1933 Velocette KTT Mark 4

The Little Mule

| July/August 2008

1933 velocette ktt mark 4 7

Paul d'Orleans and his 1933 Velocette KTT Mark 4.

Photo by Nick Cedar

1933 Velocette KTT Mark 4
Claimed power
: 35hp @ 5,800rpm
Top speed: 105mph
Engine: 348cc OHC, air-cooled single
Weight (dry): 125kg (275lb)
Fuel capacity: 2.5 Imperial gallons (11.37ltr, 3gal U.S)

"When you are riding a bike with a rigid frame, you have to be constantly vigilant about road conditions. You never ride straight, rather, in a drunken line avoiding potholes and cracks. I’ve crashed this bike twice. The first time, I was going through an off-camber turn with potholes and gravel. I was also going kind of fast." — Paul d’Orleans, explaining a dent in his 1933 Velocette KTT Mark 4.

A contractor by trade, Paul d’Orleans is by avocation a 1930s English clubman racer. Dressed in period garb, he rides his prewar British iron faster than many folks ride their modern motorcycles. He can often be found on twisty roads in the countryside outside his West Coast home, riding one of his three favorites: a 1926 flat tank Norton, a late Twenties Sunbeam and this 1933 Velocette KTT Mark 4, nicknamed "The Little Mule" because of its prowess off road.

The road less chosen
Paul started out on his chosen road quite young. His father was interested in old cars, and he remembers him saying, repeatedly, "They made them so much better in the old days." His two older brothers rode, and as a child Paul couldn’t wait to get his own bike. "I started riding the day I turned 15-1/2, the day it was legal for me to ride a motorcycle," Paul says. "I’ve been on a motorcycle ever since. My first bike was a Honda Express — it saw me through college."

Combining his father’s and brothers’ interests, Paul almost immediately became interested in classic motorcycles, first with café racers. After a short stint with a single-cylinder BMW, he located a Norton Atlas. "I loved the power and handling, but I blew up the engine twice in the space of a year," Paul says. Shortly afterward, he located his first Velocette.

"I found it sitting in the back of Munroe Motors, the British motorcycle dealership in San Francisco," Paul says. "Jim Munroe had bought a Velocette Venom from some guy from Louisiana, and it was a real swamp bike — crashed, not running and covered with mud. I got it going the same day and rode it back to Munroe’s. Jim was mad that he had let it go so cheap, and stayed mad for about five minutes."

bike on highway

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