YET MORE SILK STORIES
As mentioned before (see RC119) I was involved with Scotts from the 1960s, and a few of us started the north-eastern section of the Scott Owners’ club. It comprised Bill Peak, Gerry Graham, Doctor Stevenson and a very smart lad who worked in sales called John Bayliss. John was better off than most of us; he had a company car! We followed the progress of George Silk and Maurice Patey and dealt with old Tom Ward, and we were intrigued by the mods George and Maurice were offering at that time. These mods altered the transfer ports and added another sneaky passageway in the cylinder bore to improve the timing.
One day in the early 1970s, we decided to
It was great to see a Silk featured in RC161. I am at present talking to George Silk and Clive Worrall and have nearly finished writing the story of Silk, including his present-day antics and will be looking to publish early next year.
A couple of things that came out of talking to George were the myths and untruths that have been circulating for years about Silk and especially the story of the Ossa silencer and how he finds that really annoying. That rumour is completely wrong; the silencer was developed in-house and specially for the Silk. Ossa had no input at all and Silk produced a working two-into-one system perfect for the machine. I won’t spoil the full story as that is outlined in the book.
The alloy wheels have also been wrongly described as Campagnolo, but George was always keen on local manufacture. The wheels were actually produced by ARE and should be stamped ARE with a year number (78, etc) and Made in England on opposite spokes. One of the only really ‘borrowed’ foreign parts was on the final built bikes. Some had Suzuki GS750 switchgear due to Clive’s own bike being parked at the Derby site…
Anyone who is interested in Silk motorcycles, or has one to be added to the go down to see George at Derby, taking our Scott cylinder barrels. We spent the whole day in Tom Ward’s workshop, which was on the first floor of his ancient premises, looking on while George and Maurice beavered away doing the mods. Interestingly, it was the first time I had seen Araldite being used to secure blanking pieces into the redundant transfer ports. Early space technology perhaps?
During that day’s conversations the idea of the Silk Scott was mentioned and the intrepid duo explained their thoughts on their plans. A good day was had by all and we left Tom Ward’s emporium complete with our modified cylinders. Incidentally, the modifications made the engines smoother at low speed but register, can contact me via silk-motorcycles. org. The site also has a forum board and active members who have a wealth of knowledge and are always helpful to owners and prospective owners.
If I remember correctly, I rebuilt the bike for sale featured in RC last year. It’s a known bike and is the highest frame number 700SS machine still on the road. The last 700SS ever built is in the Barber museum in the US, so I guess you won’t find a newer one. My Silk is the sister bike to this one and was registered did not particularly improve top speed.
Shortly after, I heard the unmistakeable sound of a twin two-stroke approaching my house. Lo and behold what did I see but a Silk Scott, ridden by John Bayliss – he of the company car. John bought it at the (1972?) Earl’s Court Motorcycle Show. He rode with some of us who had standard Scott bikes. As you would expect, the performance of the Silk was similar except the handling and brakes were much better. I also think John’s twistgrip muscles were not as strong as ours…
I wonder where KVR 235 is now?
Steve Hodgson, member 3503 at the same time. The photo shows my bike which can often be seen out and about, although I do try to limit my mileage as it has done less than 3000 genuine miles from new.
Thanks for the extra info, everyone. Silks and Scotts are among those most amazing motorcycles which generate a massive amount of correspondence whenever we run a feature on them. They are genuinely… remarkable! Rowena