This page shows a gallery of some of my current bike collection. Not suprisingly, the emphasis is on both SOHC Norton's and our two Vincent's, but there are a smattering of other bikes as well.
To look at a bigger version of each photograph, click on the photo. If you are going to use these photographs in any other website pages, please credit my name and provide a link to this website, thank you.
Lliberal drilling and alloy parts keep weight under 300lb
Testing at a Mallory practice day March 2012. Phil Cramp on very fast Velo KTT at lower right - checking his bike is still there
Everything on a Manx is bigger (and heavier!) than an Inter. Large bolt-thru fuel tank is no exception
'I like a nice posing shot, me . . .'. A bit of a staged photo this one, but shows interesting comparison between Inter and Manx tanks
Top cockpit view. Strictly speaking, bolt-thru's were only used on Works bikes pre-war (as far as I know), but I could not resist fitting, as I had one. I also have an almost identical shaped pre-war racing tank, which is none bolt-thru. This still needs restoring, but may be fitted one day
By 1955 the DOHC engine had gone to short stroke configuration and the famous Featherbed frame used a welded up rear subframe
Cloth can just be seen poking through rear of petrol tank, to stop spanners, birds, etc falling down GP carb bellmouth . . . I have tried to start bike more than once with this cloth still in place
Magnesium conical rear hubs were first fitted to customer Manx's in 1949/50
This one is on my 1955 doubleknocker
Seat has Works style hump pattern. Notice original subframe hoop, often earlier Manx Nortons have these chopped off, as previous owners tried to make the earlier frames looks like the later ones which did not have this hoop
Frame for this bike is of Rigid Racing International type, i.e. it has mounts to take an alloy front tank mount as well as rear footrests. Here you can see the frame sat on a purpose built Norton build platform that allows me to move it around the workshop
A long way from complete yet. Build platform also has storage area to hold a lot of the smaller build parts
Engine is a nice straight 37 500 cast iron engine, fully rebuilt, using many of my own parts. Bottom half was repatriated from my old friend Arthur Moore in Australia, its build is covered in earlier articles
Drive side of Inter engine showing pre-war type TT carb, identifiable by early type floatchamber and minor differences on carb body. A little detail is for this engine I have fitted a lovely Lodge racing spark plug, easily identifiable by its pink colour . . . talking to Ivan Rhodes, he still firmly believes these were the best spark plugs ever made!
This is the project bike I am really looking forward to making - very rare 600cc Gardengate Manx chassis (E15 chassis number).
Shown here just as it arrived to me from Australia. Records show this was the first 600 delivered to Australia, and one of only 17 600cc Manx's built
This gives an idea of what I am hoping the complete bike will look like. This I believe was Eric Oliver's similar 600cc Manx, although note that Erics first post war outfit continued to use a rigid chassis - I have a similar sidecar outfit, originally fitted to Titch Allens 'Posing outfit'
. . . and with the barrel the other 'ultra rare' bit I needed to find was the correct 600cc Manx crank - look carefully where the mainshaft 'half moon' cutaway is, and you will see that it is not in line with the recess for the BigEnd nut, which it would be if it was a 50cc crank. Note also the very long length vertical shaft
After much searching, I was very fortunate to find a genuine 600cc barrel, seen here on the left. They have one additional fin over a 500cc barrel, as well as a deeper bottom spigot (although in this case the 500cc barrel on the right also has an extra fin!).
As can be seen, the tank is a bolt-thru and still has the distinctive 'Manx' deep drop at the back of the tank (an International tank is shallower). This particular tank came with panels chopped out underneath, so previous dents could be knocked out - very common with this tank. It will need some welding before it can be painted and used
When I bought the chassis from good friend Arthur Moore in Australia, I also bought from him this 1949/50 alloy plunger Manx tank - only fitted for one year. I have decided to build the outfit to the 49-50 spec, using this tank
And here is a lovely period shot of how it looked when it was reaching the end of its competetive life. Arthur told me he was given this photo by the person his father bought the bike from, and was told this was approx 62/63 in Australia. By this time the bike was solo, and probably fitted with a different engine
- 1930's Sprinter - open frame (looking for suitable supercharger if anyone has one)
- 1948 spec 500cc Manx (have much of this already, but will keep accumulating)
. . . so maybe some more pictures of these and other interesting spares in the future
I was very fortunate to have accompanied Tich Allen to all kinds of meetings over a 20 year period.. In that time we road raced, sprinted, grass track raced and sometimes just watched - but it was always good fun - Titch being young at heart and still loving bikes well into his 80's.
I was proud to have been his passenger (again!) for his very last ride at the age of 91 at the 2006 Festival of 1000 Bikes on his Manx framed 'Posing Outfit'.
At the same meeting, with Titch and his younger son Steve Allen - an accomplinshed sidecar rider in his own right, and someone I have also passengered for over the years. As well as riding with Titch, Steve and I also had a good ride in the sidecar event - a great day.
This photograph was taken at Donington Park where the Norton Owners Club had their 50th Anniversary Meeting. I felt priviledged to be asked to display some of my bikes in their main display area on the Sunday
Above: Rare competitive outing at Mallory VMCC meeting. This is taken just exiting Edwinas chicane in April 2012 on my 38 Racing Inter
Below: As an interesting comparison - hard to believe, but this is the same piece of track 20 years before!, a photo of a much younger me, going through the old Mallory Esses, which was there before Edwina's. Think this was early '90's Post TT. Bit slimmer then . . .
Stanford Hall VMCC Founders Day 2014. This is one of the oldest established classic bike rallies (i remember going as a boy in the early 1970's with my father!). I do not normally do rallies, but they said it would be nice to see the Vinnie and make some noise with one of the Nortons, so they offered me a club stand. My good friend Andy Kirk is behind the Vinnie, with the BSA Clubstand next to us and the Hall in the background - lovely laid back day
The next set of photos are of my 1948 Vincent Black Lightning Replica, most of these been taken shortly after completion in Summer 2014
I first purchased this bike wasy back in 1988 as an incomplete basket case, but it came from a well known and respected Vincent family and all the main castings and parts were in excellent condition. The basis for the bike is a very early 1948 Rapide (some Vincent people feel the early crankcases such as this one were the best quality - these ones certainly looked excellent and were one of the main reasons I purchased the bike).
The intention was always to build the bike to as close to original Black Lighntning 1948 specification as possible (as per the 48 Catalog picture), however, in the early days I built the wheels over more modern 18" alloy rims and big Classic Racing race rubber - with a view to racing it in VMCC pre-58 Unlimited class. Since then my views have changed and more recently I rebuilt the wheels to the original rims size - 21" front and 20" rear, using a rare original 20" rear alloy rim.
Inside the engine it is fully rebuilt to Black Lightning specification, with the inclusion of more modern updates like Carillo conrods and lightened steel idler wheel and cam wheels etc.
The machine has taken over 20 years to get to this stage, as a 'back burn' project and a real labour of love, but I am now close enough to see the finish line in site(!), so would like to get it finished in 2013 if possible, and use it at events such as 1000 Bike Festival.
By the way, this was the subject matter for the original Racing Vincent website, and all of those original articles are still available by going to my 'Articles' web page.
As always - 'click' on the photo for a larger version - and some of these are big enough to be used as screensavers or wallpaper
This photo shows front Girdraulic forks and twin ribbed brakes with the racing 'scooped' brake plates, fitted to Black Lightning and Grey Flash models. Front brake balance beam hanger was an almost obligatory mod, to reduce sponginess
Drive side of bike, showing KVFTT Lucas racing magneto and large (soft mounted) remote TT float chamber
Big Vee Twin Engine Lump - at full Lightning spec on the inside, with Carillo rods, balanced crank, 32mm inlet tract ported cylinder head, twin speed oil pump, lightened timing gears, high compression pistons and MkII cam profiles
I particularly like the stance of the bike here - taken of the drive side, I think it shows the Black Lightning at its aggressive best.
Petrol tank lining is based on the early HRD style - with factory photos used for reference, with the lining coming in at the rear. The bike is based on the first 1948 Show Bike
This photo shows the rear brake linkage particular to the Black Lighting and Grey Flash racing models. I have fitted sprocket carrier on this bike - a common mod, as twin rear brakes not essential, and reduced weight for racing
Another drive side picture. Look closely and you will see many nuts and bolts lockwired. Look at the photo below of the TT carburettor, without tank fitted and you will appreciate how big the petrol tank cutaway is compared to standard Rapide
Top view shows big 32mm racing carb bellmouth. Note also rev clock fitted - which has correct yellow numerals - particular to the Black Lightning
Taken before completion, this photo shows some engie detail.
Magneto is a KVTT Lucas racing magneto (only made for this bike), while drilled clutch cover (to aid cooling - not lighning) hides an original Vincent (not modified) clutch to full Black Lightning specification
This engine shot showsf the classic lines of Phil Vincent's masterpiece well.
Although this particular engine was originally a Rapide - the VOC Registrar informed me that the number shows it being from the actual bike that Phil Heath rode to 2nd place in the 1948 Clubmans TT, so it does have competition history! The late Phil Heath was an old friend, but I did not become aware of this until after his death, as it would have been great to have talked to him about that ride
Showing the gear linkage mechanism and hanger plates - these being particular to the Black Lightning and Grey Flash models. Note also 'Series B' style RFM and my normal weight reduction of various fasteners and other parts. Incidentally, the lightening of the rear damper units was copied from a factory photo of the first 1948 Lightning catalog picture
The other Vincent in our family is a very original Comet that my father bought way back in 1960, and in many ways was the catalyst for my enthusiasm for this marque.
I can remember from the very earliset age listening for the distinctive crack of the Comet exhaust, which signified my father coming home from work - so this model is very close to my heart. Although always considered the 'poor relation' to the Vincent Twin, the Comet (and rarer Meteor) was actually a very nice bike in its own right, and no slouch either. I well remember working on this bike with my father as a child and can remember how easily it could be taken apart to work on. I also remember my father constantly struggling with the Miller electrics - and eventually resigning himself to fitting a common mod - a Lucas rectifier!.
And just to prove the point - the ugly little urchin in the front of the photo is myself, sat on the Vinnie back in 1963, with my father and sister behind me. The Comet was attached to a Blacknell Bullet sidecar at that time - wish we still had that now as well!
Timing side of Comet engine - looks very similar to the Black Lighting engine, with rear pot removed . . . but on closer inspection is quite different. Notice that gearbox on the Comet is a totally seperate Burman unit, unlike the integral Vincent gearbox on a twin
And drive side of the same engine. Although very different from a twin, I think it is a handsome in its own right, and actually shares much of the same chassis as a twin so overall shares the same lineage
I have owned the 916 for almost 10 years now and still love its looks as well as its very fast handling married to a big loping Italian Vee-Twin engine
Beautiful classic lines of Ducati 916 made it as style icon when it first came out. It still looks good even now
In the first couple of years of ownership I fitted or made lots of trick bits - like the Ducati Corse slipper clutch, billet footrests and lots of alloy and titanium fittings - there is a huge cottage industry for Ducati trick bits!
1959 Royal Enfield Constellation has been in my family since about 1973. I have owned it since 1983, but I restored it back to original in about 2004 (see Articles homepage)
Cockpit view. 'Constellation' transfer adds to late '50's-early '60's style. Headlight binnacle houses a 150mph speedo
For many years before I restored the bike, it had black side panels and tank panel, but I always wanted to repaint in the metallic red - I was really pleased to find on stripping the side panels of original metallic red on the inside of the toolbox - which I was able to get matched, the colour shown here
As restored, the bike looked very pretty and was to almost 100% original specification, including original mudguards re-chromed and even the 'Spike' sidestand, given to me 20 years ago by my old (late) friend Bob Pike, who had it left over from when he was a dealer in the 1950's
Most recent addition to the stable (i.e - my retirement home for old nags), is this Honda CBR600RR, bought in Dec 2013 as my new 'commuter' bike, to replace the KTM 660SMC, which some lowlife arsehole decided to nick from my works car park back in October '13
Hi-Tech cockpit (at least, it is for me!), has digital speedo and a rev clock that redlines at a staggering 15,000 revs, at which point this little 600 is doing just under 170mph!!
Absolute essential for any race replica that I get hold of, is to fit a louder pipe - as I like to hear the bike, and also be heard coming by other drivers! In this case, weapon of choice is a beautifully made Yoshimura RS-5 Carbon end can and stainless header which came from the US. As well as looking the dog's doohdah's - it gives the Honda the sound of a screaming Banshee!
Sorry if you are a member of the Noise Abatement society, but I was never very politically correct!
Honda has fantastic build quality and great looks, paint job is a very fetching shade of Orange. Although a 'Race Rep', I have found this to be a great bike for local commuting. Handling is super quick and on empty roads can be taken to silly angles, even by geriatrics like me
1997 Ducati 916 (in SPS trim) and 2006 Honda CBR 600RR. Both state of the art 'Race Replica's' when they were new and both still beautiful in their own right. What amazes me is just how similar they look in design and hard to believe the Ducati is 9 news older than the Honda. Both are fantastic to ride - and both have super quick handling, although the Ducati has big loping Vee-twin engine, while the Honda has a screaming 600 4 cylinder jewel of an engine - reminiscent of what a 1960's grand prix Honda engine must have sounded like