They used to say that the ultimate cure for a B25 was a quick trip to a canal — how cruel! Arthur Langman proved them wrong. He bought his 1971 B25SS from a breaker, after it had been retrieved from such a waterway — and dried out, of course. Well, mostly…

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As you’d expect, the 250 needed just about everything — and so just about everything on it has been replaced and rebuilt. The engine was rebored to plus-20, head and barrel bead-blasted; it was given new valves, guides, seats and springs and a new main bearing; the crank was stripped and cleaned and new big end shells fitted; new clutch plates arrived along with a new gearbox bearing and starter mechanism. Even the frame was re-stoved to its original black.

How much did all that lot cost? ‘Too much to put into print!’ (Know the feeling, chorus B25 owners from around the world…).

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‘Getting cycle parts can be difficult,’ says Arthur, ‘and there are many rubbish pattern parts around that don’t fit. I’ve spent 12 years going to autojumbles to get parts for it, and then discovered that they don’t fit or are entirely the wrong ones! Even a new pattern grab-rail had to be modified to fit.’

‘I thought I was alone out there, the only person mad enough to try to restore this model. Everyone else with other bikes seemed to just buy the parts they wanted and they would fit. Then I read about Rowena’s B25 — it’s nice to know that I was not the only one daft enough to carry on the complete restoration of this bike!

‘Now it is finally together and running I find it fun to ride, nippy and responsive. It has excellent performance for a 250, and it generates lots of interest when parked up. You still don’t see many of them about.’

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Indeed. Not even in canals, these days.

Recommended Mods

  • Throw away the indicators and simplify wiring, incorporating separate fuses for lights and ignition
  • When routing cables go for long sweeping curves rather than tucking them away. It looks untidy but keeps them smooth and they last longer.
  • An electronic ignition (c£65) improves starting and fuel consumption.

    People To Speak To

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  • Surrey Cycles; brass petrol taps and Amal spares. 01483 272328.
  • Supreme Motorcycles, mail order spares. 01455 841133.
  • Richard Hacker, London, ‘very helpful’. 0208 659 4045.
  • C&D Autos, Birmingham. 0212 706 2902.

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