Posts Tagged ‘Cafe racers’

Well, the snow is coming down like gangbusters but this notice just popped into my inbox:

The 2016 British Motorcycle Meet in Lancaster Massachusetts

They’re branching out a little this year by welcoming competition bikes to the show,

so dust off that Belchfire 500 GP Special and bring it!

Click on the flyer below and you will be directed to the official site which will provide exclusive information, directions etc


It’s been a few weeks of catching up since we got back from Barber’s.

Two days is a lot of driving to get there but it was worth the trip. Weather was cooperating so it was pretty painless overall.

As usual, the races were top notch, track staff was helpful and a good time was had by all.

Rumor was that the race entries were up to 1100 which is a huge number of bikes. Most races had two or three classes so I think the numbers were accurate. One race had sixty entries which is a lot of bikes to have on the track at once for sure!

I’ve attached a few pictures but it really doesn’t give you the feel of the event, The bikes just driven to the track would have made a good museum of their own, Most brands were well represented and the quality was impressive.

The Ace Cafe Was Well Represented

Dave Roper’s rapid Aermacchi  (nice Brooks Leather sticker)

Not sure what to make of this one but it did blat around the pits

Lots of eye candy in the pits

Motorcycle Classics had a big bike show, lots of Nortons and other lesser known marques

I think these are made in Italy or something

A brace of Brittens

Haven’t had much time to throw at the project but I did get the centerstand mounted, straightened out the rear wheel / hub issues so it spins nicely and hung some parts on to see what they looked like.
I have some Harley style custom master cylinders for the brake and clutch but the more I think about it, Brembo stuff will probably get the nod. I have a brake master which looks pretty good and I can use a Ducati Monster style clutch master cylinder which will match up pretty well and they seem to be pretty cheap on EBay.
I’m still  on the fence with instruments too, I do like the traditional look but electronic versions are available which might be a nice touch. The speedo gearbox and cable is always an issue on these bikes so I’d like to avoid it by using a GPS speedo if I can.


I finally decided to knock the head and cylinders off just to have a look as I’m going to paint the cases anyway.
New valves, pistons etc but it did look like the expander on the oil control rings was installed incorrectly on one cylinder so I’m glad I did it.
FYI: make sure the expander ends butt together and do not overlap, otherwise the motor will be a smoker for sure. It happens so make sure it’s right the first time.
A new set of Hastings rings will go on so at least I won’t have that issue to worry about.



Finally got the front wheel laced up to a new rim and a hub I have been saving for just such an occasion.
It took a couple of tries to get the pattern right as it isn’t the stock layout or even the alternative alloy rim pattern. In the end I put in some nipples without spokes to get some starting angles and went from there.
Then there is the usual trick of jumping on the wheel to get it over far enough to center in the forks. Good times.
Anyway, it got done and looks pretty nifty, now I just have to polish out all the scratches I put in it. aaaarrrrrgggghhh
20141016_183719Here’s what it looks like for the initial mockup and measurement. It’s centered and trued, but Ill check the runout again after it rests.
20141016_183731Is it possible to have too much polished alloy?




Here’s a Beeb documentary about the “glory days” of British motorcycling that’s worth a look.

It starts out with a general overview and then meanders into the TE Lawrence era with some good vintage footage mixed in with new stuff.

(Minor complaint: The Brough they are filming in the present day is in dire need on a set of rings, you’d think they could have taken care of that at least. )

Anyway I digress; we then move on to the Isle of Man which can’t be underestimated when it comes to Brit Bike history. It was really a case of Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday! The bikes that took home the trophies at the Island not only proved they were fast, they also stood up to 7 arduous high speed laps of a heavily publicised race. Reliability was very  important in an era of bad roads, nascent metallurgy and owner ineptitude.

Norton dominated in the pre war years but in 1939 BMW was backed by the Nazi juggernaut and finished first and second to stake their flag on foreign soil.

The mighty Norton Manx did soldier on for long after their sell by date just by being very good at what it did. The big lazy single was developed to within an inch of its life and dedicated riders knew how to use every bit of its meager horsepower and predictable handling.

Mark Wilsmore related the tales of the ACE cafe, with some help from Dave Degens and Dave “crash” Croxford.

The 59 club came into being around the time of the iconic 1959 Triumph Bonneville and finally the motorcyclist got some grudging respect.

“Reverend Bill” seemed to come along at the right time and make friends with the biking community on his terms, and in the process his accepting and unthreatening attitude spread the gospel far and wide.

The final chapters of the whole scene were brought about by the increased traffic and its handmaiden , heavier law enforcement. Also not to be overlooked is the advent of the BMC Mini; for the price of a motorcycle you could get a real car and not be so exposed to the elements, and do a little snogging with your bird in relative privacy.

Anyway, if you have an hour to kill, it’s worth a look.

Here’s a charming period piece from a simpler time.

Father Bill, the 59 Club, Rockers and some classic bikes from when they were used as practical transportation.

The Mini was so cheap that it made bikes a lot less attractive and the scene was changing rapidly but have a look at 9 minutes of cafe racer history.