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2015 Pioneer Run, Part 2

April 29, 2015

Here is a link to Part 1.


Everybody was smiling as we descended on Epsom Downs as the sun rose, bringing precious, but insufficient, warmth. Being a Californian, I expected relatively cold weather and I was not surprised. However my six layers of shirts and sweaters still left me shivering. The smarter folks among us wore ski parkas instead of button down shirts and bowties!


This little guy was looking forward to the journey, and was especially pleased to place his feet upon the basket filled with chocolate Easter eggs. James Ernshaw piloted the 1907 P&M and chair with a big smile too.2015-03-22 08.05.34


I really liked the look of this 1910 Arno 500cc single. The frame tube drops down just ahead of the seat, giving a low seating position and allowing the pilot to easily reach Terra Firma. The motor is hung between motor lugs instead of using plates, and the Armstrong rear hub has a clutch and three gears that must have come in handy in the Brighton traffic.P1020257

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Regular readers will know that I have a preference for the oddball machines (stay tuned for Part 3). Resplendent in black, nickel and brass, this 2.25hp De Dion dates from 1899 and has a triangular fuel tank/surface carb under the seat.

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And this very similar machine is also an 1899, but with a cylindrical fuel tank behind the seat and a modern spray carb mounted ahead of the motor.2015-03-22 10.19.54

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Ken Lee is a UK American Excelsior aficionado. That sentence may need clarification: Excelsior was a brand of motorcycles made in the UK. To minimize confusion, the bikes made in Chicago, USA were called American Excelsiors in the UK. And Ken lives in Blighty, and rides X’s, so he’s a UK American Excelsior aficionado. Now that we are past that, here is Ken’s more exotic machine, the one and only 1904 James H. Smith. 3hp, and with a fuel tank covered in control levers. Ken found it years ago at a jumble (swap meet). It was apparently made by Mr. Smith in his workshop, using a Fafnir engine and BSA chassis parts, but not much more is known. The elephant is a nice touch.

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I take photos of this 1907 Rex every time I see it. What a beauty.

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The Premier has a few things to notice. The kangaroo on the tank logo, the Davison fuel gage in the front of the tank, and the auxiliary exhaust valve are the first three. The coil spring on the head fins adds some additional surface area to dissipate the heat to the surrounding air. Open Bosch mag, B&B carb and silencer cutouts are common fixtures on other machines of the era.2015-03-22 13.20.15


Two veteran Veloce machines, and three Velo Fellows. Dave Masters, myself and Tim Simkins had a chat overlooking the Brighton beach. Dave rode his reliable M5054, and Tim rode Ivan Rhode’s early two stroke Velocette.P1020335


The little two stroke doesn’t weigh much at all, which makes starting a little easier. The pilot stands straddling the seat and simply paddles his/her feet for a few short steps until the motor comes to life. Direct drive and no clutch keeps things simple and light.2015-03-22 14.33.14


M5054 is a little more complicated, with a unit construction two speed gearbox built into the motor. Still no bicycle pedals nor chain, so Dave is also adept at bump starting.P1020313


Dave has gone through the motor very carefully to ensure that oil passes where it should and that the available torque and hp find their way to the rear wheel.2015-03-22 13.26.53 

The two speed is foot controlled via the double ended shifter lever shown in this image.

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Lincoln Elk is not a well-known marque. Bacon and Hallworth state that LE made bikes 1902-1925 in Broadgate, Lincoln. In 1912 they featured a novel two speed gear via a countershaft with two clutches and a chain to one side of the rear wheel, and a belt drive to the other side of the rear wheel! The 1909 bike pictured below on the Pioneer Run has a conventional belt drive.

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The 1914 Calthorpe Junior is a capable little machine, making just enough dependable power to complete the run. At first glance, the 175cc motor looks like a two stroke, but there are poppet valves mounted horizontally on the rear of the motor. I think that there is also a two speed gear built into the motor, just visible underneath the magneto.2015-03-22 13.30.00


Another Douglas. This one looks very nice from the rider’s seat.

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The following pics are not Uwe’s Peugeot, but another one that is almost the same. I think that both bikes have been converted from points and coil ignition to magnetos, and this second bike has an interesting pair of sprockets on that timing chain.

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Dual rear brakes. The Truffault type front brakes don’t lend themselves to a simple brake mounting.2015-03-22 14.32.08


I’ll finish Part 2 with a few views of Rudge Multis. I’ve written about them in the past and their wonderful mechanism, click on the search button on the right of the screen to find more.


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Sorry that I’m late with my articles. Stay tuned for Pioneer Run Part 3, and the Bud Ekins Memorial Tour, and also King City too. Plus a guest article on Wagner motorcycles, maybe a quick how-to article on Burman gearboxes and a book review of “No Room for Watermelons” and an announcement of Aldo Carrer’s new book when the publisher is ready…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 3, 2015 4:08 pm

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading this post about the Pioneer Run Pete. I especially like the 1910 Arno. It’s amazing that someone thought to make the seat lower when no-one else did. An interesting idea on the Premier to add the coil springs to the cylinder fins. What a great lot of photos – thanks for sharing!

  2. Anonymous permalink
    June 1, 2015 9:09 am

    Thank you so much. Remi, french velo fellow .

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