THE SPORTSMAN’S OLYMPIAD.
Where to look for “FAST MOTORS” at the Show.
IN spite of the ban on hill-climbs and the very limited number of speed events held on the road during
the current year, the demand for machines of the “greyhound” class continues to increase.
In spite, too, of increasing police antagonism to speed and its almost inevitable attendant—noise, we find makers guaranteeing even better performances and producing even more ” hotstuff ” designs. Where it is all leading to one cannot tell, but it is very evident that the demand for sports models is a real factor to be reckoned with by the makers, when scarcely a stand at Olympia will be without its sports, super-sports, or T.T. model. Another surprising feature is that so many makers,
during recent years, who hitherto had been known only as producers of reliable plodders of the” sit up and beg,” side valve type, have now turned their attention to the “o.h.v. 27 inch” saddle height, with steering damper sort of affair, and, furthermore, have succeeded in turning out some really attractive machines. Alphabetically speaking, the premier example of this is the Ariel, than which there was nothing more ” touring ” and ” reliable ” until last year. Then it was that the new engines appeared, one o.h.v. and one s.v., but both remarkably “fruity.” Apparently it was quickly realised that a frame that is good at 50 m.p.h. is not necessarily good at 80 m.p.h. therefore the 1927 Ariel has a completely up-to-date cradle frame with a very low-saddle position and a stumpy tank encasing the single top-tube ; further features of modern practice include a steering damper, 7-inch brakes, and lastly, a very efficient silencer, the whole machine, of which various models are made, selling at prices between £45
and thus representing really remarkable value for money.
Another firm which, except for one ill-fated splash in 1921, has only just begun to nibble at the idea of something really fast, is our old friend the B.S.A. On Stand 20 we find the popular 350 c.c. o.h.v. B.S.A., which we reviewed last month, and which has proved very popular for fast touring and trials work to say nothing of motorcycle football ! The new 493 c.c. o.h.v. machine, however, should really attract the Brooklands, T.T. and Southport fiend, as its design incorporates so many features desired by this fraternity.
To begin with, it has a lubrication system, as opposed to ” a pump or other suitable device” for inserting oil into the crankcase. Oil is pumped from the sump under pressure to main and big end bearings and timing gear. Lubrication is also provided for the o.h.v. gear and the primary chain.
As regards the machine itself, this has an inclined engine in a duplex cradle frame, with a saddle height of only 25 inches. Apart from these features, everything else conforms to modern racing practise, and the price is 05, which is in keeping with the reasonable prices charged for all B.S.A. models. In pre-war days the Triumph company used to be most successful in speed events with their standard sports models, and on the introduction of the four-valve machine there were many who hoped for a revival of this policy. However, the model R did not seem quite
right for ultra racing speeds, so that it is now considered as a reliable fast touring machine, while for 1927 the new Horsman type two-valve machine is produced to cater for the speed-man. From observation it is clear that Horsman’s own machine without steering damper is easily one of the steadiest on the track, and compared with most machines extraordinarily reliable. If the production machine embodies these traits it should seriously threaten some of the old established leaders in the 500 c.c. sports class. The price of 66, too, is distinctly competitive.
True to their recent policy, the Scott Motor-cycle Company are marketing their latest I.O.M. model, embodying the lessons of the 1926 T.T. This very interesting machine has the usual Flying Squirrel type of engine with high compression aluminium pistons and water cooled cylinder heads ; the carburettor, however, is now bolted directly on to the crankcase, as on the T.T.
machines. The three-speed gear box is fitted, and the new type forks and duplex triangulated frame with detachable tank and top tube.
The engine is lubricated by a mechanical pump driven from the magneto shaft. The price with the 498 c.c. engine is 89 guineas.
The only other big two-stroke is, of course, the Dunelt, with its well known truncated piston system. This machine, apart from minor improvements, remains practically unaltered for 1927. It will be remembered that one of these models performed extraordinarily well in the last sidecar T.T. Messrs. Dunford and Elliott are also showing a super-sports model of the 250 c.c. lightweight which has a remarkably high performance. The prices of these two models are 09 10s. and £38 10s. respectively. A marque that has recently attracted the eye of the sporting fraternity to a considerable degree is the McEvoy. For 1927 the makers are adding a model
fitted with the 8-45 h.p. J.A.P. engine as used by G. W. Patchett in his sensational speed stunts at Brooklands and elsewhere. McEvoy prices have always been competitive, and this year they are better than ever ; the popular ” Vulpine” model sells at 09, while the o.h.v. J.A.P. big twin costs £135; these, together with the other models, will be on Stand 87.
Messrs. Douglas Motors have always believed in racing, and to this end they market the special o.h.v. I.O.M. machines in 500 c.c. and 600 c.c. forms. The bulk of their output, however, consists of purely touring machines ; but this year, however, they are showing ” sports ” models as distinct from racing machines.
The chief sensation is the new 600 c.c. E.W. Model, which closely resembles the wonderful 1926 E.W. in appearance, but has, of course, a larger engine, embodying detachable cylinder heads. For the trials man desirous of all the excellent E.W. features plus a little extra power, the 600 c.c. model should approach very near the ideal. Great interest is sure to be aroused by the announcement of the first super-charged motor-cycle available to the public. This bold step has been taken by the Coventry Victor firm, who are always well to the fore with bright ideas. A ” Berk ” supercharger is fitted to one of the well known 500 c.c. o.h.v. models, and pro
vided the necessary strengthening of the engine has been carried out, a very remarkable machine should result. The other “talking point” on this stand is a new silencer, which is claimed to be very effective, and which is also marketed separately as a proprietary article.
Since Motor Sp9rt road tested the 350 c.c. Royal Enfield J.A.P., this company has produced a similar model embodying an o.h.v. engine of its own design. The chief feature of the design is the neatly enclosed and lubricated overhead valve gear, a feature that should occupy designers’ attention far more than it does at present. The Royal Enfield big twin sports machine is also shown—but is the same as last year’s model barring a few minor improvements.
A longer taper to the rear end of the tank, resulting in a greatly improved appearance, will be noticed on the various P. & M. Panther models. Some of these machines are supplied with speed guarantees varying from 75 m.p.h. to 90 m.p.h., and provided that the makers have learnt their lesson from the T.T., an always excellent machine should have advanced one step nearer perfection.
• Attractive as the Panther may be, it is probable that it will be somewhat outshone in interest by the new ” Cuckoo in the Nest” that has been hatched at Cleckheaton. The new Bradshaw effort is, of course, referred to, and as is usual with this gentleman’s productions, a furore of excitement and interest is anticipated. As is well known, this is a 250 c.c. V turn with 4 speeds, arranged somewhat on the lines of the late lamented A.B.C. Further to add to its interest is the price, which will be in the neighbourhood of :00.
Perhaps the premier sporting single in the world, the o.h.v. Norton, remains practically unchanged, though an exact T.T. replica is now obtainable, with the special lubrication and large tank. Other interesting models on this stand are the 4-speed 490 c.c. o.h.v. machine and an extremely massive and sturdy outfit embodying the 588 c.c. o.h.v. engine and 4-speed gear in the ” big 4 ” frame.
Of the other firms likely to produce sports models made” under one roof” little can be said at the moment, as their policies have yet to be disclosed ; however, it may safely be prophesied that Sunbeam, A. J.S. and James will have just as an attractive display of sporting machines as ever, plus those little refinements that appear from time to time, and which tend to enhance their value.
Among various last minute disclosures, of which details (in the usual pre-show rush) are not yet available, are several startling announcements from makers of popular two stroke machines.
In collaboration with the Villiers Engineering Company Messrs. Francis and Barnett are producing a novel 344 cc. twin two-stroke. This will have the two cylinders arranged vertically in a monobloc casting with the crankshaft lying along the centre line of the machine.
The other surprise emanates from Messrs. Butterfields, Ltd., who, of course, are well known as producers of the Levis 2-stroke. All we can say at the moment is that the new Levis will be a 350 cc. o.h.v. fourstroke, and that if it is as good in its class as the 2-stroke Levis is in its class it will be very good indeed.
In conclusion, of course there is a host of machines which for want of a better name must be classed as assembled jobs. The name must not be taken as derogatory, since some real thoroughbreds fall into this class ; J.A.P., Blackburne and Bradshaw engines are most popular, while most gearboxes are either Sturmey .1 yeller or Burman. Round these units many attractive lay-outs have been evolved, and it will be sufficient to remind show visitors that such famous names as H.R.D., Brough-Superior, Zenith and O.K. are the most noteworthy in this class.
With such a galaxy before him, the show visitor may well find it hard to choose his mount for 1927, but it is quite certain that he cannot possibly complain of lack of variety or limitation Of choice.
miscellany, November 1999
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