Other British Bikes

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As an ex-Norton Villiers guy, I'd be interested in finding an AJS Stormer that I could restore. I know how to make a street bike out of one, since we did it for the 1968 ISDT. They're scarcer than hen's teeth - even eBay doesn't recognise the model.

The other bike I'd be interested in acquiring is a Triumph Tiger 21. I don't know if that particular Triumph model made it to the US. It's a 350 cc bike (hence the "21" label - 350 ccs in cubic inches). I think they were made from about 1959 through maybe 1966.

It would be a nice little commuter bike. Of course a Navigator or Electra would be a challenging project too!
 

grandpaul

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I have a drawing of an AJS Stormer (380?) that I drew in 8th grade (1971), along with a Maico 400 and a Bultaco Pursang. I wanted all three of those, finally got a nearly-used-up Pursang around 1980 and ran it into the ground. I recently say a Stormer at the Sandia Classic VMX event back in September, in excellent condition, but I was gridding up just as he was coming off the track and never saw him again.

21s can be found, but you better be prepared to pay near 5 grand US.
 
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Well, I could get a Commando for the price you quoted for a T21!

The Stormer we campaigned as a works bike was officially a 360, based on the Villiers Starmaker engine. In actual fact it was only 343ccs! We were really non-compliant with the 360 classification, but we did very well.

I don't think you can get beyond 350 cc's on the Starmaker without a different crank than the 250. There isn't enought metal at the bottom of the cylinder liner to bore any bigger without it collapsing from being too thin.
 
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That 350 single is not one I've ever seen or heard of before. It does sound like it would be a lot of fun.
I just turned down a great deal on a Honda Blackbird because when you calm down and think rationally where am I going to use much of its potential around here?
I have two more bike projects to finish this winter and the next one may be a single.
When we were kids one of my friends used a 70s Triumph 250 for everyday transport in all sorts of weather. We had a couple of those around and since I was the only one with any mechanical experience I got to fix them.
Those little singles were a ton of fun to ride and pretty reliable if you kept them up.
I'd also like to find something that could be made to handle well in about the 350 range. It would seem that a bike like this could make errrands a lot of fun. My Chang with sidecar gets the larger errands but to take a book back to the libray Goldwings seem like overkill.
 
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frankdamp said:
As an ex-Norton Villiers guy, I'd be interested in finding an AJS Stormer that I could restore. I know how to make a street bike out of one, since we did it for the 1968 ISDT. They're scarcer than hen's teeth - even eBay doesn't recognise the model.
Did you see this one on ebay now?

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Other-Ma ... dZViewItem

It won't need much restoring, though. I'm watching to see what it sells for, just out of interest.
 
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MichaelB said:
$8350.00!!!!!! Smokinnnnnn!!!!!!!
Yeah, well it's a two-stroke so smokin' is probably right.

But $8350?? :shock: Come on!! Who paid that? I thought the economy was supposed to be sucking.

I just read on the web that these bikes sold for $799 in 1975, and didn't sell very well either. I guess P T Barnum was right!
 
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Corona 850:

Not only would it be smoking, it would smell real good.

The Starmaker engine was a really picky one. It would only hold together if you used Castrol R, primarily a vegetable (castor oile) base lubricant. It has a unique aroma.

When testing what was supposed to be a consumer-market street trail version of the Stormer, we were perplexed by recurring cracking of the cylinder cooiling fins around the exhaust pipe, and some very peculiar noises from the engine, a high frequency ringing noise. We were running on typical petrol-station two-stroke mix.

A strip-down of the test engine with only about 3000 miles of road tests showed series of ridges, about .070" deep, around the bore, just above the exhaust ports. With the very rudimentary instrumentation we had, we found that the bridge in the cylinder liner exhaust port, which didn't have any cooling fins close by, was getting up over 1400 degrees. There would be instantaneous welding of the piston rings to the liner as the piston went past and then the weld would be broken as the engine continued to run, causing the piston to rattle side-to-side and gouging out the ridges.

The problem was being caused by part-throttle pre-ignition. On the racing engines, where the Starmaker was really developed, it wasn't a problem because they were rarely at part-throttle settings.

After a lot of testing, we concluded that the metallurgy was beyond what we could afford to implement and so we went with the recommendation that riders always use Castrol R. That was a real pain because it didn't dissolve in petrol, being a vegetable oil. It went into suspension as droplets, but when left for a few hours it settled out to the bottom of the tank.

Standard "first flight" routine was to shake the bike back and forth to re-mix the oila and petrol, otherwise you were trying to start it on more or less neat castor oil!

As you can imagine, that was a definite "headwind" in the marketplace.
 
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frankdamp said:
Corona 850:

Not only would it be smoking, it would smell real good.

The Starmaker engine was a really picky one. It would only hold together if you used Castrol R, primarily a vegetable (castor oile) base lubricant. It has a unique aroma.
In years past I spent many a happy Thursday night intoxicated by the smell of Catrol R while watching Sheffield Tigers speedway. All those JAP singles ran Castrol R back then. But I think that some bright spark figured out that the fumes were poisoness and Castrol stopped making it, at least in its original, pure form using castor oil. Is that correct? If so, what would you run in the 2-stroke mixture now?
 
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Going by the smells as the classic racers went by on the IOM last year Castrol R is alive and well :p
 
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Correct me if i'm wrong but didn't WW1 fighters run something like Castrol? Seem like I have also heard that it gave a laxitive effect that is better left undisussed.
 
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Yes, they did, Cookie. The old rotary engines (tha cranksahft was fixed and the cylinder block rotated) used castor oil in a total loss system. Unburned oil used to be thrown out of the engine back towards the open cockpit.

Pilots flying wirplanes with rotaries didn't usually suffer from constipation!
 
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All sorts of jokes come to mind Frank but I'll try to hold them in.
Prices for those old British singles still seem to be in the stratosphere around here. I quite wish I still had the old 600 Norton single I gave away when I came to CA for lack of storage. I parked the Commando on the street in SF for years, hardly reccomended. I had to redo all chrome.
The other day I saw a 500 BSA single advertised as a Goldstar here in the CL, as a fresh barn find. It had probably been stripped to run another bike and was little more than a rusty frame and an engine block on corroded wheels. I think it was advertised at $3,500 if memory serves. It looked to me that you could easily put $10,000 in it before it ran.
 
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Cookie said:
Correct me if i'm wrong but didn't WW1 fighters run something like Castrol?
frankdamp said:
Yes, they did, Cookie. The old rotary engines ... used castor oil in a total loss system.
I googled 'Castrol R' and came across the following in an archive of "Flight" magazine dated December 14, 1922. I found it interesting and so thought others might, too. I also really like the way they wrote back then.

"It is safe to say that with the history of British aviation no individual product has been so closely associated as Wakefield Castrol " R." For that world-famous aero-engine lubricant has played its own important part since the beginning of flying on practically every type of aeroplane, seaplane, flying boat and airship. Working as it often must under greatly varying pressures and temperatures the aero-engine oil has to withstand the severest tests. Indeed, the whole problem of efficient lubrication is one of a highly complicated and technical nature. In this connection Wakefields were able to draw upon their great experience already gained on high-powered racing motor-cars and motor-boats. So that with the data they had gathered they were able to set their research department, with its well-equipped laboratories, to a task which was not so much a new problem as a development; and, of course, the firm enjoyed the active co-operation of engine builders in the form of practical experiments and tests—on the bench and in the air. The outcome of this pioneer work was the production of Castrol " R," the fame of which has extended throughout the entire world of flying The feature of this lubricant is that it is an absolute blend (not merely a mixture of ingredients), the constituents of which do not separate however long they are allowed to stand. Possessing all the lubricating properties of castor oil, and reducing to the minimum the tendency to carbonisation, which is present in all vegetable oils, Castrol " R " has a higher " flash point " and a remarkably low " freezing point." The latter feature is, of course, of vital importance. Castor oil becomes too thick to lubricate at zero Fahrenheit, but Castrol " R " retains its fluidity at a temperature of -26 degrees F., or 58 degrees of frost. This means that the engine continues to be lubricated at any altitude or in any temperature at which flying is practicable—at the time of writing, anyhow!"

Hope this isn't too much off-topic for this thread.
 
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