Sunday, February 10, 2008


This is a before-and-after post, but there's a lesson in here about appearances and intuition. I found this terribly funky Velocette Venom Endurance way down in Southern CA, at the actual edge of the desert in Riverside County - the scrub and sand began across the street and stretched out for hundreds of miles. This bike was amongst a pile of basket-case Velo dirt bikes, but the Endurance seemed to me a possible goer... so I took it home and disassembled it completely, down to the last nut and bolt, and cleaned it thoroughly, removed the corrosion (the desert air had preserved the bike, and there was almost no rust) and sludge and bird's nests and cut off the stiff old tires.
Then began reassembly, and the number of replacement parts included a set of fork seals, a pair of tires, a new seat cover and foam, taillight and headlmap lenses, and most significantly, a new gearbox cluster, as the old one had rotted away. The piston was reused (with new rings), as were the big end and main bearings. After it was deep cleaned and rubbed down with an oily rag, it looked pretty good, and now can still be called 'original', as I really didn't change any of the cosmetics or major parts, just did the necessary repairs.
The bike went to my friend Jeff Scott as a partial trade for his Sprinter van, and he proceeded to ride it TO the last Velocette Summer Rally, in Montana. Then he rode it the 1000 miles of the rally, then rode it home - a total of around 4500 miles in about 14 days. Mechanically, the bike did very well, requiring only the odd adjustment, but it ran through magnetos like I've never seen... Jeff went through two of his own before borrowing one of mine, and eating it as well.


nolan_woodbury said...

Love the blog site, and the content. I live and breathe vintage motorcycles!

Quick question: What's the difference between a Velocette 'Endurance' and the 500cc Venom? Is the Endurance more of a punter, made for extended travel?

This one kind of got by me.

Again, love the site.


vintagent said...

A little family history; the original Scrambler model was an MSS with a tuned engine, in the standard RS swingarm frame (easy to spot - engine #MSS S xxxx). This engine became the basis of the Venom, with street tinware. The Scrambler diverged into a specialized machine with it's own frame, and the Endurance, which is the street version of the original Scrambler (same RS frame as VM/MSS - engine # VMxxxxE). Identical engine to the VM, but smaller tank, alloy mudguards, etc. VM or MSS are the touring machines, as the Endurance has a very small tank...