Tag Archives: classic motorcycle

GOMA motorcycle exhibit confirmed

A special motorcycle exhibition in Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) planned for November has been confirmed with the centre reopening after closing during the pandemic.

The Motorcycle: Design: Art, Desire exhibit will be a “one-off, world exclusive” at GOMA from 28 November 2020 to 26 April 2021.

It will include more than 100 motorcycles from the 1860s to the present day, drawn from private and public collections across the globe. 

Antipodean highlights will be a Brisbane-designed and built 1906 Spencer and the Kiwi-designed 1991 Britten V1000.

work of art
Britten Motorcycle Company Ltd, Christchurch, 1991 Britten V1000 purchased 1995 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds (Collection: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa)

GOMA Director Chris Saines says the centre will reopen from 7 August 2020 after the Queensland Art Gallery reopened on 23 June.

“Now, in line with the Queensland Government’s Roadmap to Recovery and our COVID-19 safety plan in place, we look forward to welcoming visitors back to our second site the Gallery of Modern Art as we prepare for our must-see summer exhibition, ‘The Motorcycle’,” he says.

“The exhibition will appeal not only to bike and motor sport enthusiasts but to anyone with an interest in social history, popular culture, design and technology.”

GOMA exhibit

work of art
1922 German Megola 640cc touring model (© Bonhams Auctioneers)

The GOMA exhibit has been curated by American physicist Professor Charles M. Falco and US filmmaker Ultan Guilfoyle in collaboration with GOMA. 

They were co-curators of the landmark 1998 Guggenheim Museum exhibition in New York, ‘The Art of the Motorcycle’ that ran for three months.

It was subsequently seen in Chicago, Bilbao, Spain, and Las Vegas, with a total attendance of more than two million people.

GOMA director Chris Saines
GOMA director Chris Saines

Prof Falco described himself as a passionate motorcyclist who had his first motorcycle at 15, his first crash at 15.5 and last year rode a 90-year-old motorcycle across the USA.

“For a sustainable future, the world needs motorcycles for personal transportation,” he says.

His co-curator says motorcycles are an example of how “design drives everything”.

Chris says the exhibit will include the earliest 19th century steam-powered motorcycle, right through to electric motorcycles and future designs.

work of art
1930 Majestic 349cc (Photographer: Olivier de Vaulx)

“Over its 150-year history, the motorcycle has undergone extraordinary reinvention, from steam power, to petrol-fuelled internal combustion engines to battery, and from humble backyard creations to custom-made, high-tech chrome speed machines,” Chris says.

work of art
1869 Michaux-Perreaux steam-velocipede, collection du musee du domaine departmental. (Photograph: Olivier Ravoire)

“More than just a means of transport, the motorcycle is a design object, with forms and styles that reflect innumerable cultural and societal influences.”

The exhibit will include bikes, films and interactive displays to appeal to “anyone curious about social history, popular culture, design and technology”.

Tickets are available now on the GOMA website.

GOMA marketing head Bronwyn Klepp says they are looking at extending motorcycle parking opportunities around the centre at least for the duration of the exhibit.

Goma parking
GOMA parking?

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Superior by name, Superior by nature

The modern Brough Superior motorcycles are superior by name and superior by build and nature.

They are now being imported to Australia by industry stalwart Fred who has opened a showroom for the expensive bespoke machines in his business equipment offices at 6/281 Station Rd, Yeerongpilly, Brisbane. Click here for more details.

The model line-up is:

  • SS100, $105,000 (Euro 3);
  • SS100, $110,000 (Euro 4);
  • Pendine Sand Racer, $105,000;
  • Anniversary, $168,000;
  • AMB 001, $185,000.Brough Superior

Feel the Superior quality

They may be expensive, but you can literally see and feel the quality.

For example, their traditionally shaped tanks are made of solid cast aluminium and are so thick they can be machined with all sorts of designs.Brough Superior

In fact, there is a lot of machined billet aluminium in the build from the fenders to the swingarm and forks.

The chassis is also machined titanium, plus there are exotic components such as Beringer brakes with quad discs — yes, that’s right four front discs!Brough Superior SS100

Yet the bikes weigh about 186kg all up even though there are no lightweight plastic panels.

Unfortunately, my insurance wouldn’t let me take one for a test ride, but Fred did allow me a short ride around the warehouse carpark and suburban street.

Brough Superior SS100Carpark test!

It was enough to convince me that this is a very special machine.

Fire it up and it snarls as only an 88-degree V-twin can.

Then you pull the clutch in and it feels so light you would swear it is not connected. It’s the lightest I have ever felt.

Click it into gear and the transmission feels more like some precision surgical equipment than a mechanical gearbox. Brough Superior SS100

A short trundle around the carpark and I’m sweating buckets worrying about dropping the machine.

But I’m also now considering crawling to the bank for a mortgage on the house!

Every detail of these bikes is immaculate, beautifully crafted and oozing with style.Brough Superior

There are virtually no panels to disguise messy wiring or components.

Everything is on show and everything is exquisite.

The craftsmen and women who build them are so proud, they have the name of each bike’s builder etched into a plate on the forks.Brough Superior

Even the bolts are all made of stainless steel.Brough Superior

We can understand that many collectors would be keen to buy them, but so far Fred says all their prospective customers have been motorcycle enthusiasts and riders.


The SS100 is a cross between a café racer and a traditional sports motorcycle.

Only 300 units are planned.


In 1928, George Brough won a famous beach race at Pendine in Wales and in following years many Brough Superior victories were recorded there by other famous racers.

This new Pendine Sand Racer model pays homage to those victories with a very unique and contemporary take on a modern scrambler-styled motorcycle.

ANNIVERSARYBrough Superior Anniversary

The Anniversary was created to celebrate the centenary of Brough Superior.

It is limited to just 100 numbered examples.

AMB 001

AMB 001 Aston Martin BroughAMB 001

This creation is a collaboration with arguably the most famous British sports car brand, Aston Martin, who are now celebrating their 107th year of production.

Also limited to just 100 units worldwide, the track-only AMB 001 uses a turbo-charged version of the Brough Superior V twin engine and a unique chassis incorporating composite materials.

SuperSport 100 (SS100) tech specs

Brough Superior SS100SS100

  • Price: $110,000 (Euro 4) + on-road costs.
  • Warranty: 2 two-year, unlimited-km (parts and labour); 2-year roadside assistance program.
  • Engine: 997cc, 4-stroke, water-cooled, 88-degree V-twin; DOHC 4-valves per cylinder.
  • Power: 75kW @ 9600rpm. 
  • Torque: 87Nm @ 7300rpm.
  • Gearbox: 6-speed, chain drive. 
  • Weight: 186kg.
  • Suspension front/rear: Fior-type cast aluminium wishbone fork with twin articulated titanium triangular links, and monoshock adjustable for preload and rebound damping, 120mm travel; cast aluminium swingarm pivoting in engine crankcases, with monoshock adjustable for preload and rebound damping and progressive rate link, 130mm travel.
  • Brakes front/rear: 4x230mm Beringer stainless steel discs, 2×4-piston Beringer radial calipers; 1 x 230mm Beringer 4D stainless steel disc with 1 x two-piston Beringer caliper; ABS.
  • Tyres: 120/70 – 18; 160/60 – 18.
  • Length: 2180mm
  • Height: 1108mm
  • Wheelbase: 1540mm
  • Fuel: 17.5-litre (4.5L reserve), 95 RON.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Bike wrecker now Brough Superior importer

When he started his motorcycle wrecking parts business under his house in 1971, Fred Drake probably never dreamed he would one day be selling $100k+ Brough Superiors to well-heeled riders.

Fred, 70, is now the first Australian distributor for the venerable British-now-French marque in more than 80 years.

He has opened a showroom for the expensive bespoke machines in his business equipment offices in the gradually gentrifying warehouse district behind Brisbane’s “Magic Mile of Motors” in Moorooka.

The model line-up is:

  • SS100, $105,000 (Euro 3);
  • SS100, $110,000 (Euro 4);
  • Pendine Sand Racer, $105,000;
  • Anniversary, $168,000;
  • AMB 001 (track only), $185,000.

Click here for a short test ride and more info on these models.

Long Brough history

Brough Superior 100th year anniversary model

Brough Superiors weren’t no longer being built when Fred was a lad.

George Brough stunned the world with his handmade machines of which he built only 3048 from 1919 to 1940 in Nottingham, England.

They were called the Rolls Royce of motorcycles and each SS100 model came with a certificate to prove it could go 100mph (160km/h).

Owners included such luminaries as Orson Welles, George Bernard Shaw and T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) who tragically crashed one at high speed and died.

Today, old Brough Superior bikes sell for around half a million dollars at auction.

1939 Brough Superior SS80 vintage1939 Brough Superior SS80

The brand lay dormant until 2008 when Austrian-based English businessman and motorcycle enthusiast Mark Upham bought the rights to the name.

In 2013 he enlisted French designer Thierry Henriette to build a modern-era SS100 prototype and the first Brough Superior motorcycles in seven decades rolled off the assembly line in France in 2016.

They are all handmade to order at a rate of one a day in Toulouse, France.

Broughs are powered by a 997cc, DOHC 88-degree V-twin built by French company Akira, who built the Kawasaki ZX-10R which won the World Superbike championship.

It comes as a 75kW unit but can be tuned up to 102kW at the customer’s request.

Importer of passion

Brough Superior SS100 Fred DrakeFred takes a spin on his SS100

Fred became the importer almost by accident.

“I saw them at the Paris Retromobile Classic Car show in 2019 and liked them,” Fred says. (https://www.retromobile.com/)

“I was interested in buying one. I like a naked bike where you can see the engine and the shape.

“To me the Brough captures the essence of the original 1930s bike, but in a modern machine.”

So he bought an SS100 and the company asked if he would also be interested in importing them.

After considering the business case with industry veteran Dale Schmidtchen, he went ahead with what he calls his “passion project”.

“I thought it would be a bit of fun,” he says.

“You park this bike anywhere and you instantly get people stop and say ‘wow’.Brough Superior

“I had it parked out front and two teenagers stopped to look at it, then a mum and her daughter admired it and then some older people.”

His “showroom” is just an office in a modern warehouse on Station Rd, Yeerongpilly, behind a trendy cafe shop.

You can drop in and have a look at 6/281 Station Rd, Yeerongpilly, but they don’t encourage “tyre kickers”.

In fact, you really need to make an appointment first.

Since all bikes are made to order, Dale says it could take about two months for customer delivery.

He and Fred expect they will sell anywhere from 10 to 25 a year.

About 60% of Brough Superiors are bought by collectors, but Fred says they are a joy to ride and should be ridden, not just admired.Brough Superior SS100 Fred Drake

Warranty and service

They will come with a two-year unlimited-kilometre warranty on parts and labour and two-year roadside assistance program.

There will also be an extended warranty offer.

They may be expensive to buy, but Fred says they are no more expensive to maintain than any other bike.

He will stock service spare parts and order in other parts as needed.

There won’t be a dealer network as such, but a network of preferred dealers to do the handover and servicing. 

Dale has also sourced a selection of finance and insurance options for customers.

Now check out the tech specs.


Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Classic bikes join Isle of Man TT 2 game

We would rather be riding than sitting in front of a computer game (even when it’s raining), but the upcoming Isle of Man TT 2 looks interesting with a host of classic motorcycles being added.

The game is due on Xbox One, PS4, and PC in March 2020 and later on in the year for Nintendo Switch.

If you pre-order, you will receive a 1978 Mike Hailwood Ducati 900 as a bonus motorcycle.

Check out this two-part video.

The first half shows Davey Todd on the BMW S1000RR he rode last year and the second half features Mike the Bike on the Ducati 900.

It’s obviously not as fast, but oh the sound!

In fact, the sound is one of the best things about the game.

No game that we have ever seen comes close to the reality and dynamics of riding.

But the sound sure can. So hook up to a good amp and speakers and turn the volume up to 11.

Classic TTIsle of Man TT 2 game Mike Hailwood Ducati 900

While the Hailwood bike is a bonus for those who order early, there are several other classic bikes in the game.

They include the MV Augusta 500, Norton NRS 588, Suzuki XR69, and Yamaha TZ 750.

Here is the official trailer video for the game.

It will be interesting to see if the Norton V4 RR that featured in the first game returns as the company has gone into administration amid sordid fraud allegations and will obviously not be at this year’s TT.

The first Isle of Man TT video game “Ride on the Edge” featured motorcycles rendered by Brisbane computer graphics production studio Virtual Mechanix.

We aren’t sure if they are involved this time, but the rendering is pretty good and the bikes are faithful to the originals.

TT realismIsle of Man TT 2 game Mike Hailwood Ducati 900

This game was developed by Bigben Interactive and Kylotonn, who did the first IOMTT game and the WRC FIA World Rally Championship series.

They are really going out for realism with the rider view even attracting bug splatters on the visor as they go around the track.

The creators say the new game features a revised physics system with more precise steering, better balance around bends and speed wobbles to alert players.

Brakes and shock absorbers respond to all bumps and users have to manage wear and tear of various bike parts and monitor brakes, suspension, engine and tyre temperatures.

Still, not as good as going for a real ride or heading out for a track day!

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Whatever happened to BSA revival?

The expected revival of the traditional British motorcycle brand, BSA, seems to have stalled more than three years after the brand was bought by Mahindra.

Indian tractor and automotive company Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) bought the revered brand for $A5.4m in October 2016 through their wholly owned subsidiary, Classic Legends Private Limited (CLPL).

At the time they expressed intentions to make it a traditional-styled revival.

A few months later Italian motorcycle designer Oberdan Bezzi released some sketches of BSA models but they were never confirmed.

Xmas revival

On Boxing Day 2017, M&M boss Anand Mahindra Tweeted a short note that suggested they would produce a new motorcycle by Christmas 2018.BSA tweet Mahindra

His Tweet, accompanied by the old advertising image above, reads:BSA tweet Mahindra

However, two Christmases have now passed and there is not even a hint from Mahindra about reviving the brand.

Several old motorcycle brands have been revived in recent years including Bultaco, Brough, Hesketh, Levis, Matchless, Norton and Jawa.

The latter was also revived by Mahindra’s Classic Legends who released a range of classic motorcycles for the local market in late 2018 and added the Perak bobber in November 2018.

Jawa Perak bobber revival
Jawa Perak bobber

When they launched, the order website crashed because of demand.

They said they planned to sell 90,000 bikes a year.

But despite the interest, the Jawa relaunch has been fraught with production problems and delays of up to a year.

Some customers cancelled their orders in frustration.

And that’s just for domestic sale. They haven’t even contemplated exports.

Jawa say that production is improving and customers only need now wait a few weeks for a bike.

However, Mahindra’s boss recently lamented getting into motorcycles at all, so the revival of BSA could be stalled permanently.

BSA history

The inside cover of the original BSA factory record book Why you should secretly mark your bike
An original BSA factory record book

BSA stands for Birmingham Small Arms Company Limited and it began in 1861 making guns.

It gradually moved into bicycles and motorcycles for which they are most famous, although they also made cars, buses, tools and other metal products over the years.

Its most famous motorcycles were the Gold Star 350cc and 500cc single-cylinder four-stroke bikes considered among the fastest of the 1950s. At the time, BSA was also the world’s biggest motorcycle manufacturer.

However, the halcyon post-war days slipped away in the 1960s under competition from more modern and reliable Japanese models.

BSA went bankrupt in the early 1970s and merged with the Norton Villiers Triumph Group. BSA-branded machines ceased production in 1973.

BSA is currently just a brand that churns out motorcycle t-shirts and merchandise.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Jawa launch Perak bobber, but not for us!

One year ago Jawa Motorcycles returned to production with two neo-classic models in India and now they have released a third, the Perak bobber.

Owners Mahindra Motorcycles are only licensed by the original Czech Jawa company to make and sell the bikes in India.

The bike has been a roaring success and put a dent in domestic Royal Enfield sales. It has been beset by production delays and deliveries, but seems now on track to deliver a third model.

Jawa Perak bobber
Jawa Perak bobber

However, the factory still has no plans to export.

“We are currently not looking at any international tie-ups for exporting, sales or dealerships for Jawa Motorcycles,” Jawa tells us.

“However, we shall make a public announcement once we start exploring those avenues.”

Mahindra also has the outright ownership of BSA and had been expected to make retro-styled BSA models soon for sale around the world. However, there is no word on the brand’s resurrection just yet.

Jawa Perak

Meanwhile the Jawa Classic and Jawa 42 will next year be joined by the Perak cruiser for the Indian market.

The Classic and 42 are powered by a new 293cc liquid-cooled, single-cylinder engine which has been styled to resemble the original air-cooled motor.

However, the Jawa Perak bobber is powered by a 334cc, four-stroke, fuel injected, single-cylinder engine producing 22kW of power and 31Nm of torque.

Jawa Perak bobber
Jawa Perak bobber

It will next year be introduced to the Classic and 42.

Indian prices are Rs 1.64 lakh for the Classic, Rs 1.55 lakh for the 42 and Rs 1.94 lakh, respectively. That’s about $A3130-$3600 ($US2280-2600, £1780-2050).Jawa Perak bobber

They would make very cool LAMS bikes for Aussies novices!

The new bobber features a solo seat, telescopic forks, monoshock rear and a mean matte black paint job, even though the name means silver in Malaysia.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Top Tips for Restoring a Vintage Motorcycle

(Contributed post for our North American readers. Image: Vintage Vincent)

Restoring a vintage motorcycle is every motorbike enthusiast’s ultimate dream. Just imagine cruising on the open road as your bike roars its mightiness. You can also think about all the money you would earn from making an excellent job of the restoration process. According to research, people are more than willing to pay good money for a restored vintage bike than for a new one. In 2018, a 1951 Vincent Black Lightning (pictured above) topped the list of the most valuable motorcycles with a value of $929,000. 

Doing a motorcycle restoration correctly is essential. One simple mistake can cause motorcycle accidents. According to Davis Law Group, a motorcycle accident can cause traumatic brain injuries, fractures, spinal cord injuries, burn injuries, and even death. You have to understand that restoring a vintage bike takes time, tons of patience, and loads of cash. If you cannot commit to any of these, this project may not be for you. If you are ready to take on the challenge, then here are some tips to help you ensure that your restoration project becomes a success. 

Look for a Service Manual

While you may be prepared with a variety of tools suited for fixing up a bike, many experts claim that an essential tool you must have is the bike model service manual. The manual will provide you with all the information you will need about the motorcycle. If you can get your hands on an OEM factory repair manual, the better. Note that this manual is not given to buyers, as service techs commonly use these. Repair manuals include a detailed description of how the motorcycle was assembled, a piece of crucial information if you plan to rebuild the bike. 

Dismantle and Categorize

One of the common mistakes newbie restorers make is taking apart the bike and rebuilding immediately. If you do this, you might find it hard to reassemble the parts. You can start by taking the bike apart section by section, then categorize and rebuild as you go. It would be wise to take pictures before and after removing them. Store small parts in a bag and don’t forget to label them appropriately. 

Craft a Plan

To achieve a successful vintage motorcycle restoration project, you must have a plan. Create steps that you should follow so you can accomplish the task systematically. List all the sections you wish to repair, including which goes first and last. One of the most useful guides you can use is your motorcycle’s general condition. 

Creating a plan will also help guide you when you need to order parts for the restoration project. Take note that looking for parts and ordering them takes some time, particularly if you plan to restore an older bike such as 1930 Brough Superior SS100 or a Panther 1928. To make the search easier for you, join forums or ask motorcycle dealerships. You can also make excellent finds in scrap yards or local at mechanic  shops. 

Make it Personal

Restoring vintage motorcycles depends on your preference. If you want the bike to be an expression of your personality, then make it as unique to you as possible. It is your work, anyways. If you’re going to add custom handlebars, feel free to do so. If you plan to do custom work, it would be best to ask a professional to do it for you. Relay to the restoration mechanic what you want to achieve. Make sure that your mechanic is reliable and has a good track record of working on vintage motorcycles. 

Riding a classic motorcycle can give you an unexplainable high, but riding one you’ve restored with your own two hands is heaven. So take the challenge and ride safe! 

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Rare classic motorcycles at Spring Sale

Two very rare classic motorcycles — an RC30 and a Walter Wolf special — are coming up for sale at the Shannons Sydney Spring Auction on 18 November 2019.

The 1989 Honda VFR750R RC30 ‘Homologation Special’ and 1986 Suzuki RG500 ‘Walter Wolf Special Edition’ come from the same private collector.

They are among 11 classic race bikes and on and off-road motorcycles dating from 1943 to 1989 on offer.

Meanwhile, check out our 10 tips for buying at auction.

Honda VFR750R RC30

Honda RC30 rare
Honda RC30

This 1989 Honda VFR750R RC30 was developed as a homologation special for the World Superbike Championship, using cutting edge technology.

It has had just two private owners and is believed to have covered just 17,100km from new.

The RC30’s roots date back to the Honda’s RVF factory racer of 1985 that Australian Wayne Gardner rode to victory in the Suzuka Eight-Hours races of 1985 and 1986 and later scored further Suzuka victories when paired with fellow Aussie legends Mick Doohan and Daryl Beattie respectively in 1991 and 1992.

Costing almost twice the price of a standard 750 sport bike at the time, the RC30 was the Formula 1 racer of motorcycles, with its 360-degree 748cc liquid-cooled four-stroke V4 engine featuring 16-valves, gear-driven double overhead camshafts, titanium conrods, forged alloy pistons and a close-ratio six-speed gearbox. 

The RC30’s current Sydney owner purchased the bike two years ago with 16,350km on its odometer and it is now showing just 17,100km, making this incredibly original Honda RC30 a wonderful collector’s bike at its estimated selling range of $40,000-$45,000.

Rare Walter Wolf Special Edition

Rare Suzuki RG500

The 1986 Suzuki RG500 ‘Walter Wolf Special Edition’ is an original example of the 99 built in the early 1980s to celebrate the  RG500’s success in the Canadian National Pro & Amateur 600 Production Championship, when Walter Wolf was the principal sponsor.

Imported in 2012, the RG500 is one of very few to exist in Australia and is in very original condition.

Its current Sydney enthusiast owner has invested almost $9500 on its mechanical restoration between 2016 and 2018.

Because of its global rarity, Shannons believe the RG500 will be sought-after by international enthusiasts. They are quoting a guiding range of $30,000 – $35,000.

Sale highlights

Other motorcycles on offer at no reserve include:

  • A Pre-Unit Triumph T120R Bonneville fully restored to a high standard by a specialist workshop in Melbourne several years ago. It has 285 miles on the odometer and was recently serviced. It is expected to bring $25,000-$30,000;

    Triumph T120 Bonneville rare
    Triumph T120 Bonneville

  • An unrestored early ‘die-cast’ 1969 Honda CB750 KO with no reserve is expected to fetch up to $20,000;
  • 1972 Laverda 750SF bought by a Sydney fan in 2016 has been restored to a high standard and should fetch more than $15,000. It has matching frame and engine numbers and done just 920km since restoration. It is expected to sell in the $15,000-$20,000 range;

    Laverda 750SF rare
    Laverda 750SF

  • 1943 Malvern Star Autocycle formerly in a museum ($2000-$3000);

    Malvern Star Autocycle rare
    Malvern Star Autocycle

  • Rare British c1948 Excelsior Universal 125cc ($3000-$4000);
  • Circa 1959 BSA Bantam ($4000-$6000);
  • 1949 Matchless G80 500cc ($6000-$8000); and
  • 1961 Matchless G12 CSR ($8,000-$10,000).

Off-roaders on offer include a 1980 Yamaha DT175 Enduro (no reserve $1000-$2000) and two early three wheeler ATVs – 1980 Yamaha YT125G and 1982 Honda 185S. Both are unrestored and offered for sale with no reserve for $1000-$3000.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Rare ride on Ray’s 1948 Vincent Rapide

It is a rare delight to ride a classic motorcycle, so there was no hesitation when Ray Schriever offered me a ride on his prized 1948 Vincent Rapide.

Ray, 69, is a retired aviation engineer who marvels at the British bike’s clever engineering, much of it courtesy of Australian engineer Phil Irving.

“We became friends over the years when he was president of the Vincent Owners Club,” Ray says of Phil.

“He was a genius and this Vincent has some remarkable engineering and unique ideas.”

1948 Vincent Rapide
Ray with Phil

Unique Vincent Rapide

They include the two side stands which can be used separately or together to create a front wheel stand.

There is also a rear wheel stand and a hinged rear fender.

Together with the front stands, it allows the removal of both wheels.

1948 Vincent Rapide
Two side stands

The rear wheel can also be spun around so you can have two sets of sprockets for road and race gearing or for the use of a sidecar.

It is also the first bike with hydraulic damping and most of the fasteners are T-bars so there is no need for spanners, even to remove the wheels.

1948 Vincent Rapide
Hydraulic damping

You can even adjust the chain tension with a simple finger-operated control.

1948 Vincent Rapide
Easy chain adjuster

“This is truly an engineer’s bike,” Ray says.

“It was the first completely new post-war motorcycle.

“Steel was hard to come by after the war so there is a lot of aluminium and stainless on the bike. It’s a lot lighter than it looks.” 

Vincent love affair

Ray’s love affair with the British Vincent HRD brand began as a kid with a photo of a Vincent on his bedroom wall.

“I bought my first Vincent, a Meteor, in 1968 as an apprentice, for $50 and paid it off over 10 weeks. I later bought a Rapide, I sold both bikes and bought a Black Shadow which I rode for years, in fact decades,” he says.

He bought the 1948 Vincent Rapide five years ago from Melbourne for $60,000. It’s now worth about $80,000.1948 Vincent Rapide

“The Vincent Rapide and Back Shadow are basically the same bike but the Shadow has different cams and larger carburettors,” Ray explains.

“It was in good condition but it had had a hard life as either a speedway or race bike.”

Ray’s done a bit of work on the bike and after tickling the carbs and getting the kickstarter in the right position it starts second go.

He takes it round the block, then allows me a short ride, warning me that the brakes are not great.

My turn

As I set out for my ride around the block the Vincent Rapide feels incredibly light with a ballsy engine and surprisingly slick gears which are one up, three down and on the right foot lever.

I almost overshoot the first turn when I go for the brakes and there are virtually none as Ray had warned.

Plus there was the fact that I instinctively clicked down on the right foot lever going up a gear instead of activating the rear drum brake!1948 Vincent Rapide

It easily flicks left and steers accurately despite that whole front end bouncing around on its girder suspension.

When I round the corner to pull in, Ray implores me to have another lap and give it a red-hot go as he waves his arms in the air.

The ballsy engine roars and the bike vibrates a little but not as much as I thought. It’s a rare and too-short experience, but one I won’t forget.

“They called it the big little bike,” Ray says as I return.

“It’s capable fo 120mph (193km/h) and I’ve startled a few riders in the past on modern bikes as I flash past them.”

Ray has owned a number of motorcycles in his life and still has a BMW R 1100 RS, but says the Rapide is his favourite.

“I’m a Vincent obsessive. I just like the way it works.”

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com

Phillip Island Classic returns in 2020

Riders and lovers of classic motorcycles should save the 2020 Australia Day long weekend for the 27th running of the International Phillip Island Classic.

It is the southern hemisphere’s largest historic motorcycle meet.

The Island Classic returns to the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit from 24-26 January 2020.

It will feature a century of motorcycles from pre-war through to the new era machines.

The circuit will play host to more than 450 bikes, 300 riders and 50-plus races starring in a packed agenda.The Island Classic is the southern hemisph ere’s largest historic motorcycle meet

Island Classic tickets

Tickets will go on sale later this year at www.islandclassic.com.au

This year’s prices were $80 for a three-day adult pass if bought in advance with children 15 and under free.

There is also on-circuit camping that last year cost $75 per person for four nights, if purchased in advance.

One of the highlights is the 2019 International  Challenge which was this year successfully defended by Australia, ahead of USA and NZ in third.

Steve Martin won the Ken Wootten Perpetual Trophy, for the highest individual point scorer.

Source: MotorbikeWriter.com