To the layperson, the Black Douglas Sterling is a vintage motorcycle from the early part of the last century. It conjures up images of an age when women and men were ladies and gentleman – or at the very least appeared to be.



BLACK DOUGLAS STERLING COUNTRYMAN DELUXE AUTOCYCLE

From a societal perspective, the early part of the century was a period during which younger men and women began to shake off the social shackles of the Victorian era.   Performing the scandalous Charleston and Foxtrot dances was one such way. Yet away from the dance halls and parties, these young men and women still displayed the facade, of what previous generations considered to be lady-like and gentlemanly conduct.

BLACK DOUGLAS STERLING – NOT QUITE WHAT IT APPEARS TO BE

Much in the same way as those young ladies and gentlemen of the twenties, The Black Douglas Motorcycle Co.’s first production bike, the Sterling, is not quite what it appears to be. Yet, it certainly looks as though it’s been built for gentlefolk. Nevertheless, it’s not a restored vintage motorcycle  – in fact, the Sterling is a thoroughly modern motorcycle, with the appearance of an autocycle from the early 20th century.


Black Douglas Sterling Classic Grey/Silent Grey

 

 

INSPIRATION – BLACK DOUGLAS, STERLING COUNTRYMAN

The Sterling is the realisation of a dream of Italian entrepreneur and custom and classic motorcycle fanatic, Fabio Cardoni. Cardoni, commissioned Englishman, Benny Thomas of Boneshaker Choppers and Mutt Motorcycles, to design a low-speed motorcycle, with vintage looks, that offered a purer riding experience.  The Sterling Countryman Deluxe was selected from one of three prototypes and is the first autocycle to be produced by the marque.

WWI Dispatch Riders

With its flat tank, the Sterling is reminiscent of the Douglas 4HP model made by Bristol-based Douglas  – and also of the Ariels and AJS motorcycles ridden by dispatch and scout riders of WW1.




One might think that The Black Douglas Motorcycle Co. gets its name from the Douglas marque – rather, it’s a medieval Scottish knight; James Douglas (close friend and ally of Robert De Bruce) and a personal hero of Cardoni, that inspired the name.
Ariel Dispatch Rider WW1

A GLOBAL PRODUCTION EFFORT

The frame is constructed in Italy and the engine, based on Zongshen’s interpretation of the Honda’s CG230 is assembled in Taiwan.  The full assembly of the machine takes place in Birmingham, England.

Get all that?  Good.  The Black Douglas Sterling, much like other contemporary motorcycles requires a global production effort.

PURER RIDING EXPERIENCE

With its hardtail suspension, single-spring girder fork, flat tank, sprung saddle; combined with wide drawn-back bars and protruding bullet headlight (a Herring can headlight on the Original Drayton and Claret Classic),  it’s difficult to associate the Sterling with any other period, other than the 1910s to late 1920s. The Sterling is a beautifully crafted piece of machinery; not too dissimilar from a 1915 Triumph Model H or 1913 FN Four (Fabrique Nationale de Herstal) or even more aptly its namesake of sorts, the Douglas 2¾ HP.

Without ABS brakes or computer controlled transmission, within the Sterling, you’re likely to find a purer riding experience.

In The Black Douglas Motorcycle Co. words;

“Riding a Sterling is about being present in the moment, being connected, fully experiencing the ride and your surroundings.”


Black Douglas Sterling Countryman Deluxe Claret Classic

 

 

This finely-finished, vintage-style roadster comes with an almost bewildering array of custom options and period correct accessories which are sure to draw the approving gaze of other motorists.

Though, with the reliability of modern technology inbuilt into the Sterling, you’ll likely miss out on any roadside conversations that come with the less-reliable nature of a true vintage bike.  And that’s not a bad thing.

GALLERY – THE BLACK DOUGLAS MOTORCYCLE CO.

 

 




Tech. Specs.

BLACK DOUGLAS 125cc ABRIDGED

Make and type: TBD Motors – The Black Douglas Sterling Autocycle
Body type: Flat tank motorcycle
Engine type: OHC 2 valves, air cooling, electronic CDI, assembled and
completed in Italy
Engine configuration: 1 cylinder, 4 Stroke
Fuel system and type: carburettor, petrol
Cubic capacity: 124,9 cm3; bore & stroke: 57 x 49 mm
Battery and electrics: Gel type, 3,3 Ah; three-phase alternator 90 W; LED
turn indicators; daylight dimmed by PWM controller
Max speed: over 100 km/h
Noise level: less than 85 dB in ruled testing condition
Max power: 12,75 HP (9,5 kW) @ 7500 rpm
Maximum torque: 15,0 Nm @ 5500 rpm
Fuel consumption: average 35 km/l
Fuel capacity: 9 litres
Range: over 300 km

BLACK DOUGLAS 230cc ABRIDGED

Make and type: TBD Motors – The Black Douglas Sterling Autocycle
Body type: Flat tank motorcycle
Engine type: OHV pushrod, 2 valves, air cooling, electronic CDI, assembled
and completed in Italy
Engine configuration: 1 cylinder, 4 Stroke
Fuel system and type: carburettor, petrol
Cubic capacity: 229,5 cm3; bore & stroke: 67 x 65 mm
Battery and electrics: Gel type, 4,0 Ah; three-phase alternator 75 W; LED
turn indicators; daylight dimmed by PWM controller
Max speed: over 100 km/h
Noise level: less than 85 dB in ruled testing condition
Max power: 14,10 HP (10,5 kW) @ 6000 rpm
Maximum torque: 18,3 Nm @ 4500 rpm
Fuel consumption: average 32 km/l
Fuel capacity: 9 litres
Range: over 270 km

N.B. Jodhpurs, country jacket, flat-cap and pipe are not included.