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RealClassic July 2020

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RealClassic magazine features the very best British motorcycles from all eras, plus charismatic Continental machines (and the odd Japanese classics crops up occasionally, too). Long term classic riders will recognise many of the members of the RC team, which includes authors, historians and journalists like Steve Wilson, Dave Minton, Matt Vale, Odgie, Jacqueline 'PUB' Bickerstaff, Rowena Hoseason and editor Frank Westworth -- but the magazine's key feature is that it is firmly grounded in the real world. Our articles are written by real life riders and reflect far more than a simple road test ever can. We're never scared of getting grubby in The Shed (and we even admit it when things go horribly wrong!)

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United Kingdom
Mortons Media Group, Ltd
$4.50(Incl. tax)
$39.03(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

in this issue

3 min.
from the front

Magazine deadlines are always a source of entertainment in this household. For instance: further on – right at the end, in fact – you will learn that my elderly and considerably eccentric Matchless CSR is running again. Huge hurrahs, of course, and huge plaudits to Jacqueline PUB, who actually provided the electric impetus which allowed it to become mobile. However, magazine deadlines being what they are, in fact it’s been a runner for several weeks – a couple of months, to be honest. It’s been off the bench for a time long enough for me to haul more than one other ancient relic from the far back wall of The Shed. These are bikes from the dwindling collection of lots of bikes which we somehow acquired for no logical reason apart…

14 min.
american excess

What is this you see before you? A 1977 Harley-Davidson FLH 1200 Electra Glide. An iconic name if ever there was one. AMF’s (American Machine and Foundry) range-topping heavyweight cruiser, which is obvious from the letters in the model designation: F, for the big ohv twin engine; L, for Hydra-glide style front forks and wide front tyre, and H, for Highway – which refers to the touring frame. Alternatively, you can find that FL stands for the heavyweight engine, in this case 74cui, and H is for hand shift (erm, I don’t think so), high performance (erm, again), or heavy duty (heavy, certainly). This confusion typifies Harley ownership; there is an established nomenclature and machine specification, but over the years there have been so many variations that the exact meaning…

17 min.
in coming!

SAILING BY In the BSA article in RC193, the caption under the photo of Len Page riding his M20 surely should read; ‘Len Page and his old salt sailing forth’, as the RN on the tank and the bike’s blue colour must surely mean that this forces machine was Royal Navy and not army. You could also have added ‘fair winds and following seas’ or would that have been over-egging it? Alan Deacon, member FAMILY ALBUM This is my uncle Keith with his 1928 (?) HRD Model 90. I have not seen one of these, so I imagine they are not that common. I wish it was in my shed. Joe Perfect EXPERT ANNEALING Recently PUB seemed to be a bit unsure on this subject so here are words of wisdom (?) from a very old engineer.…

10 min.
living with legends

'Don’t trudge it, Rudge it!’ entreated the adverts from the Rudge-Whitworth Company, complete with ‘amusing’ cartoon character Johnny Rudge. Founded in 1894 when Whitworth Cycles acquired Rudge, motorcycle production began in 1911 alongside the core bicycle business. Rudge quickly established themselves in the sporting arena, breaking the 500cc record at Brooklands and going on to record their first success in the senior TT of 1914 at an average speed of nearly 50mph. One of the smaller companies which did not attempt to appease mass market tastes, Rudge’s diminutive size allowed them certain freedoms within the marketplace. Their first important model, 1912’s Multi, employed a novel pulley system to tension the final drive belt, effectively offering the rider 21 ratios from which to choose. Such innovation suggested continued suitability for racing. The…

9 min.
gentle giant

In the classic world, the earliest models of any bike tend to become more sought after than their successors. Kawasaki fours are no different. While the Z1 has become a legend, the later z1000 is largely overlooked. So why would I sell a Z1, only to replace it a few months later with a z1000? I bought my Z1B unseen from the internet, to satisfy a long-held lust for a Z1. It was photogenic but a bit ragged round the edges and periodically lapsed into a misfire. The longer I owned it and the more I tried to fix it, the more it infuriated me. It had to go. And yet there was something in the DNA of the big Kwak that struck a chord with me, as though there was…

13 min.
a perfect panther

In 1911, Phelon & Moore claimed to have created ‘the perfected motorcycle’, advertising hype which might, with hindsight, have been just a tiny bit premature. Half a century later, it must’ve been easy for the fast lads of the 1960s, sitting astride their Bonnevilles and Gold Stars and Dominators, to scoff at the slow-revving heavyweight singles. As our own Editor once said, ‘they are undeniably primitive, even by the standards of the day.’ But – like Vincent, Douglas and Velocette – P&M did things in their own inimitable way, experimenting with innovative engineering which the mass market manufacturers simply wouldn’t risk. So perhaps we can (with not inconsiderable kindness) consider P&M’s statement to be an ambition; an admirable intention to achieve excellence in an industry where the parameters are permanently developing. Indeed,…