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Saracen production


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#1 ronald

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 06:32 PM

Hi. My name is Ron Goodfellow and I designed and built the Saracen motorcyles in the late sixties. We built about three hundred in all of various types most of them being exported to the USA. We also exported to France and Sweden. Frank Underwood and I started the company which grew from a hobby and a lot of enthusiasm. The original prototype was a BSA bantam engined version but we could not acquire British engines and opted for the Sachs motor, initially the Iron engine but later the aluminium engine. We also built a few Triumph tiger cubs, I know one is still going. We also designed a spine framed 100cc Hodaka engined trail bike. I can attach a few photographs.
My daughter found this web site and it is ironic that only this week I have finished rebuilding one of the trials bikes with alloy motor and reed valve, amazing improvement. I still enjoy my motorcycling mostly touring but have competed in pre 65 trials until fairly recently on a 350cc enfield/saracen special. I am unable at the moment to include the photographs but as soon as I figure it out I will post them. Feet up!! If anyone wants to get in touch my Email address is rongoodfellow@gmail.com


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#2 old trials fanatic

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 09:00 PM

Look forward to seeing the piccys :thumbup: I have fond memories of a brief relationship with an alloy barreled Sachs engined Saracen. Wish i still had her :crying: but remember she did seem to be a bit lacking in the ground clearence dept. Welcome to the madhouse :icon_salut:
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#3 tonyp

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Posted 12 November 2010 - 11:48 PM

Just wanted to say congratulations on producing one of the best looking trials bikes ever.

I guess many of us started with these bikes ....half the weight of my previous bike... a Greeves Scottish!!

Would love one, but over the years I've come to the conclusion they'r all in the US or in Westyfields garage ?

#4 old trials fanatic

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Posted 14 November 2010 - 06:29 PM

Just wanted to say congratulations on producing one of the best looking trials bikes ever.

I guess many of us started with these bikes ....half the weight of my previous bike... a Greeves Scottish!!

Would love one, but over the years I've come to the conclusion they'r all in the US or in Westyfields garage ?


There's lots of things lurking in westyfields garage.
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#5 charlie prescott

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 11:07 AM

Hi Guy's
Hi Ron ,
I am so glad you have found the "Trials Central" web site, as YOU are a part of trials history,
Keep watching and posting on the site, as I am sure you can provide us with information and photos about your- Saracen's and other makes of trials bikes of the time, I have an "Off Road Review " with a good three or four page history about Saracen, most interesting.
Welcombe to "TC".

Regards Charlie.

#6 ducman

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 11:44 AM

Hi Guy's
Hi Ron ,
I am so glad you have found the "Trials Central" web site, as YOU are a part of trials history,
Keep watching and posting on the site, as I am sure you can provide us with information and photos about your- Saracen's and other makes of trials bikes of the time, I have an "Off Road Review " with a good three or four page history about Saracen, most interesting.
Welcombe to "TC".

Regards Charlie.


Hi Ron also a warm welcome from me.As Charlie i have that Article from the "Off Road Review"yellow book from a couple of years ago.

Chrs:Mike

#7 dgshannon

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 07:06 PM

Hi. My name is Ron Goodfellow and I designed and built the Saracen motorcyles in the late sixties. We built about three hundred in all of various types most of them being exported to the USA. We also exported to France and Sweden. Frank Underwood and I started the company which grew from a hobby and a lot of enthusiasm. The original prototype was a BSA bantam engined version but we could not acquire British engines and opted for the Sachs motor, initially the Iron engine but later the aluminium engine. We also built a few Triumph tiger cubs, I know one is still going. We also designed a spine framed 100cc Hodaka engined trail bike. I can attach a few photographs.
My daughter found this web site and it is ironic that only this week I have finished rebuilding one of the trials bikes with alloy motor and reed valve, amazing improvement. I still enjoy my motorcycling mostly touring but have competed in pre 65 trials until fairly recently on a 350cc enfield/saracen special. I am unable at the moment to include the photographs but as soon as I figure it out I will post them. Feet up!! If anyone wants to get in touch my Email address is rongoodfellow@gmail.com


Which begs the question... "When are you going to make some more?"

Many believe that there is a market for some "new" vintage bikes. Air cooled Honda CRF motor, Yamaha TTR motor, Chinese knockoff on an old air cooled 2-stroke, etc. in a nice "new" vintage refabrication chassis.
Gonads are useful for their intended purpose,
but they are no substitute for brains!

#8 jon v8

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 08:42 PM

Which begs the question... "When are you going to make some more?"

Many believe that there is a market for some "new" vintage bikes. Air cooled Honda CRF motor, Yamaha TTR motor, Chinese knockoff on an old air cooled 2-stroke, etc. in a nice "new" vintage refabrication chassis.

That would be good to see.It is still going on here in the UK,there are a few low volume builders around.Close to me I think Jon Bliss is still building his Cotswold bikes for various engines inc the China built Honda copies.
I guess the world financial problems must make people cautious when contemplating a new venture.

#9 sparks2

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Posted 15 November 2010 - 09:54 PM

Put me name down for one (a Saracen that is).

#10 nigel dabster

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 06:17 AM

That would be good to see.It is still going on here in the UK,there are a few low volume builders around.Close to me I think Jon Bliss is still building his Cotswold bikes for various engines inc the China built Honda copies.
I guess the world financial problems must make people cautious when contemplating a new venture.

Building maybe but selling?


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#11 jon v8

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 07:31 AM

Thats a good point,trouble is trials riders dont seem to rush to spend cash - except in the pub ! Unlike other sports where people "Must have" the latest whatever.I keep looking at Craig Mawlems frame kits,but have yet to stump up the cash....

#12 charlie prescott

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 09:27 AM

Hi Guy's
To set up any new enterprise in the present monetary situation is a risk, even one building small volume bikes. and if you delve into setting up a workshop capable of producing these bikes, you would be amazed at how much it will cost. If you did go ahead, how many bikes or frames would you sell? and at our age, ay Ron, would we want the hassle. It is a nice thought though.
Jon Bliss was one of the works riders at "Saracen" perhaps he could get,interested? and he is up and running. one of the Chinese motors would fit in a treat, and they ent half built well now a days (the engines that is).
Is ten and a half inch ground clearance not enough for you then OTF?

Regards Charlie.

#13 old trials fanatic

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 11:05 AM

Is ten and a half inch ground clearance not enough for you then OTF?

Regards Charlie.


Err nowhere near Charlie. If i remember even Bessie the BSA had more than that. 10.5 is more green lane bike than a Trials bike.

Dont get me wrong liked the Saracen, much better than the Sprite on offer at the time, but ground clearence was and is a serious issue to anybody thinking of riding one of them now, was then too thats why i sold mine.
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#14 sparks2

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Posted 16 November 2010 - 07:15 PM

Wouldn't ten and a half have been pretty standard regulation Bultaco
and Montesa wise in the early seventies? The Dalesman had about thirteen
but that felt top heavy.

#15 old trials fanatic

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Posted 17 November 2010 - 10:38 AM

Wouldn't ten and a half have been pretty standard regulation Bultaco
and Montesa wise in the early seventies? The Dalesman had about thirteen
but that felt top heavy.


Perhaps but the Sprite Goldfinger that i bought after the Saracen seemed not to suffer as much as the Saracen with grounding out. Sections have changed a lot since then also and 10.5" just isnt anywhere near enough clearence nowadays. I would say 13" min. Footrest position back in the days when the world was in black and white was also miles out and was probably one of the biggest contributors to a lot of bikes feeling top heavy. Didnt help with balance, steering and grip either.

Sadly back then people were too much like sheep and didnt analyse enough resulting in the bikes just following the herd re footrest position, ground clearence, steering angle etc etc. Now we know better and should never compromise on form over function.

The bike is there to do a job and i am constantly refining my bike to do it's job better.

Just my humble opinion on the Saracen which to me even at the time felt needed development. Pretty but needed development.

Edited by Old trials fanatic, 17 November 2010 - 10:41 AM.

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