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19th April 2006

Wall and Sagar at 60

The VMCC isn't the only biking organisation to celebrates its 60th birthday this year. You're invited to join in another diamond jubilee celebration - this time its in Morecambe, at the end of April...

If you're within riding distance of Lancashire's seaside splendour on Saturday 29th April 2006, then you should make a real effort to get along to the Wall and Sagar Open Day. The shop is situated just yards from the sea front at Morecambe, with plenty of space for parking bikes outside. But the Wall and Sagar business didn't start here - and it's seen plenty of activity in the 60 years since it was founded.

When he left the army in 1946, Harry Wall started repairing motorcycles in premises on St Leonardgate in Lancaster itself. Shortly afterwards, Bill Sagar joined the company and a partnership was formed which turned into Wall and Sagar Ltd some two years later.

Harry Wall. On the bike, obviously.

A year after that Bill Sagar decided to move on -- he emigrated and settled in South Africa, and he currently lives in the Natal. Some months later, Hugh Clifford joined Harry Wall as his partner and co-director. The UK was still getting back on its feet after the war and new bikes were in short supply, but that didn't stop motorcycle enthusiasts making the most of what was to hand. Both Harry and Hugh raced bikes and both competed in the TT. Over the next few years the company acquired several franchises, representing some of the best of the British bike industry of that era -- including Triumph, Matchless, Royal Enfield, James, Francis Barnett, Vespa and Jawa. In 1962, Wall and Sagar moved to North Road in Lancaster where they stayed for over 42 years.

Over the next few years, the company added Ambassador, Tandon, Excelsior, Puch, BSA, Capri, Manhurin, Ariel, Piatti, Norman and even Reliant machines to their range. Perhaps the most significant change came in 1962 when Suzuki joined the line-up -- and within eight years the British bike industry had virtually ceased to exist. When the homegrown industry declined, so did many of the dealerships which had serviced it over the preceding years - but Wall and Sagar moved with the times to keep in step with their customers.

Just in case you've never seen the inside of a bike shop, here's one W&S prepared earlier...

Wall and Sagar stayed with Suzuki for 25 years, and finally parted company in 1987. The motorcycle market was in freefall during the late 1980s and early 90s - it dropped from 300,000-plus sales at its peak in 1981 to a low of just 38,000 sales in the early 1990s. If you wanted to stay in business in the motorcycle trade during these years then you needed to find new customers - so Wall and Sagar went out and found OLD customers! They turned back the clock and, in 1990, Wall and Sagar became a Royal Enfield franchised dealer once again. Now built in India, the Enfields have proved to be immensely popular with all types of people and their customer base includes an age range from 21 to 73!

Harry Wall passed away in December 2004. He was still riding bikes at 87 and was the proud owner of a 1953 Triumph Tiger 100C which he displayed at northern bike shows. Hugh Clifford retired in 1987. An avid collector and classic car racer, Hugh lives near the village of Bentham.

Nowadays the company is run by a dedicated team of long serving enthusiasts led by Harry's son, Tony Wall, who himself is an ex-racer with experience of most circuits in the UK and several Manx Grands Prix.

These days Wall and Sagar regard themselves as independent dealers, stocking Peugeot scooters, Hyosung, Derbi and of course the classic Royal Enfield.

The shop itself has moved with the times and has expanded to provide an extensive range of clothing, including Akito, Spada and Ixon jackets, jeans and gloves, plus FM, Lazer, HJC and Roof helmets. You don't have to live in Lancashire to take advantage of the Wall and Sagar service, either - they operate a nationwide mail order service and will deliver a new bike to any address in the UK.

Although modern bikes form the backbone of the Wall and Sagar business that doesn't mean they've turned their backs on old motorcycles - far from it. The company boasts a large well-equipped workshop staffed by formally trained qualified mechanics who are more than capable of working on a vast variety of machines, including the older classic types.

Random Enfield Stuff on

She'll catch her death going out like that...Two years ago Wall and Sagar moved to new premises in Marlborough Road in Morecambe. The new shop extends to over 9000sq-ft, and it's here that the 60th birthday celebrations will take place at the end of April.

You'll be able to meet the Wall and Sagar team, take a test ride on a demo Enfield, view the whole Royal Enfield range and the new Hyosung cruisers , and enjoy a display of proper classic bikes, grab a bargain from the special offer selection, and top yourself up from the delicious buffet refreshments.

There aren't many motorcycle dealerships which last more than half a century, so we'd like to congratulate Wall and Sagar on their diamond jubilee. It does make you wonder - what sort of motorcycles will they be selling in another 60 years…?

Wall and Sagar are at Marlborough Road, Morecambe in Lancs. Tel 01524 417437

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