This is the home of the Iceni CAM Magazine - a free e-magazine about Cyclemotors, Autocycles, Mopeds ... and more. It was launched on 15th April 2007 and the most recent four issues can be downloaded here. (Copies of earlier back numbers are also available.) For non-computerised folks, printed copies are available at £1.50 per edition; we can accommodate mail order too at £2.20 per single edition or £8.80 for a year’s subscription.
So what’s it about?
It’s an e-magazine all about cyclemotors, autocycles and mopeds that carries road test & feature articles, rally reports, free adverts and other assorted information. Although we are an independent production, we have strong ties to the EACC and also to the New Zealand Cyclaid Register.
We are based in East Anglia, but are by no means limited to that area. Much that appears in the magazine is of universal appeal. We welcome contributions, whereever they are from, and are also happy to help to publicise any events for cyclemotors, autocycles and mopeds.
When’s it published?
We publish four times a year and the publication dates are synchronised with key events in the EACC calendar: the Radar Run, the Peninsularis Run, the Coprolite Run and the Mince Pie Run. It’s purely an enthusiast production, and all produced on a tiny budget. Nevertheless, we think you’ll be pretty impressed The free downloadable version will be posted on this website on the same day as the printed version goes on sale.
All the issues of CAM Magazine that we’ve produced have been very well received. Thank you all for your comments; they are much appreciated. Several of you have also made donations, which has helped enormously in keeping Iceni CAM going.
What’s in it?
The January 2015 edition is available now on our Downloads Page.
This latest edition shows that producing our various articles isn’t just about 1940s’ autocycles, 1950s’ cyclemotors, and 1960s’ mopeds. A variety of under-100cc machines continues onward beyond the ’70s, and even bikes from the 1980s are now 25–35 years old. These relatively newer bikes are often popularly used at club events, and a number of ‘younger’ riders now in their 40s–50s grew up riding these late 1970s’ and early 1980s’ machines, so they can have as much interest in features on these early ‘sloped’ models, as someone in their 70s may incline more toward old autocycles and cyclemotors they knew in their youth.
Our aim is to try and cater for a wide spectrum of bikes that riders of many generations relate to.
To set the stage for our main feature, the UK definition of a moped changed in August 1977, from a pedal assisted machine, to any 50cc vehicle limited to a maximum 30mph.
Evolution initially felt like one of those articles that you never quite expected to do because it was comprised entirely of seemingly modern and soulless Japanese plastic scooter-peds—except that they weren’t really modern, because they were all actually over 30 years old! How time flies, and where does it go?
All the bikes in Evolution came from Paul Nelmes of Suffolk Section EACC, who also sponsored the article. Not that the local ‘Autocycle King’ might have defected to the ‘dark side’, but had just concluded a job-lot deal on a camper van + an old British motor cycle and some eight various cheapo dismantled moped/sloped/mini-scooters.
Mainly just because they were available, and not really having any idea at the time what we might ever do with the notes, we road tested and photo-shot a selection of the various late 70s’/early 80s’ mini-scooters as they were completed by Paul and the workshops (which had ‘adopted’ four of the Suzuki FZ50s in a deal). The Suzuki FZ50 and Honda Caren were processed through road test & photo-shoot in September 2013, the Melody in October 2013, and FS50 Scooterette in November 2013.
This rapid turnover gave a comparative appreciation of the various ‘delights’ of these similar, yet different machines, and unquestionably, the Suzuki FZ50 came out our favourite from the test. The mechanical two-speed auto-drive and more robust construction made its ride better and more interesting than the miserable CVT monotony of the cramped and wretched plastic Honda Melody—which ironically had hit upon the winning formula of the original 50cc scooter that everyone was looking for! It then became just a matter of the various manufacturers developing that theme to arrive at the ‘universal pattern’ 50cc scooters we have today.
Interest factors in the article were added by the unusual and now relatively rare Suzuki FS50 and Honda Caren, both of which were very short-lived machines that are rarely seen today, but both deserve their place in the course of Evolution.
Working our way through these various bikes, and relating back to the earlier Shop till you Drop article on the similar period Honda Express and Yamaha QT mopeds, one common feature really stood out: all these late 70s’ early 80s’ machines were engineered to accommodate wire-frame shopping baskets!
It was like some horrible disease! All small bikes of this time seemed to have these wretched things as either standard fitment or ‘have-to-have’ accessories, and the very existence of wire baskets actually manipulated designs of the time! You do wonder if people ever really wanted them, or if they were insidiously threaded into the psyche of an unsuspecting public by subliminal marketing tactics?
Wire shopping baskets on bikes of this age very much became a symbol of the era, but just try and find them on bikes of today—you can’t!
How do we manage without wire baskets now? And did anyone ever really need them anyway?
There was quite some wonderment as to how we might ever package and present any article from this selection of early scooterpeds, until some significance of the transitional period these seemingly random machines represented came to be appreciated. We’d actually been lucky enough to fall upon what were some quite good examples from a very brief window in time, and suddenly the idea of the Evolution article began to seem like a very viable concept!
Compressing four bikes into one feature is always going to make a ‘busy’ article (aka editor’s nightmare), and there was certainly plenty of content in the text and pictures to contend with for editorial selection. There’s no way out of features like this—they’re going to be big, and that’s it!
In the end, we felt the Evolution feature well justified its production, and if it motivates a few people to go out and save some Suzuki FZ, FS50s, and Honda Carens, then that’s a good thing—but not Honda Melodys, they need to be burnt!
Paul Nelmes bought all the bikes in Evolution, went onto fix most of the bikes in Evolution, sponsored Evolution, sold the bikes—and returned to more traditional autocycles.
For Thin end of the Wedge, our Suzuki 80 came in as one of a couple of bikes that were bought-in by the workshops. This ‘his & hers’ pair of the K10 and a Raleigh Wisp had been laid up since 1982, and stored in a dark cellar in Hemel Hempstead … time bubble!
Both machines were quite good and original examples with genuine low mileage, and golden opportunities for test features as works completed, before moving on their way.
Though unpretentious, the K10 was certainly a rare treasure. It’s most infrequent to come across original and unrestored low mileage examples of early Japanese models like this. After securing the 50cc M15 Sportsman earlier for test, we certainly never expected to repeat such luck and have an 80cc K10 drop in our lap ... but the fates smiled, and how good was that?
These small ‘vintage Jap’ motor cycles are now particularly sought after by dedicated collectors, often tend to become restored, and don’t seem to become available much for test access. Maybe we haven’t yet made quite the right connections with the VJMC people, but we would like to do more of these early Jap lightweights if opportunities present themselves.
To put K10’s test run performance into context, one of the accompanying pacers was a later Suzuki A100, which was just ‘tagging along out of curiosity’. Having 25% more capacity than the 80cc K10, there was some expectation that the much later A100 was going to have a comfortable margin over its first-generation grandfather, but there proved an early realisation that the young hare was actually going to have to work pretty hard just to keep up!
While the A100 could certainly get to higher revs and pull a greater top speed under ideal conditions, K10’s torque offered matching acceleration, better pull into a headwind and uphill climbing, and generally more flexible ride-ability. The K10 had better brakes, and appreciably better handling because the A100 rear dampers were shot, so the test course provided quite a spirited run between these two very comparable, yet contrasting machines from different generations, and there were sections where the second ‘official’ pace vehicle found difficulty in keeping up with the ongoing ding-dong contest between the two battling Suzies!
Apart from the heavy-feel steering making the pilot’s job a bit of a wrestling match, K10 rode and performed pretty well. Helped by flexible torque of the motor, it could certainly be hustled along well enough, and a simple change of tyres may probably transform it into a really great all-rounder. Our little Suz proved a very usable lightweight that capably delivers everything it’s asked to do. For a 50-year-old tiddler, it both went and rode very well ... and was clearly a class above its 50cc Sportsman stablemate.
Our K10 road test & photo-shoot took place in April 2013, after which the bike was sold on by the workshops.
The article was sponsored by Bill Rogers of Cambridgeshire Section EACC.
Second Support feature
Get ready to fight for your country—the Moped Army has arrived, and this is war!
‘Moped Doctor’ Chris Day picked up the C50 at a War & Peace Military Vehicle Event, reasonably priced as a private sale since the bike was neither taxed or tested, and there were some starting issues, which was subsequently traced to a fried HT coil.
After sorting out with T&T, Chris decided the little 50 didn’t have enough go for his trim 21-stone physique, and banged it straight up for sale on IceniCAM Market, so we thought we’d just do a quick incidental road test before it sold.
As it happened, we barely had the bike for a couple of days, and only just about managed to get it back a matter of hours before the first punter’s appointment.
The C50 was sold on immediately, and just two weeks later, despite being firmly padlocked and chained, was stolen away in the dead of night … never to be seen again.
While drafting up the road test notes, ‘Moped Army’ seemed quite an appropriate title that some might relate to, since there’s a USA-based Moped Army website and, after all, we are in pretty much the same game.
The C50’s departure then seemed to motivate Chris to fix up his old Suzuki A100 again, which had been lying in scattered pieces for a couple of years.
The A100 was originally rescued from the local council tip around 1992, and reincarnated on zero budget by MAIM: Make, Adapt, Improvise & Mend. Being a bit of a military enthusiast, the Suz was sloshed over with green drab, used for several years as commuter transport through several more MAIM reincarnations, till becoming so completely decrepit that it was no longer capable of MoT.
This last rebuild required most extensive MAIMing, a fresh spray of green drab, then old faithful was revived and looking tidy again to resume a further term of urban service.
Military drab or camouflage can be a really cheap way to finish any old ’ped, and give it some instant identity—all it takes is making that big decision to slosh it on! After that, any MAIMs just blend right in, and you never need concern about pretty paint or shiny chrome ever again.
The C50 was photo-shot by an agricultural concrete drainage pipe at the top of Bucklesham field in November 2011, and became our last road test of that year in the UK, as we then went on to test a series of bikes in New Zealand. The A100 was photoshot at the old wartime SSMR-BUC026 pillbox/dugout, which was part of the Bucklesham Starfish Bombing Decoy along Levington Lane. With the March sun in 2012 proving surprisingly warm for the photoshoot in survival gear, Chris was soon getting quite hot and bothered.
For any weapons enthusiasts, our prop gun was a genuine (deactivated) AK47 assault rifle.
Rather like the bikes, the text was cobbled together as bits and pieces from time-to-time, and pretty much completed over a period of some six months…. but actually getting the feature to publication proved rather more difficult.
Moped Army had been hiding in the undergrowth since the last bike was shot in March 2012. It nearly made an appearance in October 2012, but was beaten to the front line by Folders. Again, our urban survivalist feature was in the running for the July 2013 edition, only to be pipped to the winning post by Iron Horse, ironically another nemesis in the shortlist back in March 2012. Bunkered again, until finally being programmed to invade our first edition of 2015.
The nature of the article content was obviously only ever destined for the oddball third feature slot.
Production costs for Moped Army were merely a token couple of pounds for local diesel fuel, and sponsorship credited to Melvyn Pettitt of EACC Suffolk Section.
Following a couple more years of hard use, the A100 motor began to develop grumbling main bearings, and further failed to benefit from festering out in the weather over the winter season of 2013/14. By the time it was dragged out for assessment again next spring, the motor was already ‘game over’. Now back into another mothball phase of its ongoing life cycle, the A100 will hopefully be re-incarnated again sometime, and maybe return to fight another day.
Next Main Feature: There’s something of a Euro fest in the wind … or maybe there’s a fan somewhere, cooling things down?
This Austrian manufacturer held position as one of the major players in the European moped scene for decades, and various versions of this model proved a mainstay of the business for over 30 years.
We figure that’s an achievement worth crediting our main feature to … ‘The Fan Club’
Next Support Feature: Our second Euro fest feature is an absolute epic tale, from a lifetime story starting in 1893. By the early 1960s, even parts of the somewhat insular French motor cycle industry were feeling the economic effects of a falling market.
As former pillars of the French moped industry were frantically restructuring in efforts to continue their business, some re-emerged under the umbrella of this very significant brand that had made a startling impact on home moped, motor cycle and scooter sales from the 1950‘s.
Since this builder didn’t seem so involved in export, then the badge might not be so familiar to many, but in the French home market they were an important and major player.
‘From little Acorns’, great Oaks do grow, but even the mightiest must one day fall, and incredible to believe, that by just 1975—it was all to be gone.
Next Second Support: Our Euro fest moped theme for the next edition continues with a getaway to the warm and lazy delights of a summer ‘Sunspot’ holiday in Portugal.
Hold on? Doesn’t this seem an unlikely destination to find any moped manufacturers?
Well, there’s this Website ... we’ve put a lot of useful information here, and we’re alwas adding to it. We have a directory of useful people to know. Information on local events: route sheets, maps, etc, are here as downloadable documents and, after each run, we put photos of the event on this website. There’s also a market place where you can buy and sell mopeds, autocycles, cyclemotors and other related items
We have a discussion forum on Yahoo—you can get to that from our Contacts page or the box at the top of this page.
As each edition of the magazine is published, we add to our collection of articles. From Edition 3 of the magazine, we introduced another evolution. Previously, features in the articles section had reflected what appeared in the magazine, but you may now discover a bit of extra content has crept into some items as they’ve transferred to the website—you might call it ‘The Directors Cut’. The problem with printed magazines is editing everything to fit page sizes and space, and there can sometimes be bits you’d like to include, but they have to be left out to fit the available space. The web articles don’t need to be constrained by the same limitations so, although the text will remain the same, the ‘Directors Cut’ graphic in the header indicates the item carries extra pictures and bits that didn’t make it to the magazine.
We also have an Information Service—if you want to know more about your moped, we can help.
What we do
Iceni CAM Magazine is committed to celebrating all that’s good about the Cyclemotor, Moped and Autocycle scene; researching toward the advancement of the pool of knowledge about cyclemotors, autocycles, old mopeds, and other oddities; and the publication of original material. We are a declared non-profit making production, though we still need to fund everything somehow to keep the show on the road.
The magazine is free on line, and the nominal price of supplying hard copies to non-computerised folks is pitched only to cover printing and postage. All advertising is free since we believe that the few people left out there providing parts & service for these obsolete machines do so as a hobby and an interest. This involves far more effort than reward, and they should be appreciated for the assistance they provide. Our Information Service is there to help anyone needing manuals to help with restoration of a machine. We make a small charge for this but, again, we have set our prices so the just cover postage and material costs.
Overheads involve operation of the website, and particularly the generation of features. Articles like Last Flight of the Eagle can cost as little as £20 to complete, while others have cost up to £150 to generate, eg: Top Cat on the Leopard Bobby. With these overheads, you may be wondering how we get the money to keep it all going. So do we! But, somehow, it works, helped by a number of generous people who have sponsored articles or made donations to keep the show on the road.
How long does it take to research, produce, and get these feature articles to press? Well, up to two years of preparatory research in some cases, where little is known about the machine or its makers, and where nothing has been published before. Then, collating all the information and interviews, drafting and re-drafting the text, travel and photoshoots typically account for up to 40 to 50 hours to deliver the package to editing.
There are many examples where these articles have become the definitive reference material for previously unpublished machines like Mercury Mercette & Hermes, Leopard Bobby, Ostler Mini-Auto, Dunkley Whippet & Popular, Stella Minibike, Ambassador Moped, Elswick Hopper Lynx, and many others.
We’re committed to continuing to produce these articles, because we believe it needs to be done, and we’ve got a proven track record for achieving it. Nobody else has done it in 50 odd years, so if we don’t do it—who will?
To whet your appetite for what’s ahead, here’s an updated list of machines with developing articles for future features: Ariel 3, Ariel Pixie, Batavus Go-Go, Busy Bee cyclemotor, Capriolo 75 Turismo Veloce, Coventry Eagle Trade Auto-Ette, Cyc-Auto (Wallington Butt), Cyc-Auto (Villiers), Derbi Antorcha, Dot ViVi, Dunkley S65, Dunkley Whippet Super Sports, Elswick-Hopper VAP MIRA test prototype, Gilera RS50, Heath mini-bike, Hercules Corvette, Hercules Her-cu-motor, Honda CD50, Honda SS50, Honda Stream, James Comet 1F, Kerry Capitano, Leopard B6, Motobécane >SP50, MV Agusta Liberty, Norman Nippy Mark 2, Norman Nippy Mark 3, NVT Ranger, Phillips P36X motorised cycle, Powell Joybike, Puch Magnum X, Rabeneick Binetta, Simson SR2E, Solifer Speed, Sun Autocycle, Sun Motorette, Tailwind cyclemotor, Vincent Firefly, Yamaha FS1E.
The working list changes all the time as articles are completed and published, and further new machines become added—so as you see, there’s certainly no shortage of material.
Readers have probably noticed a number of the articles collecting sponsorship credits, and we’re very grateful for the donations people have made toward IceniCAM, which certainly assures we’re going forward into another year. We don’t need a lot of money since IceniCAM is a declared non-profit making organisation, and operates on a shoestring (and we’d like to keep it that way)—run by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts.
It’s easy to sponsor an article by either picking a machine from the forward list, and we’ll attach your credit to it, or simply making a donation. There is no fixed amount, it’s entirely up to you, and however large or small, we’re grateful for any contribution to keep the show on the road.
If a vehicle you’re interested in seeing an article about isn’t in the list, then let us know and we’ll see about trying to add it in the programme, but we do need access to examples—perhaps you have a machine you’d like to offer for a feature?
See the Contact Page for how to: Subscribe to the magazine–Chat to fellow readers–Make a donation–Sponsor an article–Enter a free advert–Submit an article yourself–Write a letter to us–Propose a machine for feature–Offer your machine for test feature ...