Wednesday 23 March 2016

Bikes and boats

Boat owners and bike owners are pretty similar, they like to gather around and chat which is what happened in Lymington when I stopped to take a picture.

My first motorcycle was Royal Enfield Crusader and although the old Redditch based Royal Enfield company closed it’s doors back in the early 1970’s the entire manufacturing operation was transferred to India where production continues and thrives.

The owner explained that this was a 535cc single and I was interested to understand what it was like to ride on modern roads compared to my old early 1960’s vintage experience, apparently very well.

I've been thinking for some time that one of these newly built machines might be a good alternative to a restored classic which would avoid some of the issues with old bikes. I used to keep mine in the garage with a drip tray to catch the oil which leaked no matter how carefully I assembled the crankcase.

The yellow bike is a BSA C11, the owner also has a Royal Enfield Constellation a 700cc twin from the 1960’s.

While we were chatting we were joined by an old gentleman, and I use the word gentleman very deliberately, who apparently started riding with a Velocette before the war. He then went on to explain how he had purchased a German BMW and side car just after the war while stationed in North Africa, removed the side car and had ridden it for many years.

Which in turn took the conversation to the Ural, apparently during the war, Russia acquired the design and production techniques for the BMW R71 and built a version of the horizontally opposed twin cylinder engine which is still in production today.

By coincidence when we were on holiday in Austria last summer, our neighbour had just taken delivery of a brand new Ural (the one above), We got chatting, and he explained it was the last one allowed to be imported into Austria since it was in military camouflage and as a result had come under the US led trade embargo in response to the Ukraine situation.

Like most boat/motorbike enthusiasts he was also keen to chat and show me his collection which included 2 very sporty Harley’s, a brand new Royal Enfield 350 Bullet, a model which has been in production in India for around 45 years and this Morgan 3 wheeler. I didn't find out quite why it was in camouflage with RAF roundels and the shark teeth motif, but apparently it’s a lot of fun.


  1. I've seen a couple of those Morgan 3 wheelers and they also had the camouflage ... must be a factory delivered option.. very effective though and I'd take it like a shot! :o)

    Is BSA the same BSA that is down near Southampton Docks??

  2. Steve, clearly I don't hang out at Southampton Docks, but wouldn't surprise me I saw the bikes in Lymington

  3. Boat Show.... :O)) ...they offer parking out front..

  4. Boat Show.... :O)) ...they offer parking out front..

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