2007 Royal Enfield Bullet 2007 ROYAL ENFIELD BULLET BACKGROUND Like all modern, Indian-built Royal Enfields, the 500 Bullet is a descendant of the original British-built Enfields of the late 1940s. Despite being completely redesigned in modern times by parent company Madras Motors, and sprouting modern features like electric starters and electronic fuel injection, Royal Enfields …

THE QUAIL MOTORCYCLE GATHERING: A RIDE, A SHOW & AN AUCTION ALL ROLLED INTO ONE I attended this year’s Third Annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering at the beautiful Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley CA, and what an experience! To begin with, these ‘Gatherings’ are far more than just an awesome Classic Motorcycle Show, they’ve evolved very …

THE PRE-UNIT TRIUMPH TR6 The preceding page offers a complete history of the Triumph TR6 from beginning to end. For the purpose of breaking up the large number of model years for the Triumph TR6, we have broken them up into their two logical subsets: “Pre-Unit TR6”, spanning 1956 to 1962; and “Unit-Construction TR6”, from …

1946 Velocette KSS 1946 VELOCETTE KSS BACKGROUND The Velocette KSS debuted in 1925 as an OHC (overhead cam) 350cc air-cooled single. Being OHC placed it at the cutting edge of engine technology at a time when most machines still used side-valve designs or pushrods. The name KSS breaks down to the K for overhead cam …

BACKGROUND OF NORTON ROTARY MOTORCYCLES Norton’s air-cooled, twin-rotor Wankel motorcycles made up a unique and interesting chapter in the history of this legendary classic British marque. After the last Commando rolled off the assembly line in 1975, things grew quiet at Norton until the early 1980s. Norton and merged with BSA in 1973 just as …

2010 Triumph Bonneville 2010 TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE BACKGROUND Of course, the original Triumph Bonneville was introduced to the world in 1959, and had a good run until the old Triumph company went belly-up in 1983. The name was revived by British billionaire-developer John Bloor, who reintroduced a new line of thoroughly modern Triumphs starting in 1990. …

Phil Radford, Norton Parts Expert Extraordinaire, owner of Fair Spares America, Inc., & all-around nice guy, beside a freshly-rebuilt Commando engine. MORE THAN MEETS THE EYE When I pulled up to the non-descript commercial building in a large industrial complex in San Jose CA, the small sign that said “Fair Spares America, Inc.” would have …

1955 Triumph Thunderbird ABOVE: The 1955 Triumph Thunderbird 6T is very similar to this 1956 Triumph Thunderbird. They share essentially the same frame, suspension, cycle gear and body work. Only paint colors & minor trim differences vary in the general appearance. Although many mechanical changes were made on an ongoing basis on all Triumph Motorcycles, …

NORTON MOTORCYCLE BOOKS Norton was always a design leader with bikes like the Norton Manx, the Dominator twins, and the game-changing Norton Commando. Check out all the great books we have about Nortons. We have a wide selection of books about Norton history, photo exposes, shop manuals, restoration guides and much more. If you’ve been …

NORTON COMMANDO PRODUCTION RACER BACKGROUND When British motorcycle industry giant AMC (Associated Motor Cycles) collapsed in 1967, the only brand in its once proud stable (which included Matchless, AJS, Sunbeam, James, Francis-Barnett, and Norton) the only one making money was Norton. And it was the Norton brand that enticed Manganese Bronze Holdings to buy the …

1959 Velocette Venom 1959 VELOCETTE VENOM BACKGROUND The Venom was Velocette’s hottest bike from its inception in 1955. In 1961 a factory-prepared Venom with a small fairing set the world’s 24-hour endurance speed record of 100.05 MPH at the Montlhery race track in France. The record stood until 2008 for 500cc motorcycles. The 499cc Venom …

The Norton Cafe Racer EARLY NORTON CAFE RACER The Norton Manx, the BSA Gold Star and other big singles like them really paved the way, and laid the groundwork for Cafe Racers prior to World War II. After the war, a plethora of new bikes, including fast new vertical twins from Triumph, BSA, Norton, and …

1973 Triumph Trident 1973 Triumph Trident T150V THE 1973 TRIUMPH TRIDENT IS A TURNING POINT 1973 was a very important year for Triumph, and in particular for its star player, the Bonneville. Because that year, the legendary 650 “Bonnie” got punched out to a 750, got a much-need and long-overdue 5-speed gearbox, and a front …

The Moto Talbott Collection THE MOTO TALBOTT COLLECTION MOTORCYCLE MUSEUM Moto Talbott, as it has become known locally, opened about a year1 ago in the beautiful Carmel Valley, on California’s central coast. Just minutes from the Quail Lodge, which hosts the Quail Motorcycle Gathering each year. So this very prestigious area is becoming known for …

1973 Rickman 250MX 1973 Rickman 250MX Background This 1973 Rickman 250MX is the product of years of development. Brothers Don and Derek Rickman were successful motocross racers in the 1950s in England and Europe. They began building racing frames in 1959, and created a line of frames that were designed to accept almost any engine …

The Mother Lode Ride THE MOTHER LODE RIDE: ANOTHER GREAT BSAOC RIDE The boys & girls of the BSAOC-NorCal have been busy planning a full calendar of rides for the year. I’m now on the Ride Committee & so will help with the planning for next year, and based on what I’m seeing this year, …

Morning After Ride 2012 ABOVE: We meet behind Hobbe’s. THE MORNING AFTER RIDE 2012 RIDE ‘EM, DON’T HIDE ‘EM! As a follow-on to the Clubmans Show on Saturday, March 31, 2012, the BSA Owners Club of Northern California (BSAOCNC) sponsors the Morning After Ride. It’s their invitation to the show entrants to take their lovely …

Miltary Motorcycles YEAR-BY-YEAR 1937 BSA WM20 1941 BSA M20 1941 Harley-Davidson WLA 1942 BSA M20 1942 Harley-Davidson WLA 1943 BSA M20 1945 BSA M20 1946 BSA M20 1999 Harley-Davidson MT500 A WORK IN PROGRESS In our efforts to complete our online index, and make this the world’s greatest website about classic British motorcycles, we’re building …

At the MidAmerica Auction-Las Vegas 2011, the bidding action is hot & heavy for this drop-dead gorgeous, 100-point restored 1970 BSA A65 Lightning. THE BIGGEST I’m a big fan of MidAmerica Auctions. They’re a great place to buy or sell some amazing Classic British Motorcycles, or classic motorcycles of any kind, for that matter. Because …

THE MECUM LAS VEGAS MOTORCYCLE AUCTION 2020 IS ALMOST HERE! We go almost every year, but this auction has been going for 29 years now, and is the grandaddy of classic motorcycle auctions. It started out as the MidAmerica Motorcycle Auction, but Mecum bought them out a few years back, and they have grown it …

MECUM LAS VEGAS MOTORCYCLE AUCTION 2017-ONE HELLUVA WEEK I just got back from nearly a week in Las Vegas, and what a week. Mecum’s 2017 motorcycle auction ran 4-days, from Wednesday through Saturday, at the South Point Hotel & Casino, as usual. And also as usual, I stayed at the South Point myself, which is …

1953 Triumph TR5 Trophy 1953 TRIUMPH TR5 TROPHY BACKGROUND The Triumph TR5 Trophy was produced from 1949 through 1958. It was based on the 500cc 5T Speed Twin, but modified for off-road use. The TR5 Trophy was originally intended as a trials bike, with high side-exhaust, high ground clearance and excellent handling (for the day). …

1958 Ariel Cyclone 650 OHV Vertical Twin 1958 ARIEL CYCLONE A VERY RARE BIRD Ariel was early to the vertical twin party started by Triumph with the 1938 500cc Speed Twin. Their first entry was the model KH 500cc parallel twin launched in the first year of civilian production following World War 2, 1945. The …

1968 BSA A65 1968 BSA A65 Spitfire Royal Star ABOVE: Starting with the 1968 BSA A65, the Spitfire Royal Star joined the lineup, as BSA’s premium offering, at least until the arrival of the Rocket 3 a year later. 1968 BSA A65 Firebird Scrambler BSA’S DESERT SLED The A65 Firebird Scrambler was intended as a …

1939 Ariel Square Four 1939 ARIEL SQUARE FOUR BACKGROUND The original Square Four was conceived by legendary motorcycle designer, Edward Turner, who later created the game-changing Triumph parallel twin. His original design for the Square Four was an OHC (Overhead Cam) design with a displacement of 500cc when it debuted in 1931. However, constant overheating …

1962 Norton Jubilee 250 twin 1962 NORTON JUBILEE – WHAT’S IN A NAME? The name Norton Jubilee paid homage to the 60th anniversary of Norton Motorcycle production at the time of its launch in 1958 at the Earls Court Motorcycle Show in London. It was a clear break from Norton tradition, but was built specifically …

1948 Triumph Speed Twin 1948 TRIUMPH SPEED TWIN BACKGROUND In a few short years, the 5T Speed Twin went from being one of the world’s premium performance motorcycles to be Triumph’s entry-level twin. It had been surpassed by the T100 Tiger with its higher compression and hotter cams. And soon it would be bumped down …

1964 BSA A65 NEW MODELS The 1964 BSA A65 was, of course, the third model year of the new unit construction BSA twins, the 500cc A50, and the 650cc A65, which had replaced the very successful pre-unit A7 (500) & A10 (650) in 1962. BSA was very conservative in the new machine’s configuration, as was …

1988 Norton Classic Rotary 1988 NORTON CLASSIC ROTARY BACKGROUND Norton’s air-cooled, twin-rotor Wankel motorcycle was a one-year-only run, with just 100 of them built in 1987 as 1987 and 1988 models. This makes it one of the world’s rarest production Nortons, and one of the rarest classic British motorcycles overall. It came at a time …

1973 BSA B50MX 1973 BSA B50MX BACKGROUND BSA produced one of the world’s most successful 500cc singles in the Gold Star starting in 1938 and running all the way through 1963 when production ended. The entire BSA product line was being converted from non-unit construction to unit-construction and the ancient non-unit Gold Star had to …

1951 Vincent Rapide Series B 1951 VINCENT RAPIDE BACKGROUND Vincent built its reputation on it’s robust 499cc Comet single. Prior to the war, they figured out that if they doubled it, they could create a 998cc V-twin and the series A Vincent Rapide was born. Few were built prior to World War 2, which curtailed …

1957 BSA A10 Pre-Unit 650 Twin 1957 BSA A10 BACKGROUND BSA’s A10 was the 650 version in it’s twin cylinder heavyweight line. The 500cc version was called the A7. Following Triumph‘s success with its seminal 500 Speed Twin, after the war, BSA and most of the rest of the British motorcycle industry followed with their …

1962 Norton Dominator 88 1962 Norton Dominator 88 Engine A WORK IN PROGRESS In our efforts to complete our online index, and make this the world’s greatest website about classic British motorcycles, we’re building pages as fast as we can. The first thing we add are the pictures. Then come the specifications and then the …

1955 Vincent Black Prince 1955 VINCENT BLACK PRINCE BACKGROUND By the early 1950s, Vincent the company was struggling. Founder Phil Vincent, always the innovator, the risk-taker and creative genius, had been steadily improving the Vincent line through several successive ‘series’. The Series C, 1951-1953, had failed to spark much-needed sales, so for the Series D, …

1966 BSA A65 1966 BSA A65 Spitfire Special 1966 BSA A65 SPITFIRE SPECIAL This was the hot rod version of the A65, just behind the A65 Lightning. Like the Lightning, the Spitfire had twin Amal carbs (Amal Monoblocs would be standard for 1966; Amal Concentrics didn’t arrive until 1967.) A65 MECHANICALS The unit construction 650 …

BSA-MAHINDRA UPDATE, December 9, 2020 When Indian tractor giant Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) bought the old BSA brand for $5.4 Million USD in October 2016, they had big, ambitious plans to launch the revived brand as an upscale retro bike for the US and European markets. Now, 4 years later, we’re still waiting. What happened? …

Old School BSA Choppers BSA CHOPPERS WERE HIP Back in the very-late-1970s and very-early-1970s, crazy guys (usually without a whole lot of money to work with) were chopping everything with two wheels. I had a couple of buddies who chopped their 350 Hondas, and Honda 750 choppers weren’t uncommon. For the guys who couldn’t afford …

BSA Bantam History ABOVE: 1950 BSA Bantam D1 123cc. SPOILS OF WAR The birth of the BSA Bantam line did not take place in England after the war. Indeed it started out as a pre-war Germany design, the DKW RT125, and DKW was taken over by the Allies as part of the war reparations Germany …

British Motorcycle Club of Pakistan  ride the Himalayas The British Motorcycle Club of Pakistan sent in these photos of their club, their bikes, their members, and their fascinating country. For more info, contact Nadeem at [email protected] Can you imagine what it must be like to ride classic Brit Iron through the Himalayas? ABOVE: Club member …

ABOVE: The Brooks Cycles Auction was conducted by Auctioneer Doug Neale, who is also the patriarch of Neale & Sons Auction Company. BROOKS CYCLERY – A LOCAL LEGEND Brooks Cycle Shop was THE Motorcycle Shop in San Jose CA in the 1950s & 1960s. They carried at various times, Triumph, BSA, Hodaka, Suzuki, Lambretta & …