You have to do what while you are riding?

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This is an oil pump. Yes I know it’s not in the engine, but I want to point out something take for granted how easy it is to jump on a bike and just ride. This early 1920s BSA featured what is known as a total loss oil system (as well as featuring no headlight as it was only an option!). Without an automatic pump system mounted in the crankcase, it was up to the rider to watch the oil contained in the sight glass, and pump as required. A more vigorous pace called for more vigorous pumping, quite a task on the Australian roads of the first half of the last century. Next time you take your modern machine out, enjoy the ability to just twist the throttle and go, without worrying that you are responsible for whether your engine seizes up or not.

Much better than EBay

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On a fresh sunny morning, on tarps and in stalls as far as the eye can see, the phenomenon that is the parts swap meet is underway. Buyers shuffle along, picking up pieces that most would consider fit for the scrap heap, ascertaining as to whether it might be worth purchasing. Bikes of all shapes and sizes, makes and vintage, litter the stalls and give punters a chance to pick up a possible bargain.

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The entire grounds are filled with knowledge of a thousand years of experience in working on two wheeled machines. You can find out how to tune a GP Amal, rebuild a Villiers or how to replace the swingarm on a Triumph Tiger, and the only payment these elders of the motorcycle world is that you pass on any useful information that you may possess.

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While wading through a crate of lightweight British motorcycle parts, an older gentleman wanders up to me and ask what I am looking for. I tell him about my BSA engine and he tells me has a complete rolling chassis, including a transmission, to suit my engine. We chat about it for a minute, I get his contact details and continue perusing the oily relics that you must have a keen eye to recognise what is worth something.

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Yes this project bike may look terrible, or these inlet manifold gaskets are actually cut up cardboard, but think of the potential. Think of what is possible when I have access to so many parts, surely there are enough parts here to build numerous bikes.Or just one amazing one.

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A beautiful and rare occasion

In life there are a few occasions that really stand out. Special moments that you know will stick with you forever. In my experience, one of these is the moment when I was discussing clubman bars on a Vincent motorcycle, with one of the true gentleman collectors of the vintage bike world. That moment, one moment, that stands out in relation to my motorcycle based journalism. image

A Scooter but different – Berham Customs ACMA

It can be hard to customise old school scooters. Their flowing lines don’t lend themselves to modification as they tend look sweet enough in standard trim. Today’s feature bike is a scooter that definitely breaks the rules though. Built by Berlin’s premiere custom workshop, Berham Customs, this 1953 ACMA Vespa was given a new lease on life, showing that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

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From the start of the build, Martien from Berham Customs knew how the build should look: ‘I just wanted it to look like someone had found a 50 year old custom project and fitted a new fork & engine to it’. Luckily at the start of the build, the standard scooter had all the patina of a barn find, it’s brownish reddish colour scheme matching the look Martien wanted in the build. To ensure the theme carried on throughout the bike, any new parts were painted brown, then red, and a hint of grey added. To add to the look, the paint was then rubbed back with oil and steel wool.

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Once the paintjob was finished, a bar was mounted to fit the MZ fuel tank, already painted in the same style as the rest of the bike. To round out the look, the shock was painted in the original colours of the scooter, and wrapped in a wet salty towel for a few days. Once the desired aesthetique had been achieved, the whole lot was sealed up with Zapon, to ensure the scooter will be around for another fifty years.

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Powering the scooter is a 230cc Vespa unit, the engine that served in Martien’s daily rider before being fitted to the rat rod ACMA. For go power, Martien had blown out the factory capacity by the fitment of a Scooter & Service crank. The head is a modified Malossi unit, working with a piston from the same company. Fuel duties are taken care of by a trusty Mikuni TMX35, while the exhaust is a Scooter & Service system. The whole drivetrain works well, with the scooter being dyno’ed at 32 horsepower.

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From a weather beaten EBay find, this bike has been rebuilt in true hot rod style, using whatever was available and worked. Using whatever means possible to stick to the original idea, this is definitely one scooter that won’t be found sitting at the back of the shed anytime soon.

many thanks to Berham Customs (Berham.com) for supplying the pics and thank you to Scooter Magazine for the information on the build.

Project C10 – Inspiration

A trip to the Australian Transport Museum at Alice has given me some unexpected inspiration for the little C10 engine I am rebuilding. I think I would like to go for a full vintage look, using these bikes as the starting point for my ride.

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The New Hudson is the look I want to aim for, with a few mods to make for ride ability. The New Hudson is a stressed engine bike with an under slung tank, and total oil loss system. The biggest problem is the lack of a transmission, meaning that the rider has to push the bike to start it, and the lack of a drive system means the engine is either running or stopped. Which may be a problem if riding through traffic.

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The Indian is a good look as well, the larger guards making the bike look much bulkier. The suicide shift is a plus as well, something I would like to incorporate into my project, if it ends up going that way.

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The final inspirational bike is the De-Luxe, a v twin that I haven’t heard of before. This bike has features I really like, long swept back handlebars, foot boards and acetylene headlamp. Not sure about the belt drive setup, going to try to find a way around it.

Sometimes you can find inspiration in the least expected place.