Isolastics, does anybody know ?

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Well, my 72 commando has been disassembled (boy do I mean disassembled) and the frame, swing arm and cradle "blasted". Before paint (I'm not powdercoating) I intend to "fit" or "mock-up" the entire assembly. Starting with the cradle, I wish to install MK3 isolastics. Searching the WEB indicated Ol' Britts has the rear assembly listed for $205.00 which is more than $60.00 higher than Clubman's price. I also noticed Clubman provides S/S end caps... I'm not sure if these are included also in the Ol' Britts kit. Am I missing something ? or, is this huge price difference typical of the vintage suppliers ? I read something here (I think from Debbie) that stated Norvil did'nt even provide new end caps with their assembly..

One other question, is it really necessary to relace the standard swing arm bushings w/ (4) roller bearings as I've seen on many of sites ?
It appears that the lateral thrust elongates the cradle support (so they say).... does anyone know how long and how many miles would that take ??
 

Ron L

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The kit from Old Britts includes everything from isolastic rubbers to gaiters, although not in stainless. I'm not sure what is in the Clubman kit. Old Britt sells the "genuine" Norton parts from Andover. Maybe this is the price difference. The buyout of Andover has resulted in price increase.

I have never found it necessary to replace the swingarm bushes with bearings. It is difficult enough to keep oil in them with the bushes.

As far as cradle damage, it doesn't take long at all for the spindle tube to become elongated if the single 1/4-28 locating screw goes missing. This allows the spindle to turn in the cradle rather than in the bushes. Assemble the swingarm with new bushes and install in the cradle. Place the cradle in a vise and grab the end of the swingarm. If you can move it at all, do either the welded nuts and two 1/4 bolts fix or Heinz Kegler's bolt on split collars.

If you are really lucky and your swing arm is tight, use loctite on that 1/4-28 fixing bolt and fill the spindle with 140wt oil.
 
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I had an elongated spindle tube for the swing arm, but used a different fix. I didn't really care for the welded nut and bolt fix. I honed out the tube until it was once again round. Then I made an oversize spindle of stainless steel with a zero tolerance fit and honed out the swing arm bushings appropiately. I put the new spindle in the freezer for a day. I heated up the cradle and pressed the whole assembly together. No more swing arm problems.
 

L.A.B.

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A 0.005" oversize spindle is also available as a spare part (064077).
 
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.005 oversize might do it. The important thing is to get a shrink fit between the spindle and cradle tube.
 
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The Norvil kits I'm using do not supply PTFE washers, end caps, or gaiters, thus they cost less than the OldBritts kits. I'm guessing Clubmans is selling the Norvil upgrade kits, hence the lower price.

I believe Norvil is now offering another kit that contains all of the parts, similar to the Andover Norton kit sold by OldBritts. I don't know who manufactures the Norvil kits but I don't think they come from Andover. They do feature stainless abutments and verniers, which is a nice touch.

Debby
 

Ron L

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Jim,

How do you remove the swingarm after the shrink-fit? I guess you would need to pull the cradle and heat it? Wouldn't this ruin the paint? The key here is to prevent the spindle from turning in the cradle. Some have had success with grinding through the hardened layer of the spindle and drilling for extra bolts.

My favorite fix is to find a MkIII cradle, slot the top transmission bolt hole for adjustment and use the earlier swingarm with the keyed MkIII spindle.
If you are lucky the cradle will still have the vernier adjustable isolastics as well.

Those of you with welding and machining skill should be able to use a Mk III spindle as a guide and cut the slots in the tube and weld small tube for the MkIII cotter pins.

However, the welded on pinch bolts work and are pretty well hidden.

Mick Hemmings now has a web presence. Well, he has his catalog on the web. You stil need to reach him by phone. http://www.mickhemmings.com/
 
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Ron,

When I assembled the swing arm I used radiant heat, not flame. I popped the cradle in the oven. I still had to use a press. As for disassembly, I've not done that yet. I assume I can use a industrial heat gun and save the paint. Hopefully, this is one fix I won't have to do again. It's been over ten thousand miles so far.

I wonder what is in the nature of Norton owners, self included, that they put up with such poorly designed and manufactured machines. The poorly vented crankcase, terrible front disc brake and the junk swing arm are three that come to mind. All three of these could have been fixed with proper engineering and manufacturing with little or no additional cost. Another dozzy is the two piece rear axle. I can't say it has caused me any problems, although it does require a tightening sequence to get the brake drum to center up, but what the hey.....

I think what's going on in my mind is I'm looking to buy a new bike. It is probably going to be a BMW K1200GT. I owned a R1100R before. When I contrast a well engineered and built bike against the Norton my mind reels. Would I quit on my Norton? Absolutely not! Strange stuff, this Norton owner mentality.
 

Ron L

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Jim,

I believe that for most of it, it is familiarity and comfort (not creature comfort, but mental comfort). Most of us still fooling with these old machines are 50 or older, so we grew up with having to fiddle with them. Add to that the fact that we all have at least some mechanical ability and fascination with how things work.

These machines are pretty simple designs that can be worked on with few tools and minimal mechanical skills. You don't need an expensive diagnostic machine to read all the computer inputs to make them run. Then there is a satisfaction of taking all these crude components and actually making them work fairly well.

As you can see from my list, I have a variety of bikes, some fairly modern, some not. There is not doubt that if I wanted to spend an eight hour day riding with my wife, the R1100RS would get the call. If I want to push the envelope on the back roads, it would be the 900SS SP. Both of these are simple compared to most modern machines, but much more complicated than the old British bikes or even my bevel Ducati and airhead BMW. When I have to work on them, I am not as comfortable doing so because of the increased complexity.

There is a reason that the average age at an INOA rally is about 48 and increasing each year. Younger riders expect reliability and when they need service, they don't have the equipment or the knowledge to do it themselves, so are not interested in Nortons. They appreciate a well sorted out Norton, but would rather throw a leg over a cruiser or sportbike and push the button.

I have often thought about what I would do if circumstances forced me to reduce my garage to one motorcycle. I have ridden my '73 MkV for 34 years. I know every nut, bolt and scratch. There would be a huge hole in my life if I had to sell it. I know however, that the R1100RS is the most versatile and does everything the Norton does and more. It just doesn't have that "soul".
 
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Ron,

I can identify with your conundrum: what to keep if you had to reduce your bike collection to just one.

The Norton is fun, but it's not particularly reliable. Also it has very limited carrying capacity, which makes it lousy for errands and grocery shopping, etc.

The one-bike question is good one.

Jason
 
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Well put, Ron.

The list of bikes you own is to be envied. One thing I've noticed on this forum is that I don't see any Japanese bikes listed. German, Italian, as well as old Brit's, but no Japanese. Maybe age accounts for this. A lot of us Norton owners were born before Japanese bikes were mass produced. Not so with the other brands. Yesterday, I was at my local Yamaha, Suzuki, KTM shop. I was having a nice general bike conversation with a salesman when an older gentleman ( about my age, 63) came up and inquired when the 08 Hayabusas would be in. Seems he owns an older one and wants to trade up. Somehow I just didn't figure him to to be a 'Busa rider.
 
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debby said:
The Norvil kits I'm using do not supply PTFE washers, end caps, or gaiters, thus they cost less than the OldBritts kits. I'm guessing Clubmans is selling the Norvil upgrade kits, hence the lower price.

I believe Norvil is now offering another kit that contains all of the parts, similar to the Andover Norton kit sold by OldBritts. I don't know who manufactures the Norvil kits but I don't think they come from Andover. They do feature stainless abutments and verniers, which is a nice touch.

Debby

I beleive Clubman uses RGM product bu6t Icould be wrong.

There is also Stan at Rocky Point Cycle in Ohio. www.rockypoint.com He doesn;t have the iso's listed but he sells stainless steel isolastics for $150 ea. for front or rear and I beleive his include the ptfe rubbers but not the washers.
 

Ron L

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One thing I've noticed on this forum is that I don't see any Japanese bikes listed. German, Italian, as well as old Brit's, but no Japanese. Maybe age accounts for this.

Not in my case. My first bike was a Honda CL77 (305 Scrambler). I admit it was a compromise from the Hi-pipe P11 I lusted for. And for several years before I bought the R1100RS, my all-purpose ride was an 1100cc Kawasaki four. The Kawa was a good reliable bike, but not the all round performer the R1100RS is. As I have mentioned to you before, if I were in the market to replace the R1100RS with a new bike, I would look at the Kawasaki Concours 14 and the Yamaha FJR 1300 as well as the BMW K-bike. I like the lighter weight less complex big twins, but at this point there is no offering from BMW in the R1200 range that appeals to me. The Suzuki V-Strom is just butt ugly. The Ducati ST3 is too maintenance intensive. Forced to go to a four, I don't see enough advantage to choose the BMW at $5K more than their Japanese competitor. Add to that the closing of all BMW dealers within 2 1/2 hours from me makes the Japanese brands the front runner. (And the overweight, overpriced, underpowered HD's are out of the question).
 
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I realize I'm off topic here, but if no one minds....

I've been looking at the FJR. The 08 in black looks great (internet pics only). I can buy the 08 FJR1300A for $11,999. The K1200GT equipped the way I want it lists for $22,000+. Normally this wouldn't even be a decision. But, there's is nothing normal about a decision as to which motorcycle one wants to own.
 
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I have two Japanese bikes in my collection: a '79 Suzuki GS1000 and a '70 T500. The GS is a great all-around bike and is very comfortable as well. It's fully capable of running with modern traffic in any situation and it handles the canyons well too. It's one of the best bikes ever made IMHO. The T500 is fun, but not as well suited to modern traffic due to limited performance and a poor front brake. It also vibrates like a brit bike!

None of the new Jap bikes appeal to me, they're all too ugly. I was considering a Wee Strom but just couldn't get into the styling. And the touring bikes are all too big and heavy for my taste. Plus, I'm getting too old for those long rides so for me a touring bike doesn't seem to make sense.

I recently sold my Ducati 900CR as the sport bike riding position is getting too uncomfortable for me. I missed having a Ducati in the garage though, so I bought a new one - a Hypermotard! Love the bike, but it feels very different from the vintage bikes and I'm finding it takes some getting used to.

I find that my Norton is great for commuting and local rides, but don't really trust it out on the highway. You can't loctite everything, and something always seems to shake loose and fall off. For local rides that's not an issue because I can go over it between rides, just like in the old days when I used to ride dirt bikes. Can't do that out on the open road though. I'm getting too old for those roadside repairs!

Debby
72 750 Roadster
74 850 project bike
79 GS1000
70 T500
70 Bul Sherpa T
08 Duc Hypermotard S - yeehaw!
 
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debby
i just did a 1300 mile ride the first of oct. on my 72 combat. 650 miles in 13 1/2 hours on the ride to orlando fl than 650 back to shady valley tn. in 12 1/2 hours. the only thing i did was add gas every 130 miles. nothing fell off and did not use oil. in 15000 miles it has been as reliable as any modren bike i owned. the last one was a duck 851 superbike, hated to sell it but my 53 year old body could not take the riding position any more.

windy
 
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Bill,

What tank do you have? I'm curious as to the gas mileage you got.
 
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I have a steel roadster tank. with twin amals it stays at 50 + mpg but on the trip at 70 -75 on interstate it was right at 50 mpg. it also is geared with 21 tooth on front. the 19 was just to buzzy on the road. i have thought about a 22 as I have one laying around but up here in the mountains it might take some of the fun out of it :mrgreen:

windy
bill was just a screen name
 
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