Do you find yourself walking around and around it, utterly bemused and bewildered as you do about how it was built, why it was built and how come everyone on the two-wheeled planet failed to rush out and buy one?
This was my own reaction to the Scott 3, the machine featured for us by Alan Cathcart in this issue. An in-line, three-cylinder, liquid-cooled two-stroke? With stunning looks to match its stunning specification? How could it fail?
How come so many riders failed to flock to the Scott factory gates that only a very tiny handful were sold?
A common complaint when riders of my acquaint get together to talk bikes is that so many bikes were built to the same basic design; the parallel twin 4-stroke, almost always ohv, although one was ohc and quite a few smaller engines were two-strokes. Why, grumble several riders, did our once-great industry fail to offer The Discerning Rider (which is of course, you and me, if no one else) something different? Why did they insist on offering endless variations on the same theme; the parallel twin four-stroke?
This question of course ignores the sad fact that we were offered several different designs of postwar engines, from four pots in a square, via V-twins and flat twins to three pots all in a row. What did we buy? We bought parallel twin four-strokes. By the shipload.
Back in prewar days, Scott was not alone in offering unusual engine designs; Matchless offered an amazing ohc V4, complete with an interesting and effective rear springing system and linked brakes. Quite a few were sold… but not many. Not enough for it to be modernised and re-introduced after hostilities ended.
Motorcyclists are a surprisingly conservative bunch, which is why the old manufacturers were equally conservative in what they offered.
It’s a similar thing in the odd world of magazine publishing. Put something really interesting and unusual on the cover and sales fall. Put a Triumph twin on the cover and sales rise. Betcha!
Is it summer yet? Ride safely…
Frank Westworth, Acting Editor
90 years of BMW
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