1963 Norton Featherbed Build

ashman

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Whats wrong with running a maggie, no battery needed and they throw out a big spark, the new Joe Hunt maggies run 4 rare earth magnets and are so reliable they work better than any other ignition system around, I ran a old JH maggie on my old Triumph for 9 years and 250,000 ks with out any problems at all and was always a one kick to start, I am running a new JH on my hot Norton and will never go back to EI, I am a true beliver of Joe Hunt maggies they run so well on hot motors as well as stock.

Ashley
 
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Hi Ashley

Nothing against a Mag and I already have one so it could all be good but if I was to make a change that involved running a battery I wanted to do this now while I am carrying out all the fabrication.
My Mag is a Locus type so not sure how these compare on the reliability stakes to Joe Hunt but be keen to here other peoples experience on mag verses electronic.
 

Fast Eddie

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So long as it’s rebuilt properly, by a competent and knowledgable person, a Lucas mag is just fine, especially on a 360 twin like yours.

I had a mag rebuilt by someone who didn’t fit that criteria and it let me down. Dave Degens got it rebuilt again, to comp spec, and I raced that hard with zero problems. When I went to EI (due to going to unit construction) I had more DNFs due to ignition than anything else!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of modern EI, I run Tri-Spark on my Commando and Bonnie, and love it. But if I had a pre unit Triumph, I’d use a mag without hesitation.

BTW, if you’re in Blighty and building a Triton, you really should give Degens a call. Even if you don’t wanna got the full ‘Dresda Triton’ route, he is just a (very deep) mine of info on the subject.
 

ashman

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My JH sticks out the side of my timing case not a lot of people like that idea but I had the same set up on my old Triumph and so far have had the two set ups for over 16 years without any problems at all, have even gone down on that side and the only damage to the maggie was the front cover, they are cheap to replace, I have all my timming marks on the inside of the housing so when I need to do any work on the maggie I just set it to the timming marks unbolt it and work on the maggie on the bench put it back on on the same marks and timming is still set, the good thing about it sitting out the side it runs a lot cooler and in my opinion looks great out there and the best part is some of the BS stories you can tell people when they ask what it is.
I have a Lucas compertition maggie on my project bike and it throws out a great spark even turning it by hand, got a good zap off it once wasn't nice I can tell you. I also run my lights off the altenator with a battery liminator, works ok but if I hit the brake it dulls the head light if riding at night, but I don't do much night riding on the Norton these days have my moden Thruxton for that but the light works ok when needed, but adding a very small battery if you want a brighter light.

Ashley
 
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Fast Eddie
Yes I am based in the UK near Southampton, Dresda is not far away so will give him a call.
Ashley
From all the advice looks like a will press on with the Mag and see how I get on - thanks for all the advice much appreciated.
 

ashman

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My Joe Hunt works so well one day I was coming home from work and was not far away when one of my plug leads come out of the maggie housing the Norton was still firing on both cylinders but with a slight miss fire I looked down to see the spark was jumping from the cover to the lead about 2" or more away, because I was so close to home I kept going, I was very impress and being day light I could see the spark jumping, the old JHs only had two rare earth magnets the new ones are four rare earth magnets and throw out a bigger spark, I have been zapped by my old maggie but wouldn't like to get zapped by my new one.
My Manxman project bike has a Lucas competition maggie, turning it by hand you can hear the spark crack jumping to the lead and a nice big blue spark, my JH on my Norton has been on it for ove 6 years now and well over 30,000 miles and to this day haven't touched it, except for pulling the maggie cover and putting a few drops of oil on the felt to lube the points cam.
Another thing is never file the points as it takes the hardering off the points and will wear them quicker, just clean them with a bit of white spirt or metho, as well my spark plugs have been in for as long and still look as good as the day I put them in but with the JH the plug gaps are set at 18 tho not 25 tho as stock.

Ashley
 

Fast Eddie

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Ash, with such an impressive spark power, have you tried opening the gap up? I’d be tempted to try opening up big, like .035”. You might unleash hitherto unknown pleasures...!
 
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If you are using a magneto, it needs to be rotating magnet with external condenser, rather than rotating coil with the condenser inside. As a kid, I attended many race meetings when I had Lucas Wader magnetos fitted and when they started to miss, I would go home losing my entrée fee and the other costs of getting to the meeting. I changed to Lucas SR and had no further problems.
 
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Ash, with such an impressive spark power, have you tried opening the gap up? I’d be tempted to try opening up big, like .035”. You might unleash hitherto unknown pleasures...!

A bigger spark plug gap does not necessarily give a better spark. In aircraft a small gap with a much higher voltage is used to get a much fatter spark.
 

Fast Eddie

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I agree. Nothing isn’t necessarily better.

But we’re talking plug gaps here. What else on a motorcycle could be easier to try out?

One indisputable fact is, these old motors like big, fat, powerful sparks.
 

ashman

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Joe Hunt reconmends 18 tho for the plug gaps, same with Old Brits site, I use to run my old Triumph JH at 25 tho at 18 tho my plugs run so clean even after a year of riding I pull the plugs and they are so clean I just put them back in without even cleaning them, with my old EIs I had to replace the plug every year, I only run stock Champion plugs in my Norton, when I run any other plugs they get a misfire after a week or so of running them, for some unknown reasond my Norton runs better with the Champions N7Y and they run even better with the maggie.

Ashley
 

ashman

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If you are using a magneto, it needs to be rotating magnet with external condenser, rather than rotating coil with the condenser inside. As a kid, I attended many race meetings when I had Lucas Wader magnetos fitted and when they started to miss, I would go home losing my entrée fee and the other costs of getting to the meeting. I changed to Lucas SR and had no further problems.

Alan comparing a old Lucas maggie to a new Joe Hunt maggie you just have no idea at all how better the new JHs are, they are also more reliable, more stronger built etc etc, if my Lucas competition maggie on my project bike ever fails I won't hesitate to replace it with a new JH maggie, they aren't cheap at around $700 US but look at all the troubles so many have with EI on this forum and not having to rely on a fully charge battery and once fired up for the day it will start on 1/2 swing on the kicker first time every time.

Ashley
 

Fast Eddie

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Fairy Nuff Ash, sounds like you have it nicely sorted for your needs there sir.
 

ashman

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Fairy Nuff Ash, sounds like you have it nicely sorted for your needs there sir.

After getting 250,000 ks out of my first JH maggie on my 81 Triumph Thunderbird I did not hesitate to put a new JH maggie on my hot Norton they are so good if set up right.

Ashley
 

robs ss

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More than half of this post to date has been about magneto choice - maybe relevant, but maybe...
Could be cranky old man syndrome settling in.
Sorry!
Cheers
Rob
derailed_zps7021e6af.jpg
 

ashman

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Rob I only asked what was wrong with running a maggie as the OP asked what ingition to run in my opinion the maggie is the best set up and his bike is set up for a maggie so why change if its working fine and I will always recomend a JH because I know how well they work.

Ashley
 

Fast Eddie

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More than half of this post to date has been about magneto choice - maybe relevant, but maybe...
Could be cranky old man syndrome settling in.
Sorry!
Cheers
Rob View attachment 3120

Have you read the thread Rob? Seems very relevant to me. Quote from the OP: “My Mag is a Lucas type so not sure how these compare on the reliability stakes to Joe Hunt but be keen to hear other peoples experience on mag verses electronic”.
 
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I wonder if increasing the capacity of a 650cc Triumph motor is really a good way to go. My friend raced a 650cc Triton for many years and I could never convincingly beat him with my short-stroke 500, even though I have led races which included a lot of more modern bikes. I once rode his bike and it was extremely fast. He is now rebuilding it as a 750 and is encountering a lot of unexpected problems. I think the increase in piston weight is a disadvantage. We have a few guys in our historic racing who have increased the capacity of G50s and Manxes, they seem to gain torque but don't go much faster. A better way to go with a Triumph motor might be to obtain a 75mm stroke Thunderbird crank and bore the motor so that it fits into a 750cc capacity class using light pistons and don't worry too much about the compression ratio.
 
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