Wednesday 27 May 2015

Featured Bike - Ducati Scrambler

I saw this new Ducati Scambler Classic at a dealers recently. A very cool bike. Slim & neatly styled with the 800cc air cooled V twin engine.

The bike harks back to the single cylinder Scamblers made between 1964-74 in 125/250/350 & 450cc versions. These bikes were made at the request of the US importer, the Berliner Motor Corp. They were based on sports models but with high bars & styling for the American market. Neither the old or new Scramblers are, eh, scramblers. The new bike is more in the flat tracker style. 
1974 450cc Scrambler. Built from....
....the 450 Mk 3
Hipsters have a choice of four models of the new Scambler.  

Full Throttle

Urban Enduro


Sunday 24 May 2015

Tiddler Tootle 2015

The annual VMCC run for under 250cc bikes at their mid-way stop at Fintry.
(I'm guessing the models - you may know better) 


 A nice pair of Ducati singles. A Desmo 250 & an Elite 200

 Another Italian single - an MV 175

 "World Champion"

 One to inspire my brother Norman, a Honda CL175

 An old timer with a spare drive belt.

A pair of trail bikes - Yamaha DT175 & Triumph Blazer 250
 Messerschmitt KR200 & BMW R25 

Ariel Arrow

 Yamaha FS1E known as the "Fizzy". As a moped it could be ridden at 16 rather than 17 for a motorcycle. But at the time to be classified as a moped it had to have pedals. The pedal cranks can both be pointed forwards for footrests.

 Where many British bikers started in the '60's - BSA Bantam & C15

Sunday 10 May 2015

Featured Trike - Honda Gyro UP

I saw lots of these little trikes on the Greek island of Mykonos last week. They are a tilting three wheeler that hinge behind the rider to allow it to bank over while the rear wheels stay on the ground. They have a goods platform at the rear and are used for deliveries to shops & restaurants in Mykonos town which has a warren of very narrow streets. Unusually for a Honda it has a two stroke engine.   

The lever below the clocks locks the "hinge" when parked.
The Gyro in its natural habitat

Several models of the Gyro have been made starting in 1982 and is still going today. It's mostly Japan market only and I've never seen one anywhere else so it's a mystery how so many got to Mykonos.

The Gyro is not a unique concept, of course. It was patented by an English engineering company G.L.Wallis & Son and sold by BSA as the Ariel 3 in 1970. It was not a success and proved to be a nail in the coffin of BSA. The design was later licensed to Honda. 

Ariel 3

This trike has a home-made feel about it - I think it started life as a Chinese scooter.

Heavier goods in the town were moved by an old Mazda three wheeler.
In Corfu this battered Yamaha step-thru is used by a parcel delivery company and has a tea chest sized top box 

Friday 1 May 2015

The Scourge of Suburbia

Enjoyment of our back garden has been reduced in recent years by some large trees in an adjacent property. They made the place dull and blocked the sun in the evenings. The trees were severely pruned 12 years ago but have grown rapidly since then. The owner agreed that they should be pruned again but claimed she couldn't afford it. So we arranged for the work to be done. My good lady used her diplomatic skills to get contributions from other neighbours who would benefit and on the day the tree owner was also shamed into coughing up. It was quite a large job - three men took all day to do the work. The branches were chipped and a local farmer came to take away the bigger stuff to burn in his boiler. So everybody ended up happy.

The trees in question are a species that cause a lot of strife between neighbours in this country. They are Leyland Cypress better known by their Latin name Leylandii. They are an evergreen coniferous tree popular because of the speed that they grow - 3-5 feet per year. The trouble is that they keep on growing to over 100 feet tall which is too big for most gardens.

The tree is a hybrid that was accidentally created in this country in the mid 19th century from two conifers from the Pacific coast of North America - the Monterey Cypress from the central coast of California and the Nootka Cypress that ranges from northern California to Alaska. The trees were planted and cross bred at the Leighton Hall Estate in Wales.

The problems caused by Leylandii are such that they were responsible for a new law - High Hedges (Scotland) Act 2013. This sets out a method of resolving disputes. But this can be slow & expensive and it's better to do it, as we did, by agreement.

Two weeks ago
Evening sun
This bough grew in 12 years
To commemorate the occasion