Mystery Bike: The Velocette KSS Mark 1

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Photo by Kel Edge
A mix of the best of period Velocette parts, Jeff Craig's Velocette KSS Mark 1 was likely built as a "rule beater" for vintage racing in the late 1950s or early 1960s.

Claimed power: 25hp @ 6,000rpm
Top speed: 80mph
Engine: 348cc air-cooled OHC single, 74mm x 81mm bore and stroke, 8.5:1 compression ratio
Weight (w/oil, no fuel): 260lb (118 kg)

The United States can surely have no more dedicated an Anglophile motorcyclist than collector Jeff Craig. Craig has an enviable collection of British bikes, kept in the picturesque setting of an 18th-century house in the beautiful Bucks County scenery north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. And they’re not museum pieces: Craig regularly exercises his bikes on local roads and at rallies as far afield as Canada and Virginia.

Back when I first met Craig, he was a fellow bike freak I had teamed up with to share a flat when he moved to London at the end of the Swinging Sixties. Craig toured Europe several times on a BMW R69S, and became a fan of German reliability and shaft drive, despite once being pulled over by a traffic cop in Lisbon who was concerned by the amount of smoke pouring out of the British-registered bike’s right exhaust. The officer was kind enough to lead him to the Portuguese police motor workshop and supply him with a valve off their parts shelf, as the police there used similar BMWs at the time.

The mystery of a collection

A former dirt oval flat tracker in the U.S., Craig also road raced in the U.K. with the British Motorcycle Racing Club. He also bought an unrestored Brough Superior SS100, which he rode several thousand miles in the U.K., and continued to ride after he shipped it back home to Pennsylvania. But even before that, Craig was an avid enthusiast of British motorcycle engineering, and Nortons and Velocettes in particular.

Order the July/August 2015 issue of Motorcycle Classics to read more about the Velocette KSS Mark 1. Contact Customer Service at (800) 880-7567 or contact us by email.

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