Norton 88ss cafe racer rebuild

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Jun 6, 2020
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I thought it might be useful to write up the rebuild of my Norton 88ss I built 50 years ago.

During 1968/9 I converted my export 99ss into a cafe racer. Doing this taught me what works and doesn't. I wanted to build something based on the Norton Domiracer of the early 60’s, so started collecting parts. 1969 purchased a 88 wideline frame that had been nickel plated at BAC in Bristol. During 1970/1 purchased a 500cc engine that had been raced tuned, but no downdraught head. Found a 650ss head in MCN plus some engine parts from club racer Roger Corbett, Bishops Cleeve. This I refurbished and polished the ports. During the 70s made a number of improvements and the bike was used on the road until the early 80s, when I garaged it. In 1999 I did remove cylinder the head to check condition, it looked just fine.

For some time I’ve been saying to my biker mates that I would rebuild it and take it to rallies instead of riding my Bandit. Well at one such rally in Calstock Devon in 2018 my fellow bikers gave me a challenge, to do it for next year and if I didn’t then I was to buy the beer for that rally. Yep I lost, but it give me the kick up the ass to get going. I am now at that point and have posted a photo of the frame before I start. Will make update postings as I go along and want to complete it for the Calstock rally in August 2021. This will be 50 years to the date of originality getting the bike on the road for a trip to Le Mans for the Bol d’Or 24Hr race. Yes we make the meeting, only blowing out the baffles of my Paul Dunstall megaphone silencer.

Diary of Rebuild


Autumn 2019 striped down and made a list of parts to replace and upgrades.


Jan/Feb 2020 frame spacer and front fork lower yoke nickel plated along with the chroming of the front wheel spindle. The cost was £250 the reason I am not re-plating the frame. I spent a month trying to decide how to protect the nickel frame, but could not find any evidence on the web of anyone doing it. I sprayed the newly nickel plated parts in 1K clear coat only to find out the it peals off easily, so stripped that off to start again. I have now decided to use ceramic coat polish and see if this protects the nickel frame for any length of time.





Next posting will be after using ceramic coating polish
 

grandpaul

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Jan 15, 2008
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Welcome to the forum!

Thanx for starting this thread, I love the projects...
 

t ingermanson

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Oct 17, 2018
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Looks fun. I'm working on one of those myself, but you're light years ahead. I'll watch and learn.

Keep posting!
 

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