SPORTING MACHINES ON TEST.
THE GiO 500 c.c. o.h.v. A.J.S. 4V4-01…elAelNev-e1″riVel”/”…/.11…”-e”.e.01″.r4
WHEN in 1925 the house of Stevens startled everyone with its 3,A; h.p. T.T. machine, it was the sportsman’s appetite that was whetted more than anyone else’s. A slight tinge of regret then must have been felt by many of this class when at Olympia the production 3i h.p. A. J.S. proved to be a rather dignified dual purpose machine. It is not our intention to criticise the 8 model, which in its way is a remarkably fine all round machine, possessing a useful turn of speed combined with reliability, comfort and reasonable weather protection ; at the same time, it is not a pure sports model.
Though it is not catalogued, however, Messrs. A. J. Stevens do produce a racing edition of this machine for the enthusiast who really intends to use his motor for competitive work.
The particular machine in question is one of the earliest G 10 models, and is privately owned by one of our staff, so that we are in an excellent position to report on the general behaviour of the machine during some months usage.
Perhaps it would be as well to draw attention to one or two of the more prominent and interesting features of the specification : The engine has ball and roller bearings throughout, duralumin overhead rockers and push rods, and a special type of cylinder head with a very large exhaust port and deep radiating fins. Pistons of varying compression ratios are obtainable, and, of course, a complete range of engine sprockets. A close ratio gear-box without kickstarter is fitted, and both brakes are foot operated. In addition, the 3i gallon T.T. tank, twist grip throttle and steering damper are incorporated, and to render the machine quite distinct from the G 8 model the whole frame lay-out is planned to be exactly the same size as the popular 350 c.c. machine, though naturally on a stronger scale. The result is as one would expect, a machine of extraordinary compactness, yet possessing a remarkable performance— in fact, real concentrated pep is the aptest expression with which to sum up one’s impressions. To turn to actual experiences on the road and elsewhere, we will be honest and say at once that trouble has definitely been experienced with the machine. These troubles, however, can all be attributed to two
causes ; firstly, because the machine was one of the first of its type, and still rather experimental ; various parts were found to lack the necessary strength to withstand the terrific power developed and simply crumpled up, but let us at once impress upon readers with great emphasis that in every case, on replacing the damaged parts with those of later pattern, not the slightest trouble has ever been experienced again on this score. S4condly, the machine has been used for track racing, which is a very severe test for any production model, and which, sooner or later, is guaranteed to “blow up” the best engine in the world. However, as a result of the above experiences the machine is now thoroughly reliable, even for racing, so that the average sportsman need have no fears on this account.
The bicycle was delivered complete with T.T. A. J.S. sidecar and 3-wheel brakes, the sidecar brake incidentally proving very effective. Almost the first incident of note was a sensational ” capsize ” on a left hand corner at some 35 m.p.h., due to an ill-judged but nevertheless successful ” dust up” with a big twin sports outfit ! That nothing was in the least bit bent after this contretemps goes to prove the immense strength of frame, forks and chassis, the only damage being a burst sidecar tyre and a few scratches. Before dismissing the sidecar (which incidently is quite comfortable, provided the passenger is not too
long !) we should like to mention that one fine Sunday afternoon, in front of a large crowd of spectators, the outfit, complete with 10-stone passenger, was observed to cross the” Cannons” on Alms Hill at approximately 30-35 m.p.h. This with the ordinary close ratio gearbox. By the way, we were going up the hill, not down as some ultra-clever reader might suspect from the previous sentence ! As regards speed, it is a very difficult matter to say anything definite about the maximum ; it has certainly proved fast enough to win several awards in the few short speed events entered for, and it would be fairly safe to expect somewhere about 90 m.p.h. from the machine in speed trial tune. Doubtless it will eventually become possible to maintain this and higher speeds for
long distances on the track, but so far circumstances have usually prevented or hampered experiments in this direction.
The machine has, however, with a new and somewhat stiff engine, averaged 75 m.p.h. for 200 miles on the track ; at the end of this run it was going better than at the beginning, and lapping at well over 80 m.p.h. Given more time for tuning and running in, a much higher speed should have been possible. For road racing the machine has proved extraordinarily good ; cornering is excellent, and, using both pedals hard, deceleration is distinctly good, though by itself the front brake does not seem particularly effective. The footrests were once actually in contact with the ground on a corner of the 60 m.p.h. variety, and as the photographs show, they could not be moved very„much higher. As it is, viewed in cold blood, the angle at
which the machine was leaning seems fantastic and not a little terrifying.
After a very promising beginning in the road race entered, the machine was eliminated by nothing worse than a tankful of alcohol fuel that had lost its explosive qualities during a long storage period !
Steering and road holding at high speeds are every bit as good as can be expected, and are at least the equal of any machine on the road, and considerably better than many. At the same time, when racing speeds are indulged in on indifferent roads it would be foolish to expect to be able to go to sleep. At very low speeds the large tanks make the machine feel a trifle clumsy, but any initial awkwardness of this sort is soon forgotten, once the machine has become familiar.
What else is there to say of the machine ? Finish ? Excellent. Clutch ? No trouble. Noise ? With the standard silencer, no worse than similar machines of other makes ; with a Brooklands ” Receiver” (Derrington), quiet at all speeds, with a long pipe and fish tail, silent at low speeds, and indescribable at high speeds !
The gear change, of the latest A. J.S. type, is easy, positive, and the gate does not seem so close to the knee as usual, probably the T.T. footrests and large tank contribute to this. Petrol consumption has never been even roughly tested, as this question does not usually enter into the speedman’s calculations. However, this is not so excessive as to be noticeable, nor so good as to warrant tests and the tabulation of figures. The price varies according to the specification, and can be ascertained from the makers, as it is realised that the man who buys this class of machine has hi
own very definite ideas on the subject of equipment. The machine in question, solo cost approximately 480.
In conclusion, let us remind readers that a standard 10 model A.J.S., ridden by Mr. R. D. Adams, won the Amateur Road Race at a speed of 58.46 m.p.h. under the most unpleasant and difficult weather conditions that can be imagined ; readers who are acquainted with the T.T. course and are aware of the conditions of the race will appreciate that we can give no finer recommendation than this.
A 3.48 Raleigh Climbs Ben Nevis.
A remarkable feat was recently accomplished by Mr. R. MacGregor, of Killin, who rode a 3.48 Raleigh to the summit of Britain’s highest mountain, which had not been previously performed on a solo machine.
No alterations from standard were made with regard to the machine, except for the fitting of a 20 to 1 low gear and the removal of the front mudguard. The climb was commenced at 6 a.m. in a mist, which continued for the greater part of the ascent and the journey was rendered very difficult on account of the boulder strewn track, which has received no attention for years.
After two hours running, the half-way hut was reached, where a short stop was made owing to the adverse weather conditions, but the climb was eventually accomplished with no further damage to the machine than a battered exhaust pipe, a few dents on the rims and some scratches on the flywheel. The total time occupied by the climb was three hours, forty minutes,