Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

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Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by PanBiker » 18 Jan 2016, 23:08

I have started this new thread so folk can add the bikes they have owned and loved.

Before I add my first bike I will give a little background information.

From about 14 years of age I shared a garage on the Wellhouse Mill site with a few mates who were also interested in bikes, these were in the main the same lads I had grown up with. It was owned by one of the other lads granddad who had no further use for it as he had given up his car. We used it as both a hang out and place where we could collect any bits of motorbikes that we could come across or were going spare. There were three older guys who had a garage on the Skipton Road side of the mill, I think they would be in their mid thirties or early forties although to us they seemed really old. They used their patch to maintain and do up some of the older classic British bikes.

Some of the bits we managed to collect came from one of the lads who had farming contacts. Scouring various barns around the area produced a James frame and half a Villiers or Frannie Barnett engine from one and an old rusty non running Bantam from another. The owners were glad to see the back of this stuff which was eagerly shifted and pushed or carried as required down to Wellhouse. We oyned the older guys as well and they in turn tipped up various bits and were always willing to offer a bit of advice when we ran into problems. Weeks of tinkering and we managed to get the Bantam up and running. The garage site at the mill was an ideal off road practice ground and all the lads in our group used this to learn the basics of motorbike handling (and falling off from time to time). We had a lot of fun anyway and looked forward to when we could legally get on the road.

I left school aged 16 after my GCE's and got a job down in Earby with a local TV Rental firm. I started my apprenticeship which was 5 years City and Guilds done on a day release scheme to Burnley College. It was actually all day Tuesday 9am to 9pm and an additional session 6pm - 9pm on Thursdays. When I started work I used the bus daily to Earby and back 6 days a week (we worked Saturdays) and also over to College in Burnley twice a week. After the first few months it became a real hassle on the bus and the fares were bleeding my £7.00 a week apprentice wage dry. The Bantam wasn't road legal so was not an option to get me out of my situation. it was a joint venture between our garage group anyway so not mine to use exclusively.

I heard of a lad in Barlick who was selling a bike it was a non runner. He was only asking £40.00 for it so I went down to have a look. I liked what I saw but didn't have £40.00 so I tapped my dad for a sub and left it to him to square it with mum. Saturday came round and I became the proud owner of EEO 118 a 1958 Royal Enfield 250 Crusader. Dead in the water but pushable down to the garage, the bike had been running but had packed up and had not been bothered with as the seller had moved on to four wheels, it still had three months on the tax disk. I spent a week tinkering and sorted it with a new coil and a new set of points, a bit of tweaking and we were ready to go. The bike was 12 years old when I got it and had 30k on the clock with three previous owners. A further appeal to dad now that it was up and running and another sub got me 3rd party fire and theft and a pair of L plates.

Royal Enfield - Wiki

Images of Crusaders

It was a different world and I had a bob or two to spare to boot. Independent transport, a single tank each week would sort the runs to work and college. The bike was built like the proverbial brick sh....... compared to the Bantam. A solid frame and a single cylinder 250 four stroke to shove it along. The brakes were nothing to shout about and you had to think ahead somewhat and hope you didn't need to do an emergency stop! Nothing wrong with them, just inefficient drum units on front and back. The bike had a lovely fully chromed tank but a small downer was the non standard rigid kick start. You could stand up on the compression and if it didn't catch and decided to kick back it could, and did hurt, I took the skin off my ankle a few times with that until I could afford a proper pair of calf length motor bike boots.

I wasn't wearing these when I managed to bounce myself and the bike down the newly resurfaced top road from Carleton to Colne one night. I was looking over my shoulder for my mate and let the front wheel drift into the loose chippings at the side of the camber. The rest of the road had hardened off, the 20 signs had gone so I was doing the best part of 60 on the straight from the cattle grid up towards the repeater station when I lost it. I thankfully left the bike as it was rather a solid lump, not before it had wedged my right foot between the rigid kick start and the road as it went down. I remember flying forwards through the air in slow motion, I could hear the wind whistling in my ears until I hit the road on my hands and knees followed by my face. It knocked the wind out of me but I could still hear myself grinding down the road but saw nothing. My visor shattered and some bits ended up embedded in my face, both knees were shaved to the bone, foot stamped on by 200k of bike and the right hand palm of my leather gloves was worn through with a good proportion of the road embedded in my palm. My mate said later that I slid about 30 feet. I rolled over in the road onto my back as I regained consciousness and wondered why I hurt so much. My mate was by my side and helped me to the side of the road, he propped me up sat against the dry stone wall, lit me a fag and shoved it in the side of my mouth while he got my bike out of the road. I was reviewing my situation so to speak as the various pains started to kick in. Helmet did well my head was still intact but my knees were a mess and had started to sting like hell. I picked the stones out of my right hand the best I could and wished that I had been wearing my bike boots rather than the baseball bumpers I had chosen. I had another fag to take the perspex out of my face.

No one came past, it was a summers evening and no one came past. No mobiles and no phone box, the only way to get home was to ride home. My mate Rob put the bike on its centre stand and managed to get it started. I had no chance of starting it myself. The only broken bit on the bike was the front brake lever, no bother I couldn't operate it anyway. I had one good foot which was OK for the brake but my other one was no good for the gears. I could operate the clutch, so with half of me working I reckoned I could make it home. Rob shoved it off the stand for me and held it while I got on. I grabbed the clutch and he shoved it into 2nd. I wound the throttle up the best I could and slipped the clutch out, I got my feet up onto the pegs and set off. I managed to get all the way home in 2nd gear with careful use of the clutch and back brake. My mum went mad when she saw the state of me and said I was to get rid of the bike before it killed me. I was lucky I hadn't broken anything. I cleaned up my knees and bandaged them up for a day or two. Savlon on the palm and the side of my foot which was badly bruised and grazed from the sole to above the ankle. I limped for a week or two, returned temporarily to the bus to get to work while I mended up and mum cooled down.

A couple of weeks later I had replaced the front brake lever and normal service was resumed on the work and college run. I had joined the DDMCC, Denholme and District Motorcycle Club along with the rest of the Barlick lads who had migrated to bikes. I was extending the use of the bike to a bit of social use on runs over to the club at Keighley and odd runs out at the weekend.

The bike did well for a while but then blew the head gasket. I could only get composite gaskets at Charlie Schofields in Colne, I had to travel to Westerby's at Bradford to get the proper Enfield copper ones. As time went on it became more of a problem and blowing the gasket became a much too regular occurrence, so regular that I took to having a can of oil on the carrier. Mum wasn't too happy with my oil slicked jeans either when I put them in the wash. I was rapidly turning into a proper greasy biker. I took myself and the bike down to the older gurus at the other side of the mill and the consensus there was that the head was warped and needed skimming. I had some spare cash but not enough to fund this. I was ready to take my test but now had a broken bike that I couldn't afford to fix fully and even if I did, at best it would not stand a cat in hell's chance on the emergency stop at the test! I was between a rock and a hard place and needed another plan and that was a better, more reliable bike.

to be continued.....
Ian

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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by Stanley » 19 Jan 2016, 04:36

The only motorbike I ever had (I don't say 'owned' because I have no idea where it came from) was an ex-army BSA Bantam 2 stroke with girder forks. No kick starter, you had to push it downhill jump on and bump start it. This was at Hey Farm and due to the fact we were poor and I was driving the wagons all the time I had no car or any need for one. The bike was handy for small emergency trips, it was never taxed, insured or really road legal.... I only used it on odd occasions and it shows how much interest I had in it that I can't even remember what its ultimate fate was. I suppose I gave it away..... My only other experience was borrowing Mark Graham's Tiger Cub one day and going to Skipton for something small and important. That was a lovely little machine in good nick and I really enjoyed the trip. Good job I was working flat out driving and poor or I might have got hooked!
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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by plaques » 19 Jan 2016, 09:08

Probably like most ageing bikers there's hundreds of stories to be told. Someone says something and it brings to mind some similar little story. Panbike's mention of kick starter
PanBiker wrote:a small downer was the non standard rigid kick start.
brings to mind trying to help starting my pals 600cc single cylinder Panther after a late night out. Trying to turn this thing over on a cold winters night nearly put your lights out. Finally, but nearly exhausted, my turn came again and with one mighty heave the brute fired. Unfortunately it was a backfire. The recoil on the kickstart ripped the heal off my boot, shot my leg up into the handlebars, broke the advance on retard lever with my knee, leaving a large blooded hole through the tear in the jeans. All to everybody's amusement. For some reason I couldn't see the funny side.

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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by Moh » 19 Jan 2016, 13:22

My hubby has had various bikes, when we were courting he had a Norton Dominator 88 - reg. STD318
Say only a little but say it well.

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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by PanBiker » 19 Jan 2016, 13:40

The guys at the other side of Wellhouse maintained one of those Moh, a nice 500 twin, bet you had some fun on that.
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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by Stanley » 19 Jan 2016, 14:47

Image

Moh's pic of Fred on his Norton in 1956.
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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by PanBiker » 19 Jan 2016, 16:26

I'm waiting to hear from Moh of her adventures on the back. :grin:
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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by plaques » 19 Jan 2016, 19:33

Lovely bike MOH. I'll bet Fred wishes he kept it.

Here's one that my pal Eric bought two years ago. I thought he had paid over the odds for it at £5000. But on reflection he said he thought he had one more bike in him. Sadly he died 4 months later. I think he knew all along he was ill.
P7310034AC.jpg
We shared the restoration work but he had a lot of the paintwork done at a body shop. Added cost £3200. Total price £8200 not including our time. Here it is 90% finished.
IMG_0135AC.jpg
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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by plaques » 19 Jan 2016, 19:56

My first bike, strictly for novices only, a BSA C12 . 250cc OHV. Cost me £100 in the mid 50s. Nothing to write home about but very reliable, did about 30,000 miles on it. It was one of those bikes that liked to lie down rather than stand up, especially when the engine location plates started to wear lose. It went down the road like a mongrel dog with the back end always wanting to catch up to the front. Its only claim to fame was that on a trip to London I'd parked it outside Windsor Castle and when I got back it had fallen over onto a Rolls Royce. The centre stand had sunk into the tarmac and over she'd gone. The chauffeur was far from pleased. I forget the exact words he used but I followed his instructions to the letter.

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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by Stanley » 20 Jan 2016, 03:18

The Bantam was much simpler than that P. It had no stand and had to be leaned against something, anything.
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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by plaques » 20 Jan 2016, 09:46

Upgrading the BSA to a Velocette was in a different league altogether. Faster metal as they used to say.
Fast enough and a good road holder. A good reliable machine. The only breakdown I had with it was on a trip up to the Alnwick area in Northumberland. We were holidaying with Mrs P's Aunt and Uncle. A few miles from our destination we broke down the fibre gear driving the contacts had stripped completely. We were going nowhere. A van pulled up and asked where we were going. They did in those days. They put the bike in the van and dropped us off at the front door. Good lads up in the north east. As was the custom when you were staying with someone we offered them something to cover the expenses of having us. The embarrassment came when we had to borrow it back to buy a new gear drive.

Something that always stuck in my mind was a trip down to Brighton. We had set off very early on a sunday morning arriving in London at about 8.30 AM. After two road diversions we were completely lost. Drawing up alongside another bike at some traffic lights we asked "can you tell us the way to Brighton?". The reply was "follow me". This bike was a 1000cc Vincent. When the lights changed it was as though the chequered flag had dropped. His pillion passenger urging us to keep up with him. We screamed through London as though we were in the TT. Twenty miles and twenty minutes later he pulled over to the side of the road and said "straight on". We thanked him for his trouble to which he said "no trouble, I enjoyed that!". I could have done with a lie down in a dark room. Probably we had met up with one of the 'cafe' racing gang. Our return home was far more leisurely.

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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by Moh » 20 Jan 2016, 13:28

We had some fun on the Norton (my mum was not keen on me going on it!). When our eldest daughter was young we had a BSA Gold Flash with an egg shaped sidecar - I hated going in that thing. The Norton would be worth a lot today - we could not keep it as we were getting married and had bought our first house.
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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by Stanley » 20 Jan 2016, 14:39

Funnily enough I saw a bloke on an old Norton at the traffic lights on Rainhall Road this dinner time. It was a twin, had girder forks and a separate pillion saddle so I think it was older than the Dominator. Not bulled up, looked to be in original condition.
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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by PanBiker » 20 Jan 2016, 16:09

The older bikes are all worth a bob or two now Moh. A good example of my 250 Enfield would, (and still does) bring around £2.5K to £3K. Same for my next bike which I will put up shortly in the next episode.
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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by Stanley » 21 Jan 2016, 03:44

You might like this extract from Volume 3 of me memoirs. You find the strangest things in out of the way places....

"In 1979, when I was researching water mills in the Lake District for the DOE I visited Gilpin Mill at Crook. Tommy Lowdon lived there and apart from doing some farming he was the chain saw trainer for the local council. I remember him well because the first time I went there, apart from having my mind blown away by the half collapsed water mill, he surprised me with what was in his shed! He asked me if I liked motor bikes. I told him I liked any machinery but couldn’t say I was a bike man. He opened the door to a small wooden shed and I looked inside. I can still remember the smell as we opened the door. The hut had been soaked with creosote over the years and the sun was shining strongly so the place had that lovely creosote and hot wood smell. It was dark inside and at first all you could see was the dust motes shining in the sunshine as it came in through the single window. After a second or two, as my eyes started to adjust to the gloom, I saw there was a big, black and polished aluminium bike up against the back wall. I had a closer look at it and apart from the big JAP vee twin engine I couldn’t christen it. Tommy told me that the reason for this was that he and his son had designed and built it themselves because they wanted to go to Bonneville and ride on the salt flats! They’d done it as well, they had a crack at some speed record, they didn’t break it but that wasn’t the point, they had achieved their objective just by going there with their own bike."

The thing that impressed me most was a big star washer and fibre disc shock absorber connecting the handlebars to the frame. It was to avert speed wobble when they got to well over 100mph!
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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by plaques » 21 Jan 2016, 08:30

Stanley wrote:It was to avert speed wobble when they got to well over 100mph!
This wasn't me I never had the nerve to do these sort of things. Out riding with my pals we were cut up by a sports car. My pal gave chase on his Triumph Tiger 110. Drawing up alongside at about 80, wound the steering damper down, glared across at the driver and gave him a two handed victory sign. To prove a point he then opened it up to over a ton. Then we have the gall to think today's young uns are barmy.

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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by plaques » 21 Jan 2016, 20:20

Against all odds the bike I enjoyed the most was a 1952 S8 Sunbeam.
Sunbeam S8.jpg
A 500cc inline twin with a shaft drive. Nothing to write home about in the speed or power department but a steady easy to ride touring bike. At around a measly 25 BHP it would run all day at 55 mph, with or without sidecar, and still gave more than 60 miles per gallon. For really long journeys or for snow, on went the sidecar taking about 20 minutes to attach. Unlike Moh, Mrs P loved this sidecar and called it the ‘bomber’. Based on the BMW sports Steib S501 sidecarSteib it really looked the part, open top, wind in your hair, and as they say now-a-days ‘cool’, actually too bloody cold . On holidays it was full of luggage with Mrs P back on the pillion. She was probably one of the best pillion riders anyone could wish for. Totally fearless even when banked over scraping the footrests.
The favourite tours were the Lake District and the South Coast resorts. All in all we covered over a 100,000 mile on this bike before it needed a complete overhaul. The only breakdown, if you can call it that, was one Sunday afternoon in Plymouth. Just as I switched on the ignition to start it up a cloud of smoke rose up from under the tank. The wires had chaffed through and were glowing red hot. Made a grab for them and tore the connections from the battery. This saved the bike but the harness had suffered meltdown mode. Sunday isn’t the best of times to be sourcing new harnesses so the next hour was spent in a garage skip looking for bits of wire. As always there were plenty of offers of help and a lot of sympathy but these old bikes didn’t have the electronic wizardry that we see today so I was happy to carry on alone. Two hours later we were up and away looking for some digs. So what eventually happened to the bike? Well, after years of service and now the proud owner of a car I gave the bike away to a colleague who was hell bent on restoring it. The last I heard was it was still alive but its whereabouts I don’t know.
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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by Tizer » 31 Jan 2016, 16:54

Photos of Indian bikers...LINK
`Motorcycle diaries: The new wave of Indian bikers'

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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by Stanley » 01 Feb 2016, 04:00

I was reminded by the images of the first pedal bike I ever had. It was a Royal Enfield and the motto on the logo was 'Built like a gun'. They were as heavy as a gun as well......
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Re: Bikes You Have Owned and Loved

Post by plaques » 01 Feb 2016, 20:06

My 'Built like a Gun' was a Royal Enfield super meteor. A 700cc twin.
Royal enfield.jpg
Bought umpteen years ago after it had been sliding down the road for some considerable distance. Its now still in my garage under numerous bits of sheeting waiting for me to finish the wiring off. At the time it was as big as you could go in the vertical twins before they started vibrating themselves apart. The next version of this machine 'The Constellation' was almost identical but with a different petrol tank shape. "more sexy as they used to say". Said to be one of the fastest 'straight line' machines of its era.
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