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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR.

- - - -CAPITAL PUNISHMENT.

I - 1914 ARMY MANCEUVRES.I

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CYCLECAR AND MOTOR CYCLE NOTES.

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CYCLECAR AND MOTOR CYCLE NOTES. [ i >Y ( KLEIHTlvIt. ] PROCESS DURING 101. NO RADIO A L DEPARTURES. Motor cvclists cannot look back on 1913 as a year of startling innovations, so far as the motor cycle is concerned. Makers seem to have stuck pretty well to standard lines, aad there are few radical alterations to be recorded. At the same time, however, the progress to be recorded during the year is of a satisfactory nature, inasmuch as all efforts seem to have concentrated on the production of a fool proof and absolutely reliable machine even though following 1912 designs fairly closely. It may be said that as a whole designers and manufacturers have succeeded in attaining the desired effect. The commencement of the year saw the introduction of more big single cylinder machines, though rather curiously the year is ending with the revival of the twin cylinder machine, both of medium and high power. Transmission systems, which appears to be about the weakest spot in the construction of the motor cycle, have under- gone little change, the balance between belt and chain drive remaining about equal. Belts have undergone considerable improve- ment, and thereby the belt drive has taken on a new lease of life. At the same time chain driven machines have also been improved in detail. The chains have been made more readily adj ustable, some kind of shock absorber is now incorporated in the best chain driven machines, and the chains them- selves have been made more accessible, inas- much as the metal covers which keep off the mud and wet have been made more easily removable. Engines as a whole remain pretty much the same as in 1912, though there have been numerous modifications of valve designs, stronger stems and bigger diameter heads, also designers have realised the importance of having wide ports and the absence of pockets in the valve chamber. Valve design has probably received more attention than any other part of the engine, and much good has achieved by a systematic series of bench tests, bench testing until recently being a thing almost unknown amongst motor cycle engineers, though of long standing amongst car engineers. Adjustable tappets are becoming more popular, though there are many good machines which lack this useful refinement. The two-stroke engine has not yet been made in higher powers than 2t h.p. or at least it is not yet marketed in higher powers than this though there is every possibility of it being sold for larger power outputs in the near future. Taken as a whole, probably the greatest progress of the year is that to be recorded by the lightweight machine, for here we find many novel innovations, but having dealt with this phase of motor cycling in my last week's notes, there is no need to cover the ground again, and I will confine my remarks to the more popular types of machines already on the market in large numbers and now practically standard. Apart from the minor alterations men- tioned, there is little to record ia connection with the general design of the engine for 1913. Variable gears, which until two or three years ago were scarcely known, are now a standard fitment of almost every make, though here agin there have been no startling developments as a whole there have been numerous patents taken out in connection with variable gears for motor cycles, but such gears as the Armstrong and Sturmey Archer, still appear to be in the majority, whilst the gears fitted by those firms who make their own, as a rule have undergone no great alteration, and no new gear has made an appearance on the 1913 market in any great quantity. As with belts and chains, opinions seem about equally divided between hub and countershaft gears, judging by the almost equal numbers one sees about, though personally I have a slight leaning towards the countershaft gear, even though my own is a hub gear, and has given no trouble—I am thinking of weight distribu- tion and accessibility though. One general alteration in connection with gears is the almost universal adoption of a larger lever fcr operating the gear, and the placing of this on the side of the tank instead of on the handlebars or on the top bar of the frame. Infinitely, variable gears such as the Rudge, Zenith, do not seem to have gained in popularity, though there is no doubt that this type of gear is the simplest of all. The reason of its failure to multiply in favour is not far to seek, for if not carefully handled this type of gear is a great belt eater, though on the other hand, if properly handled there is no simpler or more reliable gear obtain- able. Carburetters have received a fair amount of attention during the past 12 months, and probably, taking the power unit as a whole a great part of the increase in efficiency shown generally is due to improvements in carburetters. Single lever control has not made much headway, nor am I inclined to think it is ever likely to. The straight- through principle is becoming more widely recognised, and accessibility is now a strong point with most makes. The variable jet type is not yet seen in very large numbers, though there are now several makes available and this type is likely to gain in popularity for many reasons. Lubrication systems have not altered greatly- semi-automatic lubrications such as the Best or the Enots is now to be found on almost all machines. All-automatic systems such as that on the" V eloce" have much new ground to break through-no doubt they will become standard in time. The practice of mixing oil with the petrol in certain properties is becoming more common with lightweight two-stroke machines, though whether this system will last remains to be seen it has its disadvantages, not the least of which is the clothes, though by fitting suitable tank stoppers it should be possible to obviate this. Lubrication of twin cylinder machines seems to have been more carefully studied by designers, so that it is possible to get more even lubrication of the cylinders than was considered possible some 12 months ago. The lack of any radical alterations in the design of power units as a whole is a healthy sign, as it shows that the average power unit is as reliable and efficient as can be with the knowledge at present at our disposal, practically free from trouble and easily handled by the most veritable novice. Having practically standardised their power units, manufacturers might now turn their attention to the mud-guarding ques- tion-once more I raise this point-and they might also pay more attention to the plating and enamelling of their machines. Every motor cyclist knows that no matter how careful he is with his machine, a week of riding in muddy weather takes away all the glamour aad glory of its pristine beauty, and no amount of scrubbing aud rubbing will restore it to its erstwhile state. Proper mud-guarding will do much to prevent this early degeneracy but this is not all. It the plated parts were first plated with copper and then with nickel, and the black parts first coslettised, these parts would retain their brightness and lustre far longer, and the cost-well, it would repay the makers. The all-black machine has not caught on during 1913, so some other means must be devised to provide a cleanly appearance with a minimum trouble. Why not a good coating of lacquer on the bright parts after they are fully assembled ? There must be a good lacquer somewhere, though I will admit I have failed to find a really satisfactory one yet. Now, ye manufac- turers, show us what progress you can make in this direction during 1914. The comfort of the rider has not yet received the consideration during 1913 that it merits. Front springing remains much as in previous years, and possibly is quite as good as can be, and all that is to be desired. Rear springing, however, is not given the attention it should receive in fact, there are only one or two rear sprung machines obtainable, such as the Edmund spring frame and the A.S.L. (I am not sure whether the latter is still obtainable). Saddle comfort, however, is now pretty well recog- nised, the pan saddle being almost universal. Saddle springing, too, has been consider- ably improved during the past twelve months. Back rests are not yet very popular, and I am afraid they have inherent disadvantages that cannot be overcome. Tyres appear to be receiving m ne atten- tion than usual, many new types being available to-day. The puncture-proof tyre is not yet with us, though the risk of puncture is almost entirely eliminated with some makes, such ail the Stelastic," for instance, though as regards the wearing qualities of these novel types of tyres I know very little at present. Taken as a whole, the year 1913 may be looked upon as a year in which the motor cycle has almost if not quite settled down to a rock basis in its present form. Whether an entirely revolutionary form will come along in the years to come remains to be seen. The lightweight machine will no doubt be much before us in 1914, but this can hardly be called revolutionary in type.

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