YET MORE SILK STO­RIES

Real Classic - - Letters -

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.

Paul Ralph

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

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