Eric Cheney never worked for any motorcycle manufacturer, preferring to make motorcycles in his own eccentric way. His greatest success came after the BSA competition department had closed. In 1972, Eric came to an agreement with the ex-BSA race team leader, John Banks, to make a serious attempt to win the motocross blue ribbon – the 500cc world championship.
The venture was uniquely British. The bikes were designed and built on a shoestring budget in little more than a domestic garage. But the results were spectacular. Banks finished second in the American Grand Prix and won the British motocross championship. BSA were delighted and offered to sell Eric 500 engine kits to build into his Cheney chassis. With the backing of BSA dealer Ken Heanes, Eric was initially enthusiastic, but the daily grind did not excite him, and only 225 of the 500 bikes were finished. However, each handbuilt motorcycle took over 400 man-hours to complete. After the demise of BSA, the last of the B50MX engines were rebadged as Triumph TR5MX.
The bike offered here is one of the last Cheneys built with the Triumph TR5MX engine, making it a supremely rare machine, indeed. It was found languishing in a private collection for many years, properly stored in a dry environment with fluids drained, and as such, it took very little to resurrect this rather special machine. The usual re-commissioning of brakes, suspension, carburetion and spark by a local marque expert was all it took. The engine has great compression, starts and runs easily. The bike is fast and handles well.
This incredibly rare bike features some rather special parts including magnesium hubs and triple trees, as well as uprated suspension at both ends.
Santa Monica, California, United States