Category: 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.

-tad

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.

-tad

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!

-tad

1964 Velocette Venom R Front

1939 Velocette KTT Mark VII

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When your dad owns a motorcycle company, you as the children have a very important role in the business. You are to go racing. This is what Percy and Eugene Goodman did for their father, the owner of Velocette. They built an over head cam racing bike, put Alec Bennett, an established racer, on it and went to the Isle of Man. They won in 1926 and the motorcycle they built was the bevel drive, OHC, KTT. K for camshaft, TT for Tourist Trophy, which they won. This 1939 Velocette KTT Mark 8 was the first iteration with a rear swing arm, but also the last version, production would end in 1949.

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From the seller

1939 Velocette KTT Mk VIII

Factory built racer with 350cc single cylinder overhead cam engine. Engine # KTT/1074, Frame #  SF/257 Purchased from original owner/racer approximately fifteen years ago out of South Africa. Sporting later year Velocette hydraulic front suspension and full width front brake. Later year rear shocks mounted with original rear “air shocks”  present and included in the sale. Very rare and desirable pre war British racer.  An excellent investment!

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Early in the production of the KTT, Velocette developed the positive stop foot shifter. The Velocette KTT success at Grand Prix racing was helped along by riders like Stanley Wood who gave valuable input into design and performance.  It was Stanley’s suggestion to move the engine forward and lower in the frame to improve handling. Over the 8 Mark versions, other improvements included an aluminum cylinder head, enlarged over time for better cooling and therefore more power. In 1937, Velocette designer Harold Willis borrowed air suspension developed for airplane landing gear, and grafted them onto a KTT to create one of the first rear swing arm suspension.

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Velocette made motorcycles from 1904 until 1971, but their most successful Grand Prix racer was the KTT produced from 1929-1949. This 1939 Mark 8 KTT is one of those pre-war British racing singles which has had a few alterations over the years. The original ‘oleo pneumatic’ shocks have been replaced, but are included with the bike. Also seen on this KTT is a large for its time front brake, but still with only a single brake shoe.  If you want to play L.R.Higgins and become a Private Owner of this KTT, take it to the track, preferably one on an island, and put yourself and this KTT to the test. BB

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1962 Velocette Venom Enduro

This is the last bike from the same Canadian Velocette fan. Like the Clubman from the other day, this 1962 Velocette Venom Enduro has a 500cc engine, but it is used to get down the dirt roads.

 

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From the seller

Well appointed bike ready for the road. Just had end to end service, has been really well cared for.

 

First developed in 1958, Velocettte scrambler’s were targeted at the US market, and had a specially lightened frame, allow fenders and a high pipe. The ultimate off road bike offered by Velocette was the Enduro. It additionally had high handle bars, a 21-inch front wheel, a small fuel tank and full lights. This example has the same low Fishtail exhaust found on most Velo’s. I have included a picture found on the web that shows what a high pipe on a Enduro could look like.

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The history of Off-road events probably go back to the 2nd or 3rd motorcycle ever built. Most cases it was just a fact of life that roads were off-road. It wasn’t until later that motorcycles were focused on the dirt. Most manufactures offered off-road capable scrambler bikes, and understandably with North America’s great stretches of wilderness, many bikes like this 1962 Velocette Venom Enduro ended up on our shores. This one comes from the Great White North. BB

From the Velobanjogent

From the Velobanjogent

1962 Velocette Clubman

The same seller who is offering the 1959 Velocette Viper has up for offer the bigger, badder brother. This 1962 Velocette Venom Clubman is the 500cc companion to the Viper, but with “Clubman” in the title, you get even a little more.

 

From the seller

Very nice bike in excellent condition. Running and roadworthy. Meticulous Owner, just serviced and ready to ride.

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The Venom was offered from 1955 until 1970. Its 499cc OHV single in original form would give the rider 34bhp at 6200 rpm and top out at 100mph. The Clubman was offered in both the Viper and this Venom from 1960. Before it left the factory, the Clubman would get a bigger Amal TT carb, exchanged the Lucas magneto with an adjustable BTH racing mag. These combined with a higher compression piston raising the final compression to 9.3 to 1, created a bike that you could Club race, therefore a Clubman racer.

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Along with the engine work, the bike came with rear-set foot controls, a close ratio gear box, and lower handle bars. A large front brake was available as well as a Megaphone exhaust to replace the more restrictive Fishtail that was Velocette.

 

As I had written about the Viper, Velocettes are a little less known by those who don’t covet them. The seller again is giving up 17 words and 3 pictures (of just two sides of the bike). This tells me that the seller knows his audience, and being someone who covets the Velocette Venom Clubman will keep an eye on this auction. BB

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1959 Velocette Viper

Most people who ride a motorcycle know a lot about the motorcycle they ride. Some motorcyclist know a lot about the motorcycle they covet. If you do not covet something, you might not know a lot about it. The seller of this 1959 Velocette Viper is targeting those who covet Velocette Viper’s, because they don’t have much time addressing those who do not. The sells pictures and words.

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From the seller

A fine example of the 59 Velocette Viper Serviced and in really good running order

 

For those who do not covet the Viper, the facts are as follows. 350cc single cylinder offered from 1955 until 1968. It is the evolution of earlier, small displacement motorcycles from Velocette, with a high compression piston and a light alloy cylinder head. It produced 28bhp at 7000 rpm and a printed top speed of 91mph.

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But like most motorcycles there is more to the Velocette Viper then what is written. There is the tradition and history that comes with the Velocette name, there is the British tradition of a single cylinder when the rest of the world had moved to multi’s. This 1959 Velocette Viper may be small, but there is so much more then the seller lets on with two pictures and 15 words.  BB

1939 or 1954 Velocette KSS or MAC

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In the evolution of motorcycle engine design, power increases when you move the valves from the side of combustion chamber, to the top. The next step to increase the efficiency is to move the cam shaft from below the valves, to on top of them. Velocette had these two in their KTT race engines, and offered them to the public in the KSS. This Velocette KSS/MAC hybrid on eBay now gathers together what was available to make a very nice combo.

$T2eC16dHJGgFFm-PwjCGBSNiKip1p!~~60_57

From the seller

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.

$(KGrHqJHJ!4FI1tFiunbBSNiM-42Tw~~60_57

Around the world people take the best of what is on hand to make what they want. This is at the heart of customization. Some people focus on looks, chroming this and that to customize their ride. Other look to improve the performance. When this builder found a OHC KSS motor, but only had a pedestrian MAC frame, what else could you do? I think they did well.

$(KGrHqZHJFcFIvF7VgPNBSNiJvK3wQ~~60_57

Black and gold are standard livery for Velocette. Fishtail exhaust, developed at the high banks of Brookland, harken back to Velocettes racing pedigree.  And don’t forget, Velocette was the first production bike to have the gear changer at the tip of your toe, and not with a handle for your hand. This may not be the way it rolled off the factory floor, but as customs go, I think this is near perfect. BB

$T2eC16ZHJH8FHRHP63,OBSNiJNUrZg~~60_57

1951 Velocette MAC 350

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Velocette is a British bike which had a long and successful history, which abruptly ends, with little fanfare. More of a whimper then a bang. Started in 1904 by a good man name John, the company developed into a proven race winner with Velocette’s over the counter KTT, the preferred weapon of private racers. This was all before the World Wars, an even that helped to develop this 1951 Velocette MAC 350 offered up on eBay now.

$T2eC16JHJIQE9qUHrV7IBRWZ+0Q8pQ~~60_3

From the seller

I am listing this 1951 Velocette Mac to give someone a chance to buy it before I go further with it.

The following video shows the Velocette being ridden:   (Velocette350 on Vimeo)

I bought this 1951 Velocette Mac from Revival Cycles (“great guys”) in Austin, Texas (10-09-12).  

I have almost $7,000.00 in it.  Other than the items I have recently bought for it, the bike is exactly as I bought it from Revival Cycles. I am including an additional tank (not orig.) that was with a Venom I have. It looks nice, and could be used as the other is being painted, etc. 

It is a 62 year old British bike. It is running, and can be ridden.  I know it needs tuning, and servicing.  It is not restored, so it has wear, dents, scratches etc. Service manual included. 

I am in no way a Velocette expert, so study the photos. “Sold as is.”

$T2eC16JHJI!E9qSO8D,bBQnc!(lBrQ~~60_3

Being produced from 1946 until 1959, I am sure that quite a few of the MAC were produced, so when the seller claims rare, I am going to interpret that as being rarely found in the States. Velocette did not develop the networks of dealers that Triumph had in the states, but when the General Director Mr. Turner spend up to 6 months a year in the United States, Triumph couldn’t help but meet a lot of people to sell a lot of bikes.

$T2eC16ZHJI!E9qSO9fUUBRWZ+eGj+Q~~60_3

The 349cc OHV engine of the MAC would develople a meager 15bhp at 6300rpm, but would cruise comfortably at 75mph. This tells me that there is potential in that little engine. I can see adding a little compression here, a little carburetor there, and see about a new (or borrowed) cam profile? Humm, I bet this has been done before.

$T2eC16NHJHgE9n0yEjMRBQnb9nb8yQ~~60_3

The seller looks to have made some changes to the rear fender, which covers the rigid rear end. The MAC did not get a swinging rear until 1953. The front end of this bike looks to be Velocettes own telescoping forks developed for the Velocette LE “scooter”, 1951 being the first year of the in house designed front end.

$T2eC16VHJGQE9noM,KY+BRWZ+8!vhQ~~60_3

This 1951 Velocette MAC 350 is not something you see every day. The single cylinder British bike in black is something that will get you from here to there. It evolved from a pre-war bike which then went to war as a courier for the troops. It came out the other side as a daily driver for a country getting back on its feet. There is potential there to do more, but as is, this single will get it done. BB

1951 Velocette MAC

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This 1951 Velocette MAC 350 may not be a Sports bike, but Velocette did have some very fine sports bikes, so even this pedestrian MAC may have some of that sporting DNA inside. With brother bikes like the MSS, KSS, and the later Viper and Venom, this  350cc OHV work horse will have a little kick.

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From the seller

                  1951 Velocette Mac 350       

The following video shows the Velocette being ridden:   (Velocette350 on Vimeo)

I bought this 1951 Velocette Mac from Revival Cycles (“great guys”) in Austin, Texas (10-09-12).  

I paid $6,000.00, and had to have it shipped from Texas

The bike is exactly as I bought it from Revival Cycles.  

It is a 62 year old British bike. I have started it, ridden it, and I know it needs tuning, and servicing.  

It is not restored, so it has wear, dents, scratches etc. Service manual included

$T2eC16RHJIYE9qUcOOv4BQnb9+pjiw~~60_3

The MAC had evolved from the earlier, smaller MOV before the war, but as events escalated in the world, the MAC went to war. A single cylinder, little or no suspension with girder forks and rigid rear, the MAC WD was ideal for messenger service and spend the war as a dispatch bike. 1946 saw civilian production re-introducing the MAC and its run of production continued until 1959. War has the ability to improve the breed, and when the Dowty company developed suspension for airplanes, Velocette saw the possibility for front Forks. Olematic front forks where offered on the MAC for 1948, later improved in 1951 to a Veloce designed fork. It was in 1953 when the MAC rear received its suspension.

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The muffler on this 1951 Velocette MAC gives a visual queue to the racing history of the company. The Fishtail style muffler is called a Brookland Can, and this was required on racing motorcycles and cars at the Brookland race track before the War. The 15bhp of the 350cc MAC may not get a Gold Star for going over 100mph, but at 75mph you have a steady, fun and reliable ride. You may want to replace the speedometer, and get a battery, but at the buy it now price you will get a very respectable vintage British motorcycle. BB