A most sig­nif­i­cant mo­tor­cy­cle

Old Bike Australasia - - BLOW YOUR OWN -

The post-war Sun­beam Mo­tor­cy­cle (OBA 74) has an in­ter­est­ing his­tory. Dur­ing the con­flict BSA were given var­i­ous cap­tured en­emy mo­tor­cy­cles for test. They were very im­pressed with the BMW R75 and that is the ma­chine that the post war Sun­beam is based on. The Teu­tonic in­flu­ence is ap­par­ent in the gen­eral lines of the ma­chine and the brakes with their hid­den ac­tu­at­ing mech­a­nism. The ar­ti­cle spec­u­lated on the fat wheels, the rea­son is that the Mil­i­tary BMW had in­ter­change­able wheels that used the same cross sec­tion tyre as the Kubbel­waggen (the Ger­man Jeep) so that, in the event of com­bat dam­age, sal­vaging a tyre off a wrecked Jeep could make the dif­fer­ence be­tween walk­ing or rid­ing back to the lines. Why BSA car­ried this de­sign fea­ture over to an up­mar­ket civil­ian ma­chine re­mains a mys­tery. Very few vic­ars or school­mas­ters would be ex­pect­ing to stop a Rus­sian bul­let in deep­est Shrop­shire. The de­signer Mr. Poppe was in­volved in mo­tor­cy­cle pro­duc­tion in the ‘twen­ties. That ceased when his busi­ness part­ner was mur­dered in the fac­tory by a dis­grun­tled sales rep! There were so many de­sign prob­lems with what was sup­posed to be BSA’s flag­ship mo­tor­cy­cle that Mr. Poppe was given 10 min­utes to clear off the premises. The S7 De Luxe is a re­design by BSA En­gi­neers. It is worth not­ing that the OHC Sun­beam engine was very ad­vanced for its time and its ba­sic lay­out mor­phed into a Fire Pump and even­tu­ally evolved into the Coven­try Cli­max engine. As far as the “frag­ile” trans­mis­sion is con­cerned, it is worth re­mem­ber­ing that a Sun­beam out­fit won a Gold Medal in the I.S.T.D in the early ‘fifties. Some years ago the Guggen­heim Art Gallery in New York had an event called “The Art of the Mo­tor­cy­cle”. They had a Sun­beam amongst the bikes ex­hib­ited and de­clared this ma­chine to be the most sig­nif­i­cant mo­tor­cy­cle de­sign of all time; high praise in­deed.

I live in in­ner city Mel­bourne, an area which is now in­fected with bi­cy­cle lanes and 40km/h streets. When I go for a cof­fee I of­ten ride a clas­sic mo­tor­cy­cle. These bikes at­tract lit­tle at­ten­tion from the younger pop­u­la­tion, ex­cept for my S7 De Luxe which in­vari­ably draws favourable com­ment from stylists, de­sign­ers, hip­sters and the like. Folk just love its Art Deco lines.

Phillip White Mel­bourne, Vic.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.