March 2018

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. The Vincent Black Lightning in question has history – it’s the ex-Tony McAlpine and Jack Ehret land speed record bike – but it shows continued interest and growth in classics.

Such treasures are beyond most piggy banks, so it was great to visit Cadwell for some BSA Bantam action – the most affordable classic racing. It leads a bevy of fascinating competition features, with the intriguing Mototemporada road races, the Gollner Cheetah plus the story of Julian Wigg’s amazing BSA tracker. Out on the road we go for a ride in rush-hour Paris with a Velocette KSS, and there’s a Triumph Thunderbird restoration and laid-back BSA. There’s ample inspiration for your own rides too, with our massive 2018 events guide.

Finally I should say hello as the new boy on Classic Bike. I’ve got a trio of classics in a draughty shed, enjoy tea and have my own spanners, so should fit in fine. One lump or two?

Enjoy the issue.

Mike Armitage

Executive Editor


2018 Events Guide

All the dates and essential information for this year’s best events

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The Tale of the curious cat

The Gollner Cheetah is a rare beast with feline agility, built in an attempt to claw back trials glory from Spanish top cats in the ’60s

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Gold digger

Seasoned off-road racer and restorer Julian Wigg has lavished hours on his Gold Star flat-tracker – and it shows. And we’re proud to admit that we provided the inspiration for it

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February 2018

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.


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December 2017

Ever since the motorcycle was invented, people have been trying to go faster – on the roads, around the race track, at the drag strip and on the beaches or the salt flats. Speed drives motorcyclists and this issue celebrates our need for it.

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October 2017

If you’re a disciple of Rick’s workshop-inspired content, you’ll love this issue. As we’ll as Rick’s expert advice and fettling tips in his regular Fixes section, and the latest update on the Rudge Special project – it’s off the bench and running!

It's one not to miss!

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August 2017

This is The Green Issue, but not some kind of environmentally-motivated political message those three words now suggest. Far from it. It’s a celebration of a time when green was mean, a time of Kawasaki’s outrageous two-strokes triples and ground-breaking four-strokes. A time when big horsepower was everything and chassis technology was struggling to catch up.

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July 2017

This month’s Classic Bike features a free Best of British 52-page supplement featuring some of the best bikes in the National Motorcycle Museum and how you can ride them.

The CB team argue over which of Suzuki’s 70’s triples are best, we look back at the history of Donington Park at 40 and visit a shop in Athens that has been restoring BSA’s for years – we meet the third generation of Papoutsas to care for the machines.

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June 2017

1967. The Summer of Love. Hippy culture was kicking back big time. Traditional British bikes were coming under fire from the Japanese industry with exciting new lightweight two-strokes that matched (and even exceeded) the performance of the traditional 650 twins. Grand Prix racing hit its peak in 1967 – with the epic 500cc battles – MV Agusta v Honda, Ago v Hailwood. Honda was also pushing the boundaries of technology in the other GP classes, too – exemplified by the amazing 250-6...

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May 2017

Inside the May issue - Sandshifters had a ton of fun in the Sellicks Beach Races in South Australia. George Greenland told us of his plans to head to Europe for a few weeks of classic trails – at 84! Our Gez grabbed a test ride on a Ducati 750GT – the Italian V-twin of his dreams. Duckers had a spin on a Brough Black Alpine. And Rick has been flat out in this shed.

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April 2017

One of the many things we discovered this month was that despite Yamaha’s supermoto-styled TDR250 being initially considered totally impractical, it’s every bit as much fun to ride as it’s TZR racer-style sibling...

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March 2017

With Triumph recently launching their much-improved Street Scrambler, we thought it the ideal opportunity to not only test the new model, but also to look back at the original high-barred, high-level piped, knobbly-tyred bike that came out of Meriden, destined for the US market...

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February 2017

Inside this issue we jumped at the chance to borrow Ian Grundy’s original Suzuki GS750 example. And as the 2017 Classic TT celebrates 60 years since the first ton-up lap on a Gilera four, we look at the Kays' replica that's joining the party...

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December 2016

In this issue of Classic Bike we ride 3 Triumphs built by the doyen of Meriden’s racing past, Les Williams. 87 year old Ernie Allen is reunited with his old Black Lightning Watsonian outfit and ninety 100-year-old motorcycles race 3500 miles across the width of America – what could possibly go wrong?

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November 2016

In this issue we delve into the depths of everything black and yellow. We’d all read about Kenny Roberts in the American magazines, but the first time we saw him race was during the 1974 Trans- Atlantics. He and Yamaha US team-mate Gene Romero came to Britain armed with their TZ750s – two characters as colourful as their yellow and black Yamahas...

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October 2016

Rage of the machines – this is the issue where race bikes hit the street. John Tarplee’s beautiful JTS T140 Triumph represents the ultimate in a bespoke custom classic, taking an old Brit motor thundering into the modern era with a handbuilt frame, proper suspension and brakes – and a hot-rodded motor. Built with the same ethos is Steve Tonkin’s Rob North-framed Trident. Stripped to the bare bones and with a howling 850cc triple motor, it was the perfect bike for the empty Cumbrian roads where Phillip Tooth rode it. Race-derived road machines don’t come much better than specials with Colin Seeley-inspired frames. We’ve tested one of the original Seeley Honda CB750s and the fabulous Seeley Condor G50 replica built by Frank Chatokhine. And while we were on racer road, we had to include coverage of this year’s Classic TT, an event that is attracting an ever-growing following.

Plus, free with this month’s Classic Bike is a 36-page Making the Best of British mag, which features Rick Parkington’s guide to buying and upgrading your classic. Featured inside are BSA & Triumph triples, what to look for in old Brit twins, some of the special products offered by SRM, plus much, much more. 

Enjoy the issue, 

Gary Pinchin


Inside this issue...


The USA came late to the party in terms of road racing. But when they arrived, they showed everyone how to rock.




With his latest creation, John Tarplee has turned the reduction of weight into an art form. We throw a leg over the svelte 750cc Triumph T140-powered classic-meets-modern special he calls JTS1.


That’s how a lot of the bikes go on the Island. Many don't finish the race. And the racing gets more competitive each year. Welcome to the 2016 Classic TT

September 2016

In the latest issue we road test three generations of Triumph Bonnevilles in our Bonneville special and we take a look at the screaming strokers that shaped Barry Sheene’s career, 40 years after his first 500cc world title. Plus Honda heaven: David Silver’s new museum hosting biggest collection outside of Japan and a preview of our brand new event Classic Bike Live. 

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August 2016

In the August issue there’s a freshly-restored Yamaha XS2 from first time restorer Paul Harris which matches Bonneville punch for punch, we ride four pristine big singles from Neil Redley’s ‘collection’ of rare Velocettes and Ace Classics tell us how they recreated legendary actor Steve McQueen’s #955 Triumph TR6. 

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