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'Why Greeves?'

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  • 'Why Greeves?'

    If you are reading this, I'd say there's a pretty good chance that you have an interest in Greeves! So, I thought it would be interesting to ask fellow forum members the question 'Why Greeves'?

    For some of us it is a passion for the marque and all it encompasses, for others it may be little more than a passing or casual interest, whilst for others it is perhaps the steed they choose in order to enjoy their motorcycling in a wider context, be it club runs, racing, or the simple pleasures of fiddling with old bikes. Others may enjoy restoring their machines to show winning standard and the challenges it can sometimes present, or maybe for you the enjoyment comes from the research and study of the rich and colourful history of the marque. But whatever your 'bag', the thing that we all have in common is GREEVES!

    But what is it about these bikes that captures our imagination and promotes such enthusiasm among their devotees? I wonder what it is that first brought you to the marque? What was the attraction? What triggered your interest?

    For some it will be a simple answer, for others perhaps more complex or perhaps even quite hard to pin down...Whatever your reason(s), my hope is that you might share them here with your fellow enthusiasts, as I think the answers you give could make for a really interesting, inclusive and enjoyable thread, and one that everyone feels they can join in with, both experienced member and newcomer alike.

    From looking at the forum membership list it is clear that we have people on here from all walks of life, and yet it is Greeves that brings us all together in a common interest. I'm not suggesting for one minute an 'in depth analysis' here, just a lighthearted and fun thread that we can all enjoy taking part in.

    Rather than get the ball rolling myself this time, I will hand this one over to the forum first and join in later on as the thread (hopefully!) develops.

    So.....anyone care to get the ball rolling....?
    Last edited by Brian Thompson; 21/06/2012, 10:43 PM.

  • #2
    Thats a good thread brian, analysis eh!, ok let me lie down on the couch!, ahh!, ok thats better!.
    My first greeves, well, i was 12, & after knocking around on old mopeds & scooters, down on the old railway line, my older brother got me into mx, after going to a few meetings with him, i was hooked.
    It was a good 6 months, of pleading with the old man, but he relented & bought me my first bike, a 1960 h/stone, 30, which was an awfull lot of money then.
    I didn`t know anything about greeves, but that little bike was my first real connection with mx, & it has stayed with me all this time.
    It could have been any bike, but i`m glad it was a h/stone, because to this day, i still think, they are one of the most eye catching bikes of the era!
    Is that ok doctor thompson!, am i cured....


    • #3
      Why Greeves?

      The first 2 things which spring to mind for me are Dave Bickers and "On any Sunday".

      There were loads of other sucessful riders in Britain, but those muddy Grandstand scrambles must have been etched on my brain from a very early age and it was Dave Bickers who I remember most.

      The scenes from the movie "On any Sunday", featuring Mert Lawwill riding a disguised 36MX4 were an inspiration. I had to have one! I still think the MX4 is the best looking scrambler made at that time, and one of the best to ride.

      So many other reasons, but this'll have to do for now!



      • #4
        My Uncle had a MX3 with Ceriani's when I was 10 or 11. I rode that bike in a large field near his home and loved that funky Greeves. That same year Bryan Wade came over for the Inter-AM and his photo was published in Cycle World magazine doing a crossed up leap off of a jump, I was then hooked on motocross and the "Wild Man's" riding style on his works Greeves.

        Same thing with me Andy, we all headed out to watch "On Any Sunday" and we were all hooked for life after watching the movie.

        My older brother purchased an MX2 and my dad purchased me a 24MCS/2 from his old racing friend and we all rode in the California desert. A few years later I purchased a 250 Griffon and raced it until about 74-75. I still own both Greeves.

        Kenny Sykes
        Attached Files


        • #5
          I guess several things came together for me in that magic name, Greeves.
          I was hooked on the televised scrambles from the start, despite them having a somewhat dour Yorkshire commentary! That improved to my ear when Murray Walker took over.
          I have always been Suffolk and Proud, so fortunate in my eyes to have been born and bred in this fair county, and it was a double delight to see a Suffolk man on a bike from one of the smallest manufacturers put it over the works riders of the biggest bike factories in the land.
          Greeves was about as local a manufacturer as you could get, of course, so that added to the appeal for someone proud of his roots.
          At 15 years of age I followed avidly what I saw as the David vs Goliath progress of my fellow Suffolk man in pursuit of his first European title; at 16, I was fortunate enough to get a small job in the small shop that bore his name in Ipswich.
          And if that wasn't enough, I had (arguably) the best scramble circuit in the country virtually on my doorstep, so it was easy to get to see the top riders at first hand, and to experience the incredible atmosphere of national meetings and Grands Prix, and with the European Champion on home turf!
          Of course, I saved all I could, to get my first Hawkstone at the age of 16 and a bit.........even then it had to come in instalments, first the rolling chassis, then the engine, then all the other little bits and pieces that made it functional. With it registered for the road (all my own doing, I had to overcome all of the bureaucracy of the day at a tender age) I was able to enter to ride, and get to meetings in the ACU Eastern Centre on the Hawkstone with the mega exhaust in a rucksack on one shoulder and a can of fuel mix and well-chosen spanners , screwdrivers, etc in another bag. No-one was happier than Your's Truly on his Greeves Convertible!
          I remained true to the Greeves marque for all of my early "career" in Eastern Centre scrambling, riding most weekends through the open season from 1962 'til the close of the 1967 season. True, I did have a unit Triumph engine in my Hawkstone frame for the final two years, but I regarded it still as a Greeves rather than a Triumph.
          My retirement from the sport in 1967 held good until the year 2000, when I ventured upon what had been the secret world of the Pre 65 Club.
          Naturally, I just had to have another Hawkstone!


          • #6
            I lived only 7 miles from the factory , everyone knew Greeves .

            Firts meeting I went to was in John Runnacles neck of the woods , Shrublands , 1960/61 I think , may have been a Trophe des Nations .

            Next was the old course at Woodham Ferrers , then the Hadleigh scrambles on the Salvation Army land .

            Several friends of mine worked at Greeves , one of them was Dave Bicker's mechanic for 1964 and he managed to get me a job at the factory and it all went from there .



            • #7
              Watching their success every weekend in the scrambles of the early sixties and as a machine, how readily you can fabricate replacement parts to keep it going!


              • #8
                I watched the rise through the 50/60s, and, of course, the fall through the 70s, as my pals all went to CZs and Huskies. I lost interest about that time, but as the Pr-65 etc movement has come up, so has my re-interest in the bikes of that era.


                • #9
                  Greeves Addiction

                  MY DAD...and MY UNCLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                  They are all responsible for this worsening addiction!

                  Dave Harpers excellent Greeves Championship is fantastic.

                  The GRA is an excellent club, I am a member by the way im waiting to be upgraded on the forum (please Rob)

                  The more I have got into them the more I want them.

                  I have 5 now, and a couple of other villiers engined machines

                  Its the whole story of the small essex firm that is extraordinary, the took on the world of scrambles/trials and excelled, they are also very well made.

                  I also agree with Andy Z about the MX4 ( I LOVE These the Most )

                  See you all Sunday, and Next Sunday at Battlesbridge



                  • #10
                    Greeves not Velocette

                    About 40 years ago my brother came back from Geoff Dodkins (Velocette fame) with a Scottish. He liked my Thruxton (wish I had it now) and said he was going to buy one. Either Dodkin was a good salesman or Greeves have that fall in love at first sight appeal. I still have the Scottish which my brother still believes is his - Since I have rebuilt it and kept it for the last 30 years I think I am the rightful owner - always good for a joke when he visits form Trinindad.


                    • #11
                      I have only owned two Greeves bikes a 24TA Scottish (KJE 45) bought second hand in 1964 as my first proper trials bike. Sold it in 1967 & bought a second hand Frank Hipkin Sprite from local trials ace Dave Beer. What a load of crap that was. Then in 1969 bought a second hand 4 speed Bultaco (BVC 450C) from Comerfords, sold that in 1970 for a 5 speeder (PCE 4J) & another in 1970 (VCE 89L)
                      The second Greeves I have owned & still own is the 25DC East Coaster AHJ 23C which I bought from Ivor Webb of Linton in 1999 who had had
                      it in his garage for 12 years. Was looking for a classic bike, & liked the look of the Greeves Sports Twin but had never owned one so thought I should give one try. Still have it & pleased with its performance & reliability.
                      Last edited by John Wakefield; 22/06/2012, 04:15 PM. Reason: text amended


                      • #12
                        Why Greeves?

                        I was a scrambles fan in the 50s/60s and saw the rise to domination by Greeves machines.My scrambler friend who I spannered for, bought a Hawkstone new,how could you not fall in love with such a gem? I now have two roadsters a 25DC and a 32DC which are both ridden,they keep me locked into that period,Happy days. No known cure for this addiction thankfully.Cheers Les.


                        • #13
                          Hmm, the beginning of the "sickness:?

                          What a GREAT THREAD!

                 was my husband and that little 24MCS/2 Ms Eleanor.

                          I did not ride as a kid. Dad had a 68 1/2 Camero he drag raced on the weekends, I loved the old car..though it was not at all street legal..he started it once in the driveway and got quite the ticket...

                          My first car was a 77 Firebird...loved it. Yeah, no computer junk at all. Got around with a dieing fuel pump by carrying a small gas jug, popping the hood and pouring some gas right into the me by for several months while I saved up the money to replace the feul pump. Just somethig about those old muscle cars.

                          Soo, fast forward to moved to KY and 35 yrs old...Boom, one night I have some tonic clonic seizures...out of work for a year and BORED. Couldn't drive either...Talked Dave into getting that kooky little bike out.

                          I loved the look and the history of the factory assembly line and the invacar...touched my heart. These bikes were works of art and human input...back when things were "real" imo anyway.

                          Eleanor roared right to life with 2 kicks...pretty good for approx 12 yrs or so in dry storage. I learned to ride. I was hooked the first ride...even though I hit power band and had to down her to keep from going over the 5 frt drop onto the road.

                          I felt so alive and a part of the past when people were people and machines were machines...hand built and with dedication and love by 1 or 2 people, not 1000 people putting a little part at a time on.

                          To me Greeves are a link to what at one time made us all, depsite race, sex or great things...back to a time when things were made by hand and dedication...not cold steel hands of a robot or computer.

                          Thats, I think anyway, why I name every ole gal we have....someone hand assembled them, and most likely talked to them every day about good times and bad times. Each and every Greeves has her own personality, that I least those in my household! Some times I think they sit out in the shop consorting and conspiring for the next great upheaval and who can do the most wako stunt next...Just yesterday, ole Eleanor started up lovely and Dave had a nice ride on her. He shut her down, decided to kick her over once more...Boom, the moving piece on the kick start...snapped and flew off...I swear I heard the cheers from the other Greeves in the shop and high five....LOL.

                 is that for "SAPPY"??????

                          Rambeling Tammy.


                          • #14
                            Why Greeves

                            When I visited my grandad's place approx 45 years aged 8, my Uncle Geffery started up his Greeves while in a garden shed! You can well imagine the noise it made.
                            About 2 years ago I lost my job and my mother passed away after loosing a long fight with 'C' During a visit to a local historic vehicle do I met a chap who had a Greeves for sale so suffering from a degree of mid life crises 'now or never' I purchased it. The rest as they say is history.
                            Last edited by starman; 22/06/2012, 08:27 PM.


                            • #15
                              Well mate, I'm from Essex, me!