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The Case for the V-Twin Motorcycle from Bruce Walker

Friday, September 7th, 2012 9:30 PM Posted by Geoff (From September RECOAN)

An article in the March 29th 1945 issue of Motor Cycling was written by the brilliant Australian Engineer the late Phil Irving, under the pseudonym “Slide Rule”.

Irving logically argues the case for V Twin engined motorcycles rather than the vertical twins which became the quintessential British motorcycle from the late 1940s onward and that is still believed to be the case today in countries such as the USA.

Almost from the beginning the British motorcycle was a single cylinder (multi-cylinder bikes were for foreigners and sidecar outfits) and Edward Turner’s aim behind the vertical twin was to produce a motorcycle which looked like a single when viewed side on.

Val Page had already designed a vertical twin for Triumphs which was in production but Turner when he became boss of Triumph quickly scrapped that for his own design which became the Speed Twin.

Devotees of Harley Davidson motorcycles will be pleased to know that Irving thought that HD got it right back in 1909 with their first 45 degree V Twin.

Irving preferred the side by side conrods rather than the H-D blade and fork variety but acknowledged that bearings on either side of the crankshaft had to be doubled to counter the rocking couple whereas this wouldn’t be required with the H-D arrangement which is essentially simpler.

He dismisses the cooling problem of the rear cylinder but sees the advantage of a single carburettor in the V.

Racing forward to the 21st century, with modern fuel injection systems there is no reason why H-D shouldn’t turn that back cylinder around to give that rear exhaust pipe a better chance to cool (as they have done on some of their high performance racing machines) and would thus have an engine to power their bikes for another 100 years!


The President Writes

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012 9:30 PM Posted by Geoff (From June RECOAN)

It’s been an interesting few months since I last wrote this column.

In March, Cynthia and I rode across the vast muddy puddle of waterlogged NSW to the Ulysses AGM at Mildura.

Cynthia’s Sachs was much safer with its reconditioned brakes and the mighty Carberry with its new clutch was faultless.

I saw it as a trial run for the upcoming V Twins Challenge.

At Mildura we were fortunate to catch up with Jeff Cole although all too briefly, and with Ray Jones celebrating his first wedding anniversary with Carol.

Jim Pennington was there too with his diesel RE attracting crowds but our paths didn’t cross.

We shared a delightful lunch with Mr and Mrs Garry Hardwicke up from Tassie and are looking forward to seeing them again at the RECOA AGM in November.

Then in April disaster struck on the fifth day of the five week odyssey that was to be the V Twins Around Australia Challenge when a rear tyre blow-out unseated me and left me with a mess of injuries.

This has been a most interesting experience to say the least, having never broken a bone in my body before.

For the first few weeks it was quite a novelty although now, as I write this, my long enforced recuperation is becoming slightly tedious knowing that there are many weeks still ahead.

The pain from all the injuries has not been nearly as bad as everyone told me it would be and I was soon off pain medication, and NO I don’t have a high tolerance for pain.

I guess the best part of all this has been all the calls and visits from people.

Thanks to everyone for that.

The circumstances of meeting Matt our Mt Gambier RECOA Member was truly hilarious – a story perhaps better left for another time.

Mal Gillies presses on alone on the Challenge.

Now I can look forward to riding the bikes again, still months away yet, but hopefully make it to the Broken Hill Rally.

My advice is to Ride safely.

Bruce Walker


The President Writes

Sunday, May 19th, 2012 4:30 PM Posted by Geoff (From April RECOAN)

The weather gods haven’t been very friendly of late but they smiled on the Royal Enfield Club of Australia’s Bungendore Rally and gave us two of the best riding days so far this year.

So we didn’t become too complacent or lax in our praise they threw a layer of heavy cloud over us on Sunday morning by way of a gentle reminder that we are at their mercy.

It’s hard to conceive of a better weekend. Mick and Helen Newton put in a superb effort to provide interesting rides and fascinating food venues as well as their excellent company.

Quite an eclectic mix of motorcycles turned out for the Saturday ride.

Mick Newton was astride his 350cc Model G (and didn’t it go!), Craig Jolly had just got his 692cc Super Meteor running the night before, Doug Burke brought down his 736cc Interceptor, Jim Pennington brought a 10 hp diesel powered Royal Enfield up from Bateman’s Bay (and it went very well too), Mike Menzies was aboard his beautifully kept 500cc Classic from Bundanoon, Allan Bartlett brought his very quick 535cc Electra Café Racer up from Canberra, the ever reliable Ian Lyons was down from Sydney on his equally reliable 500cc Electra, now with eighty five thousand kilometers on the clock, Garry Eyles was astride his much travelled 500cc Classic from Wagga, Cynthia Walker on her 500cc G5 from Sydney as I was on my mighty 998cc Carberry.

Charles Todd’s Royal Enfield came to grief after leaving Melbourne but he came as pillion on Don Havelburg’s SV650 Suzuki.

Mal Gillies winding his way home to Sydney from five or so weeks in Tasmania and Victoria arrived late on Saturday afternoon aboard his well traveled 750cc Moto Guzzi.

Lastly Helen Newton rode her Hyosung. Hugh McLean, finding himself without a bike for the rally, came by car so he didn’t miss out on the equally social side of things.

With such a sparkling Saturday ahead, Steve Moseley left Sydney at the proverbial crack of dawn aboard his 500cc Classic and met us at Gunning, much to the combined delight of the group.

Kirsten Jolly drove the back-up vehicle. Cynthia and I left at 9:15 am on Friday and rode down the M7 to Camden Valley Way and then to Narellan where we met Hugh and Ian Lyons for coffee and breakfast.

We took the old highway down through Picton, Yerrinbool and so on past the back of Mittagong and Bowral. Somehow we missed the road to Exetor and Bundanoon and lost Hugh who was following.

We tried to find a way to Bundanoon but the road was blocked by floods so we rode the motorway to Marulan where we caught up with Hugh and Mike Menzies.

We took the motorway again to ride to Goulburn and thence to Tarago and arrived in Bundanoon quite early. Dinner was at the pub at the western end of town and involved the usual conviviality and laughter.

The ride left Bundanoon at 9:30 on Saturday morning and proceeded to Gunaroo where we had morning tea/coffee.

Unfortunately Craig’s Super Meteor expired after a few kilometers and was loaded on the back of the support vehicle.

We rode to Gunning where we met Steve Moseley and then to Murrumbateman where we had a leisurely lunch at the pub.

From there we rode to Craig and Kirsten Jolly’s new home near Canberra where Craig had organized some motorcycle games in his paddock.

Some showed remarkable skill in the three events he prepared. Alan Bartlett excelled in the slow race.

Ian Lyons, Garry Eyles and Alan Bartlett showed great skill in the beer barrel pushing and quite a few rode the plank successfully.

Cynthia and Helen left early and I found the Carberry unsuitable for the games and so was not able to demonstrate my not inconsiderable lack of skills.

I can kid myself that I might have done better if I’d had the G5 instead.

Saturday night was again a great evening of conviviality at the Royal Hotel with some prizes arranged by Helen and Mick.

Superlatives don’t really do justice to the terrific time everyone had.

Some were a little more judicious in their alcohol intake than they had been on the previous night but everyone awoke bright eyed for the Sunday morning ride which most went on.

It was cold and a bit dull with heavy threatening cloud but we pushed off around 9 am for the ride to Captain’s Flat and breakfast at that café belonging to the German artist.

He was there as usual wearing his funny pants which appeared to be made from flour sacks, and cracking his jokes.

The food served was massive and he truthfully said that no-one ever left his café hungry.

The pancakes, fried bananas, bacon and cream with strawberries and caramel sauce were popular.

The big breakfast was just that. Eventually we said our goodbyes and pushed off for the long ride home.

Our small group of Ian Lyons, Steve Moseley, Cynthia and I, elected to take the scenic back way with only the three kilometers through Marulan on the motorway.

From Tarago round through to Bungonia you scarcely see another vehicle and we had a nice watercourse to cross to cool our engines.

We lost Ian Lyons somewhere near Moss Vale (I think he was looking for a pub!) and the three of us had a great ride through to the motorway near Narellan where we parted company.

I think everyone would agree it was a truly sensational weekend with fantastic roads and food (thanks Helen and Mick), fantastic company (thanks RECOA) and fantastic weather (thanks Weather Gods).

Ride Safely,

Bruce Walker


The President Writes

Sunday, March 3rd, 2012 4:30 PM Posted by Geoff

It’s been a quiet time around Baulkham Hills of late.

My recent and unexpected appendix removal put a bit of a lid on things and what with the seriously crappy weather we’ve been experiencing, motorcycle riding is almost becoming a memory.

Thanks to all those Members who sent their best wishes, phoned or thought kindly about my hospitalisation.

One thing they told me in the hospital which I’d never heard before, was that if you have an accident whilst driving (no mention of motorcycles although I assume they are in it too) and it is within two weeks of a general anaesthetic insurance companies can get out of paying out.

And I’m not allowed to lift things for four weeks.

Cynthia and I intended to ride to the Gumly Bus Rally but decided to trailer the bikes to Wagga instead.

Garry Isles again did a superb job with this Rally as he has done with previous Rallies in the area but Members should be aware that Garry and Joy are in the process of moving to Bungendore later this year and this will be the last of the Rallies in this great area of the state.

Eighteen people and fifteen bikes, mostly Royal Enfields, made for a great couple of days. Kevin Lyons’ Royal Enfield Super Bullet was noteworthy.

Plans for the Around Australia Challenge are well underway and departure is set for 14th April with attendance at the Ruptured Budgie Rally on the Qld/NSW border on the 18th May as our aim.

I am taking a brief detour to Hutt River Principality to pay my respects to our Patron, Prince Leonard.

A visit to Darwin is still up in the air and will depend on our progress compared with time.

Mal is looking at a satellite tracking system as a cheaper alternative to a satellite phone.

Bruce Walker.


The President Writes

Friday, February 3rd, 2012 9:30 PM Posted by Geoff

At my age and stage of life it’s rare that I get a genuine rush from the various forms of eye candy with which we are assaulted on a daily basis but it happened when I saw the photos of the new Royal Enfield Continental GT Café Racer.

With my crumbling spine and weaker wrists such a bike is totally impractical but I may just have to have one.

I’ve been thinking about what our Members get from belonging to the Royal Enfield Club of Australia Inc. and my thoughts turned to what I’ve had from our Club in the seven or so years since I first joined.

It’s not the badges and patches and newsletters (good as they are) and nor is it the access to information about caring for and maintaining our bikes.

It is about the friendships I’ve made – people who I expect will be good friends for the rest of my life. (Assuming they feel the same way about me!)

Additionally, we’ve been able to travel widely in this country of ours meeting and making friends with interstate Members which would not have been possible if our Club was State and not Nationally based.

We are still small enough to be able to get to know everyone and I encourage all Members to get along to functions and meet each other.

The rewards of being a member in an Australia wide organisation are there for those who take the time to be involved.

Bruce Walker.