Author Topic: Barr and Stroud mystery bike  (Read 3350 times)

Offline R

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 908
  • Karma: +20/-8
    • View Profile
Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2018, 03:54:36 AM »
Not much B&S content here, but we've followed along behind a little Daimler Knight on a veterans rally, and it ran along very nicely and smokelessly. Chatting about it afterwards, he said he'd modified it, I think with something somehow related to a Suzuki (port timings ?) and used (smokeless) modern 2 stroke oil. We waz imprezzed !

No need to remind folks that there was some very big and powerful sleeve valve aero engines to come out of WW2. Its amazing how little mechanical noise there is with no valve gear thrashing about - which operationally gave some of them a considerable advantage.

Offline JFerg

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 74
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« Reply #16 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.

JFerg

Offline 33d6

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 731
  • Karma: +24/-2
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« Reply #17 on: April 13, 2018, 08:35:03 AM »
Having explored the innards of one of JFergs B&S engines in company with him I can't really see how one could say they were difficult to get the port timing right but I'd certainly agree that just because you know how a cam operates to push open an inlet or exhaust valve doesn't mean you totally and fully understand the sleeve valve at first glance. It does require some degree of thought and some people find thinking very tricky.
I also think you can't really compare a double sleeve valve engine like the Knight to a single sleeve valve engine like the B&S. In one move the single sleeve valve reduces engine complexity by half thus markedly reducing any tendency for the famed sleeve valve smoking and excessive oil use. You have to remember the great majority if not all smoking sleeve valve stories all relate to double sleeve valve engines.  B&S motorcycle engines have exactly the same total loss oiling system as every other motorcycle engine of their day and use no more nor no less oil than any other and smoke no more nor no less than any other.

And yes, R, two stroke oil is very good in sleeve valves as JFerg will confirm. His is well pleased with it.

It's a pity the sleeve valve engine didn't receive a fraction of the effort and development as the 'umble poppet valve but it didn't and we now have a fascinating side story of what could have happened but didn't. It keeps us entertained doesn't it.

Offline JFerg

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 74
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« Reply #18 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 johnferguson@iinet.net.au

JFerg

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 663
  • Karma: +16/-2
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2019, 04:31:11 AM »

Hi JFerg and others,

Rather than start a new thread I thought I's resurrect this one, since I have a question about sleeve-valve motorcycles in Australia and there's already some guff above.

Rob Saward and I are doing a new edition of the "A to Z of Australian-Made Motorcycles" - there are 530+ entries so far, plenty to keep us busy.

One unconfirmed machine is the Arblaster, said to have been made by Mr Arblaster in Western Australia.

I have found is an article from 1933 saying that E. F. Arblaster designed a new type of sleeve-valve engine, and that it was being tested in an experimental motorcycle in the UK.

I wonder does anyone know anything about Mr Arblaster's engine?

JFerg: I know it's a long shot, but we know there were Barr and Stroud sleeve-valve engines in WA in the 1920s. I don't suppose Arblaster's name can be linked in to these?

If Mr Arblaster built a motorcycle in Australia, particularly with an engine of his own design, we could give it an entry in the book. However if the engine and motorcycle testbed were assembled in the UK to his design, I guess we'll have to leave him out.

Cheers

Leon

Offline john.k

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 296
  • Karma: +2/-0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« Reply #20 on: May 03, 2019, 09:02:59 AM »
There was a B&S powered bike for sale about 10 years ago,IIRC,it was locally made ,and for sale on either ebay or just bikes.I think it was a 350,and the price was very high for what it was.

Offline R

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 908
  • Karma: +20/-8
    • View Profile
« Last Edit: May 04, 2019, 04:53:12 AM by R »

Offline 33d6

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 731
  • Karma: +24/-2
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« Reply #22 on: May 04, 2019, 11:29:21 AM »
Ever Onward has the much more rare 500cc engine fitted. It is essentially comprises a Norton frame, with I think Druid forks, Coventry Eagle wheels, Douglas mudguards and a Sturmey Archer gearbox containing a B&S engine made in 1923. The flat tank is unique to Ever Onward. Having accompanied it on several expeditions I can tell you it runs exceedingly well and is a surprising mile eater. Unlike the average 1923 500 single most of which were very ordinary sidevalves (ohv were mostly sporting only at that time) it is remarkably quiet mechanically and remains very clean. Essentially the engine was bought and never used until built in to Ever Onward in the late 60's early 70's. JFerg is it's fourth owner and we vintage riders in Victoria have been lucky enough to observe how a B&S sleeve valve performs from brand new.  It is very impressive. Not perfect but much better than expected and light years ahead of the sleeve valve urban myths.

As far as the Arblaster engine is concerned multi port single sleeve valves were made by B&S and raced in particular by Bert Kershaw. His particular one was known as the Octopus due to the multiplicity of ports. The main interest with Mr Arblaster's engine is the half speed sleeve. I'd like to explore that further.

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 663
  • Karma: +16/-2
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« Reply #23 on: May 05, 2019, 11:21:43 PM »

I suppose Arblaster had patents to protect his design - no doubt they would describe his idea in detail.

Re Ever Onward: its interesting how the bike that Warren put together is very representative of how a 1920s-assembled B&S would have looked. There were a small number of B&S-engined bikes built in Australia in the period, and the photo below shows a GCS from Melbourne. Perhaps the sleeve-valve experts can identify the model of the B&S engine?

The A to Z book is a bit daunting, but getting there. One problem is that one hour spent on each of 530 entries is about 4 months at 40 hours per week! Most entries require - and deserve - a good deal more than one hour, so it's a big job.

Mr Arblaster, for example, has already consumed several hours, but unless we can find something to suggest he built the motorcycle testbed for his engine in Australia (or even that he built the engine in Australia) he probably won't even get a mention in the book!

Cheers

Leon

Offline cardan

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 663
  • Karma: +16/-2
    • View Profile
    • earlymotor.com
    • Email
Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« Reply #24 on: May 05, 2019, 11:38:15 PM »
Yep, during 1933 Edward Francis Arblaster, 26 Fifth Ave, Mount Lawley, Western Australia, Engineer, patented his engine in (at least) Britain, France, Germany, Spain and the US. Probably in Australia too, but old Australian patents are a bit fiddly to research.

He was pretty serious, but did it go into production anywhere?

Cheers

Leon

(Add 30 minutes to the time sheet for the Arblaster non-entry!! Unless we can find he built a motorcycle in Australia...)
« Last Edit: May 05, 2019, 11:40:05 PM by cardan »

Offline john.k

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 296
  • Karma: +2/-0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« Reply #25 on: May 06, 2019, 07:06:46 AM »
There is a more interesting sleeve valve called the "Fischer ...Magic -crescent valve".........manufactured in Zurich from 1908 to 1914.......invented by watchmaker  Martin Fischer............produced .apparently by a "Turicum Co"............there is one example in the Zurich transport museum,and also a cutaway salesmans sample.......The valve was in two halves (of a liner),each reciprocating independently.............200-400 cars made ,before war work became much more profitable.

Offline 33d6

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 731
  • Karma: +24/-2
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« Reply #26 on: May 06, 2019, 12:36:15 PM »
Hi Leon,
An outside flywheel like that identifies the engine as a 350. I canít remember all the various engine model number JFerg has them all and can also differentiate the various marks of each as well. There are various minor differences between the individual marks of the 350 but nothing earth shaking.
Being a proprietary engine available to be fitted into the purchasers choice of motorcycle meant that B&S provided a surprising amount of information to prospective buyers, for example, right down to how much clearance was required to ensure easy spark plug removal. They are very well documented engines.
The great majority of B&S engines were 350ís. I canít remember the exact figures.
I donít think much of Mr Arblasterís design. To my mind a power sapping worm drive sleeve would negate any multi port advantage but until some enthusiast builds one we will never know will we.
Cheers,

Offline john.k

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 296
  • Karma: +2/-0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« Reply #27 on: May 07, 2019, 02:13:30 AM »
Any US patent is searchable by the inventors name .......you usually need a full name ,but something uncommon shouldnt be hard to find.......if indeed it was actually  patented,and not applied for and rejected. .................you will notice G.Brough stooped to the device of applying for patents that he had no hope of getting issued,and then advertized "Patent pending",or "Patent applied for" .

Offline john.k

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 296
  • Karma: +2/-0
    • View Profile
    • Email
Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2019, 02:24:36 AM »
About the same time as the Arblaster patent ,Ricardo &Co patented and licensed a simplification of the Barr and Stroud system ,do ing away with skew gears altogether and using a link driven by a single eccentric and lever,achieved the same rotary motion of the sleeve and applicable to inline multicylinder engines ........engines were built by Peter Brotherhood &Co ,and by Mirrlees ,Bickerton  and Day..............The Mirrlees engines were quite common once .as they were a WD contract item genset .....and built in hundreds.................incidentally ,the Day mentioned was Charles Day,who invented the crankcase compression two stroke .

Offline JFerg

  • Advanced Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 74
  • Karma: +1/-0
    • View Profile
Re: Barr and Stroud mystery bike
« Reply #29 on: May 11, 2019, 03:52:18 AM »
The GCS of Cardan's photo reputed was once the possession of Harry Beanham..... or at least the photo was!

It's an early 350cc WA6.  The B&S records only reveal four 350's sent to Australia; one to Roy Hill and sons in Adelaide, one to Mair and Co (later McEwan's Hardware) in Melbourne, one to P&R Williams in Sydney (makers of the Waratah), and the last is just a consignment number, so I have no idea where it went.  It was in company with two 500's and a V twin, so probably to an aspiring maker.

However...... Stott's in Fremantle sold B&S engined machines, very likely from "Coventry Bicycles", but always advertised as "B&S".  Registration records suggest that at least a dozen where in use in Perth and environs in period.  Stott and his mate Freddie Hughes took a pair of 350 B&S machines to Brisbane, and rode home via Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide without incident.

By my reckoning, B&S made around 1700 motorcycle engines.  1500 of the 350's, 120 of the 500's and around 70 V twins.

Norm Maplestone bought two V twins, and that Mont Albert cycle car is probably one of them.  Despite having a history as a maker (of the "Maple"), I've not been able to find any evidence that Norm built his engines into bikes.

In the car world, Argyll were the only single sleeve valve adherent.  Making an in-line single sleeve valve engine is complex, and Argyll's first solution was a skew gear set up to drive each sleeve.  Single sleeve valve radial engines were a doddle, if an artwork, in comparison to an in-line engine.  The skew gears were replaced in later engines by the "wobble shaft" that john.k refers to.  This was a long shaft not unlike a crankshaft, but the "big end" bearings on the throws was not parallel with the main bearings, imparting a twisting motion as it rises and falls.  Elegant, but a tricky machining exercise.  One exists in Melbourne, and I've ridden in the car; smooth, silent, torquey.