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News April 2024

Flat eight from China, April 17

great wall flat eight

Chinese vehicle manufacturer Great Wall Motors (GWM) is expected to reveal two new motorcycles at this month's Beijing Auto Show, running flat-eight DOHC powerplants in what would appear to be a one-upmanship tactic over Honda's flat six Goldwing.

See this report at carandbike.com.

The models are expected to be a 'Wing-like tourer plus a cruiser along the lines of a Valkyrie.

The news has come about thanks to what appears to be some deliberate leaks ahead of the unveiling. Among the material is a series of technical drawings of the powerplant with underslung transmission and shaft final drive. There is no confirmation of engine capacity, but somewhere around 2.0lt would seem likely.

GWM owns several automotive brands, including Great Wall, Haval, Tank and Ora. So far there has been no announcement of a motorcycle brand name.

Chance encounter – John Surtees, April 17

john surtees mv agusta

Ian Falloon, in a post to his Retrospective web feed, recalls a chance encounter with motorcycle and F1 world champion John Surtees. It gives a warm insight into the person behind the victories – see it here.

Brits, Italians, books and bits – auction results, April 16

norton
                    commando

British and Italian motorcycles were flavour of the week at the recent Donington classic auction, while project bikes, books and bits found a strong audience

See the story, here.

Honda hunt, April 14

Honda 1971

Honda motorcycle range, 1971. Have you owned or ridden any of them?

It was an interesting time as the 450 twin was on the road to being phased out, while the might CB750-Four, in K1 guise, sold an incredible 77,000 that year – it's biggest ever.

See our CB750-Four profile.

Rare retro: Kawasaki 650-RS, April 13

kawasaki 650-RS

You can be forgiven if you've never seen one before – a circa 1972 domestic model Kawasaki 650 twin, based on the old Meguro/W1 platform.

See the W1/2 backgrounder from Old Bike magazine, published by Shannons.

Final weekend for classic auction, April 13

norton
              commando

The Donington classic auction in Australia is in its final days, finishing up tomorrow afternoon, with some sorely tempting toys on offer. See our 10-bike preview.

See the full catalogue.

Casey Stoner bank-buster & UK bargains, April 11

casey stoner ducati gp7

A recent major auction by Iconic in the UK threw up a weird mix of results, revealing a patchy market, including a former Casey Stoner team Ducati GP7 (which we highlighted last month) that failed to sell. See the story here.

Montesa – today's random brochure, April 10

montesa

You have to love the model names!

See the 1966 Cycle World review of the Impala Sport 250.

Laverda auction, April 9

laverda
              jota

This 1981 Laverda Jota 1000 sold through Collecting Cars last night for Au$25,000 (US$14,000, GB£11,000).

The model was the last of the 180-degree-engined Jota line and it's interesting to see the marque gaining strong interest, even though it's long out of production despite several attempts at revival.

See the Jota 1000 review at RoadRunner

Our Laverda 3C profile

And our SFC1000 profile

Norton Nemesis revival, April 8

Norton
              Nemesis

Hugely ambitious, to the point of being delusional, Norton's much-promoted Nemesis 1500cc V8 project of the late 1990s resulted in the construction of a prototype which these days belongs to the UK's National Motorcycle Museum.

A couple of decades down the track, the bike has been handed over to creative engineer Allen Millyard to restore and get running properly – something only someone with his unusual skill set could undertake with any degree of confidence.

norton
                nemesis

So far, he has produced a series of three YouTube videos on the project revealing some spectacularly complex and obtuse design elements.

See the quick Motorcycle Specs backgrounder on the Nemesis.

Millyard, by the way, has built some exceptional one-offs over time, including a Kawasaki Z1-based V8.

See our Norton Commando profile

UK National Motorcycle Museum

(Nemesis pic via Tony Hisgett, Wikimedia Commons)

Ducati 916 – defining an era, April 6

ducati 916

Author Ian Falloon looks back at his very early encounters with the Ducati that would redefine the marque – the 916. See the story here.

Two, three, four and six pots for the collector, April 5

ducati
              750 sport

Vincent, MV Agusta, Ducati, Triumph, Honda and more catch our eye at the current Donington sale...here are the highlights.

mv agusta 350 b sport

Kawasaki Mach III, April 4

Kawasaki Mach
              III H1

One of our all-time favourite brochure shots – 1973 Kawasaki H1 500 Mach III.

See the period road test at Classic Two Wheels.

See our H2 profile.

Flashback: Red Zed, April 3

kawasaki zx-12R

A quick spin on the Kawasaki ZX-12R a couple of days ago reminded us of just how much fun it is – it's at risk of becoming a favourite. Here's our wrap from late last year.

Electric GoldWing challenger, April 3

felo tooz

Emerging Thai electric motorcycle maker Felo has shown off a GoldWing-sized electric tourer prototype called the Tooz, claiming a range of 720km (450 miles). See the story at New Atlas.

Dream run, April 2

honda dream

We tripped over this 1960 ride impression of the then new Honda Dream C72 250, conducted by The Motorcycle in the UK on the Isle of Man circuit.

The tester rated it as a civilised ride with a few practical features, though the performance of the not-quite-run-in engine was scored as average. This model was about a month away from entering the UK market, distributed by Maico.

honda
              dream

Donington Auctions has an example up for sale at the moment, with an estimate of Au$3000-4000 (US$2000-2600, GB£1500-2000).

Full auction catalogue.

Donington auction begins, April 1

Triumlh Daytona

Donington Auctions in Melbourne has opened bidding for its classic motorcycle auction. Among the lots is this 1969 Triumph T100R Daytona 500, a US-spec model which would appear to be in running condition with a lot of recent work done.

It carries an estimate of Au$14-17,000 (US$9-11,000, GB£7-9000).

Full auction catalogue.

See the Motorcycle Specs data and backgrounder.

Single spin, April 1

Yamaha SR500

A great way to round out the Easter long weekend: taking Cousin Russell's old Yamaha SR500 out for a spin. A delightful low-stress ride. (Ben Galli pic.)

See our story on this bike.

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