The Allan Jefferies XL 250 Honda...

 Built by Peter Gaunt...

 

This is another of the tests young Justyn Norek did in 2017... when on a roll with the tests, and then the Covid Pandemic put payed to any more for a while.

Another bike build by the non stop constructor of trials bikes throughout his life the late great Peter Gaunt... 

 

All photos Courtesy Justyn Norek Snr...

Story from Riccardo Aime...

At a certain point in my life I decided that I had to buy a Honda Trial, a 4-stroke trial with two shock absorbers for the group 5 vintage trial races, but the realization of this dream was quite difficult as 4-stroke trial models have never been imported into Italy, at least in such quantities as to generate a second-hand market in which to find the vehicle. For this reason, the solution was to search on the European market, aware of the problem which

easily the eventual documents of the motorbike could have allowed the regular circulation but, for my way of using the trial motorbike, this did not represent a big problem By chance I met Mario, an old friend, great enthusiast of vintage enduro motorcycles to whom I told of my desire. Mario knew a guy in England who sold vintage off-road motorcycles and we broke up with the promise that he would contact

to the merchant to see if he had anything available.

A few weeks later a phone call arrived (the internet was not yet widespread at the time): “Hey Riccardo, the guy has a Honda trial, actually he actually has 2, a full suspension and one with single shock absorber, send me the photos so choose".

The photos arrived after 15 days, in an envelope, photos printed on film, not like now that we take them directly with the mobile phone.

The price was reasonable and, after a short and bloodless discussion with my wife, the choice was made!!

Both bikes arrived in my garage. Honestly, I must confess that I didn't have an exact idea of ​​what I had bought, the meagre information I had come from England, I knew that the older bike was one of the first and few trial Hondas made by an English trials pilot and machine constructor, before the official entry of the parent company into the trial and the second was a transformation of a TLR into a single shock absorber.

Later, doing some research, I discovered that I had bought a Honda Allan Jefferies and a TLR 250 modified by Bob Gollner... A lucky purchase that gave me the possession of a couple of rather rare and rather unknown Hondas in Italy.

The Honda Gollner was reconverted to its initial status as a motorcycle with rear suspension with 2 shock absorbers for use on the group 5 racing circuit. After years of happy use the motorcycle was loaned to a rider of my motorcycle club to participate in the Mont Ventoux trial, the super classic of the vintage trial...

To who teams that ride classic trial enthusiasts know well.

My friend competed in the red category, the most difficult teamed up with Andrea Fistolera on Italjet and a Spaniard.

They won in front of tough guys like Coutard and Vesterinen. After that... he still owes me the bike back, we have

agreed a monetary compensation which he honored as a gentleman and the motorbike now lives with him.

But that's another story we'll talk about in the future, a good reason to keep looking at BSA Otter site...

Honda Allan Jefferies has been the queen of my small collection of trials bikes for several years. But since I don't have the collector's spirit and I think that the bikes must be used for the purpose for which they were born, combined with the fact that my not excellent qualities as a trial’ist don't allow me to ride a classic four-stroke trial at my best. I made the decision to put the vehicle up for sale in order to become “mono-thematic”, i.e. continue to practice the vintage trial with my Bultaco.

I got in touch with Carlo Ramella, a great and knowledgeable collector of classic trials bikes to whom I spoke of my intention to sell the Allan Jefferies. One Sunday afternoon Carlo called me: “Are you at home? Since I'm not far from your house, I'd like to come and see the bike". 45 minutes later Carlo's Renault Espace entered my courtyard, with him was Pippo Bartorilla, one of the pioneers of the Italian trial. An hour later the Allan Jefferies was in Carlo's car. Thus ended my story with the first trial Honda. If I think back to Allan Jefferies I can say that the bike is very different from the trials (rigorously classic) that I used to ride and still have.

 

THE MOTORCYCLE...

 

The engine is very powerful, very "woody" if compared to Bultaco engines, very effective on straight climbs or on creeks, typical difficulties of English trials of the era in which the bike was conceived. The use in the guided trial has always been difficult for me especially in areas with tight bends where the high frame, the weight and the engine delivery characteristics have always put me in difficulty and cost me a lot of penalties.

But the ascent of streams has always been its bread and butter, the characteristics of the engine and the chassis made it a show in this type of area, despite a super poor driver like me. After a few appearances in classic trial races I switched to other bikes but, honestly, the problem was me and not the bike; I think that an adaptation work would have increased the competitiveness of the vehicle. I know that Carlo and Pippo have improved there

the engine output with

"Wizard" carburation adjustment intervention.

But life goes by, other bikes, other adventures...

Referring to the book “Final Four Stroke? The Honda trials story”, the Bible for Honda trial enthusiasts, the history of the Honda Allan Jefferies can be summarised as follows.

The bike was based on a successful Trail/Enduro of the time, the Honda XL 250 which the technician Peter Gaunt modified for use in trials in the years 1973/1974. The operation was financed by the English dealer Allan Jefferies from which the bike took its name. Allan's son, Nick, a strong English driver of the time, participated in the development and used it with good results.

Gaunt used many of the original Honda XL components to keep costs down. The suspensions, the wheels, the hubs, and the engine were reused with small modifications to adapt them to trial use; a carburettor was fitted…Amal 26mm consentric to ensure delivery more suited to trials while the original

 

 

frame was modified by altering the steering angle and eliminating the lower part of the cradle to increase ground clearance, while protecting the engine with a light alloy shield.

The position of the engine in the chassis was also changed to increase the ground clearance to 27 centimetres. A shorter swinging arm was also built which reduced the wheelbase to 1293 millimeter’s. The saddle was modified assuming the typical shape of the saddles of trial bikes, while the raising of the engine in the frame made an important modification of the tank necessary, in particular on the left side.

The dry weight was 105 kilograms dry for an estimated power of 20 horsepower at 8000 rpm. The marketing of the motorcycle was handled by the Allan Jefferies Motorcycles company of Shipley in Yorkshire but the sale price, necessarily higher than the Spanish two-stroke, made the operation commercially unprofitable and after a production of around twenty motorcycles no more were made. The Honda Allan Jefferies trial was the first in a long saga of winning trials bikes, a legend that continues today under the dominance of Tony…Bou and his Montesa-Honda...

Words by R. Aime Photos by J. Norek Sr...

Carlo Ramella's story...

My long-standing passion for Honda Trial bikes makes me keep an eye on all the ads for sale of bikes, spare parts, etc. Looking through the ads in magazines and on the web several years ago, I think it was 2009, I discovered one with a photo of the Honda Trial Jefferies Special, but with the wrong fenders and other details.

So I made a call and found out that I knew the seller, actually my friend, Riccardo Aime, who lives in Cuneo about 100km from where I live. Riccardo, not being a fan of four-stroke motorcycles but being dedicated to Bultacos, decided to sell it.

So we made an appointment, I was very curious to find out if it was an original Gaunt/Jefferies. In an hour's journey I am in Riccardo's garage, and at a glance I understand that the bike is original, if not for a few small details; we agree on the price and I take her home. Then with the help of my good friend Pippo Bartorilla we fit the correct mudguards, the Amal carburettor and restore it to its original condition, ready to be part of my Honda trials bike collection. It's very nice to drive, but now let's hear what tester Justyn Jr has to say about it after testing it in Puy…

 

 

Trials Test with Justyn Jnr…

Eager to do another test, I made a call to my friend Carlo Ramella of whom I've already tested a few bikes (if you haven't read the reviews, I invite you to do so, taking a look at the past pages on BSA Otter site).

When I asked him if he had an interesting trials bike to test, he replied: “All my bikes are interesting! You want to try a four-stroke, don't you?” - “Yes, yes, please! Which do you have?” - “I won't tell you now, you'll find out on Sunday!” Waiting for that day, I try to guess which motorbike it could be. The chosen location is PUY, where there are many rocky areas. I arrive early Sunday morning and the bike is waiting for me with Carlo and Pippo and I finally find out that the bike is an Allan Jefferies Peter Gaunt Honda Special! Great!

I start it, warm it up and set off into the alpine forest.

I quickly get used to handling it and am immediately ready to try the rocky descent into the stream bed.

 

 

The first impression is very positive, the bike is very stable downhill as well as in the stream. The suspension is good considering the age of the bike, but the brakes could be better: being somewhat "spoiled" by the performance of disc brakes, I found the vintage brakes unsatisfactory, but after a while I got used to the mino-or

 braking. The bike handles very well on rocky straights in the river. On the other hand, there are more problems in tight bends, especially because my father forbade me to use the clutch except to start the engine and change gears, saying that this is the way the masters have driven these bikes.

 

Time passes quickly and in those 2 hours I rode over the rocks in the river, uphill and downhill and I feel a bit tired: the bike somehow understands this, because it suddenly stops. Panic, did something go wrong? Yes, but nothing serious: the petrol ran out and the bike was thirsty, a bit like us. So we filled up with petrol and went to Carlo's house to have lunch with a good local red wine and a passionate discussion about yesterday's trial bikes.

Today and tomorrow and on the bike I had just tested.

We agreed that this is another classic Peter Gaunt creation. The Honda engine is big with enough power to make wheelies a pure pleasure, but the bike is (and feels) a bit heavy; it has a steel tank, a bit bulky in my opinion, but I'm rather short. Anyway, I like this bike, I could fit a good light aluminium tank on it. “Carlo, would you like to sell it?” - "Absolutely no!" he replied, "It's a real classic!" and I agree with him.

So I still have to wait before owning a classic Gaunt, but I have a dream: the Gaunt Ducati!

Has anyone heard of a model for sale? Justyn…

 

 

Big and heavy Hmm...

 

Allan Jefferies XL 250 Honda.. bike photos...

 

 

Thin gauge steel tank that had a strip cut from the centre to narrow it and the the under neath cut out to take the motor that was  now higher in the frame by one inch... look at the left side in the photos...

 

 

The exhaust pipe and silencer is one of the parts that has been changed from the original... fitment...

 

 

The 1973 rear hub does look big for a trials bike, but these were designed for an enduro bike.. by Honda...

 

 

Typical 1970's modeling useing the alloy side sheets to cover air box and fitted to the remodeled narrower and shorter rear subframe by Peter...

 

 

This bike is still fitted with period foot pegs too...

 

 

You can see most of the under frame modification from this shot and to my mind the engine does not look that big, but we know they were an        heavy old lump...

 

 

And the front hub that Justyn thought to be lacking...

 

 

Still a part of trials history saved for the good of the sport... by this avid collector... Thank's...Carlo...

 

Specification...

Allan Jefferies XL 250 Honda...

 

Note the price then in 1973...

£1,175...

 

 

Carlo Ramella, Justyn Norek Snr, and Pippo Bartorilla...

with the Allan Jefferies XL 250 Honda...

 

Another "Norek" Trials bike test brought to you by...

 

 

 

More Later.

2022...