The Tramway Vil­lage at Crich have hosted their sec­ond Clas­sic bike day, and the VMCC Fes­ti­val of 1000 Bikes has made a re­turn to Mal­lory Park. PUB braved the sun and heat to bring RC re­ports.

Real Classic - - What Lies Within -

The Tramway Vil­lage at Crich have hosted their sec­ond clas­sic bike day, and the VMCC Fes­ti­val of 1000 Bikes has made a re­turn to Mal­lory Park. PUB braved the sun and heat to bring RC re­ports

It was the lo­cal VMCC’s Low Power Run at the week­end, which is aimed at cy­clemo­tors, mopeds, small and vin­tage mod­els, etc. and is to be en­cour­aged. PUB in­tended to ride the side­valve HRD, rather than the Fire­fly with which the round trip mileage would have been re­ally ar­du­ous. Un­for­tu­nately, come Sun­day morn­ing the HRD’s front tyre was ob­served to be flat – oh dear. She did pop out to the start on the mod­ern bike to com­mis­er­ate with the or­gan­iser, for it had turned out very wet and en­trants were likely to be few any­way – ac­tu­ally just one on a vin­tage bike, al­though half a dozen turned up at the café in cars.

So the HRD’s wheel had to come out for in­ves­ti­ga­tion, with­out en­thu­si­asm be­cause of the mem­ory of how dif­fi­cult that Tai­wanese tyre had been to fit. Be­ing a 1926 ma­chine it uses ‘beaded edge’ tyres – a con­cept that not all read­ers will be fa­mil­iar with, so there are di­a­grams and pic­tures some­where nearby. In­stead of wires em­bed­ded into the ‘bead’ of the tyre to hold it on (the bit you have to lever over the rim) these ear­lier tyres were moulded with a pro­trud­ing lip that hooks into the folded-over edge of the rim. Only tyre pres­sure holds them hooked to­gether, so it is im­por­tant to keep it fairly high (PUB keeps hers at 3040psi for 26x3 and 26x2.5x2.25 sizes).

Ac­tu­ally the idea that they must be run at much higher pres­sure than wired edge is barely true any longer, be­cause wired edge rec­om­men­da­tions are sig­nif­i­cantly higher than they used to be to suit mod­ern rub­bers. For­tu­nately this tyre’s fit had eased over time, so it lev­ered off rel­a­tively eas­ily. The in­ner tube hole proved elu­sive, even in a bowl of water, only show­ing up with bub­bles when the tube was also pulled around to stretch it a lit­tle. The prob­lem proved to be a flaw at the in­ner seam hav­ing fi­nally turned into a leak, and not due a sharp ob­ject. Nev­er­the­less the whole inside of the tyre was ex­plored by hand just to check, and to en­sure that there was no in­cip­i­ent prob­lem brew­ing – it pre­vents the in­dig­nity of hav­ing a sec­ond punc­ture in ex­actly the same place (PUB once had one right in the mid­dle of the patch she had just la­bo­ri­ously fit­ted – boo).

Al­though PUB did patch the hole, for no good rea­son, be­cause she no longer nor­mally fits patched tubes, a fresh one was sought – but what size? Beaded edge siz­ings are some­thing that ap­pears to have been de­vel­oped by an in­nu­mer­ate apprentice, and match­ing tubes are hard to find. This one is 26x3, a size that should be the same as wired edge 3.00x20 (at one time some wired edge tyres even bore both size mark­ings on them). 26x3 was also of­ten called 700x80, de­spite a met­ric cal­cu­la­tion show­ing them not to be very ex­actly equiv­a­lent. That is fur­ther com­pli­cated be­cause 650x65 was also sup­posed to be in­ter­change­able. Cal­cu­lat­ing rim sizes for these var­i­ous fig­ures (first num­ber, the outer di­am­e­ter, less twice the sec­ond num­ber, the tyre thick­ness) results in any an­swer you like be­tween about 20 and 21 inches. The lat­ter is a much eas­ier tube size to find, on ac­count of all the trail and tri­als bikes with 21-inch front wheels. Clearly PUB came to this con­clu­sion long ago, be­cause that was the size tube she had found in place, no doubt care­fully fit­ted to avoid any creas­ing – but she did not have a spare.

She did find a tube, long un­used be­cause of its strange siz­ing, but which she knows she bought from a vin­tage tyre sup­plier for such pur­pose, and marked 25x3 or 650x65. A vin­tage tyre book in­formed her that this size

is suit­able for a 26x3 (700x80), un­likely as it sounds. As a last check the tube was lightly in­flated and of­fered up to the wheel, where it seemed a pretty good match. So that is what went in.

Re­fit­ting the tyre did not prove dif­fi­cult as it was no longer ex­ces­sively tight, al­though due to fail­ing strength in the hands (and ev­ery­where else) it did re­quire the use of levers. Un­like wired edge tyres, which re­quire a rim band to shield the spoke ends, mo­tor­cy­cle BE ones of­ten do not need this pre­cau­tion, as the bead flaps over­lap (and they should not be trimmed, says the book). How­ever, that does mean that those self­same flaps need to be tidily placed, with­out wrin­kles which might fret against the tube, but, of course, as the tyre goes on one can­not see inside. So the putting on process should be done care­fully, feed­ing those flaps in be­fore the bead. And prefer­ably with just a bit of air in the tube to keep its shape and that flap go­ing un­der­neath.

The book of­fered an al­ter­na­tive fit­ting method, which was to slip the tube inside the tyre, over­lap the flaps, and then tie loops of string around to keep the beads to­gether. Then fit the com­plete tyre/tube assem­bly to the rim all in one go (valve first), and when in place cut and re­move the strings – PUB has never used this method, but it sounds good.

Ei­ther way, once on the rim the beads then need to be worked into their ‘hooks’ dur­ing in­fla­tion, which is gen­er­ally much eas­ier when re­plac­ing a tyre than when fit­ting for the first time. The fit­ting line, which should al­ways be checked af­ter fit­ting a tyre, must be nice and evenly dis­posed, and is more im­por­tant than with a wired type (which will just run a bit out of true and wob­ble) be­cause it is in­dica­tive of whether those beads are seated prop­erly. PUB would NOT rec­om­mend tak­ing a beaded edge tyre to an or­di­nary lo­cal tyre fit­ter, who would refuse the job if he (or she) was sen­si­ble, or al­ter­na­tively muck it up – which you might only find out when it comes off the rim dur­ing a ride. Learn­ing this

stuff is all part of run­ning the re­ally old bikes.

An­other lit­tle job that PUB has been do­ing is mak­ing the rot­ting GS500 si­lencer last a bit longer. This has been a long term prob­lem, re­quir­ing Gun Gum af­ter most longish rides to keep the noise down. Ide­ally the whole ex­haust would be re­placed, for which pur­pose a com­plete spare was ac­quired ages ago, but it is not that easy. Those who as­sert that Bri­tish bikes are ill thought-out rub­bish, and Ja­panese are per­fect, are well off beam. The GS500 is an ex­cel­lent bike, which has served its rider well, and with very few faults (she would buy an­other were they avail­able). But one of them is the ex­haust, which has a ten­dency to rot at the exit from the col­lec­tor box and at the si­lencer, but it is a one-piece item re­tained into the head with cap head screws. These pick up all the cor­ro­sive rub­bish from the front wheel, none of which is in­ter­cepted by mod­ern so-called mud­guards (and only some by an af­ter­mar­ket fen­der ex­ten­der). So those cap heads are well rusted af­ter many win­ter miles.

Even­tu­ally a se­ri­ous at­tempt to undo them sim­ply rounded off the in­ter­nal hexagons, and al­ter­na­tive ac­cess to the heads, es­pe­cially be­tween the twin pipes, and be­low the fins of the pipe clamps is im­pos­si­ble. So PUB has been patch­ing up for a long time. Note that many other bikes are lit­tle bet­ter in this area, so if yours has cap head ex­haust screws you would be wise to put them on your ser­vice sched­ule for re­lease and retighten (or bet­ter still re­move, Copaslip and re­fit). Why did they not use studs and nuts (which can be split off), or some­thing longer that would be ac­ces­si­ble?

Any­way, gripe over. The si­lencer needed a bet­ter bodge, which con­sisted of cut­ting a large sheet of tin to fit all round the back from one edge of the stain­less front trim to the other (a com­plete wrap was not prac­ti­cal in situ). With a cou­ple of Ju­bilee clips and wire for re­ten­tion, and some use of that si­lencer sealant it worked fairly well – but that is not the point of this com­ment. What has sur­prised PUB is how much nicer the bike is with the si­lencer ac­tu­ally si­lenc­ing (hope­fully to last for a while). At tick­over and trick­ling in traf­fic she had al­ready no­ticed im­prove­ment each time it was gooed up. At such low revs and throt­tle open­ings it is hard to ac­count for, but there is no doubt – it runs more smoothly with the si­lencer work­ing prop­erly (ie. si­lenc­ing).

Pos­si­bly even more sur­pris­ing, now that a slightly bet­ter bodge has been achieved, is how much nicer it is at run­ning speeds. Per­haps it is an il­lu­sion due to the lack of noise, and the em­bar­rass­ing rasp of early escaping ex­haust, but if so it is a very good il­lu­sion, for the ride seems smoother and more pleas­ant – al­most back to when it was a low mileage ac­qui­si­tion. In fu­ture PUB will be even less en­am­oured of the loud ex­hausts that so many (in­clud­ing al­most all of the jour­nal­ist testers) put on their bikes. At the very least it sug­gests that such af­ter­mar­ket ex­hausts might re­quire a re­jet/re­tune/ re­progamme to give of their best, and that man­u­fac­tur­ers know what they are do­ing ( quelle sur­prise).

It hasn’t all been time in the work­shop how­ever (even though it may have been cooler in there). PUB was out for the Crich

Tramway meet­ing, held in as­so­ci­a­tion with the VOC. Hav­ing missed the first meet­ing last year it would have been un­ac­cept­able to miss an­other, es­pe­cially as re­ports of the 2017 event had been good. 2018 cer­tainly beat that with an out­stand­ing turnout of bikes. Around 40 Vin­cents alone bet­tered many a VOC meet­ing, but even so could not match the line of Goldies out­side the on-site pub. Those were only two of the var­i­ous club dis­plays, and as there were many more in­di­vid­ual en­trants the turnout must have been about 500, al­though spread about too widely to count. The va­ri­ety stretched from a belt drive Tri­umph, through rar­i­ties such as a Maico ‘ Tai­fun’, to an ex­otic and bright yel­low mod­ern in­te­gral ‘side­car’ out­fit that was re­ally more of an asym­met­ric three-wheeler (make un­known).

A Ban­dit framed BSA was spot­ted, re­mind­ing of the briefly pop­u­lar idea when sur­plus Ban­dit frames came onto the mar­ket. Some brave (or mis­guided) soul had gone to the trou­ble of hot­ting up a Bown au­to­cy­cle with a spe­cial cylin­der head and a rac­ing seat lit­er­ally as hard as the plank it was made from. A sole Du­cati par­al­lel twin that was spot­ted rep­re­sented an op­tion that re­put­edly left Taglioni unim­pressed and un­co­op­er­a­tive. The cus­tomer base was equally unim­pressed, so they are not com­mon.

The trams were very busy, but queu­ing per­suaded PUB to take just one short ride, as most at­trac­tions are within walk­ing dis­tance. The tram sheds house a whole va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent sorts of tram, in­clud­ing the Sh­effield ‘last tram’ ex­hibit (from 1960), and there is also a com­pre­hen­sive mu­seum of tram his­tory to ex­plore. With hot, sunny weather it was also some­where to ben­e­fit from the shade.

Inside, a Leam­ing­ton & War­wick horse­drawn tram in ‘as found’ con­di­tion sur­prised PUB, who was born in War­wick but did not know there had ever been trams there. Branded as run by the Tramway vil­lage in con­junc­tion with the VOC, this is nev­er­the­less a Clas­sic bike event with the po­ten­tial to be of the stature of the Stafford shows – give it a try next year.

The VMCC Fes­ti­val of a Thou­sand Bikes has re­turned to the cal­en­dar, al­though PUB was only able to at­tend on the Sun­day (race­bikes on track). So she stumped up the price of en­try (and too much it was, but that is ded­i­ca­tion to re­port­ing to The Reader). An ini­tial wan­der through the ‘av­enue of clubs’ re­vealed very lit­tle in the way of foot­fall,

pos­si­bly due to the in­tense heat, al­though PUB took ad­van­tage of the Cot­ton and Fran­cis Bar­nett tents for a bit of shade, and chats with the club per­son­nel as she owns, or has owned, both. The pad­dock, inside the cir­cuit, con­tained the race bikes, but again not as crowded as of yore, nor per­haps as ex­otic ei­ther (eg. few ex-works rac­ers), al­though Ivan Rhodes sup­ported the event with the fa­mous Ve­lo­cette ‘Roarer’, and Sammy Miller, who can al­ways be re­lied upon to put on a good show, had brought along his Moto Guzzi V8 and also a 1954 R54 rac­ing ohc BMW. He likely took them on track as well, be­cause he still loves the rid­ing, but if so then PUB missed it. She did not miss Ge­orge Brown’s Nero (which was not in the pro­gramme) be­ing given an air­ing in the mid-day break which was given over to a sprint demo in­stead of pa­rade laps (less mar­shals needed, so giv­ing the track mar­shals a lunch break).

There were a num­ber of not-re­ally-old ‘trib­ute’ bikes at the Fes­ti­val (‘fakes’ would sug­gest an in­ten­tion to de­ceive, which these bikes mostly did not), one of which was a bright yel­low ‘JAP’ fea­tur­ing a side­valve mo­tor in a rigid frame some­what rem­i­nis­cent of an In­dian ‘board track’ racer (al­though they were usu­ally nar­row an­gle V-twins). The board track theme con­tin­ued with the spoof Dominator en­gined ‘Thun­der­ing Mol­lie’ which was ac­com­pa­nied by a de­tailed his­tory. The at­ten­dant rushed to warn the ‘gullible lady’ read­ing the fic­tion that it was a spoof. Not re­ally nec­es­sary, but thanks any­way. Those looked ride­able, al­though prob­a­bly made mostly for show, but the ‘Fly­ing Merkel’ trib­ute was cer­tainly for rid­ing, and per­haps rid­ing hard, al­though whether the orig­i­nal Merkel ex­po­nents would ap­prove of a Har­ley/clonebased ‘replica’ could make a topic for a club night nat­ter. Other­wise the machin­ery was too mod­ern, and too faired-in for PUB to recog­nise the spe­cial from the more mun­dane.

So the recipe was as be­fore, but it still seemed a bit ‘thin’ com­pared with the fes­ti­vals of old (PUB did not at­tend any of the Mal­lory run meet­ings since then for com­par­i­son). It was a first re­turn, and also un­for­tu­nately com­pet­ing with the Sil­ver­stone F1 GP, Wimbledon, and footy so per­haps it needs a year or two to re­turn to pre­vi­ous pop­u­lar­ity, but the bike park­ing area was pretty full, as was any shaded area on the spec­ta­tor bank. With 600 pa­rade en­tries, track ac­tion was pretty full-time too, al­though a bit too mod­ern for PUB’s taste (and some oth­ers). In fact most of the ‘very fast’ group D road bike pa­rade were not even 25 years old – the VMCC el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­rion – but no doubt their en­try fees help run the event. How­ever, it is a rare op­por­tu­nity for many or­di­nary rid­ers to ride on a cir­cuit, or for own­ers of rare and del­i­cate rac­ing irons to ex­er­cise or give them a gen­tle can­ter. It is to be hoped that the VMCC were happy with the re­sult, and will per­se­vere with this flag­ship event, bring­ing it back to much of its for­mer glory.

Diagram show­ing the dif­fer­ence be­tween vin­tage beaded edge tyres, moulded to ‘hook’ into their rims, and more usual wired edge tyres with in­ex­ten­si­ble steel wires moulded into their beads to hold them on

Diagram show­ing the ap­prox­i­mate shape of rims for beaded edge tyres, in smaller mo­tor­cy­cle sizes and the ‘voiturette’ pat­tern used with the com­mon 26 x 3 (700 x 80) tyre size

The Vin­cent en­clo­sure at Crich Tramway Vil­lage on Clas­sic Mo­tor­cy­cle Day at­tracted 40 or so bikes (and one trike), all but a racer be­ing rid­den to the event

When the BSA Fury – Tri­umph Ban­dit project was aban­doned there were a lot of frames al­ready made, which came onto the sur­plus mar­ket. This is the kind of thing that could be done with one. As al­ready seen in RC of course!

A new and un­used beaded edge tyre, with the moulded in bead, and its long flap which even­tu­ally should lie un­der the in­ner tube. Note that al­though some sec­tions of tyre may be more or less in­ter­change­able, the width of the bead is also im­por­tant. A mis­match with the rim may re­sult in less se­cure re­ten­tion, or the rim cut­ting into the tyre (es­pe­cially if cor­roded and sharp)

A rather rusty 26 x 3 beaded edge rim. Cleaned up, the rim would be very use­able, but note that the in­ner edges would re­quire par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion. Rough and sharp as they are, they might even­tu­ally cut into the tyre, lead­ing to trou­ble. They would need smooth­ing and pol­ish­ing to a bet­ter fin­ish be­fore use

Prob­a­bly the most im­pres­sive sight at the Crich on Clas­sic Mo­tor­cy­cle Day was the line of Gold Stars (and Rocket Goldies) gath­ered out­side the Tramway Vil­lage pub

Noth­ing to do with mo­tor­cy­cles, but ev­ery­thing to do with the elec­tri­cally pow­ered trams of Crich Tramway Vil­lage, here is a gen­er­at­ing set on dis­play. The gen­er­a­tor is by Dick Kerr & Co., with power pro­vided by a steam en­gine from Bel­liss & Mor­com. This was RealEngi­neer­ing, al­though sadly the out­side lo­ca­tion has led to some de­te­ri­o­ra­tion, es­pe­cially of the elec­tri­cal bits

Early Trams were horse drawn (as they still are in Dou­glas, IoM) as pre­sented in this dis­play. Steam power was also used, an ex­am­ple of which is seen be­hind, be­fore elec­tric­ity pro­vided the best so­lu­tion

With typ­i­cally Teu­tonic looks and an en­closed rear chain, the Maico ‘Tai­fun’ was a 400cc two-stroke twin, pro­duc­ing 22.5bhp, and man­u­fac­tured in the 1950s. Maico were later renowned for some of their off-road mo­tor­cy­cles. Ar­guably the Ger­man mo­tor­cy­cle in­dus­try crashed ear­lier, and quicker, than that of Bri­tain, de­spite their qual­ity of de­sign and man­u­fac­ture

Al­though painted up as a JAP (which is in­deed the brand of its en­gine), this lay­out is surely pat­terned on the look of the In­dian board rac­ers?

The Fran­cis Bar­nett ‘Ful­mar’ was never very pop­u­lar, due to both its looks and the AMC twostroke en­gine count­ing against it. In­no­va­tive de­sign lead­ing to cus­tomer re­jec­tion; no won­der the Bri­tish in­dus­try strug­gled. This ‘Sports Ful­mar’ at the Fes­ti­val of 1000 Bikes is ap­par­ently even rarer, with only a few hun­dred made and few of those sur­viv­ing

The Crich tram sheds house a range of work­ing trams (or those be­ing worked on), mostly dou­bledecker types but in the fore­ground is a sin­gle decker with open ‘toast-rack’ seat­ing

An­other mod­ern ‘trib­ute’ bike at the Fes­ti­val was this ‘Fly­ing Merkel’, painted and pre­pared in the right style, but would the Fly­ing Merkel fac­tory and rid­ers re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate a heavy Har­ley (or pos­si­bly a clone) based ma­chine in their colours?

Girder forks are con­structed with good tri­an­gu­la­tion for-and-aft, but not so good side­ways. Usu­ally it was the side­car bri­gade that felt the need for im­prove­ment, but here it is a Nor­ton CS1 that has a Webb braced fork

Sammy Miller is al­ways a good bet for dis­play­ing some­thing ex­otic, in this case his Moto-Guzzi V8, backed up by an R54 rac­ing ohc BMW (from the Ear­les fork era). De­signed by Gi­ulio Car­cano the Guzzi is fea­tures 44 x 42mm cylin­ders, claim­ing 80bhp @ 14,000rpm

Ge­orge Brown’s Vin­cent pow­ered (and nor­mally as­pi­rated) ‘Nero’ was not listed in the pro­gramme, but it was one of the more fa­mous bikes from the era to be pre­sent. The Na­tional Mo­tor­cy­cle Mu­seum also al­lowed it to be run in anger dur­ing the sprint dis­play

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