Regardless of the value of the Cyclone in the previous post, this is my idea of a truly compelling motorcycle: a Velocette KTT Mk1, built between 1928-1931. A real gem of a motorcycle, a landmark competition machine, and still cheaper than a new Harley-Davidson.  Distinguishing features include a 350cc shaft-and-bevel driven OHC motor with ultra-narrow flywheels and lightened crankcases.  Chain driven magneto (a square ML item), a 3-speed gearbox with no kickstarter but a strengthening strap connecting the rear of the crankcase with the footrest lug.  The fuel and oil fillers are on the left, ‘TT style’, and the Webb front forks have an extra strengthening strut, and an André steering damper, which is totally unnecessary.  The carburetor is an Amac racing item, and the footshift was the first in the industry to have a ratchet return – as seen on every motorcycle today.  The KTT could be tuned for 100+mph, and many riders earned Gold Stars at Brooklands with them, running on alcohol.

The Velocette KTT MkI was the company’s 350cc OHC production racer, that proved to be a real winner around the world. As OHC motorcycles were rare at the time, they had a distinct performance advantage over pushrod-powered engines. [The Vintagent Archive]


Paul d’Orléans is the founder of He is an author, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, event organizer, and public speaker. Check out his Author Page, Instagram, and Facebook.