Due to unprecedented increases in business rates and other expenses Reg Allen, a well known and loved motorcycle dealership and parts source, is set to close its doors in the near future. The London Motorcycle Museum, run by Reg Allen, is continuing to suffer Ealing Council's decision to reduce its rate subsidy.
Reg Allen was an existing motorcycle shop when Bill Crosby bought the name and goodwill in 1958, and bought his shop in 1960. Since then Bill has seen a lot of changes and having been an all-British motorcycle shop for many years he became a main Triumph Agent and Spares Distributor in 1977. 1983 saw the end of the Triumph dealership but in 1985 Reg Allen was a Norton Rotary dealer. After Norton failed, Reg Allen became a Royal Enfield agent in 2000. Then in 2006 they became an AJS London agent.
The business has been suffering from increases in expenses and competition from large scale motorcycle dealer franchises. Business rates have been going up dramatically forcing many small businesses to close and Reg Allen has felt the pinch too. They aren't troubled by rents as they own the building, but along with rates and other expenses that have increased over the last year they are finding it very difficult to make any sort of profit. The spares part of the business is still fairly buoyant and Reg Allen will be selling spares online whilst they have them, but that forms only a small part of the business. It's the sales of machines and servicing that has suffered. With large franchised dealerships taking away a lot of business with their flashy showrooms sales of machines had decreased. With owners of Classic machines being very careful with them and not riding them anywhere near as much, the servicing and repairs side of the business has also suffered.
The London Motorcycle Museum was born in 1997 when Bill Crosby located a site in Greenford (Middlesex) which would be ideal for housing his large collection of motorcycles. It opened officially in 1999, however its future has never been rosy. Ealing Council (the landlords) were going to terminate the lease but new terms and a new lease were negotiated and agreed for 25 years, however the rate subsidy that kept costs manageable was cut dramatically making running the museum extremely difficult.
The museum features two halls, one featuring the Best of British, and the other featuring the Home of Triumph collection. If you want to see some rarities then this is the place to come. They have the last Bonneville to leave the Meriden factory, the 1929 OHC prototype, TRW prototypes, the P1 Trident prototype, prototype OHC Triples, and a Slippery Sam replica.
If you want to see the London Motorcycle Museum continue then please visit it and help by donating to its Just Giving page.