The Wasp RT4 trials frame...

 

Photo courtesy eBay..

 

 

 

So I have been putting this page off for far too long.

I first was going to do the page in 2020, then decided not too as there was new copy about from one or two of the classic off-road magazines and I did not want to tread on their toes so to speak… then again in January 2021 I had got more material together and it happened again. And another publication did a story about Wasp as they had just lost their founder “Rob” Rhind-Tutt (in September 2019) and moved factory too, and their young welder had jumped ship and set up on his own when his grandfather had died.

Brother had bought a Metisse frame that they had built, bought  through one of their agents and a good job it was. And I still don’t know if it was a frame John welded before he left the company…

 

So leaving the scrambles frames both solo and the famous side-cars that the company makes we are sticking to the history of the Wasp RT4 trials bike frames… that are still produced today in small batches so I am told.

 

The late Geoff Chandler and the legend that is George Greenland were the people that put the Wasp RT4 trials frame onto the map. George had built a frame not unlike the Smallshaw  Triumph Cub frame that he was riding but had bought the Triumph 350 twin trials bike I had built for North Bar garage… and had set too to build a lighter frame for the bike, this frame was built of small tubing for the main frame like the Smallshaw Cub he had been riding but with the power of the Triumph twin and  the riding style of George, the frame wheel base started to get longer on every outing. 

So something had to be done.

George trundled off to see his mate “Rob” and asked him if he could build a frame more in keeping, and to keep both wheels in the same plane and the wheel base not altering on every ride. The skill of the two engineers came up with this lightweight formula that the frames are still built like today, and with that positive method of keeping the rear wheel 100 pr cent in line when adjusted… with the clever cam type holed adjustment …

Geoff Chandler started to ride a Wasp framed Villiers engined bike that "Rob" had built when he was a young lad, and had some good results.

 

Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde ORR...

But later with the take over of British trials by the Bultaco factor... well after a few wins by their star man SH Miller every one wanted a Bultaco but has we now know the frames were never the best, and improvements could be found by building replacement frames that had a more positive feel to them and were lighter in weight. So in 1966-7 "Rob" and Geoff Chandler built a Wasp replacement frame for the Bultaco Geoff had been riding. This is before Wasp Motorcycles was officially started in 1968, and "Rob" was still building frames in the evenings and working at Boscombe Down in the day.  Geoff went out and proved that the new frame was better by winning three National trials within three months of using this new Wasp RT4 frame. Then the order book for the same Bultaco Wasp frame started to fill, along with frames for fitting BSA, Triumph, Villiers and Sachs mini engines. These frames were then built for the next ten years before production was stopped to concentrate on the sidecar scrambles frames.

It is now a few years since the production has started again to fulfil orders for the so called Pre 65 Classic trials bike market. And one or two very nice examples have been built, a few by the legend that is George Greenland… Shall I buy a frame… you never know…

 

 

 

 

Flight of the wasp…

 

Martin Hodder…

 

With three wins in national events in the last couple of months, Geoff Chandler and his Bultaco engined Wasp RT4 have arrived on top of the trials world…

Chandler 22 years old, has  been riding in trials since he was 14, and  is no stranger in the camp…

The Wasp though is a mere infant of three; and even younger in its present guise.

Basic thinking behind the Wasp idea is not new, special frames have been made for trials bikes as long as the sports existed…

But the Wasp that has won National trials represents original thinking and in respect is a complete departure from modern trials practice…

Chandler puts his emergence into the limelight down to the superiority of the machine, his own improvement over last years performance, and the phycological advantage he has when riding the Wasp…

 

Deteriorate.

All the foreign trials bikes deteriorate rapidly, finish-wise, and there is "nothing more off-putting as a tatty machine". say’s Chandler, who spent the summer working as a labourer in order to improve his physical state.

The Wasp RT4 is far from tatty but good looks is not its only attribute it’s been designed to make trials riding as easy as possible, and although having a light frame so constructed has the strength and rigidity of a good scrambler. 

Unusual but effective is the wheelbase of 54 inches. Although a shorter swinging arm can be supplied to order which brings the wheelbase down to the more standard 52 1/2 inches. Back at the rear end the Wasp features an extremely positive rear wheel adjuster with which the rear wheel can be centralised with 100 per cent accuracy, and which provides all the right adjustment that is likely to be called for…

Silentbloc bushes for the swinging arm pivot provides much better centring qualities than the bushes fitted as standard to Spanish machines. Main benefit here is that the slight lateral play which always develops at the rear end does not exist on the Wasp RT4 frame even after several months of trialing…

The frame complete with swinging arm weighs only 19 lbs. Yet the complete unit has plenty of strength…    Whipping and twisting is controlled with liberal use of gussets welded to tube joints at places of particular stress.

Chandler finds a double benefit from the longer swinging arm. "I’m surprised more people don’t go for a set up like the Wasp" he said, "the extra length is a definite help in keeping the front down on very long climbs, particularly where they increase in severity on the way up. And on a climb where the amount of grip varies, and the rear wheel is inclined to bite suddenly, the Wasp is far more controllable than other machines" he said.

 Engine of Chandlers machine is a standard five-speed Bultaco with Sammy Miller alloy silencer, brakes too are standard Bultaco. Although rear brake operation is improved with a Wasp lever.

 Wasp trials machines — and scrambles sidecar outfits are made by Robin Rhind-Tutt, at  Berwick St James near Salisbury…

 

Specification…

Wheelbase  52 1/2” --54…

Ground clearance.. 13 1/2”…

Weight of frame and swinging arm is 19lbs…

Tank capacity 1 3/4 galls

 Total machine weight with 1 gall of fuel is 195 lbs.

Frame made to except  Bultaco, Villiers, BSA Bantam, BSA C15 -B40…Triumph unit twin, and Cub, and Sachs engine units…

 

 

Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde Offrod Archives

We think Geoff Chandler riding the 1968 Wasp RT4 framed Bultaco...

 

 ^^^^^^^

Moving on to the Triumph engined bikes.

 

Legend that is, George Greenland riding one of the early Wasp framed Triumph twins...1972...

2022...

George has over the past few years put together a BSA C15 engined Wasp RT4 along with a BSA B40 engined version that he has sold, and also built the Bantam engined version that he rides... Wasp are building another WaspRT4 frame for George's daughter too.

 

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Below are a couple of fine examples of recent Wasp RT4 framed machines.

Photo Courtesy Wasp Motorcycles ...

 

Photo Courtesy Wasp Motorcycles...

 

And a couple of examples of the earlier batches of Wasp RT4 frames built...

 

Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde ORR..

 

Roy Trump riding in the Classic Wales Pre 65 trial in 1992..

 Roy was from South Wales.

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Photo Courtesy eBay...

Below an example of  the skill shown in building a frame in the Wasp Motorcycles factory today...and the bronze welding skill of young Albert "Robbie" Ross...

 

Photo Courtesy Wasp Motorcycles...

 

 

The Wasp RT4 frame kit still available today from...

Wasp Motorcycle Ltd...

(This kit is I think for a Triumph...)

 

Photo Courtesy Owner...

Look at this very smart Wasp RT4 framed BSA B40 engined bike and all fuel tanks don't have to be "Yellow"... I like the Metisse front guard too...

 

Photo Courtesy Mark Ramplee...

Can't wait to see this one finished Mark...

Note: the alloy barrel fitted Mike...

 

Photo Courtesy Chris Sharp Photography...

And thanks to Jim Switzer and Raymond Dunwoody...

Photo of this Wasp RT4 taken at Telford a couple of years ago...

Note: that the swinging arm on this one is not to the Wasp pattern...

 

 

More Later, just a start to the page, send us your Wasp RT4 Story...

2022...