Sunday, August 22, 2010

Visit to the Deeley Motorcycle Exposition

Back on July 30, I decided to visit the Deeley Motorcycle Exposition. I hadn't visited there before, and it is a bit further away than my usual travels, but I'd heard that they have a nice display of motorcycles, so I decided to check it out. Come with me to see it.

Here is the outside. I am here before they open in the morning, so I look in the windows and take in the scenery.

It turns out that the exposition is located in a large Harley Davidson dealer, Trev Deeley.

And you see that they sold Buells as well.

The exposition currently chronicles the earliest days of British motorcycles, including the various manufacturers and models. It tracks the history from it heyday through the almost complete demise of the British makers.

In the words of the exposition website:

"End of Empire – An objective look at the collapse of the British Motorcycle Industry. This fascinating walk through time illustrates the rise and fall of Britain’s motorcycling industry and showcases motorcycles from 17 different manufacturers from AJS to Zenith, spanning from 1908 to 1995. A cautionary tale, eerily reflective of today’s near collapse of the US automotive industry!"
I snapped quite a few pictures inside, so here we go. Hang on for the rocky ride.

Here is the entrance to the exposition. Pretty impressive so far.

Trev Deeley began collecting motorcycles destined for the scrap heap in the 1940's. His passion for collecting grew to include sources far and wide, and continued throughout his illustrious motorcycle industry career. Upon his passing in 2002, Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada decided to continue collecting rare and important motorcycles and to build this public exhibition to share their collection with the world.

This is the largest privately-owned collection in Canada consisting of over 250 motorcycles representing fifty different brands. Not all of this collection can be displayed at one time, so their plan is to rotate the bikes in different, themed exhibitions as time moves on.

Hmmm. Good thought.

The Exposition starts with some very early bikes.  Later, the section about British motorcycles will begin.

The first specimen is an 1894 Hildebrand and Wolfm
-->űller Motorrad. This is the first vehicle to be called a motorcycle (Motorrad), and was the world's first mass-produced motorized vehicle.Introduced in 1894, the German-designed Motorrad features a horizontal, water-cooled, twin-cylinder, four-stroke engine with connecting rods attached directly to the rear wheel in steam locomotive fashion.
Other mechanical features include a surface carburetor and flame-heated hot point ignition. Water for cooling is stored in the rear fender, while the frame tubes hold oil for lubrication.
These motorcycles were manufactured in Germany and under license in France, but by 1897, both firms had collapsed.
This beautiful museum recreation was built using Hildebrand & Wolfm
-->űller's original blueprints and patent drawings.
Bore = 90 mm
Stroke = 117 mm
Displacement = 498cc
Valve Train = automatic intake, pushrod exhaust
Brake, Front = friction block
Brake, Rear = none

Note the smaller diameter rear wheel.  It was probably designed that way to increase the forward driving force of the direct-connected engine. They apparently had not yet thought of belt drive reduction. 

It has hardwood brake pads pressing on the tire directly. Did you notice that there is no rear brake? I wonder why they knew that the rear brake was not very useful, but some bikers today still don't know that.

You can rotate the wooden blocks when they exhibit wear.

Look at the beautiful cork grips, the direct-acting hand brake lever, and the thumb-operated speed control.

The crank on the left side adjusts two rubber straps that are attached to the connecting rods.  I am not certain of their function. 

See a video of a Hildebrand and Wolfműller Motorrad being ridden here.

The section about the decline of the British motorcycle industry comes next.

1895 Pennington
Britain's "first practical motorcycle" was built in Wolverhampton by Humber & Co. based on an 1894 design patented by American inventor E.J. Pennington.
This is a replica of Humber's prototype powered by Pennington's twin-cylinder "explosive" engine.
Pennington's engine features primitive fuel injection and electric ignition. The bike also uses Pennington's tire design that became known as the "balloon" tire.
Note again the smaller diameter rear wheel.  

1908 Motorized Bicycle
Bicycle manufacturers were soon attaching internal combustion engines to their machines.
By 1904, there were over 22,000 motorcycles and motorized bicycles in Britain.
This example features a Swiss-built Motosacouche powerplant.

1920 TRIUMPH Type SD
Manufacturer: Triumph Motorcycles, Coventry
Engine Type: Single cylinder, side valve
Displacement: 550cc
Bore and Stroke: 85mm x 97mm
Transmission: 3 speed
The SD was a modernized version of the combat-proven Model H and Triumph's first all-chain-drive motorcycle.
The SD relied on the same 550cc side valve engine as the belt driven Model H, but was powered by chain through Triumph's new clutch and three speed transmission.
The initials "SD" in the model name stand for Spring Drive, Triumph's name for the large clutch spring housed beneath the bulge in the primary cover.

1920 DOUGLAS 2
-->¾ HPManufacturer: Douglas Motors, Kingswood, Bristol
Engine Type: Horizontally opposed twin, side valve
Displacement: 350cc
Bore and Stroke: 60.8mm x 60mm
Transmission: 3 speed
German engineer Martic Stoller, who designed the BMW Boxer engine, owned a Douglas 2
-->¾. Very interesting!Douglas Engineering purchased a struggling motorcycle manufacturer and began building the Fairy motorcycle from which they developed their 2
-->¾ HP.Production began in 1912 and by 1914, sales, boosted by Douglas' racing success and reliability achievements, reached 12,000 units.
Douglas supplied 25,000 of these proven machines to the military in the First World War.

By the early 1920's the post-war economic boom had collapsed.
Nearly 200 motorcycle manufacturers existed in Britain in 1921 but a decade later over 130 had either closed their doors or turned to other products.

1929 Brough Superior Overhead 680
Manufacturer: Brough Superior, Nottingham
Engine Type: J.A. Prestwich V-twin, overhead valve
Displacement: 680cc
Bore and Stroke: 70mm x 88mm
Transmission: 3 speed
George Brough’s motorcycles were the “Rolls Royce of Motorcycles,” built for those who wanted the best regardless of cost. Brough used other company's products to assemble his motorcycles. He persuaded them to provide products that were superior to their normal line. Harley-Davidson supplied forks at one time.
Brough's most famous customer, T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia) owned seven, and died in a mishap on one of them.

1937 BSA Empire Star
Manufacturer: BSA Cycles, Small Heath, Birmingham
Engine Type: Single cylinder, overhead valve
Displacement: 350cc
Bore and Stroke: 71mm x 88mm
Transmission: 4 speed
Big, slow, and awkward was BSA's nickname until the Empire Star came along.
In 1937, BSA introduced the specially painted 250, 350, and 500cc Empire Stars.
It was a 500cc Empire Star that Wal Handley rode that year at Brooklands when he was awarded a gold star for a lap of over 100 miles per hour. The 500cc Empire Star was renamed Gold Star the following year.
BSA continued using the 1937 Empire Star engine design until 1960.

1932 NORTON CS Production Racer
Manufacturer: Norton Motors, Bracebridge Street, Birmingham
Engine Type: Single cylinder, single overhead cam
Displacement: 500cc
Bore and Stroke: 79mm x 100mm
Transmission: 3 speed
Ever since winning the first Isle of Man TT in 1907, racing was the key to Norton engineering and development.
The overhead cam powered "cammy" dominated TT racing for decades after their 1927 introduction by Norton.
The original design, revised in 1929, was used in both TT racers and the road-going Norton International. The fully developed engine powered the extremely successful Norton Manx.

1935 BSA J12
Manufacturer: BSA Motorcycles, Small Heath, Birmingham
Engine Type: V-twin, overhead valve
Displacement: 500cc
Bore and Stroke: 63mm x 80mm
Transmission: 4 speed
Originally developed for service work, the Model J was rejected by the War Department as being too complicated for military use.
The smallest of BSA's V-twins, the Model J, was introduced in 1936 and was discontinued after only three years in production.
Very few Model J's survived, which makes them a rare sight today.
Fred Deeley supplied the Vancouver Police Department with BSA V-twin motorcycles in the 1930's, but they were unsuitable and the force returned to Harley-Davidson.

1940 BSA M20
Manufacturer: BSA Motorcycles, Small Heath, Birmingham
Engine Type: Single cylinder, side valve
Displacement: 500cc
Bore and Stroke: 82mm x 92mm
Transmission: 4 speed
Over 125,000 M20s were delivered to armed forces for wartime duties in World War II.
In 1938, as world tensions increased and hostilities became immanent, BSA submitted the M20 for the military.
Although heavy and slow, the side-valve M20 was rugged, reliable, and easily repaired, and since it was already in production, it was accepted by the War Department.
After the war, large numbers of M20s were "de-mobbed" and sold to a transport-hungry public. Civilian production continued until 1955.

Manufacturer: Veloce Ltd., Half Green, Birmingham
Engine Type: Single cylinder, overhead valve
Displacement: 350cc
Bore and Stroke: 68mm x 96mm
Transmission: 4 speed
Introduced in 1935, the MAC single remained in production until 1960, 25 years of 1935 technology.
The MAC was derived from the 250cc MOV. By simply increasing engine stroke, Veloce were able to retain nearly all of the MOV parts and enjoyed an economy of scale rarely seen in the British motorcycle industry.
Veloce continued producing 1930's style singles until they closed in 1971.

That fellow with the cigar is Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

1940 TRIUMPH 5T Speed Twin
Manufacturer: Triumph Engineering Co., Coventry
Engine Type: Parallel twin, overhead valve
Displacement: 500cc
Bore and Stroke: 63mm x 80mm
Transmission: 4 speed
Edward Turner's Speed Twin created a sensation when it was introduced in 1937 and it endured for four decades.
The parallel twin became the most successful engine of its kind and set a worldwide trend that other manufacturers followed for decades.
Triumph's Coventry factory was destroyed during a German air raid in November 1940. Production was quickly moved to Warwick and then to a new factory in Meriden.

1952 SUNBEAM S7 Deluxe
Manufacturer: BSA (Sunbeam Division), Redditch
Engine Type: In-line twin, overhead cam
Displacement: 500cc
Bore and Stroke: 70mm x 63.5mm
Transmission: 4 speed
The conservative Sunbeam S7 was quiet and sedate: qualities that ensure low sales!
Sunbeam claimed the S7 was far ahead of its time when it was introduced in 1946.
The car-like qualities, such as the engine and large tires, show the influence of the designer's automobile industry background.
The Deluxe version with higher compression and improved brakes was introduced in 1949.
Sunbeam production ended in 1956 and two years later the firm closed.

Edward Turner's twin-cylinder 1937 Triumph Speed Twin set the bar for the British motorcycle for the next forty years.
By the end of the 1940's most brands had introduced their own version of Turner's vertical twin design.
Even the renowned 1970's Bonneville and Commando were essentially just reworks of 1930's and 1940's designs.

1952 AJS Model 20
Manufacturer: Associated Motor Cycles, Plumstead Road, London
Engine Type: Vertical Twin, overhead valve
Displacement: 500cc
Bore and Stroke: 66mm x 72.9mm
Transmission: 4 speed
AJS was founded in 1909 by four brothers and is named after one of them, Arthur James Stevens.
AJS was taken over by Matchless in 1921 but continued building motorcycles of its own design until after World War II when the parent company, now Associated Motor Cycles, began blending the AJS and Matchless products so that only their badges distinguished them.
AMC entered the vertical twin arena in 1948 with the introduction of the identical twins: AJS Model 20 and Matchless G9.

1953 BSA A10 Golden Flash
Manufacturer: BSA Motorcycles, Small Heath, Birmingham
Engine Type: Parallel twin, overhead valve
Displacement: 650cc
Bore and Stroke: 70mm x 84mm
Transmission: 4 speed
BSA's 650cc A10 enjoyed a reputation as an all-rounder and ideal sports machine, tourer, and sidecar hauler.
BSA's 500cc A7 twin was increased to 650cc in response to the US customer's desire for "more cubes."
After 12 years the A10 was replaced by the A65. The change was not driven by BSA's desire to improve the aging A10 design, but rather by supplier Lucas Electric's decision to stop production of magnetos as used in the A10 in favour of alternators.

Here is an interesting comparison. Look at the specs of the BSA A10 Golden Flash above and contrast them with my Kawasaki Ninja 650R. Both have 650cc engines.
1953 BSA A10 Golden Flash
Engine type: Parallel twin, overhead valve
Bore and Stroke: 70mm x 84mm
Horsepower: 35 at 4500rpm
Weight: 440lb

2006 Kawasaki Ninja 650 R
Engine type: Parallel twin, overhead cam
Bore and stroke: 83mm x 60mm
Horsepower: 62.1 at 9,000 rpm
Weight: 393 lb

Britain urgently needed to repay its wartime debts. British industry was told that they must "Export of Die" so manufacturers focused on the lucrative American market.
English motorcycles, particularly Triumph and BSA sporting models, sold well in the U.S. and soon the motorcycle industry was the country's third biggest export money-earner, behind automobiles and whiskey.

1955 BSA D1 Bantam
Manufacturer: BSA Motorcycles, Small Heath, Birmingham
Engine Type: Single cylinder, two stroke
Displacement: 125cc
Bore and Stroke: 52mm x 58mm
Transmission: 3 speed
Built from 1948 to 1971, the Bantam was the best-selling British motorcycle ever.
The Bantam engine was a direct, but mirror image copy of the German DKW RT125. The victorious Allies were awarded a number of German designs as war reparations; the DKW design also powered a variety of Harley-Davidson's 125, 165, and 175cc models.
The Bantam provided basic transport and a workhorse role in many Commonwealth countries until its duties were taken over by the more modern lightweights from Japan.

1957 FRANCIS-BARNETT Plover 78
Manufacturer: Francis-Barnett, Coventry
Engine Type: Villiers 30cc, single, two stroke
Displacement: 150cc
Bore and Stroke: 55mm x 62mm
Transmission: 3 speed
Francis-Barnett built a wide range of motorcycles in the 1920's and 3o's but concentrated on lightweight, two-strokes after the war.
In business since 1920, "Fanny B", as they were known, always used two and four stroke engines from other manufacturers.
Francis-Barnett pioneered the fashion of motorcycle enclosures. This "Arden Green" example retains the rear enclosure.
Part of the AMC group since 1948, production was moved to AMC's James' Greet facility near Birmingham in 1962, and in 1966 all AMC production ceased.

1959 TRIUMPH T20S Sports Cub
Manufacturer: Triumph Engineering Co., Meriden
Engine Type: Single cylinder, overhead valve
Displacement: 200cc
Bore and Stroke: 63mm x 64mm
Transmission: 4 speed
The Tiger Cub, with its big bike styling, was an attractive alternative to the lightweight two-strokes of its day.
Introduced in 1954, the 200cc Tiger Cub, and enlarged version of the 149cc Terrier, set new standards of performance in the lightweight field.
Roadster, sports, trials, and scrambler versions were developed. The Cub was particularly successful in trials and off-road events.
Facing increasing Japanese competition, the Cub was phased out in favour of a new series of BSA/Triumph 250cc machines.

1949 JAMES Comet
Manufacturer: James Motor Cycles, Greet, Birmingham
Engine Type: Villiers 1F, two-stroke
Displacement: 98cc
Bore and Stroke: 47mm x 57mm
Transmission: 2 speed, hand shift
James began in 1880 building penny-farthing bicycles and turned to building motorcycles ion 1902.
When the market for expensive motorcycles disappeared during the Depression, James focused on utility lightweight two strokes.
James produced 6000 125cc ML Military Lightweights, nicknamed the "Clockwork Mouse," during the war.
James introduced the Cadet, Captain, and this basic 98cc Comet.
James became part of the Associated Motor Cycles group in 1951.

1963 TRIUMPH T120R Bonneville Thruxton
Manufacturer: Triumph Engineering Co., Meriden
Engine Type: Parallel twin, overhead valve
Displacement: 650cc
Bore and Stroke: 71mm x 82 mm
Transmission: 4 speed
In 1969, a Bonneville Thruxton was the first production motorcycle to achieve a 100 mph lap of the Isle of Man mountain circuit.
Triumph supported production racing through the 1960's knowing that good race results led to showroom sales.
Dealers assembled their own racing Bonneville’s using factory supplied race parts. This example was built by Rose Green Motorcycles.
The serial numbers date it as a 1963 model, however it was not registered for the road until 1969.

1966 HONDA CB450 Super Sport 450
Manufacturer: Honda Motor Co., Japan
Engine Type: Parallel twin, dual overhead cam
Displacement: 450cc
Bore and Stroke: 70mm x 57.8mm
Transmission: 4 speed
The CB450 was aimed at eliminating the British motorcycle from the American market. Until Honda released the CB450 "Black Bomber," as it was known in Britain, in 1965, the British Industry was resigned to giving up the lightweight market to the Japanese, content in the belief that the large bike market belonged to them.
Despite its weight and smaller capacity, the sophisticated and powerful engine made it more than a match for most English 650s.
Honda was now larger than all the British motorcycle manufacturers combined.

The Honda CB450, which the British dismissed as "an interesting bag of tricks" in 1964, announced that the Japanese were entering the large capacity market.
British industry continued increasing shareholders' dividends rather than reinvesting profits to develop competitive products.


1970 NORTON Commando S

1963 Triumph T100R Daytona

1969 BSA A65 Thunderbolt

1971 TRIUMPH T120R Bonneville
Manufacturer: Triumph Engineering Co., Meriden
Engine Type: Parallel twin, overhead valve
Displacement: 650cc
Bore and Stroke: 71mm x 82 mm
Transmission: 4 speed, 5 speed optional
The 1971 Bonneville had a reputation for chronic overheating, poor electrics, weak brakes, vibration, and excessive seat height.
The 1971 US bikes arrived too late for that season's sales resulting in 11,000 Triumph and BSA models remaining unsold at year end.
Many dealers turned to Japanese brands and BSA Group slipped deeper into financial difficulty.
The owner of this Bonne customized his ride with high bars and megaphone exhausts.

1973 HONDA CB750 K2
Manufacturer: Honda Motor Company, Japan
Engine Type: In line four, overhead cam
Displacement: 750cc
Bore and Stroke: 61mm x 63mm
Transmission: 5 speed
Motorcycle history can be divided into two eras, before the CB750 and after.
Triumph's 1937 Speed Twin revolutionized motorcycle design and set the standard for future designs, but the impact of Honda's CB750 on the future of motorcycles was much greater.
Honda was now in direct competition with the British. Honda's large-displacement offering made English bikes look ordinary, old, and even crude.

As domestic sales declined, exports were increased. By 1966 BSA/Triumph were exporting nearly 70 percent of their production.
The number of motorcycles registered in the U.S. leaped from 1.1 million in 1960 to over 7 million in 1966.
However, for every British bike landed in the U.S. in 1966, 20 Japanese bikes also arrived.

1973 TRIUMPH X75 Hurricane
Manufacturer: Triumph Engineering Co., Meriden
Engine Type: Parallel twin, overhead valve
Displacement: 650cc
Bore and Stroke: 67mm x 70 mm
Transmission: 5 speed
Don Brown had an idea for a sportier American version of the Rocket 3; Craig Vetter agreed to the secret project.
The BSA Group's slab sided, Ogle-designed triples sold poorly in the US and brown, general manager of BSA's US subsidiary, realized that restyling would have to be done in the U.S.
Vetter transformed a dumpy Rocket 3 into a prototype. After much negotiation, some 1200 Hurricanes were built, but as Triumphs, not BSAs.
This custom painted Hurricane was built by Rick Brown in 1979.

1974 NORTON Hi-Rider MkII
Manufacturer: Norton-Villiers-Triumph, Andover, Hampshire
Engine Type: Parallel Twin, overhead valve
Displacement: 850cc
Bore and Stroke: 77mm x 89mm
Transmission: 4 speed
Norton hoped the Hi-Rider would cash in on the chopper fad that followed the movie "Easy Rider."
Beneath those extended handlebars, peanut tank, and banana seat is a standard 850cc Commando Mark II.
The 850 engine has its roots in Norton's 1948 Dominator. Full marks must be given to Norton's engineers for being able to wring an amazing 331cc more from the original 497cc design.
It was clear that at 828cc the Commando engine had reached its limits.

1973 BSA B50MX
Manufacturer: BSA Motorcycles, Small Heath, Birmingham
Engine Type: Single cylinder, overhead valve
Displacement: 500cc
Bore and Stroke: 84mm x 90mm
Transmission: 4 speed
The B50 was the last in a long line of BSA single cylinder motorcycles.
The 500cc B50 engine evolved from Edward Turner's Triumph Terrier engine of 1952.
The B50 was introduced in 1971 in three versions, the street 55 Gold Star, the off-road Victor Trial, and the competition MX.
This 850MX was built in February 1973. Four months later a batch of seven B50 55's were the last BSA bikes that were built.

1973 TRIUMPH T100R Daytona
Manufacturer: Triumph Engineering Co., Meriden
Engine Type: Parallel twin, overhead valve
Displacement: 500cc
Bore and Stroke: 69mm x 65.5mm
Transmission: 4 speed
The BSA Group's overdraft was near its limit when its board of directors ended production of BSA motorcycles.
BSA's total workforce dropped from a wartime high of 50,000 to fewer than 1,500.
On March 14, 1973, a rumour of the pending merger with Norton-Villier was leaked and BSA Group shares lost 75 percent of their value.
On July 16, 1973 the deed was done, BSA was gone. The usual suspects were rounded up and re-emerged as Norton-Villiers-Triumph.

1975 TRIUMPH T160 Trident
Manufacturer: Norton-Villiers-Triumph, Small Heath, Birmingham
Engine Type: In-line triple, overhead valve
Displacement: 750cc
Bore and Stroke: 67mm x 70mm
Transmission: 5 speed
Triumph's five-year-old triple was redesigned in 1975 to be more up to date.
The new Trident used the BSA tilted engine in a Triumph frame, but more importantly, it received electric start and rear disk brake.
The T160 was built at the former BSA Small Heath factory (not at Meriden) until all production ended in 1976. Small Heath was demolished the following year.

1977 TRIUMPH T140V Silver Jubilee
Manufacturer: Meriden Motorcycles Ltd., Meriden
Engine Type: Parallel twin, overhead valve
Displacement: 750cc
Bore and Stroke: 76mm x 82mm
Transmission: 5 speed
1,000 "Silver Jubilee" Bonneville's were built to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's reign.
When NVT announced the closure of the Meriden factory in 1973 the workforce responded by physically occupying the premises.
The "Sit-in" lasted until 1975 when the government created the Meriden Co-Operative allowing the Meriden workers to build the Bonneville for NVT.
With debts mounting and government financing depleted, Meriden closed in 1983.
Houses now occupy the Meriden site and the toad name "Bonneville Close" is all that remains.

This a great example of government failure to run industry. Sound familiar? (Amtrak, Fanny Mae, Freddy Mac, GM)

1982 HESKETH V1000
Manufacturer: Hesketh Motorcycles, Daventry
Engine Type: Westlake V-twin, dual overhead cam
Displacement: 1000cc
Bore and Stroke: 95mm x 70mm
Transmission: 5 speed
Trev Deeley planned to distribute Hesketh motorcycles in Canada; however, Hesketh went into receivership before the deal was done.
Formula One race team owner Lord Hesketh proposed a motorcycle that would save the British industry.
Hesketh's plan was to develop the bike to a production-ready state, then turn it over to a manufacturer for production. A partner could not be found, so in 1981 the good Lord fitted out his own factory and commenced production. The factory closed in 1982.
Only 139 V1000s were built.

In order to receive government funding, the BSA and Triumph motorcycle divisions had to merge with Norton-Villiers.
News of the merger leaked in the press; BSA share prices dropped dramatically forcing a prompt agreement.
The new company, Norton-Villiers-Triumph (NVT) absorbed the BSA Group's motorcycle interests.

In September 1973, NVT announced plans to move Triumph production to the BSA factory, eliminating 1750 jobs.
The announcement resulted in a "sit-in" and militant Triumph workers occupied the plant for 18 months.
The government announced the formation of the Meriden Workers Co-Operative and a government loan was granted to enable the workers to build the Triumph Bonneville for NVT.

NVT were unable to meet the required loan payments, the government withdrew export credit, and recalled the loan in July 1975.
NVT entered into receivership and production ended in 1977.
The Meriden Co-Operative continued building small numbers of Triumph twin motorcycles until 1983 when the site was sold for housing to John Bloor, the property developer.

1992 NORTON Commander
Manufacturer: Norton Motors Ltd., Shenstone
Engine Type: Wankel rotary, water cooled, twin rotors
Displacement: 680cc
Bore and Stroke: eccentric shaft rotary engine
Transmission: 5 speed
When NVT collapsed, a small company was set up to continue development of a rotary engine project inherited from BSA.
After producing a few air-cooled models, the water-cooled Commander was introduced in 1987.
The John Player Norton team had some success with a Commander-based race bike that led to the race-replica F1.
Norton was purchased by a Canadian company in 1992, however, due to financial issues, production ended in 1993.
Of the 253 Commanders built only two were imported into Canada.

John Bloor purchased the Triumph name and manufacturing rights. He licensed a former Triumph supplier to continue manufacturing Bonnevilles in order to keep the brand name alive while he built a factory to manufacture Triumph motorcycles.
The "new" Triumph came to market in 1990 with a totally new design. Today Triumph has found a worldwide niche for its unique line of motorcycles.

The reduction of the thriving British motorcycle industry of the 1950's to the single brand today (Triumph), was due to progressive loss of market share, a failure to introduce new models, and abandoning whole market segments so they could concentrate on the largest motorcycles in order to fulfill managerial preoccupation with short-term profits.

Edward Turner's 1960 prediction came to pass... The British motorcycle industry has almost completely disappeared.


Here are some other motorcycles on exhibit.

1950 BSA D1 Bantam
This original and unrestored BSA Bantam was sold by Fred Deeley Motorcycles in 1952 and was in storage for over 50 years.

1954 AJS A7R
Manufacturer: Associated Motor Cycles, Plumbstead Road, London
Engine Type: Single cylinder, overhead cam
Displacement: 350cc
Bore and Stroke: 74mm x 81mm
Transmission: 4 speed
Ted Havens, a young man from Victoria, BC, rode this bike to 15th place in the 1954 Isle of Man Junior TT.
Havens and friend Bob Cooper traveled to England, worked at AMC, bought two racers and headed for the Isle of Man.
Cooper crashed and was sidelined for the rest of the event.
Havens not only raced the Junior TT, but also pitted his 350 AJS against the 500's in the Senior TT. Havens finished in 37th place in pouring rain and was the first 350 home.

1949 Vincent Series C Rapide
Manufacturer: Vincent HRD Co, Stevensedge
Engine Type: V-twin, overhead valve
Displacement: 1000cc
Bore and Stroke: 84mm x 90mm
Transmission: 4 speed
The "World's Fastest Standard Motorcycle," The Rapide was capable of sustained speeds of 110 miles per hour.
The Vincent included unique features: engine and transmission (an integral part of the chassis, thus eliminating the conventional frame), two brakes per wheel, girder forks, independent seat suspension, adjustable foot rests and controls, and a large 150 miles per hour Smith's speedometer.
Vincents were and continue to be, expensive, sought-after machines. In fact, one recently sold at auction for the equivalent of $500,000.

74 cu. in. (1200cc) V-twin

61 cu. in. (1000cc) "Knucklehead"

45 cu. in. (750cc) V-twin

74 cu. in. (1200cc) "Panhead"


The retail showroom is over here.

And here is the one new bike that caught my eye.

2010 Harley Davidson XR1200 Sportster C$13,609.


I didn't tell you where this place is, did I? Here is the link: Deeley Motorcycle Exposition

And here is a map showing the route from home:

View Larger Map

It is about 6000 miles, round trip.

Oh. I also didn't tell you that I didn't ride there, since this trip is a bit longer than is my usual.

Yes, I cheated. I flew there. Without the motorcycle. I didn't even ride one while I was there.

[Sheepish look. Will you forgive me?]

Well, the Exposition was an interesting way to spend a few hours. I'll make an additional blog posting with some observations about motorcycles in British Columbia and Alaska.

All descriptions and some explanatory text is directly quoted from the Deeley Motorcycle Exposition displays.

If you go:
Deeley Motorcycle Exposition, 1875 Boundary Rd., Vancouver, BC V5M 3Y7.
Adjacent to Trev Deeley Motorcycles.

Hours of operation:
Monday through Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Saturday: 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Sunday: 11:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Admission: Donation
A closer alternative:
If you can't travel to Vancouver, another, closer, one-day-ride-by-motorcycle-from-home, collection is at Wheels Through Time in Maggie Valley, NC.

The museum was closed for some time, but it has recently reopened.

Hours of operation:
Thursday through Monday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM.
Admission: Adults $12, Seniors (65 and up) $10, Children $6

Another visitor's report:
Wet Coast Scootin'




bobskoot said...


I'm disappointed that you didn't try to make contact until now. I was free that weekend too, and I could have driven both of you around to show you the sights.

I have visited here (Your blog) before but probably didn't leave any comments, never thinking that one day you would be in my area.

I recently sold my Kymco Maxi Scooter X500Ri but the new owner didn't take delivery until August 3rd, so I could have given you 2 wheels to ride for the weekend.

I have never been to South Carolina, but perhaps one day our paths will cross "again"

here is a link to our local sport bike forum:

there is a section on ride reports so you may see photos of our roads and terrain

ride safe, and keep in touch
also congratulations to your new bride

Wet Coast Scootin

Dave said...

Hi, in your comments about AJS, the date of 1921 is given as the takeover date by Matchless. This didn't happen until 1930/31 which of course was the start of the Great Depression. The early twenties were the golden days for AJS and throughout the 20's they set the standard for sports performance with their OHV models. BTW great site, excellent Photos!!

Bucky said...

@ bobskoot
That is my one and only bride -- of 35 years!

@ Dave
Perhaps the Deeley curators were in error.

Your matchless AJS project is a labor of love. Let us know when you take your first test ride.