In the dawn of motorcycling, many things that we now take for granted on a motorcycle either hadn’t been invented or were deemed unnecessary. Chain drive, electric lighting, gearboxes and noloss lubrication, to name but a few, were all developments that were quickly adopted, however, once they had been developed.
In the area of suspension development, the motorcycle manufacturers were notably backward. Front suspensions were almost universally adopted before World War One - mainly of the ‘girder’ type - but it wasn’t until after World War Two that rear suspension became widely utilised. Prior to that, rigid rear ends were the norm, with the saddle being sprung to insulate the rider from road shocks.
In the late 1930s, ‘plunger’ suspension was starting to make an appearance on the rear wheel. The vertical movement of the rear axle was controlled by sets of springs above and below it, mounted in extensions of the rear frame either side of the wheel, to control movement both up and down. It could be quite sophisticated, with springing and damping in both compression and rebound but there were problems with the system. Wheel travel was limited, the wheel could move out of the vertical axis and it was expensive to produce and difficult to maintain.
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WHAT NEXT FOR NORTON AND BSA?
Following on from the success of the Triumph revival, a lot of noise was made about the arrival of Norton back on the motorcycling scene in 2008. The new owner of the brand, Stuart Garner, got everyone excited when he announced that he would be making not only a new Norton Commando motorcycle but would be returning to the Isle of Man TT with a new superbike, powered by an Aprilia V4 motor.
In the world of motorcycling, it is rare, if not unique, for a manufacturer to have two bites of the cake - both with a cherry on top - with two iterations of one particular model, especially when separated by a couple of decades.
NORIYUKI HAGA SULTAN OF Slide
Rare in-depth interview with Nori-chan himself explains how the Sultan of Slide rode the bike - and the crucial differences between Superbike and 500 GP
THE GXCC’S PUSH THE SEASON TO THE LIMIT IN 2020
THE GREATEST Comeback?
The greatest British bike racer? Surtees? Sheene? Both have good claims to the title but, in reality, there can be only one king. This is the story of the race that only served to enhance an already glittering reputation.
Engineering DEAD-ENDS Part 2: Hub-Centre Steering
Motorcycle development never stands still, although maybe recently, it would be more accurate to say that motorcycle electronics development doesn’t stand still; it is very little in the physical architecture of a motorcycle that is likely to change. But it wasn’t always so and one innovation that was tried not only on road bikes but also 500cc Grand Prix bikes was hub-center steering.
Tales From The Hood
SA & Motorcycle Commuting
Great Bikes? The Ariel Square Four
Elsewhere you will have read about the Ariel motorcycle company and here I intend to talk more about their most famous design, the incredible Square Four.
So, What Really Happened To The British Motorcycle Industry?
It’s a story that no-one is unfamiliar with; how the British motorcycle industry withered and died through the 1960s and into the ‘70s. What was once a thriving industry that sold state-of-the-art motorcycles from world-famous manufacturers, by the hundreds of thousands, was reduced to first a handful and then just one manufacturer, producing an outdated design in the face of modern and reliable machines from Japan.
Gone But Part 5 Ariel Not Forgotten
Turner’s Square Four remained in production from 1931 to 1959
WORKING FOR THE READER
On 58 years and a new start
Your GPS May be Spying on You
Beware. Your GPS may be collecting evidence against you. More and more motorcyclists today are using GPS (Global Positioning Systems) to plan trips, get directions and keep track of miles traveled. However, keep in mind that if you are in a motorcycle accident, you may be collecting evidence that could be used against you in both a criminal and civil trial.
The Great American Motorcycle Show
“The Greatest Show On Earth,” that’s what I think it should be called.
4 Things To Help Your Family If You're Involved In An Accident
When a serious car or motorcycle accident occurs, it is often a family member or significant other who is contacting an attorney on behalf of the injured party.
Yamaha WR250R Long-Ranger
Smaller bikes—in the West they’re something of a sacrilege. But in most parts of the world, a 250cc is considered “big.” I personally haven’t owned anything under 650cc in so many years that I’d become accustomed to manhandling big adventure bikes. I’d also forgotten just how practical smaller dual-sports can be. But… a recent extended trip to northern Thailand forced a re-think. While there I had so much fun on 250cc and smaller dual-sports that there was no way I could return without indulging.
Risks Of Motorcycle Travel In Third World Countries
In May of 2017, Ivana and I completed four years of motorcycling around the world. Imagine the indescribable feeling of returning home after such a long time and having fulfilled a dream like that.
One Hell of A Week Hellas Rally Raid, Greece
I started riding motorcycles some six years ago in Peru, and it wasn’t because I was always a die-hard moto fan or knew anything about bikes.
Snowbound At The Stowasis
The thought of halting our big trip in Alberta, Canada, or anywhere in fact, was utterly untenable. Approaching three years of maintaining a steady momentum on the road, why would we stop now? Yet staying a few nights over late summer at a friend’s place, affectionately dubbed “Stowasis,” (coined from our host’s surname, Nevil Stow, a renown RTWer whose home in Canmore, Alberta is a legendary stopover for travelers) merged rapidly into a fortnight, which fused at equal speed into the fall. The birds were busy in the trees, and the air still gave promise of warm if not mild days to come. Five months later and through the inexhaustible dictates of the warmest hospitality—not withstanding the coldest winter we’ve experienced to date—we stalled the motorcycling.
Cycle Gear Championship Of Sonoma At Sonoma Raceway
I know, I know, we’re not a “motorcycle” magazine so why are we running pictures of a motorcycle race?
The Indian Scout Bobber Will Make Your Heart Race
The Indian Scout Bobber will make your heart race