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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 July 2016 edition is available now on our Downloads Page.

Main feature: One Last Hope

Our main feature One Last Hope turned out to be something of a ‘slow burn’ article, since the road test and photoshoot were completed way back in October 2012.

Kestrel KRM50

Kestrel KRM50

Why so long getting it out you may ask?  Well, the Kestrel trail has grown very cold since 1980, and the research proved extremely difficult to be able to conclude the feature to our satisfaction, so we ended up sitting on the publication while attempting to continue the research.  There were a lot of dead ends…

The mid-to-late-70s Chinwood AJW Fox Cub association was obvious enough to connect, and it’s easy to appreciate the LEM frame contribution once you’ve got access to one of the production Kestrels for comparison.

Our featured machine came from Tony Austin in Northamptonshire, who was good enough to lend us three of his bikes at one go, to make the van trip more worthwhile.  The first of his machines featured was the NVT Easy Rider ER4L in The Empire Strikes Back of July 2013, and we’re still holding a third test machine in the can, waiting for the last piece of another multi-minibike feature to complete (hopefully later this year, for publication sometime next year: 2017).

The Kestrel was a great feature to finish, because it represented a brief and lost chapter to a British ‘might-have-been’ moped that never quite made it beyond pre-production, and sadly seemed to have fallen at the final profit hurdle.

Right from the start of the story we come across the cheap far-eastern built costing-v-quality issue, and straight away reflected back to The Fall feature of July 2013 and the Indian AMI-50 Chief made by Merida in Taiwan from 1978, at exactly the same time as the Kestrel project was beginning to develop.  One wonders if it might have been Merida who comparatively quoted to build the Kestrel?

The Indian moped experience probably illustrated that Taiwanese manufacturing quality at that time was a road nobody wanted to be riding down, but some aspects of the resultant, largely Italian based, Kestrel were still left lacking—like the pathetic 70mm brakes that barely seemed to work at all.  We wonder what the point was in casting alloy wheels with such tiny and useless brake hubs.

There still seem to be a number of Kestrel examples in circulation for sale, but some unfortunately look to have sunken into a quite decrepit condition, though invariably appear inexplicably overvalued considering their state.  It’d be much nicer to see them recovered from the claws of commerce for restoration and maybe appearing at events, so hopefully some real enthusiasts might be motivated by the article to pick them up and save them.  Mopedland has already offered to remanufacture any mouldings that may be required, so a few missing fibreglass panels wouldn’t seem much of a problem.

The experience of riding the Kestrel left a feeling that there might have been some room for improvement, particularly in the sluggish pull away (maybe the gearing seemed a little high?), and the inadequate brakes.  All the fibreglass added to an impression similar to a home-built kit-car: basic, unrefined, and maybe not quite finished…

Bizarre specials, prototypes, pre-production, and limited volume machines like the Ambassador Moped, Elswick Hopper Lynx, Kestrel, Ostler Mini-Auto, Phillips ‘Springer’ Gadabouts, Stella Minibike and Zorplan Shopper are invariably the most interesting and challenging features to develop to publication, mainly because the stories of these bikes were largely unpublished and almost in danger of becoming an untraceable history.  These are among the most important projects to complete before their stories do become lost, so IceniCAM is particularly committed to trying to present the most obscure.  All these minor machines are a small, but still important, part of our national vehicle history, and we firmly believe that publication of a reference piece on any such almost forgotten machine is among the most important things our webzine can achieve.

Final publication of this Kestrel feature was a certainly a positive result, now we can only hope that, as sometimes happens with these things, someone who knows a little more about Kestrel might pick up our work and get back to us with some further information to add to the file.

Ken Howard collects another sponsorship credit for EACC West Anglian Section.  Thanks Ken.

Support feature: Into the Sixties

Our support article Into The 60s became initiated at Copdock Show in October 2015, when a visitor to the EACC/IceniCAM stand asked if anyone might be interested in a Puch Cheetah, so we took his details and made an appointment to have a look.

The leg-shields block a lot of photographic angles

Rather than waiting for ever to borrow a working example of a particular machine for an article, sometimes it’s just easier for us simply to buy-in machines we’re after, sort them out in the workshops for road test & photoshoot, then sell the bike on again afterwards.  That was absolutely the plan on this occasion.

In the case of Puch Cheetahs, there seems to be a number of overvalued derelict wrecks circulating the trade, with pieces missing and no documents, but it seems much harder to find many reasonable examples at sensible money.

It turned out that our bike was the survivor of a ‘his-and-hers’ pair of blue and red Cheetahs that were bought new in the early 1960s.  His blue one was left behind in a move from London, and her red one received little use thereafter, before finally being stood up for 20 years or so. The bike was bought in specifically for the purpose of article production, and shortly began receiving attention in the workshops.

The engine had ‘frozen up’, so required extensive strip down and overhaul.  The fuel tank and carburettor were thick with unpleasantness, the seat cover replaced, then general service, clean and fettling.  Once completed, Cheetah started up within a couple of kicks, and performed like a veritable demon roused from its ancient slumber!

As soon as the motor fired up, you could tell the 60cc engine was a lot crisper than the usual run-of-the-mill MS50s we more commonly encounter.  Response and power proved more akin to a much later sports-50, and quite comparable with a good FS1-E.  It wasn’t just performance where the Cheetah was different either—this little Roller-scooter also looks dramatically different.  It’s like a scooter-style version of a monkey bike, and only once you stand next to one can you really appreciate its miniature scale, and what a physically small machine this actually is.

Its castings are very distinctive and so typically old Puch in the Teutonic style that they adopted, then wore so well as a hallmark that particularly characterised their machines.  Cheetah looks unusual but, once you try to line one up in a camera viewfinder, then it’s seemingly not so easy to find a good picture.  The leg-shields block a lot of photographic angles, and the frame & rear mudguard section just doesn’t seem to have any good side.  Cheetah is no long-and-leggy supermodel, it’s short and squat, and just isn’t photogenic.

Having completed the road test and photoshoot in late March 2016, we turned the Cheetah out for the Radar Run in April 2016, where it created quite a bit of interest as to both its character and fiery performance.  After the outing, its time with us was done and, according to plan, Cheetah went out on the forecourt for sale.

The second half of ‘Into the 60s’ was actually the making of our 60cc article.  A number of people probably thought that the title might be referring to the 1960s rather than the engine capacity, and we do have to confess the article was actually given its slightly ambiguous title to deliberately mislead.  Our featured Puch M3 from Keith Backhouse of EACC Suffolk Section, came into the workshops for some jobs doing, and once we discovered it had received the 60cc conversion, we took the opportunity to bag a road test & photoshoot in early March—which was just a few weeks before the Cheetah was completed.

At this time, we’d had the Cheetah for some five months, but hadn’t really had much idea how it might be presented in a feature.  Since the Cheetah was such an odd machine, it had been difficult to see how it could be paired with anything else and, up to the point that the M3 turned up, it had looked as if the Cheetah might be a stand-alone presentation.  All of a sudden we had the opportunity of a 60cc feature and it all, co-incidentally, happened in the same month!

Earlier, we presented Puch MS and VS50 models in the Fan Club feature but, with its later restyled tank and seat, and odd ‘dangly pedal-set’, the foot gearchange/foot brake M2 and M3 models represent an unusual evolution of the established formula, and certainly justified a place in a presentation at some time.  Things just happened the way they did, and M3 got paired with a Cheetah. 

Alan Johnson scores the first article sponsorship for the new EACC section: Lancashire Slow Riders.

Second Support feature: The Gold Standard

Our third feature presents the Motoconfort AU75 in Gold Standard.  Our title derives from Au (from Latin: aurum) being the chemical symbol for gold (atomic number 79), and has only a tenuous connection with our feature for little other reason than sharing the common letter prefix.  It did, however, present a suitable opportunity to work the model prefix explanation in with a bit of early Motobécane history, so it seemed like a vague excuse to further justify the article.

The AU75 fell into our ‘oddball’ section because the Motoconfort model was never sold in Britain, so it’s another of those very occasional machines you’re probably unlikely to encounter in this country.  Motor Imports generally listed Motobécane AV-prefix models in the UK and, judging by the number of machines still around, the AV78 proved pretty popular here.  The AV78 was quite comparable to the AU75, since both machines shared the plunger frame, but the variated drive on the AV78 gave the machine a markedly different character.

Our featured machine came from Paul Hamlin at Dorking, of the EACC South East Moped Enthusiasts section, when it was booked into the workshops for a number of remedial jobs.  Another unusual model going through the workshops always attracts some interest from visitors, who were then shortly enquiring if we might be doing an article on it at sometime?  It’s OK, we can take a hint, so we did a deal to road test and photoshoot the bike in December 2015 before it went home.

We’re big fans of the ride and handling of these Motobécane plunger frames, but this was the first time we’d actually ridden one with the single-speed engine—just goes to show how rare this model is the UK!

Joe Lee collects the third feature sponsorship for our local EACC Suffolk Section.

What’s Next?

Next Main Feature: In 1965, Motobécane presented a new model they would be destined to build for 22 years.  A vehicle that can remain in production for such a lengthy period must have some strongly endearing features, so we’re intent to try and discover how ‘The meek shall inherit the Earth’.

Next Support: Our support article follows a brief diversion from the usual article format to an oddball presentation … Hold on?  Haven’t we used this intro somewhere before? … Yes, we did, in October of last year at the tail of the Kieft K50 feature to be precise, when we introduced the very popular five-bike Fifty Quid article.  Just like the Hollywood film industry, if you hit on a winning blockbuster formula, you simply go right back and bang out a sequel, so here it is: ‘Fifty Quid-2’.

Next Second Support: Another European moped, but this time we’re out for something a little different.  Maybe we ought to try ‘Going Dutch’.

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: route sheets, maps, etc, are here as downloadable documents 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.

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, Busy Bee cyclemotor, Capriolo 75 Turismo Veloce, Coventry Eagle Trade Auto-Ette, 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 Corvette, Hercules Her-cu-motor, Honda CD50, Honda SS50, Honda Stream, James Comet 1F, Leopard B6, Motobécane SP50, MV Agusta Liberty, Norman Nippy Mark 2, Norman Nippy Mark 3, NVT Ranger, Powell Joybike, Puch Magnum X, Rabeneick Binetta, Simson SR2E, Solifer Speed, Sun Autocycle, Sun Motorette, 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

New Web Site

August 2016

And this is it!  We’ve moved our website here at www.icenicam.org.uk and this new website contains everthing the old one had.  For the time being, both this and the old site are operating, to make the transition as smooth as possible.  We will, however, be gradually closing the old site as all our readers get used to our new address.

Norman Headlamp Nacelle Assembly

Norman Headlamp Nacelle

January 2016

The Norman moped headlamp nacelle has been a problem for some time; the old plastic mouldings have been very prone to suffering embrittlement of the plastic and damage.  Also, parts for the Miller lamp unit that was fitted to these assemblies have been particularly difficult to find.  A lot of owners have long been searching fruitlessly for parts for these headlamp/nacelle sets.

Now Mopedland has come up with a solution, by creating a completely new master mould to produce new fibreglass mouldings.  It would have been pointless to reproduce mouldings that needed the obsolete Miller headlamp unit so, to resolve this issue, the new Mopedland nacelle takes a cheap and readily available lamp unit assembly (which is supplied as part of the kit), from a Honda C50.  This takes a 6V×15/15W headlamp bulb.

The nacelle kits are on sale now for £85, comprising: a new fibreglass moulded nacelle housing, a new headlamp rim/lens/reflector assembly (Honda C50) complete with a 6V×15/15W MPF headlamp bulb and socket fittings and 2 new 5mm stainless steel screws to fit the headlamp + 2 anti-shake nylon washers.  The housing fits Norman Nippy Mk 2/type 2 (Villiers), Norman Nippy Mk 3 (MiVal), Norman Nippy Mk 4 (Villiers), Norman Lido Mk 1 (Villiers), and Norman Super Lido (Sachs).

Aplin’s of Bristol—Still open for business

January 2016

We’ve heard some rumours lately that Brian Aplin is shutting up shop—it turns out that these rumours are completely false.  Brian is still open for business and planning to stay that way.

Motoring services strategy

November 2015

The UK government has just started an open consultation: Motoring services strategy: a strategic direction 2016 to 2020 about what should happen within DVLA, DVSA and VCA over the term of this government.  Some possible changes are continuing the shift towards ‘digital’ sevices, restructuring the fees that these agencies charge, making MoTs apply to four-year-old vehicles, and bringing back the Road Fund (‘an outrage upon the sovereignty of Parliament and upon common sense’—Winston Churchill).

Full details are at www.gov.uk/government/consultations/motoring-services-strategy-a-strategic-direction-2016-to-2020

Black and white number plates

September 2015

Our report that any vehicle that qualifies for ‘Historic Vehicle’ tax may now carry black and white plates (below) caused some slight bafflement among enthusiasts.  Well, thanks again to the FBHVC, here’s how it happened: the law on number plates changed in 2001 and back then, the cut-off date for both black & white plates and ‘Historic Vehicle’ tax was 1973.  So, the new law linked the two, not allowing for the possibility that the tax cut-off would be changed back to a rolling date!

August 2015

It is reported in the latest issue of the FBHVC newsletter that the rules on old-style number plates (ie: with white or silver characters on a black background) have been simplified.  Any vehicle that qualifies for ‘Historic Vehicle’ tax may now carry black and white plates.

Zündavus

July 2015

Jan Gardien keeps us updated with goings-on in the Netherlands and recently send us some photos of the T’oale Kreng Limburg Weekend.  Among the pictures was this:

Zündavus

You can see more of Jan’s Limburg Weekend pictures at www.mijnalbum.nl/Album=38SEOX6D

500km by Solex

July 2015

I met this French guy on the outskirts of Orléans.  It appears that he is doing a 500km round trip on his Solex, pulling a fully packed trailer.  He is also carrying a complete spare engine on his luggage rack.  I saw him leaving, pushing the whole unit up a steep hill (with the motor running)!

Long-distance VéloSoleX rider

Regards
Brian Hastings

New Restrictions on V765s

June 2015

DVLA introduced new restrictions on V765 applications at the end of May—they didn’t tell anyone they were going to do it but just started rejecting any V765 that used a tax disc as its documentary evidence.

The new rule is that any supporting documentation must have a specific link to the vehicle or, in other words, must show the frame number.  It is not yet clear whether an engine number will be acceptable if the log book does not record the frame number, as is often the case with cyclemotors.

In most cases, this means that old log books will be the only accepted documents.  Pre-1983 MoT certificates and tax discs don’t record frame numbers, so won’t be accepted.  That leaves old insurance certificates and local authority archive records.  In many, many cases these don’t show frame numbers either.

If that’s not bad enough, it also raises questions about the rôle of the FBHVCDVLA seems to have treated the Federation with contempt in this matter.  Not only did they not bother to consult the FBHVC about the change but they didn’t even tell the Federation that it had happened.

It’s gone image

It’s Gone!

June 2015

From today (8 June) DVLA will no longer issue the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence.  Existing paper counterparts will no longer be valid and should be destroyed.  The photocard remains valid and should be kept safe.

Paper-only driving licences (issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998) remain valid and should not be destroyed.

No more counterpart … date confirmed for abolition

January 2015

As part of the government’s Red Tape Challenge initiative to remove unnecessary paperwork, it’s now been confirmed by Ministers that from 8 June 2015, DVLA will no longer issue the paper counterpart to the photocard driving licence.  This means from that date, existing paper counterparts will no longer be valid.  DVLA is advising drivers to destroy their counterpart after this date.

The old paper-only driving licences (issued before the photocard was introduced in 1998) remain valid and should not be destroyed.

How will drivers check their driver record when the counterpart is gone?

In 2014 DVLA launched the View Driving Licence service which allows GB driving licence holders to view their driving record online.  The service is free and easy to use and available 24/7.  Drivers can check what type of vehicles they can drive and any endorsements (penalty points) they may have.

Driving licence holders can also check the details on their driving record by phone or post.

There’s more information at www.gov.uk/dvla/nomorecounterpart


Older news stories are available in our News Archive