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14th March 2016

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Shepton Snapshots

The RealClassic Roadshow returned to the Bath and West Showground for the second time in a single month. And found far too many interesting bikes to buy at the VMCC's giant autojumble...

The big posh February event at this venue is all about show bikes and concours awards. It’s when every West Country winter project is unveiled in all its gleaming glory. By contrast, the twice-a-year bikejumble, hosted by the Somerset section of the VMCC, is a very different affair. There are stacks of small tables crammed into main halls and hard-standing outside, filled with original old bike bits that look like they’ve just spent half a century sharing shelf-space with aggressive spiders. Professional autojumblers and trade suppliers selling modern components rub shoulders with old lags in flat caps and brown overalls who somehow crammed the entire contents of a double garage into an estate car and they don’t intend on taking any of it home again.

Ready to Ride? Reasons for Classic Motorcycling

For some people, this is as close as it gets to automotive ecstasy.

Not least because almost any complete bikes you happened to see weren’t unapproachable show machines, to be admired only from a distance. Nope. Pretty much everything at the Shepton jumble was for sale – so we set off, camera in hand, to show you what bargains you missed when you snuggled up in bed on that Saturday morning.

Ready to Ride? Reasons for Classic Motorcycling

Who could possibly resist an NSU Quickly for only £600? (That’s a rhetorical question: don’t all rush to answer it). This 1964 50cc three-speeder has been given a complete make-over of late, with new exhaust; rebuilt wheels with stainless spokes, nuts and spindles; new locks, keys, cables, caps, taps and the like. ‘Everything works!’ proclaimed the for-sale poster. And you won’t find many motorcycles which can boast leading link front forks, a pressed steel frame and proper swinging arm suspension, in this condition for under a grand…

Ready to Ride? Reasons for Classic Motorcycling
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Meanwhile, John Harding (who happens to organise the autojumble at Ross on Wye) was busy selling something else when we spotted this Beesa on his stand, so we never did find out how much it was going for. It might take more than a wee spot of Solvol to bring this sidevalve back to life, however.

Ready to Ride? Reasons for Classic Motorcycling

An Ariel Huntmaster in jigsaw form was offered for £1150 – bargain! – reduced from £1250. It was certainly a solid basis for a build, with a frame, engine, gearbox, wheels, forks and mounting plates included. If you weren’t fussed about originality, and could live without the original tinware (which you won’t find not nowhere), then maybe a new-wave custom classic could be on the cards?

Ready to Ride? Reasons for Classic Motorcycling

Back with the complete bikes, £1475 would’ve bought you a complete, up and running Honda XL500 trials bike thumper. £4300 was being asked for a Triumph 750 T140 (actually, the sign said ‘£4300 MoT T140’ but we’re guessing he didn’t mean the MoT would’ve cost quite that much). Even thought it was very tidy and shiny, more than four grand felt like a lot for that particular Triumph.

Ready to Ride? Reasons for Classic Motorcycling

Ready to Ride? Reasons for Classic Motorcycling

Approximately three minutes later, more than four grand did not feel like a lot for this particular Triumph, a TRW sidevalve. Plenty of recent provenance (ahem: featured in RealClassic magazine apparently), this local machine boasts many useful modifications like an Amal carb, 12V electrics and revised gearing. Inevitably the TRW was snapped up early on, and the vendor could’ve sold it half a dozen times over during the day (sorry, Brian).

Ready to Ride? Reasons for Classic Motorcycling

Other highlights? A tidy Velo MSS for £8000, and a cute little Cotton decked out ready to go classic racing. Oh, and extracting cash money from that nice man Paul Goff for an RC subscription…

Ready to Ride? Reasons for Classic Motorcycling

The next VMCC Shepton jumble is on Saturday 24th September 2016.

Admission is only £3, and stalls are very reasonably priced if you want to get some of your surplus spares back into circulation and help another owner keep a classic on the road. See www.vmccsomerset.co.uk

Words and photos by Rowena Hoseason

Ready to Ride? Reasons for Classic Motorcycling

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