IXION WAS ON GOOD FORM: “As our old readers know, I am an unrepentant heretic on the subject of silent machines, and as such am boycotted by the rest of our editorial staff. My chief excuse is that I am a country mouse, and whenever possible reside away from roads which are designed with a straight-edge and infested by trams. On my way home recently, for example, I negotiated no fewer than eleven absolutely blind corners. On roads of such a character noise is the only valid insurance. It is good for me to make as much noise as I can, and if I meet another fellow near any of these corners, I prefer his machine to be as noisy as possible…I have not the least wish to ride a noisy machine where noise is useless. My own ideal is three- fold. I should wish my buses to be: 1. Genuinely noisy when noise is, in my discretion, a safeguard. 2. Absolutely noisy when noise is, in my discretion, a safeguard. 3. Free from mechanical noise at all times. My present mount makes a moderate noise at all times; and 50% of its noise is mechanical noise. Wherefore from my standpoint it is just about as bad as a machine can be. One of my neighbours has an Indian which on small throttle openings creates no sound beyond the mild swish of well-lubricated chains. I often wish the fellow’s silencer would fall off. He is a daring cornerist, and has little use for a hooter. If he does not die or move presently, I shall. Anyhow, if and when the powers that be compel us all to ride machines which are dead silent I shall emigrate.”
“THOSE WHO HAVE ONLY JOINED the motor cyclists’ fraternity during the past few years find it difficult to realise that about fifteen years ago the motor cycle was threatened with extinction. It had been tried by a comparatively large number of makers, but in its early state of development it was found wanting, and was dropped out of their programmes. A small ‘handful’ of makers and The Motor Cycle, however, had sufficient confidence to ‘carry on’ against obstacles and prejudice. Among these firms the Rex Motor Manufacturing Co was one of the best known, and, although it made both singles and twins, it is for the latter type that the company is better known by latter day motor cyclists. Following the introduction of the Rex sidecar ‘single’, the old-established Coventry firm has now produced a twin on similar lines…The new model is a distinct departure from the pre-war twin Rex. It is larger all round, is fitted with 28x3in quickly detachable and inter-changeable wheels, and carries a ‘spare’ at the rear of the sidecar boot…The silencer pipes are of flexible tubing, bending in clean sweeps to a flat metal expansion chamber of large size, which is carried under the magneto carrier. From the engine to the Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear box the drive is by chain enclosed in a cast aluminium case, thence the drive is by belt to a separately built pulley wheel supported on its own ball bearing, which remains in position when the rear wheel is removed for tyre repairs…All wheels are well mudguarded, and as an ‘extra’ a pair of patented detachable winter guards is supplied for affixing to the valances of the front wheel guard. These increase the width of the guard by 400%…Plated parts are conspicuous by their absence, the handle-bar being finished black, as are most of the fittings. The Rex cantilever spring saddle-pillar is fitted as on the single-cylinder model, which it also follows as regards colour scheme, the tank being black with purple panels. Most of the constructural features of the ‘single’ are retained in this new model, which, incidentally, will be known as the Model 66.”
“THOSE WHO HAVE FOLLOWED THE PATENT Files during the past two or three years will recall that quite a number of inventions relating to motor cycles have been protected by the Coventry Acme Motor Co, Ltd. These patents may have led many to expect the ultimate introduction of an Acme motor cycle, embodying unconventional and novel features. That such a machine has not fructified may be due to manufacturing difficulties preventing experiments. Be this as it may, the Acme machine now introduced follows more or less conventional lines, and appears to conform to most of the ideals of the big twin sidecar owner…The engine fitted is the 8hp JAP, adapted to the special requirements of the Acme Co. Here lies the chief novelty, for the magneto is driven from the main drive side of the engine, and not from the timing gear, as is usual with JAP engines…At every point the framework is of a most substantial character, and accessibility has not been overlooked…Both the large tank and the sidecar body are finished in light grey, trimmed with a dark shade of the same colour, and at the rear of the sidecar there is a large locker, in the form of a ‘boot’, to which is fixed the carrier for the spare wheel.”
The Rex and Acme debutantes are clearly all but identical. This is no coincidence; the following year the two firms would merge to form Rex-Acme.
GEORGE D ABRAHAM, (“AUTHOR OF MOTOR WAYS in Lakeland”) reported: “When Mary Riley, the noted Enfield enthusiast, smilingly suggested a half-day on the hills, the absence of spring frame on her handsome new Enfield mount was no excuse for refusing the invitation. Moreover, pleasant memories of former excursions, notably the first lady’s drive over Wrynose and Hardknott Passes, added force to the suggestion. The idea was to explore some new hills, and, with this purpose in view, we set out from Keswick on a perfect afternoon with sunny Skiddaw all draped in full splendour of heather and golden bracken. Whinlatter Pass is familiar to North Country motorists and other touring parties, but the old packhorse road which ascends directly from near Thornthwaite is practically unknown, and this was the object of our search. There was just time on the levels to appreciate the pleasant running of the new model 8hp machine, which, despite the heavy load of three human beings and a camera, was to carry us up hill and down dale on the standard two-speed gear of 1 in 5 and 1 in 8.7. Too soon there came a quick turn lo the left from the main road, and we were bumping up the narrow old-world lane past a pretty Cumbrian farmhouse, where chickens with suicidal tendencies curbed the upward dash. The actual hill came with startling suddenness round the grey corner of a weathered barn, and there was just time to change to the lower gear before the first ‘hairpin’ was encountered. A ‘mere man’ had driven thus far, so it was no surprise to find the machine making a thrilling swerve on the grassy bend and finally floundering painfully to a halt on the steepest section. Then the lady driver showed us ‘how to do it’, and, after a new start from the bottom of the hill with two aboard, it was a pleasure to watch from terra firma the non-stop ascent. Ladies know all about ‘hairpins’ and the treacherous sample now engaging attention was negotiated most skilfully. Up and up the sturdy machine came, bumping and swerving as the driver keenly felt for firm grip on the steep, rugged gradient. At one point an unusual obstacle, in the shape of a drooping branch from an oak tree, had to be dodged cleverly below the toughest struggle, but this was passed, and ere long the writer was left to walk upwards with only the song of a pretty mountain stream stirring the soft silences of the gorge. Soon the others were rejoined, and with the three aboard the upper part was tackled speedily. The writer was unable to hear of any motor previously making the climb, and doubtless this was the first ascent of a sidecar outfit. The hill will be a useful discovery for some of the forthcoming trials.”
“ALTHOUGH the weather conditions on the morning of the fifth winter club run from London to Exeter and back, organised by the Motor Cycling Club, inspired great hopes of a pleasant run amongst the 148 riders competing in the trial, the gods favoured none. A slow sweeping drizzle set in at about 2.30pm to remain throughout the night of the 26-27th December, and create what was probably one of the most severe tests of both machine and rider yet experienced by the club…Regardless of the miserable conditions under which the plucky riders carried out the final preparations in readiness for their self-imposed task, the noise of the many machines was drowned in peal after peal of hoarse laughter from the throats of the dripping riders as each newcomer who joined the happy throng revealed an even more grotesque, yet amusing, figure by his method of defying. the wind and storm. Amusing variations in riding kit were also to be witnessed at the Bridge Hotel. One giant who, equipped in complete flying kit, entered with his passenger to partake of a final meal, commenced to perform numerous Houdini stunts in the endeavour to remove his six seamless coverings, and, after tying himself in a complete knot, had to be assisted by his passenger, who, to the intense surprise of the spectators of this curious cult, removed an oilskin helmet, from which coils of hair fell around two feminine shoulders. The number of lady passengers, however, who braved the ordeal emphasised the wonderful enthusiasm displayed by the fair sex…Quite a large crowd had assembled along the line of machines now drawn up in readiness for the start from the Bridge Hotel to give the plucky riders a final cheer as they sped on their 154 mile journey through the blinding storm to Exeter…Of the 126 starters, 95 tired and mud-bespattered heroes returned, some less mudguards and other equipment, petrol tanks bleached by the foaming acetylene of the previous night’s struggle; others so exhausted that many willing hands pushed the mud-clogged machine away…” Of the 31 solos that started the Exeter 26 finished the course. Nine riders won gold medals, eight won silver; six were disqualified. Of 62 combos 46 finished; 27 won gold, 15 won silver; four were disqualified.
“ALTHOUGH DESIGNED TO MEET ANTICIPATED demand for motor scooters the Marseel scooter is to all intents and purposes a miniature motor cycle, as the capacity of the engine is 232cc and a saddle is provided. The makers have aimed to produce a light runabout machine, comparatively cheap to buy and run, and extremely simple in operation. Bearing in mind that the potential buyers of such machines are not mechanical, the designers have endeavoured to make the mechanical elements as inconspicuous as possible. Thus when seen from the eye level of an adult the machine has the appearance of being a seat type scooter minus an engine. This is due to the fact that the power unit is located below the platform, and the tank takes the form of a shallow box acting as a front shield.”
THERE WAS MUCH TALK of incorporating ‘aero practice’ into motor cycle engines, but few designers took it as seriously as aircraft engine designer Charles Redrup. He produced a 3hp radial triple featuring detachable aluminium cylinder heads, slipper pistons, fan cooling, valves enclosed in the cylinder casting and a carb attached to the base of the crankcase. Monty Beaumont produced a motor cycle powered by the Redrup engine. According to the Blue ‘Un: “During our inspection the engine was several times started by swinging the fan-flywheel, and the maximum revolutions were quite extra- ordinarily high. Vibration was noticeably absent…The whole machine will undoubtedly attract great attention on account of its decided renunciation of standard motor cycle practice. In the near future we hope to subject one of these machines to a severe road test.” Beaumont did in due course start series production, but the power, alas, came from conventional 269cc Wall two-strokes and 348cc Blackburne sidevalves. However the Redrup was in production long enough for a roadtest: “The machine which we tested was not specially prepared for us, and it had just returned from a 500 mile trip into Wales, after which it was placed in our hands without any adjustments being made. At the outset we were favourably impressed by the manner in which the engine responded to a single depression of the kick starter. Although the machine had been standing all night in a very exposed place, and despite the fact that the morning was wet and cold, the engine fired at once, and after a few minutes’ running, it became absolutely controllable—ticking over as slowly as desired or responding to full throttle without hesitation; it was noticed, however, that until a few miles had been covered the full power was not developed, and it seemed necessary that the engine should reach a certain temperature before pulling its best. Before starting on the journey from Leeds to Coventry, a hill of 1 in 7, a hundred yards in length, was climbed on low gear of 11 to 1 with a passenger on the carrier, the total weight being 21 stone. This is an excellent performance for a machine of only 309cc capacity. Features particularly noticed while handling the machine were its continuous torque and absence of vibration. Without desiring to appear unguardedly eulogistic, we may truthfully say that the writer has never ridden any motor cycle which so nearly gave the impression of continuous free-wheeling on a pedal cycle. The engine was remarkably silent, as, owing to the valves and valve gear being completely enclosed in the cylinders, no noise from these parts could be heard; the exhaust gave a regular and subdued note…it was found that on the level 40 to 45mph could easily be reached. The petrol consumption worked out at l00mpg, but there is reason to believe that this could have been improved upon, as the mixture appeared to be rather rich; no doubt a smaller jet would have improved matters. Altogether we were very much impressed by the performance of the machine. The Motor Cycle has advocated the adoption of the radial principle many times in the past…our belief in the possibilities of the type has been greatly enhanced by the satisfactory running of this particular engine.”
REDRUP’S RADIAL ENGINE powered three marques (the third being the British-Radial, designed by JE Manes using a Chater-Lea frame). The 688cc 5-7hp Coventry Victor flat-twin proprietary engine was adopted by no less than seven manufacturers, who were also supplied with an engine cradle designed to be bolted into their rolling chassis. At the other end of the weight range was the 100lb 2¾ 269cc two-stroke Moonbeam, marketed by the MRP Trading Co of Pall Mall, London SW1. It was designed to be ‘paddle started’; there were plans for a two-speed model.
LIKE THE ROMPER, THE MACKLUM SCOOTER was powered by a 2¾hp Union engine and designed by F MacCallum of Guildhall Buildings, Birmingham. The Blue ‘Un noted: “Following the reintroduction of the motor scooter during the past twelve months we are more convinced now perhaps than before that sooner or later the lightweight open frame machine will come… It will open up a vast field of potential buyers of handy little mounts, with which the use of special clothing will not be necessary.” The relatively large engine was said “to provide a very large preserve of power to enable the machine to climb any ordinary hill on a single gear”. Rear suspension and 16x2in wheels were designed to suit the Macklum for the colonial market: “A demonstration of the machine on the road gave ample evidence of the efficiency of the frame design, which is patented in most countries, and we await with interest further developments in the form of a machine which will have the same extended scope as a motor cycle.”
“PETROL CONSUMPTION: THERE APPEARS to be an impression among present-day motor cyclists that their petrol consumption is greater than it should be. Frequently we have heard the remark that post-war spirit does not give the same mileage as that used in 1914. For this reason the results given in the judge’s report of the Liverpool MC Trial held last autumn are of interest. Six riders of 3½hp Sunbeam machines showed an average consumption of 101mpg. The best performance in any class was that of Captain AW Brittain, 123.7mpg. The consumption of lightweights and sidecar machines was disappointing. Twelve riders failed at the easy limits imposed in this test. A modern 8hp sidecar machine should be capable of travelling 45 miles on a gallon of petrol, and efforts should be made by manufacturers to attain this result. Best performances in the various classes: 350cc, A Moses (2¾hp AJS), 108.2mpg; 500cc, Capt AW Brittain (3½hp Sunbeam), 123.7mpg; 750cc, W Cottle (4¼hp BSA), 118mpg; 1,000cc, RR Coes (7-9hp Indian), 87.6mpg; 750cc sidecar, V Horsman (4hp Norton sc), 83.6mpg; 1,000cc sidecar, WR Haggas (8hp New Imperial sc), 53.4mpg.
“WHY FIT AN ENGINE? BRITISH LIGHTWEIGHT manufacturers must look to their laurels if they are to keep pace with Continental developments! A French invention intended to be fitted to any form pedal cycle consists of a flywheel interposed in the pedal chain drive, its functions being controlled by a clutch. The inventor claims that his device eliminates fatigue, as an occasional stroke of the pedals is all that is necessary to keep the machine in motion, and that the gyroscopic action of the flywheel stabilises the machine. Also, of course, it is pointed out that energy is stored in the flywheel for use when needed. For the benefit of unmechanical readers, it may be stated that from the very best design of flywheel it is impossible to obtain quite as much energy as is originally put in, so that unless the roads are specially designed with a long downhill section before each slight rise, one will still have to pedal one’s cycle, with the additional weight of the’ flywheel, clutch, and gear.”
“AN OIL TURBINE TO BE ADOPTED as an auxiliary power unit for a bicycle: The inventor of the bump bicycle, as it is called, has adopted a different system from our French friend…The Bump is in no sense a motor bicycle as we understand it, but is intended to be a motor-assisted bicycle…There is a cylinder attached to the saddle tube of the bicycle, provided with an’ ordinary tyre valve at the top. Air is pumped into this by means of an ordinary bicycle pump to a pressure of about 15lb to the square inch. The lower portion of the cylinder contains oil, on which a float rests, thus separating the oil from the air chambers. The pump is attached to the back of the saddle, and is operated by the saddle moving up and down, owing to ordinary undulations in in the road. It serves to pump the oil from the small reservoir over the rear wheel—the exhaust chamber, as it were—to the large reservoir, which in turn delvers it to a small Pelton wheel. This is situated on the top of the oil tank. The power is conveyed to the rear wheel by means of a chain, and the flow of oil is controlled by a lever on the handle-bars. Similar pumps can be attached to the front wheels when they are sprung…It is handled by Central Traction Ltd, 125, Wool Exchange, London, EC.”
“SIR,—IN VIEW OF THE LARGE number of motor cyclists who will be visiting the lOM for the TT Races, there is a very vexatious and unnecessary regulation which all motor cyclists and car owners have to comply with and, I am sure, would like to see abolished, viz, all motor cyclists and car owners must register themselves and motor cycle within twenty-four hours of landing, and if they reside on the island over one month they have to go to the expense and trouble of taking a Manx registration out. As this unnecessary regulation is not in force in any other part of the United Kingdom, I should like to see this letter published in The Motor Cycle, and brought to the notice of the RAC, AA, and ACU with a view to the above vexatious and unnecessary regulation being abolished.
MOTOR CYCLE EXPORTERS WERE RISING, but they had not regained pre-war levels. In 1913 16,850 motor cycles were exported; 1914, 20,877; 1915, 10,979; 1916, 12,851; 1917, 14,159; 1918, 5,652; 1919, 8,330. One pundit warned: “There will be an ever-increasing demand at homes for machines: a demand that is likely to lull to sleep the faculty for a full realisation of the gigantic possibilities of ‘foreign’ demand, for not only is there the white population of such places as Lidia and China to consider, but also the coloured races. Let it be remembered that the enlightened population of India and China is a large one, and, judging from correspondents’ letters, it is interested in the cheap and simple type of motor cycle. The world’s demands for motor cycles is huge, and the makers who have imagination, mettle, and push, will reap a big reward: there is no question whatever on that point.”
“IF EVER ARGUMENT WAS WANTED to emphasise the desirability of encouraging in every possible way the production of home-produced fuel, either power alcohol or benzole, the constant threats of increased petrol prices, once more before the motoring public, provide it. For some time carefully prepared propaganda has been appearing in the daily press preparing consumers of imported fuels for impending rises in prices for which the increased cost of freightage is largely blamed. So long as imported petrol is the fuel used by the majority, the chances of an unexpected rise in price will always threaten motor cyclists and motorists of this country. This journal has ofttimes pointed out the absurdity of an important key industry, such as the automobile industry of this country represents, being nominally ‘controlled’’by the petrol ring. The British Government has constantly been urged to take action to develop a home-produced fuel and to control our own oilfields abroad.”
IXION ON HELMETS: “…if by helmets he means those pseudo-airman, hun-crash, leather skullcap brain-warmers, I have no use for them. If the sun is shining, you get dazzle-blindness. If it hails, your eyes get mashed to a pulp. If it rains, there is a river down your back. Dismounted, you feel—and look—an idiot, unless you carry a Saxe-blue velours flapper-dazzler crushed up in your side pocket, and at the present price of velours I cannot afford to do that. When the war was on, things were different. You could walk down Bond Street in one of those helmets, and some dear old patriot probably, mistook you for Warneford or McCudden, and invited you to refresh at his expense. Nowadays one just feels silly in them. Next, please.”
“AT THE SIGN OF THE TIN HAT: An association, called the Ex-Service Professional and Commercial Association, has recently been formed, with the idea of providing means of distinguishing the fact that members served in the war. A badge, called ‘The Sign of the Tin Hat’, will be issued to members, which can be displayed in office or garage, as the case may be. The head office is at 38, Piccadilly, London, W.”
“EVERY MORNING THE MOTOR CYCLE letter-bag reveals the extent of its world wide circulation…This last week letters were received from Belgium, France, Austria, Australia, Canada, India, Japan, West Africa, Egypt, Peru, and the Straits Settlements.”
“A SIGN THAT WE HAVE FINISHED with the war, and that more or less peaceful conditions now prevail, is that representatives of the world’s motor cycle organisations met last week in London. The conference of delegates of the Federation Internationale des Clubs Motocyclistes was notable for the undoubted good spirit which animated the whole proceedings…It was affirmed that in New Zealand there are more motor cyclists in proportion to population than any other part of the world…In France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, and America, demand and outputs continue to grow, placing the world’s motor cycle industries in an important position in the commerce of the nations…The position of Germany and Austria as members of the FICM is now defined. Our late enemies are to be permitted to join when they are admitted to the League of Nations…In America the body governing competitions is a Trade organisation…It may be said that the motor cycle movement across the Atlantic has been built up more by trade propaganda than by riders themselves. The system has been highly successful, and since the ‘trade’ took over the duties for which in this country the ACU is responsible, there have been better organised competitions than at any time during the life of the Federation of American Motor Cyclists, which has now ceased to exist. The Motor Cycle and Allied Trades Association of America, therefore, is accepted, subject to endorsement by the Automobile Club of America, as a suitable body to represent United States motor cyclists at the FICM…Speaking at a dinner at which all the foreign delegates of the FICM were present, Mr WH Wells, of Indian fame, said that the motor cycle was the surest antidote against Bolshevism.”
“ARTIST’S LICENCE? MR JB DUNLOP, the inventor of the first practicable pneumatic tyre, is bringing an action against the Dunlop Rubber Co, Ltd, to restrain them from publishing in their advertisements the figure now so well known, and which represents Mr Dunlop in ‘absurd costumes’. For some time, Mr Dunlop complains, the Dunlop Co have used, without permission, pictures obviously intended to represent him, but the features adapted from a portrait were placed on the body of a very tall man, dressed in an exaggeratedly foppish manner, wearing a tall white hat, white waistcoat, and carrying a cane and an eye-glass, none of which it was his custom to wear. Below we give a portrait of the veteran inventor, who is now seventy-nine years of age, together with the figure used in the Dunlop Co’s advertisements.”
“PETROL SHORTAGE IN ITALY: It is difficult to obtain petrol in Italy. All motorists are on strict and low rations. Tyres, too, it is stated, are difficult to obtain.” The RAC advised members to delay taking vehicles to France where petrol was also is short supply, particularly in the South.
A 36-HOUR WINTER TRIAL in the Netherlands attracted 63 entrants; 55 completed the 94-mile course. Triumph, Matchless, Scott, and Douglas were strongly represented; a Douglas rider won.
“MORE MOTOR CYCLISTS THAN CAR OWNERS: There were only 116,600 motor cycles registered in Great Britain and Ireland up to March, 1919—a figure less than the weekly circulation of The Motor Cycle. In 1915-16 158,000 motor cycles were licensed, and it is expected that when the figures for March 1920 are available, it will be found that the 1915-16 figure will be at least equalled. In 1915-16 there were 9,200 fewer cars registered than motor cycles, while the 1919 figure shows 3,600 motor cycles in excess of cars.
JUST BEFORE THE WAR Willoughby Cotton was inspired by judges’ criticism of frame design in the open trials to design a triangulated frame. “The result is light, strong, and rigid construction, eliminating the chances of breakage through fatigue of metal to a minimum. Such construction should also prevent misalignment of wheels and provide extraordinary stability. The spec included a Villiers two-stroke engine, Albion two-speed box, chain/belt transmission and Saxon forks.
IF WE WERE TOLD that we could sow a few petrol seeds in our gardens in the spring and reap a crop of petrol in the autumn, our first impression would be that our informant was either joking or mad. Yet, although the statement would not be true of petrol, we have only to substitute the word ‘alcohol’ to make it very near to the truth… One of the greatest evils in the history of motoring is the ‘cornering’ by the oil syndicates of practically all the large natural oil deposits in the world. This has led to the inflation of prices paid for petrol, and, as long as petrol continues to be the recognised motor fuel, so long will the motoring public suffer from this trouble. It is on account of the limitations imposed on the supply of petrol at a reasonable price that other fuels have of late years been sought after. Benzole, made from coal tar or coal gas, has, to a large extent, replaced petrol, and has the advantage that it is a home-produced product. Here, however, the same difficulty of a limited supply presents itself with all the attendant evils of monopolisation by a comparatively small body of men. On this point alcohol scores. It has been proved that the manufacture of alcohol from potatoes and other vegetables is a commercial success. No amalgamation of firms would seriously attempt to ‘corner’ potatoes, for the simple reason that a rival syndicate has only to plant one potato in order to produce, in a few years, as many more as it requires. Unfortunately, however, alcohol is liable to a heavy duty in this country, and the payment of this duty makes its price very high. Steps are being taken by various organisations to try to persuade the Government to see the folly of its ways, and it is hoped that, in the near future, alcohol will be obtainable at price much below that of petrol…Our Continental neighbours, notably France and Germany, and later, Russia, have successfully used alcohol as a fuel for many years past…the ordinary fitments for petrol engines are not well adapted for alcohol. It is found, however, that a mixture of two parts alcohol and one part benzole can be used in most of the existing makes of carburetter as readily as petrol—in fact, with marked advantage, as, for some reason not yet fully investigated, the presence of a little water, which always exists in alcohol, gives smoother running. (Incidentally, the fact that water mixes freely with alcohol renders it possible quickly to put out an alcohol fire with water—a thing which cannot be done with petrol or benzole.)
LETTER FROM AMERICA: “THE Crotona Motor Cycle Club, of New York City, started the 1920 competition season off well with a 150 miles reliability run that left New York at midnight. The course was VIA Albany Post Road to Poughkeepsie and return on a 20mph schedule. About 58 miles of the run was through ice-rutted roads, with snow averaging seven inches in depth. Thirty-six riders faced the starter, and were sent off at one-minute intervals, twenty-seven sidecar outfits and nine solo machines comprising the field. The Indian sidecar won highest score with 1,000 points, which took a gold medal and the Hendee trophy. The Indian solo rider with 988 points won a gold medal in his division. The Indian Scout scored 949 points. A lady driver, with a passenger of the same sex, scored 915 points. The Crotona MC will award three gold, twenty-six silver, and nineteen bronze medals, passengers sharing equal awards with the drivers. The run brought out much winter equipment, handle-bar muffs, splash- boards, and rain clothes being in evidence. Most riders using electrically equipped machines added Kay Bee Spot-lights to their handle-bars, or for the sidecar passenger to operate. These Kay Bee lamps are fitted with 21cp nitrogen lamps and are swivelling, so that all parts of the highway may be illuminated. Three and four lamps were used by some contestants, which gave a good imitation of sunlight, and permitted of high speeds.”
“IN A REPORT FROM the Bureau of Mines in the USA it is stated that probably all existing underground reserves of oil in that country will be exhausted by 1928.”
“THE OLDEST MOTOR CYCLING CLUB in Belgium, the Moto Club Liegeois, has recently been authorised by his Majesty King Albert to take the title of Royal Moto Club Liegois. Sixty-five members of the club joined the Army at the outbreak of was, and they distinguished themselves as despatch riders, in the air, and technical services, and in fighting corps.”
“PRINCE ALBERT AND PRINCE HENRY were seen last week with their Douglas motor cycles at Robinson’s Garage, where they called in the ordinary way for some minor adjustments. Their Royal Highnesses are using their machines in a similar manner to other members of the University for the purposes of keeping engagements or reaching the gold links or river.”
“A PARTICULARLY INGENIOUS SCOOTER has lately been constructed by Mr F Hudlass, engineer to the Royal Automobile Club, in his private workshop. From the constructional point of view it is a most excellent job, practically every part, even the hub, having been built by its designer. An Auto-wheel engine is fitted though Mr Hudlass considers that a more powerful unit would be desirable.” The frame was sprung by leaf and coil springs adjustable to suit the rider’s weight. “The design of the front forks is most interesting, and Mr Hudlass hopes that they may serve equally well on motor bicycles as on scooters. With them side play is quite impossible, while of the four springs the two inner ones are in tension, while the two outer are in compression, and serve to take the rebound. The lower portions of the fork tubes slide into long outer tubes filled with oil…Not the least ingenious part of the vehicle is the luggage box. When the lid of this is raised a small cushioned seat is disclosed, which is first placed in position and then laterally extended; consequently the Hudlass scooter will suit equally well the rider who wishes to stand and the rider who prefers to sit.”
“OWING TO THE RAILWAY STRIKE in Italy, the supply of petrol to all motorists, even the holders of ration cards, is completely suspended.”
THE AA LAUNCHED A PETITION demanding action to control fuel prices, proclaiming: “The exorbitant price exacted from the British public by the petrol interests is directly increasing your cost of living, and bids fair to strangle road transport and the motor industry. To live, it is essential that you should be fed, clothed, and housed, all of which are bound up with the road transport question. It is also necessary for you to travel by road by some form of motor traction or another. Do you realise that the oil magnates are practically deciding how much yo shall pay for the privilege of living in your own country and travelling over its roads? This is the direct result of being dependent upon imported motor spirit, shipped here by combines, over whom our Government can exercise no control. Every year many millions of money pass from the pockets of the British public into those of the oil kings. All this can be prevented, and those millions can be kept in our own country. Our common interests in this vital matter can only be attained by bringing home forcibly to the Government that immediate action is necessary.”
“SUGGESTIONS ARISE FROM TIME TO TIME that driving licences should not be issued without regard to the applicants’ qualifications, and the most recent suggestion is that the eyesight of all prospective drivers should be tested under various conditions.”
OF THE 69 STARTERS IN THE PARIS-NICE TRIAL no less than 60 were riding British bikes. The Motor Cycle described the Paris-Nice trial as “largely a competition for British prover owners of motor cycles and manufacturers of British machines.” That was no exaggeration: 60 of the 69 entrants rode British bikes; 10 were on US mounted with six French bikes and three Italians. “It is a matter of sore disappointment to the organiser, Mr Gaston Sweerts, editor of Motorcyclisme, that French manufacturers have taken such a lukewarm interest in the event.” This was understandable: “France has suffered more—much more—than any other country in the war. That fact is plainly evident from the moment one touches French soil. Road neglect, dilapidated cars and lorries due to inevitable overwork without periodic attention, and dwellings crumbling and rotting are evident on all sides.” No wonder the roads were found to be “execrable”: Messrs Petty and Horsman reacted by removing their sidecars to tackle the event on solos. French customs insisted on searching riders and bikes for contraband and while the organisers were extremely hospitable, seeing the trial as “a continuation of the splendid alliance which existed between the two great nations”, there were lapses in the entente cordiale. “Geoffrey Hill, who is riding the same Triumph on which he won the Scott Trial, was refused petrol at a garage simply because they did not cater for motor cyclists…Several of the competitors took part in the two previous Paris-Nice Trials. Of these, Douglas Hawkes, the driver of the AJS, was one, and Oblin (6hp Enfield sc) was another. The
last time we saw the latter was at Evreux on August 3rd, 1914, the day after the French Army mobilised. He was then a DR mounted on a Clement and wearing a Zouave’s uniform.” resumed…sidecar passengers were in two cases observed carrying the mudguards of their sidecars…the buzzing Scotts greatly attracted the attentions of the Lyonnais, who are great admirers of the English. The Moto Club de Lyon is an active body of enthusiasts, who gave the riders a very hearty welcome during the evening…The riders were soon, too, enveloped in frost, the whole countryside being covered with a white mantle of hoar frost. But the roads! Words can hardly describe the ruts and pot-holes. These excerpts from the Blue ‘Un’s report give an taste of the event: “…several French riders actually continued without lights—a remarkably dangerous procedure for themselves and other road users, but the sides of the road in France are notoriously loose…Naas (ABC) was towed into Dijon by a Douglas rider early on Saturday morning, and on the tramlines executed a hair-raising skid at the end of the rope affixed to his machine…The risks the French riders run are amazing! Brunell’s two-stroke Triumph and Greenwood’s two-stroke Connaught are the surprise of the trial, for they run most regularly and have climbed all hills with ease. The Scott rider’s team is complete, also the Sunbeam, and Harley-Davidson men are running like clockwork…Rex Mundy’s 3½hp Rover is going extremely well; but, curiously enough, his French
passenger speaks not a word of English, and Mundy admits that his French vocabulary is extremely meagre! Their signs, signals, and grimaces are, consequently, distinctly amusing…At Premeaux we caught up Major Empson, at first imagining that he had suffered a horrible accident, for we saw in the distance his AV monocar on its side. Closer investigation, however, showed that he had turned it over intentionally in order to fit a new spring, the original one having broken…Pletsier (Harley-Davidson sc) overturned while trying to avoid a wall, and managed to throw his passenger clean over it. Both got up again undamaged and It is no exaggeration to say that many were a foot deep. Passing competitors was next to impossible, and yet the sidecars scurried along marvellously well…Brunell preferred to ride between the tramlines as most others did, but when the track suddenly veered off to the right and a questionable macadam surface appeared he elected (in the dark of course) to continue along the lines and as a result, his front wheel dropped into a deep square gap between the rails and buckled the wheel Brunell was precipitated over the handlebars but, providentially, he was unhurt, though his front wheel was crumpled up beyond repair…The manner in which the French riders of the Harley-Davidsons, Indian, and Excelsiors blaze along, stopping every now and then to touch up any necessary parts, is an indication of the keen competition existing between them. On one occasion we were travelling at 40mph when a Harley sidecar easily passed us in a huge cloud of dust. A French rider whose consistent running has evoked general praise is EG Fery (4hp Douglas sc). Fery speaks English fluently, having spent a long time in this country. He has a cork leg, the result of an accident at Brooklands fourteen years ago, but as a private owner he manages his machine with remarkable dexterity. Columbel on a 2¾hp Douglas is riding equally consistently…One of the 1920 French models, the Benoit-Gonin—the driver of which was kissed on both cheeks on arrival at Lyons, where the Benoit-Gonin works are situated—is going splendidly. The Moto-Solo two-strokes are also splendid little lightweights, judging by the way they keep up to time…Psalty (Rover) had made a splendid roadside repair to his sidecar spring with a shackle and yards of insulation tape…Outside Le Luc, Milner (Diamond-JAP) broke a valve spring, was some time
tracing the trouble, and then could not remove the spring. He lost much time, yet stuck on gamely, but in endeavouring to make up time on the descent of the Esterels, he fouled a corner and he and his machine turned three somersaults, so he told us. The forks were bent and rubbing the tyre, the mudguard crumpled so badly that he had to remove it, but, not to be beaten, he carried on to the end, only to miss an arrow at the top of La Turbie…A goodly crowd had assembled on the promenade to greet the hungry riders who had survived 6½ hours’ riding on coffee and a roll. Machines and riders were promptly decorated with beautiful mimosa. Can it be wondered that lunch was welcome?…After lunch the road ran along the sea front to Nice, past glorious and sweet smelling flower beds. Orange trees were abundant…But the end was not yet, for an ascent of the sinuous La Turbie and on to Mont-Agel was arranged with a slow and fast hill-climb. It was extraordinary and only typical of French rules of the road that the riders were allowed to race up while cars descended. Capt Wood (Scott) encountered a car during his timed ascent, and was forced into soft gravel and fell—but neither machine nor rider was hurt…” At the end of four days’s hard riding 45 survivors rolled into Nice. “British Six Days Trials competitors agree in the opinion that the Paris-Nice event was—this year, at any rate—more severe than any six days event organised so far in Great Britain, which opinion will please the ACU, and interest ‘Six Days’ competitors. It may be argued that 750 miles in four days is surely no searching test for a modern motor cycle, but the fact remains that long stretches of notoriously pot-holey roads—the Rhone Valley in particular—comparable with nothing we know in the British Isles (the pave, the dangerous railway and tramway setts), accounted for many troubles, and a large percentage of those machines which survived the ordeal bore unmistakable traces of the severe strain that they had received…The competitors, headed by Kaye Don (Zenith), arrived in a bunch…The Atlas Garage, Nice, where the machines were stored at the end of the trial, was ideal for the purpose. The scene witnessed after the descent from Mont-Agel was of a kind never witnessed in England. The competitors drove in under their own power and in any order. They had all been riding in a bunch, so after three minutes’ exhibition of trick riding the place was full. The effect was curious in the extreme: first, dead silence, the clatter of the exhaust of the first man, then a terrific din, a mass of
laughing motor cyclists twisting, turning, and manoeuvring for a place, and then all was quiet once more…Of course, it was a race in French people’s eyes, and even the manager of the Hotel Atlantique, where we stayed, was more interested to know who had won than in the rooms for which we sighed, having had a total of ten hours sleep in four days. Truly, the competitors’ lot was severe, but pity the journalists, whose lot is not easy, and who obtain no gold medals! But the run was worth it all.” The trial concluded with a day of special tests and machine inspection. Up to 200 points were awarded for reliability (maximum 60), silence (20), non-stop (20) flexibility (30), brakes on level (20), brakes on hill (20), starting from cold (10), and spare parts (10). Best performances were: 250cc, E Dubost (Motosolo) 127.2 marks; 350cc, WM Greenwood (Connaught) 141.9; 500cc, Barthelemy (Rover) 150.8; 750cc, Kaye Don (Zenith) 154.9; 500cc sidecars, Guignet (GL) 125.5; 750cc sidecars, WD Hawkes (AJS) 135.5; 1,000cc sidecars, Verpault (Harley-Davidson) 146.1. Trade team prize: 1, Scott; 2, Harley-Davidson; 3, Triumph; 4, Sunbeam; 5, Harley Davidson team 2; 6, New Imperial; 7, Rover. Club team prize: 1, Moto Club de France; 2, Touring Club de France; 3, Ilkley &DMCC; 4, Moto Club Parisian.
PS: “QUITE A SENSATION HAS BEEN CAUSED in French motor cycle circles by the decision of the Union Motocycliste de France to refuse to accept the results of the Paris-Nice Trials. As a consequence the event must be considered as non-existent…[it is] very unfortunate for the British competitors who went to France at considerable expense and trouble, and who appeared to have won a victory. It naturally throws discredit on the whole motor cycle movement, for the hard fact has to be admitted to the general public that a sporting event to which great importance has been attached must be looked upon as a farce…In a conversation with one of the officials of the Union Motocycliste it was ascertained that the men responsible for this event were totally unable to furnish proof that the results claimed had been obtained. The lack of organisation extended throughout the event. No proof could be furnished that the individual riders had checked in and been checked out of the various controls between Paris and Nice.
“BELGIUM SEEMS TO BE PREPARING for great motor cycle developments, to judge from the exhibition just held at Brussels…So little is known in England as to what happened in industrial Belgium during the four years of German occupation, that the importance of this exhibition, coming only a little more than a year after the Armistice, will not be fully appreciated. Although in the greater portion of Belgium there are few external signs of the destructiveness of war, the factories were, without a single exception, stripped absolutely bare of both machinery and supplies, Thus, before it was possible to produce, new tools and machinery had to be sought and brought in from the outside, and the engineering shops had to wait until the steel plants were in production before they could do any real work. On this account, it is not surprising that the Brussels motor cycle show should be dominated by English makers, with a sprinkling of Americans and Italians…Although the FN did not exhibit at this show, it is understood that the firm is almost ready to make deliveries, and expects to produce 15,000 machines during the present year. These will be the well-known single and the four-cylinder types, with a number of detail improvements. The next most important Belgian firm is Sarolea, which exhibited a 3½hp single with chain-cum-belt drive, and a sporting type sidecar. There were two new firms, Gillet and Brevets Spring. The former exhibited two types of machines a single cylinder two-stroke and a twin-cylinder four-stroke.” Both featured unit construction and (as adoption) electric lights.
“ALTHOUGH AMERICA WAS THE HOME of the two-stroke boat motor, bicycle power units working on the same principle have not been nearly so popular there as in this country. The two-stroke lightweight is indeed particularly our own, only two examples having hitherto appeared in America, and both of these have been largely based on British design. A new machine, however, is now being manufactured in Chicago, which embodies several features not usually found in conventional two-stroke practice. Known as the Yankee, this new model is being made by the Illinois Motor Co. Its dimensions are 63.5×76.2mm. (241cc), and its power will therefore be in the region of 2½hp. Conventional three-port practice is not followed, since the induction pipe enters the transfer passage and is closed by an automatic valve, while there are two rows of ports in the piston, in addition to the transfer and exhaust ports in the cylinder walls. A separate casting forms the transfer passage, and this is bolted on to the cylinder, while an atmospheric inlet valve and cage is screwed into the former casting.” It was claimed to do 140mpg.
“IN RECONSTRUCTING THE FRENCH MOTOR CYCLE industry, the manufacturers of that country appear to have abandoned most of their pre-war designs. A large number of entirely new types have appeared. The 7hp Lutece is one of these new designs.” It’s spec, for 1920, was startling: 998cc in-line vertical twin unit-construction engine; a compressed air starter built into the three-speed gearbox that also served as a tyre inflator; shaft drive; leaf-sprung cantilever rear suspension; one front and two rear drum brakes—one rear brake and the front brake were linked and controlled by a handlebar lever that could be locked on as a parking brake, with a pedal controlling t’other rear brake; mag ignition with a dynamo for the lights; and forced-feed mechanical lubrication via a camshaft driven oil pump. All-up weight was about 400lb with a top speed of 55mph.
“WITH AN ‘OVERSIZE’ ENGINE”, ie, 1,114cc, the Harley-Davidson racing experts established new records last month on Daytona Beach, Florida, which extends for fifteen miles, and is said to be one of the finest stretches of open ground in the world. For the kilometre and mile distances the new solo records are well over 103mph with a 1,000cc engine, while 111.98mph is the figure with one of the new type ‘oversize’ engines. The rider’s name was Leslie ‘Red’ Parkhurst; during a week of record breaking he and his team-mate Fred Ludow also a sidecar record of 87.52mph over five miles—and Red’s other records included 107.86mph over five miles.
“IN THE ISSUE OF APRIL 22ND we published particulars of many new speed records set up last February on Daytona Beach by Harley-Davidson machines. News of still greater speeds has been recently received from over the water. On April 15th, and 16th the Indian racing experts made a successful attack on the above-mentioned records, covering the mile, with an eight-valve (998cc) Indian, in 31.1sec at the remarkable speed of 115.7mph. The same distance was made in 34sec by the Powerplus model, equal to 105.7mph, while a speed of 87.8mph was attained by a four-valve (500cc) Indian. The British record for this distance with a 500cc engine is 78.95 mph.” Gene Walker was the man in the Indian’s saddle. The previous year he had claimed six nation wins for Indian against Bill Ottoway’s Harley Davidson ‘wrecking crew’. Inevitably Indian was going to challenge Harley’s speed records so they followed Harley to Daytona and snatched 24 national and international speed records including the first FICM world record (the actual record was set at 104.12mph). To record his success India dubbed its Powerplus engine the Daytona, just as Triumph would do many years later.
THE BLUE ‘UN HAD AN ACTIVE US correspondent named EB Holton whose prose were as American as Ixion’s were English: “That venerable old gentleman, name o’ Father Time, he of the flowing robe, chin adornment and the grass cutter, has of late been treated in a rough and unseemly manner by motor cyclists here. These more-or-less-United States may be dry, but the fact does not keep an internal combustion engine from functioning. Every event this season on track or road has resulted in a battering of the former record.” Having detailed the Harley and Indian record blitzes at Daytona Beach, he pointed out: “…the electric timer has been certified for accuracy by the US Naval Observatory. All rules regarding the running of record trials as laid down by the FICM and the ACU were complied with, and on confirmation by the former body the marks will stand as world’s records.” And so, of course, they did. There was also news of the latest models: “The newcomer to American motor cycle ranks, the Ace, is now being road tested by its designer, WG Henderson. One passed through Newark last week on a long test that was successful, and the designer will go ahead with production, fifty new motor cycles being the planned output for the month of May…After much delay the 1920 Excelsior has reached the delivery stage. The new machine is a good looking outfit with sober Royal blue enamel, wonderfully wide mudguards and a sturdy front fork that is an adaptation of the old Henderson fork…Harley-Davidson are about to announce electrical equipment for their Sports model. It is understood that a generator of their own manufacture will be used…A successful four-cylinder Vee motor cycle engine has been designed and tested out by its inventors in Hartford, Conn.
“AN AMALGAMATION FORESHADOWED: We hear a rumour that an amalgamation is about to take place between several firms in the motor cycle trade for the purpose of producing a cheap utility type motor cycle at a price which will enable American competition Overseas to be met. It will be an all-British production.”
“A SHORT, SPORTING COURSE, a fine day, an early start, and good organisation. All these helped to make a success of the Sutton Coldfield and North Birmingham AC’s Colmore Cup Trial…The entry comprised almost every well-known make of machine, and amongst the most interesting we noticed that Albert Milner’s Diamond special overhead valve cylinder fitted to JAP crank case, the rockers being carried in an aluminium bracket bolted to the cast iron head—an adapted job very neatly carried out. Greenwood’s single-cylinder Sunbeam and sidecar had the experimental M-L lighting set incorporated with the magneto…F Porter made a marvellous show, riding a single-geared Levis, which he persuaded up the hills in a manner which would not have disgraced a machine of double
the engine capacity. FA Applebee (ABC) probably gave the star performance in the flexibility test from a spectacular point of view. He covered the slow portion at a speed little more than the limit for balancing purposes, and when he accelerated he skidded first to one side of the road and then the other, saving himself from falling by vigorous digs at the banks, and finally getting away with a terrific burst. Colliver, on a similar machine, gave a spectacular display in climbing the hill at speed…G Kuhn’s Levis literally sang with a very musical note up the hill, and its accelerative powers were probably equalled only by the ABC machines…Taking the performances as a whole, perhaps the most noticeable points were the sporting climbs of the single geared Nortons, the fine performances of the Levis and ABC machines, the wonderfully steady climbs of the light two-strokes, such as the Ivy, Verus, Allon, James, etc, and the steady pulling of the James, Enfield, and Excelsior sidecar outfits…the piece de resistance was the ascent of Gamble’s Lane…the smaller machines seemed to hold the road in the grease infinitely better than the heavy brigade…Charlesworth slid into the ditch repeatedly, but finally got away after receiving assistance…RM Brown’s passenger leaned over the Norton carrier to help obtain wheel grip…Riley (8hp Enfield sc) failed owing to repeated front wheel skids, JN Roberts (Verus) turned right round on the grease, and Busby (Verus) actually went through the Sudeley Park hair-pin bend test twice—he merely followed the arrows. He was successful both times, but the slip lost him twenty minutes. It was Busby’s first competition, and he rode very well throughout the trial. He is only a little over sixteen years of age…HFS Morgan emulated his performance of 1913 in the hairpin. He rode up the bank with his left front wheel and saved his machine from turning over by forcing it back to the normal with his hand on the ground. He did not stop…Fancy head wear is
again fashionable. One of the Ariel riders had a neat stocking cap of white, his passenger the same thing in scarlet.” Colmore Cup results: Colmore Cup, WB Gibb (3½hp NUT); 2nd, L Newey (6-7hp Ariel); 3rd, G Dance (3½hp Sunbeam). Team prize: Ariel L Newey, JL Stocks and FJ Watson, all on 6-7hp Ariel twins. Best performance by an amateur: JA Watson-Bourne (4hp Blackburne); 2nd, H Boynton (5-6hp James sc). Best solo performances: 250cc, WB Gibb (2¼hp Levis); 350cc, B Kershaw (2½hp Verus); 500cc, Eric Williams (3½hp NUT); 750cc, L Sealey (4¼hp BSA); 1,000cc, HJ Willis (10hp Reading Standard). Best sidecar performances: 500cc, G Dance (3½hp Sunbeam sc); 750cc, H Boynton (5-6hp James sc); 1,000cc, L Newey (6-7hp Ariel). Levis Cup, F Porter (2¼hp Levis single gear). Twelve riders won gold medals for non-stop and full marks; 32 won 1st-class certificates (lost up to 10 points); 16 won 2nd-class certificates (lost up to 25 points); nine won 3rd-class certificates (lost up to 35 points). Acceleration hill-climb test: FA Applebee (3hp ABC) and EA Colliver (3hp ABC), tied.
“MY NEW MACHINE,” IXION REMARKED, “was accompanied by an extremely exhaustive and praiseworthy ‘book of the words’. Delight at this novelty was tempered with wonder when I perused an audacious suggestion that, if I suspected air leaks in the induction system, I should run the engine inside a closed shed and hold a lighted taper near the joints. I hold my life cheap enough, goodness knows, but an air leak does not drive me so far towards despair that I leave it to the Fates whether I should die by fire or by asphyxiation.”
“WE CULL THE FOLLOWING from Court, Society, and Personal in Saturday’s Daily Mail: ‘”Sir Philip Sassoon, the Premier’s private secretary, returned to his duties yesterday after a week’s absence owing to a motor scooter accident. While ‘scooting’ in Hampshire he wanted to stop urgently, but through not having learned the mechanism sufficiently he pulled the accelerator instead of what he thought was a ‘stop’ lever. The result was a bad spill into a gravel bank. Sir Philip has now given up the scooter, and also an aeroplane which he bought last summer.’ Whilst sympathising with Sir Philip in his unfortunate accident, we can safely predict that he will give up all his mechanical toys if he persists in ‘pulling the accelerator’ when he desires to stop!”
“DETAILS OF A MOTOR CYCLE of original design has been sent to us from Italy. The engine has a bore and stroke of 88x82mm, (498cc), its single cylinder is horizontal, and it has overhead valves operated by overhead camshaft. Its ignition is by two plugs and a double-spark magneto. The gear, which is an extension of the crank case, contains three speeds, multiple-disc clutch, and a kick-starter. From this the drive is taken by a chain to a shock absorber in the rear hub. Both wheels are controlled by band brakes. A speed of 64mph is claimed for this machine, together with an entire absence of vibration. It is manufactured by Carlo Guzzi.” During the war three enthusiasts serving in the Servizio Aeronautico became friends and dreamed of building motor cycles. Carlo Guzzi serviced the aircraft flown by Giovanni Ravelli and Giorgio Parodi, who was heir to a shipping and armaments business. It was agreed that after the war Georgio would provide the finance, Carlo would design a world-beater, and Giovani, who had won races before the war on his Triumph, would ride in competitions to publicise the new bike. Soon after war’s end Giovani died in a flying accident; in his memory the Servizio Aeronautico eagle emblem was incorporated into the firm’s logo. The 1920 prototype, built by Carlo with help from his brother Giuseppe, bore the name GP, for Guzzi-Parodi. But when it went into series production the name under the eagle was Moto Guzzi.
“PERSONAL TASTE EXPRESSES ITSELF in some peculiar ways, but perhaps the strangest example of this connected with things motoring was a sidecar we recently saw, the panels of which were thickly enamelled a bright yellow as a background for intricate Chinese designs in black, gold, and red lacquer work. This highly ornate vehicle was attached to a New Imperial twin, and was apparently a private turnout, and not an advertising stunt. It this sort of thing goes on we shall be having sidecar bodies panelled with valuable oil paintings, or decorated with cameo carvings, or perhaps the newly ultra-rich will indulge in repousse panels of gold.”
“WITH MODERN MOTOR CYCLES, tools are not often required on the road, and careless riders are apt to leave them in their garages. Motor cyclists should remember that when a tool is required it is generally wanted badly.”
“A CORRESPONDENT WRITES to say that he recently received over 800 replies to one small advertisement in The Motor Cycle.”
“WHILE IT IS DOUBTFUL WHETHER the supply of sidecar machines will meet the demand this year, it would seem that there will be no dearth of lightweight motor cycles, for new ‘makes’ appear on the market every week. It is noticeable that most of these new motor cycles are fitted with either the JAP 2¾hp or the Villiers two-stroke engines, therefore the production of such machines is only limited by the productive abilities of the firms concerned, and also of those firms who supply gear boxes and frames.” The Birmingham-made Gough used the Villiers lump, with a Burman box and Brampton forks. The Ready put Weston-super-Mare on the motor cycle manufacturing map; it also used Brampton forks but with a JAP/Albion driveline.
“IT IS WITH REGRET that we notice a growing tendency to criticise the rules governing a competition after the event has taken place. Lately there has been far too much complaint concerning results; and, whilst we admit that in certain cases criticism has been warranted, yet it is much better to accept results in a sportsmanlike way, provided the condition of the trial have been observed. After all, the majority of club officials are honorary workers, and willingly give their time for the benefit of the pastime. If their commendable efforts receive such scant appreciation result will be declining interest…in many quarters the feeling is growing that a certain section of competition riders show no conciliatory attitude, their one object being to win or know the reason why. A little more of the true British sportsmanship would be welcome in the motor cycling competition world just now, and we sincerely hope that we may not find it necessary to revert to this subject again.”
“THE FIRST POST-WAR INTER-VARSITY motor cycle event resulted in a dead heat, each University gaining 32 marks…The event created a great deal of interest, and, considering the fact that the delivery of new machines is slow, the number of competitors was quite remarkable. Of the two universities, Cambridge produced by far the most entrants, and it is a curious fact that motor cycling has always flourished to a greater extent on the Cam than on the Isis. Among the numerous machines to be seen at the start, we noticed two of the new NUTs, a Beardmore-Precision, and one of the new flat-twin Harley-Davidsons. Among the competitors, the best known rider produced by Oxford was Openshaw, who is now a professor of engineering at the University, and is riding an overhead valve Zenith, the only machine of its type in the competition, which, as usual, was wonderfully fast, and well ridden. On the side of Cambridge, we noticed TV Prestwich, son of Mr JA Prestwich, of JAP engine fame, who was riding a Diamond…The event concluded with a slow hillclimb over a distance of 100 yards. Slipping of clutches or touching the ground with the feet was forbidden. The first three classes (250cc, 300cc and 350cc) were not counted, as Oxford could provide no entrants, so that Cambridge had a walk over in these events.”
READ AND ABSORB THESE WISE WORDS from Ixion: “Some fools go about the world proclaiming that motor cycling is an expensive hobby. Now, nobody has owned more thoroughly bad motor cycles than I have; I entered the hobby twenty years ago, and I am cursed with a simple and trustful nature, which puts me at the mercy of any glib sales manager. Nevertheless, even when one motor cycles under such a heavy handicap, the sport is a positive economy compared with other hobbies I could name. Take photography, for example. We generally fall under its spell during our first serious love affair…After a while we find that the camera does not produce pictures which are worthy of her…We discover that a £40 reflex camera with a £20 lens is desirable fr this purpose. We get it. So it goes on. Gardening is just as bad. Tulip bulbs are 3d each, but £6 per 1,000: it is obviously an economy to buy 1,000; we do so. We discover that standard apples are back numbers. We burn them during the coal shortage, and order cordons. It turns out that you require about 3,000 cordons to replace about three dozen standards: also that whereas cordons are listed at 1s each in the pre-war catalogue which inspired us to burn our acre of standard trees, they have now risen to 5s apiece. I make no charge for all this information, which is simply invaluable to all married motor cyclists. Now Mrs Ixion often grumbles about my bicycles—the number of them, the noise they make, their dirtiness, the company they get me into, the money I spend on them, etc. But she has also lurid memories of my camera days, and eke of a brief spell of gardening fever which once possessed me. So when I want a new motor cycle, I do not say, ‘My dear, Billy Wells writes to say he can do me a new 7-9hp Indian next week.’ Oh no. I remark casually that motoring in winter is a mug’s game, and that I think I shall make lantern slides or that it is absurd to pay 9d per lb for sour cooking apples, and that I shall rent a bit of ground and grow my own next year. There comes into her eyes that half-timid, half cunning look which wives wear when they think they are managing you. She says nothing at the time. At breakfast next morning she murmurs, ‘Darling, you do not seem to have had a new motor bicycle lately. Are you hard up? If so, I have still a few pounds left of Uncle Joe’s little legacy, and you have been rather a dear lately.’ Then I write to Billy Wells. Do not overdo it brethren. It is only necessary to coquet with photography or gardening just long enough to show them a husband may have worse faults than motor cycling. As detailed tips, I specially recommend a whole-plate reflex for photography on this system, and orchids as the best phase of the gardening stunt; they cost pounds, and they do not come into flower for ten years, if at all.”
“Sir,—The time is approaching when motorists must become desperadoes of the most savage type. On a recent Sunday, feeling energetic, I arose from the depths of an armchair and sought my motor cycle—a 7-9 hp Indian sidecar. I departed to where the only girl in the world lives (Don’t get excited, this is not a love story), and together we lobbed out into the country. The roads were good, the weather was bon, the ‘bus was going well, and she is a pretty girl. Yet I did not enjoy the drive. Why not? Now I will tell you. I first met them when I hit the Reigate Road at Sutton. I modestly sounded my Klaxon. Did they move? Not much: they remained four abreast. With extreme difficulty, I passed them. I did not hinder them. I realised they were cads, but I thought they were exceptions. Why did not I go home then? They were on Banstead Downs in their thousands; they were all over Reigate; they went round corners without looking round, without putting their hands out, without hands on handle-bars, and as far as I could see, without brains. Who were they ? I will leave it to your readers to arrive at the solution of this very difficult problem. Can nothing be done to remove this danger to motorists from the English roads anyway?
“AN UP-TO-DATE MOTOR SPIRIT bulk storage station has been installed by the AA at Aldermaston, on the Bath Road between Reading and Newbury. This is the first of its kind, following American lines, which has been erected in Great Britain, and is the first of a series to be erected by the AA throughout the country. The AA does not make any profit on the spirit sold, but allows their local agent to use the installation for selling his own spirit. The installation also includes a telephone, a delivery pump, and the New Pelapone engine and electric generating set, delivering ‘free air’ through an air compressor, so that members’ tyres may be blown up while the tank is being filled. Water is also laid on for filling radiators. At the present it is only proposed to run a day service with an AA road patrol in charge, but if the service proves successful, as is anticipated, day and night service will be run. At the moment only benzole conforming to the AA standard is supplied. The service, of course, is available to members only.”
“A RECORD NUMBER OF MEMBERS sat down on the evening of Saturday last [March 13th] at the Old Ship Hotel, Brighton, Brighton, whither it has long been the custom of the MCC to hold its opening run, no fewer than 155 being present…The dinner was followed by a short speech by Lt-Col Charles Jarrott, OBE, who proposed the health of the club, and referred to its sporting members. He was glad to see such a fine attendance, and said that he thought if all this year’s competitions were supported so well as the opening run, 1920 would be a bumper year. He congratulated Mr WH Wells on the arrangements for the organisation of the dinner. Mr R Head (chairman), in reply…especially congratulated those who had turned up on motor bicycles. The Jarrott cup this year would be something to be earned, the entries were already a record, and it was anticipated there would be about 200. Other events this year would be the Edinburgh run, the team trials for The Motor Cycle challenge cup, and a race meeting at Brooklands. The President then presented the medals won in the Exeter run, and thereafter followed an excellent musical entertainment…Mr RDF Paul proposed the health of the President, who, in reply, contrasted the number of those present with the attendance in 1902–the occasion of the club’s first opening run, when, as Mr Candler, the only member present who took part in it had told him, only eight or nine members had arrived, and even then only after a continual struggle against adverse circumstances. Mr Jarrott said a few words about petrol prices and taxation. The authorities, he remarked, were anxious enough to ask motorists to come and help them when the country was in difficulties, but now they seemed to infer that motorists were jolly lucky to be allowed to use the roads at all. Mr Wells…hoped the MCC would get back The Motor Cycle challenge cup this year in the team prize. The journey back to town was made independently in breezy and cold weather.”
“THE MOTTO OF A CERTAIN American motor cycle club is ‘Neat Riders’. British clubs also would help the movement by encouraging their members to wear neat riding attire.”
“WITH THE OBJECT OF COMPELLING the South Metropolitan Gas Co to produce ‘the largest possible amount of benzole or other motor spirit by the gasification of coal’, a petition has been presented to the House of Lords against the Bill which the company is promoting for the purpose of altering the existing method of charges to consumers. The petitioners comprise the Automobile Association and Motor Union, the Auto Cycle Union, the Commercial Motor Users’ Association, the Cycle and Motor Cycle Manufacturers and Traders Union, the Royal Automobile Club, and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. It is submitted that gas undertakings can produce much larger quantities of benzole and other by-products, and that in the national interests of the conservation of coal and the maintenance of key industries they should be required by law to do so. It is estimated that over 30,000,000 gallons of motor fuel could be produced from the existing gasworks of the country if ‘scrubbing’ were universally adopted in the manufacture of gas. This home supply would be of material assistance.”
“PEARSON’S WEEKLY IS OFFERING a 3½hp Rudge-Multi as a prize in a new competition. PW readers are invited to make a sentence, the words commencing with the letters J-O-Y-R-I-D-E.”
“PUBLIC SCHOOLS MCC: AT THE recent annual general meeting, it was decided to allow schoolboys to join the club at a subscription of 10s 6d, without entrance fee, and to add to the list of public schools Blundells, Eastbourne, Cooper’s Hill, Oundle, and Cranleigh.”
CYRIL PULLIN, WHO WON THE 1914 Senior TT on a Rudge, came up with a state-of-the-art utility bike “which, whilst possessing a pleasing and compact appearance, is at the same time simple to manage, comfortable to handle, and clean to ride on all kinds of roads by riders of either sex”. Its 216c 3hp two-stroke engine drove via a two speed box to a fully enclosed rear chain. The Pullin also featured a pressed-steel frame and forks, swinging-arm rear suspension, combined magneto and lighting generator in the flywheel, auto-lube, and QD interchangeable wheels.
THE MOTOR CYCLE’S BUYER’S GUIDE listed every marque on the British market. Since the previous Buyer’s Guide in 1915 the number of firms producing motor cycles had risen from 85 to 108, between them they offered 203 models: “ABC, Abingdon, King Dick, Acme, AJS, Akkens, Alecto, Alldays-Allon, Ariel, Armis, Bat, Beardmore Precision, Blackburne, Bown-Villiers, Bradbury, British Standard, Brough, BSA, Calthorpe, Campion, Carfield, Cedos, Chater-Lea, Cleveland, Clyno, CMM, Connaught, Corona, Cotton, Coulson B, Coventry Eagle, Diamond, Dot, Douglas, Dreadnought, Dunelt, Duzmo, Edmund, Endurance, Enfield, Excelsior British, Excelsior American, FN, Francis-Barnett, Gaby, Harley-Davidson, Hazlewood, HB, Henderson, Hobart, Hoskison, Humber, Indian, Invicta, Ivy, Ixion, James, JES, Kingsbury, Lea-Francis, Levis, Lincoln-Elk, LMC, Martinsyde-Newman, Matchless, Metro-Tyler, Militor, Monopole, Mountaineer, New Comet, New Hudson, New Imperial, New Scale, Norton, NUT, OK Union, Olympic, Omega, Overseas, Paragon, P&M, P&S, Pullin, Quadrant, Radco, Raleigh, Ray, Reading Standard, Regent, Revere, Rex, Romper, Rover, Royal Ruby, Rudge, Saltley, Scott, Sheffield-Henderson, Sparkbrook, Sunbeam, Sun-Vitesse, Triumph, Velocette, Verus, Victoria, Vindec, Viper, Wolf, Wooler, Wilkin, Williamson and Zenith.
NEW BIKES WERE COMING onto the market all the time, many of them lightweights and scooters using proprietary parts.
IT SEEMS THAT THE FIRST British one-make club was dedicated to an American motor cycle. “Harley-Davidson MCC: A club for Harley-Davidson riders is about to be formed, which will cater generally for riders of these machines. The idea is to commemorate the services rendered by HD riders to wounded soldiers and sailors during the war. Club runs, competitions, and social functions will be organised.”
“WD OPEN LORRIES, PACKED with war-worn motor cycles, are to be seen daily on the Dover Road. Some are packed flat on each other; others are dumped in, front wheel foremost, or with the wheels upwards. It is said the machines are arriving via Richborough from the French dumps near Calais.”
“THE AUTO CYCLE UNION TO AWARD a special prize in future Tourist Trophy contests to the competitor displaying the greatest pluck and endurance in the race. This prize will be known as the Nisbet award, and will commemorate the late Mr JR Nisbet, chairman of the Auto Cycle Union from 1914 to the time of his death last summer. The classic motor cycle road race, held annually in the Isle of Man, certainly provides scope for the exercise of the finest sporting instincts, and it is well that these should be recognised by a special prize given in memory of one who was an example of the best type of British sportsman. At the same time the ACU has been wise to rule that any competitor who continues in the race while suffering from injuries will not qualify for the new award.”
“SIR,—MAY I, THROUGH YOUR COLUMNS, warn those readers of The Motor Cycle who anticipate using the main roads to the North-west during the coming [Easter] holiday carefully to avoid the Edgware Road between Cricklewood and Edgware. Between these two points the road is composed of muddy gravel, with a wood block centre upon which, after rain, the tramlines float as on a raft. It is practically impossible for a solo machine to negotiate this stretch of road after dark, unless its rider is thoroughly acquainted with the few places where the lines may be crossed with a minimum of danger. I should mention that in places, particularly in the region of the ‘Welsh Harp’, the road has sunk so considerably that the trams enjoy (yes, they do!) a permanent (?) way quite six inches higher than the road. To finish, I walked from Cricklewood to Hendon a few days ago, and in the space of one mile picked up the following articles from the road: One car crank case inspection plate, one leather drive for car lighting dynamo, and one bent Douglas footrest, from which you may draw your own conclusions. Perhaps had I continued further I could have obtained sufficient parts to assemble a complete ‘bus.”
Stanley J Band
“A BOOM AMONGST ARTISANS: As I [Ixion] anticipated when the wages of a scavenger began to surpass those of a head draughtsman, the agencies are experiencing a very keen demand from artisan buyers. I rejoice that it is so. Motor cycles for the million are an integral part of an England fit for heroes to live in, and will make for more happiness than taking over a small holding with a small capital and a sublime ignorance of agriculture. It is interesting to note that the artisan novice is concentrating on one type of machine, and with comparatively few exceptions on half a dozen makes of that type. He will have next to nothing to do with anything but the three-speeded single-cylinder tourist machine of 500-600cc, and he is a shrewd judge of the best values in that line.”
“THE WEATHER WAS KINDLY DISPOSED towards the 160-odd starters for the Motor Cycling Club’s classic Easter event. Starting from Hounslow at one minute after midnight, the first competitor travelled in darkness through Maidenhead, Reading, Marlborough, and Devizes, the grey dawn breaking before Bridgwater (130 miles) was reached. Breakfast at the White Hart came as a welcome relief to the eye-weary riders, while the Bridgwater Motor Co attended to the wants of the machines. The road to Minehead was so wet as to raise the gloomiest forebodings. Of course, the tit-bit of the run commenced at Porlock village, and extended for 15 miles over the noted hill of that name, across Exmoor, and up Lynton Hill. The schedule speed for this difficult stretch was reduced to 15mph, and a non-stop run was demanded. For once in a way, Lynton Hill proved more difficult than Porlock, for the surface of the latter has wintered well, and is in better condition than we have known it. There was a crop of failures, of course, many due to rank bad driving. A number of sidecarists ascended minus passengers, but, generally, the solo riders performed well. If Porlock is long and severe, Lynton is steeper, and a great
number of spectators gathered to see the competitors. Hugh Gibson (No 1), astride a two-stroke Clyno, led the way, and, hugging the dry patch beside the wall, made a splendid ascent. AJ Sproston (Lea-Francis) followed in equally good form. Garford (5hp Zenith) just got up by vigorous bumping on the saddle. Staunton (Triumph) did well, Gibson (4-5hp Zenith) doing better still. Chidley (Brough) got into a rut, kept going well round the corner, but stopped higher up. That veteran, WE Brough, charged the 1-in-3 section on the inside of the corner, and got to the steepest section when he had to assist his engine by footing. ‘W Cooper and Son’, on Lea-Francis and Douglas machines respectively, reached the difficult corner together; pater was too solicitous for his son, and failed on
the corner. The son was unlucky in running out of petrol near the top. Applebee and Colliver, on Indian Scouts, toyed with the 1-in-5 gradient, but Jones (Ariel) stopped with a broken chain…Quite the most impressive passenger ascent was made by H Dale’s 8hp Royal Ruby, whch climbed easily and surely and yet was silent…Dan Bradbury got quite excited as he yelled to his passenger to jump out, while he bumped vigorously on the saddle of his Norton sidecar outfit; he got up splendidly…A terrific crackle heralded the approach of Masters on a Harley-Davidson. He charged the inside of the bend at great speed, but stopped higher up only because his back wheel was spinning so fast it had no time to grip the the greasy surface!…Fell Smith (Harley) ran on the stones to avoid Sanford (Rover) and stopped…Boxer’s Matchless was so fast on the bend that the sidecar lifted.. For one brief moment the sidecar reared in the air, the bicycle still going, then the outfit righted itself and went on well. Allen’s Matchless did the same thing, but the driver had to turn into the bank to right the machine, and thereby bent the forks, so that he retired…Charlie Collier (Matchless) was good at first, though he had difficulty in keeping his front wheel straight. Near the top he came to a standstill…With really difficult hills left behind, competitors scurried on to Barnstaple, Holsworthy, and to the luncheon stop at Launceston. Clutch trouble, due to their severe gruelling on the Devonshire hills, was
not infrequent, and others were short of petrol. Beyond Bideford the road surface as far as Holsworthy was so villainous as to call down much invective on the heads of the organisers, but the lunch stop at Launceston put fresh heart into the tired competitors…the perfect surfaces of the Bodmin Moor roads were a delight to the heart and a source of much time saving. Good roads continued to Truro, where the old Land’s End route was joined. With the exception of the final ten miles and the rough going through the mining district, the final stretch to the extreme west of Cornwall was covered without untoward incident. As usual there was a hearty welcome for the survivors at the Land’s End Hotel, which was the scene of many a reunion of old friends. As might be expected, an inspection of competing machines revealed many interesting ‘gadgets’, both in the way of lighting and personal equipment. One rider even went so far as to attach a tin of cigarettes and an electric lighter to the top tube of his machine.” The Jarrott Cup for solos went to TS Sharratt (4hp Triumph); FA Applebee (4hp Indian Scout) was runner up; F Mighell (4hp Triumph) was 3rd. Gold medals were awarded to 42 solo riders; 13 won silver. WH Elce )10hp Morgan Grand Prix) won the Pettyt Cup for sidecars and cycle cars; C Chapman (10hp Morgan) was runner up; G Nott (8hp Matchless) was 3rd. Gold medals were awarded to 24 passenger vehicles; two won silver.
“FROM TIME IMMEMORIAL (SO FAR AS motor cycle history is concerned) the Market Place in the old town of Richmond in Swaledale, North Yorkshire, has been filled on Good Friday by the clubmen of the North-Eastern counties…The record is one showing the enthusiasm and keenness of the North Country riders, who, since 1907 in the days of fixed gears, belt-drive and accumulators have travelled for the most part with great regularity from all parts of Yorkshire and Durham. The event was undoubtedly the precursor of events which in more recent times have been organised on similar lines…The attendance, considering the mileages covered, was indeed evidence of the keeness of these northern riders, who apparently are not to be deterred by bleak moorland mists, raw and piercing winds, and a drizzle intermittently…The skies were dull, mists hung low on the hills, and only the castle stood out boldly, black and grim against the prevailing greyness…The York, Hull and Darlington clubs came in well
together. A buzzing of Scotts marked the arrival of the Ilkley club, and a contingent of NUTs dashed up from Newcastle. By mid-day the curiously paved square of river-washed stomes were alive with motor cyclist, who circulated amongst the orderly rows of machines, discussing the points of each, and noting with interest the many new machines and the ‘kinks’ and ‘gadgets’ to be seen…A meeting was held during the afternoon in the Market Hall, and the Mayor of Richmond (Mr FJ Hodgson) officially welcomed the motor cyclists to the town.” A silver cup and medals presented by the ACU to the club with the greatest percentage of members present multiplied by mileage were won by the Ilkley MC&LCC; bronze medals went to the Hull MCC as runners up; followed by Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland, Darlington, Wakefield, Northern, Hartlepool, Barnsley, York, Scarborough, Leeds, Rippon and Harrogate. The Motor Cycle presented a silver wrist watch to “the lady with the besy kept machine”, Miss E Dent (2¾hp 1915 Douglas); The Cycle ad Motor Cycle Manufacturers and Traders Untion presented a ladies’ long distance award to Miss SF Wilson (2¼hp Levis, 59 miles); £2 prize “for the owner of the best kept machine” (or as later rallyists called it, the Concours d’Elegance), CH Zissler of Darlington (1917 BSA); “Silver mounted brushes (presented by The Motor Cycle) for the most novel idea, WH Dodds, Newcastle (3½hp Sunbeam).
“A NEW CONSUL’S BADGE has recently been issued by the Auto Cycle Union. In future all consuls of the ACU will display this badge on their machines, and will thus be readily recognised by members. Motorists displaying it are especially qualified and equipped to assist ACU members, and have under- taken to do so within their respective districts. The duties of an ACU consul are many snd varied. He is, for instance, at all times ready to assist members regarding the selection, purchase or sale of a machine. He will advise them in any technical difficulties they may experience in the running or care of their motor cycles; or will, if circumstances require, make an expert examination and report upon any machine. The local consul will also assist members in legal, insurance, touring, and other matters. The consuls are each responsible for a radius of about twenty-five miles from their respective local headquarters, additional ones being appointed in especially populous districts.”
BROOKLANDS WAS BACK IN BUSINESS. The inaugural post-war meeting was scheduled for Easter but torrential rain delayed the action for a week. “The first glimpse of the recently repaired track, glistening in the strong sunlight, and the decent roar of the competing machines, revived fascinating thrills of the track after many years of anticipation. That the popularity of the classic sport continues could be observed by the many thousands of racing enthusiasts and the long lines of cars and motor cycles on the course. The first race, for solo machines of any class, arranged to start at the Fork at 2 o’clock, was the Victory Handicap, in which a distance of 8 miles 842 yards was to be covered. The competitors passed the Fork twice, and then entered the straight to finish at
the grand stand. Of the 27 entrants, 20 starters got away well. Although not entered in. the official programme, a very creditable start was made by Mrs Longden, astride a 2¾hp Douglas. Rapid acceleration brought this lady well to the fore, but possibly the wind resistance offered by her skirt spoilt her promising performance. J Woodhouse on his Matchless, although handicapped to the extent of 12 secs, rode well, whilst J Emerson, astride a racing ABC, literally swallowed up the yards amidst a crackle from his twin exhaust pipes. 0M Baldwin on a Matchless had bad luck and dropped out on the second lap, as also did E Kickham (Douglas), whilst momentary excitement was caused by the premature appearance on the straight of SF Garrett (Indian), who informed a representative of The Motor Cycle that the plug of his front cylinder had failed. From the start Emerson maintained a fast speed, and roared in first at the finish well ahead of the runner up, WA Jacobs on a Singer, the former rider having lapped at 66-7mph. Closely pursuing, GJ Mcintosh (Singer) took third place, whilst running at a short distance from each other the following finished in the order named: H.R. Harveyson (Indian), VE Horsman (VEH), H Martin (Matchless), and T Eve (Matchless). At the finish, Mrs Longden, who came in well, stated that the track was in places bumpy, otherwise it was a delightful
race…The next race was a sprint of three miles 76 yards for motor cycles of a capacity not exceeding 350cc…HE Wells (2¾hp Douglas) got away at speed, and held his pace, finishing little in rear of the winner, T Eve, on a Matchless, who lapped at 54.2mph. Closely following came WA Jacobs, on the Singer, securing third place, whilst E Longden (Douglas) and AF Houlberg, on a new and shining Wooler, finished well. The most enthralling race of the day then followed. J Emerson (ABC) and DR O’Donovan (Norton), two previous record holders on fast machines, were well in the running, and there was much controversy as to the likely winner…Eager faces strained to watch the two likely winners, visible as two tiny specks in the distance. Slowly they crept towards the stand, O’Donovan leading, Emerson pursuing closely. It was but within 100 yards of the finish that the ABC slowly crept up, the eager spectators gripped the railings, and in a most exciting finish J Emerson proved the winner. Well in the rear followed VE Horsman (VEH), who was then considerably ahead of the runners up. Emerson’s average speed was 64.3mph. The 1,000cc sprint race was of an equal distance to the foregoing…J Woodhouse on his eight-valve Matchless proved an easy winner, he attained a speed of 75.9mph over the lap. 0M Baldwin, another Matchless rider, followed, whilst third place was secured by E Remington oh a JAP-engined twin, HR Harveyson, on an Indian, following.”
“SIR,—FOR THE PAST YEAR it has been my ambition to ride in the London-Edinburgh run at Whitsun. I received my first shock at the Motor Cycle Show when the new machine I had ordered did a £20 jump. I never realised how much 1 had wanted it until I thought I had lost it. It was my ideal motor bicycle and none of the others would do as a substitute. After twenty-four hours of anxious thought I decided not to cancel the order. As the machine had electric light (and what an asset that would be in the London-Edinburgh!) Then came the day when I took delivery, and found that it more than fulfilled all my expectations. Comparing it with others (that have been rising in price steadily since the Show), it did not seem so terribly expensive. In a state of great enthusiasm I wrote for particulars of entry for the London- Edinburgh. Then the second blow fell. Only members of the Motor Cycle Club can ride in it, and ladies are not eligible. I wrote to ask why, and the secretary answered that the subject had been discussed recently and turned down, but that an alteration of the rule might be made another year. I know nothing about motor cycle clubs, but, I presume, the housing problem is responsible for this. I suppose the MCC has premises in London, and the inclusion of ladies among the members would mean extra rooms at the club. Probably, at present, the number of ladies who would join would not justify this outlay. I wonder, though, if, for a reduced subscription, they could not become merely riding members. It does seem hard that a boy of fourteen and a half years may ride in the Jarrott cup trial, while we, just on account of our sex, are ruled out of everything. It is very disappointing. Are there others who share my feelings on this subject? I enclose a photograph of the aforesaid ‘ideal machine’.
(Mrs) E Manvell.”
A STATEMENT WAS MADE RECENTLY by Sir Marcus Samuel at the Commercial Motor Users’ Association which is of particular interest to users of motor fuel. He said, during a discussion on the scarcity of petrol and the possibility of substitutes: “The Shell Co would take part in the distribution of any substitute for petrol which could be found on any terms the Government thought fair.” He and his brother would never sell out to the United States. The Government had had many chances of buying a controlling interest in the Shell Co, and had refused every one.
“PROBABLY NO OTHER FIELD attracts so many designers and makers of accessories as that of the motor cycle. Every week sees new ideas and new goods submitted for judgment and review, and we are able to deal with only a portion of them…This week’s selection includes a useful little accessory known as the First Aid Mechanic or FAM. It is a combination of nuts, bolts, and bars which can be used in a variety of ways for temporary repairs. The first day we carried it we found a use for it in holding together the broken ends of a mudguard stay. Its uses are too numerous to mention, and we recommend motor cyclists to send to the makers, B Young & Co, Leek Street, Birmingham, for particulars…Amateur mechanics will be interested in tool stands and work benches. The St Giles, made by St Giles Engineering Works, Northampton, is of wood and is collapsible, folding into a compact form for storage. It has no fewer than thirty tools, including grinder and vice. The dimensions are 3ft 6inx1ft 9inx2ft 8in high with four tubular steel legs and undershelf. Another bench is of metal and is on small wheels, the idea being that the bench may be taken to the job instead of conveying heavy parts to the bench. The size is 24inx24inx30in high, weight 2cwt 2qrs 14lb. It is made by the Progressive Engineering Co of Leicester, Denton…ER Wintle, the Midland competition rider, is marketing a bucket seat for the pillion. It is sprung on volute springs carried on sliding spindles, and small coil springs are also fitted to prevent undue movement when the seat is not occupied. It is made in two sizes (for adults and children respectively), is well upholstered, and is enamelled to match the machine. Another pillion seat which has a backrest is the latest model of the Ideal seat, made by the Coventry Ideal Pillion Co. The illustration is self-explanatory, it only being necessary to point out that the back rest is secured to the sprung part of the attachment. Still another pillion attachment is the CL, a speciality, of C Lamb, 32, Edmund Road, Saltley, Birmingham. It has adjustable springing, and it is claimed that side sway is eliminated. J Collyer and Co, of 133, Hockley Hill, Birmingham, send particulars of their legshields, which are made on the Venetian blind principle. Aluminium slats are mounted in a light steel frame and are capable of being fixed at will either in the open or closed position, providing protection in wet weather and in the summer, permitting air to be reflected on to the engine.
“THOSE OF OUR READERS who have often to leave their machines exposed to all weathers will find the motor cycle cover brought out by the Howard Car and Cycle Cover Co, 41, Fetter Lane, London, EC4, to be an exceedingly useful accessory. The cover is made of water and rot-proof canvas, shaped to fit over a motor cycle or motor cycle and sidecar. Its top is designed to present a sloping surface to the weather, so that a water-shed is formed, which effectually protects the machine against the most violent downpour. It is also designed that that it may be rolled up and carried and strapped on to the carrier. The device should be a great boon to those who have to leave their motor cycles temporarily out of doors when garage accommodation is not available, and should be extremely useful to those happy motorists who possess week-end cottages which have not any motor house accommodation.”
“MANY MONTHS AGO THE AUTOCAR urged that the Government should control fuel supplies. The object in mind was the protection of a key industry of growing importance, which is, to all intents and purposes, in the hands of the petrol ring, the existence of which is denied. As we go to press rumours are afloat that the Government is now negotiating for a controlling interest in the Shell Transport and Trading Co. If this should prove to be correct, it may form an important step towards Government fuel supply. The war has shown us the vital necessity of ample oil fuel supplies, and it is to be hoped that some satisfactory agreement will be reached. Despite the importance of the move, it must not be looked upon as the solution of the fuel problem, for there is a threatened shortage of oil fuel throughout the world, and, unless further supplies become available in the near future, this shortage is likely to become acute. In the development of the British oilfields lie possibilities which must, however, not be overestimated. Shale oil and the encouragement of benzole production can, undoubtedly, help to ease the situation, but power alcohol would appear to be the ultimate solution, since the supply is to all intents and purposes inexhaustible.”
“A DIFFICULT trial, splendidly organised, sums up the second Victory Cup trial of the Birmingham MCC. It was one of the twenty open ACU events of the year, and 177 entries resulted. Of these, twelve riders failed to start, and 156 survived. Hills there were in abundance included, in six non-stop sections, but the outstanding event was the flexibility test up Birdlip Hill. Once the terror of motor cyclists, this Gloucestershire gradient is now an easy climb. So much so, indeed, that the competitors restarted with ease on a steep part of the hill, and accelerated as if the road were flat. Spectators gathered at all the points of vantage, and must have outnumbered previous crowds…The roads were wet, and in many places covered with slimy clay. Beacon Hill leaves the main Birmingham-Worcester road a little way beyond Rubery with a sharp turn and steep
gradient, which soon eases, but the surface becomes very bad especially for sidecar machines, owing to the deep clay ruts at the sides of the road; that on the left took the sidecar wheels up to their axles and caused them to bounce horribly and drag the machine out of its course…FJ Price (2¾hp Diamond) was baulked by M Hartland on a similar machine at the worst bit of the road. He swung to the right through clay ruts six or eight inches deep, on to the grass and back into the road without any apparent effort and continued his way—a skilful piece of riding!…In pre-war trials it was usual for trials organisers using the Wyche to requisition a gang of ‘navvies’ with ropes to take charge of the machines that failed on the hill, but so greatly improved are present-day motor cycles that the only ropes in use were those utilised to keep back the interested public…Leaving Cheltenham, the course lay along Gambles Lane, rejoining the main road at the top of the
famous Rising Sun’ Hill. As usual, many spectators had gathered to witness the climb, and though the road surface was dry and distinctly better than on the occasion of the Colmore Trial, there were several quite exciting moments, especially when competitors floundered about in the loose stones, or had to get past others who were in difficulties. The majority of the riders made light of the hill, some roaring up seemingly in a great hurry, others taking it easy on low gears. Quite the fastest ascent was made by SE Longmore (8hp Harley- Davidson sc). He fairly ‘zoomed’ up, bouncing in his saddle all the way. JN Roberts (3¾hp Scott), FA Applebee (3hp ABC), WB Gibb (2¾hp Douglas), and G Dance (3½hp Sunbeam) also made fast climbs. W Ford (2¾hp Coulson B) came up well but fell near the top. Both TF Watson (4hp Norton sc) and E Porter (3hp ABC) were baulked by the spectators and slower machines, but managed by magnificent driving to get past without mishap. JS Bacon (6hp Regent sc) failed on the corner, and, running backwards, was narrowly missed by T. Stephens (4¼hp James sc). Altogether a dozen competitors failed, all these being low-powered sidecars or lightweights. There were several quite spectacular performances, which evoked much enthusiasm and comment on the part of the crowd. Gus Kuhn (2¼hp Levis) roared up with one hand on the bars, showing that familiarity with the hill breeds contempt. L Paynter (3½hp Norton) waved furiously to the crowd and very nearly fell in consequence. The luckiest competitor at this point was, however, GW. Walker (3½hp Norton). He came up swerving in an alarming manner, and very nearly ran into the spectators in his attempt to recover. Everyone gave him up for lost, but he found himself safe at the top…Rev J M Philpott, the
ACU consul and chaplain of the Coventry and Warwickshire MC, climbed all hills successfully on a brand-new 2¾hp Wilkin-Blackburne, which was only handed to the owner on the previous afternoon…The scene at the finish was a very animated one, for, in addition to the 250 competitors and passengers, and the multitudinous officials, there were several hundred spectators to welcome, the riders back. Only nine competitors failed to check in at the finish.” Results: Victory Cup and gold medal (best solo performance), A Milner, (2½hp Diamond); Midland Cup and gold medal (best sidecar performance), JE Greenwood (3½hp Sunbeam sc); Duke Cup and gold medal (highest scoring solo over 275cc), FA Applebee (3hp ABC); Alec Ross Prize (highest scoring solo under 275cc), A Milner (2½hp Diamond); special gold medal for best performance by private owner, JH Walker (4hp Triumph); class winners’ gold medals (excluding winners of premier awards), FJ Lidstone (2¼hp James); GE Stobbart, (5-6hp James sc); JH Walker (4hp Triumph); HB Denley (8hp Morgan); E Porter (3hp ABC); team prize, Sunbeam (JE Greenwood, G Dance and Tommy de la Haye); runner up, BSA (LL Sealey, HF Edwards and MC Breeze; third place, Norton (H Hassall, L Paynter and GW Walker.
“IF A MOTOR SCOOTER IS NOT A MOTOR CYCLE, as some affirm, it is indeed difficult to find the line of demarcation, for it is certain that neither frame design nor engine size determines the respective types, hence one can only assume that wheel size decides the point. Nevertheless, however small a machine may be, it is still a cycle. Most of the so-called scooters bear not the slightest resemblance to the child’s toy, the name of which was first used by The Motor Cycle in connection with a machine that had some of the scooter’s characteristics.”
“THE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE for the Metropolis has issued a warning to motorists who permit their number plates to be obscured by mud or dust.”
“ELECTRIC TRANSMMISION is coming to the fore in cars. Shall we have petrol-electric motor cycles?”
“MY WEEK-END WAS ENJOYED with the aid of a TT Norton, Ixion wrote. “This ‘bus can safely be driven over wet roads at an average figure which the correspondents of the daily papers ‘Paterfamilias’, ‘Conimonsense’, and other gentlemen of that kidney, would consider formidable on Brooklands. If there is a fiercer 3½hp than the Norton speed model, I should like to meet it; and yet it can amble along without pinking, like a medieval abbot’s palfrey.”
REALLY HIGH-CLASS SINGLE-CYLINDER machines are few and far between among the newcomers to the market, market, and for this reason the Wilkin 4hp machine will attract its full share of attention. It is the product of Mr GW Wilkin, of Sheffield, who for several years has been selling motor cycles besides riding them both privately and in competitions…The engine is the well-known Blackburne ‘4’, and the gearbox a Sturmey- Archer with all-chain transmission totally enclosed in well-proportioned cases. Having n sloping top tube, the frame has distinctive lines, and is rather longer than would have been necessary on a machine intended for solo work. The Lucas Magdyno combined lighting and ignition set forms part of the equipment and the black finish is relieved by neat gold lining on the tank and a plated handle-bar. The mudguards are of good width, and in the case of the front wheel guards extend outside the fork members, while the valances on both are deep. At every point the design and construction appear to be sound, and we should not be surprised to see the Wilkin become very popular, not only in the districts adjacent to its birthplace, but among motor cyclists generally. We congratulate Mr Wilkin on a splendid machine, which comes as a welcome addition to a type of which there are not too many representatives.”
“THREE ATTRACTIVE MODELS OF THE BRITISH EXCELSIOR: A Blackburne-engined lightweight, a two-stroke with flywheel magneto, and a new big single for sidecar work are to be added to the range of models manufactured by Messrs Bayliss, Thomas and Co. Commencing with the simplest form of two-stroke, and ending with an 8hp de luxe sidecar outfit, British Excelsiors will soon be made in three distinct types, instead of two as at present. Two of the new machines coming into the existing lightweight group, and the third is an entirely new model to meet the demand for a medium-powered utilitarian type of sidecar machine for those who do not feel justified in investing in a de luxe motor cycle such as the present-day big twin. This medium powered machine will have a specification similar to that of the pre-war outfit modified to suit present-day conditions, but sans such items as interchangeable and quickly detachable wheels, spare wheel, dynamo lighting, enclosed all-chain drive, hood and screen. The engine is a moderate compression single of 650cc, and is of the same design as the engine fitted in the 4½hp single before the war. For the benefit of those who are comparatively new to motor cycle matters, we remind readers that those responsible for the Excelsior have had considerable experience of ‘big singles’; one of the 1914 models which was sold in large numbers had a single cylinder of no less than 800cc capacity.”
SIR,—AS A READER OF YOUR valuable columns, I should like to raise the question of foot controlled gear change appliances. The only examples I know of on the market at present are the Sturmey-Archer gear boxes up to the 1919 model. The gear change lever on these can be adjusted to be worked by either hand or foot. Unfortunately the latest type of this make is designed to work by hand only. I can safely say that 90% of the DRs who rode Triumphs during the war used the foot for changing gear. The result is always a much quieter change, and consequently less shock to both engine and transmission. For example, when changing up, the clutch can be disengaged with one hand, the throttle slightly closed with the other, and at the same time the gear change lever can be moved with the foot. Another point in favour is that the hands can be kept on the bars the whole time, which is a considerable advantage when riding solo, or with pillion passenger, over ‘greasy’ roads.
“LAST WEEK END THERE began a campaign for the examination of driving licences all over the country. Motorists were held up, sometimes in queues, for this purpose, and it behoves every driver to remember his licence before starting on a run.”
“I HAVE PERFORMED FEW FEATS in my life which were worthy of being filmed,” Ixion admitted, “but no Los Angeles stunt merchant has ever excelled a quite involuntary show of mine last week. I was trying out a brand new machine which is rather hot stuff, and the road was new to me. After an hour or so I was still thirsting for a chance to get the throttle wide open when I arrived at a long straight piece of going, which fell gently down into a valley and climbed gently out the other side. There wasn’t a soul or an animal in sight, and, after one gleeful glance through my dusty goggles, I flattened down on the tank, and let the machine rip. I was doing rather more than a mile a minute as the bottom of the dip rushed up to meet me, and only at the fifty-ninth second of the fifty- ninth minute of the eleventh hour did I realise that the somewhat odd look of the road surface in the dip was a watersplash. It was too late to stop. The depth of the water was problematical ; also the kind of surface which lay beneath the water. All I could do was to hang on like grim death and trust to luck. The water came up and hit me like a solid wall. I emerged, stunned and dripping, but erect, a wiser and more prayerful man.”
“A FEW DAYS AGO a young couple attempted to elope to Scotland on a sidecar.”
“INTERNATIONAL TOURING ALLIANCE: A conference of touring organisations was recently held in Paris, and an inter- national alliance has been founded which will facilitate the way of motor cyclists touring in foreign countries. The head- quarter will be at Brussels, the secretary being M. Seavt, president of the Touring Club of Belgium. The organisations associated with the movement include the Automobile Association and Motor Union; American Automobile Association; Touring Club of France; Touring Club of Belgium; L’Union Velocipedique de France; Cyclists Touring Club; and Touring Club Italy.”
“ALCOHOL FROM THE SEA: It is said that there is practically an unlimited supply of power alcohol in seaweed.”
“THE LATEST IN MASCOTS: A mechanical mascot in the form of a figure which bows and raises its hat is the latest thing in ornaments for the radiators of cars.”
“A GREAT DIFFICULTY HAS BEEN experienced in obtaining regulation helmets for TT entrants. The ACU will be glad if competitors in past Tourist Trophy races, who have approved helmets for disposal, will immediately communicate with the secretary of the Auto Cycle Union, 83, Pall Mall, London.”
“A BROMLEY (KENT) MOTOR CYCLIST’S Douglas was stolen by a novel ruse. A stranger offered him £1 if he would examine a second-hand Douglas for sale at a local hotel, saying he had an appointment with the owner. Whilst the Bromley motor cyclist was trying the second-hand on the road, the stranger said he would try his friend’s new machine. He rode off and has not been seen since.”
“LAST YEAR WHEN THE LONDON-EDINBURGH run was resumed after a long interval, an innovation was made by eliminating the return journey…The scheme is a good one, especially when applied to these holiday week-end trials, for the entrants may wish to tour home again pleasantly, and to dally by the wayside where the scenery is attractive. Physical and nervous strain is considerable after the first fifteen or sixteen hours driving, and in consequence the inclusion of a monotonous main road return journey of three or four hundred miles at a very short interval after the completion of an outward journey of the same length constitutes a test of staying power more severe on man than machine. To the modern machine an endurance run over the classic London-Edinburgh route presents no difficulties whatever, and even the London-Land’s End route of pre-war days was not abnormally troublesome. However, the elimination of the return journey allows the severity of the outward run to be increased…This year the route, to use a colloquialism, is considerably ‘gingered up’, and any rider whose machine makes an unflagging ascent of Kirkstone Pass, after some 300 miles of steady and continuous running may be reasonably proud….’It is highly desirable that competitors in this year’s London-Edinburgh equip their machines with magneto cut-outs for the descent of Kirkstone Pass,’ writes Mr WH Wells, captain of the MCC, who has just surveyed the course. ‘Without a means to cut off the ignition on the descent into Patterdale, it will not be possible to use the low gear to full advantage for braking purposes, and those who depend entirely on their brakes may burn them out…
At eight o’clock last friday evening the first of the 316 starters [out of 382 entrants] was despatched on his 400-mile journey by Mr AV Ebblewhite, amidst an enthusiasm possibly unsurpassed in any London-Edinburgh run. [They went at 30-second intervals and were scheduled to ride at the speed limit of 20mph. So, as the Blue ‘Un pointed out, by the time the last cycle-car left Highgate, the leading solos were 60 miles north.] Fine weather prevailed for the opening of the trial, which proved, as was anticipated, the best supported and certainly the most interesting ever held. The climbing of Kirkstone added incident to a run which had of late years, with the reliable machines obtainable to-day, developed into a featureless twenty-four hour ride.” The field comprised half a dozen ABCs, a dozen Ajays, a brace of Acmes, an Allon, a quartet of Ariels, a Beardmore-Precision, six Blackburnes, seven Broughs, two Beezas, a Bradbury, a Carfield, two Chater-Leas, two Clynos, five Coulson Bs, an 1899 De Dion, 13 Douglases, Diamond, a Dunlop, a Duzmo, an Enfield, 19 Harleys (14 of them outfits), an HR, five Hendersons (only one of which was a solo), a Hobart, two Hoskisons, six Humbers, 10 little Indians, an Invicta-JAP, six Jimmies, three Lea Francises, two Levises, 14 Matchlesses, a Mabon, three Metro-Tylers, three Martinsyde-Newmans, four New Imps, a New Hudson, a New Scale, 12 Nortons, two NUTs, an OK, three Paragons, two P&Ms, a Radco, four Rovers, four Reading-Standards, three Rudges, a Royal Ruby, three Rexes, seven Scotts, 19 Sunbeams, 32 Triumphs, two Versuses, seven Woolers, two Wilkins, 15 Zeniths and 20 cycle-cars. It is becoming quite customary to begin a report of this popular event of the Motor Cycling Club by stating that the entry was a record one. When the list of those competing first totalled over 200 it was thought that the trial was unwieldy, and this year, when the entries amounted actually to 381, there were misgivings as to whether so
large a number could be conveniently handled on the road. In practice, however, the run went off extremely well, and was even a greater success than its dozen predecessors. The start took place on Friday evening in glorious weather, and there seemed every prospect of a fine run. The Metropolitan police were splendid as usual, and the huge number of riders was despatched without a hitch…Arthur Candler, one of the early hon secretaries of the MCC and founder of the Edinburgh run, lode a 3½hp Rover…Quite the most interesting from an historical point of view of all the machines present was BCF Fellowes’s 2¾hp De Dion, the engine of which was dated 1899. On the tank was the Latin motto ne fronti crede [“trust not to appearances”], and a three-speed Armstrong gear was fitted. This wonderful engine pulled its rider right through to the finish…Each man was timed out by Mr AV Ebblewhite, while the official cars were driven by two old-time’ competitors, Messrs J van Hooydonk and WH Wells, the latter carrying Mr FT Bidlake, the timekeeper at the finish…To an old participant in this event, two stretches of the run seem longer than the others—the night drive to Grantham and the last stage of all. To average 20mph in the daylight is easy, but to maintain this average in the dark, even over an excellent and easy road, is somewhat of an effort…We set out from the first check [at Biggleswade] in the glorious starlight night with a batch of half a dozen machines just ahead, including the three new Metro-Tylers…They are very neat-looking mounts, which ran most consistently…Our immediate companions were a group of members of the Public Schools MCC, who all rode together, and of these JDN Dickson Hill (5hp Zenith)…took a corner too fast at Gonerby, just after the breakfast stop, as he
took a corner too fast, colliding with a heap of stones…The next check was at Doncaster, and outside the garage there was mounted an ancient high bicycle, and under it the words ‘disqualified, arrived too early’. For the early comers the sun rose before reaching Retford, but the clouds soon hid it, and the run was continued in cold dull weather with a rising south-westerly wind. HB Browning (3¾ hp Scott), who burst a cover outside Doncaster, found a friend in need in the shape of a fireman. This excellent sportsman ran to the fire station, cut off a piece of hose, slit it down the centre, and thus improvised an excellent gaiter, and when offered payment refused it, saying he was a fellow motorist and drove a 60hp fire engine…There was some very rough road north of Doncaster…the wind, which had hitherto been only tiresome, became really trying…the dust was so appalling that we also prayed for a shower of rain, and wished that the excess of tar encountered in Hertfordshire had been directed to this part of the world…The Scott on which one member of our staff was travelling acquitted itself well, but Kirkstone proved its real worth…its approach is narrow, and right in the village of Ambleside, and we had to take it with a non-competing car drawing a trailer full of petrol cans partly blocking the fair way. The low gear was engaged at once, and kept in as the engine roared its way up the numerous steep pitches and round the easy bends. Once we changed to top, then up and up the Scott soared. Then came a fast stretch over a falling grade, and afterwards the final ‘struggle’ round a sharp bend and the worst was
over…Triumph and Sunbeam stood out among the best performances in the solo section, and Blackburne riders, too, though not fast, toured up with apparent ease and comfort. The Scott riders did well almost to a man, but their radiators were observed to be steaming in several instances. Boult on a Norton with Philipson pulley made a most meritorious ascent, passing three-speed mounts whose riders were footing or running alongside. Fleetwood we singled out as the bast ABC rider, though all did well. When the sidecars arrived in bulk, rain was falling, thickly, and the surface was getting badly cut up. Bridgman (Indian sc) was sandwiched among the solo mounts, and it is doubtful if any competitor made a better climb up the steepest stretch at the top. Wright (Henderson) was good, also Nott (Matchless), whilst Temple (Harley-Davidson) was so fast that in the thick mist he was obliged to keep his electric horn going to clear the way…Congratulations to Jefferys, the one-legged rider of a Norton, who got up very comfortably…Once over the crest of Kirkstone (1,500ft up) there followed a drop into Patterdale, the atmosphere becoming clearer and the scenery more observable. ..Colliver was greatly pleased with is Indian Scout, while that best of sportsmen, Applebee pere, was delighted with his Levis. The new ABCs were a great contrast to the early models seen in last year’s run, and had wonderfully clean crank cases. Th old stagers, Triumphs, Ariels, Zeniths, Douglases, Lea-Francis, Humbers, etc were doing well, and many of the newcomers, the Metro-Tylers, Coulsons, ABCs, Precisions, Duzmos and the like, were establishing their reputations. The worst of the run was now over, and the going was easy to Carlisle, after which the John-o’-Groats route was followed to Beattock. At Moffatt
an excellent and much appreciated tea was served, and then followed the last non-stop section. Why this was chosen no-one knows. If Kirkstone Pass is the worst graded road in England, the Devil’s Beef Tub Pass is the best graded road over any British or Scottish pass. The wind blew helpfully up the hill, as it did up Kirkstone, and the competitors sailed up and cruised down the other side in comfort…E Seymans (5hp Zenith) was very silent, and the easy beat of the Blackburne engines could be recognised from afar…The Brough machines had a very pleasant hum…The beat of BFC Fellowes’s old 2¾hp De Dion engine reminded one of other days, but he was still going strong…Lt Kidston (3½hp NUT) made a silent ascent, and RA Bonner (2¾hp Douglas) and J Watson (4hp Harley-Davidson) ascended at speed. JO Barclay (Reading-Standard) seemed very highly geared, but was ticking over with an easy throb…Liberton was fixed as the end of the trial, as there was a procession through Edinburgh which would have caused serious congestion. After the finish the competitors proceeded at leisure to the Waverley Market, a huge building where the Scottish car show is held….out of 316 motor bicycles and sidecar outfits 222 finished.
Echoes of the Edinburgh run.
Though sidecar passengers appeared to travel in much greater comfort than before, many owners had not cultivated the art of travelling light, and ‘excess luggage’ was very noticeable…One enthusiast, S Marshall, set out on a 1½hp Dunlop scooter. He did not arrive at Edinburgh…Another enthusiast, T Fawcett, having had trouble with his machine on the way to London, bought a new Invicta-JAP in a small town en route, and, arriving late, was allowed to start after the cars—he completed the journey…Broken sidecar chassis were more numerous than one expects on a 400-mile run—DH Noble (10hp Reading Standard) abandoned his attachment near Doncaster…JR Robertson-Brown (10hp Henderson) and GP Stuart Clarke (7hp FN) both suffered from bad petrol bought on the road, which left a resinous deposit…JW Wills (2¾hp Verus) started with his clutch out of action, but succeeded in reaching Edinburgh…When passing through one town on the Great North Road, on quite 60% of the machines the rear lamps were out. A reader who discussed the matter with a sporting policeman probably saved ‘official’
action by interesting the officer in the run…The performance of BFC Fellowes, of Nottingham, was noteworthy. A good deal of interest was evinced in his ‘built-up’ machine. The engine was a twenty-one year old 2¾hp De Dion, in which were the original steel bushes. It had a detachable cylinder head and an automatic inlet valve. The carburetter was an old type B&B, and the magneto a Simms. The drop-backed frame was of modern type, and, fitted with TT bars and painted a bright yellow, picked out in black, the machine looked very attractive. Rigid forks were fitted and a three-speed gear in the back hub. Such a veteran machine could hardly be expected to make a clean ascent of Kirkstone Pass. The bottom gear was 8 to 1, and although Fellowes konked out twice on the way up the Pass, he managed to restart each time with the aid of a little assistance. Fellowes made the run from Nottingham to London, and London to Edinburgh without incident. Returning to Nottingham, however, he had the misfortune to break his front down tube of the frame…It is with great regret that we have to announce the death of JDN Dickson Hill (5-6hp Zenith) at Ponton. After leaving the first breakfast stop, he made a good ascent of Gonerby Hill, but unfortunately was travelling too fast to take a corner properly, and crashed into a wall. He was unconscious when picked up, and was eventually conveyed to Grantham Hospital, where he passed away. It would seem that his accident was chiefly caused by inexperience and want of care, but it is sad, indeed, to think that the motor cycle pastime has been robbed of so enthusiastic a young sportsman. Mr Hill was learning motor engineering at the Bleriot Works, Addlestone.”
WIZARD O’DONOVAN WENT TO BROOKLANDS with a 3½hp TT chain-drive Norton combo and picked up 14 records including the 50-miler, where he beat the 57min 9.8dec set by HC Newman (Ivy) in 1913, completing the 50 miles in run in 56min 32.6sec (52.48mph). Wizard also set 750cc and 1,000cc records at 100 and 150 miles, all of them at around the 50mph mark.
“A NEW MODEL 2¾HP COULSON B HAS recently been placed on the market. It is a most attractive machine, finished in French grey and blue. The distinctive Coulson streamline tank is retained, and a Capac carburetter and a Sturmey-Archer two-speed countershaft gear are incorporated, the gear box being mounted on an aluminium plate on the bottom bracket. A magneto guard of ample dimensions has been added. A new design front fork is now fitted. The movable portions of the fork bearing the front wheel spindle slide in bronze bushes contained in the front members of the forks, which are packed with grease, while at the point where the slides enter the front members coil check springs are inserted. These two members are suitably bridged, and are connected by means of links to short leaf springs anchored to the fork crown. It is perhaps well to advise readers who are not familiar with Coulson B motor cycles that they incorporate in this model an efficient spring frame, using quarter-elliptic leaf springs under the chain stays.”
“TWO AMERICAN POWER UNITS, new to British motor cyclists, will shortly appear in this country. Known as the Lake engines, there will be two sizes, a single of 570cc and a V-twin of 1,140cc, nominally rated at 5-6hp and 12-15hp respectively. In both engines the same size cylinder is used, viz, 85.7mm bore and 99mm stroke, and detachable cylinder heads, overhead valves, and mechanical lubrication are their salient features. The lubrication pump (which is attached to the outside of the crank case) has a controllable stroke, and forces the oil via the front cylinder to the moving parts of the engine. Phosphor bronze bearings are used for the small ends of the connecting rods, roller bearings for the big ends, and ball bearings for the crankshaft. Constructed of tubes, with steel tips, the valve push rods are said to be very light, while the rockers and gear wheels appear to be well designed.”
“SIR,—THE LETTERS UPON SPEED WOBBLE have been of much interest, as evidenced by the following, which is perfectly true. At a certain public school the proud possessor of a brand new Norton was asked if he ever had a speed wobble. His reply was no, but he could easily get one by paying extra.
“SIR,—YOUR CORRESPONDENT ‘AG’ states that he has attained the speed of 65mph on an absolutely untuned 4hp machine. If this remarkably fine machine were thoroughly tuned, he might put 10 or 12mph on to this speed, then, if he cared to compete in the next speed trials, some of our better known speed ‘aces’ would have to look to their laurels. In comparison with the above, the performance of ‘LR’s’ big 7-9hp Indian, which can only do an equal speed, although carefully tuned, and on a picked road, is quite insignificant!
“SIR,—I HAVE RECENTLY NOTICED among your correspondents a great tendency to deplore the passing of the sporting single-speeder. Many have sent in suggested designs of more or less merit, but I am sure all will regret the passing of the Martin motor cycle. I recently rode and owned a 2½hp single-speed; it was everything a rider could want—light, strong, handy and simple It could ‘twist the tails’ of a great many Yankee omnibuses on the level, and gave next to no trouble. The high prices people are willing to pay for the second-hand sporting grids of early date show what an enormous sale there would be for the new ‘buses.
“SIR,—A FEW WEEKS AGO I READ in your journal a letter from a correspondent on the speed of a hare, and I thought the following experience might be of interest. While the guid wife and I were having our usual week-end jaunt, we suddenly encountered a small pig, which had evidently strayed from the farm. Owing to the prevailing high price of porkers, and the impecunious state of the family exchequer, our sty was empty. The wife and I exchanged meaning glances, but the little rascal must have sensed our felonious intention, as he did a miniature hairpin turn, opened out the throttle, and was off in a flash. We gave chase, and when my ‘Try-some’ combination was getting in the neighbourhood of about three figures per hour (guessed, as we were speedometerless for afore-mentioned reason), the object of our desires was about holding his start. His topographical knowledge of the locality was excellent, and just as we thought the prize was nearly in the toe of the sidecar the little porcine quadruped blighted our hopes by executing a quick left-hand turn, followed by a fine nose dive under the farmyard gate, giving a derisive flourish of his caudal appendage as a final. Usual disclaimer.
“SIR,—IS IT NOT TIME THAT motor cyclists insisted on the ACU and the AA taking up this question of the police and their petty tyranny on the road? Not only police traps, but now a new form of petty aggravation is arising, and we have police stopping one to measure number plates, examine silencers, and measure the size of letter on the number plates. In a word, motor cyclists (as well as car owners) are being badgered for no reason at all. It is beyond a joke, and surely the associations that profess to look after our interests could make a strong protest to the Home Office. Personally, I do not mind being stopped for my licence, but when it comes, as it has this last week, to being held up several times in a day, and kept delayed from one’s journey for anything from twenty minutes to half an hour, whilst police play about with measure and rule, and take copious notes, it becomes a nuisance. No other traveller is subjected to such petty tyranny, and a strong protest should be organised at once. It is no good waiting for months, until, like police traps, the thing becomes a custom to which we meekly submit.
(Rev) RC Measures.”
“NO FEWER THAN 12,769 GALLONS of benzole and toluol were exported from this country last month. In April 1919, the figure was 5,199 gallons…The late Mr Dodge (of Dodge car fame) owned a 30mph motor yacht which consumed 150 gallons of petrol per hour, enough to take the average sidecar 10,000 miles.”
“ACU RALLY AT KNUTSFORD: Two hundred and fifty members representing eleven different clubs were present at the rally and reunion of the North-Western Centre ACU, held at Knutsford Heath on the 23rd ult. A large crowd of spectators and motor cyclists were present to watch the arrival of the various clubs. Eleven individual prizes were awarded for smartness, ingenious device, oldest machine, and other classes.”
“ON THURSDAY, MAY 27TH, FA MCNAB, astride a 2¾hp Wooler, success- fuUy broke and established several records. In Class B for 550cc machines, he raised a speed of the 350 mile record, previously held by RN Stewart (NSU), to an average of 42.86mph, and created new records covering a distance of 400, 450, and 500 miles, whilst in that same class the eight and nine-hour records previously held by Stewart were also broken. His successes were also extended to the 500 and 1,000cc classes. In the former he established new ten, eleven, and twelve-hour records at an average speed of 40mph, and in the latter class he raised a speed held by HA Collier, on a Matchless, to 40.60 and 40.52 respectively in the twelve-hour and 500-mile records…An additional oil tank was fitted in order to reduce the number of halts…McNab’s speeds also take…the 450 and 500-mile records for the 500cc class, and the twelve-hour and 500-mile records in the 1,000cc class…Such results demonstrate the successful development of the 2¾hp flat twin.”
“IT IS STILL QUITE ON THE CARDS that the sidecar may ultimately vanish,” Ixion warned. “This assertion will strike many readers as akin to blasphemy, and I will explain that I am not speaking of to-morrow or the day after. Let me illustrate. At the present moment I know of a certain cycle car which can do 60mph without hustling itself, and holds the road quite prettily at this gait. It will cost a little more than the modern sidecar de luxe, but not a lot. When the horse finally becomes extinct and our roads are reconstructed, we shall certainly get special motor roads, on some of which the speed limit will not be less than 40mph. Does anybody pretend that riders will select lopsided three-wheelers for such high speed work when they can buy a road-holding four-wheeler at the same price? Consequently I regard the ultimate demise of the de luxe sidecar as certain, if distant. We shall come to regard the motor bicycle as a solo machine, pure and simple. If in the future it survives in its present form, we shall instantly recognise that it is absurdly heavy, and that its range of gear ratios is excessive. Light machines with a high bottom gear will be evolved. Of course, it may be that other tendencies will bring about these effects long before the sidecar is superseded; the tide is already setting in the indicated direction.”
“SIR,—I RECENTLY OVERTOOK many outfits, in the sidecars of which ladies were seated. I might have opened out and gone ahead. I did not do so; I was out for a comfortable, easy ride. The result was they must have been smothered with dust. I ask your readers, was the obligation upon me to open out, or upon the driver of the sidecar to slow down and let the dust settle? The issue is this: After overtaking—particularly ladies—should a speed be maintained to allow dust to settle, or is a rider justified in simply keeping ahead, the pace being determined by the overtaken?
“SIR,—THERE IS A PREVAILING OPINION among those private motor cycle owners who have never tried one, that a 2¾hp two-stroke motor cycle is not powerful enough to pull a sidecar with an adult passenger. I recently bought a 2¾hp Alldays-Allon, and I attached a canoe sidecar to steady the machine on the grease, as I had to ride to business daily—a matter of fourteen miles. To my surprise, I found I had ample power to carry a 12st adult, which I have done very often; also, I could climb a gradient 1 in 6 on top gear, provided I had a good start, and travel on the roads in London at 20 to 25mph. My weight is 13st 12lb, and with the roads as bad as they are in London at the present time I think this is a remarkable performance, because the machine is only a toy, as far as size is concerned, though it is built very strongly. Personally, I think it is the most perfect little machine of its class on the market. The usual disclaimer.
“SIR,—’IXION REMARKS ON THE PREVALENCE of baby two-strokes, and has seemingly meditated and wondered concerning this same. The reason, I think, is that they are a sound proposition. Cheap (as things go nowadays), reliable, and practically foolproof, my own experience may be of interest. I am a pre-war motor cyclist, and have possessed various machines, from a 1¾hp front-drive Werner to a modern TT solo machine of a leading make, which I disposed of during the war. During a spell of hospital in 1918 I became possessed of a two-stroke with a Villiers engine. The outfit was assembled by a firm called the Monopole Cycle Company, of Coventry. The Villiers engine was vaguely familiar. When I bought it, I confess I regarded the whole concern as a huge joke. But when I began to ride it my opinions very soon changed. The machine has a fixed pulley, but it is flexible to the last degree. It never fails on any ordinary road hill, nor on a great many extraordinary ones. It has its limits, of course, but it pulled me from Buckinghamshire to Cornwall during Christmas, 1919 (London to Exeter competitors will remember the weather) and back again, and did not fail on any hill. I rode via Okehampton, Launceston, and Bodmin. I use it perpetually here in Edinburgh, and three weeks ago I ran from here to Cromer and back during a week-end. My repair bill so far has been 25s for an overhaul job, which I was too lazy to do myself. I can honestly say that I have had more fun for less trouble out of this little machine than out of any of my others, always excepting the 1¾hp Werner. But some people would hardly call that fun. Ye gods! what days they were. I need hardly add the usual disclaimer.
‘Fourteen stone’, Edinburgh.”
HAVING BEEN SO RUDELY INTERRUPTED by the unpleasantness with the Kaiser the TT was back, with a few changes. The start/finish and grandstand moved to the Glencrutchery Road site they have occupied for the past 100 years. The route was modified too, bearing left at Cronk-ny-Mona and round Signpost Corner, Bedstead Corner and the Nook to a wicked hairpin corner at Governor’s Bridge, finally arriving at the 37¾-mile course still in use today. A large scoreboard was erected, manned by boy scouts who updated riders’ positions as reported by marshals via a newly laid private telephone line. There were still two races, the 500cc Senior and 350cc Junior, but to encourage the development of lightweights the Junior included a class for 250s. The Motor Cycle donated a Lightweight Trophy for the fastest 250. Another innovation was the Nisbet Prize (named for a longstanding ACU chairman) which could be presented “at the discretion of the Stewards to the rider or riders who exhibit such pluck and endurance or such capacity to triumph over difficulties as to deserve special recognition”. A number of manufacturers, including Douglas, declined to enter, citing the need to concentrate on maximising production to meet the booming demand for bikes. So it came as no surprise that entries were down. There were 32 Junior entries, down from 49 in 1914 and 29
Seniors (down from 111); for the first time Juniors outnumbered Seniors. Determined to repeat its 1914 win AJS fielded six Junior contenders (two privateers also rode Ajays); there were also four privately entered Douglases, three Woolers, three Blackburnes, two Diamonds, two Manx-made Auroras, a Dot, an Ivy and a New Comet. Competing for the new Lightweight trophy were three four-stroke Diamonds and three two-stroke Levises. Having taken 1st, 2nd, 4th and 6th spots in the 1914 Junior AJS, with a new ohv four-speeder, was hot favourite to take the Junior crown. Among the AJS riders was Howard Davies who had finished second equal in the 1914 Senior on a Sunbeam. He later recalled:”Anyone would have said that 1-2-3 was a foregone conclusion for AJS in the Junior. In fact we fancied our chances so much that the firm entered me on a 350 for the Senior race…We had the legs of everyone in the race for the AJSs were exceptionally fast—later that year I did the flying kilometre at Brooklands at 80mph…the trouble was that the Junior developed into a terrific scrap between the chaps in our own stable and we were coming back to the start from all over the place!” In the event an AJS did win the Junior in the hands of Cyril Williams. That was despite breaking down on the last lap near Creg-ny-Baa; Williams long lead at the time gave him the margin the push his bike for the last three miles and still win. Five Ajays failed to finish; 2nd and 3rd places were taken by JA Watson-Bourne and JS Holroyd, both on Blackburnes and the next man home was RO Clarke on a 247cc Levis two-stroke. What’s more Clarke crashed heavily on a left-hander near Keppel Gate (its now known as Clark’s Corner) and had to refit his front tyre and kick the wheel back into shape to complete the race. E Longden (Dot) finished 5th, followed home by RW Loughton (Douglas), Gus Kuhn (Levis), HV Prescott (the only AJS to cross the line under its own power), FW Applebee (Levis), SH Haden (New Comet) and in 11th place PG Dallison (Ivy)—he was the last finisher, more than half the field crashed or broke down. Gus Kuhn and ‘Pa’ Applebee (respectively the youngest and oldest
competitors) were also 2nd and 3rd in the 250cc class, giving Levis a Lightweight hat-trick. There were seven marques in the Senior, four of which had factory backing. As well as AJS’s cheeky 350cc entry there were no less than 14 Nortons and five each from Indian and Sunbeam. Privateers rode ABC, Douglas and Duzmo. Howard Davies had been snapped up by AJS following his 1914 TT debut when he was second equal aboard a Sunbeam, also making its Manx debut. Davies might have regretted his move to AJS because Tommy de la Hay won the Senior on a Sunbeam (at 51.79mph) ahead of Doug Brown on a Norton, WR Brown on another Sunbeam and NC Slater on another Norton. A brace of Indians ridden by HR Harveyson and DS Alexander were 5th and 6th, followed by two Nortons, a Sunbeam, two more Nortons, an Indian, and two more Nortons. George Dance made the fastest lap (55.62mph) on a Sunbeam before breaking down; he was later described as “one of the finest and surely the most unlucky rider the Island has ever seen”. Only 14 bikes finished the race: like Davies’ AJS, the two ABCs, the Douglas and the Duzmo were not among them. There’s a more comprehensive TT report in the 1920 Features section, with a great deal of other contemporary news and gossip including advise on how to win (or lose) a race and a solemn warning that “so far as Customs are concerned, the Isle of Man is considered by Great Britain as a foreign country, and a permit to ship must be obtained by every motor cyclist who desires to bring his machine back to England”. PS You’ll also find out which TT star won a single horsepower gallop during TT week.
“THE HOME OF CHAMPIONS: Herefordshire has need to be proud of its sons. TC de la Hay, this year’s Senior winner, Eric Williams, the 1914 Junior winner, and Reg Brown, third in last week’s Senior event, all hail from that county.”
“A MYSTERY GERMAN MOTOR CYCLE: Who was the rider of an apparent post-war NSU seen on the Maidstone Road last week? It was a new model twin, with gear box and dynamo lighting.”
“A MOTOR CYCLIST, CHARGED WITH reckless driving, was dismissed by the magistrate, as it was argued that even 50mph was not reckless driving if the driver had complete control of his machine.”
“SIR,—I READ SOME TIME AGO a letter from a correspondent asking if anyone had tried the Scientific American’s tip for decarbonising, ie, with a teaspoonful of salt put in the cylinder. As I intended cleaning out my engine the other day, and thinking the Yankees may have made a discovery—apart from the fact that England was also in the late war—I tried it: result, nil!
“SIR,—CAN YOU, OR ANY MEDICAL EXPERT, solve the following problem? Eastbourne, I believe, is one of the healthiest spots on the south coast, and its air particularly bracing for invalids and those generally ‘out of sorts’. Yet this same air seems to have a very adverse effect on certain youthful motor cyclists of a class unfortunately becoming only too common nowadays. They spend most of the day riding up and down the front with open exhausts and the lowest of Brooklands bars: the machines, needless to say, are standard in every other respect. When they do stop, at a point invariably opposite the bandstand, where there is always a crowd, they loudly proclaim their ability to exceed 60mph. And, recently, I witnessed the extraordinary phenomenon of four up on a lightweight two-stroke. I am wondering if there is any cure for this form of mental derangement, or whether all these unfortunate sufferers will eventually be certified and vanish from a sorrowing world into an asylum for such cases. The world will sorrow, not for their loss, but for the very justifiable police activity which may be expected as a result of this alarming mania.
Not yet diagnosed, Eastbourne.”
“SIR,—THE REMARKS OF ONE of your correspondents apropos the disgusting behaviour of some motor cyclists at fashionable seaside resorts are as deplorable as they are true. I have just returned from Southport, where exists a similar state of affairs to those at Eastbourne. Southport lends itself admirably to any display of the nature indicated—a fact which is appreciated. At this admirable place the knut seems to spend his leisure—very considerable leisure, too—in ‘lapping’ Lord Street and the Promenade in a praiseworthy conscientious manner. He leaves behind him a ‘powerful’ noise, smell, and impression, although it must be admitted that sighs of envy and surreptitious glances of admiration follow his retreating brilliance as well. Such futility and ostentation are incomprehensible when one recollects that fine stretches of ‘speed’ sand are available on the foreshore most mornings before breakfast. Most of the ‘regular’ machines are indifferently driven, and are obviously not intended for serious work; indeed, I often saw an ancient Triumph stripped of mudguards, etc! Perhaps the most effective (?) performance I witnessed—it left me faint, almost—was that of a blasé youth who drove his two-stroke along Lord Street sitting side-saddle (greatly unconcerned), the while his admiring friends, with their hog-‘buses, congregated in a group and effectually blocked part of the roadway. This was, however, eclipsed by a flapper of few summers and less scruples, who repeated the performance, riding through a denser crowd, the following evening! There was a policeman on point duty less than one hundred yards away who probably saw the above incidents. Apparently this conduct can go on with impunity, while normal motor cyclist get fined for incorrect numbers, etc. It makes one feel inclined to go back to the push-bicycle.
“SIR,—HAVE ANY OF YOUR READERS had the following curious experience? Whilst riding a 2½hp Levis without the usual magneto chain cover, I was obliged to stop at the corner of some cross roads when I noticed that the magneto chain was no longer in position. I naturally concluded that it had come off at the moment of stopping and proceeded to look about for it, but the most persistent search failed to locate its whereabouts. A cyclist coming along the road I had just passed over produced the chain, informing me that he saw it come off about half a mile prior to the place at which I stopped. I had ridden half a mile without a magneto chain. The engine was very hot at the time, and the only reason I can give is that a piece of hot carbon on the cylinder head was sufficient to fire the charge on compression, but not sufficiently hot to cause pre-ignition.
“SIR,—PERHAPS A LITTLE EXPERIENCE which befell me recently might be of interest to your readers. I was about to vault into the saddle of my countershaft machine, when my trench coat caught in the belt pulley and was dragged right round the clutch sprocket. I was pulled right down on to the tank, the engine pulling up dead, leaving me absolutely powerless to do anything. I tried to get out of the coat, but was too close to the tank to get my arms out of the sleeves. Then I tried tearing it out of the pulley, but with no effect, and I could not even move the bicycle backwards or forwards. I simply had to hang on until two passers-by came along and released me by removing the chain -case and turning the engine backwards.
Tranche De Vent, Shoreham.”
“THE CUTEST FITTING at the last car Olympia was a lightning metallic seam for side curtains shown on the Auster stand and fitted to a demonstration Rolls-Royce,” Ixion reported. “I have forgotten the inventor’s name [it was Gideon Sundback, who patented the ‘Separable Fastener’ in 1917], but I struck the seam the other day on the toolbag of a friend’s 10hp Singer car, so the gadget is evidently being pushed. I suggest this patent seam is immensely applicable to motor cycling leggings. Its operation is simplicity itself. At one end of the seam is a metal tab; a tug on the tab rips the seam open from end to end, just like the ripcord of a balloon. A reverse pull on the tab stitches the seam lip again. If this gadget were applied to our leggings, we could shed them without threading our feet through the legs at all, and we could then wear golf or cricket shoes with nails in them. I hope this will catch the inventor’s eye.” Within a few weeks Ixion felt obliged to add: “Not long ago I drew the attention of motor cycling tailors to the possibilities of a patent metallic seam for leggings. I have since been informed that the seam was originally invented by a Parisian dressmaker for the benefit of chic demoiselles who wished to wear umpteen frocks per day. It served this purpose well, but when applied to motor cycling leggings by an English tailor in 1910, the metal used to rust, and the unfortunate rider had to be debagged with the aid of a tin opener. Having already plenty of personal enemies, I hereby retract my previous advice.” And then, a couple of weeks later…“I never like eating my words twice over. I know they say the man who never makes mistakes never makes anything, and that if you do not occasionally change your mind, you will never change anything. Still, it does not feel nice; however, here goes. Some months ago I implored the trade to utilise the Kynoch lightning fastener for motor cycling leggings. Some joker informed me that he had done so years ago, and the metal seams rusted up so that he had to be extricated with a tin-opener. I with- drew my pleadings. Then Hamel’s of Tamworth told me they had started to manufacture such leggings, protecting the seam with a fabric flap, though their experience was that it throve on water. I got a sample fastener, and it has now lain on my desk for some while immersed in a jampot full of water. I do not know whether the modern edition of the fastener is coslettised, but anyhow it cannot be induced to rust; and readers may confidently buy them without adding a hacksaw to their toolkit.”
“SOME time ago our contributor ‘Ixion’ expressed a desire for overalls which could be fastened quickly and surely, and at the same time could be put on and taken off without soiling the interiors, and eventually the rider’s trousers. And we think he spoke for the majority of motor cyclists. We have received from Messrs EB Hamel and Sons, Tamworth, most excellent leg overalls, which fully meet these requirements. Their chief feature is the method of fastening by a patent seam made by Kynoch, Ltd, Witton, Birmingham. It consists of two rows of tiny metal steps which may be pulled together by a special clip; and so firmly interlaced that it would actually require a pressure of 250lb to separate them. A single tug at the clip end, however, and they ‘rip’ apart again as easily as tearing tissue paper. The metal is rustless and apparently indestructible; and the seam, when closed, is hidden from view by a flap. They are of the type which will cause our friend ‘Ixion’ to rejoice, since the opening extends from the bottom of the leg to the very top of the garment. Our illustration shows clearly how easy it is to withdraw the soiled boot without even touching the Interior of the overalls. They are certainly the most practical garment of their type we have ever seen on the market, and, in our opinion, their success is assured.”
HANDY ADVICE FROM IXION, apropos forms of salutation: “I fancy a Mumbles correspondent must be trying to pull my elderly and innocent leg. He complains that etiquette compels him to doff his cap to lady acquaintances when he is motor cycling. He finds the custom expensive, because his hands are generally oily, and he is a bit of a dandy where his headgear is concerned. Moreover, it is dangerous, as a wobble may develop when the hand is removed from the bar. Finally, a sportive wind may whisk the cap out of his hand and waft it over the cliffs. He wishes to ascertain my personal practice. I never experience any such difficulty. Not the least merit of the motor cycle is that it provides a plausible excuse for cutting undesirable people without their knowing you are deliberately avoiding them. I fear my tailor, for instance, more than ever I feared a machine gun; but if I am in the saddle when I meet him, I fix a distant eye on an imaginary old lady who is blocking the fairway 100 yards ahead, and hoot vigorously. The good man can thus proceed on his walk with pleasant dreams of the cheque which I have no intention of writing. The girl who has jilted you—on sighting her, you assume a grin of glee, crouch down, and scrap deliriously, abandoning her to the torturing suspicion that you never really loved her. The girl you have jilted—you cast her a very respectful and reproachful glance which comforts her without giving her the chance of demanding an awkward explanation or attempting an unwanted reconciliation. Mother-in-law—well, ram her in the region of the bustle.”
“NO FEWER THAN TWENTY-EIGHT TEAMS, representing clubs from all over England and Wales, fought for the honour of club champions last Saturday. The contest was the thirteenth of the kind organised by the Motor Cycling Club for The Motor Cycle Challenge Cup. From all parts of the kingdom motor cyclists converged on Tring, the starting point, the course used being the same as last year, and including several single-figure gradients with loose surfaces, and measuring slightly less than thirty-three miles. This circuit was covered three times, the competitors thus filing past the timekeepers, Messrs FT Bidlake and 0JM Walker at the completion of each round. The contest was fought out with particular keenness—indeed, the enthusiasm appears to grow apace as the years roll by. Starting first at 1pm was the Coventry and Warwickshire MC team, the holders of the trophy, followed by the Motor Cycling Club. These clubs each hold two shares in the present trophy, and a win by either of them would have resulted in the trophy being won outright. But trouble befell one member of each of these two teams very early in the trial. At the end of the first round 17 complete teams were in the running for the cup,
which number was reduced to 11 on the second circuit, and further stops resulted in four learns completing the course of approximately 100 miles without a single stop. The clubs claiming this honour are undernoted in order of merit, the final classification being arrived at by adding the variation of each rider’s times, the most consistent running naturally scoring. They were the South Birmingham MCC, 14min 51sec; Leicester &DMCC, 15min 10sec, Surbiton &DMCC, 19min 47sec; Worcester &DMCC, 22min 32sec. The South Birmingham MCC team were, until the second checking of observers’ sheets, regarded as the winners. Subsequent examination by the MCC timekeepers revealed that one of the South Birmingham MCC riders had exceeded the speed limit allowed…The organising club showed a total error only 4min 40sec, and had not Sharratt been riding with his hands in his pockets when he struck a patch of wet tar and skidded, a different tale would have been told…Among the riders were the elite of the motor cycling fraternity. TC de la Hay, the Senior TT, winner, was one of the successful Worcester non-stop team. G Dance (Sunbeam), who made the fastest laps in the Isle of Man the previous week, formed one of the Wolverhampton team, and JA Watson Bourne, this time on an Ariel, rode in the Sutton Coldfield AC team. Other TT men were Eric Williams, Le Vack, FA Applebee, Harry Collier, and Noel Brown. Together with most of the leading riders in reliability trials, it will be appreciated that those contesting the honour of club champions were
in every sense worthy of the claim. FW Applebee was this time a looker on. No 1 man was Sam Wright (3½hp Humber with Cox Atmos carburetter), captain of the Coventry team. A team trial would be incomplete without this well known rider, who has figured in the winning team more often than any other individual motor cyclist. All the 286 competitors got away well except the Public Schools MCC team, which did not mature, their places being taken by a late entry of the Gipsy MCC with a very strong team composed of AF Selby and AS Guthrie on Sunbeams, H le Vack (3½hp Duzmo), JA Masters (Harley-Davidson sc), SR Axford (7hp Indian sc) and EM Oliver (4hp Norton sc). Of troubles en route there were many. That was expected, but stops in the first few miles were not bargained upon. On Aston Hill—six miles—RE Pugh, Sutton (2¼hp Levis sc), broke a chain; at a bend soon after the summit, TR Gibbins, Coventry (8hp Acme sc), ran into a non-competitor’s machine; WH Egginton, Birmingham (8hp Sunbeam sc) broke one of the new chains with which he had equipped his machine just to make sure! AB Chapman, Sheffield (Brough), sooted a plug at fourteen miles; SR Axford, Gipsy’s (Indian sc), punctured—likewise Lloyd (model 4 Triumph). And so the weeding out process continued. One wondered how the ten competitors with only one brake were faring on the steep descents around Dunsmore…Keen to uphold their teams’ record, the second lap saw one or two continuing on flat sidecar tyres, and quite a number gained non-stops by continuing when punctures occurred in the final lap. The hopes of the MCC were dashed by TS Sharratt (Indian) unfortunately suffering a dry skid when going fast on the bend approaching Aston Hill. He, like Gibbins, of Coventry, and others remounted and continued, though the rules provide that any competitor stopping shall there and then withdraw. One rider, who shall be nameless, clean baffled the numerous officials around the course, by passing on the first circuit with a flat tyre, and repassing next time with a hard tyre! The spectators imagined that the rider had accomplished a non-stop run, not so the wily observers! The Bedford team were
unlucky in the second circuit. All the team, including Crawley, Hines, Collins, Cocker, Green and Rycroft, were riding 1920 model Triumphs, and made a great show on the hills, but Collins claims to have hit a cow which brought him down, but continuing he recorded a ‘traffic’ stop on his card. The judges, however, decided that a traffic stop is something different from a traffic collision, and his mileage, therefore, counted to that point only…The timekeepers reported remarkably regular running by many riders, who, no doubt, realised that more than one team would get home complete, necessitating consideration of the regularity of lap times. EA Colliver, for instance, completed two laps in precisely the same time, and was but four seconds out on the other. As a team the Coventry club rode most regularly, all appearing to leave the timing to the leader of the van, the imperturbable Sam Wright…Mundy (Surbiton) arrived with a flat sidecar tyre on his Martinsyde-Newman, and so enabled his team to finish intact bedecked in their picturesque blue tammies with tassels complete! Symons, Rochester, and Giles (AJS) also rode on with a flat back tyre. As the finishing line was crossed and the team representatives were able to compare notes, it was amusing, yet sad! to observe the chagrin of teams of five to learn for the first time that the sixth man had retired. This happened in several instances, and the poor unfortunate had usually departed—home, crestfallen no doubt, but preferring not to await the ‘sympathies’ of his colleagues!” Each club fielded three solos and three combos: Sheffield and Hallamshire MC&LCC; Coventry and Warwickshire MC; Motor Cycling Club; Leicester &DMC; Nottingham &DMCC; Worcester &DMCC; Birmingham University MCC; Bucks County MC; North West London MC; Norfolk MC&LCC; Woolwich, Plumstead &DMCC; Luton & South Beds AC; Herts MC&LCC; Ipswich &DMCC; Ilkley MC&LCC; Wallington &DMC&LCC Bradford MC&LCC; City and Guilds MCC; Surbiton MC; Public Schools MCC; Lewes &DMCC; Oxford MC; North London MCC; Ealing &DMCC; Essex MC; Camberley Club; Basingstoke MCC; Gipsy MCC.
“THERE IS HARDLY A GAP LEFT in the current range of motor cycles,” Ixion noted, “which commence with the scooter and motorised push-bicycle, and ascend by easy stages up to the four-cylinder with car transmission, dragging a sidecar with a costly instrument board, camping outfit, and picnic equipment. Nevertheless I am still looking for the ideal sports model. I know all about the Brooklands Norton, the TT Triumph, and others of that ilk, but for a go-anywhere rider the single gear machine can be a shade too sporting at times. Some readers will remember a year in which the Scottish Trials went up Applecross, and a couple of trade teams were mounted on what might be described as IOM belt-drivers; they had variable gears, and they were not excruciatingly heavy. But the unlucky wights who bestrode them had enough ‘sport’ to last them a season, and said so. They roared up to blind hairpins at 30mph, and canted their ‘buses over to make an angle of 30° or so with the ground-line, but even then they could not get round. Some of them took heavy crashes, some of them scraped round, and could not pick up again afterwards. I am still looking out for a lightweight, hotstuff, stripped machine, fitted with an emergency two-speed gear, on which I can get up Applecross without any pushing.”
“THE 396-MILE JOHANNESBURG-DURBAN ROAD RACE is regarded as the blue riband of South African motor cycle events…It was raining when the men started from Johannesburg, and continued on and off all day. As a consequence the roads, which in the best conditions are far from good, developed into veritable quagmires, the surface so slimy, greasy and holding, particularly where the roads passed through the country of black loam, that it was marvellous how the riders managed to keep in the saddle…Soaked through to the skin as soon as they started, the men, nearly all of whom rode without mudguards, were instantly smothered with mud, and after the first thirty miles, the event resolved itself into an endurance run. Speed, as understood in this country, was out of the question, the machines careering from side to side of the road with the drivers at times out of the saddle and running alongside to enable the engines to pull through the grease. Even with the stripped machines the forks became clogged, acting as brakes which called for frequent
stoppages. Of the forty-four starters, ten retired in the first 50 miles; at each succeeding mile falls were so frequent, with minor damage to the men and worse to the machines, that further numbers dropped out, and at Standerton, 96 miles, half the men had disappeared. So it went on from hour to hour until Volksrust, 150 miles, was reached, two miles from the border line between the Transvaal Province and Natal Province. Hereabouts is the fairly easy climb to the top of Laings Nek, a 40mph climb in dry weather. Some idea of its condition can be realised when, very late in the evening, two only of the competitors pushed their machines up the last half mile, which occupied 30min. These two, Percy Flook (2¾hp Douglas) and F Owen (3½hp Indian), thought themselves the only survivors. Flook was leading, but allowed the other man to overtake him at the top. Holding a council of war, they decided it was almost impossible to cover the 35 miles to Newcastle that night…They decided to start together at daylight, but they did not know that…still another plucky man, F Volkrust, on a 494cc spring-frame Douglas, was doing his level best to keep going. He was exactly four hours behind them, without a lamp, and dead tired. A car driver found Flook and Owen at Majuba Farm with their wet clothes before a fire. He told them Zurcher had gone by. Flook was the first to get away, taking only 45 minutes to get into his wet chothes and to have the engine running. Zurcher reached Newcastle in 15hr 49min total riding time from Johannesburg, against the 4hr 43min the fastest time for 1919 over the same portion of the race route. Flook reached Newcastle 1hr 16 min later, and Owen 2hr 35min behind Zurcher. Zurcher. with a bigger capacity engine than Flook, and the further advantage of a full sprung frame, now looked like winning easily, as the twenty-four hours’ interval and strong sunshine had almost dried up the roads. Flook was handicapped still more by a cracked handle-bar, caused my many tumbles. Yet, despite the risk of the handle-bar snapping off at any moment, he went after Zurcher at a wonderful speed, and, just beyond Estcourt, 100 miles from Newcastle, had Zurcher in sight, when the handle-bar broke. This left Zurcher a clear run to the finish. 1, FAR Zurcher (494cc Douglas) 23hr 18min 20sec; 2, P Flook (350cc Douglas) 25hr 17min 0sec; 3, F Owen (498cc Indian) 26hr 18min 50sec; 4, EG Murray (989cc Harley) 28hr 30min 15sec; 5, GT Taylor (584cc Harley) 33hr 23min 6sec.”
“HOWARD E DAVIES, WHO RODE a 2¾hp AJS in both Junior and Senior TT, and who is well-known as an expert competitor in trials generally, has joined the staff of AJ Stevens, Ltd, as competitions manager.”
“WHEN THE SIMPLEX MOTOR ATTACHMENT was in its experimental stage we jocularly remarked to the designer that eventually it would be used to propel sidecars. A London owner of one of these attachments uses a light sidecar built to carry two children, and does quite long runs on a consumption of 130mpg with lpa only on the steepest hills encountered.”
“FUNDED TO COMMEMORATE THE GLORIOUS death of Rear-Admiral Sir RK Arbuthnot, that gallant motor cyclist who did so much for the movement in its early days, the trial for the trophy of his statuette, executed by Lady Scott, is unique. First, it is the only trial of which we are aware which is for solo machines only, and secondly, it is the only one confined exclusively to officers of the Royal Navy. This year the entries were better than last, but unfortunately the Fleet mobilisation and the trouble in Ireland and the East seriously affected the entry…Mr TW Loughborough, secretary of the Auto-Cycle Union, as usual, displayed wonderful
ingenuity in devising a really stiff course, the difficulties of which were enhanced by the bad weather…its appearance on the map, to quote Mr Ebblewhite, the timekeeper, whose wit is proverbial, resembled ‘a worm in agony’. It twisted and turned with diabolical ingenuity and included every hill of note on the North Downs, from a point east near Cudham to a point in the west near Guildford…it was most productive of incidents and provided plenty of ‘fun’, especially for that brave man HLS Baker—No 13—who rode a 4hp single-geared Triumph, and at the end of the day wrote on his non-stop card ‘failed on all decent hills’. He is one of those people who will not admit that motor cycling provides no exercise…At lunch time it was announced that PFF Bourne (4hp Norton) had retired owing to a damaged rear brake. Hamilton’s lamp was adrift and made fast by string, while his foot- rests were badly bent. Hovenden’s Zenith had his crank case drain plug carried away through striking the ground, and he successfully stopped the hole with a cork.” Following two days of gruelling riding Back and Kidson were the only riders left in the running for
the Arbuthnot Trophy. The trial ended at Brooklands where “it was decided that both should drive round the track at speed, and start at the paddock, turn sharp left at the straight, make two circuits of the track, stop at the finishing line, and ascend the test hill. The two survivors tossed as to who should start first. Kidston won, and got away well…He made two fast circuits and a splendid ascent of the test hill. Back had all the luck against him. The track was swimming in water, and his belt slipped badly during the two laps, and on the test hill it refused to grip altogether. Results: Lt GP Glen Kidston, RN (3½hp Sunbeam), winner of trophy, water in float chamber, two stops altogether. Lt TH Back, RN (4hp Triumph), second, silver medal, engine stopped for unknown reason; three stops altogether. Sub-Lt KB Wilson, RN (2¾hp Douglas), bronze medal, stopped for petrol. Lt EH Mann, RN (2¾hp Wooler), bronze medal, failed on three hills, and various troubles. Lt RV Mack (2¾hp Wooler), retired, sheared flywheel key. Paymaster Lt-Cr PFF Bourne (4hp Norton), retired, brake came adrift. Lt PB Lawder, RN (3hp ABC), lost exhaust valve rocker; retired Blackdown. Sub-Lt CR Whitcroft, RN (6hp Zenith), retired. Sub-Lt PV James (3hp ABC), retired. Sub-Lt HLS Baker, RN (3½hp Triumph), stopped on three hills; puncture. Lt WEV Bashall, RMLI (3hp ABC), retired owing to collision. Sub-Lt. G. Plumer (6 Zenith), retired. Lt CJM Hamilton, RN (2½hp Levis), chain came off, choked jet and footrests adrift. Lt RC Hovenden, RN (8hp Zenith), retired.”
THE US-MADE NATIONAL SIDECAR, pictured above, is clearly a progenitor of the launch sidecars that would grace British streets a few years later. The French were also ahead of the game…
“LIKE THE MOTOR CYCLE QUERY Department, the ACU are bombarded with all kinds of strange requests. A lady recently telephoned the ACU from the outskirts of London to say that she was in a ‘paralytic fright’ of the traffic. Another member also telephoned that he was ‘fed up’ and ‘tired’, and required someone to drive his machine into London. The lady was at least candid.”
“ALTHOUGH THE TT AND THE ACU Six Days Trial are international contests, there has been very little of an international nature about these events since the war, Even the International Six Days has not attracted a really representative British entry. The Anglo-Dutch trial, therefore, may be counted as the first truly international event in the motor cycle world since the signing of the Armistice, and as such will attract international interest. In this trial a picked team of British riders rides against a picked team of Dutch motor cyclists. The event, therefore, can be likened to such contests as that for the America Cup in the yachting world, and the Olympic Games at Antwerp. The future may produce competitions in the motor cycle world between picked riders of Great Britain, Ireland, USA, Holland, France, Belgium, and the Overseas Dominions.”
“IT MAY NOT HAVE OCCURRED to all users of spring frames that the chain tension varies a little according as the saddle is occupied or empty, because the centre of the front sprocket does not coincide with the centre of the pivot of the rear springs. Manufacturers are apt to gloss over the point for obvious reasons, but the difference in tension is sometimes sufficient to be perceptible. Little or no practical inconvenience results if the owner is careful to make his chain adjustments with a friend of approximately his own weight seated on the saddle.”
“SHOULD KNOW BETTER: One of our American contemporaries shows a sketch of a right-hand sidecar lifting on a left bend. The opposite result would happen, of course.”
“SEVERAL MANUFACTURERS OF motor cycles are springing up in Australia. The machines generally follow American lines.”
“AN EXCELLENT MEETING! SUCH WAS the general opinion of the many thousands of spectators who witnessed the very successful meeting held at Westcliff-on-Sea last Thursday. The weather was ideal, and remarkable speeds were attained by small and large machines alike. First place in eighteen of the thirty motor cycle events was secured by five machines, including a 5-6hp James sidecar ridden by GE Stobart. This machine and rider carried off no fewer than six first places. Good performances were also put up by E Porter (3hp ABC), who won four events. Fastest time of the day was made by HE Harveyson (7hp Indian), who attained a speed of 75.57mph in the ‘unlimited’ event. In this race, CE Baragwanath, on his fearsome looking 8hp Zenith, also put up a good show, finishing second. His time was but 0.4sec second longer than the winner. One motor scooter event was provided, the winner, SC Marshall, piloting a 1½hp Bunty at a speed of 29.91mph.”
ANYONE WHO HAS CAMPAIGNED against discriminatory motorcycle legislation should raise a glass to Ixion, who led the way 100 years ago: “It is interesting to notice that the problems of night riding are now being tackled from both ends. In connection with the medical examination, mooted as a preliminary to the issue of driving licences, the oculists have specified a ‘minimum vision’, and Sir Eric Geddes will shortly define a ‘maximum light’. This looks as if the policy were to limit the use of the roads after dark to people with hawk-like eyes travelling in a pallid gloom, and reminds one irresistibly of Plato’s description of the infernal regions as a cellar peopled by shadows. The trend of these proposals is full of danger. If motoring is to be regarded either as a dangerous hobby confined to the unco’ rich (like hunting), or as a utilitarian method of transport (like the railways), severe restrictions might be justifiable. But motoring actually fulfils both the above definitions, and is also a great deal bigger than either of them. It is the favourite hobby of the middle classes and of the more prosperous artisans. In the past our road law has been framed and administered, on the whole, in the interests of liberty. Blind folk are permitted to walk. Deaf persons are permitted to cycle. Uneducated flappers arc permitted to wheel prams with twins in them. Little toddlers are permitted to play pegtop. Elderly females without powers of decision are permitted to ferry great armfuls of parcels about the public streets. The safety of road users has been mainly entrusted to the commonsense and sympathy of other road users. The system has worked well. There are symptoms of change. The mantle of Dora [wartime Defence Of the Realm Act] appears to have fallen on our bureaucrats. It would be folly to allow blear- eyed octogenarians to drive three-litre Bentley cars with 100,000cp head lamps. But it will be oppression if our lamps are dimmed down to the likeness of 1in paraffin wicks, and night riding is then confined to men who can pass the sight tests for an RAF pilot. Undoubtedly the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.”
“FOLLOWING THE EXAMPLE OF MANY American cities, Paris is to have a force of motor cyclist policemen, whose machines will be fitted with speedometers. They will use these machines for the purpose of catching motorists who exceed the speed limit. Sidecars will also be used for the purposes of transport.”
“THE MANUFACTURERS OF THE IVY MOTOR CYCLE have decided to concentrate on a 348cc engine for next year, and, being determined to disperse the impression that two-strokes overheat, at least as far as their own product is concerned, they undertook twenty-five consecutive ascents (non-engine-stop) of the old Wyche at Malvern…His time for the first lap, of 1.5 miles, was five minutes; of this distance about half-a-mile is on the ascending gradient which reaches a maximum of 1 in 2.8 at the top…a Sturmey-Archer three-speed box was employed, in conjunction with all-chain drive…The distance covered was forty miles, the time taken was 2hr 8mins, and the average speed, therefore, was 18.75mph. Immediately the engine was stopped it was examined, but no sign of excessive heat was observed, the cylinder was at a normal temperature and the hand could be placed momentarily on the radiating fins. Altogether the demonstration was one which clearly shows that the 3hp Ivy two-stroke is equipped with an engine capable of undertaking any task imposed by the normal rider. The test was observed by a representative of the ACU.”
“FRENCH MOTOR CYCLE DESIGN showed a wonderful revival at the last Paris Salon…several machines were brought forth by new concerns and hitherto unknown engineers, in which were incorporated original ideas of such merit as to place them in a class by themselves…As the most typical of the new French design, the Louis Clement twin may be selected…The outstanding feature of this machine is that the two cylinders, of 62x90mm, mounted at an angle of 55° on an aluminium crank case, have a common detachable head carrying the valves, the camshaft, the cam operating mechanism, and combining the intake and the exhaust manifolds. There is a detachable cover over the head, so that no moving parts are visible, and the whole of this mechanism runs in a bath of oil…the engine and the gear box for a compact unit…the drive IS taken from the crankshaft to the gear box by a short, enclosed chain, and the final drive is taken to the
rear wheel by a second chain inside a detachable housing. A spring hub assures a perfectly flexible drive…The front fork is a steel stamping, carrying at its upper rear extremity a forged steering pivot. Front suspension is by means of a four- leaf spring shackled at its front end….the crank case forms a two-piece aluminium casting, divided horizontally, and forming two compartments, the front one enclosing the crankshaft, with its internal flywheels, the mutiple-disc clutch and the sprocket for the main driving chain. The rear compartment is a three-speed gear box…There are four cams operating the vertical valves by means of very long rockers. One of the patented features of this engine is the simple method of adjusting the valve stem clearances. The valve stem has a flat screwdriver type end, while the extremity of the cylindrical portion is threaded. A special nut with a flat head from which project twin studs, screws on to the end of the valve stem, and also receives the forked end of the rocker. The fork, while operating the valve, also prevents the nut from turning To get adjustment, it is only necessary to lift the rocker clear of the valve and turn the nut in the required direction. The detachable head, which is secured to the two cylinders by means of eight studs, has the intake and the exhaust passages cast with it. The carburetter, a horizontal Zenith, is thus bolted up direct to the head, without the use of any external intake piping…The engine, which has a piston displacement of 540cc, runs at 2,500 revolutions, at which speed it is declared to develop 8hp…Demountable and interchangeable disc wheals are another very good
feature. These are built up of a cast aluminium hub, forming brake drum, aluminium discs, and a steel rim. The rear wheel can be taken out, leaving the chain, sprocket, and brake bands in position, and either the front or the sidecar wheel can be put in its place…The front wheel brake is operated from the handle-bar by means of a Bowden wire. The rear wheel brake control is by means of a pedal operated by the left foot…A machine of an entirely different type but no less original is the flat-twin 8hp Janoir…The engine has cylinders measuring 85x85mm giving a piston displacement of 965cc. The crank case and the two cylinders are a single aluminium casting with pressed-in steel liners and a detachable cylinder head with cast iron valve seats. With this design there is no joint, and consequently no holding-down bolts at the cylinder base. The crank case is cylindrical, and is closed by two circular steel end plates, which on being removed give complete access to the’ internal organs…it is declared that this engine gives off 11hp at 2,000 revolutions, and 16hp at 3,200 revolutions. No attempt will be made to get the highest power out of the engine, but rather to adopt a moderate compression and get a very flexible and smooth running machine…starting is by means of a crank, as in the case of a car engine…Mounted on the top of the crank case is a compact three-speed gear
box…A gate type change speed mechanism, with its lever conveniently placed to the driver’s right hand, is made use of… no steel tubes are employed, if exception be made of the handle-bar and the two small tubes for the luggage carrier. The front fork consists of two pressed steel members, the top bar of which is curved. They are united by three pins, the centre one receiving the head piece, and the two end ones being the shackle bolts of opposed leaf springs. A triangular pressed steel open frame is used, and the engine is bolted into it by a series of bolts going through the end plates of the crank case. At the rear a pressed steel fork, only slightly inclined from the horizontal, is used, with suspension by means of quarter-elliptic springs. Wire wheels are employed on the Janoir, but they are interchangeable, quickly detachable, and self-centring. No tools are required to change a wheel, and in the case of the rear, the chain, the sprocket, and the two brakes remain in position when the wheel is taken out…In the Bleriot twin an entirely different design has been adopted. Engine and gear box form a unit attached in a more or less standard type of frame. The two vertical cylinders are mounted side by side on an aluminium base chamber, with the exhaust valves facing forward, and the intake valves, the carburetter and the magneto at the rear. The crankshaft has a single throw, the two pistons thus moving up and down together. It is admitted that the balance does not approach that of the flat twin, although this defect has been over- come to a certain extent by light reciprocating parts. On the other hand the cooling is excellent and uniform. Piston displacement is 500cc, the cylinder bore being 50mm, and the piston stroke 88mm. The multiple-disc clutch and the two-speed gear set are contained in the rear portion of the crank case housing. The Bleriot company being one of the biggest aeroplane concerns in France, it is quite natural to find that the sidecars are built up in the same manner as aeroplane fuselages. These three machines, the Clement, Janoir, and
Bleriot, are typical of the new French school. They do not, however, exhaust the activities of French motor cycle manufacturers. The product of the Gnome and Rhone Company need hardly be mentioned, for this is built entirely to the British ABC designs. An entirely French design is the Ballot two-stroke, built by the largest engine producing firm in France, with a reputation not confined to that country. It is not the intention of Ballot to produce a complete motor cycle, but to supply the engine only. This is now in production and will he used exclusively by the Alcyon Company. Other firms have arranged to lake it up, and the entire output for the next four years is said to be booked. The engine is a unit with its gear set and all control levers. Among its features are the complete enclosing of all working parts. Even the magneto is placed in a dust-proof aluminium casing. Among the French engine specialists, mention should also be made of Anzani, who produced motor cycle engines long before he became interested in aeroplane engines, and who is again devoting his chief attention to power plants for two-wheelers and for cycle cars.”
“FOR SOME WEEKS PAST I have been in the habit of visiting daily a neighbouring farm and returning in the evening on my Indian motor cycle. A few nights ago I was returning home as usual at sunset when I became aware of what I took to be a leopard bounding along at my side. At first I thought mere curiosity had tempted him to such close quarters, but I quickly realised that it had more serious business in view, so I immediately put on speed with the idea of outdistancing it. Without any apparent effort on its part it outflanked me, and attempted to head me off into the grass. I then made straight for it; this seemed to be unnerving, for it drew back at the last moment, and I went by like a flash. I thought I had seen the last of it, but was surprised on looking back to see it bounding along at my heels. Then followed a veritable race for life. I put on as much speed as the state of the road would allow (about 40mph), but it was only after I had done about 500 yards that I commenced to increase my lead. The race continued for another two miles, and when last I looked it was still bounding along 200 yards behind. The next evening a party of us went along to the same spot in a car, and there we discovered it lying in wait on the top of an anthill at the side of the road. I immediately put a bullet through its head. It turned out to be a female cheetah, measuring 74in from nose to tip of tail. The cheetah is by no means rare in these parts, but it is not often seen, and I have never heard of another instance where one has made an unprovoked attack on a human being. This specimen appeared to be in a starved condition, so evidently hunger had driven her to such desperate efforts.
WA Smith, Uasin Gisliu, British East Africa.”
[Mr Smith encloses a photograph of himself, his machine, and the cheetah, but it is unsuitable for reproduction.—Ed.]
“THE MOTOR CYCLE INDUSTRY CONTINUES to grow. Every week sees new firms entering the manufacturing field, and while the output of a number of them will not be very large, in the aggregate they must make an impression upon demand. Many of these new makes of motor cycles are what may be termed assembled machines, but even in this field there is a great deal of difference in the quality of the best and the worst examples which may embody the same main units…there are many which are assembled by garages for local trade, and are therefore not of interest to the majority of our readers. Also, we know of several new models of dual-purpose mounts which are intended chiefly to meet the requirements of those who consider the de luxe type of machine too high in price.”
“AUSTRALIA IS TO PRODUCE its own motor cycles. True, only a few firms have started to make machines, but if they are successful others are bound to follow suit, and a field for export trade will gradually be lost to both American and British manufacturers. One of the Australian produced machines is known as the Aussi-Also, is all-Australian, and the price mentioned in its connection is so low that without doubt it would have a strong appeal with British motor cyclists…The engine is a large two-stroke, claimed to develop 7hp. Mechanically, the machine breaks new ground by having the two-speed gear box embodied in the crank case, and by driving with a shaft and worm via a universal joint; it is therefore unaffected by wet when fording streams…this model is not designed for sidecar work, a more powerful model with twin cylinders arranged tandem fashion being in process of evolution for this purpose. The Delco system of combined lighting and ignition is fitted as standard, the dynamo taking the place of a magneto…It is advertised as designed by Australians,
built by Australians, for Australians…This type of engine was adopted for its simplicity, as the average ‘Aussie’ is a slap-dash’ individual not accustomed to fine machinery…A large factory for mass production has been erected, but labour troubles at present prevent it working to its full capacity, and delivery cannot be promised within four months of date of order. The second machine is a JAP-engined model known as the Pasco, and is manufactured by Messrs McCrae and Pasco, 242, Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, Victoria. The frame, it will be observed, has a curved top tube, and possesses graceful lines, while Druid forks are fitted. The mudguards are wide and have deep valances. The lubrication is by a force feed pump combined with a drip feed attached to the lubricating oil tank fitted to the rear, behind the saddle tube, while the transmission is chain-cum-belt through a Sturmey-Archer gear. Several patents have been incorporated in the Pasco, namely, a patent toolcase underneath the carrier, and a locking device consisting of two lugs brazed to the stand and joined to the stays so that a padlock can be passed through without there being any necessity to use a chain.”
“A COMPANY IN NOTTINGHAM IS PUTTING into service a novel sidecar taxi, seating two persons side by side. Nottingham, true to its tradition as an up-to-date city, is the first in the British Isles to adopt this innovation. Permission was granted by the Nottingham Watch Committee with the distinct understanding that only ex-service men must be employed. The fare is to be at the old rate of 1s for the first mile and 8d a mile afterwards. These little vehicles should be particularly adaptable to commercial travellers carrying light samples; also for touring purposes, for which special low rates will be charged. The sidecar is fitted with a leather hood and celluloid windscreen. In addition, there are side screens that can be raised at will and are held in position by a catch, thus making the sidecar absolutely weatherproof. The taximeter (which is driven from the sidecar wheel) is fitted on a small platform at the front of the sidecar, so that the passenger can read the dial while seated. The machine is a 6hp Campion, and with two passengers second gear is only necessary on the steepest hills; in fact, it has been proved much handier than the ordinary taxicab. The company intend having half a dozen outfits running within a month.”
“IT HAS BEEN FREELY STATED by some that the time for reliability trials is past, and that, following the history of care, motor cycle trials will become gradually fewer in number until they cease to exist, except as sporting club events. On the other hand, trials are actually multiplying in number to such an extent that, not only is every Saturday replete with fixtures, but there is an overflow to Sundays…though social runs in comparatively small bodies are popular with club members, and do nothing but good if reasonably conducted, the passage of large numbers of motor cyclists, especially through quiet villages, is apt to disturb the peace of the inhabitants, and thus becomes a cause of ill-feeling towards motor cyclists in general.”
“IN DENOUNCING THE IMMENSE WEIGHT of the average modern solo machine,” Ixion remarked, ‘Kuklos’ (of The Daily Mail] speaks for a very large public, whose custom the trade will be scheming to obtain as soon as supply has overtaken demand. I am in the mood to endorse his remarks, seeing that recently, in the endeavour to extricate my touring machine from a loose box which it shared with three push-bicycles, I nosedived over the saddle and marked my proboscis severely on the knob of the gear lever, just as the motor and myself crushed the three push-bicycles into a heap of spillikins. It follows that I perused with cold hauteur a letter to hand next morning imploring me to press for a British four-cylinder with shaft drive, four-speed gear, dynamo lighting, and electric starting.”
IXION SOMETIMES REVEALED AN ANARCHIC side to his character: “From time to time quite illegal and interesting races are organised by local riders, generally as the result of a bet. The hair of the BMCRC would doubtless stand on end at the idea of starting a Sunbeam, a Scott, and two ex-WD Douglases level sans handicap; and the ACU would certainly take punitive measures if it had official cognisance of such an event on the public road. Nevertheless, such things occur. The prime necessities are to find a safe, straight, piece of road—since the quartet must be started abreast, seeing that Mr Ebblewhite cannot be engaged for such jobs; and to divert all the local constables by Sinn Fein tactics. Field glasses will show when the road is clear, and if the oddly-assorted machines are all elderly and in private ownership a good finish is quite likely to result. It is a great pity we cannot rig up such events on Brooklands, but the clever man, the shamateur, and the camouflaged trader would ruin them.”
“UP TO THIS YEAR motor cycling in Belgium has been under the care of the Belgian Royal Automobile Club, but now the affairs and welfare of Belgian motor cyclists have been delegated to the Federation of Belgian Motor Cyclists by the EA.B. The first active work of the new body was to attend the FICM Conference in Paris, and then to meet the delegates of England and France.”
“SINCE AMERICA PRODUCED TWO spring frame machines, one of her motor cycle journals appears to think that USA has a monopoly in brains so far as spring frames are concerned. The following is culled from a recent paragraph: ‘Over in the land of Johnny Bull the riders are tortured with about 700 varieties of spring frame. Every British trade paper has photos of new types, each one worse than its predecessor. The one ambition of the designers seems to be to depart entirely from the conventional leaf springs which have proved so successful.'”
“A CONFERENCE TO CONSIDER the development of roads throughout the Empire is being arranged by the Imperial Road Transport Council.”
“ALTHOUGH THE TWO-STROKE PRINCIPLE is of about the same age as the Otto cycle, its progress in the motor cycle world is of comparatively recent growth. After ten years’ four-stroke development, the Scott engine more or less burst upon the public as a revelation, but it was not until some time later that the Levis and Connaught air-cooled engines showed the latent possibilities of the type; indeed, it may be said that these were the fore-runners of a new trend of design. Latter-day progress has accepted the air-cooled two-stroke as a type well worthy of the concentration of much designing ability and manufacturing organisation. The result of this effort is now beginning to show itself. A two- stroke engine has propelled a machine round the TT course of 188 miles at an average speed of 38.1mph; another has made twenty-five consecutive non-stop climbs of the famous Old Wyche at Malvern (one of the steepest test hills in Great Britain); whilst the latest reports tell us of yet another machine of the same type which has averaged 41.71mph for twelve hours on Brooklands, thus creating new records, and, incidentally, being the first two-stroke to achieve a success of this nature. All these performances have been accomplished on air-cooled engines of less than 350cc capacity; and, in view of such results, there can be no doubt that this type of engine is now fully entering into its own.”
“WHEN A MOTOR CYCLE IS IN a waggish mood, it can be almost as whimsical as a woman,” Ixion noted, “and I have just heard of a particularly elfish machine, which puzzled an experienced rider for days. The engine was in perfect mechanical order, the ignition was superb, the jet was in action on aviation spirit, all controls were operating, and yet the behaviour of the machine was eccentric to a degree. Sometimes the engine would start at the first kick; sometimes it took nearly an hour to get it going when its reluctance would suddenly cease without apparent rhyme or reason. Once started, its subsequent behaviour was equally erratic. One day it would be as obedient as de la Hay’s Sunbeam when supertuned for a stunt. Then without warning it would go completely crazy, slow down” when it should have accelerated, accelerated when it should have slowed down, or even stop altogether and refuse to restart. Occasionally a fit of misfiring would intervene, and continue for various periods. These symptoms became a regular nightmare. The solution was ridiculously simple at the finish, and I will publish it in our next issue after amateur physicians have had time to prepare a diagnosis.”
“IT IS UNNECESSARY TO POINT out the obvious advantages of four-cylinder motor cycles; these have many times been dealt with in your columns. It does, however, seem necessary to impress on the British manufacturer that a ready sale awaits a machine of this type, constructed on sound engineering lines. Four-cylinder motor cycle development has hitherto been left to the Americans, and to the famous FN Co. Is it not now time that Britain took a hand, and secured both the home and the colonial market which undoubtedly exists for these machines?
S Latour Hordle.”
“SIR,—IXION’S COMMENTS ON THE fitting of drive chains on spring frame motor cycles were most opportune. A manufacturer apparently sets out to produce a spring frame mechanism which does not absolutely infringe a competitor’s design, and then decides to connect his driving wheel to his countershaft by means of a chain, forgetting that a chain drive is just as important a piece of mechanism as the spring frame…The ideal arrangement would, of course, be a spring frame, with the centre of pivot of spring coincident with the countershaft sprocket spindle, and, to my mind, the maker who first of all introduces this arrangement will reap the benefit to be derived from introducing an efficient spring-frame design to the motor cycle public.
“Mr TL Williams has protected a very neat ratchet device for use on kick or handle engine starters (patent 134,990 4/12/18). A ratchet wheel is concentrically mounted on the shaft which it is desired to rotate. This ratchet lies within a circular recess formed in the end of the kick lever, but this recess is eccentric in relation to the shaft. The pawl is mounted inside the recess, and, as shown, is clear of the ratchet in the idle position, and is also cleared if a back fire occurs…Humphries & Dawes, in conjunction with Mr CH Sims, are out to protect us from the rage which arises when we try to secure a delicate adjustment of a tappet rod, which is either well and truly rusted up, or has its threads so choked with dirt that we are tempted to accept a makeshift setting. They achieve this ideal very simply. The business portion of the adjustment is sheathed in two tubes of such diameters as to slide within each other. Adjustment complete, the tubes are set to cover the parts, and a spring clamp is bolted round them at the point where they overlap (patent 136,386 20/2/19).”
“IT WAS MOST DISAPPOINTING to the Union Moto Cycliste de France that their first post war six days trials in the French Alps attracted so few entries…Bad luck seems to have pursued the organisers this year and every sportsman will no doubt sympathise with them. First of all, the unsatisfactory ending of the Paris-Nice Trial, which was declared null and void owing to the breakdown in the checking organisation, seriously affected the number of possible entries from England, although the Paris-Nice event was not organised by the same body. Then M Mahien, who was entered on a Rudge, had an accident which ended fatally. A Gillet rider—Sermens was prevented from starting by illness…competitors who knew the roads were of the unanimous opinion that no touring competition previously held would prove so strenuous.” In the event only a dozen solos left Grenoble: four ABCs, two
Scotts, two Triumphs, two Motosacoches, an Indian and a Condor. They were joined by two combos (a Motosacoche and a Gallien) and a Morgan. “The piece de resistance was reserved for the last day in the Alps, when the competitors had to climb to the top of Galibier, 8,392ft above sea level, with the Lautaret Pass at over 6,500 thrown in as an additional morsel on the way up. Lunch was taken at St Michel de Maurienne, and during the afternoon a very difficult task was set the competitors with the four tunnels, Col de la Croix de Fer, and Col du Glandoii. The roads…were exceedingly rough, winding, and narrow, and any delay by reason of punctures was practically impossible to make up…After the four days in the Alps the machines were placed on exhibition at Grenoble, thus giving the riders an opportunity of resting for a day before taking the two-stage trip to Paris via Macon and Nevers.” Switzerland won the team prize and would therefore host the 1921 ISDT. Of 12 finishers eight had clean sheets.
“THE GENERAL LACK OF SUPPORT of the International Six Days Trial just completed is a matter for regret. The apathy of the French trade is partly responsible, and no doubt the unfortunate ending of the Paris-Nice event has had some influence upon the withholding of British support. As secretary of the Federation of ‘ International Motor Cycle Clubs, the Secretary of the ACU might have done more to exploit the Trial had not the Tourist Trophy race taken precedence. When we regret the lack of support on the part of British manufacturers, it is not only the national aspect we have in mind. After all, the ACU Six Days Trial and the Tourist Trophy Race are international events, and they receive very little support from makers outside this country. Our chief concern is that manufacturers have neglected to avail themselves of an opportunity to test their products under conditions impossible to obtain in any other event convenient to our shores, and very few British designers have the slightest conception of the nature of the country in which the Trial has been held. British motor cycles are not intended for British motor cyclists only; they are needed by overseas riders, some of whom Jive thousands of feet above sea level in hot countries. The FICM has an important duty to perform. It has to encourage international competitions. Friendly contests between the nations are most desirable, and, if properly run, encourage good feeling and a friendly rivalry which cement the good friendship of the past. It seems desirable that the Manufacturers’ Union should meet the Auto-Cycle Union and discuss the matter of these international trials, as the trade seems to have a very hazy idea as to which to support.”
“IN WINNIPEG, CANADA, THE AUTHORITIES have a way of their own of dealing with those who exceed the speed limit. For the first offence, a fine is imposed; the second, a fine and the machine is impounded for a month; third offence, the offender is locked up for a month. Lastly, it is said, the culprit is to be incarcerated in a lunatic asylum. Already, we are informed, several cars have been confiscated.”
“MOTOR CYCLE POLICE VS CAR BURGLARS: Police Inspector Brunning, of Bromley, Kent, who on his three-year-old standard Douglas overhauled and captured burglars on a 30hp car, after a five mile chase on the London Road, is an old motor cyclist. For several years he owned an Enfield sidecar outfit. He is a divisional police inspector, not a detective. Motor cycles are not yet issued to detectives, but no doubt will be as their value is realised.”
“ANNOUNCEMENTS HAVE APPEARED in various journals concerning the recent decision to employ motor cycles in the detective branch of the Metropolitan Police…The machines employed are 4hp Triumphs, and are reconstructed Army models equipped with comfortable sidecars.”
NO LESS THAN 450 COMPETITORS supplied a packed eight hours of competition in the open trials staged at Chatsworth by leading clubs from the East Midlands and Yorkshire—22 classes ranged from combos under 350cc to solos of unlimited capacity. Wolverhampton-made machinery was very much to the fore—more than 5,000 spectators watched a series of duels between AJS and Sunbeam in various classes, though Nortons and Harleys were also prominent. Top riders on show included HR Davies, G Dance and V Horsman.
FOR SOME MONTHS PAST we have been in touch with the well-known firm of Powell Bros, Ltd, the Cambrian Iron Works, Wrexham, who have been quietly developing a new line of business which takes the form of a 4hp motor cycle…Having secured as designer Mr EA Burney, whose name is already well known in connection with the Blackburne and Burney machine, it is perhaps hardly surprising to find that the new engine is fitted with a large outside flywheel, but here the resemblance between the two engines ends, for many new and distinctive features are incorporated in the new Powell engine. Mr Burney, who became a despatch rider in August, 1914, and ended his war-time career in charge of a repair workshop, had many opportunities of studying motor cycles under the hardest possible services and, naturally, the results of his experience have been embodied in the new design. The engine has a bore and stroke of 85×96.5mm (547.8cc) and the cylinder is inclined forward at an angle of 30°. A detachable cylinder head is held down by four long studs, the cylinder itself being separately attached by nuts at the base of these studs…The engine is remarkably clean as regards oil leakage, and it has no awkward crevices or excrescences to collect mud, every corner being carefully rounded. Probably the disposition and arrangement of the large ball release valve has much to do with the fact that the engine keeps so clean… it is claimed that the engine unit complete with magneto and carburetter can be removed from the frame in ten minutes… transmission is by chain and belt through a Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear. The frame has a slightly sloping top tube curved downwards at the rear, and a two-gallon petrol tank is fitted. Oil is pumped to the engine by a plain enclosed oil pump…the engine combines the slow tick over and excellent pulling powers, which go with a large outside flywheel, with the freedom and ‘revving’ qualities of the ore usual inside flywheel type. A very fair turn of speed is available in spite of the fact that the machine which we handled is the first of its type, and remains unfinished in certain details, having fifed for the first time a day or two before our trial…we feel justified in prophesying a rosy future for such an admirably designed motor cycle.”
“AFTER THE PERFORMANCES OF the simple two-stroke in post-war reliability trials, and its success in winning The Motor Cycle trophy in the TT, it only remained for someone to break records on Brooklands firmly to establish this type of engine for every purpose…Stanley Gill, riding a 350cc Alecto, broke, among others, the ten, eleven, and twelve hours records in Classes B, C, and E, and the nine-hour record for Class B…We congratulate all concerned, especially Stanley Gill as the rider, and Cashmore Bros, the makers of the first two-stroke to secure long-distance records on Brooklands…Classes C and E are for 500cc and 1,000cc machines respectively, so Gill’s performance on a single-cylinder air-cooled two-stroke is really remarkable.”
“POLICE PERSECUTION: ACCORDING TO a daily newspaper, a motor cyclist was recently summoned at York for allowing exhaust gas to escape from his motor cycle.”
“THE LACK OF STANDARDISATION in carburetter controls was, in the opinion of a coroner’s jury, responsible for a fatal accident in Norfolk recently.”
“QUITE A NUMBER OF BRITISH motor cycle manufacturers consider that in developing the De Luxe sidecar machine, another just as profitable field is being neglected. We refer to the dual-purpose machine—handy enough for solo work and suitably built for propelling a sidecar—which prior to the war was the most common type of motor cycle on the market, and which has subsequently suffered no loss of popularity. The Rex Motor Manufacturing Co, Coventry, hold this opinion, and for some time their experimental department has been at work on a new machine that, although following the main lines of the Rex twin model and the Model 77 big single, is smaller, shorter, and consequently much lighter than those machines which were designed exclusively for sidecar work. The new model has extremely pleasing outlines, and since its equipment consists of very popular units—ie, 4hp Blackburne engine, Sturmey Archer gear box, 28×2½in tyres, Brampton forks, Rex cantilever saddle pillar, and adjustable handle-bars, and its finish is the same which characterises all the company’s post-war products, it will undoubtedly prove a very popular machine. Sidecar fixings are integral with the frame, and the rear stay lug is incorporated in both stays, so that the machine may be used for continental sidecars without alteration. A special sidecar is being produced for this machine.”
“SIR,—WITH REFERENCE TO YOUR short report regarding the excursion to Blea Tarn Pass by several well-known competitors the day following the date of the open trial held in the Lake District recently by the Cumberland County MCC, I think it only right that you should acquaint your readers with the following facts. I have no desire to depreciate in the slightest degree the climbs of this formidable pass made by G Dance, T de la Hay, G Wilkin, S Parker, etc, but in view of these fine performances it might be difficult for an outsider to understand why the Trials Committee of the club decided, after careful consideration, to omit the climbing of this hill from their recent trial. Several visits by members of the Trials Committee were made to this hill, and on every occasion we were there the surface was in an appalling condition. It was well nigh impossible for a solo machine to make a perfectly clean ascent. We have plenty of members of our club who climbed this pass, but, owing to the appalling surface, caused by the loose shingle, these riders had to use their feet to steady their machines on the way up. We were never able to get sidecars up with passengers sitting in a normal position in the sidecar, but with a passenger sitting on the carrier it was managed once or twice. Our committee reluctantly came to the conclusion that to include this hill in the trial would cause a tremendous amount of complaining through being baulked. We in this district are perfectly aware that the nature of our mountain roads is such that heavy rain has a binding effect on their surfaces, but never in our wildest dreams did we imagine that Blea Tarn Pass could be in such a passable state as it was during the week-end of our trial. The condition was entirely brought about by the perfect deluge of rain we had had for several days previously. The surprise was on a par with the one we experienced at the small quantity of water coming down the watersplash at Longlands ford.
WB Anderson, Hon Treasurer, Cumberland County MCC.”
“SIR,— I HAVE READ WITH INTEREST your correspondent’s remarks on Blea Tarn Pass. May I point out that the trip in question was organised by myself, and was the result of a wager made Westwood Wills and myself with certain officials of the Cumberland Club who claimed that a clean climb of this hill, without putting a foot to the ground, and at the first attempt, was impossible. As events proved, these gentlemen were mistaken, but whether the hill was in good condition that day or not, both Mr Wills and I are quite prepared again to accept a wager, and to essay a clean climb, when the hill is in the worst possible condition, the Cumberland Club to be the judges in this respect.
JA Newman, Hon Trials Sec, Worcester &DMCC.”
“I DO 1,000 MILES TOURING MONTHLY for seven months in the year, but beyond the usual tool outfit supplied by the Douglas people, do not carry a single spare, except a belt and tube. My Douglas was received nine months ago and has gone perfectly, the plugs are still A1, valves quite unworn, and, what is more, in three long tours—London to Falmouth and back and a host of smaller trips this year—not a single part of the machine has shaken loose either on the road or off it. Therefore, it seems that the modern machine, if carefully driven and periodically examined, say. once every 1,000 miles, needs no spares, and can be thoroughly relied on. Re plugs: Two Lodge plugs lasted me 15,000 miles on a 1914 P&M, and gave no trouble. My present mount is very light on belts and tyres.
“THE THIRD REPORT OF THE Public Accounts Committee mentions that of the 351 motor cycles issued to the Ministry of Food during the railway strike, only 169 have as yet been returned to Slough. The matter is being further investigated.”
“RETURNING TO THE USA after his trip to this country, Mr Arthur Davidson, of the Harley-Davidson Co, told an American contemporary that he had acquired an even higher respect than he possessed before for British business methods, sportsmanship, and savoir faire. ‘We Americans ought to forget a lot of that stuff they fed us on in our schoolbooks,’ he added.”
“IT WOULD APPEAR THAT many people are apt to forget that many of our wounded soldiers are still in hospital. In this connection the members of the Surbiton &DMCC&LCC recently arranged a most successful outing, and conveyed about 50 limbless soldiers for a pleasant trip including tea at Reigate Hill. As we are told that many of the patients have had no such treat for many months we take this opportunity of reminding club secretaries that opportunities of combining a kindness with their own pleasure still exist.”
“THE TOTAL NUMBER OF motor cycles registered in France is 28,558. The Department of the Seine, which comprises Paris, has 7,169 machines…probably the smallest number is in Lozere, where there are only 21.”
A BELATED ROADS WARNING, courtesy of Ixion: “The other week I advised west-bound motorcyclists to avoid the Moretonhampstead route across Dartmoor, because of the lumbering chars-a-bancs which blanket the narrow, tortuous lanes. I came back east next day, via Launceston, on a spring-frame ABC. I retract my advice. It is better to die swiftly, beneath the ruthless wheels of a char-a- banc than to skid and bump for a couple of hours. A few miles north of Bodmin, an unholy alliance between the Cornish rainfall and some timber lorries has trenched the roadway for miles. Where the lorries turn off, potholes commence, and continue as far as Crockernwell, so that only the last dozen miles into Exeter are tolerable. To judge by the convulsed faces of the rigid-framed enthusiasts whom I met, I was by no means the chief or only sufferer. Next time I go west it will be by aeroplane or the GWR.”
“THE FOUR-CYLINDER ACE HAS HOW arrived in England…Since it was designed by Mr WG Henderson, it is not strange that it bears a very strong resemblance to the machine which carries his name; but when we study the interior mechanism, we find important innovations. The frame is of very strong construction, being made of heavy gauge tubing. It is of the duplex variety, and carries the engine in a horizontal cradle…the inlet valve rockers and springs are totally enclosed by means of special pressed steel housings, on the top of each of which are six holes for oil protected by a lid kept closed by means of a spring, consequently all dust and dirt are completely excluded…There is no separate oil tank. The crank case is designed to hold three quarts of lubricant. Driven off the timing gear at the forward end of the crank case is a gear pump, which draws oil from the sump at the bottom of the crank case and sprays it into troughs moulded in a tray above the normal level of the oil. These troughs are consequently kept full of oil, and the big ends, which are provided with dippers, dip into oil at each revolution, lubricating their bearings and filling the crank case with oil mist. The excess of oil flow back to the sump through a hole in the centre of the tray. The level of the oil is ascertained by a steel rod. dipping into the base of the sump, which, if withdrawn, shows the level at a glance. Air is introduced, into the crank case through a breather provided with suitable baffles to prevent the oil from being blown out…Automobile practice has been so far followed that the bottom of the aluminium crank case may be removed without disturbing the engine…The gear box contains three speeds and a bevel transmitting power from the crankshaft to the sprocket, which is connected to the rear wheel by means of a single chain…Usual American practice is followed as regards the clutch and change-speed lever, which are interlocking—that is to say, unless the clutch is withdrawn the gears cannot be changed…An interesting feature is the petrol tank, which holds four American gallons. The front forks are of substantial construction, and follow lines somewhat like those of the 1914 Henderson. lugs are provided for the attachment of a sidecar.”
“THE GRAND PRIX OF THE Union Moto-cycliste de France, held at Le Mans on Saturday last, was won (in the 500cc class) by Jolly on an Alcyon, which covered the twenty-two laps (233 miles) in 5hr 15min 13sec. In the 350cc class the winner was Bartlett, on a Verus, who covered twenty laps (212 miles) in the same time. The winner in the 250cc class was Mourrier, on a Thomann two- stroke, which covered 16 laps (170 miles) in 4hr 4min 33sec. Cleck, on a Motosolo, took second place in 4hr 46min 12sec. No other machine finished the race within time allowance. The course, which lies to the south of Le Mans, is triangular, and has a total length of about 10 miles. Of the three classes, the 250cc machines were required to make 16 circuits (170 miles), the 350cc machines 20 circuits (212 miles), and the 500cc machines 22 circuits (234 miles), and the competitors were started in groups according to their classes, the smallest going away first at six o’clock, and other classes at intervals of one minute. In consequence, the start was a fine sight. Five minutes before his class was due to go Alexander, on one of new chain-driven Douglases, discovered a big nail in his rear tyre, and was left behind when his group started. He got away with a delay of about three minutes, but, riding magnificently, he got the lead after two laps. Competition was very keen at the beginning of the race, particularly between the Peugeot, Alcyon and Douglas teams; mechanical troubles, however, developed
early. Devaux on a 3½hp Peugeot, who had been in front on the first lap, broke his front fork and had a bad spill, although he was not injured. After four laps, Pean, another Peugeot rider, who had been in second place, had to retire with a broken change speed gear, leaving only Perrin of this team in the race. For a considerable time there was a very keen contest between Jolly (Alcyon) and Alexander (Douglas). The latter’s machine was slightly the faster, and kept the lead except for a short time after stopping to fill up. The Alcyon which got ahead then did not hold its advantage long, for Alexander again rode into first place, and after 16 laps had a lead of about 20min. At this point, however, the second gear of the Douglas stripped, probably owing to the fact that these machines have no clutch. With this handicap, it was very difficult for Alexander to make hairpin turns, and after stalling on one corner he found it impossible to get away again unaided, and was ordered off the course after having been pushed. The machine had shown such remarkable speed and had been so well handled that this decision caused general regret. Kickham (Douglas) broke a valve early in the race, while Doisi, also on a Douglas, was held up at an early hour with stuck carburetter throttle, and later abandoned the race owing to a broken shock absorber. Of the three members of the ABC team, only Borgotti covered the entire distance, but he came in one minute too late to get official recognition for the performance. Yenne fell, and Naas was eliminated by a flying stone from a competitor’s machine which broke his cylinder head and damaged a valve. Naas was also fined 100 francs for going round the course the wrong way. Vuillamy, on an Alcyon, abandoned the race at the replenishment pits, a statement being made that he was tired. The new vertical twin Bleriot machines, which appeared for the first time in a speed contest, met with ill luck. Paumier had to abandon very early with a
broken clutch, Berlie broke his valve gear, and Brunet failed to finish within the time limit. The machines, while on the same general lines as stock Bleriots, had special engines with two side-by-side cylinders having four overhead valves for each. By reason of the mechanical accidents to Peugeot, Alcyon, and ABC machines, the race resolved itself towards the end into a contest between Jolly (Alcyon) and the Motosacoche riders. These latter, however, had met with various small difficulties, one of them retiring at the depots, and two others failing to get home before the race was called off at 11.30am. In the 350cc class, the winner proved to be the Englishman, Bartlett, on a Verus machine. His companion, Copus, was put out with a broken gear box, while Lehmann, the only Alcyon rider in this class, had a nasty fall, due to a broken mudguard catching in the front wheel. Louis on the 250cc Alcyon broke his rear mudguard stays, and fastened the wreckage on to the carrier; this being considered an infringement of the rules, he was disqualified. This is the first time in the history of French motor cycle racing that only one machine out of 19 finished in the 500cc class. Such a result, however, may be attributed to the fact that the roads, while being very fast, had very rough surfaces, which were extremely destructive to machines.”
“ONCE AGAIN THE PETROL COMPANIES have seen fit to make a considerable increase in the price of petrol. Justification for the rise is, of course, forthcoming from the vendors, but, justification or no justification, it is the motorist who is hit, and he is beginning to ask when this state of affairs will cease. The answer is a hard one, and is complicated by the fact that the price of benzole has been raised by a similar amount. It is easy to say that the solution of the whole question lies in the production of a home-produced substitute at a competitive price, but so far such substitutes have, failed to materialise in sufficient quantities to be of any practical value. There are immense shale beds in this country capable of supplying enormous quantities of motor spirit, and herein lies a cheering hope, though the necessary plant for the production of a suitable fuel has yet to be installed and developed to a workable state. Benzole can be produced in sufficient quantities and at a reasonable price only by the aid of the Government, and it is to be hoped that, profiting by war experience, the Government will refuse to allow the country’s road transport to be controlled by foreign influence.”
For extensive coverage of the ACU Six Days Trial, the Scottish Six Days Trial and the third Anglo-Dutch trial check out the 1920 Features section.
“IT IS NOT SO MANY YEARS since the first sidecar appeared on the road. The pioneers who introduced them have but few more grey hairs than when they defied the criticisms of theoretical engineers and produced the prototypes of what is to-day the most popular vehicle on the road. Like all inventors and designers, they were confident of the success of their productions; but probably, no one realised the great potential popularity of this type of vehicle. The meticulous engineer in viewing them, in learning of their remarkable efficiency, can be likened to the farmer who, on seeing the giraffe at the Zoo, remarked that there was no such animal. Here we have a vehicle which violates many of the laws of mechanics, and yet grows in popularity and utility as the years go by. The high brows of the mechanical world continue to tell us of a hundred and one reasons why sidecars do not follow sound mechanics. According to them, no sidecar should support much more than its own weight yet a hundred odd thousand motor cyclists owning sidecar outfits can answer ‘But it does’. The writer last year covered over 3,000 miles with a single-cylinder sidecar and family (and an Easting windscreen to add to their comfort) at an average consumption of 83mpg-and 83mpg is little less than the average solo rider obtains on 3,000 miles of running. The accommodation of a sidecar outfit seems to be limited only by the ingenuity of the owner. Fathers of six are not dismayed by the problem…Offspring in bunches of two and three are comparatively easy to accommodate without even resorting to a pillion seat to take the eldest. Four youngsters are not an uncommon number, and even larger numbers are occasionally to be seen packed on to a motor cycle and sidecar outfit. Overloaded? Of course the machines are overloaded. We do not recommend such practice unless frames and sidecar chassis are specially strengthened—but—there it is! Family men will do it, and because motor cycles and sidecars are so well made that ‘nothing happens’, they will continue to do it and who shall blame them, since they give so much pleasure to so many human beings at so little cost. It is not only the pleasure side of sidecarring that should be considered…The wife who can forget her household worries at the weekend, and enjoy a few hours in the open-air, is better fitted to face the week that follows. The husband spends his spare time in a hobby which improves his mind, where such close indoor pastimes as billiards and cards might tempt him. The children receive assistance in their school studies as well as enlarging their outlook. Again, there must be hundreds of fathers who could not afford to take a family to the seaside, and give them all such a good time, were it not for the motor cycle and sidecar. The sidecar now forms part of family life in this country—it gives all in a household a common interest, and knits ordinary parental affection into companionship. It will take a great deal to shake the sidecar from its present high position as the most popular vehicle on the road.”—Vedette.
“THERE IS SOMETHING to be said for the stand placed beneath the countershaft or somewhere thereabouts—a position which seems likely to become more or less popular, though it is not particularly novel. Such a stand was to be seen on the Midget Bicar, a motor cycle made by Brown, of Reading, having a pressed steel frame and several other points to recommend it. Such a stand makes it very easy to rai-se the front wheel when it is desired to test the bearings of the head for purposes of adjustment, or to raise the wheel for tyre repairs. The latter can, of course, be done by means of the usual front wheel stand, but the former cannot, as the use of tile stand prevents the free swinging of the wheel from side to side. The central stand should be spring-operated, and it is then very unobtrusive in appearance, no matter whether up or down.”
“SIR,—AS PETROL CONSUMPTION CHALLENGES appear to be in the air, I should like to ask if anyone can outdo me on one pint or gallon of petrol on any make of machine of the same power. My machine is an AJS 2¾hp, about 1914,
and after draining the tank I measured in one pint of petrol, and on this I ran 24 miles. This I can do again.
“SIR,—FOR SOME TIME LATELY I have been running my 1920 4hp Triumph on a mixture of three parts benzole to one part paraffin. The experiment has been a wonderful success. I get more power, slower running, better acceleration, and about the same, or slightly better, mpg. It runs equally well on a mixture of half and half. A friend of mine has run his 4hp 1914 Triumph on it also, as has another friend on his 2¾hp MAG-OK.”
“SIR,—I FEEL SURE MANY of your readers are unable to appreciate the advantages to be obtained from many of the good things advertised. My present 3½hp machine until recently consumed one gallon of petrol per 100 miles. I determined to improve on this by the following means, and herewith give results: I first fitted a ‘Blank’ carburetter, guaranteed to use 20% less petrol than any other. The result was 100 miles per 0.8 gallon. I then fitted the ‘Blank’ inlet valve stem lubricator and air leak preventer, guaranteed to give an extra 25mpg. Result, 100 miles per 0.64 gallon. I next used ‘Dots’ tor mixing with my petrol, giving 25% per gas. Result, 100 miles per 0.51 gallon. Afterwards I fitted the ‘Blank’ economy valve to inlet pipe, and mixed ‘Boildag’ with my lubricating oil. Result 100 miles per 0.45 gallon. On changing over from petrol to benzole I got a still further improvement—100 miles to 0.4 gallon. By fitting a streamline tank, disc wheels, aeroplane foot-boards, and mudguards this was further reduced to 100 miles per 0.35 gallon. By fitting a Brooks saddle and wearing Beacon oilskins I got it down to 100 miles per 0.25 gallon. I also understand that by using the ‘Blank’ three-speed gear I can save a further 0.25 gallons per 100 miles, after which by fitting ‘Blank’s’ petrol magneto and plug I expect to reach the producing stage, and hope to produce about one quarter of a gallon per 100 miles, from the sale of which I should be able to cover cost of tyres and lubricating oil, thereby practically cutting out all working costs. Also, with the prospect of prices continuing to soar at their present rate, the factor for depreciation may also be eliminated—in fact, I am anticipating, if I am able to put in sufficient mileage, making a small, but steady, income out of it.
‘Moonshine’, King’s Lynn.”
“SIR,—KNOWING YOUR READINESS to publish anything to interest to your readers, perhaps the accompanying photo- graph comes within that scope. The picture represents a tricar made in 1905 and still going strong. It was made by the Wolf Co, is propelled by a 4½hp AJS water-cooled engine, fitted with their gear box and clutch, and is chain-driven. Carrying the load shown it can average 15mph. The rear tyre, which is an Avon, was fitted in 1912, and has had one retread. We ran 200 miles recently, climbing a hill 1 in 22 one mile long with load shown in the photograph.
HAVING MADE SOME INTERESTING points about two-stroke and four-stroke efficiency a correspondent noted: “Contrary to popular opinion, therefore, the two-stroke engine does not suffer from ineffective piston travel any more than the four-stroke does. There are, however, other obstacles to efficiency, and difficulties to be overcome which do not exist in the four-stroke, and one cannot but appreciate the manner these have been tackled, and largely eliminated by some two-stroke makers. As an instance, I was, picnicking on Bwlch-y-Groes some days ago when three little Velocettes came humming up the hill (which was in very bad condition), and without a pause or falter went clean over the top. This was repeated three times by the trio, and the last ascent was faster than the first. It was quite inspiring. When I get too old for my ‘big ‘bus’ I must seriously consider getting a Velocette.”
James Lansdowne Norton.
“A SCRAMBLE ROUND YORKSHIRE—Impressions of The Scott Trial, by a Competitor. Entries, 132; Starters, 86; Finishers, 60. ‘This is not a race but a tragedy.’ Such is the description of the event on the official programme. Fortunately, the description was applied in the spirit of cheerful good fellowship which pervades everything pertaining to the Scott trial. The organisers are frankly out to provide a day’s sport, and to prove what can be done by man and motor cycle. One might say that the test is admirable as an Overseas trial, but, though equally villainous or worse tracks undoubtedly exist in other parts of the world, it is certain that they are not used by motor cyclists, except in cases of very special need. These remarks do not, of course, apply to the whole route, parts of which are rideable, and parts even are excellent main road, but such sections as that near Grimwith Reservoir and the moor tracks near the cupola works (disused lead mines) must be experienced even to be imagined. Shortly before ten o’clock competitors gathered in Burnsall in a steady wetting mist, and all the cheery optimism of the organiser’s was needed to save the spirits of the competitors from becoming unduly damped. The depth of the watersplashes grew till one began to think of lifebelts. The surface of Darnbrook was so slippery as to be unclimbable. Park Rash and the Scar raised our deepest fears,
and it was pointed out that only two riders had got across the Nid with engines running in the previous year. Such is the atmosphere at the start of most big trials, and everyone knows that the Scott trial is the stiffest of the lot. A glance round the competing machines revealed that Scotts and Triumphs were easily in the majority, though P&Ms, Wilkins, and Kingsburys each had three or four representatives. Manufacturers, with the exception of those from Yorkshire, were conspicuously absent, for a trial of this description brings out the sporting rider rather than the stock trade teams. At 10 sharp away went Donald Moore on his Scott, followed at minute intervals by the next men. Waddington’s Triumph was barely out of sight before his belt fastener gave trouble and caused a stop. Soon it was our turn to get away, and in a few moments the start, from our point of view, lost all interest, and only the road ahead mattered. The good roads soon deteriorated, and a long rough descent had its climax, in Dob Park splash. A pack bridge—on which spectators crowded—spans the stream, and the splash is entered and left by steep paved banks. Added to this there are boulders in the bed. A competitor was firmly embedded in the stream when we arrived, only to keep him company, but Waddington came through safely, though his belt caused trouble on the subsequent hill. Shortly after this some of the early numbers went astray, as there were not sufficient wheel tracks to act as a guide, and some of the arrows had been destroyed during the night by wind and rain. The route-marking as a whole was excellent, and it was purely bad luck that the effects of the elements caused a certain amount of trouble. Grease was abundant and horrid, and hills, well, one lost count of them, though the descents were perhaps the most trying, and the moorland ruts and wet grass caused many spills. Lashed by the strong wind there were white capped waves on Grimwith reservoir, but this same wind blew away the rain clouds and helped to. dry the course. After skirting the end of the reservoir, all signs of a track disappeared, and the course was indicated by stakes driven into the ground at intervals. At first the route was merely grass, but it became rougher and boggier until it appeared that neither man nor machine could stand another jolt; added to this, a very slight deviation from the staked course inevitably led to a bogged machine. The stretch culminated in two observed mud splashes of such a depth that machines dropped on
to their crank cases and balanced precariously on the edge until shoved off into the slimy depths. Next came more grass and a welcome descent to Burnsall for lunch and an hour’s rest. By this time the sun was shining brightly, and competitors arrived hot and weary after much hard exercise amongst the rough. CP Wood’s time for the morning section was spoken of with bated breath; but not a few machines arrived with bent footrests, burst silencers, and other minor defects. Hebden Ghyll! How is it to be described? Picture to yourselves a river bed partly filled up with stones, heather roots, and an assortment of rubble—all this on a steady upward grade with intervening bits of the genuine river, water and all. It was at such a spot that a cinematograph operator chose to do his worst, and he at least must have had much amusement. At one place one climbed a slag heap sideways! Further on the track entirely disappeared, amidst the ruins of some old lead mines, and stakes once more showed the way. Hills followed. Grass hills, stony hills, long hills, steep hills, all sorts of hills, plus many gates and much three-rut track. Park Rash was almost a relief. The hill was in good condition, and one wondered how it ever came to be a bonus hill in the ACU Six Days Trials. Darnbrook belied the prognostications of the pessimistic, and proved an easy climb, and the crossing of the Nid was nothing like so terrifying as its approach down Deadman’s Hill. For sheer discomfort this was perhaps the worst bit of the course, a really steep descent and crossed by innumerable gulleys, so deep that if taken slowly the wheels ‘chocked’ and stopped the machine. After the Nid comes the Scar, a hill of terrifying aspect and rough, rutty surface. It includes one hairpin which is the genuine article, and brings one back on one’s tracks on a stiff gradient. This hairpin, by the by, is invisible until the last moment, being hidden by a bank. There followed a stretch of good, but twisty road, over which we bad been warned that the police were active; then a selection of grease, a watersplash, and Middletongue, the last observed hill. Grease and ruts, followed by loose stones, formed the surface of this final test, and we can vouch for the fact that one competitor at least tested the solidity of the stone wall on the left of the road and found it firm. A grand road to the finish and a strong head wind completed the most strenuous trial ever held, and a jolly party sat down to tea and discussion of the day’s events. As reports from the observed spots came in the energetic officials worked out results, and to relieve the tedium of the wait, CP Wood, WL Guy, and one or two others, afforded much amusement to the crowds by crossing and re-crossing the Wharfe below Burnsall Bridge. So quickly were results worked out that the main awards, were announced at Burnsall before the party broke up, and Maj Watling made a popular speech alluding to the excellent organisation and the sporting, spirit of the competitors, also to the fact that over £35
had been cleared for St Dunstan’s Hostel by the sale of programmes. This sum was considerably augmented later on by the sale of other items (including a policeman). In the evening the Scott Co entertained many of the riders at a dinner and sing-song at the Middleton Hotel, Ilkley: a few speeches, a few stories, and a few songs. So ended a happy, sporting, and well-organised event. All sporting riders will thank the Scott Company for throwing open to them a trial which was originally organised for Scott employees only. Competitors were supposed to average 20mph over the course, and, marvellous to relate, five men accomplished this feat. Fifty marks are awarded for speed, and one mark deducted for each minute in excess of schedule time. Needless to say, in many cases the whole fifty marks disappeared. A paucity of protests and grumbles is a welcome feature of such sporting events as the Scott trial. To ‘finish’ is the one idea of most competitors, and, if this is achieved, the resulting glow of satisfaction is sufficient to remove all idea of complaint. GW Wilkins’s win in the 350 class is a fitting prelude for his ’round the coast’ ride. Any 350cc machine which can finish in the Scott trial deserves much praise. Awards. Scott Trophy (for best amateur team): Sheffield and Hallamshire, FC Waites (4hp Triumph), EH Wheatley (4hp Triumph), and JO Vessey (4hp Triumph).
Myyers Trophy (for best trade team): Scott Team No1: CP Wood (3¾hp Scott), WL Guy (3¾hp Scott), and H Langman (3¾hp Scott). Best team trade and amateur mixed:
Harrogate, A Hill (4hp Triumph), WE Grange (4hp Triumph), and G Hill (3¾hp Scott). Vinter Cup (best amateur performance): W Moore (3¾hp Scott). Scott Staff Cup (best trade performance): CP Wood (3¾hp Scott). Melano Cup (best performance under 350cc): GW Wilkin (2¾hp Wilkin). Consolation Prize: CJ Nicholls (4hp Triumph).
“JUST AS ONE SWALLOW does not make a summer so one frost does not make a winter, though there are pessimists abroad who may give it that interpretation. The voluntary winding up of the Sopwith Aviation Co, following upon the liquidation of the Clyno Engineering Co, is regarded ominously by certain sections of the Daily Press who take it as an indication that the motor trade is stagnant. Such a statement is apt to be misleading, since enquiries addressed to most of the well-known manufacturers show that order books are almost as full as ever. Some amount of stagnation there may be, but trade is not lacking…Many manufacturers also have been hedged about with serious difficulties since the Armistice. Some of them laid out optimistic programmes for production in large quantities, and installed expensive plant for the purpose, but were subsequently handicapped by rising prices of materials and labour troubles. It has been difficult, also, to obtain the necessary material for the projected programmes, for labour has not exhibited energy since the war, and many other minor causes have contributed to rendering the lot of the manufacturer difficult. The result is in some cases that available capital has been expended before output has been brought to a level that will enable deliveries to be made in numbers sufficient to relieve the situation. This position, happily, is not general.”
“A SERIOUS ATTEMPT TO PRODUCE a machine on which the rider is protected from mud and oil from the engine has been made by the Gordon Simplex Engineering Co, of Aylesbury and Bournemouth. To attain this end the engine is enclosed in a cowl which gives to the mount a somewhat heterodox appearance, but without any tendency to freakishness. In addition to the engine cowl, large mudguards, leg guards and disc wheels are fitted which combined make the machine of the ‘hosable’ type so long the ideal of many riders. The engine is a Coventry Victor flat twin, which is fitted with a Lamplugh mechanical oil pump driven directly from, the camshaft, by means of which the engine, gear box and entire transmission are automatically lubricated…Every effort appears to have been made to give many of those luxuries that have long been desired.”
“TO ENCOURAGE THE USE of cheaper fuel the RAC (the parent body of the ACU) has under consideration a trial of vaporisers and other apparatus by which internal combustion engines may be operated with alcohol and heavy oils, other than petroleum spirit or benzole.”
“‘THE PRICE OF AN ARTICLE is what it will fetch.’ This being the sentiment in the- minds of those who control the life blood of the motor industry, it is obviously a duty to help forward the production of an alternative fuel. Now there are already three alternatives which only require development in order to lower the price of fuel…Benzole we most of us know and appreciate, but owing to the claims of the dye industry and the lack of Government support, its price is roughly that of petrol, and it has become very scarce. Shale oil again is an excellent substitute, and enormous shale deposits exist in this country, though they require development. Alcohol can be produced at home and in so many parts of the world that its supply could be unlimited…the price of motor fuel is not a matter affecting only the private owner, it is a national question which has a considerable bearing on the price of all road-borne freight, both human and commercial, and added to this fuel is of vital importance to the country in the event of war. It is, therefore, the Government’s business to secure an adequate supply of fuel at a reasonable price…Every motor cyclist, and indeed every patriotic citizen, should use his utmost influence to secure this end.”
“I WAS NEVER A DUDE, as my intimate acquaintances will bear witness,” Ixion confessed, “but the exigencies of motor cycling in bad weather have led me to take keen interest in my attire of late years, and I am urged by one or two readers to make public enquiry whether anybody still manufactures the ‘umbrella’ coat, and eke whether black rubberised waterproofs of stout texture are still obtainable? For those who have forgotten the umbrella coat, let me explain that it was certainly the goods for one-season wear. In lieu of an ordinary collar, it had a poncho-type hole at the neck; this hole was lined with elastic rubber, and cut a size smaller than the rider’s neck. To enter the coat, you splayed the hole with both hands, and finally emerged rosy, dishevelled, minus spectacles (if worn), ears, face powder and pomade hongroise; the elastic collar then contracted around your neck, and effectually sealed it against the ingress of rain. Towards the end of the season the rubber neck began to get slightly chafed, and you began to adorn it with patchquicks in increasing number and variety; these had a bizarre but wholly decorative effect on the black collar. Next season you, of course, bought a new coat. In spite of these handicaps, the umbrella coat was easily ‘it’ for long distance work in the rain. The indignity of entering it, and still worse of leaving it, was easily balanced by the absence of that usual shuddery stream of cold water running down one’s back. Are these coats still procurable?”
SPRINGTIME FOR IXION: “How many riders have spotted the rapid stampede towards leaf springs? I well remember the day when there wasn’t a motor cycle on the road that had a leaf spring in its anatomy. ‘To-day, perhaps inspired by other people’s successes, all the, designers are recanting their old heresies, and dropping the coiled spring in favour of the pack of leaves. There is, of course, ample technical justification for the change of practice. In a coiled spring there is next to nothing to damp the rebound, whereas friction steadies the action of the leaf pattern, and so minimises the tendency to bounce. Leaf springing for motor cycles is now guarded by a perfect encyclopaedia of patents, and the late comers will have to pay royalties if they are not careful. Still, I note that a few wizards have the necessary cunning to devise dampers for the coiled spring—witness GE Stanley’s cute little fitting on the latest Triumph fork. Those makers who cling to undamped coil springs should, have lined the road between the top of Keighley Gate and Harden Bank in the ACU six days. The sound of clashing forks drowned the burr of a cool hundred exhausts. Some riders merely said ‘Ouch!’ Others had apparently served as sergeant-majors.”
“THE COUNTY POLICE OF LANCASHIRE, who have acquired a Triumph and sidecar, provide another example of the new speed control, ie, by following the suspected vehicle and noting speedometer readings. When the proposed abolition of an arbitrary speed limit is carried into effect, this form of activity will be rendered futile, but no doubt the outfit will be used for road patrol duties.”
“IF ALL STATUTORY GAS COMPANIES having annual coal consumption of more than 5,000 tons were compelled to install, within a limited period, the necessary plant for the production of crude benzole, there would at once be available a further 30,000,000 gallons of motor spirit annually. This and other facts regarding the fuel situation are being pointed out to the Government by the Motor Legislation Committee, who represent all interests from the motor cyclist to the manufacturer.”
“FOR SOME TIME PAST it has been apparent that the average 3½hp single designed as a double purpose mount is too heavy tor purely solo use, and in view of the demand for lighter solo machines, accentuated by the increasing cost of petrol, it would not be surprising if weight is not more seriously considered by designers of all types of machines. The Sunbeam illustrated is 50lb lighter than its larger sister, which has been so successful as a medium-powered sidecar machine. It is also smaller. The new model has been produced to comply with the numerous requests received by the makers for a machine constructed on the lines of the winning machine of the 1920 Tourist Trophy.”
“THE FEW MOTOR CYCLE has been designed by the inventor of the FEW valve attachment, and incorporates a 6hp JAP engine unit, which is accessibly mounted on four engine plates suspended from the two down tubes. At the rear the suspending member is triangularly constructed. The two tubes suspending the engine are- bolted to the saddle tube, whilst two similar tubes, brazed to the rear fork, are fixed at the same point. A gear box is not at present fitted, but a novel type of friction gear will be incorporated at a later date. The petrol and oil tanks are somewhat unconventional. The former, of very large capacity and being of the saddle type, conceals the top tube. Lubricating oil is carried in a circular tank which is held by clips to the front down tube, and the drip feed lubricator and pump are conveniently located at the top. Saxon spring forks have been fitted for demonstration purposes. A new design, however, will be introduced later on. Mudguarding has received special attention, and adequate protection at the front and rear is provided. The silencer and the exhaust pipes have been very neatly designed, and a special fitting is provided whereby the rider may, if required, considerably reduce the noise of the exhaust. Tappet adjustment is provided at the base of this device, and is regulated by’ a small disc and locking ring. The standard JAP tappet may also be used; but, it is claimed, a more minute adjustment can be made from the FEW attachment. The designer, Mr FE Waller is anxious to place this machine on the market, and is open to negotiate with any manufacturer to whom the design appeals.”
HERE’S ANOTHER BATCH OF patents, reviewed by BH Davies who, as we know but few of the Blue ‘Un’s readers knew, was also writing as Ixion. Motosacoche came up with a two-stroke flat twin with plans for flat fours and sixes. It featured a two compartment pump designed to push “a cushion of pure air” into the combustion chambers just ahead of the combustion charge. From a designer named WF Lechmere came a two-stroke with a separate pumping cylinder. Two military men, Major Woodgate and Lieutenant Main, came up with a novel valve arrangement for a flat-twin in which the two cylinders would fire simultaneously. Another military man, Engineering-Lieutenant CI Brooks, says Ixion, “is an inventor who stirs my imagination in several directions. For example, he may have had trouble with a fair passenger who refused to occupy the carrier of a combination, and put in first claim to the sidecar. Anyhow, there is no doubt that the carrier seat is no great fun, and that many riders want to take two passengers. So this patent covers the removal of the back wheel of the bicycle, and the substitution of a chassis, permitting two persons to sit one on each side of the driver, the seat being preferably of the phaeton type, though, of course, two separate sidecars could be fixed to the frame.” Passenger vehicles clearly brought out Ixion’s whimsical streak. Here’s how he describes a sidecar with decent weather protection: “Mr Atcherley’s sidecar inspires musings on the strength of calf love. Picture the outfit on Dartmoor in a blizzard. In the sidecar is a sweet young thing, looking too dinky in a mauve jumper, snug, dry, and sucking chocolates. On the saddle, exposed to the fury of the elements, sodden, frozen, with chattering teeth, is a mere male, chivalrously rejoicing at the thought that his beloved is so comfortable, quite ready to perish at her side, not asking for a word of conversation, and aware that she is too completely enclosed to pass him one of those nasty, hard chocolates put in the bottom of a box to make up weight, and which the more selfish types of joy-girl usually reserve for their swains.”
“WE MUST HAVE HOME-PRODUCED FUEL! Are we to have an adequate supply of power alcohol? The campaign carried out for several years by The Motor Cycle, and its sister journal The Autocar is at last bearing fruit, for there are many indications of activity which, combined, may convince the Government that a home-produced fuel is an absolute necessity. The AA is making a special effort to organise deputations to the mayors of all the chief towns and cities with a view to bringing before the notice of the Prime Minister the fact that the price of petrol is no longer a matter of motoring costs, but a national affair affecting all classes of the community. Power alcohol seems to be the ultimate solution to the problem of Great Britain’s fuel supplies. This spirit, if mixed with benzole, can be used in existing engines, though if alcohol alone be used a certain amount of modification will be necessary. A practically unlimited supply of power alcohol is obtained from vegetable sources, and here is an opportunity for the Government to open up a vast industry in the Overseas Dominions. In Africa, India, or many of the Tropical possessions alcohol can be manufactured from refuse molasses, maize, potatoes, mahua, and many different vegetables. Something must be done at once. This country must be independent of supplies from countries which at any moment may prohibit exports on account of shortage. It is impossible to exaggerate the urgency of this vital question. We must have home-produced fuel, by which is meant a source of supply within the Empire and outside the control of foreign trusts. Already, as was reported in our last week’s issue, deputations organised by the AA have been before the Mayor of Coventry and the Lord Mayor of Birmingham. Other deputations are being arranged, while the resolution proposed at Coventry last week is being circulated throughout the city councils of the country.”
“THE OFFICIALLY OBSERVED COAST RIDE undertaken by JW Wilkin was completed last Friday at 11.40pm when the 4hp Wilkin-Blackburne drew up at Blake’s showrooms from which it had started thirty-two days before. In all, 3,315 miles have been covered, the daily average being 160 miles. The first day—Liverpool to Barrow (112¼ miles)—was the lowest, and from Grimsby to Yarmouth (235 miles) the highest. Starting from Liverpool on September 8th, the route was via the West and North Coast of Scotland to John-o’-Groat’s, down the East Coast of Great Britain to Tilbury Docks, along the South Coast to Land’s End, then via the Welsh Coast to Liverpool. The coast line was followed wherever there was anything in the nature of a road. Often this was nothing more than a right of way, and from Dumfries to Thurso the machine had to travel over stones and boulders, which the machine withstood remarkably well. This was described as the worst stretch of road. At Scourie, in Scotland, it was found that the ferry had been out of commission for twelve months. However, the ferryman raked up a craft of some description and got them across. The actual travelling days numbered twenty-one, and on two days the rain was so heavy that no mileage was made, and the motor cyclists remained at Grimsby and Yarmouth respectively. During the first fortnight there was incessant rain, and the rider declared that the journey over the noted ‘Rest and be Thankful’ hill would have been impossible had it not been for the chain drive…Bitter complaints were made of the terrible roads…Although a few spare valve parts were carried, replacements were surprisingly few, the tyre troubles consisting of five punctures (two in sidecar tube) and a leaking valve. The carburetter and magneto were faultless…Without passengers, the outfit weighed 4¼cwt and its load 22 stone. The average petrol consumption was roughly 55mpg, and oil about 800mpg. A feature of the cycle is the 7¼in. mudguards.”
FOLLOWING THE ACU’S POLICY of holding general committee meetings in the provinces, the third session of the year was held in Norwich. “On the evening previous to the meeting the committee was entertained right royally by the Norfolk Motor Cycle and Light Car Club. Some twenty members of the committee were present, and among those at the high table were the Lord Mayor of Norwich, Mr WRR Spelman, president of the club, the Town Clerk, the Chief Constable, the County Surveyor, and Commander Windham, RN, the prospective Parliamentary candidate for Great Yarmouth.”
“MENTION OF THE STILLBORN 1915 ABC speedster,” Ixion remarked, “reminds me of a very sound principle which Granville Bradshaw enunciates where ultra-fast machines are concerned. The gear change in his opinion must be done by the foot. I would go further, and say that a foot gear change is desirable in all modern competition work. Neither in the TT, nor in a hill-climb, nor in a reliability trial up a long, stepladder hill such as White Shaw Moss, is it desirable to remove a hand from the steering bar, even for the fraction of a second. At present the Scott is the only machine on the market designed for a pedal gear-change, though one or two babies have handle-bar gear levers (eg, the Triumph and Beardmore). It is, of course, very difficult to devise a footchange for the three-speed gears which are necessarily standard behind most engines; but what an asset a foot-change would be in the next TT if the whole trade goes bald-headed for the trophies, and the pace is a real cracker with a dozen top-notchers lasting the whole course at full speed!”
“SIR,—NOW THAT THERE IS ALL this agitation about dangerous driving, why cannot the authorities be more careful when issuing licences? I was astounded on paying five shillings to get a licence enabling me to drive a motor car or motor cycle without any examination or trial. In Ceylon one had to be conversant with the rules of the road. If riding a solo, a European sergeant told one where to go, and rode behind on another motor cycle; if a combination, he came in the sidecar. If satisfied you could drive, then a licence was issued. This would only be to drive a motor cycle; for a car another and a more severe test would have to be undergone. In Durban, Natal, the test is more severe still: eyesight, colour-blindness, speed judging, etc, as well as one’s driving capabilities. In England apparently only 5s is needed, and one can drive a car or motor cycle anywhere, and need know nothing about it. I consider the driving in England distinctly bad, and one frequently comes across riders blinding past cross roads, never sounding their horns. I have seen cars packed with men and girls all talking and laughing, and the driver joining in, with his attention anywhere except on his job. From observation on the roads I consider cars are far and away the worst offenders where dangerous driving is concerned, especially fast cornering. A combination has to slow up unless the driver wants the sidecar to tickle his ear.
“COBALT—THE RARE ELEMENT used in the manufacture of high grade steel—has been discovered in the Peak District. Hitherto England has had to depend upon imports for her supplies which have come chiefly from Ontario, Canada.”
THE MANSFIELD &DMCC AND EAST Midlands ACU staged a joint speed trial at Clipston Park, a disused army camp. “The centre of interest was immediately focussed on HR Davies (AJS) and G Walker (Norton)…These two tied for the fastest time of the day, both covering the course, which was a half-mile tarred macadam road, in 23sec—nearly 80mph.” Davies and Walker were both riding for the Loughborough & DMCC, along with Harold Petty (Norton) so it came as no surprise that Loughborough won the team prize, ahead of the Lincolnshire Automobile Club and Sheffield & Hallamshire MCC.
“ONE COULD WRITE REAMS on what not to do when riding a motor cycle, but Mr FH Headley, of the Tan Sad works, seems to have covered most points in fourteen terse hints, which are printed inside the Tan Sad Insurance Policy, which has been formulated specially for the benefit of owners of pillion seats. Incidentally, this policy has been arranged on the basis that pillion seats do not increase risks, a view not shared by the majority of insurance companies who sometimes charge an extra premium when a pillion passenger is carried. The hints referred to are as follows: 1. Railways have few accidents because they constantly examine all nuts and screws, so that everything is secure. Follow the example and do the same. 2. Do not race. 3. Do not always try to get ahead of everybody else on the road—let the other fellow overtake you if he wants to. 4. Always keep to the left side of the road—always avoid being on the wrong side. 5. Pull to the left quickly when a vehicle wants to overtake you. 6. Never try to pass on a corner. 7. Always make sure the road is clear before overtaking any vehicle. 8. Sound the horn too much rather than not enough. 9. Drive most cautiously across cross-roads and when turning into other roads. 10. Avoid tramlines-better lose a minute than a limb. 11. Be most abstemious in taking intoxicating liquors-better not at all when in charge of a motor cycle. 12. Avoid riding pillion unless you have a properly sprung seat, and especially see that the feet get support. 13. If you are riding pillion, make sure your carrier is strong enough. 14. Be courteous; do not be selfish; always consider the other man—better be safe than sorry.”
“A 180-MILE MOTOR ROAD is being constructed in China, and will extend from Peking to Tientsin.”
“M RAUX, PREFECT OF POLICE in Paris, has taken delivery of a consignment of 2½hp solo and 6hp sidecar outfits manufactured by Bleriot. The organisation will start with 24 machines. The exact duties which the motor cyclist policemen will carry out has not yet been published, but we understand that the number of motor cyclist policemen employed will be increased in the near future.”
“A GEORGE BROUGH PRODUCTION: That well known rider, George Brough, who has recently severed his connection with WE Brough and Co, will shortly produce a new motor cycle. As might be expected, the production is designed in order to appeal to the sporting fraternity, and from a careful examination of the drawings we feel confident that it will enjoy a bright future. It is hoped that the first machines will be on the road this year and preliminaries are well on the way. We have been specially requested not to divulge details at the resent moment, but our best wishes go with the designer in his new venture.”
“IN 1919, AUSTRALIA IMPORTED 20,748,969 gallons of motor spirit, ten times the
amount imported in 1910.”
“QUITE A GOOD TIP for winter riding emanates from the veteran competition rider, Mr FW Applebee, who makes a compound by heating and mixing resin and oil, for covering up magneto terminals. The substance is not so brittle as shellac.”
“WE WOULD REMIND READERS that it is much easier to clean a machine while mud is wet than to wait until it has set hard. In
addition, it does less damage to enamel. We always try to give our machines a ‘hose over’ immediately at the end of
a journey, after first wrapping the magneto
in an oily rag.”
“A HARLEY-DAVIDSON HAS WON the second annual road championship in America. The course was a circuit 302 yards over five miles, and had to be covered 40 times. The average lap time of the winner was 4min 8.92sec, the average speed being 73.63mph.”
“WE HEAR OF A NEW two-stroke which is developing 5hp per 100cc!”
“A MISTAKEN THOROUGHBRED: Sandwiched between bees and ferrets, a Bleriot Whippet is offered for sale in the livestock columns of the Western Gazette.”
“IN VIEW OF THE ACCIDENT which took place at a recent BMCRC Brooklands meeting there were many severe comments on the advisability of allowing machines to compete which are unprovided with brakes…It is all very well to argue that the speed was so great that brakes would cause skidding or could not have been used, but the winning machine was duly fitted with brakes, and its rider was only just able to turn the corner after applying them with all the force at his disposal. We certainly urge the track authorities to take steps to see that brakes, of some kind are. fitted.”
“SOME time ago our contributor ‘Ixion’ expressed a desire for overalls which could be fastened quickly and surely, and at the same time could be put on and taken off without soiling the interiors, and eventually the rider’s trousers. And we think he spoke for the majority of motor cyclists. We have received from Messrs EB Hamel and Sons, Tamworth, most excellent leg overalls, which fully meet these requirements. Their chief feature is the method of fastening by a patent seam made by Kynoch, Ltd, Witton, Birmingham. It consists of two rows of tiny metal steps which may be pulled together by a special clip; and so firmly interlaced that it would actually require a pressure of 250lb to separate them. A single tug at the clip end, however, and they ‘rip’ apart again as easily as tearing tissue paper. The metal is rustless and apparently indestructible; and the seam, when closed, is hidden from view by a flap. They are of the type which will cause our friend ‘Ixion’ to rejoice, since the opening extends from the bottom of the leg to the very top of the garment. Our illustration shows clearly how easy it is to withdraw the soiled boot without even touching the Interior of the overalls. They are certainly the most practical garment of their type we have ever seen on the market, and, in our opinion, their success is assured.”
“SIR,—I HOPE YOU WILL BE ABLE to find room in your paper for the following tip, which I trust may be of some use to disabled motor cyclists. A few days ago I had the misfortune to break my exhaust valve on a 3½hp BSA (1912) when three miles from home on a lonely road. As I have lost my right leg I did not know how to get the machine home for a time, but eventually I struck the following idea, which I hope may be useful to others. First I removed the belt and buckled it through the belt of my coat. Then I placed the free end of the loop made by the motor cycle belt over the front number pate, and taking my crutches found that the machine towed easily and steered well.
Lewis R Oldmeadow.”
A PLEA FROM IXION: “Is it too late to appeal to the tyre and rubber people for a waterproof glove this winter? I will be absolutely outspoken. I have ridden hard for twenty winters, and have only owned one glove which was perfectly satisfactory in winter use—the rubber-proofed Continental, which, of course, was pure Hun. I never used anything else in pre-war days. My last pair are now tattered to a degree, and must go to the scrap-heap very soon. I have a variety of substitutes, none of them satisfactory. Either they are not genuinely drencherproof, or they are cold, or they are so thick and stiff that I cannot twiddle my levers comfortably. The Continental was as dry as a bone internally after six hours in a snowstorm. It was so thin and light that the levers were just as manageable as when one rode with bare hands in summer. It was unventilated, and kept one’s hands warm. If any rubber firm wants to make money, let it study this glove, and see what it can do. Car owners will buy it as greedily as motor cyclists, for the wet blows in through an opened screen as well as across naked handle-bars. Unless somebody comes to my rescue, I must tackle this winter on three pairs of leather gloves discarding each pair in turn as it gets sodden.”
“MOTOR CYCLING IN IRELAND is not quite on a level with the pastime in this country. A reader recently was pulled up very forcibly by a wire across the road, which caused severe injuries.”
“A DEPARTMENTAL COMMITTEE HAS recommended that the adoption of a uniform code of road signals shall be made compulsory…There is not a motor cyclist who does not agree that the question of road safety should take precedence over all others, but…a compulsory signals code will create a new class of punishable offence. There are quite enough regulations concerning owning and driving motor vehicles without the addition of a compulsory signals code, in which connection it must always be remembered that the chief reason motor cycles have not been used very extensively in Germany has been the regulations which have always strangled the industry…The Motor Legislation Committee considers, if these new proposals were made compulsory, drivers would be looking for signals instead of taking care to avoid possible causes of accident, and i£, for any reason, the requisite signal was not forthcoming, accidents might happen which otherwise would be avoided.”
“THE IDEA, NOW SO PREVALENT, that a solo motor cycle to be effective must be equipped with a three- speed gear, chain drive, and other costly and heavy refinements, is to a great extent fallacious. The simplicity and briskness of a single-cylinder 500cc machine will be found to compensate to a large degree for the lack of a kick-starter and gear box. Certainly an automatic pulley may be fitted to advantage, because it in no way deprives the TT motor cycle of its best characteristics, and it eases the engine just when necessary…In the autumn of 1912, the writer purchased a 3½hp TT Premier, improved by the substitution of a Philipson pulley, and at the United Services meeting, held on the Brooklands track in September 1915 (the machine then being three years old, and, in spite of at least 20,000 miles to its credit, as good as the day it left the Premier Works), it easily won a heat, and almost secured a place in the 600cc Open Sprint, and, without any adjustment to the pulley, tied equal first in the 600cc Open Test Hill-climb. The weight, stripped, on this occasion was only 156lb., and the machine as used for touring scaled under 190lb with lamps and spares…No mechanical trouble was experienced, although the Premier was not specially nursed; but always care was taken, first, not to race the engine until it had warmed up to its work, and secondly, to see that the valves were down on their seatings when a ride was ended; both of which simple rules ensure even expansion or contraction, and make a great difference in preserving the tune of the engine. For comfort and reliability no less than for high rage speed the writer can recommend such a machine which, with lamps and horn, should not cost than 70% of the heavy tourist or sidecar medium powered motor cycle…A valve cap decompressor was found useful during a sojourn in the Metropolis, but for ordinary country use this was discarded. The average consumption was 80mpg with petrol, and the only time benzole was tried 120mpg was obtained on easy, but muddy roads.—Velox”
“THE DOUBLE-PURPOSE 3½hp single-cylinder Coventry Eagle. Recently we were given an opportunity of testing the 1920 Coventry Eagle on the road. The mount taken over was in no way specially prepared in fact, it was one of several just assembled, and had not done ten miles on the road. Under these circumstances, it might be thought that a lot of tinkering would be necessary before embarking on a long run. This, however, was not the case, the only alteration being a slight slackening of the gear lever spring to allow it to move more freely. The machine is of conventional design, incorporating well-known components, and is of pleasing appearance. The engine is the 3½hp King Dick, made by Abingdon-Ecco, of King Dick spanner fame. It has side-by-side valves, B&B carburetter, and EIC magneto. A short tail pipe is fitted to the silencer, finishing at the gear box. An improvement would be effected by carrying this further to the rear, as the burnt gases make the kick starter and gear box dirty. The usual chain-cum-belt transmission is used, a Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear box being fitted. The driving chain is enclosed in a substantial aluminium dustproof case. Aluminium footboards, swept up in front, are fitted, and the rider has the choice of flat TT or ordinary touring bars. The machine in question was fitted with the latter type, and though we prefer the flat bar for solo work, the riding position was found to be very comfortable. Both front and rear mudguards are reasonably wide and well valanced, and although quite a distance was covered over very wet roads, and several water-splashes negotiated, little discomfort was experienced from mud and water. The first 200 miles were covered principally over main roads, and, as the machine was exceedingly ‘new’ we took things fairly easily in order to allow the engine to get properly ‘run in’. Later, however, quite an interesting 300 miles run was made in connection with a Western club trial, under conditions which would rarely be encountered in ordinary touring. The course for the most part was over rough stony by-lanes in a hilly district, including a considerable amount of second gear work. The machine behaved excellently, showed no signs of overheating, and was very steady on the rough and greasy surfaces. The engine gave ample power, and on only one occasion was it necessary to use bottom gear; this was on a stiff climb of 1 in 4, where the change down was made in order better to negotiate the very bad surface. As regards speed, it can be said that, although no accurate test was made, the 3½hp Coventry Eagle is fast enough to satisfy the average soloist. It is capable of maintaining a good average over long distances without the slightest signs of distress. This was proved on the return journey, when, being without lamps, it was found necessary to cover the last seventy-five miles in under three hours…judging by its performance as a solo mount, and from our observations of several we have seen in use with a sidecar, we know that it can truly be described as a dual-purpose mount. In these days of super-efficient twins riders are apt to overlook the main advantages of the single, viz, its simplicity and lower production costs, which in turn account for its inherent reliability and economy.”
“GAILLON HILL-CLIMB, WHICH was revived after a lapse of six years, was remarkable for the records established in all classes, for the number of entries, and for the vast amount of interest evinced in it by the general public. The fastest motor cycle time was made by Pean on a 750cc Peugeot, with which he climbed the 1 in 10 kilometre hill, flying start, in 29.6sec, or at the rate of 75.5mph, this being the highest speed ever attained by a motor cycle of any kind on Gaillon Hill. In this class the Frenchman’s greatest competitor was the well-known AH Alexander, who was defeated by 3.5sec. Pean also rode a Peugeot in the 500cc class, when he again broke a record, with the time of 30.2sec, beating the Alcyon with a margin of nearly 4sec. In the 350cc class the Alcyon got the first two places, followed by Alexander on a Douglas, who later secured first place in the 1,000cc class. Porter, on a Levis, was a fairly easy winner in the 250cc class. In the sidecar class AH Alexander did very fine work, getting first place in the 500cc, 750cc, and 1,000cc classes, his respective times being 45.2sec, 46.6sec and 45.4sec. it was certainly a day of records, even more for the motor cycles than the cars; for 74mph on a 3½hp machine compares more than favourably with the 108mph record set up by the 450hp Sunbeam. The organisation was excellent, the road being guarded by troops, and having barbed wire on each side in order to keep too-enthusiastic spectators from crowding on to the course.”
“SIR,—WITH REFERENCE TO Ixion’s ” paragraph regarding gear change for speed and competition work, I am entirely in accord with what he says, but handle-bar control for the clutch is necessary as well. I think if he reads this year’s TT specifications he will find that many makers fitted Sturmey-Archer gears with the operating lever fitted low down for foot operation—Norton, Blackburne, Levis, Ivy, etc. So designers, as well as riders, appreciate this type of change.
“SIR,—DURING THE PAST FEW months record-breaking has been a very active branch of the sport of motor cycling. Many attacks have been made on existing figures, yet it is apparent that almost all have been made on long distance records in one or two particular classes…The 1,000cc solo class seems to be almost wholly ineglected, and most of the records standing in this class date from 1913 or thereabouts. The flying kilo speed—93.48mph—does not strike one as very up to date, considering that the corresponding American figure is 115mph, and the 350cc class record, viz, 75mph, is only 18mph slower. Another noticeable fact is that only two kilo or mile records have been broken since 1915. Why is this? Surely modern machines are not getting slower? How about the little racing AJS, the twin Rudge, or the new 500cc ohv Douglas?
Lewis E Green.
“SIR,—ALTHOUGH A CONSTANT READER of your paper for a number of years this is the first time that I have ventured to address you, and I do so in the hope that my experience may prove a warning to some of your readers. A short time ago I was returning from the golf links with a lady passenger in the sidecar. She was wearing a long scarf wrapped once round her neck; and the end of it caught in the sidecar wheel. She not only received a severe wrench, but all the skin on the right side of her neck was taken off. Fortunately we were going slowly at the time, and, fortunately, it was a light summer scarf which broke under the strain. I shudder to think what would have happened if we had been going fast, and it had been a thick woollen muffler. In future my passengers will have their wraps well and carefully tucked away and (despite the traditional pictures) no loose ends floating in the breeze.
Seven years later international superstar dancer Isadora Duncan, who had clearly not read Fellow’s warning, died when her scarf became entangled in the wheels and axle of the car in which she was riding.
“THE MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT scheme for numbering and classifying roads throughout Great Britain is nearly completed, and will be put into operation early next year…there are roughly 1,000 first-class or main roads and 1,000 second-class roads, and each will bear a distinctive number of signposts throughout its length. The London-Edinburgh road will be No 1.”
THE RIDER OF A 2¾HP Wooler cruising at 25mph on the Aylesbury-Uxbridge road covered 28.1 miles on a pint of petrol, equating to 225mpg.
“DURING THIS YEAR THE LUCAS Magdyno, which combines the high-tension magneto and a six volt dynamo in one machine, has given every satisfaction in the hands of both competition riders and those private individuals who have been fortunate enough to possess the equipment. Indeed, so successful has been the results of continued usage that no alterations are meditated for next year’s production, which will be on a larger scale than heretofore. The only item needed to make the set complete in the past has been a suitable electric horn, and this omission Has now been rectified—an excellent warning signal of the usual Lucas quality and appearance now being available. Provision for the horn connections are provided on the usual junction box, and a very neat handle-bar switch. The mechanism of the horn is strong and substantial, and is readily accessible for adjustment of the contact screws should this become necessary.”
“THE OTHER DAY BUSINESS took me into one of the hilliest counties in England,” Ixion reported, “where I presently foregathered with two riders of 1911 machines—a Rudge and a Triumph respectively. Ancient memories revived as I handled these aged crocks, as the modern knut would doubtless stigmatise them. The main impression they made upon me was that of an extraordinary lightness—both felt much more like babies than 500cc machines. The Rudge had an NSU gear, but the Triumph was still fitted with single fixed gear; both machines are accustomed to tackle anything short of an ACU freak hill, and as far as I can judge, their climbing is better than that of a modern 500cc on its top gear. They look quaint and have grown very shabby, but they are fine goers still. Neither of them has required any major replacements in ten years of hard service, and the original cost of each was some £50. Cheap transport, gentlemen.”
“TWO FIRMS WERE ADVERTISING WINDSCREENS for solo machines in the last issue of The Motor Cycle,” Ixion remarked. “I tried a home-made gadget of this type many years ago, and experienced a lot of trouble in making it sit up at the correct angle against head winds, especially when I was speeding. It is, I suppose, a logical adjunct to the leg shields which many all-weather riders now fit, but it stands in quite a different category from the car windscreen. When you are seated in a deep coach-built body with a good screen ahead of you, you can keep both dry and warm at speed in any weather. On a motor cycle you must trust your clothing, and not any gadgets carried oh the machine, for warmth and dryness. Whether you carry a windscreen or not, you must wear good, thick, waterproof garments. To my mind the windscreen offers two special benefits. Its chief merit is that if its dimensions are correct, it protects that vulnerable gap between the coat and the chin, and prevents spindrift from blowing down the front of your neck. Its other value is that if you are butting into an ice-edged nor’- easter on a dry day, your face need not get frost-bitten. So long as you don’t expect it to keep your whole body dry and warm, it is fine. I am not sure that the best motor cycling windscreen is not one those towel things which Eastern women tie round the lower three-quarters of the faces; I once met a rider wearing such a contraption on a snowy day, and whilst I deplored his appearance, I envied the comfort he was enjoying. My own face was frozen stiff, and all my underclothing was positively slushy.”
“THERE WAS EVERY EXCUSE for hand pump oiling,” Ixion remarked, “so long as our engines had plain bearings of somewhat inadequate area, and their cylinders and pistons were specially designed to distort as much as possible. But it was distinctly disappointing to find the old-fashioned type of oiling perpetuated on a fin de siècle ‘bus like the ABC with not an oil-thirsty bearing in the engine, with symmetrical cylinders of even wall thickness, and pistons developed from aero engine practice. I believe Mr Bradshaw’s original design included sump oiling, and it would be interesting to hear what snags his testers struck in a system for which most lazy riders continue to sigh. A cynic of my acquaintance avers that there is an unholy alliance between engine designers and sparking plug manufacturers in this matter, the idea being to compel the clumsy owner to buy a fresh plug once a month; but I cannot swallow this foul libel. Meanwhile, I plaintively proclaim my ideal. A colleague on the staff of The Autocar lives on board a small, cheap car. He has an oil indicator on his dash, but it never works, and never has worked. He never buys any oil by the roadside. He never carries any oil (outside his engine, bien entendu). He never thinks about oil, except at the monthly go-over-everything. He never carries a spare plug. He never cleans his plugs. He never buys any plugs. I envy him. There are four seven-and-sixpenny plugs waiting on may desk now. All of them are charred and blackened. I shall get myself into a filthy mess scraping them. Next month they will want scraping all over again. Such is life. Incidentally most of my small engines consume more oil than his large engine per 1,000 miles.”
“More barked knuckles result from attempts to remove valves without a proper tool for the purpose than, probably, from any other adjustment on the motor cycle. Yet there is an extremely simple method which only calls for a strong screwdriver or similar tool, and a length of string or, preferably, wire. The illustration shows how the loop is made to act as a fulcrum tor the lever. Numbers of WD Douglases are now on the road minus a front brake, and if their owners are to avoid police persecution this omission must be rectified. The simple flywheel brake illustrated costs about 2s 6d, compared with 40s for a new Douglas front wheel brake. A practical mudshield designed by Messrs F Oxley and Co, London, NI: each footboard consists of an aluminium casting, at the forward end of which is a cylindrical chamber enclosing a spring-controlled roller blind. When out of use the shield rolls away in the cylindrical casing, and is thus unobstructively stored.”
“SIR,—THERE SEEMS TO BE a lack of the ‘live and let live’ feeling amongst your correspondents who are now raising an outcry against that part of the fraternity who have ‘open exhausts’. I am afraid that I must confess to be one of the “spoilers of a good sport” (to quote a recent letter), because to me an open exhaust means power, and power means speed, and speed means all. If I care to sail close to the wind in this matter, whose fault is it but my own if I am fined? I would willingly enter for all the trials which are held, except that I have some regard for my machine, and I am by no means a Rothschild. What sport is there in going in for a trial in which you risk getting your frame broken, your tyres cut to ribbons, and yourself covered with bruises?
Rudge Rider, North Ferriby.”
“FOR THE PAST THREE YEARS I have been riding a motorised bicycle, using the original cycle frame, but with 20in Autowheel rims. I find these wheels much stronger, and tyres are better also. I scrapped the pedals and brazed a piece on to the end of the bottom bracket axle, and fixed the sprocket wheels on both ends, and thus made an all-chain drive. The footboards are from locally cut cedar wood, and I have fitted the engine to the frame with a specially shaped and carefully fitted piece of hippopotamus hide, which is splendid stuff to stand any strain, as it does not split or tear. I use it for file handles (it goes up to 2in in thickness). I think this is the first instance in which hippopotamus hide has been used in the making of a motor cycle. We have only one road here, viz, to Livingstone, but it is a good one and eight miles long. I can get 25mph.
JW Soper, South Rhodesia.”
DOUGLAS LAUNCHED A 3½HP SPORTS MODEL based on a potent ohv 350cc engine that had proved itself in a number of road races, hill-climbs and speed trials. The Blue ‘Un noted: “One astonishing thing about this engine is that, although it is capable of remarkably high speeds, it is quite docile for traffic work, and extremely flexible. Its acceleration is wonderful, and, sans silencer for track work, it has an exhaust note sharp enough to please the most meticulous critic who judges efficiency by sound…the engines which have performed so satisfactorily are uniformly good, and have required no ‘faking’—that is to say, that it is not a case of a star engine out of a batch, usually difficult to duplicate, and generally impossible as a marketable proposition. The speed of the new Douglas engine lies in its design, and any difference next year between the speeds of SL Bailey [who had set five and ten mile records at Brooklands, at 66.18mph and 64.65mph respectively] and the private aspirant for honours in the field of high speeds will be one of tune and skill.” Features included all-chain drive; detachable cylinder heads with aluminium oil reservoirs to lubricate the rocker shafts; a rear drum brake and “a novel type of front wheel brake, which takes the form of a steel disc with an inverted V periphery upon which works a double-faced shoe. This brake is very powerful, but sweet in action, and remains undisturbed when the wheel is removed…The guard over the primary drive chain is secured by spring clips, and so may be removed without the use of tools…the height of the machine is 1½in lower than any previous Douglas model, and, when stripped for a speed competition, it weighs but a little over 200lb.”
“A SERIES OF WONDERFUL RECORDS were put up in the early part of last week, HR Davies, riding a single cylinder 2¾hp AJS (74x81mm, 349cc), gaining several class B (350cc solo) and class F (350cc sidecar) records at extraordinary speeds. His time for the flying five miles, with sidecar, was 5min 11.6sec, a speed of 57.77mph, beating SL Bailey’s 1914 long standing class F record. He also succeeded in beating the class F ten-mile standing start record, time 10min 52.8sec/55.18mph, the previous best again being Bailey’s Douglas times in 1914.” Running solo Davies raised the class B flying mile and flying kilometre records to 75.95mph and 80.47mph respectively. “On the same day DR O’Donovan, on a 3½hp Norton, carried off no less than nine records in classes C (500cc solo) D (750cc solo), and E (1,000cc solo).” Wizard’s speeds ranged from 54.27mph (12 hours) to 55.30mph (eight hours).
“UNFORTUNATELY, WITHIN ITS IMMEDIATE vicinity, Coventry has not a single gradient which would trouble the most indifferently tuned solo machine. As a consequence, therefore, the Coventry and Warwickshire MC cannot count upon hill-climbing failures as an eliminating factor in the process of finding a winner in its trials. During the closing run, which took place on Saturday afternoon, the forty-odd starters found that, despite the mild and sunny atmospheric conditions, their troubles were destined to be watery ones. Scarcely had the engines time to get warm when a turn off the main road down a narrow lane brought the riders headlong into six or eight inches of water. Of those who took the water there were one or two who entered it too fast and had anxious moments, as their expressions of pained surprise indicated, but, nevertheless, they recovered in time to change down and make a safe crossing; in this category were the Rev JM Philpott (2¾hp Wilkin) and E Marshall (4¼hp Humber), but C Massey (2¾hp Hoskison) was unable to change into low before his engine stopped. Some of the riders, especially the sidecar men, adopted weird attitudes in the endeavour to protect their lower limbs from a wetting, but none of the soloists attempted to ride with their feet upon the tank. One or two, however, found a lodgement for their toes on the front down tube of the frame, and so kept their boots above water. Perhaps the most spectacular showing, however, was that of SR Philpot, who gripped the tank of his 2¾hp Douglas high up with his knees, and spread out his feet in the air well above the spray, steering a perfectly steady course withal. The same cannot be said of all. Another smaller splash was crossed, then a splendid main road run to Kenilworth followed, where the ford near the Castle was crossed (by those whose luck held out!). Only a dozen yards at most, and barely 6in deep, this obstacle caused innumerable failures. Few got over under power, suffering either from ‘shorted’ sparking plugs or from excess of back pressure owing to the exhaust pipe being submerged. One rider, WG Blatch (7hp Rudge sc), made provision against wetting his feet by having a length of rope secured to the front forks. The moment his belt commenced to slip his passenger hurled the end of the rope in to land and spectators towed the outfit across with its engine still running. After this point some twelve miles of narrow lanes, very greasy in places and containing another brook to cross, brought the competitors, sadly thinned in numbers, to the starting point for a second circuit of the same course. Here some of those I who had a clean sheet previously found, that their luck had deserted them, whiles others, profiting by previous experience, went warily, and survived for the final section—a main road to Coleshill, where the eighteen finishers took tea. The results were: Class 1 (solo motor cycles), EA Barnett (3½hp Invicta); time error, 3min 36sec. Class 2 (sidecar machines), E Astley (5-6hp Rover sc); time error, 8min 10sec. Their awards were a rose-bowl and a cup respectively, presented by the Cycle and Motor Cycle Manufacturers’ and Traders’ Union.
“NEXT YEAR MOTOR CYCLES of under 200lb in weight will be taxed 30s, over 200lb 60s, and sidecars 20s extra. Everything else being equal the difference in a few pounds may influence the purchase of a new machine, therefore it behoves makers to give the accurate weight of their productions. Approximate weights serve no purpose, but apart from the question of taxation it is desirable that every maker should take care to include weight in detailing his specifications.”
“THE LINE OF DEMARCATION between the light-weight and the heavier types of motor cycles has always been a matter of opinion. Hitherto, engine size has been the deciding point, and generally about 350cc capacity has been regarded as the limit of the lightweight. Although engine capacity has some bearing upon type, it cannot be said to be an essential factor, as a machine weighing 190lb may have an engine of 1,000cc, while the engine of another weighing 300lb may be only 350cc; yet, according to past and present ideas of lightweights, the heavier machine would be a lightweight and the lighter one would not…as, next year, taxation will automatically divide motor cycles into two classes, the line made by the Government, at the suggestion of our governing bodies, should be used to determine the limits of a lightweight. If this ruling for taxation be accepted by the trade and riders as showing the line of demarcation, then only those machines which weigh under 200lb should be termed lightweights, irrespective of their engine capacity. At the present time there is no authentic list of weights in existence, as our efforts to obtain correct figures have been confined to those machines we have weighed ourselves. Hitherto makers have quoted only approximate weights, but the new taxation should induce catalogue compilers to be accurate on this point, as, in cases where a machine is on the border line, it will make a difference of thirty shillings in taxation.”
THE FOLLOWING TRAVEL GUIDE is at best peripheral to the unrolling story of the motor cycle. Excerpts are included here because it’s a delightful read and the line drawings, despite the marked lack of bikes, were too good to leave out. “Chepstow to Ross, Hereford and Abergavenny: Describing the Valley of the Wye and Some of its Beauty Spots. This is a route of magnificent scenery and roads chiefly of great excellence: a wonderful combination greatly to be desired and not often experienced. Chepstow stands beside the river Wye, where it broadens out, presently to meet the Severn. Cresting the limestone cliffs rising from the river runs the long length of the ruined castle whose last fight was in 1648. By a picturesque stroke of poetic justice, the regicide, Henry Marten, was at the Restoration imprisoned in one of the ruined towers, and there he died in 1680. But we need not pity him. for that ‘imprisonment’ was an easy one, and he visited and dined out with the Welsh squires at neighbouring Piercefield pretty much as he pleased…The Wye so completely doubles upon its own course that it forms almost an island. It is the peninsula of Llaneau with a ruined chapel. The grey ruins of Tintagel Abbey presently show ghostlike, among the orchards beneath the road…we cross the ancient bridge at Wilton, with its pillar sun dial, and come uphill into Ross, famous for John Kyrle, the bachelor benefactor of this, his adopted town, born 1637, died 1724. The house he lived in faces the quaint old Market House. He looked from his window’s upon the Market House day by day, and, being an ardent Royalist, he caused to be carved on those old walls a curious device yet to be seen there, formed by the letters ‘F’ and ‘C’ impaling a heart, and signifying ‘Faithful to Charles in Heart’. Such were the simple conceits of bygone ages…Hereford is a cheerful and bustling city, very busy in the agricultural way, especially in cattle, and very much more modern in general than would be expected…The most curious thing in it is a map of the world, a fearful and wonderful, if at the same time, an extraordinarily incomplete world. Hereford, be it said, is one of those trebly-blest cities that have no tramways…Finally, past Mardy, comes Abergavenny, busy and prosperous, with its battered old Priory Church and collection of much mutilated effigies, suffering from the surgical operations and amputations inflicted in the past by fanatics or by the merely mischievous. And that is what the power and state of the ancient Lords Marchers, the fierce de Braoses and others, have come to: an array of broken-nosed, and some armless and legless effigies. Soon we come to Raglan Village, with the massive and stately ruins of the castle on the left: that fortress residence of the old Marquis of Worcester, who, at the age of eighty-four, defended it in the interests of the Royalists in the long siege of 1646, and finally surrendered only to starvation, marching out with all the honours of war, as so gallant a gentleman should. Through Mitchell Troy village and then past the park of Troy House, until recent years a seat of the Duke of Beaufort, we shortly come into Monmouth across the ancient Monno Bridge, and under the archway of its defensible gate. The distance covered on this route is 81½ miles.”
IXION POSED A QUESTION: “Trials for Man or Machine? Veterans will remember that pushbicycle competitions went through three stages. Stage 1.—Competitions tested the bicycles, advertised the makers, and provided sport for riders. Stage 2.—Competitions advertised the makers and provided sport for the riders. Stage 3.—Competitions provided sport for the riders. I have long ceased to take a cycling journal, but I imagine that Stage 3 still persists, and that the North Road CC and other clubs still organise competitions, in which only a very small and very enthusiastic minority of push-cyclists are seriously interested. Ultimately motor cycle trials will reach the same phase. At present we are still in Stage 1. The ACU Six Days exist to inform the general public about the capacity of current machines; and I see no reason why the one-day trials should not be encouraged to provide all possible sport for us maniacs who support them. It is sad to think that a day must come when the man who tries to win medals on a motor cycle will be regarded with the same genial contempt by the general public as the people who lie awake at nights scheming how to put an extra mm on to the bore of a prize leek.”
MINISTER OF TRANSPORT (AND WARTIME First Lord of the Admiralty) Sir Eric Geddes planned to require motor cyclists to make hand signals. Ixion was not impressed: ” I should say the most obvious point about compulsory road signals is that when the roads are greasy not one rider out of every two dare take a hand off his bar to signal…There are thousands of riders who often find themselves in the saddle under conditions where they would rather risk a prosecution than steer one-handed, even for half a second. I ride generally in all weathers, but I am not ashamed to confess that there are certain traffic centres at certain corners where I need both hands if the surface is greasy. Let Sir Eric Geddes do a month on a heavy twin solo this winter before he enforces these signs on us. Why, there are times when I wait a mile or so to inject a pump of oil because I dare not let go.”
“DINING OUT THE OTHER NIGHT,” Ixion reported, “I experienced sensations analogous to those of speed wobble when I found myself placed next a gaitered prelate by a tactless hostess. I say tactless, because motor cyclists are fundamentally godless, since our hobby turns us all into pessimistic materialists, whereas a bishop is—or should be—an optimistic spiritualist. Anyhow, whilst I desperately rummaged my memory for fragments of the thirty-nine articles, the jovial bishop opened the ball by remarking that he rode a baby Triumph. This put me at my ease, and when he mentioned that his diocese was in Central Africa, I foresaw copy, and began to neglect my soup. The next bombshell was that he infinitely preferred a push-bicycle. This was simply shocking! I reversed our respective roles, and called up all my reinforcements with the intention of making a convert. Let me confess at once that I failed…The right reverend gentleman explained that he had bought a Baby Triumph because he often tackled 300 mile jaunts through bad lion country, and that a lightweight was essential, as a river ford often ended in a vertical bank twenty feet high, up which one might have to hew steps…One has to carry weapons, tent, fuel, oil, and food, as well the special episcopal impedimenta (he did not specify what these were, but unless the Ingoldsby Legends are out of date, let us put it at bell, book and candle)…So this peculiar branch of the Overseas market demands a bantamweight machine, capable of transporting, say, a couple of cwt of luggage, and absolutely proof against serious breakdowns. I was unable to recommend an ideal mount for such conditions, and I did not blame his lordship in reserving his Baby Triumph for use on the one good road in his outlandish diocese. My natural shyness prevented me from suggesting that he was sure to win a gold medal if he entered in the Six Days.”
THE ACU TESTED A DEGORY N-jet carb fitted to a 1919 WD 2¾hp Douglas on a non-stop run from Hounslow to Reading and back. It averaged 23.5mph over the 58½ miles and achieved 165.6mpg. The Duggie was then taken to Douglas where it did 48.6mph.
“YELLOW WHEELS ARE BECOMING quite the vogue in American motor cycles, and there is something in their favour. Yellow does not show up the dirt so much as black.”
“CARRIERS ARE GRADUALLY BEING dropped by makers of American motor cycles. This, we understood, is due to the popularity of pillion seats with footrests, which are fitted by the owner who ‘scraps’ the standard carrier.”
“TO-MORROW’S ISSUE OF THE AUTOCAR marks the completion of its twenty-five years’ unbroken run as the leading journal devoted to the automobile. The largest, most successful, and having the largest circulation of the world’s car journals, it is the parent of The Motor Cycle, which was born in 1903. Surely the offspring has a right to wish its progenitor many happy returns of the day even in journalism? We do so with every sincerity, knowing how the example set by the parent journal has assisted to make The Motor Cycle what it is to-day.”
“THE HENDERSON, BY REASON of its large, four-cylinder engine, is already probably the nearest approach to the much-discussed, if rather mythical, two-wheeled car. However, Mr . Ingvasson, of Helsingborg, Sweden, has gone further to making the statement a fact. The photographs show a combined wind and mudshield which he has designed for his mount, and which appears to give ample protection from the elements. The upper, or ‘dash’, part of the shield may be raised or lowered, while the front part forms a roomy compartment for storing spares or supplies. Mr. Ingvasson states that the cooling is more efficient than before, as the wings on both sides of the front wheel direct the air forcibly against the cylinders. The machine can be upset without the screen touching the ground at any point.”
“TRUE TO HIS FIRST LOVE: Sir,—I have taken over, a new 8hp Rover light car and parted with my old 1913 P&M, but I find I cannot give up The Motor Cycle. My respects to ‘Ixion’, be he myth or flesh.
“UNDER DIFFICULTIES: Sir,—I find every issue full of good things and thoroughly interesting—in fact, to enjoy motor cycling in the poorest spot on earth (the Persian Gulf) with no roads and no motor cycle, buy The Motor Cycle.
Jack, Persian Gulf.”
“EVERY-DAY RIDERS’ WANTS: Sir,-As a reader of your valuable paper for two years, may I give my opinion of motor cycles in general. I am a motor cyclist, but not an engineer, and so speak from the average cyclist’s point of view. Present-day motor cycles have too small tanks; freak gears; under-sized wheels and tyres; bad appearance, although American machines are more compact; spring forks, which quickly develop sideplay and rattle; useless front brakes (an extra back brake is much preferable) poor controls often fitted as if an after-thought; and inadequate mudguard and fork clearance (with danger of torn covers). I consider that engines are very good; but I prefer plain bushes to ball bearings on account of the ease with which they may be replaced. The service of spares is disgusting. In Glasgow, recently, I was quite unable to obtain a spare valve for a well-known machine. No dealer should be an agent unless he carries a reasonable stock of spares. I pity the Colonials. In conclusion, my idea of the perfect specification is American frame, tank, wheels, and control; JAP engine; Sunbeam gear box (final drive on right side more accessible with sidecar); M-L magneto; and no spring frame. I suggest this motto to manufacturers, ‘Look after the motor cyclist, and the bank balance will look after itself’.
Fed Up And Disgusted.”
“A GOOD SAMARITAN: Sir,—May I through the medium of your paper, express the gratitude of my brother and myself towards an unknown motor cyclist, who rendered us most valuable aid whilst on a journey to Cornwall. We were held up on a very desolate part of Dartmoor, with the magneto broken adrift, and unless help were forthcoming it looked like a night on the moor. The good Samaritan in question, after having left us, called at several places through which he passed, until he was able to send back from Princetown a car and mechanic, who repaired the damages sufficiently to enable us to reach a garage at Yelverton. Not only this, but in the kindness of his heart placed in the car two bottles of liquid refreshment to keep our spirits up. Could a sportsman do more? I would like to take this opportunity of placing on record our appreciation of his help and courtesy, and, not knowing his name, hope that this letter will reach his eye.
CC, Bromley, Kent.|”
“A LONG TOUR: Sir,—I took delivery of a new 3½hp Sunbeam in June this year, and about three weeks later started my holiday in Scotland. Beginning at Bristol I made Chester the first day Windermere was my second stop, about ten miles from which I changed gear for the first time. After that my route was Ullswater (including a visit to Kirkstone Pass, which was accomplished in pouring rain), Penrith, Carlisle, Gretna, Dumfries, Ayr, Glasgow, Oban, Fort William, Fort Augustus, Inverness, Nairn, Elgin, Aberdeen, and Edinburgh, through Yorkshire, and on to London, back to Bristol via Dorset and Somerset, a distance of something like 2,500-3,000 miles. About 1,000 were over Scottish roads, which I will not describe, as anyone who has been there will not care to be reminded of them. The only place the toolbags were opened was near Ballachulish, where I had a puncture, otherwise the machine was not touched, and it is just as well it did not require adjustment, as I am an absolute novice, and have only been riding a year or so.
“PETROL CONSUMPTION TESTS: Sir,—I am encouraged by your correspondents who all get over two hundred miles to the gallon to do two things: First, to ask them why they always specify one single occasion on which they do this, as if the matter were a feat of endurance, only to be undertaken with due preparation; and, secondly, to give my own experiences: Normal mileage when touring—90mpg. When I left the drain cock on—4mpg (before I found this out). Driving in Essex (fifty-six right-angle bends in flat country in ten miles)—Oh say about fifteen to the gallon and a new clutch lining. Proceeding (by train) to Birmingham—Consumption, nil. My best show was when I boarded the Isle of Wight ferry with no petrol in my tank (I had to satisfy the authorities I had none before I could board the lugger). Then, when I disembarked at the other side, I drove fifteen miles with three lunch stops without refilling. As this may be a record, perhaps I had better say I used a 1902 Minerva, flat tyres, round belt, tube ignition made by my plumber (Mr Roarer, a very estimable man), American petrol, American oil, and American hot air inlet heater. Usual disclaimer, intensified as regards last three items…A friend has just called to say that while employed as Deputy Acting Inspector of False Teeth in the Great War, he drove his machine at a cost of nothing at all for a distance of some 10,000 miles. And got the OBE, so there now.
HK601, Gidea Park.”
“PRINCE LOSES HIS MOTOR CYCLE: The stealing of motor bicycles is not confined to this country only. The other day HRH Prince Olaf left his machine outside the Theatre Restaurant, Christiania, when it was promptly stolen. It bore the registration mark A45.” Olaf went on to become King of Norway.
“AN AGREEMENT HAS BEEN COMPLETED between the Auto-Cycle Union and the Motor Cycle Club of New South Wales, by which the latter institution is recognised as the governing body of motor cycling in the State named…Members of the New South Wales MCC may display the ACU badge. The bodies will mutually recognise the registration, suspension, and disqualification of licensed competition riders, and the benefits of membership of each body will be mutually enjoyed by members temporarily resident in each other’s country.”
“THE RAC RECENTLY MADE a test of inner tubes made by Puncture-proofed Tubes, Ltd. Fitted to a heavy car, which was first required to cover 41.13 miles at 42.5mph, the tubes were each punctured in from six to eleven places, and the car then covered a similar distance, at the conclusion of which the pressures proved to have lost from 1-2psi only.”
“COMPETITIONS IN JAPAN: At the moment of going to press we hear that a British machine—a Triumph—has won the championship of Japan.”
COVENTRY EAGLE EXPANDED ITS RANGE ready for the 1921 season. The 2½hp (Villiers-powered), 2¾hp (JAP-powered) and 3½hp (King Dick-powered) models were little changed apart from a revised braking system; they were joined by a dual-purpose solo/sidecar model with a 6hp 654cc JAP V-twin. It also sported Brampton Biflex forks, “excellent mudguards, and sensible footboards and the general appearance is extremely pleasing…A remarkably simple form of spring frame will be offered as an alternative to the rigid frame on all the larger Coventry Eagle models. Carried on the rear portion of the frame is a pair of substantial bell cranks mounted on ball bearings. The levers carrying the rear wheel normally form extensions to the chain stays, while the remaining levers of the cranks hang downwards in an approximately vertical position. These vertical levers are attached to an enclosed tension spring anchored at the front to the foremost part of the chain stays, and two ‘buffer’ springs are interposed—one inside the spring case and one outside. One or other of these buffers is always in compression and consequently helps to damp any violent shocks.”
“THE WESTERN CENTRE OF THE ACU was inaugurated on October 1st, and with praiseworthy promptitude held its first inter-club competition on Saturday last (November 6th). A short course of 15.8 miles was selected by officials of the Stroud MCC, and it included the three hills known as Quarhouse Lane, Bussage, and The Knapp…These three hills are very steep, and two of them are crossed by difficult projecting gulleys, but they, are eminently fair. Four machines constituted a team, made up of one passenger and three solo mounts. Three circuits of the course had to be covered, and in view of its difficult nature the competitors were given a choice of speed from 15 to 20mph. As events proved, not a single sidecar machine survived the first circuit, while the only soloists who entered the second circuit were four in number, and of these only two carried on to the third circuit, where both met their Waterloo early, one skidding and the other running out of petrol. The fun commenced at Bussage, about three miles from the start. Approached by a somewhat loose and muddy lane, the hill ascends steeply and straight for some distance, after which comes a slightly easier stretch, in turn giving place to a few hundred yards of gradient, culminating in a section of quite 1 in 4. The whole surface of the hill is of a hard, stony nature, and, as it had been_ covered during the morning with hoar frost, the growing power of the sun converted this into a thin coating of, moisture which became a film of slime…In all, this hill accounted for the entire Stourbridge team, three of the. Worcester, two each of the Bristol and Cheltenham, and. one of the Stroud team.” A team of four who completed the course would have covered 189.6 miles between them. In the event the Stroud team, no doubt helped by local knowledge, managed 90.5 miles to win the event. Runner up was the Bristol MCC (40.3 miles) followed by Worcester (27.4 miles), Cheltenham (19.2 miles) and, in fifth place, Stourbridge, whose four riders managed exactly 2.9 miles each to log a total of 1.6 miles.
“OF ALL THE MANY TYPES of motor cycle at present in existence, the lightweight has perhaps the rosiest future. So far an element of sport has pervaded the atmosphere which surrounds the motor cycling fraternity, but, though it is neither desirable nor likely that this feeling should drop out, the time will come, and indeed is almost with us, when a far more commercial spirit will prevail. The motor cycle has already proved its reliability in daily use, and the need for a multitude of reliability trials to prove this no longer exists. The motor cycle, therefore, may soon become the standard means of locomotion for all who can afford the necessary outlay. It behoves us to study the requirements of the public who will form the largest proportion of buyers in the near future. Of what is this public composed? Chiefly of city workers, who by choice or necessity live some distance from their work. Such people do not require fast heavy machines, nor do the majority need passenger accommodation. A light, reliable machine, capable of a maximum speed of 30mph, would satisfy their requirements, but, above all, it must be quiet, and must protect the rider from mud splashes and oil.”
“SOME MONTHS AGO,” IXION reported, “I ran into Granville Bradshaw, whose fertile brain was being tugged two ways. Apparently his tail lamp had dropped off its bracket, and been rolled out flat by a steam lorry; moreover, he had been charged some £2 for a new one. So one hemisphere of his brain was busy inventing a mass-production tail lamp, which would merely dent the tyre or buckle the wheel of any motor lorry sufficiently misguided to run over it. The other hemisphere of his cerebellum was employed on a new engine, of which he did not display the drawings: but I gathered it was oil-cooled, and had the cylinders neatly concealed inside the crank case. In fact, my feeble brain conjured up a Heath Robinson nightmare of an overhead crankshaft. At the Car Show I ran into FW Barnes. “What’s the latest Zenith stunt?” I inquired. He hinted that the latest Bradshaw engine might be seen on his stand, and that Emerson might be exploiting its track capacities before long.”
“MOTOR CYCLE FOX HUNT: Motor cyclists are being invited to a fox hunt being arranged at Salt Box Hill, Cudham, and the event promises to be a novelty. Some years ago a Bradbury rider took part in a fox hunt in the same district, and was present at the death. The coverts are in the chalk hills of Cudham, and depredations by the foxes are becoming serious.”
“MOTOR CYCLING IN IRELAND: A press photographer who often officiates, for The Motor Cycle, is at present in Ireland, and from his accounts of experiences during the present crisis, there are more pleasant places for motor cyclists than the Emerald Isle. As the railway service is slowly being strangled, the motor vehicle is the only convenient means of getting about; and a few days ago, in company with several other pressmen, our correspondent states he was held up at the point of a revolver, first by the RIC and then by Republican Volunteers.”
IXIONS WAXED POETICAL. ENJOY. “Cold fingers certainly. A little blue-nosed, maybe. A certain restraint in corner work, thanks to the frequent patches of grease under the trees or where the road chanced to run sunless between high banks for a little way. But nevertheless quite the jolliest ride of the entire year. The foliage, instead of being a monotonous green, was splashed with every tint in nature’s palette—quiet primrose, blazing orange, sedate russet, brilliant crimson, grey, brown, purple—what you will; maybe one tree with just a few palest yellow leaves still unfallen silhouetted against an evergreen cypress, so green that it was almost black: then a crazy chaos of orange, and green and mauve in giant splashes; then a tall, graceful leafless monster with silver bark clean cut against a lofty bank of vivid moss or fallen leaves, or fine needles. Just enough ‘bite’ in the air to make you hungry and a country inn at the end of the run.”
“HAND SIGNALS ON GREASY ROADS: Sir,—I am very interested to see Ixion’s remarks with regard to hand signals whilst riding on greasy or wet roads. It is an important question, and one which, personally, I greatly appreciate, as indeed must most other practical motor cyclists who have given the matter any thought. I am a daily and all-weather solo rider (Douglas 2¾hp) from Staines to Kew Bridge via Hounslow, Isleworth, and Brentford (which is a terribly trying journey on a greasy day and I certainly entirely agree with Ixion that it is impossible on wet wood block roads (and tramlines) to move a hand from the bars for an instant in order to signal to other traffic without very grave risk of a bad skid or sideslip. If signals to other traffic are made compulsory, some easily operated signalling device worked from the bars will be essential. Incidentally, can Ixion, or any other old timers, give any good hints for the prevention of skidding on greasy wood block roads or wet tramlines? These would be appreciated by
“SIR,—I ENCLOSE A PRINT of a miniature motor cycle which I finished in February last. I have covered about 1,200 miles, and it has given excellent results. The design is original, and a sound engineering proposition (I have been managing engineering works over twenty years). Details might be of interest to some of your readers who are looking for a job during the winter months. The frame is built up of light steel channel and angle sections bolted together; the only brazing about it is the usual type of cycle fork crown. Wheels, 20×1¾in; wheelbase, 4ft; height, saddle to ground, 27in (adjustable); Brooks B130 saddle; engine, 1hp Auto-Wheel, altered to ⅝in V-belt drive; lubrication, sight feed drip regulated by cock Ijbelow small tank; minimum and maximum speeds, 3-24mph; petrol consumption, 140mpg; total weight, tanks full (½ gallon petrol, 1 pint oil), 65lb. It can be dismantled and packed in a box 26in square, and reassembled in 20 minutes.
“THE NUMBER OF MAKES, types, and patterns of outer covers to be seen at the 1920 Motor Cycle Show will be considerable, and a study of them will reveal the ingenuity displayed by many of the designers in attempting to obtain an effective non-skid pattern. Of late years considerable improvement has been effected in tyre construction, with the result that better wearing qualities have been obtained, and naturally a greater freedom from punctures.”