1962 650ss Build

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Dec 30, 2018
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First post for me more or less, and my first build, first experience working on a bike. It's been a lifelong love affair.

I'm calling this a partial back date build, as I've been working on this for the past year. I haven't done the best job documenting the entire process, but I've tried to hit some steps along the way. The next one will be better, is what I keep telling myself. It's quite inspiring seeing the wealth of information that's on this site.


This project for me began about one year ago with the purchase of a 1962 Norton 650ss, from eBay. Pretty much a total basketcase state, delivered in an actual basket. It’s taken about 500 different turns as far as final product goes, but I'm relieved to see that seems to be the normal course of action.

photos from the eBay listing




The positives, the four leading shoe grimeca front brake, laced to what looked like a really nice wheel. Conical rear. Arces/Ceriani GP forks. Lucas K2FC mag. Everything needing a full rebuild. I'm confident that I would like to take the more cafe approach to the build, and not try to replicate a fully stock machine.


The negatives. All the unknowns. Everything needing a full rebuild. Not taking into account how much all the other pieces would.

Took delivery of this crate, had to go pick it up at the local shipping docks as the 18 wheeler wouldn’t come down my driveway. Borrowed a friends van and trucked this puppy home. Had to disassemble the crate in the van and carry the individual pieces out. Was only by myself and couldn’t budge the crate.



Starting out just taking a once over of everything, and kept trying to take as many before photos as possible. It’s amazing how easy it is to skip some photos in the process.

Decided that the first step would be to send out the frame bits to be stripped in a large-scale blaster using glass media, then bring everything home to check, prime, and paint.

All of this was pre-covid.
 
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Nice bunch of parts. I prefer doing it the Brough-Superiour way. First assemble everything and test run it. When satisfied, tear it apart and paint it. Then rebuild it with white gloves on. As the Brough people did when Rolls-Royce checked. Before allowing them to advertise as "The Rolls-Royce of motorcycles".
My reason is that there will always be scratches in the paint when assembling. Especially on a modified bike. It can happen that a bit of welding or grinding has to be done.
I seldom comes to the point of painting if the bike runs well. Much more fun riding the bike.
 
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I agree, painting is best left to the last, if you can hold off. The method mentioned by Mike, full mechanical rebuild, assembly and fettling, then take apart and paint is ideal. Not many people do it that way as most of us want to see something painted right away. It's instant gratification and looks like a lot of progress.
Then you have to protect the paint finish thru the whole rebuild and fettling process, nearly impossible.
It's a bit like laying new flooring at the start of a major construction renovation.
This has been done!
One other thought on the restoration. The stock 650ss with its flat bars and minimalist styling is a cafe racer without adornment.
You have the big lumps there for a stock machine. If at some point in the future you want to sell the bike, the stock 650ss is getting quite valuable as there aren't a lot of them. There is no shortage of hybrid cafe racers of all sorts out there. I like homebuilt cafe racers too, have a couple of them here, but you might consider going the stock route, other than the Grimeca front brake, that has to be used.



Glen
 
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Richard Tool

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Aug 3, 2019
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Great project - keep posting please !
I am in NJ as well - I have a 1956 Dominator 99 basket case that I hope to start in on in the fall. I would suggest getting the Mick Hemmings engine And gearbox DVD’s available through the UK based Norton Owners Club .
Let me know if I can help . Rick Tool
 
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The amount of effort to restore the to a stock 650SS would be tremendous. You probably bought this because you wanted a featherbed cafe racer, so build it that way.

That tank looks to be about 600 gallons!

If you get the frame powder coated you don't have to worry about scratches as much.

Looks like fun!
 

Bodger

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I defer to a lot of people - and this comment has no bearing on restoring your basket case to a beautiful bike - but if it's actually a '62 it's probably a Manxman and not a 650SS. Not much mechanical difference between the two, but the Manxman is a pretty rare beast. I don't think Norton was calling or selling the 650cc bike the 650SS in '62. Not sure although I suspect others will chime in.
 
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I defer to a lot of people - and this comment has no bearing on restoring your basket case to a beautiful bike - but if it's actually a '62 it's probably a Manxman and not a 650SS. Not much mechanical difference between the two, but the Manxman is a pretty rare beast. I don't think Norton was calling or selling the 650cc bike the 650SS in '62. Not sure although I suspect others will chime in.
You could be right, but the pic from my beady eye sees the tank of a 650ss, (it could have been changed) cannot see if single or twin carb.
These were available from 1961/2, but delayed for one year in the UK as they were export only, only looking up the chassis number against the factory records will confirm this.
 

Bodger

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You could be right, but the pic from my beady eye sees the tank of a 650ss, (it could have been changed) cannot see if single or twin carb.
These were available from 1961/2, but delayed for one year in the UK as they were export only, only looking up the chassis number against the factory records will confirm this.
Again, it doesn't really matter, but I think the early tanks had the filler on the left so it could be a later tank.
 
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I saw that listing, and ear marked it. I wanted to bid on it so much, but my life is not in a place where I could justify spending the $ & devoting the time required. I think it was a good deal and a great starting point for a build. With regards to the tank, I believe it is a better one to have since when the bike is on the side stand, it's lean puts the filler cap at the top.
 

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