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Ken Redfern Norton

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by acotrel, Dec 11, 2015.

  1. mdt-son

    mdt-son

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2012
    What do you mean by "cost-effective"? Cost vs. any racing frame? Keep what you've got. Cost vs. stiffness? Cost vs. weight? Cost vs. historic correctness (whichever year you refer to)? Take your pick. Most racing teams participate in order to win races and cost is of minor importance. Racing success implies a constant strive for perfection within known boundaries. For instance, no professional team cares if a racing frame has a fatigue life of 500 hours only.

    -Knut
     
  2. Thersby

    Thersby

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2018
    Hi Jerry I have sent some pictures of the frame being built in the jig also pictures of the Redfern Norton with the oil tube frame, there was originally only one made.
    Now your Dunstal oil in frame who made that first whether Ken Redfern or Paul Dunstal I would have to ask Mike Redfern, he would know. one thing Ken did have a problem with was the Dunstal disk brakes moulded into the fork legs, the brake fluid boiled after a couple of laps and he lost the front brakes. i also believe the dunstall frame was heavy, and ken wanted a lighter frame. I did know he talked with Egli re oil surge in the top tube and what baffle did he use, Egli would not tell him so he worked it out and made a baffle plate to go in the top tube. the next frame that they made with the large tube they hung a water cooled konig engine from it and it went well, Chris Hopes who rode it split a pair of works Yamahas at Croft Circuit the first outing, unfortunately the water leaks from the outboard engine was bad, on water no problem on the race track big problem. the last time I saw the Redfern Konig it was being sold by a Frenchman in excess of 50k euros. I am glad to see it has brought discussion to the subject.
     
  3. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
     
  4. SteveA

    SteveA VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Couple of issues you must remember.....not least that if you propose to race a classic you need to be sure it will be granted eligibility....

    Roy mentions there was originally only one Redfern Norton frame made. It wasn't a 'production' item. This falls foul of UK Classic Racing Motorcycle club rules that prohibit 'one off specials', other than the original item itself. They may be eligible elswhere.

    People who want a 'Redfern Norton' clearly want a replica of a unique piece of history, they may not race it, but rather parade or otherwise enjoy it.

    However rules are by no means perfect and drive towards distortions of history. Consider the huge number of 'Seeleys' and 'Rob Norths' racing today versus the fact that, for example, most Seeley Commandos in period were in MkIII frames, and most today are in MkII frames. This is actually reflects the reverse of your comment because the torsional stiffness of the (modern interpretation of) the full cradle MkII is greater than that of the MkIII! But this is in line with your inference that racers will seek the most advantageous interpretation of the 'classic racer'.
     
  5. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    I tend to disregard 'the rules' of historic racing when working on my bike. The guys who write the Australian rules are often sidecar racers who usually have no idea about what existed back in the era. The amount of cheating which goes on in Australia is a major travesty, most of it is about oversize engine capacity. Which is one thing we never did in the old days, even though some guys used nitro. Also our races used to be 'graded' according to rider ability. We got fewer rides but better competition when we did get rides. My own bike is closer to what existed back in the era, than most others. You might have noticed the Irving Vincent at Goodwood a couple of years ago. The one we have here is completely remanufactured - nothing Vincent on it and is well over 1200cc capacity and the frame is modern, yet it gets into Australian 'Period 4 historics' - the class for which Seeley Commandos are eligible. The whole thing is bullshit and 'the rules' are counter-productive. To my mind BOTT with capacity limits would be a much more sensible way to go and forget about the frame restrictions. Our Australian rules turn a lot of guys away from racing. We also now have log books which are simply a means of imposing another levy.
     
  6. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    I did not build my Seeley for historic racing. I built it because it was a good thing to build and has some authenticity about it. I am quite happy to race it alongside modern bikes. Building a bike to fit historic racing rules is not about improving function and getting the bike right. It is a matter of conforming to some other idiot's ideas of what a race bike should be.
     
    Fullauto likes this.
  7. SteveA

    SteveA VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    If you live in Europe and want to race with the CRMC you visibly play by the rules and get your eligibility certificate, or not at all.

    If you fly your bike over from the antipodes it seems you can run whatever you put in the crate, maybe it works both ways :rolleyes:
     
  8. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    In Australia, the only 'development class' is historic racing. That makes 'historic racing an oxymoron - there is nothing historic about it. To my mind there are two alternatives - either something totally restrictive, such as the Landsdowne Series or alternatively open slather with some sensible competition rules. There must be some way the average punter can race a 'special' ?
     
  9. Brooking 850

    Brooking 850 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
    Al, there are copies of the Dunstall Drainpipe frame currently racing in New Zealand. Ray Breingan of Gisborne made them.
    He is now deceased and was well known in the racing world and his ability to build frames amongst other skills
    Regards Mike
     
    SteveA likes this.
  10. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    I notice that in New Zealand there is at least one historic race meeting in which Japanese bikes are banned. I don't suggest that is a good idea but keeping two-strokes and four-strokes in separate races might be a good idea. I have raced both, and if you cannot win with a two-stroke, there is something wrong with you. I made a conscious choice to not race a two-stroke, so I sold an excellent TZ350G to buy the 6-speed box for my Seeley. But I don't kid myself - two-strokes are faster. To my mind there are TWO types of solo race bike - TT bikes which are old British-type four-stroke singles and twins, and GP bikes which are two-strokes and four cylinder bikes. Perhaps the two types should be raced separately in their own capacity classes ? Otherwise any competition does not mean much.
     
  11. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    Some of the videos of historic racing in New Zealand look very good. One thing about New Zealand is that, if you live there, you must be excellent in whatever you do. I thought I had seen something about the drain-pipe Norton being built in NZ. That McIntosh guy in Auckland seems to be extremely good with his Manxes. I've seen Cameron Donald riding them at Phillip Island - a real buzz !

    Many years ago I had a conversation with Hugh Anderson, the Suzuki TT rider. He said he had a choice - be a coal-miner in NZ or go road racing in Europe.
     
  12. Jerry Doe

    Jerry Doe Administrator

    Joined:
    May 21, 2003
    I have received the pics. I will add them soon. Sorry been busy...
     
  13. Thersby

    Thersby

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    Jun 5, 2018
     
  14. Thersby

    Thersby

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2018
    Hi there was only one Redfern oil in frame bike a second version of the oil in frame chassis was already drawn out but technology and engine power over took the Norton advancement. There was 5 other frames made by the Hardy brothers from Middlesbrough. these Hardy Bros frames were made of strong tubing and the frames were heavy, often referred to as the iron maidens, the style of the frame was similar to the Seeley mk3 frame but with slight modifications, the oil tank that was fitted to the Hardy frames was difficult to hold down, and thus the oil in frame version was designed and made by Ken and Keith Jeal, after they had made the frame and took it for a test at the race track, they came back and repositioned the head stock to a steeper angle. Mike and I found the last frame in a chaps garage and purchased it from him for the pricely sum of £150. cheap in these days but still expensive 25 years ago, that bike was built and sold on, I believe that is the one that is now owned by the chap in Belgium who has made a lovely job of the work he has done, he reckons with the cost of £11,500.00 he bought the bike he has now spent 25k euros on it.
    another problem Ken found was the taper top of the fork stanchions stopped the forks being slid through the yoke to drop the front of the bike, a machine shop made a 1 inch plate jig for them to fabricate top yokes in steel tube, I still have this plate and I did make a top yoke to see what it turned out like, it is an interesting yoke. although billet alloy was available in those days the idea of making billet yokes had not become a worthwhile task.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
    SteveA likes this.
  15. Brooking 850

    Brooking 850 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2011
    Steve, if you are referring to the SBR Norton that came over from NZ last year to the UK, they received dispensation to run that bike as it didnt comply to the UK racing rules in the entered classes due to the fuel rules.
    Therefore they received no points for any of the races they ran, so didnt take anything away from the local guys.
    You guys are more than welcome to come to to NZ anytime with your bikes as there are plenty of us here that run very similar specs and fuel as in the UK.
    We would welcome you.
    Regards Mike
     
  16. Thersby

    Thersby

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2018
    I will get back to you with a price, however very busy at the moment getting stuff made and shipped out.
     
    Hortons Norton likes this.
  17. SteveA

    SteveA VIP MEMBER

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    Dec 20, 2011
    I understand they gained no points, and they certainly impressed people. I think what they have done is upped the ante in a way that makes building or running a Norton less attractive, not more! At CRMC this year there is no 1300 twins class at all, Ironically I became the last rider to win that class! The 1300 Classic open class has 9 bikes gaining points after 11 races, no Nortons, an overbored Guzzi that looks post '72 leads. Two Seeley Weslakes have scored points. The F750 class has 2 Nortons gaining points, 11th and 12th out of 12 bikes (Triples mainly, this class used to be larger), one of these Norton riders is a championship winner, but mainly races with BHR, the other came from Sweden. Watson is selling (maybe already sold) his 1007. No one I talk to thinks that CRMC is a place to race Norton twins anymore.

    Clearly this is not a reaction to SBR. But if the guys show again, they will most likely be the lone Norton based bike. I would also ask, who would come to New Zealand with a Norton when they have seen at first hand just how fast that package is. They would need to build a Methanol fueled bike and recruit a national champion rider before making such a trip. A UK spec bike would be a waste of shipping costs.

    No one I know racing Nortons is well enough funded to either build the bike or make the trip.

    It has to be recognised that probably the main reason for the demise of the Norton twin at CRMC (still hoping that some will show at BHR, maybe even me next year) is little to do with Nortons themselves, or Triples, and more to do with obscure Yamaha FZ600s and GSXR750s/VFR750s. As far as I can see, all classic classes are in deep decline at CRMC and the only growth is in 'Superstock 750' and 'Production', indeed Production is already saturated.

    I raced a GSXR750 slabside with CRMC in 2011/2012, but was told to hand in my eligibility as the GSXR750 was 'unsuitable' for classic racing. Now they are back and make up most of the bikes (with VFR750s) on the 1300 grid which is combined classic and post classic. The cost of one of these bikes is often nearer to a TTi gearbox than a Norton twin motor so expect more of them. They are also now allowed to run 17" modern rubber, without tyre warmers, which means some of them are likely to slide into you on early laps and ride around you when the tyres are hot.

    Me? Apart from being 64 and on the down slope rather than the up slope.....I am racing in France and Belgium this year. I will be at Carole at the weekend for the French VMA where there will be 3 Norton 750 twins and 2 Honda 4s in the 750 classic class that runs concurrent with 500s and 1000s. Gedinne in August will be similar, 750s will only run with 500s and but will add some Laverda 750s and maybe a BM for variety.

    f the Redfern turns up at Gedinne, which it has before, it may be paraded rather than raced. It sure is pretty.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  18. SteveA

    SteveA VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2011
    Not too difficult, I bought back my original Rickman frame for a modest sum and spent somewhat more than 25k euros building the bike I now have.

    I have to accept his bike is prettier than mine! :eek:
     
  19. Jerry Doe

    Jerry Doe Administrator

    Joined:
    May 21, 2003
  20. acotrel

    acotrel

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2012
    I don't kid myself that a Seeley Commando is anything other than what it is. It is senseless racing it against four cylinder bikes, two-strokes or any twin cylinder water-cooled four-stroke with four valves per cylinder. Sensibly a suitable race class for it would contain twin cylinder BMWs, Guzzis and air-cooled Ducati twins in capacity classes, That way development would be directed at improving two-valve twin cylinder four stroke motors. In the end, if four-valve motors were permitted, any Paton or modern Ducati would probably have to win, but who could afford a Paton and who could ride one fast enough ?
    As far as competing in New Zealand or Australia is concerned, it would not be rocket science to put a UK bike on methanol. In fact the British get their bikes going so fast on petrol, that for them methanol would be a soda. I never race with anything else - the reason it is so good is that it hides up the tuning errors. Even if you get it wrong, the motor is still fast enough.
     

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