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22 year old and my first norton 650 ss :) from england

Discussion in 'Other Norton Motorcycles' started by norton_rider, Aug 25, 2011.

  1. norton_rider


    Feb 6, 2011
    Hey everyone

    (2018 update pictures start on page 9)

    22 years old and in Manchester the north west of the united kingdom been obsessed with bikes for as long as i can remember

    been reading about commando's on here for a while so thought Id sign up share with everyone my first norton a 1966 1967 650ss the same guy owned her since new and sold her to me on the proviso Ill never sell it which I definitely wont. Amazing to think he had it for 43 years matching numbers and all that clobber but a bit rough round the edges in places ands got a little bit of a noise on the engine that Im trying to figure out. all fresh engine rebuild not even run in yet so guessing its gotta be something wrong timing wise maybe on the valves? whats everyone reckon put a video bellow

    plans for the bike are
    fix engine noise
    get some new carbs on it undecided between the original 376 twin amals or concentrics
    sort the forks as they are dead no rebound or anything probs a landsdowne kit as hes not to far from me few other peeps in the uk noc owners club running them to :)
    set of john tickle rearsets so I can get my legs in a better position
    manx clip ons and shorter shrouds
    electronic ignition system
    swept back exhausts with whatever gives the best gains engine wise
    fontana 4ls front brake - so I can stop if a car pulls out on me rather than putting disks on
    hagon rear shocks with shrouds - standard shocks are a bit on there last legs 43,000 miles of riding does that
    oh and a new tank and seat to keep the original safe and resprayed on the shelf away from corrosion
    then some engine tuning :) nice and mild but more refined than original

    hope you all enjoy the pictures be more to come as I work on the bike

    put a video clip up of the sound of the engine also some clips on my utube channel of my trip to the isle of man TT shows what the ferries are like haha crazy straps over your bike and stuff
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 9, 2019
  2. AussieCombat


    Jan 20, 2011
    G'day Tom, great to see you enjoy the finer things in life.
    I'm very jealous of the SS.
    Fantastic that you could buy a bike from the original owner.
    If it's your first old one, then you may need to get used to the clatters and rattles, but do check the valve clearance.
    There's a couple being restored on this forum now, so plenty of advice avaliable.
    I guess we'll see some real nice pics soon. I don't know that we have a pro here so you may be the first.
    Good stuff.
  3. bwolfie

    bwolfie VIP MEMBER

    Sep 21, 2010
    What an awesome find. I have a 1975 Yamaha XS 650 that was given to me by a family friend with the no sell provision. He purchased it new in 76, and parked it in 83. I think you found a nicer bike to keep.
  4. cjandme


    Feb 5, 2011
    Welcome, nice ride!! I would suggest keeping the rack, you'll be glad of it one day. Again welcome, lots of help available here on these threads. Cj
  5. norton_rider


    Feb 6, 2011
    Hi everyone thanks for the brilliant replies yup going to drag the lighting gear out and get some pictures done of her soon as we get some dry weather that is the Joy of living in Manchester in the uk means it rains alot lol

    having said that there are some brilliant roads around here which is a godsend,

    just waiting to hear back of the original owner about the camshaft thats in the bike so I can check the valve clearances as he's on holiday at the moment

    hopefully the first of many Nortons :) noticed my blade seems to have gotten shoved to one side haha

  6. grandpaul

    grandpaul VIP MEMBER

    Jan 15, 2008
    There's a happy lad.

    Great story, great bike.
  7. dave M

    dave M

    Oct 19, 2005
    Welcome to Norton (and classic bike) ownership, the hobby needs guys like you to sustain it, hopefully once all your mates see your lovely bike they may be inclined to join the community.

    With a fresh engine rebuild they take a bit of time to settle in, you could consider tightening the cylinder head and barrell after a few hundred miles and then redo the valve clearances. There is naturally quite a bit more clatter than on a modern bike, have a look and listen to some other British air-cooled twins for a reference point.
  8. swooshdave


    Apr 15, 2009
    Do you even shave yet?


    Welcome to the forum! :D
  9. norton_rider


    Feb 6, 2011
    haha yup certainly do lol :D

    definatley we've got to keep these bike alive and Im definatley going to get some of my mates of the jap stuff they are already hankering having heard the beast that is the 650ss hehe love her to bits

    been obsessed with nortons since I was able to talk my uncle and godfather (dads bro) raced a gus kuhn back in the day and a reg dearden tuned commando was the fastest bike through the speedtrap at oulton ever at the time apparently and held a few lap records

    wouldn't mind ditching the 675' tona and doing some classic racing instead on a commando (long as I get the acu ticks for my licence so I can race at the isle of man that is) definatly got the bug for that plus the tyres would be a bit cheaper to haha the tyres for these modern race bikes are a killer 380gbp for a new set now for the ones Ive been using so been buying scrubs to get by instead haha get there in the end

    just sorted out a little oil leak before on the oil pipe to the timing chain side of the engine so least thats some progress and lots of pollishing and cleaning going to unwire the now defunct indicator cables and switch tomorrow and check the headsteady out as I've noticed there's certainly a lot of loose bolts including the wheel and fork topnuts oh and check the timing and the clearances out to just to make sure everything is spot on as its running a bit rich at the moment so gotta look at that as well

    Thanks everyone for the comments really putting a big smile on my face its so great to be part of the wonderfull community that is nortons :)
  10. Jeandr


    Jan 22, 2008
    What a nice find, you could just leave everything stock, it would be a real looker if you did and I am sure the guy who owned it before wouldn't mind it if you did.

  11. Carbonfibre


    Nov 16, 2010
    Why ruin a very nice original bike with cafe racer mods? If you want a cafe racer, then sell the 650ss to someone who will appreciate it, and buy something like a Triton perhaps?
  12. Jeandr


    Jan 22, 2008
    OK then, I take it you are willing to offer him a wad of cash right now to "save" it from being "ruined" :?:

    It will not be "ruined" if he keeps all the original bits, in fact many of the mods he is proposing make the bike beter to use everyday like an electronic ignition, better front brake, better shocks. He will most likely put a belt drive when he sees the primary chain stretch like a tired old rubber band and the primary cover leak like a sieve.

  13. norton_rider


    Feb 6, 2011
    thanks Jean :) love your bike always fancy building something simillar as another project maybe once Ive finished this and my concours as new rd350lc ^_^ haha been a stickler with that one right down to the original washers

    yep totally just about making the right sensible mods with it being ridden to improve the feel and safety of the bike. With regards to handling, braking and reliability a little and ground clearance of course. haha As I tend to ride quite far out into the country side where theres never any reception on the mobile If i break down, but amazing roads Ill never forget pushing my gixer 4 miles lol was way exhausted when it developed a fault till I got reception.

    Deffo putting a belt drive on loool soon as I showed my uncle them in a catalogue he was like boomin hell wish I had them back in the day lol.

    haha and trust me I do appreciate the bike I have, thats a bit unjust saying that carbon. not the attitude to get other youngsters involved lucky I had a mature head on my shoulders for my age lol. When I've scraped and saved just to get the 650ss with it being the bike my uncle raced and rode in the 60's like Jean said the tank will be being kept along with the original bits on the shelf for one reason and one alone to keep them intact, my uncle now owns a place in florida and trust me the weather over here in the uk is helish for our bikes and cars a brand new focus chassis is ruined in about 4 years due to the weather I get where I live, and seeing I intend to ride the bike :) its safer for the parts seeing Im never going to sell it to keep them boxed and safe all tucked away in bubble wrap till Im ready to retire her from the road :) for safe keeping at which time all the original parts will be bolted back on in the mint condition they are in + by cafe racing it Im only changing the tank rearsets and seat and bars for genuine manx norton stuff which I can lay my hands on through my contacts :) excluding the tank which will most likley be from unity equipe to fit to the slimline chassis.

    Thanks for all the cracking comments everyone, will get some more pictures up soon its really really gleaming now just got to rebuild the speedo as the face has a scratch on it so thats another thing onto the list :)
  14. Matt Spencer

    Matt Spencer

    Jul 25, 2010
    Have a look at ' DomiracerCan be a good idea to acclimatise to it before you traumatise it ! :lol: :p :shock: .

    Youll have enough to spend on the essentials . :p
    A set of coustom pipes running under thge frame rails would get a bit better cornering clearance.
    A lot of the swept back ones fit poorly , hang out everywhere and drip boiling water on the knees in rain .

    If Yr looking at Raceing , A 675 would be ( a lot ) less hassle , BUT grabbing a (NEW) Wideline frame
    and nuilding a scrather from scratch , would be a deal more straightforward .

    Old Cortina 1600 '711M' motors run 8.500 rpm, cutting the back two cylinders of gets you a 800 twin,
    or theres Hillman Imp engines , virtually a coventry climax ( saw a FPE in the pump for 750 quid in a
    historical Ag. Mag. from there once , almost new.grand prix ones youd add several zeros )

    Best way for a racer is buy a few lumps , and proceed from there , unless you get a lucky find .

    If you can weld and have a few tools , you can make a lot of it anyway .

    Now , in the olde days , a overhaul on an engine in a shop was ' a few days ' , a week MAX.

    Have a look at Dunstall Domiracer & Domiracer stuff here and Google .
    Pickeral got i.o.m. prod on one about 68. probly the stiffest frame available
    if you wish to leave the opposition in youre wake .
    Development of i.o.m. Tom phillis 500 Grand Prix bike.

    Check if the nasty 6.000 rpm Max pistons are in before pulling 8.000 :p :lol:
  15. norton_rider


    Feb 6, 2011
    haha gotta watch those pesky manx pistons :p

    speaking of 675s this is my baby bought it of Maria Costello MBE about 2 years ago just got to get it into some action next year just been doing a few track days to aclimatise myself to her very swift bike and handles like its on rails infact I'd go as far to say its the best handling bike I've ever rode and Ive road a few now :)

    got a scan of a dunstall catalouge somewhere intersting to see and got the tuning manual and all the 650ss workshop manuals of course never stop reading and learning well I try my hardest anyway haha

    slightly off topic but here's my 675

  16. swooshdave


    Apr 15, 2009
    We have hobot, we don't believe there is such a thing as off-topic. :mrgreen:
  17. Jeandr


    Jan 22, 2008
    Is it that cold in jolly old that you must fit tire (tyre) warmers ?

    :wink: Jean
  18. Carbonfibre


    Nov 16, 2010
    Why on earth anyone would want to spend time and money modifying an old bike in the hope of it becoming more comparable to a modern machine I cant really understand? Sure fit decent carbs, better ignition, and suspension, which will make it nicer to ride, but its never going to be a modern bike so why not keep it original and enjoy riding and using it as is?
  19. norton_rider


    Feb 6, 2011
    certainly is that cold haha sketchy as on the tyres I use without warmers lol been out on track when it been in the -'s lol

    @ carbon because I value my life and being able to stop and it being able to handle to the best of its capability in a sutiuation where it needs be can be that little bit that saves your life 8) got to remember we are on 2011 roads in 2011 times don't know where ur from but if you ride on uk roads you will know where Im coming from big bumps pot hole ridden and crazy car drivers that have a big habbit on ignoring the fact your there so being able to hit a pot hole mid corner and it not spit you and your precious norton down the road is a big + in my book and being able to stop when a car pulls out or jumps a red light which happens alot near me and not getting catapulted over the top of the car while staring at a crumpled beer can of a 650ss haha
    get my point ? lool

    only fitting parts that if they were availible back in the day everyone would be onto them haha an I know that from my uncle and his mates :) who had these bikes back in the day

    annyywaaaysss back on topic @ matt thanks for the pm mate :) ill have a looksee at that

    just gonna go by some more tools in a moment and get torn into to doing some more work on her :)
  20. Jeandr


    Jan 22, 2008
    Agree completely with what you say, I did the electrics on a 1947 Triumph and due to some problems, I tested it for about 120Km, while it is nice to be aboard an old bike like that, I find myself less in security than I am on my bicycle, the main reasons are the guy wants it like it was back then, this means no suspension (rigid back end), no mirrors, no flashers, no speedometer (I lashed my GPS on the tank when I used it), a taillight the size of a silver dollar, not much power which is a blessing in itself since the brakes are barely adequate to stop it from the slow speeds it reaches.

    A classic maybe, a safe bike no way :!:


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