Company background

Some notes from the proprietor, Andrew Guttmann......

I have been involved with motorcycles all my life. One of my earliest childhood memories is of a holiday touring Germany in the sidecar of my father's Norton ES2. I bought my first bike, a James Cadet 150, from my next door neighbour at the age of fourteen. Most of my mates were into Moto-cross or 'scrambling' as it was known, so it wasn't long before I was competing in local events, first on a 250 CZ, then finally, after ten years in the sport, on a CCM 580. For my day-to-day transport I had various bikes including a Royal Enfield Crusader Sports, BSA Thunderbolt and a couple of quite respectable Tritons.

                                Classic Bike, November 2000

After retiring from Moto-cross I decided to go back to my roots and buy a British bike so I bought a BSA A7SS and restored it. As a family we enjoyed the BSA international rallies and, as any classic bike enthusiast knows, one bike is never enough so the garage gradually got filled with BSA twin motorcycles and spares. Amongst the collection was a Rocket Gold Star lookalike which I built in 1998.

                                RGS 'lookalike' built in 1998

Unfortunately, on a rally in Denmark, the bike suffered the classic symptoms of magneto failure; wouldn't start when hot, and misfired under load. I had a few spare magnetos, all of which worked perfectly on the bench (don't they always?!) and, in my ignorance, I thought I'd fit one and solve all my problems! I soon realised that a good spark on the bench counts for nothing and that the only way of securing reliability is to have the magneto rebuilt properly. I decided to find out why my magneto had failed and resolved to repair it myself. I was advised that the vast majority of magneto faults are due to failed capacitors and occasionally broken secondary windings. Sure enough, a refurbished armature, provided by a professional magneto restorer, transformed the magneto and turned the bike into a pleasure to ride. Those of us who ride bikes with magnetos will recognise this learning experience!

I found the workings of the magneto fascinating and the finished job so rewarding I decided to do some research and eventually taught myself how to rewind coils, fit capacitors and generally set up a magneto so that it will give years of trouble-free service. After rewinding my own coils and building magnetos for my own bikes and for many friends I was encouraged to 'go professional' so, after retiring from the teaching profession, as a science and maths specialist, I set up Priory Magnetos Ltd. I now have a very well-equipped workshop with an original AVO winding machine, a newly commissioned magnetiser, a vacuum impregnating kit and a baking oven, all of which are essential if magnetos are to be restored properly. The first magneto I built from scratch, which included my own rewound coil and capacitor, was fitted to the RGS lookalike in 1999. The performance of the bike was just as good as with the magneto with the professionally restored armature. I have ridden over 6000 miles on this bike since fitting my own magneto and enjoyed 100% reliability.

I keep a record of all my magneto and dynamo rebuilds which includes all of the popular makes and models, many of which were done as favours in my early days as a magneto restorer. With many of my magnetos working so close to home I would soon be aware of any reliabilty issues! The Rocket Gold Star Replica is now in its seventeenth year with my rebuilt magneto and I have friends who have been running my magnetos for ten years or more without any problems (see my testimonials page!). I have a number of regular customers - people who restore lots of bikes, use my magnetos and dynamos and recommend me to their friends.

All my magnetos are guaranteed and I it is rare for any magneto, once refurbished, to need to be returned. Warranty repairs constitute less than 2% of my work.

Dynamo refurbishments, particularly 12v conversions are becoming increasingly popular and now take up about one-quarter of my time.
As well as restoring magnetos, dynamos and ATDs I keep a vast range of spares for BSA A7 and A10 twins. I also stock most of the consumables, tools and accessories classic bikers need. My range of spares is growing rapidly. Some magneto and dynamo spares are made specially for me. All other parts are sourced from suppliers I can trust. Unfortunately there is quite a lot of poor quality junk on the market - I will only sell parts I am prepared to use on my own bikes.

Super Rocket Special built in 2014

Happy and Safe Riding!