RealClassic

THE LITTLE RED RACER

Sometimes, just once in a while you come across a bike that is a real gem. Not one of the gleaming elites from the glorious past of British bikes but something special, unique even. This particular gem started life as a little-regarded model, albeit from a well-known maker, but was transformed into one man’s realisation of the bike his 16-year old self would have wanted. A learner-legal café racer.

The bike first caught my eye when it joined our motley collection of old bikes and riders gathering in Whittlesey, deep in the Cambridgeshire Fens. From there, our happy band spent the day riding some of the county’s delightful lanes on the VMCC Anglian Section’s Hobson’s choice Run. This took us sixty miles or so south, over the great chalk escarpment of Royston Heath, before turning north near Baldock; a seemingly unremarkable town but one founded by the Knights Templar with a name derived from ancient Baghdad. Historic curiosities aside though, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the little bike’s ability to cover the ground. Not quickly with a drama-free 45-50mph, enough for those meandering lanes and allowing full enjoyment of the countryside.

The clincher was watching it start with the turn of a key while the rest of us staged our usual kickstart choreography. Alchemy, it surely must be:

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from RealClassic

RealClassic5 min read
Olliés ODDJOBS
Strolling around the car park at El i's Rose and Crown on a summer Wednesday evening is always an entertaining and edifying experience. You get all sorts down there. A diesel-powered Suzuki GSX250, for instance. A chopped Zl 300 with a VW Beetle engi
RealClassic10 min read
Radical Recycling
I first saw one of these machines howling up Sunrising Hill during the VMCC Banbury Run. It wore a BSA logo on the tank but the engine looked and sounded like an eardrum breaking four-cylinder two-stroke. I spotted it next at the Rose of the Shires R
RealClassic5 min read
Identical Twins?
The bait had been dangled several months earlier by Anthony who, very kindly, sent me a couple of photos of a very dirty engine and gearbox sitting on a workbench in someone's garage. This, he assured me, was a prototype Norton twin from the 1940s de