Cars & Motorcycles


February 2020

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!)

United Kingdom
Mortons Media Group, Ltd
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£3(Incl. tax)
£25.99(Incl. tax)
12 Issues

In this issue

3 min.
from the front

I am deeply indebted to Ollie of this parish, noted scribbler and good chum also. Why? Because he suggested that we meet up and complain very loudly about absolutely everything in the entire world so we’d feel better and could then go back to our separate lives being irritated and angry and frustrated and of course outraged – because us modernists thrive on outrage… if only our own. Actually, Ollie didn’t phrase his invitation exactly like that. No, he may have suggested a refreshing libation and satisfying gastronomic indulgence in a salubrious setting, a quiet place where we gentlemen of the world could converse in a constructive and civilised manner. He may have suggested that. I’m not sure. I wasn’t really listening. All that was rattling around in my mostly empty…

13 min.
halfway house

First impressions are important, especially where motorcycles are concerned. Thrills mix with need at speed on a big road bike, and the better it is, the better you are. The track-ready Ducati 900 SS was a truly memorable superbike of its time, and what still stands out is feeling the very texture of the road translated through its grips. This was the near-mythical attribute which converted many to the Bologna way, so credit is due to Ducati for not engineering it out of the following 900 Sport Desmo Darmah. Sleek and surprisingly elegant, the 900 SD was unveiled in 1976 and gained the favour of Ducati riders who were losing interest in kick-starting and squeeze’n’stretch ergonomics. Cagiva’s adoption of Ducati in the early 1980s meant that corporate focus shifted to Dr…

19 min.

PRE-WAR WONDERS I found Paul Miles’s feature on vintage bikes in RC188 very interesting, to say the least. I’ve never ridden a flat tanker so cannot comment on that score, but having owned a mid-1930s Sunbeam Model 9 for a few years, I concur with his statement about being as easy as riding a 1950s / 60s bike. I find my ‘post vintage’ bike to be exhilarating to ride and agree that, when pushed, it can give you the same feeling as riding a more modern bike at speed. They are very organic and let you know when you are pushing them too hard. I know a local who has several late vintage bikes that he rides daily and he doesn’t hang around either. So it’s all true… I think my favourite…

5 min.
backwards glance

The letter about DMWs in RC182 brought back memories of how I came to race one of these machines in the 1967 Diamond Jubilee Isle of Man TT, despite being an out and out Greeves man. After several years’ trials riding, I started road racing in the late 1950s on a special built by Manchester frame builder Bert Foster. It initially used an RCA 324cc engine, then a 250cc Villiers, both twin cylinder two-stroke engines. I and other local lads became close friends of Bert and Nellie his wife, and spent many evenings at his workshop. After my first season I switched to racing Greeves Silverstone 250cc production racers, from the first RAS model right through to the last one made, the RES model. I rode that in the lightweight races…

12 min.
super single...

I was highly entertained to receive a lengthy grump from a German Frank – he was called Frank and was a German, so there’s nothing subtle going on here. Frank was grumpy because – among many other things – I’d never written up a Tiger 750, the single carb version of the Triumph’s almost certainly legendary 750 twins. I was sure I had, in fact, but memory is a fickle beast at best, so I had to go check, which in this electronic age is pretty easy to do. Guess what? He was correct. I’ve never written up a Tiger 750 for RC – unless you know better, in which case please feel free to enlighten me. That said, I’ve ridden quite a few of them and have almost always enjoyed…

13 min.
small heath survivor

The regular reader will recall the story of my friend Brian’s cammy Velocettes in RC186, which made more than passing reference to Brian’s old A7. Having hopefully piqued your interest, it seemed only polite to go back and get the fuller story. As always, Brian tells his own tales better than I ever could, so in his own words… The story of ‘the old A7’ has quite a connection to the tale of two Velos. After being given the Velo crankcases, I struck up a friendship with the lad who gave them to me, whose name was Owen. Together with his brother he was having a go at sand racing at Wallasey on the Wirral coast. I’d not seen sand racing before, but I sort of tagged along and started helping…