LET’S START THE YEAR with a burst of Ixionic whimsy, this time on the vexed question of tollgates: “Anachronisms. That is the only long word I know. It was a pet word of my colonel’s in the great war, and I took it up to curry favour with him. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite understand it, and when I applied it to a bad egg, he expounded its true meaning to me at length. It means a tollgate. The other week I remarked that tollgates were moribescent, so to speak—dear me, that colonel has a lot to answer for—and ever since I have had a perfect avalanche of letters from irate motor cyclists, whose jaunts awheel are hampered by these survivals of the Middle Ages. The most pathetic is from a gentleman resident in Barmouth and fiancé to a damosel at Portmadoc. These conditions imply a quite expensive spruceness in personal appearance. Buttonholes. New chamois gloves. Then there are chocolates. Finally, two shilling tollgates in as many miles. And the Government appeals to us to be economical, and lend it our money! Another wistful epistle is signed by a Bachelor of Divinity belonging to one of the Nonconformist denominations. I understand that a padre of this connection usually serves about half a gross of chapels dotted over a huge area. My correspondent labours in a part of the country which simply bristles with tollgates. Here is a chance for the Ministry of Transport to wield the super-axe with great popularity.”
WHIMSY FROM IXION COMES as no surprise but on t’other side of the pond even engineers could let there hair down. Here’s a weekend project suggested by one Lawrence Hamilton in Popular Science Monthly: “A one-cylinder motorcycle engine, a pair of small airplane wheels (or motorcycle wheels), an old bicycle, and a 2inx12inx10ft plank are the materials I used to make this air-driven tricycle. The motor and wheels were bought at a nearby motorcycle shop for $10. A 5ft. length of the plank was used for the floor of the machine. One end was bolted to the rear axle and the other end clamped to the frame of the bicycle after the rear wheel, seat, hanger, and chain were removed. The clamps were made as shown. The motor mounting, places directly over the rear axle, was made from the remainder of the plank. A piece 18in. long formed the back of the mounting and the sides were two pieces 20in. long, one side of each tapering from 12in at the bottom to 5in at the top. The front was covered with a large board hinged at the side. It gives access to the interior of the motor mounting containing the gasoline tank, batteries, and coil. When closed, this door forms the back of the seat. As the gasoline thank is lower than the carburettor, air pressure is used to force up the gasoline. This is provided with an ordinary bicycle pump. Lag screws were passed through holes in the lugs of the motor into the motor mounting to hold it secure. The only control is a throttle placed on the left side of the seat, arranged so that the left side of the seat, arranged so that upon pressing it down the gas-valve opens, as shown in the diagram. The propeller was made from a No 1 white pine 2×4, carefully shaped and balanced. It was fasted on the crankshaft of the motor by means of locknuts and a pin through the propeller and shaft.”
“BRIGHT WEATHER AND GOOD ROADS made the Glasgow Western MCC New Year ‘point to point’ run to Perth a most enjoyable outing. The run was the same as previous years—to Perth and back, with checks at Stirling both ways. Amongst the competing machines there were several new models, some of which had not been seen in competition on the northern side of the Border before. R Watson was riding a 1922 Martinsyde sidecar outfit, and G Templeton was riding a 3½hp of the same make. The Royal Scot, ridden by J Donaldson, did credit to itself on this its first appearance in competition work. J Bell (7hp AJS sc), who is only fourteen, and his passenger, who is rather less, had difficulty in holding their youthful spirits in check. They confided to our representative on the return journey that they thought these trials tame affairs. Of the 35 starters 22 finished; last year, with a larger entry, only seven competitors finished.”
“SIR,—THINKING YOUR READERS might be interested, I venture to relate a little experience that befell me the other evening when returning from a run. After slowing up near Hammersmith to allow passengers to board a tramcar I engaged gears, and was preparing to accelerate when my machine gave a roar and stopped. On checking over I found everything in apparent good order, plenty of petrol, valves OK, gears properly home etc. Mystified I put the machine on the stand and was walking round to the near side to inspect the magneto when I felt a tug at my neck. The ‘mystery’ was solved. The day being cold I was wearing a very long scarf of fine wool, which I allow to hang almost to my knees. It had worked free from underneath me, and one end had been sucked through the long air pipe fitted to the Amac carburetter on the Sports Sunbeam, and was firmly wedged in the slides.
[Instances of this kind spoiling a non-stop run in a trial have been recorded.—Ed.]
“SIR,—I HAVE BEEN MUCH IMPRESSED by the kind attention to details that you give in answering what would appear to be, in many cases, difficult questions, and, though I feel it to be rather a selfish demand on your valuable time and space, I am in hopes that you might be able to help me in a little undertaking of mine. As there seems to be a vast amount of sewage space literally crying out for a fuller use, I intend to endeavour to construct a subterrabrain waveium, and the following are the points on which I solicit your kind advice :
(1) Would a 1914 Auto-Wheel develop sufficient power to propel it?
(2) Would you suggest 14 or 16 blades to the propeller or paddles?
(3) Should they be forged steel or cast iron, as I propose to make them of material 4x4in or 8x8in?
(4) Would you suggest a pilot jet or just an ordinary rudder for purpose of navigation?
(5) Is duroleum preferable to linoleum or paper saturated with petroleum the best material with which to construct the watertight compartments?
(6) How often would you propose I should take up the bearings, and, as there seems considerable controversy on the subject, I want to ‘get well down to it’?
(7) Which, in your opinion, is the best dual-purpose contrivance on the market to serve as diving-bell and state cabin?
(8) When ordering my rubber boots, have I to state the size of my feet or the size of the boots?
(9) What would happen if I reversed the figures?
(10) How much would the driving licence cost to one who is habitually sparing with the soda on principle?
(11) Would it be necessary, absolutely, to have a tank when there are such excellent feeding bottles to be procured at a much smaller cost?
(12) Could you descant on the value of its imperishability with relation to the nebular hypothesis?
(13) As I propose to construct it to bend in order to negotiate sharp corners, could you advise me as to the most suitable hinge on the market?
(14) As I also propose to make the frame of 12xl2in pitch pine, would you recommend adhesive tape or just ordinary tinned tacks for the joints—it is to be annealed in any case?
“UP TO THE PRESENT only one designer has tackled the problem of evolving a commercially possible radial for motor cycle use which, as a lightweight engine, was fully described in our pages. The same designer has now evolved a much more ambitious engine (still adhering to the three-cylinder layout), which, named the Cyclone, is being manufactured by SYS Engineering of Leeds…The crank case, of aluminium, is in two symmetrical halves, and the cast iron cylinders (63.5×101.6mm=963cc) are held down on studs in the usual way. The combustion heads are of the T-shaped variety, and the cast iron pistons have deeply concave tops. Cast integrally with the crank case sections are extensions which house the timing gears; these gears consist of a stationary internally toothed ring, a toothed wheel carrying four cams and an eccentric mounted on the crankshaft. In its oscillations the eccentric causes the wheel to roll round the ring, and the cams are brought in turn under the tappets; obviously as there are four cams on the one wheel, this must revolve, only once to eight revolutions of the engine crank-case shaft…A noticeable feature of the engine is the remarkably cool running, due both to the vaned flywheel and to the enormous cooling area of the seven ribs on the cylinder…On the test bench we observed an engine working, and noticed that its range of smooth running varied between about 600 and well over 3,000rpm; while on the road in a light cycle car we found that the speed obtainable was extremely high.”
“WORCESTER &DMCC: EARL BEAUCHAMP (patron of the club) took the chair at the recent annual dinner, being supported by Vicount Deerhurst, Mr TW Badgery (president) and Mrs Badgery, the Mayor of Worcester (Mr Samuel Southell), Ald A Carlton, and a representative assembly, including several well-known riders and motor cycle manufacturers.”
“PRAISE FOR POLICE: WE HAVE had several letters from London-Exeter competitors appreciating the services of helpers and police, who, through the long, wet, and windy night directed the riders on their muddy way to Exeter.”
“THE MARKETING OF MOTOR CYCLES in the United States of America is exercising the minds of sales and financial experts at the present time. The following statement appears in Automotive Industries as being from within the motor cycle industry: ‘We strive to reach a field of dignified clean cut riders. To do so we educate them in terms, of exalted speed and dare-devil exploits of track burners. We bemoan the presence of public disfavour, and to remove it we increase the burden by eternally shouting speed, speed, and more speed.’ In Great Britain the motor cycle has taken its place in all spheres of utility, and speed is not the chief factor.”
“BOHEMIAN MCC: A MOTOR CYCLE CLUB has been formed in Southampton, and has been christened as above. It is the outcome of a party of enthusiasts who met occasionally for a jaunt in the New Forest; this was followed by an impromptu hillclimb, and within a fortnight the club was formed, and boasted 30 members. Taking into view the fact that the weather is hardly conducive at this time of year [January] to motoring, the start made is a very promising one. A novel feature is that there are no rules or regulations of any description. A most interesting programme has been arranged. Trade and professional riders are entirely excluded.”
“ADVANCE IN DESIGN IS NOWHERE more impressively demonstrated than in such programmes as the Raleigh and AJS,” Ixion remarked. “Both firms deliberately ignore the 500cc engine which has dominated our touring market for so many years. Each firm selects a biggish twin for sidecar work, and specialises in a light, high-efficiency 2f h.p. for the solo man. It is only a few years ago that the thought of unrestricted touring on a 2¾hp machine seemed like a Christmas nightmare. To-day many hardy spirits attach sidecars to machines of even less than and manage to go almost anywhere with them.”
IXION, IF ONE MIGHT BORROW from colonial baseball parlance, was in the habit of writing ‘out of left field’. And sometimes he left the stadium altogether: “After road trouble one day (broken crankshaft, I think), I dived into a train in motion, and, to my joy espied a magazine left on the seat by some departed passenger. My hopes of mental refreshment during an irksome non-stop were rebuffed when I found the journal was Blue Bells (or words to that effect) and its principal contributor a certain ‘Aunt Rosie’, who advised fair readers what immediate action to apply if they spotted Bertie taking another maiden to the cinema. To-day I find myself compelled to play a similar role. The flapper who flaps on the bracket of a reader signing himself ‘Big Four’ is tired of her parrot perch, and yearns for a ‘bus of her own. ‘Big Four’ promptly procured a sheaf of folders describing the best baby two-stroke. Not a bit of it. Miranda insists on a sports model of not less than 500cc. This time ‘Big Four’ has come to the right man. I have often been there. There are two modes of action, the suaviter in modo (otherwise, the velvet glove) and the fortiter in re (otherwise, the iron hand). The iron hand policy consists simply and solely of getting another flapper. ‘Big Four’ informs me in a lugubrious postscript that he has thought of this only to reject it (he has my sympathy, whether he is alluding to compromising letters, or to the fact that, like Little Willie in front of Verdun, he is too deeply engaged to withdraw). The velvet glove (cheer up, ‘Big Four’!) consists of borrowing…well, this almost needs a paragraph to itself. Let ‘Big Four’ procure an extremely large ‘bus—998cc, if possible. Let him carefully detune it so far as to make starting difficult. A wide plug gap. Air leaks at every joint in the induction pipe. No 3 spirit in the tank. Seccotine in the oil tank. Let him then select a day on which the temperature is low and the sky overcast. Let the road then be taken. ‘Big Four’ will start the lady’s ‘bus at the outset (a surreptitious injection of methyl ether is recommended). The lady must then be tempted to a scrap, and allowed to get the better of it. Within a mile or so ‘Big Four’ must allow himself to be left, whereupon he will lay bare his rear tube, unscrew and remove the tyre valve therefrom. This will give him a strafe-proof excuse to push home. The lady will be left wrestling with the unstartable 7-9hp, scaling some 3cwt. When she finally returns, she will be in an extremely chastened condition, and it will be found that, for the future, she prefers a Levis Popular to anything on wheels. Personally, I do not commend such mean-spirited handling of a restive damosel. I believe in beginning as you mean to go on—in getting the girl properly to heel right at the outset. But as ‘Big Four’ is clearly only about 0.35 of a man, he may prefer the latter of my two alternatives.”
“THE YEAR 1921 WAS NOT a pleasant financial one for motor cyclists. We bought dear, and we sold—if, indeed, we were able to sell at all—quite abominably cheap. Consequently, like all wise men, I limited my purchases as far as possible, and depended, as far as passible, for new experiences on Press trials. The trade was producing plenty of new stuff, and was anxious for publicity; so my note-book reveals that I sampled the paces of some 50 different bicycles, sidecars, and cycle cars for periods of varying duration. I select for serious attention three machines which I either owned or used for over 2,000 miles apiece. All my hackwork was performed on a baby two-stroke, a 2½hp Cedos. There are so many machines of this type upon the road nowadays that I dare not acclaim my selection as the absolute best; but if there is a better machine in this class, I shall be very happy to. make its acquaintance. Its reliability is absolute, no trouble of any sort or kind resulting from a full year of daily hard work, coupled with the most brutal neglect; an occasional
sooted plug or choked jet were the sole blots on its faithful service, and these trivial items must rank as inevitable, whatever one owns. Its power is quite up to the standard in this class, 45mph being obtainable on top gear, whilst main road hills create no anxiety on bottom. Its two chief features are its extraordinary comfort and cleanliness. Devoid of oil leaks, thanks to perfect machining and fitting of all joints, it remains almost equally virgin of road stains, thanks to a light, substantial and admirably designed underscreen, good mudguards and efficient leg-shields. The under-shield on the Cedos is a forward extension of the rear mudguard. I frequently rode it in tennis flannels, in good tweeds, and even in black Sabbath garments—tests of which few motor cycles are worthy. Its comfort demands a more technical analysis than I have the knowledge to execute, and I have never owned a lightweight which I cared to hog over bad roads as I hogged this Cedos. The one and only criticism which I can pass upon it is that its carburetter was never worthy of it; the fuel consumption was too high—just under 60mpg—and the response to the control levers was never the same on two consecutive days. Next in order of gratitude I must rank a sports Sunbeam, specially geared rather low to compensate for my clumsy driving in freak trials, and to permit of sure climbing when a neglected engine dropped a little tune. If this machine had ever stalled me by the road I should have felt the same amazement as if the sun failed to rise one morning. It inspires the most supreme confidence, evincing a quite remarkable freedom from even the pettiest stoppages or sulkiness. Its middle gear would take a really clever rider anywhere, for the engine develops tremendous power, and, unlike some ‘revvers’, it can pull uncommonly hard at quite low engine speeds. A little bit inclined to be rough and
coarse at its most hurried gaits, I did not press it in the way of speed, but at high touring speeds it ran very smoothly. Its main fault was the location of the gear quadrant, which had a sharp corner just where one’s knee palpitated on bad going. My pleasantest speed experiences occurred on a Scott Squirrel, which is one of the most refined mile-a-minute ‘buses on the surface of the earth. Two factors contribute to the delight of its hurry. The first is the well-known Scott frame—not forgetting the fork. As all practised riders are aware, the glutinous qualities of the Scott chassis—whether in speed cornering or in mere tearaway dashes over moorland tracks or pot-holed tar—are the envy and the despair of nearly every rival designer. For comfort, steering, and safety, it is as nearly peerless as any competitive article can hope to be; and it is obviously useless to own a super-engine if the frame makes you nervous about opening the throttle except on those rare occasions when you find a perfect road in perfect condition. Secondly, the torque of a twin-cylinder two-stroke is so smooth that the Squirrel’s speed does not set you wondering whether a crumpled connecting rod is going to emerge sideways out of the crankcase at any moment; and the high gear ratio permits you to touch railway speeds with out revving the engine up to its kicking point.”
“ONE OF THE GREATEST DRAWBACKS to the passenger motor cycle is the difficulty of finding suitable housing for it. It is admitted that a machine which is kept a long distance from its owner’s residence is not used so frequently as another which is ‘on the premises’. Especially is this the case in our large cities, where all kinds of expedients have to be resorted to in order to find stabling for one’s steed, at home or otherwise. The writer claims the following as a practical and inexpensive solution of this problem, suitable in many cases where an independent shed is out of the question. Briefly, the idea is to form a cupboard in the house itself, with access from the outside only. In the first place, a lintel should be prepared. This should be 6ft long, and may be either of wood, stone, or concrete. It should be the full thickness of the wall (which would probably be 9in), and if of wood it may be in two lengths, each 4½in wide. The brickwork should then be cut out to receive the lintel. This may, in most cases, be done without any props, providing the wall is fairly well built. It will be found most convenient to make the lintel about 7in deep, and this will occupy the place of two courses of bricks. After this is once fixed and wedged up tight, the brickwork below may safely be taken out, but care must be taken to leave 4½in under each end of the lintel…Inside the room the cupboard may be made to suit individual taste and the purpose to which it is proposed to be put…The finished height above the floor being only 4ft, the top can be made to serve as a table, writing desk, or any useful article of furniture…It will be found to be considerably cheaper than erecting an independent shed, but if the occupier is a tenant only, he should obtain permission from the owner before starting the work…”
“SIX-CYLINDER motor cycles are a rarity, although a few have been described in the columns of The Motor Cycle, the machine illustrated is interesting as being probably the most ambitious mount in the world of single trackers. The last six-cylinder motor cycle we described had a ‘twin-3’ radial engine, which, besides being remarkably light—under 200lb, in fact—ran with a smoothness that could only be likened to an electric motor. Designed and built by a Spanish enthusiast, the machine under review has six cylinders in line, is water cooled, has three speeds and reverse, and is shaft driven. The bore and stroke are 50mm and 60mm respectively, the total capacity being 708cc. As will be seen from the illustrations, the valves are on each side of the cylinders, the cylinder heads are therefore of T formation. Though water-cooled, this fact is not immediately apparent, as the radiator is neatly located in the fore end of the tank. The thermo syphon system is used. It will be observed that the engine, gear box and the various smaller units are neatly disposed, and that the machine has not the appearance of being unduly heavy or cumbersome.”
“MOTOR CYCLISTS ARE DISGRACED by three masked riders who entered a branch of the Royal Bank of Scotland, held up the staff, and stole about £2,000. Hitherto the motor cycle has not been used extensively as an accessory of crime. The machine was a Sunbeam.”
“IF 1921 HAS TAUGHT ME ANYTHING,” Ixion remarked, “it is the unparalleled value of a variable jet Nothing but the laziness of the public prevents these fittings being standardised by universal demand, for, having already two carburetter controls on the average motor cycle, John Citizen is dead against being bothered with a third. The, result is that manufacturers experience a limited demand for the fitting, and as it must increase the cost of a carburetter quite appreciably the average carburetter maker prefers to push a fixed jet. But we are not all of us idle or untechnically minded Speaking for myself, I find that for nine-tenths of my mileage I prefer a small jet; it gives me all the speed and climb which 1 ordinarily want, plus real economy—possibly 110mpg on a 500cc four-stroke engine. For the remaining tenth of my mileage I care nothing about economy, but I yearn for lurid acceleration, intense speed, and terrific climb. This unrestrained tenth of my mileage being irregularly sandwiched into the more docile nine-tenths, changing a fixed jet occasionally does not fit my needs. I like to have jet control, so that a twitch of a lever converts my gentle tourist into a fire-eating road-burner. Those readers who have never tried a jet control should experiment with one in 1922.”
“ALTHOUGH THE REPAIRS HAD NOT finally been completed, Brooklands track was partially re-opened on Wednesday of last week [1 February] mainly, we were told, on account of the keenness of the motor cycle element among its patrons to be ‘at it’ again. It was a glorious, summer-like morning, but the rain of the night before still lay in puddles along the inner edge of the track, guiltily indicating that nearly two months’ work and the use of many tons of concrete had failed to produce the billiard table surface still popularly and erroneously associated with Brooklands. The roar of a healthy single drowning the buzz of two chain-driven Zenith-Bradshaws ‘on test’ suggested that Judd or O’Donovan might be early arrivals, but enquiry revealed the somewhat surprising information that the machine was a P&M. That the makers of such an essentially ‘slogging’, touring type of mount should turn their attention to speed work for the first time after so many years of successful reliability performances is, to say the least, significant. While we were there, P Cunningham on a stripped 3½hp model, lapped at nearly 58mph but previously lap speeds of very much over the mile-a-minute mark had been obtained. It is realised the track is a great teacher, and, even should the P&M remain (almost exclusively) unobtainable as a sports model, much of value may be learned. DR O’Donovan, the unassuming Norton wizard, and his most promising pupil, Judd, were also there—Brooklands would not be Brooklands without them—but not bent on any serious work, although the former gave us to understand that long-distance records would be in danger on the following week. The phrasing is ours, of course, not his…On the whole, the track may be classified as excellent, and to all appearances ready for very high speeds by either motor cycle or car. Without doubt some extraordinary figures will be attained…It is proposed to admit people to the test hill at Brooklands on Sunday afternoons and to allow those who desire to go round the track to do so at a reduced fee. There will also be a band playing.”
“FATHER HAS TO PAY? Recently, at Kingston, a 14-year-old rider was summoned because his number-plate was obscured by the coat of his father, who was riding on the carrier. The boy was fined 10s, but the summons against the father for aiding and abetting was dismissed.”
“IT MAY SURPRISE MANY OF OUR readers to learn that manufacturers of the best known American motor cycles consider long-distance events, such as the London-Edinburgh run, of greater importance from a publicity standpoint than the Tourist Trophy races…America is suffering a trade depression such as she has not experienced for many years, and, as is usual at such times, a close study is being made of the true value of different methods of propaganda. As a result of this, track racing is at a discount…while, as part of a publicity campaign, track racing has been proved to possess a purely local value. In other words, if and when phenomenal speeds are attained in America the rest of the motor cycle world (if the achievement obtains prominence) is unconcerned, or doubts its authenticity. On the other hand, the attainment of a success in a leading British reliability trial or race is accepted as authentic the world over because it is endorsed either by a club of unquestioned integrity and independence or by the governing body of the motor cycle movement in a country whose traditions have always upheld clean sport…In sober fact, Great Britain is recognised as the arena for motor cycle competitions, and the results are reflected, and therefore influence trade, throughout the world.”
“IN AMERICA THE 4HP FLAT-TWIN Harley-Davidson is regarded purely as a solo machine, and although in this country it is often fitted with a light sidecar, and is quite capable of such service, the factory which produces it no doubt regards the fact with something akin to mild surprise. It was with this in mind that we took over one of these machines for a test of its road capabilities and behaviour—particularly as compared with the British conception of an ideal solo mount. Since the ideals of America in this matter are obviously not the ideals of Coventry, Birmingham, or Wolverhampton, it is not surprising that the respective machines should differ considerably both in general design and detail specification. This latter point was very forcibly impressed on us when we rode up to the Harley-Davidson depot in Newman Street on a typical Coventry-built sporting single, and a few minutes later rode away on the American flat twin. An automatic carburetter (Schebler) controlled by the right twist grip, a heel and toe pedal operated clutch, and a service brake (internal expanding) on the right-hand side of the machine instead of the left are the main points in which the Harley differed from our previous mount, but most readers will realise that these factors contained possibilities of half-a-dozen awkward moments in the same number of initial miles. Added to that is the fact that, almost immediately after starting up, we found ourselves negotiating Oxford Street traffic at—so it seemed!—its very worst. The Harley came through this severe test of controllability unscathed and with flying colours. Only in three prolonged traffic blocks was the rider compelled to put down a foot; the slow-running setting of the Schebler saw to it that: the engine was not once involuntarily stopped, and the beautiful balance, good acceleration on second gear, and efficient braking of the machine combined to transport us clear of London traffic with considerable rapidity and without as had been half-feared arousing the ire of taxi-driver, policeman, or ‘bus-driver. All things considered, we think that this performance speaks for itself and that any further comment on the controllability of the machine—which weighs about 280lb—would be superfluous. Further out on the Portsmouth road other characteristics began to make themselves apparent. The engine, as nearly as any reciprocating engine ever will be, is vibrationless at all speeds, and, in conjunction with 27×3½in and 26x3i. tyres on the rear and front wheels respectively, provides such a degree of smooth running and comfort that, in our opinion, it would be absurd to fit a spring frame. Acceleration is not startling, but a quick turn of the
throttle grip as far open as it will go brings a perfect response from the engine without any of the ‘dead-spot’ misfiring much too common on flat twins with extensive intake manifolds. Exhaust heated inlet pipes are probably responsible for this. On the road the maximum speed—42mph—was disappointing, and a move was made to Brooklands to see if this could be improved upon without retuning; 45mph proved possible on the straight, but no more. If no speed indicator had been fitted we should certainly have estimated the speed at 50, but, while admitting the possibility of an error by the Corbin-Brown speedometer (perhaps caused by the gigantic rear tyre on this particular machine), we have learned not to place too much reliance on personal guesses at velocity. It would be unfair, too, to estimate the fuel consumption during the time the Harley was in our possession, but at touring speeds well above the legal limit 65mpg must be considered a fair average. An early 45 miles cost just the price of one gallon of fuel, but this was considerably improved before we returned the machine. There are no easily-reached hills in Surrey or the adjoining counties that might reasonably be expected to extend the Harley, and therefore it was decided to be content with an ascent of the Brooklands test-hill. Lubrication is by mechanical pump, and in consequence the rider may dismiss the subject from his mind; there is an auxiliary hand pump also. Gear-changing and kick-starting are more efficiently performed after some little experience. The gears are easily ‘found’, but the ‘high’ position of the lever is apt to be disturbed by the skirt of a heavy leather coat. The clutch is smooth in engagement, and the large pedal permits very gradual manipulation. Summarising, the 4hp Harley is extremely smooth running, very controllable, and very comfortable, but is not particularly speedy at anything approaching an economy setting of the carburetter. From all indications it should be just as steady on greasy tramlines as on dry tarmac, and has much to commend it to the hard rider who does not object to more weight than the British manufacturer thinks necessary for this type of motor cycle. Weight spells comfort.
“SIR,—I READ WITH SURPRISE your criticism of the 1922 4hp Harley-Davidson. I feel sure that there must have been something radically wrong with the machine in question. I have now ridden my 4hp Harley (1920) regularly for 15 months, and have covered over 10,000 miles on it. In your criticism you stated that the maximum road speed was 42mph. Without any tuning, other than carburetter adjustments, I attained a speed of 60mph by my speedometer, which I have compared with many others and found correct within 3mph. This speed was attained on the main road between Penrith and Appleby. I have never tried it out on the track. By speedometer, I have many times exceeded 50mph with an adult on the carrier, and occasionally with two on the carrier. I have also exceeded 40mph with three on the carrier. I think the above will testify that the 4hp Harley has plenty of power, and reasonable speed. As to petrol consumption: Last summer I rode down from Appleby to Newport (Salop), at an average speed of 30mph (running time). The total mileage was 185. When I started my tank was full, containing 2¼ gallons of petrol. When I arrived I had exactly a quarter of a gallon left. This works out at 92.5mpg, which leaves very little to be desired. As regards the other points in your criticism, I agree with and heartily endorse them. I think a large majority of the 4hp Harley riders will agree with me.
Four-Up-Solo, Newport, Salop.”
“THE MACHINE DESCRIBED BELOW is the ‘ideal’ of Professor Low, who has been long connected with the motor cycle movement, and has made a careful study of motor cycle design; in fact, his association with the Auto Cycle Union as a judge has placed him in close relationship with all types of machines. His production is of thoroughly sound design and bristles with novel points…A certain section of potential purchasers of motor cycles require a mount which can be ridden in white flannel trousers to the tennis club, or in dress clothes, as well as in everyday garb. Many riders have also expressed a wish for a machine with shaft drive, an even torque, and one which could be hosed after a muddy ride. Such a machine is the Low four-cylinder two-stroke…The charm of the Low machine is that engine and transmission are entirely enclosed, while the general lines are graceful, though unconventional…Pressed steel is used for the frame construction, and serves to
enclose engine and gear, box units and the 2½gal petrol tank, tubes being employed only in the forks and carrier. No attempt has been made to embody rear spring suspension in the design, but the saddle is mounted on duplex laminated springs and a linked stay, while the cantilever-type forks are of light, but strong construction, employing a laminated spring. For the first time in the history of the motor cycle movement four-cylinder two-stroke engine forms the power unit of a single track vehicle. Though of the three-port variety, the engine design shows originality; the cylinders form a ribbed monobloc casting, but with air passages between each…The inlet and exhaust manifolds are one casting, so that the incoming charge is adequately heated by the exhaust…Engine and three-speed gear box form a complete unit…As the final drive is by shaft and bevel, the drive to the shaft universal joint is through a train of gear wheels…The propeller-shaft is enclosed by a telescopic sleeve, a portion of which can be slid backwards to allow disconnection with the drive in the event of the rear wheel requiring to be withdrawn…front and rear wheels are interchangeable, while if a sidecar should be fitted the wheel of this will also be interchangeable. Though only 492cc, the machine is designed to take a sidecar, and cup-shaped threaded holes are provided in the frame construction into which a ball joint may be inserted…A Rotax dynamo is mounted over the gear box, and is driven by a train of gear wheels. The dynamo supplies current for ignition as well as for
lighting: a coil and accumulator being used in conjunction with a distributer mounted at the forward end of the crankshaft…For the purpose of carrying out ordinary adjustments to plugs or distributer, it is only necessary to open the doors in the frame…The weight of the machine is 2901b; 26×2½in tyres are fitted on wheels fitted with internal expanding brakes which come away intact with the wheel; front and rear brakes are interchangeable…Despite its rough state, the experimental machine ran extremely well. There was no silencer fitted at the time of our brief test, but the exhaust made a delightful hum reminiscent of a miniature aeroplane, while the acceleration was all that could be desired, and the engine ran with the smoothness of an eight-cylinder, there being four impulses per revolution…The saddle suspension and forks were most comfortable, but it is admitted that the rake of the steering was a quarter of an inch out, while the design of the handle-bars was not ideal. Still, these are but trivial points, and for an experimental model its behaviour was quite remarkable.”
“SENT AT MIDDAY FROM PARIS in a Goliath aeroplane, a Gnome and Rhone motor cycle was delivered to the Brussels agent within six hours, including passing through the Customs. It is stated that the cost of transport was less than by express train.”
“SPEED-MEN WILL BE INTERESTED to learn that a number of the actual machines entered by the BSA Company in the TT last year are now available, completely rebuilt and renovated, at an extremely moderate figure.”
“THE FRENCH NATIONAL FUEL, the ingredients of which have hitherto been kept secret, consists of high-grade petrol, alcohol, cyclo-hexanol, and phenol. Naturally, petrol forms the greater part of the mixture.”
“THE LAW STATES QUITE DEFINITELY that a licence to drive a motor-propelled bicycle may be issued to any individual who shall have attained the, age of 14 years. Yet the same law does not differentiate between this young person and toothless, tottering old age, nor between the degenerate, the mentally unsound, the blind, the deaf, and the hopeless cripple. It may, therefore, be quite reasonably assumed that the law—itself termed a ‘hass’—has very carefully refrained from admitting that because a licence to drive a motor bicycle is issuable at the age of 14, therefore, as a natural sequence, as it were, the individual of 14, male or female, is fitted so to drive, and is an absolutely responsible person. How many boys of 14 are actually capable of handling a machine at the legal age for licensing? I submit that quite a considerable number are capable many more, in fact, than are generally credited. And, further, I venture to state that the ownership of a motor cycle—preferably of the small lightweight type—provides at once, a healthy stimulus to the boy or girl of 14, whereby much that is desirable in youth—care, discrimination, thoughtfulness, a keen eye for detail, the faculty of observation, good temper, judgment, and pluck—is encouraged and developed in a manner far more natural than under many other conditions…Of course there is dust, of course there is noise and grease, but there is sun and wind and rain; and it all calls for the exercise of those qualities of endurance which we value so highly, while the need to care for one’s own personal safety and the absolutely necessary consideration for the safety of other people, is bound to eradicate any trait of recklessness which may have existed in the first days of ownership—when, proud of the capacity to manage a machine, the youngster opens up his throttle and lets her ‘rip’ along the high road…It must sharpen the wits of any youngster and inflame his natural curiosity when accosted with a modern power unit, while the desire to comprehend everything connected with it will make even a dull and somewhat stupid fellow liven up…It is a foregone conclusion that any youngster not attracted by machinery is sick, or dull, or unusually constructed…I am positive that, with due safeguarding, the possession of such a machine can only result in good.”
Lt Col FS Brereton CBE [chairman of the ACU].
“SIR,—AS A STEADY, MIDDLE-AGED ‘potterer’, I have read with alarm the article, ‘Motor Cycles for Boys and Girls’, by Lt-Col Brereton. Surely we motor cyclists have enough to bear from road-hogs, chars-a-bancs, etc, without our terrors being added to. I think I can claim a greater knowledge of boys than Lt-Col Brereton, as in the course of my duties I come into personal contact with the boys of 500 schools every year, and my experience teaches me that the average boy of 14-16 years of age is a reckless, irresponsible dare-devil, entirely devoid of nerves. I will not accuse him of being selfish, but he is certainly thoughtless (what boy isn’t?). It was this very recklessness, dare-devilry, call it what you will, in our young pilots (Heaven bless them!) which gained us our supremacy in the air during the. war, but we don’t want it illustrated on our roads. The law which grants licences to boys of 14 must certainly be a ‘hass’. The motor cyclist who is shortsighted, deaf or crippled knows his limits, and the rest of us have little to fear from him, but the average boy of 14 wants speed, and knows no limit. Fortunately, we see very few boy motor cyclists on the road, which makes me think that parents are evidently of the same opinion as
XH 3296, Canterbury.”
“A SPECIAL PRIZE IS TO BE given to the driver of the first sidecar outfit to climb the new Kent hill ‘find’ that figures in the Woolwich Club’s opening invitation run on March 12th. The discovery, first brought to light in the Correspondence columns of The Motor Cycle, is arousing great interest, and the officials are receiving many inquiries.”
“NO GREATER CONTRAST IS IMAGINABLE than last Saturday’s trial of the Essex MC and the previous week-end’s event of the Coventry club; the former was the more sensible, but the latter was more enjoyable.”
“QUITE ONE OF THE MOST INTERESTING machines which we have been able to examine and handle is now undergoing preliminary road tests in an experimental form. Originated by Mr E Poppe, it will be produced in conjunction, with Mr G Packman, of Rochester, and it is hoped that it will be ready for the market in the autumn of the present year. Though in its present form the machine differs somewhat from the production model, the essentials are embodied and are undergoing prolonged tests. A White and Poppe two-stroke engine of 250cc is fitted, and the gear is a Sturmey-Archer lightweight three-speed, with clutch and kick-starter. It is intended that these two parts shall be embodied in a single unit, the Sturmey-Archer gear parts being fitted in an extension of the crankcase. The engine is to be increased in bore so as to bring it within the 350cc class, and a mechanical pump will supply oil from a sump between the crank and gear box partitions. By a clever piece of design (not shown in our illustrations) the whole engine and its accessories can be closed in by side shields, which are neatly fastened to the tank. These side pieces splay outwards at the front, and they are curved round to form leg shields, which help to deflect air over the engine and keep the rider free from oil as well as mud, yet they can be detached in a few seconds…A short run on the road convinced us that the machine is thoroughly comfortable, and steers perfectly at speeds over 10mph; at slower speeds an improvement might be made, and the matter is receiving attention at the moment.”
“WEEK-ENDING AT COUNTRY HOUSES has made me [Ixion, inevitably] realise what a number of people, resident at fair distances from stations, churches, post-offices, and the like, are looking to the motor cycle as a possible tender to their cars. I can recall at this moment a score of households which maintain something like a 20hp Austin as their main transport and have since the war invested in some sort of a two- wheeler as a dinghy to the yacht. Madam wants to go to church, or to the station, or to post, when Papa is away with the car there may be two or three dancing and tennis-playing daughters; there is a governess; occasionally the more youthful sort of son, say a Winchester boy on his holidays, requires short distance solo transport. Of course, young Clarence knows all there is to know about motor bikes, as his arguments with the governess at the breakfast table testify. Such households form curious backwaters of the motor cycle world. They muddle and struggle along quite on their own, innocent of club matters, technical matters, and the like, regarding motor cycles much as you arid I, dear reader, regard a. gas meter—as inexplicable boxes of mechanism, which are necessary evils of life under certain conditions. In 1920 and 1921 such families generally bought a scooter. I have yet to encounter one solitary case in which they loved it. It was not very strong on hills. It was quite easily upset. Frequent tumbles seem to have been the rule with it, especially on the part of the fair sex; and its history in their hands makes me rejoice that, before its failings were exposed, this journal gave it a very guarded and critical welcome. Just at present the Ner-a-car is what such families seem to fancy, though the small two-stroke is by no means unknown amongst them.”
“AT A RECENT MEETING OF the Hereford City Council there was a discussion as to the advisability of limiting speed in the city to 10mph. The Mayor of Hereford wisely objected to the imposition of an artificial speed limit, saying that his experience in the police courts had shown him that it was best to deal with ‘road hogs’ by prosecuting them for dangerous driving, his opinion being that any speed limit was an encouragement to drive at that speed irrespective of risk to others.”
“MR ALAN W DAY, THE HONORARY SECRETARY of the North London MCC, one of the most enterprising Southern clubs, sends us the following letter for publication: ‘With reference to the annual rally on Good Friday at Richmond (Yorks), this club and several other similar organisations in the South are awaiting with interest the publication of the full regulations governing this year’s event. In 1921 a band of enthusiasts from the North London MCC made the long journey to the Northern market town, leaving the Metropolis on Thursday evening after the usual day’s toil, snatching refreshments and a few hours’ sleep at Bawtry, and arriving at Richmond with none too much time to spare before the count at 12.45pm. Your interested readers will recollect that an attempt was made (and duly frustrated) to disqualify the Londoners on the grounds that they had not travelled the whole distance on the day of the rally—a feat well-nigh impracticable—although there was no clause in the rules to that effect. If the energetic organisers intend to include such an irksome restriction (from the point of view of Southern clubs) in this year’s regulations, it is suggested that its seeming harshness be somewhat tempered by fixing the hour for the count considerably later in the afternoon, say, 3pm. This compromise would, at least, give the enthusiastic clubs a sporting chance, even though they dare not put foot to kick-start until the last stroke of the hour of midnight on the previous day. It is confidently assumed that our Yorkshire friends would welcome parties from Southern clubs, and in view of the foregoing facts and suggestions, it is repeated that the publication of the rules governing the 1922 Richmond Meet are awaited with interest. It is worthy of mention here that, in connection with the Second London Rally organised by this club, which takes place on Whit Monday (probable venue, Hendon Aerodrome) two Yorkshire clubs have already signified their intention of attending and that, in addition to the count taking place as late as possible in the afternoon, it will not be necessary for them, or any other distant club, to ride all night and thus arrive at the rally possibly too fagged to be able to participate in and enjoy ‘the fun of the fair’.”
IXION, THE PROUD PAPA: “My small son—aged three—has already begun to follow in father’s footsteps. When knowledge fails to carry him any further, he speculates boldly. The advertisement columns of The Motor Cycle are his weekly joy, though he sometimes trips technically. The other day one of our advertisers pictured a telephone receiver on his page. Junissimus had never seen a telephone, but like his papa he was not going to be beaten by a little thing like that. ‘You pushes down that!’ he explained, pointing to the mouthpiece; ‘and the oil comes out there,’ pointing to the earpiece. Similarly with a mammoth sketch of a KLG plug. ‘You pull down that,’ indicating the terminal clip, ‘and the bang comes out there!’ pointing to the electrodes. The Editor has engaged him to undertake this column when I fill my tank for the last time.”
[A personal note: In 2010, at the Sunbeam MCC’s first Ixion Cavalcade in Bexhill-on-Sea (where Ixion was parish priest) I was introduced to Junissimus and was privileged to shake the hand of Ixion’s son—Ed].
“QUITE A CONSIDERABLE NUMBER of motor cyclists may be regarded as enthusiasts, and of this number a large proportion long to possess a solo mount, well finished in all respects, and capable of high road speeds without apparent exertion. It is for such as these that Mr George Brough has laid himself out to cater, and his wide experience in sporting trials has provided him with a valuable source of knowledge of the special requirements of this type of rider. A comparatively small output in a specialised line enables him to give personal attention to every machine turned out from the works, and the resulting product is therefore likely to be ideal for the sporting soloist or for use with a light sidecar. Price, of course, must be a secondary consideration, but the Brough Superior compares favourably with machines of its class. The latest Brough Superior model in- corporates the new 8hp side-by-side valve JAP engine with roller bearing crankshaft. This engine is a remarkably ‘clean’ design, and at the outset we may state that, though the machine which we tested had a big mileage behind it, the engine was extremely quiet and was the most effortless and vibrationless V-twin that it has been our good fortune to handle. As regards flexibility and power, it is possible, on the sidecar gear of 4.28 to 1, to crawl through busy streets or to accelerate on open roads to speeds often talked of but seldom accomplished. This without touching the gear lever, and with only reasonable clutch manipulation in traffic. This is due to the wide weight-power ratio and the flexibility and power of the new side-valve JAP engine. Pulling sweetly and evenly at all speeds, the engine gives one an extraordinary feeling of confidence, which is increased by the excellent balance of the machine, and though the writer had not handled a Brough Superior for over a year, he was immediately at home on the big machine. Even after a stop of some two hours in wintry weather the engine was quite free and started easily, ticking over without fuss or rattle. A 30 mile run at speeds best left to the imagination seemed to improve the general qualities of the engine rather than otherwise, and on every occasion on which it was employed the machine behaved so admirably that our parting was regretful. It is a difficult matter to find a hill with a gradient sufficient to test the powers of such a mount, and we had to content ourselves with intentionally placing the machine at a disadvantage with a view to discovering its true virtues. As an instance of this, the Brough Superior was driven up a slope of 1 in 9 dead slow on top gear, yet while still on the gradient a touch of the throttle caused the machine to accelerate rapidly and without a symptom of hesitation. Again on a trip through devious and twisting byways we intentionally took acute corners on greasy roads without changing gear. In every case a little clutch slip was sufficient to ensure a safe turn and rapid acceleration. If, however, under such circumstances, one drops into middle gear, as all good riders should do, the ‘get away’ is terrific, yet perfectly smooth. Any tendency to harshness in the all-chain transmission is effectively damped out by the cush rear hub; and a recent modification of the front chain guard provides for the protection of both top and bottom chain runs, though the centre part is left open to facilitate adjustments or
repairs. Clutch and gear box are of the usual Sturmey-Archer type, and well up to the power of the big engine. One cannot help admiring the neat way in which so large an engine is housed in so small a frame without a suspicion of overcrowding, and on riding the big ‘eight’ one has a sensation of bestriding a handy lightweight with the power and road-holding qualities of a big machine. The 3in tyres attend to the rider’s comfort, and are materially assisted in this respect by the Montgomery leaf spring fork and a large and comfortable saddle, while the steering angle and trail are the result of considerable experimental work. Certainly these experiments have been worth while, for we can testify that the Brough Superior handles well in grease and over loose stones, a test which has proved too much for many an otherwise excellent machine. It is not only in points of major importance that the Brough Superior excels, for every detail is carried out with care, and the finish is superb. Only two small criticisms occur: (1), that the finish is a trifle showy for the every-day rider (yet the plated tank cleans up easily and satisfactorily on account of its smooth and rounded shape, and have we not already suggested that most motor cyclists are enthusiasts?); (2), that on the actual machine we tested the steering lock was rather limited. We hear, however, that this point has already received the attention of the designer, and that no future machines will suffer from this slight defect. Mudguarding is good, the brakes are sensible—especially the parallel action rear—the toolbag behind the saddle tube is ample in capacity, and is in the correct position, and the handle-bar operated oil pump is neat arid very convenient. The fates have decreed that our road tests of this particular make shall be accompanied by snow, and the last occasion was no exception to the rule. This provided us with ample Opportunities for testing the machine under all conditions of slush and slime, which it survived with credit, but the inclement weather somewhat curtailed our experiences with the smaller MAG-engined model. In spite of this we were able to verify the fact that the 6.5hp MAG (72x90mm=748cc) is a very sweet-running engine of no mean performance, and it is sufficient to remark that the rest of the machine is almost identical with its larger brother. Its weight, however, is 251b less. In conclusion, there is just one word of warning which should be issued with every Brough Superior. The comparative novice should insist on an accurate speedometer, for in spite of the fact that the machine will run slowly and steadily, so smooth is the engine and transmission that one is more than likely to find that one’s actual road speed is nearly double the intended figure.”
“PNEUMATIC TYRES MADE MOTOR CYCLING POSSIBLE. Unfortunately, they also made punctures possible. and, although the larger and better tyres of to-day are not so susceptible to these annoying occurrences as were the diminutive covers of yesterday, the bogey is always with us. But perhaps it will not be ever thus; for several very promising ‘unpuncturable’ tyres (or tubes) are making an appearance. We illustrate two new inventions. The Jeff patent tube has passed the experimental stage, and is now available to the public…It is quite different from anything of the kind attempted before, and consists of what externally looks like an ordinary air chamber, but inside is a series of rubber flaps overlapping one another, with the result that any foreign object which penetrates the outer cover and tube merely pushes the flaps to one side, and when this object is withdrawn the hole is immediately sealed by the flap beneath it being forced upwards by the pressure of air. Mr HFS Morgan, the well-known exponent of the three-wheeler which bears his name, has recently put this tube to a very severe trial, when, after driving seven nails through the cover, he found the tyre quite hard. He then penetrated the cover with several ordinary nails, a bradawl, a strong needle, a sharp scriber, and one or two blunt file ends, and the tube still retained air. On quite another principle the Compression puncture-proof tube is of considerably greater thickness than one of standard pattern and the circumference of the outer cover which it fits. In its deflated form it is moulded with deep corrugations on the sides, but when inflated the corrugations straighten out, thus conforming to the internal contour of the cover. When inflated, instead of stretching the tube, the air pressure compresses the rubber, so that, if punctured, the holes made by nails or other puncturing agents are closed automatically. It is claimed that it is more resilient than the ordinary tube, and requires 25% less air pressure…the concessionaires, state that if the tubes are fitted to their Tulsa cord tyres they will be guaranteed against punctures and all defects of manufacture for 10,000 miles.”
“THANKS TO A CHANGE OF COVER,” Ixion reported, “I had a Challenger tube lying around my office last night and proceeded to demonstrate it to two incredulous visitors. The mere fact that I was prepared to inflict umpteen punctures on my own property no doubt carried a certain amount of conviction. I thought I had destroyed this by my first test, for I had such confidence in the tube that the weapon selected was the marlin-spike on a camping-knife possibly half an inch in diameter. I thrust this well through the tread till its tip distended the inner periphery of the tube and then withdrew it. A nasty hiss followed; but, even as my guests opened their mouths to crow at me, the hiss ceased, for with a vicious ‘plop!’ a gobbet of black mastic surged up from inside the tread and sealed the hole, no material pressure having been lost. When more modest weapons, approximating to wire nails, were used, there was no hiss at all.”
THE 684-MILE PARIS NICE TRIAL attracted 45 bikes, ranging from 250-1,000cc. Any rider who failed to average 25mph was eliminated which made life hard for the lightweights; despite a couple of 60min extensions only three tiddlers were among the 25 finishers. There were few British riders but the first three 500cc class were two ABCs and a Sunbeam; the first three in the 750cc class were an ABC, a Triumph and a Beeza.
“THERE IS NO QUESTION ABOUT the popularity of the motor cycle in England, but in America it would be. useless to claim that motor cycles find universal favour. An American journal just received is using great efforts to show the wide use of the motor cycle in England by every class of rider, from the highest in the land to the lowest.”
“WHEN MOTOR CYCLES ARE SPRUNG more or less from end to end the springing may be divided into three classes: (1) That in which the whole frame except the rear wheel attachments, sometimes including the carrier, is sprung; (2) A method of springing applied to the driver and the principal parts of the mechanism, the rear wheel being mounted in a rigid part of the frame extending to the head; (3) A partly duplicated frame providing spring suspension for the saddle and footboards or footrests.”
RECORD BREAKING IN 1922 HAS been opened. Riding a new ohv 3½hp Norton (70x100mm=490cc), RN Judd lowered the international mean speed figures for the kilometre and mile on March 15th.” What would become known as the Model 18 set kilometre and mile records of 89.92mph and 88.39mph respectively. “Judd’s previous speed for the kilometre, attained a year ago, was 86.37mph, while the speed of the last holder of the international one mile record, EB Halford (3½hp ohv Triumph), was 83.91mph. Although the overhead valve Norton has been something of an open secret for quite a while past, this is its. first official appearance in the public eye, and no doubt, ere long, it will be a formidable contestant in the lists for the kilometre and mile British records. At present the ultimate speed in the 500cc class appears to be G Dance’s 93.99mph over the flying kilometre with the 3½hp Sunbeam.”
“TWELVE MONTHS AGO 100MPH ON a motor cycle of any power had yet to be accomplished in this country; last week a 500cc machine, of the popular ‘3½hp’ class, attained the magic figure, the honour of being first going to CG Pullin on an ohv flat-twin Douglas. Several people were known to be in the running for some time past—George Dance on a new ohv Sunbeam, FB Halford on a four-valve Triumph, RN Judd in combination with DR O’Donovan and the ohv Norton, and CG Pullin and his Douglas—but actually the tussle resolved itself into a duel between the Norton and Douglas camps to be settled before the other two made an official reappearance on the track. The game was opened on Tuesday of last week by CG Pullin (TT winner of 1914), who succeeded in sending up Dance’s (Sunbeam) 93.99mph for the flying kilometre nearly 5mph to 98.11mph, and Harford’s 87.89mph to 93.26mph for the mile. Hand timing was employed in this instance. On the very next day, however, incidentally a bitterly cold one, Judd decided that the ohv Norton had already proved fast enough to better these amazing speeds. Accordingly an attempt was made, this time with electrical timing, for it was recognised that an error of a fraction of a second might mean the difference between success and failure. At first ill-luck attended him, and a broken inlet valve spring caused some delay. It was nearly lunch time before the overhead Norton was lovingly pushed half-way up the test-hill—to
ensure a certain start—but once going it was only a matter of seconds before it was all over. At his first Tim he lifted the mile and kilometre speeds to 97.35mph and 98.50mph…As we indicated last week, this design is in a very experimental stage; so much so that lugs are cast in the cylinder head for one type of valve rocker gear, while an entirely different type is used…All the Norton people were confident that they had by no means reached their limit, and that even more startling speeds would be reached very shortly. All this time, however, Pullin had been working steadily in an endeavour to extract an extra ounce or two of power from his Douglas, and it is said that not before two o’clock on the following morning did he cease from this labour of love…His industry was rewarded, for a few hours later, on Thursday, there fell to him the signal honour of being the first man to be timed officially on a 500cc machine at 100mph, and also to regain the flying-mile and kilometre records…Pullin’s 100mph was accomplished over the second measured half-mile, his exact time being 17.89sec=100.06mph.”
“YESTERDAY,” IXION REPORTED, I WAS poised in dumb . adoration before an ultra-modern outfit with instrument board, interchangeable wheels, spring frame, hood, screen, and several billion gadgets (note the diminutive, implying the presence of a cigar lighter, variable jet, mechanical oiler, and all the other small fry). My agile brain fled back at a tangent to AD 1902 or so, when I used to transport my particular packet of fair femininity in a forecar, scaling about 180lb all-on. It had a 76x80mm engine with automatic inlet, direct belt drive, accumulator ignition, 2in Clincher tyres, and brakes consisting of a Bowden horseshoe astern, and two bands in front with the circumference of a florin apiece. Yet ‘Me and ma Gal’ actually toured Devon in this outfit. What’s more, my taste in gals ever inclined—like the Kaffirs, I believe—to plumpness. What’s more, we never had any serious trouble with that outfit, though we reeled off 5,000 miles on it. Punctures were our one real foe, with belts in the background. Hills? Well, we dodged the worst ones; and the others we took in three charges: charge 1, ‘Ixion’ and Miranda seated; charge 2, Miranda unloaded for a walk, ‘Ixion’ descending and making a fresh rush; charge 3, ‘Ixion’ and Miranda running alongside, with ‘Ixion’ pushing and Miranda pretending to push. Naturally, there is no real comparison between the 1922 super sidecar at 8cwt and my own tricar at 180lb. Still, I daresay there is still a market for the economy two-passenger motor cycle, and a few specifications like the Harper indicate that some designers have long memories.”
“RACING A MOTOR CYCLE ENGINE whilst on the stand is a detestable habit. It is tolerated in a garage, or under special circumstances on the road, but when an individual persists in stepping and starting his engine 20 times in the course of a quarter of an hour for no apparent reason, one does begin to feel one’s nerves fray. The obvious course was for me to quit the place I had chosen for my lunch, but being such a delectable spot I hated to leave it. A narrow grassy lane led past, the rose-embowered cottage and on to undulating tilth and pasture. The setting of the little house was perfect. Nothing marred the harmonious whole except the tinkering motor cyclist. Fleecy clouds drifted across a blue sky, and a faint smell of burnt wood bark and peeled willow pervaded the air. A moment’s cessation, a moment of heavenly silence, when the bees could be heard buzzing from flower to flower. I filled my pipe, and thanked Providence that the fellow with the machine had by his time ceased to tinker. Ordinary tuning I could have understood, but what tuner would allow his engine to rev appallingly for minutes on end? The spell of silence was short, however, and once again the din started. This time I decided to investigate, and approached the cottage, where I saw a youth of 20 or so in a red blazer and white trousers standing in a curiously intent attitude listening to the beat of the engine. Occasionally he shifted the lever and allowed the engine to tick over. To be just, it must be admitted that the engine appeared to be in perfect tune. He throttled it down until it just tickled over, then opened out to a lively, healthy roar. Somehow the noise did not seem half so bad when the machine was in sight. But why didn’t the fellow try it on the road? I stood in full view expecting him to speak, seeing that I could not be mistaken for anything but a motor cyclist. Such was my conceit that I felt piqued at his indifference, and prepared to move away. An indifferent unsociable sort of a bounder, thought I. But, why should he, at home in his own garden, turn to accost a perfect stranger? But a strange feeling compelled me to remain where I was, and at last he straddled the machine and dragged at the stand. The engine was just ticking over as he paddled it down the miniature drive. I had just moved aside when a matron rushed from the house in apparent alarm. ‘Dick!’ she cried, hurrying after him. ‘What are you doing? You must be mad.’ The boy smiled, and waved a reassuring hand. ‘Don’t alarm yourself, mater,’ he laughed, ‘I’m only going to feel the road, just feel what it is like.’ The lady in grey stood in the pathway, the picture of nervous apprehension, and watched the youth pass through the gateway. The scene is fixed vividly in my mind, although at the time I had no notion of its significance. The grey lady, the little drive lined each side with green velvet and Mrs Simkins pinks, the white-washed cottage in the background, and the indifferent youth. He looked directly at me, but my presence created no more interest than a mere handcart would have done. Straddling the machine he let in the clutch and the machine moved a yard or two on low gear towards the hedge. Directly the wheel touched the grass he stopped the engine, and wheeled the machine back towards the gate. Curiously enough, the lady in grey did not show any surprise, but opened the gate for him to enter and helped him through. It was just after he had pushed the ‘bus back on the drive that a thought occurred to me, and I strode to the gateway. ‘Anything wrong?’ I asked. ‘Perhaps I can give you a hand.’ I was quite close to the lady in grey, but the response came quickly from the youth. He turned, and, with a flushed but smiling face, ‘It’s all right—thanks, thanks.’ And as he moved, away the lady turned to me. ‘He’ll never ride again,’ she said quietly. There was a moment of silence, then she added with a break in her voice: ‘He was blinded in France—no, he will never ride again, the doctor says so.’
“IN CONSIDERING THE MOTOR CYCLE as a whole, the engine presents most scope for improvement and individuality. In consequence it has received the most attention, and though transmission, frames, and springing are all capable of considerable improvement, it is right that the motive power should have first consideration…Not by a very long way have we reached the limit of power output per unit of capacity, nor of thermal efficiency, but steady progress is being made, and the popularity of small engines even for long-distance touring is a sign of the efficiency of modern designs generally…A study of the laws governing gas flow has caused port design to be modified to a very considerable degree, enabling a greater weight of charge to be induced in a given time, and avoiding obstruction to the flow of exhaust gases. This in itself tends to raise the actual compression at large throttle openings, and better cooling has also enabled even higher actual compression ratios to be employed. Easy ingress and egress of the charge brought high revolutions into the realm of possibility, but before these high engine speeds could be used to advantage it became necessary to lighten reciprocating parts so as to avoid undue bearing stress due to the rapid acceleration of masses constantly reversing in direction. This reason has brought the aluminium piston into prominence, and though much trouble was experienced with some early designs, the type has come to stay…The correct location for valves is still disputed by many, but there can be no doubt that a well-designed overhead valve engine is capable of higher all-round efficiency than the side valve type, though a badly-designed overhead valve engine is a thing to be avoided at all costs…Two innovations of recent date show great promise, although they are distinctly unconventional as far as motor cycle practice is concerned. The first of these, the Bradshaw oil-cooled engine, is based on well-proved theories which came to light during research work on aero engines, and incidentally have great possibilities for all types, more especially in the case of multi-cylinder layouts, where direct air-cooling is a somewhat difficult matter. The second example of unusual practice, is the adoption of the Burt single sleeve valve by Barr & Stroud, Ltd, and both bench tests and road work with the B and S engine have clearly demonstrated the fact that it is possible to combine very high efficiency with almost entire absence of mechanical noise…There are many others which depart from the more commonly used designs in one way or another. The Triumph four-valve single cylinder is not the least important. The ohv Blackburne and the newer JAP power units have points of extreme interest, while lesser known engines such as the CAM, the B and H, and the British Anzani may create for themselves a place in motor cycle history before the year is out. At the present time Tourist Trophy racers are occupying the attention of many designers, and our knowledge in this direction inspires us to say that engine design is undergoing some remarkable changes. One hundred mph by a 500cc engine has not yet been achieved, but we can prophesy that this is only a matter of time—and perhaps not such a very long time. This is a matter for the ‘tuning wizard’ after the designer has completed his work, for it is certainly true—and we do not think any expert in theory will disagree—that whatever speed can be obtained by means of correct design theoretically, the rider-experts—of whom only a few exist—can improve upon it.”
“SPECIALLY BUILT TO WIN FOR ENGLAND the high-speed records at present held by America, the British Anzani racing engine (83x92mm=996cc) is a unit which promises to give an excellent account of itself as soon as it is ready for the track. There are four valves in each cylinder, and these are actuated by means of a special cam gear held in an oil-tight heavily ribbed aluminium case situated above the cylinder heads, each pair of camshafts being driven by two vertical shafts and bevel gearing…In the racing engine aluminium bronze is the material used for the cylinder head, which is carefully machined internally, and is provided with ports of enormous size…each cylinder has two plugs fired by its own double-spark magneto…This engine, it is claimed, has already developed 46hp at 4,000rpm, but even better results are expected. Of the same dimension, the 8-10hp sports model is built on somewhat similar lines to the special racing engine, but is a commercial proposition. On each head there is a bracket supporting the rocker shafts, which run on ball bearings packed with grease; like the racing engine it has four inclined valves to each cylinder. Adjustment for the tappet clearance is provided…The detachable heads, which are of the same design as those fitted to the racing engine, are in this case of cast iron…Die cast aluminium pistons fitted with a scraper ring and strengthened by internal ribs are employed…We are naturally looking forward to seeing the performances of these engines on the road and track. From the ingenuity displayed in their design and the excellence of the workmanship, they will no doubt give an excellent account of themselves.”
“SIR,—MY OVERALLS, BEING EX-WD STOCK, are distinctly ‘baggy’, and at times touch the plug. Thus, when they are thoroughly soaked with water, a circuit is formed along the overalls, through my hands on to the handle-bars giving an unpleasant shock. Have any of your readers been troubled in the same way?
“WILFRID DUPUY, WHO LAST WEEK won his class in the Coeur-Volant hill climb, is the youngest French motor cyclist to possess a driving licence. He is 12 years of age, and had to compete with 501b ballast. He is the son of a director of the Petit Parisien.”
“A MOTOR CYCLE CLUB HAS BEEN FORMED in Worthing and an open trial from Worthing to John o’ Groats, thence to Land’s End and finally back to Worthing, figures on its fixture card. Whether this event has received a ‘permit’ we are unaware, but apparently the Worthing worthies believe in tempting Providence, for the club flag is to be blue with a white circle, ‘inscribed with the figures thirteen in red’.”
“IN LOOKING BACK OVER THE YEARS one now sees that in 1913, say, it would have been a very safe prediction to have anticipated a great future for the sound, sturdy, and well-made 3½hp single-cylinder, which was then really coming into its own. That we are on the eve of another similar epoch is felt by most of those who are in close sympathy with the motor cycle movement. To-day, however, the decade on which we are opening will assuredly be the decade of the 2¾hp single. Typical ‘3½’ machines have outgrown themselves and developed into heavy mounts far more suitable for sidecar work than for even merely occasional solo riding. True a sports type of ‘3½’ has developed, but it is the result of the demerits of its overgrown parent, and for the average rider it remains a type that novices still regard as being too weighty, too fast, and too powerful. A machine for the man who invariably rides solo, yet who yearns not habitually for the joy of freak hill conquering nor for the thrill of ultimate speed, need have no greater cylinder capacity than 350cc. Such an engine will give all reasonable speed, may indeed give more speed than many roadster 4hp models, will climb any reasonable hills, and most unreasonable ones, and, finally, will provide occasional trans port for two, either by pillion or by sidecar. Just as the 4hp has become a passenger model used for occasional solo work, so has the 2¾hp single stepped up to take the vacated place as the ideal solo mount which at the same time is quite suitable for occasional passenger work. That the foregoing thoughts were inspired by the use we recently enjoyed of a 2¾hp three-speed Raleigh may be taken as greater commendation of the machine than anything we might say of the actual machine’s performance under this, that, or the other circumstance. Handed over to us almost immediately after the ACU stock machine trial, the machine under review was in the condition in which it finished that event wherein it gained a special certificate of merit as a standard stock machine. Without any chance to become familiar with it, it was driven straight into the densest London traffic, and subsequently used for running in and out to business and a week-end’s pottering, as well as subjected to tests on rough surfaces and hills. In all respects it gave good results such as one would expect from a machine bearing the distinguished name it carries and finished so handsomely as it appears to be. Ridden solo the machine’s performance on ordinary hills was such that no use of the gears was called for on Surrey main roads, but departures into by-tracks occasionally demanded second, and on one occasion even produced knocking on that ratio, which caused a further drop to low; this, however, was due to a combination of mishandling and very low speed. A pillion passenger’s extra weight on one jaunt proved that the machine was not appreciably slowed on hills by the double load, but,
of course, the ability to climb hills slowly on top gear was reduced. Owing largely, no doubt, to its outside flywheel, the c Raleigh engine pulls exceptionally well at low speeds and in moderate traffic; its top gear of 5½ to 1 (roughly measured) is all that is needed in conjunction with the lightly-operated clutch. In very dense traffic middle gear was advisable and a smooth restart, even on gradients, could be made. Low gear was found to be too low for convenient handling of the machine in traffic on level roads, and should never be needed except on single-figure hills. Maximum speed is not abnormal, but it has a useful pace, and at 38-40mph engine vibration is not unpleasantly discernible. Riding position (and steer- ing) is excellent, and both feet may remain firmly on the rests, even when the heel-brake pedal is in use on the near-side. The top gear position of the gear-control lever is rather out of reach, and might be higher with advantage. On the actual machine we tested petrol consumption was rather high, between 90 and 95mpg being obtained; 115 to 120mpg should normally be obtained with this size of engine. Starting from cold was also none too easy, unless liberal injections were made. Both faults, however, could no doubt be eradicated at once by suitable carburetter adjustments. To sum up in a sentence, we consider that the 2¾hp Raleigh, without being superlative in any one direction, combines as many sound and workmanlike qualities as one would wish to find in a mount; withal the value for money is good, for it is sold at a competitive price.”
“FROM TIME TO TIME THERE APPEAR in print indictments against what it pleases certain writers to term the ‘super-knut’. They tell us he bestows lavish care upon his person, bedecking himself in much earnest in helmet, goggles, and generally conspicuous clothing, while in many cases his mount is obviously lacking the most elementary attention. That he may be recognised in any crowd as a motor cyclist, they would have us believe is a crime in itself. They draw for themselves pictures of this indelicately equipped person, generally, be it said, grossly exaggerated, and then we are treated to a long dissertation on ‘making the countryside hideous with dense volumes of smoke and ear-splitting reports—all part of a plan to attract attention’. The necessary connection between wide TT handle-bars and a riding helmet, or even between an open exhaust and blue smoke, is hard to see. That nuisances do exist is not to be denied, and much to be regretted, but I very much doubt if the abandonment of the riding helmet, brightly hued scarf, etc, would produce a wonderful change in the countryside. Take the ordinary family man, who, far from being a road-hog, is content, perhaps, with a comparatively ancient machine, and whose use of the roads is limited to week-ends. After his first two or three ventures in true November weather he decides that the ordinary cap, or soft felt, leaves much to be desired in the way of comfort when riding; that an upturned coat collar is hardly proof against the cold winds he is going to contend with; and again that something to augment the so-called freedom from mud which his machine affords, and at the same time maintain as warm limbs as possible, is very desirable. For this man, if he is to equip himself for his job, as all other sportsmen do, naturally turns to articles specially designed and sold to meet his need, so we find him wearing leather fleece-lined helmet, woollen scarf, and leather knee-boots—and arrayed thus he becomes, automatically a super-knut so called. How would the sight of Tottenham Hotspur playing football in dancing-pumps or a cricket team playing in boxing-gloves appeal to these critics of ours? And yet the motor cyclist, because he is such, is to be precluded from equipping himself in accord with the requirements of his sport. Again I say that the riding helmet does not have such a deleterious effect on the brain of the wearer as to compel him to ride a real hog-bus, famous for noise, smoke, and finding the killjoys.
EVERY YEAR SINCE 1906 The Blue ‘Un had published a Buyers’ Guide. The marques listed for 1922 were: ABC, Abingdon, AJS, Alecto, Allon, American X, Ariel, Armis, Atlas, Banshee, Bat, Beardmore, Blackburne, Bown, British Radial, British Standard, Bradbury, Brough, Brough Superior, BSA, Campion, Carfield, Calthorpe, Cedos, Chater-Lea, Cleveland, Clyno, Connaught, Corona, Cotton, Coventry Eagle, Coventry Victor, Coulson, Dane, Diamond, Dot, Douglas, Dunelt, Duzmo, Economic, Edmund, Endurance, Excelsior, Francis-Barnett, FN, Gamage, Grigg, Hack, Hawker, HB, Haden, Harley-Davidson, Hagg, Hazlewood, Henley, Henderson, Hobart, Humber, Indian, Invicta, Ivy, Ixion, James, JES, JNU, Kempton, Lea Francis, Levis, Lincoln Elk, LMC, Martinsyde, Massey Arran, Matchless, Marlow, Mars, Metro-Tyler, Monopole, Mohawk, MPH, Motorped, Mountaineer, Neal-Dalm, Ner-a-Car, New Comet, New Hudson, New Imperial, New Scale, Nickson, Norton, Norbeck, NUT, OK, Omega, Paragon, Pax, Peters, Powell, Priory, PV, P&M, Quadrant, Radeo, Raleigh, Ready, Reading Standard, Revere, Reynolds, Rex-Acme, Rockson, Royal Enfield, Royal Scot, Rover, Royal Ruby, Rudge-Multi, Rudge, Sarco Reliance, Scott, Skootamota, Silver Prince, Sirrah, Sheffield Henderson, Southey, Stanger, Sun Vitesse, Sunbeam, Supremoco, Trump, Triumph, Unibus, Verus, Victoria, Vindec, Velocette, Wool, Wooler, XL, Zenith, Zephyr. To save you counting, that’s 139 marques—of which 85, including P&M, concentrated on a single model. Among the household names, AJS offered two; Ariel, four; BSA, two; Matchless, two; Norton, two; Triumph, four; Velocette, two.
“THERE ARE SOME WHO MAY CRITICISE the organisers of the ACU Western trial for arranging an event scheduled to cover 230 miles so early in the year. Nevertheless, they can hardly be blamed for the extraordinary conditions which prevailed on Saturday last [All Fools’ Day]. Starting from Clent in the early morning, the roads were frozen and dusty, and though an icy wind was blowing there was every prospect of the hills being in dry condition. Before reaching Cheltenham the roads were covered with snow, and only a few miles further on the route was blocked by four-foot drifts, no traffic being possible in places. A detour was made, but for a matter of 35 miles progress was but little more than a fast walk, and near Warmley the roads were again impassable. Conditions improved on nearing Bristol, but so great was the delay that the stewards wisely decided to conclude the trial at Clevedon—originally intended as the lunch stop. After a stewards’ meeting it was
announced that all solo riders who reached the finish, and all drivers of passenger machines to check in either at Tetbury or Clevedon, would be awarded a special silver medal, to rank as a first-class award, and to be engraved with the words ‘Western Centre Arctic Trial’. This decision was received with cheers by the assembled competitors, and certainly anyone who reached the finish, by whatever means, richly deserves his medal. Never before have we seen anything to equal the snowbound roads in the West of England, and it is many years since such a snowfall has occurred in these parts. Falls were frequent, and it was not uncommon to find an exhausted solo rider lying where he fell, after struggling through the drifts, while drivers of passenger machines took it in turns to lift, push, and man-handle each other’s vehicles through masses of snow at least two feet deep in places…Even in the Scott trial we have never witnessed, nor experienced, so many falls per mile, yet the greater the difficulties the more the riders became obsessed with the idea of reaching Clevedon…Of 127 entrants, 43 solo men reached Clevedon and 39 sidecars, three-wheelers, and cars reached either Tetbury or Clevedon, thus qualifying for medals.”
“THE BROKEN PROMISE. ONE OF the conditions of the ACU consenting to run the TT races in the Isle of Man this year was that an electric crane should be erected on Douglas quay. Now the IOM people say that such a crane cannot be erected; a story we have heard before, but where there’s a will…!”
“A REPORT HAS JUST BEEN RECEIVED to the effect that the TT course is in an appalling condition in parts, the mountain road being badly cut up by the haulage of loads of stones by means of steam wagons. The matter has been brought to the notice of the Highway Board, who are giving it their immediate attention, and we understand a large staff has been engaged to put the roads into a thorough state of repair.”
“IT CANNOT BE SAID THAT the average young motor cyclist has a commercial mind, but the exception proves the rule, and the following small advertisement makes interesting reading: ‘Experienced motor cyclist in London, NW district, offers sporting ladies or gentlemen desiring exhilarating country rides the comfortable pillion seat on his special solo motor cycle; 6d per mile; distance no object; passenger weight limit nine stones.'”
“THE MOTOR CYCLE PENETRATES into the farthest corners of the earth, where its utility is appreciated as much as at home. Fourteen patrol men of the Honolulu police are now to be mounted on motor cycles. The United States of America was the pioneer country of motor cycle police. They were first adopted by the City of Chicago in 1910; there were 25 motor cycle police in 1913, and now 50 new Hendersons have been supplied to the force. This is irrespective of others allotted to various parks in the city.”
“WHAT A FINE FELLOW IS THE MOTOR CYCLIST who keeps his machine in the centre of one of our great industrial cities. How proudly can he hold up his head and look down upon the ordinary citizen tied down to the crowded train, the bumping bus, or the ever-stopping tram! Never was there such a rider. Grease holds no terrors for him. Necessity has made him skilful. No one would ride wet traffic-bethronged roads for choice, but the town-dweller must perforce traverse them on occasions to reach the country and again to reach home. See him thread his way through the densest traffic; spurting ahead through the narrowest opening, stern of face and yet happy, ready to check at a moment’s notice, and wary lest aught meet him from the side street or crossing. He is not to be caught napping. Ever alert, he becomes immune from accident, since caution combined with skill prove to be his sure protection. Doubtless he envies his country friend, who has his own private motor house, where he can tinker o’nights and at week-ends, slip on to the great highway, and cover half of England before he sees a tramline. But he has not the joy of reaching the country after miles of traffic and rough roads. Once the unpleasantness is over the open road is all the more appreciated. We are all better suited to enjoy our pleasures if we do not attain them without a little trouble, and the breath of the sea is all the sweeter to him whose lungs mostly inhale a less pure atmosphere…There are few more interesting studies of the town motor cyclist than to see him issuing in his hundreds along the great arteries radiating from the industrial centres at the week-ends. Young men on their motor cycles or sidecar outfits with their sweethearts or wives, and the older men on their family buses. All with the same happy if tense look, bent on taking their meal on the wind-swept common, on the wooded hill-top, or by the silver sea, or perhaps on visiting some distant relative or friend. No nation has learned the joys of the motor cycle better than Great Britain, and it is curious indeed that other countries have not even commenced to realise its advantages…
Come, fill the tank with petrol, and fill the flask with tea,
Pack up the food in the old tin box and leave the town with me.
Soon we’ve left the tramlines, the air blows sweet and free,
And we’ll sail o’er the hill to the field by the mill where the stream flows down to the sea.
And then in the shade of the ev’ning, back to our home we’ll ride,
To sleep and dream of the swift-flowing stream and the joys of the country ride.”
“ALTHOUGH THE FIRST OF ITS KIND to be attempted in Australia, the NSW ‘Six Days’ proved to be a great success. Of 38 entries received 24 faced the starter. It was very unfortunate that wet weather was experienced during the trial, as the rain was responsible for the failure of some of the competitors. On the whole, however, the trial proved the reliability of the motor cycle, and it should also create a greater interest in the sport.”
“R BLACKBURN, ACKNOWLEDGED TO be South Africa’s champion heavyweight rider, will very shortly be seen in Natal competitions with a new racing Harley-Davidson, which has just been unpacked. The new machine is of the eight-valve track type, and is certified as having accomplished the speed of 112mph in America.”
“THE EARLIEST RECOGNITION BY PARLIAMENT of the use of mechanically-propelled road vehicles was in 1831, when a Select Committee of the House of Commons was appointed to inquire into the tolls imposed on coaches and other vehicles propelled by steam or gas on common roads.”
“SINCE THE INTRODUCTION OF THE 8HP BSA, the 6hp engine, which has already earned a good reputation, has been relegated to a lighter frame, and in its present form it is particularly well adapted to pull a light or medium weight sidecar. The machine in its standard form is remarkably well equipped with cast aluminium chain cases, comfortable footboards, and a spare detachable rear wheel may be supplied. In addition to all these fittings the actual model placed at our disposal Was fitted with Lucas Magdyno lighting set, a pair of most practical leg shields, and the large sheet aluminium windscreen which attracted so much attention at the last Motor Cycle Show at Olympia. As the screen is the most noticeable fitting, it is as well to deal with it first and to sum up the pros and cons. The writer, who usually chooses a more or less sporting solo mount for his own use, seated himself behind the protecting wings of the big screen with a feeling which almost amounted to prejudice, and a tendency to look round or over the shield had to be consciously restrained for the first few miles. After a short time, however, the folly of such a
procedure became obvious, for the view of the road obtainable through the adjustable celluloid window is ample for most driving purposes. Just to begin with, the window was kept open for about six inches, but a cold head wind encouraged a trial with the window totally closed. Having once discovered the advantages of full protection, the feeling of security and comfort steadily increased, and after driving through an adverse hailstorm in the dark the conquest was complete. There is no doubt whatever that an adequate shield would be a blessing to hundreds of motor cyclists who ride daily through the winter, and the BSA Co are certainly on the right lines with their somewhat daring introduction. Concerning the head resistance, it would appear that this is but slight, for although the machine was ridden for nearly three hundred miles both with and without the shield, it was in position when the highest speed was actually accomplished. Few experimental devices are without disadvantages in their early forms, but the disadvantages of the BSA shield are not of major importance, neither are they by any means insuperable. Firstly, on rough roads the metal shield is apt to be noisy in itself; secondly, it intensifies any mechanical noises of the motor cycle; and thirdly, a trip over dry roads brought to light the fact that a certain amount of dust was sucked up behind the screen and was apt to get in the rider’s eyes. Now as to the 6hp BSA, the engine is flexible and free from any serious periodic vibration. The flexibility and economy are materially increased by a simple jet control, conveniently placed on the top of the tank. This fitting is likely to become standard in the future, and it is certainly most useful. In addition to the normal handle-bar control we found an experimental knee clutch operation very convenient; in fact, the hand control was seldom used; the clutch itself is sweet in action. Gears are easily changed, but a more decided stop in the middle gear position would be an advantage, and a slight tendency to drag made the neutral position a little, difficult to find. On the whole, the engine was quiet; certainly much quieter than a 1921 model which was tested on a previous occasion. Mechanical lubrication is a very strong point, for not only does the BSA oscillating pump relieve the rider of all worry, but, in conjunction with the roller and ball
bearing engine, it is remarkably economical. The rear brake is admirable, and the chain transmission smooth at all but low speeds on top gear, and we found the riding position, combined with a Terry saddle, ideal for sidecar work. During our road experience, which included much of the Colmore Cup Trial route, the machine performed steadily throughout; it is capable of a good turn of speed, and appears to revel in long runs on generous throttle openings. Hill climbing is well up to all reasonable requirements, and the engine remains clean externally even after a long, fast trip. Cleanliness is certainly a feature of the machine, and the mudguards are excellent. With the leg shields in position we found no need for leggings even under he worst road conditions, and the screen protects the rider so admirably that there is no necessity for any special apparel other than a rainproof coat. It should be explained that the leg shields are held in position by clips, and can be swung away instantly in order to get at the engine. The sporting model sidecar is comfortable, and the step is of great assistance to the passenger; the seat, however, is a fraction too far back.”
“I WILL ADMIT THAT I WAS RATHER SCEPTICAL when a friend recommended me to purchase a motor attachment for my pedal cycle. I wished to journey to Devonshire, and I was doubtful if the ‘Cyclotracteur’ would negotiate all reason able hills. Inspired by a spirit of adventure, I made the plunge—twenty guineas and my faithful old pedal cycle became a motor vehicle. On a Thursday I wired my friends that I was due to arrive at Stotehayes, near Yarcombe—a matter of 150 miles—on Friday. ‘What an optimist!’ I said to myself. Within a few minutes of mounting my bicycle—if the truth be known I was a bit nervous—I found I was quite au fait with the simplest of controls and was sailing along at a good speed and with ease, leaving Edgware Road at 11.30am. Having safely negotiated all the tramlines, I found myself on the Staines Road. What a wonderful run it is through Virginia Water! A great wide road with a good surface, firs on either side, and a pleasant little surprise in a picturesque waterfall on the right-hand side of the road. Knowing how easy it was to start up my little machine, I had no compunction in pulling up, propping it against the side of the road and taking in the beauties that existed on all sides. Off again on a splendid spin to Sunningdale, I found the level crossing gates closed, and so decided to lunch at the Sunningdale Hotel. After a three-quarters of an hour’s rest I continued my journey, and passed through Bagshot and Farnboro’, where I took in some petrol: the little tank holds nearly a quart, which is sufficient for about 50 miles. I had tea at Andover after travelling 63 miles. The distance between Andover and Salisbury—18 miles—was covered in 59min. It is a wonderful stretch through open country on a switchback road, mounting all the time, the downs stretching out for miles on either side, with splendid views. I stopped at Salisbury for refreshment, and proceeded to Wilton, where I decided to stay for the night. This is a charming old-world village, and distant from London 88 miles. After a dinner composed of wonderful Wiltshire bacon and tomatoes, I went to the local inn, and there heard the local gossip discussed over pots of cider, and so to bed—as Pepys would say. From Wilton next morning at 10.30 I journeyed through Shaftesbury, where I stopped for an hour, then down into Sherborne. The country was getting more hilly every mile, but still my machine ‘carried on’ in game fashion. I reached Sherborne, lunched at the Half Moon, and had a long rest, visited the Digby Arms and took in petrol, and so into Yeovil, famous for its leather tanning and glove making. It is a beautiful run from there into Uminster and on to Chard. Here I stopped for tea and started off on the long hill that leads from Chard into Yarcombe. Devonshire at last! My destination was a fishing cottage on a farm about one and a half miles from Yarcombe and down a country lane. At the bottom of the lane is a ford across the River Yartey, and a small wooden bridge only 1ft in width. It was here I found an advantage of my machine, being able to get it across the bridge. A larger mount might have necessitated a detour of some six miles to reach my destination. I took the Cyclotracteur over the bridge, across some fields, and arrived, having covered 150 miles on one and one-third gallons of petrol and a shillingsworth of oil. Later, as an experiment, I rode through the ford without detriment to the engine, which is placed above the front wheel. I do not think I remember having enjoyed a trip more than this one. I carried my luggage on a carrier at the rear, the total weight, including myself, being about 200lb.
“MERE MALE READERS MAY BE ALARMED to hear that one of the only three clean ascents at a first attempt of a freak hill included in the Liverpool MC’s opening run was made by a lady motor cyclist, Miss Cottle, whose driving skill was, incidentally, one of the outstanding features of two of last year’s open trials in North Wales. There were 92 entrants.”
“NEWS THAT THE 3½HP GNOME et Rhône motor cycle is eventually to be placed on the British market is interesting, in view of the fact that one of these machines completed the 2,334 miles the Tour de France without the loss of a single mark, tieing with the AB which hails from the same factory. The designer of the Gnome et Rhône is an Englishman, Mr K Bartlett.”
“EARLY LAST WEEK WD MARCHANT, riding a Sheffield-Henderson with a new 250cc ohv Blackburne engine, gained the British mile record at a speed of 72.89mph, and the kilometre at 71.96mph. He then went for the inter- national (mean speed) records, covering the mile at the rate (average of two runs) of 71.42mph, and the kilometre at 71.88mph—truly wonderful speeds for so small an engine. On the following Thursday the same rider and machine created new records for the hour and the 50 miles, his speeds being respectively 58.89mph and 58.99mph, over 3mph increase on the previous bests.”
“GALES AND GRADIENT PROVED UNCOMMONLY difficult obstacles in this year’s London—Land’s End Trial, the record-breaking Eastertide event of the MCC to decide the soloist and sidecar driver to hold the President’s and Captain’s Cups respectively for another 12 months. Not only was Beggar’s Roost included in the stiffened edition of last year’s route as a climax to a very possibly almost impassable Lynton. but the ‘O i/c Gales’ apparently went holiday-making, leaving his south-west army to wage war against the luckless Land’s End men. Rain provided the finishing touch—stinging rain which was almost indistinguishable from hail…Porlock may always be relied on to relieve one or two of their gold medals; this year it was again the deciding factor for the trophy awards —nearest to 20mph up the first mile winning—and in consequence anxiety bred failure in several cases. As a hill it is the least difficult of the three included in the trial. Porlock’s two hairpin turns of terrifying steepness formed the first real ‘stumbling block’ in the course of the trial. On Saturday the surface of soft red clay and loose sharp stones was adversely affected by the previous heavy rains, and many of the competitors failed on, or just after, the first bend…Probably because of their low bottom gears many of the lightweight riders took the first turn in splendid style, notably SG Wooldridge (349cc AJS) and ARH Stewart (348cc Raleigh). FE Salter (496 Zenith-Bradshaw) had rather bad skid, and fell just before the turn…Much excitement was caused when WH Julian (996cc Matchless sc) took the turn too fast and skidded across the road. In the haste to get away again he baulked two other Matchless sidecars (G Nott and DS Parsons), which, however, just managed to scramble through the restricted road passage…WP Brandon (550cc Triumph sc) stopped right on the bend and caused an exciting obstruction, involving three other machines. GR Claridge (550cc Triumph sc) made an outstanding climb…The road over Exmoor and down Countisbury hill to Lynmouth had only been opened on the previous week-end after the recent heavy snowstorms in the neighbourhood, but its general condition was by no means worse than usual; lingering remains of once 6ft-deep snowdrifts indicated what might have been had Easter been a little earlier this year. Most of the riders used their engines as brakes on Countisbury, and oiled plugs were not uncommon at Lynmouth…When the surface is out of condition there are three bad spots on Lynton Hill. The first is at the first corner, where it is well-nigh fatal to cut in on the inside; the second is a steep, loose patch about 100 yards higher, and the worst is a stiff pull about 200 yards beyond. Recent heavy weather on this occasion rendered the bill at its worst…Praise must be, and was on the spot, awarded to the veteran FW Applebee (211cc Levis), who with his engine misfiring slightly, skidded on the corner, used his feet to recover, and got away again very well. CH Mocatta (349cc AJS) narrowly
missed being baulked by a cart. BN Taylor (349cc Hagg Tandem) arrived very late, took the corner too fine, stopped, and eventually went up running beside his machine, which was not an easy task…Because of the stops and baulks, particularly on the upper portion of the hill, it was almost impossible to say who did, or might have done, well, and the promoters of the trial will have some difficulty in sorting things out to universal satisfaction. It was noticeable that, despite these troubles, the competitors showed the utmost good humour, whilst the marshals did their best to keep track of things and to help those who needed it. The cause of the trouble, of course, was the unutterably loose surface made worse by recent showers. The beginning of one turmoil was the failure of AJ Agg (799cc AJS sc). He baulked A Greenwood (976cc Brough- Superior sc), who passed it on to WH Bashall (678cc Martinsyde sc), and then JT Bashall (678cc Martinsyde sc), G Baxter (678cc Martinsyde sc), BE Belfield (989cc Harley-Davidson sc), TH Weaver (796cc Sirrah sc), and AH Carnt (532cc Scott-Squirrel sc) all became involved. This was typical of the day…Thence followed the culminating ascent of the Devonshire Hills, namely, Beggar’s Roost, on the edge of the village of Barbrook Mill…the steepest section is 1 in 3.64, and for the whole three-quarter mile length of the bill the gradient averages about 1 in 7. Spectators gathered in the early hours-the first man was due at 7.48am—some keen enthusiasts being content to munch sandwiches in lieu of breakfast, which some of the Lynmouth district hotels fought shy of providing so early. It was fine with a strong wind blowing up the hill FA Longman (Ariel), last year’s Jarrott Cup winner, led the way in company with E Pond (550cc Triumph) and PL Wills (499cc Rudge), followed by an official Morris car piloted by LA Baddeley…EW Spencer’s 497cc Douglas toyed with the precipitous gradient, whilst OS Bridoutt (499cc Dunelt) slewed around in the road and had to touch with his feet, but kept going, nevertheless…JA Newman (497cc Douglas) was good, but his right eye was blackened, apparently through a fall. Then a roar, and two riders in close company charged round the bend at speed—they were G Brough and S Ratcliffe (976cc Brough Superiors)…Young’s 292cc OK Junior raised a laugh among the crowd by steering straight for a spectator sitting on the bank, who promptly fell on his back with his legs in the air. Then the sidecars started in earnest, WA Fell-Smith (976cc Brough-Superior sc) forming the vanguard, and incidentally clearing the over-zealous spectators who meandered aimlessly in the road while natural banks awaited them. Clifford Wilson (653cc Quadrant sc) stopped, but was able to see Pidgeon on a similar outfit go up well. More sidecars followed, Ross and Boxer among a remarkably big Matchless representation, doing well. Watson (994cc Ariel sc) got over the critical 1 in 3.64 by vigorous bumping on the saddle…’Hard luck!’ exclaimed the onlookers as Harris (550cc Triumph sc) came to a standstill after manfully breasting the steepest bit; Glendinning’s 998cc Rex outfit stopped at precisely the same spot. Tait (980cc Brough-Superior sc) stopped with his driving-wheel churning up the stones. Davidson’s 596cc Indian Scout outfit repeated the performance, and he burnt out the clutch in attempting a re-start. White (996cc Sunbeam sc) stopped, and then perfect chaos prevailed as a bunch of sidecarists in close company attempted the hill. Some were baulked, and the officials took their depositions in the midst of the climb instead of clearing the course for the next men. Mackenzie (745cc Humber sc), Guiver (996cc Matchless sc), Cocks (598cc Beardmore-Precision sc), Attwood (548cc Hawker sc), were all at one time at a standstill within a space of 20 yards. The 100mph exponent CG Pullin (749cc Douglas sc) disappointed everybody by stopping; Hann (980cc New Imperial sc) also stopped, as well as Nelson (550cc Triumph sc)…White (800cc AJS sc) stopped, due to wheelspin; Nott (Matchless sc) was slowly overhauled by Parsons, who actually struck Nott’s stand, but managed to keep going; Jones (996 Matchless sc) stopped low down the hill, but Wood (633cc Norton sc) got over the steep pitch and then unaccountably failed. The sidecar men found Beggar’s Roost a tough proposition, and another bunch of machines were strewn about the hill at this point awaiting assistance from willing helpers…There
was surely never such a scene; anxious spectators yelled themselves hoarse to clear the road of a Harley, two Matchlesses, and an Enfield; excited sidecar passengers joined in, and pandemonium prevailed…Hoult (993cc Matchless sc) relieved the monotony, sending a shower of gravel from his driving wheel among the spectators, now scattered all over the roadway…Strong (989cc Harley-Davidson sc), a plucky rider minus legs, who had to be assisted while a passing shower cooled the willing helpers, and Gripper (Morgan), who made an excellent ascent…On via Simonsbath, South Molton, and Umberleigh Bridge to another check at Great Torrington the road was often exceedingly tortuous, and in the neighbourhood of Umberleigh Bridge there were hills of considerable severity. Added to this the gale seemed ever-increasing in intensity…IP Brettell on the 370cc Connaught outfit was noticed gamely fighting a losing battle with the head wind. A little further on HW Harrington’s 349cc Douglas with the draught-board tank was overtaken in trouble from the same cause, and indeed there were few of the solo lightweights or passenger outfits which did not find difficulty in keeping to schedule over this section. Driving, too, was most unpleasant; it was almost impossible to open more than one eye at a time; AG Cocks (598cc Beardmore sc) left the road entirely at one stage and went ploughing over the moor to the considerable detriment of his front fork, although on the whole the Beardmore stood it remarkably well. All the way to the Launceston lunch stop and for the first hundred riders or so right into Bodmin the blinding rain continued, and it was no uncommon sight to meet people returning in disgust; it was however, quite impossible to decipher their numbers as they sped homewards. FW Becker (688cc McKechnie sc) sustained the last straw in this section in the shape of a puncture in the sidecar tyre…Land’s End was reached by the vanguard of the surviving soloists shortly after four o’clock, but it was well past lighting-up time before the last competitors finished the memorable 312 miles ride. In winning the President’s Cup, presented by JK Starley, Esq, a remarkable performance was made by AG Wall (398cc ABC). In the official programme Wall was down to ride a Velocette, but he elected change his mount at the last minute and was allowed to ride the ABC, a machine with which he was quite unfamiliar. He carried no watch, and broke his speedometer, yet nevertheless rode dead to schedule throughout the run. In the solo class there were 121 entries, nine of them proving to be non-starters; in addition to the President’s Cup winner, 43 won gold medals, 40 were awarded silver medals and 28 retired. Of the 99 sidecar entrants 92 started; of these 17 gained gold medals, 37 silver medals and 36 retired. The cup presented by the captain of the club, Mr WH Wells, was won by FJ Ellis (993cc Matchless sc). One of the sidecar drivers, WH Bashall (678cc Martinsyde), finished the journey, but arrived too late at the finish to gain an award.”
“AS I DROVE UP TO SLOUGH at about 10pm on Good Friday the scene which met my eyes fired my imagination with the idea that I had stepped into another world—a world peopled by strange creatures in gnome-like head gear, with big glass eyes, a wild manner, and a strange language in which they addressed their various weird chariots. The wild stormy night, pouring rain, and fitful moon lent colour to the fancy, and the cold, inadequate light of arc lamps only seemed to show blacker shadows here and there. Coming back to earth I proceeded to examine with interest the 322 entrants for the trial. The excitement was intense, and both building and yard hummed like a hive. Spasmodic pops and bangs and roars came from every quarter, tyres were violently pumped up, nuts and bolts tightened here and there, and refreshments tucked away in handy places…An outstanding feature was a hood on the Matchless sidecar occupied by Mrs Collier. In this case the luggage was carried on the back, and the waterproof hood came right over it and buttoned on to the windscreen. A side curtain had its place on the engine side, and the whole thing looked wonderfully neat and comfortable. The only drawback seemed to be that the passenger could not speak to the driver with the hood up. An extra cushion and lots of chocolates completed this workmanlike outfit…Nearly all the machines carried spare tyres with Parsons chains for the negotiation of Porlock Hill the latter as usual the source of much anxiety—and Ingersoll watches predominated for timing. Most of the outfits carried three or even four watches, but I admired the faith of one Harley-Davidson driver—he carried one Ingersoll Midget…As I strolled along on my tour of inspection I saw a familiar figure on a Levis without whom no trial is really complete. It was ‘Pa’ Appleby—cheery, weather-beaten, and ready for the road in his well-known sou’-wester turned back off his face. A black furry cat in a green ribbon ornamented the handle-bars.’Pa’ announced that he wasn’t going to knock himself up this run, because of the coming TT I have seldom met so great an enthusiast…One lady was particularly neat and workmanlike in a brown leather coat, gauntlet gloves, gaiters, and a beaver-lined driving helmet. I should think it would be almost impossible to get cold in such a costume. Another wore a Burberry over her leather jacket. Many wore just ordinary shoes and stockings, trusting to a travelling rug for warmth round the ankles. I only saw one lady with a muff—a most sensible thing to carry, as it is so much easier to slip one’s hands out of than gloves, and is much warmer. Woolly scarves or mufflers were de rigeur round the neck, no furs at all being worn except in the form of a fur collar on a cloth or leather coat. Woollen, rather than skin, gloves also seemed popular. Although the drivers were all chivalrously concerned about their fair passengers’ comfort, and anxious for them to rest or even sleep part of the time, I was glad to note the keen interest taken by the ladies in the active part of the run. Few intended to sleep at all during the night, and all were more or less responsible for the timing—not such an easy job as it sounds. Methods of carrying the route card were many and various—it was clipped in some cases to the sidecar windscreen, some hung from the driver’s belt, some loose, but nearly all covered in celluloid and framed in leather. One driver had his strapped to his left arm-—rather exposed, I thought, in the event of rain. I think some of the ladies would like to have been driving their own machines, but, of course, such a thing is not yet permitted, though the reason is not obvious on trials of this description. After all, there is none of the danger of racing, and even ordinary speeding entails disqualification.”
“THE RICHMOND MEET—HEAVY AND CONTINUOUS rain spoils popular northern Good Friday rendezvous. Owing to the early date at which this popular meeting of Northern motor cyclists is held, a variety of weather conditions has from time to time attended it, but never previously has the day been so completely spoilt by unbroken downpour as on Friday last. Over 2,000 motor cyclists were expected, and provision made for their reception, but nothing approaching this number materialised. At six on Good Friday morning the officials were out, marking off the square for the various clubs. An hour or so later the rain began, and continued to fall without interlude to the end of the day, entirely obliterating their efforts. The best representation of members was put up by the Middlesbrough Club, followed by Stockton. The Mayor, in his speech preceding the donation of the prizes by the Mayoress, specially commented upon the manner in which the Middlesbrough Club had always upheld the event, and he thought that it was largely due to them that the popularity of the meet has grown so considerably. He extended a cordial invitation to the promoters of the meet to make it in future a three days’ affair, extending over to Easter Monday. The ACU Cup was won by the Berwick club, which unquestionably deserved it, considering the weather conditions and the distance the men had travelled. Scarborough and North London were highly commended. In the smartest lady’s machine, a prize given by Councillor Parnley was won by Mrs Linfoot, of Stockton (2¼hp Levis). A second award went to Miss EC Simkins (2¼hp Clyno), of Darlington. The prize offered by Mr WR Haggas for the most ingenious gadget was won by Harold Walton, of Stockton, whose acetylene headlamp was fitted with an auxiliary electric bulb so that either gas or electricity could be used. The Motor Cycle award for the best protected sidecar outfit went to M Brass, whose 8hp Brough Superior outfit was fitted with ingenious and practical shields to protect the rider. In the award for the lady who had ridden the greatest distance to the meet honours were equal between Miss Bellerby and Miss Procter, both of the Middlesbrough Club (mounted on Harley-Davidson and Triumph sidecars respectively). Miss Bellerby drew the handsome silver tray presented by the Mayor of Richmond, and a further award is to be made to Miss Procter. Mr Longfield’s prize for the best kept solo machine was won by A Hindson of Darlington (2¾hp Blackburne), and that for the best kept sidecar by A Blackburne (Bat)…At the request of the Ilkley Club officials the Mayor concluded the meeting by presenting Harold Sellers with a handsome silver card tray as a recognition from the members of the Ilkley Club for his able services as secretary, and for his good influence generally in motor cycle circles in the North of England.”
“SHEFFIELD MAGISTRATES RELUCTANTLY fined eight offenders £2 each for using motor cycles which were too noisy. In several of the cases it was evident that the noisy machines were used as sold by the manufacturers, and the presiding magistrate said that he was surprised that reputable firms sold machines in such a condition. The defendants were advised by the magistrates’ clerk to sue the firms selling the machines for damages.”
“ONE OF THE MOST ATTRACTIVE-looking big twin sports models that we have yet seen is now being placed upon the market by Dot Motors of Hulme, Manchester. Fitted with the latest side-by-side valve 8hp JAP engine, three-speed Sturmey-Archer gear and all-chain drive, it is eminently suited for fast solo work. A saddle tank and a specially constructed frame with duplex tank rails are distinctive features. Saxon forks, Amac carburetter and IC magneto form part of the specification, and sidecar lugs are incorporated in the frame.”
“‘CAR COMFORT ON TWO WHEELS’ has become so trite a phrase that we hesitate even to use it, but nevertheless it conveys more adequately than otherwise possible the aim of Alexander Motors in producing the vehicle illustrated. Incidentally, the designer, Mr AH Alexander, is the well-known Scottish competition rider. At the outset, it may be stated that, clothed in an ordinary lounge suit without overalls, the driver in the photograph gained a gold medal in a recent muddy trial organised by the Edinburgh Club. Cleanliness is, however, only one of the advantages claimed; absence of skidding is another, for the centre of gravity is low; and cheapness of production should eventually be a third, for the only ‘finish’ consists of enamelling the outer shell, the other parts being ‘waterproofed’, as on a car. Finally, comfort for the rider figures largely in the design, which is sprung front and rear, and provided with a large cushion and backrest; and, if that is not enough, a windscreen will be added, and probably a waterproof apron.”
“TWO AMBITIOUS MOTOR CYCLISTS, FAF Johnstone (550cc Triumph) and ED Hill (348cc Douglas) are endeavouring to ride from Singapore to London. They left on December 21st and rode to Penang. Thereafter they found the roads unrideable, so made, their way along the railway to Patalung, where they joined the roadway and got as far as Rompibun. Getting their machines rigged up so as to be able to ride along the railway track, they were then unable to get the necessary, permission to use the lines, and therefore they went on to Bangkok by train. Owing to the total absence of roads and the nature of the country through which they must pass a considerable portion of their journey will have to be done by train and boat. From Burma they proceed to India, where the roads should present no difficulties, and then pass on to Persia. From Basra it is intended to use the railway attachment through Mesopotamia and on to Constantinople, after which plain sailing is expected. The journey will take about eight months, and the riders carry enough petrol for 600 miles.”
“SUNNY JAPAN. FOR THE BENEFIT of English and American motorists in Japan some rules affecting driving are printed in English. We give herewith a few specimens: ‘When a passenger of the foot hove in sight, tootle the horn—melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage, tootle him with vigour, express by workings of the mouth the warning “Hi! Hi!”…Beware the wandering horse that he shall not take fright as you pass him by. Do not explode an exhaust at him; go soothingly by…Give space to the festive dog that shall sport in the roadway…Avoid entanglement of dog with your heel-spokes…Go soothingly in the grease-mud, as there lurks the skid-demon.'”
“ALL AMERICAN CLAIMS FOR WORLD’S RECORDS in 1921 have been disallowed by the FICM, as the persons responsible have failed to realise that in the case of long-distance records a standing start must be made, and in the case of the mile record, only the average speed after two attempts, one each way, is allowed to made, and in the case of the mile record, was made on a circular track, and it was therefore urged that the mean speed was not required, but the International Federation have insisted that all short distance records must be made in accordance with their regulations.”
“THIS IS HOW A BAD RAINSTORM is described by a French journalist who followed the Tour de France. ‘After Aix heavy clouds pursue us. We try to escape them, but to no purpose. They fall on us, and it is a terrible deluge; torrents of water descend upon us, the rain which falls in cold, penetrating, punishing; it paralyses the bravest hearts. The nature of the surface is difficult. There are roads which are all stones, rough, jolts which provoke numerous short and violent oscillations, dangerous to the mechanism and to the wrists of the drivers. We reached Frejus in a veritable lake of mud. The morning has been disastrous.'” Fortunately, as a local French newspaper reported, “The raging elements do not stop the competition.” Sixty seven riders set out on the 3,700km trial; 40 of them made it to the finish seven of them with clean sheets. The International Tourism Cup went to messrs Borgotti and Rolly (Gnome and Rhone).
“IT IS WELL-KNOWN THAT RAIN WASHINGS of a tar-treated road are apt to kill the fish in any river they may reach. A Joint Departmental Committee appointed by the Ministries of Transport and Agriculture considers that highway authorities should give preference to asphalt bitumen free from tar products for the treatment of roads draining directly into fishing waters.”
“MEMBERS OF THE MCC COMMITTEE, competitors, and officials in the London-Edinburgh run will be made honorary members of the London Country Club for the day, and will be able to make use of the club for the purpose of getting light refreshments in the afternoon and dinner in the evening prior to the start of the run, which takes place on Friday, June 2nd, the day following the Senior TT race in the Isle of Man.”
“POETS AND PAINTERS HAVE RHAPSODISED over the fleecy mist clouds, but the motor cyclist loves them not. They are worse than inky darkness, for they are impenetrable by the strongest lamp, they cling closer than a brother, they make us like unto the Father Christmas of the greeting card—and are altogether soul-killing. To watch a rolling fog from the top of a mountain is fascinating—when the fog is in the valley below or enshrouding some distant peak; to be personally mixed up in one on a motor cycle is an abomination. Those who live in the country and use their motor cycles to get to business in some neighbouring town have been greeted by the fog in their bedrooms, they have looked out of the window on to their own patch of the great round world to see if the said fog was as bad as yesterday, and have discovered it was worse. Then they have buttoned everything which would button, and set off on their journey, hoping that the meandering, unenterprising village cows will not be in the lane, that platoons of ducks and geese will not be slowly waddling to the green or duck pond, and that the school-coming children will have the sense to go to one side of the road or the other. All these daily possibilities past, there is the corner at which the dog always rushes out and which we have in vain endeavoured to kick, and there is the next corner at which we frequently find one or two pigs—apparently stone deaf, and bereft of both sight and sense—crossing the high road at the psychological moment we arrive. They are uncertain enough in blazing sunshine, but in the midst of a fog they are a risk no self-respecting accident insurance company would take. Sundry milk carts returning from the station, driven by boys with their hands deep in their breeches pockets, and whistling with such vigour as to endanger the retention of their front teeth and exclude all other sound, are also to be contended with. Altogether the ride from country to town in recent days has been a trial to those with nerves, even if we did go through ‘the Great War, daddy,’ and in those years take everything as it came, and with our ‘Where did that one go to, Herbert?’ make a joke of things which carried death in their wake. Only the other day the grandmother of a boy who will come into a big estate and a title confided in me thusly: ‘Stephen is bent on having a motor cycle. He’ll probably get his way, too,…if he does, he’ll be certain to be killed. They’re so very dangerous, and he is so venturesome.’ I comforted her by saying I hadn’t been killed yet and that the boy would be quite as safe on a motor cycle as on some of the young horses I’d seen
him riding. There are a line of gates over a highway in Yorkshire along which several motor cyclists pass each morning. On each side are open fields with stock running in them. It is an inconvenience to the farmer if the stock get wrong—the gates are a daily inconvenience to the motor cyclists and others who use the road. The MCs have come to an agreement that the first to reach the said gates will throw them open and leave them so for the benefit of those who follow, the last comer to close them. As in the case of gates out hunting, however, the last man always imagines that there is someone else to come. The result is, the farmer is furious. Motor cyclists have to live their life in that district where folk are very locally minded and where fat sheep and bullocks, turnips and crops are the main topic of conversation. Consequently, with public opinion against them, they, as sensitive fellows, ask, ‘What should we do?’ To fence off those fields would be an expensive undertaking, to dismount five times to open gates is so irritating as to upset the equilibrium of some MCs (who do not salute the happy morn too cheerfully when there’s snow on the ground or lakes in the road). The town motor cyclist knows ‘nowt’ about these field gates over the high road, but we country cousins have much experience—and this is the year of grace 1922, and not the days of stage coaches, of toll bars, and Dick Turpin’s Black Bess which could jump over the gates at a pinch.”
“AT THIS PERIOD OF THE YEAR it is not uncommon to find in our letter bags a small proportion of missives protesting against the Tourist Trophy races, on the grounds that they are valueless to the general public. The fact that there have been fewer than usual of these communications this year may perhaps be regarded as indicative of a more general realisation of their importance. Only superficial observers imagine that the race is run purely for advertisement and immediate gain, and it is safe to say that not a single firm which enters for this classic event fails to learn some lesson of value which is later reflected in the standard product. There are few solo mounts of high repute which do not owe a large measure of their success to lessons learned in the TT, and the Isle of Man course is ideal for developing the very features which the tourist most appreciates. No motor cycle stands a chance of success over the sinuous course unless it steers perfectly, accelerates rapidly, and is fitted with first-class brakes. The necessity for large tyres, sound gears which change easily, and practical transmission, have already been proved. The effect of the long race on engine design, both as regards cooling and lubrication, has been of incalculable benefit, and still further improvements in these respects are likely to accrue as a direct result of the forthcoming races. In addition, the Junior event has been mainly responsible for the high state of efficiency to which the modern 350cc mount (perhaps. the most popular solo machine of to-day) has attained. The Lightweight race, so diligently fostered by The Motor Cycle, has grown considerably in importance, and already the 250cc engine has been brought to a state of perfection which would have been considered almost impossible only a few years ago. It is largely through the Tourist Trophy races that motor cycles are perfected and power output increased apace from a given cubical capacity. Thus the cost of road transport is being steadily reduced as smaller engine sizes become practicable.”
WISDOM FROM IXION: “A CHIEL TAKIN’ NOTES. The croakers say that the crag-and-chamois type of trial will shortly become moribund, as happened to pedal-cycle competitions 30 years ago. I don’t think so. Why? With pleasure. Last Thursday I hied me to the nearest main line railway station. Travelling per ohv Triumph, I naturally arrived well before the train. Standing in the booking hall I spotted two neighbours of mine—public school boys aged perhaps 17 or so. They arrived per baby two-strokes—and to judge from their slippered feet, dishevelled hair, and other clues which my Sherlock Holmes brain read like an open book, they had not yet breakfasted. They had come to collect their weekly copies of the Blue ‘Un off the local newspaper train at 8am rather than wait till the local newsagent handed in the papers at their own door (ten miles away) four hours later. In other words, the growing manhood of the country presents the pastime annually with thousands of recruits whose main obsession is to get hold of some sort of motor cycle and smash it up in sporting events. So the freak trial may very well survive many years after it has ceased to serve any utilitarian purpose.”
…AND PRACTICALITY FROM IXION, leavened with a dash of whimsy…”One of our fair readers makes an irresistible appeal to my chivalry. Will I please put a couple of anatomical pointers to designers of drop-frame machines intended for feminine riders? The first is that they should ascertain the mean, normal, or average length of the feminine leg? They will find it is appreciably shorter than the male. They fail to allow for this in their frame layout, with the result that the fair motorcycliste can only straddle her mount on tiptoe. I am credibly informed that there are ladies on the stage who can remain on tiptoe by the hour, and indeed acquire much wealth and fame by demonstrating this ability. But my correspondent is not an Adeline Genee, and after a few seconds of the exercise her machine generally collapses sideways with a sickening thud. Secondly, will the aforesaid designers kindly set their sisters astraddle the machines they design, and note where the lady’s ankles come. According to my correspondent the odds are several billions to one that the ankle will be adjacent to the knobblesome end of the footrest or footboard spindle. Let the designers then reflect that a slim feminine ankle, clad in filmy stockings of a champagne tint, is adorable; but that a thick ankle, reminiscent of the fetlock of a drayhorse afflicted with glanders, is a noisome object. Wherefore every fair motor cyclist wisely wears the thinnest stockings obtainable. So let the designer attire his own ankles in similar stockings, and then try to rivet over the end of the aforesaid footrest spindle with his ankle bone. He will suffer such acute pain that he will promptly alter the design. ‘Nuf sed?”
“THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT THAT the originator of the TOM windshield has had more than one thorough soaking whilst driving in the face of heavy rain—it is so purely utilitarian. But this device, although not handsome, is rather less forbidding than the metal shield. Legshields, which keep the rider free from mud and create a forced draught of air upon the cylinders, are the first part of the equipment. These shields do not rattle and are quickly detachable. The remainder of the device is a complete shield made of twill, which will keep the driver of the motor cycle almost as dry as the passenger in the sidecar. A small aero windscreen is mounted on the top of two uprights which extend the shield. The model illustrated is fitted to a 4hp Triumph, but a rather improved form was fitted to a Harley-Davidson, which has hand muffs incorporated. Another advantage of the shield is that if the machine is left out in the rain the whole fitting can be hinged backwards to cover the top of the tank and the saddle, since the supports are pivoted on the top tube. The TOM windshield can be obtained from the TOM Syndicate, c/o Sir Walter Townley, KCMG, 3, Temple Avenue, London, EC4.”
“THEY ARE TROUBLED WITH NOISY MACHINES out in the United States just as we are in this country. An American writer’s opinion is stated as follows: ‘What peculiar kink in a man’s mental processes makes it perfectly all right for him to open the muffler and race a motor on a quiet Sunday morning and proceed to shatter the peace and tranquillity of the neighbourhood simply because he iso broad, is beyond us.”
“AT THE BMCRC MAY MEETING on Saturday last there were really only two scenes in the picture, the Brooklands Junior and Senior TT races of 26 laps (70½ miles) and 30 laps (81½ miles) respectively. Naturally, with the Isle of Man TT races in the offing, not a few prospective contestants in the Manx events seized the opportunity of giving their mounts a try-out on the Weybridge track. Out of 34 entrants in the Junior event, 29 faced the starter, and it was not long before it became apparent that CG Pullin (346cc Douglas) had the speed which had made him favourite. He was not having it all his own way, however, for a crowd of Blackburne-engined machines pressed him closely. E Remington (349cc Blackburne) was setting a cracking pace, while A Fraser and GH Williams (348cc Sheffield-Hendersons) both were possible winners if Pullin failed to keep his place for an instant. Meanwhile, the 250cc class was in the midst of its own battle. WD Marchant, the Sheffield-Henderson record- breaker, was going like the wind, albeit seriously challenged by JV Prestwich on the 249cc New Imperial, when a stone or fragment of metal was thrown up on to his oil tank and temporarily stopped his progress. Fraser also suffered a setback, his throttle wire breaking—clearly the luck of the Sheffielders was out. After the first half-hour the stayers began to be distinguishable, as man after man dropped out. E Longden (348cc DOT) suffered a fall, and his machine caught fire. J Whalley (348cc Massey-Arran) was seen no more after his third lap. Tudor Thompson (350cc Douglas) rolled in with his front cover off at the 14th lap, and T Eve (350cc Douglas) and AA Swan (249cc New Imperial) both stopped in their seventeenth laps, the former shedding his engine chain and the latter coming into the depots with a bad misfire. Clearly now it appeared to be Pullin’s race, for at his 21st lap only Remington (Blackburne) was at his heels, although Williams and Fraser (Sheffield-Hendersons), Dequin (348cc Ivy), and Prestwich (New Imperial), the JAP exponent, pressed uncomfortably. Then the unexpected happened. On the last lap one of Pullin’s tappets seized, and his lead was insufficient to enable him to do any more on one cylinder than to run in a close second behind Remington, with Williams and Fraser third and fourth. In the 250cc class Prestwich was miles an hour faster than anyone else, and finished easily a winner. At the fall of the [Senior] flag G Dance (492cc Sunbeam) and FG Edmond (499 cc Triumph) got away beautifully, but J Emerson (494cc Douglas) almost immediately showed superior acceleration and gained a lead he never lost. Pullin and Anstice (496cc Douglases) came in together at their third laps—more tappet trouble, so it was said—FB Halford (498cc Triumph) wobbled rather badly at times, and had two stops for oil-one on his fourth lap! RE Dicker (499cc Rudge) broke a valve on his 11th lap, and E Searle (499cc Sheffield-Henderson), who was going really well, suffered a cruel stroke of ill-luck—the valve spring cup shearing out its centre, allowing the valve to drop into the cylinder. J Connor (482cc Scott) was gradually improving his speed, but oiled a plug on the ninth lap; subsequently he settled down to a steady ’63’ and kept it up. H Nicholson (496cc Martinsyde) met his Waterloo in valve trouble- at his 13th lap. Sheraton (490cc Norton) and Wallace (496cc Duzmo) were consistent but slow. When Dance (Sunbeam) and Woodhouse, Halford and Edmond (Triumphs) had completed their tenth laps, Emerson’s Douglas was screaming along in its 11th circuit—clearly he had the pace to win. When two-thirds of Emerson’s race was over Dance had disappeared, and at the start of his last lap Halford, Edmond, Gayford (496cc Douglas), Connor (Scott) and Sheraton (Norton) were respectively four, five, six, eight and eight laps behind him; and his luck, speed, and fine riding all held good. During the race Emerson broke the 50-mile British record for 50 miles in 38min 5.07sec (78.77mph); also the hour record, covering 78 miles 1,601 yards at a speed of 78.91mph. Results. 250cc: 1, JV Prestwich (249cc New Imperial) 56.83mph; 2, A King Smith (247cc Morris) 48.41mph; 3, W Handley (250cc OK Junior) 47.16mph. 350cc: 1, E Remington (349cc Blackburne) 61.63mph; 2, CG Pullin (346cc Douglas) 61.07mph; 3, GH Williams (348cc Sheffield-Henderson) 59.89mph. 500cc: 1, J Emerson (496cc Douglas) 78.93mph; 2, FB Halford (498cc Triumph) 68.89mph; 3, FG Edmond (499cc Triumph) 66.79m.h.
“THERE IS NO DOUBT THAT it is a modern tendency to favour the small high-efficiency type of engine. It is generally speaking more easy to get the utmost efficiency out of a small engine than out of one of larger capacity. The small engine, moreover, is necessarily lighter, more economical and, if properly designed, can be induced to give practically the same results as one of larger size. Messrs Burney & Blackburne have certainly done wisely in introducing a new 5-6hp overhead valve engine suitable for sports models and fast sidecar outfits. The engine is composed of two 350cc cylinders, and may be had in two patterns: short-stroke, 71x88mm, 626cc, or long-stroke, 71x97mm, 768cc. In general appearance it is decidedly attractive. The cylinders are set at 60°, and the arrangement of the valve gear is almost identical with that of the well-known 350cc TT engine. The model under consideration can be supplied either with cast iron or aluminium pistons and with ordinary or special cams, with which, its manufacturers claim, it is possible to attain over 80mph.”
“FREAK CONSUMPTION: MOST PETROL consumption trial results may be taken with the proverbial grain of salt. Recently, an event in Christ- church, NZ, was won by the rider of a 580cc twin, which covered 44 miles on slightly less than a pint of petrol—356mpg, which just shows what can be done by taking the matter seriously.”
“AFTER TAKING A TREMENDOUS TOSS the other day on a greasy road, I[xion] consulted three tame experts as to the secret of vertically on grease. The first remarked ‘Speed! Keep the throttle wide open, and she’ll cut through it!’ The second said, ‘Stand on the footrests and leave the bike to balance herself!’ The third replied, ‘Get a hard saddle. These modern comfy saddles chuck your weight all over the place, and, of course, she wobbles.’ In the multitude of counsellors there may be wisdom.”
“A GAP IN THE COMPETITION PROGRAMME is shown up by the entry of two Harper Runabouts in the Scottish Trials,” Ixion remarked, “for this machine is designed for the lady of the villa, the tennis court, the boulevard, and the golf links, rather than for the professional stunt-merchant. Nevertheless, the pair did miraculously well. The whole design is extraordinarily ingenious, and readers should study it in detail when they meet a Harper in the flesh. A machine which cannot skid, climbs practically anything, weighs, next to nothing, and runs on air (almost) is bound to make good. It has a mechanical starter, interchangeable wheels, detachable rims, straight-sided tyres, and all manner of gadgets, while the suspension is admirable. A famous TT rider told me he had done his best to capsize a Harper without success.”
THERE HAS ALWAYS BEEN a very considerable demand for a really light motor cycle to fill the intermediate gap between the pedal cycle and the lightweight motor cycle…the most recent addition to this class is the Airolite, which is about to be marketed by the Small Engines Company, Coventry Road, Birmingham. The manufacturers are responsible for the Simplex 1¼hp pedal cycle attachment…Having a bore and stroke of 50.8×50.8mm (103cc), the engine is of the normal three port two-stroke type…Including luggage carrier, tool bag, number plates, etc, the whole machine weighs less than 701b…It is claimed that the tiny engine will propel a rider of normal weight up all ordinary hills without pedal assistance, and that it will attain a speed of 15-20mph on level roads.”
“NEW ENGINES ALWAYS FASCINATE MOTOR CYCLISTS,” said Ixion, “though we seldom buy them till we get public proof of their stamina. I have often heard of the GRI, but I did not make its intimate acquaintance till the Land’s End run…I pricked up my ears, because its weary owner remarked that he never carried a spare valve, didn’t take any stock of stainless steel, and would guarantee his common or garden 3% nickel steel valve till the last trump blows. So I naturally investigated. This quaint engine has only one valve, which alternately lets in the cold gas and lets out the hot flame. These two streams are prevented from mistaking the carburetter for the silencer by an unlubricated rotary valve, which shepherds everything to its proper destination…But this is only half the tale…5:1 is regarded as quite a high compression ratio and 6:1 as the outside edge of the absolute stunt limit. But the GRI people calmly adopt 6.5:1 as their standard touring compression. If you aren’t engineer enough to know what that means, dear reader, let me say that the more you compress one gasified drop of petrol before you fire it, the bigger punch you’ll get when it goes off; it’s just the difference between the same boxing glove with (a) my left inside it and (b) Dempsey’s left inside it. So the GRI people get 16.8bhp at 4,200rpm out of their 500cc engine, and can easily run it on paraffin if they want to. With an everlasting valve, too. Why isn’t it in the TT? I hear they will use a ratio of over 7:1 on Brooklands ere long.”
…AND HERE’S IXION MAKING A SENSIBLE point in his own inimitable style: A fair correspondent requests me to issue a comprehensive invitation to all motor cycle manufacturers producing ladies’ machines. Will they please attend the next dance in their neighbourhood? If invitation, this will be easy; if subscription, Motorina will forward cost of tickets on request (limit, 1s 6d). On reaching the ball, will these makers select an average British girl apiece (not golf or champions), make the running fierce, presently sit out a dance, and retire to a secluded corner of the conservatory. Having proceeded thus far, the next order of the day is to overcome natural bashfulness, take the fair damsel’s hand and toy with it. While toying with the hand hand, stroke the thumb and forefinger, making careful note of the span. On return to business next morning, let the several manufacturers measure the span required to operate the handlebar clutch levers of their ladies’ models. They will then realise why, when a lady motor cyclist changes gear, she creates a noise like pushing a length of railway line against the teeth of a high-speed circular saw.”
“ON SATURDAY LAST HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS the Duke of York gave his patronage to a motor cycle race meeting at Brooklands in aid of the Middlesex Hospital and the Industrial Welfare Fund. Accompanied by Wing-Commander Greig, MVO, he…was received by the Earl of Athlone, Col F Lindsay Lloyd, Alderman and Mrs Duncan Watson, Messrs AG Reynolds, HPE Harding and DS Parsons. Princess Alice Countess of Athlone, Lady Mary Cambridge, Dame Ethel Locke-King and Mr Walter Kewlay (Secretary of the Middlesex Hospital) were also present. The Duke of York, himself a motor cycle enthusiast, entered a Trump-Anzani and a Douglas, to be ridden by his chauffeur…The [Senior] race proved a runaway affair. Hall’s Trump-Jap waltzed through the half-dozen men who started in front of it, and travelled much too speedily to let the backmarkers come up. On the last lap the rider peered round anxiously to see where Temple on the Harley was laying, and perceiving that no khaki blob was coming up with a wet sail, he eased off, actually riding one-handed for a few yards. Two Douglases hunted him home, but failed to concede the set starts.”
“LAST WEEK THE MOTOR CYCLE CELEBRATED its thousandth consecutive number. Founded at a time when motor cycles were in their chrysalis stage, this journal has actively fostered and encouraged the development of a type of machine which we felt would eventually form the motor vehicle for the million. The motor cycle industry has experienced serious trials, vicissitudes and set-backs. Originally modelled on the lines of a pedal bicycle, with its high frame, short handlebar and comparatively large wheels, it at first possessed a somewhat high centre of gravity which brought it into discredit on account of its consequent instability. The process of evolution towards its present form has been, gradual, and we, who have closely watched its gradual perfection, sometimes marvel at our own early enthusiasm for its crude fore-runners. Originally motor cycles had only a single gear; their round or flat belts were unreliable. Gradually but surely the machine advanced towards perfection in reliability and comfort. Pedal gear was displaced by foot-rests and ‘kick’ starters, rigid forks by comfortable spring forks, a stand to support the machine became a permanent fitting, luggage carriers were added when the machines were found to be capable of transporting the rider’s necessary personal impedimenta, the old unreliable accumulator ignition system gave place to the entirely successful magneto; frames were lowered, change-speed gears—thanks to the campaign initiated by The Motor Cycle in 1906—became standard fittings; reliable and weatherproof forms of transmission made their appearance; and to-day we have a machine equal in reliability to any form of motor vehicle on the road, and one, too, capable of being run at an infinitesimal cost compared with that of the more pretentious car. Hand in hand with the development of the mechanism and design of the motor bicycle itself, the solution of the passenger problem has progressed through its various stages. At first the demand in this respect was satisfied by a simple frail trailer. Subsequently the forecar, and next the tricar, became the vogue; latterly the sidecar has been introduced, and, despite its seemingly unmechanical layout, has proved entirely satisfactory and reliable, so much so that it is the most popular form of motor conveyance on the road to-day. On this auspicious occasion we may be pardoned for referring to the efforts that this journal has put forth in the directions indicated since Number One made its appearance on March 31st, 1903. We have often been paid the compliment that, it was owing to the persistency of The Motor Cycle, together with the introduction of the high-tension magneto at a critical period, that rendered possible the great motor cycle industry that is in existence to-day. Fifteen or sixteen years ago motor cycles were in disrepute-they had failed to
satisfy all at once the over-ambitious expectations that were entertained of them. They were but new to their work—a quite young introduction—but the daily Press, which is ever impatient of innovations, joined in a general condemnation of the seeming intruder. In this connection we have preserved among our records articles of a most damaging char- acter that appeared in some of the newspapers of the time under such headings as ‘Death of the Motor Cycle’, ‘Decline of Motor Cycles’, ‘Failure of the Motor Cycle’, etc. Years of long and patient advocacy and propaganda work were needed to live down these damaging aspersions and to counteract the prejudice that they created in the minds of the unreflecting public. For over six years The Motor Cycle, in face of such uncomplimentary references as those to which we have referred, stood alone, in hoeing, so to speak, a long furrow, by steadily fostering, encouraging, and assisting design, by free comment and constructive criticism, never wavering in our conviction that the motor cycle would win through and eventually triumph over its carping adversaries. Our optimism has been fully justified by results. So soon, however, as the motor cycle had made good by becoming a practicable road vehicle, and the industry showed signs of attaining the huge dimensions it has now reached, those who had poured their scorn upon it and scoffed at it in the days of its weakness now bestowed their blessing, in order, as we suppose, to reap where others had sown. Be that as it may, the motor cycle industry has attained to the distinction of being in a position not only to provide the means of healthy recreation and enjoyment to hundreds of thousands of both sexes, but to give profitable employment to many thousands of workpeople. It is also a point worth noting that the persons who favour the motor cycle as a means of recreation or who use it in connection with their business are of the active and energetic type, upon whom almost more than upon any other section of the community, irrespective of social distinctions, the future prosperity and prestige of the British Empire mainly depends. Besides all this, it is no small matter to be proud of that, by pertinacity in advocating the claims of, and focusing attention upon, the motor cycle, this journal has been the means of retaining for Great Britain an industry the products of which have a wnrld-wide market. In other words, the motor cycle is an article in use the whole world over, and this country remains in unchallenged possession of the facilities for supplying that demand. While many other industries flag through foreign competition, the motor cycle industry more than holds its own. Possibly foreign countries may have been influenced by the pessimism of those who howled down the motor cycle in its early days, while manufacturers at home heeded our own counsel. In peace time the motor cycle has been the means of training the minds of our younger generation in a mechanical direction, which proved of inestimable value to the country in time of war. Many of our most daring and resourceful airmen w ere recruited from the ranks of motor cyclists, whilst votaries of the single-track motor vehicle were found in every branch of the British Army, where their mechanical bent was found of the greatest value. Recognising the big part that motor cyclists were destined to play in the war, The Motor Cycle, at the outset of hostilities opened a recruiting section, rendering services which formed the subject of a letter of warm appreciation from the Army Council. During the war the motor cycle replaced the horse as the mount for the despatch rider, and one successful campaign was carried out by an army mounted on the ubiquitous two-wheeler. From small beginnings the motor cycle has grown to be part of our national life; from an exclusive coterie of about 10,000 riders in 1903, the number of actual motor cyclists registered in this country in creased to the remarkable extent of over 370,000 by the end of 1921.”
IXION,OF COURSE, ALSO MARKED THE 1,000TH EDITION: “I always regret that I wasn’t on the staff when No 1 was published, even if only as office boy. At that date, as far as I can remember, I kept my pot boiling with eloquent articles on poultry and pigeons in a contemporary, whilst my secret muse nurtured itself by publishing verse of mingled amorous and humorous tendencies, treatises on war, and fiction of deplorable badness. Only in September 1904 was this page first inflicted on a long-suffering public. What a staff we had in those days! They deserve to have things dedicated to them like the Early Christians, for only a man of remarkable faith and vision could believe in the motor cycle, as it then was. The originators of The Motor Cycle were not martyred for their opinions, because nobody took sufficient interest to be violent about it; but chaff, ridicule, contempt and financial loss were their portion. But they stuck to their guns, they played their part in fostering and guiding the infant sport and industry. To-day, when all the roads of the world echo to our exhausts, when the motor cycle is every youngster’s passion and dream, when manufacture employs thousands, they have their reward; and one or two of them have lived to see it. Where’s a prophet who can outline the condition of motor cycling at the date when we publish our 2,000th number? I don’t know how the rest of the staff propose to solemnise the anniversary, but I am trying to get hold of the wreck of a front-driven Werner and a trailer, and go out for 100 miles.”
“HOW TO ATTAIN SUCCESS IN MOTOR CYCLE COMPETITIONS. Today, when practically all forms of sport are indulged in by women, it is surprising that more of them do not take up the sporting side of motor cycling. It is healthy, thrilling, intellectual, and is a sport that can be indulged in at all seasons. Considering the joy a motor cycle can give, it is not unduly expensive. The essence of all sport is achievement, and, like all other sports, to achieve success one must enter whole-heartedly into it. Neither must one be disheartened by failure. The ability to meet failures happily is the true .test of a sportsman. In the majority of districts there are not sufficient lady riders to justify clubs arranging special events for them, and it is therefore necessary for ladies wish- ing to ride to enter into competition with men. These remarks are addressed to my sisters of the wheel, and to them I say: Do not make the mistake of expecting special concessions because you are a woman. You have no right to them, and remember that the average club man looks upon you as an interloper at first. He is a gentleman and will treat you with courtesy, but .try to remember that if you make an “exhibition” of yourself he is sure to think something about ‘a pack of women’ spoiling the club events. If you decide to go in for sporting work, learn to ride a motor cycle first, and afterwards enter in the smaller club events. I had taken down and re-erected a motor cycle engine complete before I was permitted to have a ride on one. I had been riding twelve months before entering my first competition, and had been riding in competitions two years before winning a medal…if you are to succeed as a sporting motor cyclist, you must put in many hours- of hard work, and not be discouraged by failures. You must understand- your own machine, and the final adjustments should never be left to anyone else. The effort is well worth while, for after your first win you will know.indeed the joy of living.
Mary C Jennison.
“Questions regarding the first sidecar. was it attached to a pedal cycle or motor cycle? Breaking down prejudice.”
‘Ah, now side by side together we glide
O’er mountain, by valley, through sweet countryside;
Together in truth—he away there
And she, all forgotten, dust smothered in rear.’
ALTHOUGH NOT EXACTLY A SLOGAN, these four lines of doggerel answered very well in 1903 as a battle cry—or trade cry, to be more accurate. They were published together with an illustration of the first sidecar ever advertised in The Motor Cycle. That was early in 1903, and the enterprising firm was Components, Ltd, Birmingham, the makers of the present-day Ariel. This company was astute enough to recognise that the sidecar would eventually oust the trailer and ‘quad’, and advertised their production as the Liberty’ Sociable attachment, an appellation emphasising its companionableness more than the bare word sidecar would have done. The actual patentee, however, of this device was Mr WJ Graham, of Messrs Graham Bros, Enfield, who protected the design in January, 1903, and sold it to Components, Ltd. This sidecar was first shown on the Stock Exchange walk to
Brighton attached to a 3½hp Minerva. An interesting point in connection with the patent was that the idea came to Mr Graham in the midst of a sleepless night, and was immediately jotted down on paper. This negatives the probability of Mr Graham having ever heard of Mr Dan P Morgan, of Swansea, who claims to have attached a sidecar to a 1½hp Minerva as long ago as 1901, or of Mr Durant, of the LAD Manufacturing Co, Farnham, Surrey, who constructed a sidecar for use with a tandem pedal cycle as far back as 1888. Credit must go to the man who first thought of the idea, but greater credit to the men who conceived the same idea independently, and backed it up with business zeal and enterprise, for it was owing to their perspicacity that we benefit as we do to-day. Among these men stands Mr W Montgomery, who used a sidecar in 1902 and founded a sidecar business in those
early days, strong in the belief that it was a sound proposition. When the old drawings and photographs are examined it can not be said either that the sidecar has altered fundamentally since it was first evolved. Of course, in comfort the modern body is quite a different thing, but the chassis design remains much the same as in 1903. Not until Alfred Scott departed from the beaten track with deliberate and clever independence did anyone show much originality in the design of a triangulated chassis. The fetish of detachability has, of course, kept designers to an orthodox chassis design, but now that owners seldom detach their sidecars there is no excuse for adherence to old plans and methods, which make for inaccessibility.
The most glaring instance of this is the fitting of the chain case on the near side of a machine designed solely for sidecar work. In spite of its undoubted advantages the sidecar was slow in gaining favour. The tricar and the ‘quad’ were usurped with no crashing of cymbals, and several years went by before the prejudice against the sidecar’s unsymmetrical appearance was overcome. In July, 1905, The Motor Cycle gave the sidecar an ‘extended trial in order to determine for its own satisfaction the most suitable form of attachment, and emphasised in its favour the matters of storage and freedom from side-slip compared with the trailer, and also the lower hp required to propel a sidecar compared with the power needed for a tricar: In conclusion the writer said, ‘Altogether, it has answered all our expectations.’ There is a certain amount of restraint in that favour, able summing-up which probably reflects the general feeling existent at that date, although we believe the writer was far more convinced of its ultimate popularity than many fellow motor cyclists were. From that time—July, 1905, onwards—sidecars entered the big trials, competing with the forecars, more than holding their own in spite of their ‘un-mechanical’ design. Compared with the three- wheeler, too, the sidecar outfit in those days was infinitely cheaper, and possibly it was that advantage, together with the talking point of ‘quick detachability’, that gave it supremacy in the end. It is certainly in a very strong position now.”
“Sir,—Having read ‘Ixion’s’ remarks on engines going ‘fey’, I would suggest that unless he means that the engines have a premonition of impending dissolution, the word applicable is not fey’, but probably ‘daft’. ‘Fey’ does imply peculiarity of action, but also includes the idea of approaching death.
SCOTSMAN, London, NW11.“
“Sir,—In the correspondence ‘About Heat’, if Mr. Brewster is desirous of accuracy, he should consider his statement ‘a refractive index cannot be measured if the body will not transmit the wave-length.’ Apparently ‘Brewster’s Law’ has escaped Mr Brewster’s notice. He will find it in Watson’s ‘Physics’, page 577. It is thus that the refractive index of opaque solids, eg ebonite, is found.
“LAST YEAR SOMEWHAT INCLEMENT, WEATHER spoilt the North London MCC Rally at Hendon; this year it was almost too hot. Nevertheless, the attendance at the aerodrome on Whit-Monday was quite good, although, considered in relation to the number of motor cyclists in London and the Home Counties, it was very disappointing. Perhaps Hendon is too near the Metropolis for the average motor cyclist who is a great traveller and ignores distance, especially when favoured by a long week-end like Whitsuntide. This theory is confirmed by the fact that the Wakefield and District MC&LCC easily won the Challenge Shield presented by Mr AJF Beaurain for the club travelling furthest to the meet, the mileage figure, of course being multiplied by the number of members present. Wakefield gained 2,958 points, and the Connaught MCC, with a score of 2,478, was second, gaining the Triumph Challenge Cup (presented by the Triumph Cycle Co). Gymkhana events occupied the afternoon and evening, including tent-pegging, apple bobbing and a bun-eating competition….What struck the North Country visitors most was the number of old crocks present; but our representative was even more impressed by the popularity of Rudge-Multis and Connaughts. They were as numerous as insects on the unmown grass. The usual competition for the most ingenious ‘gadget’ provided an unusual denouement; it was won by J Dennis for a nail and copper wire repair to his gear box as a first aid measure to his Royal Ruby on his way to the rally—a case of turning misfortune to good account if ever there was!”
“THERE ARE, IXION REMARKED, “several very obvious objections to goggles. They make one look like a cross between a deep-sea diver and a bullfrog. They are always getting broken. They are uncomfortable, unless the fit is perfect and the quality good. They soon get dusty inside. They dim with condensed moisture when first adjusted on the face. It is now alleged that they hamper hearing. So it is not surprising that a variety of celluloid vizors are on the market. Within the last few months I have tested three different devices of the kind. The ‘Phace Screen’—comfortable; unwieldy; and hostile to—tobacco and alcohol. The Pidko cap—a good tweed cap, with a celluloid vizor which folds into the peak when not required for use. The CGP screen—a light, cheap, unframed mask, which rolls up into small compass for the pocket. All of these gadgets afford as good protection as goggles. The two small devices are perfectly sightly. None of the three are breakable. Yet I cannot vote heavily for them as against goggles, for the simple reason that celluloid imparts a faint yellowish tinge to the landscape, and scratches so easily. If somebody will invent a celluloid which is absolutely colourless and does not scratch, he will do us a good turn and line his own pockets most opulently…In the meantime I take glass goggles when I am out for speed, and wear a Pidko cap on ordinary occasions.”
“THE LUCAS ELECTRICAL CO is to be congratulated on producing a twin two-spark magneto which withstood the searching test of the TT on the Scott machines. It is probably the first time that such an instrument has stood up successfully to such a gruelling, and this reflects pleasantly on the state of the British magneto industry.”
“I HAVE BEEN SWOPPING YARNS this week with an eminent member of the trade, whose memory goes back about as far as my own,” Ixion revealed. “We got to the point where, after tremulous solo adventures, we dared to invite the one and only fair to accompany us. He hired a push-bike trailer for a run from town to the sea. The coast was reached well enow, as the poets put it. But the return journey was arduous. The automatic inlet valve took a dislike to its cotter and spat it out into the road. At that date there were no such things as garages, and it is doubtful whether a spare cotter existed in the British Isles; moreover, even the blacksmiths had downed tools for the day. So he borrowed a hairpin from his passenger. It lasted two miles. He borrowed another. And so on. The demure Victorian maiden who started out with him was transformed into rather a saucy, stagey flapper before the trip ended. Later on the accumulator gave out. Also the spare accumulator. Such trifles did not worry us in 1903. He woke up an electrician, bought some dry cells, caused his passenger to nurse them on her lap, and connected them up from her lap to the coil under the bicycle tank with some six yards of bell-wire. In fact, he felt rather more comfortable on this improvised ignition; for the trailer connection was a thought dickey, and so long as the engine went on firing he knew the trailer—and its contents—were still there.”
“IT HARDLY SEEMS NATURAL to start the London-Edinburgh run from Hendon, which is not—and does not want to be—London. Gone is the old glamour of starting from Highgate in that fine wide open space thronged with people beyond the Gate-House Inn. This year the fates and the Metropolitan police ruled otherwise, and the start, on Friday night last, took place in the open country outside the premises of the London Country Club, the hospitality of which, extended to members and officials, was highly appreciated… Acetylene lighting held its own. Dissolved acetylene cylinders were used in a number of cases…We noticed a new ohv flat twin Brough with a short wheelbase frame, saddle tank, and unit engine and gear box, which was being piloted by FW Stevenson. The new Hagg tandems were fitted with Barr and Stroud single sleeve-valve engines and ran very quietly. Hugh Gibson (Raleigh) was amongst those who had returned from the Isle of Man in time to take part in the event, and H Glendinning turned out on one of the new 976cc JAP-engined Zeniths, with three-speed gear and all-chain drive. The inseparable friends, Jacobs and Le Grand, now united after the war, were riding identical Rex-Acme sidecar
outfits, both fitted with Wattalite generators…From Hendon to Barnet the roads were quite good and adequately marshalled. Heavy rain fell in the neighbourhood of Barnet. After the stifling heat of the preceding day the evening’s run was pleasant, and the well-tarred roads prevented dust from becoming a serious trouble, though the later competitors complained slightly on this score. By four o’clock in the morning the weather had become chilly, and passing through the Trent Valley it was bitterly cold…Near Grantham CC Labin (678cc Martinsyde) experienced a mysterious fire, but fortunately neither he nor his machine were seriously damaged, and he was able to continue. Muskham Bridge, north of Newark is in the process of being widened, and to prevent competitors driving over the edge and into the Trent observers had been posted to give due warning…Just short of Doncaster GE Cuffe (269cc Metro-Tyler) broke a magneto chain, but by a stroke of luck he had a spare chain with him, and was under way again in a few minutes. BN Thomas (348cc Hagg tandem) experienced continuous lamp trouble,
and used a hand torch for a considerable distance. Fortunately, however, the period of darkness was short, and even the earliest numbers were able to extinguish their lamps at Doncaster…With a chill head wind but a bright morning the competitors made for the breakfast stop at Ilkley, and experienced poor road surfaces for the first time for a stretch before that town. At the Middleton Hotel, Ilkley, all the arrangements for the riders’ comfort had been admirably carried out, and the sporting proprietor had himself superintended the lighting of the kitchen fires at 3am…JG Hann (876cc New Imperial) had the misfortune to run out of petrol within sight of the check, and since he walked into the control without his machine he was behind time. Had he pushed his machine in he would have saved his gold medal. By 7.30 the first men were once again ready to continue their long run northwards, and good roads were the order of the day. Not a few took things easy, and near Skipton we passed an Ariel team resting by the roadside, while George Brough was sitting on a sunny wall discussing matters with a friend. In Kirkby Lonsdale competitors were diverted from the main road and passed on to Kendal via Old Hutton, an excellent road, though rather dusty in places; thence onwards to Windermere and Ambleside, and so to the long steep ascent of Kirkstone Pass. Perhaps the steepest pitch of this climb occurs on leaving Ambleside village…finally, after two sharpish corners, a long grind of nearly 1 in 4, known as ‘the struggle’, the summit being 1,476ft above sea level…G Lanford (OK Junior) found the long grade too much for his engine. Hugh Gibson (Raleigh) toured up with his hand on his hip, and C Labin (Martinsyde), H Lane (Levis), V Belfield (ohv Triumph), A Symes. and E Gifford, on Martinsydes, made splendid ascents. Next came R Purnell on his little JES, the tiny engine purring up the steep grade and running well within its power. This was quite one of the most noticeable performances of the day…B Fellowes, on the veteran De Dion, made a clean climb with not too much in hand…After crossing Kirkstone there followed a picturesque drop into Patterdale requiring care, and thereafter delightful Lakeland scenery was enjoyed until the outskirts of Carlisle were reached. Here in the open space outside the County Hotel competing machines were marshalled in most orderly form…Here we learned that Vidler (Triumph) had seized his engine near Otley, and Farmer (Zenith-Bradshaw) had collided with a competing sidecar and suffered injuries…On to Gretna Green, one observed that
the enterprising AA had erected a yellow banner over the border bridge ‘The AA Welcomes the MCC’. Regular running was the order over magnificently surfaced tarmac roads, undulating but slightly…mostly when groups were overtaken they were chatting or smoking cigarettes, trouble being rare. Tea was arranged at Moffat, where the usual crowd had collected. Small boys found amusement in collecting the empty oil tins, and had a fine array with useful dregs for their bicycles and scooters. A magnificent climb over the mountains followed after Moffat. There was no risk of losing the way; apart from well placed arrows checked by G Pettyt, WH Wells, the captain, made sure of things by carrying small sweet bags full of blue dye which, thrown heavily on the ground, produced a first rate line denoting the route…Near Crook Inn, White (Sunbeam) was passed by the roadside with his front chain case off. Through Liberton to Edinburgh crowds lined the route, a large number of owners of cars and motor cycles of all descriptions having motored out of the city for some miles to meet the dusty and tired riders. Most complained of smarting eyes, some going so far as to carry eye lotion in order to bathe their eye at the controls. Notwithstanding, a magnificent and enjoyable run was the general verdict, and from a large percentage which succeeded, some were asking if the MCC would willingly dole out so many gold medals, or whether they would make the event much stiffer next year—something to compare with the Eastertide London-Land’s End Trial. Out of 245 starters 219 completed the journey. Gold medals, 192; Silver, 24; Bronze, 3.
“ALTHOUGH HE FOUND THAT the greater portion of the London-Edinburgh run, through which he drove a Brough Superior sidecar, was ‘monotony itself’, WA Fell Smith has described for us this extraordinary incident that befell him between Leadburn and Penicuik. ‘On approaching a cross-roads where several people were standing,’ he writes, ‘my passenger pointed to a very large hare which was crossing the field to our left. We reached the corner of the field simultaneously with the hare, which ran into the road, apparently jumped to avoid the sidecar wheel, and struck my passenger full in the face with sufficient force to knock him senseless for two or three minutes! Fortunately no serious damage was done beyond a broken pair of Triplex goggles and a black eye, and after a ‘wee drap’ of whisky had been administered by a kindly onlooker we were soon able to proceed. The only thing that really worried my passenger was that the hare wasn’t killed for him to take home as a souvenir!”
“SIR,—REFERRING TO THE above incident reported in last week’s issue of The Motor Cycle by Mr WA Fell-Smith, whom I had the pleasure of accompanying as the passenger he mentions, I would like to state that, extraordinary as the accident may appear to be, it is hard fact. Personally, I found it such a very hard one and, driven into my face with so unexpected and considerable force, it was impossible for me to argue or withstand it…Mr Fell-Smith and those who have seen the goggles I was wearing, are firmly convinced that it is solely due to the fact of their being Triplex that I retain my sight, and as a measure of gratitude that I still retain full vision I felt I could not do less than utter a warning word to all motor cyclists to take proper precautions in this part of their outfit. May I trespass a little further in order to record my appreciation of the very efficient services rendered by Patrol Bull of the AA? (With Hares and Bulls running about I cannot agree that the run was monotonous.)…Tae the kindly Scots leddy wha produced the whisky Ah wud also tender ma verra sincere thanks—twice ower—aince for the first drink that brocht me round and again for the second which by then Ah was in ma richt senses tae enjoy. Aye, it was guid.
“IF AS WE ARE TOLD, the summer of 1922 is going to be a repetition of last year’s, the motor cyclist will more than ever have cause to be pleased with his choice of a recreation. Not many pastimes share with motor cycling its attractiveness on a broiling hot day, not only as a means of reaching the shadiest country nooks or the ever-refreshing sea, but in itself as a way of keeping cool. When the temperature is high there is nothing to compare with a swift rush through the air on a motor cycle. True, with the heat comes the dust, but off the beaten track the nuisance is seldom very noticeable, and a good pair of goggles provides a ready and efficient antidote. Incidentally we fear that the average motor cyclist is inclined to minimise the importance of this latter item of his equipment—very false economy indeed. On the whole the motor cyclist will be the last to grumble at the continuance of a heat wave or drought of the severity likely to be experienced in these islands.”
IXION WAS LESS THAN IMPRESSED WITH THE TRADE: We all notice that motor cycles have fallen in price since 1919. One economy adopted by most firms is the No Credit stunt. I have just learnt it to my cost. The other day my stand wilted like a wax candle in August, and simultaneously I required a peculiar washer, unobtainable except at the factory. Having been a customer since 1906, and knowing many of the factory staff intimately—not to speak of my eminent position in motor journalism (ahem!)—I presumed on all these things to order a new washer without enclosing the dibs (didn’t know the cost) and to ask for a new stand to be forwarded instanter, instead of waiting till they had microscoped the wilted article and satisfied themselves that it was super-heat-treated by a tight mechanic, or something of that kind. Not a bit of it. For seven long days I watched the post, and finally there arrived the coldest of formal notes promising to dispatch a new washer on receipt of 3d, and guardedly indicating that a new stand might or might not be forthcoming after their laboratory experts had done their what-d’ye-call-it on the old stand. I feel so small. I have meekly forwarded 3d. For the nonce my machine rests with one footrest on an inverted flower-pot in the garage. And I had thought I was a small somebody. So you can guess what you’ll get, dear ordinary reader.”
IXION REPORTED ON THE LIKELY cause of runaway Rudges: “Of late our columns have contained assorted communications anent the curious manner in which certain Rudge engines behave, travelling at one moment like perfect little ladies and at another like infuriated buffaloes. Various amateur physicians diagnosed the symptoms as being due to mountain air, temporary relief of high-compression ratios by fragments of carbon, and the like. At last a prophet has arisen in Israel. I haven’t a Rudge at hand at the moment, so I cannot verify his theory, but it strikes me as far more plausible than its rivals. From time to time, so runs his rede, Rudge’s have modified their inlet valve springs and domes in sundry petty respects. If you happen to put a new spring of a certain type on a dome of a certain type, the spring may find some difficulty’ in bedding down dead true around the valve. In that case its normal working attitude may be a thought cock-eyed. The valve stem will bind in its guide a little; possibly the valve may not even seat perfectly. Super-rudging will be impossible under such conditions. Anon, perhaps when the tail of the spring chances to work round the dome, the spring may temporarily become axially concentric with the valve. Extra hp will then be available, disappearing again if the spring once more emulates the leaning tower of Pisa. Sufferers please verify and report.”
“I HAVE RECENTLY FITTED a Best and Lloyd mechanical oil pump,” Ixion reported, “and have finished for ever with the adjustment of drips, the watching of miles on my speedometer, the anxious ear cocked at the sound of the engine. I just see that there is plenty of oil in the tank, and then—well, I just ride. When the toy was new I found a certain fascination in watching a fat little splodge of Summer Huile de luxe eject itself every few seconds from the downturned pipe, and slide across the tiny tilted basin to the hole leading to my engine. But now I know that the splodge never fails to appear when due, I forget all about such mundane matters as lubrication, and let my thoughts wander to the scenery or the bobbies or the latest her. The engine appears to prefer this regular ration to the boa-constrictor regime of alternate gorges and fasts dictated by a hand pump and my oil bill looks like being appreciably smaller, for since I know what I am doing, I no longer over-lubricate. Of course, the critical mind of the professional journalist is never quite satisfied. These ‘stick on’ pumps must necessarily be mounted in somewhat exposed positions, and I suppose that some day I shall neatly wipe the pump clean off the engine when I am cutting a kerbed corner too fine. So in theory I should prefer a pump designed as part of the engine and tucked out of harm’s way.”
“FULL OF INCIDENTS, THOUGH SOMEWHAT TEDIOUS to watch and difficult to follow, the 200 miles sidecar races held by the Ealing &DMCC resulted in the beating of several records…There were really three separate events in all, the 350cc race (sidecars painted blue), the 6C0cc race (sidecars painted red), and the 1,000cc race (sidecars painted yellow)…all machines had to be equipped with special skids so as to support the outfit in the event of the sidecar coming off…CG Pullin’s 346cc Douglas brought him records and a splendid victory by nearly half an hour in the 350 race [at 51.76mph]; Bridgman’s (499cc Indian sc) in the 600cc race by over three-quarters of an hour was a brilliant success [at 53.92mph], but Le Vack’s (998cc Zenith-JAP sc) brave fight against DH Davidson (998cc Indian sc) provided the most excitement of the whole meeting…Le Vack finished second, 1min 38sec behind the winner, who carried off a second Indian victory.”
“I HAVE HEARD ASTONISHINGLY FEW adverse opinions on the holding of a sidecar TT. Nearly everyone is of the idea that the race will ultimately benefit sidecar design. It may. But I shall be surprised if the lessons learned will help very greatly in improving the rigid touring type chassis, for, in all probability, competitors will turn to the flexible chassis. Sidecar connections, the chassis itself, sidecar wheel bearings and spindle, the forks and front wheel spindle of the machine will be tested to the utmost on the abrupt bends, and weaknesses will most certainly be revealed before many laps are covered. It goes without saying, too, that engines, gear boxes, and transmissions will be subjected to strains that they have never yet undergone, and that is saying a good deal. Brooklands tells us a lot, so does the ‘Six Day’s, but up to now there has been no opportunity of running an outfit at the speed of 50mph uphill and down, round acute bends and over humped-backed bridges for hours on end, and that is why the Isle of Man course will reveal more weaknesses than track racing ever does. It will be a nightmare ride for many. On the question of danger, I am emphatically with Mr Norton, and many other experienced racing motor cyclists, including FW Barnes, TC de la Hay and JE Greenwood, who agree that the greatest restraint will have to be exercised, and that none but the most skilful and capable should be allowed to
by FRIAR JOHN
“BEGGAR’S BOOST HAS BEEN CONSIDERED to be Devon’s steepest hill, with its gradient of 3.6 to 1 on a small section, but the discovery by Exeter motorists of Sim’s Hill, Islington, seems to oust the Roost from the premier position. The new discovery is not a by-road or one in occasional use on a farm, but an old main road running to Ashburton from Hey Tor. Its surface is extremely good when the gradient of 2.8 is taken into consideration. (This, by the by, is the approximate gradient of the entire hill, not a small section.) The hill is approached from the village of Islington; at the foot is an acute right-hand bend and then the steep portion, some 500 yards, is encountered. It is narrow, and like many of the Devonshire roads, has high wooded banks at either side, but it was climbed by Triumph and Norton sidecar machines. In fact, both made the ascent with three up. What proved a problem was the difficulty in getting the machines down again, and resort was made to a rope on which six or more people hung.”
“HOW THE CRASH HELMET ORIGINATED: Early in 1914 Dr Eric Gardner, Medical Officer for Brooklands track, noticed in his case book that about every fortnight he had a hospital case of a motor cyclist who had fallen on the track and received injury to the head. If the rider was travelling at 60 mph or over he was usually practically unhurt, but if going at only 45mph serious bodily damage usually resulted. After some thought Dr Gardner came to the conclusion that at the higher speeds a man who crashed was projected forward and struck the ground with a glancing blow, and not directly, as happened at the slower speeds. Having witnessed a man part company with his machine through fork breakage while passing under the bridge leading to the track, Dr Gardner thought of the helmet idea, and got Mr Moss, of Bethnal Green, to construct a canvas and shellac helmet devoid of all projections, stiff enough to stand a heavy blow, and smooth enough to glance off any object against which it came in contact. When the design was first submitted to the ACU it was universally condemned, and when the ACU became converted violent opposition was encountered from the riders. Nevertheless, Col Lloyd took 94 of these helmets with him to the Isle of Man. One rider who hit a gate struck it a glancing blow and, thanks to the helmet, was uninjured. Later, Dr Gardner received a letter from one of the principal medical officers in the Isle of Man asking why, when after the TT races their hospitals had always ‘several interesting concussion cases’, there was now none. All credit must therefore be given to Dr Eric Gardner for an innovation which has not only rendered motor cycle racing a comparatively safe sport, but has saved countless riders from serious injury.”
“SIR,—CREDIT IS GIVEN to Dr Eric Gardner as being the originator of the crash helmet in 1914. I would point out that crash helmets were in very general use in aviation long before 1914. The Warren helmet, produced by Mr Warren, who ran a flying school at Hendon, came out in 1912, as also did the Brown helmet, produced by Messrs Brown Brothers.
PHILIP G ROBINSON.
“SIR,—I BELIEVE I CAN lay claim to being the oldest rider on the English track to use a crash helmet on all occasions from 1906 until I gave up track work. This crash helmet can be seen here at any time, bearing a few marks which can show its use, and what it saved my head on two occasions; it was sent me at my request from Paris by Mr Geo Barnes (then called ‘Cannon-Ball Barnes’ in France) in the autumn of 1905. I have several cuttings from The Motor Cycle during 1907, 1908, 1909, etc, of myself wearing this helmet, one occasion being at the Olympia Sports at the Stadium. Maybe someone else, perhaps Barnes himself, used one in England before me, but I do not remember it, nor have I heard of anyone.
DUDLEY R CLARKE.”
[In the article which has aroused this correspondence, Dr Eric Gardner was given credit for originating the present ‘rim-less’ helmet; the older type was, of course, in use many years before.—Ed.]
“FULLY FIFTEEN HUNDRED SPECTATORS assembled in the Haymarket, Newcastle to witness the departure of the 60 competitors in the Newcastle DMC’s 17th All-night Reliability Trial…The outward journey—120 miles—terminated at Edinburgh, where one hour was allowed. As dawn was breaking the first man was despatched on the return journey, the route through the Lowlands being via Dalkeith, Soutra Hill, Lander, Earlstown, and St. Boswell’s to Jedburgh—and a second breakfast stop. Three secret check sections of 10 miles each were included in the remaining 56 miles, the first commencing four miles from Jedburgh, and the second on the climb over the Otter Caps after leaving Otterburn. The morning was gloriously fine, and the gorgeous moorland scenery provided an excellent tonic for the now tiring riders, who had to keep a sharp look out for the sheep which, grazing by the roadside, became greatly alarmed and galloped for miles along the road…A badly cut up road, with huge pot holes, provided the last stretch, the competitors being timed in a mile from Newcastle.”
“‘TWO WHEELS FOR SPORT, three for safety, and four for swank’ writes ‘Ixion’ in chiding an old motor cyclist for abandoning his earlier love for a motor car.”
“THOSE WHO SOMETIMES EXPRESS the opinion that finality in motor cycle design will soon be reached may not live to see the day. So far as reliability is concerned British motor cycles have certainly reached a high standard, but to-day there is no more indication that d sign is settling down to one pattern than was the case a decade ago.”
“THE WOOLWICH, PLUMSTEAD &DMC holds the Club Team Championship for 1922 by a win in the one of the closest contested events which have ever been run for The Motor Cycle Cup. The scene in the courtyard of the Rose and Crown Hotel, Tring, and the space in front of the hotel on Saturday last was the subject, as usual, of considerable local interest and keen rivalry when no fewer than 27 clubs assembled to compete for the club championship this year [Sheffield & Hallamshire MC&LCC; Coventry and Warwickshire MC; MCC; Leicester &DMC; Nottingham &DMCC; Worcester &DMCC; Birmingham University MCC; Bucks County MC; North West London MC; Norfolk MC&LCC; Woolwich, Plumstead &DMC; Luton & South Beds AC; Herts MC&LCC; Ipswich &DMCC; Ilkley MC&LCC; Wallington &DMC&LCC; Bradford MC&LCC;City & Guilds MCC; Surbiton MC; Public Schools MCC; Lewes &DMCC; Oxford MC; North London MCC;Ealing &DMCC; Essex MC; Camberley Club; Basingstoke MCC. All members of the Nottingham team rode machines of local manufacture, as did the representative of the Coventry & Warwickshire MC and the Ilkley MMC&LCC.]…From Yorkshire alone there were three representative clubs competing, as well as many teams from other far distant centres, but the sporting members of the Ilkley MC&LCC, mounted without exception on Scott machines, and the Bradford MC&LCC hold the record for long distance. One hundred and fifty-nine competitors assembled at the starting point, and it was observed that the sidecars were chiefly occupied by male members for time-keeping purposes. No club was leaving anything to chance. The results of the trial, in which seven teams accomplished non-stop runs, show how remarkably close several of the teams were, particularly the first three: (1) Woolwich, Plumstead &DMC, total time error 3min 11sec; (2) Worcester &DMCC, 3min 43sec; (3) Nottingham &DMCC, 3min 46sec; (4) Coventry & Warwickshire MC, 4min 29sec; (5) North-West London MC, 6min 24sec; Norfolk MC&LCC, 6min 42sec; Ilkley MC&LCC, 9min 16sec. The scores of the Woolwich, Plumstead &DMC were as
follows, and the riders are to be congratulated upon a very excellent performances: BJ Sims (499cc Triumph), 9s error; F Macdonald (976cc Matchless sc), 57sec; E Atkins (498cc Ariel), 23sec; TJ Ross (976cc Matchless sc), 17sec; C Clease (499cc Triumph), 1min 9sec; FJ Ellis (976cc Matchless), 16sec…Rather a curious incident marked the introduction of the Martinsyde sidecar into the Worcester team. R Brown intended riding a 499cc Sunbeam sidecar in place of B Bladder (976cc New Imperial JA P sc), who was unable to compete, but on Saturday morning his gear box seized, rendering the machine unfit for use. Nothing daunted, however, Reg Brown set off on a tour of the local garages in search of a substitute, and was eventually rewarded by discovering a Martinsyde solo. Further search produced a sidecar from another source, and with this hurriedly assembled outfit he pluckily prepared to distinguish himself and his club. But his troubles were not yet over. During the last few minutes before the start, whilst demonstrating the capabilities of his new mount, the clutch cable elected to die a natural death. Even a catastrophe such as this, however, failed to vanquish him, and he eventually started—and finished—on the exhaust valve lifter. The Worcester Club ought to be, and probably are, proud to number such an indomitable rider amongst their members…Starting about half a mile south of Tring, the course totalled 100 miles in all, competitors covering three circuits of just over 33 miles. The roads, where the course included winding lanes and sudden hills, were bad owing to the previous dry weather; the surface being dangerously loose and very rough. We say ‘previous’ dry weather with some truth, as no doubt the competitors will agree, because the trial was finished at about 7.30 in a mild form of flood. The weather, which had been threatening during the earlier part of the day, broke at 2.30. From 2.30 onwards it rained without stopping, and yet to say that it rained seemed hardly to describe the exact condition of the elements. It deluged. At first it was more or less ignored, as the roads certainly required a little moisture to ‘settle’ them, but things passed the possibility of ‘ignoring’ when competitors splashed past, soaked from head to foot, covered in mud and raising a miniature tidal wave as they plunged from puddle to
puddle. This was a great pity as many of the riders, starting in fine weather; were hatless, and, in many cases, inadequately dressed to cope with the downpour. But such is the nature of the motor cyclist that this did not appear to trouble them in the slightest, and everybody, except perhaps the timekeeper, judges, and spectators seemed perfectly happy…In the first round Kop Hill did not present a very serious obstacle, and quite a number of machines roared up on top gear without turning a hair. George Brough on a Brough Superior solo could hardly be described as dawdling on the hill. His machine with the polished petrol-tank flashed past at an amazing speed—and this at the worst part of the hill too. No 144 of the Ipswich &DMCC riding a 976cc Matchless and sidecar succumbed to the 1:5 gradient, that spiteful last 30 yards of the climb, and commenced running backwards, but spectators and observers came to the rescue and the machine was pushed on the grass side-track with a flat sidecar tyre. CM Bowen (398cc ABC), a member of the Wallington &DMC&LCC was forced to retire with back tyre trouble. An Enfield two-stroke belonging to the Camberley Club was making a plucky ascent when, on getting within about 20 yards of the summit, the gear lever slipped into neutral position. The rider jammed it back into gear again, but it was done too suddenly. The strain on the engine, already labouring severely, was too much, and it stopped dead. G Bickerton (490cc Norton sc) was beaten on almost identically the same spot that finished the little Enfield. [However] it speaks volumes for the efficiency of the present day motor-cycle that 156 out of 159 competitors should be able to make non-stop climbs on a hill of this gradient, and at the speed at which many of them took it. George Brough raised a laugh in the second round when he shot over the top of the hill between 35 and 40mph with a cheerful ‘There you are then!’ and disappeared in a shower of stones and grit round the next corner…Fairly early in the trial HB Browning (349cc AJS), of the
Public Schools MCC, had the misfortune to snap his clutch cable, making some of the tricky corners none too easy to manage; in fact, he nearly came to grief on one or two, occasions, but pulled out of them skilfully. A Bowerman (220cc Velocette), the only Velocette entered, as it happens, was forced to retire with magneto trouble, and was towed home about five miles by a non-competitor’s sidecar. Certainly some wonderful feats of endurance are achieved by competitors during a run of this kind in order to complete non-stop runs and so gain marks for their clubs. A case in point occurred this year which is worthy of note. S Sawer, a member of Sheffield & Hallamshire MC&LCC, riding a 633cc Norton and sidecar, was unlucky enough to break a sidecar spring in the second circuit, but this was not considered a sufficient reason for retiring by any means. The sidecar passenger, to prevent the mudguard from bearing on the sidecar wheel, held it up with his hands for many miles until it seemed that after all they might yet do a non-stop run. In the end, however, they were obliged to give in. It is interesting that S Wright (600cc Humber sc), of the Coventry & Warwickshire MC, has ridden in every team trial for Coventry dating from as far back as the old days when trailers took the place of the 1922 sidecar. Also, PW Moffat (494cc Douglas), of the MCC, has succeeded in scoring his seventh consecutive non-stop in the trial. As a matter of fact, the first complete team to finish the 100-mile course was the Coventry & Warwickshire MCC, followed by Nottingham &DMCC and Worcester &DMCC; then came North-West London MC, Norfolk
MC&LCC, Woolwich, Plumstead &DMC, and Ilkley MC&LCC. Oxford MC would have made an eighth club finishing complete had it not been for a piece of extraordinarily bad luck. One of their members, NV Young (550cc Sunbeam sc), who has only one arm, dropped his spare petrol-can a few miles from home on the last circuit and stopped to recover it, thus spoiling the chance of a non-stop run. Another little incident illustrating clearly the lengths to which competitors will go in their anxiety to secure the coveted trophy concerns one of the MCC team, GW Nott (976cc Matchless sc). He finished the last 20 miles of the course on a flat front tyre. Although sporting in the extreme, had he but known it the ordeal could have been avoided, because FJ Watson (796cc Ariel sc), another member of the MCC team, had retired with a puncture during the first lap. Various styles of clothing were adopted by the competitors, and tam o’ shanters of wonderful hues were immensely popular. Stocking caps were also worn, but the majority of the riders were wearing the favourite flying helmet. One sportsman, regardless of custom or anything else, carried out the trial in a Sidcot flying suit and a battered felt hat, much to the amusement and enjoyment of some of the spectators, but there, was a certain reckless air of ill-concealed triumph about the riders who had taken the precaution of wearing overalls, as they passed their less fortunate brethren, churning through the mud and water in what had once been handsome and delicately coloured golf stockings—’as now worn’. It was certainly a pity that the weather turned out as wet as it did, but it cannot be said that the rain in any way interfered with the event; in addition to this, it was not altogether unexpected, with the result that many of the competitors had set out prepared for the ducking which they received.” The Team Trial dated back to 1904, when The Motor Cycle gave the MCC a 50 guinea silver cup; it attracted five clubs. You can read all about it by popping back to 1904.
“A STAND AGAINST THE PRACTICE of certain motor cycle manufacturers in issuing misleading advertisements in connection with the classic ACU competitions, is being taken by the organising body. Several advertisements bearing upon the results of the Tourist Trophy Races have been observed, to which strong exception is taken. These advertisements are so worded that to the casual reader it would appear that the machines advertised gained successes, which, in fact, they did not; in one case, indeed, the machine advertised was not even entered for any of the TT Races.”
TO AVOID THE POSSIBILITY OF FURTHER CONFUSION, the ACU is approaching the British Motor Cycle Racing Club with a view to preventing in future years certain manufacturers advertising successes in the Brooklands TT Race in such a way as to imply that the successes were gained in the classic road contests. Next year the BMCRC will probably alter the title of its track race open to TT machines.
“WHILST ENGLISH RIDERS HAVE BEEN busy breaking records in the Isle of Man and at Brooklands, a remarkably fine performance has been achieved in America. Wells Bennett, mounted on a four-cylinder Henderson (De Luxe Model), celebrated Decoration Day on the Tacoma speedway by completing 1,652.54 miles during 24 hours’ continuous riding, at an average speed of 65.1mph. His speed for the first 1,000 miles averaged 63mph, whilst at some periods of the ride he touched 76mph. Bennett also succeeded in creating a new time record on the 1,000 miles, covering this distance in 15hr 47min 15sec, the previous record, set up by Baker, being 16hr 14min 15sec. The track, which is two miles all but 234 feet, was covered 806 times in the 24 hours. It is interesting to note that owing to the poor condition of the track, which is a board one, six rear wheels were required during the event.”
“SIR,—WHEN ARE WE TO GET BACK to the good old name for a maker’s speed model, that is the TT Model? Pre-war motor cyclists must be sick of the present jumble of names—sports, super-sports, fast roadster, etc.
“IN DECIDING WHAT CLOTHES to take away in the sidecar on a holiday tour, it should be remembered that there is only room for absolute essentials. If one intends going to the theatre or a dance whilst away, due preparation must be made or the penalty paid of being unsuitably dressed, and I know of nothing more calculated to spoil one’s enjoyment. Also, one must be equipped for rain and cold in case the weather is bad; it is surprising what a large amount of summer clothing one may carry in a small space.”
Miss Peggy Fraser.
“A DESIGN WHICH SHOULD SATISFY the demand for au all-weather machine has recently been introduced by the Jupp Motor Co, London, EC3…The Jupp is an attractive little machine, and should command the keen attention of the ladies. Since the Villiers flywheel magneto, engine, having a bore and stroke of 70x70m. (259cc) and the all-chain transmission are completely encased in easily detachable shields, the Jupp lightweight claims immunity from oil-slinging, whilst there is no doubt that the definite angular outline adds considerably to its appearance…A two-speed Sturmey-Archer gear box is neatly housed at the rear of the inclined engine…Brampton spring forks are fitted, whilst an electric head and tail lamp, supplied from the flywheel generator, are included. An auxiliary dry battery provides illumination when stationary…the starter spindle of the gear box is conveniently placed for the right hand.”
“NEW NAMES AND NEW MODELS under old names are continually appearing in the motor cycle world, but in no class more often than in that embracing light-weight solo machines. Five recently introduced models of this type are portrayed here, and one of a modified American twin.”
“BOULTER’S LOCK, 7PM—A PAGEANT OF COLOUR AND POSE. Like a dozen or more sidecarists, I am sitting on the banks of that narrow little stretch of water leading from the lock. After dropping down from the heights of the Chilterns into the Thames valley, we have been caught by the glamour and riot of colour passing along the cool green water-way. My fellow sidecarists, too, have been lured from the road in the same way, for each outfit has tarried independently. Here are men propelling punts with an air of studied negligence, but monstrously unsuccessful in their efforts to appear unconscious of the crowd’s critical gaze. One tall, perspiring punter has allowed water to drip from his pole on the cushions and hat of a damsel reclining on blazing crimson and gamboge cushions. This has resulted in a disturbance of a pose that must have taken hours of careful thought and preparation—careless monster to make a faux pas at this most important part of the play with an audience so near and so critical. What a contrast are these passengers to our own; there is no denying the cool luxury of reclining on huge cushions clad in the flimsiest of dresses—of being propelled silently, without an atom of vibration, in the shadows of willows and poplars. And the sidecarists—they are dusty, their filmy dresses are at home, they repose on leather, they know what vibration means, and ‘potholey’ roads too. Their way is not by still water and drooping willows. But after all there cannot be a real comparison, for, as attractive as the river is on a flaming day in July, the highways and byways of Great Britain offer infinitely more than a circumscribed stretch of water can ever do. Not long ago we were lunching on the very topmost heights of the Chilterns, a lovely spot reached by branching off the main Aylesbury-Tring road near Aston Clinton on to the road that winds across the Chilterns past the water-works on to Cholesbury and Hawridge. It is a beautiful route along a road that eventually develops into a steep gorge running through a fairy wood as lovely as-Via Gellia in Derbyshire. When the roof is reached—809ft—the country lies spread around much like the panorama from the Malvern Hills. The circular run we are making has been through amazingly exquisite country, as diverse as can be found anywhere in England—well, hardly that, for the sea was not embraced; but, considering the nearness of London, really wonderful. There must be thousands of Metropolitan and Home County sidecarists who are occasionally at a loss for a week-end ‘touring’ route, and the following run, mapped practically as we went along, may fill a gap when a jaunt of 70 or so miles is desired. One can start at 11 o’clock, taking the Edgware road as far as Elstree, or branching off before Elstree and including Stanmore on the way to Bushey and Watford. (A good road, excellent from Elstree.) From Watford through picturesque country to Berkhampstead, then branch to the left for Chesham. (A suitable spot for a picnic luncheon may be found on the pretty common on the right.) On reaching the bottom of the hill into Chesham, turn abruptly to the right (missing Chesham), then through Chesham Vale on to Cholesbury and past Tring water-works, and ‘little Derbyshire’ (800ft), on to the Tring and Aylesbury road. Leave the main road again
immediately for Wendover, Amersham, High Wycombe—hilly, attractive going—Great Marlow, Cookham, Taplow, Maidenhead, Windsor, Runnimede, Staines, and London. This run embraces the best of the Chilterns and the finest reaches of the Thames. The roads, too, are good on the whole. No! after all it is not a question of whether boating is superior to sidecaring: it is a matter of taste—or finance, for one cannot hire an outfit so easily as a punt. As attractive as the river is, I would rather have crossed the Chilterns and wandered along the luxurious Thames valley as we have just done, than have eaten lotus beneath a cascade of grey willow whilst reposing lazily in a punt. It is growing dusk, and a couple of sidecars still remain at the water’s edge; it is, however, light enough to scribble. We have just returned a hired punt to the boat-house. It came about this way.
Self: (still in dusty riding rig): ‘I expect every leaky old punt is in commission to-day.’
Passenger: ”Spect so! The leakier the better, I should say.’ (Takes off coat and wrap.)
Self: (rather surprised at the white dress beneath passenger’s coat, also notices she wears white shoes): ‘Jove! You’re just right for the river.’
Passenger: (jumping to conclusions): ‘Well, it’s only dust on your boots, and you wear a white shirt and your trousers are flannel.’
Self: ‘I wonder if it would be safe to leave the sidecar? And what about your pose? You’ve had no practice at posing.’
(Passenger here strikes a self-conscious attitude and adopts an admirable and very self-conscious smile.)
Self: ‘Splendid! But what about my pose?’
Passenger: ‘That’s all right, dear; it will come naturally to you.’
(She turns and walks hurriedly towards the boat-house! Self stands foolishly for a second or two, swallowing the compliment, then grunts and follows.)
The sidecar for me every time, it’s very, very hot punting, and the gnats are a perfect pest when you sit under the willows. I look forward to the 20-mile run home, yet I guess when my passenger talks to her friends of to-day’s outing she will say: ‘We had such a lovely time punting on the Thames.’ But ask her to-morrow whether she would rather punt on the Thames for a fortnight, or sidecar through North Wales and the Lake District! One cannot deny the romance of the river, for as I finish writing, a canoe glides by like a long grey shadow in the violet of the night, and as swiftly and silently as a black bat’s flight. Murmurs faint and rippling water…and so on to the accompaniment of muted harps, and Eastern drums. But there’s not much of a black bat’s flight about a ‘hot stuff’ Norton sidecar, say, on the Great North Road at midnight. No! there’s not much romance about sidecaring as seen by the observer, although romance and the sidecar are sometimes very closely associated.”
“A NOTICE ISSUED BY THE CLERK OF THE COURSE at Brooklands, Colonel F Lindsay Lloyd, is to the effect that motor vehicles, particularly motor cycles and others fitted with motor cycle engines, have become too noisy. In the future, therefore, no motor vehicle which makes a noise likely to cause annoyance to residents in the neighbourhood will be permitted to enter the track grounds.”
“SIR,—IT WOULD CERTAINLY APPEAR that some person, or persons, antagonistic to motor cycles and motor cyclists, and having influence in the right quarter, has been working to banish the motor cyclist from Brooklands track. One is asked to believe that it is the noise of motor cycle exhausts, as distinct from that of racing cars, which is particularly offensive to certain residents in the vicinity of the track. That this is a gross piece of bluff is obvious to the meanest intelligence, and is disgusting to anybody having the most elementary sense of fair play. I have personally been in the paddock when a certain racing car of foreign manufacture was started up, completely drowning the sound of the exhaust of several motor cycle engines which were running at the time. One of these happened to be my own, and I had a few minutes previously been informed by a BARC official that my machine was too noisy. Needless to say, there was no question of the barest suggestion that any noise was being made by the juggernaut with a German engine which was bellowing in our midst…Are we really expected to go on believing this cock-and-bull story about the astonishing discrimination between sounds possessed by the residents around Brooklands track, or are we going to hear the truth of the matter—or are the vested interests concerned too sacred or expensive to be disturbed by mere fair play?
SIR,—WE ARE EXTREMELY SURPRISED at this late date to receive a notification of the abandonment of the 500 Miles Race, and consider that the matter is sufficiently serious for the intending competitors to get together and endeavour to save the situation even at the 11th hour. It appears almost incredible that about five local residents should be in a position to hold up the whole motor industry and cause the wastage of, at an estimate, somewhere between £20,000 and £40,000 of the trade’s money, without giving the trade any opportunity to submit a scheme for making the competing machines reasonably silent. In fact, we understand that the point has been put to the complainants’ solicitors, who refused even to discuss the matter. The 500 Mile Race is, to our mind, the most important racing event of the year, and we believe that next year the public would have given it precedence over the TT races, on the ground that in the TT the man counts for more than the machine, whilst the 500 Mile Race is almost entirely a test of the machine. Any rider who is sufficiently skilled to keep, a machine on Brooklands at speed has an equal chance with a crack rider of securing the prize…it should surely be possible for the complainants’ solicitors to give one of those concessions (with an unnecessary Latin name) for the race to be held subject to the machines passing, immediately before the race, a standard of silence test set by the RAC Engineer and defined well in advance of the actual date, so that there will be no excuse for competitors arriving with machines which would not pass the test. We have been experimenting with and have evolved a particularly efficient silencer for our ‘Quick Six’ machines which does not involve the fitting of an expansion box nor create any back pressure, and which does make our ‘Quick Six’ machines quiet. We should be only too pleased to submit this device as a standard of silence, and to supply all competitors with similar silencers suitable for their individual machines at cost price. All machines would then be under the same disadvantage, if any. We trust that very active steps will be taken in this matter, and that when the full circumstances are available to the public it will be found that the BMCRC, ACU and BARC. have used every endeavour and adopted a bold policy.
GEO TILGHMAN-RICHARDS, FRAeS, MIME, MIAE, MIAeE, Martinsyde, Ltd.“
“STRASBOURG WAS EARLY ASTIR on Wednesday last week, the occasion of the Grand Prix Motor Cycle Race, organised by the Union Motocycliste de France. The whole of the week has been given up to a national fete in Alsace, car races following the motor cycle event on Saturday and Sunday. Many visitors from all parts flocked towards fair France’s regained province, not a few hailing from England, whilst Italians were also in evidence. The race itself provided still another victory for British productions, A Bennett (492cc Sunbeam) winning the senior event, and Geoffrey S Davison (248cc Levis) the lightweight section, Italy gaining the 350cc event in Visioli, who rode a vertical twin-cylinder two-stroke Garelli—a machine of extraordinarily neat design, which showed up conspicuously throughout. It is a pity that no British machine was represented among the six entries in the 350cc section: one would much have liked to see AJS riders in the contest, and some of the fleet JAP and Blackburne-engined mounts of home construction. It is particularly noteworthy that both Bennett and Davison repeated their Isle of Man successes. In the case of Bennett his victory in the Grand Prix is all the more convincing, as he carried off first place in France last year, won the TT this year, and now
achieves the grand slam by again winning the Grand Prix…When a Frenchman wins his compatriots embrace him. Taking a leaf out of their book, de la Hay and a host of other Englishmen soundly kissed Bennett on his arrival. Probably our French friends now think that we have changed since the war, and have become more demonstrative…Both Bennett’s Sunbeam and Davison’s Levis were fitted with the identical engines used in the Isle of Man—and, moreover, their gear ratios, even after experiment, were unchanged, despite the fact that the roads in the Strasbourg circuit are practically flat…All round the course railings were used to keep spectators off the roadway, gendarmes and soldiers with fixed bayonets guarded the approaches being stationed at equal distances over the whole course.” The Blue ‘Un commented thus: “[Bennett and Davison] can rightly claim to be, in their respective classes, Europe’s premier racing men, while the makers of their mounts share their success…Being practically straight and without gradients, the course provided a test entirely different from that imposed by the sinuous and hilly route traversed by competitors in the Tourist Trophy Races. Such a course called for sheer speed, and few prophets predicted a win for a two-stroke engine in any of the three classes. That, in such an event, the winners of two of the classes were two-strokes in competition with
engines embodying the latest four-stroke practice, shows the progress of the type…Being held under the auspices of the French Government, the preparations at Strasbourg for the event were unquestionably excellent. But there were several points in the actual organisation of the race which might be criticised, and the English visitors could not help but compare the French methods with the ACU’s very complete organisation of the Tourist Trophy Races…three or four men were flagged to stop when actually they had not completed their allotted laps. NOTES: Four-valved twin-cylinder engines were the feature of the racing Peugeots. The overhead mechanism was entirely enclosed in ribbed aluminium casings…JL Norton found that his garage had been broken into overnight and Hassall’s machine had had several nuts loosened. The matter was brought to the notice of the French officials, who regarded it in a very serious light and promised full investigation. One more case of this kind will kill international competition as surely as it was killed in 1905…Cottin (Velocette) overshot his depot and rode back to it, thereby arousing ire among the officials…Duttlenheim Corner was taken steadily by most of the competitors but Naas, the daring ABC rider, actually passed a rider on the bend and just escaped touching him…In the Armor-Thomann-Alcyon depot petrol poured from its tin into a spouted can was filtered through someone’s hat…Two of the three Garelli’s made excellent starts and kept up a fine average throughout. This is the first time this ingenious two-stroke has been raced before a representative group of British motor cycle enthusiasts, but it is not unknown to Italian speed events…The lightest machine in the 500cc race was Marc’s Twin Alcyon, which weighed 1951b. Thus the rider’s weight of 1471b was 43%, of the total of rider and machine. The heaviest motor cycle in the 500cc class was Walker’s Norton, which weighed 2791b, the rider being 1791b, 39% of the combined weights…Lightest among the lightweights was the privately constructed Chauviere, which weighed but 1491b. This machine had a four-valve four-stroke engine built into a Villiers frame…Again the side valve single has won a big international event in competition with the ohv type, which was in the majority.”
“AT STRASBOURG—IMPRESSIONS OF THE ALSATIAN CAPITAL during Grand Prix Week: At least half the enjoyment of a French motor-cycle race lies in the general atmosphere which prevails. At Strasbourg, indeed, it was the more marked because the weather was vile on the actual day of the race, for, even with this to damp everybody’s spirits, still the spectators treated the whole thing as a spectacle for their amusement. Before the race anybody with a motor cycle, more particularly anyone in a peculiar garb or with an engine possessing an unusually strident bark, was the centre of almost embarrassing attention, and, knowing this, handled his machine with as many little spectacular touches as possible. If any motor cycle stopped, while its rider so much as lit a cigarette, an enormous crowd formed a thick hedge all round it to comment on the engine or rider impartially in a patois which owed something to Germany and little to France. Then, when the inevitable white-trousered Agent de Police arrived, inquisitive as to the obstruction, the crowd did not dissolve, but had to be pushed aside until the Majesty of the Law confronted the motor cyclist. Even then the Law was stymied, because, in nine cases out of ten, the motor cyclist, being English, could not understand a word—or for convenience claimed this disability. To go to a cafe of an evening, especially in any sort of
leather coat, was to be a hero very easily. Can it be wondered that everyone rode the streets in sharp bursts, let their engines ‘rev’ suddenly until the old buildings rang with the noise, and allowed their machines to skid just sufficiently to demonstrate a masterly recovery. In any case a motor cycle of the racing brand can make more noise than a sporting car, and, since noise is appreciated in France, the motor cycles scored heavily over the many ferocious canvas-bodied cars which were in Strasbourg for the car races. Seriously, though, the atmosphere of a French town before a race is something worth experiencing after the apathy of the average English crowd. When the Frenchman—or in this case the Alsatian—sets out to make merry, he makes very merry and is not afraid to show it…In England, to stroll about munching the end of a long roll and with a large bottle of cider under one arm, would invite undue attention. If, added to this, one is wearing a purple waterproof, a blue collar having a pattern of crimson flowers and a yellow necktie with vermilion spots on it, then a crowd—probably a hostile crowd—would collect. In France nobody pays any attention, and everyone is happy…Man, woman and child, they watch each machine which stops at the pits and argue hotly as to why, going into technical details to any length. All classes do this. Now imagine a charwoman in England who could talk seriously about an ohv Triumph, and you have the parallel case…towards the middle of the race quite a lot of people have got where they shouldn’t be, and done what they ‘didn’t ought’, and nobody minds. You would not see the TT winner kissed by a quite strange girl immediately he finished perhaps it would increase the entry if you did; but it has happened in France, and nobody can see why she shouldn’t. Every tram, nearly every house, and practically every car has a flag, two flags, four flags, or more, the cas often having as many as their owners can borrow or steal. This adds colour to the scene, brightens everybody up amazingly, and convinces one that this really is a fête, not a funeral. So great is this effect that even staid Britons have been known to wear a tricolour in their hate. Taking it all round, the French know how to stage a race and, which is more important, the crowd know how to act their parts with zest.”
FEESH ON THE HEELS of their success in the French Grand Prix, British riders and machines swept the board in the big Belgian race last week-end. Again, a Sunbeam was foremost in the 500cc class, the rider being A Jackson, a north countryman not yet well known in the racing world. In the 350cc class the winner, E Remington, rode a Belgian assembled machine, the Rush, equipped with a Blackburne engine, while once more the 250cc victory has fallen to GS Davison on the all-conquering two-stroke Levis.”
“THE ACU HAS RECEIVED AN OFFICIAL letter from the authorities responsible for the Belgian Grand Prix to the effect that Alec Jackson, the Sunbeam rider who came in first in the race, was disqualified for changing a sparking plug.”
“CASUISTS AND MORALISTS, IXION ADMITTED, may find food for thought in the causes which may lead up to my doing time at the moment these words appear in print. I was riding a motor cycle in somewhat lightsome mood, and was also on my way to catch a train to fulfil an important engagement at a distance. The road was straight, empty, devoid of turning, and to all appearance deserted. The machine on which I was seated has done as near as no matter 70mph on Brooklands, and at the critical moment—shortly to be described—it was absolutely all out.. Suddenly a couple of constables jumped out of concealment in the hedge, and held up their arms. I didn’t stop, because I couldn’t; at that speed a cautious man requires room to pull up. As I slowed down, the sergeant emerged; and about the place at which I came to a standstill, the inspector dived out. I don’t feel in the least guilty. Ought I to?”
“WHEN AN L&SW EXPRESS TRAIN rattles along the railway straight at Brooklands, it is impossible to hear the cars and motor cycles running in the vicinity. Aggrieved track-men wonder if there is anything particularly soothing in a steam locomotive’s roar and clatter to the Weybridge residents who have complained of the motors’ noises. “
“THE DUKE OF LEINSTER’S MOTORING ESCAPADE—London to Aberdeen in 14½ hours—so prominently reported in the daily press, has called forth a letter of condemnation, widely circulated, from Mr T W Loughborough, the secretary of the ACU. We agree unreservedly with Mr Loughborough’s comment that such a happening ‘merely does harm to the movement’.”
“IN 1921 THE TOTAL NUMBER of motor cycles registered in France was 42,864, while in 1920 there were 50,783 registered. It is thought that the reason for this falling-off in the number of motor cycles is due, not to any lack of popularity of this form of locomotion, but to the fact that in France the cycle car is becoming a serious competitor to the motor cycle and sidecar.”
“THE MOTOR CYCLE ORIGINATED the term ‘flat twin’ as an easily remembered title for the horizontally-opposed twin cylinder engine and it caught the popular fancy. Now we are constrained to suggest, more or less seriously, the term ‘split-single’ for engines having two cylinders with a common combustion space, like the Garelli, which secured the first three places in the 350cc Grand Prix.”
“ALMS HILL, NEAR HENLEY, reputed to be steeper than 1 in 3, was on Saturday included for the first time in an important reliability trial. Although by no means in its worst condition, it was the means of failing 90% of the entry.”
“IN THE PROGRAMME OF LAST Saturday’s South Midland Trial machines were designated by their cubic capacities instead of horse-power ratings, ie, ‘490 Norton’, ‘550 Triumph’, ‘247 Levis’, etc, thus following the lead set by The Motor Cycle some weeks ago.
“CONSIDERABLE SATISFACTION IS BEING FELT’ that the choice of HM the King of Belgium in purchasing a new motor cycle should have again fallen on a British-made machine. After an extensive personal trial in competition with other makes, His Majesty eventually selected a Coventry Victor as most nearly meeting his requirements. The engine and all important parts of the machine are being made at the Coventry works of the company thus honoured, the assembling being carried out at Brussels.”
“SCOTLAND YARD HAS ISSUED AN EDICT pointing out that the use of the highway for sports and purposes other than bona-fide travelling has no legal sanction. Obstruction or disorder arising from events of this nature is particularly to be avoided.”
“BY EVERY POST WE RECEIVE from readers cuttings from local newspapers describing police court proceedings against motor cyclists. Usually the fines do not exceed 30s or so, but at Horsham recently the amounts varied from £5 to £10. The reader who forwarded the information in this case characterises the treatment accorded to some as abominable. After perusing columns of report, we agree. Horsham should be avoided.”
“ACCORDING TO A LONDON EVENING PAPER of Wednesday of last week there was to have been fought out at Brooklands last Saturday ‘what is (not even excepting the Tourist Trophy) the most arduous test of machine and man in the motor cyclist’s calendar—the annual 500 mile race.’ Half a column was devoted to comments on the riders who were to take part—several were mentioned by name—and the article concluded by advising readers to make their way to the Weybridge track about midday on Saturday, when they would be in plenty of time to see the closing stages. As a matter of fact they would have exactly ten weeks to wait!”
“THE SOLITARY FAIR: IT IS VERY gratifying,” Ixion opined, “to meet so many ladies riding alone. Not so long ago, if one sighted a lady riding solo, her attendant swain came along a few hundred yards behind. This week I have met at least a score of girls—well, some of them will never be girls again—absolutely by themselves. Several implications follow. A woman can feel safe unattended on British roads. Ladies’ machines have acquired a good reputation for reliability. Should a puzzling trouble occur, a girl can rely on the comradeship of the road to see her through it…Several lady readers have recently asked me to recommend an absolutely puncture-proof tyre. They say they don’t mind changing a plug, but repeated wrestles with tyres nauseate them…I answer all these letters in the same way. The best safeguard against punctures is to be heavily over-tyred, which means expenditure and weight. The various dopes marketed for insertion in standard tubes have never convinced me that they are more than palliatives, capable, often, of sealing a small hole, good to delay the leakage from a sizeable hole; but generally useless in the case of a big tear. I like the puncture-sealing tubes better than the dopes, but patent tubes are necessarily expensive. If Mrs Ixion demanded a solo ‘bus (I have trained her better), I should send her out on 3in tyres, with nail-catchers and pp tubes, or some dope inside a standard tube.”
“CURIOUS CALCULATION—EXTRACT FROM a recent Brooklands programme: Weatherell, 71x88mm=350cc; Sheffield-Henderson, 71x88mm=348cc; Ruscoe-Blackburne, 71x88mm=347cc.” Which was right? pi x r-squared x h, gentle reader...
“UNDER HAPPIER CIRCUMSTANCES: A correspondent reminds us that the Belgian-German frontier during the war ran at a distance of about one kilometre from Francorchamps, near the Belgian Grand Prix course, and troops on their way to occupy the Rhine towns after the cessation of hostilities presumably marched along what is now the course for the races.”
“FIRST SWISS GRAND PRIX: Motor cycles, solo and sidecar, from 250cc to 1,000cc competed in the Swiss Grand Prix this year. In the heavier machines Boisetti was the winner on a 998cc Harley-Davidson, Sperdel finishing second on a Motosacoche. In the 500cc class many incidents occurred, first place eventually being won by Lavanchy on a Douglas, with Meylas (532cc Scott) second, and another Scott third. Heusser (Condor) won the 350cc class, being the sole survivor out of six entrants; and the winner of the 250cc class was Trezza on a Moser, second place being gained by Jean, riding a Condor.”
“READERS MAY REMEMBER MY CAREFULLY LAID plans for a no-trouble season,”Ixion remarked. “Also how the demon of mischief who occasionally interferes in human affairs proved one too many for me. He’s been at it again. What was it this time? Certainly. A high-velocity golf ball, smitten by one of those willowy knickerbockered blokes with universal joints at every hinge of his anatomy, encountered my tank at speed some thirty yards after quitting the club face. Result, new tank. I must study the literature of demonology. and learn what sacrifice will propitiate the powers of darkness. The culprit was merely demonstrating a perfect swing, and didn’t mean to hit the ball at all.”
“NORTON MOTOR CYCLES, ACCORDING to an American trade paper, are ‘made by Tom Norton, Glandrindod Wells, England.’ Italics would lose their value in a case like this.”
“APART FROM ENGLAND, IT ONE WISHES to find originality in motor cycle design one must go to Italy; an example of this is the wonderful triumph of the Garelli in the Grand Prix. The latest development is a four-cylinder 56x100mm (984cc) water-cooled machine, known as the Garabello, built exactly on car lines, with a monobloc engine, honeycomb radiator, and shaft transmission.” Francesco Garabello produced his first motor cycle, a 240cc single, in 1903.
“ACCORDING TO LORD RONALDSHAY, there were 863 motor cycles in Calcutta in 1918, and 1,385 in 1920.”
“THERE ARE MORE MOTOR CYCLES ridden in Victoria (Australia) than in the whole of Canada, there being 14,000 in Victoria and 9,902 in the whole of Canada. This shows what a remarkable influence good roads have on the development of motor cycling.”
“SIR,—ALLOW ME TO PROTEST against the abolition of the speed limit. It is only in very rare cases that a speed in excess of 20mph is safe on the road. My own machine, I know, is capable of more, but very rarely do I let it exceed that speed. In the last year I know I have not ridden more than 50 miles in all at above 20mph. The charm of motor cycling is that it enables one to see the country. One cannot admire the scenery and drive at 20mph. Fifteen is possible, but not as safe as 12. If one wishes to go fast there is the train, but the motor cycle should not be allowed to blind along at 35mph.
‘DIE HARD’, Bishop’s Stortford.”
“MRS GM JANSON, RIDING A 249CC TRUMP-JAP, gained the distinction of being the first rider to make a ‘double-12 hour’ record in this country. The ‘double-12′ method of covering a 24 hour ride permits the driver to rest for 12 hours between two 12-hour stretches on the track the machine is locked up during the resting period. Mrs Janson covered 43 miles 677 yards in the first hour and thereafter lapped Brooklands at over 40mph; the three best laps being done consecutively at 46.45mph. At the end of the first 12 hours 515 miles 1,123 yards had been covered at 42.97mph. On the next day the hourly speed never fell below 44.12mph; and two hours’ riding were done at 46.37mph, and the grand total mileage was brought up to 1,071 miles 1,180 yards at a speed of 44.65mph, this constituting the first British ‘double-12’ record. No trouble was experienced throughout the run except for oil on the magneto contact breaker. It was a remarkable performance, and Mrs Janson showed wonderful pluck throughout.”
“AT AN INFORMAL GATHERING at the Langham Hotel in celebration of Mrs Janson’s double-12 hour record on the 249cc Trump-JAP, that intrepid lady said that Col Stewart of Trump Motors, Ltd, had confessed to thinking so little of the possibility of a woman completing the distance that he just handed over an ordinary stock machine for the ride.”
“BROOKLANDS MEETINGS RESEMBLE FORD CARS. They are all very much alike, and you may call them by different names without altering them beyond recognition. Last Saturday’s event was run by the Ealing club, but except that the fields were smaller than usual, it might easily have been a BMCRC affair; the same people were there, and, generally speaking, the same people won. On the other hand, the afternoon was notable because of a lady competitor’s win—Mrs Janson (249cc Trump-JAP) was first in he novices’ handicap…Of the four starters two were ladies but Mrs Janson’s track experience gave her a decided advantage over Mrs Knowles, and her greatest danger was from the scratch man, GH Ruscoe (348cc Ruscoe-Blackburne). He failed, however, by about 250 yards to overtake her; and Mrs Knowles made a good third…The winner’s speed was 53.70mph.”
SOMETIMES IXION WAS SERIOUS: “Many speedmen consider that the Fosse Road from Leicester to Newark affords a chance for one of the finest ‘blinds’ in England. To my thinking it is a road which demands extreme caution. It is crossed at right angles rather blindly by a number of lesser roads and at least one important highway. Traffic on all these roads is rather sparse, and their users imagine that this sparsity confers a licence to take blind crossroads all out. I have experienced and seen so many narrow squeaks on this route that I personally drive slower over it than in most places. It is surely time that the law about main and side roads should be cleared up and strictly enforced. If this is impossible, it would be a palliative if a motoring body would erect skull-and-crossbone signs at the points where these side-lanes debouch into the big roads, and beneath them a board ‘Main Road Beware of Fast Traffic!’ The present perils arise from the fact that the fast through traveller doesn’t know where the side roads occur, and trusts to a shadowy right of way, whilst the locals, having no more imagination than a mangold wurzel, see no harm in abutting into a stream of high-speed traffic at random until they are dead.”
“GEORGE BROUGH AND THE BROUGH SUPERIOR are beginning to be factors to be reckoned with at Brooklands. On Saturday he won his race at over 85mph.”
“FOUND ON THE ROAD: The back rest of a pillion seat on the Bath road, near Midgham, on Wednesday, the 19th inst, by Mr R Stewart Knill, who may be addressed at West End Farm, Midgham, near Reading…A lady’s left-hand new kid glove on the Stratford Road, near Shirley Racecourse, on July 29th, found by Miss M Jarrett, 218, Addison Road, King’s Heath, Birmingham…By Mr A Sharvell Cullwick, 74, Tettenhall Road, Wolverhampton: A pair of waterproof overalls at Newquay, on August 24th.“
“A FOOT-CONTROLLED GEAR: The 349cc Weatherell, on which R Weatherell recently won the 100 miles handicap at Brooklands, was equipped with the three-speed gear with foot control manufactured by the Moss Gear Co, of the Crown Works, Aston, Birmingham.”
“TWO PEDAL CYCLISTS riding side by side are as difficult to pass on the road as a motor coach.” Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose…n’est ce pas?
“SCOTLAND’S BIG SPEED EVENT of the year—the Championship Meeting at St Andrews—resulted in several keenly-contested races in which local men and well-known English riders divided the chief honours…Nearly 300 entries were received. Interest centred on the championship races. DB Calder (248cc New Imperial) won the 250cc event with some ease and AH Alexander (349cc Douglas) was not very hard pressed in the 350cc race, winning by 800 yards or so; his time for the twenty miles was 23min 25ec, an average speed of 51.2mph for a 10-lap, 20-mile course. No less than 30 competitors lined up for the medium-weight (560cc) championship, and by superior cornering, CP Wood (532cc Scott Squirrel) came home first, only to be disqualified in favour of Graham Walker (490cc Norton). Wood’s disqualification is said to be due to the length (or shortness) of his exhaust pipe. There was a regrettable accident owing to DS Alexander and DB Calder, on Nortons, colliding. Both were seriously injured. Only 10 started in the 1,000cc race, also over the 20-mile course, and Geo Grinton (989cc Harley-Davidson) won easily from FA Hunter (975cc Brough Superior) and RJ Braid (998cc Indian), who finished in the order stated. Grinton’s speed was 56.8mph.”
“ONE CAME AWAY FROM the open speed trials at Pendine on Monday reassured that motor cycle racing is the finest of all sports. Everything combined to make the day an enjoyable one—sunshine, a vast expanse of not-too-wet sand, satisfactory fields, thrilling racing, and—George Dance. Not that the Sunbeam Wizard, now happily recovered from his accident at Catsash, monopolised everything—other exceptionally good men on good machines there—but he certainly won all the events in which he entered, including most of the Welsh championships for this year. There was no split-seconds timekeeping, formula calculating or handicapping, nor an endless procession of solitary riders whizzing by at irregular intervals; each class was a race—usually either twice or five times round a two-mile there-and-back course—and everybody started at once, or as nearly as readily-sinking wheels permitted…11 ‘unlimited’ machines lined up, incidentally all 500cc mounts except Bush’s Harley-Davidson and H Davies’ Brough-Superior. Davies steered his big machine in an exceedingly capable fashion, and all Dr Lindsay could do was to hang grimly on to second place, Bush finishing less than I0O yards behind.”
“AFTER SUCH GLORIOUS WEATHER on the Bank Holiday Monday for the ACU open event at Pendine…it was disappointing to the Neath club to find that the first Welsh TT would have to take place under unfavourable weather conditions. Out of a very large entry few finished, and it is worthy of note that the little machines held their own for reliability. The outstanding performance was that of the two Scotts, ridden by Clarence Wood and Ivor Thomas respectively. Wood, on a 532cc Squirrel took the lead at the commencement, maintaining this position throughout. Each lap measured five miles. In the first the Scott set the pace. Wood leading by 50 yards, followed by Hassall (490cc Norton), Dance (499cc Sunbeam), and Grinton (993cc Harley-Davidson). Several competitors fell out even thus early, mostly due to plug and clutch trouble. At 20 miles the positions were: (1) Wood, (2) Dance, and (3) Hassall, Grinton having previously run into the depot for replenishment.
Among the smaller (250cc and 350cc) machines, which had 50 miles to cover, Edwards, on his ohv AJS, gained a remarkably fine lead, and was lapping most consistently. M Isaac, Carmarthen (New Imperial), retired with eye trouble, but TA Jones (Ivy) still carried on, his little machine humming away in fine tune. Owing to Dance’s delay Wood became a lap in advance; Hassall had fallen behind with plug trouble. However, at 35 miles Wood stopped to refill, and Dance picked up lost time in a marvellous manner. On restarting Wood literally screamed up the course, still maintaining the lead. At this time H Davies (Brough Superior) completed his first lap, having been delayed with magneto trouble, and Edwards (AJS), although he had stopped for a refill, led by a lap all the machines in his class. Ivor Thomas (Scott) gradually crept into a position, running second to Dance in the 500cc class. Wood completed half the distance in 53min 10sec, and led by four miles, while Grinton, who had apparently been having bad luck, now forged into third place. The positions at half way (50 miles) were: (1) Wood, (2) Dance, (3) Grinton. At 65 miles Wood, still leading, visited his depot, being off the course for nearly four minutes. Simultaneously loud cheering, greeted Edwards (AJS); for he had completed his 50 miles, and thereby won the Junior Cup. The heavy downpour had now eased somewhat, and the positions were: (1) Wood, (2) Dance and Grinton (level), (3) Ivor Thomas, the latter receiving loud cheers from his club mates. Evans, on a 250cc New Imperial, now finished, winning first position in the 250cc class. Hassall, dogged by plug
trouble, returned to the fray. At 90 miles Dance, who was running second to Wood, had a remarkably quick fuel replenishment, and once more led the 500cc class. However, ‘there’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip’, and this was exemplified in Dance’s case, for at 98 miles his magneto gave out and he was grateful to be towed in by Messrs Pratt’s representative. Previous to Dance’s misfortune Wood completed his run, doing the 10O miles in 108min, and it is remarkable that there was only a difference of 50sec in the times put up by him in the first and latter half of the race. Owing to the retirement of Dance, Ivor Thomas, who had been lapping steadily and consistently throughout, now became the winner of the 500cc class, with Hassall (ohv Norton) second. Results—100 miles (Unlimited): 1st, CP Wood (532cc Scott), lO8min. 100 miles (351-500cc): 1st, Ivor Thomas (Neath) (481cc Scott Squirrel); 2nd, Hubert Hassall (490cc Norton) (No times taken). 5O Miles (250cc): 1st, Jack Evens (249cc New Imperial); 2nd, JN Roberts (249cc New Imperial). 50 Miles (251-350cc): 1, W Edwards (349cc AJS); 2nd, TA Jones (349cc Ivy); 3rd, LF West (349cc Massey-Arran).”
“MORE AMERICAN SUPREMACY: ‘This issue is a humdinger, don’t you think?’ asks an American contemporary in very big type. One can only weakly confess that probably it is.”
“ON A RECENT CLUB TOUR of Cornwall and Devon the Marlow &DMCC carried a portable wireless set.”
“THE OTHER JAPS: The Japanese are taking up motor cycling with considerable enthusiasm, but, according to Mr HC Lepper, the secretary of the Yokohama MCC, they favour, for some unknown reason, heavy American machines, which are much too high to allow the riders to touch the ground with their feet. Many spills and bruises are the result.”
“A DISTRESSED PATERFAMILIAS APPROACHED ME this week,” Ixion reported, “requesting that I would wean his 17 year old son from his perverse passion for motor cycles and all things connected therewith. I refused with oaths. Papa’s grouse was that Sonny ought to have been concentrating on logarithms or something readily convertible into £sd at a later stage of his career. My refusal was based on the fact that a growing lad usually spends a good many hours of his time in dreamland, and he may easily elect to dream of costlier and less healthy commodities than motor cycles. True, the motor cycle will certainly soil his paws; but there are worse alternatives. It is just the first edition of calf love—silly, perhaps; innocent, certainly; harmless, probably. I asked papa what was his leading, interest in life at a similar age; and papa went rather pink. So that’s that.”
“LOST HIS PISTON. I SUPPOSE you never did that, reader? Neither,” said Ixion, “did I. I have dropped most parts of my machine and its equipment on the road at various times, including my pillion passenger. But young Fitz Wilkins actually contrived to lose his entire piston. The machine was originally a sports bus, and he proceeded to super-sport it. Took off everything removable. Balanced the road wheels. Streamlined the tubing of the frame. Finally he got to work on the inside of the engine with drills and file. The pace gradually rose from the manufacturer’s 60mph till two reliable observers timing with 17s 6d Ingersolls reported that he had done the flying mile at 78.2mph. “Just a little more drilling,” mused Fitz Wilkins, “and I shall get 80mph!” Perhaps he did. He found pieces of the bottom of the crankcase. Twisted relics of the conrod. Possibly one-third of the gudgeon pin. But nowhere even the tiniest portion of the piston. Which indicates that amateurs should leave well alone.”
“AT THE LEICESTER COUNTY COURT ‘an expert in motor cycles’ stated that it was very risky thing to start a motor cycle by running along with it. Such a silly statement would not matter much if it had not been responsible for a motor cyclist being found guilty of negligence when his machine crashed into a shop window, judgment admittedly being swayed by the ‘expert’s’ opinion.”
“THERE ARE NOW 2,415 MOTOR CYCLES in the control of the War Office, while in 1914 there were only 24. In the Royal Air Force the motor transport section has 512 motor bicycles and 316 sidecars.”
“REPLYING TO A QUESTION in the House of Commons, the Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Mr Neal, said that he had no evidence that the number of accidents due to pillion riding was increasing, and that he did not think there was sufficient ground to justify legislative action.”
“Sir,—In the House of Commons on the 3rd inst a member put up a question trying to prohibit pillion riding. I see that Hansard somewhat misreports a supplemental question of mine, a correction of which I have sent in. In the meantime, I do not wish it to go abroad among my many motor-cycling friends that I am one of the kill-joys who wish to prohibit pillion riding. I have during my life had the good fortune to take some small part in almost every game and sport. I rode on a motor bicycle (not for very many yards!) in 1895 in France, and have driven cars almost since they were invented. There may be a small risk in pillion riding, but it is a very, very small one as far as the careful cyclist is concerned, and certainly no more than the risk entailed in such winter sports as ski-ing and tobogganing or fox hunting. To the average Englishman a slight spice of danger detracts in no way from the sport, nor will it, I hope, ever do so. I am a keen champion of the motor cycle, and the joy it brings to the boys and girls of England, and, as far as I am concerned, I will certainly do anything I can to resist putting up the German ‘Verboten’ with regard to pillion riding.
SIR BARRY BRITTAIN, KBE, MP.“
“A FEW MONTHS AGO the fine road between Sunbury and Staines was remade with tarred macadam. Already it is developing unpleasant waves. When will the even-surfaced road on solid, unyielding foundations materialise?”
“RECENT MAILS FROM BATAVIA (Java) brought news of a motor cycle race meeting which was held on the racecourse at Welterneden, a suburb of Batavia. The grass track had been rolled with a steam-roller and re-turfed in places, and some excellent racing was witnessed. Strict police regulations were in force, and during practice no rider was allowed to exceed 50mph. Competitors had to wear racing helmets and to sign a declaration that they had previously ridden on the track and that none but themselves were responsible for their accidents. A European doctor was provided by the race committee. The circuit was 80ft short of a mile).” Class A (400cc, four laps) was won by JK Fellner (ABC); Class B (500cc, five laps), de Raadt (Douglas); Class C (750cc, six laps), de Raadt (Douglas); Class D (1,000cc, eight laps), de Raadt (Indian); Class E (eight laps, 1,250cc), Van der Kop (Harley-Davidson).
“THE MOTOR CYCLE IS NOW THE MOUNT of every man, and is in use in every clime. True, we have not yet heard of any Eskimo running a machine on the shores adjacent to the North Pole, but from almost every other part of the world we have letters from readers who, irrespective of road or climatic (renditions, use their machines for business and pleasure. For long it has been recognised that the so-called colonial conditions are not general in the overseas markets, and that one may find roads just as good as those in this country in almost every country where the white man has taken charge. On the other hand, there is rough and bad going in these islands equal to the worst roads in Africa or the Antipodes. Hence the modern trials are developing motor cycles along lines which will render them suitable for every man’s needs wherever he may reside. Two intrepid motor cyclists have started to ride to the home country from Singapore. They are FAF Johnstone and ED Hill, of Johore, and their route includes Siam, Burma, India, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, Turkey, the Central European States, Italy, and France. They are well provided with spares and maps, and are quite confident that they will accomplish the journey, which they estimate will occupy eight or nine months. Johnstone is riding a Triumph while Hill is mounted on a Douglas.”
“AN UNFORTUNATE READER PURCHASED a motor cycle of a little-known make,” Ixion reported, “and on delivery found the steering was rather stiff. After much worry he dismantled the steering head and found that the top half of the lower ball race had been completely omitted by the erector, together with two of the balls. On complaining to the makers, he received a postcard, which I copy verbatim: ‘Dr Sir,—Your letter to hand. In our opinion the ball race had been over-hardened and split up gradually disintegrating en route. This opinion is confirmed by the absence of the other balls. Yrs faithfully, ————.’ There is a delicious air of attachment about this postcard which pleases me enormously. The matter is treated purely and simply as a technical problem, apart from all sordid considerations of £sd or such personal matters as inconvenience to the owner. It reminds me of the chemist whose medicine poisoned the sick wife. When the irate husband sent a lawyer’s letter complaining that 10 grains of arsenic had been put in a tonic, the chemist replied: ‘Yours of the —th inst to hand. You are in error. It was strychnine, not arsenic.'”
“INTERNATIONAL TRIALS IN SWITZERLAND: In England we have always been accustomed to judge the importance of a trial by the number of entries received. Rather should we ascribe importance to the quality of the entries, and to the lessons the trial teaches. For the International Trials there are but 45 entries. More is the pity; but our British representatives are first-class riders, who are mounted on the best machines the world can produce. ‘Truly,’ as a Swiss official remarked to us, ‘you have sent us your ‘aces’.’ Included in our team we have two TT winners, who are pitted against the best Swiss motor cyclists who won the Cup in 1920, and who held it in 1921 against the strongest team we could put forward; moreover, they are competing on their own soil, and so have the advantage of our men, since no one in our team knows a yard of the very difficult course, which has not its equal in the British Isles. Whereas last year there were only two international teams, this year there are three, the third being that from Sweden. The Swedes have proved themselves to be true sportsmen, and sent their Husqvarna sidecar outfit by road, taking four days from the port of landing in Germany. The three international teams were composed as follows: England—GS Davison (249cc Levis), A Bennett (492cc Sunbeam), PW Giles (800cc AJS sc); Switzerland—J Morand (248cc Condor), A Robert (496cc Motosacoche), E Gex (994cc Motosacoche sc); Sweden—B Malmberg (494cc Husqvarna), G. Göthe (494cc Husqvarna), P Swanbeck (995cc Husqvarna). Even
though the French who live on the Swiss border did not send a team, two French riders were entered. There were two Dutchmen and one Italian, while practically one-fourth of the riders were English. As last year the examination was in the Electoral buildings, and was carried out with characteristic thoroughness. Great attention was paid to silence, and many a rider had to ‘fish-tail’ the end of his silencer. Two days were taken up in the examination of the machines, which with their riders were weighed, while all- important portions, such as crank cases, wheels, frames, and tanks were sealed. Three British club teams are competing for the Team Prize—the Worcester &DMCC, the Bradford &DMCC and the BMRC. FIRST DAY’S RUN: GENEVA—CHAUX DE FONDS (124 MILES). The day’s run was an easy one, just intended to introduce the riders to the type of country they would have to traverse during the remainder of the trial. It is not surprising, therefore, that all who started reached their destination to time…Once the blue-green waters of the lake had been left the competitors started to climb; first over the four miles climb up the Col de St Cergue rising nearly 2,000 feet but over smooth, gradually rising roads with easy bends. Then the road flanked the sides of the mountains overlooking the lake, descended a little, and then started to rise—the beginning of the Col de Marchairuz—the first observed hill. This climb was a long one, well over four miles of gradient, easy at first but with a final hairpin of about 1 in 7 on the inside. Both the British team and the other British riders looked perfectly happy. Giles on the 800cc AJS sidecar, with his wife as passenger, looked as if he were on a holiday tour. Our two ‘aces’, Bennett and Davison, were seemingly just as content, while the Raleighs and Quadrants made light work of the
hill. Naturally such a climb in no way worried the Swiss-born Condors and Motosacoches, while the Swedish Husqvarnas made excellent ascents…A five miles descent brought the competitors to Chaux de Fonds, where the day’s run terminated. All who started arrived without the loss of a single mark, despite several secret checks. SECOND DAY’S RUN: CHAUX DE FONDS-ZURICH (174 MILES). Friday’s run was considered to be the most difficult of any. It had not the enormously long climbs of Saturday’s route, but judged from English standards the hills were both long and severe, averaging from three to four miles and comprising country roads of a nature which we call ‘colonial’. Despite blue skies, a hot sun and a cool breeze to temper its heat—in a word, ideal weather—the severity of the course told its tale of victims, and three were removed from the list of survivors. British and Swiss teams were both intact, though of the latter Robert (Motosacoche), the champion rider of Switzerland, was caught out at a secret control, the accuracy of the timing of which was indisputable, and so lost marks. During the second day, therefore, the British team was leading; still, with four more days to go much could happen. Of the gallant Swedes, Captain Svanbeck (Husqvarna) struck a boulder with his gear box and had to retire, L Divorne (248cc Condor-Swiss) and WE Clark (653cc Quadrant) had to retire, while several lost marks. THIRD DAY’S RUN: ZURICH-LUGANO (181 MILES). A long day’s run was before the competitors as they left the beautiful town of Zurich at 5.30am on Saturday…Gibson pluckily started, though he could not put his foot to the ground. As to Clarke (Quadrant), who fell five times on the previous day, which was the most severe of the trial, his various troubles delayed him so much that he had to retire. Thursday’s run was the first to bring the competitors among the High Alps, entailing the climbing of very long ascents, and passing through the most beautiful scenery Europe can produce…After the Pfaffikon control the competitors very gradually ascended along the Linth valley, between two chains of high mountains, on which there was far more snow than last year, and proceeded to Linthal village, which marks the
beginning of the Klausen Pass. Talking to the hotel keeper about the pass, he said: ‘Do you see that mountain?’ pointing to a cone-shaped peak which dominated the village. ‘Well, you will have to climb as high as that.’ It did not seem possible; but he was right. Mounting en lacets—by zig-zags—with fairly loose surface at every corner, the climb went up and up, then suddenly, just as the trees grew thinner and the country assumed that grand air of desolation which exists just below the snow line. Far down in the valley could be heard the distant echo of the competitors’ exhausts, doubtless disturbing the. chamois in their lofty haunts. Despite the altitude attained—6,000ft the gradients are not worse than 1 in 10…Bennett (Sunbeam) soared up comfortably, while even Davison’s little Levis did much on top gear and never needed a lower ratio than second…At the summit the competitors had to pass through two walls of snow, which had been cut to clear the road…after lunch came the 30 miles’ climb up the St Gothard, reaching an altitude of 6,872ft…Just as the competitors reached the summit a cloud suddenly formed…in a few minutes the sky was covered and rain fell. Down, down went the riders, winding corkscrew fashion, down the sheer side of the mountain, slithering round the disgracefully loose corners, which rapidly became greasy with the torrential rain…Few marks were lost on this, the third day, and none of the British team had any trouble. FOURTH DAY’S RUN: LUGANO-BERNE (183 MILES). An early start was made on Monday, the first man leaving at 6am in pouring rain. It thundered and lightened as the competitors prepared for another arduous run, and before starting Giles (AJS sc) had to change a tube…from the bottom of Monte Genera, the hill out of Lugano, to the top of the St. Gothard is 52 miles of steady up grade, with only one interruption, and there are as many hairpin turns as there are miles of hill…On entering Altdorf the competitors had to turn sharply to the right to reach the control, and only those with a good memory reached
their destination without trouble. Bossetti (Raleigh) wandered all over the town and protested in language (French) more forcible than polite. It was pointed out to him that it did not matter as he had arrived punctually, but even that did not pacify him. Bennett (Sunbeam) bewailed the fact that he had lost a spare cover and tube some miles back. He. like others of the English riders, had suffered punctures, and on Saturday had had three and saved another by pulling out a nail just in time. FIFTH DAY’S RUN: BERNE-CHATEAU D’OEX (192 MILES). It was a journey of superb beauty. First the men skirted the beautiful lake of Thun, then passed through tourist- favoured Interlaken, with its famous view of the Jungfrau, then along the shores of the equally lovely lake of Brieuz to the piece de resistance of the long day’s journey—the ascent of the Grimsel pass…Only slightly inferior to the St Gothard in altitude, the Grimsel, though it has a better surface, is quite as steep and was far more difficult to climb; on the St Gothard the average speed was only 12mph, while that for the Grimsel was 19mph and the sidecar machines had to work hard to maintain it. Motor vehicles are controlled on all tHe principal Swiss Alpine passes; a speed limit is set which must not, be exceeded, and a toll is paid and a pass given at the foot which must be surrendered at the summit. Now the Swiss Motor Cycle Union had definitely arranged with the cantons concerned that these formalities should be waived during the trial. Notwithstanding a Swiss competitor, Souvairan (994cc Motosacoche sc), was held up at the inn near the summit by a gendarme; who pointed a revolver at him. M Delessert, clerk of the course, fortunately arrived in time, but could make no headway with the gendarme. He then saw the proprietor of the hotel, a former deputy, pointed out that this was not a courteous way to treat visitors of various nationalities, and persuaded him to telephone the cantonal government, with the result that humble apologies were offered. Souvairan lost 25 minutes, which was of course allowed him…one of the features of the day’s run was the extraordinary changes of
temperature, first the chill of the early morning, the moderate temperature of the valleys, the cold on the summit of the pass, and then the tropical heat of the afternoon, followed later by a quite chilly climb over the Col des Mosses and an arrival at Chateau d’Oex, just as a thunderstorm heralded the approach of torrential rain. SIXTH DAY’S RUN: CHATEAU D’OEX-GENEVA (175 MILES). Meyer (994 Motosacoche) had a nasty tumble at the start, and hurt his nose badly. After leaving the stopping place for the night the competitors climbed the Col du Brüch, the same observed hill as was used last year. First to arrive was Clerc (Condor), whose engine came to a standstill near the last bend, and he arrived pushing and much exhausted. Examination proved that a ball bearing had gone in his gear box, and he was compelled to retire…After Montreux, the luncheon stop, a detour was made into the high country dominating the Lake of Geneva. The riders then descended to the excellent road along the lake almost into Geneva, when a turn to the right was taken and a steep hill ascended. Thereafter the road—excellently marked—wound in and out and round about after the manner of an ACU one-day trials course, brought the competitors o the flat road over which the speed test was held in the reverse direction to last year, and on through more winding lanes to the Donzelle, the worst gradient in the trial…all the English team climbed well, but Giles (AJS sc) swerved badly, as his back tyre was flat. There was a level-crossing at the bottom of the hill which could not be rushed, as it was approached after a right-hand bend, and naturally the level-crossing caused several delays…Six miles only separated the Donzelle from Geneva. On arriving at Geneva the competitors’ machines were stored in a school…and there the
officials toiled all day over the results…Then the machines were examined as to their condition, and finally the results were announced at a banquet held in the Kursaal. M. Jules Neher, President of the Swiss Motor Cycle Union, occupied the chair…A delightful welcome was accorded to riders and officials…M. Neher made three excellent speeches, in English, French, and- Swiss-German patois, and thanked both riders and officials…For the second time a British team has attempted to wrest the trophy presented by the British Motor Cycle Manufacturers Union from the Swiss, who have held it since 1920…It was beaten by one mark. It was a splendid team of first-class riders, and had it not been for one small technical failure they would have been successful. A broken saddle spring, for which marks were deducted during the final examination, caused the penalty which lost the trophy. It is hard luck indeed, but Britain’s representatives rode well, their machines proved their reliability and hill-climbing capacity, and they proved themselves equal to, if not better than, their Swiss rival’s, especially when it was considered that the total cubical capacity of their engines was less than that of the Swiss machines. Trade team results: (1) AJS, (2) Harley-Davidson, (3) Motosacoche. Club team results: (1) Zurich MCC, (2) Worcester &DMCC, (3) Motosacoche Club. Best performance of a foreign machine, offered by the Federal Police, GS Davison (Levis). Best performance of a Swiss machine, H Dinkel (248cc Condor).
“WHEREAS THE SWISS TEAM gained 2,990 marks during the International trial, the Worcester MCC team—Giles, Williams, and Harris—all on AJS machines, beat them as regards a total number of marks by 4. Bravo! Worcester.”
“PRIOR TO THE START of the International Trial GS Davison was fined for exceeding the limit. At the end of the event he won a handsome gold watch presented by the Swiss Federal police, so now his feelings towards them have changed for the better.”
“FOLLOWING THE CONCLUSION of the International Six Days’ Trial, the Summer Congress of the FICM was held at the Swiss AC premises at Geneva. Delegates attended from Great Britain, Switzerland, Belgium, Holland, France, Denmark, Sweden, Italy and the United States, and several important decisions were made. Among these were, that motor cycle interests should be looked after at the International Traffic Congress by delegates from the FICM; that racing helmets should be compulsory in all races held under the Federation rules; that in Class E (1,000cc) records the minimum tyre size should be 65mm; that on the occasion of record attempts the only parts of a machine which might be changed were the plug, chain or belt, wheel and/or tyre; and that mile and kilometre records might be made from a standing start. Affairs in Spain appeared to be in a somewhat tangled condition. The Royal Spanish Motor Cycle Club (Real Moto-Club d’Espana) is really the governing body, but the Royal Moto-Club of Cataluña is the more active motor cycle body, and is fully qualified to take the lead. For some years the Real Moto-Club d’Espana has been promising to put its house in order, but it has done nothing. It is therefore proposed to give it one month to give a satisfactory reply to the FICM, and failing that to exclude it from the Federation and to appoint the Royal Moto-Club of Cataluna in its place. At the same time it was resolved to put the full facts of the case before the patron of the club, HM The King of Spain.”
“HAND-SIGNALLING EXTRAORDINARY: A reader tells us that while riding behind a large American car, nearing some cross-roads, the word ‘Left’ appeared on a device over the rear number plate, and simultaneously a hand shot out from the off-side of the car; to crown this, the driver accelerated and kept straight on his original course.”
“DURING THE SUMMER I(XION) HAVE ridden three separate Scott Squirrels, two of which were supplied to humble and obscure persons in the ordinary way of business, and—much to the credit of the firm—were quite as hot as another delivered to our staff. When riding them a mute wonder assails me as to how they lost the TT. For if they are possibly a mile or two slower than two or three ginger four-strokes along the open straight, their road-holding and control qualities make them simply invincible over roads which bend and undulate. I am a timid old fogey nowadays, but I can make any rider on any machine stretch himself when I tackle him over average or freak roads on a Squirrel. I suppose the explanation of their failure to lick the four-strokes in the Isle of Man is ignitional (another nice, new word). After all, when you have an explosion at every revolution, and are revving for hours and hours at about 4,000rpm, the poor plug does not have much chance to dispose of the flames which lick it so continuously. But at least one plug merchant informs me that by 1924 he will have a plug which will remain cool and black in the jet of a welding blowpipe; so the Scotts will be out for blood, one presumes, in the 1923 race. In the meantime they remain the hottest and most comfortable lightweights on the road—for all this trio of Squirrels come out at under 200lb.”
“A PICNIC BASKET TIP is to carry milk for the tea in the Thermos, in a bottle; if mixed in the first place, the cup of tea loses its refreshing qualities.”
“A PILLION RIDER, BY DINT of striking many matches, managed to relight an extinguished rear lamp without stopping. But ‘what was gained on the swings was lost on the roundabouts’, for he had to dismount with alacrity when he found his nether garments smouldering!”
“THE PARIS CORRESPONDENT of The Motor Cycle writes that in France no person is allowed to ride a motor cycle, or indeed to handle any kind of mechanically propelled vehicle, until he has passed a practical and theoretical Government examination. At present no age limit exists. Only 10 years of age, Paul Goujon, I am told, passed a very severe examination which gave him the right to travel over all the highways of France on a motor cycle. Paul’s machine is built to his requirements, for it is a motor assisted bicycle to which is attached a closed basket-work sidecar.”
“A DETECTIVE RECENTLY RECEIVED INFORMATION that a motor cycle had been stolen (a 348cc Douglas as it happened). He went home, got out his 976cc New Imperial sidecar, and although the thieves had 15 minutes start, was successful in overhauling them 14½ miles from where the theft had taken place. The idea of justice overtaking them with such alarming rapidity astride a big twin of modern design had apparently not occurred to the culprits, for they abandoned the stolen Douglas and fled.”
“AT THE BISHOPS LYDEARD (SOMERSET) Police Court Ralph Alexander Coleman, a boy aged 12, was summoned for having ridden a motor cycle without a licence. The boy had ridden the machine from Taunton, a distance of five miles, and when quite near his home met the local police sergeant. The bench admired the boy’s pluck and discharged him on payment of the costs, 4s.”
“ONE CANNOT BUT ADMIRE the ingenuity of certain ‘speedman’ familiar to the Brooklands community whose practice it is to disturb the ozone with some force protected as to the head in what was once a self-respecting bowler hat—now raised to the elevated ranks of a ‘crash-helmet’ by means of skilful camouflage.”
“THERE WAS AN ENORMOUS INCREASE in the number of sidecars on the roads in France between 1920 and 1921. In the former year there were only 5,559, while last year there were 13,358, an increase of 140%. This, too, is reckoned as rather a moderate estimate.”
“IT IS INTERESTING TO RECOLLECT that a comparatively short while ago, even after the war, it was considered pure ‘swank’ to wear the now almost universally popular ‘flying helmet’ for motor cycling purposes—until people began to realise that such a form of headgear was both comfortable and efficient. Nowadays they are worn by motor cyclists of every description, from the ‘big twin’ solo man to the baby two-stroke ‘speed merchant’.”
“ON THE LONDON ROAD NEAR CRAYFORD, Kent, a broken overhead tramway wire became entangled in a motor bicycle and sidecar. There was a shower of sparks and the driver was warned not to move as the wire was ‘live’. His wife and child were in the sidecar, but the insulation afforded by the tyres saved them from shock, but they had to remain stationary until officials wearing rubber gloves removed the wire.”
“THERE IS PROBABLY QUITE SOUND REASONING in the argument that impaired hearing of produce. when wearing goggles is caused by pressure of the strap upon the auditory nerves. This suggestion seems to be proved by the fact that one’s hearing is often slightly affected even while wearing goggles pushed up on to the forehead.”
“BROOKLANDS SILENCE CAMPAIGN: PEOPLE not in the know will be surprised to learn that there is a permanent injunction against noises on Brooklands track, which was the outcome of the first 24-hours record, made so long ago as 1907.”
“MAINLY FOLLOWING STANDARD LINES, but possessing several attractive features, the Gnome and Rhone is about to appear in the British market. Though of French construction, being built at the famous Gnome and Rhone works which turned out 30,000 aeroplane engines during the war, the 499cc Gnome and Rhone was designed by an Englishman, JJK Bartlett, who has distinguished himself in French competitions on both this machine and the ABC (which is also the company’s production), he competed in the Tour de France of 2,300 miles on the machine under review without the loss of a single mark. It is worthy of mention that the method of securing the gudgeon pin by means of two spring rings fitted in grooves in the latter and engaging with corresponding grooves in the piston boss renders it safe and yet easy to detach…Mixture is supplied by a simple single-lever Gnome and Rhone
carburetter provided with a strangler to the main air intake, thus ensuring easy starting under all conditions…Transmission is by chain and belt, a Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear box being employed…Originality is shown in the design of the brakes. One of these, of the direct-acting variety, is controlled by the rider’s left heel, and consists of a large shoe applied to the belt rim, while the other is actuated by the rider’s toe, and is applied directly to the periphery of the flywheel, the pedal being on the offside footboard. Good spring forks are employed, and caps are provided to keep wet and grit from the hubs. In the first model seen over here the magneto is controlled by a lever on the tank, but in future models this will be handlebar-controlled. It is interesting to note that all control wires are concealed and pass through the handlebars, and that sidecar lugs are incorporated in the frame. The Gnome and Rhone is to be made on mass production lines, 10,000 machines being suggested for next year and 20,000 the year after; the first batch is practically ready for delivery.”
“IN THE SAME DAY, at the same police court, two motor cyclists were summoned. In one case the alleged offence was that of being drunk in charge of a machine; in the other, that the machine was too noisy. The first man was fined 10s; the latter, 40s. The case simply supplies confirmation for what we have already said; the present campaign against noise has, in the Midlands anyhow, far over-stepped the bounds of common- sense.”
“A WEEKLY PUBLICATION ASKS ‘How many pillion girls have to be killed before the obviously requisite law is passed?’ It is quite time that the lay Press stopped publishing nonsensical paragraphs such as this on matters about which it invariably displays supreme ignorance.”
“EVER SINCE THE DAYS of the selective-clutch two-speed Clyno, its makers have had a high reputation as manufacturers of sidecar outfits, and it was with pleasure that a few weeks ago we were able to announce that the big twin Clyno was once again in production. The early post-war design was most promising in every respect, but its production was delayed for some time for works and financial reorganisation, and this delay has enabled even further improvements to be made in the final article. In spite of the fact that the machine which we tried had never been on the road previously, it ran without a falter throughout a total distance of some 200 miles, and proved itself capable of maintaining very high average speeds with heavy loads. The high averages put up were undoubtedly due not only to the power and smooth running of the engine, but also to the comfort provided by the excellent spring frame and spring sidecar wheel, which absorb severe bumps to such a degree that one can maintain high speeds over rough roads, pot-holed streets or tram tracks. After a preliminary run we left Coventry by the Holyhead road for Wellington, thence to the Wrekin to watch the competitors ascending that hill during the course of the ACU Six Days Trials. The trip was accomplished in remarkably short time in spite of the new engine, and in extreme comfort. Thence on to Shrewsbury and back again to Wellington for the night. The following day the return trip was made via Birmingham, and the average speed maintained was as high as could reasonably be expected of any sidecar machine. The maximum speed is about 50mph. Throughout this trip the load consisted of an 11-stone passenger, light luggage, spare can of petrol and a spare wheel. In addition the machine was equipped with full electric lighting and electric horn. So smooth and cool running is the engine that it maybe left on three-quarters throttle for mile after mile without showing any signs of distress. It is also quiet as regards mechanical noises, though a slight improvement might he made by lengthening the tail pipe another six inches, for though the exhaust is not unduly noisy, thanks to the large cast aluminium expansion chamber, the sound of the explosions is clearly audible to the rider, which would not be the case were a slight extension fitted. Mechanical lubrication by a small pump driven from the timing gear relieves the rider of all responsibility, though since the engine was a new one and we were driving somewhat fast the auxiliary oil pump was employed on two or three occasions. An internal expanding rear brake works smoothly and powerfully. It is in fact sufficiently powerful to lock the rear wheel, though a steel-studded tyre such as was fitted to the machine in question is not well adapted to rapid deceleration on smooth tarred roads. With regard to the front
brake, however, there is considerable room for improvement, a horse-shoe type being fitted at present which not only interferes with the quick detachability of the interchangeable wheels, but has the additional disadvantages of scoring the rims and being insufficiently powerful for use with a heavy sidecar. An external expanding brake could easily be arranged, avoiding both these defects, and we understand that the manufacturers already have this matter in hand. The front mudguard is no less than 8in wide, and is valanced throughout the complete arc, and these sensible proportions help to keep both machine and rider reasonably clean, and the rear guard which moves with the spring wheel is exceptionally free from rattles. A most excellent metal-to-metal multi-plate clutch is fitted on an extension of the gear shaft, and it is particularly sweet and smooth in action. It is operated by a pedal conveniently placed on the left footboard. The gear box is unusually silent on all ratios, and it appears to be impossible to make a noise when changing gear, though, owing to slight stiffness in the new quadrant, we did not always change as smartly as desirable. Rear suspension by two laminated springs seems to be ideal; no trace of side rock could be detected, and the springs were just sufficiently flexible to absorb the shocks without causing roll or bounce. The same may be said of the sidecar wheel springing, which removed all traces of those shocks usually transmitted to the cycle by the sidecar wheel, yet was stiff enough to prevent serious rolling on corners. As to the sidecar itself, the two passengers who tested it on different occasions agreed that the springing was the most comfortable they had ever experienced, and though the leg room is a little cramped for a tall man it is ample for a passenger of normal proportions. High ground clearance is a strong point for overseas buyers, and the frame with its duplicate saddle tube construction is sufficiently rigid for all requirements. With the exception of the front brake already mentioned, the only serious criticism we have to make has regard to the petrol consumption, which was somewhat high, working out at approximately 35mpg. It is perhaps hardly fair to raise this point, since the engine and carburetter were untuned and the machine was driven at more than average speed throughout the greater part of our test. Except for the exhaust noise it would have been difficult to tell that the engine was a V-twin, and from maximum speed the machine could be throttled down to a mere crawl and driven through thick traffic on top gear. In detail work, the Clyno excels; the cylinder heads are very easily detachable, chain adjustments are simple, and every moving part of the machine can be greased by a special grease gun supplied in the kit. A two-way tap enables the gear box to be lubricated en route, and the system of feeding oil (by mechanical pump) to wells surrounding the cylinder bases appears to answer admirably. It is very seldom that we have felt so thoroughly enthusiastic over a heavy sidecar outfit as was the case after our trip on the 925cc Clyno, and we wish the company every success in its latest venture.
“MOTOR RACING TRACKS HAVE recently been built in several places on the Continent. The first to be constructed after the war was outside Berlin; another has just been completed near Copenhagen; and yet a third was lately opened for the Italian Grand Prix in the Monza Park, near Milan.”
“RECENTLY THE DAILY NEWSPAPERS have become alive to the fact that motor cycling is hot wholly a young man’s pastime, and a controversy has started as to who is the oldest motor cyclist. Three years ago, in June, July, and August, 1919, a similar discussion took, place in the columns of the Motor Cycle, when it was discovered that a Mr Elias Blackburn, aged 89, of Redcar, easily earned the honour.”
“WHEN TAKING OVER A TYPICAL sports solo machine one does not expect to find such a luxury as a kick-starter, nevertheless this invaluable fitting is part of the equipment of the 600cc sports Humber, and it should be added that the starting of this machine is remarkably easy. Again, the first impression received on the road is of extraordinary flexibility, another feature not usually associated with sports machines. One can crawl along on top gear at a speed but little higher than a fast walk and yet accelerate to a maximum of approximately a mile a minute with no other alteration than a movement of the throttle lever. The carburetter, it should be added, is a car type Claudel-Hobson single lever. It is not altogether easy to find a suitable testing ground for a powerful solo machine in the immediate neighbourhood of Coventry, so we bethought us of the standard course employed by The Motor Cycle staff when testing pre-war machines. This course, though straightforward, includes several good hills, such as Frizz Hill, Edge Hill, Tysoe, and Sunrising, and provides a sufficiently varied assortment of surfaces to form a good test. Accordingly we set forth on a showery day with the side roads just sufficiently treacherous to test the stability of the machine. Over main roads to Warwick, Barford, and Wellesbourne the Humber covered the ground smoothly and fast, giving a sense of security on corners due to a low centre of gravity and beautiful steering. The first rise to be encountered was Frizz Hill, which is sufficiently steep and long to test the top gear pulling powers of most touring machines. The Humber, however, slid up fast on a three-quarter throttle opening and continued down the corresponding descent past the beautiful grounds of Compton Verney. Down this hill we took the opportunity of testing brakes. The rear brake, operating in a dummy belt rim, is smooth and powerful, but the front brake, of the horse-shoe type, though capable of slowing the machine, will not bring it to a stop on any severe grade. This point, in fact, requires attention, and the present fitting—of a rapidly disappearing type—might reasonably be replaced by something more modern. At the foot of Edge Hill we took the precaution of adding an additional charge of oil to the oil sump, from which lubricant is circulated by mechanical pump. The surface of the hill was good and dry, and we experienced no trouble in making a comfortable ascent on top gear (this with a ratio of 4.5 to 1 is no mean performance), thence down Sunrising a further excellent brake test, sharp to the left at the bottom, and through the old-world village of Tysoe, thence up the least known hill of the Edge Hill range. Tysoe Hill is a good test, though its deceptive gradient does not appear to be steep to the eye. Again a top gear ascent was made in spite of the S-bend just before the steepest part. Here we stopped for a few moments to admire the view over the surrounding country, the sun came out, and the marvellously clear atmosphere permitted great distances to be seen, though it forecasted further rain. Returning over the same route, Sunrising was used as a second gear test, for, since we had already proved the top gear pulling powers of the engine, we dropped into middle on the right-handed hairpin in order to try the performance on the lower ratios. On a gear of 7.5 to 1 it was possible to accelerate even on the steepest part of the hill, and the engined
toyed with the gradient. Middle gear is reasonably quiet, excepting at very high revolutions, when something of a whine proceeds from the gear box. As in most flat-twins, the vibration at high speeds was barely noticeable. Throughout the run the Humber was not spared, and on the many open and almost trafficless roads high speeds were attained. Before reaching home rain fell and provided an opportunity for testing the mudguards. We can only say that they are of the usual sporting type, and, though they are fitted fairly close to the tyre and consequently stop a certain amount of wet, they are not very practical from the point of view of cleanliness; where sports models are concerned this is usual, however. Outstanding features of the Humber are silence of engine operation, accessibility and smooth running. The engine is not vibrationless, but is so comparatively free from vibration that it is far ahead of the normal V-twin. The silencing arrangements might be improved, though, in spite of the plain exhaust pipes with fishtail ends, the exhaust note is reasonably quiet until the throttle is more than half-way open. Detachable valve seatings have long been a feature of the flat-twin Humber models, and these, of course, are retained so that the complete valve spring and pocket may be removed for inspection and ‘grinding in’. Oil is pumped from a capacious sump to feed the various bearings, plain split big-ends being employed and lubrication scoops fitted thereto. The timing gear is quiet and the valve tappets reasonably silent; but without doubt the most striking feature is the wonderful top gear flexibility. So pronounced is this feature that we could not help thinking what a fine single-geared machine, free from the extra weight and complication of gear box, kick- starter, clutch, etc, could be produced using the flat-twin Humber engine as the power unit. The suggestion, of course, sounds old-fashioned, and there are but few who would take an interest in such a machine were it produced. Nevertheless the point is worth recording, since it emphasises the wonderful flexibility of the machine. Altogether the Humber company has a right to pride itself on turning out a useful compromise between the touring and ultra sports types, which, with the backing of an excellent reputation for workmanship, should find a ready market.”
ON FRIDAY LAST THE FIRST motor cycle races took place on the new Italian track in the royal park of Monza, near Milan. The track has a circuit of 10km (6¾ miles. Two events were run. The first, for 1,000cc machines, was held in the morning over 40 laps (248⅓ miles), and in the afternoon was another race over the same distance for 500cc machines. The 1,000cc race was won by the Italian rider Ruggeri, on a Harley-Davidson at an average speed of 64.8mph. The 500cc race was won by Gnesa, on a Garelli, at 63½mph. The Italian track is quite different, both in its nature and its environment, from anything existing elsewhere. The club responsible for the venture has been vey fortunate in getting possession of a richly-wooded former Royal park, quite close to Milan, and in it has built a speedway which unites track and road conditions. In the 1,000cc class 19 machines were sent away in a group at 8am The makes were Excelsior, Harley-Davidson, Indian, one Humber and the Italian Gallonis and SARs. All the riders were Italians. The race was a struggle from beginning to end among the Harley-Davidson men, who numbered 10 out of the 19 starters. Although the leader changed, it was always a Harley-Davidson which led the field, and the fastest lap was made by Winckler, one of the members of this team, at an average of 74mph. Result: 1, Ruggeri (Harley Davidson); 2, Contarini (Harley Davidson); 3, Faraglia (Harley Davidson); 4, Winckler (Harley Davidson); 5, Rava (Indian). In the afternoon race a magnificent grouped start was made by the forty 500cc machines of British, French, Italian, and Belgian makes. A special class was not provided for the 350cc mounts, and among those starting with the handicap of a small piston displacement were the Garellis, which won at Strasbourg. Although British makes were well represented by Triumph, Douglas, New Hudson, Sunbeam, Norton and NUT, the only British riders were Edmond and Brandish, on Triumphs.
One of the French ABCs was ridden by [Gnome et Rhone designer] Bartlett, an Englishman residing in France…There was a particularly fine duel between (the French champion] Naas and Brandish. The Frenchman kept in the lead for nearly 50 miles, but the Englishman gradually crept up to him and got the lead after 30 laps. Just when excitement was running high Naas broke the frame of his machine. He fastened it up with straps and covered five more laps, losing ground to Brandish all the time. Declaring that it was really too dangerous, Naas came to the pits and announced his intention of retiring. Hardly had his ABC been lifted off the track than Brandish, the last of the Triumph team, had to drop out of the race with a broken tappet. These incidents caused wild excitement among the spectators, for they placed a 350cc two-stroke Garelli, ridden by Gnesa, in the lead with Fieschi’s Douglas second. The rider of the English machine did his best, but each lap he lost about 20 yards to the two-stroke Garelli, the rider of which won the Italian Motor Cycle Grand Prix by covering 248 miles in at an average of 63.5mph. The final result was: 1, Gnesa (349cc Garelli); 2, Fieschi (494cc Douglas); 3, Morabito (494cc Douglas); 4, Maffeis (494cc Maffeis); 5, Fergnani (349cc Garelli). Out of the 40 starters only three other machines were running when the race ended.”
“THE CEDOS TWO-STROKE was obviously too good to go under when the company went into liquidation. Production has now commenced again—in new hands, excepting the designer, Mr Ernest Smith—and improved 1923 models will be exhibited at the Paris Salon and the Olympia Show. The 247cc engine has been considerably altered, and now represents very advanced practice in two-stroke design. That it has a detachable head alone places it in a class by itself…Every reciprocating and rotating part of the engine is machined all over so exactly that it is unnecessary to balance each engine individually. In the same way no rough surfaces are left to collect carbon in the cylinder or the ports. A specially designed carburetter is used, which goes a long way to eliminating four-stroking. Since the aluminium expansion chamber is 11 times the piston displacement of the engine, noise has been reduced to a minimum. Lubrication is of the suction drip-feed type direct to the cylinder, special attention being paid to the internal distribution of the oil. Frame, tank, and cycle parts generally are of workmanlike design; everything on the machine except the magneto and gear box (a Sturmey or Moss three-speed) is made in the company’s own works, which ensures homogeneity of design The spring fork has been improved and a neat and comfortable type of semi-TT handlebar evolved, as an alternative to the touring type. Naturally, the distinctive Cedos under shield is fitted, although the shape has been modified. A lady’s model is also marketed. In this case the top tube is dropped, necessitating an alteration in the shape of the tank, and 24in wheels are fitted instead of 26in. The over-all weight is only 2lb more than the standard machine, which turns the scale at the remarkably low figure of 1481b. The finish is now all black, thus ensuring complete weatherproofness. The makers are the Cedos Engineering Co, Ltd, Northampton.
“AT FIRST GLANCE AT THE JD motor cycle (a new product of Bowden Wire, Ltd), one is inclined to say, ‘Ah, another motorised bicycle.’ But one very soon alters that opinion; and the more the design is studied the more it is admired. An attempt has been made to do something that has never been done before, ie, to evolve a self-propelled vehicle that will, by reason of its similarity to an ordinary bicycle and its simplicity, attract the pedal cyclist, but to design and build it with the same care and thoroughness as are bestowed on the most expensive machines of to-day. The resemblance t-o a motor-assisted pedal cycle is merely superficial. The frame, which has a sloping top tube, is amply strong enough for the roughest use in the hands of the novice; double-butted tubes are used where possible. After considerable experiment spring forks were discarded as unnecessary, a rigid girder type being fitted. Orthodox three-port design is followed in the 116cc (51x57mm) two-stroke engine, which, however, is notable for the excellence of its finish and the fine limits to which its component parts are made…A very large silencer is fitted, this, like the other aluminium portions of the machine, being a die casting…Friction transmission is employed. Carried on a bracket pivoted on the rear stays is a sprocket, driven by the engine, and a U-shaped disc of a special friction material, which makes contact with the inside of a U-section flange bolted to the rear wheel. To de-clutch, the driving disc is simply swung clear by a Bowden lever on the handle-bar acting against two fairly light coil springs…Extended road tests for three years have failed to find any weak spots, and the road performance without pedal assistance is remarkably good. The JD derives its name from the initials of Mr J Dring, of Bowden Wire, Ltd. Mr Dring, it may be remarked, was the moving spirit in founding the old Stanley Show in 1878, an exhibition held annually at the Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington, until the adoption of Olympia.”
“BLERIOT FRERES, THE WELL-KNOWN manufacturers of aeroplanes, motor car head lamps, dynamos, etc, have for some time been testing an entirely new model twin-cylinder two-stroke machine designed primarily for sidecar work. Although the engine is but of 750cc capacity it is rated, in France at any rate, at the rather high figure of 8-10hp…The clutch, of the disc type in which 11 discs are used, is contained within the flywheel, which is located centrally between the two cylinders [which are] spaced apart somewhat more widely than is usual in the case of vertical twin-cylinder machines…The three-speed gear box forms a unit with the engine, and an unusual feature is the provision of a reverse gear in addition to the three forward speeds. The change speed is effected in a novel and ingenious manner, the lever having only two positions on the quadrant, but also a vertical movement. In its normal position it operates first speed and reverse, a catch being provided which must be released before the lever can be made to bring the reverse into operation. For second and third speeds the lever must be pressed vertically downwards about 3in…Although final belt drive is shown in one illustration it is understood this machine will also be made with chain transmission…a front stand is fitted, though this latter looks somewhat fragile judged by British standards.”
“IN THE WORLD OF TWO-STROKE ENGINES no proprietary manufacturers are more celebrated than the Villiers Engineering Co. Its latest productions are always eagerly watched by two-stroke enthusiasts…Three types will be manufactured, the capacities being approximately 150, 250, and 350cc. These three models have many features in common, including, of course, the Villiers flywheel magneto, which can, in addition, be used as a lighting set, if required. It may well be found that the tiny 147cc power unit, with its self-contained flywheel magneto, may become a forerunner of the lightweight of the future, or what is more popularly termed ‘the motor cycle for the million’. One is apt to consider such a tiny engine as a toy, but we can give a personal assurance that it is nothing of the kind: it is a pleasingly constructed miniature which produces wonderful power for its size. We rode a motor cycle, of normal size and construction, fitted with a two-speed gear box, and the new 147cc Villiers engine. The power and speed of this outfit were quite remarkable…The little engine is capable of propelling a rider of normal size and weight at quite 25mph, and of ascending normal hills on the same gear ratio, while its tiny proportions and excellent balance render it to all intents and purposes vibrationless. It will be no surprise to us to find that in the near future a large number of miniature motor cycles are fitted with this engine and a suitable two-speed gear, since such a combination would be ideal for the average person who requires to travel short distances regularly, while it is particularly suitable for ladies’ use…As regards the largest of the three models rated by the manufacturers as 3½hp, we took the opportunity of a short road test of this machine with a light but fully equipped sidecar attached. It is sufficient to say that with a two-speed gear it appeared to be capable of taking its rider and passenger anywhere that a reasonable motor cyclist would expect to go, and to be entirely free from any symptoms of drying up even under prolonged hard driving…we are informed that with a sidecar it is capable of over 40mph, and we should judge that this statement is within the fact.”
“THE GENERAL PUBLIC DO NOT realise how important a centre from the motor cyclist’s point of view is Nottingham, yet there are quite a number of manufacturers who influence the state of the industry to no small degree. Mr George Brough is busy with his new SS80 model, the prototype of which was seen in the recent ACU Six Days Trials. Very few modifications have been found to be necessary, and the machine is already available in 1923 state. It will be remembered that by employing a curved rear frame lug the saddle position has been brought 2in further forward and lowered by the same amount, so that in effect the latest Brough Superior carries a big twin engine in a frame but little larger than that of the normal machine with 350cc engine. In spite of the fact that the SS80 is in effect a fast sports mount, and carries a guarantee of 80mph, it is a thoroughly practical fast touring machine, and all essential fittings are present in highly specialised forms. For instance, the tool bag behind the saddle tube is sufficient to carry all necessary tools and spares, while the very large pannier bags are of ample size to carry necessities for a night’s stay. An ingenious detail is noticeable on the front end of the carrier, where a small loop is formed which may be used for lifting the machine on to the stand, and also serves to prevent packages attached to the carrier from working forward into the rider’s back. The latest JAP engine has proved particularly satisfactory, and the cast aluminium exhaust elbows give a very distinctive appearance to the whole machine…On the occasion of our visit we were able to inspect a very handsome sidecar taxi which is being supplied to Luton. The outfit is propelled by a 976cc JAP engine, with Sturmey-Archer gear and quick detachable wheels, the cab body being excellently finished and perhaps the most roomy and comfortable which we have ever seen.”
“IF THE NOISE WHICH UNDOUBTEDLY is produced by a number of existing motor cycles could be reduced, and a really silent machine manufactured and sold to the public at a reasonable price, there is no doubt whatever that there would be a considerable addition to the ranks of motor cyclists. With this object in view Messrs Packman and Poppe have produced their new machine, which is to be known as ‘The Silent Three’. A 350cc Barr and Stroud engine is employed as the power unit, and as is well known, the absence of poppet valves renders it particularly free from mechanical noise, while its power and reliability have already been proved. In addition, special precautions have been taken to render the exhaust as quiet as possible, and we may state from experience with the preliminary experimental machine, that the designers have already met with considerable success…the exhaust is led to a large aluminium expansion box, thence to a second sheet-metal chamber which has an internal division and carefully designed inlets and exits. To the engine is attached, through special plates, a three-speed Sturmey-Archer gear box with clutch, kick starter and shock absorber, the whole forming a unit which is suitably mounted in the duplex main frame.”
“THOSE WHO REQUIRE A THOROUGHLY well turned out medium-weight machine at a strictly moderate price will be interested in the Triple-H productions, which are manufactured by Hobbis Bros & Horrell, of West Heath, Northfield, Birmingham. The specification of this machine includes a Morris two-stroke engine of 57x70mm (247cc) and a Moss two-speed gear with clutch and kick-starter transmission is by chain and belt and every detail is practically designed. The magneto is carried well behind the cylinder, where it is clear of mud and water; sensible mudguard sizes are employed; Maplestone front forks are fitted, and the rear brake is a particularly ingenious piece of work; it is constructed of strip steel, a large friction shoe working on the inside of the belt rim, and is operated by a direct heel pedal, eliminating the necessity for a long rod.”
“OWING TO THE LARGE NUMBER of prosecutions for obstruction, the Teignmouth magistrates have asked the Urban Council to put notices on the sea-front acquainting motorists of parking places in the neighbourhood.”
“ROSSI, THE MOTOSACOCHE RIDER who made such a splendid performance in the Monte Bré hill climb, broke the 500cc flying km record in the Belgian speed trials at 145.160kmh. (90.7mph), also making the fastest time of the day.”
“A WELL-KNOWN BELGIAN YACHTSMAN, has had built a 100ft motor yacht which embodies a garage for his motor cycle and sidecar.”
“MR GEORGE BERNARD SHAW IS A life member of the ACU, which he first joined in 1912 as the owner of a Lea-Francis motor cycle.”
“SIR, ‘SENEX’, IN A RECENT ARTICLE in The Motor Cycle, bewails the fact that it is impossible for the passenger in a sidecar to talk to the driver, and he probably voices the opinion of many. An ideal silencing system, however, may not come for some time, and till then a miniature radio set will, I think, solve the problem. A dynamo, similar to those now used for lighting purposes, would supply the current; the commonly-worn helmet would hold and hide the head-band. The machine would not need a range of more than five or six miles, and so need not be unwieldy. Even when the ideal silencing system comes, and passenger and driver can converse freely, the radio set will have a wide sphere of usefulness. For instance, on a recent tour with a friend, on several occasions it happened that the one who had been riding ahead returned two miles or so to find that the other had been delayed by quite a minor adjustment. Eventually we got separated at a fork after dark; in circumstances such as these some means of communication would have been invaluable. The rider in a hurry, too, when unwillingly compelled to pass a break-down on the road, would infinitely prefer the definitely spoken regrets, as possible by radio, to the un- intelligible shout he is compelled to use at present. Till the motor cycle becomes a practically silent machine there will be great scope for radio as a means of communication between passenger and driver, or two or more riders in company, which is on most machines impossible at present.
AJ 2¼, Darlington.“
JACK SANGSTER, PRODUCTION MANAGER at Rover, went to work for his father at Ariel—we shall hear more of Mr Sangster in due course.
“‘WHY SHOULD MOTOR CYCLES HAVE two wheels?’ asks an Italian inventor; and, presumably without waiting for a reply, he designs the weird ‘unicycle’ illustrated here. As far as can be gathered, the rider and engine unit are suspended in an inner circle, as it were, making contact with the outer rim by rollers. One of these rollers is driven by the engine, the transmission being of the friction pattern.How steering is effected is not clear, but obviously the steering wheel is mere camouflage. Mudguarding will also present a difficult problem; and one does not care to visualise the effect of a jamb between the driving and driven transmission members when the vehicle is speeding hard down-hill! The idea, however, is by no means new. A motor unicycle, hailing from America, was described in The Motor Cycle of April 4th, 1918. It consisted primarily of an enormous wheel, nine or ten feet in diameter, propelled by an air-screw…” [You can read all about it by skipping back to 1918 in this very timeline.]
“BITTER COMPLAINTS CONTINUE TO REACH US regarding the unfairness of the police campaign against noise in the Midlands, particularly Birmingham. Apparently, the unfortunate defendants in silencing prosecutions are not permitted to call any evidence in their favour, however authoritative it may be.”
“NO ESCAPE! ‘FOR ALLOWING EXHAUST gases to escape from a motor cycle’ in Freeman Street, Hull, two motor cyclists were fined.”
HUGO RUPPE (WHO HAD DESIGNED DKW’s first engine in 1919, established Bekamo (Berliner Kleinmotoren Aktiengesellschaft—’Berlin small-power-engine Corporation’). The DKW engine was a humble 1hp clip-on for bicycles; the advanced Bekamo 129cc two-stroke featured a pumping piston in the crankcase for forced induction. Ruppe eshchewed expensive steel in favour of a wooden (ash) frame before bowing to convention with a conventional frame the following year. The Bekamo established itself as a formidable racer but the engine was expensive to make. Despite supplying it to other marques including Windhoff, MFZ, Eichler, TX and Böhme, Bekamo survived for only three years (though as we’ll see next year a Czech offshoot would outlive its German parent).
“WHILE APPRECIATING OUR READERS’ interest in the matter, we really are tired of receiving newspaper cuttings referring to the Stratford motor cyclist who, it is alleged, has not had a bath since Armistice Day. On behalf of the whole motor cycle movement, we take this opportunity of repudiating all responsibility.”
“‘PLACE THE DEVICE ON THE PLUG of the cylinder that is knocking and keep it on for half a minute. This will ‘stop’ the noise, because you take away the firing compression. The device ‘cures’ knocking cylinders and dry pistons in the same way, and detects weak compression’—an unedited extract from a leaflet about a new spark tester. In the same way, a burst rear tyre may be cured by lifting the whole machine into the ditch and proceeding on foot.”
THE FIRST BOL D’OR endurance race was held in France.
PUCH CAME UP WITH a double-piston 122cc two-stroke single; a design sometimes, regrettably dubbed a ‘twingle’.
THE ITALIANS STOPPED TAXING motorised bicycles, prompting a flood of tiddlers including Alato, Ancora, Dardo, Gaia and Alfa (no, not that Alfa). For power they looked to Villiers, Train (French), DKW (German) and Moser (Swiss) as well as home-brewed engines from Piva, Fulgor, Rubinelli.
“FOURTEEN records were broken or established over the flying kilometre, in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris, on the morning of September 26th. The fastest run of the day was made by CG Pullin (733CC Douglas), whose average time for the kilometre covered in two directions, in accordance with the international rules, was 22.88sec. (98.039mph). By this performance he beat the 750cc record held by Judd (Norton), which stood at 24.87sec. In the 350cc class, Pullin on his 349cc machine broke another record by covering the kilometre in 24.4sec, or 91.72mph. This beats Le Vack’s (New Imperial) time of 26.97sec. In the equivalent sidecar class he put up 31.59sec, or 70.804mph, again beating the old record held by Le Vack. Finally, in the 1,000cc sidecar class he attained an average of 83.76mph, his average time for the two runs being 26.72sec. The Bois de Boulogne records were held in the famous Avenue des Acacias, the use of which had been granted by the Paris Municipal Council. The event should have been held several days earlier, but owing to a misunderstanding the road had been tarred too late and had not dried sufficiently to make the runs safe.”
“‘EVERY TOWN OF 2,500 PEOPLE or more ought to have at least one motor cycle dealer. How many of them have one? Not 10% of all the towns of this size in the country.’—An extract from an American trade paper that vividly illustrates how far behind Great Britain is the popularity of the motor cycle in the USA.”
“THE INDIAN ORGANISATION IN AMERICA is largely advertising that New York’s motor cycle police made a net profit of $481,662 in nine months, after deducting all operating expenses, including drivers’ salaries. Obviously, to enjoy motor cycling in full in the States one must be a policeman.”
“ALONG WITH A LETTER TO THE EDITOR received last week were two large rusty nails which, a correspondent alleges, were found embedded business-end up in the tarred road through the village of Blythe Bridge. Before he had restarted after removing them, four more were stuck in the same place; he hied to the local police office, only to find the whole police force was away for his annual holiday.”
“THE OTHER DAY I SAW A PRETTY GIRL with bobbed hair and the daintiest pair of breeched limbs standing beside her baby two-stroke in animated conversation with a group of admiring males, also with motor cycles of various descriptions. At the moment she was the subject of conversation between several people near me, and I overheard the finishing remark, made in tones of scornful finality, ‘Oh, she’s one of those girls who would ride a motorbike.’ This from a member of her own sex and obviously accepted by the man to whom she spoke. I looked more closely at the girl, and saw a pair of merry blue eyes, tanned complexion, and capable, sensitive hands, and in spite of her workmanlike attire, femininity was written all over her. There are thousands of people who would thoughtlessly or otherwise make a similar observation and think no more about it. It seems that the fact of a girl being the rider of a motor cycle immediately labels her as being ‘mannish’—admittedly an unpleasant characteristic—uninterested in frocks and frills, careless of home life, and devoid of any desire for woman friends. She is in the eyes of her adverse critics a sort of unsexed cumberer of the roads, whose speed appears excessive because of her female origin, and who possesses a desire for notoriety which overcomes any ‘natural’ fear for her personal safety. I have even heard the old saying that ‘the female of the species is more deadly than the male’ applied with great sincerity. It occurs to me that the justice of this impression should be severely questioned. It is generally admitted that ‘the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world’. Then why should not ‘the hand that rocks the cradle wield a spanner’? It takes an intelligent mind and clever fingers to minister to the wants of a motor cycle, and surely these are admirable feminine traits. It takes a strong and healthy young body to emulate Mrs Janson or even tour about for pleasure over miles of sunny, picturesque country; it takes a cool head and steady nerves to negotiate traffic and deal with the emergencies of the highway. All of these are the qualities we want in our daughters, who are eventually to be wives and mothers. It has never been considered masculine for a girl to ride a horse, yet in many ways it is much more dangerous and requires greater skill than driving a motor cycle—because over the former it is impossible to be certain of complete control. It has nerves and a mind of its own, and however well trained there is always the odd chance of panic or temper. When riding the latter only one mind and set of nerves is in evidence, which halves the risk in a tight corner. Nobody thinks of it being unseemly for a woman to struggle with a refractory kitchen range or tinker with a broken mangle—yet how unnatural she is supposed to be if she knows the difference between a magneto and a carburetter or does her own tyre changing. Probably the mangle is much harder work in the end. The modern girl has a great deal of freedom and spare time which she can use at her own discretion. Walking is not exciting enough for her as an outdoor exercise, and it is not always possible to play tennis or golf in these days of overcrowded clubs and high fees, particularly in the suburbs of large towns. True, there is the ordinary bicycle, but it entails much energy and at the best a very restricted field. The net result of all this is very often packed cinemas and hotel lounges decorated with physically perfect young women smoking cigarettes and drinking the ubiquitous cocktail. Compare these tired-eyed and pale-faced damsels with what they might be under the influence of sun and fresh air and an interesting occupation, to say nothing of the benefit of having something to experiment on besides face creams and the opposite sex.”
“IT HAS HAS BEEN DECIDED, since the IOM authorities look favourably on the suggestion to close the Manx roads for three days next year instead of two, to run a sidecar TT, but the proposal to hold an amateur race has already been turned down by the general committee of the ACU. New objections have sprung up against an event for private owners. Last spring it was said that the time was too short to organise such a race, but that the idea had been sympathetically considered. Now it is considered that although the satisfactory definition of an amateur is not an insuperable difficulty, the enforcement of such a definition is beyond the powers of the ruling body. Reasons change, but the strange opposition continues. Ordinary members of the ACU cannot understand the position at all. They think, despite the fact that a trade-supported sidecar race will undoubtedly be a better financial proposition for the Union, that a most propitious opportunity has been lost of deciding once and for all whether an amateur race would be a success. More will probably be heard of this policy of condemnation without trial of an event which might easily become one of the premier sporting fixtures of the year and a source of keen interest to thousands of motor cyclists.”
“‘KUKLOS’ OF THE DAILY NEWS has taken up with avidity our discussion of the loveliest views in Great Britain,” Ixion reported.” As he publicly describes me as ‘gifted’, I can’t be rude to him, especially as the Editor says my only gifts are laziness and impertinence. But he makes it clear that, in his opinion, motor cyclists don’t look at scenery, being far too much absorbed in their machines. He even quotes a Highgate novice who is returning to the push-bike, because his motor cycle compels him to concentrate overmuch on actual locomotion. It takes all sorts to make a world. In any Six Days Trials you will note men dismount at one of the more superb coigns of vantage in some gorgeous landscape, and, according to their temperament, (1) Damn the road surface; (2) Enquire where the next pub is; (3) Chaff the other competitors; (4) Abuse the officials; (5) Reminisce about their hard luck or line riding; (6) Silently soak themselves in the scenery. But I must snap a lance with ‘Kuklos’ when he objects to my pen name as the most violently unsuitable I could have chosen. To quote his own words: ‘Ixion was a gentleman (thanks, gentle ‘Kuklos’!) who for his sins was chained to a wheel and condemned to roll with it for ever.’ Exactly! Just how I feel when I set out on my umpteenth London- Exeter. All things considered, however, the idea that motor cyclists do not see the scenery is one to be discountenanced. At everyday speeds one is far less concentrated on the road than the average cyclist, whose view in hilly districts is frequently limited to the top of his front tyre.”
JAMES NORTON APPLIED FOR a patent (which would finally be granted in 1924) for desmodromic valves, but still relied on springs.
“JUST AS GREAT BRITAIN HAD THE HONOUR of turning out the first six-cylinder motor car, so to Belgium must be given the credit of rendering the first four-cylinder motor cycle a marketable proposition. The FN motor cycle made its appearance in 1905 and has been manufactured steadily ever since, the first four-cylinder machine designed (in England, by General Holden) being only sold in limited quantities. A trial of the FN was particularly interesting to the writer, for he has followed its development from the time when it had automatic inlet valves and no gear, through the period when it had a two-speed gear, when, in 1914, it was completely modernised, with mechanically-operated side-by-side valves, a three- speed gear box and a plate clutch, to the present model, which has overhead inlet valves. It has been improved out of all recognition; and, although the,1922-23 FN is not in the sports model category, it is capable of commendably high average speeds. Our first acquaintance with the machine was on the occasion of the finish of the Six Days Trials, when necessity compelled us to make two ascents of the Brooklands test hill, which naturally were accomplished on first speed but required a very slight throttle opening. Since that date numerous journeys have been made, mostly over average roads, and the behaviour of the outfit on the 1 in 4 section of the test hill proved but an appetiser of its power and capabilities generally for going anywhere. Take, for example, the hill between Welwyn and Woolmer Green, which is approached by a curve that is never safe to take too fast. Laden with a heavy passenger, the machine ascended comfortably on top gear. Speed on the level, as already indicated, is all that can be desired, and it seems that the vehicle will hold its own with any outfit of a similar cylinder capacity. No difficulty was experienced as regards starting; the ‘takeup’ of the plate clutch was exceedingly smooth; and the steering left nothing to be desired. Throughout, the machine is thoroughly well designed, so that not only is
it efficient but also it possesses thoroughly up to-date features, such as a really well-carried out mechanical oiling system, a neat inspection plate to the gear box, and a very nicely thought-out cover to the universal joint. However, one or two easily remediable details call for criticism. It is hard to understand why, after having an excellent single-lever carburetter of their own manufacture in 1911, the makers should elect to use one of the two-lever variety in in 1922; it certainly detracts from the flexibility of the engine. It is also strange that the outlet of the silencer should be underneath the off-side footboard so that the exhaust fumes and exhaust noise are unduly noticeable. Probably due to the machine placed at our disposal having had a hard season’s use and not a few honours to its credit in various important trials, the bevel was rather more noisy than might have been, and it would also appear that the balance of the engine at high speeds is capable of slight improvement. The mudguards, too, appeared to be rather small for the large section tyres fitted. Were attention paid to the small items mentioned, the FN sidecar outfit would be very nearly ideal. Flexibility and smooth running are the true attributes of the four-cylinder, while the weatherproof, no-trouble transmission in itself is worth a great deal. Made at a gigantic factory, renowned for good workmanship and excellent material, the FN has a reputation for longevity second to none.
“SIR,—IT WAS THE PERFORMANCE of a similar machine in the London to Edinburgh Trial that encouraged me to undertake a recent most successful journey from Edinburgh to Worthing and back on a 225cc Enfield two-stroke. Hence trials are of some value to the public after all.
“SIR,—WHY WAS IT THAT ALL the male competitors were compelled to wear ‘crash helmets’ in the Scarborough speed trials, and the ladies were not?”
ONE WHO WAS THERE, Manchester.”
“SIR,—I SHOULD LIKE TO ASK A FEW QUESTIONS. I am a Colonial, and have had a fair amount of experience of touring in Victoria and southern New South Wales. I should like to purchase an English machine to take back with me, but so far have seen nothing to come within miles of an Indian Scout. Why do not English manufacturers build motor cycles instead of two-cat power sewing machines? I have not seen anyone riding a big twin solo since I arrived. If English manufacturers want to capture our trade they will have to build stronger frames and larger tyres.
Why do all English machines have the saddle nearly over the back wheel? I rode a four-cylinder Henderson for some time, and it was the most comfortable thing I had ever been on; the saddle was just about half way between front and back wheels. Give me a long wheelbase for comfort every time. I have never noticed any increased tendency to skid. Why is the transmission on all English machines so terribly crude? The latest type of enclosed chain as fitted to the Triumphs and other makes is fairly silent, but the whole principle of chain drive to the countershaft is ante-diluvian. For the past six years, excepting a short interval when I had a Henderson, I have ridden 578cc JAPs, with Colonial frames and Brampton forks, and I have never been stuck up by fork or engine yet. I do not hit the high spots at 60 or 70mph, but I always keep up an average of over 30 on the roughest of country roads, which means as you know, a speed of close on 50 over the good parts. For the past three years I have had a Sturmey-Archer box, and in spite of every sort of ill use it has never turned me down. Still the chain to the countershaft makes, and always did make, a noise like a chaffcutter.
“SIR,—I QUITE AGREE (AS A rider of a motor cycle since 1899) with the police in their campaign against noisy motor cycles. The majority of machines are much too noisy ; in fact, in many respects the present-day motor cycle is not in ad- vance of those of about 1904. It is often as noisy, as dirty—through want of proper mudguarding—and as hard to clean, as in those early days; in fact, as far as design goes the present motor cycle—with one or two exceptions —is in the same state to-day as cars were in 1903. The car in those days was a horse vehicle, minus shafts, and with an engine stuck on (at the wrong end, as it is to-day) the present-day motor cycle is merely a push cycle with a stronger and lower frame, and an engine, etc., stuck on. Many machines are not properly silenced by the makers many are made noisy by young people who think they are ‘knuts’ (really nuisances); others, again, are noisy because some people have an idea that an efficient silencer slows the machine, which of course it does not. About 1904 I had a Clement-Garrard motor bicycle (which incidentally was a four-stroke with outside flywheel, over- head inlet valve, and detachable head), rated at 2^ h.p. 1 had a hole cut in the exhaust pipe about 2in. from the cylinder. When this hole was uncovered and the machine was exhausting practically into the open air, it would not climb a slight gradient, much less a hill. Close the cut-out, and it climbed wHl. So much for loss of power through an exhaust box. Again, why are so many motor cyclists so dirty? Many have filthy hands, dirty faces, dirtier overalls, etc. fact, they are a disgrace to the sport. Such dirt is quite unnecessary. Is it another phase of the “knutty” rider? This type of rider, with his noisy machine and dirty appearance, does not encourage the non-rider.
“SIR,—WHY MUST THE POLICE persecute motor cyclists for making a noise, while lorries, steam waggons, electric trams, and even railway trains are allowed to create such a din that one cannot hear oneself speak ? After all, the exhaust of a motor cycle is not the only unpleasant noise that ever happens. I have been between two babies, both giving tongue continuously, in a non-corridor railway carriage for two hours.
BIG SINGLE, London, NW8.“
“SIR,—UNDOUBTEDLY, WE HAVE TO THANK a minority of drain-pipe merchants for the unwelcome police attention of the moment; it is surely up to the more reasonable majority to put our house in order, before it is done for us. Is it not possible, with the co-operation of the motor press, to convince the few that untimely and unseemly noise is the worst possible advertisement for the sport, comes under the general heading of bad form, and that ‘it is not done in the best circles’?
TWENTY YEARS’ RIDER, Retford.
“SIR,—WHAT IS A LIGHTWEIGHT MOTOR cycle? You say, ‘One should encourage the 150cc engine.’ But it is absolutely no use encouraging a small engine unless the total weight of the machine is limited. Look at the last TT races. Could anything be more absurd than calling a motor cycle weighing 253lb a lightweight, simply because it had a small engine? There were many machines in the Lightweight TT that weighed many pounds more than the Junior and Senior machines! No! Keep the limit of a lightweight under 100lb, all on, with a two-speed gear, and perhaps there will some day be developed the ‘motor cycle for the million’.
“SIR,—I ONCE ADDED 15MPH TO A 1911 Rover by a very simple alteration, but I give my secret to all and sundry for what it is worth. Whilst decarbonising I accidentally knocked a piece off the skirt of the piston as large as. a penny (with a King Dick!). As it was a sturdy piston, I assembled the engine with it in this condition and found it not worse, but many miles an hour better, and the old handle-bar vibration missing. I had accidentally perfectly balanced the old engine. At some speed trials I astounded even myself by doing the flying mile in 20.8sec with a 5 to 1 gear. Somewhere about 58mph and a good 3,000rpm. I trust none of ‘Ixion’s’ pet novices will adopt this as a tuning hint, but will give then a good tip. Fit a 28in. wheel speedometer on a 25in wheel machine and it sends the speed up nicely. That’s how my Squirrel does 72mph.
HARKING BACK TO THE DAIMLER Einspur of 1885 was the Einspurauto (one-track car) with its waist-high body, screen, hood and steering wheel running on two wheels with retractible outriggers. Unlike the vast 1913 Biautogo the Einspur was a production vehicle with a 498cc water-cooled one-lunger, cantilever rear springing and a claimed top speed of 55mph. It was designed by Gustav Winkler and built by firearms manufacturer Mauser which was banned from making guns following the Great War. Some examples were built under licence in France as the Monotrace (one track).
“A FOLDING SIDECAR CHASSIS produced by the Dorway Sidecar is arranged to carry a standard complete coachbuilt body and springs, mounted on a light rectangular frame, which can be lifted off when it is desired to fold the chassis alongside the motor cycle in order to pass the outfit through a gate or doorway. There are several additional advantages besides the ability for passing through narrow spaces (down to 28in wide), in that after the removal of the body the inner side of the motor cycle is completely accessible and can be reached for inspection or adjustment just as easily as the off-side…In construction the Dorway chassis is robust, and the workmanship throughout is excellent; all pivot joints are of first-class fit and are packed with grease to prevent rusting up, and the construction is such that the complete outfit is perfectly normal in appearance, any type of flat-bottomed body being suitable.”
“A HUMMOCKED SURFACE IN THE MAIN road (London-Brighton) has been seriously suggested at Sutton, Surrey, in order to limit the speed of vehicles in the High St. The hummocks proposed are a series of 9in-high undulations calculated to be unrideable at over 10-12mph.”
“OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS OF RECORDS by the Auto-Cycle Union continually give the incorrect abbreviation for kilometre, which is invariably given as kilo. Kilo has really no meaning, but in France is the colloquial abbreviation for kilogramme. The correct abbreviation for kilometre is km, and for kilogramme kg. Surely the official body should set an example in accuracy.”
“INCLUDED IN THE EXCELSIOR RANGE for 1923 is a new miniature two-stroke fitted with the latest type 147cc Villiers engine…both an electric lighting set and engine shaft clutch can be fitted at a very moderate figure…Although many people consider that so small a machine is something of a toy, nevertheless, from personal experience, we may state that this example is a thoroughly practical little machine, well suited to the needs of an enormous number of people…Next in engine size amongst the products of Bayliss, Thomas and Co come two models, both fitted with 250cc Villiers two-stroke engines, flywheel magneto, Sturmey-Archer two-speed gear, clutch and kick-starter, Druid forks, and 2¼n tyres, but the first has a normal frame with sloping top tube, and has 26in wheels…the second is an open-frame model with 24in wheels…The well-known 349cc Blackburne-engined Excelsior remains almost unchanged with a Burman three-speed gear, clutch and kick-starter. Druid forks, 26×2¼in wheels and internal expanding brakes front and rear…however, a new model will be listed. The specification is exactly as above, but a 350cc special JAP engine is fitted, and with its all-chain drive, large silencer, and sensible mudguards, it forms a most attractive addition to the range. The needs of sidecarists are catered for by the 976cc sidecar outfit, fitted with side-by-side valves, JAP engine, Burman three-speed gear, with all-chain drive, 28x3in tyres, and internal expanding brakes front and rear.”
“THE 170CC TWO-STROKE OMEGA JUNIOR, manufactured by WJ Green of Stoke, Coventry is the latest ultra lightweight…the new model weighs but 961b ind is designed to provide a saddle height, in the lowest position, of no more than 26 in from the ground. An unusual feature is to be found in the front fork, which is pivoted below the steering head and employs a vertical leaf spring attached rigidly to the crown and capable of sliding in a link attached to the steering head. We can speak highly of this fork in action, for a short trial run convinced us not merely of the wonderful pulling powers of the tiny engine but also of the general comfort of the machine.”
IXION SOMETIMES LET THE FACETIOUS facade slip and took a serious look at the industry: “It is computed that the existing motor cycle plants of Great Britain could turn out 273,000 machines per annum, working at full pressure. The present annual output is rather under 50,000 machines. More than 150 firms (including many small assemblers of standardised units) are occupied in supplying this rather beggarly total. Some significant facts emerge from a consideration of these figures, which I owe to The Motor Cycle Trader. Lumping the factories together, each of them sells 330 machines a year. The Ministry of Transport’s taxation figures for Great Britain (dealt with on another page) denote that only 377,000 motor cycles were in commission altogether on August 31st. As patrons of the industry, we users must confess that its condition is not too unhealthy. We desire from any manufacturer whose wares we buy that he shall sell us a machine at rock-bottom price; back it up with generous service; develop it to the limits of perfection embodied in the design; be financially stable, so that spares shall be available for 20 years and keep his experimental and research departments so hard at work that he can give us something still better presently. It is quite obvious that very few firms can afford such a programme under the conditions outlined above. No wonder that fascinating novelties bob up, and presently disappear, as their sponsors exhaust their capital. Real health can never adorn the motor cycle industry until it is running smoothly and working ‘up to capacity’, which implies an annual output of round about 270,000 machines per year (if present conditions are maintained). Alternatively, a number of firms might go out of business, and the present safes of 50,000 continue, emanating from a few factories running at full blast. In this case, the industry might tend to stagnate—we should get less variety in design. One solution probably lies betwixt and between. Unless Britain becomes much wealthier, it can hardly absorb 270,000 machines per annum. Once again I repeat, therefore, that a solution lies in an energetic sales campaign in overseas Dominions. The obstacles to exports which have existed since the war are rapidly becoming things of the past.”
BSA LAUNCHED TWO MODELS “of considerable interest to solo riders. The first is an entirely new sports model of 80x98mm (493cc)…The lines of the machine are distinctly sporting and graceful, the frame having a comparatively short wheelbase and a three-speed gear box being housed above the bottom bracket. The drive is by chain throughout, a faced cam type of cush drive being mounted on the engine shaft. Having a rounded nose and tapering slightly to the rear, the tank is pressed from sheet brass and is well rounded at the edges and corners…the new 349cc BSA, the engine of which has has a bore and stroke of 72×85.5mm. This, again, is a new model, and is to a certain extent a small edition of the 493cc sports machine…Another new model is the ‘Light 8’, which has a twin-cylinder engine of 80x98mm bore and stroke (936cc). This engine is very neatly housed in a slightly modified form of the ‘Light 6’ frame…the machine is a very attractive fast sidecar mount. It incorporates most of the well-known BSA features, including mechanical oil pump, good mudguarding, excellent finish, and mud-proof tappets. The drive is, of course, by chain throughout, a three- speed gear box being employed. The rear wheel is of the quick-detachable type. Both brakes operate in dummy belt rims.”
“ONE OF THE OLDEST MAKES IN GREAT BRITAIN, the P&M has enjoyed a reputation second to none for high-class workmanship and finish as well as reliability. During the last year or two its speed has been increased surprisingly, and now a new sports model has been introduced which will satisfy the keenest enthusiast. Unlike many sports models, it is not a standard machine fitted with a special engine and with various parts cut down for the sake of lightness, but is specially built as a fast touring mount, pre-eminently comfortable, with a low saddle position (28in from the ground) and wide flat handle-bars designed to give perfect control without stretching or straining any part of the body. Owing to the fact that an entirely new frame has been constructed, with the top tube curved in a sweep towards the rear so that the riding position may be as low as possible, both engine and gear box are brought down 3in without affecting the ground clearance. Reduction of weight has been effected by eliminating such luxury fittings as the kick-starter and carrier (which, of course, may be had as extras), but the mudguards are wide and efficient…There has been little alteration to the 555cc engine, but a die-cast aluminium piston has now been fitted…Little alteration has been made in the transmission, but a slight change has been brought about in the change speed mechanism, as in the ‘Panther’, as the new machine is called, the dog clutches are actuated by means of a single gear lever of conventional design, while the expanding gears taking the place of clutches are worked by a rocking pedal…The workmanship and material throughout is superb. The rear brake is of the contracting type, actuated by the rider’s left heel, and easily accessible from the foot-rest, while the front is of the dummy belt rim pattern, controlled from the handle-bar. The weight is 256lb and the price £100. The chief attraction of the machine is not only its extreme comfort, but the charm provided by the four speeds, which allow the joys of the high top ratio to be appreciated to the full.”
“ALTHOUGH LAST SATURDAY’S CHAMPIONSHIPS meeting at Brooklands was probably the most successful of the year, it is not easy to say exactly why. Perhaps it was because the racing was of a uniformly good, if not excellent, standard throughout. It was not, to use horse-racing parlance, entirely a backer’s day; for instance, neither of those popular favourites with the crowd, CG Pullin and J Emerson, succeeded in winning a race, although a championship or two would certainly have been a fitting conclusion to their previous accomplishments and their energetic specialisation in track work during the year. Both of them experienced bad
luck. H Le Vack, on the other hand, was in great form and gained four of the chief honours—two with the 998cc Zenith-JAP and two with the smaller ohv New Imperial-JAPs—in each case without apparently having to exert himself fully. Even the American twins had to be content with places in the 1,000cc event. The 600cc sidecar and 500cc solo classes fell comparatively easily to V Horsman’s ohv Norton, and the remaining two—350cc sidecar and 750cc solo—provided the only two genuinely surprise winners, in WD Marchant (349cc OK-Blackburne sc) and FT Hatton (746cc Douglas)…Anything might have happened in the 600cc sidecar championship, but Pullin (Douglas sc) went out first lap with a burst gear box sprocket, and Emerson’s Douglas caught fire when leading on the second circuit.”
“FOR MONTHS PAST WE HAVE very seldom referred to manufacturers’ nominal hp in designating a particular model. There have been so many anomalies that it became desirable for us to take the lead and to classify the various motor cycles by the capacity of their engines in cubic centimetres. The makers’ nominal hp is not a unit of power; it is not even a rough guess at the power developed—it is merely a habit. For years the 500cc engine has been known as a ‘3½hp’, a 350cc as 2¾hp, 250cc as 2¼hp, and so on. If all makers had used the same figure for engines of the same size, it might not have been so desirable to institute a change. But whereas some manufacturers listed 500cc machines as 3½hp, others (sometimes fitted with the same engine unit) termed them 4hp. The maker of a 633cc ” machine terms his motor cycle a ‘big four’, another regards a 550cc as a 4hp machine, yet another having an engine of 557cc decides upon 4¼ as the nominal hp. It is easy to see that not only are these ‘nominals’ confusing, but they convey no meaning. Notwithstanding, the insurance companies fix their schedules on manufacturers’ nominal ratings, and, to quote a well-known example, the owner of a 499cc Rover or Blackburne is forced to pay as much as the rider of a 633cc Norton. Twelve months ago the Auto-Cycle Union instituted what is termed the ACU hp rating, which is the rating of power on the decimal system, accepting 100 cc as 1hp. Thus 250cc became 2.50hp. But why use the hp unit at all? Because James Watt originated a unit of power is no reason why we should use it to indicate size. It was never intended for this purpose. 500cc or 250cc conveys more to the mind than 5.00hp or 2.50hp, because it cannot be confused with existing nominals…if every manufacturer abandoned hp, insurance companies would have to consider engine capacity, and anomalies would eventually disappear.”
“IT HAS BEEN DECIDED TO HOLD a further Brooklands meeting on Armistice Day, under the combined auspices of the BMCRC and the BARC, when the entire proceeds will be devoted to the Weybridge Remembrance Day Fund. This event, it is stated, has the full approval of many of the local residents, who had previously complained of the noise of the track.”
“IN AUGUST THERE WERE 377,943 motor cycle and 314,769 car licences in force. The proportion of motor cycles should be still higher next year with the increasing number of miniature low-priced machines.”
“THE CLUB SECRETARY IS SELDOM valued at his true worth. Usually he is an unselfish enthusiast who toils long and hard in the interests of others. Virtue may be its own reward, and undoubtedly he gains much pleasure from the pleasure of others; but whether he desires it or not, he deserves greater recognition. He seldom gets it; indeed, too often his very existence is only recalled to revile him. Often it is mere thoughtlessness. Motor cyclists in general and club men in particular rightly pride themselves on being good sportsmen. Let them retain this trait in their relations with their club officials as well as with their fellow members. Let them remember that in nine cases out of ten the secretary would infinitely prefer to be a competitor, but he recognises that somebody must take up the organising duties and being very keen he accepts the task himself.”
“WHILE WE HAVE NEVER WHOLEHEARTEDLY agreed with the practice of pillion riding on solo machines, we cannot understand why the daily press should be so obviously biased concerning its dangers. We mention the daily press first because undoubtedly it has helped to shape the unreasonable prejudice displayed on the part of certain sections of the public. Whenever there is an accident and a pillion passenger is involved, the practice is blamed; this was particularly noticeable at a recent inquest, where the Coroner made statements which had no foundation whatsoever in fact. This outcry against a popular form of motor cycling is absurd, but nevertheless it must tend to cause harm to the motor cycle industry generally. It is a matter which the British Motor Cycle Manufacturers’ Union should investigate, and while we do not suggest propaganda to make pillion riding more popular, there should be ways and means to remove the ignorance and prejudice of newspaper headline writers and those gentlemen whose duty at an inquest is to consider facts and not to comment on matters quite irrelevant to the case concerned. It does not seem to be sufficiently well known that the Ministry of Transport has investigated the so-called dangers of pillion riding, and in a report issued this year implied that there was insufficient evidence to show that pillion riding was dangerous.”
“SIR,—IN HOLLAND PILLION RIDING is the rule rather than the exception, and one seldom sees a rider without a passenger ‘up’ behind him. Yet there is no outcry against its dangers here. We think this is due to the fact that all pillion passengers, without exception, both male and female, sit astride the pillion seat. It will be found, we imagine, that the custom of sitting sideways is the dangerous factor in pillion riding. It merely requires a press campaign in favour of the more sensible, if less graceful, position to get rid of the menace of popular alarm and panic legislation.
PG WILSON (BCA, Ltd), Amsterdam.“
“ONE OF THE THINGS THE NOVICE cannot understand is the joy of the sense of power. He reads that a 350cc machine will take a sidecar at 20mph anywhere within reason; he thinks that as he will never exceed the legal limit he will have all the power he needs. Power gives the greatest zest to riding, but only if it is used discreetly. In driving the 989cc Harley-Davidson sidecar there is power and to spare it is not often needed all at once, but it is there when it is. The speed on the level and uphill are all that can be wished for, and, what is just as important, the Harley-Davidson is as pleasant to drive in narrow winding lanes as when swallowing miles on the open highway. It has an excellent clutch, and if this is allowed to slip just the least shade there is absolutely no snatch, and the engine runs at a mere tick-over as smoothly as can be desired. Much of this flexibility is due to the carburetter, and our American cousins have shown their wisdom in supplying and fitting to their motor cycles a carburetter which will give even firing at slow speeds, is controlled by one lever, and yet is capable of adjustment to suit varying atmospheric conditions. Forks and saddle give as much comfort as if the frame were sprung; the steering is excellent, and the acceleration is also very fine. Both brakes possess immense power, and either will stop the machine with equal efficiency. The two brake pedals are on the off side, one being actuated by the toe, the other by the heel. Used in narrow country lanes, in dense traffic, on good main roads and by night as well as day, the outfit acquitted itself remarkably well. Changes of gear were seldom necessary, and when they were second nearly always sufficed. Low gear is in the nature of an
emergency ratio. Driving by night anywhere near London is none too pleasant nowadays, as there is a great deal of lorry traffic and many cars with blazing head lamps; but it loses much of its terrors thanks to the Harley’s excellent electric equipment. By means of the little switch placed just where the cable enters the lamp, if a car driver dims his lamps, the Harley driver can return the courtesy by switching on the dimmer bulb, which also gives just enough light for town driving and is quite useful in fog. Another good feature of the latest Harley is the automatic charging switch which prevents the discharge of the accumulator when the engine is running slowly or the machine is at rest. It is difficult for one who drives many different makes of motor cycles to criticise the methods of control, for any system is easy when one is used to it. For this reason no criticism of the twist grip throttle control is made, for habitual riders of American machines appreciate it to the full. On one point of the control mechanism we may comment, however; frankly, we do not like the method of controlling the clutch. Its hand lever is not convenient and its pedal is of the rocking variety, the movement of which neither blends with the twisting of the handle-bar grip nor agrees with the natural push forward action of the brake pedal. It is not natural to stamp on the brake pedal with the right foot and employ a totally different movement with the left; the hand clutch control would be infinitely preferable if it were a simple pull-up lever on the handle-bar and not a lever placed somewhere beneath the left thigh at the side of the machine. One who has become accustomed to foot operation of the clutch or to the handle-bar lever finds the alternative disconcerting at first. The same remark applies to twist-grip throttle control, but the dexterous manner with which Harley-Davidsons are handled, both solo and sidecar, indicates that, while the controls are different from the ideas of the majority of British manufacturers, it does not necessarily follow that one system is superior to the other. It is merely a matter of what one is accustomed to use. The
Harley, like other American makes, has an ingenious interlocking device which prevents the movement of the gears unless the clutch is disengaged. Should the adjustment be incorrect, the gear can be changed, but the clutch will not fully engage. It would be no great difficulty to secure the correct adjustment were the necessary spanners supplied, but the tool-kit is inadequate. This is a small item, but one which the makers could easily rectify. Apart from these details, the Harley-Davidson sidecar outfit is a splendid machine. Besides the flexibility and power of the engine, its steering is excellent; and, provided the clutch is judiciously used when travelling slowly, smooth running can be obtained throughout a wide range of speed. Our general impression of the outfit was distinctly favourable. Its power and acceleration are superior to many machines of similar price or capacity, and it must particularly appeal to the sporting rider. In fact, it is one of the first favourites with that fraternity, although as sold it is essentially a comfortable touring outfit. The sidecar itself manages to combine a reasonably symmetrical appearance with ample roominess—not at all so common an attainment as one might imagine. Finished in the same rich shade of olive-green as the machine, it forms a very attractive-looking whole, which gives no indication that the attachment is manufactured some 4,000 miles away from the factory that produced the cycle. This year the Harley-Davidson has been exceptionally successful on the road in this country and also on the Continent. Four gold medals were won in the ACU Six Days Trials with an entry of four riders, three of whom tied for the team prize; one special gold medal in the International Six Days Trials, and two ordinary gold medals; while many successes have been gained in Italy.”
“ONE OF THE MOST ATTRACTIVE features of the Grigg is its duplex frame design [which] is utilised for the two larger models, of which the most powerful is fitted with a 348cc Villiers two-stroke engine with flywheel magneto and lighting equipment. It is practically a double-purpose machine, but the solo model has only two speeds while the sidecar machine has three speeds; a Sturmey- Archer box is used in both cases, drive being by chain and belt. For lighter solo riding Grig supplies a 211cc two-stroke engine of its own make…For novices and elderly riders a 181cc miniature has been introduced. The engine, which is a four-stroke with overhead valves, has an aluminium cylinder, forming part of the crank case casting, a steel liner is inserted and the head, of cast iron, is detachable.”
“OF RECENT TIMES THE MARKET for the big twin enthusiast has received more attention from British manufacturers. The latest addition to the steadily growing list of machines in this class is to be known as the Croft-Anzani Super Eight. As may be gathered from the name, the engine fitted is the latest type of Anzani twin with four overhead valves per cylinder. The engine is housed in a duplex loop frame of sturdy construction, the duplex tubes allowing the exhaust pipes a straight flow between the tubes, the rear pipe passing also through a hole in the bottom bracket casting; the exhaust gases are then led to a large flat cast aluminium silencer, from which the exit is by a tail pipe on either side of the rear wheel. Transmission is by chain throughout, a close-ratio Sturmey-Archer box being employed, with a shock absorber in the clutch and an Enfield cush hub in the rear wheel. A saddle tank covers the straight top tube, and has a capacity of three gallons of fuel and one gallon of oil. Montgomery forks are fitted, and both brakes are of the dummy belt rim type—one on each wheel. Lubrication is by Best mechanical pump. Since the machine is designed to be of the sporting type the mudguards are somewhat narrow in section, but special wide guards may be fitted to order.”
“THOUGH THE OVERHEAD VALVE NORTON has now been with us for a considerable time it is not generally realised that this type has already been standardised and is obtainable by the buying public…it has been found to be possible to lower the over-all dimensions of the ohv engine; besides this, the cylinder head ribs have been modified to provide increased cooling area…a new frame has been designed, and though it follows the lines usually adhered to by the firm, the saddle position is both lower and slightly further forward than previously. In addition, adjustable footrests have been fitted and large head races. In order to comply with the law a large tubular expansion chamber is combined with the run of the exhaust pipe, the pipe being attached to the cylinder by a ribbed nut. Other details include an internal expanding front brake.”
“GREAT INTEREST WILL BE CENTRED in an important addition to the Sunbeam range. This takes the form of a 70×90 mm. (345cc) machine. It will be remembered that in pre-war days the makers of the Sunbeam produced a most admirable 350cc machine, and the reintroduction of an up-to-date representative in that class will be welcomed by a large number of riders. Sunbeam lines are followed throughout in the new model, in fact, it is almost an exact replica of the 499cc Sunbeam in miniature. So perfect are the proportions that one might easily mistake the new machine for the 499cc light solo model if it were seen alone and not in company with the larger one. Not only are the lines similar, but many of the actual parts of the bigger machine are used. The gear box, for instance, is identical, parts of the timing gear are the same, and almost every detail which is altered has been modified only as regards weight.”
“MORE THAN ONCE CRITICISMS have been heard owing to the fact that the makers of the AJS have repeatedly won the Tourist Trophy Race with an overhead valve model which was not available on the open market. Nevertheless the manufacturers acted wisely, for they felt that until the experimental machines had been reduced to a form in which they were safe in the hands of the public it was better not to sell them broadcast. Now, however, the latest developments render the ohv model as available as the popular side valve type…a super sports model with an engine based on the TT AJS. machine. The overhead valve mechanism will be almost exactly similar, except for the fact that somewhat longer valve guides are employed so as to reduce wear at this vital point….For the benefit of sporting riders who desire to enter speed events and hill-climbs, the rear mudguard and carrier have been made in a quickly detachable form.”
“SHOCK ABSORBERS FOR SPRING FORKS: For some time now racing cars have invariably included shock absorbers in their equipment; touring cars are rapidly following suit; and the natural sequence would seem to be the application of this device to a motor cycle. It is not surprising, therefore, to learn that in the B&D stabilizer the principle has been applied to the two-wheeler and the sidecar outfit with considerable success. It consists simply of a friction shock absorber, and was evolved on the theory that a spring in itself cannot dissipate or absorb energy; it merely stores it. The reaction or rebound causes a shock just as surely as the initial jar. The stabilizer, which is patented, enables very much weaker springs to be used. These naturally give a wider range of action, but since they are damped, there is no possibility of them bottoming or being over-worked to the breaking point. The system is the result of many years’ experiment on Mr AD Draper’s (the inventor’s) Matchless, which is fitted with his suspension front and rear. A run on this machine convinces us that his claims for greater comfort without any adverse effect on road-holding qualities are not based on theory alone. Even a brick or a three-inch pot-hole may safely be crossed without feeling any real jar, and, what is more important, without setting up a series of oscillations in the unsprung member, perhaps better described as a dither. The damping device is quite simple. It consists of floating friction disc compressed by spring washer between any two relatively moving surfaces at a pivoting point in the suspension. Pressure on the spring washer is controlled by a nut, locked by a corrugated washer, which is prevented from rotating by two flats on the main bolt.”
“WITH SOLO MOTOR CYCLES RANGING in size from 42cc to over 1,300cc, the man who prefers the single-track machine cannot complain that he has been neglected! That so many types are produced is proof of the popularity of the motor cycle and of the industry’s confidence in future demand. Compared with any other form of travel, the most extravagant of solo motor cycles is so remarkably economical that there should never be any diminution in the annual demand for these machines. Further, thousands of schoolboy sonly await the day when they will attain the age demanded by the law before they join the ranks of motorcyclists. Understanding parent appreciate the real value of the modern motor cycle from both an educative and health-giving point of view. While the sidecar outfit may ultimately be threatened by the light car, and the small car itself by the large, cheap American car, there is nothing, as yet to replace the solo motor cycle. Not only is this so, but the pleasurable sensation of travelling on a self-propelled two-wheeler is quite unique in the world of wheels or wings.”
“UNDER ACU OBSERVATION A STANDARD stock McKenzie miniature has accomplished a run from Land’s End to John o’ Groats. The run is reported to have been highly successful. All hills except two in Scotland were climbed, and the rider finished in fresh condition, the only replacement during the whole journey being a sparking plug, which failed on Berriedale Hill. There were no tyre troubles, despite the bad condition of the roads.”
“AT LAST A MOTOR CYCLE HAS LAPPED Brooklands at over 100mph. On Friday of last week H Le Vack enhanced his reputation as a leading British speedman by covering the flying five miles in 2hr 59min 48sec, which is officially recorded as 100.29mph. Le Vack’s mount was a Zenith fitted with a JAP engine of 988cc and was the same machine with which he secured the 1,000cc championship on the previous Saturday. This is the first occasion on which a British motor cycle has established a record at over 100mph, and the first time any motor cycle has lapped Brooklands at a figure over the century mark. Le Vack was riding on the 50ft line, while his speed was calculated on the 10ft line, which means that his actual speed was about 102mph. Further, the weather was far from favourable, as a drizzling rain was falling. Added interest lies in the fact that no ‘dope’ was used, Le Vack’s fuel being a
half-and-half mixture of BP petrol and Anglo benzole. When DH Davidson on a 998cc Harley-Davidson attained the speed of 100mph in April, 1921, the whole motor cycle world was surprised that what had hitherto been considered impossible had been accomplished. Then Le Vack on a 998cc Indian raised this to 107.55mph. The fact that the first motor cycle to accomplish 100mph in this country was of American manufacture was a source of dissatisfaction among motor cyclists in general, for, as much as they may admire the American machines so well known in this country, they would naturally have preferred that the honour should have been won by a home production…Questioned afterwards as to what it felt like to lap at such a pace (which meant that the machine must have been doing fully 108mph down the railway straight), Le Vack indicated that it was not the easiest thing in the world to hold the machine on a course. The surface of the track in places does not resemble a
billiard table, particularly behind the aeroplane sheds, where a series of bumps set the machine bouncing alarmingly. Down the railway straight the machine more or less steered itself, due in no small manner to the device for tightening the steering head at will which Le Vack has fitted. This eliminates the tendency for the front wheel to wobble when crossing inequalities in the track. (It is, of course, impracticable to have a a permanently tight head, but the device makes it possible to regulate the degree of stiffness by a touch of the finger while the machine is in motion.) Along the railway straight, in fact, Le Vack was able to remove one hand from the bars to alter the carburetter adjustment…Passing under the bridge, Le Vack was within 20ft of the top of the banking, and several hardened Brooklands habitués who watched him at this place said that the sight gave them ‘quite a turn’. However, success crowned the JAP exponent’s efforts, and no one will grudge him his reward, for, together with his faithful mechanic Moran, he has worked early and late on his beloved engines…there were other activities at Brooklands on Friday last, not the least important being RN Judd’s (249cc Velocette) successful attack on the standing start kilometre and mile British records. Judd’s new figures are: standing kilometre, 58.3mph; standing mile. 62.91mph…Cyril Pullin’s attacks were on the international mean speed records. With a 350cc Douglas he established a mean standing kilometre record at 56.43mph and a mean standing mile record at 62.53mph. With a 496cc Douglas and sidecar Pullin’s speeds were: Mean flying kilometre 78.63mph; mean flying mile, 78.66mph.
“I KNOW I AM BUYING TROUBLE,” Ixion proclaimed, “but natheless I proceed. I believe that if our southern riders had the misfortune to reside in the manufacturing districts of Lancashire or Yorkshire they would never motor at all until they could afford a 40hp, six-cylinder car. Why, even with the benefits of their southern residence most of them take jolly good care to get home before it is dark, and lay up their machines for most of the winter. Up north I know innumerable grey beavers who flounder over pot-holed setts and petrified kidneys for most of their summer mileage, and maintain the good work merrily right through their bitter winter. And when week-ends arrive, instead of sitting at home or in a bar by a glowing fire and applying vaseline to the callosities on their anatomies, they go off and look for half-frozen water splashes or the kind of hill that resembles a well-treacled ladder. My advice to posterity is as follows: Be born right up north of good north-country stock. Stay there till you’ve imbibed a ‘reet’ northern spirit and then come south and enjoy the rest of your natural life.”
“PROPERLY PRACTISED, PILLION RIDING is not necessarily dangerous. By itself, the mere fact of there being a passenger behind the driver is not sufficient to warrant the condemnation of the practice. Many a motor cyclist will testify to having regularly carried a pillion passenger without the slightest mishap, and will aver that the extra weight over the back wheel in no way detracts from his control of the machine. Usually, however, one will hear it emphasised that there is a right and a wrong way of carrying a passenger, and, of the two, it is generally agreed that the side-saddle attitude does not give the driver such a comforting sense of security as the astride position. The reason is obvious: the side-saddle position does not afford the passenger any support for the upper part of the body, and in a sudden swerve, or when rounding a corner, the passenger may lurch, and considerably embarrass the driver. It is only natural that the majority of lady passengers should prefer the side-saddle attitude. Motor cyclist will, however, he well advised to attempt methods of peaceful persuasion in an endeavour to bring about the adoption of the astride position when a really long run is under consideration. If a passenger is to be carried with any frequency a proper pillion seat attachment for the carrier is a sine qua non. Such a fitment should incorporate a handrail and footrests if the prospective passenger firmly refuses to sit astride. A loose cushion on the carrier should be eschewed, save, perhaps, as a purely temporary expedient, for it may shift its position with, possibly, disastrous results. It is as well, also, to warn the passenger that, if the back number plate be obscured, he or she may held liable for ‘aiding and abetting’ within the meaning of the law should some constable chance to observe the ‘crime’. The privilege of being aisle to carry a passenger on a solo machine is valuable, and one hopes that motor cyclists generally, by observing a little common sense in the matter of seating the passenger securely, and by not deliberately taking risks in attempting to negotiate impossible surfaces, will counter the prejudice against pillion riding which exists in the public mind to-day. One might, perhaps, label the following points as the golden rules: 1. Seat the passenger astride. 2. Fit a proper pillion attachment, with footrests, securely to the carrier. 3. Keep off tramlines and take no risks in traffic.”
DECADES BEFORE FULL FAIRINGS APPEARED, Ixion was able to report: “Mr Easting’s original solo screen appeared, I think, in the Isle of Man in the dimensions of a geisha’s fan. His latest edition just to hand is a far more lordly fitting. The celluloid panel measures about 21in high x 16in wide, is well framed, and carried in two brackets easily fixed to the steering bar if any gaps are available between the existing decorations of that misnamed and overloaded article. The new screen weighs no more than 4lb and really gives very welcome protection. Quite a useful waterproof apron, weighing 1½lb, may be fixed to the lower rung of the screen, so as to protect the rider’s knees and tummy. With these Eastingg fitments and a pair of John Bull muffs, motor cycling in Arctic weather is really almost cosy.”
“‘PHUT-PHUT-PHUT’=SINGLE-CYLINDER four-stroke. ‘Phutta-phutta-phutta’=V-twin four-stroke. ‘B-r-r-r-r-r-r-r’=single-cylinder two-stroke.—A child’s guide to motor cycles.”
“SOMEBODY HAS BEEN COMPLAINING that life nowadays lacks the excitement and thrills of long ago. We suggest that they try a 30-mile night run on a motor cycle over strange roads in a thick fog.”
“NEW USE FOR OFFICIAL BOOTS: An exhaust pipe kicking campaign is the latest form of police activity to be practised. Edmonton is the danger area, and motor cyclists passing through are advised to be sure that there is no slackness in their silencer joints, etc.”
“THE MODERN MOTOR CYCLIST’S GARAGE is rapidly becoming like a beauty parlour with the varied assortment of pastes and creams in tins, jars, and tubes now marketed for jointing flanges, smearing bolt threads, stopping leaks, cleaning aluminium, making belts grip, getting tar and stains off, cleaning the hands (dry), cleaning the hands (wet), gingering up the petrol, oiling up the petrol, filling the inner tubes, keeping wet off windscreens, polishing enamel, preserving hoods, etc.”
“UNDOUBTEDLY THE MUST ATTRACTIVE models in next year’s programme of Dot Motors are of the sports type. One is equipped, with the 348cc JAP engine, and has all-chain drive through a three-speed Albion gear box…No kick-starter is fitted as standard, but a clutch is incorporated. Both brakes are of the internal expanding variety…a 249cc JAP engine model may be had and other alternative engines are the 349cc ohv Blackburne and 349cc Bradshaw engine. Next comes the big twin sports model, with 976cc JAP engine and Sturmey gears. The general specification is similar to that of the lightweight model, with, of course, 28x3in tyres and other fittings in pro- portion. Large silencers are a feature of these sports models. Touring Dot machines embodying engines of the similar capacities are also to be produced…The touring lightweight has the 292cc JAP engine with three-speed Albion gear and chain-cum-belt drive.”
“A MEDIUM-WEIGHT MOTOR CYCLE of 317cc, having a unit engine clutch and gear box, a propeller shaft and worm drive, has been designed by two English residents in Paris, Messrs Claxton and Beatty, and, it is declared, will be put on the market shortly in both France and England. The engine is not without interest. It is a single cylinder of 70x76mm bore and stroke, with valves on one side…the valve stems are enclosed by telescopic sleeves and there is a particularly neat dust-proof aluminium housing over the magneto, which is carried on a bracket in front of the engine…The engine is mounted on an aluminium crank case, which forms a unit with the clutch housing and the gear box. An 18-plate disc clutch is used, and immediately behind it is the two-speed gear box…From the gear box to the underslung worm on the rear wheel hub there is a propeller shaft with ball ends, one of which is received in a socket in the driving and the other in a similar socket in the driven member. The shaft, alone, cannot transmit power, but it is surrounded by a closely wound circular section coil spring, the two ends of which ai’e screwed into and rigidly attached to the driving and the driven members. There is sufficient flexibility in the coil spring to take up all irregularities of the drive, as when running slowly or when starting away, and yet a perfectly rigid drive is secured when the engine is developing its full power…A drum on the rear wheel hub carries an internal and an external brake…The weight of the machine, fitted with 26x2in tyres, is just a little over 150lb. That a 317cc machine with shaft transmission should even get under the 200lb limit proves that this form of drive need not necessarily be weighty.”
“NO CONTINENTAL COUNTRY HAS MADE greater progress in motor cycle production than Italy, and one of the finest examples of Italian design is the 600cc twin Bianchi, the external finish of which cannot fail to attract admiration. Gear box and engine form a single unit, and the cylinder dimensions are 70x78mm (600cc). Semi-automatic lubrication is provided, and the primary drive to the gear shaft is by three skew gears and a metal plate clutch, all running in oil. A single-cylinder model, in which a Garelli pattern three-speed gear is incorporated, is another production of this firm. The engine is of 498cc capacity, having a bore and stroke of 75x112mm. Bianchi Motors, 26, St James’s Street, London, SW1, are responsible for the machine in this country.”
“THOUGH DESCRIBED IN THE MOTOR CYCLE immediately after its success in the 350cc class of the French Grand Prix, a further reference to the unconventional Garelli two-stroke cannot fail to be of interest, especially as the makers are now represented in England. Few examples of departures from accepted practise, such as the Garelli is, have attained success at the very out-set of their careers, but with this machine success was obtained not only in the small field at Strasbourg but in a much larger and more dangerous one of 39 riders on the Monza track in the Gran Premio delle Nazioni. It must be mentioned here that the engine design is not actually novel and owed its origin to an English inventor, but the Cavaliere Garelli was the first to adapt the principle to a motor cycle engine. Briefly the Garelli engine (50x89mm) has two cylinders with clear air space between, two pistons and a common combustion chamber. Of the two pistons which are of chrome nickel steel the right-hand one has a flat top and the left-hand one a domed top, which acts as a deflector and prevents turbulence. These pistons, which are, of necessity, very long, are connected at their base by a single gudgeon pin in the centre of which works the small end of the single connecting rod. On the mixture supplied by a one-lever Zenith carburetter (fitted with additional extra air inlet) being drawn into the crank case and compressed, the transfer port, which is inside the cylinder (actually in the dividing wall between the two) is uncovered by the left-hand piston, fills the left-hand cylinder and the combustion chamber and helps to excel the residue of burnt gases in the right-hand cylinder as the exhaust port is still uncovered; the pistons then rise and compress the charge which is fired by the plug in the left-hand cylinder, but as there is a common combustion chamber both pistons receive the explosion pressure. Following the tendencies of modern Italian design unit construction is followed, but otherwise the lower part of the engine follows standard two-stroke practice in the main, but there are two inside flywheels, one of which incorporates a most ingenious transmission shock absorber…the Mea-Garelli magneto…is entirely enclosed in the unit, but is easily detachable therefrom. The result of this design is that the whole of the mechanism is enclosed and the only visible moving part is the final transmission chain…All controls are entirely enclosed, no naked wires being visible, while the change speed lever acts directly on the gear box, there being no intermediate toggles or rods…Now that the Garelli has arrived in England its road performances will be as eagerly awaited as its victories in races were acclaimed in the most important Continental events during the past season.”
“BY THE ADDITION OF TWO extreme models to the Coventry Eagle range, there is a 1923 machine of this make of practically every capacity known. The newcomers are a 147cc two-stroke miniature and a sporting big twin with the 976cc super sports JAP engine…As might have been expected from the makers of motor cycles with the elegant appearance of the 1922 Coventry Eagles, the new big twin is particularly handsome and symmetrical. Furthermore, the way in which the engine is housed is exceptionally compact; a 5in ground clearance is allowed, although the saddle height is only 27in.
“AFTER MANY YEARS’ HONOURABLE EXISTENCE as a sturdy and reliable but not particularly handsome motor cycle, the Bradbury, in all its forms, has undergone a veritable transformation for next year. It now compares favourably in the matter of appearance with anything else on the. market, and recent records at Brooklands prove that sheer slogging capabilities are not its only commendable attribute. Three main models are offered—all side-valve four-strokes; a 350cc single; a 554cc single; and a 749cc twin. In each case the engine is of Bradbury design and manufacture; in fact, except the gear box of the 350cc model (a Moss three-speed), the whole machines are produced in the one factory. Each model is available as a sidecar outfit, but the big twin machine becomes a particularly attractive solo mount when turned out to a sports specification. A new frame of graceful design, well-curved exhaust pipes terminating in an aluminium silencer at the rear, and footrests instead of footboards, combine to make this model attractive to the most fastidious speed man. Internal expanding brakes on both wheels is a commendable feature of all the Bradburys for next year. The makers are Bradbury & Co, Wellington Works, Oldham.
“MOST OF THE BIG SIDECAR SPECIALISTS are turning towards the light solo machine as an addition to their range for the 1923 market. In this class the Matchless concern must now be included, after long absence from the smaller solo field. The new model is engined by a 349cc Blackburne side valve unit. A Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear box, including clutch and kick starter, is fitted, and a drawbolt for the purpose of front chain adjustment is provided. There should be no doubt about the silence of the Matchless single; the silencer is as big as that on the sidecar outfit. And in this connection it must be pointed out that engine, gear box and magneto are assembled in a special cradle, which can be handled as complete unit. Points of convenience have been carefully studied, kneegrips being fitted as a standard, and an excellent all-metal tool box situated on the rear of the carrier and fitting practically flush with the top thereof. One new twin cylinder model will be introduced, to be known as the super-sports model J, equipped with a 976cc super-sports JAP engine, Sturmey-Archer three-speed gear box, clutch and kick starter.”
“IT COMES AS A SURPRISE to learn that the makers of the Powell are introducing a lightweight for next year. Hitherto, of course, there has only been one Powell model, a sturdy 547cc dual-purpose mount, and this will be retained with the addition of a similar machine with all-chain transmission. The lightweight is a straightforward and simple design, embodying a 247cc Villiers engine, and, in two cases, a two-speed Albion gear box, in a neat frame not unlike the larger type in general contour.” The new 250 was offered as a single-speeder, a “plain” two-speeder or “with two-speed, clutch and kick-starter…Powell Bros, Cambrian Iron Works, Wrexham, is the address of the makers.”
“IN THIS YEAR’S SCOTTISH SIX DAYS TRIALS, the remarkable capabilities of the little Harper Runabout were the subject of much comment. But even so, few riders of ordinary motor cycles would have credited its ability to cover over 40 miles in one hour on Brooklands track. Actually, on November 16th, RO Harper, on a standard machine in full touring order, equipped with wind-screen, electric and acetylene lighting, spare wheel and tyre, tools, and spare tin of oil (total weight, with driver, 534lb), covered 42½ miles in the hour, under ACU observation. The fastest lap was run at the rate of 43.16mph, and the 259cc Villiers engine ran faultlessly throughout, driving the little three-wheeler at a speed not equalled by many touring motor bicycles of similar capacity. Much of the success of the Harper Runabout may be ascribed to its excellent springing and the efficiency of the transmission; the former quality in particular being invaluable, as the wheels do not bounce and spin when passing over irregularities in the road or track. After the one-hour run at speed the machine made two ascents of the test hill from a standing start, the second climb being with an extra adult passenger.”
“CHEAP MOTORING FOR BIG FAMILIES: How the Sidecar will Accommodate Large Parties; the Merits of Side by Side and Tandem Seated Bodywork: The first things to seek when purchasing an outfit to carry four, five, or six people are power and room in the sidecar body. A 550-600cc engine pulling a big load at good speeds will consume almost as much petrol as one of 900-1,000cc under the same conditions. Nothing is more irritating than to feel under-powered against a strong headwind; others beside men with big family sidecars will agree with this…It can be safely said that all the big modern twin engines and three-speed gear boxes will stand up to any work to which they can be subjected in reason. The same can be said of the rest of the machine if common sense be used, always remembering that sidecar connections and the frame work will receive more strain with a heavily-loaded family sidecar than one of normal size. Alignment, too, should be watched closely, otherwise the tyres will receive abnormal wear, especially the front one. Opinions differ on the type of body best suited to carry three or four persons. Some prefer
the extra wide body, such as was shown by the Royal Ruby Co at Olympia last year. The majority, however, appear to prefer a tandem seater. One such outfit which we have seen is arranged with the driver’s wife and youngest child occupying the back seat of the sidecar, two other children sitting side by side in the front seat, while the eldest is accommodated on the pillion. This is probably the best method of arranging such a party, and seems preferable to making use of a dickey seat or fixing a seat on the luggage grid in the manner adopted on the AJS. The latter method, however, seems to be preferred by the
average small boy, who likes it better than sitting in the sidecar a small boy would, of course, prefer such a place; it is unorthodox, and he can fidget to his heart’s content, reach over to read the speedometer, and eat apples and sweets. The above-mentioned children, incidentally, are rigged up with inexpensive leather helmets at 5s 6d each. They do not wake up in the night crying with earache in consequence of the side draughts, which sometimes whistle round sidecar screens. Another vastly important thing in connection with pillion riding is often ignored ; that is the spring- ing of the seat itself. For small children the springs of a standard pillion seat are usually much too strong, and many youngsters com- plain of internal pains after a long ride simply in consequence of this. Any pillion seat maker will fit springs to suit a particular weight if asked to do so…It can be taken for granted that one must motor cheaply if five or six be the usual complement. There is no cheaper motoring; in fact, there is no cheaper travel at all unless it be by excursion train, and side- car costs may even beat excursion fares if a party of six has to be accommodated…Naturally, a heavily-laden machine must be kept in good condition; covers, inner tubes, and chains must all be watched to guard against a sudden failure which, when away from headquarters, would incur an hotel bill for six people.”
AS WELL AS HIS WORK FOR TRIUMPH Harry Ricardo designed a three-litre racing car engine for Vauxhall, so when Vauxhall planned an expansion into two-wheelers he was the obvious choice. Ricardo delegated the job to his chief designer, Frank Halford, who had ridden a Riccy Triumph in the 1922 TT and had designed aero engines. Halford came up with an ohv 945cc in-line four with shaft drive. Advanced features included leading-link forks, a duplex frame and saddle tank. Manxland author Bill Snelling (who is no mean exponent of long-distance trialling and racing) brings the Vauxhall story up to date in his excellent autobiography, Motor Cycling Mates and Memories: “Through my acquaintance with [Douglas afficionado] Bob Thomas, I was able to ride a unique motorcycle, the in-line Vauxhall four…it was something very special, and a great privilege to ride, albeit for a very short distance. Enough parts were made to produce three bikes, but we think only one was built. The machine was in kit-form when Bob got it, and the wheels were missing: the previous owner had put them under the floor during the war, and forgotten them when he moved house. Bob had to knock on the door, explain the situation and ask if he could lift carpets and floorboards, to get his wheels – luckily they agreed! He contacted the people at Vauxhall to see if they had any plans etc, and he was sent a complete set of engineering drawings; within a few weeks of those plans being sent to Bob, the drawing office at Vauxhall burnt down! The tank was one of the missing parts, but Vauxhall got its apprentices to make a replica. The machine was low-geared, suitable for sidecar use, Bob rode a complete lap of the TT course in top gear. Another link to my motorcycling is that the Vauxhall had been ridden in the Lands End Trial.”
“CONTINENTAL NATIONS HAVE BEGUN to realise the value of a good track to the motor industry, and it is only since the building of the Italian Motodrome at Monza that serious attempts have been made to lower the English records. This has been done by the Garelli firm, which claims several world’s records. The machine used was the same which won the International Grand Prix on the occasion of the opening of the Monza track. The riders were Visioli, who won the 350cc class in the French Grand Prix this year, and Ferragni, who came in second in the 350cc class in the Italian Grand Prix. Timing was carried out by the official timekeeper of the Italian MCC, and the course was measured by the official measurer. The Garelli covered 500 miles at 63.4mph. If these records are allowed the Garelli will have beaten the 350cc world’s records for 300, 400, and SOO miles, and four, five, and six hours, as well as the 400 and 500 miles in the 500cc class.”
A PROPRIETARY ENGINE DESCRIBED in the simplest terms is an engine available on the open market to all who build motor cycles. Naturally, the larger manufacturers make practically every part of their machines in their own works, but many firms of the highest repute buy power units from specialists in engine construction. Curiously enough, while the best known makers of complete motor cycles flourish in the Midlands, several of the better known proprietary engine makers hail from London and the South. The popular JAP is not only our oldest proprietary engine, but one of the earliest British-made engines, and it is interesting to record that in 1903-4 it was fitted to the first motor bicycles made by firms which have since reached the highest rank. It competed against the then invincible Continental makes in 1904 and 1905, and was soundly beaten, but its makers stuck to their work, with the result that the modern JAP engine can, and does, triumph brilliantly wherever it is used. JAP engines are available in capacities ranging from 250 cc to 1,080cc. Next in order may be mentioned the Blackburne, originally known as the De Haviland. The range of Blackburne sizes has gradually been extended, and all types from 250cc to 1,098cc are made. As originally designed, with one-piece crankshaft, split big end, outside flywheel and detachable head, the Blackburne units had a long run of success, but latterly some of those features have had to give place to more progressive developments, chiefly in regard to the adoption of ball and roller bearings. Among Continental engines, the only one which has ever attained popularity in England is the superbly-made MAG, the initials of which stand for the title and address of the firm—Motosacoche, Acacias, Geneva. The word Motosacoche means ‘motor in a toolbag’, the name given to one of the early light-weights which grew from a miniature then rated at 1¼hp through bigger and bigger sizes until, for the British market, the 993cc and 1,098cc big twins have been specialised; smaller twins are available, however. Two small singles also come from the MAG works. A distinct departure from ordinary practice is the sleeve-valve B&S engine made by the famous scientific instrument makers, Barr & Stroud, Ltd, of Anniesland, Glasgow, under Burt’s patents. The type of single-sleeve valve used first saw the light in the Argyll and Picard-Pictet car engines. Silent in operation and yet highly efficient, the B&S is rapidly attaining the popularity it deserves; for 1923 the 350cc engine is supplemented by another single of 500cc and a V-twin of 1,000cc. Finally, among the four-strokes must be mentioned the British Anzani which is a highly efficient, beautifully made twin-cylinder of 986cc and 1,075cc capacity, which has met with considerable success on the track. In the Coventry Victor we have the only flat-twin proprietary engine. It has been on the market for several years and has given great satisfaction. Only one capacity (688cc) is offered. We now come to the two-stroke proprietary engines, of which the most prominent is the Villiers, the pioneer of its type. Being early on the field, its makers have brought the Villiers engines to a high state of efficiency, and the introduction of a flywheel magneto, which now serves to provide lighting as well as ignition current, has gained them further popularity. Other two-stroke proprietary engines are the Broler and Juckes, the latter is a new proposition introduced by the maker of the well-known Juckes gear boxes.
“THERE ARE NOT MANY ITEMS in which the motor cycle has the motor car down and taking a count, but the gear box is certainly one,” Ixion opined. “Quite juvenile readers can recall the date when our gear boxes consisted, of imitation, alarm clocks, built into the rear wheel. You adjusted the control after breakfast. You injected a rather special oil at lunch. If you did not, towards 3pm there would be a sickening scrunch, after which you might conceivably get home by roping the belt rim to the wheel spokes, and walking all hills. Alternatively, you possibly used a variable belt drive. If so, trying to catch a well-buttered eel swimming in Castrol would be child’s play to the ascent of Amulree in a pukka Scots mist. Even these gave trouble. I never climb Porlock without recalling a famous rider, who went west in the war, as he sat below the first bend, using language which made passing exhausts smell like may-blossom, and throwing out on to the road with both hands innumerable bits of a belt gear which had collapsed, and which he couldn’t reassemble in the right order. One still has trouble with a car box on occasions. But not with motor cycle gears.”
“SIR,—I HAVE MADE CAREFUL INQUIRIES and I find that medical opinion is strongly against the effects of the wind resistance set up by the great motor cycles which hurtle along our main roads at anywhere between 30 and 80mph. Many of my friends, including the local police constable, who is an extremely good man, agree with me that if the present 20mph speed limit were abolished, someone would be killed. May I, as an unbiased spectator, who has some little knowledge of the mechanical side of motor cycles, suggest that machines ridden ‘solo’ should have a limited piston displacement of 150cc, and sidecar machines 250cc. This would increase the efficiency of engines, and therefore be a great economy in fuel and oil. I fear a few of the wrongly-termed ‘sporting’ fraternity will call me a silly man, but I am prepared to defend my suggestion. I have mentioned it to several motor cyclists, and they all finally agreed with me that the community in general would benefit greatly, and that motor cycling would be within the means of many more.
“THE NOVEL POWER UNIT of the 249cc Rover comprises engine, oil sump, gear box, kick-starter, clutch and magneto, built up in a common assembly. The engine has overhead valves operated by roller bearing rocker shafts, and the detachable head is fixed by three studs. The primary drive is triangular, the chain passing over the magneto sprocket. Very attractive features of the machine are the B&D shock absorbers on the front fork, the new saddle tank and the spring-up back stand.”
“THAT IT HAS SURVIVED SO MANY years successfully when other systems appear and disappear in the course of a 12-month proves that the PV spring frame is worthwhile. It is a simple design. Two pivoted arms, which carry the rear wheel, are extended to the saddle tube and connected with coil shock and rebound springs enclosed in the last-mentioned member. For 1923 the wheelbase has been considerably shortened by the simple expedient of moving the saddle tube forward so that its lower end is in front of the bottom bracket. The model at present under discussion is…an entirely new model with the 976cc JAP engine.”
THE SWALLOW SIDECAR COMPANY was formed in Blackpool by William Lyons, on his 21st Birthday (4 September in case you were wondering) and William Walmsley. Walmsley had previously been making sidecars and bolting them onto reconditioned motorcycles. Within a few years they diversified into car bodybuilding before launching their own SS range. After 1945 when SS was unlikely to be a marketing aid they renamed their cars Jaguar and cease to be of interest to this timeline. However the sidecar interests were sold and Swallow branded sidecars survived until the late 1950s. [And, 50 years after Swallow’s launch, I bolted a Swallow Jet 80 onto a plunger A10 and painted a noble sidecar aubergine with blood-red flame effect. Sorry – Ed.]
“AN AMATEUR ROAD RACE AT LAST. It is practically certain that a race for amateurs will be run in the Isle of Man next September. The Manx Motor Cycle Club been promised an open permit, and this will be used for an amateur race over the Tourist Trophy course, the organising club being satisfied that the definition of an amateur suggested by The Motor Cycle…in every way covers requirements. Now that the Manx Club and the Auto Cycle Union are in agreement over the race, The Motor Cycle has been invited (and agreed) to provide the trophy which shall be the premier award. Without doubt the event will be an extremely popular one among amateur speedmen all over the British Isles, and as the term amateur has long needed a definition in the motor cycle world, the proposed amateur race may be regarded as a test of honour as well as of sheer riding ability. It will, therefore, behove every competitor to adhere strictly to the spirit and letter of the rules in order that motor cycling may take its place among those other sports in which the terms amateur and professional have a definite meaning. The nature of the Manx course is such that super-tuning is not so important as skilful riding therefore, no amateur in possession of a reasonably fast and controllable machine should hesitate to compete on this score. The Manx Club is to be congratulated upon its perseverance and enterprise, which a very large section of riders will appreciate to the full.”
“AFTER THE CLUB DINNER…Seen on the Birmingham-Warwick road: A leather-clad, be-helmetted and be-goggled speedman vainly attempting to inflate one of the security bolts of his Norton.”
“TEMPORA MUTANTUR: I(XION) ALWAYS GARNISH my pages with Latin tags to camouflage the fact that I was educated partially in the gutter and partially at a Board school. What I want to say is that veterans like myself might lie pardoned for going down on our hams and doing pujah to the modern sidecars and cycle cars, as the untutored Hindu did to the first locomotive which he beheld. My first passenger machine was a Century tandem not at all bad. Its chief merit being that the passenger was stuck right out in front to take the impact after any miscalculation on the driver’s part. My second was an Excelsior forecar. You could remove the forecar, insert a spare wheel, and use the machine as a solo mount. If you did not deliberately take the forecar off in garage, it generally dropped off on the road. My third was a Dennis quad. Its best point was its mudguards—lovely rolled aluminium. The stage comedian’s junk car generally has four speeds—slow, slower, ———— slow and ————, ———— slow. My Denis quad had only two—the two last. Then I bought a sidecar. It was a wonderful vehicle—but it went!”
“A READER HAS SENT ME A PAIR of experimental anti-dazzle goggles, which he will probably market shortly,” Ixion reported. “Oddly enough I saw another pair the next day designed on a trifling variation of the same principle. Both goggles had their lenses built up from two pieces of glass. In each case most of the peeping space was white, but each glass included a dark blue or green panel. In one case the subfusc insertion was a horizontal sector at the top of the glass; in the other it was a vertical sector on the right-hand side. On meeting a 30-98hp Vauxhall at speed with huge lamps, the rider merely tilts his head downwards or to the left, according to which type of goggle he is wearing, and takes the glare through the coloured glass. A writer in The Autocar asserts that before glaring head lamps motorists behave like a small bird when fascinated by a serpent with a Svengali eye. That if we only had sufficient strength of mind not to look at head lamps, we shouldn’t be dazzled. If that is so, I am a small bird, and have a weak will. I find the dark panels in both these goggles excessively comforting.”
…AND WHAT’S MORE IXION JUNISSIMUS came near to riding in one. “I never take ladies to motor exhibitions,” Ixion Snr remarked. “They ask silly questions. Not of me. They know better than that. But of the stand attendants. Who look sympathetically at me while they explain. I resent sympathy from dudes unknown to me. I had to break my rule at last month’s Car Show. As a peace offering. I had been detected in something, and this was my ransom. So we went. I led her straight to the Dunkley Pramotor. (Knew I’d got to buy her something after what had happened, and thought a Pramotor would be cheaper than a Rolls.) No luck. One disdainful glance, and I was dragged off to study the 50hp Sizaire-Berwick. Her expert opinion is that Mr Dunkley is either a bachelor or a grandfather. At least, he knows nothing about babies. I hadn’t noticed it before, but it is true. The bisected scooter on which Nursie stands is at the back of the Pramotor. Screened from the infant’s view by the rear leather panel of the saloon. So that Baby can’t see Nursie. Now, when our nth Ixionette loses sight of Berenice (Berenice is our nurse) even momentarily, it makes a noise compared to which the last trump intensified through a Magnavox is the first bleat of a young lamb. (I compromised with a Trojan saloon eventually.)”
“THERE CAN SURELY BE no clearer proof of the improvement which is taking place in motor cycle engines than is afforded by a study of the record lists, past and present. These valuable lists are compiled by Mr AV Ebblewhite, the well-known time-keeper, who has officiated with the watch at practically every record attempt. A comparison of post-war record lists with those of pre-war days reveals very clearly the reason for the hold which the small machine has latterly obtained upon the popular fancy. Increased speed upon the track is the fore-runner of more efficient touring machines. Brooklands has been the testing ground for every improvement in engine design; the vast expanse of concrete is a
hard teacher, but it does its workthoroughly. It deals harshly with bad design, and with poor material, but it has been largely instrumental in keeping the British motor cycle ahead of its rivals. ‘Speed,’ says many a motor cyclist who likes to consider himself a hard-headed business man, ‘is all right for the madman who wants to tear about the country at 60mph. All I want is a machine that will get me about at a reasonable speed. What I need is reliability, pure and simple.’ Maybe. Reliability is undoubtedly the best asset any motor cycle can have; but surely a machine which has been proved capable of sustaining 60mph for 12—or for 24—hours can be considered more free from liability to defects, such as broken valves, weak frame, warped cylinder, or stripped gears than another, the sponsors of which hesitate to submit it to such a gruelling test? Not for publicity alone does the average manufacturer indulge in track work; rather is he endeavouring to prove that his design is right, and, if it is not, to discover its weak points, later to rectify them on his standard production. The charts which accompany this article demonstrate very clearly
the manner in which the speeds of the various classes have yearly tended upwards. Observe how the graph denoting each engine capacity has encroached on the past maximum speed of its bigger neighbour, until to-day the small machines are attaining speeds which were out of the reach of their bigger brethren a year or so ago…It should be pointed out, however, that the world’s record speed for any motor cyclist still remains the property of America. It is 108.68mph, and it was accomplished by E Walker on April 14th, 1920. Walker’s machine was a 998cc Indian, and the speed mentioned was that at which he broke the five-mile record at Daytona Beach, Florida. The course was, naturally, dead level, and of perfect surface; somewhat different, be, it noted, from the conditions obtaining at Brooklands. All
credit, however, to Walker; remember, he put up this record over two and a half years ago, when the highest speed standing to the credit of any British rider was 93.40mph. It is sufficient that, the record having passed the stringent scrutiny of the FICM, the conditions under which it was made may be taken as satisfactory. Very little reflection is needed to make it apparent that there is no surer test of reliability than that constituted by sustained speed…There is but one successful continuous 24-hour record attempt recorded in England; it is that of Harry Collier at Canning Town track on May 5th and 6th, 1909. Collier used an 862cc Matchless-JAP, and his average speed throughout was 32.32mph. As most people are aware, it is not possible to attempt a similar run upon Brooklands track, whilst, taking into consideration the fact that Collier alone rode the machine throughout the whole period, and that several hours were those of night, it is not practicable to compare this achievement with any of the recent ‘double-12’ and ‘triple-8′ hour records…The upward soar of the graphs makes one wonder whether if ever finality in speed will be achieved. It may be that, in a few years’ time, speeds which we now consider impossible will have been attained; on the other hand, it may be that progress in engine design will be checked by insuperable difficulty in holding the machine, so that attention will more than ever be directed towards more diminutive engine capacities.”
“DELEGATES FROM TEN LARGE motor cycling countries met in London last week. For the first lime since 1919 the International Federation of Motor Cycle Clubs, known as the FICM, held congress in England. A sub-committee sat for the purpose of confirming and checking claims for world’s records, with the result that for the first time since motor cycle records have been placed on a proper footing Continental nations figure in the world’s records list…Italy has several records to her credit in Class B, and France has a record in the new Class Z for motor-assisted bicycles and another in the ‘scooter’ class (Class Y, for machines not exceeding 175cc). The delegates of the Federation Internationale des Clubs Motorcyclistes were entertained at an official luncheon by Great Britain, and ten nations were represented—the United States of America, Spain, Holland, Italy, Belgium, France, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and Great Britain…A banquet was given to the delegates of the FICM at Jules’ Restaurant, London W…After the loyal toasts Prof AM Low rose to propose ‘The Motor Cycle Movement’. The motor cycle, he said, is the most efficient form of transport known. He remembered cases during the war where wireless had failed but motor bicycles managed to win through. He hoped it would not be long before people would be saying that a man had not really lived who had not ridden a motor bicycle. The movement provided the finest sport in the world and health for all…In rising to propose the toast of the visitors, Col Brereton said he was sure that such meetings as had been held that afternoon did more for international friendship than the various serious political meetings of which we have heard so much recently. He sincerely hoped to see union in Spain, and on the next occasion that the Spanish representative would come with the good news that the Catalunian Club had joined the fold. One of the delegates who attended the recent FICM meeting in London was Mr GKH Anderson, who is chairman of the Competitions Committee of the Svenska Motocykel Klubben. Mr Anderson, who is exceedingly enthusiastic over the coming International Six Days Trials which his club is organising in Sweden, gave us some useful information concerning the nature of the roads to be traversed by the competitors, as well as about conditions generally in his country…British competitors should have no traffic difficulties in Sweden as the rule of the road is the same as in Great Britain, but in Norway (where the Norwegian Club will take charge, of the trial for two days) the general Continental practice of keeping to the light is observed. Main roads will be followed throughout, but Swedish main roads are very much different from those in England; it is said that there is not a steam roller in the country. The legal limit of speed in Sw-eden is about 25mph, but in Norway it is only i8½mph, and these limits are, of course, reduced in towns. The time schedules will be worked accordingly, while the roads will be marked by blue dye.”
THE BLUE ‘UN LISTED 680 models ‘produced by manufacturers who exhibited at the Olympia Show’; prices ranged from £24 3s for a 43cc single-speed Clement to £186 18s for a 976cc Sunbeam sidecar outfit.
“THE POSSIBILITY OF OBTAINING commercial quantities of power alcohol from prickly pears is discussed in the Times Trade and Engineering Supplement. There are 2,000,000 acres of prickly pear in the Union of South Africa, and spirit from a formula invented by an Orange Free State farmer has been tested in motor cars of different types and has been reported on very favourably. Government analysts find it free from corrosive or other properties detrimental to engines. Its commercial possibilities have yet to be ascertained, but, if found satisfactory, an annual production of 350,000,000 gallons of spirit is considered possible.”
“AS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW CLEAN a motor cycle tank can look, the new Dot fitted with the Bradshaw engine stands out,” said Ixion. “It has a handsome saddle tank with just one solitary excrescence—the nickel petrol filler cap. I foresee a day when, what with twist-grip control, hub brakes, enclosed power unit, saddle tank, and mechanical lubrication, our machines will become as smooth as a cowhide suitcase. And a good thing, too.”
“NEWS ITEM FROM SWEDEN. ‘Motor Cycle Club of Sweden recently arranged the great trial for the November Cup, 700 kilometres, day and night riding. All best riders taking part. Eric Westerberg, Harley-Davidson flat twin, won, taking home the cup for ever. Westerberg is a man to meet the best foreign riders when Sweden will arrange International six days trial in 1923.’ We have to thank a Swedish correspondent for the above information, which, we think, the majority of our readers will appreciate more in its original form than had a sub-editor attacked it.”
“WHEN THE ULSTER GRAND PRIX was being run (according to a correspondent to the Children’s Newspaper) the noise of the machines in the distance was so like the croaking of frogs that a local frog joined in the chorus—quite out of season, too.” The first Ulster Grand Prix was won by Norton; other class winners were OK, Trump and Brough Superior.
“THERE ARE FEW MORE INTERESTING or fascinating machines on the market than the four-cylinder Ace, which is designed by Mr WG Henderson, a name long connected with four-cylinder motor cycles. Only those who have driven a four-cylinder machine can fully appreciate its charm of smooth running, wonderful acceleration, and flexibility. To the man who has not, such a machine as the Ace, weighing 3651b, might seem to be so unwieldy as to be uncomfortable, but we can assure him that once inertia has been overcome the riding balance is perfect. Few of us are trick riders or want to emulate the performances of the Ace experts, but it is distinctly interesting to know that this machine can be turned in about one-third of the width of an average street with the rider leaning over to such an angle that the footboards are within one inch of the ground. The Ace engine and gear box follow car practice right through. The 1,229.c (68.58×82.55mm) engine in its latest form still preserves the feature of overhead inlet valves, with the result that since the inlet is directly over the exhaust the in-coming charge cools the latter…Contained in the rear portion of the crank case is a three-speed gear, a plate clutch being mounted car fashion on the end of the engine shaft…another interesting feature of the Ace is a three-gallon tank, which incorporates a spacious tool compartment. Both brakes are of the external contracting variety working on two drums, one on each side of the rear hub.”
“MANY GALLONS OF PETROL have been used since the Motor Cycling Club was formed by those gallant enthusiasts of 1901, who laid the foundation of the largest club of its kind in Great Britain…Its annual dinner and 21st anniversary was largely attended by members and their guests, who completely filled the big hall of the Wharnecliffe Rooms at the Great Central Hotel, Marylebone…The chair was occupied by Mr JK Starley, the club’s president [who] concluded by asking why the ladies did not form their own branch of the MCC and run their own competitions… reminiscences of 21 years ago were then given by some of the older officials, but these were sadly interrupted by an unruly portion of the gathering…Mr Ernest Arnott, first captain of the MCC, said that…his chief recollection were of. flat belts, surface carburetters, and hard pedalling. He remembered the advice of Mr Charles Jarrott (for many years the club’s president) that the best thing to do in a race was to get to the finish, as it often happened in those days that a finisher had an excellent chance of being the winner…”
“HEARTY GOOD WISHES TOR A MERRY CHRISTMAS to all my readers, critical, appreciative, and bored stiff. May a pale British sun (December model) camouflage the extreme cold of the afternoon as they manfully take the road after far too much dinner, and help them to pretend that they are enjoying themselves. For myself, I have chopped a huge limb off the ancestral holly in the back yard of Benzole Villa. I have filtered half a pint of aviation wherewith to illuminate the pudding. I have locked up the garage, lost the key, and disconnected the telephone in case the editor should suddenly require my services (which is his abominable habit on public festivals). All the motor cycling I shall do on Christmas Day is to open parcels. I circulated my list of wants round my relatives and acquaintances in good time, and I sincerely hope that my place at the dinner table will be fortified with a great sangar of parcels. Lots of new gadgets. Large cheque from pa-in-law (I sent him a box of Coronas in very good time). Etc, etc, etc. But the open road? Archibald, certainly not! Preachers and publicists often croak to the effect that Englishmen are becoming decadent. The climate certainly is. I can remember when nearly every Christmas was a white Christmas. But latterly the most the Exeter procession has had to contend with is fog and rain. It would be rather a rag if sometime a real snowstorm would suddenly descend upon these unfortunates, say, about Sherborne or Chard, and bury the roads thigh deep. Not if it were my job to report it, of course; except that I should probably learn quite a lot of new swears; A good reserve of cusses comes in very handy for a motor cyclist on occasions, doesn’t it? Suppose by the law of averages it will happen some day, won’t it? And what fun we shall have! Wish I hadn’t thought of it. But, you see, I am going to Exeter this year. Solo, too.”
“NORTH AND SOUTH. I CONTRIBUTE A PARABLE to this discussion. [Butch northern clubmen and soft southern pansies had, for some weeks, been sniping at eachother through the Blue ‘Un’s correspondence pages]. Once in the South and once in the North I lived in hilly country at a considerable distance from railhead. When my engine was temporarily seized up or otherwise hors de combat, I would reluctantly hire a horse trap wherewith to reach the slow but reliable train. The southron gee-gee merchant, at the first sign of a declivity, reined in his nag, and proceeded down the hill at a cautious crawl, with his eyes popping from their sockets, and every muscle of his frame rigid. Per contra, the stalwart northerner emitted A war-howl, lashed his horse to a gallop, and took the precipice at a hand-gallop. When examined as to his tactics, he would explain: (1) If one has to die, die like a man. (2) Creeping down hills is boring. (3) Anyhow, a horse is much less likely to stumble at a gallop. His combination of humour, sportsmanship, and common sense appeals to me.”
“DEREK MULLINS LAID DOWN THE SHOW REPORT issue of the ‘Blue ‘un’ with a sigh. ‘We’d better cancel this paper at the newsagents, you fellows!’ he opined, with a sigh; ‘I’m sick and tired of reading about the finest sport in the world with no prospect of ever being able to afford it. Let’s chuck it and resign ourselves to ping-pong.’ The two men who shared his diggings put down their books and stared at him despondently. ‘Mervyn’s suggestion last week wasn’t half bad,’ remarked Jim Elyard. ‘We all give up gaspers and little drinks, and save like blazes. In a year, with luck and prices going on dropping, we might raise enough of the ready to buy a fifth-hand outfit. One on the saddle. One on the carrier. One in the sidecar. Take turns at driving, of course. Better than nothing.’ ‘Rot, Jim!’ was Mullins’ ungracious reply. ‘We all know old Mervyn’s got a chin like a doorstep, and can live like a hermit when he wants to. You and I can’t. Our average salary is round about £4 a week. These digs, run us in for two-thirds of all we earn. Then there’s clothes and things. Can’t be did. Besides, one of us is sure to shift his berth soon, and then we’d have to sell the ‘bus anyhow. And what about our girls? How long should we keep them if we did bachelor stunts together every weekend. Think again, old chap.’
Came a quiet voice from Mervyn in the corner. ‘I’ve been thinking…’ Derisive chorus from the other two. Mervyn laid down Sherlock Holmes’ Last Bow, and expostulated. ‘No, honest, you fellows. There’s pounds and pounds about an inch from the tips of my fingers, and I really believe that if we put our heads together we tan grab some of it.’ The chums greeted Mervyn’s brain-wave with derogatory suggestions. Backing winners by faked telegrams, they supposed? Marrying heiresses? Falsifying the cash books? Mervyn let them exhaust their witticisms, and proceeded. ‘I stepped into the Blank Motor Company’s place on my way home—saw a 1923 twin Zenith that was worth looking at. Inside the office old Blank had about 40 typed police slips pinned up, all warning him to look out for stolen motor cycles. I got home ahead of you chaps, and snatched the first read of our ‘Blue ‘Un’. I see that insurance societies think nothing of offering a tenner reward for tracking a stolen ‘bus. Nobody seems to go after these pinched machines with any push and go. They just notify the police. The police notify the garages. The garage never bothers to verify a chap’s frame and engine numbers when he stops for petrol. Seems to me that three lads who meant business might rake in a lot of these tenners, don’t you think?’
‘Yes, and I’ve got the trick of it,’ almost shrieked Mullins. ‘We rig ourselves up as bobbies, and play the “examine your licence” stunt somewhere every Saturday and Sunday. Jim squints at their papers while old Mervyn there cocks his eye over the machines and spots the crook stuff. I’m the Dempsey of the gang, and secure the criminal if he turns nasty. Then we collect from the insurance blokes.’ Elyard, always matter-of-fact, torpedoed this notion. ‘And the sergeant arrives on his rounds before the first “pinched” ‘bus appears. So we all do time for impersonating police officers!’ ‘Well, that’s not the only way,’ said Mullins, not a whit abashed. ‘How’s this? We all three get jobs as petrol boys on one of the big roads out of town. Space ourselves out over 50 miles. Study those cop papers that Mervyn was yarning about. Cast our eagle eyes over every bike we have to serve. In say six months we ought to nab, say, 50 out of the hundreds that get pinched?’ ‘Stow it,’ growled Mervyn. ‘I’ve pretty well worked it out. Some of the little makes get stolen sometimes. Two of the papers at Blanks were about a 311cc Creeper and a 249cc Tripper. Now if I know anything about it, there aren’t more than 50 of either ever been turned out. We approach the makers, get the frame and engine numbers of all the ‘buses they have ever delivered, and advertise that we’ll give a high price—say £5 under list—for a secondhand sample. The thief ‘ull jump at the chance of such good money. We nab him—and we nab all the other machines which he has nefariously collected.’ ‘Dud, old chap,’ answered the relentless Elyard. ‘Dudder than dud. It’s the petty little once-in-your-life sneak thieves who pinch Creepers and Trippers. Your wholesale merchant won’t look at anything that isn’t both good and common. He’ll specialise on something like Triumphs or Sunbeams of one model; change the numbers; camouflage them with new paint and different accessories; and pass as an honest trader. Your stunt is a wash-out.’
‘I believe you’re right about wholesale thieving,’ mused Mervyn abstractedly; ‘but it don’t follow that my stunt is a wash-out. Suppose we concentrate on a first-class ‘bus that’s been delivered by thousands like the 550cc Triumph. With a few calls or letters we’d get to know how many have been stolen say in the last three months, what their numbers are, what genuine series numbers exist, and so forth. Then we bustle round and advertise extra good money for Triumphs. We ought to get into touch with a gang somewhere. I expect they pass these pinched ‘buses through a lot of hands to cover their tracks, especially with the second-hand market as dead as it’s been lately. They’ll jump at a fair price.’ This plan brought the three heads very close together. The 480cc Peterson was substituted for the Triumph, as Mervyn had a pal in the Peterson works, and fancied he could rapidly obtain a lot of inside information. For the next day or two the three typed heavily on some specially printed memo, forms of rather ‘posh’ character whenever their business superiors were out of range. Their bill for postage stamps was alarming; and when they left their respective firms’ offices on official business, kindly but costly taxis enabled them to visit sundry insurance offices without arousing suspicion about the length of their absences. A week later quite a pile of information had been correlated and memorised. The 480cc Peterson, as everybody knows, is a high-class machine, of which probably some 18,000 have been made, and is always in steady demand even down to seventh or eight hand. Listed at £110 during 1922, its second-hand price in these slumpish days is certainly not over £75, unless the buyer be what salesmen call ‘easy fruit’. So the following advertisement was calculated to stir the pulse of any anxious super-thief, who had two or three dozen Petersons leaking out from a back street workshop on to the
market by devious routes at a net return of perhaps £45 apiece to the principal criminal. The trap was baited as follows: “Bring your 1922 Peterson to us. Wo know you meant to keep it for 1923. In a year it won’t be worth more than £50. We offer you £78/10 cash down in notes on inspection. We can do this because we need 100 immediately to fill an export contract. We will accept your order for any 1923 model. Easy payments if desired.—Salmons and Simpson, Commission Agents, 992, Wool St, EC.” The Thursday on which this advertisement was published saw Derek Mullins commence his annual three weeks’ holiday at an unwonted season of the year which considerably amazed his boss. It also saw him installed in a temporarily rented office at 992, Wool Street, complete with stenographer, typewriter and other accessories complete. The stenographer had nearly wrecked the entire business, for she was Elyard’s best girl at the moment, and Elyard hardly fancied allowing his inamorata to spend possibly three whole weeks tête-à-tête with such a famous breaker of feminine hearts as Derek. But the funds did not run to paying wages; and Ella was a sport, and had some leave to draw from her office. So Elyard consented with rather a dubious heart. Derek had various lethal weapons in a drawer ready to hand. He and Ella were more than punctual at business for the first time for years; and it was with slightly quickened pulses that they faced a day which might mean death, riches, or nothing at all. For some hours it was nothing that happened. They postponed lunch till 3pm on the chance of some motor cyclist in a subordinate position arriving during the dinner hour. It was not till Ella had sought the nearest Lyon’s shop just after 3pm that the first caller blew in. This young giant in a Trinity Hall scarf looked as if he was the spearhead of the Cambridge rugger scrum, and breezily remarked that having put his shirt on a loser he’d got to sell his bike to face settling day. He didn’t know the number, but as Derek’s well-drilled memory instantly informed him on inspection at the kerb outside, the machine was honest enough. It was hereabouts that Derek realised what he was up against. The three pals, by selling all their portable property and borrowing every half- crown to be smelt among their acquaintance, had raised enough to pay for one 480cc Peterson. Of that solitary intended purchase more anon; in the meantime this cheerful Hercules had to be gently pushed off somewhere else; and when a man is expecting £78 10s for what is barely worth £75, he takes some pushing off. However, Derek sized up the giant as not being too technical to be nice. He bent over the bicycle, feeling and rattling and sniffing. ‘H’m. Chains three thous’. out of pitch. Lot of big end slack. Cylinder bit oval. H’m. H’m.’ At last he straightened himself. Very sorry, sir. Your machine isn’t at all in the sort of condition my contracts demand. If you really want cash for it to-day, better try a firm who specialise in overhauling before resale. Say, ———, of Portland Street.’ The giant departed rather sadly, with incoherent mutterings about his perhaps having forgotten to oil the dashed thing when he rode home blotteau after such and such a match. He left Derek foreseeing trouble. By six o’clock Derek had interviewed a number of traders anxious to sell him 100 Petersons, even—if need be—at much less than he offered. He played them off against each other, and held out hopes of an immediate deal if the said machines could be arrayed for ‘his engineer’ to inspect them. He got rid of various callers who had fancied that Rudges or Sunbeams or Triumphs would do as well as Petersons; of a clerk who regarded a Baby Levis and a 480cc Peterson as interchangeable terms; and of a varied assortment of touts of one sort or another. In between-whiles he disposed of several honest private owners who had not been able to eat any lunch under the exciting prospect of getting £78 10s for their roadworn Petersons, and who, having killed grandmothers or invested wives with inflamed appendices, had got leave off business to fetch their bikes up to town for Salmons and Simpson to purchase. He was called many hard names, invented some atrociously false diagnoses of perfectly sound machines, and, before evening, began to feel something of a brute.
Next morning Derek and Ella were horrified to find a regular Mount Everest of letters heaped on the floor inside the letter-slit, and callers kept them more than busy. More lies. More insults. More stormy interviews with fierce private owners, who were not only disappointed financially, but also wounded in their tenderest spots by accusations of under-lubrication and the like. But at 2.30pm a veritable mouse took the cheese. A young, decent-looking, well-dressed stranger appeared to offer his bike for sale, and on inspection its frame and, engine bore numbers which had never been reached in the Peterson series. Derek counted out £78 10s from the £81 in notes which represented the gross capital and credit of Salmons and Simpson, and allowed the capable, smooth-spoken young man to depart with the cash, whilst he, Derek, rode the obviously stolen machine round to a garage previously selected as the firm’s official storage. Had he gone mad? Not at all. Heroic as the stratagem was, the united brains of our aspiring trio had finally reasoned thusly : The thieves will certainly try us. They will send a test machine. It will cover up its tracks so well we could never trace them by it. The bringer will have a lovely alibi all cut and dried. If we seem green and ask no awkward questions, they will plant their whole stock on us within the next three days. So Derek, not without a thumping heart, reduced his firm to a state of complete insolvency, stored his solitary purchase, which represented a dead loss of perhaps £8 10s on a forced resale, and returned to the office to see that his lethal weapons were handy and in working order. The rush of aggrieved clerklets, eager to secure top of the market price for machines they had tired of, had subsided by this time. The day’s bulky correspondence had been disposed of, and the time was passed in a somewhat heated argument with Ella. There were two outstanding difficulties to be solved. Should they ring up Elyard and Mervyn, add them to the staff for to-morrow at the risk of dismissal from their present posts, and utilise them as amateur trackers of any suspicious bicycles brought to Messrs Salmons and Simpson during the next day or two? This was Ella’s brainwave.
Not According to Plan.
Derek for his part rather mistrusted amateur tracking, and having got the wind up, conceived ideas of ringing up Scotland Yard, and imploring the Big Four to place a cordon round his offices and rope in such trustful criminals as might rally to help themselves to his suppositious notes next morning. The argument waxed hot and strong when the door was suddenly opened without any premonitory knock. In walked three burly, alert-looking individuals, who without any more ado marched Derek and Ella off to the cells, leaving one of their number in possession. The feelings which occupied the managing director and his charming stenographer during the evening can be better imagined than described. The proprietor of their garage was quite a punctilious person on the subject of stolen bicycles, and instead of being thief-catchers they now ranked as caught thieves. Meanwhile the junior partners were not wholly free from anxiety. The hours passed. Derek was missing. Ella was missing. £8i was missing. A visit to Wool Street produced nothing but locked doors. Nourished on Sherlock Holmes, Mervyn at least was well aware that only professional detectives jump to the obvious conclusion with confidence. But even he finally admitted that things looked uncommonly black. Towards 9pm a detective illumined the situation, but by no means relieved their anxiety. He wasn’t one of the Big Four, as they both supposed, but he was quite a sensible fellow. When their nervous, bubbling explanations at last convinced him, he sat down and roared with laughter for full five minutes by the clock. And at last two very crestfallen junior partners walked round to the police station in company with a plain clothes man who stopped every few yards to hold his sides and let fly an extremely unprofessional cachinnation.
The staff of the firm then held an interview with the big noise at the station. It commenced by being extremely humiliating, but ended in quite promising fashion. Next morning saw the managing director re-installed at his desk. At a smaller desk to his left sat the pretty stenographer as before. Both, of them wrestled—quite brightly, too—with the morning’s correspondence. To all outward appearance the office was unchanged. It is true that the drawer near Derek’s right band no longer housed its former lethal armoury. Indeed, that armoury had suggested some rather awkward questions about gun licences. It is also true that the little room up the passage was no longer empty. Inspector Jenkins was seated there—in plain clothes, it is true, and armed with nothing but the Winning Post; but quite alive to anything that might happen. His presence was partially answerable for the increased joie de vivre of the staff, as com pared with the previous morning. Only partially. For some of the inspector’s best henchmen were variously disposed among the busy crowd in the street below; and one of them was taking an unconscionable time to swallow a cup of coffee near the front window of a first floor tea-shop opposite.
In the Net.
Derek not undeservedly, spent several rather trying quarters of an hour with sundry honest, earnest, covetous and irritable motor cyclists, who greeted him warmly on arrival, but made unprintable remarks about Messrs Salmons and Simpson before taking their reluctant departures. It was, however, written in the stars that 11.13am by Big Ben was to be Derek’s lucky hour. For it was precisely at that moment that a youngster of some 28 summers, with whom to all appearance the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street might have trusted the National Debt, knocked smartly at the door and walked in. It was at 11.13.28am Greenwich mean time that Inspector Jenkins put down the Winning Post and followed hard on the heels of the aforesaid unimpeachable young man into Derek’s
office. ‘So it’s you, Darkie, is it?’ he said genially. ‘We’d been wondering what you were up to. Now are you going to tell us where all the other machines are? Or would you rather be gagged and sit in the next room with me while my men downstairs shadow the rest of your crowd back to your private garages? Have you seen the Winning Post this week? I can tell you one or two of the best while you’re waiting, if you like.’ Darkie had quite a lot to say. His vocabulary was what you might call fruity in parts. But when his rpm died down a little, he decided to tell. Meanwhile Derek cheerily disposed of several more quite honest Peterson owners. Subsequent research on the part of Inspector Jenkins and his stalwart men proved that Darkie had specialised in several leading makes besides Petersons.
The Happy Ending.
The insurance companies behaved like gentlemen. Derek, Mervyn and Elyard have all taken deliveries of extremely attractive motor cycles. In fact, the profits ran to supplying Ella with an open-frame two-stroke. And what is in the bank suggests that the monthly garage bills can be met. That they will be met punctually is another matter—we all know what youthful motor cyclists are.”
“ALL MOTOR CYCLISTS WILL BE INTERESTED to learn that the well-known firm of Messrs Graphter and Balmie, Incorp, has decided to enter the motor cycle accessory market. Hitherto, of course, this most successful business house has specialised in the sale, by post, of fibre-ball and elliptical-roller bearings, and correspondence courses on Couéism, relativity, bookmaking, the game of Beaver, etc, etc. Therefore the ingenuity, indeed genius, of the managing director of this go-ahead concern, Mr Angus I McCohen, is already common knowledge. But, to use his own words, Mr McCohen does not think the motor cycle field has yet been as thoroughly exploited as it might be…The Grabal specialities [include] automatically variable handle-bars, which change from the fully touring shape at 20mph to the flat type at 50mph, and to the fully dropped pattern at 90mph. Each side of the bar is hinged at the steering head, being normally retained in the ‘up’ position by two powerful coil springs. Two link members are directly connected to the collar member of a centrifugal governor, driven by a speedometer type meter needle. Like all great inventions, the idea is simplicity itself…[another Grabal device] dispenses with the magneto, admittedly a weighty, expensive, and unpatriotic instrument, and substitutes a flint spark mechanism, already familiar to, and respected by, the great general public in their cigarette lighters. The sketch in this case is self-explanatory…Incidentally, the company has purchased all the Boliguarian government’s
huge war stocks of flints…Even the most modern engines are prone to knock on occasion. No less than two Grabal fitments have been evolved to banish the phenomena. One is a spring top piston; the other is a spring big end. Obviously by fitting both it is possible to do even more. Owners who are hampered in selling their second-hand machines because their engines lack compression will welcome the Grabal recompressioner, which is a specially designed coil spring to be fitted in the combustion chamber. It restores lost compression miraculously, and, by its action in assisting the piston down on the suction stroke—a phase hitherto ignored by the designer—it is claimed to give a 17.525% increase of power… [With] the combined brake and accelerator a touch of the handle-bar button engages the pawl of a two-way free wheel in a pulley on the rear hub, and this winds up a cable from a frictionally retarded drum, which also contains a powerful spring. The machine is thus smoothly decelerated and ultimately stopped when the cable reaches a fixed stop. When the danger is passed the button is released, and the friction clutch on the drum is disengaged. The coiled spring releases its stored energy and greatly assists the engine is accelerating. [Sometimes fact overtakes humour; nowadays we call it regenerative braking]. The Grabal No 1 silencer consists of a plain exhaust pipe made of a fully-patented elastic substance, not unlike rubber. Thus, immediately the gases leave the exhaust port the pipe expands just sufficiently to accommodate them, returning to its normal size as each burst passes to the rear. Externally, the effect is like an ostrich eating
large apples; and the device, instead of magnifying the sound like an ordinary resonant metal expansion chamber, causes silence so complete that it is impossible to tell whether the engine is running or not without watching the pipe very carefully…Then mention must be made of the Grabal automatic gear change. In effect it consists of a weighted extension to the gear lever, sufficiently heavy to move it down one notch on all gradients above 1 in 10 and two notches on 1 in 5 or steeper hills. On the level ground being reached again a reverse action takes place…It would be impossible to describe the full Grabal range in one issue of The Motor Cycle, but it may be said that among other epoch-making and revolutionary fitments are such diverse and remarkable articles as collision-proof number plates, mudguards and footrests of rubber, a magnetised carrier for carrying tools and repair outfit accessibly instead of in the old-fashioned tool bag, and a lattice-work type extensible lamp bracket for driving in fog and obtaining a clear view round corners. As we go to press we hear with regret that Mr McCohen has been removed to a private nursing home, but letters addressed care of the Editor will be forwarded in due course.”
Here’s a selection of contemporary ads…