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Messages - cardan

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British Bikes / Re: Massey & Massey Arran motorcycles
« on: March 04, 2018, 09:43:50 PM »

Fascinating! The front fork on the Triple H bikes in the advert is the "Maplestone". These were designed and built in Melbourne, Australia before WW1 by A. N. (Norm) Maplestone. After the war he took the design to the UK where it was at first built by Precision Gauges Ltd in Birmingham as the "Maplestone Cantilever Fork". The design was sold to Webb c1922 and was the basis of their very successful fork.

Does your bike have the Maplestone fork Keith? A little bit of history.



Identify these bikes! / Re: Please help with the make of this bike
« on: February 19, 2018, 10:19:30 PM »

It's Triumph, but an unusual model. The LS was a unit-construction (crankcase and gearbox in the same casting) 350cc side-valve built in the mid 1920s. It was the only Triumph model with the magneto/magdyno behind the cylinder, so there was room for the funny muffler in front of the crankcase.


British Bikes / Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« on: February 15, 2018, 10:23:58 PM »

I think you'll get used to it - just remember on old bikes there's no hurry to change gear. In 1929 and 1930, the SA box had a lever that could be configured for either hand or foot use, but was most often used as a foot change. No positive stop! I rode a 1929 CJ (350cc "cricket bat" OHC) with this setup and it was fine - just had to "feel" the lever into the next gear.

Here's your box in a 1933 ES2. As I noted up the top, it was only used on the sporty Nortons.



British Bikes / Re: Unknown British motorcycle found in ruins .
« on: February 14, 2018, 08:57:16 AM »

Still a bit rough, but a better place to start?



I refuse to believe that neither "Wee MacGregor" nor "McKenzie" were actually built in Scotland. Cheats. But for JFerg there's a link to Barr and Stroud through Coventry B & S.


British Bikes / Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« on: February 08, 2018, 03:07:54 AM »

Are we looking at a 4-speed box? Norton used such a thing 1933-34-ish for its sportier models before going to the dolls head, but I think the 16H went straight from hand change to dolls head in 1935. What year is the bike?

We could muck round here, but Simon and John over at are experts and would no doubt know what is going on here. If you give them the engine, gearbox and frame number they can likely tell you how it all left the factory.

Do report back!


British Bikes / Re: Massey & Massey Arran motorcycles
« on: February 01, 2018, 01:17:46 AM »
Massey Arran were at one time in residence in Alvechurch Road, West Heath, Birmingham.
I believe it was just after Triple H stopped production round about 1923/4. (of interest to me as I have a Triple H, but don't have a M-A).
One of the 'H's of Triple H, a Mr Hobbis stayed on to become Massey Arran's works manager.
Not sure when M-A folded, but evidently they had moved to Blackburn by then.
Info from the late Bob Currie VMCC Journal April 1970.

Hi Keith,

Such an interesting story! There's a similar version told in "The British Motorcycle Directory" by Bacon & Hallworth, but they refer to the Hobbis Bros. concern as "Triplette" - presumably a typo and it should say Triple H? According to this version of the story, E. J. Massey left M-A some time during 1922, and founded the Massey company in Birmingham in January 1923.

M-A continued on through the Triple H connection, but faded away in 1924.

The Massey name (through the Birmingham connection) is said to have been acquired by R. L Jepson in 1924, and bikes produced "until the end of the decade". I doubt this; or if they did produce Massey bikes in the late 1920s it must have been in very small numbers. I had a quick look: no mention of Massey motorcycles at the 1927 or 1928 Show (1928 or 1929 models), just a rather sad advert for wheel repairs. And some "new motor cycle frames". I bet they had plans for those that didn't quite work out.

What year do you think the Massey is TPP?



British Bikes / Re: Massey & Massey Arran motorcycles
« on: February 01, 2018, 12:42:29 AM »

The term "bacon slicer" was sometimes used to describe the 250/350 ohv flywheel. The 8 hp side valve flywheel has nothing "bacon slicer" about it - all "mill stone"!!

If you wanted to combine the finesse of the 350 and the extra power of the twin, you could go for the 5-7 hp overhead valve fast tourist - quite a bike in 1924.


British Bikes / Re: Massey & Massey Arran motorcycles
« on: January 31, 2018, 09:58:18 PM »

Oh let's give Lenny (Leonard L Brooks) a bit of a plug - he deserves it!

Note that he was working for J. N. Taylor in Adelaide, South Australia, in the early 1920s, and it was Taylor who built bikes under the "Victor" brand - usually with JAP engines, but also some Blackburne singles, and at least one 8 h.p. twin.


British Bikes / Re: Massey & Massey Arran motorcycles
« on: January 31, 2018, 09:47:49 PM »

I love projects!

I acquired this one many years ago from a (late) friend. He was asking around if anyone wanted a Blackburne twin, and although it sounded interesting I had enough stuff on my plate. Later I tripped over part of the frame in his shed. "What's this Chris?" "That's part of the Blackburne frame" "But it looks Australian-made?"

Now I've got a bit of an Australian-made thing going on...

We dug out the rest of it, and sure enough the Adelaide-made Victor Blackburne identity unfolded. So far as I can see there was only one 8 hp twin made, c1921, and it went to a guy called Lenny Brooks who was an active member of the MCC of South Australia. He rode it in club events, won a fuel economy trial, even raced it on Sellick's Beach.

The reason my friend had the bike is that he was disposing of the estate of an eccentric Adelaide collector/hoarder. He dismantled everything he had, and the story was that his wife used to wrap random bits in newspaper and throw them in the bin. One of the heads had gone missing, and while all the single and twin heads are similar, I can report that there are many subtly different versions!

Anyway, I now have a matching head, and most of the stuff needed to restore the bike, even a nice period 60 degree magneto. The motor was seized, but I've managed to free it up and get it apart. With luck I'll be able to re-use the cast iron pistons. The twin has a built-up crank with roller big ends. It's a nicely-made thing, and the flywheel is almost unbelievably huge.



British Bikes / Re: Unknown British motorcycle found in ruins .
« on: January 31, 2018, 09:25:19 PM »

Eric Londesbrough in the UK is the man:

The remains of the bike have quite a powerful story, and it's a pretty little bike. As mini-me says, there would be easier restoration projects, but if you do decide to tackle this one, good luck! Parts will be hard to find, but that's part of the fun. I see there are some parts advertised on Eric's website that may be of use.



British Bikes / Re: Massey & Massey Arran motorcycles
« on: January 31, 2018, 11:36:01 AM »

And that photo was taken in the 1950s before a few more parts went missing!!

British Bikes / Re: Massey & Massey Arran motorcycles
« on: January 30, 2018, 09:50:47 PM »
Hi John,

Can you order me a new 8hp Blackburne v-twin for my c1921 Victor Blackburne? That would solve a few problems!

My bike was built - assembled if you prefer - in Adelaide, using the Blackburne twin, Burman heavyweight gearbox, frame lugs from R. J. Walker & Son in the UK, Druid fork, and so on. In many ways it's typical of Australian-made motorcycles of the early 1920s, but so far as I'm aware it's the only survivor with a Blackburne motor. The name Victor Blackburne was on the rusty tank, but the makers - J. N. Taylor in Adelaide - used JAP engines for most of their machines of the period.

I'm not sure that the side valve Blackburnes changed too much through the 1920s. Most of the development went into the ohv engines?



British Bikes / Re: Unknown British motorcycle found in ruins .
« on: January 30, 2018, 09:31:35 PM »

Hi Mateusz,

You win two prizes: one for excellent English, and another for "the most unusual British motorcycle to come from a Warsaw cellar".

You are exactly correct with the date, and the country of origin. The make is New Hudson, and it's one for the lightweights - something like the Model 91E 250cc from 1930. There were quite a few similar NH models at the time.

What a pity it's so badly rusted, but it makes a nice relic even if it can't be restored.

Best wishes from Australia,


British Bikes / Re: 1929 Excelsior (UK)
« on: January 24, 2018, 09:11:18 PM »

Well done Paul! It's come a long way from the photos at the top of the thread.


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