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Experiments: weird, bizarre, useless, etc...


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#1 Graham Clayton

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 09:33

The recent discussion about the Honda NR (Never Ready) 500cc Grand Prix bike got me thinking about other unusual racing bikes. So borrowing the title from the thread in the main Nostalgia Forum section, I would be interested to read about some of the other experiments that have been tried across all forms of motorcycle racing.

 

To get the ball rolling, here is an unusual one - the mid-1980's ELF2 500cc Grand Prix bike, which featured handlebars mounted on a crossmember and rigged to move fore and aft, rather than pivoting from side to side. Testing found that the system was impractical. 

 

 



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#2 Paul Collins

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 11:40

Going back a good few years, how about the Norton Kneeler, I think it actually practiced at the TT but didnt race, and I seem to recall it also spat someone into banking at Brands, knocking them about quife badly, I think the project was quite quickly abandoned.

#3 chunder27

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 11:40

Fior 500?  Used a 500 sidecar engine, mono fork front end. Marlboro cash.

 

All the ELF's especially the de Cortanze ones from early on the endurance based ones, were ridiculously extravagant.

 

Hardly anyone remembers Bilands 250 turbo sidecar, Swissauto powered I think?  Fabulous thing.

 

Saxon Triumph?  Again weird front end. Most single and BOTT bikes were radical acutally, like the Britten, Quantel Cosworth etc.

 

Bimota Tesi?

 

Aprilia used a solid front fork in the earl 90's on their 250?

 

I suppose you could put up the Norton rotary?

 

You can certainly put up the Modenas and BSL 2 stroke triples from 97-99.

 

Didn't Steve Lindsell race a Yamaha GTS at the TT?  EXUP powered?  Top 20 I recall?

 

there's a few to start the ball rolling!



#4 Robin127

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 12:53

Monark built a 500cc kneeler in the 70's.  I think it used an engine similar to the Crescent.  Mick Grant was scheduled to ride it but I'm not sure if it ever got on the track.



#5 SeaDoubleYou

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 13:14

As I recall from memory, the Fior used a JPX 500 inline 4 and was ridden by Marco Gentile with some success.... the concept of the front fork has been continued with a Moto2 project which wildcards from time to time...

 

I vividly remember the 250 4 cyl turbo developed by Biland and Swissauto, it was a tiny engine with pipes everywhere and was extremely noisy. I don't remember if it ever actually raced a GP, but I do recall Markus Bosiger trying to qualify it on several occassions (in 1991 I think).

 

Some of the SoS and BoT machines were fairly innovative too.

 

I'm sure I have some pictures of some of the above and one of the Monark kneeler somewhere too.... if I can remember how to add pictures on here! :stoned:



#6 chunder27

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 14:16

If you have pics of the sidecar that would be amazing, it was brutal I recall and flamed everywhere!

 

Bosiger also built a 4 cylinder trike that had an upright seat I recall too? Very late on. Maybe after a crash he had or something? He went truck racing later so probably that.

 

I have a Cathcart test somewhere of the Fior, sure that later versions used a 500 Yam sidecar variant, all the pipes in a line above the seat!  Looked fabulous.

 

Anyone remember John Mockett?  He built some weird and wonderful fairings for Roberts during the 90's.

 

ANd fromt he Faster films RED Bull WCM used one aswell, but they never seemed to work.



#7 Bob Riebe

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 17:59

s-l1000.jpg



#8 Paul Collins

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 19:37

And what looks like a young Sheene with his back to the camera next to his van.

#9 Herr Wankel

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 20:04

The Monark (Cresscent) was built by Rudi Kurth. I think Monark still owe him for it.

#10 Herr Wankel

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 20:10

You can just see the Cat outfit and the Catvan behind it.Oops, not the Catvan , but the Citroen DS. He carried the outfit on the roof of it.

Edited by Herr Wankel, 15 September 2017 - 07:54.


#11 tonyed

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 05:01

The 500cc Monark Crescent certainly was ridden by Mick Grant in practice for one GP (might have been a Swedish round) but he could not get on with the riding position. The idea of reducing the frontal area could not be classified as hopeless though nor could the Fiors which were brilliant in concept and pretty decent on practice.

 

Many of the forward thinking ideas were scuppered due to lack of development as most good riders (who are capable of developing a bike) raced to win so inevitably many foundered on the rocks.

 

The 'Unofordox' outfit powered by a Ford Cosworth engine fits into the brave but unfortunately doomed efforts.

 

The early Scitsu 125 with the aluminium plate frame steered away from the norm.

 

How about the rear wings fitted by one innovator who I can't remember at the moment which altered the attack angle as the seat moved with acceleration and braking.

 

I had an idea many years ago but it never got beyond a thought of a solo which by using hydraulics lowered itself when in a staight line to rise up again as it started to bank into a corner. :confused:



#12 Graham Clayton

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 06:07

The 1955 Moto Guzzi 500cc V8 engine - complicated and unreliable. 

 

 

Moto-Guzzi-V8-engine.jpg



#13 fastfitter

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 06:11

 

How about the rear wings fitted by one innovator who I can't remember at the moment which altered the attack angle as the seat moved with acceleration and braking.

 

 

 

I thought of that as soon as I saw the thread title.Trouble is I've forgotten who/what is was as well  ):



#14 billlawrence

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 06:51

I remember the bike could it have been Ray Flack or Colin Lister   Bill Lawrence



#15 chunder27

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 07:02

John Brittens first bike was fairly weird looking with huge fairings around the bars, and a methanol bored out speedway engine I think used?

 

Denco was it called?



#16 Herr Wankel

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 07:56

It was Lister, Bill. Peter Williams (not son of Jack) had a similar wing arrangement on the KGB Imp outfit.

Edited by Herr Wankel, 15 September 2017 - 07:58.


#17 tonyed

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 11:17

Colin Lister was the winged name I had forgotten (I wonder why?)

 

MV fitted front wings, lasted 1 practice session also wings were fitted to the front mudguard and seat on a TZ750 Aerofoil Viko by  who I believe was a New Zealander (funny things happen when you're upside down and all the blood runs to your brain)

 

Megola had the engine in the front wheel and indeed had a racing Megola. To change the gearing the whole front wheel, including the engine was changed.



#18 billlawrence

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Posted 16 September 2017 - 01:06

Yes Colin Lister he made a frame for Hailwoods  Honda Ray Flack had some sort of a kneeler I did see it somewhere maybe at the TT    Bill Lawrence



#19 tonyed

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 10:43

Just dug out Road Racer Aug 1988 has a whole article about Claude Fiors 500 four cylinder and RR June 1990 which features the 637cc Megola racer.

 

There is also an small ad for  a 500 3 cylinder Zegers @ £3250. It says 'ring in the evening'. I'll let you know how i got on  :rolleyes:



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#20 Paul Collins

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 11:48

Sorry fo disappoint you Tony but I actually rang up after that Zegers at the time, but just missed it.

Edited by Paul Collins, 18 September 2017 - 11:50.


#21 Russell Burrows

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 13:56

I recall this contraption in Australia in the sixties.https://www.shannons...lying-bedstead/

image.jpg


Edited by Russell Burrows, 18 September 2017 - 14:00.


#22 tonyed

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 04:56

Sorry fo disappoint you Tony but I actually rang up after that Zegers at the time, but just missed it.

Wonder where it is now?



#23 chunder27

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 07:15

Anyone have any pics of John Brittens Denco thing?

That was in Road nRAcer too I recall about the same time?



#24 roger9650

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 07:51

Weird but far from useless.  I was pleased to see the back of it though.

 

 p3.jpeg



#25 chunder27

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 09:55

The bedstead is a fabulous thing.  At Bathurst though!  Jesus Christ!  With A30 brakes, a 750 2 stroke!!

 

Fair play to anyone who rode anything like that,



#26 PJ52

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 09:58

Does anyone else recall the experimental geared steering on one of the Italian GP 500's around 1978 or so.  I think the inventor was a Castiglioni so maybe a Cagiva. Basically I think it was a train of spur gears was involved to slow down the steering when the effort to throw them into corners was getting a bit too much. (due to tyre developments)



#27 chunder27

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 10:35

I got the Britten thing wrong.

 

Apparently Denco was the engine he used, it was a red and green aero thing, then he built a another bike before the V1000.

 

And he built something before the Denco engines thing, no idea about that.

 

There was a lof of hype around anti dive in the mid 80's a lot of teams tried it.

 

But like most things in bike racing, the riders did not like it.

 

In my eyes racers have actually held back bike development, as they spend their entire career on forks and a rear shock, so they develop a feel for it and anything else feels bad. Carbon frames, I even remember a lot of riders not liking carbon brakes initially, but Rainey just said "no they are lighter and better lets keep them"!!

 

I remember Sir Alan, who rode just about every single type of front end, hammering on about the benefits of independent front suspension in getting rid of flex, removing the steering and suspension from being all in one.

 

And he often won races on bikes like this in BEARS like the Bimota Tesi, Saxon Triumph, and numerous Over bikes in Japan.

 

He was spot on.  I recall Mick Doohan trying lots of things for Honda in 93 and 94, EFI, water injection, electronic shocks, yet all were sort of dropped as he was not very keen on developing, just riding and winning. IN fact his main contribution as to go back to old screamer engines!  To regain an advantage over his rivals.  Plus I think aswell it helped durability as the big bang units stressed the crank and gearbox etc.

 

So a lot of stuff just fell by the wayside.


Edited by chunder27, 19 September 2017 - 10:37.


#28 tonyed

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 11:12

Weird but far from useless.  I was pleased to see the back of it though.

 

 p3.jpeg

That was the problem. Most people (the other competitors) only saw the back of it!

 

Anyway thanks for the photo with Owens autograph. I have been trying to decipher a very faint (pencil) autograph on a program from '63 and thought it might be Owens (he was a competitor) and have now something to compare it with. 



#29 Macca

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 14:55

The TZ750 with wings was Rodger Freeth in New Zealand, I think it was part of his Uni doctoral thesis; he switched to rallying and was killed a few years ago.

The geared steering RG500 was built by Gallina in 1984, it was featured in Classic Racer mag not long ago, the gearing was to use a 16" front but didn't work.

The Guzzi V8 is in the current issue. It wasn't unreliable apparently, other than hoses coming off or splitting.

Paul M

#30 Paul Collins

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 22:11

There was a lof of hype around anti dive in the mid 80's a lot of teams tried it.
 
But like most things in bike racing, the riders did not like it.


Anti dive gave a really vague feeling under heavy braking and tended to cause locking up as the suspension became less compliant over bumps, but it probably would have been solved if they had continued to develop it.

One system that I used and really rated was the rear anti dive which Spondon used to make, I had it on a couple of my TZ350's, it consisted of a floating rear caliper mount which attached up to the rear sub frame and allowed brake torque to pull the tail down under braking, it sounds weird but I found it great, and it enabled you to actually use a fair amount of rear brake without it locking, even in the wet.

The only slight drawback was that you had to ensure you were completely off the rear brake before tipping into a corner as it would ground a foot peg if the rear shock was still compressed, but it was great once you got used to it.

#31 chunder27

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Posted 20 September 2017 - 07:13

I think that is the problem with a lot of these types of new technology.

Well let's be honest, not even new some of ot, just stuff road or factories knew was proven or useful on road bikes that might work on race bikes.

 

I think factories learned eventually to make the product feel like nothing new, like the Honda linked brake system that Kocinski used on the RC45, (if they even used it lol), probably felt just like a normal braking!!!

 

That was the big deal with weird front forks, they would clearly offer benefits, but the drawback was rider feel!



#32 PJ52

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Posted 21 September 2017 - 11:36

One system that I used and really rated was the rear anti dive which Spondon used to make, I had it on a couple of my TZ350's, it consisted of a floating rear caliper mount which attached up to the rear sub frame and allowed brake torque to pull the tail down under braking, it sounds weird but I found it great, and it enabled you to actually use a fair amount of rear brake without it locking, even in the wet.

The only slight drawback was that you had to ensure you were completely off the rear brake before tipping into a corner as it would ground a foot peg if the rear shock was still compressed, but it was great once you got used to it.

 

I had this on my TZ350A for the 1976 season, courtesy of Dave Ackhurst of Sevenoaks, Kent.  He also provided magnesium alloy hubs and disc carriers, giving wheels which were the lightest around at the time. The rear swing arm was indeed a Spondon monoshock conversion, with the eccentric rear spindle mounts, but I am fairly sure Dave installed the floating hub etc.  As Paul says it certainly assisted braking into bumpy corners like at Olivers Mount. I am pretty sure MV used it too in 1976.



#33 ged

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 01:23

was there a compitition in motor cycle when it was a paper called the manx lottery where you submited a idea or drawing to enter .   ie macie straight eight, v8 32 exhust,16 carbs,my memory is not to good some may rember these articals

 

 

 

 



#34 billlawrence

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 02:01

I remember a chap called Dr Treen made some huge clams for an engine he was developing  never heard anymore about it   Bill Lawrence



#35 tonyed

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 05:03

was there a compitition in motor cycle when it was a paper called the manx lottery where you submited a idea or drawing to enter .   ie macie straight eight, v8 32 exhust,16 carbs,my memory is not to good some may rember these articals

There was a Manx Lottery to raise funds for a 'British World Beater' but unfortunately (?) it never got off the ground. I seem to believe it eventually, in around about way, lead to the Weslake 500 twin. There was talk of two cylinders off a car racing engine or sleeving down a Rolls Royce Merlin ( :rolleyes: ).

I came across the Weslake at Snetterton one day when testing a HiTac watercooled kit on my TD2B. I think Martyn Ashwood was riding it that day and was monumentally frustrated that it would only do a couple of lap before blowing an oil line. I believe it used monumentally high oil pressure. It was no faster than my 250 Yamaha which wasn't the latest.

Did not Velocette get involved with the BWB at one time?

 

There was plenty of 'shed' ingenuity in the country with the likes of Macey and Jones but probably the best example was Bob Geesons REG 250. His nephew Trevor lives near me in Ely.

 

Perhaps as we are looking at the weird and wonderful a thread on Dutch 50cc racers might be an idea. Some weird and wonderful bikes have come from Clogland.



#36 chunder27

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 07:10

The Quantel basically used the cylinder head from a DFV or something I think. Bolted to a Norton bottom end

 

AS did the Aprilia 990 triple GP bike from the early 00's.

 

Nothing new there, and they did it mainly because they wanted pneumatic valves and the head would only work that way!!



#37 Paul Collins

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 23:08

I remember MCN ran a story in the late 70's or early 80's about some guy who built a prototype consisting of lots of little tiny billet pistons (something like 5cc each) in a radial pattern, all firing in sequence and acting directly onto some sort of lobed shaft like a camshaft, the claim was that engines with 100's of these tiny cylinders could produce huge torque whilst turning at only 10 or 20rpm.

I cant remember how it was fuelled, ignited, or lubricated but I was really intrigued by the idea at the time and I could sort of see how it would work, I have often wondered how far he got with his prototype.

#38 billlawrence

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 02:50

I think this is the Dr Treen prototype I was thinking about .Yes I have wondered if it ever ran  Bill Lawrence



#39 Robin127

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 13:24

A fairly recent one has just sprung to mind, the Tularis.  It used a Polaris two stroke snow mobile engine and weighed under 270 lbs.  It was raced in the US by it's builder Rob Tuluie with some success at club/national level.  It had some promise but two strokes were done away with and it died with them.  If you google it there are plenty of articles and pictures of it.


Edited by Robin127, 23 September 2017 - 13:24.


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#40 djr900

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 13:33

The Quantel basically used the cylinder head from a DFV or something I think. Bolted to a Norton bottom end

 

AS did the Aprilia 990 triple GP bike from the early 00's.

 

Nothing new there, and they did it mainly because they wanted pneumatic valves and the head would only work that way!!

was the Quantel not based on  2 cylinders & head from a DFV  ?  { no old Norton bits I think ? }

but obviously trimmed up & modified  to fit a gearbox on the back ,

I seem to remember one of the problems was that with only 2 cylinders from the original 8 , a balance shaft or something similar was needed to reduce vibration , this just added to the size & weight



#41 Russell Burrows

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 14:44

There was a Manx Lottery to raise funds for a 'British World Beater' but unfortunately (?) it never got off the ground. I seem to believe it eventually, in around about way, lead to the Weslake 500 twin. There was talk of two cylinders off a car racing engine or sleeving down a Rolls Royce Merlin ( :rolleyes: ).

I came across the Weslake at Snetterton one day when testing a HiTac watercooled kit on my TD2B. I think Martyn Ashwood was riding it that day and was monumentally frustrated that it would only do a couple of lap before blowing an oil line. I believe it used monumentally high oil pressure. It was no faster than my 250 Yamaha which wasn't the latest.

 

 

 

 

Jeez, that was slow.



#42 Bob Riebe

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 19:29

Not really exotic oddity but the Benelli 500 Jarno used to beat Ago at a major 1973 Italian race.


Edited by Bob Riebe, 25 September 2017 - 03:19.


#43 Herr Wankel

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 21:16

The Quantel was the ultimate developement of the Norton Cosworth. Amusing t shirts that the Tularis crew used to wear saying 'Actually it IS rocket science' Because thats what its designer Rob Tuluie was ! Fruit and veg Reg won on the Quantel at Daytona.

#44 AAGR

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 22:17

Quite right. There's a great deal of detail about the'Norton Cosworth' in my book 'COSWORTH, THE SEARCH FOR POWER' , though there were no actual DFV pieces in the cylinder head, just 'DFV principles' ....

 

AAGR



#45 Paul Collins

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 23:52

How about the KRM Super Streak? mentioned on this forum before, a 350cc across the frame 4 cylinder 4 stroke, built in Hull I think, I remember it undergoing testing at Cadwell, but I dont think it ever actually raced.

#46 chunder27

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Posted 24 September 2017 - 10:36

Saw a guy yesterday at Santa Pod using a Polaris snowmobile engine in a bike, sounded amazing!

 

Will dig out the Quantel details, am surely it was based loosely on a Norton!!



#47 Bob Riebe

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 02:25

How about the KRM Super Streak? mentioned on this forum before, a 350cc across the frame 4 cylinder 4 stroke, built in Hull I think, I remember it undergoing testing at Cadwell, but I dont think it ever actually raced.

Im201109-KRM1.jpg

 

Contributed by PS on 13th June 2011

The KRM 350 (Kingston Racing Motorcycles) was designed by Jack Williams (Matchless G45 and AJS7R), the father of the TT racer Peter Williams who was seriously injured when his seat tank unit came off. Twin overhead cams, four cylinder, four stroke with ram air engine cooling. It had four Amal carburetors. It couldn't compete against the TZ350's and especially not when noise regulations restricted the previously open exhaust pipes. I suspect this is one of the few picture in existence. Tony Rutter once test rode it at Wellesbourne on a very cold day in about 1976. It was never raced at Brands Hatch. Originally it had wire wheels, these were soon replace with mag alloys. The Silver Streak tag was dropped. By 1978 the project was shelved. We mostly tested it at either Brands Hatch (where it collected the damage to the fairing, exiting Druids Bend) or Snetterton. Philip Sinclair was one of the test riders.



#48 Bob Riebe

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 02:41

e301133111a096023ac69d90fdb86c07.jpg

 

Never is too strong a word. The beautiful machine you see in these pictures exists. Its twin-cylinder two-stroke snowmobile engine produces 165 crankshaft horsepower, and dry weight is 264 pounds. That’s Grand Prix territory.

The project is the work of a Minneapolis-area team inspired by Robin Tuluie. There are no plans to produce this motorcycle, but it is just too delicious a creation to ignore.

 

From Cycle World:

http://www.cycleworl...-world-classics



#49 billlawrence

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 02:43

How about the Norton racing  four ? I have seen some part from a 125 cc test engine at Sammy Millers museum pity it didn't go any further than that maybe Joe Craig  didn't like it   Bill Lawrence



#50 tonyed

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 05:55

Saw a guy yesterday at Santa Pod using a Polaris snowmobile engine in a bike, sounded amazing!

 

Will dig out the Quantel details, am surely it was based loosely on a Norton!!

Tul-Aris

 

800cc, 183bhp, 124 kg two stroke twin. Snowmobile engine  :clap: