In response to Malcolm Ranieri’s photos of the four-cylinder two-stroke hybrid in Readers’ Letters (May), I’m pretty sure it’s the same bike that called in a couple of years ago at Fosse Garage, near Harbury, where I work.
The owner, who arrived in a small group of fellow riders, said the engine had a Suzuki RG500 bottom end with Arrow cylinders, and it certainly made the best sound when they left!
Lots of classics call in during the summer, cars and bikes, especially around Banbury time.
I first saw the hybrid at Sywell Aerodrome early last year, and have seen it a couple of times since at various biker haunts. I’m often surprised that I haven’t seen an article about it in one of the classic motorcycle publications.
I’m afraid I don’t know the name of the chap who created this special, but I did have a brief conversation with him as he was preparing to leave. As far as I remember, he said the engine was based on Suzuki RG500 crankcases with rotary-valve induction, so I’m assuming it would also have a six-speed box. The heads and barrels look as if they might be from Ariel Arrows, but I seem to remember mention of Citroen 2CV parts also being used.
It’s when you hear it ridden up the road with those spannies (expansion chambers) emitting such a typical two-stroke howl that the juices really start flowing. Awesome!
I found the guy who built and developed it to be fascinating and unassuming, and what he’s achieved is quite amazing.
Oh, and as an aside, it’s worth a visit to Sywell to see the Spitfire that’s based there.
Safe riding all.
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