In the 1950s and ’60s the British motorcycle industry was at its postwar peak, with its large-capacity high-performance bikes in strong demand all over the world. AJS/Matchless, BSA, Norton, Royal Enfield and Triumph were all making 100mph-plus big twins, with the king of them all, at least into the 1950s, being the mighty 1000cc Vincents, while among the ton-up singles were the BSA Gold Star and the Velocette Venom.
In this book veteran motorcycle writer Steve Wilson reviews the top-of-the-line bikes of all these manufacturers, first giving an introduction to the motorcycling scene in the period, with a particular look at the emergence of the Rockers, the black-leather too-fast-to-live-too-young-to-die bikers who developed a culture all their own, inspired indirectly by Marlon Brando behaving badly on his Triumph Thunderbird in the banned-in-Britain 1953 movie The Wild One. Then the motorcycle makers are dealt with alphabetically, with their big bikes described in detail and their performance, handling, strengths and weaknesses discussed.
In addition to a wide selection of archive photographs, specially commissioned colour photography features examples of the outstanding bikes of the period: Vincent Black Shadow, BSA Gold Star, Velocette Venom, Triumph Tiger 110 and T120 Bonneville, Royal Enfield 700 Constellation, BSA A10 Rocket Gold Star, Norton Dominator 650SS and AJS/Matchless 31CSR/G12CSR.