Author Archive Phil Yates

ByPhil Yates

The Spitfire – BSA’s fastest twin bike

Starting its long journey back to what it once was. The Spitfire was BSA’s fastest twin ever. This is the export version which had a smaller glass tank compared to the one intended to stay at home in England. Would be very easy to swap the tank but I’ll keep it as it is……I’m not as traditional as I used to be. After many decades in the Arizona desert, this Spitfire will be returned to mint 1968 condition.

ByPhil Yates

A Special Vincent And A Special Guy

From Phil’s Notebook…
 
Glen Breaks is a friend of mine and a rider/pilot extraordinaire.
 
He lives in British Columbia, Canada on his farm with his wife Gina.
 
This is the story of his SPECIAL Vincent!!
 

 

ByPhil Yates

A Sweet Little Machine

From Phil’s Notebook…

Okay, so its only developing 27.2 hp but what a fun little machine it is…..and oh so pretty!!

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Feels as sold as a rock to ride and certainly not a sports machine but you can doodle around on it all day just smelling the roses.
 
I rode it out of Sydney in Friday afternoon peak hour traffic but once on the south west distributor it was clean sailing at 60 mph all the way home to Mittagong.
 
I arrived into town just in time for a few ales at the Lion Rampant Hotel with the boys who all rushed out to see my new acquisition. They had to wear their sunglasses looking at all that chrome!! ((-:
 
I’ve been asked to revisit the idea of a Royal Enfield dealership here in Mittagong so I will look at it again. John and Nicole at Motociclo in Sydney said it would not be a problem for them which I was worried about, so go for it.
 
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But first things first…..I have a LOT of projects already in front of me. But somehow, one thing seems to lead to another!!
 
Phil
ByPhil Yates

SHARING TOP POSITIONS

From Phil’s Notebook…
 
Picked the big DR650 up from Sam at Bowral Motorcycles this afternoon and away I went. What fun is this???
 
The bike weighs in at just 147kg and feels incredibly light to ride. It eats bumpy roads and corners like it was on rails. I simply couldn’t stop riding it!
 
Then late afternoon I wheeled it into Dragon Motorcycles and sharing a few beers, Big Trev fitted my new Staintune exhaust system.
 
We fired it up and immediately I knew my DR650 had just become a very different beast. The burble and crackle of the exhaust note was that of a classic big single and the low down power surge on take off was really something. This bike will pull like a tractor and is incredibly smooth for a big single…..it has a balance shaft. It flicks in and around corners with gay abandon and tremendous stopping power…..it is just SO light!
 
I claimed my Moto Guzzi was the best modern bike I’ve ever owned but MOVE OVER Guzzi!! You have a new stable mate!
 
I put them on a par as the best ever, but for two different purposes.
 
I have always been fascinated with and loved off road motorcycles…..but this has to be my very very best ever!!
 
Thank you Sam, thank you Trev, and thank you Staintune!!
 
Phil
 
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ByPhil Yates

Phil’s Wizz Around the States

From Phil’s Notebook…

I finally got myself free of the computer for a couple of weeks and flew off to the USA to visit a number of well known classic motorcycle men and women.

Jerry Doe and his lovely wife Ermina looked after me for a few days in Fullerton just south of LA and I had a great time. No one knows exactly what Jerry does…..but he tells us he does it very well.((-:
 
Actually Jerry built my website and has in my opinion done a great job…..I must get around to paying him one day, well one day! ((-:
 
From there I flew to Denver in Colorado then drove 170 miles south to visit Jim Comstock who is famous in Norton circles for his engineering work. I then spent the best part of a day driving south west deep into the Rocky Mountains looking for Matt Rambow, owner of Colorado Norton works. I don’t know if Matt is hiding from the police but finding him was more difficult than finding a needle in a hay stack….so good luck if they can, because I almost couldn’t even with my GPS! Matt’s workshop looks more like an operating theatre than a Norton build shop and the work he does is absolutely brilliant.
 
I then flew onto Omaha in Nebraska and drove across the state border into Iowa to visit Baxter Cycle. They are my USA international partner as mentioned elsewhere on this website. The famous Norton man hobot drove nine hours up from Arkansas to meet up with me which was really something special and I thank him profusely for that. The array of classic motorcycles and parts at Baxter’s is mind blowing and the little town of Marne is exceptionally beautiful. I didn’t quite escape the weekend unscathed….securing a Triumph Daytona and a BSA Spitfire to be crated and sent home to Australia for me……my girl was less than impressed when I told her but these things happen, occupational hazard!!
 
I shot over to Kentucky for a few days to visit a friend and his wife on their farm, then headed to New York to see Kenny Cummings, well known Norton racer and owner of NYC Norton. Kenny’s shop is on the third floor of a warehouse in New Jersey and he moves motorcycles in and out via freight elevator. That too was a fascinating visit and I’m sworn to secrecy regarding some of the machines Kenny showed me.
 
Finally and dreading it, I boarded a flight at JFK international airport and started the long journey home to Australia. I hate long haul air travel, having been a pilot all my life sitting down the back to me is death by boredom and sleeplessness. We swapped aircraft in LAX amidst a security scare then drone drone drone across the big pond to Sydney where I finally fell out of the aircraft feeling totally wired!! I then headed for Mittagong on the train but that broke down half way home and they had to get a bus for us. I thought I’d never get home and when I finally did, my dog Sammy refused to talk to me…..I’d been gone 2.5 weeks but I had left him some water plus a can of Pal and a can opener!
 
Some dogs just don’t know how lucky they are!!
 
Phil
 
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Jerry Doe

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Jim Comstock

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Colorado Norton Works

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The Famous Hobot

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The Baxter Team…. well part thereof.

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General Manager – Jeremy Pendergast

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Not Good Motorcycling Territory

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Norton racer Kenny Cummings

Where Have You Been Dad??

Where Have You Been Dad??

ByPhil Yates

Rob’s Reliable Norton

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In 1964 Rob was a lucky man. He had a new Norton and a new girlfriend.
The girlfriend was gone before 1965….but his Norton never left him.
Fifty two years later he’s still riding his Norton!!

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ByPhil Yates

Mary gets a ride

HC_blog_garage Mary next door (now aged 91) was a bit cranky because she said she’d lost her view of the distant mountain from her back porch with the creation of my new motorcycle shed. I felt pretty bad, I hadn’t even thought of Mary’s porch view when we designed the roof. But when I spoke to her son, he said I would have had to have no roof at all for Mary to still see the mountain from her porch. He said don’t worry about it. No roof at all would not be very useful on a motorcycle shed!

HC_blog_Mary2Mary had been asking me for some time about getting a ride in the chair. So one sunny day I loaded her in (literally) and we blasted off up the road for a fang over Mt Gibraltar and back. The road is pretty bumpy and twisty and more than once the chair was airborne around the left handers. Mary couldn’t stop laughing and said it was the most fun she’d ever had in her life! HC_blog_MaryI asked Mary if she had any new boyfriends on the horizon? She said “At my age Phil, there ain’t much on the market!” I replied “I guess not Mary, and what’s out there would likely only be short term”!