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Scottish build

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  • Scottish build

    I recently bought this, it’s a Greeves Scottish 200cc trials bike. Mates of mine do pre 65 trials and I’ve wanted to have a go for ages. Messing about in mid what’s not to like. I set myself a strict budget of ?3000. I wanted a stroker as I want something relatively light, tiger cubs and 350 four strokes do nothing for me at all.

    Originally I wanted a Francis Barnett as I grew up round the corner of their sub factory in Coventry and also because of this picture

    This is my dad in 1957 18years old on his 1953 FB falcon trials bike with a 23inch front wheel.

    I looked at several but they are all 3 speed and quite dated. So my next thought was a Greeves. I’ve always loved them since reading a book given to me by my dad called built for speed it was from the early 60’s and has been a part of my life for years. Both the picture and the book mean a huge amount as I lost my dad a few years ago and he was my biking inspiration. He was a teacher, taught CDT and motor vehicle engineering and rode a bike to school. He taught all the ‘bad lads’ won the first ever schools BP build a car (with the abbey cat) built hovercraft’s with the kids for the BP hovercraft competition not bad for a proper working class lad from Wandsworth.

    So I sought out numerous Greeves none of which did it for me. Eventually I bought this, in hindsight I probably should have walked away but I was desperate and had driven 4 hours just to view it.

    It’s a 1958/9 Greeves Scottish 200 powered by a 200cc villiers 9e engine 9 bhp of rip snorting power.

    Having got it home I realised it wasnt as good as I thought.

    The front wheel is 20 inches yep 20 you try getting a new tyre impossible for trials riding, it needs new shocks, new cables, stand, brakes doing new rims and spokes, a kill switch, new levers, sump plate etc etc etc coupled with a thorough going over and all the bodges rectifying. In hindsight I should have spent more up front and saved myself some cash. Oh well benefits of hindsight.

    Already ordered loads of parts. Short term aim is to get it safe and useable long term, yamaha clutch, electronic ignition system, rebuild the motor etc
    Attached Files
    Last edited by Veg; 02/11/2023, 12:45 PM.

  • #2
    Like the 'boby dodger'. bicycle lamp on the Fanny Barnett. 20" is an odd size for a trials front wheel, but if my memory serves me right BSA fitted a 20" on their C15 trials bike.
    Last edited by John Wakefield; 02/11/2023, 01:22 PM.


    • #3
      So I have fitted new cables. The clutch cable was a bodge no adjustment and didn’t run properly, new front brake cable and although it is fitted properly there is still no discernible front brake so I will have to investigate when I remove the wheel for rebuild. New ball end levers and kickstart rubber. I bought a chain guide whilst it fits I think due to rear sprocket size it interferes with the chain. 30mm longer new shocks from njb. New domino throttle and gear change lever.
      the more I look the more bodges I’ve found metric bolts with imperial, Shock mount bolts without collars. Next up is wheel rebuild possible drum skim and relining, fabrication of a bash plate and chain guard.


      • #4
        Hi Veg,

        Congratulations on your recent acquisition and hope you don't find too many more issues as you go through the bike. Always the way though isn't it?!

        Reading your posts prompted a couple of thoughts to offer you.

        Regarding a bash plate, as I believe has already been mentioned, the 'factory' mod at the time on Scottish trials models was a pair of tubular rock guards fitted either side of the engine plates to protect the outer cases. The main engine plates do a pretty good job of protecting the crankcases as they are, especially with the way the factory side stand was designed to tuck up in between them. The other thought on an additional bash plate is the reduction in ground clearance, which may be worth considering.

        As for the front brake on your bike being poor, I've had similar experience with my TCS which although functioning ok wasn't all that good either, especially on the road. The rear on the other hand was pretty good. On a trials bike being used primarily off-road, there is a school of thought, depending on your riding style, that as long as the front brake can 'hold' the bike steady in a section, the rear is more useful in doing the actual stopping. I'm not for one minute suggesting that weak brakes are a 'good thing', just that 'old' BHC tin hubs are not the most (ahem) efficient of brakes I've ever encountered so anything you can achieve to improve them is worthwhile as long as you don't expect too much. Part of the charm (challenge!) of riding old bikes is dealing with these shortcomings and quirks in my view and recognising their limitations and riding them in realistic sections. Of course, there's another school of thought that supports the mega trick old bikes modified to modern pre65 specs with 'unobtainium' cranks, extended suspension travel and all the rest etc etc. I guess it all depends what you want to achieve with your bike and it's intended use, and of course that is completely up to you and so it should be!

        With these comments in mind, I thought you may find this thread interesting and hopefully useful. I'd draw you attention to posts 27 and 28 as being especially relevant, but there is a lot of good related info there well worth checking out.

        Good luck with your Greeves Veg, and I hope you have a lot of fun and enjoyment with it!

        Scottish 1960 Originality. - Greeves Riders Association Forums (


        • #5
          Brian thanks for the links very helpful. I’m going to order the side stand and also the crash bars as above. The front brake isn’t inefficient it’s totally redundant as in no matter what I do it doesn’t work so I’ll investigate further. As I say it may need relining or may just be scrap we will see. Thanks again


          • #6
            You're welcome Veg, and glad you found the link helpful. In the meantime, here's another one that you might find of interest with links to loads of articles on here that may be of use to you.

            Good luck with that front brake and hopefully it just needs a reline, fingers crossed!

            Greeves Articles On The Forum. - Greeves Riders Association Forums (
            Last edited by Brian Thompson; 07/11/2023, 11:03 AM. Reason: Link attached.


            • #7
              I would recommend Villiers Services for a reline. I ask for their high friction linings which are a woven type material and ideal for people who aren't hard on the brakes all the time - I suspect that material is more likely to fade. However, it works well in my Norton and seems to (not yet road tested) in my Tri-Greeves. Just over ?20 per wheel.


              • #8
                I ordered the Trails Spec Shoes from VS. They are a softer compound.
                Totally transformed the braking on my TCS, even coming out of a deep creek sections the still worked as they should.
                I bought a set outright.
                Great service to Australia.