coke ovens throughout the country are being pressed to their full capacity and are being extended. Retorts are to be used at the gasworks rather than the collieries, because labour, machinery, and experience are available at the gas-works.”
“MAJOR HUTH, SECOND IN COMMAND of the Military Detention Barracks, Farnborough, was fined £9 and £3 3s costs for disconnecting a pipe outside the gas-meter of his house and filling the gasbag of his motor car without allowing the gas to pass through the meter.”
“‘BOYS ENTERING A FACTORY were very largely neglected, both by their employers and by their parents. Neither gave sufficient consideration to their future careers,’ said Mr WL Baylay, OBE, of the BSA Co, who, in the course of an address given before the BSA Staff Technical Club, stated that the BSA Co had prepared a scheme which aimed at improving the life and training of the boys in the BSA employ, and the speaker regarded it as a matter of duty to the boys, rather than as a commercial and philanthropic undertaking. The lads were divided into two sections, skilled and unskilled, and those in the former section would receive a special training in one of the skilled trades, subject to the parents agreeing to keep the boys in the firm’s employment until twenty-one years of age.”
“ONLY 4% OF DELIVERIES OF gas bags to date have been to private motorists, and 4,500 commercial vehicles have been already equipped for gas, the result being a saving in petrol consumption of approximately 3,000,000 gallons annually. Orders for equipment for some 2,500 more vehicles are already in hand.”
FLAT TWINS HAD PROVED THEMSELVES, as had in-line fours. Now the Frost Patent Engine Syndicate of Wolverhampton came up with a 790cc flat four. “In appearance it may be easily mistaken for a flat twin, a little longer than usual, it is true, but it is in effect a horizontally opposed four-cylinder with two cylinders placed end to end on each side of the crank case…The pistons are connected in pairs by a rigid connecting rod sliding in a gland; on each side of this gland are the firing spaces or combustion ‘heads’. The inner pistons only have gudgeon pins and connecting rods, and the crankshaft is of the usual two-throw type. With No 1 cylinder in compression, No 2 is at the end of its inlet stroke, about to compress; No 3 is at the commencement of the exhaust stroke, and No 4 is completing the exhaust stroke…Tangible evidence of its very cool running was afforded when, after a five minutes’ run at high speed, we were able to bear our hands firmly on the outer cylinder cover plates, and even around the firing spaces it was not unduly hot…At 2,500 revolutions it developed about 14hp, and at 3,000 it had jumped to no less than 23hp. Some engine without a doubt!”
“THE POLICE IN PORTLAND, OREGON, USA, are using motor cycles, and the policemen motor cyclists have a pretty severe course of training to go through in the course of their careers. A correspondent who was present at one of these examinations reports that they had to take part in a slow race, a speed test, and a starting competition, in which they had to stand by their machines and see who could the most quickly get off the mark. Starting the engine first and getting under way by means of the clutch was not allowed. This was followed by a ‘trouble’ test, in which each man had to locate the source of trouble in a machine which had been put out of order and then get it into working condition again. In addition to the actual riding and mechanical test, examination papers had to be passed. The competitor gaining the highest marks is appointed sergeant of the motor cyele police squad. There are eighteen machines in all doing police work in this city—twelve Harley-Davidsons, five Indians, and one Henderson.“
“ALMOST AMERICAN! A MAN recently brought up before the Stratford magistrates was alleged to have no fewer than ten stolen motor cycles in his possession, as well as many accessories. He was an engineer, aged 30.”
“THE MOTOR CYCLE IN THE PHILIPPINES. The motor cycle in yet another sphere previously ignorant of its existence. The motor has penetrated into the heart of Africa, and into the remotest parts of the globe, and soon the shyest native races will become accustomed to it. The photograph was taken in the Philippines by a lieutenant in the US Service, who says his Indian never failed to create a sensation. Whenever he dismounted and went a short distance away the savages swarmed about the machine like bees on honey, handling the lamp and all the bright fixtures with wonder and fascination. They were somewhat afraid of the engine, as its throbbings shook the frame. One day no fewer than nine of these half savage men were fingering and inspecting the motor cycle, and made no objection—in fact seemed rather proud—when the white man posed them for a picture. When the time came for him to go on, the natives ran for a long distance trying to keep up with the machine, but as, it gained in speed they stood still, straining their eyes to see it until it became very tiny in the distance, and finally disappeared as the road turned.”
“SOME CASE! A MOTOR CYCLIST was recently dragged up in court, to answer no fewer than six charges at once : (1.) Using petrol illegally. (2.) Driving without a proper silencer. (3.) Driving without a licence. (4.) Driving an unregistered motor cycle. (5.) Fraudulently using an index mark. (6.) Allowing the numbers to be obscured. The defendant was, however, a member of the ACU, and was defended by that body, with the result that the whole case was dismissed on payment of the costs.”
“THE FIRM OF MESSRS FLUGEL and Co, Newington Green, London, N, have for a long period studied the question of installing cylinders of compressed gas on motor cycles, and are ready and anxious to experiment further. They are fortunate enough in having in stock quite a number of cylinders weighing 47lb each. Now, two of these would weigh 94lb, which is a good deal lighter weight than is often transported on the rear carrier of a motor cycle, and there are few of the fair ladies one used to see riding on carriers before the war who were so slight as to weigh as little as a couple of these cylinders, which tends to show that the weight objection is not so serious as one would have been led to believe…These cylinders are made to stand a pressure of 3,500lb to the square inch, which is equivalent to 235 atmospheres. Now a pressure of 125 atmospheres means the cylinder would contain 60 cubic feet; 150 atmospheres, 75 cubic feet; and 180 atmospheres; 90 cubic feet. Consequently two cyhnders would hold the equivalent of about threequarters of a gallon of petrol, while it is pointed out that if a sidecar were used four cylinders could be carried, which woul have a total capacity of 360 cubic feet. When Mr Flugel has actually fitted up a motor bicycle we shall be very much interested to hear how it behaves. We think that for sidecar combinations, a any rate, the installation would be a success.”
“THE DIFFICULTIES IN USING sidecar combinations on the sand at the Eastern Front will be readily appreciated, and a standard Douglas machine has been considerably altered so as to overcome these difficulties by two ingenious MT officers stationed in the land of sand. The main difficulty encountered in riding in loose sand is, of course, the tendency of the back wheel to bury itself, and so fail to get any driving grip. The two- officers considered that widening the wheel would lessen this tendency, and so carried their theory into practice. The alterations have proved eminently satisfactory, and the machine will pull through sand where it has been impossible to use a standard sidecar combination—in fact, the standard machine has been largely discarded in the desert for this reason. Other noteworthy alterations are: The fitment of a fan, handle starter. Triumph carburetter, and light sidecar body. The fan is driven off the flywheel, and is most essential, having regard to the normally high temperatures in this climate. The foot starter as fitted by the makers is often out of action, for if the back wheel is at all buried, it cannot be used. The hand starter overcomes this difificulty, and, further, makes the engine easier to pull over. As regards the carburetter, the ingress of sand and dust is very troublesome, so a Triumph carburetter specially fitted up is used.”
“DURING A RECENT VISIT to the works of the Norton Motors, Ltd, at Aston, Birmingham, we were informed by Mr Norton that they have decided to adhere to the single-cylinder policy, and to confine their efforts to three models in solo mounts, in place of the former six or more different varieties. (1.) The TT Sports model, 3½hp, belt drive, with variable pulley, for the speed merchant. (2.) The Utility mount with a 3½hp TT engine of special tune, all chain drive and three-speed countershaft gear, for the average rider. (3.) The Utility mount with a ‘big four’ engine and all chain drive, three-speed countershaft gear, for very heavy solo or sidecar work. The last two models will carry the well-tried Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear as hitherto. Thus this firm of long-stroke specialists will cater for all classes of riders without staging a mixed lot of models.”
“NOTHING ON EARTH would have induced me to consent to the conspicuous task of towing a gas trailer had it not been that I could obtain my gas supply gratis from the office main. This being so, the trailer was duly installed, and amidst the jubilant cheers of street urchins I sallied forth with the balloon in tow. All went well till I met the milkman on his evening round. The milkman’s horse is one of the low-compression side by side valve variety, of Category C3, but on sighting that balloon it instantly converted itself into one of the copper-bottomed Class A fighting brand. Its first act was instantaneously and promptly to sit down in the centre of the road, ears erected, eyes bulging, bringing up the rear with a metallic clatter of empty milk cans. No one was more surprised than the milkman. Had his steed dropped dead and rolled back downwards with legs aspiring stiffly skywards, he would have taken it as more or less within the normal order of things, and proceeded to become used to it; now his surprise was one of paralytic helplessness. Next the horse stood straight on end, still staring with its ears, and proceeded to walk round on its hind legs in a narrow circle, till it faced in the opposite direction, whereupon the whole shoot literally slithered into a farmyard. When next day I asked the milkman if any damage was done, he replied, ‘Not much, sir. Only trapped his tail a bit when he sat down so sudden!’ The same old horse passes me to-day with only a snort of contempt. One recent dark night I emerged with the outfit from a side passage which leads into a main thoroughfare, holding up a pedestrian who was in the act of crossing the pavement at the passage head. The pedestrian was of the prosperous commercial traveller type, and, knowing that the trailer in the gloom behind was invisible, I shouted in passing, ‘Trailer behind,’ to which he replied, ‘Same to you,’ evidently thinking I was wishing him a merry Christmas. Then having duly seen the sidecar pass, he proceeded to walk slick into the trailer, his attitude being that of a man who treads on the teeth of a hay rake, and is reminded of his error by the speedy erection of the shaft. When last I saw him he was striking matches and groping about the pavement. On the following day we had a slight argument with a railway dray that we met in a narrow passage. The drayman shouted that all was clear, but, unfortunately, he
took only the trailer wheels into account, omitting to notice that the superstructure overhung somewhat. The result was that a corner of the trailer rail collided with a box poised perilously on the edge of the dray and from the crash that followed we judged that the box was full of jam jars. Examining the trailer on reaching home, I was surprised to find a pair of gold spectacles hooked up in the gasbag, while just below was a narrow jagged hole! Will the owner of the spectacles please apply—though I would inform him that he has, in spite of a warning, and probably with malice aforethought, bitten a hole clean through my gasbag! Oh these anti-motorists! There was once a man who made a bassinette [I think our contributor means a ‘cello, but has become confused with bassoon.—ED.], and having completed his task discovered that he had left the glue pot inside. The following incident reminds me of that man. We had left the trailer in a warehouse to fill slowly from the main, surrounded by large piles of crates and such like dunnage. Returning forty minutes later we were surprised to find the place in darkness, nor did manipulation of the switch cast any light upon the mystery. After careful search we eventually discovered the electric light bulb securely jammed between the fully inflated balloon and the side of a crate. Having set this matter right, we next attempted to extract the trailer, but only to find that, in its fully inflated condition, it could not be withdrawn from the building. It looked, at first, as though we should have to pull down an arch that propped up the three storeys above, but the warehouseman, being a gentleman of resource, suggested that we connect the balloon to the pipe again, then all sit on it to squash some of the gas back into the main. While we were discussing diis sociable little scheme, however, the bag proceeded to flatten itself of its own free will, by breathing noxious odours through its pores, in that little way it has, and at the end of ten minutes, by means of judicious coaxing, prodding, and pushing with a plank, used as a shoe horn, we got it out of the place. But the gasbag met a sad end. One recent frosty morning my brother’s son and heir espied a sparrow perched on top of it, shot at it with his air gun, and drilled two neat little holes clean through the top of the balloon fully a yard from the sparrow. I borrowed a ladder from the vicar, and got busy with a tyre repair outfit, but the beastly patches would not stick. It was like hammering a tack into a blancmange, and when I became irritable and tried to lean on the patches, the beastly ladder slipped, and I fell on top of the bally balloon. This burst it in another place, with the result that it was leaking worse than ever when that evening cook went into the outhouse with a candle to look for a carrot. We heard a sort of dull ‘whoff’, the house shook slightly, and the housemaid, who was finishing up the bottled peas in the kitchen, cut her mouth. Then she ran into the sitting room where Arabella and I were reading. ‘O! Mum,’ she gasped, ‘Cook’s gone!’ The kitten shot up the curtain and growled. ‘Where?’ I queried, a shade incredulously. The girl pointed dramatically to the skies. As she did so something fell with a soft thud on the gravel path without. I peered through the window—it was one of cook’s felt slippers! We looked at each other doubtfully, then Arabella and I fell on each other’s necks and shed copious tears. ‘The end of the gasbag!’ we gasped hysterically. HMB.
“IT IS A MERCIFUL PROVIDENCE, as the parsons say, that ordinary motoring is suspended,” Ixion wrote. “After a day in a factory or an office, one can make shift with a shepherd’s pie, or a wee fillet of fish, or an egg with cheese grated over it, the whole washed down by Government ale. But just try war rations after a hundred mile spin over the downs on a fast jigger, when there is a bit of a nip in the air. Nothing but !a couple of pounds of steak and a large tankard of Bass can meet the occasion. Unlimited motoring on limited rations would have spelt red revolution within a fortnight. Sometimes I am compelled to motor on national duties. On such trips I always carry a large turbot or a pen of Rhode Island Reds in full lay on the carrier. Even these precautions fail to satisfy my road appetite, so that I gaze at plump flappers with a cannibalistic gleam in my hungry eye.”
“WE UNDERSTAND THAT A NUMBER of British motor cycle firms are angling in four-cylinder waters. Several have models on paper only, but one or two have experimental machines on the road. Who will be the first boldly to acknowledge their conversion to this fascinating type? More than one of them have stated that, for sidecar work, the four-cylinder is it.”
THE NORTH CHINA MC WAS set up in Tientsin with a branch in Pekin. “The distance from Pekin to Tientsin is about eighty miles over dead flat country, and proposals are abroad with regard to making a main road between the two places, in the event of which the club will erect a half-way clubhouse for the use of members.”
“THE PATENT OFFICE has long been a convenient butt for any abuse that might have been in need of a home, but we wonder how many readers are aware that this long-suffering institution dates from so distant a date as 1627?”
“A CORRESPONDENCE: A QUEER QUERY anent the Reality or Fiction of the Personality of that Mysterious Walking (?) Encyclopaedia ‘Ixion’. From AR Eader, Castroll Lodge, Revden, Hants. Dear Ixion, ‘—In June, 1914, I made a bet with a pal that ‘Ixion’ does exist, and that he is not a masculine Mrs ‘Arris. My friend alleged that whenever any member of The Motor Cycle staff had a few minutes to spare, or a brain wave (don’t blush), he dashed off something which appeared under the general heading of ‘Comments’. I, on the other hand, affirmed the existence of a genuine ‘Ixion’, and further deduced from his articles that he was now of middle age, came from Tipperary (or at any rate was of Irish extraction), and that after a somewhat lurid youth was now respectably staid, and married. He has a family, including a son, who, when father is safely at the office, bags the latter’s pet 5hp single gear solo twin. ‘Ixion’ objects to 3½hp sidecar outfits, as Mrs Ix is in the heavyweight class. Well, the loser was to clean the winner’s machine, and we were both allowing our mounts to get into a suitable condition when Potsdam Bill thought it was time to begin enlarging his dominions. My friend, alas, will ride no more—unless Elysium has its roads—or I should have written before, and claimed the bet. Still, it has been intriguing me for some time, and an assurance that ‘Ixion’ is a real person would greatly oblige. I think, too, you are still a little fond of strong waters, after which you sometimes have deplorable lapses.
Yours truly AR EADER’
From ‘Ixion’: Dear Sir,—I have tried to duplicate your effort in literary analysis, but I fear with no very great success, partly ascribable to the fact that no heavy stakes spur my effort. At first I decided from evidences of intense curiosity in your letter that you were a female DR. But anon, from your free treatment of the text under discussion I judged you to be a Broad Church parson, masquerading under a pseudonym. Finally, I decided to respect your evident desire for privacy, and to avoid prying into your hideous past and doubtless equally repulsive present. As a matter of fact, you were a good deal nearer the mark than your friend—peace to his ashes: but here and there you allow yourself to make a false deduction. For example, my detestation of sidecars applies equally to the 7-9hp variety. In return for these sacred confidences I implore you to tell me where one may now procure those strong waters you speak of: I have been unable so much as to smell them these many moons past.
Yours faithfully, ‘Ixion’.”
“MANY READERS WILL REMEMBER that some time ago there was a craze among a certain type of motor cyclist for using various materials to doctor the contents of the fuel tank, the main result claimed being increased mpg. Now the disease has broken out in New Zealand, and wonderful results are alleged to follow from the adulteration of petrol with a small quantity of a patent liquid.” [This is an early use of the abbreviation ‘mpg’ for ‘miles per gallon’; ‘mph’ coming into common use for ‘miles per hour’ as was ‘rpm’ for ‘revs per minute’].
“A GRATEFUL SOLDIER: A reader of The Motor Cycle who is attached to the Headquarters Workshops of a Siege Park in France has written a letter to the Commandant of the Motor Transport Volunteers in the following terms: ‘In a recent copy of The Motor Cycle I see you are asking for volunteers to drive soldiers on leave between the various London termini. On the various occasions that I have been on leave the MTV transport has been of great assistance. I expect to be home again in a short time, and will gladly give up two nights to help you…I have had considerable experience out here, also at home, on road and track, so do not mind what vehicle you put me on. Also I know London very well. Your service is of great help to Tommy in his Journeys across Town. More power to your wheels!’ The writer is Donald S Parsons, well known to many of our readers as a member of the Essex Motor Club and of the Motor Cycling Club.
“RECORD ATTEMPTS AT EASTER: Harry Martin, who is now on the aircraft staff of Messrs H Collier and Sons, will be riding on Herne Hill Track on Good Friday, at the request of the SCCU, at the meeting held for military charities (nominated by the War Office). He will make attempts on the five miles and one mile track records. Harry Martin, who is fifty-two years of age, is well known to our readers as one of our oldest racing motor cyclists…In view of the rareness of motor cycle competitions—none has been held for nearly three years—the events should be interesting.” In the event Martin, riding a 3½hp ohv Matchless cut the flying start mile record from 1min 19.8sec to 1 min 12.2sec, equating to nearly 50mph. He also cut his own five-mile record from 6min 56.2sec to 6min 31sec.
“THE TRUTH ABOUT AMERICAN machines is rather difficult to ascertain,” Ixion wrote. “I have never been a big twin enthusiast, partly because I eschew sidecars, and partly because my mechanical conscience informs me that I can get the same speeds out of a crack 3½hp if I keep it properly tuned. But a few years ago various people whom I respected thoroughly rubbed the merits of the American into me, and at last I fell from grace and purchased a sample. I countered immediate and interminable trouble. The twiddly bits strewed the road. The wheel bearings dissolved. The carburetter needle wore like a soft pencil, and after three months, or rather less, the London concessionnaire returned my cheque, and indignantly vowed that he would secure a gold medal in the Six Days with my discarded ‘bus, though when it came to the point he did not even enter it. I swore off Americans for some time, until a leading rider and I fell to discussing the extreme discomfort of the average British machine of that date, with its rigid frame, harsh drive, and thumpy, one-lung engine. We agreed to try a pair of imported V twins. He got his first, and a month later paid a special call to release me from my share of the bargain; he stated that his ’bus ran like a dream, but that he was inventing a magnetic broom, which should trail behind his rear wheel and salve the small pieces which fell off.”
“A COMPARISON OF LONG AND SHORT STROKE SINGLES shows little structural difference externally. Internally the principal difference is, of course, the long stroke engine’s narrow cylinder bore and light reciprocating parts…let us consider the various attributes that we consider desirable in our machines. Easy starting: The longer ‘induction effort’ of the long stroke engine results in a very easy start. ‘Gumming up’ in cold weather—that bugbear of the average single—I have yet to experience in a long stroke engine. Cool running: In practice the long stroke engine scores decisively, and will continue to do so until the theoretical day dawns when our cylinders and pistons are made of non-heat-conducting material. The longer piston travel and relatively slower revolution rate all tend to a better heat dissipation. Economy of Fuel and Oil: On benzole the economical running of the long stroke engine is simply wonderful, as this engine is able to utilise to the full the slower rate of flame propagation of this fuel. The driving effort of a long stroke engine on good benzole must be nearly akin to the elastic push of a steam engine…In petrol economy we have the phenomenal record of 320 miles per gallon by the 64x77mm twin James in a Sutton Coldfield Club trial of a few years ago…In the 3½-4hp class, whilst the ‘square’ engine is content with a consumption of from 70-100 miles per gallon solo riding, the 3½hp long stroke engine consistently gives from 90-150 miles per gallon under similar riding conditions. Speed and power: Long stroke engines almost dominate the record list. Twenty-one world’s class records stand to the credit of the pioneer long stroke Norton. Amongst the smaller engines we have had the famous long stroke Levis two-stroke, of under 200cc, that attained the wonderful speed of fifty miles per hour—a record speed for any two-stroke engine up to 350cc capacity. In this class also the little OK Junior, with its long stroke engine, has made its mark…The 500cc class sees virtually four machines which can be classed as the world’s fastest 3½hps, Norton, ABC, Motosacoche, and Triumph…Three of them are long stroke engines…the ABC, the solitary short stroke representative, is a redoubtable opponent, and will require watching.”
APROPOS RIDING POSITION AND TALL RIDERS, we had, recently, a chat with the works manager of a well-known firm on this matter. He acknowledged that their own machines were sinners in respect of discomfort to the tall rider, although we know of many worse. He assured us that their designers had expended considerable time on this point, with, only an unsatisfactory compromise as a result. He claimed that it should be possible to construct a system of adjustable footboards, handle-bars and saddle, so as to suit any rider to perfection, and he hoped before long that his firm would be able to make a distinct advance in the right direction. Without doubt this subject requires very serious attention by all designers, to prevent that weariness at the end of a long ride so well known to long-legged riders.”
“FUEL FROM SOUTH AFRICA: We are informed that an old whisky distillery at Hetherly (Transvaal) is being converted into a motor spirit producing plant.”
“A NEW IGNITION: A speaker at a recent meeting of a Graduates’ Section of the Institution of Automobile Engineers explained a new system of ignition which may be used in post-war racing machines. We are not permitted to give further particulars, excepting that a spark ‘right across the cylinder’ is possible.”
“LOCAL ‘FASHIONS’: WE HAVE HEARD of a case where a certain motor cycle remained on the hands of a colonial agent for over twelve months, merely on account of the shape of the handle-bars, which illustrates the necessity for our manufacturers thoroughly to understand local likes and dislikes, as well as the conditions under which their machines will be used.”
“DEATH OF A WELL-KNOWN American Motor Cyclist: We regret to learn that Alan T Bedell, who was learning flying in America, died recently after suffering from measles followed by pneumonia. He broke the American motor cycle record last March, on which occasion he covered 1,153.5 miles on a Harley-Davidson in twenty-four hours at Ascott Track, Los Angeles, and a few months later broke the coast-to-coast record on a Henderson, covering the 3,296 miles in 7 days 16hr 16min. Bedell was held in high esteem by all who knew him as being a thorough sportsman. His death will be a great loss to the American motor cycle world.”
“A CORRESPONDENT WROTE TO THE MOTOR CYCLE recently asking if it were, not possible for him to obtain a driving certificate which would show that he was capable of driving a motor bicycle and had some knowledge of the theory of its working. The reason for this was that he had applied at a recruiting office to be enrolled as a despatch rider, and the officer in charge told him that he would do his best to put his case forward, provided he could bring some proof that he was a capable driver and had a good knowledge of motor bicycles. We were reluctantly compelled to tell him that no such certificate existed. The car driver has no difficulties in this respect. There is the RAC driving certificate, the examinations for which are extremely popular at the present time. The Royal Automobile Club is doing very useful work in holding these examinations daily. All sorts and conditions of both men and women go in for them. The examinations are, divided into classes, for the first, second, third, and owner-driver certificates, the difficulty of the test being in proportion to the type of certificate for which the candidate enters. The examinations consist of a short but stiff driving examination, and for the first and second-class certificates a technical paper has to be passed. it should not be beyond the powers of the Auto Cycle Union to institute something rather similar for motor cyclists.”
FOLLOWING A 34-MONTH, 10,000-miles test on a sidecar outfit a Lucas dynamo lighting kit was said to have performed faultlessly. The dynamo had been stripped, inspected and lubricated periodically with no signs of wear; the switchgear, bulbs and wiring had needed no attention. The 17Ah battery was also in perfect condition, which was attributed to being maintained in a fully charged condition. “Further, the rates of charge and discharge are never permitted to exceed values at which the plates would tend to buckle and disintegrate. These latter effects are a frequent source of poor performance in batteries fitted to self-starting sets on cars where discharges at a very heavy rate often occur.” The dynamo drive chain had suffered from broken rollers and was worn out within 2,000 miles. “In later models of the motor cycle concerned a Whittle belt drive has been adopted, and, judging from the results obtained on car installations, this type of drive should he expected to prove very satisfactory…The dynamo lighting svstem for motor cycles undoubtedly has come to stay, and, when well designed and constructed, it gives service in lighting, convenience and life second to no other system.”
“GASOLINE AND GAS IN AMERICA. We have several times in these pages chaffed our American cousins for calling petrol ‘gasoline’ for short. Gasoline is obviously much too long a word in the land of abbreviations, so they usually speak of it as ‘gas’, with what con fusion can be judged from,the paragraph given below, which was taken from an American journal: ‘Whether gasoline is gas or ‘gas’ is to be decided in the courts of Pennsylvania, and may from there go to the United States Supreme Court. According to the United Natural Gas Co, gasoline is gas, and when it is removed from natural gas, to make it ‘gas’, the removal deprives the buyer of the natural gas of gas that he has ordered and will in due time pay for. The Alum Rock Gas Co, of Franklin, Pa, which has been selling ‘gas’-less gas to the United Co, says that gasoline is ‘gas’, not gas, and that it does not intend to furnish both gas and ‘gas’ when its contract calls for only gas. Since the suit concerns the ownership of the ‘gas’ in gas, and is the first of its kind, it will be pushed to a complete adjudication.’ Now we know all about it.”
“IN ONE LITTLE CORNER OF THE LOWLANDS, prior to the war, every machine one saw was a P&M. According to this little group of riders the P&M was the only motor cycle with any workmanship about it, the only machine of decent design, the only mount worthy of a practical engineer and a gentleman. Personally, I appreciated the sterling qualities of the make, but after a few weeks in that district I began to loathe the P&Ms. Every few months I made a point of turning up on a. 2¾hp works tuned Sunbeam, or AJS, or Douglas, taking on the best P&Ms of the neighbourhood, and beating them hollow. No matter. The P&M remained superlative, and when, on one occasion, my brother and I turned up respectively on a Scott and a four-cylinder FN we were simply scorned and jeered at as trouble seekers and experimentalists. I thought we should be mobbed, and the amusing part of the whole business was that not one of those dictatorial Scots had ever ridden anything but a P&M! One comes across a similar type of Triumph enthusiast. Everyone admits that the Triumph is a good machine and a splendid job, but—ye gods!—it is not the only motor cycle on earth! Changes are pending, and the old conservative brotherhood will do well to widen their outlook and give the new ideas a chance.”
“MOTOR CYCLES AND MORALS: We have always held that motor cycle riding as a pastie is good for both mind and body, consequently we are extremely gratified to read a letter from an American lady to the Federation Of American Motor Cyclists secretary concerning her son, who is in the US Army. ‘His lieutenant,’ she writes, ‘told us that our boy goes straight, leads a good life…We gave him a good motor cycle and kept him out in the open, encouraging him to ride in the holidays. It kept him from hanging around town and away from bad company. If we had the means we would furnish every ‘wild boy’ with a motor cycle, and send him out to ride every time he was idle.’”
“USE OF COAL GAS: In view of several recent prosecutions for the illegal use of coal gas, it may be as well to remind readers that this substitute now comes under exactly the same restrictions as petrol. There is certainly the minor difference that if a permit can, be obtained for the use of a motor vehicle the amount of gas that is used is not restricted, but the permit for using the machine is just as iiecessary if the machine is to be run on coal gas as if it is to be run on petrol.”
“MOTOR CYCLING IN HOLLAND: The Dutch Army has many motor cycles, including Douglas (English), Excelsior (USA), Eysink (Dutch), Harley-Davidson (USA) and Simplex (Dutch).”
“A HOOD AND SCREEN is the latest gadget on a motor cycle. The crossing of Salisbury Plain in a gale during a London-Exeter trial will now lose its terror (!).”
“SIR,—I HAVE OFTEN WONDERED why there are so few really efficient front wheel brakes fitted to machines. Even on a first-class motor cycle a bad front wheel brake is often to be found. For instance, on my own mount (a well-known make) there is fitted a rim brake, cycle fashion, which has proved to be useless. Not that I have often had occasion to use it. When I first bought the machine, new, the brake was set so that it did not come within half an inch of the rim, and even after careful adjustment it barely touched the rim, much less stopped the machine in emergencies. Also on heavier sidecar combinations poor front brakes are found. Is this not a question which needs more attention both by manufacturers and designers?
“IN THE UNITED KINGDOM the motoring registration during the war have steadily declined. In the United States the reverse has happened. During 1917, which was America’s first year of the war, there was an increase of 1,396,324 cars and motor cycles over 1916. The total registration in the United States on January 1st, 1918, was 5,000,000, which means that there is one motor vehicle to every 20 people in the country. Two years ago there was one for every 40 people. In the British Isles the pre-war ratio was one motor for every 100 people.”
“ONE OF THE GREATST PROBLEMS to be faced when motor cycling becomes normal again is the question of garaging. Already little groups of motorists in the provinces are making plans to build co-operative garages in which to store and repair their macliines.”
“THOSE MOTOR CYCLISTS WHO DENOUNCE high road speeds wholesale are probably men whose hours on the road are so limited that every moment in the saddle is a joy to them,” Ixion suggested. “Let them extend their sympathy to riders like myself, whose mileage perhaps approaches a quarter of a million. Much as we all love our tight little island, no sane man can deny that considerable patches of its road system are exceedingly dull. At first acquaintance, plus the stimulation of an unwonted ride, it is possible to jog slowly over such stretches, and to enjoy the experience. But when one traverses them for the umpteenth time, they become a bore. These duller patches are often comparatively open and empty of traffic. I know many of them over which a cautious rider can maintain an average very considerably in excess of legal limit for hours together, without endangering himself or anybody else. On such rides experienced men naturally open the throttle, and most of us do a bit of road burning. It does not follow that we are soulless maniacs. Put us in a Devon lane, or on Dartmoor, or round Whitby, or in the Lakes, and we jog along at a miserable potter, with our eyes right off the road.”
“COMING EVENTS ARE FORECASTED in the patent files, and, while thousands of inventions are patented and then forgotten, when a large concern such as the Raleigh Cycle Co patents designs for flat twin engines and four-speed gear boxes one may deduce that this firm is interested in motor cycles. There is no oubt that a motor cycle by the famous Nottingham concern will create a great deal of attention both in the trade and among riders generally, and one may say that the re-entry of a Raleigh ito the world of motor cycles would be welcomed, especially at a time when appears that several makes, more or less well known before the war, may be absent when the peace models come to be scheduled in a buyers’ guide.” However, within a week…”Sir,—With reference to the prediction that Raleigh will market a post-war motor bicycle with flat twin engine and four-speed gear, we should like to point out that we have no intention of doing this. It is true that we have patented a four-speed gear box, but any motor bicycle we put on the market will incorporate the Sturmey-Archer three-speed countershaft gear, which has been so well proven on despatch riders’ machines during the war.
THE RALEIGH CYCLE CO,
Harold Bowden, Managing Director.
“A HARLEY MYSTERY: Who is the driver of a Harley side-carrier outfit to be seen daily in South London who wears a civvy pre-war Brooklands outfit and a silver badge? His identity is concealed by a brown leather helmet and goggles. A policeman at a point crossing held up the traffic on his approach, and gravely saluted the rider, who returned it. What are the contents of the sidecarrier? Who is the rider? A former famous despatch rider’s name is mentioned. He is attracting attention at places as far as Woolwich and Bromley, besides the City and West End, and his skill in handling the mount is commented upon.”
“THE FEDERATION OF AMERICAN Motor Cyclists is in the United States what the Auto Cycle Union is in this country. We learn, certainly with some surprise, that Canadian motor cyclists are anxious to ally themselves to the FAM. This seems a curious idea, because, however efficient a body the FAM may be, we should imagine that Canadian motor cyclists were quite capable of organising their own governing body, and so be independent of control by a body belonging to another nation, however good the feelings between the sister countries may be.”
“A LEADING MANUFACTURER informed me the other day that he would have scrapped side-by-side valves years ago, but for the fact that the average buyer will have nothing to do with ohv. I was amazed to learn that such a prejudice exists. It is certainly non-existent in sporting circles, and it is not easy to account for its prevalence amongst the potterers. Presumably they have been frightened by ancient tales of broken valves smashing the piston. The maker in question was rather dubious about his post-war design, considering that the prejudice against ohv, of which he spoke quite dogmatically, would still be invincible. It is quite probable that any firms who cling to the side-by-side valve will ‘crab’ the ohv to the best of their ability and repeat or invent tales of its dangers in bygone days. Nevertheless, it should be perfectly safe to plunge on ohv. Broken valves must be the sole root of the suspicion which used to exist, and broken valves have been few and far between of late years. If makers will be conscientious for a year or two, and avoid using cheap and unsuitable steels, this silly prejudice will die a natural death.”
“IT MAY NOT BE GENERALLY known that a large number of Triumph two-stroke lightweights are in use by His Majesty’s Services Overseas.”
“WHAT’S IN A NAME? American motor cyclists appear to enjoy the distinction of being a race apart if their names stand for anything. ‘Bud’, ‘Tad’, ‘Ed’, ‘Rube’, ‘Art’, ‘Jake’, and ‘Van’ are only a few of the many peculiar curtailed names they adopt.”
THE LEAVE BOAT LANDED ME AT ———— on the day on which motoring for pleasure was forbidden; but ten days’ leave to England render one a little reckless, and it took me some two seconds to decide that I would ride my old Triumph and chance it. Petrol, that mystic and forbidden liquid, had lain hidden in my shed for two long years—petrol, not of that paraffinish, Government variety, but of the good old No1 Shell brand. The bicycle I discovered to be a dust-covered patchy affair of rust and Vaseline. The jet had choked itself in the twelve months that had elapsed since my last leave, and the rocker arm of the magneto was stuck permanently open. But the engine would go round, and the tyres were in fair condition. A few minutes’ attention to the magneto and carburetter, a little Pears soap on an old leak in the tank, a gallon of petrol, a pint of oil—and the machine was ready for the road. My first run finished at a garage in Birmingham, where I left the old bicycle until the end of the evening. Emerging from a second-house music hall, I sought in vain for a restaurant where I could get some coffee; but, cold and defeated, I decided to go home on a tram rather than skid through the November fog on a smooth-tyred, single-geared motor bicycle. So I reached the tram terminus ten seconds after the last tram had left it. Taxis seemed non-existent, and had they been in evidence their drivers would probably have refused to take me the distance. A five-mile walk seemed almost more disagreeable than a five-mile ‘mud-plug’ so I went off to the garage and devoted half-an-hour to my ancient lamp. This finally responded to efforts by bursting into a flame which blew out the glass and cracked the reflector; but by this time I was too disgusted to worry, so I shoved the machine from the garage and ploughed off through the filmy darkness. For a mile or so my journey was without incident, if one excepts a few skids in avoiding late theatre-goers and others with a desire for suicide. The engine chugged along well, and the lamp, pointing, like Agnes Wickfield [a David Copperfield reference, dear reader; these were literary times], sweetly skywards, gave a fair imitation of a ‘miniature mobile searchlight’. This glare on the fog cut off my vision, and made steering rather difficult, but by leaning well over to the right and tilting my head a bit further I managed to get a restricted view. Presently I noticed a red glimmer some twenty yards away to the right, and as I drew nearer I saw that it was a small red lamp. Suddenly it began to bob up and down, and a second later came leaping across the road towards me. Fog, we are told, may penetrate the brain; in this case, at any rate, I had a fleeting vision of a crash as I swerved violently away from the little red light. It was not until I was recovering (with much foot assistance) from my skids that I remembered the Birmingham custom. For, since the darkness of the streets, the learned councillors
of Birmingham have supplied the police force with little red electric lamps, set like an apple on a hat-pin above the helmets of the traffic controllers. ‘Now then! Wotcher—‘ was all that I heard from the sound-box under the lamp before the Triumph had borne me out of earshot; and, being once passed and lost in a world of fog, I felt little disposed to go back and see if he wanted to borrow a match. Policemen at all times are no men to consort with, and a single-geared 3½hp is not pleasant to start on a slippery gradient. Ten minutes after the incident I had pushed the machine into its garage, where I noticed that the tail lamp had gone out. Next day I looked over the machine and thought carelessly of the night before. I remembered the little red lamp—and the incident made me smile. Then I thought again, and saw in it a more serious light. Supposing the ‘arm of the law’ had shouted me to stop? Supposing, after all, he had not wanted to borrow a match to light his—er—slide lantern? What if he had imagined I was driving to the danger of the public? Policemen’s imaginations were, as I knew to my cost, of a most remarkable and elastic nature. If he had ordered me to stop—and in my pessimistic mood I would not give myself the benefit of the doubt—I had committed a ‘crime’. I laughed and told myself I should be back in France. I felt the front brake, thought of the extinguished tail lamp, remembered the petrol licence—and fled into the house for a sheet of paper.
The First Step in a Career of Crime.
Hurriedly I enumerated my crimes and shivered to myself as I thought of them. I had started, twenty-four hours before, on a harmless motor cycle run of some twenty miles in length. I had finished it and had slept, as I thought, the sleep of a just and weary man. Now in the cold, clear daylight I realised my ‘frightfulness’. Here is the list of my misdeeds: (1) Driving to the danger of the public; (2) Disregarding the policeman’s signals; (3) Carrying a head lamp which could be swivelled up and down; (4) Riding with number plates not illuminated (head lamp pointed at sky); (5) Riding with number plates which, even if illuminated, were quite illegible; (6) Riding with number plates which, even if illuminated and legible, were fictitious; (7) Carrying too powerful a head light; (8) Carrying no rear light; (9) Driving a motor cycle fitted with a silencer cut-out; (10) Driving a motor cycle without an instrument (except the engine!) capable of giving ‘audible warning of approach’; (11) Driving without any sort of licence to obtain petrol; (12) Driving for ‘pleasure’ after prohibiting law; (13) Not being in possession of an Inland Revenue licence; (14) Carrying no licence to drive any sort of motor vehicle at all! (old licence had expired two years ago!); (15) Driving a motor cycle not fitted with two independent brakes. Having enumerated the offences I placed them in two classes: Class A—Offences under the Motor Car Act, Nos 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, and 15. Class B—Offences under the Defence of the Realm Act, Nos 3, 7, 11, and 12.
A Fugitive from Justice.
I now observed myself to be a criminal of the most hardened and pronounced type. Even a hurried return to the zone of hostilities could scarcely save me from fifteen different offences committed at the same moment—four of which offences came under that most stringent of all Acts, the Defence of the Realm. The Passchendaele Ridge was no health resort, but its dangers seemed slight to those of the police court and the dock. But there was one saving point: I had not been caught. I returned to the shed, locked the doors, and threw away the key. Then I felt that I was fairly safe, but I was interested in the matter, so I settled once more to my slip of paper and worked out, very roughly, the maximum penalty. (Natural modesty—and a sneaking fear—prevented me from going to the local police and discovering from them the accurate greatest fines or terms of imprisonment which could be imposed by a stern judge or magistrate.)
‘Driving to the danger of the public’ might be rewarded by a £50 fine or several months’ imprisonment. Disregarding the policeman’s signals might be taken as a terrible offence, and met by a similar punishment. The number plate offences were not so serious—except the last, which I had read in the papers once cost a cycle repairer twenty pounds. Nos 8 and 10 were comparatively slight affairs, but in respect of a silencer cut-out I had already suffered twice. Nos 13, 14, and 15 might between them run to about £100 fine or a year’s imprisonment.
Safe at Last!
Then I turned to Class B, and as I thought of the possibilities in that direction ‘the sweat poured down my brow’ (as the novelists would say). Carrying too powerful a head light—and a swivel one at that—was an offence which could only be connected with German spies and aeroplanes, and the penalty might be ‘death or some such lesser punishment as is hereinafter mentioned’. Here I fainted (almost). The last two offences, for which I might reasonably have been prosecuted, could scarcely have cost me more than £100 or a year’s prison, and they therefore seemed trivial to those which I had already committed. The total amounted to some few thousand pounds in fines, about thirty years’ hard labour, or, in atonement for all, death!
* * * * * * * * * * *
A few days later I was back in London with my ten days’ leave near its end. The horror of the police had gradually left me, and as I walked about Piccadilly I was filled with a vast contempt for their trivial authority. Smoking a cigarette, I crossed the street boldly and swung my cane perilously near an immovable limb of the force. Then I ran into an APM, who wanted to know (1) why my shirt and collar were nearly white, (2) why I was wearing shoes instead of boots, and (3) my name, address, and unit? Truly are the police like the poor, for in some form or other they are ever with us! But, thank heaven, I am now back in the Line, and can write this and think over my misdeeds in safety and peace. GD
“ON THIS PAGE WE ILLUSTRATE America’s latest effort to produce a lightweight motor cycle, and, to the English eye, the result is a hybrid. It is known as the Haussman weighs 110lb, and consists of a Smith engine built into a 24in rear wheel with ¼in steel spokes. The spokes are ‘off-centred’ so that the weight of the power unit is carried in the centre of the wheel. It will be noted that the frame is of peculiar construction; but, to our eye, does not justify the American description as following ‘graceful, motor cycle-type lines’. A free engine clutch, hand-operated, provides an absolutely free wheel, and it is said that the machine can be pedalled almost as easily as a bicycle. The makers are Messrs the Haussman Power Bicycle Corporation, of Milwaukee, USA.”
IN 1914 BRITAIN PRODUCED about 100 magnetos a week; the vast majority of motor cycles that boasted magneto ignition (estimated by The Motor Cycle “as nine hundred and ninety-nine out of every thousand”) came from Stuttgart and carried the name Bosch. But four years later The Motor Cycle announced, with lashings of smug: “For several years before the war this journal urged that more magnetos should be made in this country. The necessity for this was made manifest when war broke out. It was poor consolation for us to be able to say, ‘We told you so.’ It is far greater pleasure for us to note the magnitude of the British magneto industry now so firmly established. This new industry has filled the gap which threatened to handicap our forces in the field. It has done more. The British magneto of to-day is a far superior instrument to the pre-war product from Stuttgart…The theory of Bosch infallibility has been exploded…There are over twenty models standardised for motor cycles. These include four makes of magneto for single-cylinder lightweights, three for small flat twins, one for small V twins, five for medium-powered singles, two for large flat twins, two for large V twins, and one for small four-cylinder engines…war has shown that the principle of co-operative action on the part of makers—exchange of ideas and discoveries among the best electrical brains in the country—has far greater value than for each individual to plough his lonely furrow.”
“CHIEF OF THE PENGUINS: Miss Violet Douglas-Pennant, sister of Lord Penrhyn, has been appointed commandant of the Women’s Royal Air Force.” [Women in the RFC were known as penguin’ because they wore the wings of the RAF but did not fly.]
“A BSA sidecar and a machine gun outfit which took part in A recent Tank procession. The drivers in both photographs are lady employees of the BSA Company.”
“DESERTED ROADS: During a cycle ride of over 80 miles at the week-end on Midland roads, one of our staff saw only three cars and not a single motor cycle.”
“THERE IS NO SURER SIGN that the petrol shortage is genuine than the fact that American clubs are holding consumption trials. A few years ago the American motor cyclist troubled little whether his machine consumed a gallon every 40 or every 30 miles.” At a “conservation trial” in Toledo, Ohio an Excelsior combo did 76mpg; a solo Harley won its class with 112.4mpg. At a trial in Cleveland, Ohio what was claimed to be a standard Indian returned an unprecedented 180mpg—the first seven competitors all averaged better than 100mpg, The big twins consistently proved thriftier than the lightweights. In all 25 clubs staged consumption trials. The averages were: heavyweight solos, 94.7mpg (ranging from 61.2-180mpg); heavyweight sidecars, 76.4mpg (ranging from 49.6- 98.8mpg); lightweights, 98.2mpg (very few lightweights entered).
“FROM A NORWEGIAN SOURCE comes a description of a motor cycle driven bv electricity, which has been invented by Johannes Bjorge, of Christiania, Norway. We are in some doubt as to whether it is a completely designed electric cycle or an ordinary American motor cycle conyerted for the purpose. It appears to be the usual type of frame for a four-cylinder engine with accumulators in place of the engine unit, and an electric motor mounted in place of the usual countershaft gear box driving the back wheel direct bv a chain. The elliptical box in place of the tank contains the controllers and regulating devices. A trial demonstration was recently given before a number of Norwegian motor cvcle representatives, and their reports are favourable. The weight is about the same as that of an ordinary motor cycle. There is said to be sufficient power in the storage battery fitted for about forty-five miles riding, but the inventor is at work on a specially-constructed battery, which he hopes will give a range of seventy-five miles without recharging. The maximum speed is about forty miles per hour on the level…A further development upon which the inventor is working is a permanent addition to the machine to facilitate recharging wherever electric current is available…We imagine that many English riders and makers have considered the pros and cons of this method of driving a motor cycle, and possibly have arrived at the decision that the probable result is not worth the expense. The electric motor cycle is still some way ahead in the future. There is no reason why it should not come, but steam may turn out to be a serious opponent.”
“MOTOR CYCLES FOR THE USA ARMY: For carrying on the war, the USA Government has purchased 3,520 passenger automobiles and 6,126 motor cycles. This will clearly show how greatly the motor cvcle is valued by the army of our newest Ally.”
“WHEN WILL SOMEBODY desigin us a really waterproof boot? At this season of the year one may run into some very nasty little storms; but who wants to be encumbered with Hutchinsons? Water creeps into the laceholes, the thin leather of the tongue is soon sodden, you feel an oozing round< your toes, and the next stage is quinine and eucalyptus! Surely it would be possible to design some kind of foot gear which, if kept decently dubbined, would afford adequate protection.”
IXION’S CRYSTAL BALL could be overly optimistic: “When the motor cycle weights of the future are discussed, people always seem to take it for granted that there will be no advance in metallurgy. If I live to be a really old man, I expect to see my grandson straddling a motor bicycle as bulky as those of to-day, and scaling 50% less; in other words, I will venture a prophecy that the i960 edition of the, let us say, Triumph roadster will look as big as the 1917 model, but will not weigh more than 112lb.” If Ixion could have looked forward a 100 years we can only wonder how he would have reacted to a 2018 Triumph Rocket 3: 2,294cc, 146bhp…and 797lb.
“THE SPIRIT OF THE PASTIME: There is more in motor cycling than in most sports and pastimes. Despite the petrol restrictions and the fact that nine-tenths of pre-war motor cyclists are in khaki, the interest in motor cycle design always shown bv our readers is as keen as ever.”
“THE POST-WAR SUN-VITESSE TWO-STROKE: An entirely new lightweight embodying many striking departures from accepted practice. New models are few and far between in these days; there is therefore added interest in the new light-weight which is to form one of the chief items in the after-the-war programme of the Sun Cycle Co of Birmingham. This firm, in conjunction with the makers of the Vitesse engine unit, have gained a reputation for sound work in past years, and their lightweight should give much satisfaction. They have effected a complete re design, and the result is a mount of appearance altogether different from that of the former Sun-Vitesse models. Primarily, it is intended to be produced at a remarkably low figure. One model only is to serve for riders of both sexes, and simplicity throughout is the chief feature…The cylinder is inclined forward at about 27°…the crank case bolts solidly into the frame lugs without bearer plates…The gear box is mounted above the frame with the idea of providing as straight a line of drive as possible from the engine-shaft through the counter-shaft to the back wheel…Such a promising design should certainly form a distinct forward step in the progress and popularity of the post-war two-stroke lightweight.” Before long the Blue ‘Un got its hands on one: “Trials of new motorcycles are not often enjoyed in these days, and what follows cannot be called a description of a trial of a complete machine, but only of an engine, viz, the Sun-Vitesse. This engine is manufactured by the Valveless Two-stroke Engine Co, of 303, Broad Street, Birmingham, and was sent to us for trial by the Sun Cycle and Fittings Co, Aston Brook Street, Birmingham, who have the handling of the Vitesse engines. As the frame to which this engine was fitted for experimental purposes was an old one, we do not propose to discuss it in detail, and it will suffice to say that it was comfortable to ride and possessed a Sturmey- Archer three-speed hub. It is no exaggeration to say that it was without exception the most comfortable and best balanced two-stroke engine that we have ever ridden. At about 25mph the machine would run very pleasantly over country roads. By this we do not mean to imply that 25mph was its top speed, for we exceeded 30mph on many occasions, 33mph being the highest speed noted…we rode up a fairly long hill with a grade of 1 in 12, which is a fair test of a small two-stroke’s capability on top gear at a speed which did not drop below 19mph. On another occasion we took a light passenger up the same hill, using the middle gear for part of the ascent out of kindness to the engine, though we think that the highest gear would have sufficed to complete the climb…The machine was used almost daily in rain or shine, and on one or two wet mornings an advantage of a hub gear on a belt-dnven motor cycle was apparent, for when the wet belt was inclined to slip on a hill a change to middle gear made an immediate improvement, owing to the fact that the belt was then running at a higher speed compared with the speed of the road wheel, and at a lower tension…On the whole, we enjoyed our fortnight’s running on the Sun-Vitesse, and were very soriy to part with the little machine when time time came for us to return it to its makers, for the more we rode it the better we liked it.”
“ENGINE STARTERS. Since the introduction and abandoning of engine starters by the Merkel and Indian makers we have heard very little of ‘press the button’ devices on motor cycles. It may be remembered the Merkel device was an arrangement of springs, while the Indian was electrical…A ‘week-end’ experimenter is working hard perfecting a hydraulic engine starter for motor cycles for which he claims that by turning a tap and sitting upon the saddle the engine will be made to start.”
“CELLULOID FINISH: We have heard of experiments in connection with celluloid covering for the tubing of motor cycle frames. The handle-bars of Rudge machines have been so treated for some years.”
“SLEEVE VALVES? Recently we saw a V twin-engined motor cycle which was as silent as a car. Apparently it was fitted with sleeve valves, but our view from the upper deck of a tramcar did not permit a close examination.”
A GASEOUS UPDATE FROM IXION: “Wild rumours reach the office that an irrepressible motorist, shorn alike of his gas and petrol permits, has invented a retort which brews an uncontrolled gas, consumable in petrol engines. No details are yet to hand, and it is hardly conceivable that any form of the retort should be sufficiently portable for motor cycling purposes. But what a brain, gentlemen! I am perishing to get hold of the recipe, if only that I may annoy my local constabulary until the Petrol Controller takes this fuel also under his paternal wing. I have even lain awake at nights scheming how to house a wood fire in a steam motor bicycle, simply to get my own back on the blue-coated Prussians who beset me when I use my two gallons per month. But a retort to brew uncontrolled gas—why didn’t I think of it?”
…AND, FROM THE SAME SOURCE, a petrol update: “Two gallons a month used to go a long way wuth certain people. A shrewd constable,’ himself a pre-war motor cyclist, reckoned up their apparent mileage, and found their monthly mileage worked out at over 400. If he had been genial and unintelligent, he might not have smelt a rat; but as it was, he reflected sourly that they worked at a Government factory, to which petrol was supplied for official purposes. So, when ‘all the shops were humming, early in the morning, he crept cat-footed in the official garage, and gauged all the fuel tanks, repeating the process towards evening. An ignoramus might have fancied that petrol expands at the rate of 50% during eight hours in a cool shed. Not so our plain, intelligent constable. The Berkeley Street list of permits is now fractionally shorter. Even so, they do these things better in France. What’s the matter with dyeing all official petrol?”
STILL IXION, AND WE’RE BACK TO GAS: “I hear a certain garage habitually uses coal gas for the quick diagnosis of ‘won’t startitis’. A rubber tube connected to the gas-supply is pushed into the air intake of the carburetter. If the engine will then start, the trouble has to do with carburation; if the engine still will not start, it is 100 to 1 on an ignition defect, with a distant mental reservation in favour of valve trouble. A similar method is useful for warming up engines which will not run steadily on war spirit until the cylinder is hot.”
“THE SIDE-BY-SIDE TWIN ENGINE: Excepting those that have the two-stroke type of engine, there are no motor cycles on the market to-day that are fitted with side-by-side two-cylinder engines. Yet this type of power plant offers certain advantages over other types more favoured by motor cycle engineers…Unfortunately, the ‘vertical’ twin has not been sufficiently developed to allow a motor cyclist to judge its merits in comparison with the V and flat twins and singles…The Allon and the Premier twin two-strokes were introduced only just prior to the war, and their debut as marketed machines has been
postponed. However, every rider of a Scott will confirm that, on the point of balance, his vertical twin offers very decided advantages over the V twin…The vertical two-cylinder engine with 180° cranks has several points to recommend it. It is excellently balanced, it is compact—a most important point where motor cycles are concerned—and it can be made more accessible than any other type of engine, excepting the single…Quite a number of motor cycle concerns known to present-day riders have experimented with vertical twins in various forms. The Scott Co, Alldays and Onions, and the Premier Co intro- duced side-by-side two-stroke engines, while the Rudge, Singer, Centaur, Quadrant, LMC, Triumph, and AJ Stevens concerns have made twin vertical four strokes. The Rudge engine was just an adaptation of two 3½hp snigle-cylinder units placed side by side in a motor cycle frame…As far back as 1903 a French racing machine was fitted with a 14hp vertical twin air-cooled engine. In 1904 the Stevens engine was introduced, and also the Werner 4hp engine with cylinders 60x75mm. In 1905 there were the Bercley 5hp 70x80mm engine and the French-made Rochet motor cycle. The Bercley engine appears to have been favourably received by several motor cycle manufacturers, for in 1906 and 1907 the Royal Consort and the Ottaway machines were fitted with it. In 1908 the LMC was introduced, followed by the Moto-Reve in 1909, and the Alcyon in 1911. During 1910
the Centaur Co experimented with a small vertical twin-engined motor cycle, which was a very nice little machine in many ways. The air-cooled cylinders were cast en bloc, and had mechanically operated overhead inlet valves. The bore and stroke were 70x63mm…A side-by-side Levis two-stroke was exhibited at the 1912 Olympia Show. This twin engine was exceptionally neat, the cylinders being 58x66mm, which gave a total capacity of 348cc…it was not marketed owing to the demand for the popular single-cylinder model being more than the output facilities of the Levis works…1913 saw a vertical twin Triumph engine on the road in an experimental form…embodying a worm-driven camshaft across the crank case between the 180° cranks, which carried cams at each end…The Triumph, probably, is the most interesting motor cycle engine of the side-by-side four-stroke type…The, American M-B machine appeared about this time, and also another French production—the Herdtle-Bruneau…should shaft transmission become popular the vertical twin will be more suitable, than either the flat or V types. Much depends also on the development of the two-stroke cycle, as an engine of this type with side-by-side cylinders and 180° cranks is equal to a four-cylinder on points of balance and firing torque. If the two-stroke is eventually made equal in overall efficiency to the four-stroke, the side-by-side engine certainly is a type of the future.”
“GAS COMPANIES AND BENZOLE: By an Order in Council recently published all gas companies are compelled to extract all benzenes from their coal instead of letting them pass into the gas. This means a lowering in the calorific value (or heating and illuminating power) of the gas, but the supply of the raw materials for explosives is at the present time more important than the satisfactory working of gas stoves in houses and works. Will anyone succeed in convincing the Government that the same will be true after the war—with home-produced fuels in lieu of raw materials for explosives?”
“A 540MPH RACING WHEEL: A Gyroscopic Unicycle for which the Inventor makes Some Startling Claims. There is now building in America a remarkable unicycle which has a wheel of 14ft diameter, an aeroplane engine, and a pair of gyroscopes. This, the inventor claims, will be able to travel at the incredible speed of from four to nine miles a minute. The inventor of the gyroscopic motor-driven unicycle, as it is described on the Letters Patent of the United States, is Mr EJ Christie, who has the degree of Master of Science…has constructed a working model, 20 inches diameter, and weighing 60lb. It is driven by an electric motor of one-fifth horse-power and has operated so perfectly that the inventor has no doubt of the equally efficient action of the wheel now building…the man-carrying unicycle will be of 14ft diameter. The motive power is a Heath aeroplane engine of 300hp weighing only 550lb. [Naturally one would expect a high speed from so powerful an engine, but the air resistance would be enormous at the speed suggested. About 150mph would be the absolute limit of the machine—Ed.]”
“SINCE THE LAST OLYMPIA SHOW there have been over 116 spring frame designs reviewed in the pages of The Motor Cycle, from which we may well assume that our campaign in favour of rear springing has borne fruit. Perhaps it would be more correct to use the simile of the blossom and the fruit, as the greater number of the designs referred to is but the former. However, if the ‘fruit’ be in proportion to the ‘blossom’ many post-war machines will have spring frames. In the meantime the rider’s interest in rear springing is keener than ever, while those who are still permitted to use their machines constantly write to us that in their opinion the springing problem is subservient to no other. Among the many firms who are displaying interest in the springing problem, we may mention the maUers of the Royal Enfield, Matchless, Douglas, Royal Ruby, Raleigh, Rex, Veloce, ABC, and Zenith.”
“IT APPEARS TO BE GENERALLY ACCEPTED that the cost of post-war machines will be higher than the pre-war product, if only for the reason that manufacturers will embody additional features in their new models. Before the war buyers were expressing surprise that prices had been on the up-grade for several years. On investigation, however, facts are revealed which explain why a machine, which in 1910 was, say, £47, should be £60 in 1914, and why the post-war model may be £70, even without consideration of the probable increase in cost of materials and labour. The £47 machine of 1910 was a single gear model, consisting of little more than an engine and frame. Then came clutch models, two-speed gears, three-speed gears, kick-starters, chain drive, chain cases, etc. For their post-war machines motor cyclists will expect detachable wheels and spring frames, and all these things cost money. Many riders are clamouring for dynamo lighting, and this will be a standard feature on many machines. There is a distinct indication that several machines will be placed on the market after the war fully equipped with a small and efficient combined dynamo and magneto, as we have already suggested, and if this comes about it would be still more difficult and ridiculous to compare prices of machines so different in important details. And then there is the question of the machine equipped with ordinary fully- fledged dynamo lighting outfit and electric horn, etc.”
“A SHORT TIME AGO we saw on the road a motor cycle which appeared to have a 3½hp single-cylinder engine and a small two-stroke, placed tandemwise. They appeared to be connected to the back wheel independently, and both were working.”
“THE CHANNEL TUNNEL AGAIN: Apparently a trip to the Continent after the war will be a much more enticing proposition if the Channel Tunnel scheme, voted on last week by the International Parliamentary Commercial Conference, becomes iin fait accompli. The advantage to motor cyclists is obvious.”
“A SERGEANT IN THE AMERICAN ARMY gives an interesting insight into the life in a motor cycle repair shop in France…’We made hybrid Harlindians by putting Harley-Davidson forks, handle-bars, and controls on Indians, made Indian front springs out of Harley-Davidson sidecar springs, put Harley-Davidson sidecars on Indians, and Indian rear wheels on Indian sidecar chassis…’ He points out that most of the smashes are due to inexperienced drivers, and not to any wear or faults in the machines. Most of these seem to be due to the rider’s driving too fast. ‘What becomes of the riders,’ he says, ‘I don’t know, and I don’t wish to see one. They make such complete wrecks of the machines.’
“WE ARE NOW ABLE TO GIVE the first English description of the twin Bianchi—a product of the famous car manufacturing firm. The general soundness of the design is at once evident…and with the single exception of the back wheel rim brake there, is little in the general design different from standard English practice. This brake is, however, a temporary measure and only an auxiliary, the main back wheel brake being of the internal expanding type. The engine is the famous MAG though after the war the makers of the machine intend to build an engine of their own. The spring forks are somewhat unusual in design, and it is on this account that both brakes have to be fitted to the back wheel, as the front fork will not allow of the fitting of a brake on to the front wheel…The machine has all the latest English features incorporated, such as detachable and interchangeable wheels, chain transmission through a three-speed countershaft gear box, and the clutch in recent models hand-controlled. The sidecar is of very pleasing appearance, and, besides being roomy and comfortable and having a rear locker for tools and spares, it also carries above this a spare petrol tank…If further Italian productions maintain the standard that appears to be set by this one, we shall look forward with real interest to developments, and especially to a new Italian fiat twin model.”
“THERMAL EFFICIENCY: IF WE COULD ONLY use half the ‘power’ that theory tells us we waste in known methods of using petrol in internal combustion engines, our engines would be very much smaller and our petrol mileage considerably greater.”
“Sidecars: There are one or two ‘experimental’ designs in sidecars running about in the Midlands. The works manager of the Triumph Co uses a particularly taking sidecar. Finality has not yet been reached in the coach-built variety.”
“PETROL FOR HUNS: THE BIRMINGHAM and District Committee of the Workers’ Union has sent to the Prime Minister and [cabinet minister] Mr Barnes a resolution protesting against the use of petrol for conveying German prisoners about the city when many of our men returning from the Front are obliged to wait at the stations from midnight till 5am before getting to their homes. Up to Christmas a number of motor owners drove home soldiers arriving on leave late at night, but petrol permits were then withheld and the work stopped. In spite of the appeals of the Lord Mayor and others permits are still unobtainable.”
NO NEW OR USED motor cycles could be sold in Switzerland without a government permit.
“AT THE RISK OF GETTING LYNCHED by a mob of justly exasperated readers,” Ixion wrote, “I will modestly remark that I am one of perhaps a hundred motor cyclists—hardly more—who know what genuine riding c- fort is. To taste its bliss you must possess four essentials, viz (1) a really efficient spring fork, (2) a really efficient rear springing, (3) a practically vibrationless engine, and (4) a first-rate saddle. Moreover, these four essentials must be combined in a single machine. I am one of the very few lucky riders who own such a specification, and, frankly, it puts one out of conceit with the ordinary stuff, and transforms the whole atmosphere of a ride. We are none of us so ‘nesh’ as we used to be, to quote a homely north- country expression: but neither the war nor anything else can make us put up with unnecessary discomfort; and comfort is a point of vital selling importance to which few British manufacturers have given adequate attention. The average first-class Yank usually has the average first-class Britisher ‘whacked to the wide’ in this respect.”
“THE METAL ROADS OF THE FUTURE, projected from time to time, are in a fair way to being anticipated by Whitehall. In the low evening light the whole road surface gleams with etceteras which have been decanted by passing ‘buses and taxicabs. Bedded- deep in the wood surface and polished brightly are nuts (square and hexagonal), spring washers, wood screws, and bolts, the whole road speckled with these unconsidered trifles. And they do not seem to be missed.”
“IT IS RUMOURED THAT GERMANY has produced a practically vibrationless Diesel engine which weighs only 54lb per hp, the fuel being paraffin.”
“THE RECENT TORRENTIAL RAINS caught hundreds of lady DRs napping,” Ixion observed. “It was pitiful to see a neat pair of khaki silk stockings after a flying trip at the bar of a sidecar down a London thoroughfare all abrim with liquid filth. As the weather stiffens up for the autumn I expect most of these dainty war-time chauffeuses will learn to despise appearances, and don Hutchinson waders or oilskin leggings. But their smiles never came off, even when their trim ankles had vanished under clotted alluvial deposits. After the war motor cycles are going to sell to the fair sex in increasing quantities. All the ‘army learnt’ lady drivers will want to motor, and comparatively few of them will run to cars. Now I notice that the girl riders do not seem to care for their kick-starters. Perhaps one of them will explain the reason. I merely observe that in nine cases out of ten the khaki-clad damsels start their sidecars by pushing in lieu of digging the starter; and I can only surmise that the feminine ankle is too weak to administer a sharp enough dig. The best of these starters cannot boast excessive leverage, and many of them are unreliable. Quite a number of middle-aged men similarly eschew the kick-starter…Let manufacturers rack their wits, and see if they cannot devise an improved starting mechanism. It has beern badly needed for years, and the influx of thousands of girl riders and wounded men will accentuate the demand.”
“WE MAY SAY WITH A GREAT degree of accuracy that the shocks from inequalities of the road surface, which must be taken up by the springing devices, work in approximately a vertical direction. Some motor cycle spring forks move in a direction diagonally to the rear, and others in a direction quite contrary to this, ie, diagonally to the front. American manufacturers fit both types of fork to their machines, proving that they are not following any fixed theory.” Three of the four British designs illustrated were proprietary; all were what came to be known as girder forks. All four Yanks were in-house. The two girder designs featured leafsprings; the other two were what the Brits came to refer to as springers.
“AT THE BIRMINGHAM ROTARY CLUB, Mr A Butterfield, of [Levis manufactuers] Messrs Butterfields, Stechford, spoke on the future of the motor industry. He stated that in America the industry had received much more encouragement, with the result that while the population of the United States was only twice the population of this country the number of motor vehicles in use was at least five times greater. Yet there was actually a greater good road mileage in this country, than in America.”
MORE THAN 7,000 motor cycles were registered in India.
“PRESENT-DAY PETROL will not wash clothes—it stains them. At least, so we are told.”
“A REMARKABLE STATEMENT: The President of the Petroleum excecutive states that the petrol saved during the past year from civilian consumption is equivalent to a four months’ supply for The Army In France.”
“PETROL FOR MUNITION WORKERS: Mr AW Torkington, chairman of the National Motor Cyclists’ Fuel Union, has recently made representations to the Petrol Controller’s Department on behalf of munition workers, and it has been decided to permit those engaged in munittion work who are motor cyclists, and who have either a current petrol licence or a stock of petrol obtained with a petrol licence, to use their motor cycles for the purpose of going and coming back from the place selected for their holiday. No extra petrol will be granted for these journeys, and riders will not be permitted to use their motor cycles for any trip during their holidays, other than the journey to and from the holiday resort. In each case a special permit, granted by the Petrol Controller’s Department, will be required. Before this is granted the circumstances of the case will be investigated by Mr Tofkington and the Ministry of Munitions, who will satisfy themselves that the applicant has a bona fide claim to the concession.”
“AT GRAND ISLAND, NEBRASKA, USA, a most successful motor cycle race meeting has been held. Don Johns, of Los Angeles, succeeded in winning the 100 miles prize on an Indian, covering that distance in 1hr 0min 22sec. The twenty-five mile race was won by Bagley on a Harley-Davidson. Time, 20min 19sec.”
“ENGLISH AS SHE IS WROTE: Reading an American motor cycling paper recently, we came across the word ‘petrol’ with an asterisk beside it calling attention to a footnote, which reads ‘English slang for ‘gas’.’”
“A RECENT AUSTRALIAN ORDER stated that no magnetos bearing the name of Bosch will be admitted into Australia. The American Bosch Co is now renaming all those instruments for Australia, and they will go under the name of Liberty magnetos.”
“IF MORE SIDECARS WERE FITTED with windscreens motor cycling would ba even more popular with the fair sex…Those who have been driven for any distance in a sidecar along dusty roads know that a screen is more of a necessity than a mere luxury…The James Cycle Co has recently patented a design which appears to provide extra comfort for the sidecar passenger at this point. A transparent screen member is mounted upon a hinged cover which encloses the body at that part where the sidecar is located. The^screen is of curved form and is mounted in corresponding guides or recesses so that it may be pushed down out of sight when not required for use. Means are provided for locking the screen in position. It is not necessary for a screen of this type to be very high, as the curved shape gives the air an upward movement, which is continued after it has passed the screen. The draught is therefore carried over the head of the passenger, although the screen may not be as high as the normally shaped screen would have to be for efficient action.”
“REPAIRS TO THE EXTENT OF £10 may be executed on a motor bicycle without a priority certificate, provided that a declaration as to use accompany the order. It is understood, of course, that the use referred to must be one of those permitted by the authorities, viz, professional use by doctors, dentists, veterinary surgeons, and officers of HM Forces.”
“SIR,—NUMEROUS CASES HAVE COME to our notice of motorists purchasing our machines as 1914 models, when they were actually 1912. We would like to make it known to all motor cyclists that we are always willing, and in fact delighted, to help them in any way when they contemplate purchasing a second-hand machine, by notifying them of the date on which this machine left our works, if they will, before purchasing, communicate to us the number which they will find stamped on the timing gear cover of the engine.
THE CLYNO ENGINEERING CO.”
“I AM ONE OF THOSE ANCIENT DUG-OUTS who still hanker after the belt of our childhood’s days,” Ixion announced. “Unrepentant and unashamed, I still hold that the evil odour in which belts find themselves is ascribable to several factors for which belts, as belts, are not to blame. The sidecar did the belt a lot of harm. Small engine pulleys and cheap belts of too narrow a section, considering the engine power, further spotted its reputation. As I am not a sidecar merchant, I can lay my hand on my heart, and say that I want no better drive than a pukka inch belt on a 3½hp with an engine pulley giving me about a 4 to 1 gear on top. Then the amidships gear box came in, and the direct belt drive naturally became impossible: I am still at a loss to know why the chain-cum-belt drive has lost prestige, for I have never suffered from really bad slip with it, even when mountaineering on a lightweight in torrential downpours. I can only suppose that the sidecar gentry, who, like the Nationalists in Parliament, exercise an influence out of all proportion to their numbers, have had a rotten time with it. Anyhow, the all-chain drive was ‘it’ in 1914; and, to my thinking, a jolly indifferent ‘it’, too. Very few makers have turned out a chain drive which is really smooth, even when new. If you leave the drive naked, the silence and precision of your chains soon disappear: I know readers will write and claim to have done 10,000 miles on one set of chains: but it is nevertheless true that no genuinely fastidious owner would brag about such a feat, which simply advertises the fact that all his instincts are unrefined, and his perceptions coarse. On the other hand, if you encase your chain, you lumber the machine up with a variety of contraptions which are always hideous, usually tinny, rattlesome, unspeakably awkward to dismount, and unspeakably more awkward to replace: in the few cases where they are quiet, efficient, and manageable, they are extremely expensive, and—as already stated—abominably ugly. Straws show which way the wind blows, and I notice with a half-malicious pleasure that the more advanced designers are now speaking depreciatingly of the all-chain drive, just as the pioneer brains were slighting the belt a few years ago. Some of the more conservative firms have just screwed themselves up to the point of adopting the all-chain transmission, and others of a more go-ahead type are already busy trying to get rid of it in favour of the shaft. It really looks as if all the varieties of drive were going to abide with us permanently, each in the class of machine for which it is most suited. Thus, the hot-stuff single-cylinder may cling to the direct belt : the 350cc flat twin may retain the chain-cum-belt: the single-cylinder sidecar slogger and the big V twins will presumably keep, the all-chain: and the bigger flat twins and the four-cylinders may transfer their allegiance to the shaft drive.”
“IT IS AMPLY NONSENSE,” Ixion suggested, “in face of a recorded majority verdict in favour of the 3½hp, 2¾hp, and baby two-stroke on British roads, to pretend, as some controversialists do, that the fine Indian, Harley- Davidson, and other 7-9hp twins are the only goods. Like our own heavy, high-powered machines, they appeal to a certain class of rider, and the choice between them and roughly similar British mounts is mainly a matter of individual taste. But contentment with lower speeds and an unswerving stipulation for lower weight are such fundamental principles with thousands of buyers that the big twin would not appeal to these riders if it were cheaper and better than rival types, which it is not. One man’s meat is another man’s poison, even in the motor cycling world, and there are plenty of keen riders who are left stone cold by the 60mph solo, 45mph with a sidecar, spring frame, and dynamo lighting and starting with which a big twin seeks to decoy them away from their light four-stroke or lighter two-stroke.”
THE ORIGINAL CONCEPTION OF THE MOTOR CYCLE was a bicycle with a small engine to assist the rider. Fifteen years ago The Motor Cycle referred to the 3½hp machine as a high-powered model, and to-day there are potential buyers of motor-driven machines who tell us that they aspire only to own a machine with just sufficient power to make pedalling easier. At the back of their minds they compare ‘horse-power’ with that of the quadruped, and think that a small pony will supply all, and more than all, the power they require. It is a mystery to them that motor cyclists speak of 3½hp as being a shade on the small side to propel two persons when they know that a sturdy pony will haul a governess cart with four people. These potential riders of petrol-driven cycles want that which the early designers set themselves to provide, ie, a motor-assisted cycle, or, as our
American cousins term it, a motorised bicycle. Undoubtedly there will be a big demand for such a machine, provided it is proved efficient and reliable. This class of machine may be divided into three groups: (1) the Auto-wheel type, which is self-contained; (2) the substitute wheel type, which may be described as an enlarged Auto-wheel, and is used to take the place of either the front or the rear wheel of a pedal cycle; and (3) those having an auxiliary motor for fitting to the frame or the carrier. The Auto-wheel has been a great success in America, where it is manufactured in large quantities under licence from Mr Wall, the English inventor. But for the war, probably we should have seen greater developments in this country. However, it is safe to say that the several similar units now produced in the States were inspired by the popularity of the Auto-wheel. The additional wheel has the great advantage of being entirely self-contained—it is, in reality, a small power provider harnessed to a pedal cycle, just as a pony is harnessed to a cart or a tug boat to a barge. Its disadvantage lies in the fact that a single-track machine is actually converted into one having two tracks, but, as these tracks are very close together, the disadvantage is not so real as it would be if the Auto-wheel were further away. Many years ago I fitted to a pedal cycle a miniature trailer carrying a Werner engine and supported by a castor wheel. The trailer was held by two extension arms of the rear stays of the cycle, and drove the rear wheel of the cycle by a chain, the castor wheel being used to support the weight only. An attachment of this kind comes into the same class as the Auto-wheel, as, like the latter, the frame of the cycle does not carry more weight than it is designed to carry. The Dayton and Merkel motor wheels, produced in the United States, are on somewhat similar lines to the old Singer motor bicycle, in which a self-contained motor wheel took the place of one of the wheels of the cycle. In the case of the Dayton wheel, the designers decided that it is better to place the motor in the front wheel, as the rear wheel has to support most of the weight of the rider. The makers of the Merkel take the opposite view, and, if given the choice of the two, no doubt
British motor cyclists and cyclists would vote in favour of the rear wheel—an opinion with which anyone who has ridden a bicycle with a heavily-loaded carrier in front of the steering head will agree. However, this is not quite a parallel case, as the faults made apparent in riding a carrier bicycle are due more to the height of the weight than actual avoirdupois. In a motor wheel like the Dayton the weight is kept as low as possible, and some of it is actually below the wheel centre. Nevertheless one’s imagination runs riot when one thinks of greasy roads and steering by the wheel that is under power. The first thing that strikes the cyclist when considering a machine of this description is the apparent unequal distribution of weight. The engine is on the side of the wheel, and those who have carried a weight on a rear carrier know that steering is affected if the weight is unequally distributed. In the Merkel machine, however, the flywheel is on the opposite side of the cycle wheel, and, even if it is not of the same weight as the engine, a little calculating of leverages will bring about an approximately equal distribution of the weight’s effect upon steering. Personally, I think an auxiliary attachment on the lines of the Zephyr will make a strong appeal. In this case, however, the tubes and wheels of the bicycle are called upon to carry an additional load, but, if the bicycle has a specification similar to that of a carrier cycle, the frame will stand up to the strain, as it cannot be so much as some of the loads with which the butcher’s boy overloads his machine when he
carries the carcase of a sheep on the front and a confrere on the ‘step’. The JES auxiliary attachment is the next step, but, although an ordinary bicycle provides the main elements of the machine, it straightaway becomes a motor cycle, and one can quite understand that the owner of such a machine would next invest in a motor cycle proper. In the majority of cases the motorised bicycle will never be much more than a stepping stone between all-pedal power and all-petrol power. Most riders, once having experienced the pleasures of a self-propelled machine, will be content no longer to assist the engine up hills, neither will ten to fifteen miles an hour—the present idea of their maximum requirements—satisfy them. Above these speeds a stronger frame, larger
tyres, and a spring fork are necessary, and the only class of machine to meet these requirements is a motor cycle of the orthodox type. Hence the next step is the small lightweight with an engine of 170 to 200cc capacity and two-speed gear box. The motorised bicycle has received the attention of manufacturers in all motor manufacturing countries. The Motosacoche is one of the best known of the earlier designs, and probably was a little before its time. The idea of making the attachment entirely self-contained, and the provision made for protecting the rider from oil and grease, are distinctly good. The NSU machine was neat, but the engine was somewhat on the large side for use in an ordinary bicycle frame. It will be observed that designers have tried all positions for the engine. The American Okay follows closely the lines of the very early Werner in the position of the power unit from the front wheel, while the design, providing the little engine, attached to the underside of the front down tube, will commend itself to those who wish to provide also for the fair sex. Taken generally, however, I think the rear carrier position will be found to be the best for all-round purposes, as here it is well out of the way of mud thrown up by the front wheel, and can be adapted equally well to a lady’s or gentleman’s machine. As regards the type of engine, the two-stroke appears to offer the great advantages of cheapness and simplicity combined with low weight for power. The latest American design has a flat-twin two-stroke engine, which should cost no more to make than a single-cylinder four-stroke. To the expert motor cyclist perhaps the motorised bicycle appears more or less of a toy but, provided it is well-designed and made, and sold at a reasonable price, there is no reason why it should not be a great recruiting medium for more serious, motor cycling. Apart from this, however, undoubtedly it would fill a niche of its own as a utility machine, and cater for a class to whom the heavier machines would not appeal.”
“NEARLY EVERY SIDECAR outfit seen during the past week-end was seriously over-loaded, three up being quite the usual thing; but a Harley outfit, going well, with five on board (three adults, two children, and luggage), was the limit.”
“’ENGLISH OILFIELDS LTD’ is the name of a company recently formed, with a capital of £300,000 [£12m] to exploit an area of Norfolk, near to the Wash, for shale oil. Investigations have warranted the enterprise, and, we are informed, oil of a high quality and easily extractable has been found by means of an experimental plant erected some time ago. “
“A WINDSCREEN ON A MOTOR CYCLE is not altogether out of the range of practicability. We have seen a design recently which should be quite serviceable. It was designed by a lady.”
“THIS VERY AFTERNOON as ever was,” Ixion reported, “I heard some of the ripest feminine swears ever, heard out of range of a canal bank from a girl motor cyclist whose machine was stalling at the take-off with a sooted plug or some other internal ailment. The puir wee lassie was trving to push-start between 3cwt and 4cwt. This explains why motor cycling is still a young man’s game. The aeroplane, in due course, will father the 50lb baby two-stroke; and all the slim flappers and decrepit old Methuselahs Will he habitual motor cyclists. May I live to see it.”
“CONSIDERABLE INTEREST BEEN EVINCED in the recently-introduced Raleigh motor bicycle, and after the war it should become extremely popular as soon as it becomes known and the company are able to deliver to customers. One of the oldest members of the Raleigh Co is Mr HH Monks, now general manager, who claims to have ridden one of the first motor bicycles brought over to this country. It was a 1¼hp Werner, and was one of the first two machines Messrs Werner Freres built about 1901. This was the old front- driven pattern, and from it the first Raleigh bicycle was evolved by Col GP Mills, who was at one time the holder of the Land’s End to John o’ Groat’s motor bicycle record, and at that time was with the Raleigh Cycle Co. It was front-driven after the pattern of the Werner, and Mr Monks drove one of these machines for many thousands of miles, excepting when he was not mending the small round hide belt which was then used. One of the features of this engine was the small exhaust pipe, which projected from the side, and at night it glowed like a red lamp, causing considerable interest to those who met it on the road.”
“THE FRENCH ARMY EMPLOYS a very large number of BSA motor cycles, as anyone who has visited Paris during recent times is aware. Not only are these machines employed in the regions of security behind the lines, but they operate everywhere along the French front from Flanders to the mountains of the Vosges. Generally they are employed with sidecarriers, and often over the most abominable roads.”
THE ARMY AND RAF EMPLOYED women despatch riders; the Senior Service was not going to be left behind: “The gallant girl motor cyclists in navy blue (they wear a uniform as nearly like that of blue-jackets as feminine garments will permit)…They are all skilful mechanics, have installed a small but well-equipped workshop in a former harness room in the mews, and recently look down one of the motor cycle engines, cleaned it of carbon deposit, ground in the valves, reassembled it, and made an excellent job of the overhaul. Few people would have realised previous to the war that women would have done this kind of work…At present the motor cycles used are P&Ms, but in future they will be Sunbeams and Douglases.”
“CERTAIN WORKPEOPLE OF MESSRS DOUGLAS Bros, Bristol, recently followed the lead of their Coventry brethren; in other words, they went on strike. We, however, have yet to hear that any Coventry workers have followed the lead given to them by the Bristol brethren—these latter afterwards returned to work and apologised for having gone on strike.”
“THERE ARE PLENTY OF SOUND, reliable schools, officially appointed by the Royal Automobile Club, which undertake the teaching of motor car driving, but, as we have received several enquiries of late concerning schools which undertake the teaching of motoi cycle driving, there appears to be an undoubted demand for tuition of this nature. Candidates, both men and women, for the motor cycle branches of the Services would undoubtedly benefit by taking a course of instruction.”
“WHATEVER IS THE MATTER?” Ixion wondered. “For months past nobody has attacked me with a vituperation-werfer in our Correspondence columns, or written coldly and judicially to prove that my notions can only have emanated from some drug-sodden inmate of Colney Hatch. Is my right hand losing its cunning, or is it merely that all my watchful critics are Hun-strafing in Flanders? My love to them, and hearty anticipations of many another dust-up when it is all over.”
NOT FOR THE FIRST TIME, IXION was thinking way ahead of his time…”The gas enthusiasts talked very big for a few months, and informed us that gas was going to oust petrol. Then gas was controlled, and as soon as the choice between ‘gas or nothing?’ was transformed into ‘gas or petrol?’ the unsightly top-hamper practically disappeared from our roads. I am quite aware that gas has never yet been tried out under fair conditions, ie, with engines, carburetters, and tanks designed for the purpose in the light of special research, and I fully admit that a car or cycle properly designed for gas propulsion might yet prove to be a very pleasant possession, and economical withal. But the sudden and almost complete collapse of the gas bags shows that certain people were making a wholly premature attempt to stampede us into abandoning a fuel which the British Isles may yet produce in considerable quantities. Now that a commercial company has been authorised to test gas fuel in high-compression cylinders, we may get some reliable data. Previous experiments amount to little more than a desperate resource in a war emergency.”
IXION WAS ALSO PONDERING four-pot bikes: “My earliest recollection of the type is of a pair—a Durkopp and an FN, I think—entered in a six days End-to-end run about 1905. The entire entry watched them with mixed feelings. When rain was about, and our 5/8in belts were shrieking over the slippery pulleys, we coveted the shaft drive of the fours. On odd occasions they would rev past us with all four cylinders working, and a note which put our bang-bang singles to the blush. But on the average we saw them stalled by the roadside, with their drivers labouring feverishly, and as one sparking plug and pair of valves gave us plenty to think about in those days, none of us were converted to the fours. The Durkopp was driven by an alien of sorts, who could hardly speak a word of English; his observer, AC Wright, must have found the triple role of interpreter, auxiliary motor on certain hills, and advising engineer quite exhausting. Some years later I bought an aoiv FN which reminded me of a lovely woman who has been spoilt: it could be so nice, but it usually elected to be perfectly horrid. Then I sampled a Henderson, and completely lost my heart to it. When you slammed its throttle open it gave you a sort of ‘left behind’ feeling in the small of your back, like a scout aeroplane does when a jump is put on it. It started if you stroked its back mudguard, and made very short work of several fancied speedsters it was matched against. Since then I have sampled more than one experimental four, and I must say they are going to be popular.”
SPEED WOBBLES HAVE EVOLVED into tankslappers; they are still with us. Ixion’s description of this phenomenon is a must-read, not least for the whimsical beauty of his prose: “Will some highbrow amid the freemasonry of our readers expound the theory of ‘speed-man’s wobble’ for the benefit of such practical ignorami (or should it be ‘muses’?) as myself? For the benefit of novices I proceed to expound what speedman’s wobble is, appealing to the educated section of the public to expound how it comes. Briefly, having concluded your novitiate, you dispose at a heavy. loss of the 1907 dud which some genial veteran unloaded on you as a special favour, and buy a brand-new mount of unquestionable ginger. You seek a straight and lonely road, and proceed to ‘whack her up’. She responds. You try to be a man. You choke down the rising terror which besets you. You assure yourself that the articulations of your vertebrae are not really coming unstuck. By an immense effort of will you curb that itching forefinger from pulling the throttle back. The speedometer needle stealthily caresses the ’60’. Your pulse beats are almost imperceptibly dropping a few revs and ceasing to drum in your ears like a Gotha on the roof, when the front wheel commences a superb imitation of a hare dodging a push bicycle at night by acetylene light. Instead of rolling straight forward, it commences what WG Aston would describe as a ‘cycloidal’ path, I believe. In other words, it in- scribes on the road a track which looks like an enormous valve spring pulled out by locomotives attached to each end. The axes or foci or mantes, or whatever they call them begin to expand: in other words, the swaying and lurching and looping and rolling get steadily worse. A corner approaches, and you realise that whether you can take it or not depends on whether the bicycle is side-looping to the left or right at the crucial moment. In either case, it is obvious that any further lateral increase in the thingumbob means stubbing your face against the high stone walls to either side. These problems are never settled, because the machine suddenly lies down on its side and slides, while you excoriate the road with your nose and ear forty yards further on. There are a few people who have survived speed-man’s wobble, and the proof is that every man who has done ‘sixty’ on the road has been in it. (NB—Many men who talk glibly of ‘sixty’ have never clocked more than forty-five.) Yea, and some of these survivors have noses, and also chins and ears. I myself have been in many of these wobbles, and each time the dread is greater. The golden rule is never to let the machine start: it starts at various speeds with various types of fork and frame, though no machine is immune from it. Firm steering prevents its genesis. The fool who likes to risk his neck at railway and aeroplane speeds must practically lock his steering by jamming his wrists inwards and getting a purchase with his feet against the side plates of the boot-bar, and kinking his back rigid like the stays behind the buffers at a railway terminus. If he thus converts his anatomy into a series of triangulated girders for bracing the steering, speedman’s wobble will seldom come his way. Sooner or later he will grow careless, and try to scratch the back of his neck whilst leaning out round a corner at fifty: then the wobble will be on him in an instant. To apply the brakes is foolish. To slam the throttle shut is felo de se. To lift the valve is worse. A gradual reduction of speed will flatten out the sinuous path which the track must assume where a sudden and marked speed reduction would invite the machine to lie down. Gradually control will be regained, but, ugh! it is a nasty experience. Yes, gentlemen, your suspicions are quite correct. My latest 10hp gave me a peach the other day, and I traded it off just before bed-time for a Baby Levis and four sugar coupons.”
“AN ICE CREAM VENDOR daily visits on his BSA and sidecarrier a factory engaged on work of national importance in the South of England, and does a large trade in ‘hokey-pokey’ with the
“WHEN THE CAT’S AWAY: There was a notably increased number of civilian motor cycles and cars in use in South London on Friday and Saturday, probably due to the police being on strike. One of the police pickets made his journeys on a motor cycle.” [The strike was inspired by the sacking of a PC for membership of the National Union of Police and Prison Officers, founded in 1913, and a desperately needed pay rise. The cops won].
“AT BROMLEY POLICE COURT Mr Frederick Simms, director of the Simms Motor Units, Ltd, was summoned for unlawful use of a petrol substitute on a car at Bromley on August 15th. According to police evidence, the car was being used for shopping purposes. On behalf of defendant, it was said he was the oldest motorist in England, and had driven a car since 1895 without a single conviction. In co-operation with a German he invented the magneto. In 1916 he was granted a special permit, allowing him to use the car for experimental purposes. Owing to the shortage of mica they were now trying to find substitutes for magneto, plug, and other insulators. They were also testing a new condenser and distributer. The magistrates decided there was not sufficient evidence for conviction, and dismissed the summons.”
“A NEW FUEL: A small car is being driven about Zurich on a new fuel known as Dissous-gas, the outcome of two inventions protected by Swiss patents. The gas is generated in a specially designed producer, so it rather looks as if its use on a motor bicycle would be difficult. Experiments with Dissous-gas are being made in other countries.”
“AN AMERICAN ARMY MOTOR CYCLIST gives his views on British motor cycles: ‘Joe and I,’ he writes, ‘do anywhere from ten to eighteen hours a day riding, so you see we would be equal for almost anything. Joe is riding a sidecar now and I a solo. Believe me, these little old one-lungers are the goods. I can’t begin to tell you the work they will do. They take a sidecar and passenger almost anywhere on high gear. Talking about gear, that is only a figure of speech for them. They have two engine drive chains running to a counter-shaft. By a system of wedges, a band is tightened or loosened, and in that way the rear chain gets its power. Some contraption, believe me. If some of our boys had them home they would go nuts. I saw a Sunbeam the other day—a 7hp twin—with all drive chains running in oil. Some front fork, too. It sure is a pleasure to look at. We have a 5hp twin, three-speed Indian, with racing bars: in fact, all the machines here have short wide bars. Also we have a Rover, 4hp single, three-speed. It is the nearest thing to our machines tbat I have seen. Have inspected the Triumph and Douglas, and they would give us a hold on our laurels any time.”
“EARLY LAST MONTH an important trade conference was held by American motor cycle makers, and a deputation went to Washington, where they were able to convince the US Government that motor cycles are no longer toys and pleasure vehicles…the US War Industries Board announces that motor cycles are recognised by the Government as practical and necessary vehicles of transportation.”
“THE INTRODUCTION OF THE AMERICAN standard motor cycle engine raises the’ important question whether for Army purposes it is better to use one type of motor cycle or several. The British DRs (RE Signals) use two makes, Triumph and Douglas, the nominal hps being 4 and 2¾, and the capacities 550 and 350cc. The former is provided with a handle-bar controlled clutch—a very real advantage—and a three-speed gear…Both these machines have done excellent work and both have their admirers. The more powerful machine is naturally the greater favourite, owing to its greater speed and power to plough through very heavy mud, but there are many occasions when the lighter weight of the Douglas gives it a great advantage, and renders it pleasanter and safer to ride…Then, again, we find that the RFC have always favoured the P&M, and many of these machines, with sidecars attached and lady drivers in the seats, are to be seen carrying Flying Corps officers from place to place with the most unfailing regularity. In Africa and elsewhere the BSA has rendered a good account of itself, and more than one twin-cylinder machine, notably the Clyno and Enfield, has been fitted with machine guns or used for ambulance purposes. Time will show whether the American standard, engine can take the place of all these various types. It ought to be able to plough its way at a slow pace through the deepest of mud without becoming unduly hot. But many occasions must of necessity arise when the riders will wish themselves the possessors of lighter and handier mounts. Power is wanted at all times and still more extreme reliability, but sometimes handiness will be more valuable than power…British experience suggests that variety is, on the whole, desirable, for conditions vary very materially on the different fronts and at different times of the year…It has been rather amusing to hear the opinions passed on the new ‘Liberty’ motor cycle by despatch riders who happen to be WD Douglas enthusiasts. They do not depreciate the machine in the slightest, but they are emphatic in their assertion that they would not like to be confined to a big twin for all classes of work.”
“ALTHOUGH THE INDIAN LIGHT TWIN was not the first flat twin motor cycle to be produced in. the United States, it was the first to be made by an American concern of international repute. There appears no doubt that it has been a success, and, but for the war, quite a number of them would have been seen in this country. At the time this model was announced it was anticipated, at least by British motor cyclists, that other American makers would follow suit. The American patent files now reveal that the Harley-Davidson concern is interested in a flat twin proposition, which includes a gear box integral with the crank case. No particulars are available as to the bore and stroke of the engine, but apparently these are to be a little larger than those of the Indian, and from the illustration given here one may think that the new Harley, if it fructifies, will approximate more nearly to the British 3½hp size. A separate patent has been granted for a spring frame, which obviously was designed for the flat twin machine; but, here again, the details are meagre in the extreme. However, the bare fact that a firm holding the position of the Harley-Davidson Motor Co has designed a flat twin with a sprmg frame is of more than usual interest.”
THE US GOVERNMENT SET UP AN ALL-STAR TEAM to design a standard military motor cycle to be known as the Liberty. It was led by WS Harley and included Indian chief Oscar Hedstrom, CB Franklin, also from Indian (and runner up in the 1911 Senior TT when Indians scored their famous hat-trick) and FW Schwinn from Excelsior-Henderson (his dad, Ignaz, having bought Excelsior in 1912 and Henderson in 1917). However, towards the end of 1918 when it must have been obvious that the war wasn’t going to last much longer, the government changed its mind, disbanded the committee and staged a trial to establish which existing models were best suited for the Western Front (a phrase which must have confused some Yanks, who associated their existing western front with the Indian wars which had nothing to do with Springfield Indians). The trial, let it be said, was “of such an arduous nature that at the end of it the practical motor cycle experts agreed that there was no motor cycle made which would come through the same ordeal without breakage…the machines which took part were two Powerplus Indians, two Harley-Davidsons, two Excelsiors, and two Hendersons, all with sidecar…while in the lightweight class are mentioned for the first time two Harley-
Davidson flat twins weighing under 250lb each. Among the other machines may be mentioned the Militor, which was previously known as the Militaire…The Militor was built under the direction of officers of the Ordnance Department.” The US bike mag Motor Cycling and Bicycling described the Militor thus: “It carried a lightweight sidecar, and the outfit weighed about 900lb, looking like a cross between a German tank and a straw-burning locomotive. It was, in fact, not a motor cycle and sidecar, but a young truck with one disc wheel knocked off. It was claimed by the backers of this machine that it could push over a brick wall, climb anything that did not lean backwards, and easily carry a 500lb load at top speed under any conditions. Equipped with disc wheels and 3½in tyres, its capacity as a combined truck and road-roller was shown bv riding it slowly up against a stone slab, 8in. thick and about 18in wide by 3ft in length, stood up on an edge, and after pushing it over it climbed the stone and went on. Well, on the road test Lt Chappie, the rider, was so thoroughly shaken and addled by the bumping of his short wheelbased heavily-laden mount, that he must have been glad to call it a day’s work when the engine succumbed by over-heating.” Other contenders were taking home in a truck; the Americans ordered lots more Harleys and Indians and got on with the war.
“THE NEW REGULATION reducing the age of drivers for motor vehicles, ‘on proof of competency to drive’, does not affect the age limit of motor cycle drivers, which is still fourteen years.”
“IT IS GOOD TO LEARN that various representatives of the industry are meeting Government representatives to consider schemes to prevent a post-bellum flooding of the markets with motor cycles of all descriptions and in all conditions, to the detriment of all concerned.”
“TWO THOUSAND MILES ON A HUMBER FLAT TWIN: I am of the opinion that the water-cooled machine is miles ahead of the air-cooled for heavy work. This particular machine was taken over from the works in june^ i9I7, fitted with a heavy Millford sidecar, and covered,2,000 miles before the petrol shortage compelled the owner to lay it up…about 600 miles was expended, on a holiday tour in Wales, and the balance was made up of week-end runs from the centre of England to the sea coast in search of fresh air after strenuous days and nights on munition work. For the first 400 miles the machine was not pressed in any way, and was liberally oiled and well looked after, but for the remainder of the distance it was not spared at all…a distance of 300 miles on a Sunday being quite common for the out and home run…After a gruelling day on the Welsh hills and mountain roads its vim and vigour are just as pronounced as when it was first purchased…Although a fairly heavy machine—320lb—its wear on tyres seems exceptionally light, and its petrol and oil consumption quite reasonable. The water-cooling is not in any way clumsy nor exceptionally heavy, and has given no trouble during the 2,000 miles. The radiator never showed the slightest tendency to boil, even on very long hills in the hottest weather. The weight of water is 12½lb…Petrol consumption worked out at 51mpg, and oil at 800mpg. During a Welsh tour four tins of petrol, were carried on the rear of the sidecar body; th total luggage carried was 161lb plus passenger and driver turning the scale at 25 stone—altogether a good load, though not an unreasonable one for a 750cc engine…on a very fine stretch of road be tween Shrewsbury and Oswestry the throttle was opened out, and 46mph was easily obtained with this load, and, judging by the behaviour of the engine, could easily have been kept up…we made a clean ascent of Harley Hill, the speed never falling below 23mph, and only second gear was used throughout. This hill has a certified maximum gradient of 1 in 6½ and is over half a mile in length…no tuning of the engine had been attempted since it left the works. The only adjustments made were taking up the rear chain once and fitting
a new washer to the inlet pipe joint of the rear cylinder—surely a good record for 2,000 miles’ running…The removable rear wheel proved a great boon when the puncture fiend troubled, as it can be easily removed in forty seconds and replaced as quickly…The engine when dismantled showed no sign of wear at all…The gear box was quiet in use, and when dismantled showed no defects or wear, and the dogs on the clutch wheel were quite sharp and perfect. The clutch is of the dry plate variety, with the rings faced with ‘Ferodo’ and was as good as new. It gave no trouble at all, and was not even adjusted until it was dismantled. The chains showed practically no sign of wear. The CAV magneto, which is the first British magneto the writer has used, gave no trouble, and he has nothing but praise for it…The metal guard fitted under the engine is a most efficient device, extending as it does from just below the bottom of the radiator, right along under the engine as far as the rear mudguard, and while of ample size is never in the way, nor does it look clumsy…The arrangement of the starting handle on the end of the half-time shaft ensured easy starting at all times…The front rim brake—like all of its kind—is useless and only answers one purpose, ‘a bobby dodger’. The front mudguard is too long in front, making the removable front wheel difficult to get away after it is detached from the forks…The chain case could be much improved where it fits over the rear chain wheel. In order to enable the inner side of the case to clear the bolt heads the side of the (highly effective) shock absorber, the inside hole in the case is made large, with the result that road dust blows into the case and gets over the rear chain.”
“OWING TO THE INCREASE in the number of motor cars in Kanagawa, Japan, the police authorities have recently decided to purchase three motor cycles so that the policemen may keep a strict watch on motorists exceeding the speed limit. It is an extraordinary thing that while motor cycles are so extensively used by the police in the United States, and also to a lesser extent in Japan, they are not employed by the police in this country.” In Tokyo six bright red police motor cycles hit the streets.
“IN PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND a youth of seventeen years of age was fined £3 for allowing a passenger to interfere with the control of a motor cycle. The police stated that the driver had allowed a girl to sit on his machine between him and the handle-bars. The judge stated that a person so situated could not properly control a motor cycle in an emergency. As it happened there was an accident, the machine hitting a passenger alighting from a tramcar.”
THE FOUR-POT, THREE-SPEED unit-construction henderson grew from 960 to1,120cc. Other innovations included inner (expanding) and outer (contracting) band brakes on the rear wheek. “Either brake is sufficient to lock the wheel under ordinary conditions. The brakes are independently operated or may both be applied at once if desired.” Hendersons were now being built in the same factory as Excelsiors, which might be why the QD rear wheel Excelsior had offered for three years appeared on the latest Henderson. Like the Excelsior twin, Henderson’s four was available with electric lights. “In the Excelsior, as in practically all other American machines, except the Henderson, the electric generator takes the place of the magneto, while in the Henderson the magneto is used on both models.” Excelsior had previously offered a “military type fork” as an option; for the 1919 season it would come as standard: “It is trussed to carry the great strains to which the fork is subjected in sidecar work particularly…A feature that will appeal to thos owners of big twins who are not of sufficient physical development to wrestle with the average kick starter is the automatic compression control. This operates by slightly opening the exhaust valves at the beginning of the downward thrust of the kick starter, and allowing them to close when sufficient momentum has been attained to carry the engine over compression. In addition to this, the starter sprocket is fitted with a spring cushioning device, which ensures easy and perfect engagement of the starter pinion. In order to obtain a compact assembly, the engine is brought up close under the tank. In order, therefore, to facilitate easy removal of the cylinders, the tank can be swung aside out of the way.”
“MOTOR CYCLING IN ITS broadest sense is something more than owning and using a motor cycle. It is almost a cult, of which the actual possession of a machine does not necessarily form a part.”
ELMER BERGSTROM RODE A LIGHTWEIGHT 254cc flat twin Indian round the Tacoma Speedway, Washington, USA for 21hr 42min at an average 51mph to cover 1,106 miles. The bike was bog standard; apart froma flat tyre it performed faultlessly. Bergstrom set 24-hour and 1,000-mile records.
“HERE,” SAYS IXION, “IS OUR tame electrician’s forecast of the post-war electrical specification for motor cycles: (a) A dynamo generator, driven by the engine, which will provide the ignition current when the engine is once started, and will furnish a surplus current for keeping the accumulator up to the mark. (b) An accumulator which will supply the ignition current for starting the engine; the motive powder for setting the engine going, thus eliminating the kick-starter; and the current for the lamps. I suppose a charging dynamo will solve the old problem of attaining accumulator reliability on solo mounts. But I have uneasy dreams of a triple short-circuit in the above outfit on a wet night umpteen miles from home.”
“The USA War Department is ordering from 5,000 to 6,000 motor cycles, which are to be split up between the Indian and Harley-Davidson factories, whose machines are well known in this country. .An American journal states that the USA Government want 15,000 motor cycles, but cannot yet get them.”
“SIR,—I SHOULD LIKE TO HEAR the opinions of other readers on the following: “Are detachable, heads a success?” I ride a 3½hp single which has a detachable head, and find that it is impossible to keep a tight joint! I may state that I use a new copper asbestos washer each time. Personally I would much rather put up with a little more trouble required with a one-piece casting. After a fast run I find the fins of my cylinder covered with burnt oil. Another disadvantage is that each time the head is removed it requires the adjustment of valve tappets.
COULD A STEAM-POWERED MOTOR CYCLE compete on equal erms with petrol? A designer named Hindle clearly thought so., as the man from The Motor Cycle reported: “There are no revolutionary principles involved, the main problem being to get a compact assembly in -the standard motor cycle frame. The boiler is of the ‘flash’ type, which provides lightness, rapidity of action, safety under all conditions, and simplicity of construction. This particular boiler consists of about 80ft of solid drawn steel tubing arranged in three concentric coils—the outer ones acting as feed water heaters. The intermediate coil acts as a super-heater. The whole makes a very compact assembly with the burner, the outside measurement being 22x8x8in. The fuel (paraffin) supply tank is placed in front of the engine, and contains a small cylindrical pressure tank which is fed by a fuel pump on the engine. This enables the main tank to be replenished without extinguishing the burner. The tank placed in the usual position is for water, and a small portion of the rear end is retained for lubricating oil. The capacities are arranged to give a run of about l00 miles. The engine has two cylinders of 38mm bore, and a two-throw
180° crankshaft which gives a stroke of 44.5mm. The working pressure is 500psi, and the valves are of the ordinary poppet type, the exhaust valves being in the overhead position. A steam condenser is provided in the position usually occupied by the radiator on water-cooled petrol machines. The power expected would be at least 4bhp. As regards starting up from cold, this will occupy about four minutes, and much less when warm. Means are provided by which the burner is regulated automatically or by hand if desired. A comparison of the controls with those of a petrol motor cycle will be interesting. Of course, a gear box is unnecessary. Petrol controls: Throttle, air, magneto, clutch, gears and exhaust. Steam controls: Water by-pass, burner, throttle, variable cut-off and pressure relief valve. The steam throttle is only used for starting and stopping. Comparatively, therefore, the steam cycle shows up favourably as regards weight, bulk, ease of control, economy, and speed. The torque should be equal to that of a four-cylinder, four-stroke petrol engine. Chain drive is proposed, and this should prove most efficient, no shock absorber being necessary.”
WHAT FOLLOWS IS AN EDITORIAL COMMENT by the editor of The Motor Cycle. It is long, but well worth reading. Why? Because it seems to be the wellspring of The Motor Cycle’s decades-long campaign for the ‘Everyman’ motor cycle: and the Everyman, I would suggest, represented the blueprint of the moden motor cycle. “Prior to 1914 we occasionally received enquiries from elderly persons of modest means and aristocratic lineage about motor cycles intended as local runabouts—between house, club, golf links, railway station, and the like. The enquirers generally allowed, for a fair price range, but stipulated for (a) freedom from vibration, (b) easy starting, (c) low weight, and (d) an entire absence of petty troubles. Needless to say, © was the only point in which the trade could really fill their specification. For such enquirers, ‘comfort’ implies a first-class saddle, and a frame sprung fore and aft; ‘easy starting’ connotes either a self-starter or certain firing after a 3ft push, and that without the exercise of trained intelligence over the preliminaries; and the ‘absence of petty troubles’ indicates a lubrication system which will neither soot the plug nor seize the big end if the driver forgets to turn on a tap. We failed to supply a machine of this type. In consequence of our failure thousands of retired soldiers, ex-civil servants, Anglo-Indians, and younger sons either employed taxis or squeezed out the necessary capital and bought light cars. The war will hit these men hard. Their incomes are rigid, and their expenses are fluid—in the wrong direction. They will be driven to swallow their old contempt for the motor cycle, and the first firm who offers them a really sound lightweight at a rational price should do good business. It is probable that similar reasoning applies to the design of post-war motor cycles in general. In the old days the average motor cyclist prided himself on being a bit of a mechanic. He appreciated, rather than resented, the fact that the exercise of brains was necessary if he was to get the best out of his machine—one might almost have said, to keep it running at all: for after all, many pre-war lubrication systems were so crude that if the driver forgot the lubrication system for fifteen minutes, the engine ran risk of seizure. The increased cost of living is going to force into our ranks many men who regard a mechanic as an essentially vulgar person: who would not dream of repairing punctures with their own hands, and who expect a vehicle to be entirely automatic. They have plenty of brains; and if they cared to employ them, they could get as good results out of the pre-war type of motor cycle as anybody else but a temperamental antipathy prevents them from trying to comprehend a machine. For them motor cycling is purely utilitarian. They cannot regard it as a hobby, and the trade takes it for granted that motor cycling is par excellence a hobby. In this dilemma the industry can choose between two policies. It can either say to itself, ‘These potential purchasers must be educated. A mechanic is not essentially vulgar. Wilful helplessness of this character is unpardonable. We will continue to design machines which are not foolproof until these supercilious gentry understand that they must take a technical interest in their mounts!’ Or, alternatively, the trade can—if it so wishes—evolve a type of machine which can be driven and maintained by the sort of person who uses a coal hammer on wood screws, and overwinds his watch once every week. It is likely that the latter policy is the more desirable on general grounds, and that automatic carburation, automatic lubrication (minus even a two-way tap), and an interlinked clutch and gear control represent a sound policy. It is, moreover, essential that such a mount as we have in mind should be a really clean machine, that is to say, it should be well mudguarded, and more important still capable of retaining the oil which is put into its crank case.”
AS ANY ENTHUSIAST WILL TELL YOU flat tanks were superseded by ‘saddle’ tanks in the late 1920s; flick forward to 1927 in this timeline and you’ll find it described as the year of the flat tank. Bear that in mind as you read this letter to the Blue ‘Un:
“Sir,—Ixion refers to scooping oil and dust from between the top tube and the tank as one of the worries for which our sons will respect us. He is quite right in putting this defect among the others which are sure to be ousted in course of time, and he will not have to wait fifteen years, or even as many months, for this particular evil to be overcome. The absence of this dirt-harbouring crevice is one of the many good points of the saddle tank which, it will be remembered, drops into position astride the frame instead of being pushed sideways in between the top tube and tank tube. But the saddle tank has more important merits than its cleanliness. For example, the arched partition along the middle of this tank reduces the lateral surging and swaying of the petrol, and so contributes to steady running. Again, the one side of the tank forms a natural reserve compartment to the other; for, while the petrol level descends equally in both sides for the greater part of the time (the partition tapering off to a very low height at the rear), towards the end some of the liquid gets pocketed, and the drying up of the side fitted with the tap gives the usual warning. Then, simply leaning the machine over empties the pocket into the business side, and enables the rider to carry on to the next village. There the flush top may help again, as, in the absence of the obstructive top tube, the fillers can be made so large as to extend the full width of the tank if desired, and replenishment can be accomplished in record time. Lastly, the saddle tank can have a large capacity without excessive width, and allows of the top line of the machine following any contour that may be desired. In fact, the saddle tank was devised, not for its own sake, but to secure these last two points in connection with the triangulated top frame. In that design the space is too shallow to admit a large capacity tank, and to some eyes the sloping top tube is not as attractive as the ‘curved back’ one. But the saddle tank gets over both those points, and is being clearly recognised as the consummation of the inclined top tube idea. Messrs AJ Stevens and Co have definitely adopted it, and, very broadmindedly realising that what is good for motor cycles and motor cycling as a whole is good for them, do not wish to keep it to themselves, but are wishful that other makers should take it up, too—the more the better.
“PETROL FOR A QMAAC DRIVER: A certain Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps driver attached to the ASG appears to have reasonable cause to complain about present day restrictions and how they are applied. After working for over ninety hours per week for ten months in France, this lady obtained ten days’ leave, of which five were spent travelling. She applied to HQ Irish Command for a petrol permit, which was granted, but on applying to the Area Petrol Controller for a driving permit, this was refused on the ground that she was neither officer nor man of HM Forces. We see no reasonable ground for this distinction.” The war had been won, but for women the battle for equality would continue.
T FIRTH & SONS OF SHEFFIELD were producing ‘Stainless Steel’ (still, as the capital letters imply, a trade name; not yet a generic).
ROLLS ROYCE BEGAN TO USE phenol formaldehyde, a prehistoric plastic, in its car interiors and boasted about this exotic material.
SUNBEAM FOUNDER JOHN MARSTON’S SON Roland died, aged 45; the distraught John died the day after his son’s funeral. With death duties to pay, John’s oldest son Charles, who was busy expanding the Villiers works, was forced to sell John Marston Ltd to Explosive Trades, a consortium of munitions manufacturers which had done well out of the war. It was soon taken over by Nobel Industries, later to be renamed ICI.
“WE HAVE LATELY SEEN many motor cycles and cars, which have been lying aside for want of petrol, in a dilapidated condition. Ordinary care seldom seems to be taken with tyres and plating. That month’s leave our soldiers are to get on discharge can be profitably spent in the garage.”
“THE MESSAGE OF PEACE: The end of the war, if the signing of the the armistice turns out, as, is probable, really to be the end, has come with dramatic suddenness. ‘The tumult and the shouting dies, The captains and the kings depart’…the armistice will, we trust, be the beginning of a new era of prosperity for this country and the motor cycle trade. The motor cycle has played a wonderful part in the war, and England’s supremacy in this type of self-propelled vehicle has stood her in good stead, thanks, we venture to say, largely to this journal, which from the year of its foundation—1903—has never ceased to give publicity to and thus to encourage, motor cycles for army use, as our older readers will remember. Now we are faced with the problem of peace, to restore motor cycling to its former degree of prosperity. First and foremost such fuel as is available must be released. This means the abolition of the Motor Spirit Restriction Order, which would at once allow motor spirit to be used for any purpose…petrol prices must come down quickly to a. figure approaching that of pre-war times…petrol has a serious rival in benzole, and more benzole is available now than in 1914, while there is hope of home-produced petrol, and alcohol must not be forgotten. When the Hun was hard put to it for petrol in 1915 owing to the Russians seizing the Galician oil wells, he used alcohol and benzole mixed, with quite good results. Let us follow his example and run our motor cycles on ‘Alcobenz’, half the price of petrol, nearly as good, and, unlike benzole, unfreezable at ordinary temperatures. Alcohol per se is poor stuff. It might be drunk by moral degenerates, hence the restrictions on its sale, and it cannot be used in ordinary engines, but mix it with benzole and we would guarantee that the very worst of habitual drunkards would not be tempted to imbibe the result. We are next faced with the problem of the new model, and the question of when the new post-war types will be available, and there is also the great problem of discarded Army mounts to be solved. There is a huge market for moderate-priced machines, and should a first-class make, rebuilt and guaranteed for, say, two months, be made available, it would help to meet the enormous demand for motor cycles which we anticipate, and would give the makers time to develop their later types. The organisations should ‘go easy’ as regards competitions. There is no harm in a few sporting contests run for pure fun and enjoyment, such as hill-climbs, a few track races, and unimportant minor club road trials, but serious tests, such as the TT races and six days reliabiUty trials, should be withheld until the manufactories have settled down.”
OF COURSE IXION HAD HIS SAY: “We shall agree that as soon as a few drops of petrol become available or joy-riding, the men with chevrons ought to get the first issue. Above all, men with wound stripes should be assured a juice ration. Then thousands of men will be demobilised slowly, and will be called upon to stay Overseas ‘tidying up’. Presumably such men will receive a small consolation packet in the shape of a good long leave in Blighty at the first opportunity. We should like them to have a few cans at their disposal during that leave: and by the time they come home for keeps, we will do our best to have some pukka post-war jiggers ready, and also some good sporting competitions in which to try them out.”
“THE CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES marks the opening of a new era for motoring. It will be the third epoch of the motor cycle, and that this epoch will be greater than is generally thought there can be no doubt, when the new conditions which will prevail for the next decade or so are viewed in their full perspective. Pre-magneto days are clearly divided from the time that followed when ignition troubles were swept away. Hence the first epoch, important as it was, did not leave a very clear mark outside the world of motor mechanics. The second epoch, a period when machines had arrived at a high standard of reliability, was something in the nature of a boom, which was cut short by those madmen in Germany who thought to enslave the world. Thus in times to come we shall refer to these different periods as ‘Pre-magneto days’, ‘Pre-war days’, and ‘Since the war’. One could almost say that the history of the motor cycle’s part in the war forms an epoch in itself; but rather has it been the culminating test of the machines of the second epoch—the chapter in history when the motor cycle has been proved to the non-riding public to be more than the plaything and pleasure machine of the select few. That it made good is now known to the whole world, and while, to the mechanic, the motor cycle is still in the transient stage, the public no longer has this impression. It has passed the stage of experiment—a heavy bicycle with an engine in it—to the man in the street: it has taken its proper place as a machine which can be relied upon to do certain service under the most adverse conditions, service which could not be undertaken by any other type of machine. Had the war broken out a few years before 1914, say before countershaft gears and the present-day efficient engines had been developed by the Tourist Trophy Races and ACU Trials, the horse as a despatch rider’s mount would probably have retained its place in the composition of the armies…Thus the war has done much to popularise motor cycles. Thousands of men in mud-bespattered khaki have seen them standing up to service which for a six days trial would have been regarded as strenuous. Soon these men will be back in civilian life, and many of them will think seriously of joining the ranks of motor cyclists…The motor cycle hitherto has been connected closely with a certain class of the community—a small section of the large middle class. The section has been widened considerably as a direct outcome of the war. Thousands of the superior working class will enter it. They were potential buyers before the war—but the margin over and above their cost of living was so narrow that they hesitated: waited until prices came down to their level. The war has changed their earning capacity, and they have now money put by which will enable them to purchase machines immediately they are available. From this class alone the possible demand for motor cycles is enormous, while even among ‘ordinary’ working men the motor cycle has a strong appeal which provides an outlet for second-hand machines greatly in excess of any anticipation justifiable a few years ago. In short, the motor cycle promises to take almost as large a place in the world of wheels as the pedal cycle. It is safe to assume that the motor cycle will become the most popular vehicle in the new world of democracy, which will require reliable and speedy means of getting about its business of rebuilding the countries that have been devastated and of repairing the shaken foundations of those that have not…Truly, it may be said that the third epoch of the motor cycle will be great—beyond the imagination of riders before the war—and far-reaching in its influence upon the peoples of the whole civilised world.”
“EX-ARMY MACHINES: A prominent motor cycle manufacturer, who is, unfortunately, not in a position to turn to motor cycle production at once, suggests that he and others similarly placed would each be glad to take, say, 5,000 of the Army machines and rebuild them for the immediate market, and so remove a hiatus during the period of change-over.
THE DISPOSAL OF ARMY VEHICLES: Several of our readers have written to us asking as to what will happen to the numerous Army motor cycles which will be no longer needed by the military. At the present moment we are unable to give any definite reply. So far as the RAF is concerned, it is not anticipated that any motor cycles will be available. With regard to the ASC motor cycles, and practically all other motor vehicles used by the Army, these will be dealt with by the Ministry of Supply.”
“HEAVY FUEL: WE CAME ACROSS ‘Archie’ Cocks, the Clyno exponent, last week. He was running his sidecar machine on a mixture of tar oil and paraffin by means, vaporiser of his own design.”
“FOR THE YEAR ENDED AUGUST 31ST, 1918, the Hendee Co was awarded US Government contracts for 13,000 machines of the total of 22,500 ordered from all concerns, while 1918-19 contracts were for 45,000, of which 27,000 were to be Indian, 75% of which were to be fitted with sidecars. With the signing of the Armistice, the makers were released from the bulk of the contracts, which permits them to divert their supplies into civil channels.”
BY THE END OF THE GREAT WAR Douglas had made some 70,000 motorcycles for military use.
“SHORTLY AFTER THE CAPTURE of Courtrai the headquarters (we hear) found that despatch riders were being consistently late on schedule. The whole squad was paraded before the General to ascertain the reason for the delays. The excuse was that they had been captured in turn by the young women of the town and each had been soundly kissed. ‘They just insist,” explained the DR, ‘on stopping your motor cycle, and all want to kiss you at one time.’”
“A WISE MAN: HE SAYS, ‘The motor cycle is a great builder of good cheer; it drives away trouble, doubt, and gloom, and makes one glad to be alive, glad to hold up one’s end, and glad to do one’s greatest for the good of mankind.’”
WITHIN DAYS OF THE ARMISTICE the men from The Motor Cycle set out to summarise the peacetime plans of the industry. “Our representatives visited the majority of makers in London, Coventry, Birmingham, and Manchester, while the long distance telephone placed us in direct touch with the Nottingham and Yorkshire firms. Obviously, it is impossible to give details here of these conversations with the captains of industry to whom we look for our future motor cycles. Summarised, however, we do not think it will take long for the bulk of the trade to resume manufacture of their normal productions.” For enthgusiasts starved of new models the following list must have made for exciting reading…ABC: Arrangements for mass production of a new model are already completed. Abingdon: The 6-7hp King Dick and its sister 3½hp models will be the first of the peace models. AJS: AJ Stevens will market their 6hp military model. The lightweight machine, winner of the Junior TT, will be abandoned to devote manufacturing facilities to the sidecar machine. Alldays and Onions: The company will concentrate exclusively on the Allon single-cylinder two-stroke. Ariel: The well-known 3½hp and 5-6hp Ariels will be the immediate post-war models of Messrs Components, Ltd. Bradbury: A new lightweight four-stroke model, together with the well-known 554cc single and 750cc twin will be marketed. Brough: A new 3½hp flat twin embodying several innovations will be the sole model of the Nottingham concern. BSA: The 4½hp single, which has done such good service with the French Army and as the motor light infantry in the African campaign, will be the immediate post-war BSA. Calthorpe: The range will be practically the same as before the restrictions compelled a cessation of activities. This includes a 4hp twin, 2¼hp two stroke, and 2½hp four-stroke lightweight. Campion: An 8hp twin, 3½hp single, and 2½hp two-stroke will make up the range for 1919. Chater-Lea: The 8hp No 7 combination will be offered as soon as possible. Clyno: The post-war model will be an entirely new proposition embodying 28x3in wheels, a spring frame, sprung sidecar wheel, and an 8hp twin engine with detachable cylinder heads. Dot: This Manchester concern will concentrate chiefly upon a new lightweight with a 3hp engine and the Dot duplex frame. Douglas: The Douglas policy will be announced shortly. Excelsior: Messrs Bayliss, Thomas & Co will market four types—a lightweight with JAP 2½hp four-stroke engine, another with a two-stroke unit, and 5-6hp and 8hp twins. Harley-Davidson: The importation prohibition makes the English policy of the H-D firm uncertain…The Harley Co has a new flat twin model. Hazlewood: The ‘Big H’ firm anticipates that it will be able to resume manufacture of motor cycles in the new year. Hobart: This Coventry firm will market a light-weight with spring frame. Humber: it is not expected that more than one model will be marketed when the company is able to devote more time to civil business; in all probability this will be the 3½hp air-cooled flat twin. Indian: The arrival of new Indian models when the embargo is removed is patiently awaited by those British motor cyclists who prefer the American type of machine. For the present the energies of the Hendee Co will be devoted to the production of the 7hp Powerplus for sidecar work and the little flat twin for solo riding. Ivy: A restart should be possible early in the new year, when Messrs Newman will re-introduce their two-stroke model which has proved so satisfactory. James: This firm is in a position to deliver its several models at once. The range includes 500cc twin, 4¼hp ‘big single’, 2¼hp two-stroke, and 5-6hp twin. Levis: A limited number of the Levis two-stroke will be available almost immediately. LMC: Two modified war-time models with 4¼hp single and 6-7hp twin engines will be marketed early in the new year. These will have countershaft gear and chain-cum-belt transmission. A new spring frame model will be ready soon. Matchless: The WO 8hp combination is the post-war Matchless, and for the time being Messrs Collier will concentrate upon this model. Morgan: The GP and De Luxe tourist models, as supplied on special permits during 1918, will be the immediate post-war machines of the Malvern firm. New Hudson: This firm has been so closely connected with the production of munitions that its motor cycle policy is not yet decided. New Imperial: A new spring-frame machine will be available very shortly. In the meantime this firm will market its war-time models. Norton: ‘Singles only’ is the post-war policy of the ‘long-stroke’ firm. The Big Four with chain transmission and countershaft gear, the 500cc single gear speed model, and a 3½hp tourist will be catalogued. NUT: A vigorous policy has been decided by the Newcastle firm, particulars of which will be announced later. OK: Messrs Humphries and Dawes will make one model only, and all units and fittings will be built in its own factory. Overseas: The first models will be a 3½hp single and a 6-7hp twin. A new model with spring frame is promised early in the new year. P&M: A new passenger machine of interesting design will be ready shortly. Radco: Messrs EA Radnall and Co, the makers of the Radco motor cycle, will be ready in the early spring with a new model, which will include several improvements. Raleigh: The makers of the old Raleighette and the well-known Raleigh bicycle will market a 6hp flat twin with spring frame. Rex: A new big twin with spring frame may be expected in the spring. Rover: The new 6hp twin model probably will be the leading line but the 3½hp with countershaft gear undoubtedly will be marketed. Royal Enfield: The post-war range will include most of the pre-war types, including the 6hp combination (8hp engine optional), 3hp twin, and two-stroke lightweights. Royal Ruby: The big twin outfit designed for the Russian Government, but conforming in many ways to the ideals of the British and Colonial rider, will be the post-war model of this concern. It is fitted with an 8hp JAP engine. Rudge: The TT model—the winner of the last TT race—will be included in the range for 1919. In addition the 3½hp tourist and the 750cc single, both with the multi-gear, will be catalogued. Scott: Post-war policy undecided. Sparkbrook: The sole post-war model will be a Villiers-engined two-stroke lightweight similar to the one marketed in 1914 and 1915. Sun: The Sun-Vitesse lightweight with semi-open frame will be the main proposition; several other models will be catalogued. Sunbeam: The 3½hp Sunbeam, with minor improvements, is being retained as a post-war model, while the twin model will be the 8hp machine, which has been used with such success as a sidecar ambulance in France. Triumph: The 4hp countershaft model, used in such numbers by His Majesty’s Forces will be available for the public immediately the Government give the makers permission to accept orders. Tyler: The Tyler Apparatus Co are fitting Metro engines exclusively to their 1919 models. Three types will be placed upon the market—the TT, the touring, and the ladies’ motor bicycle.Veloce: A limited number of the economical model D two-stroke Velocette will be available in a few weeks’ time. Early in the new year a new model will be introduced embodying a new frame and a clutch contained in the flywheel. This firm also has a few 3½hp and 2½hp four-stroke models. Wooler: This enterprising firm is engaged upon the production of a new type. Zenith: Two twin models, with 4-5hp and 8hp engines and the well-known Gradua gear, will be the post-war Zeniths.
“FULL OF NOVEL AND INGENIOUS ideas, the new 2¾hp flat twin Wooler promises to be an attractive model for the solo rider. It is a remarkably neat design, and the point of accessibility has been fully considered by its designer. Though the frame is very similar to the two-stroke Wooler, the engine is a complete novelty. It is carried in the frame on two transverse lugs and secured by means of two bolts in such a manner that it may be removed bodily without the slightest difficulty—in fact, Mr Wooier has succceeded in allowing any part of the engine to be dismantled solely with the aid of an ordinary set-spanner. Overhead inlet valves are fitted, the rockers being entirely enclosed. On the end of the rocker arm is an adjustable screw, by means of which the tappet rod adjustment can be effected…A streamline silencer is fitted; in fact, in the general design it will be apparent that the idea of streamlining has been by no means neglected…Beneath the crank case is a large sump, in which rather over a quart of oil is carried. At the side of the sump, underneath the timing gear box, is a small pocket, and the only connection between this pocket and the rest of tha sump is through a long gauze tube, so that all oil reaching the pocket is adequately filtered…the pedal on the off side of the machine works on a ratchet, and rotates a pinion revolving between two parallel racks. These are connected to the pulley, so that depressing the pedal not only swings the pulley forward, but also expands it for the purpose of lowering the gear…The petrol tank is very mach of the same pattern as that in the previous model, but the front portion is now an auxiliary tank, which is detachable, and carries enough petrol for about twenty miles…The frame is built up entirely, of straight tubes, and is provided with the same system of springing as in the two-stroke model, which consists of supporting the wheel spindles between two coil springs working in tubes brazed on to the fork end, but is 5in shorter, and has a secondary tube below the main dropped top tube. The mudguards are wide and intensely strong, and all nuts attaching them to the frame are outside, so that they can be tightened with a set-spanner…Altogether, the design strikes us as most promising…We congratulate the company in introducing their new model so promptly. The two-stroke Wooler will also be retained, but the engine is being altered slightly to suit the new frame.”
“AT A LUNCHEON HELD at the Sopwith Aviation Co’s works at Kingston-on-Thames it was announced that the ABC motor bicycle would in future be manufactured in quantity by the Sopwith Aviation Co, Ltd.” Tommy Sopwith’s interest in motor cycling dated back to the 1904 Tricar Trials and while he was at the heart of the burgeoning aviation industry—during the war his workforce has grown to 35,000—but Sopwith had just expanded into new premises had been opened at Ham and, Sopwith explained, this gave the company the idea that they had plenty of room in which to turn out quantities of motor bicycles…they were going to employ all their men and women, and soldiers coming back from Overseas, to manufacture the ABC, made by a company with which his firm has been in connection in the very earliest days at Brooklands, as it was in 1912 that Hawker on a Sopwith machine won the Michelin Endurance prize; and, curiously enough, their latest effort has been made with an ABC engine. Seven years ago they had taken a motto—‘Strength with Efficiency’—and with that motto they intended to carry on
in the manufacture of the ABC motor bicycle. He added that he was a strong believer in competitions, and intended to go in largely for various trials. It did not matter whether they won or not, but valuable experience was gained and excellent lessons were learnt. Mr Sopwith spoke about the arrangements which would be made with the ABC Co. Nothing had been decided until the Armistice was signed, when he approached Mr Bradshaw and asked him to turn out an experimental model, Mr Bradshaw said it could be done in three weeks. Mr Sopwith told him he did not believe him, but asked him to go ahead, with the result that the machine was placed on the road in eleven days, and was a well-finished job. In the next few weeks a new model would be ready and proved, and the company would be able to turn out large quantities, say one hundred a week…Mr Bradshaw pointed out that the war was won on technical superioritv, wonderful knowledge being gained m the war, and he considered that that superiority was as essential to a reconstructing nation to-day as it had been to a fighting nation yesterday. He pointed out that the motor cyclist was probably the largest road user in the country, and the one most neglected by the technical engineer. He had been given an engine the unbalance of which was a close competitor to a pneumatic riveter, a frame spinnig in the manner of a farm cart, a lubricating system which was a combination of pure guess and a good memory—a carburation system which enabled him to transport about half the weight per mile per gallon that other road vehicles could transport, while his protection from the mud was so bad that it necessitated his wearing clothing suitable for a scarecrow…the motor cyclist no longer need exert excessive strength to lift his machine on the stand, as the new machine complete would weigh about 150lb., and its centre of gravity would be but 15in. from the ground. The motor cyclist would fill up with oil oh the first of the month and forget the lubrication until the first of the month following…he added that the new engine would be 400cc, and a four-speed gear would be fitted.” Ixion later revealed: “A good yarn is going the rounds anent the new ABC bicycle. The bottom dropped out of the war so abruptly that Mr. Bradshaw—like all other motor engineers—was caught napping. He had his engine ready, for it had been a ‘munition’ for four years past, but his brain had been switched off motor cycle gears, frames, etc, for many a long day. The managing director of the firm who had previously covenanted to manufacture the post-war ABC bicycles came round at 60mph: ‘How soon can you have the drawings of that bicycle ready?’ Mr. Bradshaw defined the necessary pre liminary
test; when these were agreed upon, he estimated the ‘bus would be ready to go into production in three weeks. ‘Impossible!’ ‘What will you bet?’ ‘£100 a day premium if early: same penalty if late!’ ‘Done.’” Was this a yarn spread to publicise the ABC? Not according the The Motor Cycle’s letters page: “Dear Sir,—With regard to the short paragraph by ‘Ixion’ under the heading of ‘A Bet’, he had not the facts of the case quite as they were, neither did he complete the story. The general arrangement drawing of the machine had been made, and the engine certainly was one that was adapted to drive dynamos previously, but it had to be modified in design in a dozen different ways in order to make it suitable for motor cycle work. The bet was to get out the detail drawings of the whole machine, and have one on the road in three weeks, and it certainly was to the extent of £100 a day. Nothing was standard on the machine; even the hubs, spindles, and cones were special, as they both combined cone brakes. The gear box required patterns and castings to be made, for which drawings were not even prepared. There is only one frame lug similar to our previous design, and the rest were practically carved out of the solid. The tank, of course, was new and enamelling and plating had to be done. The three-speed gear was of an entirely new pattern, running in the flywheel on roller bearings throughout, and the brakes operated on quick pitch threads. Including drawings, patterns, castings, machining, fitting, erecting, enamelling, and plating, the whole job was done in exactly eleven days, and the machine was on the road ten days to the good (and it is still on the road). I received Mr T0M Sopwith’s cheque by the first post on the 12th day.
GRANVILLE E BRADSHAW. “
ACU SECRETARY TW LOUGHBOROUGH wrote an open letter to The Motor Cycle’s readers in which he said: “Just four and a quarter years ago there came a call to British motor cyclists, to which they nobly responded—at first in their hundreds and later by thousands…many have climbed their last hill during these four years of war, and their comradeship in the future can be but a memory; they would not have us grieve, but we would not forget…we must get busy betimes, ready to fight for peace, to force the hands of red-taped officialdom, and to drive home the fact that to hinder transport—be it motor lorry or motor bicycle—is mere national suicide. More than two hundred clubs supported the Auto Cycle Union in 1914; to-day I doubt whether a dozen could get a committee together. But the boys will soon be returning, and already count on spending their 1919 holiday awheel, and not in Flanders. Surely in nearly every club one or two must be already at home who could fan the embers and get the club fire burning! Our individual members have stood by the Union nobly. Many a touring member who has not crossed a saddle at home since early in 1915 has regularly sent his subscription from Overseas…But the great majority of our clubs have necessarily succumbed under the stress of war. In almost every case I believe they can be revived and made more successful than ever…What of yourself, reader? Are you a ‘clubman’ past or prospective? Or do you prefer to ‘ride the farthest who rides alone’? Whichever it is, may I suggest that your duty to-day is clear? Do not be satisfied with a promise from your club officials that something will be done—offer to do that something yourself…And, all of you, make the fullest possible use of all the help we can give you—that is what the Union exists for. Write whenever you are in doubt or difficulty, write when any suggestion occurs to you as to how our influence may be increased, write at once when you hear of any threatened legislation, local byelaws, or trading restrictions which may affect vour rights as a motor cyclist.”
“AN ENGINE ONLY 18IN LONG, 18in high, which, it is claimed, develops 56hp and weighs only a little more than 100lb, has been produced in America. The design is unusual and somewhat reminiscent of the Wishaw rotary engine designed and built by a Scotch engineer just before the war. This American engine is not of the rotary type, but has a single cylinder divided into four compartments bv two walls and two arms which oscillate. It works on the four-stroke principle, and performs the complete cycle of operations in one revolution of the crankshaft. The engine has, perhaps, 150 fewer parts than a four-cylinder engine of the conventional type with reciprocating pistons. The wall across the diameter of the large single cylinder is crossed at the centre by a pair of oscillating vanes supported by a hollow trunnion. This arrangement, it will be understood, divides the cylinder into four different chambers. These in turn correspond to the four cylinders of an ordinary engine. Firing occurs in 1, 2, 3, 4 order. As an explosion takes place in one compartment, the rocking piston head simultaneously compresses gas in the next chamber, fuel is drawn into the third one. and the fourth space exhausts. The oscillatory motion is changed into rotary motion by a connecting rod which turns a counterbalanced crankshaft. Probably the greatest difificulty in making an engine of this character efficient is that of rendering the ‘cylinders’ compression tight. In this engine leakage is prevented by spring-held packing strips that fit in grooves in the sides and ends of the piston head, and by packing rings that encircle the trunnion. The engine illustrated has a capacity equal to that of a 4-cyl. engine with cylinders 5 1/8in bore and 5in stroke (6,739cc).”
“UNTIL WE CAUGHT SIGHT OF ‘FLOSSIE’ the other day we had not realised how starkly simple the old times speed machines were in comparison with modern motor cycles. The lady in question (her name was lettered in violent crimson on a rather battered tank) was leaning against a garage window. She was nothing more than a frame, a pair of wheels, a belt, and an engine. The two great bare cylinders were topped off by a few scanty radiating fins, and a remarkably workmanlike overhead valve gear. When her owner (an RAF pilot some 6ft tall) came out with a new plug for her he handled the great machine as easily as if it had been a baby two-stroke. After she went off, with that effortless, seven-league action that only a high-geared racing twin can give, we fell to woadering if all of the complications we regard as necessities now were indispen- sable. Many of the old brigade still hold that the high-ppwered single-geared ‘bus is the most sporting machine of all to drive.”
“TO ALL MOTORISTS IT WILL come as welcome news that new grants amounting to £10,000,000 [£400,000,000 in today’s money] will be distributed by the Road Board for the reconstruction of roads and bridges…it is hoped to facilitate the reconstruction of about 200 bridges. The largest amount previously earmarked in a vear for this work was £1,000,000…Mr Rees Jeffreys, secretary of the Road Board, has asked all highway authorities to submit their plans for reconstruction of roads as early as possible…There are more than 10,000 trained roadmenders on the several Fronts, not counting partly-trained roadmakers in the Labour Battalions. These men are being demobilised, and, with their up-to-date machinery, they may be distributed over the country to reconstruct the roads.”
“A NEW LIGHTING ORDER has come into effect. Under its provisions all vehicles except handcarts and bicycles must carry two forward shining lamps, and all vehicles must display a red rear light. Motorists may use unobscured side lamps, which must have, if electric, bulbs not exceeding 12 candlepower, and, if acetylene, burners consuming not more than 14 litres per hour. The diameter of the front glass must not exceed 5in. Head lamps of any size may be used, but their electric bulbs must not exceed 24cp or their acetylene burners 21lit. All head lamp front glasses must be dimmed with either white paint or the equivalent of one thickness of tissue paper.”
“FROM TIME TO TIME we have the suggestion put forward that our existing heavy, solo machines will be displaced by an evolution of the 2¾hp Douglas type which will give us a ‘go-anywhere’ mount of 200cc capacity, capable of maintaining good average speeds, of climbing hills as gamely as the 4hp single, and of sticking so tenaciously to its work that a speed gear would only be provided in the nature of an auxiliary accessory to be used in the most awkward emergency. These desirable features are to be obtained partly by virtue of a hoped for increase of engine efticiency and partly from a more (theoretically) favourable power to weight ratio resulting from the adoption of special metals.”
AN ENTHUSIAST WHO DEPENDED on his motor cycle for his living came up with his ideal mount: “I want a machine of medium power and weight, weatherproof, easily managed, giving a comfortable position, and ready to ride without much attention…a full 3½-4hp V-twin air-cooled four-stroke…lubrication must ht by a throttle-controlled system through a really visible drip feed…Two speeds are usually suflicient, but I would prefer three. I wish to change gear or declutch without taking the hands from the bars…The drive is to be through chains—I do not desire a totally enclosed drive, or to have to work an hour or so removing cases in the case of chain breakage…An efficient rear springing system is absolutely essential…a sloping top tube passing through a saddle tank, two tubes in place of one from the head to front engine carrier, and two from the saddle lug to the gear box bracket.”
“AMONG THE SEVERAL THINGS requiring the attention of the motor cycle designer may be mentioned improvements in suspension, mudguarding, chain cases, and carburetters…A prophet says that in ten years’ time the electric combined lighting, starting, and ignition unit will be standard on all motor cycles. We shall see.”
“JAP TWINS: THE 1919 6hp and 8hp JAP twin engines will be made with interchangeable crank cases, in order that they may fit motor cycles having identical frames without alteration.”
“IT IS DIFFICULT for some designers to hide their enthusiasm for 1920 models (hidden away from the pressman’s view) while they are detailing the additions designated ‘improvements’ to the 1914 model which will be sold in 1919.”
“HUSH MODELS: A FLAT TWIN lightweight from a Midland firm, a four-cylinder machine from a well-known light car company, and several new spring frame models.”
“THE COVENTRY-MADE EXCELSIOR is one of that class of British motor cycles which is designed ‘from the saddle’…The new machines will be a twin sidecar combination and a lightweight solo mount. The former will be obtainable with either 6hp or 8hp JAP engine, and will have 28x3in interchangeable wheels, which can be quickly changed without tools. The forks fitted are Druid Mark II. The transmission of the new model is all-chain and enclosed, the gear box being the Sturmey-Archer…ground clearance is 6in, yet it is possible to remove the cylinders without disturbing the rest of the engine. The mudguards are wide and well valanced, and leg shields will be fitted as standard…Another little fitment to assist in keeping the rider clean is a neat metal guard covering the valves and tappets of the rear cylinder. Footboards are fitted. Provision is made for the installation of a dynamo lighting set if required. The brakes are an improved design of the internal expanding type…in addition to the usual engine tools, there will be a set of box spanners which will fit every nut on the combination…The Excelsior lightweight will be a new design, embodying a Villiers two-stroke engine and a Sturmey-Archer two-speed gear box with hand-controlled clutch…Druid Mark II forks are fitted.”
“SIR,—I SHOULD LIKE TO PUT IN A WORD for pillion riding. I have carried my wife at least 10,000 miles during the last eighteen months on business on a pillion seat, through all sorts and conditions of weather. In August we did 700 miles in five days on a trip to Cornwall. With bicycle, myself and wife, two tins of petrol, and packs on our backs, we scaled a quarter of a ton. The outward journey included the well-known Porlock Hill and hill to Lynton from Lynmouth. then on to Ilfracombe, Launceston, Wadebridge, Bodmin Moor; the return journey through Bodmin, Plymouth, Torquay, then Tavistock, Dartmoor, and the last day Exeter, South Molton, Lynmouth, Exmoor again, Bridgwater, Cheddar, and Bristol. A few weeks ago I had to go to London twice, the return journey being done in the day, and it did not forget to rain during the night after we had left Uxbridge. The mount is a 4¼hp BSA, and I find not the least difficulty in steering; in fact, I cannot tell any difference with my regular passenger, but with a stranger it is at once apparent, and steering then requires careful managing. It is undoubtedly the most economical means of transit for two, though not the most comfortable, especially in cold weather. With all thanks to those brave lads and motorists who have, by their courage and endurance, helped to secure peace and made possible once more the pleasures of the open road.
A RURAL SURVEYOR, Alcester.”
“SIR,—SOME OF THE MEMBERS of the York and District Motor Club have discussed the advisability of getting the club restarted, and hope soon to have a meeting to arrange for it to be opened in the New Year. Many of our members have been, and are yet, in the Army and Navy. Some will not come home, others may not for some time; so that in 1919 we may not get into full swing, but think it better to have a start. The Government recognise that quick transport is necessary for the future development of this country. Let them sweep away the restrictions on motoring as quickly as possible, and reduce the price of petrol, and see that we have a good home supply of spirit—benzole and other spirit—so that a small ring of petrol companies cannot force up the price of petrol to the extortionate figure they have done: for if the industry from a commercial and sporting side is not to suffer the price of petrol must come down to a reasonable figure, and quickly. Many of our club members joined the local VAD under Capt Anderson, and have done good service for the last three or four years in taking stranded soldiers and sailors home into the country when there were no trains or other means of conveyance, in many cases taking them fifty miles, and sometimes at midnight or the early hours of the morning. They also drove the ambulance cars when moving convoys of wounded from the station to the various hospitals. Wishing you every success, and longing for the good time coming when, restrictions swept away and the price of petrol or other spirit at a reasonable figure, we may revel in the joy of the ‘openroad’. A very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
GA REED, Hon Sec, York &DMC.”
“THE MOTOR CYCLING CLUB intends to have a pretty full programme in 1919. With this end in view it has decided that a paid secretary should be appointed. It will be a part-time job, and any enthusiastic motor cyclist who could take on the job is requested to apply to the chairman, Mr Robert Head, 17, Baker Street, London, W1. Next season’s programme will contain a despatch riders’ trial, the opening run, and the annual London-Edinburgh run.”
“THE IMPORTS OF MACHINES and parts for the twelve months to December 31st, 1918, amounted to £22,479, as against £106,126 in 1917 and £176,015 during 1916. It is interesting to compare these with the 1914 returns, which give £187,676 for value of imports and £1,168,799 for the exports.”
…AND SO THE YEAR DREW TO A CLOSE. Peace. But the war, and the flu pandemic that followed, robbed motor cycling of so many pioneer riders. No one was in the mood for seasonal jollity but the first peacetime models were appearing, there was at least a trickle of petrol, paraffin and benzole to power them, the clubs were reforming and riders were dreaming of better days to come. So here’s The Motor Cycle’s Christmas message to its readers, followed by a seasonal pic from the USA, a couple of poignant cards and a clutch of contemporary adverts. See you in 1919…
“CHRISTMAS, 1918: FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 1913 we are able, without a feeling of inappropriateness, to wish our readers most heartily the good old-fashioned wish, ‘A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’. Once more at the season of ‘Peace on earth and goodwill towards men’ have wars been made to cease throughout the world, though the time of universal goodwill is not yet. Our sailors and soldiers have covered themselves with glory, and have helped to win the greatest victory the world has ever seen. It now remains for our statesmen to impose a just and lasting peace upon the vanquished aggressors. We have our views of the terms which such a peace should contain, but we do not intend to weary our readers, who doubtless also have their own ideas of the subject, by reciting them here. Our duty lies not with the high politics of Europe, but with the future of the motor cycle as an implement of utility, health, pleasure, and sport—a much more attractive subject, and one upon which we can look without any misgivings for the future. Therefore to our friends the manufacturers we wish greatly increased output and big dividends—but not too big, please; to those serving with our forces abroad, a speedy and safe return to their native country; to the older riders, tours and country jaunts in plenty; to the younger, races, trials, and hill-climbs galore; to all we wish, an improvement in the quality of petrol combined with a reduction in price; a good supply of benzole; the abolition of that grandmotherly absurdity, the speed limit; an absence of tyre troubles; good weather and good roads. Given all these things, and a few more, our final wish of a Happy New Year becomes almost superfluous. At any rate, we hope that such is the case. And so: ‘Heap on more wood! The wind is chill; But let it whistle where it will, we’ll keep our Christmas merry still.’—Sir Walter Scott.”