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Topics - 33d6

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British Bikes / Utility motorcycles
« on: July 08, 2021, 05:41:48 AM »
Hi Leon,
You asked about Utility motorcycles.
As in the old joke patter, "I haff good news und I haff bad news".
The good news is I have all the Utility engine number records sitting in front of me. The bad news is they are on 16mm microfilm and I don't have a reader. Even when I do get a reader I've been warned that most if not all are handwritten- in pencil- and were well faded before microfilming anyway. Apparently in the years before computerisation took hold the Motor Registration Branch as it was then had the bright idea of microfilming a lot of the early records. Nothing wrong with microfilming, it is still a sensible way of recording and archiving stuff but unless you take care the quality drops a bit. Poor quality originals become rather poorer microfilms.
I gather modern microfilm scanners can improve things but as I know absolutely nothing about reading old microfilms in 2021 I'm on a very steep learning curve starting from absolute zero. All advice carefully listened to.


British Bikes / Cottman Colt
« on: June 26, 2021, 07:56:47 AM »
I've started exploring info on the Cottman Colt, in the hope of refining that provided in Robs "A-Z of Australian made motorcycles". AOMC records list about 50 Colts on microfilm and possibly some more in the card system.

What I want to know is firstly,
Did Walter Cottman sell the Colt solely in Victoria or did he also sell some interstate? If solely in Victoria then possibly the AOMC list may include every one. If so there's a chance I can ascertain exactly when he started doing so.

And secondly,
Were they all re-badged Model A Royal Enfield or did he also sell other machines under the "Colt" name?

Finally, whilst exploring this has anyone got any other concerns I should keep an eye out for.


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.

Classic Motorcycle Sport / A Mileage Question
« on: March 08, 2017, 12:11:14 AM »
I have a question about English style observed trials. Being Australian I've never seen one and I'm curious. Can any one tell me the approximate mileage a rider would cover in a days trialling and about how long it would take.
At this moment I'm not particularly interested in the Scottish Six Days or the MCC long distance trials they are fairly self explanatory but the more usual weekend stuff.
Can anybody say?

Oh, and weather also. It's mainly a winter sport isn't it?

British Bikes / Netley Marsh Autojumble
« on: July 15, 2011, 04:07:21 AM »
Netley Marsh is on in about six weeks. I'm coming over for it, and any hints on how to approach it would be welcome. The main aim is to find an Albion model HM gearbox for my 1929 Excelsior.

Identify these bikes! / Dating a Bosch Magneto
« on: February 05, 2011, 04:25:06 AM »
I have a Bosch ZE1 magneto, number 2598702. I know Bosch magnetoes can be dated by their production number but I've lost my list. Can anyone out there date it for me please.
This is a common magneto used for many years on any number of single cylinder engines and it would be nice to know what year mine was made.

The Classic Biker Bar / Riding in Europe
« on: October 22, 2008, 12:49:12 AM »
I've just returned from a month long holiday riding the Alpine passes in Italy and France.
It was fantastic and I was impressed at how many bike riders I saw but I was surprised at how few British riders were there. Out of the literally thousands of riders we shared the passes with we saw maybe a dozen bikes with British plates.
Am I missing something here?

Identify these bikes! / Re: Can you identify this fuel tank
« on: February 04, 2006, 11:51:35 AM »
Whatever it is, it isn't James. James had their own particular style of tank and this definitely isn't it. Nor is it Francis Barnett as they had their filler on the right side of the tank and had their own cast alloy cap with scalloped edges.
From the general outline and lack of badge fixing screws I would say it dates from the late 40's, early 50's when tank transfers were the go before plastic tank badges became fashionable. Could belong to any one of a dozen British Lightweights.
Cheers, Bob

British Bikes / Re: excelsior 250 ohv 1930
« on: December 11, 2007, 05:11:01 PM »
This is an easy one Walter.
BMS sell a copy of the 1930 Excelsior catalogue so you can see exactly what your bike shold look like and you can find them at  
You can also browse the VMCC library on line and see what they have plus check what they have on the JAP engine and Burman gearbox.
The VMCC also have an excellent transfer service and have the correct transfers.
Excelsior was making a very good bike at this time and won the 1929 Isle of Man Lightweight TT with a racing version of your bike. You have a very good bike.
Cheers, Bob

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