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by David Butler

In September, I exchanged my part restored 1940 New Hudson autocycle for a 1953 Cyclemaster complete with 1950s Humber bicycle.  Hopefully the autocycle may eventually be seen around the Ipswich area.  Unfortunately I did not have the time or resources to do justice to this post-vintage machine.  Anyway, the return journey was pleasant and the Cyclemaster fitted quite easily into the back of the Ford Fiesta.  I have no garage so the first evening was spent housed in a large cupboard.

Over the next couple of days I dismantled the machine into basic components, leaving the engine attached to the wheel.  Gradually I managed to transfer the parts to my shed/workshop 2 miles away.  I have found by bitter experience that although it may be very tempting to strip everything to bits quickly, a little planning saves needless heartache later on.  Small self sealing polythene bags and tobacco & biscuit tins are very handy for keeping components seperate, also a notebook to jot down ideas and the way components fit together and wiring diagrans.

Anyway, with some kind weather I was able to strip the cycle frane, forks & mudguards back to bare metal, smooth down and apply a coat of primer before starting on the "powerhouse".

The beauty of this little cyclemotor is its compact & thoughtful design.

I always clean off the exterior with a Gunk-paraffin mix (Old pantbrushes are ideal for getting into those nooks & crannies), dry off with lint-free cloth and THEN start on the dismantling.  The head & barrel came off to reveal one intact and one fractured ring, and a much chewed up piston.  Fortunately the missing bits of ring had "exhausted" themselves through the silencer and the crankcase was unmarked.  Although there was some bore wear it was within the limits and so a replacement piston was bought.

I was lucky to obtain a good secondhand one complete with gudgeon pin, circlips, and rings for £5.

A new gasket set was ordered from Armours of Bournemouth, also some white stick-on numbers and letters for the registration plate.  I managed to find a local firm who made me a clutch cable for - would you believe - £1!  Some cleaning & polishing was necessary to improve gas flow both into and out of the motor and I have temporarily fitted a Honda moped carb spring into the Amal unit which gives a more positive shut off.  (Funnily enough, from where I look out of the shed, only half a mile away stands IMI who made Amal carbs.)

Anyway, the gaskets arrived and the motor was reassenbled and put back into the wheel.  Oil in the clutch housing, petroil in the tank at an experimental 25:1 ratio and the control levers connected up.  Some vigorous pedalling with the back wheel raised clear of the ground produced a healthy sound as the little motor caught and clouds of smoke poured out of the tail-pipe!  The excess smoking was only temporary, resulting from liberal use of the oil-can on reassembly and, after a couple of minutes, she managed to run with the choke fully open, purring fast & evenly.

I find that the motor will 2-stroke quite evenly but not at a slow tickover.  There is some wear on the carb/inlet pipe joint which may be causing the problem.  The bike is pleasant to ride and hopefully will be on some of the runs next season.

The machine was first registered in Norwich (on my 5th birthday!) but has been re-registered with an Ipswich number and an "A" year letter.  I am still needing certain items to complete her but she runs well and willingly.

Does anyone have a suitable period lighting set to work from the magneto, also an old Humber bicycle headstock badge?  Incidentally, I have managed to locate a large source of spares for Cyclemasters so if anyone is stuck give me a ring or write, I may be able to help.

Happy cyclemotoring in 1985!

This article was first published in Buzzing, Volume 4, Number 1 in Spring 1985

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