SPORTING MACHINES ON TEST. THE 49 O.H.V. SUPER-SPORTS NEW HUDSON.
By ARNOLD RADCLYFFE.
THE most imposing feature of this particular model A. of the New Hudson selection is without doubt the engine itself ; placed well forward in a rather uncon ventional position, it allows the magneto to be safely located behind the cylinder, at the same time leaving plenty of room for extra toolbags, a generator or accumulators. Naturally, this is not the designers’ reason for
placing the engine where it is ; stability has been their aim and the result is a great improvement in the machine’s road-holding properties. It was very greasy on certain sections of our test route but never once did the New Hudson show any
signs of wanting to skid ; after a time complete confidence was established and ” stunting ” on semi-frozen grass was attempted. Even on full lock the machine seemed to retain its good qualities and any manceuvre could be carried out
with impunity ; certain it is that the straight-sided, heavily ribbed Dunlop cords helped matters considerably and cornering was also greatly simplified by the design of these tyres. To return to the engine ; the dimensions of the bore and stroke are 79.5 and 100 respectively, bringing the machine just into the 500 c.c. class. The whole unit is very solidly built and looks fit for heavy duty and plenty of it ; at the same time, it is lively, but the impres
sion one carries away is that it is an engine which will last. Weight has nowhere been sacrificed and the sensible size of the overhead gear gladdens the heart. Not only are generous roller bearings fitted, but a roller is fitted to the end of the rocker arm where contact is made with the valve stem.
Many critics view this with an unfavourable eye, what time muttering : “Exposed part,” “Soon wear flat,” etc. ; well, if the right steel is not employed, we can agree with them, but it is unthinkable that the wrong material could be employed by a firm with such a reputation and the feature becomes one which should assist greatly in eliminating continual tappet adjustment. Working downwards we view the push rods with their dainty ” skirts ” ; these ” skirts ” should be very useful in keeping grit away from the tappet guides and in minimizing the wear on the tappet heads. The only disadvantage of placing the engine well forward is that it necessitates sharper bends in the
exhaust pipe, but when the large size of this is taken into consideration, the small amount of extra back pressure vanishes or is at least negligible when touring.
The New Hudson bristles with good points, by which I mean that the designers have obviously benefited by experience and tackled the job of improving those small points which at first sight mean so little but which, eventually, prove a source of great annoyance to the rider. I will give a few instances.
The back brake adjustment is by knurled knob at the end of rod which gives enormous leverage necessitating very little effort on the part of the rider. The front brake is also made to work, but is not too powerful. Another good point is the provision throughout of those very neat ” Plexekas ” type springs ; they look smarter and they do not collect mud in the manner of their brethren the coil springs.
The kickstarter spring is better in theory than practice, the one on this machine looked very strong (being made in triplicate), but actually it was too strong as it had to be pushed back every time ; however, it erred on the right side.
Other small points include a decent-sized head lug, smart and useful chain guards, shock absorbers for the front forks, sensible stand clips, double valve springs, return rocker springs, steering lock stops, and grease gun lubrication. I found many more little refinements but a catalogue of them all would be _tiresome, so that before turning
to general performance I will deal with one or two of the major features of the bike.
Th9. Terry Q-Spring Saddle is at last standardised on this model, and most of my readers will agree that it is a step in the right direction ; too long have we put up with being supplied with some super-hot-stuff mount only to find that we h,ave to sit perched as on a pole or buy a super saddle to go with the ‘bus.
The last point worthy of honourable mention is, of course, the finish ; New Hudsons have made a name for themselves where finish is concerned ; few manufacturers turn out their machines so well ; both enamel and plate are of highest quality and they combine to make the New Hudson a mount which anyone ‘,cannot but take a pride in.
However, all good things have their weak points and I must turn the cold light of adverse criticism on the New Hudson for a few moments.
The glaring fault which everyone who saw the machine pointed out to me is that the brake pedal is mounted on the left footrest ; the remedy for a very bad piece of designing is obvious ; all I can say in support of the position is that the pedal is uncannily there when. you want it and that it has a very sweet action. Nevertheless, some people prefer a toe pedal as the heel action becomes useless when descending a sharp hill.
On a machine of such obvious refinement one expects to find some means of drawing off petrol from the tank without having to flood the carburettor or dip one’s handkerchief in the filler orifice. An extra tap should be standard on all machines as one is continually wanting to drain one’s tank if one happens to live, say, in the Isle of Wight. The profusion of pipes made necessary by the mechanical and hand oil pumps is ugly ; certainly they are very
neatly clipped, but it is a feature which is undesirable, but one that cannot easily be overcome.
The mudguards could be a little wider, especially the front one ; they are well made and of stout ” D ” section, but personally, as I have said, I should like to see them at least half-an-inch wider.
The last detail is that the footrests are not adjustable. That they should be is undoubtedly desirable as we have not all the same length of leg and I for one would not like to raise the saddle position.
Unfortunately, this particular machine was too new to be tested by any usual “all out” methods, and maximum speeds had to be estimated from the general
performance. At a later date, when the engine is fully run in, it may be possible to obtain these speeds accurately for the benefit of my readers.
Starting by the kickstarter did not prove as simple as it ought to be, until the eccentricities of the two jet Binks had been mastered ; no difficulty was then found in starting up first kick. This particular carburettor is as interesting an instrument as any model that is turned out from the Binks factory. Quite recently I have had the opportunity of trying one out on several types of machines and in every case a decided improvement has resulted. New Hudsons are wise in fitting such a good instrument which combines fierce acceleration with slow tickover, all without undue complication.
In contrast to some super-sports machines the 4.9 New Hudson is very docile in traffic and temporarily assumes the mantle of a four-cylinder ; it behaves as though it were built for traffic work all its life, and yet when the open country is reached it quickly shows one that high revolutions are as easily obtained as low ones.