I’ve always had a somewhat strange relationship with the marque, being endlessly fascinated with them, but often baffled too. I think my dad’s highly-strung two-speeder is the only motorcycle I’ve ever ridden where I could actually watch nuts undoing as I rode along, though the off-set is that the thing goes like – often quite literally – stink. I owned a Flying Squirrel Tourer for a while too, which I rode only briefly, and while appreciative of its friendly nature and good manners, when someone expressed an interest, I wasn’t overly sad to see it go.
Some marques/makes, like Scott, do attract a particular diehard. There’s the oft-quoted supposed utterance of devotee ‘Mavro’ Mavoragato that he’d rather lose on a Scott than win on anything else, while in the 1920s, the motorcycle press was seemingly rife with Scott lovers.
Another marque which has attracted a similar devotion and degree of loyalty is Velocette, again an example of which we feature this issue (p40). I have had a fair amount of ‘Velo’ riding experience and must confess the reason I sold my Vincent Comet – which featured in the background of the picture that used to adorn this page – was that, one day out on a ride it packed up and I borrowed the Venom my brother was riding to go and fetch the van. I’d not ridden a Velo for ages, but by the time I’d got home I was mentally writing out the Comet’s ‘for sale’ advert… Having been lucky enough to ride several Hall Green thoroughbreds, my own highlight was being entrusted with a friend’s Mk.VIII KTT (shown) for Dijon in 2011. As with a singing Scott, motorcycling doesn’t get much better than a well-sorted Velo.
Both Scotts and Velocettes are described within as Marmite motorcycles – Marmite being a yeast-based food stuff, to be spread on bread, for the uninitiated! – insomuch as you either love them or hate. My thing is, though, that sometimes I really crave Marmite, while other days I can’t stand the smell or taste of the stuff… but whatever one’s mood, a ride on a good Scott or Velo tends to be a thing of sheer pleasure and surely would be loved by all.
Where legends come to life...
James Robinson, Editor
James Robinson has been the editor of The Classic MotorCycle since 2002. Aged 33, he has possessed a motorcycle licence for 15 years and during that time has owned and ridden all manner of motorcycles, spanning over 100 years from oldest to newest.
Presently the custodian of a varied shed full of motorcycles, his overriding enthusiasm is for pre-World War Two sporting machines, with a couple of cammy Velos, a Rex-Acme and a Model 9 Sunbeam among those competing for attention.