Archive for the ‘Ariel Square Four’ Category
Rough and Ready but (Nearly) Always Reliable! I’ve owned my 1953 Mk2 Ariel Square Four for well over a decade now and after a couple of years lying neglected in the garage it’s been bought out of hibernation for what could probably be called it’s third of forth restoration. Actually it won’t really be a restoration this time but more of freshen up and a chance to improve things cosmetically. It stands now looking a little neglected, front tyre missing after a friend who wore his down to the carcass on an epic journey to Scotland appropriated it to allow him to complete the final leg back to Norfolk from my place in Derbyshire. Various other bits have been “borrowed” to keep my ’52 Mk1 on the road but since that rather rudely threw its engine shock absorber assembly out through the chain case last year the ’53 gets its turn in the limelight. Ariel Owners Motorcycle Club. After a couple of weeks of touring we ended up in Sweden and after the rest of the group returned to England I carried on and rode the bike to the North Cape. Foolhardy on a fresh restoration but it made it and by the time I returned home 5 or 6 weeks later the bike had covered over 5000 miles. Not trouble free by any stretch of the imagination the bike featured quite a lot of impromptu mods by the time I returned to the UK.
Handsome as ever but in need of improvement The bike still looks fairly good overall and the paint will clean up nicely. Its brush painted with International Paints Japlac but don’t get any ideas about the usual dull streaky brush finish. This paint will give a fantastic finish with proper preparation and careful application. It flows into a deep glossy finish that can be polished up once dried. The depth of shine defies belief and in my opinion is actually better than many sprayed finishes. Anyway I digress. The bike is not and probably never will be totally original. It of course has one of our alternator conversions fitted but on the less salubrious side of things there is a digital bike speedo in place of the Smiths Chronometric originally fitted. Levers are modern alloy items with a longer throw to lighten the clutch. Cosmetically the indicators look a little of place but most the jarring omission is the missing chrome flash to each side of the tank and wheel rims powder coated silver to keep costs down. I’m not quite ready to splash out on having the tank re-done yet but it would be nice to do something about the wheels…… Draganfly Motorcycles in Suffolk. Brass nipples are to follow but the first job now the rims are here is to strip the old wheels down, paint the hubs and start lacing up. It’s been a few years since I built up wheels from scratch but I’m sure it’ll come flooding back!
Beautiful Australian Mk1 Ariel Square Four It’s always nice to hear from previous customers especially when accompanied by photos and stories of their restored bikes. Roger in Australia purchased an Alternator from us a couple of years ago for his 1950 Mk1 Ariel Square Four. At the time he told me he had purchased the bike as a barn find from Canada based on emailed photographs only. A mere two years later the photo below shows the machine restored to superb condition. This model year of the Mk1 fitted with a chrome panel tank is one of the prettiest machines. It doesn’t have quite the butch appeal of the Mk2 four piper but the deep valance on the front mudguard and single saddle give a classic line that still has elements of styling from the previous decades. Ariel Square Four: Growing popularity and increasing values The Square Four has always been a mystical machine. Blessed with four cylinders from an era when singles and twins were the norm the powerful and torque laden power unit that creates so much of the attraction has also been a source of much trouble for owners. Some of that reputation is ill deserved such as the legendary “overheating on the rear cylinders” problem. Simply not true but so often repeated that you only need to stand next to a Square for about 5 minutes before some wise sage approaches you to relate this little nugget of information. Slowly over the years the value of bikes has crept up. Although some might argue this will eventually place them out of reach it has had the advantage of driving a healthy market in components for restoration and improvement. improved oil pumps from Morgo and in the last couple of years newly manufactured con-rods. Once properly rebuilt this four cylinder engine can offer good levels of reliability. Proper maintenance and regular oil changes are a must but any owner of +60 years old vehicle will do that as a matter of course. With coil ignition the Mk1 and Mk2 Squares have always been reliant on a fully charged battery to keep going. Unfortunately with the original 70 Watt dynamo things were at best marginal. Our 300 Watt conversion based on modern 3 phase internals from Nippon Denso solves this problem entirely. Not only that it fits without modification and as you will see below is only discernible from the original on close inspection. Ariel Square Alternator conversion in 2010 sales have been steady. The hand built units are made to order and the numbers sold are not significant in the scheme of things. However one has to consider that the market is limited by the number of surviving Ariel Square Fours. There are estimated to be only a few thousand of the 15,000 originally manufactured still in existence. Amazingly bikes such as this continue to surface after decades of hibernation and we are pleased to be one of the companies helping classic bike owners restore and improve these machines. Supplied with full instructions and a fitting kit the alternator can be installed on your bike in a few hours. Reliability has been perfect and the built in sold state regulator works with both lead acid and modern gel type batteries.