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The Bitza Motorcycle

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The Bitza motorcycle is on display in the Driven gallery at the Ulster Transport Museum.

I was recently contacted by the son of William Richard (Dick) Chamberlain, the man who built the Bitza motorcycle. He provided some much appreciated additional information about this important object in our collections.

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The Bitza motorcycle was constructed by Dick Chamberlain for the 1950 racing season using ‘Bits a this and Bits a that’- hence ‘The Bitza’.

His son has provided a copy of a handwritten note where Dick lists the parts he used to construct the Bitza:

  • Rudge front wheel.
  • Norton steering column
  • Matchless frame, with part BSA.
  • Matchless petrol tank
  • Sunbeam engine Model 90 500cc 1928
  • Burman 4 speed gear box
  • Royal Enfield swinging arm rear suspension
  • Royal Enfield frame front down tubes
  • Norton rear wheel, now fitted with
  • Triumph rear wheel
  • Rear spring units ex. aircraft
  • Velocette front forks
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Dick Chamberlain had a passion for all things mechanical especially motorbikes and once Dick felt that the Bitza had great potential he persuaded his great friend George Brockerton from Coleraine to ride it. The Bitza competed very successfully in the following races:

  • 1950    75 mile Championship of Ulster (Magilligan Strand and General Open Handicap)
  • 1950    Ards MCC Airfield Races
  • 1951    Ulster Grand Prix Finisher’s Plaque
  • 1951    Magilligan Sand Race Open Scratch
  • 1951    Cookstown 100 Finisher’s Award
  • 1951    Temple 100 Finisher’s Award
  • 1951    Skerries 100 Finisher’s Award
Image: Dick Chamberlain sitting on a Norton that belonged to a friend of his. The motorbike in the background is Dick's (KJ 8262, probably a Norton) that he rode in the Hurst Cup Trial of the same year (1948).
Dick Chamberlain sitting on a Norton that belonged to a friend of his. The motorbike in the background is Dick's (KJ 8262, probably a Norton) that he rode in the Hurst Cup Trial of the same year (1948).