“IN THE PAST IT WAS, WE FEAR, the habit of many manufacturers to look upon the British Isles only as their market, and to regard our Overseas Dominions and foreign countries simply in the light of places where some of their surplus stock might find purchasers…The manufacturer should regard the whole world as his market, but chiefly, of course, should he look to the British Empire…Special machines must be designed which are really suitable for the conditions obtaining in the newer and less fully developed countries…The British motor cycle is a very fine mount, entirely suitable for use in this and many other countries, but when the needs of those who live at ‘the back of beyond’, as it were, come to be considered, it will be found that the British machine—excellent as, it is for those purposes for which it was designed—will fall short of perfection, even when provided’ with heavier rims and spokes, larger tyres, and slightly more ground clearance, which items represent the usual alterations in the standard machine to convert it into an Overseas model…During the war the American manufacturers made very great headway not only in foreign countries but in our own Colonies. This was, of course, only to be expected in view of the abnormal conditions which prevailed, and the fact that America did not come into the war for so long a time after the commencement of hostilities. The British manufacturer, therefore, has much ground to recover; and we fear that he will never recover it till he has improved his methods out of all recognition. Let him study the American methods and improve upon them. At present the American is able to offer to British colonists better terms, better service in the vital matter of spares, and a machine which in many respects is more suited to his requirements than the British article…There are hundreds, nay thousands, of men in our Overseas Dominions who from a patriotic feeling alone would buy the British article in preference to any other, provided that they were assured the maker would continue to take a real interest in their machines, and that they could purchase spares without having to send to England and waiting many months for their delivery…The number of motor cycles exported during 1913 from the United Kingdom to other parts of the British Empire was 11,302, and had not the war intervened the 1914 figures would have been much larger, but we want to see the figures increased tenfold before feeling satisfied that home manufacturers are even beginning to approach the
position in the markets of the British Empire which they are rightly entitled to occupy…During the six years ended 1917, New Zealand imported 13,606 motor cycles, or one for every eighty-one inhabitants, white and aboriginal—truly a remarkable proportion! Out of every hundred machines seventy- five were British, but this proportion has diminished greatly, for, while in 1913 the proportion of American machines imported as compared with British was as one is to twenty-five, in 1916 it had changed completely, British and American imports being practically equal, and in 1917 it was almost three to one against the British…One machine to every 224 inhabitants was the average in use throughout Australia in 1918. In 1917 America supplied 75% of the new motor cycles imported by Australia…The wealth-producing country of British South Africa easily heads the list of our Overseas Dominions so far as motor cycling is concerned. Figures for the five years ended 1917 show that motor cycles were imported into South Africa at the rate of one to every seventy-four of the white population. Our American friends have had a good picking of the South African market during the war, as their proportion of the trade in motor cycles and parts, which in 1913 was under 3%, rose steadily year by year and reached 54% in 1917…In India, Ceylon, and Malaya the demand for motor cycles comes not only from the white population, but also from the wealthy and educated natives, and represents a potential market of great value. Over a period of three years, from April, 1914, to March, 1917, British India imported 5,504 motor cycles, American machines making no headway until 1916-17, when 525 were imported as against eight in 1913-14. Nearly 190,000 miles of roads are maintained by public authorities throughout the country, a third of which are metalled and in fairly good condition. The American share of the motor cycle imports into Ceylon jumped from just over 10% in 1915 to 60% in 1917. There were 1,130 motor cycles in use in the Federated Malay States in 1916, which number has undoubtedly increased by now…From the point of view of numbers of motor cyclists, the Dominion of Canada is the most backward of all the daughters of Britain. Canada has some of the finest roads in the world, one motor car to every thirty inhabitants, but only one motor cycle to every 916! ”
“THAT OVERSEAS TRADE must be more seriously considered has long been acknowledged by the thinking men in the trade but, in many cases, not only new methods are needed, but new models also. Too long has the British manufacturer done business with a ‘Take it or leave it’ attitude. The popularity of the American machines in the Colonies is proof positive that either our methods or our models—perhaps both—have been inadequate. It seems strange that after the makers had been deaf to the demands of the Overseas markets on such points of ground clearance, it required a buying commission from Russia (which country probably knows less about motor cycles than any other) to induce the makers to adapt their machines to ‘foreign’ requirements. However, quite a number of ‘Russian’ models now exist, which are more suitable for the Overseas trade generally than most machines which were produced before the war…The British maker has a chance now to meet his competitors in the Overseas markets.
BLACKBURNE EXPANDED ITS RANGE to four proprietary engines: two singles (2¾hp 348cc and 4hp 499cc); and two twins (8hp 998cc and 10hp 1,100cc). They all featured detachable heads and outside flywheels; the twin were available with air or water cooling. Three complete bikes were also offered: 2¾hp with two speeds and chain/belt drive; 4hp with three speeds and all-chain drive; and 8hp with three speeds, all-chain drive and QD wheels. They all came with Brampton Biflex forks.
THOUSANDS OF MOTOR CYCLISTS responded to a plebiscite in The Motor Cycle designed to establish once and for all the ideal specification for the motor cycle so many veterans had been dreaming of. There were two classes: solo and sidecar. It came as no surprise that the ideal solo was was a 3½hp short-stroke 500cc four-stroke. The flat twin led the field with 40% of the vote, pipping the one-lunger (36%). Third in line was the V-twin (13%) followed by the four-pot (5%) with ‘less conventional types’ such as vertical twins, 90° twins a triples favoured by 6%. The classic 500 was first choice (32.7%), followed by a 550 (21.5%) and 600 (9.8%). The 350 and 650 options both scored 5%; 3.8% voted for a 300 and a hardy few opted for big-twin solos up to 1,100cc. The spec also included a four-speed gearbox, multi-plate cork-insert clutch, all-chain drive, sprung frame, Druid forks, V-rim front brake, drum rear brake and dynamo/battery lights. The ideal sidecar hauler was an 8hp long-stroke 1,000cc four-stroke V-twin with a three-speed gearbox, single dry plsate cork-insert clutch, all-chain drive, sprung frame, Druid forks, contracting front brake, drum rear brake and dynamo/battery lights. A lot of riders wanted 500-600cc dual-purpose bikes suitable for solo or sidecar work. The 1,000cc twin was an easy winner in the sidecar stakes with a 31% vote. Runner up was the 750 (19.85), 600 (7.2%) and 550 (6.8%). Only a few sidecarrists called for engines from 1,000-1,500cc, but 16% favoured the 800-950cc class and 5% were happy with a traditional 3½hp 500. V-twins headed the wish list of sidecar outfit engines at 35%, ahead of flat twins (28%), fours (20%), singles (16%) and ‘other’ (1%). Two-stroke engines weren’t popular: 94% of solo riders and 96% of sidecarrists wanted their strokes to come in fours. A few forward-thinking types were interested in unit construction and hydraulic or magnetic transmission.
“ALL SORTS OF CHANGES have been predicted withregard to the motor cycle of the future, but, viewing the outlook both from the points of view of riders and manufacturers, there is no particular reason to think that the old order, as regards the variety of machines produced, will be in any way restricted…stimulated, perhaps, by keener competition…we shall arrive at greater extremes than in the past. We shall have the Rolls-Royce among motor cycles and the Ford—the first-narned being a machine produced for the ‘select few’, and the latter, rendered not only possible but certain by the many changes that have taken place in the manufacturing world, the necessity for increasing output and finding adequate employment for our huge factories, etc, produced for the multitude…Recently I have conversed with manufacturers who are enthusiastic upon concentrating on this model the luxury solo mount…His idea is to produce a really hot stuff flat twin, which is to possess every possible refinement in the way of modern equipment, etc—mechanical lubrication, electric lighting, and a standard of finish which will place it in a class to itself. No expense is to be spared in order to obtain the zenith of comfort, tractability, speed, and durability, and the price of the finished article will most assuredly debar it from anything but a very select market. This price, however, is to include a first-rate system of service and a very generous guarantee—though the latter will automatically become void should the owner attach a sidecar! You buy the machine, if in difficulties you wire for a mechanic—indeed, the Rolls-Royce system is to be followed throughout within reasonable limits—but if you attach a sidecar you become an outlaw, beyond the pale of sympathy and support! It is difficult to prophesy as to what form the Ford of motor cycles will take…whatever cc may be chosen, the Ford motor cycle, like the Ford car, must have something more than cheapness to recommend it. It must be handy, reliable, and foolproof, these features being infinitely more necessary here than in the more costly type, because scores of fools will buy it. Like the Ford car, it must be capable of enduring neglect and hard usage—suitable for commercial requirements and all-weather riding. There is an immense demand for an ultra-cheap lightweight, capable of going anywhere at its own speed, and, above all things, cheap to run.”
“THE SECRETARY OF THE ACU informs us that he greatly regrets the delay which has recently occurred in his office in dealing with queries relating to petrol licences. This has been unavoidable, owing to the fact that the Petrol Controller’s Department has temporarily run out of the correct forms upon which application must be made.”
THE FRENCH MOTOR CYCLE MAGAZINE L’AUTO appealed to French manufacturers to “wake up and turn out machines of the same type as those used by our English and American Allies…If ten people in France buy uncomfortable motor bicycles without change speed gears, to start which they must be acrobats and run 100 yards, there will be 1,000 buyers who will interest themselves in the reliable complete motor cycle constructed for the practical purchaser.”
“ONE OF THE SEVERAL ITALIAN MAKES of motor cycles which has been used extensively by the Italian Army during the war is the Delia Ferrera…We are informed by our Milan correspondent that these machines will be made for the public this year, and that the Italian motor cycle trade—a rapidly growing industry—will make a great effort to capture the greater part of their home trade. This fact, coupled with the probable early arrival in Italy of the new American models, will make it increasingly difficult for the British manufacturer to pick up his pre-war trade, which was very flourishing. Several new firms have amiounced their intention of entering the motor cycle trade and many interesting machines, including at least two flat twin and a two-stroke, are under consideration.”
“THE UNIT SYSTEM: The Integral Engine—Gear Box and Belt Drive. In any design of any machine there appear to be three periods. (1) The simple idea developed on crude lines. (2) The fitment of various devices which experience demands as essential, but which are frequently added in a disconnected sort of way. (3) The ‘clean sweep’ of the existing details, a unification of all the essential features, and the embodiment of them in such a way as to make a design thoroughly sound. The motor cycle at present appears to be in stage 2, particuterly in regard to the transmission problem, on which depends perhaps the success of the machine. The need of the change-speed gear has given rise to a remarkably diverse development, but there has been no genuine attempt to establish a modern, unit system applicable to all sizes of machines. The unit system is a step to secure the true alignment of gears, under all conditions, of the change speed gear system. The combination of the unit system with a properly designed belt drive would result in a much lighter machine per hp, especially in the larger machines, and this is a very desirable aim to keep in view.”
IN JANUARY THE MOTOR CYCLE PUBLISHED its first peacetime buyers’ guide, included predicted delivery dates as factories completed government contracts and shifted back to peacetime production. These ranged from a rather smug “Delivery commenced” (Triumph, Excelsior, Douglas) and “January” (Allon, Ariel, LMC), via an optimistic “shortly” (Humber, New Imperial, Norton, Sunbeam) and “in a few weeks” (Velocette), to “Orders carried out on rotation as far as possible” (BSA), and a blunt “May” (ABC). “So far, the AJS has the distinction of being the highest-priced motor cycle,” said the Blue ‘Un, “while the Norton Big 4 leads the singles.” The contenders were: ABC, AJS, Allon, Ariel, Blackburne, British Excelsior, BSA, Douglas, Enfield, Humber, Levis, LMC, Matchless, Metro-Tyler, New Imperial, Norton, P&M, Radco, Royal Ruby, Sparkbrook, Sunbeam, Triumph and Velocette. Within a few weeks they were joined by Abingdon, Bradbury, Calthorpe, Connaught, Coventry Eagle, Diamond, Dot, Ivy, Ixion, James, Rover, Sun-Vitesse and Wooler. The first post-war debutante. Coulson, with a posh address address in Piccadilly London W1, opted for a 2¾hp 341cc four-stroke Blackburne engine. “This will be a mediumweight machine of medium horse-power, and one capable of going anywhere. It has been generally found that a horse-power of 2¾ is the most practical power the motorcyclist can desire. It will not give him excessive speed, but will enable a good average to be kept up and any hill to be climbed…This engine is a small replica of the well-known 3½hp Blackburne engine…combined belt and chain transmission will be fitted, while the gear box will be a two-speed Jardine…the rear portion of the machine will be provided with leaf springing, while the front of the machine is suspended on Druid Mark II forks…the top tube of the frame is of the sloping variety, and the machine has a distinctly racy appearance…the stand is fitted just behind the bottom bracket on which the countershaft Albion two-speed gear box is suspended. It is being brought out by Mr FA Coulson, formerly managing director of the Wooler Engineering Co, and it is expected that between 750 and 1,000 machines will be made during 1919. Already, half this number is booked up.”
BY THE START OF 1919 PETROL was back on the civilian market. Licences were still required for the purchase of ‘motor spirit’ but these were now readily available to all. Rationing had not yet disappeared; the allowance was six gallons a month for solos and 10 gallons for combos, or up to 16 gallons for business purposes. The Petrol Pool Board, which had co-ordinated fuel supplies, was closed down at the end of January but the Board of Trade retained its price control over petrol and petrol products.
“THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS MOTOR CYCLING CLUB: Applications for membership are still reaching the temporary hon sec Lt HP Browning, RUA, AA Gun Station, Virginia Water, Surrey. Col Lindsay Lloyd has consented to be president of the club, and in a few months’ time it is hoped that a sufficient number of applications will have been received to enable Mr Browning to call a general meeting and restart the club. Mr Browning will be glad to hear from members of the leading Public Schools who would care to join the club, and it is hoped by the Easter holidays to have the club completely re-established and a programme formed.”
“A MOTOR CYCLE CLUB FOR EALING AND DISTRICT: It is proposed to form a motor cycling club for Ealing and District. It is the intention of the promoters to maintain a vigorous and novel programme, including an entirely new form of inter-club team competition, which, it is hoped, will greatly stimulate club activity. The social side will be well catered for, the club having had the offer of the use of a large club room gratis. In this connection, club runs.will be eagerly looked forward to after the enforced idleness of the past four years. These runs will be combined with a social event, and will give members an object in riding. Lady riders are invited to join, for it is felt that the lady members will be well represented by ex-RAF motor cyclists and others. The club will be affiliated to the Auto Cycle Union, whereby members will become entitled to the privileges conferred by that body. Every rider who is interested should write to Mr S. PL Brown, 25, Ormiston Road, Shepherd’s Bush, W12.”
BELGIAN BICYCLE AND MOTOR CYCLE manufacturers formed a society for their protection and to further the manufacture and export of Belgian machines.”
“SIR,—MR HARRY WALKER, A WELL-KNOWN representative of British interests in the motor trade in Barcelona, is now on his way over to this country. Mr Walker is particularly anxious that British manufacturers should make a prominent exhibition of their productions at the motor car and motor cycle show to be held at Barcelona next March, to which you referred on December 25th last, in face of the certain and intense competition of manufacturers in enemy countries. Spain is truly neutral in the matter of commerce, and the manufacturer who shows most enterprise—be he British, Austrian, or German—has an equally favourable opportunity of securing the business of the country.
THE SPHINX MANUFACTURING CO”
“SIR,—I AM SENDING A FEW SUGGESTIONS made by a few knuts round the fire one evening during a discussion on ‘Which type?’ I have tried to picture the sort of type it would be if some of them were adopted. Unfortunately, I have had to leave more than half of these comforts out, but I have tried to show the principal ones. You will notice that the big single seems to be a favourite, with its long exhaust pipe, which has a joint in it to allow of easy cornering; also there is a small wheel on the handle-bars for the same purpose. The periscope would be useful, as well as necessary. A good searchlight must be fitted; this one takes 12 amps 60 volts, similar to those we use in France. The generator is fitted at the rear of engine, under the oil tank. The machine is geared 1-4, not 4-1, so as to be able to get a good burst of speed. The back tyre should also lend itself to this end, and also to ensure good hill-climbing. Overhead valves are fitted, also overhead carburetter. The question of petrol and oil capacity seems difficult, but this is a detail. It is a free engine, and there is possibly a kick starter on the other side. You must excuse us getting like this, but we have not had a crash for two and a half years, and we are beginning to dream dreams. Still, we are thankful for small mercies, as the ‘Blue ‘Un’ turns up week by week, so we have our rides on paper.
(CPL) R CHILDS, RE.”
RIDER TROWARD & CO OF HAMPSTEAD High Street, London N3 boasted in an advert: “Remember our three terms of dealing, of which not one has yet been emulated by any other firm: (a) Three days’ free trial. Your money back at the end if not satisfied. (b) Three weeks’ option of exchange. Your machine taken back, and full price allowed, if wished, in exchange for anything else. (c) Three months’ guarantee—the same guarantee that the makers give.”
“PRICES OF MOTOR CYCLES GENERALLY ARE 25% in advance of those of 1914, and there is a tendency among motor cyclists to consider them too high. Without any desire to make a plea of justification, we are, nevertheless, constrained to consider the present position in no way inconsistent with the times. As much as we wish to see motor cycles offered at pre-war prices, we are afraid it is more than can be expected…we know material and labour are up at least 100%…everything considered it does not appear that a 25% increase over pre-war prices is at all exorbitant, especially when it is remembered that in purchasing everything today the British public is called upon to pay advances in price considerably more than 25%.”
“IT MAY BE PERFECTLY TRUE,” IXION remarked, “that an up-to-date engine of 350cc or so with a suitable gear box will do its mile a minute and climb any hill, but until human nature is regenerated some of us will ask for more than this. An ex-RAF pilot, accustomed to 150mph, will not be thrilled by slamming open his throttle with about 3½hp loaded up to about 4cwt. There will always be a small but select market for a sheer ‘hogbus’, capable of climbing at terrific speed and of furious acceleration on the flat. We have yet to see an ideal mount of this character. In theory it should add its special hallmarks to the usual desiderata of light weight, comfort, and reliability. In practice such speedirons are generally very uncomfortable and absurdly heavy. They are not unreliable in the ordinary sense of the word; but like most high-bred animals they are flighty and capricious. The 60 or 70mph which may represent their best gait is not always on tap. I am not sure that owners want it to be. In this class at any rate the rider rather enjoys chasing round in search of a lost 100rpm or so. Beyond question the single-cylinder types of ‘hogbus’ have been worked up to a higher pitch than their twin-cylinder rivals. The TT Triumph, Rudge, and Norton may challenge comparison with any invaders in this class. But where is the standardised 7hp British twin hogiron? I know some very fascinating ohv big JAPs have been put out by various makers, but I think the market would stand a little pushing in such machines if they were developed on the lines indicated. Several American machines, especially the short-wheelbase Henderson, were attracting many of our riders in 1914. I admit there are distinct objections to the unrestricted sale of very fast machines, but if they are going to be sold let them be British.”
“HUNDREDS OF WAR-WORN AND DISCARDED MOTOR CYCLES, fit and unfit, are lying on Kempton Park Racecourse more or less exposed to the weather, illustrating the terrible wastage of material, labour, and money which war inevitably forces upon a people…lorries packed with damaged motor cycles are still arriving…two-thirds of the number are usually fit for repair, and of these many—mostly of non-standard makes—are placed in the motor cycle sales park. Non-standard makes are those which are neither Douglases, Triumphs, P&Ms, nor Clynos, but some such types as Sunbeams, AJSs, Rudges, Rovers, and other motor cycles made by well-known manufacturers which have been on home service…New motor cycles in crates, ready for distribution, are placed under cover in open-sided sheds, and are not too well protected from the weather, as it can be seen that the outside machines are exposed to driving rain or snow, and, even though grease is liberally applied to the bright parts, some evidences of rust are apparent. Machines which have been repaired in the army workshops are placed in crates and covered with tarpaulins. Motor cycles awaiting repair are in an open field, and as many as possible are placed under tarpaulins, but a vast number of unfits are without any protection whatever. It is the sight of this huge number of motor bicycles left day and night, winter and summer, exposed to all the vagaries of an Enghsh climate, that has led to so much criticism—in defence of this it is argued that most of them have been
rescued from the battlefields of Flanders and elsewhere, where they have been exposed to rains other than and besides those of heaven. They have often been literally buried in the ground,and so a month or two’s extra exposure will do them no further harm. Unfit motor cycles, as they are called, are those which have suffered severe accidents, have been run over and ditched, or have been hit and severely damaged by shell or machine-gun fire…The disposal of army motor cycles is in the hands of the Surplus Government Property Disposal Board, 6, St James’s Square, London, SW1…machines in the sales park include 24 fit Rudges, 86 fit Zeniths, and numerous unfit machines, of which we may mention 17 Sunbeams 96 Scott sc combinations, 36 Scott solo machines, 99 Zeniths, 23 Premiers, and 33 Rovers.” The question is—when will the Government move? The market is excellent now; second-hand prices are higher than they ever will be again, and, despite arguments to the contrary, the goods are depreciating. A few months hence, when new motor cycles will be available, second-hand prices may drop, so no useful purpose can be served by further delay…the motor cycles are bought from funds supplied by the taxpayer, and he rightly demands that they should be disposed of in the most advantageous manner. The Disposal Board is alive to what is required, but can get no answer from the Ministry of Supply, and so it seems that this body is really to blame.
“THE PRESSED STEEL MOTOR CYCLE FRAME has long been regarded as an ultimate development, but until recently there has been no particular tendency in that direction, in spite of the many advantages which, theoretically, it presents. We have, however, foreseen that the war-time experience of several of our motor cycle manufacturers with engine plates for aeroplanes would influence motor cycle frame design. Therefore it is of especial interest to find the makers of the Diamond motor cycles, DFM Engineering Co, Ltd, of Wolverhampton, well advanced in the production of the first models of a genuine tubeless frame constructed entirely of steel pressings…the engine unit also is unique. The frame consists of two side plates carried right through from the head, downwards, to form part of the engine carrier, and, upwards, over the back wheel, to form strengthening valances on the back mudguard. The two plates are connected behind the head by (1) a segmental plate covering the petrol tank, (2) by the tank itself when in position, (3) by a removable plate over the engine, and again (4) by the back mudguard. The whole is completely stiffened by the engine unit baseplate, which is bolted in from the under side. The engine unit is complete in itself so complete, in fact, that when the chain and petrol pipe are disconnected and the baseplate unbolted, it can be entirely removed from the frame, carrying with it the two-speed gear box, magneto, silencer, and carburetter. The engine is of the four-stroke type and of 427cc capacity, and is placed horizontally with side-by-side valves on top of the cylinder. The machine will be suitable for riders of either sex without alteration, and will be an undoubted advance on the point of cleanliness. The engine is completely shielded from the rider, and an ample dashboard and leg shields can easily be fitted, rendering the machine as nearly weatherproof as possible.”
“MR FW BARNES, WHOSE NAME IS FAMILIAR to all who follow the sport and pastime, seems to have gone beyond the ‘idea’ stage, and has succeeded in designing a frame which, while being entirely unorthodox so far as method of construction is concerned, is by no means unsightly. The main or body portion of the frame is formed of two metal stampings welded on their adjacent edges. This portion is shaped at the front and rear ends to provide seatings for the two diagonal members of the frame, at the lower end of which the engine is intended to be fixed. The fore bracket is formed of a metal plate bent to form the steering head. The rear bracket is bent around the rear end of the tank or body portion in a similar way. The front fork, too, is intended to be of pressed steel con- struction, while the rear stays may follow the same principles.”
“MR PA FISKER, OF COPENHAGEN, Has undoubtedly gone a long way towards achieving the embodiment of the ideas of super-refinement enthusiasts in his patented motor cycle design. The principal features of the construction are the duplex pressed steel members carrying file engine and connecting the steering head and the rear wheel stays. The saddle is supported by the steel tank, which is attached to the steering head at one end, and the main frame plates at the otlier. The springing is of a decidedly novel type, comprising long lever arms and helical springs. The extra saddle, which is fitted in place of the more usnal carrier, is also sprung. A great deal of attention has also been paid to mudguarding. The pressed members are stiffened laterally by wide footplates extending the whole length of the engine The engine rests on another plate, which forms an undershield, so that it is practically enclosed in a mudproof cradle. A four-cylinder engine is shown fitted with a simple type of totally-enclosed shaft and bevel drive.”
“ACCORDING TO OIL NEWS, a petrol substitute has been discovered in Washington which, it is claimed, has greater thermal efficiency than the best petrol, and can be produced at less than half the present price…It is claimed that the new fuel is odourless, tasteless, and non-corrosive, leaves less carbon deposit than petrol, requires less air for combustion, and develops greater horse-power. The ingredients are cheap, and can be readily obtained, while the process of manufacture is simple.”
“NEW REX MODELS: Two new models will shortly be placed on the market by the old-established Rex Co. These will be a 4hp single with three-speed gear and chain-cum-belt transmission, and an 8hp twin sidecar with all-chain drive. Both models will embody several new features.”
“KEMPTON PARK IS NOT THE ONLY PLACE where disused Army motor cycles are awaiting disposal. A correspondent states that there are many at Grove Park, near Bromley, but here, unlike those at Kempton, the majority are under cover.”
“NOT LONG AGO,” IXION RECALLED, I saw an aero engine, on which a very simple provision against air leaks at induction joints was employed. The pipes bolted to each inlet valve port were ‘stubs’, cut off short; and they were connected to the main carburetter manifold by rubber insertions, tightened round the pipe-ends by strong band clips. This flexible joint is cheap to make and overrules all small errors of alignment. I think it is worth adoption on certain multi-cylinder motor cycles, which have, bad reputations in this respect.”
“NOT A HINT: IXION wishes to convey his best thanks to ‘An Old Reader’ who sent him a box of cigarettes anonymously.”
“BETTER EQUIPMENT: THERE IS A decided tendency among manufacturers to include better equipment in the specifications of their new models, and the policy of building down to a price appears to be entirely disappearing. Larger tyres and better saddles are almost general on machines which before the war were regarded as cheap lightweights.”
“WE ARE ASKED TO NAME THE INVENTOR of the exhaust valve lifter. This was Mr AJ Wilson, who, as a motor journalist, is known as ‘Faed’, Incidentally, Mr Wilson was author of the first edition of Motor Cycles and How to Manage Them, published from these offices.”
“MR DR O’DONOVAN, THE WELL-KNOWN speed specialist, is again in charge of the Norton Motors testing department, and he will be personally responsible for the riding in the firm’s engine speed tests on the Brooklands track. The certificate of the Brooklands Auto Racing Club will be given with each of the special engines for TT and BRS models, guaranteeing that the engine has exceeded 75mph for a distance of one kilometre. We are assured that there is just sufficient of the track left with a rideable surface to enable this testing to be carried out.”
AT THE END OF JANUARY The Motor Cycle relaunched the Club News section that had been suspended ‘for the duration’. The last club news had concerned the proportion of members from various clubs who had flocked to the colours. With the survivors coming home committees were reforming and plans were being laid. Heading the list, quite rightly, was The Motor Cycling Club: “This year’s programme will include a despatch riders’ trial, the opening run, and the annual London-Edinburgh run, but further news of the club’s activities will be given later.” Chester &DMCC: “This club has not yet been reorganised, as most of its members are still away on military duty, including the secretary, Mr R Dutton, who is in East Africa.” Birmingham MCC: “The Birmingham MC Club’s 1919 programme promises to be a very attractive one. It is proposed that the local clubs may reopen motor cycling competitions by having an inter-club trial.” Mansfield &DMCC: “Energetic motor cyclists in the Mansfield district should get together to revive the local club. The late secretary, Mr C Evinson, of the Portland Motor Co, advises us that he will not have time to devote to it.” Dublin &DMCC: “Mr WH Freeman is again holding office as hon sec, and four road events for 1919 have already been decided upon. A reliability trial for the Dunlop cup will be held on Easter Monday, another trial on Whit-Monday, a twenty-fours trial at the end of June, and a two days’ trial on the Saturday and Monday of August Bank Holiday”. Liverpool MC Redivivus: “We are pleased to note that the trustees of the Liverpool Motor Club have decided to resume activities by holding a public meeting at 7.30pm on February 5th at St. George’s Restaurant, Redcross Street, Liverpool. Other local clubs would do well to follow their example, as there are so many problems of vital importance to the motoring community at the present time that can be better dealt with collectively.” Bolton &DMC: “The Bolton and District Motor Club, which, in common with other motor clubs throughout the country, was compelled to suspend its activities in the early days of the war, is to be reorganised almost immediately. The first general meeting for the new season is arranged to be held at headquarters, the Swan Hotel, Bolton, on Thursday, February 13th, at 8pm prompt. Other intending members would greatly assist the secretary by paying their subscriptions to him at 215, St George’s Road, previous to the general meeting.” Woolwich, Plumstead, &DMCC: ”There is a strong feeling amongst the members of the Woolwich Club that active operations should start as early as possible, and a ‘victory’ competition is among the events being planned.” Plymouth &DMCC: “Secretary TDA Chapman advises us that at present the majority of the Plymouth Club members are scattered all over the world in His Majesty’s Forces. The revival of this club is not likely to be so soon as its ex-members would desire.” National Motor Cyclists’ Fuel Union: “On Tuesday evening, January 21st, a very successful and well attended meeting of the Portsmouth Branch was held at headquarters, Blue Anchor Hotel, Kingston Cross. The newly elected chairman, Mr Cheyne, spoke of the future business and social prospects of the club, the evening terminating with a smoking concert. Sheffield & District: “We hear that the Sheffield NMCFU intends providing co-operative garages in different parts of the town for its members, built on similar principles to those described in our Reconstruction Number of January 2nd. Despatch Riders’ Club: “A club has been formed to perpetuate the comradeship of motor cyclists who have been RE despatch riders. Such riders are invited to communicate with the temporary hon sec, Signal Service Despatch Riders’ Club, RE Depot, Wellingborough. Auto Cycle Union: “The annual general meeting of the ACU will be held at Birmingham on Saturday afternoon, March 22nd, and will be followed by a conference of members of affiliated clubs and local motor cyclists.” Federation of Belgian Motor Cyclists: A preliminary meeting will be held shortly, and every effort will be made to revive motor cycling. One of the evils the Federation is out to combat is the carrying of two enormous number plates, which Belgian motor cyclists find a great inconvenience, and every effort is being made to adopt the British system of numbering.” Ladies’ Club in Coventry: “It is thought that there are sufficient lady motor cyclists in the Coventry district to form the nucleus of a ladies’ Club, and several keen riders of the gentler sex are desirous of forming such a club. Those interested are invited to communicate with Mrs H Williams, 76, Sir Thomas White’s Road, Coventry. Cork &DMCC: “A general meeting for the election, of officers for the coming season is fixed for February 5th. It is anticipated that a full programme of events will be possible during 1919. Two members of tlie club have recently appeared in the Gaztttt— Capt JW Payne, of the Connaughts, has been awarded the Military Cross, and Capt WJ Morrogh, MC, of the Northumberland Fusiliers, the Croix de Guerre. Capt LD Humphreys, the first Cork motor cyclist to join up, was taken prisoner in the first months of the war, and has now arrived home.” The bulletin also included news from the Essex MC, Bristol Wheelers Cycling Club, Nottingham &DMCC, The British’ Motor Cycle Racing Club, Hull &DMCC, Wath &DMCC, Eastern Counties MC, NMC Fuel Union, The Cyclecar Club, York &DMCC and Middlesbrough &DMCC.
“IT IS A PSYCHOLOGICAL FACT that the individual motor cyclist is almost always most apathetic concerning that which affects motor cyclists as a whole, yet when several are banded together to form a club, there is none more ready to stand up for his rights. He forms definite opinions on matters of the moment, and he is not slow to proclaim them. He is all for the common good. In a club the trend of popular feeling can always be gauged. The reserved man finds a mouthpiece in the club secretary, and thus the technical press can translate his wants and pass them on to the legislator and the manufacturer. The present time is the one fraught with the greatest possibilities and consequences to the motoring community as a whole, and it is only the intensely united action of the individuals and the big associations which represent them that will secure them a hearing in the settlement of affairs which concern them so closely. Here, then, is the opportunity of the clubs. What is to prevent them getting into action at once, picking up the broken threads of 1914? We know only too well how many gallant fellows, the mainstay of their clubs, have laid down their lives in the great cause. Some clubs are almost extinct. Yet the aggregate number of motor cycle enthusiasts is surely greater than in the days before the war. What is wanted is a little recruiting among the newly-fledged devotees of the pastime, more publicity and more enthusiasm among the older club members. There should be no need to await the return of all the aforetime members—there is plenty of material to hand, and there is much to be done in which the clubs can be a vital power if they will. But they must act at once. The most vital question before the motoring world is at present the fuel question. It is most undesirable that the great petrol companies should obtain the control of the home-produced fuel, benzole, which owing to their organisation and means of distribution is a possibility to be considered and resisted by all motorists.”
“IN FUTURE THE MANUFACTURE OF BSA motor cycles and bicycles will be run by a company separate from the Birmingham Small Arms Co, which will be known as BSA Cycles, Ltd. Mr A Hyde, the manager of the cycle and motor cycle departments of the parent concern, will be managing director. Now that the Government contracts are about to terminate, the whole of the enormous surplus factory space and plant will be adapted to the construction of cycles and motor cycles on a scale hitherto unprecedented.”
“WD SURPLUS STOCK UNDER THE HAMMER: The first sale of Government motor cycles took place at Aldridges on the afternoon of the 22nd inst. Altogether nineteen machines were sold, consisting of Rudge-Whitworths, Zeniths, Rovers, and Scotts. There was a large number of bidders, consisting chiefly of dealers, but a number of young officers in khaki were conspicuous in the crowd…Among the surplus machines at Kempton Park are a number of the following makes: Lea-Francis, AJS, Enfield 3 and 6hp, NUT-JAP, Singer, Premier, Matchless, Bat, Rex, Regal, Motosacoche, Levis, P&M, Sunbeam, and Bradbury. A large number were privately owned machines which were taken over by the Government in 1914.”
A REPORT ON THE TREATMENT of worn out warhorses must have dissuaded many potential buyers from attending future sales: “The motor cycles are despatched from the port of arrival in open trucks, packed cheek by jowl, fifteen to twenty at a time, and, as a result of this, the jolting of the journey and shunting, etc, they present an almost inextricable mass to the men whose duty it is to transfer them on to the familiar 3-ton lorry this process is not usually effected without sundry ruthless and sudden removals of such projections as handle-bars, oil pump handles, foot-rests, and carriers; indeed, it is remarkable how efficaciously ‘stream-lining’ may be carried out by means of a viciously applied ‘ammunition’ boot! The machines are next dumped (literally!) in an ‘unfit vehicles’ park by a receiving staff, who examine and classify the machines, and also remove the valuable ‘portable property’ such as magnetos, carburetters, and saddles. It may be that familiarity breeds contempt, or maybe sheer discomfort in handling rusty, jagged, broken- backed crocks (often under the bitterest atmospheric conditions), which is the cause of much damage, for if at all refractory or awkward it is no uncommon thing for machines to be flung bodily from the lorries to the ground. Undoubtedly much of the abuse and man-handling is due to the inefficiency of the arrangements for dealing with motor cycles in quantities, and the men who have no better lifting or transporting tackle than their hands are scarcely to be blamed. The damage done to machines between the actual moment of becoming unserviceable until the time of entry into the repair shops is not to be conceived by those who have not actually seen and dealt with a consignment of two or three thousand crocks, and it is safe to say that the ordinary amateur with a penchant for tinkering who buys a damaged army machine will find his purchase dear at any price.”
“WHEN COMPELLED TO TRAVEL on a public conveyance in London, eschew tubes and taxis, and mount a ‘bus,” Ixion advised, “selecting an off-side seat on the top. When seated, do not immerse yourself in John Bull, but use your eyes. I had a good pennyworth of smiles by this cheap method the other day—as good as any Chaplin film. It was pitch dark, and the grease was of the greasiest. As we drew abreast of Selfridge’s, I heard a terrific squawking from a mechorn, and bending over perceived the ghastliest expression of abject terror I have ever seen on a human countenance. An RAF sidecar was towing a subaltern on a disabled motor bicycle through the thick traffic by a rope about ten yards long. Nearing Marble Arch a vortex of blasphemy steamed up into a shocked sky from the intersecting point of all the traffic lines. There squatted a very frightened officer in a very small car. The bulbs of his side lamps emitted pink pin points of radiance of a cp equal to the expiring wartime match. The police were deciding what he ought to do: the rest of Ihe traffic was piously declaring where he ought to be. A good penn’orth!”
“THE FAMOUS LIBERTY AERO ENGINE has no magnetos,” Ixion wrote, “but is equipped with coil and accumulator ignition of a very interesting type, which is practically as reliable in use as a magneto. Its special features consist of duplicate main contact breakers and a generator which perpetually renews the youth of the accumulator. As the contact breakersi are in duplicate, troubles and adjustments are infrequent. No sane motor cyclist desires a better ignition than the magneto, save only in respect of starting where it compares most unfavourably with the coil and accumulator; the latter gives its best spark at minimum speed, whereas the magneto gives its worst. But if we are going to plump for electric lighting, as seems certain, the situation is perceptibly altered. One and the same battery-cum-generator outfit may at some future date cater for both ignition and light? When the electrical trade offers us such an outfit, plus its special starting facilities, plus the reliability for which the magneto is famous, we can only make one reply.”
SIR,—SINCE JULY, 1914, I HAVE OWNED the following: Quadrant, Triumph, Warne cycle car, 1914 6hp Royal Enfield, Douglas, 1915 6 hp Enfield, and, again, a 2¾hp Douglas (my present mount). I have been a rider continuously since 1903, and on looking back over four years of war one wonders how we have kept on the road at all. My official duties have given me many rough journeys, and, like many others, I have had to do most of my own repairs. Coming home to Brighton on a very dark and rainy night, with both bottom fork links broken, carbon brush broken, and a belt link 1in instead of ¾in, is no joke on a Douglas, although I had a stout strap to hold the front forks to the rest of the machine. My Quadrant, which had a hub gear, I sold, and subsequently obtained a Warne cycle car, as I wanted protection from the elements. May I be forgiven for deserting a motor cycle. I have distinct recollections of overheating, breaking valves, and tremendous petrol consumption whenever I tried to keep the ‘bus covering thirty miles in the hour.
This was a useless proposition to me, because the whole thing wanted thoroughly overhauling, and in war-time no one could be found to do the job. To carry on, I bought a single-speed 1910 Triumph, and as I prided myself on always having an up-to-date ‘iron’, this was nearly the limit. We went together for many, many miles all over Sussex, but did I not have to pedal up some of the hills? I called on some friends one day, and left it against a tree. When I came out of the farm I could not get it to fire, although I tried for one and a half hours. I was stranded seven miles from the nearest station, so the Triumph was left there until the Sunday, when we were both ignominiously towed home by another Triumph. The joke of the whole thing is that immediately I got home, and, without doing anything except putting on the belt again, the old ‘bus fired, and was never any further trouble. Many little things, such as using small wire nails for chain rivets, Chinese lanterns when carbide gave out and none could be bought, getting paraffin from country cottages before the engine cooled, going without a decent meal for seven and eight hours at a stretch because country places gave up making meals owing to the rationing scheme, were all in the day’s run…For some time I had the loan of a 1915 3½hp Sunbeam combination, and never was a sweeter 3½hp made. My wife and I went
from Brighton to Manchester, and took five days to get back: held up in Birmingham for two days, dug out of 15ft snowdrifts in the Vale of Evesham, wet through (and, owing to snow penetrating the bag, no change of clothes) at Oxford, but nothing except kindness shown everywhere. Never a misfire from the engine all the way; and when I say I had to take off the footboards and front mudguard, frictioned a back tyre through, and knocked oft the silencer, it will be noticed it was ‘some’ ride. In 1916 I did the run from Brighton to Manchester in one day on a 6hp Enfield which had been hammered for over two years, and except for a puncture I had no trouble whatever, and got to a theatre in the evening. My many changes of machines have been necessary because big repairs could not be done under a long period, although I could get a Class A priority certificate. I could only sell out and buy another machine. I found that to pay a good price for a reliable second-hand macliine was the only way out, and I think this is a method that will pay others in the near future. I practise what I preach when I state that a fortnight ago I gave £45 for my present 1914 2¾hp Douglas, but its condition is practically perfect. I have fifteen years’ experience of motor cycling, but, like many others, I will give it up and take to a bath chair with auto-wheel attached before I will give £150 for a motor cycle and sidecar which to-day, as in 1905, covers me with mud and road filth, and requires six hours’ solid work to clean it after 150 miles round Sussex on a bad day. We are a cheery lot, but there are limits even to our expenditure for our pet hobby.
AS THE MOTOR CYCLE TRADE MATURED dealer networks were springing up. Godfrey’s, based in Great Portland Street, London W1 (a hub for motor cycle importers and dealers) took on sole rights to ABC in the South of England, and advertised for “agents desirous of representing the ABC Motor Cycle in their district’. In North London Rider Troward & Co had sole south-of England rights to NUT and Metro-Tyler; they too advertised for “suitable sub-agents”. They also opened “extensive showrooms in Great Portland Street for the exclusive handling of these two machines”.
“BELGIUM’S FIRST POST-WAR PRODUCTION: Belgian motor cycle manufacturers are making rapid recovery, despite the troublous circumstances which are still extant, and that they are not behindhand in following the trend of modern design is evident from the production of a four-cylinder machine at Liege, the town whose name conjures up gallant memories of the early days of the war, and which, in pre-war days, was the home of another well-known Belgian motor cycle, the FN. The designer and manufacturer, who has got so quickly to work, is M Henri Gonthier, well-known in motor circles in Liege.” The Gonthier’s 748cc IOE four was of unit construction with a wet plate clutch and a seven, yes, seven-speed gearbox: “It is said to be just as simple to operate as a three-speed gear, and yet it provides a fairly gradual progression from low to high, and rice, versa. At the same time, it is possible to overstep the intermediary gears and change directly from low to top or otherwise, as desired. The designer describes the gear quaintly as a three-speed gear with two intermediary gears between first and second, and two more between second and third.” The wheels were QD and imnterchangeable; when the company’s sidecar was fitted a spare could be carried. Gonthier also planned to resume production of its pre-war 3½hp 50° twin. The Blue ‘Un concluded: “As far as we are able to judge, this machine gives great promise, and, provided that production is not interfered with by the aftermath of war, it should form a sturdy competitor in the four-cylinder market.”
“TWO OF THE PRINCIPAL BELGIAN MOTOR CYCLE firms, FN and Sarolea, are in a bad way, as the Huns have carried away most of the tools and material from the factories. FN has suffered particularly severely in this respect. Not only have the machine tools been taken away, but the foundations on which they were built have been absolutely demolished. Many private motor cyclists had their machines requisitioned by the enemy, consequently there is a good demand for motor cycles, though Belgian agents for English machines are not in a position to supply, owing to their being unable to secure delivery.”
FOR SOME RIDERS THE WAR wasn’t over. Billy Pratt had been a top flight competitor in long-distance trials for P&M before heading overseas but wounds systained at Arras had left him in hospital for 15 months. The Blue ‘Un reported: “He is looking forward to the time when he will be on the road again. We hope the date is not far distant.” TT and trials rider Basil Vickers-Jones was home after five years in a German internment camp. Vickers-Jones worked for Premier and was at the company’s Bohemia works in 1914.
“MR FL RAPSON, THE INVENTOR of the Rapid jack and other car accessories, has produced an unpuncturable tyre, which appears to have great promise.”
BIGGEST BIKE IN THE 1919 RANGE from the Ixion Motor Manufacturing Co was a 348cc two stroke ‘sidecarette’ with a three-speed Sturmey-Archer gearbox. The makers said: “This is more than a two-stroke lightweight with sidecar attached; it is designed throughout as a sidecar outfit for those to whom very high road speeds are not essential…The lugs for sidecar connections are not detachable from the motor cycle frame, and to detach the sidecar occupies about three minutes only.”
“HANDLE-BAR MUFFS: This (February) is the time o£ the year when handle-bar muffs add to the comfort of riding, yet very few are seen in use…Gloves that fit tightly upon the hands are as bad as no gloves at all, at this time of the year.”
IXION WAS PONDERING ‘CLEAN’ DESIGN: “OF course, a motor car is a civilised being, and wears clothes: all its indecent intestines are secreted beneath the bonnet, coachwork, and floorboards, and none of its works need show except the steering connections and back axle, which are not obtrusive. By contrast the motor cycle is a naked savage from a kraal, and as long as it is air-cooled, portions at least of the machinery must remain exposed. But there is neither need nor excuse for the myriad dirt and rust-collecting crannies which still characterise the machines of all nations. Whether we consider the handle-bar with its assortment of levers and accessories—all attached by plate-clips—or the front fork head with its telephone exchange of tangled wires, or the tank top with its filler caps, petrol valves, lube recesses, tank clips, and oiling apparatus, or the crank case, or the gear box, or the rear hub, or the carrier, we find an utter absence of smooth and shapely surfaces, and a bewildering multiplicity of what Major Matson used to describe as ‘twiddly bits’. Until these are exorcised, our machines must continue to displease the eye and absorb hours when they require cleaning…fittings are the main problem: so long as the machine is condemned to carry a bristly, spiky, amorphous unit at its centre, no designer will see the point of cleaning up such comparatively simple details as the handle-bar, crank case, and chain cover…If this is once successfully attempted, the motor bicycle will, so to speak, substitute a neat pair of tailor-made trousers for its present waistband of beads and wire; and, in due course, it would add a bowler hat in lieu of painting its cheeks and sticking feathers in its hair. All of which improvements are ardently to be desired. Pardon this outburst, gentle reader. It has been thawing to-day: my front mudguard fell off eight miles away, owing to a rusted bolt: and it is ‘some’ cold in rny garage. Also, I had been to a dance, and was too lazy to change out of dress trousers’ : and when Mrs’. Ixion saw them laid over a chair back ‘this morning, she said ‘—— —— !!!’.”
BACK ON PLANET EARTH Ixion wrote: “I confess to very real disappointment at the obvious decision of the motor cycle trade as a whole to adhere to side valves. In the old days the overhead valve was wisely eschewed because of the risk of fracture: this danger is wholly obviated by modern steels—there are air-cooled aero engines fitted with exhaust valves nearly 2in in diameter, which never break, although the heads are thin and light. On the technical side there is not one solitary word to be said in favour of side valves, and least of all in connection with air-cooled engines, where a symmetrical section is so invaluable as a preventive of distortion. The real problem in the application of ohv to motor cycle engines is purely practical…Overhead valves threaten to foul the middle rail of the frame with vertical engines, and elongate the already over lengthy flat twin. So we see the Rudge people scolloping out their petrol tank to clear an overhead inlet valve, and Mr. Bradshaw mounting his 400cc flat twin athwart the frame. Nevertheless, I cannot help feeling that overhead vahes will gain ground, as their technical merits overweigh the practical difficulty.”
“THERE IS AN ILL-ADVISED AGITATION amongst a certain section of the bicycling community for the removal of the regulation compelling all road vehicles to carry rear lights. They believe, or affect to believe, that motorists are the cause of the retention of this regulation. It is quite true that motorists welcomed an Order which was obviously for the public safety and did no more than compel others to do what they themselves were already obliged to do. Every- thing that can be urged against rear lights on bicycles can also be urged more strongly against rear lights on motor cycles, and yet motor cyclists are not following the German plan of raising a plaintive wail…It has been suggested in our columns and elsewhere that it is gentlemanly to carry a rear light. We agree. Another point: The fact that quite a large number of cyclists carry a red light in front is used to prove that the regulation is complicated. To us it only seems to suggest that the cyclists in question should not be allowed on the roads without a keeper. The only fault we have to find with the red rear light rule is the very inefficient way in which it is enforced by the police.”
“THE BUGBEAR OF METROPOLITAN MOTORING is the prevalence of theft. The burglars are as ingenious as they are daring. No car or cycle is safe if it is of a sufficiently common type to evade recognition during its hasty trip to the secluded workshop where it is camouflaged prior to sale. The designer and accessory .dealer have an obvious opening. As soon as bicycles lost their rarity and individuality,, cycle thieving developed into a new ‘crook’ profession, and anti-thief devices of an effective character came on the market. Similar devices are easily applicable to motor cycles, and the demand for them will be constant.”
“A GENTLEMAN, WRITING TO US from Newark, NJ, gives the British industry the credit for the introduction of, among other things, flat twin engines, footboards, gear boxes, kick starters, sidecars, and front wheel stands, and points out that all the US industry can point to seems to be electrically equipped mounts…’Your Triumph single must be a cuckoo of a mount, our friend continues in pure American. ‘Three friends of mine—American DRs who have ridden two or more British mounts—simply rave when they describe the actions of a WD Triumph. One lad says it is the first real motor cycle he ever straddled.’ We are informed that there is every evidence that there will be a big revival of sport in the USA this year, but the industry appears to be composed only of the Indian, Harley-Davidson, Excelsior, Henderson, Cleveland, Thor, and Reading Standard companies. The Smith motor wheel is still going strong, but the Merkel and Cyclemotor have dropped out, as also has Emblem.”
“WHILST WE DO NOT WISH to encourage the dangerous practice of carrying a passenger on the carrier of a solo machine, it is obvious that there is little objection to the carrying of a third person on a properly-designed carrier seat of a powerful sidecar combination; and it is principally with this object in view that the Tan-Sad Coare developing their series of spring carrier seats. Wooden handles may be added as further security ior the rider, and for a solo machine a jockey type of stirrup gives support for the passenger’s feet. When in use with a sidecar, with the passenger sitting sideways, a footrest and backrest can be fitted. A can of petrol may be firmly fixed on the seat, when not occupied by a passenger, by the use of a patent grip.”
“SIR,—IN A PARAGRAPH IN YOUR ISSUE of the 30th ult it is suggested that, owing to the uncertainty as to whether the TT course can be put into proper order, Ireland is the only alternative for a race this year. I do not know on what facts this paragraph is based. The truth is that the TT course, with the exception of one small part, is in as good condition to-day as it was in 1914, when the races were last held. That one patch—it is part of the mountain road—is cut up very badly, and I have talked the matter over with the Highway Board, which is responsible for the upkeep of the Manx roads, and the Board is ready, provided the ACU signifies its willingness to hold the race, as quickly as possible to divert all work on other roads and to restore, and even better, the TT course, so that the races could be held here as in former years. I trust that your influential journal will do what it can to assist in the reconstruction of the TT races. The Isle of Man has passed through a very bad time since August, 1914, and it wants every possible help it can get, otherwise the plight of the inhabitants, who have hitherto always given of their best to the motor races, will be terrible. I might add for your information that the Shipping Controller has already informed the Island that we shall have our boats back before June next.
GEORGE SA BROWN, Douglas, IOM.”
“OLD USAGES DIE HARD, whether ridiculous in their application or not, and a case in point connected with the riding of motor cycles is the unjustifiable employ- ment of the term ‘season’. At all times of the year, in the cold days of January and in the broiling heat of August, the motor cycle is to the pleasure-seeker a pleasure and to the business man a boon. True sport and real pleasure may be experienced in the rush of the biting wind, as well as in the soft breezes of summer; variety is the spice of life, even in motor cycling. Neither is this ‘all-the-year-round’ riding confined to the male sex. A sign of the times is observable in the keen enthusiasm of lady motor cyclists and sidecarists in every kind of weather. It is from the riders who scorn to store their machines in winter that one gets the reasoned and sound criticism of weatherproofing, and constructive criticism is the most effective way of drawing manufacturers’ attention to riders’ wants. In talking of fishing, football, or cricket, the expression ‘season’ is sensible; it has a meaning. But to apply it to a mode of travel as universal as motor cycling is a reflection upon the all-weather qualities of the modern motor cycle.”
“JUDGING FROM THE NUMBER OF SINGLE GEAR machines in existence and the demand for change speed gears, the Grado expanding pulley will be welcomed by a large number of riders who are now fitting up second-hand machines. It gives a free engine and ratios from 4:1 to 8:1, and now embodies a kick starting gear. A gear wheel is carried on the pulley, and is connected to the engine-shaft through a free-wheel ratchet arrangement. Behind this is a segment embodying a pedal lever, which, upon being pressed down, engages the seg ment with the free-wheel pinion and turns the engine…this latest design also has an improved method of attachment to the crank case, which permits it being fitted to almost any engine without undue trouble.”
“WE HAVE LONG URGED THAT BRITISH MOTOR CYCLE manufacturers would benefit by more careful attention to the insistent demands from Overseas for a machine in every way suitable for the special requirements which were only fully covered in the big twin class by certain American machines. What is required by a large number of Overseas buyers is a large capacity engine, 28x3in tyres, spring frame, and, coupled with such a specification, British quality in design, material, and workmanship. The Clyno Engineering Co. in their “peace model” have, it will be seen, appreciated the needs of a vast proportion of the Overseas market, for the new Clyno has been designed throughout, frorn the point of view of the Colonial, and the result is a machine which sets a new standard of design which will be appreciated just as much by riders at home. The popularity of American machines in this country and Overseas indicates that what is abso- lutely essential in the Colonies is also desirable in Great Britain ; hence, while the motor cycle designed for this country may not be suitable for Soiith Africa or Australasia, the true Overseas mount is equally good for home or abroad. The general outlines of the
new Clyno, at first sight, appear to follow those of well-known American machines. This, however, probably is due to the high ground clearance (over six inches), the spring frame, and unconventional looking carrier; because, upon examination, the general design is more British than American…The frame is of very substantial construction, the makers’ experience with their machine gun sidecars being responsible for several special features, notably the exceptionally strong head, which has massive, but by no means ugly, webs on each side and at the rear of the casting…Comparatively short springs with seven leaves are hinged at their rear ends on the sides of a loop member over the wheel, which in turn is pivoted at the ends of the chain stays…An 8in internal expanding bi’ake is fitted on the driving mechanism at the rear wheel, and is operated by a pedal on the left side of the machine. The shoes are faced with Ferodo, and therefore renewable. The front brake is of the conventional type, ie, fibre pads in shoes working upon the rim of the wheel and operated by lever on the handle-bar…Front and back stands and Brampton-type forks complete the main elements of the frame…We may say that it is a long time since we were so favourably impressed by a motor cycle engine, both in the points of design and performance…the stroke, in proportion to the bore, is longer than that of any British twin motor cycle engine hitherto produced, the ratio being nearly 4 to 3…Important features are the detachable heads and the methods adopted to hold them in position. On two sides of each cylinder there is a sw-ivelling bolt extending from the crank case to above the cylinder heads where they are linked by bridge members, which bear upon the centre of the cylinder heads. The part in contact is concave on the cylinder
and convex on the bridge piece, which makes the latter more or less self-centring. To detach a cylinder head it is only necessary to remove one’nut, slacken the other, and swing the bridge piece clear. The head removed, together with the valve chests and valves, the cylinder barrels may then be withdrawn without further use of tools. Accessibility at every point is a strong feature of the design. The foot boards and pedals are built up as a complete unit, which may be removed by withdrawal of two bolts. The clutch is rendered accessible by detaching two screws on the domed cap and two nuts on the top of the case. Altogether the new Clyno impresses us as a thoroughly sound proposition, and one which will remove much of the complaint against the British motor industry, that Empire trade is not regarded seriously.”
“THE HOSPITAL MOTOR SQUADRON, attached to the RAC, appeals for transport for the wounded still in London hospitals to the various entertainments provided for them.”
“THE RATION OF PETROL to motor cyclists in Italy is now seven gallons a month. The importation of foreign machines is prohibited except by permit.”
“THE NATIONAL BENZOLE ASSOCIATION have fixed a standard for benzole to be used as motor spirit. It will be free from acids, alkalies, and sulphur, like water in appearance (pre-war benzole generally had a yellow tinge), and the specific gravity will be .870 to .885.”
CONNAUGHT WAS A PIONEER of basic two-stroke lightweights—it had been the first UK marque to use petrol lubrication—but its ‘peace model’ was little changed from the 1914 season. The over-square (73x70mm) 293cc single featured all-belt drive witha two-speed gear as an optional extra.
“A SIDECAR OUTFIT HAVING BOTH rear wheels driven is the subject of a patent taken out by Mr WFJ Simpson, of Reigate, Surrey…Both rear wheels are sprung, and, it is claimed, both wheels retain their relative position to each other by means of a link motion, thus avoiding strains on their respective frames. The sidecar wheel is driven by an ‘axle’ shaft, which is connected to the rear wheel of the cycle through a differential which is carried in the hub of the motor cycle wheel, and, if the sidecar is detached, it may be locked up, thus permitting the machine to be used as a solo mount.”
“A NEW MODEL FLAT TWIN intended for solo work will shortly be introduced to the motor cycling public by the makers of the OK lightweight. This machine has been designed and is being produced by Messrs. Humphries and bawes in their own factory, and will mark the entry of this firm into the motor cycle manufacturing field as distinct from that of assembling. The war has wrought many changes, and it is necessary to obtain a different perspective of the various makes and makers from that of pre-war days. Nearly every motor cycle manufacturing firm has considerably extended its factory during the last four years, while some have entirely outgrown the popular conception of their standing. It is permissible, perhaps, to class Messrs Humphries and Dawes in this latter group, as while, before the war, their average output of motor cycles was
comparatively small, their extensions during the past few years have increased their production capacity to between 200 and 250 machines per week. The new proposition is a flat twin solo machine, which has been designed with a view to meeting the requirements of a large section of the riding public at home and abroad. The first essential of the colonial machine is ample ground clear- ance, and on this point the new OK certainly scores with 7in clearance, while large tyres are another Overseas demand. met in the new OK by 26×2¼in wheels, which on a 350cc lightweight may be regarded as ample. Straight tubes are used throughout the frame which is of the duplex type and features combined sheet metal undershield and footboards. The latter are covered with aluminium and are shaped and beaded at the edge…Details are not available of the gear box, but we understand that it will be of the two-speed constant mesh type, embodying kick-starter and clutch. The transmission will be by chain to gear box, and final drive by ¾in belt. The tank will have a capacity of two gallons.”
HAVING EXPERIMENTED WITH A lightweight flat-twin during the war, Harley-Davidson upped the stakes with its first peacetime debutante: a 6hp 584cc version marketed as a solo mount though, as the Blue ‘Un remarked: in the matter of weight (257lb) and nominal horse-power it is equal to the usual British passenger machine…the frame is of the usual single tube rigid type, supporting the engine by attachment at three points to the crank case and front cylinder. The rider is insulated from road shocks by the sprung seat pillar, and the front suspension is provided for by, a special type of trailing or castor spring fork of substantial construction. Unlike the bigger models, the tanks for oil and petrol are made as a unit, the former holding two quarts, and the latter over three gallons.” The multi-plate clutch and three-speed box were fitted above the engine next to the mag with pinions rather than chains to reduce clatter. “A speed of 55mph is obtained, and we should say the machine should prove a good all-round double-purpose mount.”
“THE EMPIRE SIDECAR IS NOT SO WELL KNOWN to the riding public as it is to large producers of sidecar outfits. Before the war the bulk of the Empire output was absorbed by trade requirements, and during hostilities several thousands of them were supplied to the Government for Triumph and BSA, machines. From this it will be gathered that Messrs Lowe’s Empire Sidecar Co has a larger output than is usually realised. The Government has not entirely released the company to resume their normal business, but have sanctioned their making a certain number for the public. The military model sidecar is built under a patented process, all panels being of special hydraulically-pressed close annealed steel. The design is most pleasing and the general finish considerably above the average, in fact, throughout, the sidecar is built for hard service. Designed specially for WD BSA and Triumph machines on active service, the chassis is particularly sturdy in construction.”
“THE FIRST IMPRESSION ONE RECEIVES of the new ABC is that it is designed as a motor bicycle. It is no slavish copy of any existing design, but a bold attempt to construct a self-propelled two-wheeler on original lines, but with no suspicion of freakishness. The designer’s ingenuity has had lull play, and yet, with all its originality, there appears to be no reason why the machine should not be successful in every way. Probably the first characteristic of the machine which strike one is the lack of void spaces between wheels and frame and about the engine. It is a motor cycle designed around an engine gear unit rather than an over-developed bicycle fitted with an engine, and the result is most pleasing to the eye. It requires attention at one point, however, to make it conform to the ideals of a large coterie of all-weather riders. We refer to the mudguarding and the chain cover. We think the rear guard would be improved by the extension of the valance between the chain and the tyre, and that a totally enclosed chain would be better than the threequarter guard shown on the model illustrated…Mechanically minded readers naturally turn first of all to the engine or, rather, the power unit, for in the new ABC the engine and gear box are in one…the cylinders are placed athwart the frame, but this does not render the machine unreasonably wide…The valves are of the overhead type,
made of unbreakable steel, with volute springs in place of the more usual helical type. At first sight, there is a tendency to regard such items as tappet rods and rockers as being of exceedingly light construction and possessing very small wearing parts, but it must be borne in mind that in the design of the new ABC lightness, as much as power, has been taken into consideration, and efficiency has been the watchword of the firm…A dynamo will be carried below the crown wheel casing, and behind it there is just room for the battery. A kick-starter will be provided for all models. On the undershield are mounted two aluminium plates upon which the driver’s feet rest. Throughout the design points of convenience have been well studied, and every care has been exercised by the manufacturers to leave nothing undone for the rider’s comfort. An idea suggested to us by Mr Bradshaw, which he may carry out, was the fitting of a toolbox underneath the crank case containing two drawers in which the tools are let into the solid wood, so that it is impossible for them to be damaged by rattling one against another. The weight of the machine without fuel is 175lb, and overseas purchasers will be interested to hear that the ground clearance is 6½in. We cannot refrain from congratulating Mr Bradshaw on the excellent design engine, and, indeed, of the whole of the and wishing the Sopwith company success In its enterprise.”
“OUR US CONTEMPORARY, Motor Cycle and Bicycle Illustrated, announces the new ABC in the following headline: “Four Speeds—50lb—160 Miles per Hour.”
OTHER AVIATION SPECIALISTS TO TRY their hand at motorcycles included Hawker, Martynside and, over the Channel, Bleriot and Gnome-et-Rhone who made a 500cc version of the ABC under licence with notable racing success.
MAJOR GERMAN ARMS FIRMS to beat their swords into motorcycles rather than ploughshares included Krupps, Mauser and Spandau.
“IT WOULD APPEAR THAT THERE is a promising market for English motor cycles in Spain. The actual number of machines now in that country cannot be given accurately at the moment because the Government has only just insisted upon a complete registration, but there is no doubt that the number is increasing rapidly, though unfortunately, from the British point of view, the majority of machines reaching Spain have necessarily, during the past four years, been of American origin, chiefly Indians and Harley-Davidsons. Previous to the war, however, the better known English makes, such as the Douglas and Triumph, were greatly favoured.”
“MOTOR CYCLES IN THE USA: There are over 20,000 motor cycles in use in the State of Ohio alone. It is expected that this figure will be increased by 50% during 1919.”
“SURREY MCC: IT IS NOT LIKELY that this club will be restarted as yet, owing to most of the members being still in the Forces, and there are no signs of their being demo- bilised at present.”
“MATLOCK &DMCC: AS THE MAJORITY of the old members of this club are serving with the Forces, it has practically become extinct. Here is a chance for some local enthusiast to organise a live sporting club.”
“A LABOUR MOTOR CYCLE CLUB: We hear of a new motor cycle club in formation in South London in connection with a Labour club, composed of engineering trade unionists and others.”
“CUMBERLAND COUNTY MCC: WE HEAR from the treasurer, Mr WB Anderson, West Walls, Carlisle, that as most of the members are still in the Army, nothing has yet been done towards re-forming the club.”
“WAKEFIELD MCC: IT HAS BEEN DECIDED to re-open this
Club, which was closed down ‘for the duration’, and an attractive programme is being arranged. About twenty new members have been elected already. The hon secretary, Mr SE Wood, 186, Stanley Road, Wakefield, will be glad to hear from prospective members and others interested.”
“THE MCC: THE LARGEST AND MOST IMPORTANT smoking concert ever organised by the Motor Cycling Club will be held at the large Queen’s Hall (which will hold between 1,500 and 2,000 people) on March 21st. A number of first-class artistes will be engaged, and those who intend to be present may look forward to a most enjoyable evening. Members of the MCC and of other motor cycle clubs, may invite their friends and lady friends.”
“THERE IS A UNION IN EXISTENCE—a real fighting organisation (as will be proved in the near future), known as the National Motor Cyclists’ Fuel Union, with branches in every town. It is composed of working men, and intended to look after their interests. The union is there: what is wanted is for motor cyclists to join, and so provide the force to fight. The more we have, the more ideas we have to work on, and, speaking for the Executive, the more work we have the better we like it. The NMCFU is affiliated to the ACU, and these two unions are prepared to go the whole way.
T MALLALIEU, Honorary Secretary, Coventry Branch.”
“WHICH ARE WE TO BE GIVEN—refined motor cycles or cheap motor cycles? At present, production in the motor cycle industry seems to be solely devoted to models of novelty and refinement. Refinements increase while initial cost is neglected. Do manufacturers appreciate that there are two markets, of which the buyers of a cheap machine, if produced, are by far the greater in number, and yet at present they cater almost solely for the buyer of the refined motor cycle? Reliability has come and come to stay. Now let us have cheapness. We hope and trust that manufacturers will not neglect this vast, untapped market. Let them add to the present reliability the vital necessity of cheapness, and they will find that the market is both lively and large. Surely they can see what success the Ford car has obtained from cheapness and reliability.”
“IT MAY SEEM ABSURD on the face of it to advance the claims of China as a country likely to be interested in motor cycles, especially as British organisation in our Dominions is not yet perfect. It is significant to learn, however, that Dr. Chao-Hsin-Chu, BCS, MA, Consul-General of the Republic of China, was a recent visitor to the Hendee Manufacturing Co. There he expressed views on the tremendous advance his country is making, and advised business men to establish trade relations with Chinese merchants direct rather than through Japanese channels. Many thousands of motor cars are now being imported into China, and sooner or later motor cycles will be common in the big towns. Who will be the pioneers, the Britisher or the American?”
“SIR,–THE POSSIBILITIES OF COMMUNAL GARAGES appealed to me very much, and being connected with a union having a local membership of 800 I lost no time in bringing the subject forward, with the result that we placed it on our immediate programme, and anticipate having at least one communal garage in each district, where each member can have his own cubicle, a covered-in shed for common use to clean and make other necessary adjustments from time to time, and a stores where motor fuel, oil, and other accessories can be obtained as required; also, a well-equipped workshop, where any small replacement can be made, will be added where cicumstances permit. This is rather an ambitious programme, but with the organisation we have already in Sheffield it should be fairly easy of accomplishment. We already distribute benzole on these lines, having one or more stewards in each district, who receive the benzole and distribute it locally. These stewards would have charge of the stores and workshop. It would scarcely be necessary to stock more than, say, 100 galls, of benzole, 10 galls, of oil and one tyre each of the sizes mostly asked for, as it is only a question of a few days to obtain renewals and other accessories. Those of our members who do not need a cubicle would have the benefit of communal trading in motor fuel, oil, and other accessories, the use of the workshop, and cleaning appliances, etc; last but not least the advice and help of the experts who are always found in every group of motor cyclists. This matter has been fully discussed and will be commenced as soon as we settle the details of expenditure, etc. In outline I imagine the plan of the communal garages as in the accompanying sketch.
W WRIGHT, SHEFFIELD.
“SIR,—I HAVE RECENTLY BEEN in communication with two of the leading motor cycle dealers, namely. Rider Troward and Godfrey, and both have informed me of the discontinuance of their gradual payment systems, both stating that this is due to the shortage of second-hand machines. This action will rob many ex-soldiers of the joys of the open road this forthcoming summer at least. Returning from Army life with only a few pounds in their pockets, many must be left to gaze enviously at the munition worker with his £140 combination, whereas the continuance of the gradual payment system would have given them opportunity to get hold of a modest ‘bus and enjoy the delights of motor cycling. During the past two years, whilst the restraining hand of ‘Dora’ [Defence Of the Realm Act] has been upon us, dealers have been only too glad to sell on any terms, and many munition workers and such have been paying towards the purchase of a mount, but we unfortunate souls who were in khaki had no opportunity of this, and now, when at last we are able again to take up the threads of a peaceful existence, up go the prices, and the schemes that would have enabled us to materialise our long-looked-forward-to dreams have vanished, and we are left kicking about ‘busless’ whilst our more fortunate brethern are speeding away on the roads and over the country for which we did our humble best.
“EVERYBODY ADMITS THAT CRIME is on the increase,” Ixion asserted, “especially amongst juveniles, who have been relieved of salutary discipline by daddy’s absence on active service. Yet this is the time selected by the police authorities to pester the small handful of motorists with a type of surveillance which was always silly and apt to be ridiculous in its incidence. One might as well instruct a fire brigade to patrol the streets watching where smokers threw their matches, and leaving an empty fire station to receive brigade calls. The average motorist frankly despises the legal speed limit, which is a piece of camouflage invented by dishonest politicians to smooth down ignorant prejudices. It was never intended to be enforced, and cannot be enforced. It leaves the public just where they always were the commonsense of individual drivers, who generally know that 10mph is quite as often legal but dangerous, as 30mph is illegal but safe. This tongue-in-the-cheek legislation is now foolishly exploited by certain police areas to the neglect of far more urgent duties, and for the profit of local funds. It is high time that this obsolete regulation was replaced on the statute book by a ‘dangerous driving’ regulation. In the meantime, authorities who exploit it show that they misinterpret their responsibilities.”
DECADES BEFORE SIDESTANDS BECAME UBIQUITOIS, Ixion wrote: “A few months back a medico discoursed very interestingly in our columns about his ideal motor
cycle. It struck me that on the whole he was trying to compress the Yankee ideals of complete equipment into the dimensions of a baby two-stroke, and thatt he would be lucky if his steed scaled much under 3¼cwt. But I relished much his suggestion of a folding prop on the near side of the bus. Whenever we stop with a standard machine three alternatives confront us, and each is unpleasant. If there is a wall handy, we try to balance the jigger against it, which often necessitates buck-jumping 3cwt up a 6in kerb. As we depart the machine begins to slide away, scrapes the levers off one end of the handle-bar, and then stabs its tank heavily with the inside grip. If the stop occurs in the country we discover a hump by the edge of the road and balance the jigger against it. We turn away to light a pipe, and the footrest eats through to the base of the soft mud hump. The machine side-loops noisily into a ditch full of manure and nettles. Educated by such experiences we finally learn to use our stands.”
“DEAR ME, IXION MUSED. “What times we live in. Zeppelins that rather enjoy being perforated by ten drums of ‘tracer’. Pocket telephone receivers, on which you’re to be rung up by wireless from Hong Kong whilst climbing Beggar’s Roost. Dreadnoughts which can’t be torpedoed. Tyres which don’t puncture. If any big inventor is hunting round for some unsatisfied public need, let me say I am prepared to pay through the nose for a bottomless purse.”
“WE HAVE POINTED OUT THE NECESSITY for some combined action and universal agreement on the matter of the horse-power rating of motor cycles. At the present time, although a certain amount of agreement exists with reference to one or two popular sizes, every manufacturer is a law unto himself, and consequently nominal horse-power bears no constant relation to engine capacity. It has become customary to designate an engine of 500cc, or thereabouts, 3½hp, but one engine of 488cc is commonly called 4hp; another (a_four-cylinder of 496cc) is rated as 5hp. A certain twin engine of 430cc has been used by several makers, some of whom call it 3hp, others 3½hp. Engines up to 550cc are frequently known as 3½hp, but some years ago a 3hp engine had a capacity of only 353cc. This clearly shows the need for some recognised formula upon which makers shall base the nominal horse-power rating. For several years, we have insisted that a motor cycle in good tune should be capable of producing 1hp for every 100cc of its capacity, and we have suggested that makers should rate the horse-power of . their motor cycles upon this basis, which has the great advantages of simplicity and accuracy…It is quite possible for a 500cc to show something like 11hp on a brake test, but it is only very rarely that such a power output would be demanded of it on the road.”
“ON FEBRUARY 24TH IT WAS REPORTED that there were twenty million gallons of petrol imported solely by the Government, apart from aviation spirit and motor transport spirit. There are, moreover, additional stocks of petrol purchased by traders since the Government ceased to be the sole importers, so there is no question of shortage now. How much longer shall we be burdened with the Petrol Control Department, its wretched coupons, and the miserable super-tax?”
THE AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION ISSUED a circular to its members: “While every possible means of relief is being vigorously sought, it is unpleasantly true that British benzole, every gallon of which should be used in Britain, is not being so used. Worse, vast quantities are being exported. This is a national calamity. Producers are not to blame. Distribution difficulties are acute; drums and tins are scarce. Co-ordination of supply is wanting. The National Benzole Association has been formed; its leaders are earnest businessmen. They tell us plainly that home-produced benzole shall be conserved to the use of British motorists if organised British motoring will do its share. A standard specification has been prepared; all the responsible benzole producers will conform. It is at once our national duty and to our common interest to use benzole. Distribution is a knotty problem. It is being solved. Meanwhile, let us all make a start in however small a way. Buy British benzole always through your local AA agent. We can help you—we will help him. Buy benzole in fifty-gallon drums and keep it twenty feet from a dwelling place. The regulations are not difficult to comply with. Alternatively,get the local AA agent to store it for you. A large supply of fifty-gallon drums has been secured by the AA which can be hired.”
“CONSIDERING THAT THERE ARE only a few motor scooters in this country, The Daily Mail’s announcement that a race for scooters is being arranged, appears to be rather absurd.”
“ARE WE TO ARRIVE at the genuine lightweight motor cycle via the scooter? We feel convinced that those who now show enthusiasm for the motor scooter will sooner or later—most probably sooner (!)—demand a seat. It would be quite a sensible demand too! Having obtained a sitting position, we have the lightweight motor bicycle.”
“A MOTOR CYCLIST-CAR DESIGNER: The announcement of a new British sporting car to be designed bv Captain WO Bentley, MBE, RAF, was made in last week’s Autocar. Captain Bentley will be recalled as one of three brotliers Bentley, all one-time enthusiastic motor cyclists, who occupied prominent positions in the competition world some years ago.”
THE AMERICAN ARMY ended the war with 34,800 motor cycles.
“NEARLY A HUNDRED YEARS AGO the making of a Channel tunnel was discussed, and now once more an intense interest has been focussed on the project. All the plans are ready for the work to commence immediately, and only the Government’s consent is needed.”
“AT A MEETING OF THE RAC AND ACU Joint Committee…it was decided that in future ‘motor vehicles with three wheels or less shall be deemed to be motorcycles all other motor vehicles shall be deemed to be ‘motor cars’.”
“FEW ITEMS IN THE MOTOR CYCLIST’S equipment are more important than the tool kit. It is essential that the owner of a motor cycle should have enough tools of the right quality to enable him to make any adjustments which may be found necessary from time to time. In the past, the motor cycle makers have got into disrepute owing to the inadequate tool kit they supplied with their machines, but, at the present time, there is a decided tendency among manufacturers seriously to consider this question, and very few, if any, additions will be required to complete the tool kits on future machines…Hundreds of machines are changing hands just now, and quite a large number of them have been bought and sold many times, it is probably true that fully 50% of present-day motor cyclists will require to purchase new tools, because it is not uncommon for a rider to retain the best of his kit on selling his machine. For these reasons, the three tool kits illustrated here will be of interest.”
“MOTOR CYCLIST’S LOSS OF NOTES: Despite advertised rewards, CR Collier has obtained no tidings ot a bundle of notes, value £116, that he lost after the sale ot a motor cycle at Plumstead.”
“UNUSUAL INCIDENT IN DUBLIN. Two RAF lieutenants had an unpleasant experience recently in Dublin. They were being driven in a sidecar by a sergeant of the RAF when they came into conflict with a crowd watching a funeral cortege. Misunderstanding the instructions of a constable on point duty, the sergeant did not stop, and the onlookers expressed themselves very strongly on what they considered to be an intrusion among the mourners. The sergeant was dragged from the machine, and sticks were brandished over the heads of the officers. Some members of the crowd took the machine to the quay wall and dropped it into the Liffey.”
IF THE FOLLOWING REVIEW OF PATENTS strikes you as delightfully whimsical it’s because it was written by BH Davies whose nom de plume was, of course, Ixion: “A few years ago there was a regular craze for a hobby known as ‘bent ironwork’. Enthusiastic amateurs purchased bundles of strips of soft iron, a pair of shears, and a pair of flat-nosed pliers. They then proceeded to turn out candle-holders and easels for photographs, which they presented to meek i-elations or dumped on unsuspecting bazaar committees. A crop of homicides followed, because, although such orna- ments were beautiful when suitably gilded, it was quite impossible to keep their twined interstices clean, and irate housewives were consequently led to break up many happy homes. The motor cycle will ultimately perish for similar reasons, unless something is done to round ofi its innumerable spiky projections. Up to date, Mr RW Coan has ploughed a lonely furrow, in advertising ‘Clean Crank Cases’. Now Mr Norton comes to his aid with a patent for cowling in the top half of the engine. Fundamentally, of course, Mr Norton’s suggestion is of technical value. The rear wall of an air-cooled motor cycle cylinder lies in a patch of dead air. As the sketch shows, Mr Norton pro poses to fit a belt-driven fan at one side of the engine cowling, and the rear wall of such a cylinder will be as well cooled as the front. He should presently offer us a cylinder cooled so evenly that distortion is imperceptible; needless to say, no motor cyclist has ever owned an engine of which this could be said. Riders will egually appreciate the ease of cleaning which such a design confers…IN THE EARLY DAYS of motor cycling my chief hoodoo was the valve gear. It was a common occurrence for the timing pinions to strip their teeth, and one rider lost a fine chance of an End-to-end record because his valve tappets ate through the case-hardening of the cams and ploughed them down into circular discs [the rider was Ixion; the full story, and it’s a doozy, is in the End-to End feature appended to 1911 in this timeline]. Rocking levers were presently interposed between the cam and the tappet to distribute the wear and furnish better leverage. I hope the patent under consideration may be understood to herald an overhead valve Norton engine in due course. However that may be, Mr Norton proposes to use a laminated valve spring to act as a cam lever for an overhead valve as shown…THE LAST PATENT IN MY WEEK’S BUNDLE soars so far towards the ideal that it deserts the practical sphere, so far at least as motor cycles are concerned. It is the invention of Mr Alfred Lewis, and when I say that it amounts to an infinitely variable gear, which Automatically changes its own ratios in response to varying loads, every reader’s mouth will begin to water. But if I add that this eminently desirable effect is obtained by means of an epicyclic train, which controls a second epicyclic train by means of a friction drive, and I further so on to say, with the Queen of Sheba, that the half has not yet been told you, and that the editor cannot spare me space for the diagrams needed to explain all the cams, springs, etc, concerned, well, the order of the day becomes, ‘Carry on with a common or garden Sturmey-Archer!’”
“BAT REDIVIVUS: After having been dormant for several years during the war, the Bat Motor Manufacturing Co is again taking up the manufacture of motor bicycles. Mr TH Tessier will no longer be connected with the firm, but he has been of considerable assistance to it in the process of reorganising, while Mr ST Tessier, his son, will be responsible for the design and production of Bat motor bicycles in the future. Bat motor bicycles have been on the market continuously since 1902, and it is pleasing to note that this well-known name will again figure in the motor cycle world, and that one of the Tessier family, so long connected with this make, will remain a member of the firm. ST Tessier, who has been serving his King and country through the whole period of the war, was a consistent and successful exponent of Bat motor bicycles up to 1914.”
“THE SPEEDS OF THE FUTURE: Before long this old game will reopen, and as we have now got plenty of real engineers in the motor cycle game, and air-cooling has got so far since 1914, we shall see some astounding stunts. There is no reason why the short flying start records should not be fought out with four valves per cylinder and compression ratios as high as 6½ to 1. The cooling will stand it nowadays, and patent fuels, embodying benzole, do not object to super-compression. I know one engine which makes standard aero plugs wilt like tallow candles in a New York summer, and I fancy there will be plenty of fun. But I am sorry for the boys who have to sit these mile-eaters. A flying mile or kilometre is not so bad, though the tiniest hesitation or unsteadiness at 80 or 90mph means immediate death. But the idea of an hour record on two-wheelers at such speeds as are now technically possible is frightful on the very best of tracks; and I am not at all sure that the BMCRC ought to allow long distance motor cycle records at such speeds.”
“COUNTING THE MEMBERS of affiliate clubs, the total strength of the ACU is now 30,000.”
“PETROL PROFITEERING: THE HOME OFIICE has circularised the police authorities throughout the country asking them to do their best to see that the vendors of petrol comply with the requirements of the Petrol Retail Prices Order. Those of our readers who are overcharged should communicate with their local police.”
“SCOTTISH OIL MINE CLOSED DOWN: The Addiewell oil mine, Linlithgowshire, one of the pioneer shale oil mines in Scotland, has been closed down indefinitely owing to labour troubles.”
“RECENTLY, AT MORTLAKE POLICE COURT, a reader of The Motor Gycle was summoned for using a ‘motor car’ with a motor cycle licence. The summons was issued, by the Surrey County Council, who averred that his hand-propelled tricycle, to which an Auto-wheel was attached, was a motor car, and therefore required a full motor car local taxation licence. The Surrey County Council was also supported by the local taxation licence authorities. Our reader (who is a cripple) defended the case himself, and it was unanimously dismissed by the bench of magistrates.”
“AT THIS PERIOD OF THE YEAR many used motor cycles change hands. Our readers are advised to exercise every care in purchasing second-hand machines, and to deal only with firms of high reputation, or, in the case of private advertisers unknown to them, to insist upon dealing through our Deposit System, which is designed to protect their interests, unless the machine can he tested before purchase. Dates of manufacture should be verified, when possible, by taking the engine and frame numbers and sending these to the makers. No firm or person whose methods are proved to be unsatisfactory is permitted to advertise in The Motor Cycle.
“THERE IS A DEARTH OF TAXICABS in Paris, and, as a remedy, the French capital is to have a public service of sidecars. Probably the machines used by the American Army will be acquired and equipped with adjustable hoods for the protection of the passengers.”
“SPRING IS BRINGING OUT a remarkable collection of antiquities. On main roads in the Midlands machines of other days were to be seen taking the air. A Quadrant of approximately 1905 date was undergoing drastic ministrations to its interior, having failed to drag a sixteenth century sidecar up a 1 in 100 gradient. Strangest sight of all was a James of the ‘forks on one side only’ variety going fairly well. Our hopes of seeing a Singer front wheel driven tricycle were disappointed.”
“ESSEX MC: THE DINNER ARRANGED to be held at Frascati’s Restaurant on Saturday, April 5th, will undoubtedly be a great success, nearly a hundred tickets having been disposed of. The opening run arranged for April 13th will take place to the Green Man, Harlow, leaving Headquarters, the Eagle, Snaresbrook, at 11am. Lunch will be provided at 3s 6d per head, and all members who propose attending should advise the captain, Mr FA Applebce, at 208, Great Portland Street, W. The committee have obtained the first refusal from the Southend Corporation to hold a race meeting upom the promenade, and, subject to sufficient support being promised, a meeting will be run during the summer.”
“THE HALL MC, STARTED IN connection with the Dartford Ironworks, of which membership is confined to members or employees of the firm of J&E Hall, has at present about forty members. The opening run was to Wrotham and Sevenoaks on Saturday, March 29th. It is proposed to hold a paperchase in the near future. The club has been affiliated to the ACU.”
ACU SECRETARY TOM LOUGHBOROUGH summed up the joy of motor cycle sport: “The fact that pedal cycle racing has lost its old grip on the public and is now confined to a comparatively small, if enthusiastic, circle has led some dim-sighted critics to foretell a similar fate for motor cycling competitions. If the motor cycle had reached the same finality in design as the push cycle of ten or even fifteen years ago, there would have been some excuse for such forebodings. Even so, there could be no comparison between the two forms of sport. The combination of skill and nerve on the part of the rider, the perfect ‘tune’ of the machine, the pure physical joy of speed and power that in a car becomes impersonal, and in the air is lost altogether, puts motor cycle racing in a class by itself, and will keep it there.”
MAJOR SIR HENRY NORMAN, Bart, FRGS, AIEE, MP, formerly Liaison Officer of the Ministry of Munitions with the Ministry of Inventions in Paris and a member of the Legislation Committee of the RAC, was not, on the face of it, a likely customer for a stand-on Auto-ped scooter. Nonetheless, The Motor Cycle reported, “There is no doubt that Sir Henry is extremely enthusiastic over his motor scooter.” As Sir Henry explained: “Lady Norman saw it in an American paper, and said, ‘That is the very thing I have longed for all my life’…when I had finally obtained it Lady Norman rode it in the first five minutes down the Portsmouth Road…I think it is a very useful little vehicle…So far as its mechanical design is concerned, I called in my friend, Major Low, and together we took it to pieces, and found it to be hopelessly inaccessible and poorly made. I am confident, however, that a motor scooter, properly designed, has a big future…Major Low and I have taken out several patents, and in a few weeks’ time hope to have a sound design on the road.” [This wasn’t as unlikely as it sounds. When wasn’t doing his bit in the RAF, Sir Henry’s chum was better known as Professor Archibald ‘Archie’ Low. He went on to spend 24 years as chairman of the ACU, chaired the RAC motor cycle committee and raced successfully at Brooklands. You’ll find more about the prof in the gallimaufry.]
“THE QUESTION ‘WHY STAND?’ will not be asked by potential purchasers of the Tankette, for, although the germ of the idea behind this little vehicle was the scooter, it is provided with a seat, and approximates to the lightweight motor cycle more than to the Auto-ped. Weighing 135lb, and measuring 6ft 5in over all, the Tankette will be marketed by Messrs Ronald Trist and Co of Watford, who for many months have experimented with various forms of scooters, commencing with a small toylike machine with 10in wheels…it can be regarded more as a competitor of existing lightweights than of the scooter proper. It is proposed to fit a 2¾-3hp two-stroke engine, located at the rear, and driving to a countershaft gear placed before the wheel, and hence back again to the rear hub…The frame is constructed-of flat steel strips about 1¾x3/16in, built up so that there are six members parallel at what would be its weakest point. Both front and rear wheels are sprung on leaf springs, the centre of the pivotal rear stays being coincident with the centre of the driving sprocket. A twin wheel is used at the rear, fitted with two 20×1¾in pneumatic tyres, with a free connection from one to the other, so that on going round curves the air pressure remains constant and the two friction points where the tyres meet the ground are maintained. Both tyres can be pumped from one valve, but, if a puncture occurs, the connecting cock may be closed and either tyre may be inflated independently…By driving air through vanes in the rear mudguarding, the back wheel is made to act as a fan…the embodiment of side wheel ‘runners’ was decided upon after long consideration, and that they were thought necessary because the machine would be used mostly in towns and suburbs. This arrangement permits of the machine being stopped in traffic with the rider still seated and the engine running idly.”
EVEN IXION HAD BEEN PONDERING the scooter conundrum: “I have always found it difficult to take the motor scooter seriously, but you can never say what is going to happen when society people unearth a new fad. The picture papers put a camera man in waiting; then the universe begins to gossip, and the toy has gone into mass production before you have time to look round. The motor scooter has hesitated for some time between remaining a roller skate or expanding into a lightweight motor bicycle. At the moment it is coquetdng with the more ambitious alternative. It has certain obvious advantages over, say, a Baby Levis or Triumph. It costs some £20 [£700 today] less at a time when cash is distincdy shy. It dodges the odium attached to pukka motor cycles in the eyes of the smart set. If it goes wrong, you can tuck it under your arm or put it in a cab. In some parts of the country the police apparently permit it to curvet on the pavement. On the other hand, it can never, never be used for touring in its original form, and is unlikely to commend itself for trips exceeding five miles at the outside…the real novelty of the motor scooter, as compared with lightweights, is that it presents itself frankly as a boulevard runabjut and nothing more: it has no Land’s End-John-o’-Groat’s nonsense about it…My own verdict is that the scooter cannot stay where it is. It may ultimately shrink back to its original dimensions, and revert to being a sort of pocket motor bicycle for shopping purposes: or it may swell out into a form indistinguishable from the cheaper lightweights.”
“OF THE MANY MACHINES DESIGNED as sidecar outfits, very few have embodied a brake on the sidecar wheel, and the 1919 model of a leading make upon which this was a feature before the war is now being reintroduced without it. With the tendency for sidecars to be heavier as refinement after refinement is added, the necessity to equip the sidecar wheel with a brake appears to be obvious, especially when the average front wheel brake does not give the service it should. It would appear that comparatively few experiments have been made by manufacturers and, if the matter has been given consideration at all, the question has been dismissed as being one fraught with many difficulties. By others it is thought that, if one rear wheel brake is sufficient to hold a machine on a hill, the increased cost of production of the sidecar brake is not justified. This rather appears to be narrowing the margin of safety, as, if the back wheel brake fails to function, the driver has not complete control of the machine. It is certain that a really satisfactory sidecar brake has yet to be evolved, and, although our own expenence with sidecar brakes has been far from encouraging, we see no reason why a successful design should not be forthcoming if designers will give the matter proper attention. We think one of the mistakes of the past has been the practice of having separate controls to the brakes on sidecar and back wheel, and also in so placing the lever that the former could be operated by the passenger. From actual experience we know it is most undesirable to permit the passenger to use the brake, as the least pressure upon the lever, if unexpected, instantly causes the machine to swerve to the left. It is clear that for a sidecar brake to be successful it must be interconnected with the rear wheel brake, and that it must have a balancing or compensating action, and an easy and accurate means of adjustment.”
PROBLEMS WITH THE SUPPLY of spare parts led one angry enthusiast to write: “A machine may be the fastest, cleanest, lightest, handiest, most powerful, cheapest, quietest, and best climber in the whole wide world, but when it stands idle for the six finest weeks in the whole year, waiting for a fork spring or some other trivial but vital part, it is not one-tenth part as fast as 1¼hp Dinkie, nor so satisfactory, and the owner will never buy another, and he will take care to spread the news among his friends, and will eventually sell the machine to his enemy.”
“FOR YEARS THE BRITISH MOTOR INDUSTRY has been deeply concerned over the supply of those fuels on which it is primarily dependent for its existence. Thirteen years ago, complaints of the high cost of petrol were rife, and experiments were conducted with alcohol, which, mixed with benzole, is an excellent fuel for petrol engines, but, although the trade and many private motorists saw the possibilities of the fuel, the Government either could or would not. And so, as a result of Excise restrictions, alcohol was effectively and permanently barred. Benzole was the next palliative, and in 1913, when the price of petrol had risen to the unprecedented figure of 1s 6d per gallon, a certain amount of the home-produced coal product was on the market at a few pence cheaper. All motorists liked it—in fact they could do nothing else—but the benzole producers found a better market abroad, and most of the English-produced benzole went to Germany, where it developed the great dye industry and contributed to the accumulation of huge stocks of explosives! The Del Monte process came next, and no one seems to know clearly why this gradually fell into oblivion, for its prospects were quite rosy. It was a thoroughly commercial proposition for the production of cheap motor fuel, and, if the truth ever becomes known, it may appear that the petrol combine was at the back of its early demise. [As early as 1913 an Aussie newspaper had lauded the Del Monte process: “It is about time this country realised that it possesses the equivalent of the oilfields of America, Russia, and other countries so favoured by Nature, in its enormous coal resources. Under a new and simple process, known as the Del Monte process, the extraordinary quantity of eighty-five gallons of oil per ton have been obtained. The process consists of distilling coal at a low temperature, about a half the heat required in the preparation of coal-gas. It is stated on the authority of the London Times—which describes the process as a ‘revolutionising invention’—that coal waste, coal dust, and slack may be utilised under this method, also certain descriptions of coal which…are unsuitable for general use, and therefore of little value…The process is shown in operation at Barnes, near London…The oils obtained are of the paraffin series, similar to crude natural petroleum. They lend themselves like the latter to ‘cracking’, or breaking up into the lighter spirits which the high-temperature produced oils failed to do…From the tests applied to the motor spirit obtained under the Del Monte process, it has been proved that the spirit gives an increase mileage per gallon above that obtained from petrol, because of its greater thermal value…Little or no adjustment of the carburetter is needed.”] Now that the war is over, the authorities admit the real national importance of a home-produced fuel for road transport vehicles, and they are encouraging all enterprises that hold forth any serious promise of success. An experiment with alcohol is being conducted on London ‘buses, and, if it is a success, it may be hoped that some relaxation of Excise restrictions will result, so that the artificially inflated cost of alcohol will undergo useful modification. A process that is entirely new to this country may be expected to fructify in the course of the next few months, and if it does the effect on the fuel situation as a whole should be considerable. Mr Greenstreet has had working in America for some years his patent process for the conversion of heavy hydrocarbons into the lighter members of the same series, and also for the removal of all sulphur from fuels that have hitherto been unusable in internal combustion engines on account of their too great sulphur content, sulphur being injurious to both valves and cylinders. From crude petroleum oil the process will obtain about 65% more motor spirit than has previously been possible, and the same holds true of its use with shale and coal tar oils. From substances as dissimilar as peat, sawdust, and coal tar by-products, a motor spirit of first-class quality has been obtained, and a useful feature of the process is that the boiling point of the resultant fuel can be controlled. In other words, the process will give a fuel to satisfy any reasonable stated requirements…Oil that has been discarded by the ordinary petroleum distillers as containing no more motor spirit ie, crude oil from which the lighter members have all been extracted by methods in ordinary use, have been made to give a yield of as much as 40% of first-class motor spirit! The plant is comparatively simple and cheap, and can be erected almost entirely from materials which are likely to be in stock. Sir Boverton Redwood is a petroleum expert who has occupied a most important Government position with regard to fuels during the war, and upon his words unquestioned reliance may be set. His opinion of the Greenstreet process is that if it had been working and fully established in England before the war started we should have been entirely independent of foreign imported fuels!”
“WHILE EVERYBODY IS TALKING BIG about ‘mass production’ and the ‘lessons of aero engine practice’,” Ixion warned, “I think we are in some danger of forgetting two firms to whom the industry owes a debt which is unforgettable. I refer primarily to the Triumph Co, who in my opinion rescued motor cycling from a slump due to bad design which threatened to engulf it a few years ago; and, secondly, to the Douglas Co, whose perseverance made the first twin a practicable machine. I am old enough to remember how two separate firms tried to make a job of the flat twin, and after struggling along in obscurity for a season or two surrendered. Then the Douglas people, who were then best known as makers of shoe trade machinery, took up the old Barter and Fairy patents on sound engineering lines and with the essential capital, with the result that the flat twin now challenges the once monarchic single…Neither of them has yet whispered to the public of anything but WD models. I expect each factory has a rod in pickle for those audacious mushroom firms which are plunging into mass production. Personally, I hope to welcome something of real interest from both concerns.”
“WE HAVE FREQUENTLY WANDERED INTO CONFUSION IN RESPECT OF LIGHTWEIGHTS,” Ixion opined. “At one time a ‘lightweight’ motor cycle was a machine which was catalogued at or near 100lb. To-day it means a cycle which has an engine of less than 400cc but which may tip the scale at 2½cwt. This is simply ridiculous. In the so-called light car world, the real objective of classification is initial cost and running cost. Whatever term is used for the ‘juniors’ and the ‘junissimuses’ (I am an old man and have forgotten my Latin) should guarantee that the car so christened is cheapish to buy and very cheap to run. In the sphere of lightweight motor bicycles, price is not the main objective. If some stout old party who has not viewed his toe-caps for years hears a cycle described as a lightweight, it is weight which is his primary interest. He wants to be sure that he will not have an apoplectic stroke when he has to hoike the carrier backwards to get the machine on its stand. He may have no ambition to carry it up steps, but at least he will be depressed if it pushes him over on his back when he rashly lets it lean against him. At present, press, trade, clubs, and enthusiastic conversationalists befog this sporting old party quite hopelessly. For when Jones brags that his ‘lightweight’ can be kept on the mantelpiece, he is talking of a Levis Popular, weight 110lb: and when Brown talks of ‘lightweight’, he is describing deeds of derring-do on a 1920 ‘bus with spring frame, lighting dynamo, and Zeppelin-aluminium-girder side-car, weight 5cwt all on. I am not so crazy as to suggest that low weight is the Alpha and Omega of a ‘lightweight’. Comfort, hill-climbing, reliability, and cost are all factors in the demand. But the term is grossly misapplied at the present time; and when so many slim girls and impoverished elderly papas with equators are nibbling at our hobby, it is time we became more precise in our diction.”
IXION HAD A VIEW ON EVERY PART of a motor cycle, including its wheels: “I should be very sorry to say good-bye to the wire wheel for some reasons; it is the only part of the average machine which has a delicate and fairy appearance: and a speedster should not look too lumpish. The wire wheel is elastic to a certain degree, and so makes for comfort: it is cheap to make, and easy to repair, unless, of course, you throw it under a traction engine, or bend it into a true lover’s knot by ramming walls with it. But it is a beast to clean. Do not mistake me. I never clean my machines. I coat them with vaseline on delivery, and when selling day comes, one good wipe over brings away the vaseline plus the filth of ten thousand miles. But saner owners, I am credibly informed, spend an hour each evening going over their ‘buses with metal polish. Moreover, the general public considers motor cycling a filthy pastime, and countenances speed limits and police traps because it sees us careering about with mud on our spokes, which is far worse than a Bacchante with vine leaves in her hair. So—strictly pro bono publico—I plead for a pressed metal artillery wheel, which shall be light, strong, resilient, and easily cleaned. In Mr Sankey’s ear I breathe interrogatively the one word—‘Duralumin?’”
“WITH THE ADVENT OF SPRING, we of the weaker sex always give much thought to the suitability, or otherwise, of various types of dress. I remember seeing in the motoring press recently photographs of an American lady rider wearing a low V-necked blouse. This is unpractical and dangerous to health. To ride in such would be at least courting pneumonia, but, as I said before, the photographs were American, and funny things are done ‘over the water’. After all, one can ride in unsuitable dress if one is so inclined. A footballer could play in evening dress. One must use one’s own discretion; nothing teaches so well as experience.”
“THE SAROLEA ENGINE HAS BEEN KNOWN in this country for quite a long time as being a very satisfactory Belgian production. The firm of Sarolea, at Herstal, near Liege, has been working hard since the Armistice to reorganise its factory, which was considerably damaged during the German occupation, and the firm is hoping very soon to begin to manufacture engines and motor bicycles once more. Towards the end of May it is hoped to produce a 4hp single-cylinder motor bicycle, 85x97mm [550cc], fitted with Sturmey-Archer countershaft gear, transmission by chain and belt, and all the latest improvements. This information has been sent to us by M Fagard, one of the Belgian representatives of the International Federation of Motorcyclists. He states that the speed with which Belgian motor cycle firms can resume their pre-war activity depends to a large extent on the assistance the Allied Governments can give them in furnishing them with the necessary raw materials.”
“ONE DAY LAST WEEK, on a very faint line, Mr JS Holroyd was heard to inform us that the new 1919 8hp Blackburne sidecar combination was ready for the road, and, beyond hearing something to the effect that he would like us to come and see him try to break it up, little more could be heard. We arrived by road the next morning, and found the new Blackburne quite ready for the trip. The outfit had only just been completed, and all it had had in the way of a test was a run to Gosport and back to Tongham. So far as the motor bicycle is concerned, the engine is a 60° 85x88mm 998cc twin, with detachable and interchangeable cylinder heads, and that most noteworthy of all Blackburne features—an out-side flywheel. Particular attention has been paid to the silencing of the engine, both as regards the exhaust and also as regards noises from the valves and timing gear, and considerable success has been attained in this direction…From Tongham we made our way along bumpy roads, which brought us eventually to Elstead.
From here we proceeded in the direction of Churt until we reached a pretty spot where a steep, rough, and narrow track, obviously not meant for wheeled traffic, descended into the valley…In a few minutes we were in a part of Surrey the nature of which could never be guessed: a wild district of unsurpassable beauty, unsullied by signs of human habitation, and devoid of all roads. True, there were tracks, and these were similar to the mule paths that exist in the Vosges and other mountainous districts. Our descent was down one of these steep tracks. The surface was sandy and intersected by ruts, gulleys, roots of trees, and great stones, the avoiding of which (when possible) called for every atom of skill the driver possessed. Such surfaces excited rebellion in the hearts of certain competitors in the 1914 Six Days Trials, yet they are of a kind met with in our Overseas Dominions, and it is for these countries that so many British motor cycles are required. Messrs Burney and Blackburne realise this, and their products have the high ground clearance, the 28in wheels, and the power to combat these conditions. The top gear ratio, we may mention, was 4¼ to 1…we charged up the hill over a surface similar to that described above on to a gradient of about i in 5. Just short of the summit the combination almost came to a standstill owing to back wheel slip, but heeling over to a dangerously steep angle, so abruptly did the track slope away, and with a veritable precipice on the left, the engine gallantly stuck to its work and surmounted the gradient. The track now became less steep, but no better as regards surface; notwithstanding, Holroyd changed into second, climbed a short steep pitch, and then, to our amazement, left the track,
slewed round to the right, and charged up the hill over the gorse. As we anticipated it would, the engine resented this treatment and stopped, but Holroyd was much surprised till he discovered he had omitted to change down to first speed. This was a fault which was soon remedied, and we were again tackling the slope. A glorious view unfolded itself, but for the moment we were occupied in regarding the hollows, bumps, and ridges which were wringing and straining the sidecar frame, but nothing happened. The Blackburne did all that it was asked to do, and did it well, and part of it over a track which no car, not even a Ford, could have negotiated owing to its narrowness…the real test finished up with a genuine ‘freak’ hill-climb. The surface was as before, the gradient 1 in 4 or worse; the power was there but adhesion failed, and a boulder blocked the way, so what would you? Resuming normal conditions we took the helm and returned to Tongham through Tilford and across the Hog’s Back. This gave us the opportunity of appreciating the new Blackburn’s good qualities to the full. We found the engine to be beautifully balanced and its smooth and silent running appealed to us most strongly. The engine possesses wonderful powers of picking up speed on a gradient without change of gear; this is clearly due to the outside flywheel, which enables power’ to be maintained at slow speeds, while the fact that there are no internal flywheels retarded by the viscosity of the oil clearly adds to the efficiency of the engine. We are left with the impression that the new Blackburne has made good, and will be a mount which will be much sought after, not only in this country but in the Colonies, and will go far towards recapturing the trade, which, owing to the war, has been allowed to slip into allied but foreign hands.”
AW WALL, INVENTOR OF THE WALL AUTO-WHEEL, patented designs for a four-cylinder motor cycle engine made up of stamped steel sheets. Major components including cylinders, head, crank case, crankshaft, pistons and conrods had all been made to Wall’s design: “The journals and crank pins are formed by stamping a long spigot, in the centre for the journals and eccentrically for the pins, from each of several flat steel discs. Two opposed units, with spigots which telescope one within the other, constitute each journal or pin, and the two and also one disc of the next unit are held together by, roughly speaking, burring over the ends of the spigots. Provision is made for preventing rotational movement between the telescoped parts, otherwise, of course, the shaft as a whole would be twisted all shapes by the torque it must convey to the flywheel.” Claimed advantages included “extremely low cost, very light weight, unusual strength, and suitability for mass production.”
“A 50LB MOTOR CYCLE: the Zephyr auxiliary motor attachment for pedal cycles, which has been evolved by the London and Westminster Industrial Syndicate, is an interesting and ingenious little power unit. The motive power is a 110cc two-stroke engine of about 1½hp attached to a horizontal tube, the forward end of which is fixed to the seat-pillar, while the rearward end is made adjustable on the threaded extension of a pair of supplementary back forks secured on the rear wheel spindle of the bicycle. There are two sprockets between the flywheel and the crank case—one for the drive to the CAV magneto, the other for a chain- driven friction pulley…The pulley and its sprocket are mounted in an adjustable bearing at the lower end of a swinging arm controlled by a Bowden wire from a lever on the handle-bar. An ingenious compression release on the engine is worked by an inverted lever under the left handle-bar grip, and the right-hand lever controls the front rim brake. The rear brake is of the back pedalling variety…We journeyed to Brighton to try the attachment and the long hill chosen for this purpose had a gras]dient of about 1 in 14. The Zephyr climbed the hill at a good 20mph, which was quite a creditable performance…One attempt to restart on the hill failed, but on a second occasion a successful start was made. No doubt the Zephyrs will meet all the requirements of those for whom they have been designed, and will do much good missionary work among cyclists, who ultimately will become owners of higher-powered machines. Their sphere, however, is not confined to this section of the community, and we anticipate that, in this mechanical age, a large number of people win buy it for its general utilitarian conveniences. Many partially disabled men, who are physically incapable of strenuous pedalling, will also find a motorised bicycle a great assistance.”
“EASTERTIDE EVENTS: THIS EASTERTIDE several important events took place in the motor cycling world. In ordinary circumstances, The Motor Cycle would have commented upon and illustrated the events in this issue; but in this instance we have refrained, out of consideration for our works staff. Few realise the task of printing a journal with a huge circulation such as The. Motor Cycle enjoys. Incidentally, it has set up a world’s record in automobile journalism. This issue actually borders upon the 100,000 mark. To have included illustrated descriptions of Easter events in this issue would have necessitated the curtailment of a long-anticipated holiday badly needed by all the sections of our works.”
“THE 1919 PEUGEOT MOTOR CYCLES: Despite the fact that we have heard rumours that the 1919 Peugeot range would include a four-cylinder, the Peugeot firm has decided to remain faithful to the twin-cylinder 45° type for the present year. The machines, however, have been improved by the fitting of a countershaft gear box… The two twins will be the 345cc 3½hp and the 740cc 6hp, with two and three speed respectively (which is curious, as the third speed is obviously needed much more on the lower-powered machine).
The sidecars will bs sold made in wicker, sheet metal, and wood, the latter following the general form of the floats of a seaplane.”
“MOTOR CYCLISTS IN AIRMEN’S GARB: The leather Flying Corps coats are very
popular with motor cyclists this year.”
“A JOHANNESBURG MAN HAS INVENTED an
internal combustion turbine, but then so have men in nearly every town in Great and Greater Britain.”
“On the Road: Every week-end sees more machines on the road—and many of these new models.”
“MOTOR CYCLE POLICE: A MIDDLESEX READER, who has been trapped by plain-clothes policemen who were using a sidecar outfit, is very sore that ‘motor cyclists should trap each other’, and suggests that they deserve to be given the cold shoulder by other motor cyclists. We scarcely like to give the number of the machine in case it was a borrowed one. This appears to be a new departure on the part of the English police, but we would point out that in America almost every city has its squad of police mounted on motor cycles. Maybe, when the police taste of the joys of motor cycling, they will not be so anti-motorist.”
THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT LAUNCHED a series of auctions in 25 regional centres to dispose of war surplus motor cycles. A fleet of 200 sidecar taxis took to the streets of Paris with a promise that “the drivers will be in uniform, and will, we are informed, be clean, polite, and correct in their behaviour. It is also rumoured that there will be no tips.”
“HOME-PRODUCED FUEL: The Liverpool MCC Whit-Monday Trial will be run entirely on benzole—a good example for other clubs to follow…It is said that nearly 5,000 square miles of coal deposits are in the Transvaal. The extractable tonnage is conservatively estimated at about 56,000 millions. Converted into benzole, with existing means of distillation, this would produce approximately 140,000 million gallons of motor fuel.”
“MAGNETISED SPROCKETS: THE LEAKAGE of magnetism into the steel sprocket of a certain American magneto is not confined to machines in this country. A reader of The Motor Cycle has had the same trouble in America.”
“THE SCOOTER: Last year we asked in these columns what had become of the motor scooter. In a period of less than twelve months half England is talking about it.”
THE BIRMINGHAM MCC’S VICTORY CUP TRIAL was the first major post-war competition: “That over fifty per cent of the entrants secured gold medals may convey an impression to those who do not know the course that the reliability and power of the modern machine had been under-estimated by the Birmingham MCC. It has, however, been proved before that, where it is possible for a wheel to obtain grip, the machine of to-day, and even of 1914, will climb with success, provided the rider can handle it. The roads were dry, and, except for the dust, which was very trying, conditions were ideal for the competitors. Had it been wet, we think the results would have been very different; the first hill and Rising Sun alone would have considerably reduced the number of gold medallists. It is perhaps only fair to the makers of the machines that failed, to say that the personal element was responsible for more failures than mechanical troubles. Competitors were credited with 100 marks at the start. There were four non-stop
sections, to stop in any of which meant the loss of 12 marks, while for failures on the test hills competitors were debited with losses in proportion to the severity of the hill. Failure on Beacon Hill represented 11 marks, on the Old Wyche 6, Portway 8, Birdlip 10, Rising Sun 7, and Sudeley 8. To qualify for a gold medal, competitors had to secure 97% of the cup winner’s marks, while lightweight riders were allowed to drop to 88%. Silver medallists could lose 8% marks, and in the lightweight class 17%, The winners of the cups were decided by a speed judging test over a distance of two and a third miles. The condition of Beacon and Rising Sun was very bad. The latter was particularly rough…Several ‘Hush’ models were in the trial, including the 1919 model, 3½hp spring frame Douglas, a 2¾hp spring frame New Imperial, and a Sunbeam with laminated springs fore and aft…Rex Mundy (Victory Matchless) drove the major portion of the trial
with a broken throttle wire in his hand. Notwithstanding, he made one of the best climbs on Rising Sun…Many non-competitors showed lack of sportsmanship by insisting upon trying Rising Sun in between the competitors. The egotism required to do this before such a crowd of spectators was pitiful to behold. We did not sympathise, however, with those who failed…Several competitors were baulked by non-competitors…The new Douglas ridden by Moffatt had no exhaust noise under normal conditions. The running of the machine reminds one of a sewing machine…There were 5,000 teachers in Cheltenham attending a convention. Result, no lunch…A small dog persisted in trotting
across Birdlip in front of almost every competitor, and its owner did not seem to realise the number of times her pet narrowly escaped sudden death…Albert Milner, still in khaki, mounted on a Diamond, caused some amusement on the Old Wyche by raising his front wheel off the ground at the lop of the hill…Several of Kickham’s ‘Dinky’ sidecars were fitted to competing machines, and were voted to be the roomiest sporting sidecar ever seen…Pike’s Levis, with which he won a gold medal, had the smallest engine in the trial, the capacity being 198cc, and did the entire course—126 miles—on less than a gallon of petrol.” G Kuhn (2½hp 211cc Levis) won The Victory Cup, for the best performance by any machine and the Evans Cup for thebst performance by a member or ex-member of HM Forces. GA Dalby (4hp 550cc Triumph sidecar) won the Duke Cup for the second best performance. Of 73 starters 41 riders won gold medals, 11 won silver, 11 finished with no award and 10 failed to finish. Of eight starters on 4¼hp BSAs four won gold and four won silver.
“PURLEY &DMCC: WE HAVE HAD A LETTER from the hon sec, L-Cpl SJ Taylor, 201,653, 2/5th Durham Light Infantry, Salonika Army. He states that he will be glad if any demobilised members of the old club (moribund since 1915) will communicate with him with a view to restarting it. Unfortunately, Mr Taylor sees no prospect of returning home till 1920, so he trusts that any old members will set to work to revive the club, appoint a new hon secretary, and proceed with a new programme. His father, M. E Taylor, 19 Clifton Road, Wallington, Surrey, will hand over the necessary books and club papers.”
“OVER 500 MOTOR CYCLES AT NMCFU RALLY: About 550 members of the National Motor Cyclist Fuel Union congregated at Stratford-on-Avon for the intermeet organised by the Birmingham and Coventry branch secretaries, and these were mounted on almost every conceivable type of machine, both ancient and modern. Almost everywhere the owners’ keen interest in their machines was in evidence, aud as many of the members are mechanics it was not surprising to find that, in many cases, the makers’ design had been ‘improved’ in detail. For example, one of the most attractive outfits we saw was a Harley-Davidson, upon which the owner, a Mr Bateman, of Coventry, had lavished much thought, time, and money. The mudguards were of his own make, and followed AJS. lines to some extent. Each was made in one piece of heavy gauge material. The guards were certainly the best we have seen. Other improvements included a hot air muff on the induction pipe, a special type of extra air valve, a thief-baffling device, and a three-sided sidecar screen. The machine was very complete as to electric lamps…Another machine
which created a great deal of interest was a 3½hp solo Sunbeam finished all black, with disc wheels, electric light, and chain-cum-belt drive, while near by stood a Premier ‘flying bedstead’, one of the machines with 3½hp single-cylinder engine and outside flywheel, etc, built for the 1914 TT. The owner had reduced the compression ratio and fitted chain cases…Almost every sidecar carried one or more small children, and picnic baskets seemed to be part of the standard equipment in most cases. The organisers had made arrangements to park the machines in groups according to the centres from which they had come [Portsmouth, Weymouth, Glasgow, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Coventry, Wolverhampton, Bedford, Nottingham, Leeds, Leicester, Lincoln, London, Derby, Liverpool, Barrow-in-Furness, Grantham, Rugby, and Ashby-de-la-Zouch]…One may regard the rally as historic, since many members are newcomers to the pastime…a cinema operator was very busy during the run out for the circular tour of ten miles. Later there was a demonstration by Coventry testers in fancy costume, which, however, we think, was not quite appropriate for a Sunday event. On the whole, the organisers, Messrs Murray and Mallilieu, are to be congratulated upon a very successful rally of members of the NMCFU.”
“THE RICHMOND MEET—REVIVAL OF THE ANNUAL Yorkshire Intermeeting of Motor Cycle Clubs: To mark the opening of the summer season in pre-war days the North of England clubs held an inter-meet at Richmond, which was always well attended. This year’s event, however, only attracted some seventy motor cyclists, which comparatively low number is accounted for in various ways. In the first place, a large number of club members have not yet taken delivery of their machines, and many others who were more fortunate took advantage of the holiday to go touring. However, despite the presence of threatening clouds early in the day, which induced several to don ‘oilies’ in preparation, members of the Middlesbrough, York, and Harrogate Clubs started for the venue, and by devious paths reached Richmond, which the first-comers found very quiet. As at every motor cyclists’ rendezvous, great interest was displayed in new machines, but except for a few new Triumphs, BSAs, and a P&M, no post-war models were on view…Only one lady driver was seen, and she was on an old twin Peugeot with sidecar, which was driven from Middlesbrough. Mr J Stevenson arrived frorn Darlington with a 1913 5hp Clyno outfit carrying no fewer than five passengers—a load which he says the machine is easily capable of carrying. An old lightweight FN with a passenger on the carrier was noticed. The event this year proved to be a very pleasant affair, but future Richmond rallies no doubt will be more like those of pre-war days, when the secretaries of Northern clubs met to discuss summer programmes, and to arrange inter-club runs, and motor cyclists turned up in their hundreds.”
WORLD-WIDE IS THE REPUTATION ENJOYED by Messrs Douglas Motors, of Bristol, the pioneers of the flat twin. A general engineering business, with a speciality in boot and shoe machinery, and an intelligent anticipation of the motor cycle needs of the public in taking up a small flat twin lightweight proved to be the foundation of the present important branch of the motor cycle industry. Then followed a remarkable run of success in competition on road and track, culminating in a still more notable success on war service on all fronts. Such in brief is a summary of the qualifications and experience behind this latest production, the 3½hp Douglas. Though retaining the general Douglas outlines, the 3½hp mount introduced for 1919 is in fact a complete redesign in every part. New as it is to the ordinary rider, the firm have subjected the model to extensive road tests ‘during many months, and now offer the 3½hp as a proved design, representing the result of their accumulated and unique experience. The volume swept by the pistons is a shade under 500cc, each cylinder being 68x68mm, and it is to be nominated 3½hp, but, of course, develops more…Perhaps the most unique point of this newly designed engine is its mode of attachment at three points only, two lower frame bolts and one upper bolt connecting the magneto holding-down bridge to the centre of the under tank tube. The advantage lies in the fact that the whole engine unit can be taken out of the frame in less time than it takes to remove a cylinder from the average single-cylinder engine.” The magneto could be removed without disturbing the ignition timing; a Lucas dynamo was an optional extra, driven from the mag pinion. The three-speed countershaft gearbox incorporated a clutch and enclosed kickstart; final drive was via a 7/8in belt. “The Douglas spring frame…is a complete departure from their
former practice, laminated springs being abandoned in favour of helical springs. The rear frame is pivoted behind the gear box bracket on a very wide, hardened and ground plain bearing; the upper point is connected through an ingenious pair of levers, whose function is to reduce movement, to a pair of enclosed helical springs placed horizontally on each side of the saddle lug. These springs (each being made up of two concentric springs) act in compression, and adjustment is provided to suit different riders’ weights. Approximately, 3in movement of the wheel is reduced to about ¼in on the springs. The carrier is sprung with the frame. Means of lubrieating all moving parts are provided. For three years this spring frame has been under test by the Dougfas firm, and so satisfactory is it in the comfort provided, hard wearing capabilities, and absence of lateral movement, that it takes a definite place in their future programme…There are deep valances on wide guards to both wheels, a sub-stantial undershield with side valances fitting to the inner edge of the footboard, and, if required, flexible [leather] leg shields attached to a cross bar on the top tube…The cross bar is only dropped on, no fastening, the shields being buttoned down tightly to the front flange of the undershield……they can be quickly removed and rolled up when not required. As a solo mount with empty tank the machine scales 231lb.”
“ACCORDING TO AN AMERICAN PAPER, Mr Duncan Watson, MIEE, the managing director of the British Harley-Davidson Co, is credited with having stated that the British post-war demand for motor cycles will not be satisfied until a million and a half motor cycles are produced.”
IN FRANCE GRIFFON AND CLEMENT resumed motor cycle production, each with a single model. The Griffon was a 6hp 748cc two-speed twin; the Clement was a 4hp 560cc two-speed twin boasting automatic lubrication. Terot also offered a 4hp twin (this one had a capacity of 624cc and a three-speed box) but it was joined by a 2¾hp one-lunger of 317cc.
“COGNOSCENTI ON THE SADDLE: Among the machines on the Ripley Road last week-end were noticed a new Wooler, a twin Blackburne, a 1919 TT Rudge with handle-bars almost meeting the footrests, a gigantic JAP in a light frame evidently home asseinbled, one of the latest TT electrically-equipped Harleys purring along at an easy 40, and a four-cylinder Henderson solo. Two-strokes were greatly in evidence, as was the ubiquitous Douglas.”
WELCOME NEWS IN THE BUDGET was an end to The Petrol Control Board, petrol licences and the tanner-a-gallon ‘supertax’ and a decision that no tax would be imposed on Benzole. With British production of Benzole exceeding 300,000,000 gallons a year there was talk of restricting Six Days Trial entries to bikes running on Benzole.
“NEAR A RIVERSIDE RESORT we saw recently a light racing outrigger skiff being transported a distance of some eight miles through traffic and country, turned upside down on a sidecar chassis. With about twenty feet of a delicately built shell sticking out fore and aft, the driving in traffic was a very ticklish matter.”
“CONSIDERING THE DEMAND EXSISTING for motor cycles at the present time, it is perhaps surprising that more new firms have not come into existence to take advantage of the popularity of the motor cycle. In the car world upwards of thirty new motor firms have entered the industry, and, although the call for motor cycles is even greater than for cars, only a few newcomers have been recorded. One of these is the Carfield Motor Cycle Co, of Smethwick, Birmingham, which, though handicapped by inadequate temporary premises, has made a good start with a two-speed two-stroke lightweight on the usual standard lines. It has a strongly built frame, particularly strengthened at the head, designed to accommodate the well-known 2½hp Villiers two-stroke engine unit, with a standard Amac carburetter and a CAV magneto. The drive is taken through a Brampton ½inx3/16in chain to an Albion counter- shaft two-speed gear box, of standard pattern. The drive to the rear wheel is by Dunlop ¾in belt, and the 26in wheels, which are finished all black, are shod with 2in Dunlop rubber-studded tyres. Amply wide mudguards and a very substantial carrier are special features, the latter incorporating two metal-cased toolbags. The rear brake is heel operated, acting upon the inner side of the belt rim. The other points of the specification are: Lycett’s pan saddle, semi TT bars, and Best & Lloyd sight drip-feed lubricator. A well-formed tank carries one and a quarter gallons of petrol and a quart of oil. The filler caps are of large size. Production commenced a few weeks ago, and several Midland agents have machines in stock, the selling price being £51.”
“MINISTRY OF WAYS AND COMMUNICATIONS BILL: THE following are. extracts from a memorandum prepared by Mr. Rees Jeffreys, late secretary to the Road Board, at the request of the Motor Legislation Committee, and which proposes a number of amendments to the Ministry of Ways and Communications Bill—‘The Minister has undertaken that there shall be a separate Department for roads under General Maybury. General Maybury should be assisted by a Board Committee consisting of representatives of associations of highway authorities and traffic organisations. It should be provided that the Minister shall appoint a Road Committee of not fewer than ten members (exclusive of the head of the Department, who shall be the chairman of the committee), of which five members shall be representatives of local authorities, and five shall be representatives of road traffic problems. The following provisions are suggested: (a) That all roads shall be put into one of three classes. Class 1—Arterial roads or main lines of road communications. Class 2—Secondary roads. Class 3—Local roads. (b) That to Class 1 roads a grant of 50% per cent of the cost of maintenance shall be paid; to “Class 2 roads 25%; Class 3 roads to remain a local charge. It should be provided in the Bill that the Minister shall have power, on the advice of the Road Departmant or Board to prescribe the minimum width of the arterial roads, ie to issue regulations providing that tor the roads specified in the regulatios no new building shall be erected within so many yards of the centre of the highway…Similar powers should ” be conferred, on county councils to conserve the width of Class 1 and Class 2 roads within their areas.” This memo marked the end of the old Road Board and the birth of the Ministry of Transport.
IXION MUSED ON THE MOTOR CYCLE’S record breaking readership of 100,000: “I have never possessed 100,000 of anything except influenza germs. In a few years, when we touch the 200,000 mark, my successor’s task will be much easier. The figure will doubtless approximate to the rpm of Granville Bradshaw’s latest engine, or to the mileage of one of FL Rapson’s unpuncturable tyres, or the Triumph weekly output, or the Douglas speed in mph for a flying start mile at Brooklands…Joking apart, those of us who have fought the long battle have lived enviable years. We can remember days when our pages were hard to fill and harder to sell. Now we know what it is to reject lots of interesting copy, and even—in war-time—to repress an over-robust circulation because our paper ration would not run to it. We have seen puny little foreign engines of extraordinary capriciousness gummed to the down tubes of ridiculously bad British frames, and disfigured by incredibly silly transmissions. By trial and error, by research and experiment, by pluck, brains and energy, we have seen British motor cycles climb slowly to the very top of their industrial tree, and even threaten ethereal ideals. In the dark days of the industry other journals have gone under, but we have never missed a week…Our belief in the future of a machine which was once deservedly despised and mocked at has been more than approved by facts and history…When this paper was founded there was no motor cycling community. This country boasted nothing more than a handful of isolated enthusiasts, pursuing a strange and unpopular pastime. To-day the pastime has created a special community of enthusiasts within the bigger community of the State; indeed, it is an international community international as science, or finance, or Esperanto. As this journal has played its part in creating that com- munity, so it still works to link its members together: and we of the staff are proud to share in the resultant freemasonry.”
“THE YANKEE TWINS ARE GOOD,” Ixion admitted, “but they are not competition-proof; and the number of their ’14 sales constitutes a market worth attack. Most of them give a rider more petty trouble than a first-class British machine, and the inevitable stage at which substantial repairs become unavoidable arrives earlier. They are quite absurdly heavy; 3cwt. is surely excessive for a solo ‘bus, and is not even to my mind pardonable on a sidecar hauler. The American front fork is good, but not better than two or three of the best European patterns: Americans have no essential monopoly of rear springing. Their much-boomed lubrication systems are not to be compared with the principles embodied in the new ABC. I am not by nature and preference a bestraddler of their cumbersome projectiles: I eschew sidecars, and find that a class 500cc will do all that a solo man requires so I must not be dogmatic on the secret of the spell that post office red or dove-grey with vermillion streaks has for so many eager buyers. I view the tug of war without animus. If the Yankee twins are really better, let them capture our 7-9hp market, and let the British rival take its medicine like a man. I merely point out that the Britisher has a splendid opportunity to make sure of this threatened market, that the 1914 sales contain pointers to guide him in diagonising public taste, and that now is the time.”
NATALITE FUEL, TAKING ITS NAME from Natal, South Africa, whence it came, comprised alcohol, ether, ammonia—and white arsenic. It had reportedly performed well during six months of testing, producing almost as much power as petrol at a lower cost. “The statement that this fuel can be manufactured and sold at a price that would defy competition from the petrol companies is distinctly cheering. The one thing which now stands in the way of the use of Natalite fuel in this country is the Excise regulation. We do not think that the Excise authorities are immovable, and we have reason to believe that, if they can be convinced that a suitable denaturant which will render the alcohol undrinkable will be employed, they will not raise insuperable obstacles-to the manufacture or importation of Natalite.” And that, it seems, was the reason for the arsenic.
“TO ASSIST MEMBERS HAVING MECHANICAL BREAKDOWNS of their cars and motor cycles, the AA and MU has instituted a service of ‘first aid’ motor cycle combinations. These vehicles are equipped with the necessary tools for dealing with roadside troubles, and are driven by competent mechanics. In addition to spares, covers, and tubes, first aid necessaries for personal injuries are carried, also stretchers to enable serious accidents to be promptly dealt with. These machines are working in close conjunction with the AA. system of roadside telephones, and can be summoned by the patrols in charge of the sentry boxes at the behest of members needing their services.”
“BOCHE METHODS: WE HAVE RECEIVED AN ENQUIRY from a Belgian firm of cycle and motor cycle makers, Etablissements Scaldis, Antwerp. The pathetic nature of the letter will be understood when we point out that the firm are asking for the names of manufacturers of British plating accessories. The Germans stole the whole of their nickel-plating plant, and as they despair of ever getting it back they are turning to Britain to supply them. Doubtless some Boche is making use of the stolen plant, and rubbing his hands with glee at being able to obtain it so easily. It was by such dirty methods as these that the Germans hoped to win the war and annex the world’s trade not only in bicycles and motor cycles, but everything else.”
“AT A RECENT MEETING OF THE Institution of Automobile Engineers Mr E Tilston said, ‘The word ‘accessibility’ should be posted all over the premises of motor cycle manufacturers, even at the risk of the workers taking to themselves the assumption that the managing director should be more get-at-able in future and listen to their grievances.’”
“IN ALL PROBABILITY THE REVENUE OF THE PATENT OFFICE during the next few months will be increased by fees for patents relating to motor scooters. Apparently the interest in this type of machine is not confined to this country, and inventors in the land where the Auto-ped is produced are endeavouring to design scooters, some of which leads one to suppose that there are others besides The Motor Cycle who ask the question, Why stand? One of the latest American designs incorporates a Smith Auto-wheel and a sprung bucket seat…it would seem that if the motor scooter is to secure a place in the world of mechanics as a separate type of vehicle, it must remain a scooter pure and simple, and its one point of advantage over the lightweight motor cycle, ie, compactness, must outweigh the points of superiority of the slightly larger vehicle with its higher power and greater sphere of utility. Another invention is the patent of London engineers, but here we have a scooter without the scooter’s greatest and most appealing feature, viz, its apparent simplicity. The inventors state that ‘preferably the rear wheel is driven by a belt, and a torque rod, having a right and left-hand screw to enable its length to be adjusted to the belt tension, is provided to keep the driving wheel in position…By disconnecting the torque rod, the rear wheel can be removed without altering the adjustment of the bearings thereof.’ The machine is intended to be sprung fore and aft by laminated springs, while the engine casing constitutes the main frame of the vehicle.”
THE AUTO-WHEEL ALSO POWERED the LAD scooter, made in Farnham, Surrey. “The frame, which is registered, is of the open type with platform, and is fitted with a small wheel at the front, but in future models a larger size wheel will be fitted, probably of the saine size as the rear Auto-wheel.” LADs came with a choice of new or “thoroughly overhauled” Auto-wheel engines. The Wynne Scooter, designed by Manxman W Oates, had a 2¾hp two-stroke engine and, as well as a seat, boasted coil-sprung forks and leafspring rear suspension. Deeply valanced mudguards came in two halves to facilitate wheel removal. With footboards only a few inches from the ground the Wynne clearly wasn’t designed for fast cornering. “The whole is enclosed by a cover, which has convenient doors to give access to the engine, etc. 16x3in disc wheels are fitted…It is the intention of the designer to embody a small dynamo for lighting front and rear lights.”
“THE DOUGLAS FIRM ARE PROUD to find that amongst many items of interest which came to light after the Armistice is the fact that the Huns, having captured a Douglas electric power generating set, produced an almost exact copy under the name of the Bosch, presumably made by the magneto firm. So near a copy did they make that many parts of the flat twin engine are interchangeable with Douglas parts. Does this herald an attempt at a German fiat twin motor cycle? Will the German firms be allowed to continue infringing English patents after peace is signed?”
“THE DENE MOTOR CO, NEWCASTLE-ON-TYNE, are specialising for this year upon the production of a big twin machine. The specification includes 8hp V JAP engine, with Blic magneto behind engine, driven by chain from engine shaft. This design is a distinct ‘breakaway’ from standard, and brings the contact breaker to the right hand side—a great convenience in sidecar machines.”
“IT IS ONLY A QUESTION OF TIME when the entire motor cycle industry will recognise the enormous use that can be made of stainless steel, and it may be expected that many makers in the future will use it for valves and exposed metal work. Stainless steel is a chromium alloy steel, with the composition of 12.5% chromium and very low, .28%, carbon, the rest being iron and the usual impurities. Its outstanding peculiarity is that it is perfectly impervious to atmosphere corrosion…Enamel work can be dispensed with, and, if desired, an entire frame be made with it, as it can be readily drawn into tubing. It can be pressed into rough or accurate shapes for control levers and nuts. Spokes and rims can be made of it wth the greatest of ease. Of course, its greatest work can be done for valves, scaling is unknown with rustless steel valves.”
“IF EVIDENCE IS WANTED TO PROVE that the two-stroke lightweight is as popular as ever the order files of the majority of two-stroke makers will supply all that is needed. Messrs Alldays; and Onions, for instance, have been obliged to refuse further orders for some time, as the demand was much in excess of the present output of their works. They are not alone in this respect; many other manufacturers are ‘snowed under’ with orders. Conditions are improving, and every week witnesses progress. Although there are many improvements in details which make for increased accessibility, the latest models are substantially the same as the former Allon production. The engine unit is now assembled and aligned complete with the gear box, magneto, and silencer on the bench, and the whole placed in the frame en bloc. When being decarbonised, the cylinder remains in situ, the crank case lower half is dropped, and with it the tiywheel, shaft, connecting rod, and piston. The necessary scraping can be done through a large port in th’e liead which carries the release valve dome. The exhaust port has been redesigned, and the pipe is now attached by bolts through two lugs on the pipe. Frame and tank construction form
the principal improvements. Messrs Alldays claim to be the first to introduce the saddle tank, and all future Allon models will be fitted with a very smart double tank, saddled over the sloping top tube. A U-shaped pipe connects the two compartments at the rear. A sump and filter over the petrol tap is a good feature…Efficient metal leg shields are now a Rally wheel covers are specially fitted standard fitting, also small aluminium covers over the front and rear hub band brakes…The model illustrated is a special model and although the makers do not intend this lightweight for use with a sidecar, it is quite capable of giving much good service withing reasonable limits. The Canoelet-minor sidecar as fitted is probably one of the lightest attachments obtainable, but it cannot be termed roomy, and is only suitable for a small person. Nevertheless, a run of several miles in Birmingham traffic, and incidentally over tramlines and cobble paving in an atrocious condition, served to show its capabilities; although rider and pa;ssenger were each about 11 stone, the second speed was very seldom needed. The firm’s recently patented sidecar lugs are now being made, and give promise of being an excellent fitting. The ease with which they can be manipulated will be the chief advantage; the pos- sibility of detaching or attaching a side- car by hand, without tools, is certain to appeal to sidecar owners.”
BH DAVIES (WHOSE ALTER EGO WAS IXION) wrote in praise of what was, even in 1919, ‘old-school’ motor cycling. “It is a little difficult to define what one means by a ‘sporting’ motor cycle. For some folk the mere externals of the machine fill the bill. Drop the handle-bars, remove the entrails of the silencer, wear a leather skull cap, with sausages over the ears, fit a speedometer dial graduated up to 80mph, and then you are a sportsman. For another type of mind it is enough to own a machine of a make which has figured largely in the archives of Brooklands and Manxland, and on occasions to ride it rather fast. For persons of a truly detestable kidney, the word need not mean more than to find Kingsway clear of traffic and free from police, to roar up it at forty with an open exhaust, making everybody stare, and then to shut down and creep winking into Holborn wth the air of being ‘one of the boys’…In 1914 the Rudge team for the Scottish Trials was entered with belt drive and a bottom gear of 6½ to 1…Probably neither the firm nor the riders were aware of the calibre of the hills along the route. Had those hills been even moderately straight, the high-geared Rudge would have stormed thegi at terrific speeds. But you cannot climb precipices on a high gear unless you can keep up your revs and you cannot keep up the revs, on a 6½ gear round comers which represent a Cubist artist’s impression of a true lover’s knot. At the start the cognoscenti averred that the first big hill would behold the debacle of the Rudge crowd. But they had not reckoned with the sportsmen in the Rudge saddles. I have admired many motor cycling deeds of derring-do, but I never saw anything finer than the pluck and skill of some of the Rudge jocks. They swept up to those appalling corners—‘blind’ ones, in some cases—at crazy speeds. They ‘lay over’ as far as their footrests would let them till their bicycles assumed the angle of a spun penny on the verge of collapse. They cut their engines out at the psychological second, wrenched the hurding jigger round in a steep ‘bank’ and slammed on full engine again. If they fell, as sometimes had to happen, they were up and running furiously to re-start on 1 in 5 goat tracks before any man could lift a finger. This was sporting work, jewelled and machine polished. They were setting their mounts at fierce, dangerous, all but impossible feats…Tone down the Rudge picture a little, and what sort of riding contains more zest and thrill to the square millimetre? The 500cc single-gear, belt-driven for preference, can be taken almost anywhere in Great Britain by the right sort of man…Having no gear box or free engine wherewith to camouflage indifferent tuning or clumsy driving, the sportsman must know his machine inside out. A new machine of this pattern will start in two years; three months later it may need a lot of pushing about unless the owner studies and pets it. Ham-fisted work with the controls reveals a rider’s deficiencies: he tries to cross London from north to south or east to west on it, and spends a sweaty, sweary couple of hours, conking out behind slowed taxis or seeking a cranny in the traffic big enough to give him vantage for a starting run. A month later his deft forefinger slides the throttle in quarter-millimetres, toch—toch—toch (very slowly, leaving room ahead), and then in quick time, tockety, tockety, tockcty, as a gap opens and he nips through the block with never a dismount. When the surge of packed vehicles comes to a dead pause, he must stop with them: but, knowing his job by now, he is restarted on the decompressor before the ‘busmen have let their clutch pedals up…If traffic is perhaps the supreme test of single-gear driving, hill work is certainly a very close second, even in England where real hills are far to seek…Years ago the late IB Hart-Davies and F Hulbert used to go ‘prospecting for pimples’ on single- gear Triumphs with adjustable pulleys, and ‘HD’ told me shortly before the crash that killed him that flying was no better fun than these hill-jaunts. I have ridden many, many thousands of miles on tour and in trials, but 1911 stands out as my golden year. I rode a 3½hp Rudge with an NSU gear giving a 5¾ to 1 gear, plus incalculable friction. It was always touch and go on the knuckle of a really bad hill; and that kept me fresh and interested, for quite a lot hinged on every feel of the carburetter levers. In the garage your single-geaar TT belt-driven is as docile as a baby two-stroke—you can lead it about with a forefinger, or pick it up and dandle it. Outside the garage door you can heave it off without appreciable effort, whether the road be steep or flat. Get it running, and nothing short of a racing car has the same pep and life. It answers its spark and throttle as a live thing should. Its noise is clean just the bark of the hot gases behind you, and the sharp clack of the tappets near your right knee—no confused smother of squeaks and rattles and growls from a hundred different stresses in as many frictional parts. And the simplicify of it! When the back tyre begins to thump, off with a couple of nuts and the wheel is adrift. If you keep a watchful eye on the belt in the garage, you need never touch it by the roadside, unless you venture among mountains in a wet week. There is nothiag else to go wrong, except the veneer of tune: and the sportsman enjoys tracing those lost 100rppm, or the secret cause of a growing sulkiness in producing the first pop…Let the dud rider pack the panniers till they bulge: strap a flat case on the carrier, containing umpteen spare chains in greaseproof paper, a £2 case of magneto bits, and other absurdities; and finally ruining the set of his jacket and breeches by depositing further reserves of greasy ironmongery in his pockets. What does the single-gear man carry? A Patchquick set. A 4in King Dick. A knife. A beltpunch. Maybe a ‘plus sign’ vestpocket screwdriver. Not much more. Moreover, and for similar reasons, he is protected against one of the more ridiculous instincts of our fallen nature. I mean the ‘acquisitive’ faculty by dint of which accessory dealers wax fat. Put the average motor cyclist down in front of the proper counter at Gamages, or Hunts, or Dunhills, with £5 in his pocket, and he will have to walk home in nine cases out of ten. His purse is the sole limit of what he will buy. Leather cases for belts and inner tubes and plugs and tyre kit. Mascots galore. Map cases. Watch cases. Containers for spare carbide. Weird alarms. Patent switches. Reverse mirrors. Badges. Muffs and gloves. Body belts. Goggles. Lubricators in amazing variety for every component of the machine. Tail lamps by the half-dozen. Densimeters. Voltmeters. Ampere meters. We all do it. I’ve done it. I shall do it again shortly. But you cannot insult the self-respect of a single-gear TT by bedecking it with these pretty toys. The girl? Ah, there’s the rub. When the hateful Percy comes along with a sprung wheel sidecar and electric dynamo and exhaust footwarmer and windscreen, you think he’ll cut you out! Let him. It’s a sound test. If she’s after money and comfort and swank and soft cushions, let her go. It is not every girl who is worthy of a seat on the carrier of a fast TT: and those who are generally make good wives. But—just pour passer le temps? Oh, run away and get a four-speeder with a sidecar if you can afford it.
“MOTOR TAXATION AND THE ROADS: The following resolution was unanimously passed at a recent meeting of the Motor Legislation Committee: ‘This Committee regrets that no assurance has been given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer that the proceeds of taxation upon motor vehicles and motor fuel shall revert to the purpose for which it was originally imposed. The increased taxation was accepted by the motoring organisations in 1909 on the understanding that the proceeds should be devoted to the Road Improvement Fund, and be administered by the Road Board. This revenue was diverted to the general purposes of the Exchequer in 1915 as a purely war emergency measure. This Committee desires to record its opinion that the restoration of the Road Improvement Fund from January 1st 1919, alone affords highway authorities the assurance of the financial resources to carry out the urgent work of road reconstruction and improvement necessary to meet the immediate requirements of all classes of road traffic; and, further, that until the Central Road Authority has secured an annual income, they will be unable to exercise their borrowing powers, by which alone sufficient funds can be raised to carry out at once a national scheme of road reconstruction.”
“THE POLICE ARE VERY ACTIVE on the Kew Road, from Kew Bridge to Richmond, at week-ends. Many motorists enjoying the opportunity afforded by the spring weather fall victims to the policemen’s stop watches. A ten-mile [10mph] speed limit begins near the end of this road, just on entering the town.”
“THE SUTTON COLDFIELD AND MID-WARWICKSHIRE Automobile Club usually opens the competition ‘season’ with the Colmore Cup trial, which, before the war, probably attracted more entrants than any reliability trial organised by a motor cycle club. This year, however, the manufncturers were not ready for a Colmore Cup trial in February or March—and perhaps the Sutton Coldfield Club was not ready to organise it—so to mark the opening of activities [in May], they held an opening half-day trial over a thirty-seven miles course, which proved to be a sporting event. There were two observed hills—both in the same non-stop section—and the two features of the trial were route finding and speed judging. The course was not marked in any way, neither did the route cards mention any place by name nor give any distances. Competitor’s did not know whether the course was forty or sixty miles. They were provided with a direction card which they had to follow at 18½mph, and speedometers were barred; so, altogether, to the competitors, it was a most sporting event, and by no means could the speed judging be termed speed guessing, since they had to average the speed mentioned over the whole of the course.” The trial was based on the Levis works in Stetchford. H Greaves (350cc Calthorpe-Precision two-stroke) won the Levis Cup with a time error of 1min 17.2sec; A Milner (2½hp Diamond-JAP) won the Club Gold Medal (1min 15.4sec); Seymour Smith (2¼hp Ivy two-stroke) won the Club Silver Medal.
“A PANACEA FOR ALL ILLS: A correspondent complaining of over-heating of his engine enquires whether he had better submit it to an engineer for overhaul or fit a steel cylinder. There is something fascinating and wonderful about steel cylinders to the lay mind, but in this case a pair of new tyres would probably be as effective.”
“IT HAS BEEN KNOWN FOR A LONG TIME that we have been in sympathy with any scheme which would enable discharged soldiers to purchase surplus Government motor cycles at a reasonable figure. The ACU is also in sympathy, and has been in communication with the Surplus Government Property Disposal Board with a view to persuading them to adopt some scheme which would enable ex-DR’s and other discharged soldiers either to purchase their old machines or other Government motor cycles at a reasonable price. The Disposal Board has replied to the effect that it has not been found possible to grant preferential treatment to ex-service men, and that the object of the Board is to sell at the highest possible price so as to relieve the tax-payer.”
“SINCE EARLY IN 1915 MESSRS H COLLIER and Sons have been experimenting with spring frames for motor cycles, and no doubt, but for the war, a spring frame Matchless would have been offered to the public in 1916. In 1915 we described a flat twin Matchless which embodied a spring frame with coil springs, and the new Model H, as the Peace model is called, has a springing device which is a modified design of that fitted to the flat twin, and gives an exceptionally large movement to the rear wheel. The springing system differs in many respects from others embodying coil springs, which are carried at the outer corners of two triangular members rigid with the frame. The wheel fork is pivoted at its inner end, and a substantial loop passes vertically over the wheel, having at its lower end lugs for carrying the springs. The design embodies an ingenious arrangement of linking both driving and sidecar wheels. This synchronises the movements of both wheels, and prevents the driving wheel from leaning when turning corners. Other features include an automatic exhaust valve lifter connected to the starting pedal, and interchangeable wheels.”
“OVER SIX MONTHS HAVE ELAPSED since the first Armistice, and each week that slips by more and more accentuates the difficult position in which the British makers of motor cycles find themselves. High prices of materials and labour difficulties, together with a scarcity of many of the vital essentials, combine to retard and restrict output, with the obvious result that those of their foreign competitors, who have not so suffered from the effects of the lengthy period of disorganisation and diversion from their ordinary business routine, are taking steps to secure Overseas trade by establishing business centres and organisations in likely countries. The temporary expedient of restricted imports and a tariff have eased the internal situation somewhat, from the makers’ point of view, but pity the poor rider! Although the action of the Swedish Government in placing a temporary embargo on further imports of American machines into that country is indicative of the great activity now proceeding, the immediate establishment by the United States of central business bureaux will give them a precedence that will not be easily regained by the British manufacturers, who have still a long way to go before they get their own house in order.”
“At the present time motor cycle front wheel brakes have a bad reputation generally, though it must be admitted that there are several good examples to be seen on the road. This has come about from the too slavish copying of cycle practice. What is good enough for a cycle may be inadequate in the case of a motor cycle on account of its greater weight and speed…That a rider should habitually ignore his front brake, or worse still remove it, is a reflection upon the ability of the motor cycle designer, just as to fit two brakes to a rear wheel (a too common practice) is tantamount to a confession of incapacity to design a satisfactory front brake. Some firms are, we know, giving consideration to this important detail, but we fear that others are not, and therefore we have not yet seen the last of the front brake upon the tyre rim, which makes its presence felt most acutely when it becomes necessary to remove the front wheel for tyre repairs.”
“FOR SOME TIME PAST A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT of experimental work has been carried out in the evolution of a practicable scooter by Messrs ABC Motors, which has now reached fruition…the ABC ‘Skootamota’ is an extraordinarily diminutive and compact bicycle, yet directly one takes the saddle and assumes control of the machine an impression is immediately evident that it is built for ease of handling and the utmost simplicity of control…The engine has a single horizontal cylinder with a bore of 60mm and stroke of 44mm (125cc), and, although only rated at 1¼hp the engine is easily capable of giving 2½hp under normal conditions. The cylinder head is detachable complete with the valves, which are mounted opposite to each other in the cylinder head casting, the exhaust valve being overhead for cooling purposes. In order to give additional comfort a special pan saddle of extra width is employed, and rubber shock absorbers are fitted under the footboard on the main frame. There are also rubber supports at the front end of the board…In taking a trial run with this miniature motor bicycle (for in effect it is no other) we were pleased with the manner in which the machine could be used and controlled. It should make a distinct appeal for short journeys and general town runabout purposes, where constant stopping and starting are necessary. We found the machine comfortable to ride and able to ascend the moderate hills in the locality in which our test was made with no signs of overheating. Owing to the small overall dimensions it is possible to ride the machine through narrow spaces in comfort at three miles per hour where it would be unsafe to pilot an ordinary motor bicycle, and a great point in its favour is that it requires little effort to start while in the saddle, merely a single push of the foot being necessary. This, the newest of the many ABC productions, can also be used with success in journeys of some length, such as from outlying farms into neighbouring towns, largely for the reason that the rider is seated on a comfortable pan saddle instead of remaining in the standing position; it is suitable for narrow lanes, it climbs hills comfortably, and the petrol tank will hold sufficient fuel for a run of fifty miles. It is possible to traverse a circle of 9ft diameter with ease, while the engine is throttled down, and since the maximum speed of this scooter is about twenty miles an hour it is possible to accomplish ten miles an hour with reasonable comfort for journeys of moderate length. As the machine only weighs 60lb, and is compact and easy to handle, an attractive point is that it can be stored away in any handy place in a house or shed, and is ready for use at a moment’s notice.”
“SCOOTER ENTHUSIASTS ARE, AT PRESENT, DIVIDED on the question of ‘to stand’ or ‘not to stand’. Two additional machines of the latter type are the designs of engineers. The Norlow—the result of experiments by Sir Henry Norman and Dr AM Low, ACGI, etc—is front wheel driven, and, although smaller and lighter than the American Auto-ped, it somewhat resembles it, in so far as well-guarded disc wheels and folding steering pillar are fitted. The engine is a 60x60mm (170cc) two-stroke, having an aluminium cylinder with a steel liner. Petroil lubrication lias been adopted as being the most simple, and a carburetter designed especially for the engine is fitted. For ignition the coil system has been adopted, dry batteries supplying the current for both ignition and lighting…An internal-expanding brake on the front wheel is operated by an upward movement of the steering pillar, and the compression release and throttle controls are by twist grips…Leaf springs are fitted between the platform and the head, which, with the 2¾in tyres on 16in wheels, should almost eliminate road shocks. The weight is said to be under 60lb…The scooter designed by Capt Smith-Clarke was made by him for use by his wife for shopping and general runabout purposes, and Mrs Smith-Clarke informs us that, while the interest of the public is a little embarrassing, the machine has proved very useful. We have tried this little machine and, while we think it would be improved by a spring forks and larger tyres, we were very favourably impressed by its running. So well distributed is the weight, that when one stands astride it and raises it by the handle- bar, tile wheels remain parallel with the ground. Capt Smith-Clarke demonstrated that it was possible to ride for long distances without holding the steering bar…The framework consists of two steel plates, six tubes with flattened and drilled ends, and a head and fork assemble with very few brazed joints. The engine has a bore and stroke of 55x60mm (142cc) and has overhead valves. By driving the magneto at angine speed an idle spark occurs in the top of the exhaust stroke, but the higher speed of the magneto makes for easy starting. The wheels are 20×1¾in, the Auto-wheel size, and the machine weighs 55lb.”
“SIR,—LET US HAVE THE SKOOTER, SCOOTER, skoota, or anything else that by running, rolling, skipping, or hopping with us on its back gets us to our destination, and, incidentally, causes us pleasure, but it looks very much as if the scooter is going to be merely a weapon of amusement. That is to say, one can do on a push-cycle a great deal more than on a scooter; and if speed is required we must get a real motor cycle. The powers that be warn us against luxuries, and it looks as if the scooter is going to prove one. Good luck to the cycle and motor cycle makers, and to the scooter makers too, if they can plant their product on the foreigner, but it looks very much as if the scooter is just one more damfool luxury—and those of us who are not grocers or munition makers are not buying luxuries now. Because the Americans started scooters, must we? They have a President Wilson, a Meat Trust, and ‘dry’ legislation, too. Do we want them? I don’t think.
“ANOTHER FORD RUMOUR: It appears that a large aerodrome in County Antrim, which has been occupied by the RAF, has been purchased by Henry Ford, and on this it is stated that a huge works will be established for the making of motor cycles to be sold at £10 each.”
“THE PREDOMINANCE OF SIDECAR MACHINES over solo mounts now on the road is most marked, and where the single track machine is used fully 50% carry a passenger on the pillion. In club runs especially is the popularity of the passenger machine made manifest: as an example, at the Redditch &DMCC opening run last week between thirty and forty members were present, only two of whom were riding solo.”
“THE OFFICER COMMANDING a Motor Machine Gun Battery writes from the Caucasus: ‘All the best men in this battery who served with me in France were recruited by The Motor Cycle.’”
“WE PERSONALLY KNOW a motor cyclist over sixty years of age. Others of mature years are to be seen on the road, and it would be interesting to know who is the oldest motor cyclist.”
“THE TREASURY HAS SANCTIONED the purchase by the GPO of 500 motor bicycles for the carrying of mails. The experiment will be confined to London at first. Motor cycles have been used by the US Post Office for many years, and we do not doubt that their use in England will be most successful. It is wonderful how slow the Government have been in realising the value of motor cycles until the war forced it upon their notice. For years the American police have employed them, while the only interest the British police force have taken in motor cycles has been the trapping of their riders.”
“AT THE ROYAL AGRICULTURAL HALL, Islington, under the direction of the Surplus Government Property Disposal Board, some 300 motor cycles and sidecars were offered by auction…buyers, and would-be buyers, came from all parts of the country in search of bargains. In fact, a queue some 300 yards long had formed before the opening time…It had been hoped that the machines offered would be of better quality than those previously put before a none too enthusiastic public, and also that this sale might mark the decline of the fallacious and exorbitant price reached hitherto. Neither of these hopes was gratified, and there were a great number of machines of the type now referred to as Kempton Park models. It is true that, within crates, in the centre of. the hall were rows of Douglas 2¾hp and 4hp machines which had never been issued to troops, but on either flank was a hopeless collection of rusty, incomplete motor cycles in the last stages of decay and filth. Even the machines which had not been issued were, in the majority of cases, unrideable, since the tyres had decayed until ominous cracks showed round the walls. The rostrum was a raised platform on which was the auctioneer flanked by the military. In front were seats for some 300 people, around stood a huge crowd; and in the future it would be well if the auctioneer were provided with a megaphone. Actually at fifty yards’ range it was impossible to hear a word or to know which machine was being sold. Naturally, tills made a hot and tired crowd very restive, and for the first half-hour of the afternoon it looked as though trouble was brewing. Derisive cat calls, whistles, and shouts of ‘Fetch a megaphone!’ ‘Will the auctioneer speak up?’ and ‘What number are you selling?’ completely drowned speech even at shorter range, while the people on the fringes of the crowd pushed and struggled to the discomfort of all.”
“THE FEDERATION OF MOTOR CYCLISTS, the body which controlled the sporting side of motor cycling in America, has died of dry rot after a spectacular career of sixteen seasons. In its place USA riders have the Competition Committee of the Motor and Allied Trades’ Association. The new body will regulate competition of all sorts in motor cycling, but will not attempt to knit the riders together for social intercourse or to combat adverse legislation. The MATA has ruled that all eight valve and ported motors are barred from mile tracks; that a stock machine is one that may have anything done in the way of tuning, but changing bore, stroke, or compression ratio is barred; that an endurance run is 250 miles long, and that there are no longer amateur and professional riders. American motor cvclists are now novices or experts, with the single exception of a track professional. Once a motor cyclist has ridden for a cash prize he becomes automatically a professional. A novice is a trade or private owner who has never won a leading prize in a motor cycle competition. Riders are classed according to ability and not according to their trade or profession. Thus, a sporting dealer is not made a professional when he compotes for the sheer love of the sport. Road records are officially taboo.”
“A READER ADVISES US THAT on the Manchester-Chester road the police recently used a Ford car to chase a motor cyclist, whom they considered was exceeding the speed limit. We wonder whether the Ford won the race, and, if so, whether the policemen were not liable to be prosecuted for exceeding the speed of their victim.”
“IT IS AN ALMOST INCREDIBLE FACT,” Ixion remarked, “that the average motor cycle manufacturer arranges no organised local ‘service’ for his customers in England. Until quite recently you could break an exhaust valve of any leading British engine without feeling at all certain that a spare would be obtainable in the next big town. The firm would have an agency in that town, but an ‘agency’ by no means implied a representative stock of spares, nor does it at this day…Such business methods are atrocious in the twentieth century. Manufacturers should make it part of their agreement with their ‘agents’ that they maintain a stock of at least one of everything likely to go wrong.”
THE MCC STAGED THE LONDON-EDINBURGH RUN annually from 1904-1914. “Now, after five weary years, this classic event will take place once more, and at 9pm on June 6th 176 competitors will start at half-minute intervals from Ye Olde Gatehouse Hotel, Highgate for their four hundred miles trip northwards. Mr HJC Spring, proprietor of the Gatehouse, has undertaken to provide supper for competitors from 6.50 to 8.45 on the evening of the start. He is also prepared to fill vacuum flasks with hot coffee and to provide sandwiches to take away…This year there will be coffee and sandwiches at Biggleswade, the first stop, which are excellent foundations for the dreary drive through the hours of darkness: and the same fare will be on hand at the garage at Grantham…No fewer than forty makes will be represented by the entrants, of which the Douglas leads with eighteen competitors. The following shows the number of machines of different makes: ABC, 3; Allon, 4; AJS, 8; Ariel, 4; BSA, 4; BAT, 1; Blackburne, 4; Brough, 1; Clyno, 4; Coulson, 3; Chater-Lea, 2; Douglas, 18; Diamond, 1; Enfield, 5; Harley-Davidson, 6; Henderson, 1; Hobart, 1; Humber, 4; Indian, 3; James, 4; Lea-Francis, 2; Levis, 2; Mabon, 1; Matchless, 6; Morgan, 5; Metro-Tyler, 2; Motosacoche, 1; Norton, 7; Omega, 1; P&M, 3; Rover, 1; Rex, 4; Rudge, 2; Sirrah Verus, 1; Sunbeam, 12; Triumph, 8; Wooler, 3; Zenith, 8.”
In the event 159 bikes left Highgate, cheered away by a record breaking crowd of up to 10,000. “Even the police were interested, and were seen studying the machines with The Motor Cycle as a guide…It was a happy reunion of many old friends, for the entrants had come from all quarters—including Ireland—to compete in the classic event. The Services were well represented…The Clynos now have red and black tanks, and look particularly smart…The new spring frame Matchless and Chater-Lea are a light buff. The latter machine employs a single leaf spring, which constitutes a very neat suspension…As the hour of nine approached, the crowd became denser, and when the first of the competitors—Sec Lt W Cooper (Douglas)—was sent away by Mr AV Ebblewhite, there was only a narrow lane extending for half a mile between two deep rows of spectators. For the first time the trial started in daylight, thanks to summer time, but by the time the first of the sidecars started, it was time to light up, in which connection it was quite noticeable the number of machines which were equipped with electric light. Several of the machines were fitted with the latest Lucas combined lighting and ignition unit. We counted over twenty lady passengers.
“THE RUN DESCRIBED BY A COMPETITOR: Once more en route for Edinburgh after five years’ interval! There seemed to be the same bustle and the same familiar faces. But we missed that searchlight at the start, the darkness overhead, and the hundreds of lamps. Now we comfortably glide away in broad daylight, and the night journey somehow seems shorn of its terrors. Our immediate companions were old stagers, purposely placed in front to lead the way. W Cooper, the trials hon sec, was number one, and for half the journey escaped the dust, a 2¾h. Douglas carrying him on his important mission. LA Baddeley, also on a Douglas, one of the travelling marshals, was number two, and then followed Olsson (4hp Douglas). Our old friend AJ Sproston, now home from Egypt, and back in civilian life, was on a Lea-Francis, Moffat on one of the new 3½hp Douglases, AC Robbins on a new Wooler, Hemy on a Metro, and Scott on a 5-6hp James. It was a perfect evening. The vanguard stopped quite reluctantly outside Hatfield to light lamps. It seemed a shame not to go on until the last glimmer faded from the summer sky. Here we met a small naval contingent, foregathered to cheer their shipmate, Lt Kidston, RN, who, after his ship was torpedoed early in the war, served in HMS Orion under the late Sir Robert Arbuthnot, who told him of the joys of the London-Edinburgh run. Near Welwyn we saw the first victim of the many tyre troubles…It had been very hot at the start, but, once started, it was comfortably cool; so much so that we feared that De Arango, the Brazilian naval lieutenant, who wore only a drill suit and no overalls, would feel chilled to the bone, but he appeared happy, nevertheless, on his Harley-Davidson…Some the competitors used wonderfully powerful head lights, causing a weird effect on those who were not so well equipped. We were using a quite effective and well-trusted small Lucas head light, but some of the electric projectors threw so brilliant a beam that the shadow of the rider ahead danced in front of him nearly all the time, thrown on the road, against the trees, or, worst of all, against a cloud of dust…On the way
to Grantham we saw some- thing of the Scootamota, which was being ridden by a non-competitor. To this point it travelled well, but having lost the silencer, blue flame shot out behind. This was the first Edinburgh run in which tail lamps were compulsory, and the effect of the long string of these during the night was very strange, but not all of them, unfortunately, kept alight. It had been a wonderfully fine night run, and an equally fine day followed…The most interesting part of the morning journey was from Scotch Corner to Penrith, through glorious country under an Italian sky, but, unfortunately, the dust! Several competitors continually rode in inseparable groups. DS Baddeley (P&M) had contact breaker trouble near Brough, whilst Douglass (Harley-Davidson sc) was in collision and buckled both wheels and retired. W Cooper (Douglas), who had had electrical trouble, passed at a rare ‘bat’ near Penrith, his troubles over for the day. Luigi (BSA) had punctures in this section. News also reached us that the fine old sportsman Dover (Douglas sc) had to withdraw owing to eye trouble due to defective goggles. After luncheon at Carlisle the sky became overcast, and a violent south-west gale sprang up…Hawick, the next and last check before Edinburgh, was enjoying a holiday, and the
streets were thronged with people. Later in the afternoon rain fell heavily, and the journey, almost to the finish, was by no means comfortable. Happily it was fine again before Liberton was reached, and, except for this final downpour, the weather had been glorious. Naturally, the number of successes was considerable. But ill-fortune overtook a number among these, other than those previously mentioned, being Frank Smith, who, owing to gear box trouble, retired at Doncaster. Another of the new models which failed to finish was the flat twin Wooler (ridden by AC Bobbins) which developed engine trouble near York. The sister machine (ridden by Chidley) finished successfully. Nias (Rudge) was reported to have retired after an accident, while Harrison (Norton) had his magneto break down before reaching Grantham. Clease (Norton sc) suffered with tank trouble early in the run, and failed to finish.” Gold medals were earned by 115 riders withy four silver and a single bronze; one was ‘held over’ and 14 failed to finish.”
NOTES ON THE TRIAL: Altogether the run was one of the most successful the Club has ever held, and the organisers deserve the greatest credit…George Wray rode a 1909 Triumph he bought for £14, which he fitted with a gear of his own design…The inseparable Jacobs and Le Grand could not compete, as their new Rex mounts could not be completed in time…Mr Duncan-Watson thoughtfully presented each Harley-Davidson driver with a box of cigarettes and matches…Major Baddeley (Douglas) came through successfully on tyres six years old…Emerson’s ABC outfit was only finished at the last moment. The engine had not even fired before ten o’clock on the morning of the trial…The 1919 model all-black AJS sidecars ran like clockwork throughout…Most of the non-starters were prevented from competing from the ail-too prevalent delay in delivery of new models…A press photographer on the London-Edinburgh run astride a 4hp Triumph carried his wife, two cameras, and a tent in which they camped out at Grantham. They completed the run…As an example of the silence of the modern twin, two competitors in the London-Edinburgh run, riding the new Clyno and AJS sidecar, carried on an easy conversation while maintaining an average speed of 20mph…The new Lucas Magdyno combined ignition and lighting unit made its dihut on several machines in the London-Edinburgh run. The Magdyno which has been undergoing road tests during the past two years, is the first British made apparatus of this kind, and prbably will be ‘standard’ on a large number of 1920 models which have been designed specially to accommodate it.”
THE DAY AFTER THE LONDON-EDINBURGH the Liverpool MC staged an open reliability trial in the Welsh Hills. To promote the iuse of home-produced fuel entry was restricted to bikes running on Benzole (yes, gentle reader, Britain used to make its own ‘motor spirit’ and it was cheaper than petrol. You’ll have to ask the giant oil companies why we stopped). “The first trial to be run on benzole turned out to be a strenuous test for even modern machines, and of the thirty-four starters only ten qualified for first-class awards. The course was 134 miles, and included Cilcain Hill and Bwlch-y-Groes, which proved formidable for machines running on benzole where carburetters had not been retuned. This and the strong following wind caused many machines to overheat.” The London-Edinburgh was a gruelling event; so was the ‘benzole trial’. Hmmm…why not do both?
“A STRENUOUS WEEK-END: Three competitors in the London-Edinburgh Run went through the Liverpool MC Trial on Whit-Monday. These were Gordon Fletcher (4 Douglas sc), Rex Muudy (8 Matchless), and AG Cocks (2¾ Clyno). Fletcher carried his wife as a passenger, and when we saw the pair at the conclusion of their strenuous week-end, they appeared very little the worse for their several jiights in the open. Fletcher’s ‘adventure’ began by having to ride his Douglas from Bristol in the night three evenings before the start of the London-Edinburgh. The next evening he went to Eastbourne and back to fetch Mrs Fletcher, and the whole of the following night was used preparing for the event. The scooter which had created so much amusement at Highgate was seen en route on the running board of a Sunbeam car, to which it acted as a kind of tender. At Grantham, Mundy bought, for 1s 6d, some coupons which were supposed to admit him to the refreshment caterers. These, however, proved to be valueless, and the vendor had disappeared. Mundy carried the joke a point further by re-selling the tickets to a fellow competitor for 2s. Between York and Carlisle, eye troubles were fairly general, and Mundy was compelled to stop every few miles to bathe his eyes at wayside cottages. A Harley-Davidson was passed on the roadside, and it was evident, from its condition, that the driver had fallen asleep and driven into the ditch. Thompson (Douglas) rendered assistance, and carried the competitor’s ACU ‘get-you-home’ coupon to Appleby, where he arranged for a lorry to fetch in the machine. At Edinburgh, Mundy’s passenger preferred to camp out rather than to find accommodation at the hotels, and Mundy was not able to find him for the trip to Liverpool. Fletcher and Mundy, with their sidecars detached, caught the 4.55 train out of Edinburgh. Sunday travelling by train proved very trying, but after several changes they arrived at Warrington at eleven o’clock, where they were met by J Swinton, an energetic member of the Liverpool club, who, notwithstanding having to get back to Warrington and to start in the trial next morning from Queensferry, piloted them for ten miles or more on to the best road for Chester. Swinton also provided benzole, and for the wholehearted manner with which he rendered service was voted a ‘good sport’. It was now raining hard, and arriving in Chester at 2.30am the party went to an hotel, where they were treated well, although no beds were available. It was too early for breakfast when they left for the start of the Liverpool trial, but this did not seem to disturb any of the enthusiasts, including Mrs Fletcher, who, by the way, is ah old hand in competitions. Before her marriage she was Miss Hamnett, by which name many of our older readers will recall her. The Matchless and Douglas were now taken through the Welsh trial, but owing to the use of benzole without retuning the carburetters the engines of all the machines in the trial showed signs of overheating. Tuesday was spent by Mundy on business for the ACU, of which he is the engineer and travelling representative, and a start was made for London in the evening. At four o’clock on Wednesday morning a puncture in Fletcher’s rear wheel caused the party to stop, and, instead of mending it, the two men lay down on the roadside and journeyed to the land of dreams. At 6am Mrs Fletcher shamed them by waking them with the intimation that she had mended the puncture and arranged for breakfast at a cottage a little distance down the road. Then the final stage of the journey was completed—a mere 150 miles or so, making a total of 800 miles. A strenuous weeked indeed!” PS: Cocks won a third-class award having failed to climb Bwlch-y-Groes and Old Horseshoe Pass. Fletcher did not collect an award as he completed the course outsiode the time limit having also failed to climb Bwlch-y-Groes. Mundy, however, was one of the 10 riders to win a first-class award.
“THE OUTSTANDING FEATURE OF POST-WAR motoring, undoubtedly, is the large number of family sidecars to be seen on the road…apparently, every member of these parties is comfortable, despite the fact that imagination prompts one to believe only a jig-saw can rival the intricate manner in which lower limbs are interlaced…The rider of the old school fits as light a sidecar as he can obtain if he uses a ‘3½hp’ for passenger work, and has an uncomfortable feeling most of the time that he is not giving the engine a chance. Such thoughts rarely trouble the family sidecarrist of today—and it is a tribute to the two or three-speed motor cycle that things do not happen to compel these owners to consider their engines a little more…Many of these family sidecars are owned by newcomers to the motor cycle fraternity, who reap the benefit of the pioneer work done by The Motor Cycle, which, for six years, ploughed a lone furrow in motor cycle
journalism and so prevented the threatened demise of the industry when motor cycles were unpopular and unreliable. To The Motor Cycle campaign and the ACC trials is due the change-speed gear as a general fitment on motor cycles, which makes them suitable for passenger work…today the average ‘3½hp’ will not only ‘take’ a sidecar, but the average family in addition—and do it well…No doubt sidecaring as a family pastime will do much to influence domestic happiness. It binds all—father, mother, and children—together with one common interest and prevents the disintegrated household one often finds, where each member of a family has to find his or her own amusement. A week-end on the road is a most valuable tonic to a tired woman, and breaks the deadly monotony of housekeeping that disgruntles many a worried wife and mother. The week-end on the sidecar with picnic baskets and children breaks up a long procession of 365 colourless days into five-day weeks of pleasant reminiscence and anticipation, each divided by full-of-incident journeys into country which otherwise they would rarely see. Apart from the health point of view, the education of the children is improved, and they are better able to absorb their school lessons because their wits are sharpened. In short, the sidecar is a real boon to the family man, and he is not slow to realise this. It behoves sidecar manufacturers to remember his special requirements when designing new models and to allow plenty of space and strength.”
Here are two smashing illustrations by the superlative F Gordon Crosby.
“THE TAIL LAMP FAMINE: For some mysterious reason,” Ixion reported, “the scarcity of such commodities as whisky, beer, English beef, £50 1919 motor cycles, and dwelling-houses is a veritable superabundance as compared with the famine in motor cycle tail lamps. Some nimble-fingered gentleman of the road stole mine the other day, and I have tried all the leading London and provincial houses without meeting anything but derision from the salesmen. If they are truthful, there has not been a motor cycle tail lamp delivered since the Armistice. I have even endeavoured to buy one tenth-hand, proffering its weight in gold, but to no purpose. I have essayed to steal one, as people do when their umbrella is taken ‘by mistake’, but tourists appear to detach these fittings, and, go to bed with them. I have a car tail lamp in my garage, so, gentle reader, if you meet a Baby Levis purring through the twilight with a 12in paraffin Dependence tail lamp secured on its carrier by eight yards of barbed wire, you will know that you have caught one fleeting glimpse of that elusive pseudonym ‘Ixion’. Have the Huns nefariously got their own back on us by cornering the world’s output?”
“A COUPLE OF BURNING QUESTIONS in the motor cycle world at the present time are ‘How to determine a winner in competition without resort to the objectionable secret check’, and ‘Motor scooters’—to stand or not to stand? The first query is an ancient one, the latter is of much more recent origin, and it was partly with the object of assisting in the solution of the questions that the idea of a road test by The Motor Cycle staff was conceived. Thus it was that the various members of the editorial, artists’, and photographic staffs converged on the Edge Hill range from London and Coventry last week on solo and passenger machines of all types and sizes. Three scooters—the Smith-Clarke, the Autoped (an American production), and the ABC Skootamota—were at the hill, two, shame to relate, conveyed thither in the tonneau of a car, but the ABC, with its sensible pan seat, was comfortably ridden from Banbury ready for the fray. Perhaps,
naturally, the scooters formed the greatest novelty at first. Venturesome spirits disported themselves up and down, performed evolutions in the shape of circles as small as threepenny pieces and figure eights, as if practising for the blue riband of the skating world. Of course, the ladies of the party were immensely attracted by the ‘funny little’ motor bicycles, and a queue had to be formed to enable each one to take his or her turn on the ‘joy bicycles’. Stand up and sit down seats were provided, and each formed his own opinion of desirable features of the ideal scooter by the comparisons afforded. It was indeed an educational event, for, despite all the prominence given to scooters, one doubts if three had ever before run together at one time. But the Autoped had developed a fit of the sulks, and was grunting up and down the course very disconsolately, perspiring individuals on that gorgeous day chasing il down the roadway. Apparently, the twist grip on the joy stick stuck, and no amount of adjustment would persuade the combined throttle decompressor to continue to work; but a more ingeniously thought out machine one could hardly imagine. By pulling the joy stick towards the rider the free engine is operated, and further downward pressure applies the brake. Starting, however, was not too easy, as the weight of the engine being so far forward, violent pushing to
start resulted in the rear portion jumping up and kicking the rider on the calf. That vice did not deter the intrepid riders, for several fresh from the Army (there were six captains present) wore field boots! As a result the little American gracefully reposed most of the afternoon in the shade by the roadside, and it is now for sale at the bargain figure of £100! So novel had these scooters proved that many well stocked picnic baskets were neglected during the luncheon hour. Soon all present considered themselves sufficiently proficient to start in the great motor scooter race—the first of its kind—which was to follow. The scratch event was run oft in pairs from the scratch mark, the winner of the heats appearing in the semi-final. During the heats each competitor judged his own speed (which formed one event of the afternoon), and an average was struck to determine the handicap for the semi-final and final events. A spin of a coin gave the choice of machines. The seven heats in the first round were all wins for Skootamota, partly on account of the fact that, with its saddle, it approximates to a motor cycle, and most of the competitors were more accustomed to this form of vehicle than the newer type with platform only. The races, however, were closely contested, and, once away, the Smith-Clarke showed a good turn of speed. In the second round, the Smith-Clarke was given 12yd start, in consideration of the tact that its engine was fifteen years old and scarcely a fair competitor for the latest Granville Bradshaw creation of the same capacity. The results in the three races in the second round gave two wins to the Smith-Clarke, and in the semi-final each won one race. Finally, the little Clement Garrard engine on the Smith-Clarke roared as it had never roared before, and got home a winner of the first scooter race by about 8yd. Later, however, the ABC production levelled up matters by climbing the 1 in 7 gradient of Edge Hill, piloted by an eleven stone rider, which was a really remarkable performance for so small an engine with a single gear ratio. Slight assistance with one foot when in sight of the summit was all that was necessary. Incidentally this test was made to settle a wager between a scooter enthusiast and one of the staff who was sceptical. The next event was a single gear ascent of Edge Hill on a lightweight machine so adjusted that it could not possibly climb the hill—a simple test of driving skill. The winner, who had never previously seen the machine, got
half way up the gradient before he stopped. Here it may be interposed that no watches were used throughout the afternoon—The Motor Cycle staff have a natural objection to any trial decided by the watch, but prefer to concentrate on the survival of the fittest amongst the competitors. The complete regulations for the six events of the afternoon were, as a matter of fact, included on a postcard, which suggests that in many cases trials regulations are overdone. The event which followed the test of driving skill was the most strenuous of the afternoon. The regulations for the event were quite simple, viz, acceleration, braking, and clutch tests. Standing start; two stops and re-starts at points indicated. Class I, solo machines; Class II, passenger machines. It was a type of event calculated to weed out competitors who failed to handle their machines skilfully; whose brakes were bad; whose clutches were fierce or badly proportioned; whose gearchanges were difficult and awkward to operate, besides which a premium was placed on acceleration between the tapes. In the first heat a 4 standard Triumph sc competed against a 4 experimental chain driven Triumph sc. Both machines went up well, but the latter had a smoother clutch, and made the restarts without hesitation and won. A 5-6 Kover sc and a 4 Norton were matched for the second heat. Both were new machines in magnificent fettle. The Norton was away first, but the Rover got ahead before the first stopping point. The Norton rider, however, got away more smartly, and both roared up to the next stop. The twin, however, finally won the heat. An 8 Victory Matchless was drawn against the cham-driveu Triumph in the scmi-tinal. On the first section of the hill the ‘single’ held its own, but at the critical moment the terminal jumped off the plug, which left the JAP-engined Rover and Matchless sidecars to decide the final heat, and the 8hp mount won comfortably, though each machine restarted with ease on three occasions during the course of the climb. In the solo class a modern ABC first competed with a rider of a 2½ two-stroke Excelsior, and, naturally, won. The 3hp Enfield, though behind at the last stopping place overtook and passed the Lea-Francis near the summit. The ABC was then matched against a ‘Union’ engined Edmund, and won, but lost the event in a final trial with the Enfield fitted with an RCF carburetter, which, notwithstanding its age of five years, showed a fine turn of speed, and led all the way. The ABC clutch was slipping. Incidentally, a very favourable impression was obtained of the new Union power unit which the staff is testing at the present time. The new Norton and Rover, too, were exceptionally fast, and a little Excelsior demonstrated its power by climbing nine-tenths of Edge on standard top gear with an” eleven stone rider. The final event, a slow ‘race’, for solo machines, was won by the rider of the Union-Edmund, who travelled so slowly that he had difficulty in balancing the machine. The Enfield was second. A sporting afternoon’s programme, attended by glorious weather, ended with those present being entertained to tea on the terrace at the Round Tower by the Editor.”
“EX-MOTOR CYCLE DESPATCH RIDERS, who have served as such in any branch of the Services, are to be given first refusal of a large number of surplus Government motor cycles. The only condition attached to the offer is that the motor cycles shall not be re-sold within six months. The following machines are available immediately: Several hundred new Douglas motor cycles, in crates, at from £50 to £70; a large number of repaired Douglas motor cycles at £40 to £50; and a quantity of repairable machines at various prices. Application should be made in the first instance to the Secretary, Auto-Cycle Union, 83, Pall Mall, London, SW1, stating name of unit in which applicant served, and date of discharge.”
“IF JUSTIFICATION WERE NEEDED for the new policy of the ACU in holding its meetings at different centres, the success of the Bristol meeting provides it. At no time has the Auto Cycle Union had such a well attended committee meeting—nor such a representative one…members of the committee journeyed from as far North as Sunderland, and from Loudon, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, Coventry, and other centres in order to represent their ‘constituents’ at the motor cyclists’ parliament. The committee meeting was held in Camera, but it was obvious to the most casual observer that a new enthusiasm animated the ACU committeemen who invaded the Grand Hotel. As frequently pointed out in The Motor Cycle, provincial motor cyclists before the war regarded the ACU as a London organisation run by Londoners for Londoners. This
feeling has changed. The ACU is now regarded as a national institution, and in truth becomes the motor cyclists’ parliament, representing 32,000 riders who support it, and considerably over a further hundred thousand who do not. Large as is the present number of members, half of whom have joined this year, it should be larger, and without doubt such events as that which we attended last week at Bristol will go a long way toward securing the support of those who at present allow others to fight their battles for them. Bristol has always been a hospitable city. The committee of the ACU knew this before their visit, but it is doubtful whether any one of the visitors expected quite such a hearty welcome as that arranged for them by the Bristol Motor Cycle Club. At nine o’clock on Saturday morning over forty Douglas sidecar outfits were lined up before the hotel entrance. Each was numbered, and delegates and pressmen were allocated machines, which they were to regard as their vehicles for the day. These machines were driven by members of the club, officials of the Douglas works, and Douglas testers, and were, with one exception, standard 4hp models. At 9.50am the long line of machines moved off in single file, and threaded its way through the traffic of the narrow crowded streets of the city to the Douglas works at Kingswood. Here they were met by the principal of the famous Bristol firm, who, to emphasise the hospitality of his city, threw open the works for inspection. There was more than hospitality in this share of the city’s welcome to the visitors. Among the delegates were the heads and designers of several contemporary firms, and this broad-minded action on the part of Messrs Douglas Motors set a precedent of what, in future years, may become general practice. It was exceedingly pleasing to us to see this whole-hearted invitation io all interested in the development of the motor cycle, for such visits must ultimately be of great benefit to all concerned in the production of motor cycles in particular, and to the field of British engineering generally.
The visitors were piloted through the works in parties by the works manager, and were shown Douglas motor cycles in every stage of construction. The works have been greatly extended during the war, and equipped with magnificent plant…The afternoon part of the programme commenced with a return in the Douglas sidecar convoy to the city, where, at College Green, the visitors were met by the local motor cyclists. Before the cathedral four companies of the Motor Machine Gun Corps stood at attention. This company, commanded by Maj B Arthur, DSO, consisted of eight Clyno sidecar gun carriages, mounted with Vickers machine guns, eight spare carriages, eight ammunition carriages, four section officers, and four scouts mounted on 1916 4hp Triumphs. The Bristol club officials now led the way to Clifton Downs, and the long line of motor cycles with the machine guns practically encircled the Downs, where they exemplified the utility of the motor cycle in peace and war…after a short stay the visitors proceeded across Clifton Suspension Bridge to the beautiful Ashton Court Park for the gymkhana. Here several hundred other motor cyclists welcomed the party, and the sports commenced. The events included a slow race, tilting the ring, musical chairs, long jump, and obstacle race, after which the Motor Machine Guns gave an interesting display…the Bristol MCC are to be congratulated upon the splendid organisation which permitted them so thoroughly to entertain the ACU.” The Motor Cycle had famously recruited some 11,000 of its readers during the war; it was clearly happy to keep waving the flag during the peace: “It was quite a happy thought on the part of the individual who invited the Motor Machine Gun Batteries to participate in the Bristol rally. The four companies…created a very favourable impression, and we were struck by the very apparent enthusiasm of the men. During the gymkhana…some of the officers and men competed in most of the events, and the camaraderie which existed between officers and men was clearly apparent. In the procession, and later in the gymkhana events, great skill was displayed by the drivers, Lt Bradshaw in particular shining when it came to ‘stunt’ performances. We understand that this unit has authority, and is prepared, to accept suitable motor cyclist recruits. The corps is recommended to any motor cyclist or would-be—motor cyclist who is at a ‘loose end’ and who would appreciate membership of what is, to all intents and purposes, an up-to-date motor cycle club, with all found and no subscriptions to pay. Major Arthur informed us that there is a certain amount of light duty, but plenty of leave and liberal pay, a most excellent combination of duty, business, and pleasure.”
“A SIDECARIST GARAGED HIS MACHINE for three days at Bournemouth. After leaving, he found a pair of driving gloves in the sidecar. He reported the find to the garage without result. Will the owner communicate with us?”
“THE FOLLOWING IS THE NUMBER of motor cycles purchased by the Government from the beginning of the war up to September the beginning of the war up to September 30th, 1918: Triumph, 6,290; Douglas, 6,998; Clyno, 191; Enfield, 14; Rudge, 141; Zenith, 220. Sedecar outfits: Douglas, 1,180; Clyno, 733; BSA, 546. These figures do not include the P&Ms of the Flying Corps.”
“THOUGH stated not to be a freak coarse, the route chosen by the Edinburgh MCC for its recent trial was particulariy severe. The course consisted of close upon ninety miles over mountainous country creating at first a happy impression, whicli rapidly receded as the day advanced. The last sixty miles left an impression of watersplashes, hairpin bends, steep gradients, loose sandy surfaces, gates, rocks, and countless observers. There were seven observed hills, and each one took its toll, so that when once the wild country was struck the weeding out process proceeded very rapidly. The entries included many novices—one lady rider of a 3hp Enfield and several school boys who certainly made up in keenness what they lacked in experience…After tea the process of elimination proceeded very rapidly. Continuing to Donnally Buru we found Arkman Smith (3¾hp Scott) emerging from a collision with one of the sidecars. His frame was badly twisted and his low gear rendered inoperative, which was hard lines, since he had ridden well; but he pluckily finished the event…Reservoir Hill and Slade Hill were more by way of being driving tests than anything, both containing hidden hairpins on their steepest and
loosest portions, and the last named accounted for no fewer than sixteen faulires among the few survivors! We noticed one Harley-Davidson travelling at speed with a broken sidecar coupling, while another, in the midst of a fine ascent, suddenly stopped down with gearbox trouble—apparently seizure. Several riders crashed on one or the other of these hills and so spoilt their sheets…the following competitors got through without loss of marks—truly a worthy performance: Jas Beck (3½ Sunbeam sc); CS Burnley (4 Blackburn); WB Fenwick (6 Rover sc); WS Miller (3½ P&M); JR Alexander (6 Enfield sc); AB Bruce (6 AJS sc); AH Alexander (3½ Douglas); J Armstrong (8 Enfield sc); Duncan Bell (6 AJS sc); JW Anderson (8 Bat sc); Frank Smith, (8 Clyno sc). It will be observed that only three solo riders out of thirty and eight sidecars out of thirty-one are mentioned. All the survivors surmounted very great difficulties, but Beck (3½ Sunbeam sc) and Burnley (4 Blackburne) undoubtedly put up the surprise performances of the day. They held Nos 1 and 2, and kept together dead on time throughout the event. The organisation of the event was excellent throughout, and Messrs Macrae and Hutchinson, with whom the responsibility mainly rests, are to be congratulated on the results. The weather was perfect, and the whole event proved most enjoyable and interesting.” The Edinburgh club also announced a race meeting at Lanark Racecourse and, as a sign of the times, the classes were defined by cubic capacity rather than horsepower. Five-mile ‘scratch races’ were to be run for solos up to 400cc, 600cc and 1,000cc, and for solos up to 1,000cc.
“NOW THAT PROVISION IS BEING MADE for the inclusion of motor scooters in competitions, the need for some official definition which would clearly show the line of demarcation between the scooter and the miniature motor cycle becomes apparent. We contend that the question of accommodation is the easiest and truest point to be considered in this direction. The term ‘scooter’ was applied to the pre-war platform machines by The Motor Cycle, because they resembled the pavement toy so popular with the younger generation. A scooter, however small, can no longer be regarded as such if it is provided with a seat. Obviously it is an open-frame miniature motor bicycle; therefore, we think, when the governing body sit to define the scooter, as soon it must, a suitable definition may be arrived at which will meet the views of the majority.” [We can only wonder how the Blue ‘Un scribes would have reacted to 21st century scooters with 850cc, 75hp engines, 16in wheels and 120mph performance.]
“ALTHOUGH IT IS TRUE THAT LIGHTWEIGHT motocycles have received a certain amount of encouragement in the trials of the past, we think that rather more might be done to aid the development of these little machines and make them more suitable for serious touring. We are not thinkingofmachines having engines with a capacity in the neighbourhood of 300cc and more: these have long since proved their capabilities for practically any service which, may be demanded of them. Rather we have in mind the really small and light machine with an engine capacity of not more than 225cc and weighing about 100lb…motor cycles of this type are often bought simply as runabouts for use on short journeys only, but, though they are not to be compared with heavier and more powerful mounts in the matters of comfort and speed on long journeys, they are really capable of much more than this.”
“THE 1920 CLYNO ON THE ROAD: The new 8hp Clyno’s V twin engine is 76mm. borex102mm. stroke, giving 925cc; the transmission is by totally enclosed chain through a specially designed three-speed countershaft gear to a sprung rear wheel; the sidecar wheel is also sprung. Our journey started from the works at Wolver- hampton, and the first fifteen miles were a horrible dream, as regards road surface ; if anything worse exists than this road through Walsall to the suburbs of Birmingham, then a tank is the only suitable vehicle to traverse it. Had there been any defects in the springing system this section would have shown them up, without doubt, but…not one really bad jolt was experienced by passenger or rider…The run was continued via Dunchurch and Dunstable to London, thence up the North Road to the neighbourhood of York; here we turned south through Derby to Wolverhampton again—a rund trip of nearly 400 miles. Hills are unimportant on the earlier part of this route, and the machine simply hummed along at an even ‘bat’ somewhere around 30mph in the smoothest possible manner; it appeared possible to continue indefinitely. Both the sidecar passenger and the driver had, in Army parlance, a decidedly ‘cushy’ job. The springing system, coupled with the
unusually roomy sidecar, gave comfort, the like of which used to be found only on a good car; it was quite possible to write fairly legibly, and later, during the run, which was continuous over some twenty-two hours, the passenger slept soundly for a time. The almost silent running will satisfy the most fastidious—it may be compared to the ticking of a sewing machine. So pronounced is this point that, when the first change from low to top gear was made, we thought the engine had stopped accidentally. On the return journey one or two fairly steep hills were encountered in the neighbourhood of Nottingham; on one of these one might quite reasonably expect to change down to second gear with any modern touring outfit. The Clyno took it on top. and, more than that, it was slowed and accelerated again several times with perfect ease; the average speed on this hill, for a little over a quarter of a mile, was about 25mph. The throttle was never quite fully open, and the load was a good touring standard…More than a passing word in praise is due to the transmission; snatch is entirely absent, the clutch operating very smoothly. Lubrication occasioned no worries; there are two systems. One is a mechanically-driven pump, forcing oil through a sight feed, and the other is the ordinary plunger pump. They may be used together or apart. On a run of 400 miles one finds time to pick out faults if they exist, but our chief difficulty seems to be to describe impartially whilst keeping a curb on the superlatives. Without doubt we retain a definite impression of one of the best passenger mounts which will come before the public this year…when the fortunate purchasers of the new model take delivery they will, we feel, agree with our restrained eulogy.”
“REALLY SUBSTANTIAL GEAR ASSEMBLIES are few and far between at the present time, so that motor cycle manufacturers as a whole will welcome the appearance on the open market of the Burman gear units, made by Messrs Burman and Son, Ltd, Ryland Road, Birmingham. These are by no means new propositions. Before the war the small gear box was very popular with several makers of light-weight motor cycles, and during hostilities the larger one has been supplied in considerable quantities to the makers of the 8hp New Imperial, on which machine it has given every satisfaction. Unfortunately, at present, the output is some- what restricted, and Messrs Burman are not able to cope with the existing orders, a state of affairs it is hoped will not obtain for long. The two principal models are a two-speed and clutch light-weight box with kick-starter, and a three-speed box with clutch, kick-starter and shock-absorber for machines of 4hp and over.”
“THOUGH WE DO NOT CONSIDER that taking of a passenger on a solo motor cycle carrier is either desirable or particularly safe, we cannot agree with the policy of several district councils in asking the Government to make carrier riding an offence under the Motor Car Acts. To render this method of taking a passenger illegal would be distinctly interfering with the liberty of the subject. A motor cycle is a private vehicle, and there is no law to compel a passenger to ride on the saddle only. He or she is equally well entitled to ride on the tank, top tube, or handle-bar. Carrier riding on a solo machine is not a particularly safe method of progression, since, with a passenger on the carrier, the steering of the machine is slightly affected, [but on] good roads, when reasonable care is exercised, the danger may be considered negligible.”
IXION HAD GOOD CAUSE TO REFLECT ON The Importance of Being Earnest: “The term ‘earnest’ as applied to a motor cyclist includes nightly attention to every bolt and nut on the machine, according to Cocker (ie Motor Cycles and How to Manage Them). I was never ‘earnest’ in this sense, being born with an irresponsible instinct for chancing tiresome details. So it fell on a day that the industry was almost relieved of the impertinences of this giddy scribe. What with being demobbed, and the sun shining, and having just got over being jilted by Araminta in favour of a bloated munitioner, I was driving a trifle bluer than my wont: in fact, I was indulging in what might be termed a spiritual TT and seeing how little time I could waste round corners. The particular corner which nearly created a vacancy for a man of push and go on the staff of this journal approximated in plan to the elevation of a church steeple, and was fortified by an extremely forbidding stone wall. I roared up to it at full revs, and at the fifty-ninth minute of the eleventh hour I shut my throttle lever and stood on my brake. The engine maintained fiill revs, and ate up the brake as if it had been tissue paper. With great presence of mind I lifted the exhaust valve lifter. The engine maintained full revs, very cheerily. By this time my front mudguard extension was within a few millimetres of the above-mentioned stone wall, and the pace was terrific. Another brain wave—I stood heavily on the clutch pedal, having no switch, and applied the front brake with vim and vigour. The machine did a sort of shimmy-shake skid, and twisted itself round the corner fearsomely. I stopped the engine by turning off the petrol. Item: the throttle wire was looping the loop outside its casing, instead of going home to bed. Item: the exhaust valve lifter had shed two weeny screws into the road. Item: the clutch control depended on two microscopic nuts apparently intended to secure a sewing machine needle to its holder, and the sole survivor of the pair was hanging on the last whorl of its thread. I must have been born to be hanged. Draw the inevitable moral, gentle reader. Motor cyclists should be ‘earnest’ at all times, and inspect all nuts and control connections daily. It is even more important to be earnest when you receive your discharge and return home to bestride a neglected ‘bus in somewhat light-hearted fashion. A tuft of grey now distinguishes my raven forelock.”
“THE ARBUTHNOT TROPHY, A STATUETTE of the late Rear Admiral Sir RK Arbuthnot, Bart, executed by Lady Scott, is put up for competition amongst naval officers by the Auto-Cycle Union as a memorial of his gallant death in the face of a vastly superior force of the enemy in HMS Defence during the early stages of the Jutland battle. The holding of this competition was first suggested by a member of the staff of The Motor Cycle. Of the competitors, Major WP Arbuthnot, RMLI, was a cousin of the late Sir Robert, and entered, so he told us, for the ‘honour of the family’. Lieut Terence Back, RN, was nephew of the late Captain Back, RN, who perished in HMS Natal owing to an internal explosion with all on board. Sub-lieut CP Glen-Kidston, RN, served with Sir Robert in HMS Orion, as a midshipman…Starting early on a new make of two-stroke, complete with clutch and kick-starter, the 2¾hp Villiers-engined Ruffles, we made a good run to Merrivale, where we stopped each competitor and gave him his instructions as to the consistent driving
test. Each man had, to descend from this point to Mr Loughborough, who sent him off when the road was clear…Lt Marriott (Norton) arrived with his face bespattered with oil, as he had forgotten to screw up the oil tank filler cap. Early among the competitors there arrived the Rev EP Greenhill in one of the 1920 Matchless sidecar outfits, with CE Cuffe (a pre-war trials competitor) as passenger. Mr AV Ebblewhite, who was a passenger in Mr Loughborough’s Morgan, took the times…Plenty of sheep and cattle were encountered on different parts of the course…a V bend followed by a pitch of 1 in 6 spoiled the hitherto clean sheets of several of the competitors. Near Bovey, Sub-Lt Pollock (Harley-Davidson) completely smashed up his mount on a downgrade through the brakes failing to act. Fortunately, he escaped without injury. This news was brought by Rex Mundy, who was driving a Matchless outfit, and was supervising the arrowing of the course. Onwards from Moretonhampstead to the luncheon stop at Exeter all was plain sailing. After lunch the road was rough and rutty, and there was an exceedingly tricky section between Tedburn St Mary and Moretonhampstead. This consisted of Brook Hill, which necessitated the negotiation ol a watersplash, a long steep ascent from Clifford Bridge, and a precipitous and very tricky descent with very rough surface before the main road was reached…the road near Lee Moor Clay Works was distinctly greasy. Here Lt. Derek-Stephens (3½hp spring frame Douglas) had a bad side-slip, which was hard luck, as he
damaged his footrest. This he was allowed to have made usable…The gem of the morning proved to be Deiiham Bridge, a steep hill with a fairly good surface and a gradient of about 1 in 4½. Most of the survivors made good ascents. Near Looe some steep hills had to be climbed; their surface was good, but on the summit of one there was a short patch of real grease, which fetched Laurie off his machine—his second fall that morning. After a splendid run from Bodmin we came upon the leaders, and were almost within hale of Merrivale, where the deciding test was to be held, when just on the moors our petrol supply gave out, but just afterwards a good Samaritan came along in a pony cart and asked our trouble. On hearing of our empty tank he volunteered to drive home and get the much-needed fuel, and in half an hour he returned mounted on the pony and with a two-gallon tin of benzole slung round his neck. We then set out for Plymouth through Horrabridge, and met the competitors again at Yelverton, whence they proceeded to the last check after a long down-hill run. So ended one of the best and most sporting trials ever organised, a trial which was highly appreciated by the competitors and organisers The former, as one would anticipate, were the best sportsmen it was possible to find. Several were complete novices, and yet not one of them complained of the task set him—a task which was harder perhaps than was reasonable. Still, the survivors have the satisfaction of having come through a trial worthy of the most skilled experts. Results: 1. Lt ESK Evans-Greaves, RN (4 Triumph), winner of the Arbuthnot Trophy, silver medal, and special award offered by the MCC, no stops and fifth best performance in the consistent driving test. 2. Lt Terence Back, RN (4 Triumph), silver medal, no stops and seventh best periormance in CDT. 3. Sub-Lt RN Everett, RN (4 Triumph), one stop and best performance in CDT.”
‘WHIMSICAL’ DOESN’T BEGIN TO DESCRIBE Ixion’s review of the Arbuthnot Trophy Trial: “I do not doubt that the lieutenants who contested the Arbuthnot Trophy were up to all the wiles of Jerry, and could deduce volumes from the cock of a periscope. The trouble was that on the morning of the first day they failed to realise that Von Hipper and Von Scheer were babies compared to Secretary Loughborough, and that the modern reliability trial is founded on the strategic principles of Clausewitz. Thus, at, the start, some of them complained bitterly that they were strictly limited to a schedule of 20mph maximum. They informed sundry armletted officials that in naval motor-cycling circles legal limit riding simply is not done. Mr Loughborough spread a pair of grimy and deprecating palms, and spoke vaguely of the law. Fuming but helpless, the ‘sporty boys’, as [comic actor] WH Berry would term them, fidgeted along at twenty for an hour and a half along main roads. By this time Loughborough had accomplished his fiendish purpose. He had hoodwinked the innocents into fancying that a reliability trial was a tea party. So he now proceeded to switch them down an innocuous-looking little turn near Huccaby, and for the next 150 minutes all the riders were risking their necks in order to keep inside maximum time; and maximum time spelt no higher average than a measly 18mph. Even at this some of them were slow in tumbling to the situation. After a prolonged spasm of goat tracks, cat-crawls, chicken ladders, moor gates, river beds, and greasy ailes beneath arching trees, they emerged into lanes—well, quite 8ft broad, with occasional straights of—well, quite sixty yards at a time. Quoth the greenhorns to themselves, the arch-devil who planned this sporting course must have just about exhausted his supply of freak hills; presently I shall emerge into lovely main roads, when I will blind some, and catch up the twenty minutes I have dropped on schedule time. But the relentless minutes passed, and still the arrows led on down twisty lanes, and around blind corners, obsessed with carts of hay and eke of timber, with army corps of frisky lambs, and giant stallions and nervous bullocks. Finally, real anxiety was begotten, caution was thrown to the winds, and alarmed competitors commenced the usual ACU TT stunt, with frenzied accelerations down every trumpery straight of a hundred yards, and crashing on of brakes at the next corner. Then Secretary Loughborough produced the ace and king of trumps, in the form of tempting straights leading up to unostentatious arrows which hauled us back round V corners to face vertical ascents loosely covered with metal, road, assorted, unrolled, samples. By lunch time the entire entry had conceived profound suspicions of the man Loughborough. All of them knew what the seasoned competition rider learnt under the same astute tuition yearsago. Which precious knowledge may be summed up somewhat as follows: 1. Do 30mph average while you can—roads are coming where no man may exceed 12mph and live. 2. Blessed is the man who can drop from 50mph to 3mph in eight yards. 3. A quick gear change, yea from top to bottom, secureth a gold medal—but he of clumsy hands must be content with a parchment certificate. 4. The valley roads are pleasant; but their sides are fringed with fearsome precipices; and thither the next arrow will assuredly point. 5. Good going never lasts in an ACU trial. 6. Despise not the short straight; along it thou canst save seconds which may hereafter be precious. 7. But bear in mind that the next corner turneth back upon itself; and around it lurketh danger.”
“A REPORT FROM WASHINGTON, USA, states that very few, if any, motor cycles will be sold by the US War Department at public sales.”
“THE FUEL DEPARTMENT OF THE AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION and Motor Union have issued a decidedly useful handbook, giving the names and addresses of 1,100 firms stocking benzole. It is classified in geographical sections to facilitate quick reference, and will be appreciated by touring motor cyclists who desire to encourage the production of home-produced fuel.”
“OUR LAST EXPERIENCE WITH A MATCHLESS sidecar outfit was in the spring of 1918, when a military model, of the type ordered by the Russian Government, was placed at our disposal by Messrs Collier and Sons, Ltd…The 1920 outfit is a very different proposition…it is a vastly superior affair. It possesses three very notable innovations— the spring frame, the kick starter-operated exhaust lift, and a single-lever carburetter, all very important features in motor cycle construction. It is the first motor cycle we have driven since 1903 which has not had an exhaust lifter on the handle-bar. The engine is controlled by the throttle spark alone, and the exhaust valves are raised for starting by means of a cam on the inner side of the kick starter quadrant, which, on the pedal being depressed, comes in contact with a trip on the exhaust lifter arm, which is hinged on a bolt at the base of the gear box. The valves remain raised during one-third of the quadrant’s travel, the trip then slips off the cam, and the valves are dropped just at the correct moment. Also the engine may be stopped by depressing the pedal…The saddle tube is extended below the level of the bottom bracket and terminates in a lug from which runs a short stay to steady the forward chain case, while the other side of the lug serves to hold one of the six sidecar connections…the springing of the frame is particularly well carried out…the sprung portion forms practically a triangle and…includes the luggage carrier, while the unsprung portion forms practically a rectangle…Vertical coil springs take the road shocks between the sprung and unsprung portions of the frame. Every joint in the spring frame is provided with lubricators situated at convenient points, and the tubes are drilled to conduct the oil directly to the bearings. Control is carried out mainly by the throttle, which, with the front brake lever, are the only two on the handle-bar. The clutch is actuated by a rocking pedal, which is peculiar to Matchless motor cycles, while the excellent internal expanding brake is controlled by two pedals conveniently placed one on each of the two spacious and comfortable footboards. In our opinion, it would be very much better to separate these two pedals, and arrange for the nearside one to withdraw the clutch. The clutch is smooth in action and requires no effort, and, being indestructible, can be freely used…thye sidecar wheel is also sprung; the wheel is carried on horizontal forkes hinged at both ends…A Lucas combined magneto and dynamo is fitted, and we can say from experience that it works excellently in its dual capacity. We took the machine for its first drive in the dark, and the lamps gave a splendid light…On the whole we are immensely pleased with’ the latest Matchless production, which is the result of the labours of two practical motor cyclists.”
“SCOTTISH SIX DAYS: THE ASCENT of Applecross is much better than in 1914, owing to the fact that the large tufts of grass, which so deadened the effect of the engine, have been removed. The competitors will encounter many stretches where the roads have been cut up by tractors hauling timber. These patches are almost impossible for the solo rider, and necessitate miles of low gear work, possibly with a toss or so into the ditch.”
“A HIGH AVERAGE SPEED: AN INSTANCE in which the speed and reliability of the motor cycle, in the hands of an expert, was employed in the service of the illustrated press is recorded in connection with the rapid publication of the Versailles Treaty photographs by a Scottish paper. The plates were brought from Paris to London by aeroplane, and then carried to Glasgow by AJ Sproston on a Lea-Francis. The journey was made with only two replenishment stops, and his average speed is reported to have exceeded 40mph”.
TWO STORIES APPEARED ON THE SAME PAGE of The Motor Cycle, concerning the lads who came home from the war, and their comrades who didn’t: “A meeting of prominent Midland motor cyclists was held last Friday evening in Birmingham to consider the question of organising some form of welcome home for the many motor cyclists who had joined the Forces…no doubt a successful event will be organised.” “A memorial service in memory of those motor cyclists who gave their lives in the great war 1914-19 was held at St James’s, Piccadilly, on Friday of last week…Among the congregation were numerous despatch riders in uniform.”
“THE HUMBER CO HELD THE FIRST of what may be many trials organised by large manufacturers to encourage their workmen to become motor cyclists and to foster goodwill between employer and employee. Such events should have far-reaching effects, for they bring the men, who actually make motor cycles, into direct touch with the conditions under which they are developed. We commend the excellent idea to other large employers of labour, and such events need not be confined to manufacturers of motor cycles.” More than 50 riders, many of them novices, tackled a 77-mile course that started at finished at Humber’s Coventry works. There were no ‘freak’ hills but the ‘stop and restart’ test on Edge Hill gave the newcomers a chance to test their mettle. While 37 competitors rode Humbers other marques were represented, including “a rejuvenated single-cylinder Rex looking very smart in its all-black finish and _gold lines, a 1919 3½hp Sunbeam, several Triumphs, countershaft, three-speed hub, and single gear models, and a 3hp Enfield. “Sir Arthur Whitten-Brown, one of the Atlantic flight heroes, was a guest; the tea stop was at Newnham, to which place the Humber band was sent in a lorry to render musical selections on the village green…As was to be expected, the majority of the competitors failed, through inexperience, in the stopping and restarting test on Edge Hill, but it was pleasing to see the sporting spirit prevailing among both officials and riders.”
“OUR experiences of the four-cylinder Henderson motor bicycle of the 1914 and 1915 models have been so delightful that it was with considerable pleasure that we heard that the first batch of 1919 models had arrived in this country…The Henderson stands almost alone; it is the first real novelty in motor cycle design which has come over from America. It is so fast that when the rider suddenly opens the throttle he has to grip the handle-bars tightly to stop himself from shooting off the back of the saddle, and yet it is so docile that it can be driven with comfort in the thickest London traffic. The new model is of extremely attractive design, being finished in khaki and having little plating work about it. As regards novel details mention must be made of the excellent spring forks, which are provided with a triple crown of immense strength. The Berling ignition system is quite separate from the dynamo lighting set…which generates from two to four amperes at 20 to 35mph…the storage battery is carried in a neat case under the saddle, which can be swung sideways to allow the engine to be removed from the frame without disturbing the electrical equipment or disconnecting the battery switches or wires. The battery is of the well-known Exide pattern. A genuine Klaxon horn and an ammeter complete the equipment. A much larger flywheel with a multiple-disc clutch built into it running in oil is now fitted, and the three-speed gear box is integral with the crank case. The change-speed gear is provided with an interlocking device, which prevents the lever from being moved until the clutch is disconnected—a very common practice on American motor cycles.”
“A NEW MOTOR BICYCLE, UNKNOWN to the motor cycle public, came unexpectedly into our hands at Plymouth on the occasion of the Arbuthnot trophy. This is known as the Ruffells, and is sold by the Ruffells Imperial Bioscope Syndicate, Ltd, 8-9, Long Acre, WC2. It is fitted with a 2¾hp Villiers engine and a Burman two-speed gear box, incorporating a clutch and kick starter…We cannot speak too highly of the Burman two-speed gear and clutch, which took up the drive smoothly and effectively, and several times restarted the machine on the most appalling gradients. The little engine ran well, and the machine was quite comfortable. The chief criticisms we have to make refer to the smallness of the petrol tank, and the fact that the heel brake pedal is too near the clutch spindle. Otherwise the Ruffells pleased us extremely well, and satisfactorily accomplished the difficult task it was asked to perform.”
“the Automobile Association has initiated a unique service for motorists by equipping first aid sidecars which will assist members stranded with broken-down motor cars or motor cycles. These machines have been specially designed to carry a very complete equipment, enabling light repairs to be done ‘on the road’, thereby avoiding the inconvenience and delay involved in towage to garages for repairs or obtaining assistance from distant repairing establishments. In addition to tools, a large assortment of small but important accessories and supplies enable the drivers of these machines, all of whom are competent mechanics, to carry out tyre repairs and to make replacements of faulty connections, wires, etc, causing breakdowns. The services of these machines and their drivers are entirely free to members of the AA. The carrier is divided into two main compartments. The front portion carries the large items, such as petrol, benzole, oil, water, car jack, and the tyre inflator, all ingeniously clipped or strapped in place. At the rear are two drawers divided into small compartments of various dimensions, and fitted with clipped-on covers in which the small articles in the equipment are carefully and compactly arranged to enable the driver-mechanic to find what he requires expeditiously. The side-carriers are painted with the familiar A.A. yellow, and indicate their ‘mission’ to stranded members by the prominent description ‘Mechanical First Aid’, supplemented by a large AA badge.”
“THE OTHER DAY,” IXION WROTE, “I had a chance to make extended tests of one of the machines which are as truly modern as the Bolsheviks, and not merely refined reincarnations of our oldest friends. It was all that it has been called, so far as pace and performance were concerned…the most virile thing about the machine was its acceleration, which I demonstrated frequent and free to sundry enthusiastic spectators for several days. The tread of my back tyre not unnaturally displayed resentment; when you bang open the throttle of a willing engine on a 10 to 1 gear on a 1 in 10 hill with a surface resembling those nice little white chips some mourners sprinkle inside grave kerbs, something has got to slip; and after your cush drive has wound itself up solid, there is not much slip in a chain…gadzooks and oddsboddikins, if we accelerate some of the 1919 machines as they deserve we shall all be treating our back tyres as cush drives.”
“WHILE AT WAUCHOPE’S [A MOTOR CYCLE dealer in Fleet Street] the other day we came across an American motor cycle which is quite unknown in thi scountry. It is known as the Limited, and is manufactured by the Felbach Motor Co, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The particular model is stated to have been used by the Milwaukee police. In general appearance the machine is exceptionally American. It is fitted with a Schebler carburetter, neatly stowed away between the two cylinders, has overhead mechanically operated inlet valves, and a camshaft for each pair of valves. The raising of the exhaust for the purpose of releasing the engine compression is effected by a rotating camshaft through the twist handle and rod control. The machine is fitted with pedals, which are used for starting the engine. No details of this machine are available at the present time in this country.”
“THE PV MOTOR BICYCLE IS FAMOUS as being one of the first motor bicycles made with a spring frame. Its makers, Messrs. Elliston and Fell, Perry Vale, Forest Hill, SE, may therefore be regarded as among the pioneers so far as spring frames are concerned. Their latest pattern PV is a, nice looking, well fitted up, and thoroughly practical little mount. At the present moment it is made in the form of a lightweight, and is equipped with a 2¾hp Villiers engine and a Chater-Lea two-speed gear box, transmission being by combined belt and chain. The spring frame has been considerably improved in detail since Messrs Elliston and Fell have returned from serving their country in the army…The machine is suspended in front on Brampton biflex forks, an extra heavy chain is fitted, and the handle-bars are wide and comfortable. We tried the machine on the road, and found the springing to be excellent in every respect. There is no possibility of side play, the wheel is the only unsprung weight, and there is no doubt that it satisfactorily absorbs all serious road shocks.”
“WE LEARN THAT MR MJ SCHULTE, FOR MANY YEARS a director of the Triumph Cycle Co, of Coventry, has resigned his position and will retire into private life. Thus an excellent sportsman retires from the motor cycle world, and he will be greatly missed, for he was a prominent figure in the leading competitions, particularly the Tourist Trophy Race, in which event he annually took the keenest possible interest. Mr Schulte’s faith in the future possibilities of the motor cycle never wavered, and he and his company proved a tower of strength in and around the dark period of 1904 and 1905, when the industry was tottering owing to the production of heavy high-framed machines, which were unpopular; moreover, the uninformed daily press did its utmost to kill the pastime for ever by the publication of damaging articles. At a later period, but long before the war, Mr Schulte recognised in the high-tension magneto the solution of ignition troubles,which were a real source of dissatisfaction with motor cycles in the early stages of their development, and endeavoured to establish manufacturing facilities in this country, but in this he met with little encouragement.”
“LT EC HILL, WRITING FROM LAHORE, INDIA, prophesies that the Japanese will soon be competitors in the motor cycle held. ‘Possibly we shall not be very long before the enterprising Japanese step into the breach, as they appear to have done in most lines. Motor cycle manufacturers at home are cutting their own throats by neglecting Overseas trade in this manner. The firm that first establishes itself out here with a good machine at a fair price would beat all comers.’”
“MESSRS THE ENFIELD CYCLE CO, LTD, 48, Holborn Viaduct, EC, on Peace Day, when the Victory March passed their showroom, had on view a suitable display demonstrating a feeling of loyalty and respect for those who, previously under their employ, have fallen in the war. Their names, numbering 200, were draped with both the American and British flags, and suspended over one of the Enfield motor cycles, which was decorated with the colours of the British Empire.”
“THE ‘THREE-FLAG RECORD’ (IN WHICH the rider starts in Canada, crosses America, and enters Mexico) was recently lowered by ‘Hap’ Scherer riding a sports model Harley-Davidson flat twin. His time for the distance of 1,715 miles was 64hr 58min, the average speed for the run being 25.4mph.”
“RECENTLY A HAILSHAM MOTOR CYCLIST WAS SUMMONED at Enfield for exceeding the speed limit and for obstructing the police, the evidence being that after being timed and stopped he returned into the trap and warned other motorists to slow down. He was defended by the solicitor of the AA, and, while admitting the speed offence, the case of obstruction was resisted, a previous judgment of the Lord Chief Justice being quoted. The defendant was fined three guineas for exceeding the speed limit and the charge of obstruction was dismissed.”
A DANE, JOERGE RAMUSSEN, SET UP DKW at Zschoppau in Germany to make lightweight two-strokes including the ‘feet forward’ Golem. The firm also supplied engines, notably the hugely successful Hugo Ruppe-designed 120cc two-stroke ‘Das kleine Wunder’ (The Little Marvel) to marques including Aeroplan, AWD, Bamar, Defa, Feital, Elfa, Hulla Eichlker and Maco. Zschoppau would remain a bastion of two-stroke technology as the Z in MZ.
“A NUMBER OF MIDLAND accessory manufacturers have combined to form the Associated British Manufacturers’ Syndicate, with the idea of developing trade in Canada and North Ameroca. These firms include the Sphinx Manufacturing Co, Powell & Hanmer, Terrys of Redditch, Accles & Pollock, Benton & Stone, Abingdon-Ecco, W&A Bates, Rotherham & Sons, and the makers of the Amac carburetter.”
“MOTOR CYCLES, LTD: A PROSPECTUS, inviting the public to subscribe for shares recently appeared in several London and provincial papers. We feel it our duty to point out that, as we were unable to approve of the business methods of Messrs Rider Troward and Co, whose business, Motor Cycles, Ltd, is acquiring, we recently found it necessary to refuse the advertisements of that company. The prospectus in question was, presumably on that account, not offered to The Motor Cycle, but, had it been so offered, it would not have been accepted by this journal. The highly speculative nature of the investment, to use a mild expression, is apparent from the prospectus…Mr Troward says that the only limit to the profits of the company is the difficulty of obtaining machines fast enough…he stated that he has placed orders for over 4,000 machines which have been ‘accepted by the manufacturers’.”
“FOR THE SECOND TIME A DOUGLAS 2¾HP machine won the 350cc race in the recent Italian Grand Prix, while the fastest lap in the 500cc class was also accomplished by a flat twin. The Douglas was ridden by BajBadino, who rode a similar machine in the last TT, and, in addition to the Turin Municipality Trophy, is awarded the regularity prize by having a minimum difference of time between each lap. The winner of the 500cc class was Bordino, who rode a Motosacoche, and the regularity prize goes to Gianoglio on a Fongri, who also made the fastest lap time. The Fongri machine is an opposed twin of Italian manufacture, having a cubic capacity of 575cc on the standard models it has side-by-side valves placed on the top of the cylinders and operated by a single camshaft. Several other new Italian machines were in the race, including the twin-cylindered Delia Ferrera, with a 500cc engine having cylinders 68mm bore and stroke, and the Bianchi, with a V twin of 60x88mm. Another Italian classic motor cycle event is the Biella-Oropa, seven mile hill-climb, which was held recently between Biella (the Italian Manchester) and the convent at Oropa, a hill 3,870 feet above sea level, the length being seven miles…The Maffeis machine, winner of the 350cc class, has a JAP V twin racing engine, with overhead valves, and a chain-cum-belt drive through an Albion two-speed gear. The engine dimensions are 60x60mm. bore and stroke…The machine which is most eagerly awaited by the buying public is the Fongri. This is a 4hp flat twin following the lines of the Douglas engine, equipped with three-speed gear, enclosed chain transmission, hand-controlled clutch, and kick-starter. The frame and spring forks, however, are not in accordance with English ideas, since the former is constructed of bent tubes and the latter are the usual Italian pattern.”
“THE BEST SUPPORTED EVENT since trials were restarted was the Essex Motor Club’s speed test run off at Southend…there were 237 motor cycle and ninety car entries…The Essex MC put forward strenuous efforts to run the tests with clocklike precision, but the weather entirely upset the programme. A strong westerly breeze blew down, the course in favour of the competitors, but rain fell just after the start, lightly at first, and then in torrents. In a few moments the course was unsuitable for solo motor cycles, so the car classes were run off, and thereafter some confusion and a good deal of delay followed…The motor cycle events were run in classes, and the results were based on the times made over the kilometre course…Among the competitors we were pleased to see Major Jack Woodhouse, DSO, who did such magnificent work in the war, Sgt Milner, the inseparables WA Jacobs and JP Le Grand, and that fine old sportsman FW Applebee. EJ Bass, lately returned from Germany, was clerk of the course. The results of the motor cycle events were as follows: Touring machines 250cc, F Thorpe (2¾hp Douglas), 47.82mph; touring machine 1,000cc, B Houlding (7hp Harley Davidson), 61.48mph; touring machines 500cc, H Le Vack (3½hp Edmund-MAG), 47.61mph; sidecar 1,000cc, B Houlding (Harley-Davidson), 47.61mph; touring machines 750cc, LA Cushman (6hp Zenith), 44.58mph; any solo 350cc, E Kickham (2¾hp Douglas), 60.16mph; touring sidecar 750cc, JR Pattison (4¼hp BSA), 34.86mph; any solo 500cc, JW Draper (3½hp Triumph), 61.13mph; touring sidecar 1,000cc, WJ Barker (8hp Henderson), 42.22mph; any solo unlimited, Capt O Baldwin (8hp Matchless), 69.92mph; motor scooters, HH Burrows (1½hp Skootamota), 18.5mph; any solo 1,000cc, E Remington (8hp NUT), 70.81mph.
“DURING THE WAR PERIOD three experimental models of the Scott Sociable have been made and tested, and a new company, the Scott Autocar Co, Ltd, has been formed to manufacture the completed machine. This company has no interest in the Scott motor cycle, which will continue to be produced at Saltaire, by the Scott Motor Cycle Co, Ltd, which, with an issued capital of £80,000, has taken over the business of the Scott Engineering Co, Ltd. Incidentally, Mr Alfred A Scott being now devoted entirely to experimental work in connection with the Sociable, he has no longer any interest in the manufacture of the Scott motor cycle, either in a financial or advisory capacity.”
“ANZANI, THE FRANCO-ITALIAN ONE-TIME MOTOR CYCLIST, later an aviator, and now an engine designer, is responsible for an interesting motor cycle engine, in which the engine and two-speed gear box form a complete unit. The engine has two cylinders, 60x90mm, 508cc, and is said to develop 5-6 hp, and, in order to secure even torque both pistons are arranged to rise and fall together, the crank throws being side by side with the primary gear wheels between them…Overhead valves are worked from a camshaft, the valve mechanism following aviation practice…In view of the success of Anzani with his aviation engines, it is reasonable to suppose his motor cycle engines will be well finished and efficient.”
DEWAR MANUFACTURING OF HOUNDSDITCH, London, E1 came up with a novel anti-theft device: a three-piece locking device, in steel or phosphor-bronze, to secure the gear lever in the neutral position.
“RECENTLY THE EDINBURGH MAGISTRATES had before them the question of licensing motor cycles and sidecars under the Hackney Carriage Acts, and decided that these were not suitable subjects for such licences. We should like to know the grounds upon which this decision was made.”
‘CHINOOK’, WHO COVERED THE SCOTTISH Six Days’ Trial on the latest 3½hp spring-frame Douglas, reported: “The springing of the Douglas saved one from all those fatiguing spine jolts which make the Scottish Six Days, in particular, so tiring an affair for most of the performers…never again will this scribe tackle a six days’ trial on a rigid frame…The engine is an absolute gem. It hummed away like a little dynamo, and seemed to improve as the days passed—no vibration, no noise, just a faint hissing purr, which changed to a deep roar when the throttle was yanked open. Some tremendous averages were put up over long distances and bad roads with perfect ease and comfort—in fact, I have never ridden a machine in which time could be made up with such absolute effortlessness…The mechanical oiling system is foolproof. One merely needs to set the drip and leave it there…in spite of the atrocious, conditions, petrol consumption usually averaged out at about 55mpg…The hand clutch is delightful, and the new model will fill the bill for practically every rider, from the elderly potterer in search of maximum comfort and docility to the speed merdiant who wants something that will hold the road and ‘rev’ like nothing he has ever tried before.”
BSA FACTORY TESTERS TOOK TO THE WATER to publicise the remarkable water resistance of the EIC magnetos which the factory had adopted as standard equipment. “Several stops and restarts were made in the water, and one machine, with no part of the engine unit out of the water except the cylinder and carburetter, was kept running for two minutes until it stopped from back pressure set up by exhausting under water. On being wheeled to the bank after one or two preliminary kicks to eject the water which spouted from the silencer and crank case release in great quantities it started up without difficulty. Indeed, none of the machines were put out of action, despite the fact that no special preparations were made, other than in one or two cases only, a coating of. grease had been applied to the carbon brush holder. For an hour the machines were splashing their way through the water, and at the end of that time they were all running perfectly and no misfiring was evident…EIC Magnetos, Ltd, are indeed to be congratulated, and their specialisation on motor cycle types is meeting with great success, the following firms having already commenced to fit this make, so we are informed: BSA, P&M, Levis, Douglas, Allon, Rover, Sunbeam, and Morgan.”
“RELICS OF A FORMER LIFE: Many of the competitors in the recent Scottish Trials wore their tunics with pips and shoulder straps removed, while field boots, British warms, or trench coats were the common order.”
“TO DATE THE MOTOR SCOOTER epidemic has not reached the North. The present expectation that scooters will swarm like bees by September seems to be based on slender foundations.”
“THE SCALE TWO-STROKE MOTOR CYCLES enjoyed quite a good reputation for sturdy construction before war requirements compelled their temporary withdrawal from public notice. The makers, Roberts and Hibbs, Bank Street Works, Droylesden, Manchester, are now re-entering the field with a much improved model embodying the Precision 350cc two-stroke engine…The general appearance of the machine is very good, being finished in deep crimson, lined in black and gold with grey panelled tank.”
“THE UNIT SYSTEM OF CONSTRUCTION ie, the building of engine and gear box integral—has been almost an obsession with many designers for several years. In the drawing offices of most motor cycle manufacturers there are filed away the drawings of ‘engine gear’ units which, for some unknown reason, have been ‘turned down’ by the powers that be. True, a few machines embodying this feature have appeared on the market, notably the Diamond, Singer, Precision lightweight, and the Villiers four-stroke, but, excepting the first-named, the models now offered to the public do not include such machines. Advantages are so apparent from both the riders’ and the manufacturers’ points of views that one is constrained to wonder why, in these days of advanced design, the unit system has not been more seriously adopted. The Villiers unit was most successful, although the engine was only 74x80mm bore and stroke respectively (344cc). The first one made covered the distance between Wolverhampton and London at an average speed of 27mph, and was capable of 53mph, at which speed the revolutions of the engine were 3,400rpm.”
“SEVERAL THOUSANDS OF NEW RAC repairer agents have been arranged for, and the Club is endeavouring to appoint suitable garages and other businesses to maintain the new scheme in every locality. The RAC repairer agent, with garage facilities approved by the committee, will prove a very useful person to ACU members by virtue of the fact that they are associate members of the RAC. One of the principal objects of his appointment is to render motor cyclists service in connection with the well-known ‘Get-you-home’ scheme. Once the scheme is in full working order, wherever an ACU member may meet with a breakdown or accident on the road he ought to be sure of obtaining practical assistance from an RAC repairer agent. On receipt of the ACU official ‘Assistance required’ voucher the RAC repairer agent will send a relief car to convey him and his passenger home, or to a railway station, within the limits of distance prescribed by the scheme.”
“IT HAS LONG BEEN TAKEN as a matter of course that our petrol supplies should come from the recognised oil-well districts of the world, but to-day we know that geologists consider the oil-bearing shales of Norfolk, hitherto of hazy existence to the man in the street, to be the richest in the world. The credit for the discovery of the value of these deposits is due to Dr Forbes Leslie, FGS, who estimates that two-thousand million tons of shale lie ready for mining, and that a yield of 200,000,000 tons of petroleum products may be expected; the value of this is apparent when our yearly consumption is only 1,500,000 tons. The workings are already in hand, and one distillery is now in operation, so that in the near future we may hope to have abundant supplies of petrol produced within our own boundaries.”
“CLUB RALLY AT MONSAL DALE…Favoured by one of the brightest and warmest days we have had this year, the social run to Monsal Dale, in the Peak District of Derbyshire, on the 10th August, organised by the Nottingham &DMCC, associated with other clubs in the East-Midland centre, was attended by motor cyclists from all parts of the Midlands and surrounding districts. Many had arrived by ten o’clock in the morning, and were soon at work with luncheon baskets and Primus stoves; at mid-day the riders from more distant places were coming in thick and fast, and either parked their machines at the Dale Head, or in the large field reserved for the various clubs. The Nottingham and Liverpool bodies were undoubtedly the best represented, but the Sheffield, North Derbyshire, Birmingham, Manchester, and Lincolnshire clubs all turned up in force. Independent riders from Leeds and other places in West Yorkshire were also noticed, while from the South many had travelled from the Coventry district, all of which goes to show that these social meets, where a great variety of new machines may be seen and experiences exchanged, are very attractive to the unattached rider, as well as to the clubman. The machines, as well as the splendid view from Monsal Dale Head, received much attention;
indeed, one is led to believe that the average motor cyclist is keener to observe his neighbour’s mount than the beauties of the landscape, and every model, whether new or old, came in for a critical examination. Almost every class of machine was present, sidecars being in the majority, and, while new models were fairly prevalent, only a few new designs were seen. The Skootamota, however, driven down by Dan Bradbury of Sheffield, erstwhile exponent of big single-cylinder outfits, was a centre of much interest. After the various clubs had all assembled a move was made for River Bridge, Ashford, were a competition for the Raleigh challenge trophy (held by the Nottingham Club) was held. The tests consisted of easy starting, slow running (free engine), silent running (free engine), and acceleration test (up-hill). Six classes were arranged, so that every machine entered could compete with an equal chance of winning the premier award, the Raleigh trophy, valued at 100 guineas, going to the rider gaining the largest aggregate of marks in the various tests. Other prizes were also offered for lady members and cycle car drivers. Various hill-climbing stunts were afterwards attempted on the rough and grassy Monsal Bank, and so the affair came to a conclusion and the riders dispersed in groups, and, one by one, in a dust cloud, the like of which could only be raised on the roads of Derbyshire with their finely powdered coating of white limestone.”
“THE NEW HARLEY-DAVIDSON FLAT TWIN—the sport model, as its makers call it—we have a distinctly original motor bicycle, the popularity of which seems certain. It is not a lightweight, as it turns the scales at 257lb, but is a handy two-purpose mount, which has sidecar lugs built in the frame, so it is evident that the manufacturers intend it to take two people if desired, while, being well balanced and not too heavy, it should make a comfortable and tractable solo mount. There are several attractive features about the engine. In the first place, both engine and gear box form a single unit, the latter being above the crank case, while another interesting point is the heated ‘twin-cast’ manifold, which means that inlet and exhaust pipes form a single casting, a startling departure from standard motor cycle practice. The casting is held on to the engine by two nuts, and so may be easily removed, while the branch from the main inlet pipe to the carburetter is exhaust jacketed. It is this branch which is most liable to condensation, and as the jacket is of ample size and has a wide outlet pipe it should perform its intended function in a highly satisfactory manner.” Soon after its launch Jack Fletcher rode a ‘sport model’ to the 10,046ft peak of San Antonio mountain near Los Angeles. The mountain was generally known as ‘Old Baldy’; the Blue ‘Un reported: “A tractor rear wheel was fitted to enable the machine to make progress over the loose shale and crumbling granite, and the climb was accomplished without mechanical trouble…on a section known as the Devil’s Backbone, the trail is barely a foot wide, sloping away at both sides in a drop on to loose stones some 3,000ft deep.” To confirm the Sports Model’s prowess Harley-Davidson publicity manager Hap Scherer rode one from New York to Chicago in 31hr 24min, knocking 10hr 56min off the record.
BY THE AUTUMN WARTIME IMPORT restrictions on American motor cycles had gone and, despite a 33% tariff, Harleys and Indians were once again competing with home-brewed bikes. News from the lost colonies was also available, courtesy of the Blue ‘Un’s US correspondent, one EB Holton: “With the late and highly successful war hull down on the horizon the pastime of motor cycling has again come into its own, and on a bigger, better, and busier level than ever. Possibly the most illuminating indication of this far greater popularity is the fact that, whereas only two large factories were keen for the racing game at the beginning of the season, the Harley-Davidson and Indian, who played a lone hand for several months and shared all honours between them, now as the season goes into the tail end, but with plenty of big races ahead, the Excelsior factory has had a hypodermic injection of pep, and they are hot after the first honours at the biggest race of the year—Marion, Indiana 200-mile road race—with eight motors that burn the wind. The Reading-Standard, too, have felt the urge, and as their stock motor rates well over-sized, they are making a 61 cubic inch (1,000cc) job to get back in the fold and line up with the rest of the field when the starter’s flag drops. With four makes hot after the glory we may look forward to a busy season.” Following a visit to Springeld, Mass, Holton added: “The big Indian is being gone over by CB Franklin, that well-known Irish road rider who gave a good account of himself on track and road competitions several seasons ago, and no longer will there be adjustable handle-bars and all the Swedish bric-a-brac cluttering the clean lines of the head and fork fastening as in the past. I saw a reverse gear working satisfactorily on the sidecar outfit.”
“E Kickham, the Bristol agent for Sunbeams and other well-known machines, has for several years been developing a sporting sidecar on attractive lines, and giving a greater degree of comfort than the average small passenger attachment. This he has now introduced as the Dinky sidecar…In the 3½hp Sunbeam outfit illustrated the chassis is a Watsonian, with rear springing only…Side pockets, footrest, and a thick foot mat are included in the specification…A removable hood can be fitted as an extra…The tail contains a capacious locker, with ample room for two tins of petrol and other necessaries…A good range of colours is available: black or royal blue, with gold lining in either case, Indian red, and primrose yellow…This sidecar presents so many attractive aspects that one finds no particular point to criticise. Mr Kickham, as may be expected, is experiencing a big demand.”
“SIR,—I WAS A WITNESS RECENTLY of a remarkable instance of how a motor cycle and sidecar were of invaluable assistance to a heavily-loaded car in distress. A brand new 6hp AJS combination was descending Kirkstone Pass towards Patterdale when it was overtaken by a Ford car—seven up—out of control, as its brakes were ineffective. The car driver vainly endeavoured to avoid a crash with the AJS, but ran into the back of the bicycle, the near side front wheel of the Ford being between the sidecar and the cycle. With great presence of mind the cyclist maintained his position on the road, and by gradually and forcibly applying his brakes succeeded in checking the runaway, finally reducing its speed sufficiently to permit of it being run into the bank. Too much praise cannot be given to the cyclist and his machine for his courage and skill in such an emergency. Nothing would have been easier than for him to put on speed and have left the car to a certain fatal smash, as only by some miracle could such a result have been avoided. The AJS subsequently continued its journey, and when I left the scene the Ford was being made serviceable by its owner.
“IXION, AS USUAL, HAD BEEN THINKING ABOUT MOTOR CYCLING: “The Times correspondent states that 75% of us remain faithful to the two-wheeler, or desire to do so, when our incomes have risen far enough to lift us into the car-owning class. Oddly enough, one of our contributors submitted an article this week in which he took a precisely opposite view, holding that 75% of motor cyclists bade farewell to the two-wheeler without regret as soon as they became possessed of their first car. Personally, I am a living witness to The Times theory. I have owned and driven cars for years; but I am first, foremost, and by emphasis a motor cyclist. Even in winter, when roads are treacherous and the air is filled with spume or snow or carries a razor edge, I never take out a car for a solo jaunt. Most of my acquaintance, motor cycling or otherwise, esteem me crazy on the point. I offer no defence de gustibus non disputandum [there’s no accounting for taste]. I have never analysed my invincible preference for the motor cycle. It may be that I am mean, and hate to burn four gallons of petrol when one gallon will do. It may be that I am a coward, and realise that the narrow two-wheeler can squeeze past when the broad four-wheeler will concertina itself upon the snout of the steam roller. It may be that I am a sportsman, and love the bellowing streak up steep hills which only a motor cycle can attain. Anyhow, there it is: wherever choice is practicable, out comes the motor cycle for preference, though I grow elderly and a rowing heart does not love exposure to low temperatures for hours at a time. But for all my obstinacy I have always regarded myself as a freak, a rara avis [rare bird], an eccentric, in this respect. And now I have it on the authority of the Thunderer itself that I am that dullest of all created things, an insignificant sheep-like follower of the great majority. Is it so?”
A WINDSCREEN, AS SUCH, IS NO GREAT NOVELTY, but, up to the present time, solo motor cycle windscreens have not come into common use. Any device which will keep flies, dust, and rain off the rider’s face and obviate the necessity of wearing goggles will be welcomed by many. Naturally, the speed man, and the rider who objects to too many accessories on a motor bicycle, will not care for these fitments, but those, who are out for comfort will invest in one and cannot fail to reap the benefits it offers. The latest of these windscreens has been placed on the market by the National Motor Company, 48, Bath Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham. The screen Is held in a telescopic tube clipped to the top tube of the motor bicycle frame, and is of quite neat appearance. The rider’s view is obstructed as little as possible, since there is no framework at the top. Ordinary glass is fitted, but Triplex glass, which will not splinter, can be used: side wings can also be attached.”
“JUST AS THE END-TO-END RECORD in Great Britain was at one time recognised as the Blue Riband of road records, American motor cyclists regard their endurance runs across the American continent as their classic event. This Transcontinental record is at present held by Alan T Bedell, who in 1917 rode a four-cylinder Henderson the 3,296 miles in seven days sixteen hours sixteen minutes, which beat the record set up in 1914 by EG Baker by over three days. This year Baker made a plucky attempt to recapture the record, but failed owing to the mud encountered. This Indian rider, however, has now secured the ‘Three Flag’ record from Canada to Mexico, which in June this year was secured by HC Scherer on a Harley-Davidson flat twin. The following shows the progress of the record since 1915: August 27th 1915, EG Baker (Indian), 81hr 15min; July 20th 1917, Roy Artley (4-cyl Henderson), 72hr 25min; August 26th 1918, Wells Bennett (Excelsior), 70hr 0min; June 21st 1919, HC Scherer (Harley-Davidson), 64hr 58min; July 11th 1919, EG Baker (Indian), 59hr 47min. The first section of 137 miles between Blaine (Canada) and Seattle (USA) was covered by Baker in two hours fifty-five minutes—nearly TT average speed—and over the whole distance the speed works out at a fraction undet 30mph. It was reported that the record breaker had engine trouble which delayed him for five and a half hours; this occurred, by a strange coincidence, at a town called Bakersfield.” Before long the Three Flag record was broken again: Wells Bennett completed the 1,716-mile run on an Excelsior in 53hr 28min to average just over 32mph.
“THE QUESTION WHETHER A RIDER should stand up or sit down when using a scooter is undecided, but it is almost certain that if the rider adopts the seated attitude the scooter will be no longer somewhat of a freak, but will develop into the smallest and lightest type of motor cycle on the road. If things happen as in the latter case, then the term ‘scooter’ will die a natural death.”
The Ballymena MCC staged a fuel consumption trial to compare imported petrol with domestically produced benzole. Six riders did two laps of a 23-mile course; awards were made to riders running nearest to a predetermined speed to ensure an even playing field. No alterations to carburrettion was allowed in between laps. The result could hardly have been clearer: Dr Armstrong (Norton), petrol 96.3mpg, benzole 110.9mpg, an increase of 15.1%); W Cameron (Triumph), 91.5mpg, 124.0mpg, 35.5%; J Davis (Rex), 104.5mpg, 149.3mpg, 42.8%; W Dorman (Triumph), 124.0mpg, 149.3mpg, 20.4%; D King (James), 63.6mpg, 96.3mpg, 51.4%; RH Wright (Triumph), 93.8mpg, 116.1mpg, 23.6%. On average switching to benzole improved fuel consumption by 30%. And let it be noted, every rider reported that their bikes ran cooler and smoother on benzole. Motor Cycle correspondent Wharfedale carried our his own comparison using a “highly efficient TT single”. He also reported that the bike ran better on Benzole: “Running on benzole the engine never showed signs of tiring after a long day’s running, but the use petrol almost invariably resulted in a hot engine and a tendency to knock at the end of a 150 miles fast run. Consumption worked out at about 20mpg increase in favour of benzole, and, generally, the running is so much more flexible and less trying to the rider that it is almost painful to be compelled to use petrol—the unfortunate part being that in the more out of way pices, such as Wales and the Lake country, where, in an irony of fate the hills and corners abound, benzole is very seldom obtainable. If the use of home-produced fuel is to be encouraged, as it deserves to be on its merits, the distribution should be very much more general and efficient than it is at present, and steps should also be taken to encourage its popularity amongst country garage proprietors, who often betray most surprising ignorance of its properties.”
“PROBABLY OF ALL TWO-STROKES the Velocette is regarded as the most economical, and, while there are others with which over 100mpg are regularly obtained, we do not recall readers’ reports of any one make with which extraordinarily low petrol consumption has been so consistent. Some months ago we ran one of these miniatures and regularly obtained 145-150mpg on short journeys, under which conditions one naturally lexpects higher consumption than on longer runs. This point alone—accounted for by its mechanical lubrication—places the Velocette in a class almost by itself, and particulars of the 1920 models—which embody some of the war experience of their designers—cannot fail to interest the followers of two-stroke evolution. The three-port two-stroke is the most simple type of engine it is possible to make, and there has been a reluctance on the part of designers to depart from its extreme simplicity by introducing mechanism which naturally increases its cost. They have contended that its extreme simplicity is the keynote of its existence—that, by making it more complicated and more costly to produce, it becomes a direct competitor to the four-stroke without the four-stroke’s advantages and economy. There are others, however, who maintain that the undoubted advantages of the two-stroke make it worth while to develop it even at the expense of added mechanism and increased cost, and that, though it embodies as many parts as the four-stroke, such additions are justified, provided all-round efficiency is equal or in excess of a four-stroke engine of the same size and costing the same to produce. In this latter school of engine designers is Mr Percy Goodman, of the Velocette firm, and his faith in the two-stroke system is in no way governed by its simplicity. Although his latest design, which will be tried out in the ACU Six Days Trial, is extremely simple yet nothing has been sacrificed to gain this end. With a steel cylinder, an engine has been run with a combustion space as small as 6 to 1 ratio, but this, naturally, overheated…during these experiments, the cylinder head was red hot, and the moving piston could be seen through the glowing metal, but the alu- minium fins at the base were sufficiently cool to allow one to rest the hand upon them. Mr Goodman is now experimenting to find the compression ratio most suitable, and anticipates that he will obtain increased efficiency through being able to carry the compression to a point not hitherto attained in air-cooled engines of the two-stroke type.”
“SOME UNUSUAL EVIDENCE WAS GIVEN at a recent case which was heard before the Southend justices, wherein a motor cyclist was charged on various counts, including that of riding to the common danger. Apparently the defendant had been riding up and down the promenade, and when turning in the road was in some danger of colliding with the principal witness, who seemed to lose his nerve on the approach of the machine. The motor cyclist avoided the informant, who called upon him to stop, and, this being unheeded, witness made efforts to catch him with his walking stick. Being unable to do so, on another occasion he revisited the spot with the avowed intention of making a further attempt to seize the rider, and when the latter approached, witness, to use his own words, ‘made a grab at him’. Again failing, he complained to the police, and, despite the fact that the other witnesses estimated the motor cyclist’s speed at about 10mph, against his allegation of ’40 to 45mph and in his own mind faster’ (whatever that may mean!), the defendant was convicted and fined £10 on the charge of driving to the common danger. The seriousness of the case, as far as the motoring public is concerned, lies in the fact that throughout the proceedings there was no condemnation of the witness’s attempt to catch a rider who had in no way injured him, nor reprimand for his second visit to the spot with the preconceived plan of waylaying and seizing the man. Furthermore, when cross-examined as to his knowledge that his actions might easily have resulted in throwing and causing the death of the motor cyclist, he cheerfully admitted that to have effected this would have given him great pleasure.”
“THE ACU WISHES TO REMIND ENTRANTS in the forthcoming Six Days event that no motor cycles having any part of German, Austrian, Bulgarian, or Turkish origin or manufacture will be eligible to compete. This also applies to any open competition promoted by the Union, except those of international character. Machines or parts made previous to August, 1914, are not included in this ruling.”
“ACCORDING TO A REPORT FROM THE AA, tourists have recently experienced trouble in obtaining fuel in various parts of the country…Several motorists are hung up in Scotland, and all travelling over the border should carry supplies to ensure their return to the North of England.”
“SIR,—I WOULD BE GLAD if you would insert my experience of a speed wobble I had the other day. I was trying a new Rudge-Multi I had never ridden before, and was doing about 60 or 65mph, as I had full throttle and a good wind behind me on a flat road, or, if anything, a slight downward slope, with a top gear ratio of 3½ to 1. As soon as I felt the wobble I shut the throttle, and used all my will power to hold the machine straight, but the wobble increased until I had gone another hundred yards down the road and got into some thick dust at the side, when the front wheel skidded, and I was precipitated on to the road. I should be very glad to hear a good theory on the cause of speed wobble, and the best means to overcome it. I might mention I did not attempt to use brakes to pull myself up, but just shut the throttle and hung on.
“AS I OFTEN GRUMBLE, IXION REMARKED, “I am bound to raise my hat to the trade when I find they have genuinely floored an awkward antagonist. The drawbacks of belt drive, like the quality of Government ale, have always been obvious. When a few daring makers began to coquet with the all-chain drive, especially upon single-cylinder machines, I felt dubious. For years we had been accustomed to ride in sublime oblivion of our transmission for perhaps 75% of our mileage. When we changed over to the chain, we certainly bade farewell to such heart-breaking interludes as broken fasteners or chronic belt-slip implied. On the other hand, the snatchy drive of the early chains made us perennially conscious of our transmission, as thudding vibrations had always made us conscious of single-cylinder engines. Only with the engine running fairly fast on a low gear ratio under light load was the early chain drive at all comparable to the belt. This week I have been driving a high-compression single-cylinder mount with all-chain drive. I say deliberately that its drive is as smooth as the best belt, well run in and perfectly adjusted. Even if I make the engine baulk and conk on the pick-up, after a fierce corner or on the foothills, I remain unconscious of the fact that I have a rigid drive beneath me. This is very real progress…I must now eat my own words of long ago, and admit that the function of the belt is just about fulfilled. Spring drives and cush hubs are reaching a miraculous efficiency.
SHOULD THE NEW BREED OF MOTOR SCOOTERS have seats? To prove the practicality of the stand-up Autoglider works manager J Skinner rode one from Autoglide’s Birmingham factory to The Motor Cycle HQ in Tudoe Street, London. “Mr Skinner’s task was to demonstrate the possibility of a rider covering 100 miles without undue fatigue and so prove the redundancy of the saddle…An early demonstration model, with over 3,000 miles to its credit, was taken along so that any of the pressmen, who followed in [Autoglide designer] Mr Townsend’s car could sample and delights of autogliding.” Powered by a 2¾hp Union two-stroke engine, the Autoglide could do 35mph; fuel consumption was almost 120mpg. “Mr Skinner, who had ‘glided’ the whole distance from Birmingham, was remarkably fresh and fit, and, despite his long standing, protested that he was not tired. It is a fact that, throughout the whole run, he had experienced no phyiscal inconvenience other than that caused by lack of goggles. His miniature mount ran faultlessly throughout, without any mechanical stop…the management was found to be perfectly simple, steering and steadiness at speed being quite as good as experienced on a solo motor cycle…Mr. Townsend can be congratulated upon having made the most convincing demonstration of a scooter up to date.”
“MANUFACTURERS SAY IT IS VERY DIFFICULT to stop profiteering in new motor cycles. They cannot control second-hand prices of machines, which have been turned into ‘second-hand’ after an hour’s running on the road, and it is the price of these machines that sets the standard.”
“THE EALING &DMCC HELD A PETROL consumption test recently, when some remarkable figures were credited to the winners. Since each machine had a graduated glass tube on the tank, designed by Dr Low, the performances should admit of no doubt. The distance traversed, however, was too short to enable figures to be given, which form a real guide to the comparative consumption of various machines. The star performance of the day was credited to a Wooler flat twin, although rated at only 2¾hp, is extremely efficient, and by skilful designing of the inlet pipe, etc, blow-back is very well prevented and great economy obtained. Some of the best figures were: Mr Chidley (2¾hp Wooler), 311mpg; Mr Douglas (3½hp Sunbeam sc), 162mpg; Mr Hudson (4hp Triumph), 146mpg.”
“SIR,—WITH REFERENCE TO THE EALING AND DISTRICT MCC’s Petrol Consumption Trial, in which a 2¾hp Wooler motor cycle is reputed to have done 311mpg, the method by which this was measured gives so much scope tor inaccuracy that the record is of no practical value whatever. The carburetter was flooded before the trial but not afterwards, and over the short course used, 880 yards, the petrol contained between the flooded and normal working levels would run the machine anything from 25% to 50% of the total distance, and would not be counted in the final consumption. In fact, with a large enough float chamber, one might show no consumption of petrol at all over a half-mile run. My own machine, a 4hp Triumph, in a further trial in which the carburetter was not flooded at all, gave a consumption of about 107mpg as against 145mpg in the club trial, so that instead of the accuracy within 3% claimed for the apparatus used, 30% would seem nearer the mark.
FA Hudson, MA, AMICE.“
SIR,—UPON FIRST READING THE LETTER from your correspondent Mr Hudson, I thought I would reply in detail. I think, however, that I can explain the matter simply to him and quite briefly. When a carburetter is flooded and a few minutes allowed to elapse whilst the machine is wheeled, the results of flooding disappear. To obtain easy starting it is of no use to flood a carburetter long before it is required. The petrol is then in a state of equilibrium, and excess which overflows the jet has dripped out and evaporated. If the level in a tube feeding the float chamber is taken and found quite stationary before starting the test, and the level is allowed to become stationary after the test, it is obvious that the conditions’ are the same, as the float chamber must have filled itself from the tube to the sarae level. The engine suction cannot suck the float chamber empty without the testing feed tube level dropping, and this level becomes quite stationary after each test. Mr Hudson’s suggestion that a large float chamber would enable no consumption of petrol to be obtained on a half-mile run is ludicrous because the float chamber is kept at the same level before and after by the petrol running in from the tube. Surely Mr FA Hudson, AMICE, is aware that consumption varies continually to an enormous extent, and that to obtain very low consumption over short distances where very small power is being used is not unusual in a well-designed machine. The 40-50hp Rolls-Royce car which did twenty-four odd miles per gallon, with a weight of about two tons and over hilly roads for a long distance and not slowly, is far more remarkable than almost anything I have experienced. The results were officially observed by the Royal Automobile Club, and possibly Mr Hudson might like to take the matter up with them Your correspondent was present all through the test, actually drove me to the spot and converted the figures into mpg for me later in the afternoon without a word upon the subject. He possibly finds it more interesting, for some strange reason, to wait until he reaches home, and then write to John—I mean The Motor Cycle, about it.
AM Low (Major, RAF).
“DURING A RECENT SUNDAY AN RAC guide at Kenilworth took a census of motor vehicles passing through that town, and his figures show the popularity of the motor cycle over cars in a very marked manner: Buses, 134; cars, 144; solos, 142; sidecars, 157.”
FROM IXION: “I RECOUNTED THE OTHER DAY how, after two years on a clockwise throttle lever, I obtained a new mount with an anti-clockwise throttle and crashed on a vertical bank in consequence. This week I have to report a variant of the same nuisance. I was riding another strange machine, on which the positions of the brake and clutch pedals were the reverse of what I am accustomed to. Naturally enough, in the first emergency, I stood on the clutch pedal instead of braking hard, and escaped catastrophe by the width of a whisker. Somewhere in the back ground there is a trade society whose main activity of late has consisted in proclaiming trials. I suggest if would be quite as usefully employed in arranging for all throttle levers to open in the same direction And all brake pedals to be on the same side of the machine.”
SIR,—WE ARE MUCH INTERESTED in the illustration of a Norton engine with overhead valves ridden by a private owner at Weston-super-Mare. Although we commenced experiments with this type of engine something like fifteen years or more ago, we are not at present supplying an ovcrhead-valved engine, the one in question being made entirely upon the owner’s initiative, and by himself. We can congratulate him upon a very workmanlike and sound job. We mention this, as, from our experience in the past, any reference to an alteration of design in your pages has caused us to be inundated with enquiries, and many of the writers take it as a personal slight if we are unable to supply. We might here mention that never have we made a departure from our standard engine in the shape of special cams, cylinders, or such like for competition purposes, machines alwavs being to catalogue specification.
Norton Motors, Ltd.
FROM ITS INAUGURATION 1904, WHEN The Motor Cycle offered a 50 guinea cup, until 1914, a growing number of clubs competed for for the MCC Team Trial. Entry peaked at 41 teams in 1913, when enthusiasts from 11 clubs rode more than 200 miles to the start. With war looming the entry fell to 31 clubs in 1914 and with the club scene coming back to life after the war the organisers were pleased to see 15 teams at the start. The rules give a flavour of the event: “Each team shall consist of six riders, three of whom shall drive solo and three passenger machines, such as tricar, sidecar, or three-wheeled cycle car. A passenger must be carried. The joint weight of passenger and driver shall not be less than 20 stone. A passenger shall not leave his or her seat during any part of the competition, excepting at the tea halt, and shall not assist the driver in any way whatsoever. Pedalling or assisting with the feet for the purpose of propulsion shall count as a stop…The competition shall consist of a non-stop course to be covered three times. Total distance, 100 miles…A competitor covering each of the three circuits at 20mph will gain the maximum number of marks…Sufficient fuel and oil must be carried for the whole of the trial.
Competitors may replenish from a metal receptacle carried by them, provided such replenishment is effected by the driver while the machine is in motion…The number of miles accomplished by each rider of each team without stoppage, other than stoppages due to exigencies of traffic, will be added together, and the team scoring the highest mileage thus arrived at shall be the winner, but in the event of more than one team making a full score in mileage the award will be given to the team making the best performance in the consistent driving test…A consistent driving test will be held on a hill, which will be ascended on each circuit during the trial. It will be divided into two sections, of which the first part must be climbed at an average speed of not more than 10mph, and the second part at an average speed of not less than 15mph. The times taken by a competitor will be noted on two occasions, and the team of riders who most closely repeat their performance of the first ascent on the second occasion will be adjudged to be the winners, in the event of more than one team making a non-stop run…The judges shall be three in number, one nominated by the donors [The Motor Cycle], one by the Motor Cycling Club, and one by the Auto Cycle Union. The judges’ decision shall be absolute, and without appeal. Any organised assistance will disqualify the whole team.” And here’s a tester of the event: “Beautiful weather and a really sporting course helped to render the team trial on Saturday last a splendid success…The six Scotts of the Ilkley MCC, all fitted with two-gallon petrol cans on the carriers connected up to the main
tanks, had twin lubricators to the separate halves of the crank case…Longfield, the well-known pre-war Scott exponent, [was] acting as observer, since wounds suffered in the war prevent him from handling a motor bicycle…In practically every case the teams were most carefully selected and contained first-class riders, but, owing to the severity of the course, and the activity of the puncture fiend, casualties were exceedingly heavy…The course was of quite a different nature from those previously selected for this event, being more of the nature of an ACU one-day trial route. It was a course which was ideal for finding a winner, and Mr FT Bidlake, the doyen timekeeper, deserves our heartiest congratulations on choosing so suitable a route…The route was most efficiently arrowed, and all important turnings were guarded by marshals. Only at one point was there any difficulty, and this was a mile or two above the summit of Aston Hill, where an arrow had been turned, apparently by some evilly disposed small boy, on the second circuit…The circuit described was thirty-two and a half miles in length, which, covered three times, made a total of ninety-seven and a half miles. It traversed beautiful country, and was a most efficient test…the Coventry & Warwickshire MCC was the only one to finish with a complete team. Both this club and the MCC are now in the running for the winning of the cup outright, as both have now won the trophy on two occasions…The Ilkley riders, generally referred to as the Scott team, put up a fine show. Earnest preparations had been made for a win, and it was only a sooted plug which spoilt the team’s 100% record. Second place is not to be despised, however…The MCC are to be congratulated upon stiffening the conditions for this club championship event. Weeding out the riders by a difficult course is far better and more sporting than timing to split seconds over an easy route…Official results of the MCC Team Trial: 1, Coventry & Warwickshire MC, each competitor in which gets the MCC gold medal. This was the only team to finish complete. 2, Ilkley MC&LCC; 3, MCC; 4, Woolwich, Plumstead &DMCC; 5, Sheffield & Hallamshire MCC; 6, Essex MCC: 7, Liverpool MC; 8, Camberley &DMCC; 9, South Birmingham MCC; 10, Public Schools MCC; 11, Ealing &DMCC: 12, Middlesex MCC; 13, Eastbourne &DMCC.
“ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL MOTOR CYCLES with the British Army at the Font was the P&M, which did wonderful service in the hands of the RAF despatch riders from 1914 onwards. We have often spoken of the war as the most wonderful reliability trial which ever took place; in it the P&M was a prominent and successful competitor, and Messrs Phelon & Moore have learned much that was of value to them in the five strenuous years during which it lasted…The latest 3½hp model is fitted with larger tyres, and has wider and more efficient mudguards, while another innovation is to be found in the brakes. There are two brakes, one internal expanding, and the other external contracting, both in the rear wheel, and of these the external brake is fitted on to a short spoked drum, and is controlled by a pedal
actuated by the rider’s heel on the left side of the motor bicycle. The interna! expanding brake is controlled by a hand lever working on a ratchet quadrant, also on the near side of the machine. This is a very valuable fitment, as when a sidecar is fitted it enables the driver to secure his machine, no matter how severe may be the gradient on which it is desired to stop. To release the hand brake it is only necessary to slide forward the aluminium handle…The spring forks have been entirely redesigned, and, instead of the central enclosed springs in compression, two separate coil springs in tension are provided. The fork is also much stronger, and all moving parts are provided with grease cups of ample size…The sidecar lugs are built into the frame, and rear lugs are placed on both sides of the chain stays, so that the sidecar may be fitted on either side of the motor cycle. Yet another novelty is the kick starter, which has been entirely redesigned.”
“MOTORPHOBIA IN SWITZERLAND: The use of motor cycles is prohibited in Geneva on Sundays and fete days from September 1st to October 31st between the hours of 1 and 6 pm. From 6am to 1pm the speed of all motor vehicles is restricted to 12mph in the whole of the canton of Geneva. The police and military owners may continue to use their motor vehicles without restriction.”
TWO MARQUES WERE LAUNCHED IN THE ISLE OF MAN. The Peters sported cantilever rear suspension and an in-house 347cc ‘square’ engine forming part of the frame. Production was transferred to London, where it survived until 1927. The Aurora, with its proprietary 318cc Dalm two-stroke, lasted barely two years and only a few were made. But its builder, Graham Oates, rode in the ISDT and TT and made the first coast-to-coast run across Canada.
“THE DAILY AND EVENING PAPERS are remorselesss in pointing out, almost every week, that Leicestershire possesses some of the vilest roads in the Kingdom.”
AN EX-PAT WROTE: “PORTUGAL is wonderfully mountainous. Every day I ride over roads that make the average club trial look like an afternoon run round Piccadilly in a ‘flivver’…motor cycles are extremely popular here, and were there sufficient machines available the existing number would be doubled and trebled…Practically all the machines here are American big twins (Harley-Davidson, Excelsior, Indian, and Reading Standard in order of precedence). The sidecar is so popular that solo machines are comparatively, rare, this being due, I think, to the excessive weight of US machines for solo work and the absence of medium weight solo machines…I consider that there is a tremendous opportunity for British makers if repre sented by live agents.”
“AT LAST SCOOTERS ARE BEING TURNED OUT of the different factories devoted to these new-old velocipedes. Several agents have received machines for demonstration purposes. It will be some weeks yet before they appear in quantities…Two of the ‘stand-up’ scooter merchants have decided to offer a seat ‘as an alternative’, in deference to the wishes of clients. The original ABC, it will be recalled, had no seat, and when it acquired one its popularity went up 75%. Notwithstanding, two scooter designers in particular champion the saddle-less machine, contending that a machine with a seat must have an extended wheelbase, besides which the saddle interferes with starting and mounting.”
“OWING TO THE CONSTANCY of their torque and I absence of vibration, turbine engines will always appeal strongly to motor cyclists, and, among turbines, the engine invented by Captain JM Sanders, Woodside House, Canford Park, Westbury-on-Trym, is a very notable example…the engine consists of two elements of skew gear, one of which is termed the ” cylinder,” being made after the pattern of the Lanchester worm with a hollowed surface, the second or “piston” wheel being so narrow that its grooves appear more like the teeth of a chain sprocket than part of a worm gear. As the teeth of the piston wheel pass along the grooves of the cylinder wheel, compressed fuel enters behind them, and this is fired as the tooth advances. There will then be as many slight impulses per revolution as there are grooves in the cylinder wheel—in this case ten. The ” piston ” wheel revolves idly, but it will be readily understood that one wheel cannot revolve without the other. The plug which gives the mixture emits a constant stream of sparks…It will be noticed that combustion and exhaust only are provided for in the turbine, but, as the four-cycle principle is employed, the induction and compression are arranged outside the apparatus, a reciprocating compressor performing the other functions of the cycle, induction, and compression. Later, however, a third wheel may be included in the train in order to provide for the complete carrying out of the phases of the Otto or four-stroke cycle within the turbine itself. Under test, the experimental- engine- ran on -com- pressed air at a speed of 1,000rpm, but, when the air was passed through a carburetter, mixws qith petrol gas and fired, the revs immediately jumped up to 4,000rom, which means 40,000 impulses per minute…it is calculated that an experimental model which, having a 5½in cylinder wheel and two piston wheels, should give 36hp at a speed of 10,000rpm.”
“SIR,—ON AUGUST 16TH, 1919, A NEW 1919 TRIUMPH 4hp motor cycle, index number BW2930, engine number 19613, also a suit of overalls and a few accessories, were stolen from a garage in this city by Raphel Finella, alias Harry Ray, an Italian, ex-soldier, music hall artist, and hairdresser. Age 24, height 5ft 5in, home address, 5, Little Saffron Hill, London, EC. Information is to hand that he has sold the stolen motor cycle for £80 somewhere, and was seen in Kingston-on-Thames, riding a 1914 Calthorpe-JAP motor cycle, number unknown, for which he produced a receipt showing he had purchased same for £40 at the end of August. This may attract the attention of the people who bought or sold the above-mentioned motor cycles; if so, I shall he pleased to hear from them.
Oswald Cole, Chief Constable, Oxford.”
“I AM BEHIND THE SCENES IN SOME RESPECTS,” Ixion remarked, “and, therefore, appeal to readers not to bombard a maker with letters if an expected machine is far overdue for delivery. No words of mine can describe what firms have to put up with. I confess I can see no reason why steel and iron should be of inferior quality after the vast experience which the war gave us in producing these metals; but the fact remains that a great deal of stuff has to be rejected. When we come to partly or wholly manufactured components, stampings, forgings, tubing, castings, or parts bought ready for erecting, the case is widely different, for the suppliers have changed perhaps 50% of their labour since the Armistice, and many of the new hands have to be retrained. One concern was compelled to scrap 5,000 connecting rods last week. Once can imagine what this implies when thousands of pounds have been laid out weekly for eight months in wages, and for tools, material, and shop alterations, with never a farthing, coming in. Just when mass erection is due to begin, and perhaps £10,000 a week should commence to replenish depleted coffers, the entire process of manufacturing is again held up. On the top of these troubles, the postman daily leaves a huge mail, most of which consists of vituperative enquiries about delivery, including one from a man who has ordered through a dealer unknown to the makers, who took three machines off a sub-sub-agent for a wholesale sub-agent, so that the firm has never, so much as heard the name of either vendor or buyer. The only possible, result of incessant importunity will be to tease honest firms into sending out unsound stuff rather than put up with these continued mortifications.”
“A MOTOR CYCLE TRIAL HAS BEEN CONCLUDED to Norway from Christiania to Trondhjem and back to Christiania by the Norsk Motorcykkelklub and Ooslandske Petroleumskompani. The winners received new motor cycles as prizes, viz, a BSA, an Excelsior, a Reading Standard, an Indian, and a Harley-Davidson. Is this a sign of American penetration?”
“FRANCE, WHICH HAS ALWAYS BEEN BACKWARD in the use of motor cycles, is on the eve of a boom in these popular machines. The war is responsible for it in a very large measure, for the development of the Motor Transport Corps of the Army has initiated thousands of men to motordom, who otherwise would never have solved the mysteries of the internal combustion engine, and the introduction of the eight-hour day—another war measure—has given the workers time for sports and recreations. Undoubtedly it will be a long time before motor cycles are as plentiful in France as in England, for the Frenchman does not part with his money so readily as his ally across the Channel, but there is no doubt that the boom is coming. The peculiar thing about it is that the French manufacturers are not at all prepared for it. One firm, the Clement Co, sees so little future in the motor cycle that it has already decided to drop the power-driven and devote itself to the push type of bicycle…On the other hand, Bleriot is about to manufacture a motor cycle, and there are rumours that De Dion Bouton, whose range already runs all the way from tractors to bicycles, is about to add a motor cycle department. The most important development, however, is the formation of a powerful company to manufacture and market the ABC machine in France. This machine is now being built near Paris by the Gnome and le Rhone Co, a world-famed firm which has grown big during the war on the manufacture of rotary air-cooled engines…The best known machines in France are Douglas, BSA, Triumph, and Rover. Others are coming, however, and hardly a day passes but one hears of additional agencies having been obtained for British motor cycles.”
“THE ITALIAN MOTOR CYCLE TT, the most important of the numerous races held yearly in that country, took place on September 7th, after five years’ suspension, the last event having taken place in 1913, before the war. The race was over the usual Cremona course, a triangle of straight, flat roads, the circuit of thirty-nine miles being covered five times, totalling in all 195 miles. The roads were not in very good condition, being very dusty. Dogs and chickens frequently strayed on the course, causing several spills, frequently without serious consequence to the riders, but prejudicial to their chance of success. In other respects the race was well organised, and everything went well, sport being very good…There were seven starters in the 350cc class and 20 in the 500cc class. The previous holders of the title for both classes—the Maffeis brothers—were both present, and hot favourites, although both rode in the senior class this time, but on different machines. The elder Maffeis (Bianchi) was eliminated in the first lap owing to belt trouble ; and the other (riding a Motosacoche) dropped out in the second lap on account of his frame breaking, owing to the bad state of the roads, which caused many other retirements amongst the competitors…Maffeis, junior, made a very fast start, creating great enthusiasm amongst the concourse of spectators, as did Dovo, who rode a twin-cylinder Delia Ferrera, of the. four-speed, four-chain type…Three despatch riders on Sunbeams were amongst the starters…Baj Badino (Douglas), the favourite, lost much precious time on account of a rather bad fall caused by a dog…Between the third and fourth lap most of the competitors stopped for replenishments, but, contrary to British custom, no time-saving devices were employed to effect lightning refills of the tanks. In fact, most of the competitors seemed to find time to get themselves snapped by the photographer during the refilling operations.” Dovo (Della Ferrera) won the senior class at an average 55.25mph; Pozzi (Motosacoche) won the Junior at 44.85mph.
“THE INTERESTING FILM ENTITLED Coal: Its Waste and Possibilities, prepared by the Automobile Association in conjunction with Messrs Gaumont, in order to show how vast quantities of home- produced motor fuel—benzole—can be extracted from coal, is now being exhibited throughout the country.”
“THE RECENT BIG SPANISH EVENT—the Compeonato de Santander was held over a course of approximately 120 miles. The result was a clean sweep in the three solo classes for British machines: 350cc class won by Ignacio de Arana (2¾hp Douglas); 500cc class won by Ignacio de Arana (2¾hp Douglas); 750cc class won by Justo Somonte (4hp Douglas). Arana’s machine was a well-used 1913 model. The first prize in the 350cc class was a silver tea service presented by HM the King of Spain.”
“THE FACT THAT THE ACU has decided to grant only twenty permits to clubs to hold open competitions in 1920 has once more brought forward the suggestion that the several clubs in some districts should amalgamate and form strong organisations worthy of their cities. So far, only the Liverpool clubs have seen the great advantages of such arrangements, and, it will be recalled, they amalgamated under the title of the Liverpool MC at the time when all clubs were undergoing reconstruction…Personally, we have always been in favour of fewer and stronger clubs, rather than a large number of weaker bodies, and we hope the officials and members of the Midland clubs will give the matter careful consideration.”
“THE PRODUCTS OF THE BIRMINGHAM SMALL ARMS CO have always been well known for their strength and sound manufacture, so that it is not surprising to find these characteristics displayed in a marked degree in their new twin-cylinder motor cycle. Hitherto the firm have confined their efforts to single-cylinders, which have gained a world-wide reputation, and their successes culminated in the capturing of the ACU Six Days Trial team prize. The twin-cylinder is, therefore, a departure from all previous models, though, as various features have been tried out for a period of nearly three years, it can- not be looked upon as an experimental or untested machine. A cursory examination gives one the idea that the design was carried out by experienced riders,
and this impression was distinctly strengthened by close inspection of detail work.” The sidevalve 770cc 50° V-twin engine featured mechanical lubrication with a hand pump “for emergencies”, fittings for an optional Lucas Magdyno and engine-sprocket cush drive. Power to the three-speed constant-mesh gearbox was transmitted via an engine-sprocket cush-drive and Ferodo-faced clutch. The kickstart was returned by an “enclosed clock spring”. Wheels were QD and interchangeable; the splines connecting the rear brake drum and sprocket to the wheel set a pattern BSA would follow for decades to come. “Both cycle and sidecar wheels are interchangeable, and for this reason a dummy rim, to suit the inverted front brake, is fitted in each case.” Weatherproofing was helped by 8¼in mudguards over the 28x3in tyres. Sidecar lugs were integral, reflecting the big twin’s likely use: “A special sidecar has been constructed to suit the machine; the lines are pleasing, and the body is particularly roomy and well sprung, leaf springs being fitted in front as well as at the rear. Four points of attachment are provided.”
“NEVER WITHIN OUR LONG EXPERIENCE of North-country trials has a purely local event excited so much interest and received such ready support from all comers as the Scott sporting trial…A touch of frost and a cloudless sky greeted us on the morning of the trial. Arriving at Churchtown, just outside Bradford, we found a large number of competitors already assembled, the many interesting and attractive machines drawing a surprisingly large crowd of spectators. The first man was started dead on time, and, leaving Otley, our troubles very early commenced. Approaching Dob Park all semblance of a road speedily vanished, and one of the titbits of the day—Dob Park water-splash—was immediately encountered. A huge crowd was assembled here to see the fun, and fun it assuredly was. An observer with a red flag was posted to prevent jamming, and competitor after competitor stuck in midstream. The water was perhaps 9in in depth, the bed consisting of boulders, mostly about the size of a man’s head, and emerging from these impossible conditions one was instantly greeted by rough cobbles on a 1 in 3 gradient. A truly appalling test hill of over a mile in length followed, and included several difficult corners, while the surface consisted of sods, sand, and stones. The best idea as to the nature of the splash can be obtained from the fact that forty-one competitors [out of 55 starters], including many TT and old competition riders, failed, in so far as they lost
marks either by falling off in mid-stream, jamming among the rocks, or being compelled to dismount…Let it be clearly understood that the route presented throughout not only freak hills and water-splashes, but freak surfaces of the most difficult kind, and some miles of sheep tracks now conveyed us via Blubberhouses to Pock Stones Moor. Another water-splash at Hey Slack followed by a stunning little rise caused many to lose marks. Here twenty competitors failed completely, while only fourteen obtained full marks. The way over Pock Stones Moor consists of about six deep ruts overgrown with rushes, which obscure swamps and loose boulders, and many competitors fell during this difficult part of the run…arriving eventually at Burnsall we were greeted by a very excellent and welcome supply of sandwiches and hot coffee served in the bar room of the hotel. After leaving Burnsall a competitor collided with a car, and the next man, Capt G Walker (4hp Triumph), with the true sporting spirit infused by the Scott organisation, promptly retired in order to assist the unfortunate one…arriving at Park Rash, via Kettlewell, any number of competitors who had clean sheets hitherto now met their Waterloo. Park Rash itself is a really terrible hill, the gradient being about 1 in 4 for 200 yards with two right-angled bends, while the surface consists of loose stones on a shifting bed of more loose
stones. A possible track of about 8in in width exists, but once bounced off this the rider has no choice whatever of making a clean ascent. Duxbury, on a Triumph, made a good and clean climb, and was the first to arrive; W Smith (Scott) fell; ‘Tim’ Wood collided with the wall, but restarted well; Bentley Rigg (Scott) was baulked, and had much difficulty in getting under way again; H Hill (Scott) ran gallantly; W Atkinson (Triumph) konked out; as also did C Hart (P&M)…Miles of fly-crawls and river beds followed. The roads were the old pack roads of a departed age, long since deserted by man, or, if not, they remained as a last surviving relic of a once flourishing mining industry, for which these bleak heights were noted. Gates, stones, sheep, ruts, heather, and more stones, were the outstanding features, and branching to the right at Arkleside we experienced about nine miles of concentrated jolting and skidding, followed by what were assuredly the titbits of the day—the River Nidd and the Scar. The latter is a freak hill, which even surpasses Park Rash in the way of the impossible. George Wray made a wonderful ascent, though he nearly committed suicide by vanishing over the precipice at one point—a most impressive performance. Glorious weather favoured us. The event was splendidly organised owing to the unfailing energy of the Scott Motor Cycle Co, and the unstinting manner in which they ran the whole affair. Results: The Scott Staff Cup (best solo performance trade rider), Geoffrey Hill (4hp Triumph); The Kenington Cup (best amateur solo), JE Walker (3¼hp Scott); The Scott Challenge Trophy and Gold Medals (Amateur) for best team of three machines of the same make, Ilkley MC, (Walker, Moore, and Sellers), all on Scotts; Myers Cup and Gold Medals (best trade team of three), Scott team (Wood, Guy, and Langman); Fastest Time over Course (82min). Geoffrey Hill (Triumph).”
“AFTER A LAPSE OF FIVE SEASONS the Johannesburg-Durban Handicap—the great event of the South African motor cyclists’ year—has again been held, and received enthusiastic support. The course over which the race takes place is the road (so-called) between Johannesburg and Durban, a distance of 421 miles. Although in somewhat better condition than previously, the road in many places degenerates into a mere bush track, and several competitors suffered broken frames and similar troubles. The start was made from City Deep Mine, Johannesburg, at 8am on the 24th ult, and the arrangements, carried out by the Rand MCC, were excellent; thousands of spectators witnessed the start of the forty-six competitors on their long journey. The motor cycles entered were of representative makes, and of all types, and, in consequence, a careful system of handicapping had been evolved, which proved very satisfactory. The limit man was JP Booth (2¼hp Junior Triumph), who had 4hr 43min start, the scratch man being P Lawrence (7-9hp Indian)…Wolsen (3½hp Hazlewood) had a bad fall near the start, but was able to continue. Dave Owen ( 3½hp Indian) retired near near Volksrust with a burst tyre, as did Carrol (4hp Bradbury). Beard, riding a 4hp Bradbury, broke his frame at Heidelberg. CH Young (4hp Triumph), when halfway, became involved in an altercation with a horse, with the result that his back forks were broken. Patching up the damage with materials obtained from some near-by iron fencing, the rider completed the course, and arrived second, averaging 36.3mph, a fine performance, under the circumstances. Owing to the difficulty of procuring new machines, many old models were entered, one being a 1910 Bradbury, which the rider, F Nissen, successfully piloted to the conclusion, maintaining an average of 28.9mph. Despite the popularity gained by the products of other countries during the war, British motor cycles were predominantly successful in the event, five of the first six places being gained on them. Of the thirteen competitors who finished, ten were mounted on representative British mounts. Percy Flook, the winner, rode a 1915 2¾hp Douglas (3hr 18min start), and completed the course of 421 miles at an average speed of 32.5mph. Flook is a well-known rider, and represented South Africa in the 1913 TT, when he rode a Triumph. The fastest time in the race (constituting a record for the course) was made by R Blackburn (7-9hp Harley-Davidson), who averaged 36.8mph; this speed was closely approached by CH Young (4hp Triumph), who, with 1hr 8min start, ran into second place, maintaining an average of 36.3mph, despite the accident and frame breakage described above…the entries included many other British motor cycles, among which may be mentioned Royal Enfields, Hazlewood, Zenith, Rudge, Scott, James, P&M, Norton, and an assembled machine known as the Hilda.”
“I CONGRATULATE THE PHELON & MOORE DESIGNER on having realised that the starting mechanism is one of the details of the average motor bicycle which shrieks loudest for improvement,” Ixion wrote. “Years of pedalling on the stand (what ridiculous figures we cut!) or pulling the back wheel round (and gashing our hands on the tail of the guard!) had bred such a hardy race that we hailed the first kick-starters with delirious and servile glee. Yet most of them are absurdly difficult to operate. During the war I noticed that the girl despatch riders were practically unanimous in despairing of their kick-starters, even when a sidecar was attached to the bicycle. A common sight on the Strand front displayed an immaculate subaltern pushing off a sidecar with a khaki-clad maiden at the helm; when the engine fired, she declutched and waited till his breathlessness overtook her and clambered in. It may be urged that such machines were usually in very poor tune, owing to hard usage, indifferent driving, slipshod repair work, and bad fuel. Yet these are exactly the conditions which prevail in seven private garages out of ten. Almost any sort of apology for a kick-starter will serve the needs of a flat twin or a small V: they are easily bounced over compression, the resistance is slight, and proper co-ordination of the valve lifter and starting pedal does not particularly matter. But a girl or a beginner will usually experience some difficulty in kick-starting a ‘tight’ single-cylinder; and a big V may be even more troublesome. I am not at all sure that the push start on second gear is not still the easiest method of starting the majority of solo machines from cold; and this is an absurdity in the year 1919. Insufficient leverage and an awkward angle are the two commonest faults in kick-starters; both appear to have been exorcised from the new P&M, and unfortunately for the designer, neither alteration is patentable.”
“THERE ARE TWO WAYS OF CONSTRUCTING a reasonably priced motor cycle,” one method is to skimp finish and fittings, and the other is to lay out a design in the first instance for mass production, every part being designed so that it is immediately interchangeable and drops into its place without any unnecessary fitting. The former method is, unfortunately, so common that it is a real pleasure to examine a machine falling into the latter class.” The Cedos, produced by Hanwell & Sons of Northampton, was powered by a 2¼hp 211cc two-stroke “designed and made entirely on the company’s premises. There are no very unusual features about the power unit, with the exception of the fact that all parts are beautifully…Every detail is so designed that it is brazed or welded directly to the particular part of the frame to which it belongs, and, in cinsequence, there should be a minimum of rattles…A very simple two-speed gear box of the constant-mesh type is enclosed in a circular box, and this box in its turn is fitted into a circular lug, which forms the bottom bracket of the frame…The manufacturers do not believe in front wheel brakes, and, consequently, we find two brakes acting on the belt rim—one on the inside of the V is operated by the right toe, and one on the outside of the V by the left heel.”
“ALTHOUGH THE SIMPLEX MACHINES HAVE NEVER BEEN INTRODUCED commercially into this country, they have been known to many riders for their general excellence of workmanship through the friendly meetings resulting on the Anglo-Dutch trials, which were so popular before the war. The present design now before us, which is to be placed on the market next year, is of very taking appearance, and embodies very sound principles of frame construction. An extremely low saddle position, barely twenty-eight inches above the ground, is possible with the design, which is of duplex construction throughout, and has continuous members running direct from the steering head to the back fork ends. The saddle is placed as nearly as possible midway between the front and back wheels, since it is here that the minimum of road vibration is felt by the rider, the machine, as it were, oscillating about the centre point, which consequently deviates less than any other part from a path parallel to the ground during its forward travel. Druid Mark II forks are fitted in conjunction with flat handle-bars of the semi-TT type, and the latter are fitted with Pedley pneumatic grips, which we know from experience are extremely pleasant to the hands, especially on long journeys. A 3½hp twin MAG engine is fitted, with magneto placed in a well protected position behind the rear cylinder. Lodge weatherproof plugs are used, while gas is supplied by an Amac carburetter. Transmission is by chain and belt through a three-speed gear box with handle-bar-controlled clutch, while a powerful kick starter is fitted on the right-hand side. Altogether the design is clean and workmanlike, and reflects credit on the makers, the Simplex Cycle and Motor Co, Amsterdam, Holland.”
“THE RAC DRAW ATTENTION TO THE FACT that a Military Order is in force in Ireland applying to the whole of Ireland forbidding having, keeping, or using a motor cycle by any person other than a member of His Majesty’s Forces, or police constable, without a permit from the Competent Naval and Military Authorities, or from the Chief Officer of Police in the district in which the person resides. Motor cyclists taking machines to Ireland must approach the police authorities in the district in which they reside in England in advance, stating that they intend to take a motor cycle to Ireland via a certain Irish port and request the police authorities to write to the Chief of Police of the port of disembarkation in Ireland, in order that the traveller on reporting to the Chief of Police at the port of arrival in Ireland may obtain the necessary permit.”
“BEING A REGULAR READER OF YOUR PAPER, I happened to notice a question asking the fastest speeds of a car and a motor cycle. You state the cycle record at 93.48mph, and accomplished by S George. I should like to state that an American Excelsior, officially timed, has obtained a speed of over 100mph, and until recently was the only machine to attain such a speed. Also, you state that Ray Creviston attained a speed of 92½mph. This was his speed while attempting to lower Lee Hummston’s road record of 94.47mph, accomplished in 1912—a year which could not boast of many fast machines. Hummston’s record was also made possible by the help of an Excelsior motor cycle. I have ridden an Excelsior for the past three years, and find that it is an ideal machine for overseas work.
JC Kyle, New Zealand.
[The record to which we alluded is the British record made on Brooklands, and passed by the BMCRC—Ed].”
MAJOR R VERNON C BROOK AMIEE assessed peacetime supply and demand: “In 1913 over 1,80,000 motor cycles were registered in the United Kingdom, being in excess of the number registered in 19 12 by nearly 39,000, and showing an increase of more than 20% for the year. These 39,000 machines were, not all made in thjs country, as 1,700 motor cycles were imported during, the year, as compared with 1,380 in 1912, which, deducted from the above figure, leaves some 37,300, which may roughly be taken as the number of machines manufactured for the home market. In addition to these machines 17,000 motor cycles were exported in 1913, so that the two figures added together give 54,300 as roughly the number of machines made in the United Kingdom in 1913…In 1913 there were not more than a dozen motor cycle firms turning out over 2,000 machines each per annum…Of the remaining twenty-three makers, who go to make the total of thirty-five firms, turning out more than 500 machines a year, very few reached 1,000 machines per annum. To-day some of these firms are planning for 5,000 or even 8,000 machines per annum, and in addition there are a number of new firms, say half a dozen, who are laying out for 5,000 machines per annum, to say nothing of the firms which are planning to produce motor cycle engines on a big scale, which engines will be absorbed by the numerous small motor cycle builders not included above, of whom there are at least two dozen, each turning out, or capable of turning out, five or six machines a week…the commencement of the 1920 season should see a return to the output of 1913, namely, 54,300, plus, say, 25% increase all round which gives a total of 67,900 machines per annum amongst the makers who existed in 1913. Assuming that six big new firms will produce by next spring 15,000 machines per annum, added to which there are, say, twenty small ‘assemblers’ who on an average will turn out machines at the rate of five a week, and we get a further 5,200 machines per annum, making a grand total of 88,100 machines per annum to meet the estimated shortage of 217,200 motor cycles which exists to-day, and by the time the above estimated outputs are in full swing the shortage will be greater still. To relieve the situation a number of machines will undoubtedly be imported from America, though whether they will come in large numbers with the 33⅓% duty, 15% extra to cover difference in rate of exchange, and a big leeway to make up in America, seems extremely doubtful, particularly as the output of the American factories is down too…The demand for machines for export, which numbered 17,000 odd in 1913, is also short by very large numbers—perhaps not so short proportionally as we are at home here, as the demand has fallen off for many reasons, and America has been very busy in our pre-war markets. To sum up, then, it seems very likely that it will take at least two years to meet the present shortage probably four or five years will be the time required to overtake the demand, during which time the demand is steadily increasing…The prospective buyer who waits for a drop in prices is likely to be disappointed, unless he is prepared to wait for two to two and a half years, for, with the present more equal distribution of wealth, there are thousands waiting to buy and prepared to pay fancy figures if only they could lay hands on the machines of their choice.”
“SIDE-CARRIERS FOR LIGHT DELIVERY—The motor cycle as an aid to cheap and expeditious transport: From chimney-sweep to confectioner, there is scarcely a tradesman who cannot use a side-carrier with advantage. Time has always represented money, but it represents a greater value than ever to-day, and one may anticipate that the motor cycle will play an important part in preventing waste of time, which is such a serious item in every business. The solo motor cycle is already a welcome and fully recognised means of quick transportation for men who hitherto have walked, but we are concerned at the moment with the delivery of light goods such as, before the war, employed a vast army of horses, carts, and youths, which, costly as it was to the tradesmen, failed to give entire satisfaction. Another great advantage of the motor cycle for light delivery is that the small tradesman, by having two bodies for the sidecar chassis can use the machine for pleasure during the week-end. A point greatly in favour of the side-carrier is that it can be made a valuable mobile advertising medium, and many kinds of unique carrier bodies have been devised to attract attention. Most sidecar manufacturers make delivery side-carriers suitable for almost every business, and tradesmen should not find any great difficulty in procuring an outfit to suit their requirements.”
“AMERICAN MOTOR CYCLE CLUB LIFE—extracts from our United States news letter: The second annual motor cycle field day of the New Jersey MC brought out 828 motor cyclists and their friends on 329 machines to the rallying place, Seidler’s Beach. Three special awards were made for neatest solo and sidecar outfits, and longest distance travelled by anyone attending. Prizes were won by riders who had machines that had gone more than 10,000 miles each. 172 miles was the farthest anyone rode to attend. Eight novelty events were run off—five for solo, three for sidecar. Big thrills were in the cross-country solo and sidecar and the sidecar pursuit race. One machine somersaulted in the water, but without damage to riders or machine, although it was a close call…Our club programmes are apt to be a little more snappy than those issued at home. These extracts from that of the Seidler’s Beach affair are just a shade less staid and formal than you will be accustomed to: ‘Carl W Bush Co Gallop (for solo riders)—ride halfway to a turning point, dismount and push motor cycle, with engine not running, around post, start motor, and ride to finish. Get off and push, laddie buck. Three good prizes donated by the Carl W Bush Co. Joseph B Werner Scramble (for sidecars only)—sidecars line up in ring and ride until they have eliminated others or have been eliminated themselves. Passengers must work to help their man win. All set? Let’s go! Three merchandise awards donated by Jos B Werner. The Sidecar Run and Ride (sidecars and passengers only)—machines at one end of field, crews at other; at the word the crew start running for their machine, start the engine, and ride to the finish. It calls for team work. One set of prizes for the winning crew only is all we could dig up, fellers.’”
THE SCOTTISH SPEED CHAMPIONSHIPS were fought out over 10 laps of a two-mile oval course on the beach at St Andrews. DS Alexander (2¾hp Douglas) won the lightweight title having pipped his brother, AH Alexander (2¾hp Douglas), at the post. AH Alexander was also in the running for the middleweight title aboard a 3½hp Douglas until a blown valve cap put him out of the running, at which point, as the Blue ‘Un reported: “The finest performance of this event, if not of the afternoon, was that of GW Glen (3½hp Triumph). This local rider had a very speedy mount and knew how to handle it. His riding was greatly admired, and his cornering was one of the features of the afternoon. After the retirement of AH Alexander, Glen had things his own way, and keeping a fine average speed won easily, his time being 25min 15sec. Towards the finish his engine seized slightly, and he got off, but mounting again finished in the time given. JR Alexander (3½hp Matchless), was unfortunate; his first trouble was in connection with the drip feed, the needle valve indicator falling out; with the aid of an ordinary pencil he kept going until gear trouble caused him to retire…In the Heavy Class AH Alexander (7hp Indian) was again unfortunate. He was leading at the end of four laps, when coming round past the judges for the fifth time, he threw a plug amongst the crowd, and made a brave show on one cylinder. He naturally failed to finish among the leaders. BM Brash (7hp Harley-Davidson) stopped and changed a plug, while AT Brash had a nasty fall through his exhaust pipe working loose and locking his back wheel. FW Dixon (7hp Indian), who had been riding well all through, proved to be the winner, his time being 22min…The Edinburgh Club easily won the team race, their team consisting of Geo Grinton (7 Harley-Davidson), AJC Lindsay (3½hp Rover), and AH Alexander (7hp Indian). The last-named made the fastest time of the day during this event.”
ACCORDING TO CAR DESIGNERS, THE MOTOR CYCLE eventually will follow car lines, inasmuch as four-cylinder engines, shaft drive and spring frames are concerned. How far these prophets are correct only time can prove, but, so far, where drastic departures have been made on motor cycles, such machines have been regarded as freaks and have failed to appeal to public fancy. Among these novel machines the American Militaire probably takes first place. Although little has been heard of this unique motor cycle of late, it seems that experiments have been proceeding, and it now reappears on the American market under the name of Militor. The new model is distinctly in the ‘heavy’ class. The four-cylinder engine has a bore and stroke of 63x89mm, giving a total capacity of 1,568cc—far and away the largest engine fitted as the standard power unit of a motor cycle. This engine is air-cooled with overhead valves and mechanical lubrication by a gear pump. The gear box is integral with the crank case and is centrally controlled as on most American cars. From the engine power is transmitted through a plate clutch and gearing to the shaft and bevels. The electrical installation includes a combined lighting and ignition set, which is carried on the side of the crank case. Artillery type wood wheels are employed both on the
machine and on the special sidecar which is supplied when required. Undoubtedly the most interesting feature of the Militor is the pressed steel frame, which consists of two side members connected at the front by a triangulated ‘pyramid’ supporting the steering head. The front fork tubes are carried up above the steering head and embody two heavy coil springs. In addition, the hub is connected to the front ends of the frame by a patented system which, it is claimed, will absorb head-on shocks of enormous pressure. At the rear the frame is sprung on three leaf laminated springs, with an additional supporting leaf on the rear upper side. The tank is supported at the front on a lug on the head stamping, and at the rear, on a loop member carried on the clutch casing of the engine-gear unit. The capacity of this tank is 3½ gallons, while l½ gallons of oil are carried in a second tank which is integral with the rear mudguard. 28x3in tyres are used, which, with the footboards arranged on the frame level, give a somewhat high riding position. An instrument board is carried on the handle-bars. In July of this year, Lieut A Chappie covered two miles in 1min 18sec at the Sheepshead Bay Speedway, USA, which is a speed of nearly 92mph. The price of this unique machine in America, with sidecar, is £120, or as a solo machine with idler wheels, the price is approximately £96.
“THE FACT THAT FRANCE IS MAKING rapid strides in motor cycle construction is emphasised by the advent of several new machines, amongst which the Gratieux two-stroke compares favourably with English productions. This machine is of entirely French construction, being built in the factories of P Gratieux at Billancourt, a firm which gained a reputation during the war for its aeronautical productions. The motor is a three-port two-stroke, and is said to be economical in running and very well balanced. The lubrication is automatic and can be regulated by a milled head. Two brakes are provided, both acting on the belt rim, and it will be noted that the aluminium footboards are placed unusually far back. Maximum speed is about 38mph; weight just over 120lb; and tank capacity four and a half litres (one gallon) petrol and one and a half litres oil…A striking feature lies in the unusual type of spring forks. They should be equal to the road conditions in France, which in places are reported by demobilised despatch riders to be very bad.”
“UNTIL QUITE RECENTLY, NO ITALIAN MOTOR BICYCLES have come to England, but since the armistice one Italian machine, at least, has arrived in London—the Bianchi—which is handled by the famous firm which makes the well-known Bianchi car. Built almost entirely on British lines, the Bianchi motor cycle, though it does not present any startling novelties, may be said to be a thoroughly practical mount…The most notable feature about the Bianchi is the power unit, of 75x112mm, 498cc; it will be seen that the designers have pinned their faith to the long stroke, of which there are not many examples in British motor cycle engines…The gear is incorporated in the crank case, which also contains a multiple disc clutch, constructed in a similar manner to the clutch employed on the Bianchi car. It is operated by a quick-thread outside the crank case. The final drive is by belt…the near side pedal actuates the clutch and the off side pedal the brake, which works against the inside of the belt rim. There is another brake working on the outside of the belt rim, and operated by the lever on the right of the handle-bars…The Bianchi engine-gear unit embodies a kick-starter which follows the usual quadrant and ratchet-wheel pattern, although the parts are external and, therefore, less immune from the ravages of mud and dust than most of the current English designs…points of convenience have been well studied, as the back mudguard is so designed that its rearmost half, which is combined with the carrier, is detachable, and, consequently, allows easy access to the back tyre.”
“SIR,—WHILE TOURING IN DEVON RECENTLY I had the misfortune to strip the gear pinion of my motor cycle. I had not been stopped five minutes before an AA scout appeared. Of course, he could do nothing, as a new pinion was needed. Knowing the difficulty of obtaining spares, I anticipated being hung up in an out-of-the-way corner of the country for a week or so, but the AA scout informed me that the Association would get me a new pinion if I asked them. I managed to get to a place where I could put up, and wrote at once to the AA in Birmingham, asking them to obtain for me a new pinion. This I received within two days, although the Association explained that-they had had a little difficulty in obtaining the part. As the AA had trouble in getting the spare, I doubt whether I should have obtained one myself. I do not think that this branch of the A.A. service is generally known amongst motor cyclists, but a word in your valuable paper would remedy this.
“SIR,—WILL YOU KINDLY INSERT THE FOLLOWING in your valuable paper? I wish to air a grievance, which is no doubt shared by many other readers at this time. Just recently I have travelled twenty-four miles and fourteen miles to see two motor cycles that were advertised. In each case the machine was grossly misrepresented, and ought to have been described as portions of war wreckage; then we should not have our valuable time wasted in going to see such rubbish. The last I saw was advertised as a ‘Triumph 4hp, 1915, counter-shaft model, three-speed, less magneto and carburetter; £38.’ This is what I saw: The remains of a Triumph with the engine radiating gills chipped, gear box with no external fittings of any kind or pulley, a bullet hole through the tank, which had no pump or fittings of any kind, no front tyre and wheel buckled, a worthless tyre on the back wheel, no saddle, no magneto, no carburetter or mudguards, and condition of the interior of the engine and gear box unknown. It stood out in the rain amongst many other old veterans, all in a worse plight than this one, which was an awful sight.
Old Reader, Fulham.”
“SIR,—IN THE OFFICERS’ MESS HERE away in the wilds I came across a copy of The Motor Cycle with the report of the Scottish Trials. It was a real treat to see it. How I would have liked to go over the old hills. I borrowed the copy and devoured it from end to end. Reading through that issue I was pleased to see so many of the old names, and I hope to have the pleasure of being with them next year, if not this. No doubt the boys will remember my camera. You can tell them that it is very busy away in these wild spots. I manage occasionally to borrow a W.D. Triumph, and get a bumpy ride. Tin Lizzies are very popular for these districts of tracks, not roads. That was a fine issue; glad to see you are going so strong.
J Brunell, Lt, Erankeui, Asia Minor. ”
[Lt Brunell is now back in England—Ed.]
“SIR,—NOW THAT THE COLD WINDS are upon us again, we lady occupants of sidecars have seriously to consider our complexions, and from the various uncomfortable means that I saw used last winter I think a hint would be acceptable to many. The loose gauze veils often worn really cause serious chafing of the skin, and an ordinary net veil alone is of little use, but I find that if one first ties on tightly a fairly thick Russian net veil under the hat, and then drapes over the hat a loose gossamer motor veil, this may be lowered when driving and the under veil prevents any chafing. I have driven all day with this arrangement, and find it an admirable protection in every way, but the net veil must be tight. Now, a word of warning to my younger sisters—flappers’ I believe they are called—do not persevere unveiled when the wind blows from the north or east, or you will rue it later.
WMD, Golders Green.”
“A TOTAL OF 1,341 AMERICAN SURPLUS ARMY motor cycles have been transferred by the War Department to other departments. Thirty-one Cleveland lightweights and 1,057 Indians have been turned over to the Post Office authorities, 140 Indians to the Public Health Service, fifty-seven Indians and forty-seven Harley-Davidsons to the Navy and Marine Corps, and several smaller lots to other departments. Over 34,000 machines were delivered to the War Department, including 15,000 Harley-Davidsons and 18,000 Indians. 1,476 Cleveland lightweights were delivered. Altogether the American Army used over 30,000 sidecars.”
“MOTOR CYCLES ARE TO BE USED IN THE METROPOLITAN Police Force…to enable certain inspectors In these outlying areas to perform their duties…The idea at the present time is to provide ten sub-divisional inspectors with Douglas motor bicycles, as the authorities feel that this means of transport will be more rapid and more effective than that of inspectors mounted on horseback. It wUl be very interesting to see how the scheme develops, as we are given to understand that the authorities have further plans in view to develop the use of motor cycles.”
“THOUGH OUR CONFRÈRES ACROSS THE CHANNEL have often proved that they can produce excellent racing engines, they have, generally speaking, failed to produce complete motor cycles of outstanding merit. This promises to be altered now, and to those who have an opportunity of visiting the exhibition in the Grand Palais, the enormous improvement in French motor cycle design must come as a considerable, though welcome, surprise…although British machines are still the most common on the streets of Paris, a change is more than likely to be effected in the immediate future…The whole of the Louis Clement motor cycle is extremely novel, and shows a careful study of the more advanced section of British thought combined with excellent design and ingenious construction. A V type twin cylinder engine having a bore and stroke of 62x90mm (543cc) is formed as a unit with a three-speed gear box of the sliding type. The
clutch and front chain are entirely enclosed in the crank case casting, and the gear-driven magneto is mounted on the top of the gear box…The camshaft lies across the frame and vertically above the crankshaft. It is driven from the crankshaft by a vertical shaft and suitable bevels, he overhead valves being operated therefrom by rockers. The final drive from gear box to rear wheel is by means of a chain fitted with a shock absorber, and all wheels, which are of the disc type, are interchangeable, and fitted with internal expanding brakes. The frame is constructed partly of tube and partly of steel pressings. Pressed steel forks, whose motion is controlled by a leaf spring, are fitted to the steering head, which is solid with the main frame pressing. On this pressing, which extends rearwards to form the rear mudguard, saddle stay, and tool box, rests the tank and the saddle, the latter being mounted on three leaf springs. Aluminium footboards are extended to form a very complete undershield and a speedometer is neatly let into the tank…The feature of the Alcyon stand was undoubtedly the Ballot-engined
two-stroke. This machine has a single-cylinder three-port two-stroke engine of 75x80mm (548cc). An extension of the crank case encloses the silent chain, the magneto, clutch, and two-speed gear. The operation of the gears is by a forked lever projecting on either side of the tank, so that the rider can effect a change of ratio by the pressure of his knees…A feature of this very ingenious unit is that the right side footboard acts as a kick starter…the well-known aircraft firm of L Bleriot have decided to enter the motor cycle market…The engine is a vertical side by side twin of 60x88mm (499cc), having both connecting rods attached to a common crank pin. The two cylinders of the engine are mounted close together, the exhaust valve being set in front and the inlet behind, both being of exceptional size. The valve springs are neatly enclosed by split covers, held together by spring rings. Combined with the motor is a two-speed gear box…The final, drive is by belt running over a very large front pulley. The frame is a sound piece of work, suspended in front by coil springs through a trailing link action, and the machine can be supplied ‘with or without a spring frame. This springing is so neatly arranged as to be almost imperceptible, all springs being enclosed in the rear down tubes, and the necessary link action occupies but a small space. Both disc wheels are shod with 650x65mm tyres, and the rear mudguard is extended over the top of the belt rim…Louis Janoir: A large horizontally-opposed twin of 85x85mm (964cc) forms the power plant of this very unorthodox vehicle. A disc clutch transmits the power to a three-speed gear box bolted to the frame just below the saddle (or front saddle, since the machine is designed
for tandem use if desired). Final transmission is by roller chain, a sprocket for the speedometer drive being held in engagement with the driving side. Two internal expanding brakes are fitted one on either side of the rear wheel, and the wheels are quickly detachable and fitted with 750x85mm tyres. A very stoutly constructed tubular frame is suspended in front by powerful spring forks and at the rear by cantilever springs. Large detachable boxes for luggage are fitted on either side of the rear wheel, and very complete leg shields protect the rider from mud…Two specimens of Peugeot motor cycles are shown, viz, a 3½hp twin of 56x70mm (172cc) and a 6hp twin of 70x95mm (730cc). Both machines are fitted with primary chain drive, three-speed countershaft gear box, and final belt transmission. The valves are placed side by side and protected by a metal shield. Sidecar lugs are built integral with the frame of the 6hp model, and the frame is somewhat unusual in that, though it is constructed on standard lines with a dropped top tube, the front is considerably higher than the rear…In addition to complete motor cycles several engine makers exhibit a goodly display of engines. No greater variety can be found than that on the stand of A Anzani. They are beautifully finished, but in these and other engines we noticed an absence of adjustable tappets. The smallest Anzani engine shown is the 2-3hp 75x80mm (353cc), a single-cylinder, with a gear-driven magneto set at an angle. Another single-cylinder is the 3-4hp, 85x87mm (493cc), fitted with a mechanical oil pump and crank case sump. A twin-cylinder of the same dimensions is made, and has the magneto placed in front, as on the Morgan-JAP. A particularly interesting example of Signor Anzani’s work is a V type 10-12hp air-cooled engine of 78x125mm (1,194cc), with the cylinders staggered and placed at a very narrow angle. It has overhead valves. A similar 12-16hp engine of 105x120mm (2,077cc) is also shown. One of the most attractive engines on the stand is the side by side twin, the cylinders of which are cast in a pair, with an air space between. The dimensions are
60x90mm. This is one of the few Anzani engines provided with adjustable tappets…Both single and twin-cylinder Condors are shown fitted with. MAG engines. A primary chain fitted with engine shaft shock absorber transmits power to an external band clutch, and a constant mesh two-speed gear, the control of which ensures clutch withdrawal when a change of ratio is made. The final drive is by belt, and both brakes act on the belt rim. Handle engine starting is employed, and the most striking feature of the frame is the use of double tubes wherever possible. A spring fork of the single or non-girder type insulates the front portion of the machine, and a combined spring saddle pillar and footboards may be obtained as an extra…A solitary example of water-cooling for motor cycles was the 3hp Viratelle, an interesting machine having a single-cylinder engine with enclosed side by side valves behind, the cylinder. The engine forms a unit with a very simple and ingenious three-speed epicyclic gear. This gear is the outcome of years of road experience, and runs on ball bearings throughout. A circular radiator is arranged in front of the tank, and inside the two halves of which it is composed lies a fan driven from the engine by a long belt. A similar machine having two side-by-side cylinders is also manufactured…Cycle attachments appear to be attracting the attention of French designers. The Cyclemoteur is a neat little four-stroke engine of 50x55mm (108cc) with automatic pressure lubrication. The motor is carried by special front forks and is carried by special front forks, and drives by friction on to the front tyre…Another ingenious cycle attachment takes the form of a small inverted two-stroke, the Motor Fly, which
drives by friction on to a fabric-faced drum on the rear wheel. This wheel is specially constructed, and consists of a disc dished back to one side of the wheel so as partially to enclose and protect the engine…A flat twin engine embodying several novel features is carried in a cradle attached to an equally unusual frame. In the sump of the engine is a simple two-speed gear, and a cone clutch is mounted externally, the final drive being by belt. Opposed valves are employed, the exhaust being overhead, and a single tension spring working through rockers is utilised to return both inlet and exhaust valves…An extremely neat metal tool drawer is fitted directly below the carrier and contains a very complete outfit of spares, as well as the necessary tools, each in its own special compartment…Scooters were represented only by the Lumen, a neat little power unit which is made in a form applicable to attachment to pedal cycles. A small overhead valve motor of 55x50mm (119cc) is attached to the rear forks in such a manner that the crankshaft passes through the hub, the flywheel being on. the opposite side to the engine. The drive is through an epicyclic gear…One of the most curious vehicles in the motor cycle exhibit was a self-propelled trailer intended for attachment to pedal cycles. A small sidecar body contains the passenger, and the outfit is propelled by a single-cylinder Anzani engine through an almost incredibly short belt drive. There was a very representative display of British machines, which seem to have got a firm hold on the French market. Amongst the many were the Triumph, Douglas, BSA, Matchless, Morgan, P&M, Triumph, Coventry Eagle, and Hobart, while the Velocette and New Imperial were amongst those which were unfortunately delayed by the railway strike.
FE BAKER, THE MANUFACTURER OF PRECISION proprietary engines, decided to produce a complete motor cycle using its 350cc unit-construction two-stroke. “The new Precision motor cycle, while retaining the general outlines of the conventional machine, differs from it at almost every point, the main aim being to secure the essentials by the least number of units, with an entire absence of parts attached to the frame by clips…the tank and mudguards form parts of the frame construction, and each is thus made to perform a double function…Of the many springing systems reviewed in The Motor Cycle, the Precision design is one of the most simple. Both wheels are carried in triangulated frames, of which a portion of the mudguard in each case forms one side…At one corner of the triangle the members are pivoted to the frame, the hub being at the second point, and the end of the spring at the third…we were very impressed by its running and the efficiency of its springing. To those who have not ridden a spring frame mount, undoubtedly the extra comfort provided will come as a revelation and a new sensation in road transport.”
“TO PRODUCE A MOTOR CYCLE FOR SALE direct to the public is perhaps a daring undertaking considering that throughout the development of the motor cycle industry the value of the agent as an intermediary has been recognised by the great majority of manufacturers. Notwithstanding, Messrs Thomas and Gilbert, of Union Street, Smethwick, consider that, with manufacturing costs at present figures, there is an opening for a machine of good quality sold on the ‘cut price’ principle direct to the user, and that there are sufficient potential buyers who prefer dealing direct to absorb their output of twenty-five motor cycles per week. The ‘Akkens’, as the machine is called, is built and equipped throughout in first-class style, the specifications including Druid, Brampton, or Saxon forks, Ericsson or EIC magneto, Amac carburetter, Leatheries De Luxe saddle, Dunlop 26x2in studded tyres, Dunlop belt and aluminium footboards. The engine is a 2¾hp two-stroke with an adjustable pulley. Raised or semi-TT handle-bars are fitted as desired.”
BEFORE MOTORCYCLISTS WORE WAXED COTTON, Ixion waxed lyrical: “I have just paid some four guineas for a waterproof motor cycling suit. The tailor concerned assures me it is worth the money, for it is not only guaranteed to keep one bone-dry in a Scottish Six Days, but has a cut calculated to bring the most disdainful flapper to heel at the first wireless. If all this is true, I marvel much that it does not occur to the motor cycling tailors to supply dustproof cases in which such suits may be packed on the carrier. I am, therefore, now busy flaying an old armchair of its American cloth to construct such a case for the overalls as any practical manufacturer would supply with the clothes. This will, I think, fill the bill; but a murrain on that tailor, notwithstanding. While I am on matters sartorial, may I suggest to some artist in the tailoring trade that we motor cyclists generally look dreadful objects in wet weather. Omit the adjective ‘wet’ from the last sentence, says some cynic. Pardon me, under normal circumstances we are distinctly handsome as a class. Our chins show determination, our nostrils courage, our eyes have a far-away, do-or-die expression. But in wet weather our typical beauty is camouflaged by a headgear. Who can appear presentable with half a yard of sodden tweed sagging over his scalp-line? Who can inspire romance when the slip-stream is hoisting the tailplane of his sou’wester so that the stout elastic hooked under his chin scarce restrains the hat from doing a vertical climb? The last rainstorm caused me to throw one of Tress’s best tweed caps in the dustbin, and the one before had inspired me to present my sou’wester to the postman. I then splashed 10s on a waterproof cap, replete with a neck apron and ear flaps. When it is fully rigged, I look like a cross between a hoopoe and a Bisley prize-man. When it is furled, I look such an appalling little tick that a newsboy would never call me ‘sir’ if I gave him half a crown for a Star. Will somebody please design a headgear that will keep us moderately dry without making acquaintances ashamed to recognise us in the street? Incidentally, my expensive purchase does not ward the stinging raindrops off my eyes, nor yet stop icy rivers from trickling down my back. Its sole merit is that you can wear it more than once without its losing all semblance of being a cap. I ought to add that I had to purchase it by post, since no local garage or tailor had ever heard of the kind of maniac who takes a motor cycle out when rain is falling.”
“SINCE DEMOBILISATION,” IXION REMARKED, “I have learnt that an ex-Army haversack is quite the most precious accessory which a motor cyclist can own…You go down to the golf links, and the wife presses you to buy her a gas mantle as you pass Snooks’s. You are nearing home after the ACU Six Days, and, with a stab at the heart, you recall that you faithfully promised to bring home a Belgian hare or two white rats for sonny. You go to pay a filial call on your aged mother, and reflect that, as she lives in a country cottage, you really ought to take her a slab of salmon. Whilst you are mending a puncture, you see some lovely apples just over the hedge and there is nobody about…You have just packed up everything after unseizing your engine and you spot two spanners and a pair of pliers lying on the turf at the road edge…It is getting dark, and the charge of carbide in the generator is undoubtedly stale, and you have four hours to go; so you buy a pound of carbide. Araminta begins to grow rather peevish on her bracket and asks you to carry her muff or her gloves or her sports coat. All these and many other imaginable circumstances spell ‘Misery’ with a capital M if you are riding your machine under ordinary conditions: but if your trusty haversack is slung round your shoulders, you can put ninety and nine oddments into it, and forget their existence until you dismount. I admit the scent of my haversack is becoming a trifle fruity after three months of varied usage, but I shall shortly give it a dowse with post-war petrol, which is warranted to hot-stuff any other fragrance in quick time.”
“THE MIDLANDS WERE WELL REPRESENTED by these motor cyclists’ in every branch of the services fighting in the great war…two hundred of those who had returned were entertained at the Grand Hotel, Birmingham, by a committee representative of the sport, pastime, and trade in the Midlands…this was more than a reunion of local motor cyclists, although, even as such, it was undoubtedly a great success. What im pressed us more was the significance of such a meeting—a further proof that motor cyclists form a fraternity such as does not exist among participants in any other pastime—and proof, too that the brotherhood’s part in the war has not been, and will not be, forgotten by those who ‘stayed at home’. Representatives of all grades of the motor cycling public were present but all were motor cyclists, and that was sufficient, for such is the fraternity of motor cyclists that class and distinction of any kind are not recognised. The man who, before the war, saved enough to buy and run a second-hand machine of ancient make and the owner of perhaps a stud of machines de luxe had common interests; motor cycles before the war, motor cycles during the war, motor cycles of the present and the future. Many of the guests bore scars of battle, some were maimed, a few disfigured. When the company rose to drink a silent toast to those who had fallen, one was reminded that the sport of motor cycling had lost many enthusiasts who had helped to make the modern motor cycle the efficient war machine it proved itself to be.”
“MANY HAVE BEEN THE DESIGNS OF MOTOR SCOOTERS since the first idea of elaborating a foot-propelled machine set the ball rolling. A considerable amount of controversy has also arisen with regard to the most suitable position for the power unit, and some designs have suffered through the weights and stresses being unsuitably distributed. A sound method of construction, however, has been adopted by WGC Hayward and Co, of Twickenham, who have based the design of the Whippet scooter on motor cycle principles. The foremost of the many features incorporated in the design is the 1½hp four-stroke engine, which is mounted in front of the rear wheel, and protected by a collapsible wire cowl. An aluminium cylinder, machined all over, is shrunk, on to a steel liner, and mechanically operated overhead valves are housed in the cast iron detachable combustion head, which is securely held in position by four long bolts. A patented exhaust lift or half compression device is incorporated, which consists of a shaft sliding within the cam wheel bush, and provided with a small cam which can be removed beneath the exhaust valve rocker…The chassis is constructed of twin steel tubes throughout, and domed front and rear mudguards are provided. Internal expanding brakes are employed, that fitted to the front wheel being operated by a Bowden lever on the wide handle- bars, whilst the rear is foot-operated. During the searching tests to which it has been subjected, the Whippet is said to have exceeded 25mph, and has carried three persons up a gradient of approximately 1 in 6.”
“A ROAD RACE, WHICH CARRIES with it the title of championship of Spain, took place on the 12th inst, over a distance of 404 kilometres = 250 miles. The winner rode an Indian, and completed the distance in 5hr 58min 50sec, which is equal to an average speed of nearly 42mph. The second man, also on an Indian, averaged 38mph; and the third man, on a Motosaeoche, 34½mph.”
“A FIRM OF HIGH REPUTE is requiring good riders for tlie next T.T. Race. Amongst demobilised despatch riders there are, no doubt, many qualified riders who are capable of putting up a good showing in this strenuous race. If any motor cyclist, however, with army experience or not, has the necessary credentials which might qualify him as a likely candidate, and will send full details of his experience to the Editor, his letter will be forwarded to the firm in question.”
“IN ADJUDGING A TRICYCLE propelled by an Auto-wheel to be a motor car, the Lord Chief Justice said he was bound by definitions in the Statutes to regard a tricycle propelled by an Auto-wheel as a motor car, ‘though,’ he added, ‘if I had to decide for myself I should think it would be perfectly absurd to call such a machine a motor car. In deciding that it is a motor car I cannot help myself. If I could, I would. This decision may raise other difficulties which have been pointed out to us by the respondent. He will have to carry side lights, and a number plate in front, and a number of things which are properly applicable to a motor car, but which by no effort of imagination can be considered appropriate to a carriage of this description.”
“THE QUADRANT MOTOR CYCLE REQUIRES NO INTRODUCTION to our older readers, who may recall that Quadrant machines were among the pioneer designs. To those who have recently joined the ranks of motor cyclists, or are as yet only potential buyers, the name may not be so well known. With greatly increased production facilities, and with machinery laid down for the manufacture of war material, the Quadrant Co re-enter the motor cycle industry in a much larger way than before. Big singles are the chief propositions for next season, for Mr T Silver, who has been associated with Quadrants since 1903, firmly believes in the simple and sturdy mount, both for solo and sidecar use. The first of these models is on more or less conventional lines, having a single-cylinder engine with a bore and stroke of 87x110mm, the capacity being 654c. It is what may be described as a ‘hefty’ single, but the machine is nicely proportioned, the weight well distributed, and it has a low saddle position, and thus should be easy to handle as a solo machine. For sidecar use the engine will be found quite up to the work as regards power…A larger engine of 780cc capacity is used in the second model, which has a bore
and stroke of 95x110mm, and this is built integral with a three-speed gear of the sliding tooth type. The engine portion of the unit is similar to the smaller model, but the camshaft is enlarged and made to serve as the layshaft of the gear box, and a wheel in the magneto drive train also serves as the primary transmission…Exceptionally large valves are used, their diameter being no less than 2in…It will be fitted in a frame similar to that employed in the 654cc model, but in this machine the clutch will be in the rear hub…the tank is of the saddle type, fitting over the top tube and carried on platforms on the horizontal member. This tank construction makes what to all intents and purposes is a pair of tanks with a common head. This is to say that, excepting when the tank is quite full, the fuel is carried in two separate compartments—the 2½ gallons being drawn off by means of a two-way tap…The third and last Quadrant proposition is a scooter. It has a saddle and a one-gallon tank, and is just as much a miniature motor cycle as it is a scooter…The design is well thought out, embodying a Quadrant spring fork and an open frame, upon which is carried a well-sprung platform. The 2hp two-stroke engine is located below the saddle, and drives directly to the rear wheel by a chain. Over the wheel the frame is built up to form a carrier, in which is carried a tool-bag and a tank holding a gallon of fuel. Two brakes are fitted—a pair of conventional shoe brakes on the front wheel and a block brake acting on the flywheel of the engine.”
“AN UNUSUALLY SMART MOUNT WAS RIDDEN in the recent Scott Sporting Trial by RW Stanfield. [It was] largely designed to conform to the tastes of its owner…the chief deviations from the normal specification take the form of alterations to the petrol and oil carrying systems, the adoption of dynamo lighting, and the fitting of TT bars of very racy shape, and disc wheels. The usual petrol tank encircling the saddle tube is discarded, and the whole of the open frame filled with a large, flat-topped and extremely wide tank. This contains an oil compartment, so doing away with the necessity for embodying the filler cap in the seat pillar as is done on the standard models. By means of this arrangement it is possible to use a Brooks saddle, which ‘sits’ very much lower on to the frame than is normally possible. Switch box, hand-pump, and twin drip feed lubricators are mounted on the tank top, which presents quite an imposing appearance. Electric lighting is carried out by means of a Lucas dynamo set. This is driven from the magneto chain; the magneto being placed much higher than usual, and the dynamo sprocket arranged to act like a jockey wheel on the chain. An electric horn, fitted on the front guard extension adds finish to the general appearance. A plated exhaust pipe, wide TT bars almost level with the head, and wheel discs, are all conducive to the general raciness. Despite the weight, which is much greater than that of a standard model, a speed of 55mph is possible. The usual Scott purple and black finish is used.”
“SIR,—RE GEAR CHANGING WITH THE FOOT. There is no wobble, and the bicycle can be driven without taking one’s hands off the handle-bars, except, of course, to work the oil pump. This applies more particularly to the Triumph 4hp, and all bicycles fitted with the Sturmey-Archer countershaft gear and hand clutch. To use the gear in this manner, the gear lever must be adjusted until the ball of the lever, when the gear is in low, is just over the rider’s toe. The ball and about two inches of the lever must now be bent to form a right angle with the rest of the lever. If so adjusted it is very, easy to work…it wants getting used to, but when that is over one appreciates the difference at once. This method of gear changing was very popular among the DRs in France (with whom I believe it originated), when one wanted to hang on with as many hands as possible on the rotten roads. One word about the Triumph in general. It is a marvellous bicycle, and stood up to the work in France rippingly. I rode my bicycle for two weeks on one occasion, and averaged eight hours riding per day, and gave no attention to it whatever. I did not have any mishap, and it was going as well as ever at the end ot it, despite the fact that the engine was unrecognisable with caked mud. A truly wonderful bicycle, I think. Usual disclaimer.
0F Gaunter, Lt, RE Sigs. ”
OLDHAM, LANCS-BASED BRADBURY, which dated back to 1901, launched a two-speed, 2¾hp 350 that it had been working on during the war. The 1920 range also included updated versions of the pre-war 4hp 550cc single and 6hp 750cc twin.
“A SMART ALL-RED LIGHTWEIGHT MACHINE is being manufactured for 1920 by Messrs H Reed and Co, Manchester, makers of the well-known Dot motor cycles. It is a four-stroke model, and is equipped with the popular 2¾hp single-cylinder JAP engine, Amac carburetter, and EIC magneto, the latter having a handle-bar timing control. Transmission is by chain and belt, through an Albion two-speed box, the gears being changed by a lever at the side of the tank…Saxon spring forks are fitted and the well-raked head and TT bars should render steering particularly safe. Rubber grips are fitted to the bars, and we think that this is a detail which should be universally copied, as they absorb the bulk of handle-bar vibration…The large model Dot is an exceedingly neat looking machine, planned on well-tried lines. It is fitted with the 8hp JAP engine (85.5x85mm=976cc) and carries an EIC magneto immediately before the front engine plates and above the silencer. The carburetter is an Amac. Transmission is by chains through a Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear box, with the new typ control and the well-known dry plate clutch…The finish of the machine is excellent being in dark red enamel, with a nicel rounded tank panelled in the same red on an aluminium ground.”
“IN VIEW OF THE PRESENT HIGH PRICE of petrol and the general tendency to experiment with alternative fuels, motorists will be glad to know that the Royal Automobile Club is taking an active part in the development of benzole. At the forthcoming Motor Show at Olympia, London, the RAC has placed a portion of its stand at the disposal of the National Benzole Association, one of whose chemists will be in attendance to advise…as to the immediate and future possibilities of the new fuel.”
“THE DUNELT IS THE PRODUCTION of Messrs Dunsford and Elliott, Ltd, large Sheffield steel manufacturers, who have an experimental department in Birmingham…Often the view has been advanced that, with a moderately efficient two-stroke in the neighbourhood of 500cc, the main essential of the Ford type of motor cycle is secured; that with such a power unit it would be possible to produce a machine capable of taking the same place in the motor cycle world as that enjoyed by the famous American vehicle in the field of four-wheelers…Messrs. Dunford and Elliott, recognising the enormous scope for a motor cycle suitable for solo or sidecar work, and which could be sold at a figure approximating to that of the lightweight, decided that only a two-stroke engine could make this possible; but, realising that the efficiency of the small conventional three-port engine would be difficult to obtain in a much larger size, it was decided to ‘borrow’ one of the features of large two-stroke engines which are known to be satisfactory for marine and stationary purposes. This is the truncated piston—a type which is not exactly new to motor cycle practice, though this is the first time we have seen it embodied in a large single-cylinder engine which has been developed beyond the paper stage. By the use of the two-diameter piston, it is possible to send through the transfer passage into the cylinder a charge greater than the capacity of the cylinder…the displacement of the trunk piston being 770cc, while the working piston only displaces 500cc…We understand that 70mpg has been obtained with the Dunelt on the road, so its consumption cannot be said to be unduly heavy. The use of a truncated piston necessitates a larger cylinder than usual, hence the Dunelt engine is quite an imposing unit. The bore and stroke of the working cylinder are 85mm and 88mm respectively, while the diameter of the trunk is 105mm…while unconventional, the design of the Dunelt is extremely clean. The engine is inclined towards the head and drives a neat two-speed gear of the expanding ring type by means of chains, the final drive being by belt. Embodied in the gear box is a kick-starter with enclosed mechanism. The wheels are interchangeable, a brake rim being used on the front wheel exactly the same as that on the rear wheel. Domed mudguards 7in across the beads, a two and a half gallon tank, and aluminium foot plates are included in the equipment.”
“MESSRS T&T MOTORS OF 52A, CONDUIT STREET, London, W1, have recently departed from the manufacture of their principal product, the T&T engine oil, and have placed on the market the Silva motor scooter…A small single cylinder engine, having a bore and stroke of 52.5x54mm (117cc) is used, and although it is similar in design to that on the Autowheel, it has undergone no fewer than forty modifications to render it suit- able for adaptation to the scooter…Located on the left side of the front wheel is a neat tool box, in which a battery is housed for the purpose of supplying current to the electric head and tail lamps; a switch is also fitted to the side of the tool box. The front mudguard is divided, and by releasing two fly nuts the front half may be removed, consequently reducing considerably the difficulty usually experienced when repairs to the front tyre have to be effected. The rear wheel is equally accessible, a simple drop-out axle being employed…for the additional sum of £1 a seat will be supplied.”
“ITALY, LIKE FRANCE, IS NOW TAKING an extraordinarily keen interest in motor cycle matters, and the trials that are organised in the former country rank in severity with those held here. A long distance run from Milan to Naples was held last week over vile roads, and constituted a twenty-four hours’ trial, as the competitors took approximately that time to cover the distance—540 miles—between the two cities. The finish, which ought to have been at Naples, was at the last moment brought back about fourteen miles to Caserta on account of the impossible state of the roads. Unluckily, this modification caused the two fastest riders to lose their way, and they arrived at Naples instead of Caserta, thus loosing the race. They were Maffeis, riding a Motosacoche, and De Leonardi (a despatch rider), on a Sunbeam. The winner, Girardi, rode a 350cc two-stroke Garelli, a new machine which has already competed successfully during the year, and will be put on the market in large quantities at the beginning of next year. It is a two-cylinder monobloc, side by side, placed transversely across the frame, 50mm bore and 89mm stroke to each cylinder. The mixture is taken into the left cylinder, and the burnt gases are exhausted through the right cylinder, as the cylinders are inter-communicating, and have one combustion chamber in common. The two pistons also work simultaneously oh a single crankshaft. A great economy is claimed by this system, and it has certainly proved efficient. The gear box (two speeds) is incorporated in the crank case, as is the magneto, which is of special design and completely covered being protected entirely from water, mud, etc. This machine has a lovely purr, quite distinctive from others, and quite a good turn of speed…The three Sunbeams were the only team to finish; they also made a splendid show.”
“THE EDINBURGH EVENING DISPATCH of October 23rd announces that on Monday next the Edinburgh &DMC has organised a race for the Palmer trophy. May we once again pray that the reporters of the lay press will desist from the practice of so misnaming reliability trials? Road races are illegal on the public roads of Great Britain, and, in consequence, no motor club arranges such events.”
“THE 4HP TRIUMPH ENGINE, WHICH HAS already earned an enviable reputation for reliability and pulling power, both under strenuous war conditions and in everyday use, remains unaltered, save for special bosses on the crank case to provide fixings for the chain case. It is in the transmission that the most important features lie…” For the 1920 season the Triumph gained all-chain drive, an oil-tight aluminium primary chaincase, new three-speed gearbox and a new clutch incorporating an engine shock absorber. “For the first time sidecar lugs are incorporated in the Triumph frame, and a beautifully finished Gloria sidecar, with spring suspension wheel, can be obtained with the machine, in combination form.”
“THERE IS EVERY PROMISE THAT BEFORE very long electric lighting will be as general on motor cycles as it is on present-day cars…there will shortly be no reason why every motor cyclist, if he so desires, should not have the conveniences of an electric lighting set, which at present is regarded more as something only the most opulent motor cyclists can afford. Only those who have used an efficient dynamo lighting set on a motor cycle can fully appreciate its great convenience and cleanliness. Practically every car manufactured in this country and in America is catalogued with electric lighting equipment, and most of the motor cycles produced in the USA, too, are so equipped. In this connection, it is interesting to know that a scooter and an auxiliary motor attachment are fitted with a magneto of the flywheel type from which current is available for lighting purposes…At the present time there are many riders who look askance at electrical equipment, especially when it is combined with the ignition, but little need be feared on the score of unreliability, especially with some of the later systems which do not depend on the storage batteries for their efficiency.”
“ANYONE WHO SPENDS BUT A FEW HOURS on a main road cannot fail to be impressed with the number of passenger motor cycles and runabouts that pass. Before the war the greater number of motor cycles were ridden solo, but the passenger machine has been steadily increasing in popularity until at the present day there are comparatively few motor cycles designed for solo work only, excepting, of course, lightweight two-strokes and a few four-strokes…a very large section of the community has come into touch with things mechanical during the last five years, and has been bitten with the fever, as might be expected. Undoubtedly, light three and four-wheelers are the cheapest form of travel for two, and the freedom of the road has an attraction which must be experienced to be realised. A week end in the country is an easy matter for the owner of a modern motor cycle, and if he is a family man it is wonderful how many of the family can be accommodated on a motor cycle and sidecar.”
“THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL V TWIN two-strokes designed and made, but, for reasons known only to their sponsors, they have not been placed upon the market. Among the exhibits at Olympia, however, a new 5hp two-stroke engine will be staged by the Trotman Patent Dandy Co, a firm of paper makers’ engineers at Wood Green, London. Designed by an engineer, whose experience with motor cycle engines goes back to the year 1897, when he designed and constructed the 2¾hp Stanger quad, the engine under review is of the conventional three-port type, and can be fitted in any motor cycle frame which accommodates present-day engines.”
“LATTERLY THE NAME SENSPRAY has been rather less to the fore than it was wont to be, for in pre-war competition circles it was almost impossible to witness an event in which this famous carburetter was not fitted to some of the most successful machines. The makers, Charles H Pugh, Ltd, of Tilton Road, Birmingham, have not been idle, however, and a tour of their works at once indicates the reason for their absence from the motor cycle world during the past season. On every hand, in their extensive shops, one sees huge stores of giant aeroplane carburetters, and it is owing to the Government’s requirements in this direction not yet being filled that the manufacture of motor cycle instruments still remains in abeyance. A new type has been evolved, however, and early in 1920 it is expected that it will be placed upon the market, and a short test on a machine fitted with one of the first examples demonstrated the fact that it has many desirable features. In the old Senspray carburetters the action was practically automatic, and, if tuned for maximum power and speed, the petrol consumption was rather high at low speeds. The present type, by a very ingenious modification, can be made sensitive, semi or fully-automatic at will accordingly as the rider prefers full automacity (one lever control) or maximum fuel economy (involving use of extra air lever when picking up or climbing)…We were informed that, between the extreme settings, when used on a standard 85x88mm engine, the consumption varied from about 90mpg to 107mpg.”
“THAT OVER 15,000 TAN SAD PILLION SEATS have been sold during the present year is sufficient proof of their popularity, and, apropos the discussion regarding the danger of pillion riding, the principals of the Tan Sad works advise us that they have yet to hear of the first accident where one of their sprung seats has been used…For 1920, the pillion seat has undergone several improvements, including an upholstered top in place of the loose cushion, and the springs are shorter, which makes the seat much neater, and a combined rear lamp and rear number-plate have been added to the range…Probably the most interesting addition is the new spring seat for the driver…a seat being carried on the forward ends of two levers which are anchored to the rear part of the carrier and are supported by coil springs about midway, ie, to the rear of the seat, which follows the lines of a chair seat rather than a saddle…a second unit can be fitted to the seat, in the form of a pillion seat, which utilises the same springs at the front as support the driver’s seat, and has springs of its own at the rear. If the space at the rear is to be used as a carrier, then an alternative unit is provided, thus giving the motor cyclist a sprung platform…From a short road test on a solo machine over terribly pot-holed roads, we formed the opinion that the new driver’s seat would become as popular as the 1919 Tan Sad pillion. It was extremely comfortable, and created a new sensation unlike that associated with a spring frame or an ordinary saddle.”
“THE JOHNSON MOTOR WHEEL IS ANOTHER of the many ingenious attachments which have been brought out to motorise the pedal cycle, and is one of the most practical we have seen. The outfit consists of a special wheel, a stand, and a motor unit with tank and controls. To fit a pedal cycle with this device merely necessitates the removal of the existing wheel, the insertion of the special wheel, and the attachment of the stand and power unit. The wheel is rather stronger in construction than the ordinary one, and is provided with a sprocket loosely mounted on to the hub, the drive being taken through springs anchored to brackets riveted on the wheel rim. The whole outfit, it is claimed, can be fitted to a pedal cycle in the space of one hour. A two-stroke flat twin is the power unit, lubricated on the petroil system. One of the most interesting details is the magneto, which is built into the flywheel and works on practically the same principle as the Ford magneto…From the magneto there run two wires to the plugs and a thinner wire for illuminating the head and tail lamps…A simple form of automatic carburetter is fitted, which is provided with an exhaust muff so that sufficient heat is obtained to vaporise the fuel in the coldest weather.”
“IT HAS LONG BEEN A SOURCE of wonder to motor cyclists that the sleeve valve engine has not been adapted to motor bicycles…Yet up to the present time little has been heard of an engine of this pattern being made of a size and type suitable for the popular little vehicle in which this journal is especially interested. It may be argued that the poppet valve engine universally fitted to motor cycles is so satisfactory that nothing better is required…Yet there is something wanting, something we have advocated for years, and that is silence. To silence the exhaust is not difficult, but to render innocuous the rattle and din proceeding from valves, cam and timing wheels is not easy without interfering with the efficiency of the engine…Such noises are more wearing to the nerves on a long run than the regular patter of the exhaust…Now the sleeve valve engine has no valve noises. It can equal the poppet engine as regards power, it needs less attention as there are no seatings to be ground, and if it be proved that the moving parts wear well and that the sleeves do not seize it has a future before it which is full of promise. It is most gratifying to be able to make the first announcement that Messrs Barr and Stroud, Anniesland, Glasgow, have turned their attention to an engine of this type…The Barr and Stroud engine is the first air-cooled, single sleeve valve motor the making of which is to be taken up seriously. It is made under the Burt and McCollum patents, which cover the engines formerly fitted to the Argyll car, and now used on the Piccard Pictet. The bore and stroke respectively are 70x75mm (290cc), and the engine is rated at 2¾hp…In outward appearance the engine strongly resembles a two-stroke, chiefly owing to the absence of valves and to the position of the exhaust port castings, while the illusion is still further aided by the fact that it has an outside flywheel, which in future models will be on the transmission side of the engine…we were privileged to make our first trial trip on an air-cooled, sleeve valve engined motor bicycle. The bicycle to which the engine was fitted was of well-known make, fitted with chain-cum-belt transmission and a two-speed gear. In cold and damp weather, a run of about fourteen miles was made over fair roads of an undulating nature, including one fairly steep hill…An attempt to start by paddling off on a slight up grade presented no difficulty, as the engine fired at once. With a view to testing the engine severely, and owing to the greasy nature of the road, no attempt was made to change into high gear for some time. Once clear of the bad road, the speed was increased, and no incident occurred until one of the firm’s experimental staff who accompanied us led the way up a steep hill which could not be rushed. This was taken on low gear and with the throttle fully opened, but on reaching the summit the high gear was engaged without a falter, and throughout the run not a sign of a ‘konk’ could be detected, and the engine kept remarkably cool…The next rise the engine took on top gear in excellent style, and thereafter followed a certain amount of straight road, on which a good pace was obtained…but we were truly sorry that the exhaust silencing arrangements were somewhat crude. This fact prevented us from appreciating that the engine, apart from exhaust explosions, was really quiet, and only when throttled right down could the silence of the engine be adequately realised. There was no silencer proper, merely a long exhaust pipe with a flattened end, but when throttled right down or descending a hill nothing but a muffled swish could be noticed…In our opinion, the engine shows great promise. We tried hard to seize it up, but it refused to oblige us, and we believe that in its present form as a small single-cylinder, as a large V twin, or as a moderate power flat twin, it has great possibilities.”
“THIS WEEK GROVE PARK WORKHOUSE will be handed back to the Grove Park Guardians after being used as a MT depot for five years. Hundreds of ASCMT motor cyclists passed the tests at Grove Park, and thousands of motor cycles received treatment in the workhouse shops. A litter of derelict petrol cans is all that remains.”
“SIR,—THREE WEEKS AGO MY BACK WHEEL WAS RUN INTO by a lorry, and so buckled that a new tyre rim is the only possible repair. The machine is 1919 pattern—in fact, brand new a few days before the accident. A new rim was ordered from the makers—a well-known firm—the same day by the repairers who have my machine. Since then both they and I have asked the makers to hurry, explaining that the machine is required for daily use. I have no interest whatever in the firm beyond that of a customer who would no doubt be satisfied if his machine had a back wheel in it, and so enabled him to acquire satisfaction, twice daily, at 8.15am and 7pm. Oh! ye motor cycle manufacturers! Search in your hearts and order books, lest, peradventure, ye be the culprits. So that I may have my rim; and ye, the shekels therefor; and my blessing on yourselves, your successors, and assigns, in fee simple, and free from encumbrances.
Verbum Satis Facienti?, Slough.”
FROM MOTOR CYCLING: “WE LEARN that at the last meeting of the Competitions Committee of the ACU, the basic conditions of the 1920 Tourist Trophy Races were discussed. It was proposed by Mr AV Ebblewhite, seconded by Mr EB Ware, and carried unanimously, ‘that two Tourist Trophy Races be held in the Isle of Man, a senior race for machines not exceeding 350cc, and not over 200lb in weight, and a Junior race for motorcycles not exceeding 25Occ, and 125lb in weight.’ The reduction in capacity in the two classes is due to the fact that 500cc machines were becoming too fast to be safe on the island roads.”
An un-bylined scribe on the Motor Cycling team, presumably ordered to produce an introduction to the 1919 Olympia show, produced a joyous paean to motor cycling. If this doesn’t stir your blood you’re probably on the wrong website. Enjoy!
“THE FIRST OLYMPIA SHOW SINCE THE WAR is the beginning of a new era in the history of motor cycling. Five years ago pessimists were croaking that the war would be the death of the sport; to-day we realize that nothing has done so much to popularize motor cycling as the great struggle through which we have passed victoriously. Tens of thousands of men and women have learned to drive during the war; hundreds of thousands who had never before been driven in sidecars have learned by practical demonstration the value of these speedy and economical little outfits. To-day we face the curious position of finding that we have far more motorcyclists than motorcycles. This peculiar situaton, however, is not likely to last long. I refuse to believe that a country that could perform the engineering miracles that were worked during the war can be beaten by any difficulties, and I look forward to a time in the near future when there will be ten motorcycles on the roads of Great Britain in the place of every one that raised the dust before the war. At this great Show there will be thousands of men and women who have never yet owned motorcycles but who have been made to realize their utility during the last five years, and who do not require very much persuasion to induce them to join the ranks of those who motorcycle for pleasure. It is to these that I address these lines. I want them to realize what the possession of a motorcycle will mean to them. I want them to understand that the machine that did such faithful donkey work during the war is in peace time the greatest boon that has been given to us by science.
THE POSSESSION OF A MOTORCYCLE changes all one’s views of life. It is not merely a means of locomotion; it is a constant source of new pleasure; it provides a new sport; it appeals to both sexes and to the elderly as much as to the youthful. Many are at first attracted by the obvious utility of the machine. They think it will be useful for business purposes, which it will be without doubt, or that it will serve to take them to the river, the football field, or the tennis club. One and all they learn that the pleasures of motor cycling lure them from the aforetime fascinations of inferior sports. Those who have patiently patted a white globule round the same old golf course year after year and have cursed in the self-same swear words in the same old bunkers and over the same old
rabbit holes, suddenly realize that there are other courses to conquer. They make new friends; life is broadened. Soon the fascination of travelling outweighs all other pleasures; the motorcycle is no longer regarded merely as a means of getting about, but as a creature that is palpitatingly alive. Most things mechanical add to the irritations of life. Trains mean boredom from which we drug ourselves by reading papers that only bore us a little less; the time-wasting invention of the telephone has caused more enthusiastic profanity than any other device of man, always excepting those hideous burrowings into the home of the earthworm in which Londoners hang by straps over seats for which they have paid. But a motorcycle is a thing that every normally-constructed man or woman can love. To begin with, it pleases the eye. It is graceful in its lines. It arouses one’s intelligent interest. One wants to know all about it. It has moods that have to be humoured as a lover—poor brute—humours the whims of his pro tem, inamorata. But unlike the lover of woman, he who gives his affections to a motorcycle has the satisfaction of knowing that its whims are understandable, whereas——. But enough has been said. I am reminded that Motor Cycling has many readers of the sex that so charmingly adorns our sidecars. One of my few claims to fame when I am declutched from this life, and of which I wish to remind obituary writers, is the invention of that terminological exactitude the ‘Flapper bracket’ which first appeared in Motor Cycling some six or seven years ago, and which, like ‘Gipsy Meeting’, has become a household, I mean roadside, word in Great Britain and America. I have even heard a Frenchman use it with a pronunciation that it is impossible to reproduce, a somewhat striking testimony to the ubiquity of this journal. I believe it was the invention of the sidecar that caused the great boom in motor cycles. Before that time there were enthusiasts, some of whom hitched trailers to their machines, and inspired Punch to the famous picture of a motorcyclist calling out to an empty trailer, “Hold on tight, Auntie, we’re coming to a curve.” The sidecar removed the objection that motor cycling was a, selfish and unsociable pastime. Young men should be warned that the possession of sidecars makes it extremely difficult for them to avoid the careless habit of becoming engaged. Those who have not yet experienced the pleasures of sidecarring can hardly be said to have lived. To set off early on a summer morning with a congenial friend who
knows how to ‘do’ her hair so that the wind will not disturb it and put her out of temper, and to leave cities and work behind, to get out into God’s own country, along roads tunnelled through trees and flecked with sunshine, to rush through pure air over commons flecked with white geese, past purple heaths, over wooded hills and open moorland, is an experience once enjoyed will never pall. The need for alertness when driving to avoid the dangers of the road produces a pleasant stimulation of the senses that banishes all cares. One is merely conscious of a feeling of supreme happiness. Scenes change so rapidly that the fascination is never dimmed, and always the white ribbon of road lures one on to find out what lies round the next bend, or what view will be disclosed when the summit of the next hill is reached. Other sports may thrill, but motor cycling gets into the blood; it arouses the wanderlust that can never be sated. It gives one the feeling that at least one has discovered what it is to be free. Instead of a garden, one has counties to play in, or countries or continents if time permits. And the desire to explore, to see how God has planned his great garden, becomes keener as time goes on. One-day runs to the country and the sea are extended into long week-end tours covering hundreds of miles, and still the ambition to go farther afield grows steadily. Arrangements are made for a holiday tour. There is no need to decide upon where to go. The wise man does not make plans of any sort. He has all of Great Britain to play in, and the whim of the moment will determine where the next resting place shall be. The owner of a modern motorcycle has a machine that will take him to worlds of romance of which he has formerly only dreamed. He may have it slung aboard a Channel steamer and the Continent of Europe is his to enjoy. The chateaux of France mellowed by the glamour of history, the sunshine of the Mediterranean, the white Alps that glow crimson as the sun sinks, the valleys of Switzerland painted with gentians and Alpine roses, lakes, waterfalls and glaciers that are frozen oceans of lovlier blue. Italy! He may learn all that her name means to her lovers; Spain with its memories of Moorish grandeur, its colour and sun—as time goes on he may know all these as no tourist who is the slave of railways can ever know them. Remember that when one has bought a motorcycle one has a key to the world. It costs no more, very often less, to spend a motor cycling holiday exploring Europe than to spend it in England. If you were given a free pass over all the railways of Europe would you not travel? If you would not you must be strangely lacking in that spirit of adventure that has made Britain. The motorcycle is a travelling pass to the lands of which you have read and about which you have dreamed on so many occasions. And let me tell you one thing more. If you buy a motorcycle to-day you will find that it is an introduction into the society of the keenest, most human, most chivalrous sportsmen and sportswomen in the whole world. Join them now and may the best luck of the road be with you!”
THE MOTOR CYCLE OFFERED A CONCISE update on technical trends at Olympia: “The most pronounced tendency in four-stroke engines is the adoption of the flat twin—a tribute to the Douglas. Such additions as the new ABC, Humber, Brough, Zenith, Coventry Victor, Harley-Davidson, Raleigh, and Wooler make an imposing list, and clearly show which way the wind blows. Another most noticeable feature is the increased number of small two-strokes, a type of engine which has been considerably improved in detail since the Show in 1913. Enthusiasts will be disappointed at the small number of British engines fitted with overhead valves, but one may expect developments in the next year or so. There is already a tendency amongst new firms to incorporate this- feature in their designs, and the sceptics will gradually be converted. Several firms are now marketing models with mechanical oiling devices, while many more are experimenting in that direction. The Humber (4½hp), Douglas (3½hp and 4hp), Velocette, Clyno, Rex, JES, BSA, P&M, and Precision are amongst’ the British converts to mechanical systems, moreover the FN and practically all American machines are so fitted. Tourist Trophy races and experience during the war account for the disappearance of the hub gear. Countershaft gears in one form or another are almost universal, the exceptions being those firms who stand by the simple belt transmission, such as the Rudge, Zenith, and Wooler, and even the Zenith may be said to possess, a countershaft. Three-speed countershaft gears may be considered to be standard for sidecar machines, but the majority of light solo mounts have two ratios only, the ABC being an exception, with its four-speed box. Proprietary gears are more common than gear boxes made by the manufacturer of the motor cycle, and motor cycles as a whole give the impression of being assembled rather than designed. Combined engine-gear units retain the position they held in 1913, although not necessarily by the same manufacturers. The big single Quadrant, Precision, and Paragon are among the new designs embodying this principle. New spring frames are exhibited on the 3½hp Douglas, the ABC, Matchless, Raleigh, Indian, Royal Ruby, Precision, Paragon, Coulson, Wooler, and Clyno. The spring suspension of the type so well proved by the Bat and Edmund, in which the saddle and footboards are sprung, has also gained new support. On passenger machines detachable and interchangeable wheels are becoming universal practice amongst the heavier machines, at any rate. Mudguarding has received the attention due to it, large guards and better designs in valancing. being obvious improvements on most new models, while the problems df accessibility have not been overlooked, although not entirely overcome, by many designers. In finishing their machines, makers now show a decided tendency to reduce the number of plated parts, while tank decoration is more conservative, the black and gold finish being much in evidence. The show also reveals the prevalence of dynamo lighting. ”
MARQUES EXHIBITING AT THE 1919 SHOW: ABC, Abingdon, AJS, Alecto, Allon, Ariel, Bat, Beardmore-Precision, Black Prince, Bown-Villiers, Bradbury, British Excelsior, Brough, BSA, Calthorpe, Cedos, Chater-Lea, Clyno, Connaught, Corona Junior, Coulson, Day, Diamond, Dot, Douglas, Dunelt, Edmund, Elswick, Enfield, Excelsior (American), FN, Harley-Davidson, Hazlewood, Henderson, Hobart, Hoskison, Humber, Indian, Ivy, Ixion, James, JES, Johnson Motor Wheel, Kingsbury, Lea-Francis, Levis, Martinsyde, Matchless, Metro-Tyler, New Hudson, New Imperial, Norton, NUT, OK, Olympic, Omega, P&M, Paragon, Quadrant, Radco, Raleigh, Reading Standard, Res, Rover, Royal Ruby, Rudge, Saltley, Scott, Simplex, Sparkbrook, Sun, Sunbeam, Triumph, Velocette, Victoria, Verus, Vindec, Williamson, Wolf, Wooler, Young, Zenith and, producing scooters (“miniature two wheelers”), Autoped, Kingsbury, Quadrant, Silva, Skootamota, Whippet. The Matchless Victory’s khaki livery must have been the last thing veterans wanted to see. Clyno’s 8hp twin appeared with an enclosed rear chain and spring frame; this stalwart of the machine-gun battalions was sold as the Peace model. More radical designs included the three-cylinder Redrup Radial. There was even a six-pot prototype but the marque had faded away within three years.
“CONSIDERING HOW VERY LITTLE HE KNOWS about them, the average motor cyclist takes, quite an interest in sidecars. At Olympia Show, under the benign influence of feminine persuasion, he even goes so far as to try some of the more attractive-looking models—an action which, in so far as real judgment is concerned, is just about as effective as trying to assess the merits of a car by sitting in the dickey seat. But it leaves him in total ignorance of the fact—as from personal experience I am prepared to testify—that the modern sidecar represents probably the most luxuriously comfortable form of road travel known to mankind. The motor cyclist—wise man—appraises the sidecar purely and simply as an auxiliary to his machine. Will it make a favourable-looking combination? Is it light enough? Is it strong enough for those hill-climbing stunts, etc? Once upon a time I adopted this attitude myself. I permitted any justifiably regular passenger to select her sidecar, whilst I attended to the wangles associated with early delivery of the gallant machine that was to propel her and me. I have since perceived that I was grievously mistaken. I ought to have sent her to a motor school to learn how to control a powerful twin, whilst I sampled and chose the attachment that was to float me over the rough roads and lull me into delicious mental abstraction with its lazy, nonchalant, easy-going motion. This enthusiasm for sidecars is a war product, purely and simply. In the course of duty I used to bestride Triumphs, Douglases, and Clynos, and do my best, as in duty bound, to dash them to pieces on the highways and byways of Flanders and Northern France. But one day, in a fit of generosity—I had been consistently putting a vertical gust up my mechanist sergeant, and thought it only fair to let him have a return match on me—I climbed into the sidecar. From that day forward I renounced the saddle in favour of the life of padded luxury which I found was assured by acceptance of the passenger seat…The. sidecar combination may be, and I make no doubt certainly is, the Ultima Thule of economical motoring, but from the moment he or she climbs into the nest of cushions and repose, the sidecar passenger is one of the idle rich. Idle, you who have mended punctures whilst she powdered her nose, will easily grant. Rich? Who wants, greater wealth than the enjoyment of speed, air, scenery, and perfect comfort. And all that with a complete detachment that is only comparable to sleep…It appears as if the resources of science had been ransacked in the interests of promoting, sidecar efficiency. The modern sidecar is a good-looking affair, graceful in outline and pleasing to the eye no less than to the vertebra. The suspension is a miracle of thoroughness. Between the passenger and the bump on the road are interposed a variety of shock-absorbing devices. First, the cushions—and these are better than ever. Secondly, the body springs connecting the carrosserie (this is the word!) to the chassis. Thirdly, the chassis springs connecting the frame to the axle. Finally, the pneumatic tyre. Here is a fourfold defence that nothing short of an explosion can penetrate…I was enjoined not to get into the Bat limousine sidecar [pictured below, top centre]: a reduction in miniature of the sort of thing one associates with a 45hp Daimler. However, it could be got into, as I saw several people in it. Another mother-in-law joke ! Needless to say, the unlettered halfpenny press leapt at it, and the explosion of their flashlights o’ mornings was as the bombardment preliminary to the Somme push.”
“SOME OF THE BEST FEATURES of engine design seen at the Show were found in component power plants constructed by firms which specialise in their produclion. It is interesting to note that the adoption of a standardised unit has always been a characteristic of a great many motor cycles, and this policy is being now taken up very widely by car manufacturers. It is undoubtedly a sound one, as through specialisation and the fact that large outputs are handled, economy in cost and efficiency in the service of spare and replacement parts are simultaneously obtained.” Blackburne was at Olympia with 2¾ and 4hp singles and an 8hp V-twin. Abingdon King Dick offered a 3½hp single and a 6-7hp V-twin. The Swiss MAG range was represented by 3½ and 6hp V-twins. The 2½hp two-stroke Villiers featured in a number of lightweights throughout the show; faced competition in the lightweight two-stroke market from the 2¾hp Union and 3hp Dalm. Precision’s well established 8hp V-twin was joined by a 359cc two-stroke; Stanger stood out from the crowd with a 5hp two-stroke V-twin. Victor was new to the proprietary market with a 5-7hp flat twin. And, as The Motor Cycle pointed out, “JAP engines may be said to have grown and developed with the pastime itself, and there is no doubt that the industry owes a great deal to them. They first saw the light in 1903, when British motor cycle engines were practically non-existent, and the then small works of Mr JA Prestwich were devoted to turning out a certain number of those engines which helped to make the success of the earliest all-British motor cycles. To-day, scarcely one motor cyclist in ten thousand is unaware of their existence, and literally thousands are in use at the present time. The JAP range comprised 2¾ and 4hp singles and V-twins rated at 4, 5, 6 and 8hp; the 8hp was available with air or water cooling.