WHAT MOTOR CYCLE MANUFACTURERS ARE DOING FOR 1929.
BASED ON OBSERVATIONS MADE AT OLYMPIA.
THE 1928 Motor Cycle Show was interesting, like many of its predecessors, for the display -of several startlingly novel designs, which, we hope, will not suffer the fate to which many such have succumbed in the past. To deal with these novelties first, the names of Ascot-Pullin, A. J.W. and O.E.C. Tinkler first come to mind.
The former is a veritable triumph of the inventor’s ideal. It has a pressed steel frame, hydraulic brakes, remarkable speed and positively bristles with ingenuity throughout. On paper it comes somewhere very close to the perfect motor cycle compromise, but whether it will succeed commercially or not remains to be seen. It may be that the genuine utility man demands something more than a single-cylinder engine, be it never so smooth, and he may also expect a spring rear wheel and less weight. On the other hand, the sporting rider may shy at the somewhat bizarre, but undeniably handsome appearance. Both types, however, need have no doubts as to the mechanical soundness or the performance of the design as it stands.
The A. J. W. is another distinct break-away from accepted motor cycle practice and as such is again a ” gamble.”
The design conies nearer to the ” car on two wheels ” than anything previously seen. It actually has a car type chassis and four-cylinder Anzani engine and gear unit combined. T he steering and front suspension, too, are unconventional, and resemble the O.E.C. The whole mechanism is entirely enclosed by side plates and the appearance, from the side, is by no means unattractive. The O.E.C. Tinkler is a combination of the very ingenious Tinkler water-cooled engine and gear unit, which outwardly resembles a plain box with a ” Vauxhall ” radiator at the front, and the duplex steering
0.E.C. frame, described in a recent issue of MOTOR SPORT. The steering properties of this frame are remarkable, and assuming that the engine unit has been perfected since its 1927 T.T. debut, this should be a most ‘delightful machine. The remaining models (and their name is legion) made by this firm are continued, with detail alterations for 1929.
Two other four-cylinder models are marketed for next season, namely, a ” straight ” engined side valve Brough-Superior of very clean design and a McEvoy with the latest thing in o.h.c. inclined valve motors. The latter is to be made in two sizes, namely, 600 c.c. and 1,000 c.c., and the design suggests that the makers have their eyes on world’s records, whereas the Brough Superior is obviously a luxurious fast touring machine. The 110 m.p.h. Brough Superiors are naturally the chief feature of this firm’s programme, and all models can be supplied with a very neat spring frame as an extra.
The next most noticeable feature of 1929 motor cycles is the almost universal adoption of saddle tanks ; among firms who have joined the ranks of ” saddlers ” or who have recently extended the feature to most of their models are A. J.S., B.S.A., Douglas, Gillet, Humber, Norton, Rex Acme, Sunbeam and Triumph. Of these only B.S.A., Douglas, Norton and Triumph are marketing any models which differ substantially
from their 1928 products. The former have introduced a “light 493 c.c.” machine on the lines of the modified 350 c.c. model, with the engine in the upright position, and have grown some more ports and exhaust pipes on various models. Douglases now market the latest thing in ” Dixon ” “T.T.” models, which ran so well but so unluckily in the I.O.M. this year. This model has the re designed engine with chain driven timing and entirely enclosed overhead valve gear. The very successful lubrication system fitted to this machine, entirely devoid of pipes, is now fitted also to the well-known 350 c.c. E.W. model. Triumph have produced an extremely attractive 350 c.c. machine, with an engine modelled on the larger T.T. edition. This has two ports and enclosed valve gear, and is mounted in a simplified edition
of the new frame used in the I.O.M. this year. Two very sturdy side valve machines bear very little resemblance, and appear to be a great improvement on the N.’s, P.’s and Q’s which they replace.
The progress of Ariel Works, Ltd., has been such that it can truthfully be said that to-day they are the largest producers of any single type of motor cycle—the 500 c.c. —in the world. The medium-weight Ariels for 1929 show signs of many all-round improvements. The engine dimensions are the same as in the past, but there are in all some two dozen new features. Prominent amongst these is the use of dry sump lubrication. The crankcase is ribbed for rigidity and radiation purposes, and oil is forced
direct to the centre of the crank-pin. The system is such that oil consumption works out at no less than 4,000 miles per gallon.
On the side-valve machines, the valves are totally enclosed, whilst on the 0.H.V.’s there is a new type of enclosed rocker gear. The cylinder is also fitted with a shorter induction pipe which tends towards easier starting and the timing gear-wheels are all “ground,” this ensuring silence and efficiency.
For 1929 there are no single-port O.H.V. Ariels, the medium-weight range consisting of four machines only— two side-valves and two double port 0.H.V.’s. The prices of these have been reduced considerably, and are now as follows :—Side-valve Model A, £44; De Luxe Side-valve Model B, £46 10s. ; Double-port O.H.V. Model E, £47 10s. ; De Luxe Double-port O.H.V. Model, F, £50. A gear-box driven speedometer with tank fitting costs £2 extra.
The prices of the new Ariel lightweights have now been fixed at £36 for the side-valve machine and £38 10s. for the double-port O.H.V. It will thus be seen that in both classes Ariels offer excellent value for money.
As usual, Veloce, Ltd., are concentrating on two distinct types-249 c.c. two-stroke and 348 c.c. overhead camshaft four-stroke. Each of these is made in two or more different models.
The O.H.C. machine, as being the winner of the Junior T.T., Ulster Grand Prix, and many other important races this year, commands more attention than the very useful but unobtrusive two-stroke.
The well-known K and KE machines, which sold last year at £68 5s. and £61 respectively, have been combined, into a KN model at £62 10s. The frame of this is similar to that used on the 1928 KSS machine, having the extra large ball head and the curved under tank rail to facilitate cam-box removal. Similar to the KN, except that it has sports mudguards and a sports carrier, is the KNS. This also sells at £62 10s. The KSS is retained with minor improvements, but the price is now £70 only. This machine is capable of some 80 m.p.h. with an open exhaust. The new O.H.C. Velocette is known as the KTT and is an exact replica of Alec Bennett’s winning T.T. mount. It can be obtained with an engine compression suitable for either petrol-benzole or alcohol fuels. The gear-box has the patented foot-change which proved so useful in the Isle of Man, and the saddle tank is fitted with the large junction pipe for quick filling. The
price of this machine, which is very suitable for competition work, has been fixed at £80.
Two types of two-stroke are now listed, the “U “U for Utility—at £38, and the USS at £42. The former is similar to the 1928 edition, hut has a few detail additions and improvements. The USS is a new model with an aluminium piston, detachable cylinder head and stiffened crankcase. No release valve is fitted, the engine being started quite easily without one.
The Rudge-Whitworth programme for the forthcoming year includes several very striking innovations. For the past three years it has been the policy of this firm to concentrate on 500 c.c. machines only, although in 1925 a successful ” 350 ” was listed.
In response to repeated demands for re-introduction of this type and also for a lightweight machine, three entirely new models have been added to the range for the coming season. In addition, last year’s Sports model has been dropped in favour of the new Ulster model which is an almost exact replica of the machine which won the 1928 Ulster Grand Prix—the fastest road race ever run—at an average speed of no less than 80 m.p.h.
In its production form, however, the Ulster model has several refinements which were not found on the racing machine ; thus the overhead rocker gear is entirely enclosed and lubricated by oil mist from the crankcase, and the front chain is enclosed in a cast aluminium case. The crankcase is deeply ribbed and is provided with ball and roller-bearings on the drive side and ball bearings on the timing side, whilst improvements to the cylinder head have resulted in a maximuni speed of a least 85 m.p.h.
Lubrication is by Rudge-Whitworth mechanical pump leading to the back of the cylinder with an auxiliary foot operated supply. The spring forks have been redesigned with a longer travel and incorporate shock absorbers and a built-in steering damper. The handlebars are adjustable, and the quickly detachable and interchangeable wheels have improved bearings which permit of easy adjustment.
Owing to its success during 1928 the 500 c.c. Special model has comparatively few alterations for 1929. The new front fork and adjustable handlebar, however, are also found on this model. Here again the new bearings are employed on the interchangeable wheels, whilst throughout the range the Rudge-Whitworth four-speed gear-box has been still further strengthened, to keep pace with the increased power from the engines.
Next on the list comes the new “350,” the engine of which has been brought up to date with a radial port cylinder head and the inclusion of the latest four-valve practice which has proved so successful on the Special. Coupled brakes are, of course, employed, the drum diameter being 6i in., with a shoe width of 1 in., as compared with the huge 8 in. x 1 1 in. brakes on the Special and Ulster models, which have proportionally larger brakes than those of our own.
The 250 c.c. models are listed, these being fitted with side and overhead valve J.A.P. engines respectively. The specification is exceptional for such low priced machines, including, as it does, Rudge-Whitworth fourspeed gear-boxes, 6! in. coupled brakes and two and a half gallon petrol tanks. A simplified design of RudgeWhitworth spring fork is used, while the saddle, as on the larger machines, is a Lycett Aero. As in the past, the new Rudge-Whitworths are listed at highly attractive prices, ranging from 00 for the
“Dirt Track Special” to k:39 10s. for the side-valve “250.” The ” Special” remains at f,55, the ” Ulster ” and the ” 350 ” retail at 09 and 0.9 respectively, whilst the overhead valve ” 250 ” costs 413.
The most notable alteration in Francis-Barnetts for 1929 is the fitment of saddle tanks throughout the range.
In all, there are five models, two 147 c.c., two 172 c.c. and one 247 c.c., the latter being an altogether new machine. It will come as a surprise to many to note that the twin-cylinder Pullman model is not included in the 1929 range, but this is due to the fact that it has been temporarily withdrawn from the market pending detail improvements.
The new machine, which is known as the Empire Model No. 12, has a 247 c.c. Villiers two-stroke engine. It incorporates the usual well-known Francis-Barnett features and has a very complete equipment.
The engine is inclined at an angle of 26 degrees from the vertical, and an Albion 3-speed gear-box, Villiers twolever carburettor and Renold chains are standardised. This machine obviously represents excellent value at its price of 09 10s.
It will be seen, therefore, that the sportsman is catered for as well as ever by the motor cycle manufacturers, who wisely realise that, for the present, at any rate, their livelihood depends on the existence of the sport. The time seems still far distant when the motor cycle comes to be regarded primarily as a utility vehicle.
THE MONTE CARLO RALLY.
One of the most interesting entries for the forthcoming Monte Carlo Rally is that of Mr. and Mrs. E. W. Deeley, who will drive a Singer Junior Saloon from John o’ Groats. The distance to Monte Carlo from Great Britain’s northernmost point is some 1,580 miles, and this will have to be covered at an average speed of 21 m.p.h. in a total running time of just over 70 hours.
It is certainly an ambitious undertaking for so small a car, but Mr. Deeley is accustomed to strenuous efforts. It will be remembered that a year ago he carried out a six days’ running test at Montlhery, on a two-seater Singer Junior. Although frequently delayed by heavy snow-falls he covered no less than 5,671 miles in the 144 hours.