Rudge-Whitworth

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