Sunday, August 29, 2010

More Art from My Mother-in-Law

My mother is smitten. She loves drawing motorcycle related subjects to the point that rather than relying on me to supply her with pictures she went out and bought several books and magazines. She surprised me with several awesome drawings including one of a Norton Model 7. She told me her favorite was the Indian Military Bike. I'd say she has pretty good taste. The prototyping for the calendars and cards is shaping up nicely. You can see the initial gallery here. The latest and independently done examples of her work are below:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Curiouser and curiouser.......

If you haven't read the previous post you will be lost. I thought I had made a cool discovery of the obituary of Artie Bell in the "The Story of the Ulster" by G. S. Davison that I had received in the mail yesterday. After writing the previous blog post, I started reading passages in the book looking for references to Artie Bell. Fascinating literature to be sure. I was once again surprised by two more clippings located behind the dustjacket! The most notable of the two was an  article dated February 21, 1968 in the Sunday Express detailing the crash that ended Artie Bell's career as a motorcycle racer.


Amongst the fantastic details of the accident which involved the great Geoff Duke, the article indicates that Bell broke every bone in his body but was nearly killed during surgery by being transfused the wrong blood type because he was not wearing the customary medical information necklace. Bell's play-by-play description of the incident is a scene from the movies. Thanks to the dealer from whom most of my collection has been puchased for this little treasure.

Do you believe in ghosts?

In previous posts I have mentioned the importance of history to the classic motorcyclist. That nostalgia is both a necessity in order to keep your bike on the road and a pleasurable aspect of the hobby to know the context in which the bike came into being. I owe a great deal to my Norton Model 7 in terms of expanding my horizons. I have made new friends, learned new skills, and have started collecting period literature. My little collection is very narrow and is centered around the author G. S. Davison. (I'll write more about him in a later post).




Yesterday, I received the second to last book required to complete the whole collection of first editions. I was leafing through the book while watching Formula 1 qualifying at the Belgian Grand Prix held on the Spa-Francorchamps race track when this piece of paper fell out. It turns out it was the obituary for Artie Bell who had passed away August 11th 1972.



Artie Bell is an Irish motorcycle roadracer known for his short, brilliant, yet tragic racing career. He stunned the racing community by placing 2nd at the 1947 Isle of Man TT and winning the 1947 Ulster Grand Prix aboard his personal second-hand 500cc Norton. His association with Norton is an important one. During his brief career as a Norton team rider, Artie Bell worked with fellow Irishman Rex McCandless to develop the famous Norton Featherbed Frame. Artie Bell's racing career ended July 2nd 1950 in a terrible accident at the Spa-Francorchamps race track! His Grand Prix career only lasted one month.


Artie Bell at speed

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cool stuff

I don't really venture into the modern motorcycle world much but there are times when new innovations really interest me. I love adventures and I have thought about doing some long motorcycle trips a bit more complicated than the exodus to Sturgis. I'm talking about Ewan McGregor level work here. The key to making it nice for me is a nice place to sleep and even maintain my bike. Well, the solution is here....


The folks at NomadTent have come up with the perfect solution. Makes you want to get a Beemer and ride to Alaska straight away. Check out their site. Cool tent and awesome pics to inspire anybody to ride off into the sunset.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Art a Little Closer to Home

I write a great deal about motorsport art and enjoy finding new artists that capture the beauty of my hobby. For the most part, I have never gotten the opportunity to actually see in person the pieces I have featured but there are a few that I actually own. It was a pleasure some weeks ago to find a budding motorcycle artist within my own family. Turns out that my mother-in-law who was a well-known potter and photographer in her day has switched from doing colored pencil drawings of flowers to motorcycle related pictures.I was dumbfounded by her talent. She tells me that she really enjoys the subjects and has become more and more confident tackling mechanical details. Here's a look at the initial set with more in the pipeline.



Like many customizers and bloggers, I wouldn't mind putting the Rocinante Mecanico M.C. brand out there to fund some of my projects. Together my mother-in-law and I came up with a few prototypes:


A collection of greeting cards


A customizable calendar

We are still developing the details but are genuinely excited about the project. The goal is to make the calendar and cards customizable allowing the purchaser to choose the drawings they want included in their order. I should also say that my mother-in-law is open to commission work with a few artistic rules. If you are interested drop me a line.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Restoration Work---Carburetor Rebuild Part 1

If the cylinders are the heart of a motorcycle then one could consider the carburetor to be the lungs. As an anesthesiologist, I deal daily with cardiac and pulmonary function. I am fascinated by the lungs and so it is no surprise to me that I am fascinated with carburetors. Carburetors on classic bikes and their tuning are a never ending source of discussion and for many frustration. Been there and now I am going to divulge all I know. I plan to do this in several installations and while confined specifically to the carburetor on my bike many principles are transferrable to all makes.

Like any project, there needs to be a point of departure. In the case of my Model 7, I was interested in using the original carburetor which simplifies matters tremondously in that I was able to go to the original settings and tune from there. Others with more experience may want to upgrade or may not be able to find the appropriate carburetor at which point start with what you have.


Every carb initial setup by make for the period


Carb type confirmed


Initial settings on the bottom line

The carburetor on a 1951 Norton Model 7 is a Amal 76AK/1AT indicating what is conventionally described as a pre-monobloc carburetor, meaning that the float bowl is separate from the carburetor body. Often, Amal 76's will be replaced with 276's since the latter are generally more available.. These carbs are virtually identical and interchangeable down to the parts. The only difference between the two is that the 76 series carb has additional air holes at its base.

Float Bowl Side


Vent holes at base on an Amal 76

Along with the Amal publication mentioned above that includes a comprehensive parts list, here are a couple other references that are helpful in getting started:


Great book series by a real
authority on bikes

Amal Carb UK is a comprehensive site that lets you shop by original part number. Additionally, they have exploded diagrams of each carburetor type and you can select parts that way as well. Great site and great quality for a decent price. Definitely a rare combination!

Next post, we will tackle dismantling the carb, identifying potential faults, cleaning, and reassembly. In the meantime, if anybody needs info please drop me a line.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

More Art?

I have posted quite a few articles on motorcycle related art and have a few more coming. It's an obsession really. I love art and when it coincides with my other passions it's that much more interesting and pleasurable. It's undeniable that there exists a certain artistry in vintage and classic motorcycles. It is at the very root of our nostalgic attraction. There is a certain energy when form truly meets function. Anyway.... I finally got the time to work on the bike when I got a little artsy-fartsy. I truly was taken by this clutch worm. It all came together.