Coventry Eagle Flying KTR JAP c1926

1931 Norton CS1 motorcycle

This bike is now sold. Thanks.

Engine Number KTR/T 64948/Y, Frame Number 38963, Gearbox Number 92452

The last bike from the collection, and a nice one it is.

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.

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