Is it just me? A serious question on restoring a Norton.

Not open for further replies.
In my opinion there are a lot of western countries which will learn a very hard lesson about supplying inferior product. Here in Australia their has been a mindset of 'she'll be right, mate - if it ain't broke don't fix it' With the advent of globalism and the free market, we must face the reality that we cannot compete with the Chinese and Indians on the own terms, at the bottom end of the market, and still maintain our wages and conditions. We must move up market in a quality sense, and seriously address quality management. Our slackness resulted from tariff protection. Manufacturers had a captive audience. Things have changed, and adjusting to the change is not easy.
<I am over the moon with the fabrication I have had recently from two UK one man, craftsman sources>

speak up, tell us what you purchased and WHO it was, if you are happy give the fellow a thumbs up.
Onder said:
<I am over the moon with the fabrication I have had recently from two UK one man, craftsman sources>

speak up, tell us what you purchased and WHO it was, if you are happy give the fellow a thumbs up.

I have a 1975 Rickman Frame, that I actually commissioned from Rickman Bros as a chassis in '75, I sold it in '80, as you do, and bought the frame back in 2009 after finding its whereabouts in 2007...

It had on obvious crack in the right frame loop (repaired sort of agriculturally) and I now know there was an unseen crack in the left frame loop, other work on the frame by the previous owner was also of an agricultural nature, it needed revitalising, and remember this is an oil in the frame design so required cleaning inside and out! The frame was cleaned and repaired for me by Mark Jannink of Mojo Motorbikes...

He was really thorough and pressure tested and found the other crack, he cut out around the swinging arm pivot plates and let in repair plates, jigged it, and delared it straight, and made me a swinging arm. He is an artist with a gas torch in his hand as you can see from the website. And he thinks and offers sensible options, the swinging arm has been made longer and wider to allow a wider tyre and bracing, Mark spread the upper frame rails to allow clearance around the tyre on full suspension clearance, he also moved the left shock mounts out to allow chain clearance with the sprocket/chain running further out to clear the tyre, I expect to space the gearbox over to get the line up correct. He did a load of other things too that really have got it more like the frame I bought way back.

As you will see Mark cut his teath working for the guy who took over things from Don and Derek when they shut shop.

The frame is now with Peter Keyte, who has a year and a half waiting list! but I have been on it since I picked up my last tank I was so impressed with it, the tank he already made for me is very neat in design and well made, I expect the same again.

As further examples, my rear wheel is now with Wheelwise for a rebuild, I will collect this next time I am home, this guys work that I have seen waiting for collection is excellent, wheels for classic Italian race bikes and pre WWII beeded edge tyre fitment....he is a builder and sends parts 200 miles away for cleaning and blasting to get the quality he wants, even though I know there are people local who do this work!

Now this reveals that this is the second time this wheel has been built, I had another non trade guy build a front on a hub he cast, he also made an alloy carrier and mounted a cast disc, the wheel front is great, and he also mounted a cast disc on an existing carrier for the rear and laced on a flanged allow rim, but in my rush I had asked for a smaller rim than I now need with the wider arm and tyre. He has retired now and is longer doing work for others. You win some you lose some.

They are there, they are not by any means the most expensiive, two of them will be working for some years to come, but Peter is already retired and works for the love of it.

Now I need to get some blasting and cylinder headwork done and some barrels sleeved, I will take some time looking.

It is interesting to me that rarely do I want to pay someone else the wage that I myself want to make.

I once had a bit of advice from a fellow who was giving me a quote on some work I needed done on my boat. He said "You can't afford to pay me for the kind of work you can do yourself."

So yeah it is getting harder to find craftsmen who care about their work. But then you consider that we are anachronisms in a disposable world. People don't repair stuff anymore, they throw it away and buy another. You don't even fix parts of machines anymore but just buy another part.

We need to find innovative ways to do work for ourselves, be willing to pay top dollar for good work, and pray like hell that the few places we trust keep going a little longer.

I cannot address the current situation in the UK as I have no experience shopping there for services. Frankly I am kind of surprised by the number of responses from U.S. members commenting on this when they probably don't have anymore experience with it than I do. I can hardly see the benefit of buying parts from Old Britts when those same parts come from AN in England. It isn't a matter of getting parts, the original post was about services. I have no idea if it is "stupid simple" to know where to go in the UK for services or not. My only experience with that sort of thing was in trying to find a pub, and that was "stupid simple".

I have the impression that those of us in the U.S. might be a bit spoiled by the few real deal vendors we have at hand and may not fully appreciate that situation. All I can say is "remember to tip the bartender".

I bought most all of my restoration stuff in UK. The US prices did not compare, even with shipping, IE., the bottom end kit from Norvil was in the $600 range and here in the US it would have been over a grand. Hemmings prices on gearbox items were equally priced. I had good service from everyone except a fellow in Chicago whose initials are Marshall Hagey. But I did get my money back after a year with the Cook County Attorney General. I think the only parts I was dis-satisfied with was an oriental tube I bought locally, and the SS dog leg bracket from RGM. I had it beefed up by my local welder. Everything else either I lucked out or don't know any better. I also have good service from Old Britts and Walridge. I'm very careful with DomiRacer, but at least they are up front with their parts if you ask. I got some lever parts from British Only that were substandard, but they replaced them.

I can't say I've been taxed by sub-standard parts. I hope I didn't offend any dealers.

washers are tricky
Onder said:
A good thread. Must remember that bikes, Nortons, are a different thing to each person.
Some want a dead genuine stock as issued bike. Like the 100 point guys with the old cars.
"That switch cluster was polished but then it was cleared and yours isnt cleared so you lose a point"
"But I like it polished"..."Too bad , you are WRONG".
Some want a cafe racer. Those guys can be amazing like Ludwig. Being a machinist and having
lathe puts him above most of us. I cannot even turn up a bloody washer
Others race or build. Think Jim, wizard of the CNC and having a brain that thinks up stuff
for it do do. Forget not CNW who are blindingly expensive BUT you get what you pay for.
Like Wolfie, I have an aviation background. All parts are judged by that standard and Im almost
always disappointed. But our bikes were built by failing manufacturers with clapped out tools and
establishments. They were built to a price, a tight margin to say the least.
Suspect most of us here are greybeards and we had these same bikes back in the day. So we
know damn well what crapulous pieces they really were. Keep it in mind when you splash for
the odd bit . If you want to buy crap plenty will be there for you . Say thank you that AN bothers
to invest capital in their venture and be amazed their boss actually rides much less touches wrenches.
Think we need to keep it in mind that money and time drive all. In youth, it is about money,
in old age time. In later middle age we get a brief window where we often have both and
thence commence The Project.
...there goes our money and time! :)
I would be interested in the dimensions on those ss washers you got. The quantity is about right and for $12 or so it's not bad. Here's what I measured on my original washers.

1/4 od. 9/16 .057 thick
5/16 od. 5/8 .065 thick
3/8 od. 3/4 .070 thick
7/16 not used at least on my bike
1/2 od. 7/8 .080 thick

I found some at McMasters and it cost me about $40 because I bought such a small amount and I think I was still short on the 3/8 ones. At least they were as thick or thicker than the originals, but real close and I was happy with them. I think I got metric ones for the 1/2" but it was close enough.

Someone sent me the name of a hardware dealer in the UK that sells the correct washers, but they weren't cheap either, and I have lost the name.

This is the only thing that bothers me with OB is they sell the SAE washers and most SAE washers are not thick enough either. AN washers are different as are the USS.

1/4 od. 9/16 .057 thick Mine .560 OD .040 thick
5/16 od. 5/8 .065 thick Mine .625 OD .040 thick
3/8 od. 3/4 .070 thick Mine .747 OD .052 thick these appear to be from a different supplier
7/16 not used at least on my bike Mine .870 OD .045 thick
1/2 od. 7/8 .080 thick Mine 1.000 OD .060 thick

They are much closer than any sae or metric from the store.

I would like to find original sized ones in SS, these are the closest so far, just wish they were thicker.
That's what I was afraid of, most ss washers are pretty thin. Here's the link to the post with what I got post49133.html?hilit=%20mcmaster%20washers#p52011 with pictures of the originals, McMaster ones and the SAE. I was well satisfied with the thickness and they look like the real deal, only ss. Like I said it cost me about $40 which is a bit steep, but....

Washers from McMasters in 316 stainless
1/4 ID 9/16 OD 0.060 thick 91525A118 $5.86/50 need 63 got 100
5/16 ID 5/8 OD 0.060 thick 91525A229 $6.72/50 need 18 got 50
3/8 ID 3/4 OD 0.085 thick 98370A019 $6.47/10 need 22 got 20
1/2 ID 7/8 OD 0.105 thick 93849A107 $1.12 ea. need 6 got 6 ( these are really 13x22 metric but the thickness is good and they are closer than anything else)

Cost me $42.85 including shipping, acceptable to me for what I wanted plus these SS washers are all a tiny bit thicker, not thinner than the originals, not a big issue with me, at least not all .05" which is very thin to me.

Not open for further replies.