UK: Classic Motorcycle Museum at Backbarrow

Motor Museum

United Kingdom motorcyclists wishing to get up close to classic bikes, as well as iconic motorcycles, should head to the newly opened Lakeland Motor Museum in the Lake District, which isn’t all about cars.

Classic motorcycles on display at the Museum, now located in a purpose built, state-of-the-art home of its own, at Backbarrow near Ulverston, include a 1926 Scott Super Squirrel, a 1963, 500cc Triumph Tiger 100, a 1924 Neracar and a 1936 New Imperial.

Two iconic motorcycles providing not-to-be-missed photo opportunities are a six-cylinder, 1978 Honda CBX and the 1993 Honda 125cc bike ridden by the late racing legend, Joey Dunlop, at the Isle of Man TT.

The Lakeland Motor Museum is home to more than 30,000 exhibits, providing a blend of fascination and nostalgia. It educates and enthrals, as well as conveying the heritage of the British and worldwide motor, motorcycle and bicycle industries.

Here are some notes on the motorcycle display:

The Scott Super Squirrel was a motorcycle ahead of its time, produced in the 1920s and 1930s and with a liquid-cooled, vertical twin two-stroke engine, rather than a heavy air-cooled, four-stroke like its rivals.

It had a reputation for speed and was a race-winning bike. Scotts are sometimes called the "Bugattis of Motorcycles". One former Scott owner was actor Steve McQueen.

The Ner-A-Car Corporation was a US based business founded by Carl A Neracher and located in Syracuse, New York, although some of its bikes were made in Sheffield.

The business was backed by razor maker King C Gillette and aimed its motorcycles at people who wanted a comfortable vehicle, but who could not afford a car.

Unique to this bike was a centre hub steering system. Advertising claimed this bike could do 300 miles for a dollar, 85-100 miles to a gallon and a speed of 35 mph.

New Imperial motorcycles were made in Britain and were highly innovative, employing unit construction and sprung heel frames way ahead of their time. They triumphed in the 1932 Isle of Man TT, and at the French Grand Prix of 1932.

The 1978 Honda CBX made the world sit up and take notice when it was launched, quickly becoming the shining star of the motorcycle world. It truly conveyed Honda’s ability to turn dreams into reality, becoming a superbike the like of which had not been seen before.

Created thanks to feedback from motorcycling journalists on what they would wish to see, it was a ground breaking, six-cylinder motorcycle, outrageously powerful and a true statement bike. It ferocious power, yet street-legal status made it the quickest, most striking and extravagant motorbike on the market.

Joey Dunlop OBE MBE was known as the King of the Road Racers, before tragically meeting his death in Estonia in July 2000. Over 45,000 people attended his funeral in Northern Ireland, including 13,000 motorcyclists.

Joey knocked up 26 TT wins, 24 Ulster GP wins, 13 wins at the North West 200, 11 at the Steam Packet post TT meeting and 31 at the Southern 100.

His 26 TT wins included three TT hat-tricks and proved his outstanding abilities as a rider and racer.

Phillip McCallen has said: "Joey was a legend and a hero to most bikers in the world – he was like an invincible force who just had more talent to ride a bike than anyone else".

The Lakeland Motor Museum opens daily to December 24, 2010, from 10.00 to 17.30 to the end of October, closing at 16.30 thereafter. Last admission is 45 minutes before closing.

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