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Author Topic: freeway riding  (Read 5327 times)

jonapplegate

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freeway riding
« on: August 20, 2007, 05:10:07 AM »
Hi! have a question about any experiences with freeway speeds. Where I live, if I want  to go to my dealer, I have to ride freeway for at least 20 miles. I have a new 30mm carb, k&n, and classic exhaust. Would switching to a larger (18 tooth) sprocket help drop rpm enough to make this feasible? My dealer says no matter how much power is added or rpm is dropped, holding a steady speed for a while will cause harmonic vibrations that will wreak havoc with lubrication.

Thanks,
             Jon

Spitting Bull

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2007, 08:58:47 AM »
Hi Jon,

the way I see it is - the classic bullet is mechanically a 1956 British bike.  In Britain in 1956 there were very few roads which allowed a sustained high speed for at least 20 miles.  There was always a bend, a narrow bridge, a village with a speed limit, something like that to keep making the rider throttle back and slow down periodically.  That's the kind of riding the Bullet was designed for, I think.  There were bikes which could could run at consistent high speeds, but riders who wanted to do that didn't buy Royal Enfield Bullets.

It seems to me that most of the problems reported with modern bullets are the result of trying to make them go faster and for longer than their 1956 design allows for.  I don't think the Classic engine was designed with any built-in room for too many improvements of this kind.  If you increase the power output in one area you put extra stress on other components somewhere else.  Take care with the freeway riding.  I avoid freeways (motorways) because my bike just struggles on them.  If I have to use motorways, then I accept that the bike is dangerously under-powered for these roads and take great care.


Tom
« Last Edit: August 20, 2007, 09:31:50 AM by Spitting Bull »
One cylinder is enough for anyone.

justin_o_guy

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2007, 09:28:18 AM »
I've never heard of a lubrication/harmonics issue, but, lots of stuff Ive never heard of. I have heard of running at any given RPM on an engine not yet "Run in"or Broken In & setting up vibrations in the rings & creating problems in the bore. Vary the engine speed. Watch your mirrors & when no one is running up on you, slow it down, a lot, & cruise at a low speed for a bit, a few minutes when possible. There is a place where the bike "Feels" better. A spot that's got less vibration & if you goose it, it still has some accleration left, with torque, not just" I twisted the throttle & i THINK I can feel it accelerating". When I am breaking an engine in, I don't go past that spot for long & I don't do it often. Also, I have been told by a guy who is a pretty sharp mechanic, tho he may be full of it here, I dunno, But,, he says, Get an engine running up in the RPM range, then just slap the throttle shut & let the engine vacuum suck the rings out against the bore & seat them.
Every time I run past the recommended speed during break in, I only go there for a few seconds, then slow down & allow any hot spots to cool. Ride calm for a while, at least 15 minutes, before I would dream of doing it again. I have a Suzuki 650 that runs very nicely & a Moto Guzzi with 4,500 miles on it that seems to be still breaking in. The folks who sold it to me said wait till it has 6,000 miles on it to se what the MPG will be. I hope its like a pocketnife that is hard to sharpen. Once ya get it sharp, it stays sharp.

Good luck on your trips. Yes, the larger sprocket will slow the engine down, which allows you to cruise at a higher speed or cruise at the same speed as before the sprocket change & save fuel & lengthen engine life by decreasing the revolutions per mile.Still, if it's not broken in, vary engine speeds. I dont know how many RPM is needed, so I would vary a lot, unless someone I trusted chimes in.

Kevin Mahoney

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2007, 02:57:04 PM »
I would concur with the advice given here thusfar

deejay

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2007, 05:37:59 PM »
My bullet is nice and broken in, and I wouldn't dream of taking it on the freeway. 65mph usually means others will be traveling at LEAST 70-75mph. The fastest I run my bike is 50-55, and it still feels like I should give it a rest every few minutes. If anyone tells you that they take their Bullet on the freeway, then I can guarantee they will be rebuilding their engines MUCH sooner than I will be.

I have found many "alternate" routes around my local freeways that give me great pleasure to ride and enjoy the scenery, without the high speed madness.

prof_stack

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2007, 08:31:14 PM »
A fellow who bought his Bullet new and broke it in properly and had several thousand miles on it decided it was time to take his RE on the freeway for a trip.  On I-90 heading east from Seattle he lasted about a half hour at 60+ MPH before the engine blew. 

The shop owner had warned him against it.  This owner is a stickler for proper break-in.

jonapplegate

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2007, 11:44:37 PM »
Thanks for the info everyone! I think I get the point.

justin_o_guy

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2007, 05:44:19 AM »
My bullet is nice and broken in, and I wouldn't dream of taking it on the freeway. 65mph usually means others will be traveling at LEAST 70-75mph. The fastest I run my bike is 50-55, and it still feels like I should give it a rest every few minutes. If anyone tells you that they take their Bullet on the freeway, then I can guarantee they will be rebuilding their engines MUCH sooner than I will be.

I have found many "alternate" routes around my local freeways that give me great pleasure to ride and enjoy the scenery, without the high speed madness.

 I am curious as to what it is about the bike that makes ytou feel/think it needs a break. Not that I doubt you for an instant, just that I am not that "In Tune" with anything that I ever felt anything liie that. Is it a vibration?

deejay

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2007, 12:41:05 PM »
I am curious as to what it is about the bike that makes ytou feel/think it needs a break. Not that I doubt you for an instant, just that I am not that "In Tune" with anything that I ever felt anything liie that. Is it a vibration?

Just to clarify, when I said it feels like it "needs a break", I meant drop the rpms down, not pull over and shut the bike off. I could run all day at 5th gear 50-53mph. 54-60mph would require dropping the rpms every so often (IMO). It's a bunch of different things, vibration is one of them, sound is another, but anyone can tell when an engine is being overworked.

I know you don't own one yet, but have you test driven one?

FiferWD

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2007, 04:42:45 PM »
Hi! have a question about any experiences with freeway speeds. Where I live, if I want  to go to my dealer, I have to ride freeway for at least 20 miles. I have a new 30mm carb, k&n, and classic exhaust. Would switching to a larger (18 tooth) sprocket help drop rpm enough to make this feasible? My dealer says no matter how much power is added or rpm is dropped, holding a steady speed for a while will cause harmonic vibrations that will wreak havoc with lubrication.

Thanks,
             Jon

I have the same set up with the original carb and 18 tooth sprocket.  I frequently have to run at higher speeds, and I find that the bike doesn't like it.  If I take it up higher that 50-55 for 20 miles or so, I find that the engine sounds unhappy and I use a lot, and I mean a lot, of oil.  I have about 10,500 on my 2005 Bullet, and I am going to decarbon and probably put in new rings and valve guides very soon, after which I will try never to abuse it again.

It is really tempting to take it up there, but I guess I'll just have to talk the-lady-who-rents-the-other-side-of-the-bed into letting me buy another bike for those long fast rides.

I have about a 45 mile ride to my dealer, so I bought a folding 4x8 utility trailer from Harbour Freight to haul it with.
Yrs,
Bill

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2007, 06:17:55 PM »

I have about a 45 mile ride to my dealer, so I bought a folding 4x8 utility trailer from Harbour Freight to haul it with.

How do you like your 4x8 trailer, does it tow ok, keep stable, etc??
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
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Jefferson County, WA

FiferWD

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2007, 07:54:23 PM »

How do you like your 4x8 trailer, does it tow ok, keep stable, etc??
[/quote]

It's great, but it is also dangerous as hell to handle by yourself when folding and unfolding..  On one occasion, I lost control of the tongue while unfolding it and got a huge bruise where it hit me in the side and back.  As far as roadability, no problems.  It tows well and doesn't bounce around with a load.  Empty it does bounce a bit, but is still very manageable.

 I painted the wooden deck with a skid resistant paint, and built a sort of removable chock for the wheels.  I also used eyebolts at the four corners for tie downs, and replaced the plastic casters with sturdier rubber ones.  To load the bike, I remove the trailer's license plate and the tongue clevis pins, tilt the bed down, and push the bike on board with a running start.  I then have one of my kids or a neighbor push down on the front to level it and put the clevis pins in.  I need to find a better location for the license plate  Another modification I did was to make 8 clevis pins out of 3/8 inch bolts to hold the stake sides on.  That way you don't have to be running around with a socket wrench every time you use it or put it away.

If I had it to do over again, I would prefer to spend a little bit more for the Red Trailer, made in Pennsylvania.  I had one before, and it is easier to deal with.  It has a straight bar tongue instead of a vee, for one thing.  But the Harbour Freight version is pretty good.  Needless to say, it has a lot of other applications, and stores well in the garage without taking up a lot of space.

Oh yeah, you want the one with 12 inch wheels.  My first one had the 8 inch, and they are really too small. 
Yrs,
Bill

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2007, 08:29:11 PM »
Thank you for the review - I am looking for a small trailer to haul one or two bikes around with.
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
''99 Classic Bullet. '05 Ural Tourist sidecar rig, converted to 2wd. '05 Harley Davidson Sportster.
Jefferson County, WA

hutch

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2007, 11:20:20 PM »
I am curious as to what it is about the bike that makes ytou feel/think it needs a break. Not that I doubt you for an instant, just that I am not that "In Tune" with anything that I ever felt anything liie that. Is it a vibration?

54-60mph would require dropping the rpms every so often (IMO). It's a bunch of different things, vibration is one of them, sound is another, but anyone can tell when an engine is being overworked.


You know that is realy strange, My 2005 Bullet Classic only has bigger jets and a free flowing pipe, and at 60mph it is the happiest. It smooths right out as far as vibes, the motor is not working hard at all. It falls into a groove there and is happy. I rode for 179 miles at that speed and only went through a few small towns that were like 40 miles apart. I got 80mpg and used no oil that I could tell on the stick. I am used to riding by sound(no tach) after 40 years of riding. I changed my Suzuki Savage into a chain drive just for the reason you are talking about. That thing was screaming RPM's at 75mph, with the stock belt gearing. Maybe I just got a "special" Classic. By no means would I ride it on the super slabs. Mine tops out at 80mph with a tail wind, but 55-60 mph all day is no problem. It had less than 3000 miles on it when I did the 179 mile trip. Most of the time I don't even look at the speedo, I know where it seems to be the happiest by sound, and when I look down, there it is 55-60mph.     Hutch
« Last Edit: August 21, 2007, 11:29:04 PM by hutch »
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deejay

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2007, 12:52:59 AM »
yeah, i baby my bullet too though, so take that into consideration. :)

hutch

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #15 on: August 22, 2007, 03:18:27 AM »
yeah, i baby my bullet too though, so take that into consideration. :)
I do to. Most of the time I ride roads that have a lot more stops and curves, and I ride about 55mph. The day I did the 179 was unusual for me. I have other bikes for long cruises at 65-70mph, and ones that are happy on the super slab at 80mph mile after mile.. I just like my Bullet for what it is, a fun ,lets's enjoy the scenery and not just burn up mile after mile of ashphalt. It is my most enjoyable bike for the type of riding I do most.   Hutch
You learn from your mistakes, and I have LEARNED a lot.

RagMan

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #16 on: August 22, 2007, 03:47:34 AM »
So, What bike should I get myself, for the endless asphalt type of ride?  I kind of like the Triumph Scrambler - is it a superslab bike, or not?
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
''99 Classic Bullet. '05 Ural Tourist sidecar rig, converted to 2wd. '05 Harley Davidson Sportster.
Jefferson County, WA

justin_o_guy

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #17 on: August 22, 2007, 04:16:29 AM »
I have a Moto Guzzi Nevada 750 that can run 80 all day & never miss a beat. In fact, thats all of 2 MPH faster than the thing was allowed to run as it broke in. 5,000 rpm translates to 78 mph on the speedo. It will get over 100 easy enough, but 110 is about it. The Navada has a small tank & will need gas at about 110 miles. Thats when it starts flashing the little "Gas Pump" light. It will deliver mid 50's MPG around town, easy running, start running over 90 & the MPG tanks, low 40's. Running 75 & 80, low 50's, upper 40's .Shaft drive, no chain hassles or belt squealing. There is a different model, the Breva, has a larger tank & different seat, otherwise the same, no,thers another difference. , tubeless tires on the Breva.
Also, the Suzuki 650 Savage with the chain mod will run higher speeds & deliver decent MPG, but ask Hutch, cuz he did the mod, I have one too, but its still belt drive.
I am just not comfortable with heavy bikes & I have some kinda hangup on wanting god MPG out of a bike, others who can ride bigger bikes or haul passengers, well,, I just wish I felt like I could do that, But I am plenty happy with the bikes I have found that I can man handle. The MPG & looks of the RE are why I am wanting one, that & it's small enough I can pick it up if I drop it. 

RagMan

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #18 on: August 22, 2007, 04:32:35 AM »
I will hunt out a picture of the Guzzi - I like the older ones, haven't seen any recent models.  I will probably end up with ten bikes in the barn.
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
''99 Classic Bullet. '05 Ural Tourist sidecar rig, converted to 2wd. '05 Harley Davidson Sportster.
Jefferson County, WA

Leonard

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2007, 11:58:20 AM »
Hutch,
  Not trying to rain on anyone's parade but the speedos on these things are usually wildly optimistic.  Check it with a GPS and get back with us.  ;D
--Leonard
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hutch

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #20 on: August 22, 2007, 12:38:38 PM »
Hutch,
  Not trying to rain on anyone's parade but the speedos on these things are usually wildly optimistic.  Check it with a GPS and get back with us.  ;D
--Leonard
I don't have any GPS, I have something better. A freind who is a Saginaw County Sherrif. Gary checked my 650 Savage after the belt to chain gear ratio change. He checked the Bullet and said that at 55-60 it was + or minus2mph. Plus when riding on that trip of 179miles the speed limit was 55mph. I was running 60mph and if I was running slower than that I would have got run over, believe me, people here are just as nuts as anywhere else. If you don't do 80mph on the 70mph speedlimit Interstate you will cause a traffic jam. The semis' are suppose to do 55, but do 65-70mph, so the cars just go faster than them. That is why the Bullet doesn't belong on the interstate, or above 60mph for any extended lenght of time. As mentioned before, the bike was not made for that. It is an English gentlemans backroad putter. It is not a bike that you red line through every gear, not a bike to push the envelope with. It is a time capsule .If you are into thrills, look somewhere else. It is the 60's VW Bug or Corvair of the motorcycle world. It needs more attention than most bikes, but returns dependabillity and is easy to work on. It is light and nimble, but not in a MOTO GP way, and returns great mpg. If you are ready to slow down and the trip means more than getting to the destination as fast as you can, the RE is for you. If there is anything in your personallity that needs to fill an ego or speed craving, look elsewhere. I love my Bullet for what it is,a reminder of slower, happier times.     Hutch
« Last Edit: August 22, 2007, 12:46:18 PM by hutch »
You learn from your mistakes, and I have LEARNED a lot.

gapl53

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #21 on: August 22, 2007, 12:58:47 PM »
Hutch,
  Not trying to rain on anyone's parade but the speedos on these things are usually wildly optimistic.  Check it with a GPS and get back with us.  ;D
--Leonard

I believe that all vehicle speedometers on vehicles that the USDOT approve for use on U.S. highways are to be accurate to within 10%. I checked my 2006 Electra-x speedo with my handheld gps just the other day. What I found was strange to me because I have never encounter this type of speedo discrepency before. The speedo registered an even 5mph faster than I was traveling at all speeds from 10mph to the top indicated speed of 83mph. Which the gps said was 77.8 mph. Flat and level sitting up and begging.

hutch

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #22 on: August 22, 2007, 03:26:28 PM »
Hutch,
  Not trying to rain on anyone's parade but the speedos on these things are usually wildly optimistic.  Check it with a GPS and get back with us.  ;D
--Leonard

I believe that all vehicle speedometers on vehicles that the USDOT approve for use on U.S. highways are to be accurate to within 10%. I checked my 2006 Electra-x speedo with my handheld gps just the other day. What I found was strange to me because I have never encounter this type of speedo discrepency before. The speedo registered an even 5mph faster than I was traveling at all speeds from 10mph to the top indicated speed of 83mph. Which the gps said was 77.8 mph. Flat and level sitting up and begging.
Most people don't realize it, and I have never seen it mentioned here, but the tires on the Electra are different than those on the Bullet. The slightest difference in circumferance or height will throw off the speedo. I imagine since both bikes share the same speedo, and trans, that could be the problem.    Hutch  PS.    I am heading out the door for a 2 day trip to Wisconsin to pick up a 2000 Kawasaki W650 , so I will catch up when I get back.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2007, 03:47:02 PM by hutch »
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dewjantim

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2007, 06:42:55 PM »
I am curious as to what it is about the bike that makes ytou feel/think it needs a break. Not that I doubt you for an instant, just that I am not that "In Tune" with anything that I ever felt anything liie that. Is it a vibration?

54-60mph would require dropping the rpms every so often (IMO). It's a bunch of different things, vibration is one of them, sound is another, but anyone can tell when an engine is being overworked.


You know that is realy strange, My 2005 Bullet Classic only has bigger jets and a free flowing pipe, and at 60mph it is the happiest. It smooths right out as far as vibes, the motor is not working hard at all. It falls into a groove there and is happy. I rode for 179 miles at that speed and only went through a few small towns that were like 40 miles apart. I got 80mpg and used no oil that I could tell on the stick. I am used to riding by sound(no tach) after 40 years of riding. I changed my Suzuki Savage into a chain drive just for the reason you are talking about. That thing was screaming RPM's at 75mph, with the stock belt gearing. Maybe I just got a "special" Classic. By no means would I ride it on the super slabs. Mine tops out at 80mph with a tail wind, but 55-60 mph all day is no problem. It had less than 3000 miles on it when I did the 179 mile trip. Most of the time I don't even look at the speedo, I know where it seems to be the happiest by sound, and when I look down, there it is 55-60mph.     Hutch
Hutch, I will have to agree with you. I have the same modifications as you , only with a K&N air-filter also. My bike will run all day at 60-65 mph (indicated) without straining and still get fantastic mileage. Haven't had to adjust anything in the last 4500 miles, not even valves. Often I ride with bigger machines and usually am leading the pack on the back-roads. Riding a motorcycle fast within its limits is not abusing it, you are just using it as it was made to be used. There must have been something wrong with the guys bike that blew up after going 60 for only a short time. Mine has been run like that since new. REs aren't some fragile machines which need to be babied all the time, if they were they would have not been in production for so long....Dew.
If it hurts, you're not dead yet!!!!!

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2007, 09:44:10 PM »
You should see how they were treated by the Rockers, in 50s and 60s Britain.  They held their own against any of the 500s and most of the 650s. 'cept the Velocette, it could beat them.
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
''99 Classic Bullet. '05 Ural Tourist sidecar rig, converted to 2wd. '05 Harley Davidson Sportster.
Jefferson County, WA

c1skout

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2007, 01:59:12 AM »
My speedo is 5mph optimistic everywhere except at 40mph, where it's only 1mph optimistic.

dewjantim

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2007, 06:27:22 PM »
You should see how they were treated by the Rockers, in 50s and 60s Britain.  They held their own against any of the 500s and most of the 650s. 'cept the Velocette, it could beat them.
How about the Gold Star, BSA's bad a$$ street racer???? Dew.
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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2007, 07:05:35 PM »
Rural Britain, when we used to travel in Summers, is full of tiny winding roads, and sharp hills.  The REs would beat anything around, except the Velocettes.  I had a BSA A10, that could just keep up with a friends Royal Enfield 500.  A lot of the the really good BSAs were never seen - they were bought for competition and didn't get to the rural areas. We traveled a lot in Northern Yorkshire, and the Highlands of Scotland. My folk were smiths, so we worked where we could. Never wintered in the UK, we always went back to Europe at that time, usually Italy.
aka Indiana Bulleteer.
''99 Classic Bullet. '05 Ural Tourist sidecar rig, converted to 2wd. '05 Harley Davidson Sportster.
Jefferson County, WA

deejay

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Re: freeway riding
« Reply #28 on: August 23, 2007, 08:20:50 PM »
Rural Britain, when we used to travel in Summers, is full of tiny winding roads, and sharp hills.  The REs would beat anything around, except the Velocettes.  I had a BSA A10, that could just keep up with a friends Royal Enfield 500.  A lot of the the really good BSAs were never seen - they were bought for competition and didn't get to the rural areas. We traveled a lot in Northern Yorkshire, and the Highlands of Scotland. My folk were smiths, so we worked where we could. Never wintered in the UK, we always went back to Europe at that time, usually Italy.

Awesome!