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Bon Vivant
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From Ride Apart

Legendary British motorcycle frame builder and racer Colin Seeley passed away after a long illness on January 7, 2020, at the age of 84. A lifelong engineering genius, Seeley’s seemingly endless curiosity combined with a passionate love for motorcycles meant he figured out his life’s general direction from an early age. The motorcycle world was better for it, and indeed, would not be what it is today without his contributions.

Seeley did all kinds of racing from 1954 to 1967, but made a name for himself in sidecar racing. Once retired from that phase of his career, he took up residence in his workshop—and might perhaps be most well-known for the incomparable frames he made for Nortons and other British motorcycles of the day.

However, of significant note as well were the frames he eventually made for ‘70s Japanese motorcycles, such as this sumptuous 1973 Seeley-Kawasaki H2A. By this point, Kawasaki’s engine-building prowess far outstripped the torsional rigidity of its available frames—but Seeley’s excellent engineering and execution handily solved that problem.

Stick these powerful, technically-exemplary-for-their-time engines inside a frame that can properly direct all that power, and you’re in business! Privateer racers loved Seeley frames as well, and he did a thriving business in both road-going and racing machines.

Even now, in the first quarter of the 21st century, vintage racers still win events by riding Seeley-framed machines, including twelve wins at the Manx Grand Prix. In later life, Seeley dedicated his time to charity work, founding the Joan Seeley Pain Relief Memorial Trust in 1979, in honor of his late first wife.

Seeley’s contributions to the motorcycling world will always be valued, and he will be greatly missed. We at RideApart extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends in this difficult time.





Colin and his wife came to Barber Vintage days 2 years ago. he was staying at our hotel and he spoke at the motorcycles by moonlight dinner on Friday night. A bunch of us from the vintage ducati faith sat around Colin in the hotel bar while he regaled us with his stories from the glory days. He endeared everyone around and it was clear how a humble unassuming man can do great things. We were all honored to be in his company. I'm grateful to have met him. He was a man who changed the evolution of motorcycle design.

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Good grief. First I read about Neil Peart, my all time favorite drummer passing, and now Colin Seeley too!? This year was already not off to a good start, reading that two greats passed away.....doesn't look like that's gonna change......sean
 
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