Dave Johnson's Francis-Barnett

Dave Johnson and the 1953 Francis-Barnett on which he has already covered thousands of miles and looks like covering thousands more

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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