Unlike comic book superheroes with questionable outfits for their alter egos, when Dave Smith dons a waxed cotton jacket he becomes…
Words: TIM BRITTONPhotographs: BRIAN SLARK
Rupert Ratio – dedicated to unit Beezer singles. The ‘Smith’ route to motorcycling and, ultimately, authorship of the BSA singles bibles wasn’t exactly straightforward and he admits to not always following the herd in his approach.
An ‘apprenticeship’ in the scene was completed on a series of what could be kindly described as project bikes, beginning with a non-running BSA Bantam. Rest assured, all the problems a novice owner is likely to encounter, Dave has run into as well.
Entering the working world as a design technology teacher – “It’s metalwork and I always referred to it as metalwork despite the tags given by others!” – Dave began contributing technical articles to the BSA OC magazine and did so under a series of nom de plumes depending on the aspect he was writing about, and Colin Crankpin didn’t gain the popularity of the gearbox author Rupert Ratio.
Retiring from teaching, Dave divides his time between Ratio Publishing and fettling BSA singles in his shed – and riding them too.
“I was lucky enough to be able to tap into the last vestiges of the British industry before all the traditional bike shops closed.
Their proprietors were supportive of a young lad,” he reflects. In this spirit (and that of his former occupation) it’s this knowledge he seeks to impart.
Read more and view more images in the August 2019 issue of TCM – on sale now