▲ 1971 Munch "Mammoth" 4. You can think of Friedl Munch's blustering bulldozer as a kind of V-Max of its day. In other words, the handling was nothing to wax lyrical about, but the straight-line performance was blistering. The prototype Mammoth, powered by a SOHC, 60bhp 996cc straight four lump taken from an NSU Prinz car, was good for 120mph, all day, everyday. That was 1965. The following year, the cubic capacity had risen to 1,085cc. The bhp had jumped to 70. And having dropped a lot of jaws at the 1966 Cologne Show, the order book began filling. These bikes were hand-built for (rich) individual customers. Presently, the cubic capacity rose to 1,117cc (Münch 4 1200TTS, 88bhp). Throughout, the fork sliders, the brakes, the gearbox and the rear chain case were made from Elektron magnesium alloy. Nevertheless, the weight crept up from around 480lbs (prototype) to over 650lbs (production), with a claimed top speed of 135mph. The bikes cost more than twice the price of anything BMW could offer, and the last examples (of possibly 500) were built in 1980. The "Mammoth" name was, in fact, quickly dropped after a pushbike manufacturer claimed prior usage. Bonhams is offering this one at its Stafford Sale on 18th October 2015. The estimate is £28,000 - £35,000. Big money for a huge bike.
UPDATE: The Munch sold for £85,500 including buyers premium
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The Ride of Your Life
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That's the name of the new page we've recently added to Sump Magazine. However, it's been slow going. Part of that sluggishness is because we're simply not campaigning the service as hard as we might. And you have to campaign these things if you want people to sit up and pay attention. And part of that sluggishness is because the river of commerce in the UK, and elsewhere, has silted and not a lot of money is moving around.
But we put the section online as a kind of low-key service to Sump visitors. Buy, sell, exchange etc. We'd had a few people email and ask for such a page. And we had a couple of dealers suggest the same thing.
So we obliged.
▲ Sump's new classic bike bargains feature. The ideal place to buy or sell your cafe racer, bobber, chop or special. Come and make a deal....
But as we said, the economy isn't helping much. We watch closely what the old motorcycle market is doing, and at present it ain't doing very much. And what business it is doing is often nobody's business.
So okay, there are still a few blue chip classic bikes fetching top dollar (and more than a few blue chips trying it on with little success). The cafe racer, bobber and "brat" bike phenomenon is currently in vogue. But overall, hope is triumphing (or is that Triumphing?) over experience, and the easy money of yesteryear has generally become very hard money.
One dealer, for instance, explained just the other day that he'd felt compelled to cut the price of his stock by a whopping twenty percent. And that was across the board (okay, except for one or two machines that were "extra special" and which were worth holding out for).
Another classic bike dealer said that last year was the worst trading year since his business was founded a decade and a half ago. Yet another had just returned from his accountant and was "too fed up to comment" (we're paraphrasing here).
And another dealer was hoping to break into the bobber and cafe racer market, except that his view is that the bobber thing, in particular, is a fad and will be over as soon as he gears up for it and adjusts his stock. Also, the bobber trend (quote/unquote) needs a special sensitivity. Merely hacking off bits and adding "attitude" doesn't necessarily ring the right bells. There's a steep learning curve in what is essentially an amateur scene, and therefore possibly not a lot of money at the top of it.
So generally, the market is suffering. Some of that is natural adjustment. Prices have, after all, been rising for years. The market was overheated and now it's cooling. Readjusting, if you prefer. People are downsizing expectations. But things will change for the better if we all just stay cool and keep our nerve (not that everyone likes rising prices in this particular market, anyway).
So whatever classic bike you've got for sale (or bobber, cafe racer, chopper or boxes of bits), fire off an email and a snapshot and we'll spread the news as far as possible. Just make sure you include the price, your contact details and your general location (and if you can work out a way to send hard cash by email, we ain't too proud to accept it).
Meanwhile, Sump Magazine is doing its bit for the war effort. We've recently bought a couple of "new" old projects that sooner or later will probably appear on Sump Magazine. One is shaping up to be a cafe racer. But we ain't sure what to do with the second wreck. A couple of people have suggested building our own bobber, but we're still kicking the tyres and thinking about other possibilities. And we're still buying spares for our existing heaps and wearing them out as much as possible.
However, many of you people are still tightening those purse strings and focussing on the essentials (rent, mortgage, food, energy, etc). Except that a classic bike, bobber, cafe racer or chop is essential, isn't it? And if you disagree with that statement, you could be on the wrong website.
Anyhow, times are tough, and we don't want to keep saying it (for fear of adding to the general air of despondency that's being breathed these days). Our advice, for what it's worth, is to keep riding, keep buying, and keep the money moving as much as possible.
Most of all, keep living. You're a long time dead, after all. And for for the guys and girls at Sump Magazine, nothing makes us feel more alive than taking off for another trip on our favourite mounts.
Classic bike workshop
Finally, we've added a couple of other features. The first is our CLASSIC BIKE WORKSHOP section. It's no big deal, really. Just some notes and snapshots of the problems we've been having with our machines.
Naturally, we've also included the solutions. We'll be developing this feature as and when things go wrong (and round here, things are always going wrong). Click the image above to be whisked there, but other links will appear if you just wave your mouse around the screen or look down the column to your right.
Also, we've put our mini-movies on a new VIDEOS landing page for your convenience. Most of our humble offerings can now be viewed without leaving your favourite classic bike website. But one or two require a redirect to YouTube.
Okay, that's it. Gotta go. Have wheels, have fuel, will travel ...
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