BLACK DOUGLAS STERLING COUNTRYMAN DELUXE

Black Douglas Sterling: A Modern Vintage Roadster

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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 gentlemen – 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.

Not as it appears

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 the dream of Italian entrepreneur and custom and classic motorcycle fanatic, Fabio Cardoni. Cardoni commissioned (an Englishman) Benny Thomas of Boneshaker Choppers and Mutt Motorcycles, to design a low-speed motorcycle with vintage looks. Above all Cardoni desired a motorcycle that offered a purer riding experience.  

The Sterling Countryman Deluxe is the result of that brief (selected from three prototypes) and the marque’s first autocycle.

WWI Dispatch Riders

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

Ariel Dispatch Rider 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) – a personal hero of Cardoni, that inspired the name.

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

Hardtail suspension, a single-spring girder fork, a flat tank and a sprung saddle is combined with wide drawn-back bars and protruding bullet headlight (a Herring can headlight on the Original Drayton and Claret Classic). That combination makes it difficult to associate the Sterling with any period other than the 1910s to the 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.’s 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 that are sure to draw approval.

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.

  Black Douglas 125cc specifications at a glance:

  • 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 specifications at a glance:

  • 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.