Sunbeam gears to be re-manufactured

CT gears

Always a hot topic whenever owners meet, the Sunbeam 3-speed crash box gearbox is not perhaps the bike’s crowning glory. Whilst the original Marston gears did last surprisingly well, most are now “long in the tooth” with wear causing all manner of engagement and selection issues.

Stepping up to the plate once more, the redoubtable Chris Odling is planning to produce a small batch of new gears and I, for one, will certainly be purchasing a couple of much needed sets for my own bikes.

Here follows the note received from Chris…

“I have commissioned  new gear sets for Sunbeams. These are for the narrow and wide sliding pinion gearboxes. There will be BT and CT ratios manufactured. All those interested in a set please contact me to place an order. Delivery dates will be announced shortly. It is envisaged that a deposit will be required near the point of completion and following receipt of the gear sets I will ask for the remainder and deliver them. Final cost of a gear set is not written in stone as yet, but expect around £490.00

The number of gear sets presently ordered is 20, of which a few are already allocated. This number can be increased according to interest.

After the sets have been made I envisage a few spares i.e. sliding pinions and lay shafts.”

Contact: Chris Odling

Tel: 01852 300191


1930 Sunbeam Model 90 factory racer lives again

I was very pleased to receive a phone call from VMCC OEC and Blackburne Marque Specialist Martin Shelley telling me that John Rooney’s Sunbeam Model 90 was up and running!

1930 Sunbeam Model 90 works race bike

There’s more information about this wonderful and possibly unique machine in an earlier post that you can view here. But since then, Chris Odling has worked his magic on the engine whilst Martin and John have worked on the rest of the bike. The guys have resisted the temptation to “restore” the bike and instead have strived to keep as much of the bike in as-found condition as possible. With original factory finish on many parts and many of the correct factory fasteners this bike could become a Rosetta Stone for the vintage Sunbeam enthusiast.

After evicting the mice and filling a few holes, even the original exhausts that are stamped with IOM ’30 S in reference to the 1930 Senior TT have been repaired and re-fitted.


There’s a short video here where you can see and hear the bike running. It does sound very different to my own 1930 Model 90 and seems to respond quicker to throttle and with less flywheel effect on the overrun.  I just can’t wait to see and hear the bike “in the metal”.


Buell-Norton becomes The Burton

Buell-Norton, The Burton

Here we have the latest pictures of the Buell-Norton hybrid that is slowly becoming known as The Burton. After Paul had the new tank made and fitted the fuel pump / header tank the bike was ready for collection from the Norley workshop at Aberystwyth. There’s a lot of work yet to be done but as we wheeled the bike into the van it quickly became obvious that the look and proportions of the bike were “just right”.


The capacity of the hand-crafted aluminium tank is necessarily somewhat restricted by the air filter and fuel pump arrangements but it blends well with the seat unit and rest of the bike. And with the head-down, backside up riding position I’m guessing that regular fuel stops might well be a blessing.

With Nigel being keen to keep development moving forward at a pace, we spent the evening at the pub preparing a (s)hit-list for ace-restorer John Phizacklea to take a look at. Early the next morning we headed up to John’s well equipped workshop where my own ’28 Sunbeam is currently on the bench awaiting a few finishing touches.

John Phizacklea vintage motorcycle restorations

John usually specialises in considerably earlier bikes from the vintage and veteran eras so this American-British conglomeration should provide an interesting diversion. And all his imperial spanners will fit too, which is very handy indeed as there’s an awful lot of work to be done before the bike is complete. From guards to wiring, exhausts to paintwork the job is really just beginning and in the next photo we can see Nigel showing John the height of the pile of cash that he thinks will be needed.







Update on spares in the shop

Tax disk/disc holder Tax disk/disc holder

Don’t forget to checkout the Sunbeamland shop where there are a variety of items in stock including a limited number of these vintage tax disc or license disc holders. They are replicas of an original late 1920’s Pennant item that was loaned to me some time ago and would make a great addition to any quality vintage motorcycle i.e your Brough Superior, Sunbeam, Velocette or cammy Norton.

There are also various other vintage motorcycle spares that are left over from various projects that might be useful. For example, we have quite a number of different controls and levers including items from Amal, Amac and Bowden. Decompressors, valve lifters, magneto advance/retard control.. that sort of thing. Have a look round and let me know if there is anything you might be interested in.

There’s not much left in the seat department, so grab a bargain whilst there is anything left in stock. I’ll accept sensible offers on most items just to clear the space.