It's Alive!!

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Jul 18, 2004
Hey guys,

I rode my Norton today !
So it was only around the block, then around the block and over the bridge and around the block again. Not a big deal ~ but this has been a 5 year project, something of a non-running joke!
In the spirit of Labour Day, I laboured all day. I bent the exhaust to clear the pattern kick lever, turned up a second foot peg, drilled out and tapped the footrest (PO welded them), drained the sump and tightened the steering head bearings. Ok, the warm up is over.

I installed a pair of fresh Autolites, filled the virgin tank with premium and laced up my steel toes. I then proceeded to I jumped on the bike for 10 minutes before I decided that some troubleshooting was in order. I knew the "five-year rebuild, two-kick start" was a bit of a stretch but everyone's gotta dream.

Ok, solved the no-spark issue, had attached the white Boyer to a dead white & blue ... three kicks later and I get some response - two more and it is alive! Rich and rough, but running. A thing of beauty.

Progress is interrupted by a dinner date.

I arrive back at 10. I make the wiring change permanent and continue to jump up and down on the like a 2 year old denied ice-cream. The bike starts again, "Seems like a good time for a ride" I thinks to myself.

As I pull up to the driveway, I am wondering to myself, " Hmm, this seems really shaky, almost tractor like, almost like that Buell Blast I rode last year.... I'll have to get my Norton buddy to take it for a spin and get his opinion... " After I top up the oil I notice that the right high tension lead is dangling in the breeze - seems I took my maiden ride on one cylinder (I blame the Vindaloo).... Ok ~ slap the cap on and blast around the empty silent streets. Ahh, this is good, this I like.

Too good it seems, bike dies at the stop sign on the hill. I work my right leg into the consistency of a cooked noodle. Hmm, what is the problem. I walk a few paces away to take a breather, in the dim light of the street light I see the petcock is horizontal... OFF. (I blame the Chicken Korma.) - now around the block again, over the bridge and around the block, whoohooo - it's alive! No puddles or other nasties, oil returning to the tank, electrics work, clutch works, gearbox smooth, front brake works - what more can I ask for, a seat maybe?

Just had to share my joy with those who understand! See you on the road!

Great to hear you have it going fastback. Like you say yourself....Its a thing of beauty. Enjoy the fall and hope for an Indian summer. Keep the tire side down...LOL
Now that you are up and running we expect to see you at the Ontario Norton Owners Rallies.

In reference to the fuel valve being closed . Could you imagine if that was the oil shut off that so many people insist on putting in to eliminate wet sumping.
Congratulations Phil :!:

May there be many more happy rides :)

Thanks, I knew you would understand! :D

I'll take some pics soon, I need to update my site too.
I need to finish the seat - and I am waiting for new tires to arrive. Then it is just a case of tuning tweaking and legalities and I will be ready for a winter tear down! :roll: ha ha. maybe some of those yummy trick tappet heads I saw here a while back...

oh, the deepest of joy!!

Good on ya Fastback! (I think I may be part Aussie!!), nothing quite matches the delight of that first ride :wink: ,the anticipation, the trepidation, the sudden release of joy, she is all you hoped for, treat her well, she will be your mistress from now on. Good luck with her, shiney side up. James.
Hope you are all enjoying the great riding weather.

Here is a shot of my bike as it stands today..

It's Alive!!

Wow!!! Great job fastback. If it runs half as good as it looks you're in for a blast.
Well done, Fastback. The photo brings back memories. You're still missing the orange seat cover and those bloody silly green spherical emblems that went on the tank instead of "real" Norton badges.

At the 1968 Earl's Court show, when the Commando was introduced, one wag reckoned it had been funded by the Irish government, as the orange, green and silver were very close to their national flag colors. Another commentator said he couldn't find the switch for those turn signals, and why were they green?

It is a surprise to the old memory vault to see Roadholder-type front forks. I was sure we had Ceriani-type forks right from the start. I rode the first two prototypes extensively on road test and track test work and I don't remember the Roadholders. We didn't even have the production tank, fastback fairing or center stand on the prototypes, as we were primarily interested in getting the Isolastics working right and confirming the handling improvement bestowed by the Commando structural design.

I do remember pushing for a touring version, with factory-installed fairing, panniers, shaft drive, disc brakes and was shot down in flames. I even pushed for a dohc four-cylinder motor.

The UK motorcycle industry never got away from their mindset that bikes were cheap alternatives to cars for 18-25 year-olds. The idea of motorcycles as high-tech toys for relatively mature, fairly well-heeled people with an interest in engineering for its own sake was as foreign as men from Mars. My idea looked almost the same as the Honda Pacific Coast.

Incidentally, Norton did try a dohc version of the 750. The pushrods were replaced by a chain drive to camshafts in the heads. The chain ran through the pushrod tubes and was driven by the existing camshaft drive. The chain, I think 0.25", was almost 3' 6'' long and had to be threaded through the old pushrod tubes before being closed by a spring link. It didn't hold timing accurately for very long! On top of that, It had inverted- bucket style tappets where the clearance had to be adjusted by putting shims in the bucket. I had a Rover 2000 with the same design - what a turkey.

The engine still was a parallel twin with a vertically split crankcase and didn't give any better power than the pushrod version (surprise, it had the same cam profiles!). Since it still leaked oil, still vibrated like hell and wasn't any better in power or torque, dohc was declared a waste of time.

I'll tell you all about disk brakes another time.
I know this is a thread-jacking but - whaat?!?!?

Frank, I've read of the failed (and successfully resurrected - once anyway) Cosworth Norton twin, but not a factory DOHC.

Am I reading the wrong books?
I believe he is referring to the Norton "P10". The prototype is at the British National Motorcycle museum. Here's a link to a picture. [/url]
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