1921 Velocette boardtracker rocks Ally Pally

Published: 09 March 2012

This Nick Gale-built Velocette boardtracker was the star of the London International Classic and Custom Bike Show at Alexandra Palace this year, even though it's still a work in progress!

Wembley-based custom bike builder Gale took a 1921 Clyno - an old Coventry marque - and shoehorned a 1936 Velocette MAC and 1920s three-speed Albion gearbox into a space once occupied by a tiny 2.5bhp belt-driven two-stroke.

Gale, one of Britain's master custom builders, said: "I've wanted to do a boardtracker for ages but it's so hard to build one to scale. People overlook how small the old boardtrack bikes were. But then I saw this Clyno online and went for it.

"I bought the Velo motor at a Kempton autojumble and intended the bike for a Biker Build-Off programme but I got fed up waiting round and got on with the project."

Shoehorning the Velo into the frame meant completely replacing the main frame loop and Gale admitted some reticence at hacking into the original pipework. "We stood in the workshop wondering whether we should make the cut. According to the log book, the bike was registered on January 24, 1921.

"I looked at my watch and it was January 24, the bike's 91st birthday and I said, 'Cut it'. Even as we attacked it with the cutting wheel we were wondering what the purists would say if they knew what we were doing!"

The bike has yet to be painted, but Gale reckons it would cost around £4000-£4500 to build something similar - a small price for something so exquisite.