Monday, October 28, 2013

The Sunday after the Fall Giro, 29 Sept., was the Pewter Run in Penacook, N.H.  Last year, Tony Lockwood had let me ride his Excelsior Manxman and this year he offered me his 1925 Norton 16H.  This is a 500cc sidevalve, three speed, hand shift, flat tank with 'clincher tires' and a lever throttle.
Tony Lockwood's 1925 16H Norton
I was tremendously impressed with this bike.  It started easily and ran well.  Carlton Palmer pointed out to me that it had a 'cheater' carb on it, an Amal when it originally had a Binks.
The cheater Amal carb
When I asked Tony about this he confirmed that that was true and pointed out that it had a 'cheater' magneto, too.
The 'cheater' magneto on the 16H Norton
Tony warned me that the dogs on second gear were worn and it would pop out of gear under load.  It's not a positive stop selector so you have to feel how far to move the hand shift.  Sometimes I moved it too far and went from first to third, but the motor would lug amazingly well.  So it was wind it out in first, a bit of second, then short shift to third.  Tony suggested while lugging up hills in third gear, retarding the ignition a bit would help.  He told me to give it a shot of oil with the plunger on top of the tank every 5 to 10 miles, as it has total loss oiling.  I totally forgot about this, but when I caught up to him on his 1913 Motosacoche, he reminded me.  He had mounted a watch on the handlebar and there after I gave it a shot of oil every 15 minutes.  I had been warned to allow plenty of time for stopping as the brakes were primitive, but I found them totally adequate for the speeds it was capable of (50ish mph I'd guess; no speedometer).  I did get bounced around on the rough bits of road and didn't go crazy in the turns on the clincher tires, but I had no trouble passing many newer bikes.  As the bike had no route sheet holder, I was just following the arrows and missed a couple of turns.  Near the end, I was confused when I came to a stop, then followed several who came past me.  After a mile or two we realized we had gone the wrong was and turned around and just about when I got back to where I had gone wrong, I ran out of gas.  As I started to push, a couple of guys in a pickup truck stop to ask what the problem was.  The driver said he lived right nearby and went to fetch some fuel.  But, after we put it in, the carb wouldn't 'tickle' and it didn't want to start.  So, I pushed and coasted the last mile to the finish.  Once I got there it started right away.
What a treat it was to ride this fabulous old bike on a gorgeous, warm Fall day through beautiful back roads with like minded geezers.
Tony once again won the prize for the oldest bike in the event and the oldest combined age of bike and rider: 175 years!
Some of the other fabulous bikes at the event:
Carlton Palmer's KSS Velocette
Adam Schoolsky from RocketMoto rode this beautiful 1945 Moto Guzzi Airone
They had exposed valve springs and girder forks through 1947
The kickstarter and gearbox on a Nimbus

The Nimbus frame: riveted flat stock.  How could it have any rigidity?
Clive Doyle's AJS R10 with a DOHC Manx head grafted on.  Not something you see everyday.
Many more images can be seen at:  

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