Singled out for praise
After a very brief tenure with an annoyingly temperamental Bantam when I first started riding on the road at 16 years old, I swapped it for a C15 SS80 Sportsman. It turned out to be a delightfully reliable machine that not only looked way too cool back then, but also had a real bark to it that sounded like I’d always imagined a real motorcycle should sound.
It was a ride-every-day bike that stoked a passion for motorcycling that still burns as strongly in me today – so it’s great to be able to feature not only the C15, but also some of the other unit-construction singles that highlightBSA’s development from that early 250. CB’s regular test rider, Gez Kane, has ridden five different models that encompass the story from the first production C15 of 1959, right through to the final B50 on the 1970s.
Continuing the BSA theme, Kev Raymond has a timely story of an M20 that was used in the D-Day offensive of June 1944 – and has remained within the same family since.
Continuing the singles theme, but switching to Italian motorcycles, this month’s ‘Collector’ is a chap who restores bikes for the Ducati museum, then goes home to continue his work, restoring his own Ducati singles. Now that’s commitment. At the other end of the scale, this month’s ‘d’Elegance’ is an exotic 500cc Grand Prix bike – a CZ V4!
John Westlake also enjoyed a highly entertaining lunch with James Whitham, who regales us with tales of his racing career, as well as some deep thoughts about the Isle of Man TT races. Enjoy the issue.
Gary Pinchin, Editor
Collector: Enea Entati
Meet the Italian responsible for restoring all the singles on display at the Ducati museum – and when he gets home from the Bologna factory he starts work on his own bikes…
Brian Crighton’s rotary-powered race bikes of the 1980s were incredible machines. So fast, so light and so reliable. It was no wonder they won British Superbike races and championships – or that Brian was able to make the bike competitive enough to even think of running it in Grands Prix…Read More
There was a time back in the late 1970s when ‘specials’ were all the rage. Hoping perhaps to attract new buyers from Harley, who dominated the market, it seemed as if most rival manufacturers were building so-called ‘factory customs’ and calling them ‘specials’…Read More
I’ve been lucky enough to have spent time working with Dougie Lampkin in the past, but it was always centred around trials events that he was competing in or serious interviews about his chosen sport…Read More
If you believe the best things in life are free then you’ll love this issue of CB. We’ve added 32 extra pages to this issue of the mag and got our tech-head tipster and fixer Rick Parkington to edit a Buying Guide, covering British 650 twins…Read More
The first thing Ian Johnston showed us when we walked into his workshop was the lump of Triumph crankcase he cut off the front of a set of scrap crankcases to shoehorn the motor into an A65 frame…Read More
I remember taking a quick spin on Dave Hide’s CB750 – he was the first Honda four-cylinder owner among our local ‘gang’ of biking mates…Read More
At the risk of a sweeping generalisation, I think motorcyclists have in-built fascination with both engineering and curious creations. And so, if you’re like me, the curious engineering of the ELF race bikes is a wondrous joy…Read More
There’s nothing quite like it
When I was a youth, my dad took me to the first-ever truck Grand Prix at Donington Park in 1984. Barry Sheene was driving a DAF…
My neighbour isn’t a motorcyclist and has no interest in bikes. He couldn’t tell a Velocette LE from a Ducati 900SS. Yet there’s one machine that grabs his attention when it rolls up outside; not only that, but he can recognise it at 100 paces. Triumph’s Bonneville. Is there a more famous motorcycle?Read More
Four decades. That’s 14,600 days and thousands of inspirational bikes, compelling people and an awful lot of PG Tips. And it means that, now we’re 40 years young, the world’s favourite classic motorcycle magazine has become a classic itselfRead More
We meet Christine Wise and hear the inspiring story of her Moto Morini that she's owned from new, commuted in snow, won the National Rally, written off and it's even been raced at the TT. V-twins stir an emotion in many of us and this special issue celebrates the charismatic motor that’s forever been at the heart of motorcycling; from the raw craziness of a board track racer, through the sheer class of Brough Superior and landmark Vincent Black Shadow, to Honda’s innovative CX500. We’ve got the story of the giant-slaying Moto Guzzi racers built by a dentist, we got to ride the exotic road version. Plus it’s a month of rumbling exhausts, fabulous engineering and, crucially, pure riding joy.Read More
It’s incredible to think Yoshimura and Suzuki have been together for 40 years. Surely it’s one of the longest running and most successful partnerships in motorcycle sport.Read More
Touring holidays, ambitious tuning, a period dolled-up as a street tracker, disassembled and hidden in boxes, and an eight-valve conversion.Read More
It’s the sort of romantic story easily dismissed as a myth. Man goes to shed, man buys pile of rust, man finds he’s inadvertently bought a bike raced by a British hero. This time it’s most definitely true, however. …Read More
Mike Hailwood’s TT comeback was, and is, remarkable. Returning to the Island after an 11-year absence was unprecedented, but storming to victory in 1978’s TT F1 race was staggering.Read More
Think Norton, think Commando. There are many revered models in the brand’s history, yet it’s this big parallel twin that the fabulous logo always brings to mind.Read More
Everyone expected a price like a phone number, however when bidding hit £652,414 even Bonhams must have been surprised. That’s the thick end of a million dollars.Read More
Have a fascinating look behind the scenes at one of classic racing’s most colourful equipes - Team Obsolete's base in Brooklyn. Back on home soil, we also go behind the scenes at one of our unsung national treasures, Wasp Motorcycles – a firm that continues to make a wide range of motorcycles and rolling chassis kits using old-school production methods.
In the January 2018 issue of Classic Bike magazine we shortlist the ten potential projects that could win Barn Find of the Year in 2018. You can see all the bikes and decide who to vote for in the issue.Read More