Monday, June 30, 2008

The Velocette LE150 re-visited....

Following an earlier posting on my blog of the 1948 Earles court Motorcycle show Velocette stand, John Jennings , with whom as editor of FTDU I am collaborating in the publishing of the diaries of the Adelaide dealer and South Australian Velocette importer Lou Borgelt, reminded me of a section of interest from one of Lou's 1948 diaries. I've included it below, as it refers to his ride on the then new LE150 from the Velocette works and comments between himself and Eugene Goodman, then a director of Veloce Ltd and whose vision for Veloce Ltd lay with the "everyman machine", in their case the LE.
I would go so far as to say he was "blinkered" in his outlook for the companies motorcycle models, intending to cease production of all but the LE.
It would be another 30 years before the Honda 50 would sweep all before it starting Honda on it's road to economic fame and fortune.
It too was an "everyman machine".
Two photos are included, for whom acknowledgement is made to Keystone Press Agency Ltd., London, UK , one of which I've posted before.

From the Borgelt Diaries.....

Borgelt Diary Extract – Wed 17th November 1948, Birmingham UK

I return to the Grand Hotel where Mrs. Borgelt hands me a letter from the J.A.P. works, also one from Australia House with lengthy leaflet about the Aboriginal picture exhibition in London. I break my glasses so take them to optician for new frame.
Have lunch at the Midland Hotel and do we go short? Oh no! Thick soup, bread, guinea fowl, potatoes and cauliflower, apple-date pie. It cost 5/- but it was a dinner. Nobody eating at restaurants or Hotels go short, they have plenty of food; it is the housewife who suffers. This morning at breakfast had sort of Weetbix and pears, large plate of fish with a tomato and few mushrooms. Toast, enough butter. Sugar in shakers for cereal and plenty of sugar loaf for tea (A big fellah breakfast). Room, bed and breakfast cost two of us 42/- per day (wow!).
Mr. Percy Williams stayed here recently (of Sydney) anyhow may as well swank it even if we can’t afford it. The room faces a small park and the Birmingham Cathedral in the centre, a large window, room 25’ x 13’, two single beds, hot and cold water, easy chair and two chairs, writing table, dressing and make up table for Mrs. Borgelt, telephone, eiderdowns and a large wardrobe and wall to wall carpet. Nuff said and we are comfortable and that is what matters.
Take bus to Veloce works. Meet Mr. Percy and a Swede in his office. I wander around the works and look up Tommy Mutton who gets an L.E. ready for me to ride on the road. He loans me his zipper flying suit and gloves and away I go. Pick up 1 gallon petrol. Here they have a double ticket, with 1/2 gallon on each. I say one gallon and tank would not take it; I hand out ticket and chaps look at me in horror to say ‘what are you putting over’, because it was only a 1/2 gallon ticket. I apologise and they siphon 1/2 gallon from tank and I pay 1/1d. Several chaps come along to look at the L.E. Velo while one, a policeman in plain clothes, asks how can he get to Australia. I give him my card and tell him to write to the Commissioner of Police, Adelaide, and I continue my trial run on the L.E. and find it is very excellent to ride. It has a feeling of stability, really silent and smooth -to ride. I return to works, crawl out of suit and am back for tea at the works. Meet Mr. Eugene Goodman, a brother of Mr. Percy, and the designer of the L.E. Velo. We have a general discussion re a 200 L.E. and the desirability to continue with the M.A.C. Eugene took it in I am sure, but he says why should they continue with an old 1933 model, an out of date bike. I differed to say it is still the most excellent of its type!
Left click on photos to enlarge.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Magic Copper Loop...Radio-Frequency induction heating in the manufacture of motor cycle parts.

The following article was produced in the English motorcycle magazine "The Motor Cycle" on 28th April 1960 and shows again that small though they were as a motorcycle manufacturer, Veloce Ltd. were not frightened to adopt state of the art technology on the production line. I also published this in the Australian Velocette OC magazine FTDU322.

The photographs were scanned from the newspaper print and so their quality suffers as a result.

Acknowledgement is made to Mortons Motorcycle Media Ltd.

Because of the mention of newsprint photo quality , these illustrated are better not enlarged.
Hold a finger in the middle of an ordinary-looking loop of copper tube and nothing happens; yet place a piece of metal within the same loop and in a few seconds it is glowing cherry red. Magic? It may seem so- and the mysterious cabinet, with its panel of knobs, switches and dials, from which the copper loop projects could well be part of the mumbo-jumbo of a stage illusionist.
But in fact this is a radio-frequency induction heating, a process which is coming more and more into prominence in engineering. It has particular applications in motor-cycle manufacture and Velocettes’, to quote a specific factory, began in a small way by using the system for hardening the tips of clutch-plate discs; now induction heating is used in frame brazing, for fixing hardened pads to cam followers and in many other ways.
The principle is not unlike that of an ignition coil. The metal part to be heated is placed within a coil of copper tubing (tubing, for a reason which will be explained shortly) and an alternating current is passed through the coil winding. As with the ignition coil, a secondary current is thereby induced with, in this instance, the component to be treated replacing the usual secondary windings. The electric impulses disturb the molecular structure of the metal and thus heat is produced.
By heating quickly enough only the surface layer is affected-ideal when hardening or tempering is to be done. For other processes the whole component must be heated through, and so the rate of heating is slowed down. Control is obtained by using coils which may be tightly looped for speed heating) or loose-coiled (for through-heating).
There must be no direct contact between coil and compartment, or a short would occur; and so that the coil is not affected by heat reflected from the continuously through the tubing from which the coil is constructed. Further, to obviate arcing, the copper is first discovered with spun-glass then given a coating of shellac.
So far, so good. But town mains supply is usually at either, 50 or 60 cyles per second, and at so slow a rate of reversal the heating effect is negligible. The smaller the part to be heated, the higher the frequency is required, but for most of the purposes a frequency of about 400 kilocycles per second is used. And that is where the magic cabinet comes in for it is, in a way, a radio transmitter, stepping up the normal factory supply to the high frequency necessary by means of a transformer, with associated mercury-vapour rectifiers and oscillator valves.
First the transformer takes the ordinary input (at, say, 220 volts) and delivers it at 6,000 volts to the rectifiers; they, in turn, convert it from A.C. to D.C. and pass it to the oscillator valves, from which it emerges as A.C. current once more, but this time at 400,000 cycles per second. Even then an output transformer is brought into the circuit, so that voltage and current may be varied according to the job at hand.
As to the coils themselves, the shape can be varied in many ways- long coils, short loops, square coils, flat coils; it all depends on the shape of the component to be heated, and the substitution of one more coil for another when a change in the production run is made is a simple matter. The use of the apparatus is almost limitless. To take the Velocette clutch plate as an example, by the earlier production method the whole plate would first have had to be copper plated, to prevent carbon penetration, and then the copper would have been scraped away from those parts where penetration was, in fact, wanted. Carburizing would follow, then the plate would be quenched- and distortion could quite easily result. Now, just the tips of the plate are passed, one at a time, through an induction coil; the heat is applied only where necessary and distortion cannot arise.
Again, a coil can be arranged for internal heating- as in the case of a light alloy cylinder barrel which should be heated before the iron liner is fitted into place. The whole job can be done in one and a half minutes whereas by the conventional method of placing a stack of barrels in an electric furnace only six could be treated in half an hour.
Another example of time-saving? Certainly; at one time a Velocette oil-pump spindle, complete with the gear wheel it carries, had to be turned from the solid. Now the spindles is cut from the pre-ground stock, the pinion is cut in the normal manner and is bored so that there is 0.0005in clearance between shaft and bore, and the two components are silver soldered together in the induction heater. And while one component is heating the operator can prepare the next.
But perhaps the most spectacular piece of magic is that which brazes the trunnion lug (brake anchor lug) to one arm of the pivoted rear fork. The operator picks up the length of tube, paints it with a liquid flux at the appropriate place, then slips the lug to be brazed over the tube and into its appointed station. Next a ring of wire- the hard sliver-solder-is wrapped round the tube at the junction of the tube and lug.
The tube is then placed vertically, silver-solder ring uppermost, in a fixture so that the lug is within a heating coil.
Within seconds the lug glows red then- phhtt! In a flash the solder ring has disappeared , as the molten metal penetrates between lug and tube to form a secure bond.
Compare that with the traditional frame-building methods of gas torch, fire-brick hearth and consequent distortion- which is rectified by brutal-seeming leverage with a crowbar until the frame matches the trueing jig! And when it comes to brazing the steering-head lug in place, other advantages make themselves known, for now the lug can be fully machined before assembly. Formerly, because of consequent distortion, machining had to be carried out after brazing. Nor is there need for shot-blasting to remove brazing deposits as is the case with time-honoured methods.
It's interesting to see the huge size of the "electronics" in one would imagine it was about the size of a home computer unit.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

More on Earles Court Motorcycle Show Velocette Stands...

Pictures from my Archive… a frequent dip into photographs that I want to share with you….
An earlier blog showed the September 1967 Earles Court Motor Cycle show with the sectioned Venom Thruxton on the Velocette stand.
Above is another view of this stand illustating another Thruxton with a fairing fitted and the sectioned Thruxton in the background, the rear of another is just visible to the right.
Also illustrated is a shadow board with Royal Enfield spare parts... Veloce Ltd purchased a spares cache valued at about £100,000 retail from the Royal Enfield liquidator for about £20,000... it couldn't come at a better time, as Veloce Ltd were reeling from a spiralling bank over-draft that was out of control and themselves staring liquidation in the face.
As it was it allowed them to trade for another three years before they themsleves closed forever.
The additional photo is obviously an advertising one for some product, illustrated in the riders hand with interested onlookers.
This is a "Motor Cycle" press photo, as is the upper one, taken at the 1966 Earles court Show on the Velocette stand and the picture published on 28th February 1967.
Left click on photos to enlarge.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Velocette in the 1971 Castrol 6 Hour Production Race….

1970 saw the first of what became an almost 15 year span of 6 hour production machine races, held, except for one race, at the Amaroo Park Raceway, a 1.2 mile tight clockwise circuit on the Northern outskirts of Sydney.
That first year saw a relatively unknown rider, Craig Brown, on his “ride to work” ( later to prove his undoing), CB750/4 Honda.
Craig led the race until near the end, when he ran out of front brakes…he hadn’t the money to start the race with new brake pads and paid the price with a retirement, leaving the late Bryan Hindle and Len Atlee to win on the Ryan’s of Parramatta Triumph 650.
Well at this stage I was still an “occasional racer”, still had my Velocette Venom Thruxton ( engine number VMT458), which I purchased new in Feb.1967 and so took the plunge and entered the 1971 event, with former ex-International Dennis Fry and John Herrick as co-riders, both also Velocette enthusiasts. My good friend Jim Day was the designated team mechanic.
Now it was a long time ago, so I can let some “skeletons out of the cupboard”…not figuring on getting on the leader board in the 500 class, I decided to “help” the VMT.
I fitted coil valve springs back in, rather than the original hairpin type. We never revved it past the designated 6,200rpm maximum, but the hairpins usually settled and valve float would set in lower and lower as the race progressed, so the coils ensured this didn’t happen and should you miss a gear, the resulting over revving wouldn’t see a valve kiss the piston. This happened in unofficial practice some weeks before with hairpins fitted and a bent Nimonic 80 exhaust valve resulted. An urgent telephone call to L.J.Stevens Ltd, the Velo people in London, UK, saw a replacement airmailed out in time. As well Thruxton’s are marginal in engine pinging, so working at a scientific research establishment, CSIRO, I found out the dye used to dye the local Super petrol ( 96 octane) we had to use.
I obtained some and using Esso 115/145 aviation fuel, normally purple in colour, I dyed some 20 gallons of fuel to the straw colour of Super..
That was one problem out of the way.
The kickstarter fouled the exhaust pipe, so I re-bent it and replated it to standard…removed the dynamo belt and fitted a broken one left lying in the bottom of the generator cover. The battery was a hollow box and no battery needed, there being no current generated.
I might say at this stage, that the supplementary regulations for this race were so strict in requiring a standard specification. There is no doubt that not many of the “production” racers in the IOM Production TTs would have complied…
Dennis Fry had an ankle injury from several IOM TT crashes in his continental circus career in the early 1960s, so needed a rocking gear pedal. I petitioned the organising committee for permission to fit one.
I also had a bent in that era to use aviation oil and so we eschewed the free gallon of Castrol GTX for Mobil Aero Oil 80. Tyres were to be road tyres and I favoured Metzelers’ so fitted C5 front and rear.
Official practice went off all Ok and we agreed that I would ride the first 2 hours we would then refuel, Dennis Fry would ride next and depending on our position in the race, either John Herrick or Dennis Fry would do the last 2 hours. This leads to an interesting incident at scrutineering... Dennis Fry fronted up with his Cromwell "Pudding basin" helmet ( you can see it in the pictures...likely this was the last time such a helmet was used in competition..)...the examiner baulked at Dennis's helmet... seizing the opportunity, Dennis replied, "Listen mate, this helmet has survived 5 crashes in the IOM TT at over 120mph" and pointed to the IOM TT compliance stickers on the helmet etc. Flumoxed, the official passed it, when in hind sight it should have gone into the rubbish tin....
With the tank capacity and fuel consumption, we had only 2 stops for fuel compared to 4 stops for most of the others. The exception being the large BMWs who also could do 2 hour stints.
The start was a nightmare..a Le Mans start requiring you to sprint across the track, mount and of course we had to kickstart, some others also kicked, other used electric starters. The noise was incredible as the 64 bikes burst into life…I couldn’t tell if the engine was going ( yes…I have a tacho and a quick look should suffice, but the adrenaline pumping, I forgot), so it was a slow start. However I quickly settled down and my lap times were consistent and we were placed about mid field in the 500 class. The pit stop was uneventful and Dennis Fry set off and soon his European racing experience showed and he was lapping consistently a second faster than me…then he disappeared!
Anxiously we waited for him to appear or news…then it came -he’d crashed heavily in the Brabham loop, the bike end over ended, destroying the rear rim and silencer and bending the frame. Dennis was carted off to hospital…128 laps and we were out….
Dennis recovered and we straightened the frame and I made plans to ride again next year. It wasn’t to be, for what reason I can no longer remember.
I perused the lap sheets and figured we would likely have done 285+ laps, this would have got us into 12th place in the 500 class, let’s put this into perspective…out of 13 finishers in that class .
Still you know what they say…the old “if”…”If your Aunt had balls, she’d be your Uncle…”
There were 15 starters and 10 finishers in the Unlimited class; 26 starters and 13 finishers in the 500 class; and 23 starters and 8 finishers in the 250 class.
The Thruxton was the only Velocette to have entered in the races history and if you want to be catty it was the only Velo not to finish…..

Where is my old Thruxton today?.... it passed out of my hands in 1980 to Tony Keene, who finished its repair/restoration and was eventually sold on to Western Australia where it is today.
Left click on photos to enlarge.
Most of the photographs are credited to John Hiscox of Hisco Photography, Sydney.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Picture of the week...well from an April 1954 "Motor Cycling"

Billed as The Picture of the Week... from p.707 of the 1st April 1954 copy of "Motor Cycling", the text says....

"Today being All Fools Day, against the date in our special diary the entry reads:"Line and Leg Pulling begins..".

So we felt that this picture, sent to us from Neckarsulm ( the city where NSU had their factory) and depicting what the NSU people call their "Hunter" model scooter, had a strong claim to be The Picture of the Week. ....."

Left click on photo to enlarge

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Perusing Phil Irving’s Autobiography...

Perusing Phil Irving’s Autobiography. (published in 1992 by Turton and Armstong, publishers in Sydney, Australia in hardback and more recently republished in a soft covered edition and a MUST read….)
I came across the details that refer to the pictures below….part of Stuart Waycott’s 600cc ISDT Velocette outfit from 1936.
From p.251,... Phil relates...( and he was working for Veloce Ltd at the time)"…I gradually became landed with the job of supervising construction of the (ISDT) outfit for which Harold Willis agreed to provide a de-tuned Senior TT engine, bored out to 85mm, and with new flywheels giving 105mm stroke, bringing the capacity up to 596cc. As with its huge cylinder head and long stroke the engine was too bulky to fit into the old frame, another was made with a heavier top tube humped in the centre to clear the head.”….

"A heart-stopping incident occurred when the tank was put on for the first time, when it became painfully obvious that while the spark plug could be observed nestling amongst the head-fins, removing it with a normal sized hand was quite out of the question. This unforeseen stumbling block was overcome by some rapid team work which involved cutting two holes through the tank in positions marked out by intelligent guess-work (mine) and welding in a tube in position to clear a long box-spanner equipped with a spring clip to retain the plug so that it could be lifted out. The waterproof plug terminal could simply be clicked off or on with two fingers, and a seemingly desperate situation was turned to Stuart’s advantage because he would be able to change a plug without even getting out of the saddle".
Now on one of my several visits to “Owls Rest”, Phil’s property in Warrandyte, Victoria, we spoke of this incident above, as I had brought along two photos of the Waycott 600 outfit for his comments, .. these illustrate this article and he excitedly explained the above adding that he found the brain wondrous, as he had looked at the top area of the tank and fingered the spot with the index finger of his right hand, while placing his left index finger under the tank bottom ( and not visible to him) shuffling the two around until the finger underneath was directly over the spark plug end and had an assistant carefully mark these spots with chalk, then two holes were cut and they were in line with each other and a tube could be welded in as mentioned above. The brain of course can spatially adjust to this.
Left click on photos to enlarge.

Friday, June 20, 2008

From my Archive, some views of the Velocette stand at the 1948 Earles Court Motor Cycle Show..

The 1948 Earles Court motor Cycle show saw the introduction of the 150cc LE Velocette, later named the Mk.1...there were Mk.2,3 and the Vogue to follow over the years, although the capacity was increased to 200cc in these models.
This was the culmination of Eugene Goodman's ( the brother of Percy Goodman a company director of Veloce Ld.) dream,.... the "Everymans machine" and the plan was for Veloce to eventually concentrate on only making these, dropping all other models.
Ironically it is considered by many to have been the model that caused Veloce to liquidate in the early 1970s...they spent a lot of the WW2 profits in tooling up for fact the Lake Eirie press, need to press out the body banels was reputed to have cost £98,000 ...a fortune in todays money. As well the LE costing was worked out on a production run of 300 machines a week, when in reality, making only LE's the best they obtained was around 165 per week. Effectively they sold them below cost.
The photo of the LE on the show stand, indicates the interest from the general public.
The other photo shows two Mk.8 KTT production racers with the 1948 IOM Junior TT trophy, won by Veloce, in between.
Left click on photos to enlarge

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Speedway Velocettes...........

Velocette is not a name known for it's speedway exploits, however the factory did make a solo speedway machine, the KDT for limited sale in mid 1929.
Checking the factory KTT records I can find 22 invoiced out from KDT46 (05.04.1929) up to KDT185 (22.01.1930) this last one was sold to New Zealand..
Jeff Clew in his Veloce history "Always in the Picture" claims it was alleged about 50 were made and that not all were sold and of those taken back by Veloce, the engines were removed and converted into 348cc KTTs. Ex Service manager Bob Burgess confirmed this to Bob Currie as former "The Motorcycle" journalist.
The capacity of the KDT was listed as 411cc using an overbored version the 350 cc overhead-camshaft engine. .
The standard Velocette gearbox shell was employed but this had no internals and was used as a single-speed countershaft. No separate oil tank was contained in a compartment of the little fuel tank. KDT149 was delivered to H Clayton of Huddersfield on 29th July 1929.
At one stage Jeff owned KDT149, likely one of the few to survive.
The photo of the KDT and rider is Bert Clayton from Huddersfield who not only competed at the Northern UK speedway tracks in late 1920s, early 1930s, but took part also in hill-climbs and other branches of motorcycle sport.
Three were despatched to Australia, two of these to Adelaide and the other to Sydney.
All others were sold in the UK.
Above is a photo taken at Penrith speedway, on the western outskirts of Sydney in around 1936, with a KDT ridden by Billy Woodman leading and Cec Weatherby , himself a Velocette man, hot in pursuit, but no indication of what he was riding.
Speedway was a curiously Australian "invention" if you could call it that and more perculiar was sidecar speedway, with banked motorcycle and the sidecar wheel also banked.
Usually dominated by 1000cc, then 1300cc Vincent specials ( bad news sidecar was responsible for lots of Vincent engines with their gearboxes cut gears in speedway...) , ocasionally you saw other engines and the iron MSS was a good start for novices. Some were also used in solos rather than JAPs early on.

The iron MSS took to methanol fuel and high compression ratios.
Those illustrated here are likely at the Sydney Showground Speedway. Although the shot of two outfits shows Ray Cudikly and Ern Adlam on the Velocette and is at the Sydney Sportsground speedway 03.03.1950.
The other MSS outfit at speed is Smedley and Moran.

Left click on photos to enlarge.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Pictures from my Archive… a frequent dip into photographs that I want to share with you….

Velocette sectioned a few of their motorcycles for exhibition at large Motorcycle Show's such as at Earles Court, London..... Len Moseley in his book "My Velocette Days", detailing his time working for Veloce Ltd, mentions a sectioned Venom model for the 1963 Earles Court Show, which he personally produced.
He also " ..wondered what became of the sectioned models of the LE and the various other sectioned machines...".
The UK Velocette Owners Club has two sectioned engines I have seen on display, some years back, one an iron MAC, the other a Venom or MSS.
But I am unsure if the sectioning was done by a private owner or at Veloce Ltd.
The sectioned Venom Thruxton pictured is listed on the back of the photograph as at the 1967 Earles Court Show on the Velocette Stand....the photo published in
"The MotorCycle" and acknowledgement is made to them.
Left click on photograph to enlarge.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pictures from my Archive… a frequent dip into photographs that I want to share with you….

Brooklands, the oval banked circuit that is near Weybridge in Surrey, England has been in the news recently for motorcyclists, with the 100th anniversary of the first motorcycle race there and all the "nobs" turned out many with historic racers that were used there.

Well I've several photographs to show you, one is the repairs to the banking during the winter of 1935, another of the late Chas. Mortimer Senior who had just collided with a barrel used as a marker, also during September 1935. I've also two of Les Archer, snr, attempting a 100 mile record...check out the sidecar...these were called "coffins"... can't imagine the passenger staring at the rapidly vanishing road surface for an hour....4th May 1932, they averaged 79.52mph.
Dai Gibberson also kindly sent me several of it's construction in around 1905....
Photo credits to Fox Photos, London, "The Motor Cycle", London and wherever Dai

sourced his from.....

Left click on photos to enlarge.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Honda Production Racers in the early 1960s....

I’m on a bit of a roll with the research in some of my files over these earlier Honda racers and find the Super Sports versions fascinating…
For 1962 Honda introduced a series of production racers mirroring technology gained from their Grands Prix racers.
These were intended to provide suitable machines for good riders and obviously to continue the advertising success Honda were enjoying.

These 50cc items I covered in an earlier blog, but form part of this production racer series...
In the 50cc class for selected sale to the racing public they offered the CR110 Cub racer, which was an air cooled single cyl.4 stroke engine, DOHC with gear train drive, 49.99cc with 40.4mm bore x 39.0mm stroke, 8.5bhp at 13,500rpm, 0.46kg torque at 11,500rpm, magneto ignition, 8 speed gearbox.

As well Honda produced a sports model of the CR110 for the road Same engine details, but 7bhp at 12,700rpm, 5 speed gearbox, max. speed 100kph (62mph), 2.25-18 tyres front and rear, 75kg dry machine weight with a price then of 170,000 yen.

In the 125cc class came the CR93Benly racer, a twin cylinder gear driven DOHC 4 valve per cylinder engine, 124.8cc capacity bore and stroke 43.0 x 43.0mm; 21.5PS at 13,500rpm with 1.05kg torque at 10,700rpm, twin carbs, magneto ignition, wet sump, 10.2:1 comp.ratio. 5 speed gearbox, tyres 2.50-18 front and 2.75-18 rear, drum brakes with 2LS front and SLS rear.
Likely for Japan only was offered a Super Sports or Clubman version of the CR93 racer, called the CR93 Benly racer Super Sports., same engine detail, with 16.5PS at 11,500rpm and 1.05kg torque at 10,700rpm, 5 speed gearbox, max. speed listed at over 135kph(84mph), dry weight 127.5kg, wheels and tyres as per the production racer. Price then 300,000Yen.

For the 250cc class, came the CR72 racer, a twin cylinder gear driven DOHC 4 valve per cylinder engine,247cc bore and stroke 54.0 x 54.0mm, twin carbs.,wet sump, 6 speed gearbox,29PS at 9/500rpm and 2.06kg torque at 7,500rpm 150kg dry weight, tyres 2.75-18 front and 3.00-18 rear, drum brakes front and rear with 2LS front and SLS rear.
There does not appear to be a directly related Super Sports road version.
The 350cc class had an enlarged type of CR72 engine, capacity 305.4cc, bore and stroke 60 x 54mm, 29PS at 9,250rpm .I have little other detail and leave it up to you to compare the photographs.
Then as mentioned before, Honda retired from formal Grand Prix racing around 1968 and it all became history…..
Data and photographs for this blog are acknowledged from “Honda Collection 1”, Honda Collection 2” (published by Honda Motor Co.,Ltd, Honda Collection Hall Museum Project and printed in 1994 by Neko Publishing Co.,Ltd, Japan) and Million Mook “Exciting Bike” the Honda Story, published in Japan 1991. All are in Japanese.
Left click on photos to enlarge

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Time for another banjo photograph...

Frankly when I set up this blog and mentioned banjos, I didn't really think there would be much content of interest to those, likely , predominantly motorcycle interested people looking at my blog, but what the heck, I have to endure the interminable banjo jokes, so I'm getting my own back, but this will be the only banjo item for a while..... and the banjo cartoon, yes Larry Larson of "Farside" fame plays banjo....
Picture is taken at the 56th Australian Jazz Convention in December 2001 and held in Adelaide, South Australia and shows John Packham from NSW , standing and playing a Bacon and Day tenor banjo, while seated beside me and playing a Vegavox 1 tenor banjo is Lance McGuire from Queensland and of course me playing my Vegavox Ultra plectrum banjo. Judging by the serious concentration we were reading a music score we were not that familiar with.

Left click on photo to enlarge.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Pictures from my Archive… a frequent dip into photographs that I want to share with you….

Following my overland trip to Europe in 1974, I often called into Michael Krauser's business in Germering, a suburb of München, then West Germany.
He was the biggest BMW dealer in the area, a former sidecar racer himself and a sponser of GP sidecar racers using BMW Rennsport engines. His workshop was well equiped with an engine dyno and the photo shows a Rennsport engine under test. I've forgotten whose it was.
As well he had on loan the 1939 500cc supercharged Rennsport racer that resided in the BMW museum. This was considered to be the 1939 IOM Senior TT winning machine, ridden by Shorsh Meier, but MLG Motorcycles in London also had one they considered was "the machine" and even had the riding number of Meier , #49, fitted to it...the München version had #1.....interesting...
John Surtees now has the MLG one and he is as adamant as to it's history.
Unsure what BMW's current position is....
Anyhow, it was late April 1974, Krauser was preparing the BMW version of the prewar Renssport for Meier to parade at the forthcoming Vintage races at Salzburgring in Austria. He was going to take it the next day to the BMW test facility, "would I care to come"...would I....
Next day guessed it light snow was falling and thus the test was off! We adjourned to his rolling road dynomometer where I had to be content to see it rip the rear C7 Racing Metzeler tyre to shreds on the rollers...must have some torque....
Quite an experience...
Pictured is the engine and the complete machine.
Photos were taken by me.
Left click on the photos to enlarge.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Honda 50cc Racers…RC112,RC113, RC114 & RC115

Between 1962 and 1965 Honda made four different 50cc twin cylinder Grand Prix racing motorcycles.
Money seemed no object and all had differing engine castings and configurations….
All were air cooled 4 stroke twins with gear driven overhead camshafts.
The RC112 of 1962 was a 2 valve DOHC engine, 49.61cc, bore 33.0mm x stroke 29.0mm, listing over 10bhp at 17,500rpm, 0.45kg of torque at 15,000rpm, magneto ignition, wet sump, 9 speed gearbox, 62.5kg machine weight, drum brakes SLS front and rear, tyre sizes 2.00-18 front and 2.25-18 rear, max. speed over 140kph(87mph).
The RC113 of 1963 changed to a 4 valve DOHC engine, 49.61cc, bore 33.0mm x 29.0mm stroke, listing over 10bhp at 19,000rpm, transistor ignition, 2 carbs,( piston valve), wet sump, 9 speed gearbox, 53kg machine weight, front brake a push bike calliper type, rear 2LS drum, 2.00-18 front and 2.25-18 rear tyres, max. speed over 140kph (87mph).
I have no specification listing for the 1964 machine, but it was the RC114, a twin cyl. 4 valve DOHC engine..

The RC115 of 1965 again was a 4 valve DOHC engine, 49.75cc bore 34.00mm x 27.4mm, listed as over 13 bhp at 20,000rpm, transistor ignition, 2 carbs ( piston valve), wet sump, 9 speed gearbox, 50kg machine weight, front brake a push bike calliper type, rear 2LS drum, 2.00-18 front and 2.25-18 rear tyres, max. speed 154kph (96mph).
Interestingly the machine weight fell from 62.5kg to 50kg over 4 years development with the max. engine rpm rising from 17,500rpm to 20,000rpm & engine power from 10bhp to 13bhp.
I recall there was a rumour at the time, never substantiated, that Honda had a 4 cylinder 50cc engine under development,,, amazing!
Looking at the pictures the crankshaft fits into a human hand!! The gear wheels in the 9 speed gearbox must have been really thin, almost like a slitting milling machine cutter.
For 1962 Honda produced a production racer in 50cc format for selected sale to the racing public. Called the CR110 Cub racer, it was an air cooled single cyl.4 stroke engine, DOHC with gear train drive, 49.99cc with 40.4mm bore x 39.0mm stroke, 8.5bhp at 13,500rpm, 0.46kg torque at 11,500rpm, magneto ignition, 8 speed gearbox.
As well Honda produced a sports model of the CR110 for the road! Same engine details, but 7bhp at 12,700rpm, 5 speed gearbox, max. speed 100kph (62mph), 2.25-18 tyres front and rear, 75kg dry machine weight with a price then of 170,000 yen.
Then Honda retired from formal Grand Prix racing around 1968 and it all became history…..
Data and photographs for this blog are acknowledged from “Honda Collection 1”, Honda Collection 2” (published by Honda Motor Co.,Ltd, Honda Collection Hall Museum Project and printed in 1994 by Neko Publishing Co.,Ltd, Japan) and “Motorrad Classic” 5/2000 Sept./Oct., published by Motor Presse-Verlag, Stuttgart, Germany.
Left click on photos to enlarge.