This bike is now
Engine Number KTR/T 64948/Y, Frame Number
38963, Gearbox Number 92452
The last bike from the collection, and a nice one
Coventry Eagle produced superbikes in the 1920s.
Their machines were handsome, built from the best-available proprietary
parts, and superbly styed. In this c1926 example we find the best of the
best: the top of the line racing side-valve four-cam 1000cc JAP "KTR"
engine, Sturmey Archer heavyweight 3-speed gearbox, double-spring
heavy-weight Webb fork, and the excellent 8" Enfield brakes and hubs
front and rear.
In specification this Coventry Eagle bike is very
similar to George Brough's legendary Brough Superior sprinter "Old
Bill". Of course the Brough Superior had one vital ingredient that other
makes lacked: the flair of George Brough himself. These days, however,
the Coventry Eagle is becoming recognised as the fine motorcycle that it
is, in metal a machine that matched or exceeded the contemporary Brough.
This particular bike is almost certainly one of
an order of more than fifty Coventry Eagles that was delivered to the
Victorian Police in 1929-30. I'm told that the mechanicals of the
machine are consistent with those of a 1926-27 build Flying Eight, but
that the tinware (petrol tank, oil tank and guards) are of the pattern
used a couple of years later. The first of the Coventry Eagle police
shipment arrived in Australia in May 1929 (see photos below), and
thereafter the rest of the order arrived in small batches at intervals
into 1930. It seems clear that an order of this size was a very
significant one for the small firm, and that producing the number of
machines required was a challenge. It is not hard to imagine that this
machine was an unsold model that was updated with "modern" tinware, and
included in one of the 1929-30 shipments as a new machine. Certainly the
KTR engine would be an unusual choice for police work, the more common
unit being the Super Sports (rather than racing) KTCY.
Condition-wise, the bike is solid, with only light
surface rust. Some small parts are missing - footrests,
primary chain case etc. - but the motor turns over. Two fins on the front cylinder above the exhaust port
are chipped, but the
rest are perfect and unrusted. There is a repair to the magneto chain case where
it has broken due to the weight of the magneto/magdyno and our
rough roads. A square ML magneto is with the bike (an excellent choice
for a sporting bike), but I have put aside a number of period
Lucas lighting bits that may suit (headlight, one piece magdyno, tail
light), as well as some smaller parts. The original exhaust system and a
set of new pipes are present. These are included with the bike.
The bike has been with the current custodian for
at least 30 years. The previous history of the bike is not known, but
recently the name of Stan Mudford was suggested. Perhaps a
lead for the new owner.
If you are looking for a 1920s superbike and
would like to control the quality of restoration, this is the machine.
Details of the Expression of
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