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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. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Nov 20, 2004
    It looks like Stag Wellseal.
  2. norton_rider


    Feb 6, 2011
    thanks Paul I will do :D :D :D

    yup that looks like the stuff L.A.B seen that on the hemmings Dvd's
  3. beng


    Jan 21, 2011
    Or, more realistically, if you only want fawning, praise and sunshine blown up your patoot, and not all opinions, then stay in a cave. You wheeled yourself and your plans and photos out on the WWW(world wide web in case you did not know) so the whole world is going to give their opinion, not just those who agree with the latest "cafe boutique" trends and dreams leading some pimply-faced kid around by the nose, sorry.....
  4. norton_rider


    Feb 6, 2011
    For starters Im not just some kid lol dont insult my intelligence I was one of the youngest people at college in the uk at 14.5 years old on an advanced adult graphics design then a programming course. then more design before I had massive success as a photographer and turned pro.
    grew up around computers since I was a kid programming, design litho printing and other things in industry.

    grew up around race bikes since I was 4 from Nortons all the way up to sp1s and the like I don't have a single spot haha and I work hard at my career to get get the bikes I want. when you putting pictures of your bikes up :p would adore to see them love looking at Nortons. (edit just seen your facebook group do the words commando twin leading shoe brake mean anything to you when talking about originality :lol: )

    Admittedly I do love putting my pictures up but you realllly didn't read the whole post did you? lol I'm taking the kit of to keep it in good nick you know to preserve the bike so it lasts Im not cafe racing it meh everyones in on that croud haha Im making it look how my uncles race bike did back in the day to surprise him with a few rides on it as he just had a mild stroke and is pretty shook up about it all. Even though he got away luckily with it. So there you go thats the real reason not that I wanted to blat it all over the net. keep quizing him to find out exactly how it looked he's only got pictures of his Reg Dearden tuned Gus Kuhn Commando. But its the 650ss he remembers the most fondly. "those 650ss were just right proverbial sh*t stuck to a blanket"

    Hes always been there for me through all the bad things that have happened in my life and if its just one little surprise I can do to take him down memory lane then Im so doing it. (also the cafe look isnt latest Ive seen actual bikes over here in the land of the british bikes that my uncles friends had an they looked like that back in the 60's.

    then when Im done riding it about after a few years of fun all the standard bits that will be in mint condition because I took them of to preserve them will be put back on and Ill take it to a few shows over here in the uk If i was some really spotty nosed kid Id be ripping the engine out of the matching one owner bike to shoehorn a commando motor in there but Im not doing that haha thats for another frame that is :)
  5. grandpaul

    grandpaul VIP MEMBER

    Jan 15, 2008
    Looks like the "kid" got the better of the "old fart".

    (if you think a fart stinks, you ought to smell an OLD one)
  6. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Nov 20, 2004

    It's Tom's bike now-so he can do what he likes with it.
  7. dave M

    dave M

    Oct 19, 2005
    Tom, you have stumbled on a site that is run by enthusiasts for enthusiasts and I'm sure that you have noted nearly all of the posts are encouraging you to continue on your stated path. I am of the opinion that the real value of any classic vehicle (or indeed anything of historic interest) is the human stories that are intrinsically bound up in the 'DNA' of anything that has been around for a number of years and owned with passion. The fact that your uncle owned this bike and now you do in my eyes makes the machine worth any number of 100 point concourse jobs. If you were now to hacksaw the steering head off it, rake the frame, make a solid rear end with a sissy bar and all of the nasty 1970s accoutrements, I would cheer from the sidelines if you rode it regularly and enjoyed it with the same enthusiasm that your uncle obviously did.

    Some people are worried about the commodification of our hobby, but frankly without the infusion of younger enthusiasts classic motorcycles will go the way of the Dodo and 'The lesser spotted pedant'. The manufacturers of parts for our machines need some semblance of volume in sales in order to keep in business and we old farts will need someone to take over our beloved machines once we are no longer able or inclined to ride them ourselves.

    You are welcome to come to Hong Kong any time and ride the tits off my Commando.

    Warmest Regards

    Dave M
  8. Jeandr


    Jan 22, 2008
    Just like the olympics, throw out the low scoring judges (beng & al) and keep up the good work for those who appreciate it.

  9. cjandme


    Feb 5, 2011
    I too was thinking that the yellow brown stains on the head were from one type of sealant or another. We use one we call "grade 4" in the naval aviation community, has that same color, but seems easier to get off than what you described. Cj
  10. mattthomas4444


    Sep 5, 2010
    That's a great bike you got there. One of my favorite Nortons of all time. Seems like we are the youngsters here on the forum, I've got a commando restoration underway with my father, but still a year before I can ride :( ...only 16 years old. Must say though, that unlike you, I don't have a vast understanding of bikes, I've learnt almost everything I know from my restoration which is a lot for the time spent but not in reality. I'm attached to the workshop manual and this forum for help with my problems.

    As far as the unruley criticism, I've never seen it like that before on this forum. Everyone seems to be pretty positive about most things, I don't know why they felt the need to voice their opinions, when their cynical attitude really wasn't needed or appreciated. I personally think that your ideas are very good, little changes to make the bike more rideable are not considered hinderances but rather upgrades that I and many others (besides the two critics) see as healthy improvements to the functionality of the bike. And turning it into a cafe racer...hell, that's what everyone your age did back in the '60s. cafe racing was an enormous trend and I'd be an idiot to say that thousands of riders didnt convert their Nortons to speedier, more streamlined machines.

    Good luck,
  11. norton_rider


    Feb 6, 2011
    Hi Matt,

    hope you are well, thanks for the great comments

    its absolutley cracking to see a 16 year old with a norton its up to us young'ns to keep the flame alive for the nortons long after the older generation are in there coffins :p so we must learn everything we can so we can show our kids about them and keep the bikes in fine fettle

    knollege will come with time best you are so excited about coming up to riding age I had a yamaha rd 350 lc as my first project with my dad absolutely loved what I learnt on that bike still got it along with my own concours LC.

    the workshop manual for the commando is amazing and especially the noc technical digest read them as well jammed packed full of information and the forum of course

    commando is my over fav norton :) really sweet bikes and our british bikes are brilliant to learn the fundamentals on and the mechanics are the same on a fireblade but you have a injector controlled by a computer box rather than a carb and a few more valves :)

    bit of an update on the bike

    got the side cover looking amazing and the gearbox after 3 days sollid graft on the bike and in about a minuite dad ruined it lol all the finish is tarnished the paints came of the barrel who says old people know best :p last time hes gettin left alone with it haha

    on a plus side just working out spanners and sockets to take the head of to get to the bottom of this noise and get it aqua blasted and cleaned up as with loads of effort its still not coming up plus my uncle did his back in the day so thats deffo next step just gonna save up a little bit of dosh over the next week or two incase theres something that needs replacing in the head going to check the cam followers and the cam out to and repaint the barrel as its in much need of it now haha

    also got plans on a sleeved down maney barrel and a better head at a later date but standard will do for now also going to strip the chassis to powdercoat the frame as its flaked of in some parts Id paint it but seing its going to be ridden alot powdercoat will be a little more hard wearing plus its what the prev owner put on it

    so order of attack now is

    remove and aqua blast head - inspect valves and springs and really have a close look at the valve guides replace cam followers if need be inspect cam

    repaint barrel - know the bore is really good as it was done by the previous owner

    put engine back together -

    then strip front end of and gearbox out re powdercoat frame and swinging arm so its sparkly fresh

    refit front end engine gearbox etc

    save up then buy the left hand side exhaust and manifolds for both sides

    belt drive ellecy ignition and twin amals

    rebuild smiths clocks as the faces are really worn

    repaint and finish original tank with badges take lots of pictures haha

    then rebuild forks so shes ridable then shelve all the original tinware to protect it while I enjoy the bike

    some better rods and barrel same crack again keeping the originals mint and boxed up

    finish riding it and put it all back to standard :)
  12. mattthomas4444


    Sep 5, 2010
    Thanks. I've been thinking about vintage motorcycling in the future, unfortunately I can't see there being a large market for it. I guess we just need to do as much of it as we can :D

    Btw, nice choice reverting back to twin Amals they're my favorite looking setup.

  13. norton_rider


    Feb 6, 2011
    yup deffo havin said that im sure todays fireblade and 675 riders will hark back and want them in about 20 years time like the honda rc30 and 45's over here like gold dust and the LC's 8)

    deffo used to setting up twin carbs so don't mind the hassle :D will look and go amazing with them still umming and arring over concentrics v 376''s sure I'll decide eventually

    got all the sealent stuff of so at least it looks a little more presentable but the heads defiantly coming of just something bothering me when its running is a tsdiiink tsdiiink sound at the end an begging of the normal valve noise just want to check her out as I like to know everythings right in my own head when it comes to bikes cant beat piece of mind

  14. Webby03


    Jan 3, 2011
    Nice Bike Tom,
    Welcome to the forum. Sorry I'm a bit late!

    It's always good to see younger blokes getting involved with these old tarts. Keep up the good work, that Wellseal sealant is pretty good stuff, it seals well (so it should given the name :D ), is non hardening and is (as you now know) easy to clean up.

    You're also lucky with some great roads where you live, I look forward to hearing your stories of riding the tits off the bike!

    Good luck with it

    All the best

    (Miserable middle aged git :mrgreen: )
  15. norton_rider


    Feb 6, 2011
    haha thanks webby :D im 5 mins from the cat and fiddle lol such an amazing road up it every single day of the year bar when its impassable haha was even up on christmas and new years last year lol mucho fun till you get to the top it rains and all the road re freezes lol was interesting to say the least getting home that day

    cant wait to get out on it be happy once ive delved into the engine the previous owner knew what he was doing buuut theres been a few scarlily dodgy things with the forks and stuff that Ive fixed the yoke being loose tripple trees for our americans here :) chain ready to come of the sprockets etc just been spending time going over the bike with a fine tooth comb its really coming on but a top end strip in the next few weeks is on the cards want to get it looking all spic and span to as the tarnishing and the black discolouration on the head really lets it down can paint the barrel then to and check the cam followers out as Im convinced thats where the tinkk tiink noise is coming from will soon know anyway also the its smoking pretty heavy on start up so going to check the guides and stuff out to :)

    Thanks everyone,
  16. norton_rider


    Feb 6, 2011
    Bit of progress after a shortness of money haha darn this recession

    found one of the original carbs the chopped 376 shame the other is missing along with the cut away for this one. Also found the downdraught manifolds and the insert sleeves heavily rusted though. ( pictures to come) gotta try and decide wether to get the other 376 somehow or get a set of the new premier concentrics hmm
  17. daveh


    Jan 22, 2008
    Hi Tom - looks like you have a perfect combination of British bikes - one of the best classics and the best modern middleweight!

    The SS is definitely a cool bike.

    I will be following your project with interest. Carry on!
  18. Jerry Doe

    Jerry Doe Admin

    May 21, 2003
    Hi Tom,

    Sorry about the negative posts. I only just got around to this thread. Good job on everything you are doing. When I was 18 back in blighty I owned a 650ss with 5 gal racing tank, single seat, rear sets and rode it like a nut in the English countryside for ages. It handled so well, sounded great and somehow my girl friend used to fit real well on the back sometimes (I cant imagine how, thinking back now, but its true). I felt so bad though, since it dropped a valve and totally screwed the motor. I left it in my friends garden and went overseas. When I got back it was still there and I sold it for beer money. I am still kicking myself about it 30 odd years later. I have owned may bikes and including my Commando's, I had most fun on my 650 ss. Lucky to be alive really!

    Anyway, a bit late, but welcome to my forum, and please keep us posted. I know this is only just the beginning of your 650 ss story. Never sell it. Have a good one and stay safe. When you are done in Hong Kong riding Dave's commando,s swing by California to ride one of mine around the canyons too!

  19. norton_rider


    Feb 6, 2011
    Hi guys Thanks Dave and Jerry really appreciate the comments :)

    Hi Jerry :) thanks for the welcome :D don't worry about it used to comments haha like water of a ducks back LOL

    Thanks for telling me the story about your 650ss really enjoyed it, Sounds just like my uncle and his commando fastback he raced it in the uk and it was one of the fastest bikes at the time broke most of the lap records in the north west at Outlon etc finished up in a skip and the engine in his friends atlas. Every time I show him a fastback for sale now he always grimaces haha would love to buy him another one and a British racing green one is definatley on my list.

    Made John the previous owner a promise that I'd never sell her and I intend to stick by it no matter what :) Still a great beliver in a persons word is everything.

    Might just take you up on that Jerry ;) my uncle has a place in kissimmee would love to visit Cali some time your local canyons look amazing on youtube!!

    Just of to an old friend of my uncles today with the tank really old school engineer that races a fire breathing sidecar not many engineers left near me any more see if he can get the screws out for me sure he will 8) remember when he repaired my 350lc swing arm that was trashed came back looking like brand new!!

    Many thanks for the brilliant comments everyone :)
  20. frankdamp


    Oct 7, 2005

    If you've never done it, my favorite ride when I was testing the Commando was to go up the old A6through Lancaster and Carnforth, then head west on the A590 from Levens Bridge to Newby Bridge. From Newby Bridge, head over to Broughton-in-Furness then towards Ravenglass. Just before Ravenglass, there's a single track road that heads over the fells to Ambleside. It goes over both the Hardknott Pass and Wrynose Pass - great riding country on a good bike.

    For a fairly easy day out from Manchester, you could head back from Ambleside, through Windermere and back to Levens Bridge for the A6 (or the M6!)

    I used to take another "white" road out of Ambleside that joined the A592 to Penrith. From Penrith down to Scotch Corner, then the A6108 through Richmond. Since I was headed back to Wolverhampton, I'd take the A684 to just shy of Aysgarth, then head south through Kettlewell to Skipton. From Skipton, I usually took the main roads through Burnley, Rawtenstall, Ramsbottom, then round Bolton to Wigan and back south on A49 to Shrewsbury, A5 to Telford and then through Shifnal and Boningale to Wolverhampton. That was "all in a day's work", about nine hours altogether and about 490 miles, I think. Great fun, and I was getting paid to do it and getting the petrol to do it on paid for.

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