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Messages - JFerg

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Identify these bikes! / Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« on: April 14, 2018, 12:08:43 AM »
You're obviously in Melbourne, John, as are 33d6 and myself.
I have a couple of 500cc B&S engines, one of which is going.  If you're interested, drop me a line


Identify these bikes! / Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« on: April 13, 2018, 08:21:34 AM »
There are sleeve valves and sleeve valves.

Knight and Minerva used two sleeves reciprocating with the piston in the middle.  The ports are small, like letterbox slots, and the wear is concentrated. 

B&S, Bristol, Napier and RR used single sleeves where the action is an elliptical path, with large ports, rapid openings, and good spread of lubricant which also spread the wear over a very large area.   The single sleeve aero engines were the most powerful spark ignition engines ever built, rendered obsolete by jet turbines.  Where poppet vale aero engines generally had a 500 hour service life, the single sleeve valve engines had a 1500 hour interval.  If single sleeve valves had anywhere near the gazillions of engineer-hours applied to them that poppet valves have had, there's be a lot more about.

I owe you an apology, Leon.  I've been severely tangled in life and other issues of late, and not had the chance to properly study the extracts you sent me.  I will get there, come May I will have shed a major workload.

Thank you for your Herald research.  As 33d6 suspects, I can postulate the engine number of this machine.  Norm Maplestone bought two B&S V twins.  He also reputedly had a shop in Kew, next to Mont Albert.  Tantalising.

That Czech bike is probably a "Kopra", too.


"Wee McGregor" was built in the Midlands, and they did use at least one 350cc B&S, Leon.

I can add add a fair bit to this list, based on my Barr and Stroud data.

Donaldson & Kelso became Knightswood Motors in Anniesland and built the Royal Scot.  Actually, they built a few.
The Motor Mart in Edinburgh bought two engines, so I assume built two bikes.
New Gerrard, of course.
William Oliver of Jedburgh bought one engine and may have built a single machine.
North British Machine Company in Glasgow bought a few engines.
Collars Ltd in Anniesland bought a couple of engines too.

Wallace bought a few.  Whilst they were more known for agricultural equipment and have no record of producing motorcycles, the few B&S engines discovered in the US were sold through them.

There was also a McKechnie (Edinburgh) entered in the Scottish Six Days in 1922.  Retired on day 6.

Any B&S information, extant engines etc, welcome.


Identify these bikes! / Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« on: January 14, 2018, 09:44:27 PM »
The gearbox is a crossover type; the input is on the left, output on the right, yet it has a kickstart so is obviously a purpose made motorcycle gearbox.  A Hurth?

The frame has hints of Praga and ABC about it, but only hints, and the centre stand is really unusual for that era.

Looks like an Enfield rear sprocket, hence an Enfield wheel in "backwards".

Headlight arrangement and mounting is quite French of the era.

Identify these bikes! / Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« on: January 11, 2018, 08:33:26 AM »
I have the sales records for B&S, and from that have extracted a fairly complete record of engine production.  It's not 100%, however.

Two 500cc engines were sent to Prague.  The photo is of a Czech bike, taken in Czech, so might be the destiny of one engine.....

Identify these bikes! / Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« on: January 10, 2018, 09:15:13 PM »
Who can help identify this machine?  Not much is known; it's a Czech registration, a photo taken in Czech.  Electric lighting and the overall style suggest late twenties or early thirties, but the 500cc Barr and Stroud sleeve valve engine is from 1924.  There is a name on the tank, just not enough that I can read.

British Bikes / Re: Norton (??) brake cable.
« on: March 13, 2017, 06:20:21 AM »
Mystery solved.  The adjuster is metric, which ruled out a few ideas.  Transpires that it is a parking brake cable for a Moto Guzzi Convert.  The Convert wasn't an automatic, it was simply a torque converter on the back of a torquey engine.  There was a two speed "box" but the idea was to select high or low ratio before you set off.  High gave a top speed around 80MPH, but low was designed for police escort and convoy work, top speed nearer 45MPH.  Obviously, having a torque converter demands a parking brake or you can't leave the thing to idle.


British Bikes / Re: Norton (??) brake cable.
« on: March 01, 2017, 09:53:17 PM »
With the adjuster mid-cable, my thought was that this was probably a foot brake cable.  Drum brake, obviously, but with the drum on the opposite side to the pedal.

British Bikes / Norton (??) brake cable.
« on: March 01, 2017, 05:51:09 AM »
Can anyone identify this cable, which came with stuff believed to be late Norton, Commando era.  It's new, unused.  Distinguishing feature is the rubber boot mid cable, which conceals a spring.  No switch, just a spring, but a stiff spring, like a valve spring.  Half inch ID, 2 1/8" long, and won't compress at all under finger pressure.  There's also a natty little rubber concertina cover for the presumed pedal end.  Having the adjuster mid-cable is unusual, too

British Bikes / Re: 1951 B31 Plunger BSA Carburetter
« on: November 29, 2016, 10:12:55 PM »
I bought a new carb from Burlen for my Panther.  Cannot praise them enough.  Excellent service, excellent communication, and the carb was perfectly set when it arrived.  Bolted it on; idle perfect, mixture perfect.  Really impressed.

British Bikes / Re: 1951 B31 Plunger BSA Carburetter
« on: November 28, 2016, 09:28:40 PM »
Sounds like a typical carb fault that will be traced to the magneto.  There's an open circuit in the HT winding that has generated a carbon track.  When cold, the resistance is low, but once it warms up, the resistance increases with heat until the spark weakens and the engine dies.  By the time you have pushed it home, it has cooled off again.....

British Bikes / Re: 1929 Excelsior (UK)
« on: August 19, 2016, 05:42:26 AM »
Paul,  Attached some extracts that show precisely what the BTH light set consisted of.  Quality isn't flash, but they're scans of copies.  You can see that the wiring is far from complex!

At present you have a BTH magneto-generator, a Miller head light and a Lucas tail light.  All of it is of the same period, more or less, but more importantly, it's all been on the bike for a long time, and you have it.  Therefore I'd be using it all and paying no heed to any "originality" sniffles.


British Bikes / Re: 1929 Excelsior (UK)
« on: August 18, 2016, 11:01:54 PM »
BTH offered light sets for only a few years of the late twenties.  I have a bike fitted with a BTH "dyno-mag", and some years ago managed to acquire at great expense a correct headlight to match it.  That's the only BTH headlight I have ever seen!!  To describe them as uncommon is a sweeping understatement.   The BTH tail light is a generic bullet styled thing, and so I've given up on finding one.  Any sort of late twenties electrical kit is hard to find, and expensive if you do; I'd be using the Miller headlight on the basis that you have it.

Somewhere I think I have a BTH brochure and wiring diagram.  I'll see if I can find it and scan a copy to post.


British Bikes / Re: Grigg motorbike.
« on: July 12, 2016, 11:46:52 AM »

My second 500cc B&S engine is currently destined to a home in New Imperial cycle parts, to become "New Onward".


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