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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 April 2018 edition is available now on our Downloads Page.

The East Anglian Cyclemotor Club has a CARD Run planned for the 28th July 2018 (Cyclemotor And Roller Drive), so our 45th IceniCAM Magazine is exclusively a roller-drive cyclemotor edition, which hopefully may motivate a few people to sort out their bikes and attend.

Main feature: Bicimotore

Our main feature on the Gloria and Cecatto Romeo ‘Bicimotore’ has been in the melting pot for quite a while…

The saga started several years ago when Tim Adams brought the two bikes back from Italy along with a van load of other machines, but we were most particularly interested in these two because they were so unusual.  It seemed our bikes had been on display in a private museum collection, but they hadn’t been run for a quite some time, and the Gloria clearly had engine issues.

Since Tim was local, there were hopes that he might sort them out for roadtest, but that didn’t happen, and within a short while the Gloria and Cecatto were eclipsed by other fresher and sportier Italian imports to his collection.

After a couple of years the moment had passed and Tim sold them on … fortunately however, we knew where they went.  The Ceccato passed to the Hinchcliffe brothers in North Lincolnshire, who sorted it out and got the engine running, then contacted us to raise a dating certificate for registration, after which we kept in touch.

The Ceccato was of particular interest for an article because of the company’s racing history and the fabulous competition machines it produced.  Maybe the cyclemotor wasn’t quite the same as the racing ohc four-strokes, but it would be such a rare opportunity to present that feature, we really had to make it happen.

Parking the Ceccato for a while…

Since the Italian cyclemotors first arrived in Britain together, it seemed as if we really ought to be presenting them in an article together, and the Gloria was bought locally by Maurice Nightingale, who also contacted us to get some work done on the bike.  Neil Bowen at Walton Works Graphics invisibly repaired and repainted a nasty dent in the fuel tank, while the workshops checked out the prospects of getting it to run, which was clearly going to require some serious engine work.

A deal was struck with Maurice that we could have the bike for display at Copdock Show 2015, after which work would begin on the engine, while the cycle chassis would return to him for storage.

Since no parts were expected to be available for the engine, it was necessary to tread very carefully because it was very important not to break anything.  Since nothing was known, and practically no information available on the Gloria, it was critical to record everything when the motor was dismantled… like clocking its ignition timing setting at the present points gap.

The motor had to be stripped back to the seized crank-side main bearing, magneto set meticulously reconstructed, the cast iron piston, rings and bore re-finished, and the decompressor mechanism remade. 

Cleaning up the clogged drive roller revealed its remarkable fabricated construction from no fewer than 35 components, and the motor proved to be made to an extraordinary quality.

The exhaust had been both damaged and rusted beyond any practical repair, so a new one had to be made, then the engine returned to the frame for setting up to run.

The Gloria magneto set raised its first spark for many years, and the lighting circuit is wired as a low-tension tap from the non-points side of the HT coil.  We can only think of the Vincent Firefly that is also arranged to power its lights in the same unusual manner.

A number of other cycle fittings were serviced, and a rear prop stand added for practicality.

The Gloria was completed and returned for its second display at Copdock Show in 2017 then road tested and photo-shot on 11th October 2017.

Gloria roller drive Ceccato roller drive
Roller drive: Gloria and Ceccato

The Ceccato had been road tested and photo-shot at Walesby just three days previously on 8th October 2017, subsequent to which the bike became sold on to a new home.

Only the test notes were written up at the time, then the package went into the can while other production work concentrated on Iceni CAM Magazine No.44 for January 2018.

It was quite some time later in March 2018 that work resumed on the research to bring the article to completion for Iceni CAM Magazine No.45, the April edition.

To say the Gloria research was quite deeply buried would be an understatement.  All the information came only from a number of Italian sources and required translation, then an exhaustive collation exercise to assemble it into a practical history.  The fine quality of the cyclemotor was reflected in the exacting standards of its maker, but the research revealed it was a story that ended in tragedy.

The Ceccato history was appreciably easier to research due to more historical background having been recorded thanks to its racing heritage, and because the Ceccato company still exists, though much of the detail still had to be translated from Italian sources to compile a comprehensive text.

The Ceccato story was equally remarkable in a completely different way, but was similarly tragic in that Pietro Ceccato died suddenly in January 1956 at just 51 years old, and only shortly before his racing machines started scoring their greatest successes over the following season.

The ‘Bicimotore’ feature was drafted together during March and finally completed mere days before the editorial deadline at the end of the month.

The article was sponsored by a generous donation from Les Gobbett of the Leicester Enthusiasts and Lincolnshire EACC - thanks very much for that Les, we hope you feel the article did your support justice.

Presenting two remarkable and extremely rare Italian cyclemotors in one feature was a production we couldn’t trivialise.  We’re probably never likely to get the opportunity to revisit either of these makes again, so it had to be a comprehensive job, the best we could deliver—and it obviously wasn’t going to work out anything but quite a big article.

First Support feature: A Curious Experiment

Our Tailwind feature became titled as ‘A Curious Experiment’ because that’s pretty much what it was for its creator, John Latta.

The Tailwind cyclemotor is one of the original legends of British cyclemotoring.  We’ve been waiting to get our hands on one of these since we started IceniCAM and, though most of the Tailwind models survive in a private collection, they’ve remained unseen for many years.

Just this one example remains outside captivity.

Tailwind engine
Tailwind engine (Photo: Derek Langdon)

Derek Langdon from Nottingham salvaged this Tailwind as no more than a derelict engine from an autojumble and rebuilt it into the machine it is today, registered, and on the road.

IceniCAM deeply believes that machines should be seen and run occasionally, otherwise, what’s the point?  You may just as well keep a picture!  Anyone can write about anything by simply reproducing previously published information, that’s really easy, but IceniCAM goes to greater efforts to chase down and present machines that we actually road test.  We prove that they’re still alive, and the test ride often contributes toward further analysis.

IceniCAM is so committed to what it does, that we've even travelled to the far side of the world to road test bikes for articles!

In some respects, the Tailwind was a remarkable cyclemotor engine for its time, particularly in the way its porting configuration allowed it to rev so cleanly, while most of its contemporaries suffered restricted scavenging and often broke into bouts of four-stroking combustion, which generally limited their revving capabilities.  Look at the other accompanying cyclemotors road tested in this presentation, and all of their upper revs were clipped by four-stoking.  The Gloria, the famous Edgar T. Westbury’s Busy Bee, and even the racing Ceccato’s Romeo: all were topped-off by gas scavenging issues, but the Tailwind was extraordinary in the way it revved cleanly right up its range.  This was 1949, and there were few production two-stroke motors which did that at the time.

The Tailwind’s ability to rev, however, was seemingly achieved at a total cost to its low speed torque.  The 29cc motor simply didn’t have any torque, and you either had to engage low ratio of the two-speed drive to be able to pull away under its own power, or pedal assist it away.

The trouble with the two-speed roller was the lower traction from the reduced surface contact of the smaller diameter roller.  It didn’t really work against an incline, because as the load went up, the drive tended to slip, then the roller would spin, and its grit facing smoked out the tyre.

It’s a pretty obvious shortcoming, but you just don’t realise this sort of stuff without actually assessing its ride, and it’s so easy to assume that everything worked wonderfully, just like they suggested in period reports—but sometimes the reality isn’t quite how it seems…

Our feature presents a rather different perspective to the Tailwind, and one that you'd probably never figure unless you actually rode one.

The later 50cc Tailwind models featured a disc valve, which would have been a logical progression to improve low speed torque.  John Latta’s team must have recognised the torque problem, which would have been exactly why they developed the Mark 3 version.

Modern two-stroke engine development has resolved the low speed torque and revs issue with wild multi-ported cylinders, reed-valves and exhaust port power-valves.  John Latta would probably have got to experimenting with such things too if they’d have existed in his time.

The story of the Tailwind is established history, but maybe we see it now from a different angle?

Our Tailwind was road tested and photo-shot on Saturday October 7th 2017, then the text written up at the Aigos Georgios villa in Cyprus from 13th to 20th October; some articles are completed well ahead of the game, while others may only finish at the last minute.

‘A Curious Experiment’ was sponsored by donation from Barry Coleman, County Antrim, Northern Ireland EACC.

Second Support feature: DIY

‘Do It Yourself’ was another ‘living legend’ production on Edgar T Westbury’s ‘machine your own Busy Bee cyclemotor engine’.  This was another of those rare home model engineering projects produced from a set of castings, and following on the original idea of Dick Ostler’s Mini-Auto presented in January 1949.

Edgar T Westbury was THE famous model engine designer who presented his contribution to cyclemotoring in 1951, though by this time there were now commercially produced cyclemotors widely available and on sale.  By 1951 a British buyer could simply go out and purchase a GYS, Mosquito, Trojan Mini-Motor, Britax–Ducati Cucciolo, British Salmson Cyclaid, Cyclemaster, Cymota, or Power Pak.

Buying a complete basic set of Busy Bee castings was £3–15s, but purchasing a Wipac Bantamag was an additional £4–6s, and an Amal carburettor £2–14s, then further ancillaries could cost a further £3–10s, which might easily add up to over £14, while a complete Cymota for example, was listed for £18-18s.  The Busy Bee kit could cost even more for the alloy cylinder and fan-cooled options, or cost less if you made more parts yourself, but it was mainly aimed at the niche market of people who were interested in home modelling rather than the commercial buyer.

ETW was certainly the man with a significant history of model designs behind him, and he seemed to charge headlong into his Busy Bee engine, comprehensively reporting and publishing the respective stages as the project progressed simultaneously to completion, whereupon the casting kit was immediately announced.

It was a very impressive presentation, but we couldn’t see where any development or proof testing took place before the kits went on sale?

Busy Bees now typically seem to be reputed as particularly hot running engines, prone to seizure, but period accounts strangely never seem to reflect this?  Anyone looking at a Busy Bee motor will notice straight away the ‘economy’ of cooling fins on the barrel and head, the ‘blockage’ of airflow by the rider in the rear horizontal arrangement, and the fins apparently being orientated in the wrong plane to optimise any airflow the engine might get.  It seems so easy to raise concerns about possible heat problems, but why did nothing seem to get reported at the time?

The low speed torque performance was very good, but gas scavenging became particularly ineffective as revs increased, up to the 21mph maximum where the 51cc motor topped out in a bluster of four-stoking and induced vibration.

The unusual piston design and deep transfers with drilled ports seemed like an odd experimental concept that proved no more than a developmental dead-end.  Nobody else employed the Busy Bee’s unique arrangement, but maybe that’s part of what makes it so interesting, and the engine was certainly a bold and original design for ETW to commit to.

Our featured machine was another bike from Derek Langdon’s collection, which was road tested and photo-shot in Nottingham on the same Saturday October 7th 2017, with the text also written up at the Aigos Georgios villa in Cyprus from 13th to 20th October.

While the whole Busy Bee article was completed from beginning to end within two weeks, it might have seemed completely crazy to be producing a single magazine with four extraordinarily rare and incredibly unusual cyclemotors in the same edition?  Our excuse might be that it was a plan to promote interest in the EACC CARD (Cyclemotor And Roller Drive) Run planned for the 28th July 2018…

Looking back on the idea of putting these four cyclemotors into one edition, it was certainly a very difficult challenge.  Any one of the three articles could have occupied a main feature … and yes, it probably was a crazy idea … but what an epic production to present, eh?

What’s Next?

If we can get all the planned articles completed for our next edition in July, it’ll make another full set of cyclemotor features hopefully to motivate people for the East Anglian Cyclemotor Club CARD Run planned for the 28th July 2018 (Cyclemotor And Roller Drive).  There are no powerful autocycles or fast mopeds at a CARD event, because everybody is on a go slow!

Next Main Feature: The mission continues to test other obscure Italian cyclemotors, but the bikes we’re hoping to road test and photo shoot for our next edition are still in Italy!  We haven’t even started yet, so will this article be completed as planned, or could we be finding ourselves having to scrape together a replacement feature at the last minute?  Let’s hope we work best under pressure…

There is continuity between Gloria and the subject of our next intended feature, because they were virtually neighbours, just a stroll down the Viale Abruzzi, and ‘The Eaglet is coming’.

Next Support: Maintaining the on-going cyclemotoring theme, this was a sound and solid British-built cyclemotor, a steady slogger for years of service, and offering good value for money.  There are quite a few of these machines still going strong, and occasionally turning up at rally events.  It just goes to show that you can’t keep a good cyclemotor down … ‘Upside Down’ actually.

Next Second Support: While Edgar T Westbury intended his Busy Bee engine design of 1951 for further applications beyond a cyclemotor, just the following year, a humble Cornish farmer began reverse-engineering his hedge-cutter to create what may be considered as the best and fastest British made cyclemotor.  This is certainly a motor that could have shown ‘the master’ how to design and build a proper clip-on engine … ‘Jetcut’.

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 3, Ariel Pixie, Batavus Go-Go, Bianchi Aquilotto, 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, Honda Stream, James Comet 1F, Motobécane SP50, MV Agusta Liberty, Norman Nippy Mark 2, Norman Nippy Mark 3, NVT Ranger, Powell Joybike, Rabeneick Binetta, Sinclair–Goddard Power Pak, Simson SR2E, Solifer Speed, Sun Autocycle, Sun Motorette, Teagle cyclemotor, Tailwind cyclemotor, 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

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