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Messages - cardan

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Identify these bikes! / Re: What is a Jackson..?
« on: March 24, 2010, 02:36:21 AM »
I don't immediately recognise the motor, but it may well turn out that there is an Australian connection, which may require some thinking "outside the box". Rather than speculate, perhaps someone who knows the real story would like to recount it?

Identify these bikes! / Re: What is a Jackson..?
« on: March 23, 2010, 12:13:06 PM »
"There are rumours that it might be an early Australian marque"

I don't think so: the Australian motorcycle industry was prolific prior to WW1 (when there was a Jackson motorcycle in Tasmania), but there were only rare attempts at manufacture beyond the mid 1920s. I suspect someone will tell us the story of this bike, which obviously comes from a time and place far from pre-WW1 Tasmania.


British Bikes / Re: C15 wheel build
« on: March 22, 2010, 08:47:17 PM »
At least consider having a go yourself - that's what restoration is about after all. I'm not sure why wheelbuilding has developed the aura of difficulty that it has, because it's not an impossible task by any means and easier than many tasks in a rebuild. Last evening I began to build a pair of wheels for a friend for his 1914 K model BSA (3 speed gearbox, chain-cum-belt transmission, dummy rim brakes laced to both front and back wheels). It looks a little daunting as a pile of spokes (108 in this case), 2 hubs, 2 rims and 2 belt rims, but it's very satisfying as the wheels come together. I built and trued the front wheel in an hour or so, and can't wait to get out to the shed to make the spokes for the brake rim and get that attached.

How to do it? For the novice, you could do worse than use the Tavener/Radco method as described in detail in Radco's "The Vintage Motorcyclist's Workshop" (Foulis 1986). If you don't have a copy of this book, try very hard to get one as it is very useful for all aspects of the restoration, not just wheels. (That said, I just build the wheel "free style" and that works OK too.)

I'm in Australia, so I can't really comment on cost to have it done professionally, but I can guess expensive, and very possibly more than the value of a good, rough and running C15. Whichever way you go, remember it's meant to be fun!


Identify these bikes! / Re: Norton, but wich model?
« on: March 21, 2010, 08:45:28 PM »
Thanks fopr the offer Rich, but I have my numbers sorted out now (except frame no 3007 which is before the records commence).

Sorry, but I can't tell you much about the bike, except that for GBP26 it wasn't too expensive! Did you buy it?

Identify these bikes! / Re: Norton, but wich model?
« on: March 20, 2010, 04:37:17 AM »
Nice machine Ivan - although modified it seems to have been done with love and care! Try the seat lug for the frame number, but I see from the photos there has been some welding in this region of the frame to drop the top tube to fit the saddle tank. It's possible that the frame number has been obliterated in the work. Motor, frame and wheels look good for mid-1920s, magdyno is probably late 1920s or 1930 (Lucas stuff like this is always dated: 428 means April 1928, 1230 means December 1930 and so on), carb is "modern". The whole front end and tank are clearly later. Spend some time thinking before you decide what you want to do with it. If the registration issues can be sorted you might be best to enjoy it as is for a while...

British Bikes / Re: Help need with this engine
« on: March 14, 2010, 02:03:22 AM »
Other attachment...

British Bikes / Re: Help need with this engine
« on: March 14, 2010, 02:02:32 AM »
We had quite a few Sun VTS machines out here in the war years, either branded as "Sun", or sometimes painted up in the livery of a local manufacturer. I did some work on the attached engine for a friend a while back: it comes from a bike that was branded "Bullock" (Adelaide cycle manufacturer), which was in reality just a re-badged Sun VTS. These bikes were distibuted in Adelaide by local firm James Hill & Sons, Ltd. At the time we couldn't locate an appropriate oversize piston (deflector type), so the compression is poor. If your engine happens to have good compression, and you'd like to part with it, let me know and I will pass details on to my friend.

Yep - I think you've got it pretty right! The guy in the white dust coat definitely looks on the 'outside' of the group, so let's call him the driver, unless there's a large ship nearby!

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!

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