BMW Motorrad Spezial


Rudge Whitworth
This remarkably elegant vintage motorcycle is actually a bit of a mongrel: it’s a Rudge Whitworth ‘bitsa’ built by Jean-Claude Barrois, who also restored the Honda CB450 and Terrot racer we’ve featured before. This bike has had a chequered life, starting out as a 1928 Soyer—a French brand that produced motorcycles between 1920 and 1935. Like many French makes of the time, Soyer used a variety of engines for their motorcycles, including 
JAP, Sturmey Archer and Chaise. This particular Soyer 07S had a JAP engine but the frame was wrecked, so Barrois built his own frame—and eventually replaced the JAP motor with the 500cc Rudge unit you see here. All unnecessary parts have been removed to make it lighter—including the front brake—and a new quarter-gallon tank has been added, along with a “suicide knee” gearshift. Since this photo session two small fenders have been added, and the tires have been changed for modern high-speed Avons. Jean-Claude is now optimizing the ignition system to gain a better spark, and next month the bike will be packed in a container and will fly to Salt Lake City for the Bonneville Speed Week. The photos, if you haven’t already guessed, are from Guerry & Prat—who can always be relied upon to deliver beautiful images of unusual motorcycles. They’ve just launched an exhibition in association with Nick Clements (of Mensfile fame) in Toulouse, which will definitely be worth a trip if you’re in Europe. [Get more details of the Rudge build from the Southsiders MC website.]

Rudge Whitworth
Rudge Whitworth

  • love this bike – ticks my boxes – grey paint and symmetrical wheels!

  • It seems there is a God of Motorcycles, and she rides this. What a truly magnificent machine.

  • I propose a black leather tuxedo, Ruby helmet and white silk flying scarf as preferred riding gear for this bike.

  • D

    Judging by the size of the tank it would probably take you from your wardrobe to your dining table, 002.

  • charlie

    i want one !!!! and a falcon as well !!

  • Second what Charlie said! I want this above my mantle piece as well as one for the road, just need a bigger fireplace now…

  • mingh

    I’m a seventies bike man, but this one makes me lust for interbellum bikes

  • WRXr

    Very, Very Very nice.

  • Wayne H.

    Work of art, right? Not something to ride….What kind of front suspension does it have springs or rubber bands? Would be pretty tough ride….but….It IS beautiful…. :)

  • Wayne H.
    That’s a girder suspension. Look it up.

  • Wayne H.

    That’s what I thought….like the 1949 HD 125cc, except with springs. It works….

  • Greybeard

    I’m sorry. I’m still laughing

    “This particular Soyer 07S had a JAP engine but the frame was wrecked, so Barrois built his own frame—and eventually replaced the JAP motor with the 500cc Rudge unit you see here.”

    Is that the motorized equivalent of my grandfather’s ax?

  • This bike is just perfect !

  • diego

    for everybody who made comments on the rideability of the bike, the small tank etc, you probably haven’t read the article carefully (if at all): this bike has been built to race at the speed week in bonneville, hence the smallest possible tank, no front brake and front suspension, etc.

    so, yes, it’s a totally rideable bike indeed, purpose-built for sprinting and short hi-speed runs, not for the street.

    and it’s probably the most wonderful thing I’ve seen on wheels

  • I don’t think anyone said anything about that?? lol no need to defend it, all comments look positive to me (unless some were removed of course).

    Greybeard: LOL, like Triggers Broom

  • graham john spink

    The rider would get his backside reduced when travelling over gravel roads !
    Better stick to riding on a racetrack !!

  • David Enfield

    Ride it ? would you ? exquisite !

  • Griffin

    Wow – I really like the look of this bike. A great part of the fluidity of this bike comes from the frame and reduced fuel tank… I wonder what they could make it look like if it were suited for the road?

    Good luck to them at Bonneville!

  • love this bike, hope we can do a race together “old vs. young” – maybe in Dijon…..



  • one of the best bikes to grace this site, that’s for sure. beautiful, beautiful work!!