What make and model is a good British Single? (2009)

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British single...? Well i consider the Vellocette Vemon one of the finest bikes made..querky clutch [when not under stood] Had one in 69,had four in 82...still have one in 2009. When assembled right ..pure joy...and going up like theres no tomorro...Ebay ..64 .mint clubman...£13400!..but sensible money...£7500. better than any Gold Bar ...better get me fallout gear on!!
 
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No question the Velo is a sweetie. The prices i've seen have been pretty high though.
 

illf8ed

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Bobs850 said:
I am looking for something to ride on the back roads. Most of the riding would be 50 to 55 mph. I have never owned a single and always wanted one. Anybody good a good reference on a reasonable affordable single from the 50s or 60s?

Thanks,

Bob in Fresno
Hi Bob,

If you want the old Brit single experience...Norton ES2 or Model 50 (350cc), AJS/Matchless 500 (G80), BSA B31/33 (350/500), Velocette MAC. BSA and Triumph singles from the 60s and early 70s are a different experience. The older ones are much lower performance. They slog along, but require time to get to speed. Once there they hold speed nicely. I have owned '57 Norton Model 50 and '61 Norton ES2. They aren't really to my liking. Also owned a Rickman 441 put on the street....did like that one!
 

grandpaul

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A Rickman chromoly framed 441 setup for the street would be a real treat! Ultra-Spartan.
 
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Hello

I have a DBD34 Gold Star in Norton Featherbed frame and it is the most fun around the lanes where I live in Hampshire UK.
A Catalina would be wonderful.
As a past BSA B50MX owner I would say the starting put me off as it was even harder than the Goldie.
I trialled a Cummerfords Cub (Triumph )for years and exept for really steep hill trial sections( I am 255lbs) found it a joy to live with, with the right gearing would make a nice back lane scratcher.
Or have you thought of the 350 / 500 AMC singles? I trialled an AJS mod18s in trialls trim,awsome.

Be it a Cub or Goldie if you love it and it puts a smile on your face its the right bike.


NORBSA DBD34
TRIBSA 6T
MK3 COMMANDO
BSA RGS REPLICA
CCM 350T
MATCHLESS G12
HONDA TL125
BROCKHOUSE CORGI
ITALJET PACK 2
HONDA CBR1100RR
 
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Rocker 1 - I can imagine you getting off your Honda CBR and then jumping onto an old Tiger Cub. Quite the contrast.

Mid America Auction has quite a few vintage bikes up for auction in Las Vegas starting January 7, 2010. I am a registered phone bidder. If I see an old single that catches my eye, I will send in a bid. Quite a few BSA Victor models should go across the block.

Bob
 
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The Matchless heavyweight 350s are ideal for what you want to do . I have 2 - a 1951 G3/L rigid and a 1961 G3 made for the Dutch Army. There are quite a few of these Dutch Army 350s around. Domi-Racer was selling them for $600 each at one time. My favorite is the '51 though. Excellent handling and there is enough flex in the rigiid frame so it is very comfortable. The large springy Lycett seat also helps a lot. They also made "lightweight" 350s and 250s - do not get one of these.

I had a '61 Triumph cub and a later '71 TR-25W which was really a BSA. Both sucked, especially the TR-25W. I had to push them home more often than having them arrive actually running. Sold the TR-25W to a friend I worked with. Had to pick him up frequently when it died on his way to work - only about an 8 mile ride for him. Was a real strain on the friendship. I wouldn't wish one on my worst enemy. It looked nice but that's about all I can say good about it. Kinda poisoned me on BSA singles in general.


Russ
 
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I have a 1968 BSA 441 Shooting Star that I love. Had one 30 years ago & when I saw this one With only 2,800 miles I grabed it. I've had a few other older singles like a 1955 AJS I found in a ladies back yard & bought for $100.00 that I think are prettier but the 441 is nice, easy to maintain & once you have it dialed in and learn the secret handshake mojo it starts easy. Mine had the aftermarket 49 tooth rear sprocket common for back them & it combined with the 19 tooth front gave great acceleration but I put the stock 47 back on for better top end. I also have the bigger TLS front brake and it is very good for what it is. Not sure about the smaller ones but I would think if you want a back road carving bike & ride hard at all you want the TLS front brake with the vent. Mine saved me just last night when a pick up & a BIG flat bed tow truck decided to make a 20 point illegal U turn on one of my fav local two lane canyon roads. My friend on a newer Ducoti didn't stop any faster. (he could have, didn't need to). I lust after bikes like the Norton Manx, AJS 7R, Velo Vemon and Matchless G80's so MAYBE some day I'll spring for a 50's or 60's Clubman Goldstar but they say people in Hell want ice water too. (there is a guy in England who makes a electric start conversion that's very nice) but for now the little puppy 441 is great & so much fun. PS. Don't be discouraged by the high $ bikes. Look around & you can find nice complete ones for less than $3,000. A friend just sold a real nice one for $2,800. But I have seen Victor models go for HUGE $ at auction. I think one sold at Lost Vegas last year for $12,000 +!!!!! Super clean museum bike but still don't know why so much.
 
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Hi Bob,

I bought and rebuilt (complete frame-off) a 441 Victor three years ago. These bikes are drop-dead gorgeous,with their alloy tank, and great fun as long as you keep the speed below 55 mph or so. The Victor was an export bike (to the US), and there are usually several that appear for sale nationally within a 6-month window. Their reputation as a stubborn starter can be overcome with a Pazon ignition, rebuilt carb, new coil, and a bit of technique with the compression release. I had no problem finding new parts during my rebuild; there are still some NOS parts around, even the add-on tach. New Dunlops are still available.





The buckhorn bars and the seat are not original, as you can guess, but make the bike an easier ride for me.
 
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Rick,

That looks like it would make a lovely short range bike. I really enjoy the narrowness of those old singles.
 
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You need a 350 Velocette MAC you can use a pre war iron engine rigid or a post war ally engine with swing arm. Known in England as the engineeers motorcycle top speed 71 mph(15BHP) comfortable 55-60 mph cruising, I have riden mine from the UK (Kent) to Spain for the Colombres rally see( http://gs85079.piczo.com ) see other bikes page. I used this bike to commute to work on daily. Best bike Iv'e ever had !!
 
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Paul has a lot about Velos in his blog. I quite enjoy reading his stuff as he comes up with very interesting bikes to write about. Have a look though his back pages, some of the Velo clubs runs are pretty enjoyable it seems.
If I was smart I'd sell up all my bikes but my red Chang and have Paul find me a good Velo.
http://thevintagent.blogspot.com/
 
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A colleague at work back in the UK had a Velocette 500. As I rode my Ariel Leader to work, he would often go past at 90 or more, usually with the brake light on!

He did have a nasty experience. His particular bike was a high compression engine (10.5, I think). One morning, the compression release cable snapped, and he tried to kick it over without that feature. Fat chance.

He then set the bike on its center stand, took a running leap onto the kick start, which promptly failed to engage and went straight though to the bottom of its travel.

He rode the bus to work for a month, with his broken ankle in a cast!

Watch out for big singles - they can bite big time.
 
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I have a Venom with a 9:1 comp ratio and I recently tried to start it with trainers on and a slightly oily right sole I'm now the proud owner of a 7" bruise on the right shin :evil: but I still love her :D http://gs85079.piczo.com/ see other bikes page...I call it the Ebay special as thats where most of it has been obtained over the last three years plus some auto jumbles ....the velobanjogent web site is one of the best I've ever seen....apart from this one of course..

see also http://velobanjogent.blogspot.com/
 
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I was able to pick up a fairly decently priced 1971 BSA B50 MX at the Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction. From what I have read it has a better bottom end than the 441 Victors. It should be what I am looking for as far as back road riding. So far all I think I have to do is put some street tires on it. Nothing major. I had an Ironhead Harley Sportster in the 70s that continually tore my leg up. I have gotten very good at starting these older bikes.
 
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I was alway partial to the Matchless G80cs. Truly a king of a thumper, 500cc 12:1 compression. Without the compression release pulled in, you could jump up and down the kickstarter like it was seized. I remember my dad trying to start this and with a poor sence of timing would be black and blue and limp for a week. I could some how time that sucker just right and "BAM" ....it would tick over like a timponi drum. Prone to head gaket problems, this was my first mechanical achievement with motorcycles. My folks were gone and I took it up into the woods for a romp and she started blowing out the head. I was 14 in 1967.
 

illf8ed

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pvisseriii said:
I was alway partial to the Matchless G80cs. Truly a king of a thumper, 500cc 12:1 compression. Without the compression release pulled in, you could jump up and down the kickstarter like it was seized. I remember my dad trying to start this and with a poor sence of timing would be black and blue and limp for a week. I could some how time that sucker just right and "BAM" ....it would tick over like a timponi drum. Prone to head gaket problems, this was my first mechanical achievement with motorcycles. My folks were gone and I took it up into the woods for a romp and she started blowing out the head. I was 14 in 1967.
I was 14 in '67 also and remember the legends of a 500 Matchless, all of what you say here. No experiece even to this day with Matchless. My Norton singles (350 and 500) were pretty whimpy compared to the Matchless legend.
 
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Those matchless singles did pretty good in desert racing if I recall. I'd buy one if the right deal came along but I sure wouldn't run some of the compression ratios they used to.
 
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The late G80CS - '64 on - had 8.7:1 compression in street trim. The 12:1 was optional along with an Amal GP carb and used by racers and in the G85CS which was a stripped down motocrosser. The cylinder head is lapped to the cylinder with no gasket used. It has a stepped spigot. I spray a thin layer of aluminum paint on both surfaces after lapping them together using valve grinding compound and have had no problems with the 8.7:1. It is not that hard to start with the proper drill - about the same as a Commando.

Russ

 
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That's a beauty and a compression ratio I'd run on today's gas. It looks to have the same sidecar lug frame my G15csr had.
 
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