Month: April 2011

Reader Rides. Some sweet custom built “earth shakers”!

I know that folks can be very particular about their preferences and such but whatever your tastes you can’t deny the monster skills that went into building these wicked machines. That Triumph in particular is pretty freaking sweet.

Michael Yamen writes in: Here are a couple of my hand built Bikes. First one has a 540CI big block Merlin Engine. 2nd one is my home made Triumph Rocket sidecar rig

Brough Superior! Thank You Bonhams for the great, high resolution picture!


Bonhams’ annual sale of Collectors’ Motorcycles and Related Memorabilia at The Classic MotorCycle Show, Stafford on Easter Sunday, 24th April once more demonstrated the strength of the motorcycle market with a sales total of £2 million and 93% of Lots sold (85% by value).

Top item in the sale was Lot 339, the 1934 Brough Superior SS100. Restored by marque specialist Dave Clark in 2004, the Brough changed hands for an on-estimate £131,300.

Britain’s most successful ‘over the counter’ racing motorcycle of all time, the Manx Norton is always in demand and the restored 1961 500cc version sold to a bidder in California for an above-estimate £29,900, reflecting its rarity as a ‘matching-numbers’ example. Also British but much less well known, the 1965 DMW Typhoon 500cc twin-cylinder prototype fetched £19,550 against an estimate of £8,000 – 12,000.

Ben Walker, Head of Bonhams Collectors’ Motorcycle Department, commented: ‘We were extremely happy with the results achieved. The vendors of some of the more expensive machines had been offered substantially less in advance of the sale than the actual prices achieved, which amply demonstrates the merits of offering collectible motorcycles to a worldwide audience at a Bonhams auction.’

The customary eclectic mix of machines encompassed almost the entire span of motorcycle development, ranging from the 1902 Griffon to the 1998 Ducati 916SPS ‘Fogarty Replica’. As usual the sale attracted a worldwide audience, with bidders representing almost every European Union country plus the USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa, Switzerland, Norway, Mexico and India. This sale was also notable as the first at Stafford to include live bidding via the Internet.

Vincents are always in demand and this sale provided plentiful opportunities for devotees of the Stevenage marque to expand their collections, there being no fewer than eleven consigned. As expected, top performer was the 1955 Series D Victor prototype, the only one of its kind ever made, which sold for a premium-inclusive £107,100, more than double its top estimate of £50,000. Offered from the same private collection, the 1949 Black Shadow Series C fetched £68,600 while the totally dismantled 1951 Comet ‘project’ made £9,200.

Other ‘projects’ and ‘barn finds’ turned in some of the sale’s most notable results, confirming the continuing healthy demand for original, unrestored machines, whatever their condition. Purchased by its late owner in 1960, the totally original 1950 Ariel Model 4G ‘Square Four’ sold for £5,520 while the dismantled 1928 Norton Model 18 ‘flat tanker’ was knocked down for £16,100 against a top estimate of £4,000. The sale’s oldest motorcycle, the unrestored 1902 Griffon discovered by the vendor’s late father in a local garage in 1959, fetched £24,250, comfortably exceeding its £10,000 top estimate.

Other notable Edwardians, albeit examples at the opposite end of the condition scale, included the restored 1911 Pierce (an early example of America’s first four-cylinder motorcycle), which sold for £54,300, and the rebuilt 1906 NSU 5½hp Touring v-twin, which found a new home in Spain for an above-estimate £24,150.

Italy could lay claim to the sale’s other top-performing racing motorcycles: the 1974 Laverda 750SFC sailing past its £20,000 top estimate to find a new owner for £27,600, while the 2003 Gilera 500cc four-cylinder (a faithful replica of the 1957 works machine built in the UK by Kay Engineering) sold for £84,000, bang on estimate.

Other top-performing Italians included the 1998 Ducati 916SPS ‘Fogarty Replica’ (number ‘002’) that had been gifted to four-time World Superbike Champion Carl Fogarty by a grateful Ducati in factory. Offered for sale by only its second owner, the pristine ‘Foggy Rep’ sold for an above-estimate £27,600. A Ducati superbike from an earlier era, the 900SS ‘bevel drive’ v-twin found a new home for £18,400.

As usual, British roadsters made up the bulk of the sale, particularly noteworthy results in this category being turned in by the 1977 Norton Commando MkIII – the last of its kind made – which sold for £18,975 while its showroom rival, the unregistered 1975 Triumph T160 Trident with only 7 ‘push’ miles recorded, made £13,800.

Within the sale’s memorabilia section, the Ken Jones Photographic Collection was the undisputed highlight. Comprising thousands of prints and negatives taken at Brands Hatch and other British circuits during the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s, this unique historic archive sailed way past its £8,000 top estimate, selling to a prominent private collector in Wales for £22,800.

Any memorabilia associated with Britain’s most successful motorcycle racer of all time – Mike Hailwood – is always keenly sought after and the seven such Lots on offer proved no exception, the top performer being Mike’s silver replica trophy, awarded for his 1st place in the 1967 Isle of Man Junior TT, which sold for £8,400.

Prior to Mike Hailwood, Stanley Woods had been the most successful rider at the Isle of Man TT, and his collection of memorabilia attracted keen interest. Although not quite the most valuable item, the letter from Stanley’s mother – saying she would give him the motorcycle if he promised he would ‘never take intoxicating drink’ – was by far the most poignant, selling for £1,680 against a top estimate of £200.

Trusted Vendors. A bigtime shoutout to the folks at Seat Concepts.

While I understand that I am WAAAAY behind on updating my trusted vendors page I would be remiss if I didn’t give a prominent mention to the folks over at Seat Concepts. Many regulars know that my daily mule is a well used but nicely updated 2001 DR650.  It’s gone through quite a few phases and it’s really grown on me.  One of the serious drawbacks to this otherwise excellent bike is the stock seat. I’ve had a few workarounds to this problem. The ATV seat gel pad from Walmart was a nice $17 solution but it looked like a $17 solution.  I didn’t want to drop nearly $400 on a Corbin or Sargent so I was thrilled to find a company called Seat Concepts. What they do is provide a completely re-sculpted replacement seat foam and cover along with simple direction on how to install it on your stock seat pan. And the prices are beyond reasonable.   So, I got in on a group buy on ADV rider (saved a few more bucks) and ordered a grip cover with the firm foam.  Everything worked out perfectly.   Quality and service were perfect….  all except for the fact that the “firm” seatfoam was way TOO firm for my liking.  It just wasn’t working out.

Well, as it happens I stumbled across an ADV Rider thread where someone else had the same complaint and wanted to sell their seat.   I commented that I was having the same issue and that I too was going to probably just going to sell the seat and fork out the cash for a Corbin.  It didn’t occur to me to contact them.  After all it wasn’t their fault I didn’t like the seat.  Plenty of other folks were perfectly happy with theirs. Well by chance the folks from Seat Concepts saw the thread and got in touch with me along with the person who had posted the thread.  In a few days they took care of both of us  and made it right.  I got a new foam in the mail a few days later and it was the perfect solution. I took a long ride this weekend and I couldn’t be happier.  These guys are a first class operation all the way.  Very high quality and a fantastic value.    Oh and for those of you wondering, installation was no sweat.  Generally all you need is a wee bit of confidence and a good staple gun.  But if you don’t want to risk it they will install everything to your seat pan for you for a reasonable fee.  It’s still a great deal.

So if you’ve got any sort of enduro or dirtbike with the typical 2×4 post for a seat and you want an affordable solution be sure and check em out at:  You won’t be sorry.  (And for the record, they treat everyone this way.  You don’t need a well read blog to get their attention – Thanks again gents!)

Here’s a shot of my DR with their wares..

Reader Ride. Sweet 1973 BMW R75/5

Vince Anderson Sends in this beauty of a BMW:

1973 BMW R75/5 (Long Wheel Base).
33,000 miles from new (unrestored, original).
Matching numbers.

Parts and accessories for vintage British motorcycles
Dealer/collector of antique, American-made, mechanical pocket watches

Reader Ride! 1979 CX500 Cafe Racer.

Don Shores sends in his latest:
Just finished the Cafe project, 1979 CX500, epoxy primer, 2 into one exhaust, a few billet pieces, equaled a fun winter project.

Had to clean up the garage a little, while they were out I took a picture of the “BOYS” all together Have a great evening, I check out your site daily and enjoy all of the different rides.
Thx Don

Nice bike and great stable. Thanks Don!