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1962 Chang Jiang M1M
Left hand drive 750cc sidecar outfit built for People's Liberation Army

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Two Great Bikes owned by my siblings

AJS-Triumph Scrambler and Honda Dream

05.jpg (253398 bytes)09.jpg (280883 bytes)1966: Mick's Scrambler: An AJS 500cc single OHV engine fitted into a Triumph frame and running gear of unknown vintage.

While our family was located in Ballarat and we were active in the Ballarat Rovers Motor Cycle Club, my brother Mick bought an elderly Triumph bike that had been fitted with a 500cc single AJS motor.  Both items were of unknown vintage, but the package ran well.  The frame had a rigid rear end (which sounds dreadful as I type this page in 2005, but such bikes were still very common in those days), but a well-sprung solo saddle and telescopic forks in the front.  I went for a few rides on this bike myself.   It was very reliable and Mick raced it at a number of scramble meetings, including at least one that I can recall at Korwienguboora.  I cannot remember whether or not he won any races or titles.  I haven't seen Mick now since about 1991, but I really want to get in contact with him again.  Apart from riding it in scrambles, Mick also practised some stunt riding on it and I seem to recall that he was really the best member of the team at performing the Backwards Ride.

1967: 1963 Honda Dream CA77 305cc 180 OHC Parallel Twin01.jpg (299375 bytes)

The photo at the right was taken the day my sister Karen brought home her 305cc Honda Dream CA77 to our home in Warrenheip Street, Buninyong in 1967. 
Those of us who rode it all thought the Dream was aptly named.  It was a very comfortable bike to ride even for quite long distances.  I sat on that comfy red seat for a great many miles and Karen covered a great many more than I did.  The engine was an overhead-camshaft parallel twin with the cranks offset at an angle of 180.   This gave it a characteristic offbeat firing interval.  In each two rotations of the engine through 720 one cylinder would fire at 360 while the other would fire at 540.  Thus at slow idle the engine had a most peculiar sound: "di-dit ... di-dit ... di-dit ... di-dit ... di-dit"  kind of like a Harley and yet the sound was different again because the Harley has a different peculiar firing interval.   Parallel twins in those days such as Triumph, BSA, Norton, etc. all had a 360 firing angle so that there exhaust beats were evenly spaced.  And what was the great difference made by this peculiarity I have laboured to describe?  One word.   Smoothness!  As soon as it was above idle speed the engine pulled with an incredibly smooth and vibration-free burst of power whereas the Triumphs I borrowed in those days vibrated fiercely and shook themselves apart in no time if you weren't constantly all over them with a spanner.
The Honda had a pressed steel frame and leading link front forks.  A peculiarity of the front forks was that when you braked hard, the front of the bike would rise rather than dipping down or nosediving as the contemporary telescopic fork bikes used to do.   In this respect, it behaved very like the BMW Earles fork machines of the fifties and sixties.  The front fork springs were all covered with a clean-looking pressed steel shroud.  Although the machine was four years old when Karen bought it, it had been well kept and was in superb condition.  Because of the extensive use of pressed steel, the bike was very easy to clean.
The 4-speed gearbox was very smooth to change and the gears were very well spaced.   This machine was always a delight to ride.

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Note that the e-mail address for Phil Smith (also known as "Doctor Disk") has been changed to phil DOT drdisk AT gmail DOT com with effect from 18th March 2006.  To use this e-mail address, in your e-mail program's "To" field, type out the words in blue replacing " AT " with "@" and replacing " DOT " with "." so that there are no spaces.  Sorry for the inconvenience, but my junk mail had passed 1,000 items per day.


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