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Introduction

This is the home of the Iceni CAM Magazine—a free e-magazine about Cyclemotors, Autocycles, Mopeds … and more.  It was launched on 15th April 2007 and the most recent four issues can be downloaded here.  (Copies of earlier back numbers are also available.)  For non-computerised folks, printed copies are available at £1.50 per edition; we can accommodate mail order too at £2.20 per single edition or £8.80 for a year’s subscription.

So what’s it about?

It’s an e-magazine all about cyclemotors, autocycles and mopeds that carries road test & feature articles, rally reports, free adverts and other assorted information.  Although we are an independent production, we have strong ties to the EACC and also to the New Zealand Cyclaid Register.

We are based in East Anglia, but are by no means limited to that area.  Much that appears in the magazine is of universal appeal.  We welcome contributions, whereever they are from, and are also happy to help to publicise any events for cyclemotors, autocycles and mopeds.

When’s it published?

We publish four times a year and the publication dates are synchronised with key events in the EACC calendar: the Radar Run, the Peninsularis Run, the Coprolite Run and the Mince Pie Run.  It’s purely an enthusiast production, and all produced on a tiny budget.  Nevertheless, we think you’ll be pretty impressed  The free downloadable version will be posted on this website on the same day as the printed version goes on sale.

All the issues of CAM Magazine that we’ve produced have been very well received.  Thank you all for your comments; they are much appreciated.  Several of you have also made donations, which has helped enormously in keeping Iceni CAM going.

What’s in it?

The January 2019 edition is available now on our Downloads Page.

Main feature: Too Good to be True

One of the most unlikely vehicles we never expected to turn up for a feature surely had to be the Kamasura.

The VRX 250 is a veritable living legend, but for all the wrong reasons—famous because it was ‘sold’ as part of an American marketing scam over 30 years ago.  Only ever promoted into the States, it’s a total mystery why anyone would have bothered to bring one of these wretched machines across the Atlantic, but it appeared on a well known internet auction site in early 2017.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, the sale of this decrepit and derelict cyclemotor wasn’t fiercely competed, probably because no one really knew what it was, and it was obviously no sought-after classic!

Being cheap and unusual, it did however catch the interest of Dave Watson to add to his collection, and the first we knew about the bike was when Dave was asking us if we knew anything about the make?

Martin & Sharon Wikner collected the Kamasura from its vendor in the North of England, took it home, then brought it up to the Radar Run in April 2017, where it created some interest and amusement in the car park.

It already seemed to have been decided that IceniCAM should generate an article on the Kamasura, so the bike came straight to us instead of going home with its new owner.

Kamasura VRX 250 engine

Preliminary assessments had ascertained there was no spark, and that the engine created some ominous clonking noises when turned over; coupled with the rusty and decrepit condition of the cycle, its restoration was clearly going to be no enviable task.

The Kamasura returned with us to the Mopedland workshops, where it was duly avoided for as long as possible, and work didn’t actually manage to start on it until a whole year later.

The bike really was so bad that the whole lot had to come apart, but with no prospect of being able to source any parts, it was clearly going to be a major project of improvisation, make and mend.  Pretty much the only components replaced were tyres, tubes, rim tapes, cables and bearings.  Everything else was restored and repaired.

Probably unsurprisingly, the bike didn’t actually seem to have received hardly any use, but that didn’t make the job any easier, because there were clearly a lot of issues with the original build quality.

During the engine rebuild it was decided to remove all the original black paint from the transmission cover, and polish up the cast aluminium so it would show up the engine better in the forthcoming photoshoot.  It was felt that if the cover remained black, then the motor might appear no more than an indistinguishable dark blob hung under the frame in the photographs.

Kamasura VRX 250 engine

When finished, the bike certainly looked a whole lot better, and also ran as well as any LESA engine could—but it was still obviously a very poor product.

Research into Kamasura was made more difficult by Internet search engines readily seeming to interpret that the enquiry might have misspelt, and predicted an unwanted close alternative of the text … adding VRX 250 to the search seemed to narrow the field enough to resolve most of the misinterpretation, but information on the Kamasura was generally scattered and confused, which took a lot of collation and sorting out.

The Kamasura story was unique, historically interesting, and an absolute ‘must do’ for IceniCAM to present.  We’re very pleased to have completed the project, but the VRX was a rubbish bike, and a complete rip-off for the unfortunates taken in by the ‘promotion’.

The title of the article seemed very apt, taken from that well-known phrase ‘if something seems too good to be true, then it probably is’.

The Kamasura VRX 250 was allegedly 100% suitable for road use, but was such an ineffectual machine that it would be hard to imagine anyone might ever have actually used one as transport.

Dave Watson appeared very pleased when the restored and running Kamasura returned to him at the CARD Run in June 2018; so much so, that he was initially considering registering the VRX for use on club runs!  We thought that might be a trifle optimistic, and having subsequently had the opportunity to test the Kamasura’s true practicality, those plans might have been revised in the light of a little more experience.

Realistically, the Kamasura is little more than an interesting novelty for demonstration and display, but not at all practical for actual use.

Dave also decided to sponsor the article to help bring the production on to publication.

First Support feature: The Real Thing

The Mopedland workshops had rebuilt Jon Beecham’s GAC SP50 engine for him, so we’d already got to look inside the motor, and note its differences from a more familiar Motobécane AV89 model.  Mopedland further supplied most of the required parts for the bike’s ongoing restoration, so when it came to raising a dating certificate for registration, then we got that job too.  When we drove up to Norfolk in July 2017 to take the dating photos and complete the inspection, this also seemed a handy opportunity to perform an incidental road test.

At this stage there wasn’t any plan as to how a final article might be presented, and the initial thought was that maybe some other Spanish mopeds might eventually turn up so we could do an Iberian feature?

The GAC pictures and road test notes were filed and briefly forgotten until, in October 2017, we went to Walesby in North Lincolnshire specifically to test the Ceccato of the Hinchcliffe brothers, who also happened to have the Motobécane SP50R there on the day.  So, after completing the Ceccato, we incidentally also covered the Spéciale.

The idea quickly occurred to put the two very contrasting SP50s together into one feature, and it was already decided this would be the plan before we’d even got home, so the Motobécane SP50R test notes were immediately typed after the GAC notes, then everything went back in the can to wait another year before its turn came up.

We initially dabbled with the thought of maybe ‘The Real McCoy’ as he initial title … maybe a little too crisp?  Then possibly some Cola related derivation seemed more suitable, because the Spanish copy GAC proved nothing like ‘The Real Thing’.  The miserable performance probably wasn’t all GAC’s fault, because they were likely to have built their machine to comply with a European 40km/h specification at the time, but it certainly resulted in a very stunted sports styled moped that was guaranteed to thoroughly disappoint.

It was also noticeable that the 1969-dated GAC engine was still on the previous generation round-pattern cylinder, while the earlier 1967 Motobécane motor top-end had already moved on to the square fin pattern.  That’s presumably how things work with licensed designs … always one step behind …

SP50 head to head

Second Support feature: The Holy Grail

Our Pogliaghi Ducati Cucciolo came to the UK among a batch of various bikes that Tim Adams of Suffolk Section EACC brought back from Italy.

The first time we saw it was when it was when the bike turned up for display on the EACC/IceniCAM stand at the Copdock Motorcycle Show in October 2017.  Tim said the engine ran, but that he hadn’t actually ridden the bike, and wanted a dating certificate raised for possible registration, so offered the bike for a road test if we cared to take the opportunity.

To be honest, we didn't really know anything about Pogliaghi at the time (let’s face it, who would have?), and there were certainly no motor cycling encyclopædia references to the brand, but its origin was clearly indicated by the faded remains of its maker’s tank and mudguard transfers, and the bike was obviously unrestored and in completely original condition.

It wasn’t until Internet searches on Pogliaghi started returning his exotic racing bicycles that we began to appreciate that this was a really exceptional and extraordinary moped—maybe even ‘The Holy Grail’?

A closer study of the frame brought the appreciation that it did seem to have been specialist custom-built, had clearly been completed in a very skilled manner, then fettled to perfection.

It seemed rather odd that the bike was fitted with relatively heavy road-going mudguards, a toolbox, rear carrier, and lighting set, where one might more likely have been expecting it to be a stripped-to-the-bones track racer, so it was obviously intended for practical road use.

One suggestion is that it might have been built for road racing, since Italy was hosting a number of long-distance place-to-place small capacity motor cycle races of 50cc, 75cc, etc around about the mid-1950s, and there’s some thought that maybe it could have been built to take part in such events?  The fitment of its large capacity petrol tank might support that theory, to minimise the number of refuelling stops required.

It was unfortunate that the Ducati M55 engine felt rather tired, so the bike seemed unable to deliver any decent performance, and the ineffective Opes linked brakes made the ride too uncertain to really test the frame’s abilities.

Whatever its story, this was clearly a very unusual machine that passed briefly though our hands, and Tim has subsequently sold the bike on to a buyer in the USA.

If anyone might have further information on this extraordinary machine that may hint toward its history, we'd be very interested to hear it, so we can add more detail to the article.

What’s Next?

Next Main Feature: ‘Little Allsorts’ is our next planned main feature, and an article that seems to have been way too long coming.  The presentation was originally intended as a specific comparison of two small mini-bikes, but since one of the intended bikes never became available, then other mini-bikes came along and got added to the mix.  Now the article seems overrun with lots of different mini-bikes, and even more threatening to join the feature—and we still don’t have the second intended bike rebuilt and available for test yet!

There comes a point at which you just bite the bullet and commit to presenting the feature, then hope that the last piece of the jigsaw might be completed in time to meet the production deadline…

Next Support: Continuing the Motobécane theme, but back to an earlier chapter…

You’d think it’d be straightforward enough to recognise an old Mobylette AV3 surely?  It’d have the tubular frame, with the old AV3 direct-drive engine, rigid forks, and calliper brakes at front and rear-or could this turn out to be a mysterious case of ‘Mistaken Identity’.

So, if it’s not an AV3, then what actually is it?

Next Second Support: In January 2017 edition 40 we presented the Mutation article, to introduce to our unsuspecting readers the concept of an urban-ised scooter.  Dalek now has a younger sibling, in camouflage, and this is the story of ‘Dazzle’.

What else?

Well, there’s this Website … we’ve put a lot of useful information here, and we’re alwas adding to it.  We have a directory of useful people to know.  Information on local events and, after each run, we put photos of the event on this website.  There’s also a market place where you can buy and sell mopeds, autocycles, cyclemotors and other related items

We have a discussion forum on Yahoo—you can get to that from our Contacts page or the box at the top of this page.

Director’s Cut logo

As each edition of the magazine is published, we add to our collection of articles.  From Edition 3 of the magazine, we introduced another evolution.  Previously, features in the articles section had reflected what appeared in the magazine, but you may now discover a bit of extra content has crept into some items as they’ve transferred to the website—you might call it ‘The Directors Cut’.  The problem with printed magazines is editing everything to fit page sizes and space, and there can sometimes be bits you’d like to include, but they have to be left out to fit the available space.  The web articles don’t need to be constrained by the same limitations so, although the text will remain the same, the ‘Directors Cut’ graphic in the header indicates the item carries extra pictures and bits that didn’t make it to the magazine.

We also have an Information Service—if you want to know more about your moped, we can help.

What we do

Iceni CAM Magazine is committed to celebrating all that’s good about the Cyclemotor, Moped and Autocycle scene; researching toward the advancement of the pool of knowledge about cyclemotors, autocycles, old mopeds, and other oddities; and the publication of original material.  We are a declared non-profit making production, though we still need to fund everything somehow to keep the show on the road.

The magazine is free on line, and the nominal price of supplying hard copies to non-computerised folks is pitched only to cover printing and postage.  All advertising is free since we believe that the few people left out there providing parts & service for these obsolete machines do so as a hobby and an interest.  This involves far more effort than reward, and they should be appreciated for the assistance they provide.  Our Information Service is there to help anyone needing manuals to help with restoration of a machine.  We make a small charge for this but, again, we have set our prices so the just cover postage and material costs.  However, we are trying to make this free too!  We are setting up an on-line library where you can download manuals at no charge.

Overheads involve operation of the website, and particularly the generation of features.  Articles like Last Flight of the Eagle can cost as little as £20 to complete, while others have cost up to £150 to generate, eg: Top Cat on the Leopard Bobby.  With these overheads, you may be wondering how we get the money to keep it all going.  So do we!  But, somehow, it works, helped by a number of generous people who have sponsored articles or made donations to keep the show on the road.

How long does it take to research, produce, and get these feature articles to press?  Well, up to two years of preparatory research in some cases, where little is known about the machine or its makers, and where nothing has been published before.  Then, collating all the information and interviews, drafting and re-drafting the text, travel and photoshoots typically account for up to 40 to 50 hours to deliver the package to editing.

There are many examples where these articles have become the definitive reference material for previously unpublished machines like Mercury Mercette & Hermes, Leopard Bobby, Ostler Mini-Auto, Dunkley Whippet & Popular, Stella Minibike, Ambassador Moped, Elswick Hopper Lynx, and many others.

We’re committed to continuing to produce these articles, because we believe it needs to be done, and we’ve got a proven track record for achieving it.  Nobody else has done it in 50 odd years, so if we don’t do it—who will?

To whet your appetite for what’s ahead, here’s an updated list of machines with developing articles for future features: Ariel Pixie, Batavus Go-Go, Capriolo 75 Turismo Veloce, Cyc-Auto (Wallington Butt), Cyc-Auto (Villiers), Derbi Antorcha, Dot ViVi, Dunkley S65, Dunkley Whippet Super Sports, Elswick–Hopper VAP MIRA test prototype, Gilera RS50, Heath mini-bike, Hercules Her-cu-motor, Honda Model A, Honda CD50, Honda SS50, James Comet 1F, MV Agusta Liberty, Norman Nippy Mark 2, Norman Nippy Mark 3, NVT Ranger, Powell Joybike, Rabeneick Binetta, Simson SR2E, Solifer Speed, Sun Autocycle, Sun Motorette, Vincent Firefly, Yamaha FS1E.

The working list changes all the time as articles are completed and published, and further new machines become added—so as you see, there’s certainly no shortage of material.

Readers have probably noticed a number of the articles collecting sponsorship credits, and we’re very grateful for the donations people have made toward IceniCAM, which certainly assures we’re going forward into another year.  We don’t need a lot of money since IceniCAM is a declared non-profit making organisation, and operates on a shoestring (and we’d like to keep it that way)—run by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts.

It’s easy to sponsor an article by either picking a machine from the forward list, and we’ll attach your credit to it, or simply making a donation.  There is no fixed amount, it’s entirely up to you, and however large or small, we’re grateful for any contribution to keep the show on the road.

If a vehicle you’re interested in seeing an article about isn’t in the list, then let us know and we’ll see about trying to add it in the programme, but we do need access to examples—perhaps you have a machine you’d like to offer for a feature?

See the Contact Page for how to: Subscribe to the magazineChat to fellow readersMake a donationSponsor an articleEnter a free advertSubmit an article yourselfWrite a letter to usPropose a machine for featureOffer your machine for test feature

News

New e-mail addresses

September 2018

The UKFSN mail server is getting increasingly unreliable so, from now on, our preferred e-mail addresses are:
Andrew:
Mark:

Stolen bikes

March 2018

Two of John Hook’s mopeds have been stolen; these are both ‘specials’ and easily identifiable.  The first is a 1961 Mobylette Special based on an AV32 frame, YSK 288, finished in red, and powered by a Sachs 47cc, 3-speed, fan-cooled engine.

Mobylette–Sachs Special Mobylette–Sachs Special

The second is a 1964 Special based on a Runabout frame, CAU 624B, finished in dark green, and powered by a Sachs 2-speed engine.

Raleigh–Sachs Special

Both bikes are fitted with suspension forks and derailleur gears.  If you see or hear anything of these bikes, please contact John Hook on .

Bernard Soler-Thèbes

December 2017

We’ve just heard that Bernard Soler-Thèbes, the great sports Moped enthusiast, died at the beginning of December.  ‘BST’ as he was popularly known, was the author of several books on sports mopeds and also wrote many, many articles for thr French motor cycling press, not only on his specialist subject of sports mopeds, but also regular reports of runs and jumbles in the South of France. He had, in fact, been reporting on a motor cycle event only the weekend before his death.  Back in the mid-1990s, BST contributed several articles to the NACC’s magazine, Buzzing; at that time, he was the secretary of the club he founded: the Club Français du Cyclo Sport.

Allan Stewart

All the same

December 2017

I recently filmed a music video for my new song ‘All The Same’, inspired by mod music.  The video was professionally made with a film crew of four and features 23 mopeds.  I thought this may be of interest for an article for your magazine.  It was a combination of the Woodley Scooter Boys and Reading Comedy Mods out in action and the video acts as an excellent tour around Reading as an added bonus!
Here is the song and I have also attached some photos from the day.

Merry Christmas!
With very best wishes,
Allan Stewart

Mopedathon for Kidney Cancer UK

August 2017

Kidney Cancer UK is involved with a group of seven Superbikers from London who are taking on a personal challenge this August in memory of one of their fellow bikers who died from kidney cancer in 2016.  They are swapping their Superbikes for 50cc mopeds that they have renovated for the adventure, which will see them ride the coast roads from Lands End into London, taking roughly six days.  One of the members of the group, Silvio, lost his brother to kidney cancer last year so they are riding in his memory to raise funds and awareness of the disease.

The Mopedathon ‘Just Giving’ page is at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/mopedexpresswayarmy17

Moped owners wanted in Ipswich

July 2017

There is a 40th anniversary reunion for the class of ’77 from Copleston School, Ipswich and the organisers would like people to bring along a few 1970s’ period Puch Maxis and other sports mopeds to the event—the kind of ‘sixteener’ bikes they’d have been riding back in 1977.  The event is from 8pm on Saturday 15th July at the Conservative Club in Newton Road, Ipswich and will be raising money for St Elizabeth’s Hospice.  Please contact Mark Fosdike: if you can provide a bike for the evening.

Original Mobymatic badge
The original Mobylette badge,
which was plastic moulded, back
painted, and was held on by a
special M3×0.6mm pitch screw.

Mobymatic badges

January 2017

Mopedland has now generated NEW badges for For Mobylettes AV76, AV77, AV78, AV88, AV89, etc.

The original badge and special screw have not been available for some time.

It would not have been viable to remake badges by the original method, so they have been re-created by more practical modern means.  The new badges are made of two components: a bright nickel-plated metal diecast badge mount and a domed badge with self-adhesive backing so it can be stuck to the bright face of the badge mount.  The textured back of the badge mount can then be glued (with impact adhesive, Araldite/resin, or mastic) to the badge mounting point on the fuel tank; it engages in the correct position by the location pin on the back of the badge mount, which centres into the former screw hole.  The price will be £18 a pair (2 badge mounts @ £5 each + 2 domed badges @ £4 each).  The new tooling has produced prototype samples and the production badges are expected to be available for sale very soon.

Original Mobymatic badge
Left to right: the textured back of the badge mount with location pin,
the bright front face of the badge mount, the domed badge as supplied
on peelable backing, and the domed badge stuck onto the badge mount.


Older news stories are available in our News Archive