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25th November 2005


The Sunbeam Owners' Fellowship

This worldwide club for fans of the S7 and S8 Sunbeams boasts an excellent website and a busy calendar of events. But it desperately needs some better jokes...

The Sunbeam Owners Fellowship was founded in 1962 as a worldwide group, open to all those who are fascinated by the shaft-drive BSA-built Sunbeam machines. The SOF reckon that 'the Sunbeam S7 and S8s are landmark British bikes; the design, layout and style make them unique. Also their history and place within the rise and fall of the British bike industry marks them out as a special machine.'

Sunbeam S7. A classic design

Although the Erling Poppe-designed flat twins were built by BSA in the late '40s and 1950s, they've never really come under the auspices of the BSAOC. Similarly, fans of the independent, prewar Sunbeam marque tend not to associate themselves with the later machines. So 'the Sunbeam Owners Fellowship prides itself as the family home for S7 and S8 Sunbeams' and it aims to cherish the bikes and the people who keep them alive today.

Proof that controls don't always fall easily to hand.

Although only 16,000 S7s and S8s were built during the bikes' ten year production run, they have proved to be compelling, charismatic motorcycles which endear themselves to the classic motorcyclist. So there are still many Sunbeams ridden now, some 60 years after production started, and the Fellowship acts as a focus for new thoughts and ideas about the bikes. The SOF comes up with new technical innovations to adapt the bikes to modern life, with new ideas for better performance, reliability or simply to prolong the existence of the component parts. The SOF also operates as a channel for recommending replacement parts, oils, tyres, modifications and the suitability of manufacturers and suppliers.

The SOF is recognised by the DVLA, and produces a bi-monthly magazine, called On The Beam. This keeps members in touch with each other and is packed full of as much Sunbeam-related information as possible.

The pages are filled with stories from members of journeys, tours and explorations, practical technical tips, re-building projects, diary dates, and for sale and wanted adverts, and so on. A typical technical feature might be 'The Pros and Cons of Flexible Mountings for Motor Cycle Power Units' - the kind of in-depth discussion you only tend to find in dedicated, single model clubs.

The Sunbeam Owners' Fellowship main annual rally provides another way for members to enthuse about the bikes and fellow riders. In 2005, Fellowship members have rallied in Yorkshire, Pembrokeshire, Derbyshire and Norway, and have presented club stands at the UK's major events. The local gatherings and stands at bike shows provided a place to meet up, chat Sunbeams and put names to faces.

For those further afield, who might not be able to make it to a rally or meeting, the Fellowship has a bustling website (www.onthebeam.co.uk) which features an extensive member's only section - offering shared pictures and photos, a co-ordinated events group calendar, a group email list, plus various methods for communication and information exchange; an overall opportunity for SOF members to communicate online which forms a link for members between magazines. It is space for Sunbeam Owners Fellowship members only, somewhere private and secure, where telephone numbers and addresses can be exchanged safely.

Random Sunbeam Stuff on eBay.co.uk

This isn't what they expected when Robin asked if he could bring his Arrow to the club rally.The Fellowship site even has a jokes page - proving that people who ride Sunbeams have a really good sense of humour! (Only kidding guys. Honest. Mind that axe). But they need more jokes - so if you have a yen for a 'Beam then you should probably join up, pronto, and submit a Sunbeam snigger or two…

Membership of the Sunbeam Owners' Fellowship costs £12 per year for UK residents, or £14 for those living overseas.

Contact rotor@onthebeam.co.uk or go to the club site at onthebeam.co.uk to print off a joining form.

Every time someone makes a mistake, one of the committee members will pour a cup of boiling water on them. In this manner, club novices soon learn the correct workshop practices.

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