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 My first Bantam Racer - 1963

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John Colter



Number of posts : 128
Age : 79
Localisation : West Midlands
Registration date : 2014-10-23

PostSubject: My first Bantam Racer - 1963   Sat Jan 24, 2015 2:05 am

Inspired by Roy Bacon's articles in "Motor Cycle Sport" magazine, I set about building a basic Bantam racer in 1963. I well remember getting the frame down to the bare metal, using paint stripper, scrapers, and a wire brush. That was one job I vowed never to do again. Painting the frame with brushing enamel was quite pleasant and satisfying. The rear wheel was dodgy, so I had it rebuilt using a new rim - probably the most expensive job on the whole bike. The cheap ignition switch under the seat gave trouble almost immediately, and was replaced by a fool-proof alligator clip. Mounting the battery on the front forks, in front of the steering head, was not a good idea, and it soon migrated to behind the carburettor.

The scrutineers very rightly objected to the front mudguard mounting, which could have allowed the guard to pivot forwards if the bolts came loose. The unsupported plain exhaust was also frowned upon, and gained a bracket.

The bike proved to have mediocre performance, but was surprisingly reliable, and provided a lot of fun. Top speed was about 60mph, at a guess. Later, I fitted an 1 1/16" TT carb and a resonant (sort of) exhaust, and the the speed increased to 70+. I always used standard Bantam pistons and rings.

In its later incarnation, it was the fastest Bantam in the Midland Motorcycle Racing Club meetings - apart from one, which I later learned was illegal. It was a Jumbo - 150cc.

ps - I tried to insert a photo, but it doesn't show. I'll try again.


Last edited by John Colter on Sat Jan 24, 2015 2:08 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : photo insert failed)
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John Colter



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PostSubject: Photo - I hope   Sat Jan 24, 2015 2:11 am

Here goes - fingers crossed:-

Nope - total failure, sorry, it beats me!


Last edited by John Colter on Sat Jan 24, 2015 2:13 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : No photo)
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Trevor Amos



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PostSubject: Re: My first Bantam Racer - 1963   Sat Jan 24, 2015 8:15 am

John, if you are having trouble posting pictures of the forum, contact Ed Pickering he is the acknowledged expert on putting pictures on here. I was just the same, fumbling and struggling and he sorted things for me and countless others. He`s a great guy and always ready to help out!

Cheers, Trevor
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john bass

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PostSubject: Great Stuff ...   Sat Jan 24, 2015 11:54 pm

Great stuff you two -- `Old Hat,´ of course, but the more the merrier -- keep it coming and maybe someone will gather it up and make a neat little book of it -- pics and all!

Talking of frame prep... I was in the fortunate postion (maybe unfortunate as far as my flab went because of eating on Simms Expenses squandered on folk up north...) of dealing with Leyland Motors lads several of whom were involved with moltorcycle racing and told me to bring the Icarus-One frame up to them for cad plating. Much as things were done on night shift at Ford Dunton so was the frame properly prepared & cleaned and plated during a week of Leyland Motors night shifts.

I wonder if Icarus-One was the only cadmium plated Bantam to ever be raced?

It must also be (a little) interesting that our first 125 engine was found in a field. Les White (who did our turning jobs FOC) of Ford Dunton days was driving between two Essex villages when he saw a group of young kids playing on a pile of rubbish. He´d been driving-on for a quite a long while when it occurred to him that a Bantam engine was among the junk. So he turned and went back and -- lo-and-behold -- there layeth the very engine -- with wider (barrel) studs -- we had been seeking. We gave thanks to the Omnipotent who looks after motor cycle racers....

In passing: Icarus-One, in race trim, cost less than 65 quid to build and Icarus-2 less than 40... Perhaps I was lucky in obtaining Close-Ratio gears -- on my weekly return-runs to Leyland I´d drop into motor cycle shops along the way and with the part numbers would invariably end up in a dingy corner of a stores finding in "BSA Bantam" marked boxes, several gears at a time. Also invariably the sales assitant would say, "Drop us a couple o´ quid" which obviously was never in The Books.

That reminds me; Wobblyman, Colin Aldridge never did pay me for two and a half sets of CRs....

But how could anyone have nasty thoughts of Colin... he gave back to motorcycle racing a lot more than he got out of it...

Cheers!

JayBee,,,,
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Edward Pickering

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PostSubject: Re: My first Bantam Racer - 1963   Fri Jan 30, 2015 11:50 pm

Good Afternoon John,

If you send me a pm i will give you a email address to send the image to and i will post it up for you if that helps.


Regards


Eddie
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John Colter



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PostSubject: Photo-plunger frame Bantam-1963   Sat Jan 31, 2015 1:36 am

Hi Eddie,

Many thanks for your kind offer. I can usually figure out how to attach a photo to a forum, but this one defeated me. Everything seemed to go OK, but then nowt happened!

I'll send a pm.

Ta muchly,

John.
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Edward Pickering

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PostSubject: Re: My first Bantam Racer - 1963   Sat Jan 31, 2015 2:36 am

Courtesy Of John Colter.





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John Colter



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PostSubject: Early racing Bantam photos   Sat Jan 31, 2015 3:00 am

Crikey Eddie, that was quick. Many thanks, Buddy!

As stated above, my Bantam was quite slow in its original form. As shown in the lower pictures, it was quite good for Novice and Intermediate use, but stood no chance against the fast lads. It gave me, and a few others, a lot of fun.

When Terry Beckett let me ride his Bantam, it was a whole new ball game. It was properly quick, and I found myself mixing it with Hondas and Bultacos. In 1969, we won the Midland MCRC Bantam Championship, finished third in their Open 125 Champs, and won Solo Rider of the Year. The best we did in the BRC championship was 5th, but the bike was a test bed for Terry's tuning development, and was different each time I rode it. They were great times.
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tangozulu

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PostSubject: hi john's colter and bass, the cr93 fairing    Wed Feb 11, 2015 4:42 am

Hi fellas, hopefully I'll get the photo on the site, yeah, it is me on my very first lap of the old snetterton circuit, in 1969/70. a lasting memory of that day was me flat out (60-70 mph) down the l o n g  snetters 1 mile straight, nearing the corner and waking from my short nap, a Ford GT40 flew past me, increased my speed by about a hundred miles an hour (!) as it sucked me into the corner ... oh them's were the days, mixed car/motorcycle practice!

I had many great times, mostly as an inter, before I started to experiment with engine development, none of it included maths, just learning from Colin Neil how to assemble an engine properly, and later when I got a copy of the Yamaha engineering paper on their development of the 125 and 250 fours, it's still worth reading!

Later I produce a properly good engine, but got bored riding it and in the winter of 1973 smashed all the fins off of the barrel and welded a jacket on it ... it held about 3 gallons of water and leaked like a seive, and the radiator could be relied on to retain water for a long time, around a lap of Lydden ... obviously some work was needed!

1974 and ai spent all winter sorting the water issues. Now about this time (I think) they began to build the M-11, and I lived at the bottom .. now all that lovely road was just begging to be used as a test track ... so, one day me and the wife Chris, found our way onto the virgin road, I donned helmet, started the thing, and with no apparent leaks accelerated away ... mmmm, this seems pretty quick I thought, changed up to third and got tucked in. Now this thing was flying! Wee!, a big grin crept accross my face and I watched the rev counter of my long stroke motor pass the 9500 figure, wow, I weas so shocked ... thyen, in a similar vein of being shocked and car drew alonside me and two gentlemen in a multi coloured vehicle, a bit like a jam sandwich, grinned at me and made gestures that indicated that they would like me to slow down a bit ... or stop if I wouldn't mind....

"Who me occifer" I grinned still high from the revs on Snetterton gearing.....

A short conversation started .... "How fast do you think you wre going sir" one said ... the other chipped in ... "not bad for a bantam sir" he grinned .... anyway it transpired he recons that we were doing somewhere around 93 mph, I acted all nonchalent
and grunted "Oh that's not bad ... anyway we had a really good chat and they suggested I might like to reconsider my practice circuit and the motorway was soon to be adopted.

Mr Moderator why does this blasted machine keep dumping my text onto the site b4 I finish!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sorry everyone!!!!! Will finish this when I've stopped wanting to strangle the cat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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John Colter



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PostSubject: Re: My first Bantam Racer - 1963   Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:03 pm

I used to reckon that Terry's Bantam was doing a little over 90mph at Snetterton. It was an air cooled
long stroke, with the small fin, big port barrel, and additional transfer ports - if my memory is correct.

At one Midland MRC Snetterton meeting, I was out in a general practice session, and every lap, at the
end of the Norwich Straight, a 250 Ducati would come alongside, but then drop back as I was braking
later. This went on for three or four laps. Finally, as he drew level, his engine went bang, and he
disappeared backwards in a cloud of smoke!
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Trevor Amos



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PostSubject: Re: My first Bantam Racer - 1963   Wed Feb 11, 2015 8:43 pm

John C,
Your memory serves you well, Terry was the first tuner that I am aware of that introduced extra transfer ports to a Bantam engine, actually, he referred to them as `supplementary` ports. When I was in a Cambridge hospital recovering from my traffic accident, Terry used to send me audio tapes of general chat, but also on which was explained the course of his broad thinking. He had grooves in the Barrel wall sited between the exhaust port and existing transfers and also in the more conventional location at the rear. Slots in the piston skirt fed these grooves, so with a little extra, fresh charge puffing into the combustion chamber, and cool mixture bathing the under-piston area, 90mph on tall Snet gearing is more than possible!
Jack Machin, back then, raced a prodigiously rapid 4 speed, air cooled Bultaco housed in a Bantam frame. He gained a few extra mph from also introducing more transfer port area, he replicated the Enfield style pioneered by Herman Meier. Piston slots fed into an enlarged duct which then bifurcated to a small extra port. His bike could easily out power the more sophisticated water cooled 6 speeders, but was always up against the thermal threshold of air cooling, that rendered it a little fragile!
Terry`s active and fertile mind often led him in strange directions where tuning was concerned, I recall one meeting when the bike sported the longest and smallest diameter exhaust tail pipe I had ever seen on any machine, you may even have been riding it that day? Needless to say it never re-appeared after the problems it produced. On another occasion I rode back into the paddock at Snet after finishing 5th in my race. Later, responding to the tannoy call for the next Bantam race, the engine would not fire, nothing, a good spark, plenty of fuel, nothing. Seeing me vainly trying to bump start the thing Terry came over and after a brief analysis he had the answer. He scurried off to his tool kit and returned armed with a small hand drill and an extractor, within a few minutes the timing side oil seal had been drawn out, replaced, and the engine was running! It would never have occurred to me that the oil seal was at fault but Terry had that experience to fall back on and the kindness to help others.
It comes as no surprise that Terry enjoyed great success way beyond the narrow confines of Bantam racing and held the title of `the thinking mans two stroke tuner`

If you should meet up with him, give him mine, and all the other Bantam men of that period, our collective best wishes, he is remembered with some affection! Were it that there were more of his kind still active and around Bantam racing now.

Trevor








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John Colter



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PostSubject: Re: My first Bantam Racer - 1963   Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:14 am

Re. Terry B's Bantam and those supplementary ports; they must have been doing some good. In a little over two
season's racing, I never suffered a seized or holed piston, or any kind of bearing failure either. I remember the
clutch was a problem, before Terry switched to all metal plates, and on one memorable occasion, I arrived at the
down-hill left hander at Cadwell (Mansfield?) to find that the front brake lever had fallen off - that was exciting!
Apart from that, I fell off it twice, and it failed to start once, due to rainwater in the ignition.

It was the most reliable bike I ever raced - oh - apart from a BSA 350 Gold Star, which I rode for about eight meetings,
until I got fed up with watching fellas go by on their Manxes and 7Rs.

I've arranged to meet up with Terry next week, so I will pass on your best wishes, Trevor. cheers
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Trevor Amos



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PostSubject: Re: My first Bantam Racer - 1963   Sun Feb 22, 2015 2:21 am

Next week, that`s great john! I`m sure you will both have a great time reminiscing about all the old races and personalities.
Perhaps you could persuade Terry to find some old Bantam photos and then get them posted up on here, together with old memories and recollections?

Trevor
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john bass

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PostSubject: Hi Keith....   Sat Feb 28, 2015 6:44 am

Hi Keith,

Misssed nearly a month of BRC...
Just read your bit about trespassing on the M11.... Great!! I got severly scolded near Bonn for riding my bicycle up an autobahn exit. When I said, "I am from England ... " they laughed and escorted me off saying -- in Deutsch unkind things about England, the English and lunatics coming over to cycle in Germany.  Had they have asked for my German identity card they would have known I´ve been her for 32 years. If they had have asked though I would have said England no have IDs only driving licences and me no licence.

What happened was my PC refused to let me onto the internet. It took nearly 3 weeks of Brother-in-Law chasing up Deutsches Telekom -- with them repeatedly telling him our splitter-modem-cables-computer was kaputt each time he spoke to their èxperts´. Eventually our Server was found  to be the fault. They had cut us off in error  because of a mistake in their admin which said we owed on our monthly contract....

Your problem might be itchy fingers... I found out that I frequently lost a whole batch of nonsence because I accidently hit a double key  together at the bottom of the keyboard which either put up something like X§² or had the monitor go blank.....

Stay well,

John-Boy.
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john bass

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PostSubject: Oh Lonesome Me...   Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:13 am

Oh lonesome me -- been talking to myself a lot lately --

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John Colter



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PostSubject: Re: My first Bantam Racer - 1963   Tue Mar 03, 2015 7:46 am

Sometimes, it's the only way to get a sensible answer............... Smile
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john bass

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PostSubject: What about the tyres...   Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:09 am

What about the tyres on your 1st Bantam racer John C...? I asked -- you never answered... I had Contindential Sports front and Continental `Universal´-- I think on the rear....

CheerS!

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John Colter



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PostSubject: Re: My first Bantam Racer - 1963   Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:35 am

They were geniune Dunlop racing tyres, 2.50 x 19 if my memory serves me well. They lasted for as long as I had the bike - about five years.
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Trevor Amos



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PostSubject: Re: My first Bantam Racer - 1963   Thu Mar 05, 2015 8:33 am

2.50X18 front 2.75X18 rear, was a I recall the popular combination, really quite puny compared to the tyres on to-days 125s. I doubt you could get one to physically fit in a Bantam swinging arm!

Trevor
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John Colter



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PostSubject: Re: My first Bantam Racer - 1963   Thu Mar 05, 2015 9:36 am

My D1 plunger frame model had 19" wheels. I'm not sure about the tyre section. My memory says 2.50, but I see the standard road bikes wore 2.75 so I could be wrong.

Who needs fatter tyres? All that grip just slows you down!
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john bass

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PostSubject: Two Sets of tyres in 6 seasons   Fri Mar 06, 2015 5:51 am

Talk about "Racing On The Cheap" --

Continentals were replaced by Dunlop Triangulars after 3 seasons -- meant two sets of tyres in 6 seasons of Bantam racing ....

Big fat tyres make suspension hardly necessary....

I wonder how powerful the gyroscopic precession forces are with GP-1 bikes...?

Don´t really want to start an argument but do they realyl turn the clip-ons left when starting a right turn....

Cheers!
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John Colter



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PostSubject: Re: My first Bantam Racer - 1963   Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:00 am

Funny you should mention that, John B. I vote "YES", they do. Many years  ago I got into an argument in the motorcyle correspondence columns with non other than the eminent Tony Wilson-Jones, on the subject of counter steering. He was right (of course) and I retired with my tail between my legs.

I guess counter steering, and laying a bike over, is something you learn to do, without realising you are doing it, when you first learn to ride a push bike as a child. Which reminds me; when I was a young lad, I helped out at the local RAC/ACU training scheme. I was involved with an attempt to train a woman to ride a Royal Enfield "Flying Flea". Every time she fed the clutch in, she would travel a yard or so, then fall over. This happened several times, until I thought to ask her if she had ever learned to ride a pedal cycle. She hadn't! We suggested she get some experience on a bicycle, and come back when she had mastered it.

I loved the old triangular tyres. The way they flopped into corners suited me down to the ground - sometimes literally!
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PostSubject: Right John C....    Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:41 am

Right John C... I agree yet I´d advance the theory that, they  do do it automatically but not all the time...

Sometimes its a shift of body CofG with lean and other times it is a compulsive twitch to the left before turning right -- and viccy verky for left, of course --  because as the theory of precession states it is not the amount of force or length of time of the twitch but the speed of the twitch that generates the precession.

In "Motorcycle Chassis Design..." by Tony Foale & Vic Willoughby there´s a passage that tells of banking into and riding around a curve with NO HANDS!

Bill Lomas in articles in Motor Cycle Racing  Legends (or some such name) wrote a  scathing bit about  about the RE Chief Engineer who was Bill´s boss at the time, suggesting that the eminent engineer was all theory and really had little or no feel for the practical side of the art ....


CheerS!
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