RealClassic

THE LITTLE RED RACER

Sometimes, just once in a while you come across a bike that is a real gem. Not one of the gleaming elites from the glorious past of British bikes but something special, unique even. This particular gem started life as a little-regarded model, albeit from a well-known maker, but was transformed into one man’s realisation of the bike his 16-year old self would have wanted. A learner-legal café racer.

The bike first caught my eye when it joined our motley collection of old bikes and riders gathering in Whittlesey, deep in the Cambridgeshire Fens. From there, our happy band spent the day riding some of the county’s delightful lanes on the VMCC Anglian Section’s Hobson’s choice Run. This took us sixty miles or so south, over the great chalk escarpment of Royston Heath, before turning north near Baldock; a seemingly unremarkable town but one founded by the Knights Templar with a name derived from ancient Baghdad. Historic curiosities aside though, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the little bike’s ability to cover the ground. Not quickly with a drama-free 45-50mph, enough for those meandering lanes and allowing full enjoyment of the countryside.

The clincher was watching it start with the turn of a key while the rest of us staged our usual kickstart choreography. Alchemy, it surely must be:

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from RealClassic

RealClassic5 min read
Little Wing PART THREE
As I have rebuilt several small Italian bikes, so I have accrued quite a few contacts and bits and pieces along the way. Nothing really important was missing from this machine – a situation worth noting for would-be rebuilders: the more complete the
RealClassic11 min read
The Way To Go Commando
My Norton may have left the Andover factory over 40-years ago, but it was a new bike in all important respects. With that in mind, I had followed the ‘break-in’ recommendations and decided to carry out the 500-mile first service. This began with the
RealClassic7 min read
UNFINISHED Symphony
The Regular Reader will know I like quirky. I’m always on the look-out for the frisson of excitement when you see something that knocks the normal and forgoes the conventional. So imagine how thrilled I was to end up racing against Will Bratley and h