GIRDLES AND CORSETS: 'Ancient' motorcycles had girder forks
IT was an interesting report ("Roar of mean machines" -- NST, June 17) about the gathering of classic motorcycle enthusiasts in Port Dickson.
A BSA (Birmingham Small Arms Company) twin motorcycle with "girdle" fork was said to have been there. I wonder if there was also a Norton with a "corset"?
It should not be too surprising, because in the 1960s, Norton produced the 500cc and 600cc Models 88 and 99, fitted with the so-called "frames". The frames and petrol tanks were narrower, allowing the riders to tuck in their knees more closely. Could it be that "girdles" and "corsets" had been used to achieve that slimness?
I think what the report meant was girder forks. The dictionary describes "girder" as a system where horizontal beams support vertical weights. Thus, the girder fork featured pivoted horizontal levers supporting sprung stanchions (vertical rods) attached to the front wheel.
A motorcycle featuring a girder fork is a sure indication of its ancientness, as these forks went out of style after World War 2.