Thanks to Nick Smith for this copy of the manual for 1927 and earlier Sunbeam motorcycles. Well worth a read if you have one!
The ever helpful Vic Youel provided me with this copy of the Sunbeam page from the Hepolite Sunbeam catalogue some time ago. I thought I’d share it as it has proven useful on many occasions.
People are often asking about the correct carburettor model and settings for their pre-war Marston Sunbeam motorcycles. Well, those helpful people over at Amal have long produced free catalogues that offer just such information. The “Amal Pre War Supplement” being of particular interest.
Here is a scan of the relevant page for the Sunbeam models covered by the catalogue.
Well I’m pleased to say that I’ve just completed an upload of the “final” version of the Sunbeam parts list data base to this website. Nisha and her team of ladies in India who are responsible for a large portion of the data entry have been brilliant working with some very poor copies of the original books. There will be mistakes and omissions in the data so please let me know if any come to your attention and I will make corrections where necessary.
The data base contains nearly 20,000 entries of parts and information from all the original Marston Spare Parts Lists that I could locate over the last 2 years. The parts lists cover most models and variants from 1914 through to 1939 and the web page can be found at this link Marston Sunbeam Spare Parts Lists
I hope it will be well received and of use to owners and also to assist the club and others with planning the production of spares. I appreciate that use of the web page is not necessarily intuitive or stylish but it does seem to at least function and provides the basic set of facilities that I originally intended. Over coming months I’ll make a plan to address this once feedback arrives from users regarding facilities and so on. This work has detracted somewhat from my own bike projects and riding having taken the bulk of any free time over the last 12 months especially and I’m very much looking forward to a break from sitting at this PC in the New Year.
I think we can all benefit from some of the great advice given to my brother by Archie Beggs as an introduction to the joys of vintage Sunbeam ownership:
“To start from cold, flood carb fully, set ignition halfway advanced (some bikes need more). Do not kick it on the stand (these are a bit fragile).
Put bike in bottom gear and wind it back on compression. Then lift the clutch lever fully at the same time pulling back, whereupon you will feel the clutch plates “unstick”.
Select neutral give slight throttle and swing the kickstart smartly but not a vicious kick and if the bike is in good condition it should start.
When started, check the tell-tale is about 1/4″out showing the oil is getting there. This is vital if taps or anti wet-sumping valves have been fitted.
Before putting the bike in gear pause a moment with clutch fully lifted in order to allow the clutch stop (if one is fitted) to slow the clutch to stop and ensure a silent bottom gear engagement without scrunching the gears.
Refrain from being brutal with the gear lever as on the flat tank models the pivot is riveted and soldered to the tank bottom and may be forced loose and cause leaks. Re-soldering the bracket is very difficult as the deposit from the petrol cannot be accessed for cleaning and the solder will not take.
With the cork clutch the plates run oily and I find auto transmission fluid to be suitable, excess slipping causes overheating and severe clutch drag, so get neutral if you are waiting in traffic.
When adjusting clutch, first ensure the lever on the bridge comes right back (cable not tight) so full travel is attained. Then see that the pushrod is free not end loaded and holding the pressure off
When fitting new plates, particularly if Ferodo, be sure that they are wide enough and do not “bottom” on the end of the gearbox mainshaft.
Oil the valve stems before use and put a teaspoonsful of oil to each gallon of petrol to oil the stems
I use the old KLG M80 for normal running and M100 for “blinding” so source modern equivalent but not ones with internal gaps or resistors.
Check tappets when the engine is really hot and make sure there is a couple of thou’ play by feel not the gauge.
Check the three rear wheel bolts after each run and also the stand bolts.
Drain fuel if the bike is left for more than a week and filter before refilling. When drained put a bit of oil in the tank to deter rust,
Do not start the bike in the workshop but in the open and if you start indoors locate fire extinguisher first. Particularly this applies to vintage Rudges.
Use the soft black linings for front brake -this works.
Check gearbox sprocket occasionally
I have always preferred to drain my oil tank when the bike is in only occasional use using a 1/4″ bore plastic pipe and syphoning it out while hot into a large plastic bottle. While this is messy and a nuisance to do, a look at the bottom of the bottle after it has settled for days may convince you it was worth the trouble and as a result all my oil tanks are clean and do not have an 1/8″ of sludge in the bottom. And the engines last longer.
To adjust clutch stop, slack it off fully then lift clutch, then screw it in till you feel the handlebar lever begin to respond to the pressure and try to lift.
Spark plug gap 16 to 20 thou’ not greater
Sunbeam oil regulator orifice sizes
No 1 .046”, 3/64”, No. drill 56
No 2 .060”, 1/16”, No. drill 53
No 3 .077”, 5/64”, No. drill 47
These are the nearest sizes that I can give.”
The talented Martin Shelley has reproduced a new toolbox assembly to fit saddle tank Model 90 and 95 Sunbeam motorcycles 1929 – 34. This was made as an exact copy of the toolbox and mounts from the only known surviving 1930 works TT Model 90 and features a soldered box with leather front, correct lockable latch, and alloy feet cast in heat treated LM25 and supplied with 1/4” BSF fasteners as per original.
You can see the original box on the 1930 Model 90 that was discovered north of the border a few years ago. Whilst I have yet to fulfil my ambition to examine and scrutinise every inch of that bike I was happy to put my money where my mouth is and buy one of these lovely boxes myself.
Get them while they are hot direct from Martin for a very reasonable £250. Or you could buy the cast feet separately for £50 a pair. If you are interested, why not drop Martin a line on this email firstname.lastname@example.org before they are all gone.
Look nice fitted to this delightful Model 90 so they do.
Due to a technical problem (I forgot!) the 77mm Model 6 longstroke pistons weren’t available in the shop. I only have a few in standard and +0.040″ oversize so please get in touch if you need a high quality forged piston in your 1925 to 1929 vintage Sunbeam sidevalve.
They can be modified by Chris Odling for use in later engines with the recirculating oil system.
I’m building a 1927 Model 6 motor at the moment that came with a 1928 Model 6 that I purchased recently and one of these should work very well in the new engine.
On return from a weeks holidays in Marrakech last week I was delighted to find a box from Chris Odling containing two lovely new sets of minty-fresh CT wide case gears. These particular cogs are the close-ratio type and are suitable for many of the later Model 9 and Model 90 bikes. I needed two sets as the set in my own ’30 bike are on loan from Archie Beggs and need to be replaced. Being suitable for both the 1928 and 1930 bikes, the second set will sit on the shelf in case I have any more problems.
These gears were made to order by Chris in a small batch of different ratios and widths, so get in touch fast if you think you might be in need of a set now or in the near future as they won’t be around for long.
I only just arrived in time for the Sunday run-out organised by Geoff Brazendale as part of the Marston Sunbeam Northern Run at Kirkby Stephen, Cumbria. And I do hope you enjoy the rather eloquent comment on proceedings provided by this pair of ‘beams from either side of the Scottish border.
The run kicked off at 10am from the Fat Lamb at Ravenstonedale and took in 25-30 miles of the excellent local roads. Nobody in our group seemed to know where we were going and so we just found our own way round until coming across some bright spark with a map of the route. The earlier rain had long since past leaving wet roads but the autumn colours along the way were a delight.
Archie Beggs and Kenny Crawford were in fine form on the Model 9 and 90 respectively having also made the run up to the lakes that morning. And it was great to have a fine collection of flat tank models as well as a variety of the later saddle tank.
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