Tagged: Velocette

Elegant Single: 1960 Velocette MSS for Sale

1960 Velocette MSS L Side Front

It may have been built in 1960, but this Velocette MSS is, in many ways, a very nice 1930s motorcycle. A precursor to the evocatively-named Venom, the Velocette MSS was launched in 1935, although production was interrupted by the Second World War and didn’t start up again until 1954. Powered by a 495cc overhead-valve, air-cooled single with undersquare bore and stroke dimensions, the bike made 23hp and had a top speed in the neighborhood of 80mph.

1960 Velocette MSS R Side

Velocette was based in Birmingham and made high-quality motorcycles that featured innovative designs, with foot-operated gearshifts and the world’s first “positive-stop” mechanism for its four-speed box. Although earlier Velocettes did use overhead-cam engines, the MSS used simple pushrods to operate the overhead valves, but that cam was situated high in the head to keep pushrods short and the bike was otherwise of very high specification.

1960 Velocette MSS Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1960 Velocette MSS for Sale   

Nicely restored MSS, runs good, motor strong.  Recently ridden on 125 mile BSAOCNC Gold Country Ride, in the foothills east of Sacramento.

Speedometer reads faster than actual speed, may need a different speedometer drive. Some oil leaks, could be from primary case, would be nice to sort out.   Not a show bike, a few nicks and chips in the paint, chrome not perfect.  All in all a nice bike.  All good with the electrics, headlight, taillight, horn, charging system working. Actual mileage is unknown, 1,228 currently showing on the odometer. Clear California title. Will include a copy of the owner’s handbook, good info on starting procedure.

No reserve

1960 Velocette MSS Engine

The seller also includes a short video of the bike running. There hasn’t been much activity on this auction, but bidding is up to $7,600 with very little time left. Compared to modern machines, the power is very modest, but the spread of torque is broad and these are both comfortable and very durable motorcycles, with excellent handling and there is room for performance improvement: you could probably fit some parts from the Venom if you want more speed with the subtle, stock looks.


1960 Velocette MSS L Side

Sophisticated Simplicity: 1939 Velocette KSS / MAC Special

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Front

For many riders, motorcycles are all about simplicity: throwing off the shackles of a roof and four doors, sound-deadening, automatic climate control, lane-change warning systems, info-tainment systems. And the real purists, be they lovers of modern or vintage machines, often gravitate towards single-cylinder machines like the Velocette KSS.

1939 Velocette KSS Special L Rear

Single cylinder bikes represent motorcycling at its most elemental: fewer parts to break and fewer parts to maintain, along with plenty of torque and charisma. Who needs a tachometer with that spread of power? Just shift it by feel. And while that simplicity and economy means that modern single-cylinder motorcycles are typically of the cheap and durable variety, that hasn’t always been the case.

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Engine

Based in Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, Velocette built their enviable reputation for durability with machines like the KSS 350cc. The “K” series bikes were very innovative, with a bevel-drive and tower shaft-driven overhead cam engine and a foot-operated gearshift with the very first positive-stop, something found on basically every modern motorcycle.

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Tank

Later “M” series machines switched to a much cheaper-to-produce engine with pushrod-operated valves, but used an improved frame and suspension based on the racing “K” bikes.

This particular example features the best of both worlds: a refined and sophisticated bevel-drive engine with the improved handling of the later frame and suspension, making it a period-correct hotrod. Perhaps an all-original KSS would be worth more money, but this hybrid should make a better overall motorcycle…

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Rear Suspension

From the original eBay listing: 1939 Velocette KSS/MAC Special for sale

The marriage of a KSS motor with the more current MAC rolling chassis was a fairly common practice that resulted in a far better platform for the OHC KSS motor.  Classic Motorcycle & Mechanics tested one in July ’92 and came away impressed with the combo.  This example (’39 KSS motor # KSS9121 and ’54 MAC chassis # RS7479) was built by a Velo expert in the Florida area during ’91 and ’92 and acquired by the current owner in 2004.  He rode it occasionally over the next few years and decomissioned it for display in his climate controlled collection in 2008.  He considered the machine to be a fine example with no mechanical issues.

1939 Velocette KSS Special Dash

I love how the seller refers to the 1954 MAC chassis not as “later” but as “more current”. Ha! It’s all relative, I guess… In any event, this bike is in beautiful, but not over-restored condition, although I’m not sure just what it would take to “recommission” it for road use. It’s only been off the road for a few years, so hopefully it won’t take too much effort: this bike deserves to be ridden.


1939 Velocette KSS Special R Rear

Old World Craftsmanship: 1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline

1964 Velocette Venom R Front Full

1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline. Now that’s a real mouthful of a name, but it just sounds so British. And it is, designed around a classic single-cylinder engine and built by hand by a family-owned company based in Birmingham, UK.

1964 Velocette Venom L Rear

These days, singles are most often associated with offroad and enduro-styled machines, or with practical, budget-minded learner bikes and commuters. But for many years, single-cylinder machines were a mainstay of the motorcycle industry. They played to the basic strengths of the configuration: fewer moving parts meant simplicity, which in turn led to reliability, light weight, and a practical spread of power. And Velocettes were anything but cheap and cheerful: they were famous for their quality construction and innovative designs characterized by gradual, thoughtful evolution and craftsmanship, as opposed to mass-produced revolution as favored by the Japanese manufacturers.

1964 Velocette Venom R Front Detail

Displacing 499cc’s, the Venom’s aluminum overhead-valve engine featured a cam set high in the block to keep pushrods short. It put about 35hp through a four-speed box that included one of Velocette’s innovative features: the first use of the “positive-stop” shift.

1964 Velocette Venom R Rear Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline

For sale is my 1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline frame# RS17215 engine #VM5634. It has the Lucas manual racing magneto, Thruxton seat, Thruxton twin leading shoe front brake, 10TT9 carb. 

I bought the bike earlier this year out of the Mike Doyle collection at auction. I don’t have much previous info on the bike, overall it is in great shape. The fairing has some nicks and scratches, and a crack underneath but presents well. To get it going, I changed the fluids, adjusted the clutch, brakes and installed a new 6V battery. After learning “the drill” the bike runs magnificently. I’ve put about 100 miles on it. The clutch works properly and it shifts fine. The TT carb is a challenge to tune and be civil around town so I’m in process of bolting on a new monobloc. The TT comes in a box. It does weep some oil out of the clutch while running so it comes with a new o-ring seal and felt gasket along with a few other bits and bobs like new rubber grommets for the cables and shock bushings.  

This is a very complete and highly original bike showing 6229 miles. I have a California title and it’s currently registered in my name. No reserve, happy bidding.

Update 10/7 – Finished installing the Amal monobloc and the bike runs and idles great, was able to take it for a putt. It doesn’t need a choke so I left it off, but comes with the choke parts and a new cable. I’ll post a video of the bike running on Saturday. One other item to note is that the decompression lever and cable are missing. 

1964 Velocette Venom L Side

The “Clubman” designation indicated higher-performance specifications, including higher compression and a bigger carburetor, along with a sportier riding position and a closer-ratio gearbox. The “Veeline” featured the optional fairing, making this particular example relatively rare.

Velocettes make ideal collectable British singles, owing to their high-quality construction and relative reliability. With several days, bidding is up to $7,800 with the reserve not yet met. I’m relatively unfamiliar with the current value of these, but this appears to be in very nice condition, and that fairing, will not especially sleek, is very distinctive!


1964 Velocette Venom R Front

1936 Velocette KSS MKII

A popular term  used during the 1990’s to define race bikes dressed up for the road was Homologation. These limited numbered production road going racers were a requirement by race governing bodies for “production” race series. Even before this term became common, Manufactures offered road going bikes which were thinly disguised Grand Prix race bikes. The Velocette KSS offered from 1928 until 1948 was one such bike, and if you strip off the lights and extra weight here and there, you were a little tunning away from being a works KTT Grand Prix entry. If you are in England you have the option to bid on this1936 MKII KSS now.

This is the KTT, remove the lights from the KSS and you are half way there

From the seller

This motorcycle was bought as a basket case after having been totally dismantled for at least 25 years. It was rebuilt, with any missing parts replaced either new or from auto jumbles

The wheel rims were beyond recovery, so both wheels were rebuilt with flanged alloy rims, 21” front and 19” rear (should be 20” rear, but tubes/tyres were not easy to find). New tyres and tubes were fitted. The wheel bearings were in perfect condition, so were cleaned and repacked with grease. The front brake shoes were fine; the rear ones relined

Both transmission chains were renewed.

The gearbox works as it should – no jumping out of gear. The clutch is also good. I have fitted a VOC roller thrust bearing instead of the original ball type.

The motorcycle was rewired using a VOC loom as the basis. An electronic regulator has been fitted, inside the original housing so it is out of sight. The magneto (BTH) was not touched and has proved to be OK.

The girder forks were fitted with new spindles and bushes.

The petrol tank hasn’t been lined as it was rust and leak free. A new 276 Amal was fitted.

The one problem with taking this bike out to its potential is that there is no rear suspension. Though the Webb girder forks up front are the De Luxe model, I can’t see more then 2 inches of travel smoothing out anything but the flattest roads. Between the wars motorcycle frames did not make many advancements, its really the engine that drove the bikes to the winning circle.

The seller tells us like it is

The engine is a bit noisy on first start up, but quietens down once the oil pressure rises and the engine warms up. I think there needs to be a little more clearance in the bottom bevels.

That aside, the bike is quite lively, runs superbly on the road, and generally starts first or second kick. It doesn’t burn oil.

For the engine this includes new big end and main bearings, valves, springs and guides, and new oil control springs. The piston and barrel were in very good condition and on standard bore, so were left alone.


The 348cc Over Head Cam engine on the KSS generated 28bhp and was good enough to push the sub 300lb bike and rider over 80mph.  This KTT appears to have a latter enclosed cylinder head as prior to 1938 the valves and butterfly valve springs were exposed. If you are looking for a bike which was the pinnacle of road racers between the wars, and still want to be able to get home after dark, this KSS is waiting for you. BB

1960 Velocette Venom

The British Motorcycle Industry as a group could not evolve quickly enough to compete against the onslaught of the Japanese motorcycles. If there was one Manufacture who may have been lagging furthest behind it could be Velocette. When the rest of the industry had developed parallel twins and even triples, the top of the line Velocette would continue to be a 500cc single. Don’t take that as a negative, they were special and this Velocette Venom offered on eBay now is one those big singles.

From the seller

            1960Velocette Venom.  Very Original.  Doug Wood mag, David Lindsley dyno & solid state regulator.  VOC cogged dyno drive belt.  VOC oil filter conversion. Alton aluminum cylinder.  Top end done 3k miles ago.   S/S fenders.  Full width brakes front and rear.  Like new tires:AvonSpeed Masters.  New Monobloc carb.  Fuel tanks epoxy coated.  Starts like a Velo, runs like a champ, idles like a single should.  Tons of fun.  49,300 original miles.  Frame Number: RS17890  Engine Number: VM4518

As I have written before, there is a segment of collectors who often speak a language that cannot be understood by those not in the know. The way I interpret what the seller is offering is a well sorted list of upgrades to make this a rider. Improved electrical with the magnito, regulator and quieter belt drive. Improved ride with better brakes and tires. Mechanical improvements to the cylinder and upgrade oil filter.

Built around a square 86cmx86cm, the 499cc Venom was offered from 1955 through 1970, just a year prior to Velocettes liquidation. Developed by Eugene Goodman the engine was designed to move the cam shaft as close to the overhead valves as possible. The benefit of this would be the short push rods, but it also gave the timing side of the engine a unique map of Africa. In the Venom form you would get 34hp at 6200rpm and it would push you and the bike to 100mph.

Velocette may have stopped development with only one cylinder, but that did not stop them from competing, and winning. The Velocette Venom like this one currently holds the 500cc production 24hr endurance record set in 1961. Going around and around the Montlhery speed bowl outside of Paris a group of riders averaged 100.05 mph for 24hrs. A Velocette also just ran at Bonneville in 2011 and now can be called the fastest single cylinder British motorcycle going 147.485mph.

This bike offered on eBay appears to be a rider and not a show bike. The owner of this bike appears to have put the money were it is needed to make it “right”, and appears to have enjoyed the sound of a single cylinder through the unique  Fishtail exhaust.BB


1959 Velocette Venom or is it Viper

We all know that bigger is better. The more cubic centimeters you have the better your bike is. So what would you do if you could only find or afford a 350cc bike? Do exactly what someone had done to this .

The Viper was offered from 1955-1968. With its alloy head , aluminum cylinder sleeved in steel,  and higher compression piston, the 349cc engine gave 28bhp at 7000rpm and a top speed of 91mph. But when compared to the 500cc Venom offered during  the same time, there could be a case of CC envy. The Venom offered 34bhp and a top speed of 100mph, reaching that magic “Ton.” 

 What made this conversion possible is that the Viper and Venom share the same bottom end. So was it as simple as swapping a cylinder and piston to make your Viper a Venom? I wouldn’t think so.

The seller is upfront 


 The seller describes all the parts used to create this bike


The unique fishtail muffler on the Viper was design and developed to be used at the famous Brooklands trackin England. It is seen on many pre-WWII racing bikes and cars but was continued to be used by Velocette after the famous track had been destroyed.

Something I haven’t see a lot of in sales, so be careful when bidding.