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Messages - cardan

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Identify these bikes! / Re: Norton, but wich model?
« on: March 08, 2010, 09:39:50 PM »
In the final photo, taken from the rear, we can see that the back wheel has an Enfield hub, with cush drive on the sprocket on the left and a dummy-rim brake on the right, attached to the spokes. This wheel was a feature of early to mid 1920s Nortons, so it is likely that we're looking at a most impressive modernisation of a 1920s bike to bring it up to 1930s standards. If so, it would be interesting to see what has been done to the flat tank frame and/or the saddle tank to get them to mate together.
I wonder what should be done with bikes like this these days? It would be nice to think it could stay in its present form as a monument to the imaginative owner who did the work, but what a lot of explaining would have to be done everytime it was brought out in public! Here in South Australia, our historic registration scheme would be in a spin because it is not an "original" bike.

Well done RichP! Yes I see now it is a charabanc (the pre-cursor to the touring bus), pointing to the left of photo. I had been a bit thrown by the height of the thing, the absence of visibe wheels, and the size of the door handles which look more suited to a refrigeration unit. I've attached a larger photo to make things easier to see. If you look at the third man from the left, you can see one of the sidelights coming out near his right ear, and the windscreen above his left shoulder. There are some numbers ...218... painted on the chassis at far right. Such a device could easily be c1914. The wall of the house seems to be faux-tudor - dark framework painted on to brick.
Now I don't suppose anyone knows of a building like this in Essex c1914? I guess not! Thanks for all the help.

Thanks DM: the date range fits and F4654 was probably given to the bike when new in 1910-11.

There is something slightly odd about this photo. Does anyone know enough about gentlemen's attire to date it? Also I don't quite understand what it is they're standing in front of - a hot chip van????


A friend found this photo amongst his father's papers (together with some happy snaps from c1930 TT races). The original print is only about 2" x 1 1/2", and somewhat bent and faded. Through the marvels of Photoshop, the bike seems to be an early Humber - around 1910-11, as the later ones had the magneto behind the engine. Or it could be one of those funny marques that look just like Humber - Centaur comes to mind. Given the electric? head light, perhaps the photo is a little later.
To try to put the photo in context, can anyone add anything about the bike, the location, or the origin/date of the registration F4654?
Thanks. Leon

British Bikes / Re: Which engine oil for a 1927 sidevalve BSA?
« on: March 02, 2010, 09:48:32 PM »
Out here in Australia we typically use monograde low detergent oils in vintage engines. 50 weight is most common, but it's generally hotter out here than in the UK so 40 might be better for your application. I wouldn't use a high detergent oil unless the motor is freshly rebuilt. Just a comment: Long ago I had a BSA Sloper that carried its oil in a reservoir in the crankcase casting. The oil got reasonably hot in there, so if your bike happens to be a sloper you might look at a heavier grade. If the gearbox has oil seals in the bearings, any heavyweight gear oil should be OK. I think BSA gearboxes have a level plug, so don't overfill or it will come out everywhere!

Identify these bikes! / Re: Levis Which model and year?
« on: March 02, 2010, 09:40:36 PM »
I wouldn't write it off as a bitsa just yet. In the 1920s there were many small manufacturers in the UK, the US and on the continent who adopted the 'fore and aft' rocking fork. And I wouldn't even pretend to know what the motorcycle industry in India was up to in the 1920s! Do you think the bike has been there since new?
The frame has some elements of the 'built like a bridge' Francis Barnet, but is not fully bolted up like that marque.
Where to from here?
Is it a bita? Tell-tale signs are welded up components where you would expect to find lugs, and the odd unresolved stuff up. Have a close look around the back axle region and where the seat post mounts where the frame looks unusual: if these places are done with lugs with tubes brazed into them I think you can bet the bike has left a factory somewhere looking much as it does now.
Where does it come from? Carefully measure the threads on the frame, motor and gearbox. This may help as metric threads might point to europe, BSF/BSCY might point to UK, UNF to the US. (Not always useful as some manufacturers used very strange threads: try to find a metric thread on an early FN sometime - you'll be disappointed!)
Because the bike is in the 'cheap and cheerful' category, I suggest restoring it (or getting it running) as is. It would be fun to ride, and more information will come to light some time!

Identify these bikes! / Re: What Make is this
« on: March 01, 2010, 09:56:32 PM »
Great photo of an unusual bike. The vertical fins on both the cylinder and head must be close to unique for a V twin, and that coupled with the loop frame (the frame tube cradles the engine) and the tank shape must be a real give-away to someone - but not to me! The date of the bike is probably 1905-6, give or take a year or two.
As for the tank badge, I originally thought Ariel, but although vaguely similar it is not the same as the early Ariel badge I know. Perhaps if you scan just the area of the badge at the highest possible resolution (1200 or 2400 dpi) you might get more detaill.

Identify these bikes! / Re: Levis Which model and year?
« on: February 21, 2010, 10:25:51 PM »
An interesting machine, but quite unlike the usual Levis machines I am familiar with. If you get no response here, it might be because people are puzzled. Perhaps try the VMCC, as they are sure to have a Levis marque specialist. You might need to look beyond Levis...


Identify these bikes! / Re: Has anyone heard of a King Motorbike
« on: February 03, 2010, 09:48:26 PM »
A nice story, and if your grandfather left it to you it's a nice link with the past. Keep in mind that not every motorcycle on the planet has to be restored and ridden right now - there are other possibilities. Before you decide what to do with it, it would be worth deciding exactly what's there and what might be done with it. It may be possible, for example, just to reassemble what's there and keep it as a display item for a while. It might grow on you (in which case you might restore and ride one day - serious fun) or it might leave you cold in which case you could dispose of it. Best not to be hasty at the moment! When you get the cance, take photos and we can comment further.

Identify these bikes! / Re: Has anyone heard of a King Motorbike
« on: February 03, 2010, 06:33:26 AM »
Hi John,
"King" is an excellent name for a motorcycle - we had at least one maker of "King" motorcycles out here in Australia pre WW1. If you can post some photos of the bike, it should be possible to comment further. Is there a family story that goes with it?

Site Feedback / Posts and PMs limited to 2000 characters?
« on: January 28, 2010, 11:40:23 PM »
Hi Nigel,

I just typed a short essay on valve timing in response to a request for help, but I get a message that it can't be posted because it is longer than 2000 characters. I thought I'd PM the poster, but same message. Can you increase this limit a bit - 2000 characters is not really long.



Identify these bikes! / Re: rear wheel springing
« on: January 10, 2010, 10:05:14 PM »
We should all visit the Rene Gillet Club website! Fantastic stuff!


Identify these bikes! / Re: rear wheel springing
« on: January 07, 2010, 09:57:34 PM »
What a design! I wonder if it was a Rene Gillet original or someone's home-built dream machine. Around WW1 there was a flurry of designs for rear springing, and suspending the rear to a frame behind the back wheel was tried by a few designers including Australians Saville Whiting and Bill Tanner , but until this thread I had though the idea died a natural death in the 1920s. Clearly not! Leon

British Bikes / Re: 1959 Triumph 5TA Clutch
« on: January 07, 2010, 09:40:16 PM »
"I think I will postpone further investigation until the weather improves."

Reading this from Adelaide (Australia) I can't resist chiming in regarding our weather at the moment. So far this week, max temps have been 31, 32 34, 36 (celsius, not farenheit!). Nice enough. Today is heading for 39, then the next three days are forecast 41, 41, 41. For old fashioned folk, 41C is about 106F. So, if it's any comfort, work in the shed out here is also postponed until the weather improves!

All the best for the New Year,


Identify these bikes! / Re: Help what bike is this and how old?
« on: December 17, 2009, 11:11:24 PM »
I'm in Australia, so can't help much with the rego, but L.A.B. posted a link on a recent post - might be worth following.


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