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Well that is another one….

As I have been recently suggesting the nature of the online environment is changing and one of those big changes is the decline in the acceptability of one having a truly anonymous presence online. With this in mind I was quite pleased to find another example of this trend with the social media app “4square” moving to require real names:

click for source

click for source

Personally I find this entirely unsurprising and I tend to think that before too long people using pseudonyms on the net may be about as acceptable as failing to remove a motorcycle helmet when you go into a bank branch.

Cheers Comrades


Half a million page views at the Sandpit

I know that statistical miles stones are really meaningless but that does not stop you feeling pretty good when you reach them. Well if you keep an eye on the hit counter at the bottom of the page some time today I expect that you will see the counter tick over t0 the magical “500,000” mark . That is pretty good for a modest blog written as a bit of fun .

Thanks very much to all of those who take the time to read what I and my friends put up  here and a special thanks to all of those who take the time to comment and argue with what is on this web-page. Commentary and argument is the life blood of blogging and long may it keep pumping at the Sandpit.

Cheers Comrades

Old and new solutions to knowing where you are and how fast you are travelling

The idea that anyone should continue to own and use the same car for 54 years probably seems entirely alien to most people today when the current ethos is all about conspicuous consumption and products having a life span that only just exceeds the warranty period.

Old reliable: Motorist Mike Harrison, 74, still owns a 1931 Bentley Coupe, which he bought 54 years ago

It is possible to circumvent the consumer treadmill if you have some basic skills and a the ability to resist the constant suggestions in the glossy ads that you really need that new car or the new WIZZ-BANG super toy, heck you could even go as far as I did and build a new car for yourself. but then you could find as I have that a small part of the whole that in itself is insignificant , causes you a great deal of heart ache. You see when I rebuilt my sports car  I bought this lovely new old stock speedo that was totally consistent with the styling cues I was following. To use it I had made a special speedo cable and when I connected it up I discovered that the inner was just a few mils too long so that the inner could not turn this resulted in the plastic drive gear in the extension housing breaking and of course that means the speedo will not work . The part is not available from Toyota (the transmission is from a Ke70 Corrola) nor can the transmission people I have spoken to supply one. On top of the difficulty in getting the part, there is the matter of fitting it. To do so requires the removal of the engine. So I have been looking into other ways to make do until I can get the part and the energy to fit it .

I bought a bicycle speedo but rejected it as a solution because  Idisliked it. The best stop gap may in fact be to get one of those dreaded Satnav devices. From what I can gather  many of them give you a very accurate measurement of your speed as part of their display. I have strong reservations about their potential to dumb down the abilities of the travelling public just as James May does:

Now, the May household actually has another household, a small flat in another part of town. We bought a new cooker for it, but on the day it was supposed to arrive, a man rang to say he couldn’t find us because our address wasn’t in the satnav.

What was I supposed to say? Fair enough, we’ll just make do with dry bread and olives. We really fancied a cooker but if you can’t find the door, never mind. Don’t want to be a nuisance. The flat was built in the Fifties, and it’s not as if no one found it prior to the TomTom.

The thing is, the address officially puts the building of which it is a part on one road, but the entrance to the car park and garden bit is actually off another road, running at right angles. This isn’t hard to work out.

So the reason for this ramble is to ask about the experiences of my readers with these little devices, if you own one or have one installed in your car has it killed your ability to read a map? Have they been reliable? Or have you consigned them to the bottom of the desk drawer and gone back to the easy to use maps made out of paper?

Cheers Comrades


NSU Bison 2000

This is the world’s largest single-cylinder two-wheeler. It was built by a gentleman called Fritz Langer, and it’s based on an NSU Konsul 500. I suspect that Fritz is one wave short of a shipwreck, but there’s no denying the balls-out engineering that has gone into this machine. Fritz replaced the original cylinder and piston with a 122 ci unit from a radial aeroplane engine, but that piston weighed 3.3 kg—over 7 lbs.

So Fritz got Mahle to make up a lightweight piston of just 1.6 kg. After the engine block was widened and the crank milled, Fritz was ready to roll. (He must have strong legs, because this baby is a kickstart.) The stainless steel exhaust system, incidentally, is 75 mm (3 inches) in diameter, and there’s no silencer. So it’ll be enough to put even a Screamin’ Eagle-equipped Harley to shame.

Isn’t this just so wonderfully OTT?

I used to own a Norton single and It was sometimes tricky to kickstart I just can’t imagine how hard staring an engine with four times the capacity would be!

from Here

Cheers Comrades

Unapproachable glorious sound

Norton NRV588 Tracktest at Donington and Dynometer for Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy). Glowing exhaust pipes and a unmistakable buzzsaw sound!

Listen to the glorious sound!!

Hat tip to JF Beck

Cheers Comrades

Jag V12 Bike


5.3 litre V12 Jaguar engine

What is it?
It’s a 5.3 litre V12 Jaguar engine I had lying around, which was left over from building a trike. After a few drinks one night, I decided to build a motorcycle out of it. It has two turbos from Peugeot diesel engines, fed by two 1.75″ SU’s. Just about everything else is built from scratch. It has single-speed transmission, which means you only have a clutch – no gears, no neutral. When you’ve got twelve cylinders and 300+ horsepower at 400ft/lbs+ of torque, you really don’t need the gears so much. All the manifolds are made from stainless, as is the exhaust. The gearbox is a middle gearbox from an XS1100. The clutch and pressure plate are from a Land Rover 110, and the release bearing is a hydraulic concentric from a TD4 Freelander. The front end and rear wheel are from a GPZ1000RX. In Back Street Heroes, it was stated that I’d had the thing on the road for 200 squids, but after running it for a while this has increased – as I knew the bike worked, I started to put some new parts on it. It’s had a new heavy-duty battery, a new heavy-duty clutch, a new front tyre, and a couple of other odds and ends.

Visit my website at http://www.custommettle.co.uk for build photographs, and maybe some from the shows. You’ll probably also be able to find a few people talking about it on forums – people have shown me the discussions around the bike, but the addresses escape me. Maybe you’ll be able to find them if you run a Google search.

Jagged Edge will get you admission to most bike shows for free entry for two people. Who knows, you could even win some money – I know I have, along with several trophies including “Best Engineering” at NABD, “Best Alternative” (second place) at the Bulldog Bash, and “Highly Commended” at Builth Wells. It doesn’t matter what show you put it in, people are falling over themselves to take photos, sometimes so much that you can’t even get near it. It’s a lot of fun to just stand near it and listen to people’s reactions; some gems are “He must have arms like a baboon’s, and a bum like a limpet.”


Wow Comrades !


No But,Yeah But…

QUEENSLAND’S licensing system for motorbikes is facing a major overhaul as the horror road toll for bikers climbed to 37 for the year.

Two riders have died in the past two days – a 26-year-old crashing at Toowoomba at 2.30am yesterday and a trail-bike rider at Elimbah on Friday. This continued a tragic trend which has sparked a push for new riders, and those seeking licences for more powerful bikes, to undergo greater compulsory training and testing under recommendations by the influential Parliamentary Travelsafe Committee.

Proposed changes also are likely to put more pressure on motorcycle dealers to ensure riders have the skills to stay safe on the road.(source)

I have been riding Motorcycles for more than thirty years, My first bike was a lowly Honda cb100 which I bought before I could even ride, it was an ideal machine to learn on and despite a couple of low speed falls, I did master it and I went on to progressively bigger and more powerful machines. Sticking with two wheels for the fun and the freedom that is motorcycling.  My approach to safety has always been to know the limits of the envelope . The fact that I am getting older and I know that If I were to come to grief it would hurt a great deal and take longer to heal than it would for a younger man is part of the equation here too. None the less as I live near to one of south-east Queensland’s most beloved biking roads means that I often see the lads out and about on their flash machines and it gives me more than the occasional pang, not of regret but perhaps mild envy…

Enough of the scene setting preamble, to the meat of this little piece; Why is it that we are constantly told just how bad the road toll is for one part of the motoring public or another? This article is a perfect example. Certainly there has been an increase in the number of rider fatalities but why do they never relate such reports to the increasing population of road users? Or the total number of kilometres travelled on our roads? Surely the only valid way to make comparisons between fatalities from on year to the next is to relate them in terms of their proportion to the use of the roads and the total number of users?

Each year we are told that accidents are up but by failing to take the traffic density on our roads into account, what we are being given is a false comparison, that does not compare like with like, and I am sure that if you were to take the factors I have mentioned into account you would find that the road toll among motorcyclists, and other drivers as well, is in fact declining as a percentage of the kilometres travelled per person. Ah but that would not achieve the government’s desired level of paranoia would it?
In the end I suppose what I am saying is next time you see a headline about soaring road tolls take a mental step back and think about how many more drivers there are out there than there were last year and you can legitimately invoke the spirit of “Vicky Pollard” and say “No But,yeah But…”

Two-seater supercar

This machine has I think the suspension and power unit from a Yamaha GTS 1000 rather like the BMW powered Eccomobile that is also made in Switzerland. Although it is not as nimble as a more normal motorcycle it would be very safe and comfortable while enabling the driver/rider to enjoy the “at one with the machine” aspects of fast two wheel travel.

It’s not easy being green if you’re driving a £1million supercar at 342mph.

Or so you might have thought. But the Acabion GTBO can hit staggering speeds at up to 90 miles per gallon – the sort of fuel consumption you’d be thrilled to achieve in a small, super-efficient diesel car.

Accelerating from 0-224mph in 20 seconds, it will leave any Ferrari standing

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Even though the Swiss car can hit almost 350mph, its top speed is limited to 292mph -still far quicker than the world’s current fastest road car, the 253mph Bugatti Veyron.

It also trumps the huge Bugatti’s 16.4litre engine – with a capacity of just 1.4 litres.

Although its engineer Dr Peter Maskus insists it is a supercar, it has more in common with a motorbike, with a motorcycle engine, wheels, tyres and bike-style in-line seats.

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The two-seater supercar produces less carbon dioxide emissions than a standard family saloon
But it also has two smaller wheels on hydraulic arms that stay up at speed but can be lowered to aid stability while travelling more slowly or if balance is lost.

It also has a separate 2kw electric motor for short, low-speed journeys and reversing. (source)

It would be nice, but the lack of wipers and lights may just be a minor drawback…

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