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1924 Fracis Barnett “Zarabout”

We were extremely pleased to have been have involved recently in a very rewarding project to restore an old Francis Barnett “Zarabout”.

The story behind this is presented below.

The machine “as found”

The early history of this machine is not known until it appeared at the auction of the collection of the late restorer and collector Bill Fruin in 1984. Bill hadn’t got round to restoring the bike and it was missing many parts. An acquaintance bought the bike at the auction and  stored it in his loft untouched for 30 years until the present owner bought it in 2014.

Initial research revealed that it was an example of one of the first and most basic models of ‘Built like a Bridge’ Francis Barnet’s, which were introduced in October 1923.

This machine has been dated as early 1924. It has a 147cc Villiers two-stroke engine and an Albion two-speed hand change gearbox with no clutch or kick start.

The picture of the bike ‘as found’  shows the extent of the missing parts, most of which had to be made, copying those of an original machine. Some parts were made by modifying pattern parts such as the mudguards and saddle.

The machine with new parts painted in red oxide./

The bike had obviously been subjected to rough treatment in the past, the wheels were buckled and the rims had flats in places and were dented. The obvious choice was to rebuild the wheels using new beaded edge rims but these were not available in the original narrow section, so the wheels were dismantled by the owner and the existing rims straightened using a variety of methods. The wheels were loosely reassembled using a home-made wheel building jig then taken to WheelwiseEngineering for truing up and the fitting of the rear wheel drive belt rim. The rear wheel needed new spokes to ensure a safe result.


The second picture shows the bike in 2017 with its new parts painted in red oxide BondaPrimer, after which the machine was dismantled for final painting and assembly by the owner.

The final picture shows the finished machine.

The finished product!


1972 Kawasaki Z1

Here are photographs of a beautifully restored 1972 Kawasaki Z1, which was rescued from the USA.

The Z1 was the first large capacity production motorcycle to use a double-overhead-camshaft system and its 903cc, four cylinder engine enabled it to achieve a top speed of over 130mph.

New Hudson and Raleigh R5 Supermatic Mopeds

We have just received pictures of two beautifully restored mopeds from one of our most valued clients.

The New Hudson is a 1950 model and is powered by a Villiers 98cc 2F engine with a single speed gearbox.

The Raleigh is really a Mobylette, made under licence in 1965. (Manufacture was stopped the following year.) It has a constantly variable gearing belt drive.

Two more bikes for the Gallery!

One of our longstanding customers has just provided photographs of not one but two bikes that he has recently restored with the help of Wheelwise Engineering.

One is a lovely little Kawasaki S3A Triple.











The other is a Yamaha YR5 – this is quite a contrast to the S3A but just as appealing!


Two More Vintage Machines

The owner of the AJC and AJcette machines recently uploaded to the gallery has just sent us photos of two more vintage motorcycles that he has lovingly restored. He reminded us that these make a total of eight bikes that Wheelwise Engineering has provided the wheels for!

1922 Ariel V-Twin

This rare 1922 Ariel motorcycle is powered by an Abingdon King Dick (ADK) V-Twin 6/7HP (795cc) engine and was meticulously renovated over an eight year period.


1929 Model 18 Norton 490cc

The Model 18 was fitted with the Norton’s first and sportiest Overhead Valve (OHV) engine; this has a displacement of 490cc and a power output of 21 HP. The machine has a three-speed hand-shift transmission, front girder forks and drum brakes.

1976 Honda CB750 K6


Here is a photo of a beautifully restored Honda CB750 K6 that has just been added to the gallery.

The bike is finished in Candy Antar Red and is powered by a 736cc, transverse, straight-four engine with a single overhead camshaft (SOHC), linked to a five speed transmission and a chain drive.

It was fitted with a 16” rear wheel but now looks far more handsome with an 18” assembly supplied by Wheelwise Engineering.

Photos of AJS and AJcette Bikes

We have recently received photos of a couple of superbly renovated AJS bikes that were completed earlier in the year and for which Wheelwise Engineering provided the wheels.

One is a 349cc 1928 AJS K7 and the other is an “AJcette”; this started life with a side valve engine and was converted to an overhead cam configuration.

The camshaft is chain driven, with its distinctive cast-alloy case extending forwards to the front-mounted magneto.

Both bikes can now be seen individually in the gallery.

Yamaha AT1-C

We have recently provided wheels as part of the rolling restoration of a Yamaha AT1-C. A photograph of the bike has been provided by the owner and added to the gallery.


Kawasaki 500 H1-F

We were pleased to receive these photographs of a perfectly restored example of a classic Kawasaki triple 500 in the rarer candy brown /mustard yellow paint scheme, with wheels provided by Wheelwise Engineering.

Yamaha 650cc Dragster

We have just added a photo of a beautifully restored Yamaha 650cc Dragster to the Gallery. This is the culmination of many hours of hard work on the bike itself and, of course, the rebuild of the wheels by Wheelwise Engineering. The owner is understandably very pleased with the end result!