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British Bikes / Locked question about Villiers engine
« on: December 11, 2018, 06:39:56 AM »
I'm not quite sure why Paulb52 would ask a question on identifying an engine and then lock it so no one can reply but with my level of computer skills I know I could easily do the same and not know it so I can't sneer at anyone else.
Anyway I can tell Paul why no one can identify his Villiers engine and that's because it isn't Villiers. It is a Triumph Model X, a 174cc unit construction two-stroke with a 2-speed gear box built in. Made between 1930-32.
Triumph reduced the bore in 1932 to reduce engine capacity to 149cc for even cheaper road tax. They then called it the Model Z but it only lasted that year.
Times were tough, very tough, and factories were doing whatever they could to survive. These models are part of what Triumph did. They are worthy of preservation even if just to show how factories fought to stay afloat.
No reason why it shouldn't run quite well but the 2-speed box is the great limitation.

British Bikes / Re: Excelsior UK 1929 (?) 350cc OHV
« on: December 03, 2018, 04:24:26 AM »
I can well understand your fear. But then again I think with the paperwork you have plus if you get a copy of the 1929 Excelsior catalogue showing your machine you should be okay. I would even consider a browse through the VMCC Register cards held at head office. The Register was last printed in the 1990's so does not contain info on further bikes registered since then. You may find extra info that's not yet seen the light of day.
Finally, you may have more luck with the marque specialist than I did. I sent the traditional self addressed envelope as required but being in Australia had to substitute an International Reply Coupon for the required postage stamp. It wouldn't be the first time someone in the UK has fallen in a heap at the thought of exchanging the coupon for a stamp. The IRC concept may have originated in the UK but it's frustrating how few of their Post Offices seem to know what they are. Luckily the internet has got around all that except for the odd occasion when only a letter will do.

Last, last thing. There are no 350 ohv JAP engined machines in the 1934 catalogue so a copy of that might also help.


British Bikes / Re: Excelsior UK 1929 (?) 350cc OHV
« on: December 02, 2018, 03:52:42 AM »
Hi Paul,
So pleased you found a frame number. I've looked through the VMCC Register to no avail. The only machines I can find with a D prefix are all 1934 as one would expect as that was the year code for 1934 plus one 1926 350 JAP powered machine with a D prefix frame number but nothing with DG. As I've written in the past, Excelsior are effortless to identify from 1931 onwards but not so in the vintage years and the VMCC Register is about the only lead we have.

DG is not a 1934 number as the Excelsior code ran  year letter/ model number / frame number so for 1934 my Model 1 would be D1 ****.

May I ask whereabouts on the frame you found the number? The two numbered Model 1 frames in my possession have the number stamped on the upper left side of the front down tube. Each have an L prefix. These are fitted with 1929 forks whereas the other unnumbered two have the pressed steel forks introduced in 1930. It would be useful to know where you finally found the frame number.

Excelsior frame numbers of the 1920's continue to be a mystery and so far the VMCC marque specialist remains silent on the matter. He didn't reply to my letter anyway.


British Bikes / Re: Excelsior 350cc OHV twin port 1929/30
« on: October 17, 2018, 05:35:07 AM »
With some half dozen identical Model 1 Excelsior frames from the period sitting about the place I've slowly come to the conclusion that in 1930 Excelsior dithered about how they would number them.  I've two 1929 frames with one numbering system, two with no numbers at all and two prefixed A, the system introduced in 1931. Chats with other Excelsior owners is slowly convincing me that in 1930 they either stamped a few with some sort of orphan number or no number at all. Mainly no number at all. It's no big deal. It's only a problem either when it comes to getting the things on the road as depending on where you live some authorities downright insist on a frame number or convincing people it is truly a 1930 machine and thus eligible to enter in proper vintage events. Best of luck with that one.

As far as the saddle goes Excelsior of the period used a natty more or less right angle forging for the saddle nose attachment that fitted in to the saddle tube and could be raised or lowered to suit the riders preference. These are occasionally missing or replaced with some strange bodges leading to odd saddle configurations. Even if the original bit is there it can sometimes be amazingly difficult to raise or lower and also lead to some strange configurations. Fresh paint can make it even more awkward. Again, best of luck with that.

Finally, too old to ride an Excelsior? Never old friend, never. The late vintage Excelsior is a lovely machine. I never believed all that nonsense about racing improving the breed but in Excelsior's case having won the 1929 Lightweight TT with essentially the same bike as yours I have to agree. They are an agile sweet little machine and a pleasure to ride. Being of an age that my riding is limited and the manager is pushing hard for me to stop altogether I can say that my Excelsior is staying even if everything else goes. The post war Excelsior did nothing to enhance the Excelsior name. The pre-war Excelsior is another beast entirely.


British Bikes / Re: bsa lightning
« on: September 28, 2018, 03:01:58 AM »
I just hope we finally get to hear the end of the story. With so many of these queries they trail away to nothing. We're left guessing.

A happy ending always goes down well.

British Bikes / Re: bsa lightning
« on: September 27, 2018, 01:25:36 AM »
Not so Ian, heat failure occurs in all variety of spark ignition systems regardless of how the spark is generated. In fact the last time I experienced it was on a Triumph TR7 fitted with an aftermarket electronic system displaying exactly the symptoms Marty 31 complains of.

Electronic ignition is an improvement but it is subject to the same woes as all the previous systems-just not as often.

Whatever the case, I'm sure Marty 31 will learn a lot sorting it out.

British Bikes / Re: bsa lightning
« on: September 26, 2018, 08:10:13 AM »
You describe the classic symptoms of a dying ignition system, that is, starts well when cold but a pig when hot. This is something that is nigh impossible to pick up beforehand and only starts to show after a good run when the engine is well and truly hot. Your professional rebuilder would have had little chance of picking it up given the limited miles they are able to put on a bike before it is returned to it's owner.

By all means do everything that has been suggested above. They will all help ease the burden on the ignition a little and are sensible suggestions anyway but they won't effect a permanent cure. The approaching cooler weather will also help as the engine will take longer to get really hot. The real test will come on the first hot day of next summer and you do your first long ride of the season.

If you can find an ancient old time mechanic ask him how often are carburettor problems cured by sorting out the ignition. He will have entertaining stories to tell you.

Best of luck with the beastie.

British Bikes / Re: 2 & 3 speed 250cc gear boxes
« on: September 21, 2018, 09:42:15 AM »
Well, the top picture has the two speed gate change fitted to it. I have both 2 and 3 speed vintage bikes myself ( not BSA) so am fairly familiar with how they look.
These ordinary working man bikes donít exactly set the world on fire but they are such happy little beasts they are very satisfying to own.

British Bikes / Re: 2 & 3 speed 250cc gear boxes
« on: September 21, 2018, 05:39:50 AM »
You donít say what make of bike. I presume you mean BSA.

The Classic Biker Bar / Re: Needle in a Haystack?
« on: September 11, 2018, 03:31:18 AM »
Looked in the on line phone book which also has snail mail addresses. Lots of C Hutton but no C D Hutton. I'd suggest you do the same. Then pick out one Hutton from each State and send a letter. Repeat as necessary. Eventually you will strike a relative who will up date you.
 A simple one page three paragraph letter with your email address will do it.

This thread is going no where. As in all these cases can we just have the engine and frame numbers? That would resolve the matter very quickly.

The gearbox number would also be useful.


British Bikes / Re: 1931 James/villiers
« on: August 15, 2018, 01:32:15 AM »
Thanks for coming back and showing us the finished article on the road. For all the queries that are answered here we get very little in the way of feedback. It's good to see a bike come together and being ridden.

Now it's running so well can we now have a photo of it taken at Lands End or John'O'Groats? It's more than capable of getting you there and back.

British Bikes / Re: Villiers engine
« on: August 10, 2018, 12:46:29 AM »
Yes, as R says, a 123cc 9D Villiers for an Excelsior of the immediate postwar period 1946-48. You'll note the Excelsior has a hand gear change linkage that goes up through the tank and works in a slot in the middle of the tank. There's no particular advantage in this. It's merely a marketing gimmick so your 9D powered utility bike looks slightly different from what your neighbours are riding either side of you.
There was a 98cc version of this engine made pre war but they are easily distinguishable by their engine numbers starting either BB or BBA or BBS in the case of the Polish version made under licence from Villiers.
As you can gather I'm rather partial to these simple little workhorses. Sad isn't it but they make a pleasant change from the usual boring Triumph stuff.

British Bikes / Re: ES2 progress
« on: August 09, 2018, 02:09:04 PM »
Wow Ian! That would be the biggest silencer Iíve seen for many a year.

British Bikes / Re: Villiers Engine
« on: August 03, 2018, 11:55:57 AM »
The ďDĒ suffix denotes a revision of the crankcase seals arrangement on early 6E engines. Itís got nothing to do with gearboxes. It definitely has a 3 speed box as that was standard on all 6E. For that matter, once you have seen the 3 and 4 speed boxes side by side you will never confuse them again. It is very obvious.

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