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Ian, Just read your post after I'd finished mine, and must agree that a lot of bikes have achieved reputations that they don't deserve as a result of over hyped press reviews. I'd always lusted after a Jota, and a few years ago the chance to buy one for very little money came along. It needed some attention after a spell outside, ie. a battery, petrol, and the tyres blowing up. I took it up the road expecting it to be a mind blowing beast that wouldn't go round corners, but that was not the case at all. The suspension was hard and it had a power band that didn't start till over 3k, but it was nothing like as brutal as the road tests had made out. I used it for quite a while and loved it. Never got to 140 MPH though. I have never owned or ridden a Square Four, and to be honest have never really fancied one, they seem over weight and over complicated for the available performance, and have the dreaded Ainsty link suspension. If I was after a softly tuned tourer I'd prefer a Model X or SS 80. A friend has just done a fantastic rebuild on a two pipe SQ4 though so if I can blag a ride I may have a change of mind!
The Anstey link isn't a great design really...It wobbles about on fast bumpy bends much the same as a plunger A10 does....When rebushed etc. things are a little better but the assembly wears again quite quickly...I've done lots of miles on plunger model BSAs and had the Square Four for a few years as well during which I used it for the daily commute to work....The engine was docile but very smooth, topping out at just over the 'ton'..The only mod. I did was to fit an oil cooler...
Ariels claim of '10 to 100mph in top' was certainly true of the Mk2 and I liked that broad spread of the available power...It was the best bike I ever rode in snow due to its soft power delivery...
You soon get used to the rear end wobble of both makes, it's quite predictable and the limits are soon picked up...What I would like is the Ariel engine in another frame but unfortunately they aren't seen for sale these days...Ian
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