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This corner of the oldclassiccar website has been reserved for matters relating to classic and vintage motorcycles.

Despite never owning one myself (as yet...), I've always been a big fan of older motorbikes, primarily those built prior to 1970, and usually from any of the legendary British manufacturers. Thats not to say there aren't any great old bikes from other countries, just that most of those I see at shows here are of UK origin.

Long before I got interested in 4 wheeled vehicles, I'd be taken as a nipper to proper offroad scramble meetings around Cheshire. Back in the 1970s the old brickworks near the south side of Manchester Airport (pre-runway 2!) was a popular unofficial destination for off-road motorcyclists to strut their stuff, and many a day I spent there both spotting aircraft, and watching daring deeds performed on trial bikes from Ossa, Yamaha and Honda.

Mum's family were always keen on old British motorcycles in the 1940s and 1950s, with most of her Uncles and her father owning various models of AJS, Norton, AJS, BSA and so on, some also competing in trial events such as the International 6 days trial. The only old-bike owner in the family now is my Uncle, who has a 500cc Velocette mostly restored, but still parked up in his hallway. Hopefully he'll get it out to shows one day.

Shown here are some original 1950s and 1960s photos that I recently found, all featuring old motorcycles of varying makes and engine size. Can anyone shed any more light on what exact models are shown here? all advice welcomed, equally if you have any interesting olde worlde photos of old bikes like this, and are willing to have them featured here too, by all means get in touch via the contact me page.

Help with identifying these motorcycles!

Shown below are two 1940s Nortons, but I'm after some help in identifying them. Firstly, the photo with a lady in view - this was sent to me by George, and it'd be interesting to get an i.d. of the Norton shown. The second photo I bought in a batch from Italy, and I'm told shows a Norton 16H, a type once popular with the Army.

Norton motorcycle A Norton 16H?
Next up, another family photo from George, showing a group of relatives with a pair of classic bikes. At least one is a Norton, but what about the other bike, shown on the right? A larger view of bike registration BRX 29 is also included to help with an i.d. If you can help with identifying these old motorcycles, please drop me a note :-)

Update. Richie kindly got in touch, with the following extra information on the bikes shown here:

"Hi, I'm writing about the old Motorcycle photos you have on your website. I don't know when you put them on there; you probably know all about them by now. Anyway The first one DJB657 is actually BRX29 in the smaller of the two photos showing that number. As far as I can see it's basically an OHV Norton engine in an OHC Norton chassis. But the engine has undergone some fairly drastic mods. That magneto or dynamo drive chain, running off the nearside crankshaft is not standard.

The second picture showing just the bloke's legs is, as you were told a sidevalve 16h Norton, and a military one.

The other bike in the family shot is an OHC Norton International of about mid 1930s I reckon (That's the posh one!). The large picture of the bike also sporting the number BRX29 is also a sidevalve 16h Norton. This has also undergone one or two interesting mods. That small pipe coming out of the timing chest and disappearing into the sidevalve gear,is non- standard. Originally the valves, guides and springs were open to the elements and just had a cover over the outside of them, to stop the rider's trousers getting caught in the moving parts I suppose. This bike has one of these covers - It's the rectangular plate held on with the round thumb nut. But it is much smaller than the original one. However, the interesting point with this bike is that on these pre-war and wartime bikes, the exposed valve gear was lubricated once a week (I think) with a grease gun through grease nipples on the valve guides. I'm guessing the pipe coming out of the timing chest is an automatic lubrication system for the valve gear. Where that pipe exits from the timing chest is where there is an oil gallery, pressure fed by the oil pump.

You've probably noticed I have more than a passing interest in sidevalve Nortons. Well I run one as my sole everyday transport with a sidecar fitted. I know why the military insisted on them, rather than faster, lighter and more economical OHV models for so long. They go on for ever!

I hope I've not got any of this mixed up. I haven't got the pictures in front of me and I'm writing from memory. Don't know when people started chucking their war time headlamp visors away, but I reckon these pictures were taken nearer to the 1940s than the 60s."

Thanks for the extra info!!
Norton motorcycles?
Another view of BRX 29

1930 BSA Sloper

Stan recently sent this photo over, showing his dad with a motorcycle combination. The fishtail exhaust usually suggests Velocette, but can anyone confirm if this is indeed a Velo, and if so what model it might be?? Update Anna got in touch, and advises me that this is in fact a BSA: "Hello, you may think it was a Velo' but its not, its a 1930 BSA Sloper. My father had one with the gear lever on the tank and fishtail silencers, they sounded lovely. He was a engineer. In the war he rode his bike all over England and Wales to factories, pits, steel works and woollen mills for work. He told us some right stories when we were kids. Yours, Anna J Dixon". Thanks Anna for clearing this one up! A further selection of photos similar to this can be found on the sidecars page.

Motorcycle and sidecar

A couple more classic machines to identify.

Here are two more old motorcycles to test the knowledge of motorcycle enthusiasts out there. Firstly, another home-grown machine from BSA, complete with sidecar. One suggestion from a forum member is that it is a c1938 BSA Empire Star.
BSA Motorcycle and sidecar
Next, I think from the Eastern end of Europe, this machine with three passenger perched upon it. Does anyone recognise this 'bike? one suggestion is that it could be a CZ.
An unidentified motorbike

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