Wednesday, February 3, 2010


It's quite rare to find a photograph of a woman rider from the 1920s, let alone one of such clarity and charm as this one. Our heroine kneels in supplication to her sulking mount, with tool roll out, and a look of sheer misery which every motorcyclist understands! Oh, the joys and pains of life on two wheels.

The bike looks to be a ca.1923 Velocette 'GS3', in sparkling new condition, with an optional Cowie speedometer driven by the front wheel. The GS3 was a 249cc two-stroke of impeccable quality, typical of Veloce Ltd, a luxury lightweight with a dash of TT thrown in the mix, for the engine was upgraded to the spec of the factory's 1922 Isle of Man entry, with a new duplex tube frame and longer-stroke engine with twin exhaust ports. With a 3-speed close-ratio gearbox, adjustable footpegs, semi-TT handlebars, and 'performance efficient silencer' (vide Dave Masters), it was a sporting mount, capable of 55mph. The Brampton 'Biflex' forks may not have helped handling with their three-dimensional range of movement, but they certainly provided more comfort than the hard racing Druid forks used on the TT bikes (below, Rex Judd on the 1921 TT Velo).

Titch Allen in his book 'The Velocette Saga' (Amulree,1994) has this to say about the Model G:
"The production Model Gs...were pretty accurate replicas of the TT mounts, apart from the detachable head, and soon established an enviable reputation. It would be no exaggeration to say that they were the 'Rolls Royce' of small two-strokes, and their excellence and discreet black and gold finish gained them a following of connoisseurs. An exclusive kind of customer unimpressed by glitter and flamboyance who was to remain loyal to the marque for 60 years."