Groovy Gifts for Classic Bike Enthusiasts
If you’re looking for suitable Christmas gifts to suit old bike enthusiasts, we have a selection of suggestions which should be just the job…
We discovered John Hancox’s excellent array of greetings cards just in the nick of time to solve the usual Christmas crisis. John’s a talented chap who can pull off light-hearted cartoons as well as mechanically accurate illustrations which perfectly capture classic bikes in mid-flight or poised for action. Available as cards and prints, alongside t-shirts, calendars, mugs and more, John’s range includes classic racers, cafÃ© racers, TT legends, Manx motorcycling life and more.
Prices starts at £2 from
Polish it Off
Perfect Polishing provide an array of kits with different mops and abrasives to clean up corrosion and spread some sparkle on your P&J’s shiny bits. Some of the kits are quite specialised, however, and require a fair degree of application on the part of the user for best results. So perhaps the best bet for Christmas is the all-round General Purpose Kit, which produces a good finish on any alloy, steel, brass or copper which originally had a mirror finish from new. The kit includes instructions, mask and gloves, and
Models and Much More
The VMCC’s gift shop contains a staggering array of classic bike-related memorabilia, including high quality T-shirts and clothing, fine art prints, films and documentaries on DVD, an entire library full of books – even a wide range of Minichamps models including the Le Mans, Triumph Hurricane, Laverda Jota, Indian Scout and Barry Sheene’s racing Suzuki, all of those models at special discounted prices.
Or perhaps the more practical rider would prefer heated handlebar grips, or a heated vest, to keep winter’s chill at bay while riding all year round?
There are heaps of other interesting gift ideas in the VMCC Shop; check out the Clothing and Accessories section for the best fun and functional ideas at
Triumph Production Testers Tales
Hughie Hancox worked at the Triumph Meriden factory in various capacities from the 1950s through to the 1970s.
This book was completed just before his death in 2011 and describes Hughie’s experiences between 1960 and 62, relating stories about the problems and humorous incidents associated with a tester’s daily life and countless unique experiences with some of the most iconic British motorcycles ever manufactured.
It’s an intimate and pragmatic account, straight from a man who was at the heart of it. It also suggests modifications to solve problems still found on 1960’s models and includes previously unseen photographs of examples of Hughie’s restorations. Available from
Classic Brits on ..
Nookie Available Now (Sorry – Nook No Longer Available)
Sorry – that headline should have been ‘RC now available on Nook’ but it is Christmas, and we thought you might be missing the Two Ronnies. Anyway, the monthly magazine is now available in a new digital format (alongside the Android and iPad versions which have been out for a wee while), suitable for all sorts of Nook devices from Barnes and Noble. These are the not-Amazon equivalents of the Kindle and Kindle Fire, with prices starting at around £80. You can pop along to John Lewis, Waitrose or Argos if you want to fondle the merchandise before purchase.
Once you’ve convinced a friendly relative to buy you a Nook for Christmas you can keep gazillions of publications on it; books, magazines, Open University course notes… and then add monthly issues of RC to that stash. Individual issues of RC cost £2.99 or you can subscribe via Nook for £2.75 per month (Sorry – Nook No Longer Available).
Most old bikes use bare metal levers which can be cold and slippery in bad weather, and they transmit vibration through the bars leaving the rider with tingling digits or full-on numbness.
We liked these comfy lever sleeves so much that we immediately ordered a set. They’re a brilliantly simple solution to the problem of cold and wet brake and clutch levers, and they also reduce vibration and weird white-finger syndrome too. So they provide padding, insulation and grip, all in the form of flexi-foam rubber, for less than £2 per pair. Excellent value and the perfect price for a stocking filler.
See or call 01273 597072.
Give up the day job, buy an old bike and ride off into the sunset: it’s a dream for most but it became a reality for regular RC contributor and the author of ‘Daisy’s Diaries.’ Graham Ham undertook the Landmark Challenge set by the Triumph Owners’ MCC – but first he had to build the bike, make peace with the family and then hit the road.
His story is told in ‘Daisy’s Diaries’, Daisy being the 1948 Speed Twin which clocked up some 5000 miles to win the Challenge in spite of mechanical mayhem, fire, and just about everything else that can go wrong with an old bike. Great fun, just what classic motorcycling is all about and makes you itch to join Graham on the road!
The original version of ‘Daisy’s Diaries’ is no longer in print but, after an extensive re-write it is now available again, this time as an Ebook suitable for Kindle or PC-based readers. The digital version costs £5.14 and is
Your tastes may range widely across the classic landscape, but there’s bound to be a 2013 calendar featuring old bikes to add interest as the months roll by. The AJS and Matchless Club’s calendar features bikes of the marque photographed alongside alluring ladies in various states of semi-undress. It costs £8.95 including UK delivery from
Or how about Andy Tiernan’s effort, which is based around Nick Ward’s beautiful drawings – mainly of BSAs for 2013. It costs just £5 plus postage, with proceeds going to the Air Ambulance. See
For a broader range of classic bikes, John Branton’s classic calendar features 18 different motorcycles in over 60 photographs, including a Panther, T110, CB750, Red Hunter, Harley-Davidson, Back Shadow and even a Montesa. See
Or if you’re exclusively dedicated to Triumphs, then you’ll adore the Ace Classics 2013 offering, with a dozen top quality photos of classic Triumph motorcycles plus a comprehensive history of each machine. £10 plus postage from
EXCLUSIVE RC Subscriber Offer
This one is only for subscribers to the monthly RealClassic magazine; the full colour, comprehensive Encyclopaedia of Classic Motorcycles by Richard Rosenthal, with a £10 discount off the list price. Production values are high (the book is beautifully designed, laid out, printed on high quality paper and bound between shiny hard covers) and the content is exactly what its title suggests. This is probably the definitive encyclopaedia of motorcycles.
All motorcycles, motorcycles produced everywhere, not just in the UK. You receive well over 400 pages containing an enormous wealth of information. It is almost impossible to comprehend the effort, time and energy which went into this, and it’s a terrific achievement.
RRP £35. RC subscriber offer: just £25 if you order before 31/12/12 via
London Motorcycle Museum
The gift shop at the London Motorcycle Museum stocks a great range of motorcycling memorabilia including DVDs, books, metal signs, torches, badges, patches, keyfobs, tins, mugs and more. You can amble along to purchase in person and take in the Museum’s excellent array of unusual machines while you’re there – it’s open in December 2012 on the 8th and 9th, 15th and 16th, 29th and 30th, at Oldfield Lane South in Greenford, just five minutes from the A40.
Or buy via mail-order from
And finally, if it’s mid-winter then it must be time to charge your bike’s battery, as Paul Goff always reminds us. Handily, he sells a battery charger specifically designed to suit the smaller batteries fitted to motorcycles; suitable for 6V and 12V and safe to use with all types of batteries. These feature a quick release plug and socket connection, plus crocodile clips. A very useful Christmas shocking – sorry, stocking – filler at £16.75 including UK delivery from