1930 Rudge Ulster
In 1928, Graham Walker won the Ulster Grand Prix averaging a record 130kph. He was riding a Rudge Whitworth four-valve head engine which was new and obviously powerful. The set-up went on to win the 1930 TT (Senior and Junior) with the same design. The technology Rudge adopted was inspired by the demands of WWI which had pushed engineering to its limits on a daily basis. Rudge was chasing a dream – to build the finest, fastest roading single of the day. The engine boasted a unique pent roof combustion chamber, with the radially set exhaust valves giving better top-end gas flow with the twin exhaust pipe. It had an innovative rocker arm arrangement, an aluminium bronze cylinder head and a pressed roller-bearing crankshaft. The Ulster also utilised an in-house-designed four-speed gearbox. Technically, the Rudge Ulster was ahead of its time and, ironically, this combined with the financial crisis of the early 1930s led to its demise. The precision-built performance machines, which were constantly winning road-racing glory, had to give way to the accountants. It was, however, a great machine which provided a glimpse into the future. This particular example has won many New Zealand and Australian Classic Racing titles including the New Zealand Classic Racing Register Vintage Championship in 2008 and the New Zealand Classic Racing Register Pre-War Championship in 2009. In 2010, it was raced as a hand change (vintage set-up) in the Pre-War classification and took second place in the Championship. It won the Gianne Perrone Trophy for the NZCMRR Vintage Scratch race in 2008 and had a number of 2nd and 3rd placings in other Festival Pre-War Scratch races in 2008, 2009 and 2010. It won the Burt Munro Pre-1963 Girder Fork Trophy for the Teretonga Park races in 2009. The gearbox was rebuilt in 2008 with new 2nd and 3rd sliding gears. The engine was rebuilt in 2009: the bore was honed, new rings were installed, valves re-seated, rockers trued, etc. The girder blades are excellent as are the spindles and bushes. The brakes (linings) are very good and perform well. In summary, she is a great bike which has given excellent, reliable service and can still clock over 100mph. May she bring to life once again one of the greatest factory slogans of the day: 'Don’t trudge it, Rudge it!'
Bore 85mm, Stroke 88mm
High-compression piston (ratio ~ 12:1)
Amal Type 29 carburettor jetted for Methanol
BTH KD1 Magneto
Rudge gearbox: hand and foot change assemblies
Rear sprocket: Rudge quick change with offside rear brake.
Front brake can be linked to rear pedal
Frame: standard 1930
Front Wheel: 21' WM1
Rear Wheel: 19' WM2
Text: Webbs NZ
Image courtesy Motorcycles of the 20th Century