James Commando Trials Bike 197cc

Made in 1952 by James Cycle Co. Ltd at their factory in Greet, Birmingham. This particular bike was what is known as a “Works Bike” ie:- it was a development machine ridden in trials all over the U.K. by a top rider of the day who was employed by the James factory  to win events, develop the machine further and, of course, to gain publicity for the machines they manufactured. Just how much winning the bike did is not known as its rider of the day, Blackie Holden of Gisburn Lancs., is no longer with us.

He sold the bike in the mid 1990’s to another top rider, Peter Gaunt, who besides winning many pre 65 trials on it, did a lot of updating work on it. He adapted the rear end to spring units and generally improved it to make it more competitive. Peter then sold it in 1998 to its present owner Dudley Robinson, who in turn, improved the suspension by employing Yamaha forks to the front end. These are inserted into BSA fork bottoms to keep it looking correct for its period.

The engine is a Villiers but made by them with a ‘heavier’ brass flywheel to improve the slow running at the bottom end. The gearbox is a 3 speed Albion and the ignition is as made.

All in all a beautiful little trials bike.

Dudley Robinson