Welcome to Vintage & Veteran Motorcycles blog
Hi, I'm Keith.
OK, so I'm heading up to 60 in a month or so, starting to think about just how much work (ie job) I want to keep on doing, and how much stuff I would prefer to do for myself, ie hobbies. I probably also need to factor in how to keep the little lady sweet as well, as life is all too short for unnecessary hassle.
The hobby that I have been neglecting whilst life's rich tapestry has been evolving, is vintage and veteran motorcycles. Don't get me wrong, the hobby has existed for quite some time, but I haven't been able to spend as much time at it as I would like. Hopefully that is about to change, and I thought "why not write about it at the same time"?
In the nature of all blogs, this is an ongoing process (which may be painfully slow at times), with content being added and updated as time passes. My most recent content will always be at the bottom of each page, as with any restoration account, it always makes sense to start at the beginning and follow it through. I will delineate by month, but updates within the month will be grouped together. Click on any of the images to open a larger version.
Please feel free to revisit as often as you like (if you like). I'm not a full social media convert, so if you like the site, and can be bothered to mention it on Twitter or Facebook (or anything else I don't know of) - please do.
May 2017: As time is passing (6 months and counting), and the content on each page is becoming quite extensive, I'm beginning to see the error of my ways! I'm toying with calling a halt to this site after 12 months, and starting up a 2018 URL (the freebie hosting doesn't include the ability to archive older stuff), however, we'll cross that bridge when we get there.
Also, I must apologise for not enabling the function to allow visitors to make comments direct into the site. There has to be a trade off between the amount of time compiling the site, and working on the bikes! Looking through every page every time I log in to keep up with comments just seemed a step too far, so if something pulls your chain, please use the Contact Me page.
1966 Raleigh Moped - a rare beastie
I bought my first motorised transport in 1973 at the age of 16, a pre owned 1966 Raleigh RM 11 moped that was good for speeds in excess of 40 mph! All with single speed, 2.7bhp sports(!) motor and pedals. My mate was not impressed that his 12 month old Honda moped was blown into the weeds by my 7 year old steed.
A mate at Selby Tech college (Skippy) eventually persuaded me to part with it, and he rode it home to Gilberdyke (I think). 40-odd years can play tricks on the memory.
I don't have any photos of the actual bike, so loaned one from http://www.icenicam.org.uk/
I'm assured that 'beauty is in the eye of the beholder', and I'm still not sure, even 43 years later!
1967 BSA Barracuda
A year or so later, I decided I needed something bigger, so a 1967 BSA C25 Barracuda arrived. At the time all my mates were buying Hondas, Suzukis and Yamahas (and Lambrettas, but we won't go there). My mate with the Lambretta used to work on a filling station forecourt, in the days when someone put fuel in your tank for you. I recall a few of us turning up and practised pulling wheelies round the back. The lightweight multicylinder JAP bikes were much better at it than my heavy old single, but I did get about 2 feet of ground clearance on a few occasions. Those days of abuse are a thing of the past for me, I prefer to get my kicks from coaxing an incomplete pile of disconnected, worn out bits back into life, and being able to ride it down (or up) the road.
The Barracuda had a high compression ratio, at 10:1, and wasn't the most reliable. In my naivety, I took the air filter off, thinking it would help the top speed. Trouble was, the C25 didn't have a choke lever to the carb, so a cold start was achieved by liberal flooding via the tickler. This resulted in me beating out flames frequently after a carburettor spitback (I always wore gauntlets/gloves - even in summer). Luckily it never caught fire properly. At the tender age of 17/18 it was good fun!
We all do daft tricks at that age, another thing I remember, was riding around for a couple of weeks with no front brake shoes in the front wheel. BSA had gone under, I was finding that spares were quite difficult to get locally, so I felt I needed to show dealers the shoes to get the correct replacements. I had to put the brakes on for a pedestrian crossing on a wet road just outside Selby abbey, and ended up broadside across the road (but managed to stay in the saddle). More than a little embarassing!
I didn't have any photos of this bike either, but managed to find a good shot of a very tidy example.
The C25 eventually suffered a complete lock-up (probably kickstart related, as it was impossible to depress). As I said, my knowledge at that time was zero, and after sitting idle for 6 months, it suffered the ignominy of being removed - laid down in the back of a small van, by 3 lads that wanted a field bike. I occasionally think back with regret for the missed opportunities with that bike......SWX 15F where are you?
The C25 was replaced by a Ford Escort Mk I, but the bike bug wouldn't die, and I kept reading the comics of the time. For some reason, I was particularly drawn to the odd page or two devoted to oddities, particularly vintage and veteran motorcycles.
Bought and Sold Aug 2017
Decided to add this content on here, as I'm running out of pages, and this is about stuff that came and went, before hitting the road.
I'd got the 57 and 37 Enfields, and then saw a new, old stock Ariel Square 4 frame advertised - it was still wrapped in the original crinkley paper they used. I had a vision of building a new bike out of unused parts in the 1980s. Needless to say, it didn't happen, I bought a set of used forks and a front wheel before passing it all on.
Also in the 80s, I bought a 1925 model P Triumph kit, the one with the weird front brake that used a piece of asbestos bootlace running in a groove located on the front hub. I even managed to find a new old stock asbestos bootlace! Despite finding quite a few parts, I lost the urge, and moved it on to a chap in Wales.
The next one was a 1932 350cc BSA Blue Star kit of parts, and I lost the urge with this one also after finding various bits and and bobs. I have to admit to comitting the cardinal sin of breaking it up and selling individual parts - tripled my initial stake but still felt a little guilty. I think I've still got the carburettor and magdyno somewhere.