Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Vintage motorcycle show Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019

Poster for 13th Annual Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show
Italian motorcycles are the feature of this year's Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show.
My Royal Enfield and I will ride down U.S. 1 to the 13th Annual Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show this Saturday, Jan. 26, at Frost Park in Dania Beach, Fla.

Looking back at my photos over the years I can see that I have attended every Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show since the 2009 edition. Beautiful sunny Florida weather is virtually guaranteed. But the real reason to go are the wonderful motorcycles.

This year the show expects 380 vintage motorcycles, circa 1984 or older. Vendors, dealers, field games, swap meet and live music are givens.

This year's theme is Italian motorcycles, and they can be displayed for free. Other makes will pay a fee when they register but the event is free to the public. Parking is free, too, if you ride in.

Do not miss the incredible gathering of antique and custom bicycles — yes, bicycles — on display in their own special section. They are an unexpected feast for the eyes every year.

Here is an informative video about the show from the City of Dania Beach.

 And here are links to my photos I've shot through the years.

Photos of 2018 Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show

Photos of 2017 Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show

Photos of 2016 Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show

More photos of 2016 Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show

Photos of 2015 Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show

Photos of 2014 Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show

Photos of 2013 Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show

Photos of 2012 Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show

Photos of 2011 Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show

Photos of 2010 Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show

Photos of 2009 Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show

Friday, January 18, 2019

Riding the 1924 Royal Enfield in adverse conditions

Magazine photo of rider on 1924 Royal Enfield motorcycle.
Bulb horn gives it an antique look but this 1924 Royal Enfield 350 was advanced for its day.
There's 1924 road test of the then-new Royal Enfield 350cc motorcycle on Jorge Pullin's "My Royal Enfields" blog. It's a look at not only a fascinating motorcycle, but at an age when motorcycle test riders had different concerns.

In those days it wasn't so much a matter of "what'll she do?" (top speed), but "will it climb a hill?"

And testing was serious business. Those testers rode the Royal Enfield 500 miles, 40 of them after a heavy snowfall, with roads "mantled in white."

They praised the handling: "Snow covered roads, of course, gave us an excellent opportunity of testing this, for beaten snow is treacherous in the extreme." No kidding!

The road test appeared in the Jan. 16, 1924 edition of Motorcycling magazine. The testers indicated that the 349cc machine represented a change in Royal Enfield's model line-up. The firm's claim to fame around the time of the First World War had been its big twin-cylinder sidecar outfits.

"Our readers may be pardoned for associating the Enfield name chiefly with sidecar machines, although, of course, the small two-stroke models have been popular for some years for runabout work."

"The tendency of the times" now favored 350cc solo motorcycles and Enfield's entry was ready for 1924.

It was a single-cylinder, four-stroke motorcycle "with a bore and stroke of 70mm and 90mm respectively." If that sounds familiar it's because, although a century has passed, the exact same dimensions exist inside today's Royal Enfield's Classic 350, with its Unit Constructed Engine.

This was a side-valve motor, but it had a mechanical oil pump, an advanced feature for 1924, when riders were expected to hand pump oil to the motor based on guesswork about how much it needed. The testers considered the mechanical pump perfectly reliable, but —  perhaps as a concession to conservative customers — the Enfield still came with a hand operated oil pump on the tank, in case extra lubrication was needed.

It had a two-speed gearbox operated by a foot pedal. This allowed low gear to be momentarily engaged for starting off or, with an extra motion of the foot, locked into place for extended use.

My reading of this is that the Enfield was meant in practice to run only in top gear ("even in London traffic" the testers wrote). With only one gear to ride with, testers admitted, the Enfield wasn't going to manage to climb any "freak hills," but it was capable of climbing "any ordinary hill" in high gear.

Testers estimated a top speed of 50 mph. They gently criticized the brakes, which must have been awful: only a front stirrup brake on the front and a rear belt rim brake.

In closing, though, they found the Royal Enfield excellent value for the money, writing:

"This new Enfield is undoubtedly a very pleasing machine to ride, and its really excellent steering properties, combined with the comfortable riding position, makes it very suitable for use under adverse conditions."

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