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#685491 - 02/20/17 5:07 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: ricochetrider]  
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Magnetoman Online content
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Originally Posted by ricochetrider
near as I can tell nobody's talking about Sunbeam... weren't they very rideable and distance worthy?
C.E. 'Titch' Allen tested a total of ~90 machines in the six volumes of 'The Vintage Road Test Journal' published in the 1970s. About Sunbeams he wrote:

"Let me confess from the start that I am not a Sunbeam fan. ...I finally faced up to the fact that a vintage Sunbeam is a gentleman's machine and I am no gentleman."

My own table manners aside, what I'm looking for is a matter of what is suitable for the purpose as well as available. I'm leaning strongly toward a machine with a sidevalve engine which eliminates a lot of possibilities. My search has made slow but steady progress with one reasonable possibility in Australia and two in England currently on the active list. If/when I do buy a machine for the Cannonball, you will be among the first to know. But, even though I have an 'active' list, if anyone becomes aware of a suitable pre-'29 sidevalve machine of 500cc or larger capacity, please do let me know.

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#687144 - 03/07/17 5:43 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Alan_nc Online content
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Any updates?


Alan
Cleared m out....left only
59 BSA Bantam (Trials)
78 Triumph Bonny (UPS)
02 Suzuki GS500
#687146 - 03/07/17 5:52 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Magnetoman]  
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MMan--first advert in the March 2017 issue of the VMCC (UK) magazine.
1926 AJS G2 V twin 800cc.
HTH

#687208 - 03/08/17 3:14 am Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Tridentman]  
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Originally Posted by Tridentman
first advert in the March 2017 issue of the VMCC (UK) magazine.
TM, thanks for pointing that out. I joined the VMCC because of this search so spotted the AJS ad within hours after the issue was posted on the web. I wonder if it's the same one as Verralls has (on consignment?) for ~$2000 more.

After almost two months of searching the known world (plus Australia), I finally may have found the bike for this ride. It's British, but I won't say any more for another ten days so as not to jinx it. After the owner of the bike, who is a good friend, returns home and can check the numbers to confirm his memory of the age, it still needs to find its way across the Atlantic so the soonest I could have it in my hands is at least a month from now.

I've followed up on more than a half-dozen promising candidates so far, some found for me by the tireless efforts of the Australian who I tried to injure on a Gold Star ride this past fall. Unfortunately, at least two of the bikes I pursued turned out to be 1929 models, some apparently were made of platinum and priced accordingly, two weren't British, etc.

#688605 - 03/19/17 5:59 am Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Magnetoman]  
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The ten days are up and the suspense is killing me.
Last weekend was our Durban - Johannesburg Rally for pre 1936 motorcycles and a regular Canonball competitor (and winner), Hans Coertze, was taking part on his Matchless which he rode on last year's Canonball. The DJ Rally was won by an AJS.
Rob C

Last edited by robcurrie; 03/19/17 6:08 am. Reason: Added a story
#688790 - 03/20/17 8:09 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: robcurrie]  
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Originally Posted by robcurrie
The ten days are up and the suspense is killing me.
Hey, it's been killing me as well. But, it's now been confirmed it's a 1928 so it qualifies as pre-'29. However, the owner is traveling again so I won't have photos until this coming weekend. Meanwhile, thanks to Tridentman, I have a good shipping company to air freight it to me from Europe.

Oh, you want to know what bike it is, don't you? If you look at earlier posts you'll see my ideal bike would have a multi-cylinder side valve engine. After two months of searching the world the one I'm getting has all of that. Well, except for its single cylinder OHV engine...

The bike is what I've learned is called a "black Ariel" (not to be confused with the Disney cartoon character you'll find if you google the term). It's a 500cc OHV but I don't know yet if it started life as a model C, D or E. Since chances are most people reading this -- like me as of a few weeks ago -- know less about vintage Ariels than they do about Triumph Bonnevilles, what follows comes from C.E. 'Titch' Allen's 1976 "The Fourth Vintage Road Test Journal" and Peter Hartley's 1980 "The Ariel Story."

Background
The bike is coming to me from a good friend who bought it to ride in the 2012 Cannonball. However, he was convinced to ride a friend's Harley instead (for which I rebuilt the Bosch ZEV magneto) and the bike has mostly sat since he bought it around 2011. Although I will completely rebuild it myself, it's nice that it came to him as having been rebuilt so it should be all there and I won't have to hope parts for it show up on eBay.

General
In 1925 Ariel hired Val Page from JAP and the black Ariels of 1926 were the result of his redesign of the range, although the frame and cycle parts had to wait until 1927 to be modernized (a decade later Val Page designed the pre-War BSA Gold Star, so the Ariel is a precursor to it). The C was Ariel's "sports" model, D "touring," and E "super-sports" with a twin-port head. A photograph from the web of a 1928 twin-port Model E is below:

[Linked Image]

Although H.R. Davies had introduced the saddle tank in 1925, Allen says Ariel was "a top fashion house in the motorcycle world between the wars" and it was they who popularized it. The tank holds two Imperial gallons of fuel and three pints of oil for the constant-loss lubrication system. The bikes were quite successful in racing and reliability trials. Hitched to a sidecar, a Model B with the sidevalve version of the engine won the 1927 Maudes trophy for a 5000-mile run during which the engine was never allowed to stop during the 241.5 hours of the test.

Engine and gearbox
The engine has 81.5x95mm borexstroke with "many JAP-like features," and produced a minimum of 20 hp before they left the factory. It has wet sump total loss lubrication and three-speed Burman geabox with handshift. A racing camshaft and close ratio gears were available. A Magdyno and electric lights became standard in 1928.

Frame and cycle parts
It has a rigid frame and girder forks, of course. A new cradle frame was introduced in 1927 and some of the curved down tubes snapped so it was replaced the next year by a frame with a short straight one. If a broken frame had been returned to the factory at the time a replacement of an improved design with a heavier, straight tube was supplied for free. The bike has 7" internal expanding brakes so it should be able to stop OK.

Performance
Allen quotes a top speed of 70-75 mph, which should be sufficient given the Cannonball's statement that "Motorcycles will need to maintain at least 43-50 mph on straight, flat roads." About the actual machine that Allen tested for his article he wrote "In the 11 years before 1976 it had covered 19,771 miles in five countries to win 127 awards... Never did it break down." He also wrote that "Cruising at 45 to 50 miles per hour it often averaged over 100 miles per [Imperial] gallon."

Based on the above, a carefully rebuilt 1928 Ariel has the potential to cover the 3750 miles of the Cannonball at the required speeds without causing the rider too much aggravation. But, we'll have to wait until September 2018 to know if it, and its rider, live up to this potential.

#688827 - 03/21/17 1:03 am Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Magnetoman]  
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...good luck with the motorcycle; this is just not a bicycle like 10 years before ones.
I wonder here about those 50mph to cruise then you have members in the forum that are afraid to cruise at 65mph in a T140...

#688837 - 03/21/17 6:20 am Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Magnetoman]  
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I like that you have chosen something just a little different, looking forward to the rebuild thread!

Rod

#688854 - 03/21/17 1:07 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Congratulations MMan.
I look forward to your rebuild thread and to seeing you in Portland, Maine in 2018.

#688863 - 03/21/17 2:53 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Tridentman]  
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I found a reproduction 1927 Ariel parts manual and 1928 owners guide on eBay so one of each is on its way to me now. The listing of the former has no images of the inside pages but the listing does say "illustrated" so I have hopes. An illustrated parts manual is no substitute for a shop manual, of course, but it's way better than nothing. The web pages of the Ariel clubs of the UK and the US don't give me much hope that help is to be found with them for such an old bike but I've written to the VMCC's Ariel marque specialist. Anyway, the hunt is on for printed resources to piece together my own shop manual.

This certainly will be a learning experience -- first lesson learned: don't sign up for the Cannonball... -- since so many aspects of the machine are different than ones I've dealt with before. Rockers that require manual greasing (how often?), total loss (how to decide on the drip rate?), Burman gearbox (grease or oil?), operating an AMAC two-lever carburetor, girders, tank shift, etc. There are new tricks for the old dog to learn over the next 18 months.

Thanks to all who are responsible for getting me into this mess... er, I mean, helping me get to this point. Particular thanks to Shane in Australia and Tridentman. And thanks in advance to all who will offer help in the future.

#688864 - 03/21/17 2:55 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Looks like an excellent choice, MMan!

Even though it carries forward some aspects of the previous generation (such as total loss lubrication), the rest of its specification is decidedly modern for that time. I like the fact that it has relatively decent brakes, too.

.. Gregg


Spyder Integrated Technologies
Lucas, BTH, & Miller Magneto & Dynamo Restoration
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#688865 - 03/21/17 3:03 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: gREgg-K]  
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Originally Posted by gREgg-K
Even though it carries forward some aspects of the previous generation (such as total loss lubrication), the rest of its specification is decidedly modern for that time.
As Titch Allen concludes his review, "Looking on the Ariel as a vintage bike ahead of its day in many respects but still vintage in others, it comes out as a significant stepping stone in motorcycle design between the vintage and post-vintage eras..." If the reviews of its performance and reliability are correct, any fault for failing to complete the Cannonball will lie totally with the guy who rebuilds it...

#688866 - 03/21/17 3:50 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Originally Posted by Magnetoman
Originally Posted by gREgg-K
Even though it carries forward some aspects of the previous generation (such as total loss lubrication), the rest of its specification is decidedly modern for that time.
As Titch Allen concludes his review, "Looking on the Ariel as a vintage bike ahead of its day in many respects but still vintage in others, it comes out as a significant stepping stone in motorcycle design between the vintage and post-vintage eras..." If the reviews of its performance and reliability are correct, any fault for failing to complete the Cannonball will lie totally with the guy who rebuilds it...

Well that's it then! I should make a point of being at the finish line to see you crossing it!

.. Gregg


Spyder Integrated Technologies
Lucas, BTH, & Miller Magneto & Dynamo Restoration
SMITHS Chronometric Restoration
magneto@spyder-it.com
#688923 - 03/22/17 1:29 am Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Congratulations on your choice, Magnetoman. I too am looking forward to your rebuild thread and to rooting for you in the Cannonball Endurance Run. It will make the run much more interesting to "know" one of the participants.

Ray

Last edited by TR6Ray; 03/22/17 1:35 am.

'64 TR6R Plus some Twins from other countries (U.S., Germany, Japan)
#688935 - 03/22/17 3:17 am Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: TR6Ray]  
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Originally Posted by TR6Ray
rooting for you in the Cannonball Endurance Run.
Thanks very much. However, I hope to make following me as I cross the U.S. as boring as possible, i.e. without flames of any kind, fixing flats while perched on the center median of Interstates, repairs by candlelight at 2am in a motel parking lot, etc.

I've already exchanged several emails with the VMCC Ariel specialist. He has the despatch records and will let me know what information he can find about the engine and frame. He also said it will do a genuine 90 mph if someone is young and foolish enough to hang on up to that speed. That confirms speed records set by Ariels at the time. He also confirmed that the front downtube of 1927 frames "broke with monotonous regularity." The following photo from the web shows the fix isn't an easy one:

[Linked Image]

The issue is the angle of the tube as it is attached to the steering tube means a new, straight tube has to start there. Which affects the cross tube and sidecar bracket casting at the front. An ugly but easy fix looks like it would be to weld straight reinforcements on either side of the curved section. But, fingers crossed that "my" Ariel received the upgraded substitute frame from the factory.

The following composite pieced together from two low resolution images on the web compares the curved front downtube of the 1927 frame with the straight one of 1928.

[Linked Image]

As can be seen, the curve of the 1927 downtube mirrors that of the mudguard resulting in a prettier frame. Too bad the curved tube wasn't up to the task and Val Page had to abandon his original design.


#688956 - 03/22/17 7:48 am Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Death row next in line norfolk
MM If you need any info on these Black Ariels I still have parts lists and manuals , just sold a few on eBay. I also just sold loads of parts .Mike Taylour from the Ariel club in the UK is the guy to speak top about these machines. The lists I have are for 1927.28.29 also have lists for Burman Q gearbox....Dave


1941 BSA WM20
1958 TRI-BSA 750 PRE UNIT
1957 THUNDERBIRD
1932 R E MODEL GS SPECIAL
1947 BSA YM21
#688988 - 03/22/17 2:41 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Tribsauk]  
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Originally Posted by Tribsauk
MM If you need any info on these Black Ariels I still have parts lists and manuals , ... also have lists for Burman Q gearbox..
Dave, I have a '28 parts list coming to me from eBay (possibly sold by you two days ago?), but if you have an Owners manual for either '28 or '27 as well as the parts list for the gearbox I'd love to buy them. Please send me a PM with the details. Thanks.

#688990 - 03/22/17 2:48 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Running from demons in WNY
That's a nice looking bike and if nothing else, you'll be well dressed for the rally grin


650 Triumph modified production LSR record holder 133.1 MPH... Twin 650 engine Triumph LSR that goes sorta fast...
#688993 - 03/22/17 3:22 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Originally Posted by Hillbilly bike
if nothing else, you'll be well dressed for the rally
This brings up an interesting point that I'll have to address between now and the start. That is, what constitutes a well-dressed Cannonball participant? Dressing like Valentino Rossi would be out of place, but neither would I want to be in jodhpurs or plus fours. Luckily, there's time to figure this out, and it isn't one of the more pressing problems to be dealt with anyway.

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]


#688994 - 03/22/17 3:29 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Running from demons in WNY
This rider is nicely dressed......

[Linked Image]


650 Triumph modified production LSR record holder 133.1 MPH... Twin 650 engine Triumph LSR that goes sorta fast...
#688995 - 03/22/17 3:35 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Hillbilly bike]  
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Originally Posted by Hillbilly bike
This rider is nicely dressed.....
My Sidi trials boots are a fair substitute for the ones the rider is wearing, as are my Bates black leather pants. That just leaves the top to figure out...

#688997 - 03/22/17 3:49 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Proper modern weatherproof gear is the way to go. Looking good or goofy (depending on your opinion) wearing period dress could be rough on the northern route in 2018. Riding in the rain sucks no matter what you are wearing but open face helmets and leather gloves would make it even worse.

#688999 - 03/22/17 3:57 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: RPM]  
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Originally Posted by RPM
Proper modern weatherproof gear is the way to go.
I agree completely. Still, where one can believe the weather forecast for a given day the waterproof gear will be in the saddlebags leaving the question of "proper" dress for that day still open.

On a related note, you wrote sometime previously that you had applied for three entries in the 2018 Cannonball but I don't remember seeing the outcome. Will you have [0 1 2 3] bikes entered?

#689016 - 03/22/17 5:46 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Magnetoman]  
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Death row next in line norfolk
The front downtube of 1927 frames "broke with monotonous regularity." Photos due this coming weekend will show if this problem was addressed previously with "my" Ariel, which I hope it was because the following photo from the web shows the fix won't be easy

The frame in your photo is the updated frame with the additional tube running from lower headstock to top tube.As far as I am aware the earlier frames are the ones that broke as they didnt have this tube, I have a photo in my 1927 parts list of this frame without the tube..I did have one of these 1927 (improved) frames) frame number prefix V the guy I sold it to had several Ariels and told me this was the improved frame. I also had the straight down tube frame with H number prefix (1929).....Dave


1941 BSA WM20
1958 TRI-BSA 750 PRE UNIT
1957 THUNDERBIRD
1932 R E MODEL GS SPECIAL
1947 BSA YM21
#689019 - 03/22/17 6:10 pm Re: Looking to buy pre-1929 basket case [Re: Tribsauk]  
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Originally Posted by Tribsauk
The frame in your photo is the updated frame with the additional tube running from lower headstock to top tube.As far as I am aware the earlier frames are the ones that broke as they didnt have this tube,
Ah, I hope this is the case because it would be very welcome news. That photo is what turned up in a search of the web and I assumed it was of an original, unmodified frame. However, somewhat inconsistent with what you wrote is that in Peter Harley's book he says the replacement frame the factory supplied free of charge "had straight front and rear down tubes... Furthermore, a horizontal tank rail tube was incorporated running back from the top of the front down tube."

The frame in the earlier post obviously has curved tubes at the front and back, as Hartley says it should have for 1927, but it's possible the horizontal tube was added later. However, I enlarged the image as much as I could and it appears that the headstock casting includes the horizontal lug for this tube. If this is the case this particular frame wasn't fixed by simply welding in a horizontal tube.

If that triangulation indeed was added in later it's hard to imagine any stress would be placed on the curved portion of the front down tube by the action of the forks. Depending on what my frame looks like this concern may be moot. Do you happen to know where the frames broke?

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