From the forgotten Aberdale, of Llwynypia, Wales, to the ingeniously eccentric Wooler, of north-west London, British Motorcycles 1945-1965 offers alphabetical coverage – in no less than 600 pages – of British motorcycle makes of the period 1945-1965, among them great names such as AJS, BSA, Matchless, Norton, Royal Enfield, Triumph and Vincent. The two decades covered by this book represent the final flowering of the motorcycle industry in Britain, a period when British bikes were shipped all over the world, when America discovered high-performance British twins and when ton-up boys vied with each other in feats of horrific daring. In the meantime, rush-hour roads resounded to the buzz and crackle of ride-to-work two-strokes, men hidden in cumbersome waterproof coats slogged along on unwieldy sidecar outfits, wife on the pillion, kids alongside, and courting couples, carefree, hugging tight, enjoyed a sunlit ride to the seaside or into the hills. In this intensely detailed study, author Rinsey Mills gives the histories of the motorcycle manufacturers and then provides information on the models they produced, year by year, using original material from sales brochures for the illustrations, not only to identify the bikes and to highlight model changes and revisions, but also to give the flavour of the times when they were to be seen going about their business. Whether your taste is for the obscure and the might-have-beens, for workaday two-strokes, nimble scramblers, thumping singles, ton-up twins or fiery road racers, all are here, offering an unrivaled store of knowledge and information as well as more than 1,500 illustrations that provide a powerful evocation of motorcycling in these two decades. The illustrations are accompanied by generous and informative captions which help to convey the strengths, weaknesses and character of the machines, as well as provide intriguing technical insights.
Rinsey Mills has owned AC sports cars, both pre-war and post-war, for forty years. He has restored some and raced others. His books include Original AC Ace and Cobra and Essential AC Cobra.
Rinsey's’ first motorcycle was a derelict BSA Empire Star that presented itself as a more grown-up alternative to Meccano – he should have stuck with the latter, as for him, at that time, the bike was too far gone. A couple of years later, shortly after his sixteenth birthday, he proudly fastened a pair of L-plates on £20-worth of 1954 DMW trials bike and was off. Since then he has owned and ridden many machines. Some he’d sooner forget about while others, like the road registered AJS 7R that he did many fast and reliable miles on in the mid-’70s, he still regrets parting with. Unlike many of his peers he never transferred to modern bikes and happily admits he has little interest in anything post-1970, preferring the character and what some would see as the quirkiness of older machinery. He currently has a 1950 BSA B32A and a 1956 Norton Dominator 88 on the road.