Dave Johnson's Francis-Barnett

By Alan Turner, 25 October 2013
Dave Johnson and the 1953 Francis-Barnett on which he has already covered thousands of miles and looks like covering thousands more

Dave Johnson has owned his 1953 Francis-Barnett Falcon 58 for 54 years! “The bike talks to me now,” the 71 year-old claimed. Dave is chairman of the Francis-Barnett Owners' Club and his bike featured on the club's stand at the recent South of England RealClassic Show...

It was fully kitted up as he had ridden it from his Sussex coast home to the Festival of 1000 Bikes at Mallory Park, a (trouble free) round trip of 356 miles.

The white scarf (and red flashing light) warn those approaching from behind that this is not a particularly fast moving vehicle. A tent and chair across the handlebars, the rest of Dave's requirements are stowed across the pillion and beneath hangs the crucial kettle.

Dave paid £67-10s-0d (£67.50) for the bike in 1959, when he was an apprentice carpenter. The Falcon was fitted with a 197cc Villiers 6E engine and three speed 'box. Dave restored it some 20 years ago, blueprinting the engine and fitting a Savage ignition system. The electrics have been upgraded to 12-volt and indicators are an essential aid to survival in modern traffic. The transmission was uprated with a later four-speed gearbox. As a result, Dave reports the bike now “sails up hills.”

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The Classic MotorCycle Issue 41-11 - Nov 2014

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