Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sunbeam Motorcycle

As a young fella I was into motorcycles from the age of 17. My first bike, paid for by my father, was a Matchless 500cc which broke down on the way home from the dealer. That dealer was an ex-cop who was a bit dodgy when he was in the force. As I recall, when he was at Fremantle Traffic Office, he gave out Driver’/Riders’ licences (sans test) for a fee of 10/-.

Anyway when I wheeled the Matchless back to the bike shop he told me to bugger off.

I had a couple more bikes after that, an Ariel twin and a BSA Bantam. Later in Papua New Guinea I had a couple more bikes.

When I was around 19, my uncle, who was Police Prosecutor at Fremantle Courts, decided to sell his motorcycle, a Sunbeam. The Sunbeam was a beautiful piece of machinery and I wanted it. Unfortunately Unc wouldn’t sell it to me. I was never sure why...maybe it was that he thought I couldn’t pay for it or that it may have some fault that would give me trouble later or the most likely reason that my parents asked him not to sell it to me.

The Sunbeam was built by BSA and had a two cylinder in-line engine. A couple of other bikes still have a similar engine, BMW and Moto Guzzi. Both these engines are noisier and somewhat ‘rougher’ than the Sunbeam. One slight ‘problem’ that these three bikes have is right thrusting torque effect when revving the engine at the lights. If the rider missed a gear at high revs the bike could ostensibly tip over to the right. Never actually heard of this happening though.

Here’s a pic of a Sunbeam. Note the shaft drive. I have trolled the net and there are very few for sale anywhere. Pity.
Sunbeam S7- 1951


Sunbeamrider said...

If you would like a S7 S8 Sunbeam, Join the club for these motorcycles. The Sunbeam Owners Fellowship.
Two S7's for sale in the last fellowship magazine and do come up quite often, though rarer than the S8.
The fellowship was founded in 1963, and is dedicated to the Shaft driven Sunbeams

Paul said...

At Bicton Primary School in the 1950s we were taught a song, "Jesus wants me for a Sunbeam." Maybe he has some left?

mauswara said...

The R series BMW is a horizontally opposed twin. The Guzzi is a horizontally opposed V twin. Not sure where the inline tiwn comes from.