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N15CS Thread

Norton Models (not Commando or P11)

N15CS Thread

Postby 67n15cs » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:14 pm

I am fascinated by the various histories of the hybrid machines that came out of the AMC factories in the '60's. Specifically the Norton N15CS/Matchless G15CS. I always wanted one and finally manged to find one last Spring. The estimates as to how how many of these particular models were produced, or indeed how many still survive, seem to vary.

I think it would be interesting to see how many are still out there and to that end am starting this thread. I would be interested in knowing the history of your machine, the number (if you care to share) and what colour it was when it left the factory. Apparently most were candy red, but some were painted in green or blue.

I'll start the ball rolling. I have a 1967 N15CS which left the factory in January 1967 and was shipped to British Motorcycles in Vancouver, British Columbia. I am assuming it has spent most of its life here in BC. It is painted black now, but there are traces of blue paint in the support tubes at the front of the tank, so I am assuming it left the factory in the blue colour. I plan on re-painting it as soon as the weather warms up.
If it has got either boobs or wheels it is going to cost you money.

1967 N15CS
1971 Commando
1997 XR650L
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Re: N15CS Thread

Postby acotrel » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:58 pm

A thing which always amazes me, is that the mid-sixties Matchless singles are not more highly valued. As a I saw a couple of new ones at Bathurst, and they were to die for. I believe they even had the G50 bottom end in them. About 5 years ago I saw a motor in the back of a utility at an historic meeting - there is no class in which it would be competitive without butchering it.
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Re: N15CS Thread

Postby Paul W » Tue Feb 19, 2013 1:42 pm

I think you are mistaken acotrel, G15CS/N15CS are not singles.
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Re: N15CS Thread

Postby nickjtc » Tue Feb 19, 2013 2:31 pm

Thanks Paul. Yes, for the record, the Norton/Matchless hybrids all used the Norton twin cylinder engine (predominantly the 750cc Atlas) in a Matchless frame. The frame for my 1967 N15CS must have been a Matchless 'work horse' because it has the lugs incorporated for the attachment of a sidecar. Also two little tabs on the right rear frame down tube for a bicycle pump.
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1967 N15CS
1971 Commando Roadster
1997 XR650L
2010 Thruxton

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Re: N15CS Thread

Postby BillT » Tue Feb 19, 2013 5:18 pm

nickjtc wrote:Thanks Paul. Yes, for the record, the Norton/Matchless hybrids all used the Norton twin cylinder engine (predominantly the 750cc Atlas) in a Matchless frame. The frame for my 1967 N15CS must have been a Matchless 'work horse' because it has the lugs incorporated for the attachment of a sidecar. Also two little tabs on the right rear frame down tube for a bicycle pump.


That frame started out as the frame for the G15/45 which was the new Matchless 750 with 3 main bearings. The frame was designed to be robust enough for desert racing.

When The G15/45 debuted in '62, it was discovered that the middle main bearing - rather than making the engine bulletproof - restricted the flexing of the crank and would up either breaking the crank or the crank case.

Norton, meanwhile, had come out with the Atlas, and they were desert raced, too. The problem with the Atlas was the head stock of the featherbed wasn't strong enough to handle the rigors of desert racing.

According to the stories, there was an Atlas with a broken frame and a G15/45 with a blown motor at ZD Motors in Glendale, California. Somebody thought to put the Atlas motor in the Matchless frame, and the Atlas Scrambler was born. The initial run of Scramblers had Teledraulic forks, but during that first year of production, the Scrambler had switched to Roadholders. I believe those bikes are referred to as G15CS 'N' Atlas Scramblers, but don't have documentation.

As many as 5000 G15, N15 and 33 (the AJS version) hybrids were built between 1963 and 1970, and there were several different models built.

-The Norton was the N15CS. The 'CS' designation goes back to AMC models of the '50s and stood for 'competition, sprung' This was the only model, as one would get the Atlas if one wanted a strictly street machine.
-Matchless had 4 G15s. The original 1962 model with the Matchless motor; the G15CS which was identical to the Norton except for tank badge; the G15CSR which had a few changes from the CS, most notably thinner spokes in the wheels. where the CS was a true scrambler, the CSR was more of a sporty road bike. CSR ostensibly stood for 'competition, sprung, road', but many called them 'coffee shop racer'; the G15MkII, which was the G15/45 with the Norton motor. This bike had the big chrome gas tank, large seat and heavy chrome fenders.
-AJS had the 33 Std, which was a G15MkII in AJS badging and the 33CS and 33CSR, again identical to the Matchless, except G15s were usually candy red with black seats and 33s AJS blue with tan seats.

The Atlas Scrambler came with nothing on it that would say 'Norton' except for the 'N' badges on the tank. This was done so the bike could be sold as a Norton, Matchless or even AJS. Some years, the bikes even came with 2 sets of badges in the crate, a winged 'M' or an 'N'.

If the bike is a '67 or '68, look carefully at the serial number stamped on the crankcase. In order to fill a large Berliner order, the factory re-stamped many AJS 33s as N15s. If one looks carefully, there's a good chance one can make out some remnant of '33' under the 'N15'. The factory had run several hundred AJS machines, but orders came in for Norton and Matchless models, and it was easier to rebrand the bikes. After all, there was no difference aside from badging and maybe color.
'73 Norton 850 Commando - 3030xx
'69 Norton Ranger 750 - P11/1289xx
'67 Matchless G15CS - G15CS/1235xx
'61 Matchless G80CS - 61/G80CS/41xx
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Re: N15CS Thread

Postby beng » Tue Feb 19, 2013 8:03 pm

67n15cs wrote:I am fascinated by the various histories of the hybrid machines that came out of the AMC factories in the '60's. Specifically the Norton N15CS/Matchless G15CS.


Well don't hold out on us, please tell us the fascinating part.

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Re: N15CS Thread

Postby Matt Spencer » Tue Feb 19, 2013 11:57 pm

Probly this ;

" In un periodo in cui il mercato delle motociclette inglesi si ritrova in crisi per via dell’insorgere della concorrenza giapponese e della richiesta di cilindrate sempre maggiori, le Case inglesi sfodereano tutte le armi a loro disposizione presentando modelli rivisti tratti dal passato ed aggiornati, col la pecca di somigliarsi tutti un po’. Uno dei più antichi è la AMC, che significa Associated Motor Cycles. " :lol: :lol: :P

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Dem Bones .

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The Japanese response to ' styling ' , was to add more .
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Re: N15CS Thread

Postby Rohan » Wed Feb 20, 2013 1:20 am

It is quoted somewhere that approx 8000 Atlas engines were used in Matchless and assorted hybrid models.

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Re: N15CS Thread

Postby skipsoldbikes » Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:17 am

No N15CS, G15CS, was fitted with the AMC Teledraulic forks as in their entirety. It was the internals from the G80CS, with the external springs, (and those external springs changed from year to year, from 1963/4 to 1965) and the damper arrangement that were fitted from 1963 to 1965. Then the internal springs and damping arrangement from the Norton Atlas and 650ss was used from 1966 to 1968 or to the end of the N15CS production. This is all explained in the workshop manual that was produced at the time, as well as a factory picture of the internal fork damper arrangement for the early 1963 to 1965 fork internals. There is also the 1964 parts book which shows all the correct part numbers for the earlier scrambler fork parts. Apart from the length of the damper, stanchions and the fork covers every thing else was the same for the later 1966 onwards N15CS.

The frame used was the G12CS, or the G12CSR one as this was the off road frame. The front engine mounts were reversed to take the Atlas motor. The idea for the N15CS, G15CS, came from ZDS Motors, and Berliner asked the factory to produce one. This was explained to me by non other than that great man himself, Steve Zabaro, who worked at ZDS Motors, and built the prototype P11. The Norton version of the first scramblers had a transfer on the petrol tank, and the later Norton ones also used a tank transfer. The 1965 used a plastic badge. The only bikes that were dispatched and actually called scramblers, in the factory dispatch records were the first 200 that were dispatched in 1963. There was one after that but that is on its own. There are also three shown as N15CSR's, but with the R part crossed out. Now there is food for thought or speculation. There also appears to be one or two special ones of the N15CS that were made and dispatched to Berliner.

The first Norton Atlas Scrambler that was dispatched from October to November 1963 went from engine and frame number 107388 to 107587, and only 200 were made and dispatched. They all differed from the later models dispatched in many detailed way. This subject is complicated and convoluted enough with out the added speculations as shown on that web page.

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Re: N15CS Thread

Postby 67n15cs » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:42 am

beng wrote:
67n15cs wrote:I am fascinated by the various histories of the hybrid machines that came out of the AMC factories in the '60's. Specifically the Norton N15CS/Matchless G15CS.
Well don't hold out on us, please tell us the fascinating part.


Only that the tales associated with the reason for the existence of these machines are many and varied. Including the 'fact' that they only exist because AMC had a load of old Matchless frames 'just laying around' at the factory, along with a load of Atlas engines 'just laying around', so they decided to combine them just to use them up.
If it has got either boobs or wheels it is going to cost you money.

1967 N15CS
1971 Commando
1997 XR650L
2010 Thruxton

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Re: N15CS Thread

Postby 67n15cs » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:47 am

Matt Spencer wrote:" In un periodo in cui il mercato delle motociclette inglesi si ritrova in crisi per via dell’insorgere della concorrenza giapponese e della richiesta di cilindrate sempre maggiori, le Case inglesi sfodereano tutte le armi a loro disposizione presentando modelli rivisti tratti dal passato ed aggiornati, col la pecca di somigliarsi tutti un po’. Uno dei più antichi è la AMC, che significa Associated Motor Cycles. "


Indeed. Once the English companies realised that the Japanese were going to be a force to be reckoned with there must have been quite a panic stricken scamble to try and satisfy consumer demand (especially in the US) using the resources at hand.
If it has got either boobs or wheels it is going to cost you money.

1967 N15CS
1971 Commando
1997 XR650L
2010 Thruxton

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Re: N15CS Thread

Postby 67n15cs » Wed Feb 20, 2013 10:48 am

So, apart from the machine in the N15CS restoration thread, does anyone out there have one?
If it has got either boobs or wheels it is going to cost you money.

1967 N15CS
1971 Commando
1997 XR650L
2010 Thruxton

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Re: N15CS Thread

Postby Rohan » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:21 pm

skipsoldbikes wrote:No N15CS, G15CS, was fitted with the AMC Teledraulic forks as in their entirety.


That may or may not be - and did anyone say they did ?.
But the P11 sure used Matchless Teledraulic forks.
Which were famous for their smooth action and progressive damping...

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Re: N15CS Thread

Postby skipsoldbikes » Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:57 pm

Hi Rohan !!!!!
That may or may not be - and did anyone say they did ?.


It is a fact supported by factory records, no may or may not be about it.

A good friend of mine in the UK owns: a 1966 N15CS, a 1963 Norton Atlas Scrambler, a 1968 Matchless G15CSR street scrambler, and an AJS 33CSR.

"Oh they had all these frames and engines sitting around doing nothing so they built all these bikes" Unfortunatly, that is a often repeated rumor that has been disproven , but it has been around so long & repeated so many times that it is assumed that it is true. Just look at how many frames & engines would have had to be just lying around, at a time when cost cutting was going on. The G15 framed engine and the Atlas frame engine are different, so they had to be modified to fit the relevant frames.

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Re: N15CS Thread

Postby nickjtc » Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:52 am

67n15cs wrote:So, apart from the machine in the N15CS restoration thread, does anyone out there have one?


Obviously not!! :wink:
That which does not kill us reminds us to wear motorcycle specific clothing.

1967 N15CS
1971 Commando Roadster
1997 XR650L
2010 Thruxton

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