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Thread: 1928 Ariel "Model C"

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    360

    Default 1928 Ariel "Model C"

    Since a new sub-forum for Ariels was just created this is my chance to grab the slot for the first post.

    Last month I purchased a 1928 Ariel Model C 'Standard' from a friend in Ireland to ride in next year's Cannonball Rally. He originally purchased it himself to ride in an earlier Cannonball but later decided a 1924 Harley twin was more suited for his taller-than-me size so the Ariel had sat unused in his garage for the past 5+ years. He talked me into submitting an entry application for the next Cannonball and, after I was informed I would receive an entry and then unsuccessfully searched the world for two months for a suitable British bike, he remembered the Ariel collecting dust in Dublin. My reason for picking a British bike was basically because I knew "everyone" else would be on American bikes so I wanted something different. Different, but familiar -- I've had a string of British bikes since the late 1960s.

    Anyway, the Model C 'Standard' is a 500 cc OHV single. Models A and B were side valves, the 'De Luxe' Model D was the same as the Model C but with slightly wider tires, larger mudguards, and adjustable footrests, and the 'Two Port Super Sports' Model E had dual exhaust ports and a sportier cam. All of these were designed by Val Page, the same person who a decade later designed the first BSA Gold Star. Collectively, these models are known today as "Black Ariels" (like Henry Ford is supposed to have said about his Model T, "you can have any color you want as long as it's black").

    My Model C has the wider mudguards of the D but otherwise is standard. I've ridden it a few times already to become familiar with its idiosyncrasies... er, I mean, character. I've also done a few essential things including adding a battery-powered brake light, replaced the grease fittings with zerks, added a temporary bicycle speedometer, etc. Soon I'll tear it to bits and completely rebuild the bike to get it ready for the rigors of the Cannonball. I don't have a photograph of it on this computer but will add one shortly by either editing this post or in a new one.

    The bike fresh from the shipping container looked like this:
    1928Ariel02.jpg
    Last edited by BoschZEV; 06-20-2017 at 07:12 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Sarasota, Florida
    Posts
    3,792

    Default

    Looking forward to a picture of your 'new' Ariel. I think it's great to follow a different path, and use a bike that isn't common.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Posts
    441

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    An excellent choice. The first 1928 Ariel 500 ohv motorcycle to cross the continent was in 1928 when Jimmy Oates, a Manxman then living in Canada rode his Ariel with a sidecar attached from Halifax, NS to Vancouver, BC in 18 days. It took so long because, for some hundreds of miles he had to ride on the railroad tracks (legally as an "unscheduled freight train"). Jimmy had actually started from Toronto, ridden to Halifax, then cross-continent to Vancouver and then back to Toronto on highways mostly in the USA.
    AFJ

  4. #4
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    Jul 2012
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    360

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    Quote Originally Posted by AFJ View Post
    The first 1928 Ariel 500 ohv motorcycle to cross the continent was in 1928
    Well, although it seems I'm 89 years too late to try to be the first person to cross the continent on a 1928 Ariel at least I was the first person to post in the Ariel forum...

    One of the "joys" of having this bike is there is very little technical information about it so I'm having to create my own "shop manual" from scratch. By the time I'm done I'll have the most detailed manual in existence for the bike. Actually, by piecing together bits of information from multiple sources my manual has grown to be just under 2" thick (i.e. ~500 pages) that I've organized in something like 20 tabbed sections.

  5. #5
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    Sep 2005
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    I just saw the picture you posted of your Ariel. Stunning.
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    360

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    Quote Originally Posted by exeric View Post
    I just saw the picture you posted of your Ariel. Stunning.
    The reason for saying the following will be clear momentarily, but my younger daughter has an excellent sense of design, as evidenced by the fact she's been a successful architect in Manhattan for over a decade. Some years ago I got a 250cc BSA C15S as an incidental part of a trade. It has an alloy tank and looks just like the later 441 like the one seen here: http://www.rcycle.com/BSA_441_428__1024x768__crop.JPG. I hadn't wanted a motorcycle that small but quickly grew to love it. I once commented to my daughter that I really liked that bike but I didn't know why. She responded that she knew why: "It looks exactly like a motorcycle a 13-year old boy would draw if you asked him to draw a motorcycle." I think her observation pretty much applies to the Ariel as well, which is why this 13-year old boy loves the way it looks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
    234

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    Hi Charles, I tried replying to your PM but it seems that both your and my PM boxes are at capacity so I cant send and you cant receive.

    So my reply is that I suspected that you may have already had the factory record but I was not sure.

    I was going to suggest that you joined the Ariel Owners Club rather than the VMCC because the Ariel Owners club has a forum whereas the VMCC donít and you may get better value from a forum. (although I do know that the VMCC have been debating about setting one up for a while but some of the committee members have veto'd it for some reason).

    I have a small pamphlet that you may be interested in as per the attached picture. I have had it for over 30 years but I have never had an Ariel. For for some reason your post reminded me that I had it. It has just been in a drawer so it would probably have a better home with you. I think it dates from the late 30's or 40's and relates to wired edge tyres. I think I see drop centre rims on your bike so it would be appropriate to your bike.

    If you want it let me know and I will put it in the post.

    john


  8. #8
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    Jul 2012
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    360

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    Quote Originally Posted by TechNoir View Post
    I was going to suggest that you joined the Ariel Owners Club rather than the VMCC because the Ariel Owners club has a forum whereas the VMCC donít and you may get better value from a forum.
    I joined the VMCC as soon as I got my Cannonball entry in the hopes it would help me locate a suitable bike, and joined the AOMCC as soon as I arranged for the Ariel in the hopes it would help with technical information. In both cases my hopes were shattered. Well, OK, I exaggerate, but neither was nearly as helpful as I had hoped.

    The AOMCC has a forum but the level of activity is pretty low. The problem with any forum, including the AMCA's, it it takes some time to figure out whose posts can be relied on and whose are pulled out of thin air and presented as if the "information" is gospel. With a low activity level sorting out actual information from "fake information" takes time. Further, there don't seem to be many owners of Black Ariels in the AOMCC so there isn't much information of any kind on the forum. Anyway, the result is I'm pretty much on my own as far as technical information goes.

    Quote Originally Posted by TechNoir View Post
    I have a small pamphlet that you may be interested in as per the attached picture. ... If you want it let me know and I will put it in the post.
    Thank you very much for the kind offer. Since it already is late in the day in the UK I'll wait until tomorrow to see if you've managed to clear your 'in' box and will send you a PM with my address. Again, thanks very much.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Blighty
    Posts
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    Hello Charles,

    I have emptied my inbox now.

    John

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
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    Since interest in non-U.S. bikes is lower in the AMCA than elsewhere I've been posting details of my rebuild of this Ariel on BritBike Forum where it has obtained over 1000 replies and 128k views:

    http://www.britbike.com/forums/ubbth...l-c#Post691207

    The reason for this post is, thirteen months after I started to tear it down to the last nut and bolt, all but a few details are done and I fired up the Ariel for the first time this week (on the first kick!). I'm about to start a series of shake-down runs of ever-increasing length to make sure it is as ready as it can be for the Cannonball.

    You can easily spot me on the list of Cannonball riders http://motorcyclecannonball.com/riders/ since I'm the only one on an Ariel, but if you want to save skimming the list I'm #123 (I couldn't have the first entry number so I picked the last, which also happens to be as easy to remember as, um, 123...).

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