Author Topic: Coventry Eagle  (Read 219 times)

Online Rex

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Coventry Eagle
« on: May 08, 2019, 06:37:35 PM »
There's a lot of knowledgeable blokes on here who know about pre-war Villiers-powered tiddlers, so anyone know about a Coventry Eagle "Super Sport" 1931 175c? Appears to be up-together and a runner, and although would probably struggle with the rice pudding skins it has a certain charm. Any thoughts?

Offline cardan

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Re: Coventry Eagle
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2019, 11:07:19 PM »

Very lovely - no doubt 33d6 will explain the fine qualities of the 175 cc Super Sport engine. It's pretty special. The c1930 Villiers Super Sport, or the larger 6 port Levis, have surprisingly lively performance, particularly if the rider is not carrying too much "excess baggage". The light weight of the machine itself is undervalued. What a joy it is to have a machine that can be wheeled around, put on and off its stand, and started with ease.

Enjoy!

Leon

Offline 33d6

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Re: Coventry Eagle
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2019, 06:25:18 AM »
Yes, Leon, I've seen two of these recently. A restored one in the Sydney Powerhouse Museum and an unrestored one in the South Oz Birdwood Museum. The Birdwood one is incorrectly described as having a 150cc engine but it's not. It has a 175cc Super Sport and is identical to the Powerhouse bike..
The major snag with this model Cov Eagle is not the engine but the accompanying two speed gearbox. This is either a major handicap or a riding challenge depending on how you feel on the day. It's fine in top gear but the drop in ratio is so great you are reduced to walking pace the minute you have to change down. I have exactly this issue in my same era Sport (not Super Sport) powered Excelsior. Depending on mood and company it makes for either a fine hill climbing challenge or a bleeding nuisance. Excelsior offered an alternative three speed box which I have in the workshop but not installed in my bike as its top and middle ratios duplicate the two speed box with an ultra low bottom gear underneath that. You can then climb any hill but have to take care you don't fall asleep whilst doing it. Unfortunately these inappropriate ratios are a common problem with many British lightweights. The engine is never a problem the gear ratios are.
Albion knew this and produced their first lightweight four speed box in the early 30's but most manufacturers were reluctant to take it up. Eventually they did offering it as a posh extra. Cov Eagle were doing this by 1934 or so but by that time Villiers no longer made the Super Sport so you only got it in a Cov Eagle fitted with a 'cooking' 150 or 250. Pity about that. Still, lesser engine or no, the overall package with four speed box was better than the earlier version and was faster point to point if not in outright speed.
Finally, the Villiers 175 Super Sport engine was a little ripper and in it's day held every record for both outright speed and endurance in it's class. Every distance record up to 2000 kms and every time record up to 24 hours. They are still the favoured vintage Villiers engine today.
 

Online Rex

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Re: Coventry Eagle
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2019, 09:30:49 AM »
A couple of pics

Online Rex

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Re: Coventry Eagle
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2019, 09:31:25 AM »
2


Online Rex

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Re: Coventry Eagle
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2019, 09:31:58 AM »
3

Offline R

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Re: Coventry Eagle
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2019, 10:54:58 PM »
Pretty little jigger, isn't it. And technically much to cast an eye over.
So have you bought it, or still pondering ?

One thing I would comment is that open primary looks like trouble, a more substantial
guard to keep clothing and boots/toes out of that primary chain and clutch looks essential.
Or you'll need to lay in a stock of boot repair materials... ?

Offline 33d6

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Re: Coventry Eagle
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2019, 02:39:01 AM »
Marvellous! And definitely a riding bike, not a show pony. With the various mods and tweaks I see the owner and I are very much on the same wavelength. He would find much the same on my Excelsior. Look at em.
Transverse 'coffee pot' silencer with single outlet. My preference is for a smaller diameter and shorter tail pipe but domestic harmony requires the tail pipe extend past the foot rest. Oily footprints on kitchen floors aren't popular.
No external oil pipes. I suspect this engine isn't "pure" Super Sports but may be a hybrid built up with a Mk12C bottom end and Super Sport top end. One can do this with all standard Villiers parts without any fancy modifications thus gaining the joys of Super Sport riding without being twitchy about the original Villiers automatic oiling system. Petroil may be crude but it's practical. 
One can go a step further and use the special Mk12C bottom end Villiers made solely for Cov Eagle. This has a drive side crankcase modified with mountings for a proper enclosed primary chaincase should an owner wish to go down this track thus meeting R's concerns above.  How do I know these things? Because the Cov Eagle owner is riding his and the 33d6 example is still on the building bench.
It has a three speed gearbox fitted. I discussed that in my earlier post. Not a great improvement over the two speed but it does ensure it will not be defeated by any road on any hill.
It has the most practical carb set up with the carb needle adjustable from the handlebars rather than the cheaper and awkward to use rod adjuster fitted directly to the carb. It also has a later model 6E air filter fitted. This makes riding so much easier.
I could go on about the use of modern handlebar levers rather than the original inverted, et, etc, but why? To my mind the owner has built up a very practical and willing bike. I think it's a little ripper.

Offline john.k

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Re: Coventry Eagle
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2019, 04:34:06 AM »
Its a pretty little bike,which is not often said about CE s.............the racing primary means you will never need to trim your toenails.

Online Rex

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Re: Coventry Eagle
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2019, 10:37:44 AM »
Someone offered it as a P/X on an Enfield I'm selling, but I wanted second opinions on whether it was a pile-o-parts thrown together or something approaching a desirable bike.
Normally I don't consider any bike below a 350 (and even a 350 reluctantly) so it would probably be more ornament than use to me. The seller seems to have gone cold on the idea anyway.

Online Rex

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Re: Coventry Eagle
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2019, 07:13:59 PM »
Or maybe not. It appears that he's had loss of Internet for the last couple of days. Spoke to the old boy on the phone and he confirmed it's a fully functional oily rag bike and has been used on various runs.
So, the old tricky subject; what would be a fair price in the UK for this bike..any suggestions? Sadly it's devalued price-wise by being a '31 which makes it post-vintage rather than vintage.

Offline 33d6

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Re: Coventry Eagle
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2019, 09:02:54 AM »
Can't help with your price Rex. Got no idea of UK values but I suspect I'd be very much tempted to buy if I lived there.
You'll be amused to know I've blown your photos up and had as good a nosy as I can and the engine is as I suspected. A Super Sport top end on a Mk12C  bottom end. I could just see the initial G of the Mk12C engine number hiding behind the carbie float bowl. It's a well known way of building yourself a Super Sport nowadays. I also saw the bike has no twistgrip but a two lever Villiers throttle fitted. Top lever to raise and lower the needle for starting and best running and the lower as the normal throttle. This is by far the best riding set up for a pre war Villiers as it allows you to give hand signals and to change gear without the engine shutting off as you do it. You learn to execute a fast hand change before the engine can over rev with this set up. Also encourages you to change at exactly the right moment.
Finally it allows you time to give a relaxed and obvious hand signal as you bowl up to an intersection. (Not that everyone understands them nowadays.)
Why anyone would want to trade in such a cutie for an Enfield is beyond me but then again I'm always surprised at how many can't change their riding style to get the best out of early bikes. Maybe he's one of them.
I'd like to know the end of the story.

Online Rex

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Re: Coventry Eagle
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2019, 09:19:07 AM »
I intend to go and see the bike early next week, and thanks partly to the enthusiasm shown on here I may (all being well) end up getting it.
The story goes that the old boy who has it now got it when his old mate (who was a long term owner) partially stripped it and then passed on...seems to be a sadly familiar tale.
The throttle control is a new one on me but I'll give it a whirl. I have a Chief with hand change, foot clutch and grip A/R, and had some hand-change bikes in the past so if they could do it back in 1931 I'm sure I can too... ;)
Supposedly comes with "loads" of engine parts too, so it'll be interesting to see what they might be.