Saturday, October 18, 2008


A bit of controversy was stirred up by the article in Motorcycle Classics magazine regarding my '33 Velocette KTT MkIV... a fellow named Richard Ong, who has been in the classics 'scene' since the bikes were new, had harsh words for me. It was generous of editor Richard Backus to print my response in the same issue, to give both sides of the story. (Click on the image above to read the letters).
I respect that Mr. Ong knew Eddie Arnold (who built 'the Mule' in its current state) and has high regard for Eddie's workmanship and development (as do I - in fact no one has a closer relationship with his handiwork). The motorcycles in my care tend to be ridden quite a bit, and the motorcycles I seek out are the ones I'm really curious to ride. If I can't ride it, or the machine doesn't live up to my standards, it goes to a new home.
Every collector has a different relationship with the motorcycles in his/her garage, and I know I fall on one end of the spectrum, but we're all interested in the same thing; preservation, appreciation, and enjoyment.


Anonymous said...

you should have yanked the old farts chain lol , my motto for engineering arguments is when give free ammo use it, you should have told him its your mission in life to via the velos constant loss gasket system your in fact making it safe for other old bikes to be ridden on sub standard roads (slaps forehead,'just like they were designed to do')... look at some of those tapes i sent you [of the Isle of Man TT], its like monty's drive through the western desert, and as for keeping race bikes in pristine condition lol , most of them are like george washingtons axe, the heads been replaced once the handle twice , but its still the same axe ,next time you pass the old fart doing thirty slap him on the back of the head lol dave

Anonymous said...

talking of dirt roads how about salt and sand [of Daytona]?

Anonymous said...

no yellow flag for the cow pats? [on the Ulster GP]

Charles said...

hooray! Found and have been following your blog for a while now. My pal Ken Armann tells me you are an upright guy.

But this post cements it. YES, bikes are machines which were built to be ridden. There is nothing sadder than a beautiful bike hidden away in some temperature controlled locker of doom and perfection.

Ride'em and if they need fixing, fix them. but keeping them perfect and pristine, out of the public, it's just wrong.

Ye Haw! and go man go.

Anonymous said...

What did Mr Ong write about? And what was your reply?

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul,
Just blundered upon your well-hidden web site.. what a find! It's been added straight to my favourites.
So far I've read the saga about your Velo and I come down on your side. No arguments. Keep them turning and burning..
I don't know if you're interested in sixties Matchlesses but I had a much-loved '67 G80CS which I had to be surgically parted from last year.. It was featured in "Classic Bike Guide" which I'm attaching. In the article I mention that I once owned a Silk 700S.. The big ends went on it and so I took it to former Silk employee Graham Rhodes (son of Ivan) up in Derby for him to put right. When it was ready for collection a few weeks later, Graham said it would be at his father's house.. When I drove up there, there was my bike all fixed up and Graham introduced me to his father, Ivan. He asked me into the house for a coffee and there - leaning against the wall in his living room - was the 1939 Junior TT winning Velocette.. This was Velo heaven.. Ivan's wife seemed remarkably content to have parts of historic Velos scattered around the house.. Ivan was rebuilding the 'Roarer' at the time and he handed me the magnesium crankcase which I nearly dropped as I was unprepared for its lightness.
I'm also attaching the ad that I put together when I advertised the Match prior to moving to France last year. Gawd, I still miss that bike.. The material is really just for your own interest.