And how it all developed...
I have been involved with Rudges since 1966 and for many years supported the Rudge Enthusiast's Club holding many Committee posts including Editor, Spares Assistant and Chairman. I was instrumental in starting the REC library and archive and produced many articles and publications including the Rudge Transmission book.
Over the years, I became frustrated with the lack of technical information being produced to support REC members and despite much effort I was constantly blocked by successive REC Committee members in my efforts to establish a coherant technical strategy for the Club. I became aware that rather than produce information for the Radial on a 'topic' basis, for example 'footrests' covering all models, the approach should be on a Rudge 'model' basis - as that was what the majority of Rudge owners and restorers needed. The technological advances in the 1990's also provided the opportunity to produce 'live' documents which could be corrected and enhanced to eliminate as far as possible, technical errors which have permeated Rudge information for decades.
Eventually, I realised that the REC Committee had no will or interest in preserving the technical aspects of RW motorcycles for future generations and, reluctantly, I resigned from the Club to pursue my vision of how technical support should be provided to Rudge owners worldwide. It also gave me the chance to document the knowledge I had accumulated for the benefit of all Rudge owners, not just REC members.
In 2010, this site was born and I have been able to move the technical support for Rudges into the 21st century with live up to date information. Early in 2013, the REC stole copyright information from this site, removed my authorship, and published it on their new web site. After I protested, it was removed (with no apology) and, prompted by an REC Committee member, I asked that the idea of information sharing be discussed at REC Committee level and how I could provide information freely to the REC for use by their members. In response, the REC produced a 'policy' on accepting information (which has, to my knowledge, never been made public to the REC members and is not used within the REC) as below:
“The Rudge enthusiasts Club Ltd welcomes the submission of technical articles or documents subject to the same being donated unconditionally to the club archive.
Upon receipt the club archivist will check the authenticity of the document prior to the club technical co-ordinator validating the technical content
Once the article has been authenticated and validated it will be given a document number and revision number and may be made available for publication with the appropriate acknowledgement placed at the end of the document, by any of the following: The club magazine, the club web site, or distribution to members by other means.
The club reserves the right without reason to accept, or not, edit and/or publish any article or document.”
I declined to provide information from this site on the basis that to do so would cause the REC officers much additional work in 'authenticating' and 'validating', particularly as they give their time on a voluntary basis. This policy clearly does not encompass the 'living' document ideal where updates could be frequent and thus generate more 'authenticating' and 'validating'. It also demonstrates a complete lack of strategy concerning current data and 'archive' data. This brief interchange, proved to me that my decision to leave the REC and provide technical information independently was still justified and that attitudes within the REC have not changed with personal feelings and agendas being put before REC members' interests . I subsequently barred serving REC Committee members from my web site. REC members will know that there is no link to this site from the REC web site which illustrates this point admirably. I remain open to all approaches on information sharing from the REC should personalities/attitudes change in the future.
In addition to the technical information, I have over the years, accumulated some secondhand spares which I make available to those in need and in recent years, out of necessity, have produced very small batches of new spares to help my personal Rudge restorations and those of others. These new and secondhand spares are made available on an 'at cost' basis in the interests of supporting Rudge restorations or keeping Rudges on the road.
This site is funded by myself with no sponsorship although donations are welcome using the 'Donate' button.
Colin Chapple - October 2013
As a postscript - Site users might be interested to know that in August 2016, I listed on e-bay a CD containing a collection of Remedies associated with Rudge gearboxes. The first person to buy the 'at cost' CD was the then REC Chairman (D Lambourne) who clearly valued the information personally but considered it not appropriate for his club members. Need I say more?