Yamaha XS650

  A few months back, Editor Westworth risked life and limb by suggesting that Yamaha’s air-cooled parallel twin was the first and potentially the best ‘Japanese Bonneville’. It’s stood the test of time, too, as this 40 year old example ably demonstrates. So we were delighted to hear from the man who modified this particular XS – previous owner DaveP,…

Braking Bad

In the February issue of RealClassic, Dave Bushell noted that ‘my pre-war Scotts and, I think, most girder-forked machines, have their front brake arms facing forward from the pivot point. My post-war Scotts with telescopic forks have them facing rearwards, as do most other makes with some exceptions. If forward facing brake arms provide better braking, why did manufacturers reverse…

Classic bikes for sale

  Every issue of the monthly RealClassic magazine includes pages of old motorcycles and classic bikes for sale, offered by private individuals and trade specialists. And every month, some extremely interesting (or just plain strange) small ads attract the eagle eye of Editor Westworth. Here then are six of the best reader ads from the February issue – a mix…

Overland to Vietnam

On his earlier expeditions, Gordon G May rode a BSA Bantam to the pyramids of Egypt, and then a Royal Enfield Bullet to southern India. His most recent adventure involved a WW2 military Matchless and a circuitous route across Europe to the Black Sea, through the Caucasus and into Central Asia, through China, over high-altitude passes and into Pakistan, across…

Classic bike bits: anti-ethanol, riding jeans and smart sparks

Anti-Effinol We’ve discussed the irritating effects of ethanol in petrol before – and the subject becomes ever more relevant as the concentration of ethanol rises. Even ‘super’ high-octane fuels are quite likely to contain some ethanol. It’s entirely possible to purchase fuel-proof pipework and petrol taps but, especially if a bike only gets occasional use, ghastly goop frequently congeals in…

The Dragon Rally

  Only the boldest and the bravest motorcyclists face winter’s worst weather to participate in the annual Dragon Rally. The ride itself to Snowdonia can be something of a challenge on two wheels – and then comes a weekend of camping. In February. We sent RC regular Richard Jones who (a) cheated, and (b) discovered several species of sidecar outfits,…