Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Bike Shed London 2015

Only 6 weeks ago The Bike Shed put on a show in Paris and last weekend they did it all again in London at the Tobacco Dock. Yet again the show presented a wide range of custom motorcycles with the odd surprise thrown in. I'm so happy to be part of this show as it's put together by a team of enthusiasts and the level they have taken this show to is incredible, so thanks to Dutch and Vikki and the whole Bike Shed team for keeping it going with great enthusiasm.

1930 Peugeot P50T

(ink sketch)

There have been many attempts to make board track bikes using modern small motors bolted into cycle frames, which never really hit the mark for me but this Peugeot works! The Peugeot is a cycle motor, previously having a single cylinder 100cc motor installed. The builder Bo Hare has made an inspired and informed choice of motor, a scale model of a radial aeroplane engine normally used on radio controlled models. Because it's a scale model the engine looks old in style and so doesn't stand out. The engine revs to about 7000rpm and so the bike really does go considering the cc is still 100cc.  Bo explained that it currently takes off at 7mph and so he is making a larger rear sprocket to gear it down to a more sensible 4mph starting speed. He also hopes to get it road registered so he can see what it can really do!

Rebels Alliance, 'First Born'

(ink sketch)

The first of a trio of bikes the First Born was originally built by Rebels Alliance around 4 years ago. All their machines are ridden regularly and so First Born was in need of a strip down and tart up before visiting the Bike Shed. I hope you agree that it looks not just great but right. The tendency with custom shows is to have everything chucked at a motorcycle to impress but that doesn't always work in my personal opinion. Having a bike with the right amount of style and rideability is a perfect combination and First Born demonstrates that.
The perfect arc of the tank and seat unit sold this machine to me, the line is consistent across the top.
Another Rebels Alliance machine this one had a fantastic key system using a coded headphone jack!

Auto Fabrica, Type 6

(ink sketch)

Auto Fabrica's, Type 6 was a real show favourite, I didn't hear anyone say anything negative about it. Again this build proves that simplicity is a thing of beauty. The tank and seat unit is all made from hand formed aluminium, and simple sweeping lines are what this machine is all about. It's no surprise that the guy's at Auto Fabrica are trained automotive designers, and I love the fact that this comes through in this bike. It real is a gesture drawing made real.

Ross's 1966 CL77

(ink sketch)

Every now and then I get asked to draw someones bike at a show, I always enjoy the challenge of drawing something that I haven't chosen, and this CL was a joy to sketch. A lot of the original bike has been used in the build and I love the fact that a few well thought out decisions as to what to change and what not to, results in a very tidy and simple build.

Francis Barnett Plover

(ink sketch)

Well this build proves that it can be done. Built to prove a point this Francis Barnett was entered into the Kickback Custom Show and won best in show! I love the fact that a simple Francis Barnett with it's humble Villiers engine can work as a custom. Every element has been thought about and it really does work. The builder Rob also set himself a rule for the build that every part would not exceed £50.

6th Street Specials 360 Degree Sketch

As well as sketching all weekend I displayed artwork. A new piece completed for the show was a circular display of the 6th Street Specials sketch I did last year in New York. I was really happy with how it turned out, and it was great seeing how people reacted to the piece, some people diving straight in and others not even realising the artwork was on the inside. Here's a video of the full piece:


DTRA and Sideburn in attendance with some real sideways machines!

Racefit showing their fantastic form over function machines.
Bell and Ross B-Rocket
Robinsons Speedshop paint jopb by the one and only Maxwell Paternoster

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

35th Carole Nash International Classic MotorCycle Show

1929 Grindley Peerless JAP
Brooklands "Hundred Model"

(ink sketch)

I was overjoyed to see this machine at Stafford. I have seen the Original Bill Lacey Grindlay Peerless at Brooklands, but this original condition "Hundred Model" brings a true smile to my face. This particular machine is one of 2 survivors of a run of 5 machines built by Grindlay Peerless factory to celebrate Bill Lacey breaking the hour record for a sub 500cc machine. Bill achieved 103.3 miles in one hour on the Grindlay Peerless JAP, an incredible feet of endurance riding on such an early machine. Bill went on to dominate at Brooklands throughout 1928 finishing on the podium at every meeting. Bill broke his own record again in 1929 increasing his distance to 105.25mph.
After such success Grindlay Peerles produced the edition of 5 replica machines which came with a certificate to prove that Bill Lacey the motorcycle had lapped Brooklands at 100mph.
The replicas had nickel plated frames and this example has Brampton forks. The replicas came with twin port heads like the original Lacey machine. It was later found by a few manufacturers that single ports went better, and so this one was changed over to a single port by Barragwanath motors in 1931. In the 1936 an Albion 4 speed gearbox and an uprated front brake were fitted expressly for the 1936 Amateur TT race, where it finished half way down the field.
This factory replica has not only been raced at Brooklands but also at the TT and was used as a road bike in the early 50's. After this it was left to rest until the current owner bought it in the early 2000's.
Seeing motorcycles like this is such a great experience as you can see the history not only in it's original condition but by the changes from the original factory specification.

1921 Martinsyde, Quick Six Special

(ink sketch)

I've seen this bike on a few occasions but it's never stayed still long enough for me to get it down on paper. This is a genuine special that was built and developed by Chris Tait from the mid 30's to the mid 50's. At the Brighton Speed Trial in 1956 the special achieved 103mph. 

The Quick Six Special has been lovingly restored and campaigned by Rick Parkington, not only is he a writer for Classic Bike and a great knowledge on 20's motorcycles he also writes a great blog:

Rick Parkingtons Classic Bike Workshop

1935 Velocette KTT MkV

(ink sketch)

Velocette engines are always a joy to sketch, the designs always give you plenty to work with. It's even better when the engine is in an ex TT motorcycle. 

A. Bradley a racer from New Zealand was equipped with this KTT by the Veloce factory for the 1935 Isle of Man TT. The fact that he was provided with a brand new factory machine must have meant that he was a well respected racer. Unfortunately Bradley crashed in practice and never rode in the main race. From here the motorcycles history is a bit of a mystery. 

A. Bradley at the 1935 TT

The current owner has done some research and has no concrete evidence, but suggested that there were two possible directions for it's story. "The most likely scenario came from a contact in NZ who suggested that the bike was returned to Veloce for repair and subsequently sold on but I have not found any documentation to support this theory. It was also suggested that the bike was quite probably still owned by Veloce.  From the works records it is clear that only one Mk V was sent to NZ, not this one."

The next race appearance known for the KTT was in 1948 when John Cansfield of Scunthorpe raced it. In the late 40s Cansfield sent the rigid KTT to McCandless in Belfast for a swinging arm rear suspension conversion. At the time they used Jeep suspension units as thats what was available after the war. From then the bike stayed in Cansfield's workshop, where parts were slowly taken from the bike to be used on other machines. 

In 1978 Bob Dexter bought the bike from Cansfield as he saw that this historic machine was just going to end up being robbed of all it's parts. Bob managed to retrieve the original magneto and carburettor from people who had "borrowed" them, and so a piece of TT history was saved. The current owner bought it in December 2004 and it was finished in time for the 2006 season. It has been run regularly since.

c.1920 B.A.C. Pacing Motorcycle

 (ink sketch)

I've been fascinated by these pacing machines since seeing period photographs of men on motorcycles with ridiculously large engines. The main function of these machines was to pace cyclists on velodromes. When a cyclist rides directly behind a a large machine like this he takes advantage of the slipstream, which enables him to ride faster without succumbing to fatigue. The pace rider has an upright position with his feet pointing outward, held in place by two pins which went into the soles of his boots. This was to provide as much surface area as possible, in order to achieve an effective slipstream.

This particular example is a later machine which has a roller on the back which stopped the cyclist hitting the rear wheel of the pacer. Earlier machines a the birth of the sport didn't use rollers and the cyclists would often collide directly with the rear wheel of the motorcycle. The engine is a 2400cc V Twin made by B.A.C. (British Anazni Company). The reason for such large engines is that they had great torque and could run at a constant speed around the velodrome. Races between pacing pairs would be run, the cyclist would shout at the pacer to adjust his speed to enable them to go faster. In the 20's the pacers were running at a top speed of around 70mph with the cyclist in tow.

This pace motorcycle is currently for sale by The Motorcycle Factory in Belgium along with many other fine motorcycles. 

1983 Moto Martin CBX

(ink sketch)

I had a lot of fun drawing this machine, and it proved that more modern motorcycles can be just as complex as verteran machines. This CBX has a Martin frame built by Moto martin a French company who specialised in frames for sports bikes and even made kit cars and other motoring parts. Coupling this frame with a bored out engine to 1300cc, carbon fibre wheels and an R1 front end makes this quite the super bike. Especially seeing the original 1047cc engine produced 105bhp!

More Photos...

Milwaukee Flyer, Harley Davidson Custom
1926 / 2013 Flying Millyard,
Utilising 2 cylinders from a Pratt and Whitney radial aero engine, giving 5000cc!!
Harley Davidson Aermacchi
1972 replica AJS 7r
Mars Autocycle

Jumble Spots....

"Muc Off" 1952 D1 plunger Bantam frame with a British Anzani engine.
1926 16h Norton
c1926 Rex Acme
Bradshaw Engine
Victor Martin Speedway
Genuine PROFAB HL500,
With a Yam 125 tank??
1978 Montesa Enduro 360h
MAC Milano
Trojan Mini Motor
1924 N.U.T.