Archive for January, 2013

January 31, 2013

Perhaps it’s the result of an anxiety!

“I am the Nightrider. I’m a fuel injected suicide machine. I am the rocker, I am the roller, I am the out-of-controller!”

One of my favourite biker films is Mad Max: the fast riding scenes around the quiet narrow lanes of rural Australia, under gloomy grey skies, can quicken any moto-maniacs heart. The Toecutter (R: Hugh Keayes-Byrne) is the excellent psychopathic leader; with an appropriately cool right-hand-man, Bubba Zanetti (L: Geoff Parry). 14 Kawasaki’s K1000’s were used to full effect by the crazed gang only being chased down by Max’s 351 Ford XB Falcon with a whining blower. Or the Goose’s MFP Bike…


“Jimmy the Goose, larger than life and twice as ugly!”


 “It’s that rat circus out there, I’m beginning to enjoy it. Look, any longer out on that road and I’m one of them, a terminal psychotic, except that I’ve got this bronze badge that says that I’m one of the good guys.”


There’s also a new Mad max film coming out soon, Tom Hardy playing the titular role; hopefully it’ll live up to this early classic venture. I’ll revisit this one again though… those big Zed’s are a powerful good moto!


January 30, 2013

Oily vision

British bikes and oil go well together. This time oil paints; here is a well executed Triumph portrait daubed by George Frizzell. To quote this Southwestern fella: “…biker, painter, writer…drain on society! To be continued…until I’m dead! ‘GTP'”


January 29, 2013

Natural Born World Shakers

One of the links I have on the block is The Selvedge Yard; a mix of “artistry, anarchy, alchemy & authenticity.” The hipsters hop, the cools chill. Plenty of items about things the man of the world should know about. They have a smart piece of attire available that no self respecting lad should be seen in. Flat caps are in; Bonneville’s are in; expletive t-shirts? Nope! Nevertheless go to their brother blog NBWS and enjoy the iconic imagery. Neat stuff if I do day so myself.




January 28, 2013

Words of Gonzo


January 27, 2013

The open road

Honey! Let’s pack the bags and hit the road! A combination and caravan in tow. The highway can be our home. I can’t see speed being important; it’s the journey that counts. But I’d bet there’d be a hefty tailback.

Adventure lies ahead to those who dare…

January 26, 2013

A Thumper…

Hare’s must rank as one of the wiliest of animals: the ears of a rabbit, whiskers of a cat, pace of a greyhound, attitude of a lion. They gave rise to the Brer Rabbit stories through the ‘Trickster’ tales brought from Africa; the christians took over Pagan symbolism of  the goddess Ēostre who symbolised spring with the hare transformed into the easter bunny as well as the use of eggs then too (the crucifiction has nothing to do with easter, bunnies and eggs). Now where were we? A BSA single rushing along at a good clip with the English hedgerow whistling by at a blur can be seen to be ‘haring’ along: the verbisation of our Lepusian pal. So when I spotted this custom BSA single dressed up in a spare frame akin to our sinewy coursing friend, I knew we had the moto embodiment of our Mad March Haigha.


Well “Son of a Gun” is that bike. Built by Lamb Engineering under the watchmaker-like eye of Larry Houghton. Based on a half litre lung single it has been fashioned to present a lean line based on speed. Juicy rubber held by an ample front disc with low, low bars for a streamlined stance. The honey-gold colour radiates a warm spring afternoon. I’d love to be hunkered down on this machine, along some arrow-straight roman roads up Northumbria, an Anglo-Saxon history intertwined in the landscape around me. I wish they’d read Beowulf to us at school, not the Testaments…


 Time for tea? Why it’s always time for tea!


January 25, 2013

Fair fa ye honest sonsie face….

In celebration of the Scottish bard’s birthday, Rabbie Burns, I have this haggis looking Bonneville tank complete with a tartan banding.


No man can tether time or tide,
The hour approaches Tom must ride:
That hour, of night’s black arch – the key-stone,
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in
And such a night he takes to the road in
As never a poor sinner had been out in.

From Tam O’Shanter

January 24, 2013

Goin’ faster than a Roller Coaster…

Long before one Don Maclean wrote That song the boys were having a great time riding a wave of youths popularity. After a long tour in May 1958 they took a side trip from Lubbock to Dallas to pick up some mo’orsickles. The Harley D dealerships told these young whippersnappers not to touch their machines; across town at Ray Millers Triumph showroom they received good enough treatment to pick up a few of the latest models of Brit Iron available at that time.

Buddy took an Aerial Cyclone; J.I. a Triumph Trophy; and Joe B a Triumph Thunderbird. Story goes they then rode ’em back across town to the Harley dealer to show off their new rides, then hauled along the highway to Lubbock some 350 miles away. I bet they were singin’ all the way!
Here’s a period advert for the Ariel…

The Aerial eventually made it to the Waylon Jennings estate; as you know he gave his seat on that fateful flight to Buddy. It’s a nice looking bike fit for one if the true founders of rock ‘n’ roll.


January 23, 2013

Kevin Ash

A giant of Moto-journalism was lost yesterday: Kevin Ash. On a BMW press release in South Africa, his luck ran out and was killed in an accident. He was a force in the truth of the world of two-wheels garnering respect with his riding and writing peers alike.

He was an unassuming well-liked correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, having been there for 15 years, before that a contributor to Motorcycle News.

Fast bikes, classics, mechanics, technical, politics, he was a clear voice for the ardent motorcyclist. His clear intelligent observations give those with either a few miles on a 125cc or untold adventure miles aboard a world travelled Beemer plenty to consider. A nice shot of this lost brethren at the Ace Cafe on a Triumph Bonnie. RIP

His website Ash on Bikes is a truly useful source of information for up to the minute Moto-reviews.

January 22, 2013

USA or Bust!

Today saw me one step closer to my US naturalization: fingerprints taken, mugshot snapped and an FBI background check commenced. So to commemorate this event here’s a shot of another Brit abroad: Hugh Laurie on his Bonnie with Stars and Stripes lidded passenger.

Hmm, I wonder… A Captain America helmet?


January 21, 2013

Speeder Bike

The Rebellion are making a last stand against the Empire. The forest moon of Endor is the battlefield; only the highly trained assassin of the Scout Stormtroopers stood between the small party of rebels and the Death Star defense shield transmitter base. Their method of zooming around the understory of the woods was atop a 74-Z Imperial Speeder Bike manufactured by Aratech Repulsor Company.

It was capable of velocities upward of 350 km/h. Quick wits or Jedi skills are needed for this one…

It was armed with a blaster cannon, could speed up to 500 km/h on turbo for short distances; but only had a ceiling of 25m.

“What’s the last thing to go through an Imperial scout trooper’s head when he hits a tree? His afterburner.”
―Joke told by Rebel strike team forces on Endor.

“Use the Force Luke!”

January 20, 2013

Fixed broken brake

In the work to upgrade the stopping power of the front end of the Bonnie I’ve had to strip, clean, renew seals and reassemble the mechanicals of the proposed disc system. The master cylinder bore was polished out with a piece of green pan scrubber on a home-spin mandrel. The caliper recesses brushed out with a Dremel mounted brush and all items scrubbed down and seals pre-soaked in brake fluid. Assembly was straight forward apart from an awkward inner circlip that slipped and sprung the inner workings of the masters piston gubbins across the kitchen… Hope it all goes on the bike as easy!



Blog Post Script: One of the bearings was too small ID for the axle to install…. “Made in China”. 0.5mm too small! No amount of coaxing or freeze-shrinking would get it in. So I’ve ordered Japanese sealed bearings instead. I want these puppies to work once rolling!

January 19, 2013

Flaming Treasure

Real life action for boys: a Royal Signal Corps rider bursts through the cover amidst a ring of fire. We’ve covered them before in this blog but I love the period appearance of this magazine. It was the end of old money 1s6d is the new 7 1/2pence.


January 18, 2013


You’ve heard of the Lotus, Heron, Cat and even the Downward Facing Dog poses in meditative yoga. Well, if you have a like-minded group in need of spiritual connection of the two-wheeled sort; here is the Moto pose. Winter conditions limit riding time, so when the workshop seems like a never-ending of tweaking, oiling, cleaning and you’ve sorted your tools for the nth time, take to the mat, hum a catchy ‘Om’ and pose like a yogi master…



January 17, 2013

Ben Nevis & Bike

Mountains and Motorcycle: this just cropped up on the Interweb of late. A short film from National Geographic in 1976 filmed quite expertly by Yvon Chouinard. It shows John Cunningham riding across the moors and glens of the Highlands towards an icy escapade on the big bad Ben Nevis.

It’s tricky to see the model but it’s a Triumph with pre-unit engine. But the clip-ons, big tank, and able handling on the single lane roads show a serious rider. His wooly had is tied on with string… No lid for this jock; he’s ‘ard!

He even catches the Ballachullish ferry across Loch Leven. The Bens of Lochaber loom behind. He tramps up the slopes to the looming Ben Nevis and heads up at speed over lower snow covered rocks, donning his crampons when the grade gets more serious. A pair of technical ice tools and his front points the only precarious purchase. But a sure placement of all makes this movement look all too easy.

After storming up to the summit he descends at a knee-popping pace back to the Triumph and torts off to the nearest ‘establishment’ to enjoy a warming dram or two and most likely a noisesome céilidh.


John Cunningham on Ben Nevis