Saturday, 28 July 2012

Calne Bike show 2012

As in previous years, the Calne Rotary Club organises a bike show which amounts to putting on a band, selling space to burger vans and inviting motorcyclists to come visit. Boy does it work, and there really is something for everyone. More Honda CBX sixes than I've ever seen in one place, Harleys in force, and the truly left-field - a Honda Pan European engined trike and a Monster with a sidecar that allows a wheelchair bound owner to take control. Lots of lovely Italians including an RD350-engined Cagiva Mito, and a Moto Guzzi Airone that won best bike. Best bit for me was the Hercules rotary (DKW in most markets) that was casually parked under the Calne Rotary Club sign. See what he did there? Genius

Deepest joy was finding half a dozen old bike mags for sale including stuff by Cook Neilson and Phil Schilling that I've not seen before. Love Cook's masthead title, "Prints of Darkness." Quality time beckons

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Moto Guzzi 125 Tuttoterreno for sale

These are rare in the UK - basically half the Benelli 2C, also offered as the Benelli 125 Trail. But I'm never going to get round to fixing it so it's for sale on eBay right now.

This does have an MG (Moto Guzzi) frame and engine number. Probably a 1974 build. Has been stored inside, turns over, all seems to work except it will not start despite ultrasonically cleaning the carburettor. My own bout of foolishness, bought in a moment of eBay madness last year. The Italian seller (so never registered) promised everything but the (missing) indicators worked. He lied - carb was so gunked up the float bowl took ages to remove and although there's a healthy spark the plug's clearly never seen a working combustion chamber. Gasket goo around the crankcases hints at past entry, but there is compression and the original exhaust (toughest part of old trailies to source) seems fine apart from the dreadful paintwork. Front tyre has a slow puncture and the instruments are missing. Was intended to be a project for the magazine but now I've got a book to write as well as Benzina so it has to go. Also advertised at

Viewing or extra photos no problem - will upload more asap but our rubbish rural broadband likes to take its time. No reserve, cash on collection only please. If you want to register it with the DVLA I can provide the required dating certificate for £20, although it will need retoring to at least MOT standard first!

And once it's gone I will get a Guzzi that runs. Strangely torn between a Guzzino, a V850GT and a Griso 1100 (to avoid the wear problems on the 8-valvers). Spoilt for chice or indecisive? Oh, I don't know...

Unleash the dogs of hell

Benzina advertiser and subscriber Howard (runs the excellent Ducati singles website Widecase) sent this. It's his Ducati GT750's gearbox, sensibly exposed when it jumped out of first, although some folk will tell you "they all do that". Eek.

Now back on the road after surgery at Tony Brancato. Being a supplier of many things Ducati Howard had new gearbox 'spare; (as you do!). Caught it just in time by the look of things. When the Romans shouted "Unleash the dogs of hell" they clearly knew what Ducati had in mind for us

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Lodola dreaming

If the story of riding a Moto Guzzi Lodola in the Dolomites in the latest issues of Benzina has got you fantasising about doing the same, there's good news: this lovely Lodola's for sale at Moto Corsa. Under three grand, and in fabulous order, despite completing three Motogiros. So, yes it's the vintage class-eligible, earlier ohc 175, rather than the later pushrod 235cc version that we've featured. The last bike designed by Carlo Guzzi himself, so a nice bit of history. Moto Coras also have a Guzzi 650 TT, the adventure bike that Guzzi used to enter the Paris Dakar, as seen in issue six. seems like a ride out waiting to happen - they're at Three Legged Cross, just outside Ringwood.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Teas and cakes plus Issue 9 on the way

Issue 9 of Benzina has now landed at our local Post Office, and hopefully they'll stamp them up overnight and get them on their way. Thanks to all who've bought a copy or (better yet) subscribed. Above is part of the Cafe31 story, the ultimate benvel twin built by Desmopro for the Bostrom brothers to thrash on US TV.

We'll also do Teas and Cakes this Saturday 7 July, 2pm on and hope the weather behaves! Hopefully they'll be a few Ducatis to rival the magnificent turn out of Laverda triples last month, as seen below

And then I might actually get to ride a motorcycle for any distance. Mugello, anyone?

Sunday, 1 July 2012

The truth about Desmodromics

For those who think Desmodromics means Ducati and Ducati alone, there's an exhibition showing the big picture this summer in (unsurprisingly) Bologna at the Dell'Idice Valley Museum. Although much has been written on the desmodromic system, much of it credited to engineer Fabio Taglioni - the story of its debut at Ducati was in issue 7 of Benzina, including how he probably got his ideas from the Maseratti brothers and time at Mondial. And most folk know of the desmo engines in the pre-war Mercedes Silver Arrows.

The exhibition includes patents and designs by the Dutchman Henk Cloosterman, technical drawings and much other material provided by individuals and - well, just look at the list:- BMW, Ducati, Ferrari, Honda, Fiat, Maserati, Mercedes, Peugeot, Osca, Scarab and Toyota. Motorcycles and mechanical components that have made the history of Ducati will be exhibited along with old documents, photos and historical footage.

The pic above is the earliest use I know of that used desmodromics, the French Delage S desmo of around 1914, built to race in the USA. The French really had a great start at the birth of motoring, sadly decimated by two wars.

The exhibition will runs first weekend of every month until November 2012, with breaks for the usual July and August hols, so sadly you can't combine it with a visit to Mugello for MotoGP. More at: