Not generally known, but here we have Ariel HT500 registered as 786GON, known as ‘Sammy’s other Ariel’. During the late 1950’s and 1960’s Sammy Miller had access to two HT500 Ariels, his famous version GOV132 and the machine pictured here. The bike is now in Italy in the possession of a collector, having been owned by Jock Wilson (Comerfords) Ernie Page, Roy Kerr and Tim Beaven, plus some other individuals
The machine was put on sale in early 1965 by motorcycle dealers, Comerfords Limited in Portsmouth Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey along with GOV132. Comerfords having taken over the support from Ariels to Sammy Miller when the factory had ceased manufacture of trials machines. 786GON was for sale at £350, which was almost £150 more expensive than a brand new Greeves two-stroke at that time.
Arthur Fowler bought 786GON, but returned it for sale at the end of 1965 to Comerfords and Jock Wilson purchased the machine.
After selling the bike to Harry Rayner, Wilson bought it back from another owner, John Parry, at which time Jock Wilson slowly restored the machine to its former glory.
Wilson sold 786GON to Scotsman Ernie Page, himself an accomplished trials, scrambles and ISDT competitor, who owned Page Motors in Edinburgh, who at that time had a sizeable motorcycle collection. After a period of time, Page sold the Ariel to former employee, Roy Kerr, himself a former Scottish trials champion.
After some years under the ownership of Tim Beaven, the bike was then sold to a private collector in Italy called Carlo Ramella. The Ariel lives on but in its new home in the Italian alps.
Justyn Norek a design consultant from Turin, made the following observations of 786GON when a test of the machine was undertaken by the German ‘Trialsport’ magazine in March 2014, here they are:
“Frame: In Reynolds 531 tubing, modified with steeper steering angle, oil in frame.
Fuel Tank: Beautifully styled in fibreglass, very light and slim design, one bolt mounting with depression in front part to allow full lock of the steering, with the fork coming close to the tank. Perfectly done by Butler Moulded Laminates, the creation of Chris Butler. Also the builder of the Butler trials machine. It has a metal logo on the top of the tank a real work of art.
Seat Base: Integrated with the rear mudguard, another artwork in fibreglass by Butler. Very slim viewed from the top, in cream white finish, synonymous with Miller’s Ariel. It also had the integration of the rear registration number plate. The seat is perfectly designed to be light and slim, but still comfortable.
Exhaust system: Starting with the beautiful curve, extremely compact and well tucked-in to the motorcycle. It terminates with a small silencer breathing out the hot expelled gasses on to the rear tyre knobs. This ingenious idea allows for cleaning of the rear tyre from any mud and leaf-mould and also warms the tyre rubber for better grip.
Kick-starter and Gear Shift levers: Bored out to shave more weight from the machine.
Technical Specification of 786GON:
ARIEL 786GON – Technical Specifications:
Engine layout: Single cylinder, vertical cylinder in light alloy.
Bore & Stroke 81.8 X 95 mm
Compression ratio: 8.5: 1
Max power: 24 hp at 5800 rpm
Carburetor: Amal monobloc.
Oil system: Dry sump with double oil pump and separate oil tank.
Primary drive: Chain.
Clutch: multiple discs in oil bath.
Gearbox: Burman – separate, 4 speed ratios: 6:1; 9.5:1; 14.7:1; 19.3:1
Frame: single down front tube in Reynolds 531 steel – Weight around 14 kg.
Front: Hydraulic telescopic forks with sliders shortened from Norton road-holder, yokes from BSA shortened to shorten wheelbase.
Rear: Rear swing-arm on silent-block bushes with chain oil system incorporated, Armstrong shock absorbers.
Wheels: steel rims, tyres front: 2.75 x 21, rear 4.00 x 19.
Brakes: Front: drum type 180 mm – Rear: drum side type 180 mm
Main dimensions: wheelbase 1340 mm
Ground clearance 220 mm
Seat high: 810 mm
Steering head angle 63.5 degrees
The magazine Trialsport in Germany carried a full report using material from Justyn Norek Snr and his son Justyn Norek Jnr. If you can read German language, here is a link to the article on the internet, (you may need to right click on the link to open it):
© PDF version of article from Trialsport Magazine DE: Ariel 786 GON (1)
© Photos courtesy: Roy Kerr, Kelso, Scotland, UK.
© Photos courtesy: Justyn Norek, Turin, Italy.
For more photos of 786GON – See Justyn Norek Photos
Please be aware that the article on Ariel, 786GON which appeared in Trialsport magazine is copyright – Trialsport March 2014 – © 2013 TRIALSPORT Verlag, Odenwaldstraße 5, 97896 Freudenberg-Ebenheid
Additional information Words and photos copyright © – Justyn Norek, Turin, Italy.
© – Article: Trials Guru/Moffat Racing, John Moffat – 2015 (All Rights reserved)