Mountain tension!
Classic Motorcycle Mechanics|September 2021
Award-winning motorcycle engineer!
Allen Millyar

This is the first time in a long whilethat I haven’t got a project on the goat home to write about, but I have been really busy helping my son Stephen with his downhill racing bike as well as filming with Henry Cole for ‘The Motorbike Show’, so I thought I would tell you about that this month.

My ST1100 that I updated you on last month is now running perfectly and has resumed its reliable service as my daily rider. I ride the ST1100 every week throughout the year and my mileage varies from a few to 400 a week in all weathers. During the summer though, I like to spread my mileage between several of my classic bikes to ensure they don’t end up as static exhibits, and by riding them regularly the petrol stays fresh in the tank and doesn’t congeal in the carbs.

Recently my son Stephen resumed his downhill mountain bike racing at national level after a five-year break. I had made Stephen a revolutionary downhill racing bike back in 2007 and several improved versions over the years since, but Stephen thought it would be nice to try a new bike and see how they had progressed. His only concern was the feel of the suspension and he asked if I would make him a new shock and maybe a fork insert like we had on our old ‘Millyard Racing’ bikes. “No problem,” I said.

It needs to be made with a high-strength aircraft-grade aluminium bar and also requires high-pressure hydraulic seals so I asked Stephen to order these ready. I hadn’t made any drawings when I made the original bike, but that wasn’t a problem because I free machine parts from a vision in my head anyway.

I can adjust the design to fit any bike as long as the eye-to-eye mounting point dimension and the maximum diameter of the shock does not exceed the dimension of the original shock that was on the bike. The internals are simple and easy to make, and are based on the principle of the shock absorber used in aircraft landing struts but modified and improved to work better on a bicycle that is ridden on tracks with huge jumps and rough surfaces as well as fast-flowing trails.

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