Parts and parcels

Old Bike Australasia - - BLOW YOUR OWN -

In re­la­tion to the let­ter in OBA61 ti­tled “Su­pe­rior? Blah!”, by R. Robin­son of Bel­lambi, NSW. Ge­orge Brough’s fa­ther, Wil­liam Brough, pro­duced a mo­tor­cy­cle called a Brough. His son Ge­orge wanted to cre­ate his own mo­tor­cy­cle and so chose the name Brough Su­pe­rior to say his bikes were bet­ter than his fa­ther’s. What he also de­cided to do was to make his bikes to a very high stan­dard, even to the level that a cus­tomer could order a new bike to their stan­dards and spec­i­fi­ca­tions. To claim that a mo­tor­cy­cle can’t be of a high stan­dard be­cause it uses parts from other man­u­fac­tur­ers is non­sense. Brough Su­pe­rior started pro­duc­ing mo­tor­cy­cles in 1919 at Haydn Road in Not­ting­ham. This was just after WW1 had fin­ished. To at­tempt to cre­ate a mo­tor­cy­cle man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness that man­u­fac­tured all its own parts at a time when the num­ber of mo­tor­cy­clists in the world was small, and many of those pre-WW1 mo­tor­cy­clists in Bri­tain had died on places like the Somme, would have been mad­ness. In­stead Ge­orge Brough de­cided to cre­ate a mo­tor­cy­cle that was bet­ter than any other us­ing pro­pri­etary parts and mak­ing each ma­chine able to be tai­lored by each per­son. The name “Rolls Royce of Mo­tor­cy­cles” was coined by H. D. Teague in The Mo­tor Cy­cle news­pa­per, not by Ge­orge, although he was quite will­ing to use that term, although it is known, un­der­stand­ably, to have up­set Rolls Royce at the time. Ge­orge used Sturmey-Archer gear­boxes, as did many other makes of mo­tor­cy­cle. The gear­boxes were also made in Not­ting­ham. Most Bri­tish man­u­fac­tur­ers used pro­pri­etary gear­boxes; AJS, Match­less, Tri­umph, and oth­ers. Yes, Nor­ton gear­boxes were used, but only in the last few years of Brough Su­pe­rior man­u­fac­ture. Electrics could be var­i­ous makes as could be en­gines, such as J.A.P. v-twins, which were re­built to en­sure pre­ci­sion func­tion. When you con­sider that there were only around 3,000 Brough Su­pe­ri­ors made in the 21 years of man­u­fac­ture, it hardly com­pares to over 24,500 Hon­das alone that were sold in Aus­tralia in 2015. The way bikes to­day are con­structed is

hugely dif­fer­ent from the way they were. They can af­ford to be. But Broughs were con­structed to a very high stan­dard out of what­ever parts ei­ther the com­pany used or the cus­tomer or­dered. With writ­ten guar­an­tees of ei­ther 80mph (SS80) or 100mph (SS100), it’s no won­der they at­tracted buy­ers like Ge­orge Bernard Shaw and T. E. Lawrence. The Austin 7 pow­ered Brough Su­pe­rior ‘Straight Four’ was an at­tempt to have a more pow­er­ful mo­tor­cy­cle from a sim­i­lar ca­pac­ity en­gine other than the air-cooled vtwins. It also showed the cre­ative think­ing of Ge­orge as it had two rear wheels with a cen­tral drive.

Rolls Royce has used Lu­cas elec­tri­cal parts, and for some mod­els, en­gines made in Ger­many by BMW. Nor­ton have used Lu­cas, Amal, Smiths and Lock­heed parts, Du­cati use Brembo brakes. How many of us ride mo­tor­cy­cles or drive cars that have spark plugs made by the com­pany that built the ve­hi­cle? At what point is it ac­cept­able to have the num­ber of parts that are not made by the man­u­fac­turer ig­nored to avoid ridicule? If R. Robin­son has a Brough Su­pe­rior of any sort that he be­lieves is worth­less be­cause of the mix of parts, I will gladly take it off his hands and give him a few dol­lars as well, to both com­pen­sate and apol­o­gise for a fel­low Not­ting­ham lad, Ge­orge Brough, tak­ing ad­van­tage of him. Brough Su­pe­rior – bet­ter than the sum of its parts. Charley Reeve V.M.C.C.

What would old Ge­orge have thought of this? Leigh Goodall’s take on what might have been, pho­tographed by Ron Weste ant the 2105 All Bri­tish Rally.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.