Touring holidays, ambitious tuning, a period dolled-up as a street tracker, disassembled and hidden in boxes, and an eight-valve conversion. Oh, and trips to haul rock samples back from Norway. There’s little that Chris Johns hasn’t seen or done with his Triton since he first put it together in 1976, and with Dave Degens’ help it’s now in finer form than ever before – read the fascinating full story of this delicious special this issue. ‘Special’ describes everything we’ve crammed into this issue. One-off, hand-built bikes continue with a unique Norlake V-twin, an exceptional home-tuned BSA, plus an American Triton unlike anything you’ve seen before.
We’ve met some amazing people too, including trials rider-turned-stuntwoman Debbie Evans. And we were there when the folk behind the Sparton race bikes were reunited with their fiery two-strokes for the first time in four decades. That was pretty special too. Now the sun’s properly here it’s easier to sprinkle a little special into every day. I spent last weekend bobbing down leafy lanes, with my boys taking it in turns to ride pillion. The joy on their faces was priceless.
We also Celebrate the diverse and intriguing world of Royal Enfield, with a free special edition magazine this month that takes you deep into RE culture. From the remarkable spares and unrivalled knowledge of brand specialists Hitchcocks, to the new 650 twins and sparkling UK tech centre; from the passion of Rider Mania, to Royal Enfield’s radical Lock Stock drag racer – which we just happen to have taken for a blast.
Here’s to a great summer.
Mike Armitage, Executive Editor
Inside the July issue...
Love & Eight
Chris Johns and his Triton go back a long way. Now his faithful old ride is back on the road with a Rickman eight-valve conversion, giving the power he always dreamed of
Back in the loop
Barton Motors’ rapid two-strokes were the thorn in the side of works racers in the ’70s. Classic Bike brings the designer, rider and bikes back together at Donington Park for the first time in four decades...
Made for each other
John Newson’s café racer is the perfect complement to its offbeat owner. That’s because he put together this unique mix of Weslake V-twin race engine and Norton Featherbed frame himself
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. The amazing story of Terry Williams’ ex-Barry Sheene Seeley Suzuki TR500 – possibly the most successful bike Bazza ever rode. There’s no questioning the legendary status of Honda’s exquisite RC30. Conceived for the World Superbike Championship, we’ve been out riding one to celebrate 30 years of the all-action series, with a Ducati 851 rumbling alongside for comparison. These two machines dominated the early years of WSB, and we’ve also got period racer tests that reveal what it was really like in the hot seat. You’ll be surprised.
Plenty of other exalted metal, too. There’s an inspiring Laverda 1200 special, a gaggle of Triumph Thunderbirds, plus perhaps the finest bundle of enticing Italians we’ve ever clocked. Oodles of workshop shenanigans as well, with updates on your Barn Find restos, Rick’s project Sunbeam... and the comedy oil-dropping antics of our somewhat recalcitrant Moto Guzzi. Enjoy the issue. Mike Armitage, Executive Editor
Inside the issue.....
A Bit of Barry
What Terry Williams thought was a box of bits and a rusty rolling chassis turned out to be an ex-Sheene Seeley Suzuki
A Drop of Red
Southern California's Doffo Winery is famous for two things. Wine, obviously, and something equally intoxicating - a fantastic collection of classics including 100 pristine Ducatis, rather a lot of which are a particular colour.....
Buy now >>
The Ducati 851 and Honda RC30 battled it out in the early years of World Superbike. So how do the road-going versions compare now?
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
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.Read More
It seems rather timely for Garry Laurence to have finished his Norton Featherbed-framed BSA Gold Star to coincide with our coverage of the Ace Cafe Reunion....Read More
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!Read More
In our September issue we have 16 pages of Classic workshop and Rickman takes us through his Suzuki saga.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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...Read More
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.Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
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...Read More
This bumper 164-page issue of Classic Bike is not just about celebrating our annual CBOTY competition, we’ve also added an extra 32 pages to celebrate an amazing year in classic bikes.Read More
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?Read More