1954 Tandon Imp De Luxe Motorcycle

By Barry Jackson

Having sold the Calthorpe, I decided to try the world of trails also known as foot up or Mud plugging! Not that there were many trails bikes from which to make a choice but I had bought my first new bike a 125 Villiers engine Tandons.

Brief History of the Marque: Tandon

Founded by Devdutt Tandon (b. India) in 1947 (or 1948), the Tandon Company produced Villiers engine machines from a factory in Watford, Hertfordshire for the home and export markets. Manufacture ceased in 1959.

Models included the Imp, the Milemaster, the Superglide and the Kangaroo.

Imp Supreme De Luxe 1954. The Imp Special of 1955 has leading link forks.

It was quite a revelation from the old Calthorpe but infinitely more fun. The Eastern Centre as Essex was known by the ACU was in spite of being statistically the driest County in England, not up to standard during winter months, and the Tandon suffered from two problems one solvable the other not.

The mudguards were too close to the tyres and in muddy conditions clogged up between tyre and mudguard especially at the rear end. The front mudguard clearance was solved by cutting off the front part of the guard more or less in line with the wheel spindle at least it mad the bike easier to steer. The rear guard required spacers between guard and support. This literally “pivoted” the guard at the swinging arm fixing point. It did help but I always carried a piece of wood to take out the mud etc. An additional plate was added to the tyre side of the rear chain guard.

Another modification was to fit a proprietary “half oval seat” more or less an upholstered plank with a raised rear end. So how did the bike perform? Well it did its job quite well considering. On my first outing I won a Novice Cup and best 125, but performance in very muddy conditions was hard work to say the least. The front forks had a mind of their own depending on the stickiness of the mud. The rear swinging arm had some unusual movement at times. Something like being stressed from both ends! That was the unsolvable problem.

After one season and several class awards, I decided to sell the Tandon and go for something with a bit more going for it. The tendon although reliable enough just did not have room on the seat for my then girlfriend, and to make reasonably speedy forward motion fun while it lasted. The replacement for the Tandon was a James Commando more of that next time.

Barry Jackson.

The Kickstart Club
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
www.kickstartclub.co.za   info@kickstartclub.co.za