Norvil reputation

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May 6, 2006
I'm working on my first Commando project and and while surfing another forum (sorry) I find some negative comments about Norvil as a parts supplier. They have some stuff that I'm considering purchasing, but I don't want to get burned. Any experiences with them would be appreciated
My experience....
I wouldn't worry about being "burned" really.
Their poor service reputation in my eyes come from an attitude of "here's your parts...see ya later!"
If you're looking for support, or some extra insight/help/assistance....I've never been able to get it. I've repetedly recieved the "the paperwork included should instruct you on......"

On the other hand, I've had no issue with the quality of their parts.
I would go along with what Markus says, they aren't in the business of "take the money and run" but they do (did ?) sometimes have a tendency to overstate stock - The parts always come through in the end.

If you're UK based, I certainly wouldn't take a day off work to go and fetch something that they've told you over the phone is in stock without double-checking.

They do take time and trouble to source parts that fit. They were the only place that could supply me with a Fastback LR seat that fitted and the fact that they assemble Commandos does mean that they know if parts are OK or not.

I saw their replacement Mk111 starter in action last year - most impressive.

I don't have a problem with using them either by post or face to face but there are other suppliers that make one feel more welcome.
Perhaps it's a blessing that we, as humans, can't see ourselves through the eyes of others. The human race would be on a permanent downer...
Norvil would most likely be very hurt if they knew what customers think about them.

Same opinion, same reasons. Although their prices are much higher than RGM on most stuff, the main reason I have to take an aspinin before I call them, is that I know beforehand it will result in a headache. Products are well done and such, that's not the problem, it's more of a personal problem. I have always been fairly treated and by no means ever even remotely cheated, but most of the time, I have just felt that the person on the phone didn't really give a crap whether I made an order or not, and when you have a question, Les is perhaps one of the most knowledgeable people there are, but he and only he, will answer even the simplest question, and he's not often available. Plan on more than one call, to get advice, on something every person working there should be able to answer. I only order things from them, that I can't get somewhere else.

If you are able to deal with this and not be peeved by the human aspect of all this, you will get in exchange, quality parts and fairness. They aren't cheats....but they need to go to Customer relations schooling.
Same experience here. I placed several orders with them for my rebuild - OEM parts plus a set of their vernier isos. Their customer service sucks, but their products are good and I received my stuff quickly. They have convenient online ordering too!

Just hope and pray you don't have to contact them about anything...

Need a few opinions here folks...

Would it be good or bad...when we are finished with this forward the comments, without names etc, to our dear customer service at Norvil? Might work wonders, to everybodies benefit...including theirs...just a thought.... :wink:
hewhoistoolazytologin said:
Need a few opinions here folks...

Would it be good or bad...when we are finished with this forward the comments, without names etc, to our dear customer service at Norvil? Might work wonders, to everybodies benefit...including theirs...just a thought.... :wink:

Based on my knowledge of Les, he'll just tell you to "Go forth in a reciprocating manner and multiply" or the Anglo-Saxon equivalent thereof. :)

I think that he has the same problem many people have had when expanding a small business. It really is very difficult to recruit staff in the conventional manner who give a damn. Pete Lovell who used to work there (don't think he does anymore) was always good to deal with.

Two UK traders that I would mention as always being helpful and pleasurable to deal with are Mick Hemmings and Norman White but they have both stayed smaller and dare I suggest don't seem to have the same commercial killer instinct.

While we're on the subject, I have mixed feelings about RGM as well. Some of his stuff such as the close-ratio clusters are really nice but other things are a bit iffy. I got fed up with sending things back. He never made a problem but he never offered to refund the return postage costs either !

By the way hewho, I was in Schnitzelland last week - Damn fine Schnitzels they do there :D
Having dealt with both Norvil and Mick Hemmings my preference is Mick Hemmings,good quality products,excellent tech. feedback / advice,almost instant response to faxed questions, and a good sense of humour!.
Hewho -- I like the idea of forwarding our comments to Les Emery but I think that,rather than take the constructive advice, he would tell us to "go forth and multiply".Ride safely. James.
Parts from Norvil many. Experiance with them, same as you all.
Look from the other side Lets say you had this set up so that you had to do 3000 in sales a day just to cover overhead. That's a lot of people, a lot of service just to stay floating. It is just about imposible to find any competant workers just geting them to understand part numbers let alone how they are fitted and work on our old bikes. Norvil does a lot of things right. I like the way rebuild kits are bundled in sets that are a buy if you had to buy the parts seperatlly. They have lots of things made that work well. And they have all the problems that you would had you tryed to do this for yourself.
Lets see I have a melted fiberglass Fastback tank, A seat for the same bike with large tears, in a perfect shipping box wonder how that happened. I once ordered by the part number the little loops that hold the package rails on the rear rail and ended up with 8 interstate grab rails instead, that was a bill, any one need one, still have a few? Ordered three belt drive sets and had to send one back seems it wasn't quite finnished. Orders held for months over one backordered part. No parts or call from them (your card wouldn't work) ya right. Other than that they have been great. I will not add my bills from them I do not need to know I just quit counting.
You may all be right about Les's view on all this...but I think he would be a bit ignorant to actually express it. Not like he is dealing with an ever- increasing market, or? If enough of us poor customers see it the way most of us here do...he is losing money, from all those orders that get sent to some other supplier because of the problems we are discussing here. Small businesses and their survival, are regulated by Darwin's law. They survive only, because the customer is willing to do their shopping there, in exchange for a smile and a pleasant word, something the big store might be unwilling to provide. The smile makes the extra cost of buying at the small store, worth it.

So all those missed sales, will add up for Norvil. The only reason they are still around now is that they have been smart enough to provide some items that no one else has bothered to produce, and that is all that I ever contact them about, or purchase from them. The normal, run of the mill stuff...I buy from someone else.

All this, is a reaction to being too often disappointed by, not the product, but by the persons I had to deal with. They are a bit on the stingy side too.
I dropped them a mail a few years ago about an idea for a product they didn't sell. Magnetic drainplug for the tranny. They had magnetic plugs for the motor, oil tank, but not for the tranny. They wrote back, saying thanks, had a big batch made, sell I'm sure a bunch of them as it is really a good idea to have one, and only after I got curious and sent them another mail asking how they were selling, they sent me one. They must have sold hundreds, it has made them a bunch of money, but they wouldn't even pop for the cost of sending me a t-shirt with the drainplug....

Little things like that, decide for you, where you spend your money. So, he might indeed not take the opinions of his customers with a grain of salt...he can do what he wishes...but to ignore the problems that his business has, is going the same route as the dinosaurs.....and that doesn't help any of us either.
I have never had a problem getting technical information from les Emery, but you do have to call him at the time allocated each day for dealing with these enquiries. This is indicated somewhere in the parts catalogue.
As most others do I compare prices but tend to buy critical and unique parts from Norvil and less critical parts elsewhere. I've never had a problem with quality or delivery with Norvil and I live in Hong Kong. Many of the other suppliers sell cheaper because they often source non-original products, I bought an engine gasket set from another supplier and had to buy another head gasket (composite)and miscelaneous seals and small gaskets in order to make up the set. Norvil sells a 'comlete' set and it would have been cheaper and less hassle to have simply ordered from them. I can't imagine anyone would have much luck telling Les how to run his business, but if you do can I watch?
Point never was whether or not, Norvil supplied quality parts but glad to hear you have no problems with to me telling him how to run his business...I would have no problem letting him know what the general consensus is...but have no plans to do such a thing without it being a group effort...this involves more than one person. A single person is just a crank...a group of like-minded people; means dollars and that is the only angle that might work. Unless everyone on this thread agreed to it...I wouldn't bother to forward the link to him and ask him to read it... would be more fun, if we all got Skype, and did a video conference....... :wink:
Wow, this has got people going! I must have spent a grand or two with them since 98 and yes I have to agree with everything said but once they get to know you they're OK, shouldn't have to be this way but you could put it down to the reserved (laid back?) Midlands manner. The accent doesn't help either, when they sound disinterested it's probably down to the 'Brummie' twang. There is a nice lady there who is helpful but only Les does the tech stuff and if you catch him personally and in an interested moment he is very useful but it was only when we talked about the old days and found out we both had worked for the Prince of...ess that he became more amenable.
Prices are high, for most stock parts and the stainless stuff RGM is lower including our 17.5% UK tax. Their quality varies quite a bit but always helpful. I saved a bunch this winter and only had to return some mushroom adjusters which were never going to fit my rocker threads in a month of Sundays!
I think Hemmings is expensive as is Norman White but there's always BSA Regal who make the stock Norton parts. Can't remember the main guy there, Hopkins I think? They're only 50 miles from me and a good source of information. Prices close to Norvil. We should also remember that other than special parts which they don't do, they are largely responsible for repro parts off original prints and tooling. However I'm not sure how much involvement Norvil, RGM, Hemmings etc. have in sharing new tooling, batch costs etc. I'd guess they are more than just customers of BSA-Regal.
They have a very clean '68 fastback in the foyer once used by Stirling Moss on some London to New York rally? Looks very original.
BTW one of the opposition calls L.E the used car salesman since they have a small secondhand car lot on site. Has anyone seen Les's numberplate on his Range Rover ...NOR 1L I think, could be on his Rolls Royce now. They're both oldish vehicles so don't read too much in that!
Lets just be thankful that the general parts quality for our Commandos is far better than the stuff I see Triumph and BSA owners having to contend with, although that is improving slowly.
I rang up Norvil last week asking about what type of lights they were using in their "complete" MK3 warning light console unit as the originals are unobtainable, and I wanted to fit a matching set. The person I spoke to said he didn't know, and that I would have to speak to Les who was not available for a couple of days. When I pressed him to find out or look into it a bit further, he just replied that he had never seen one so didn't know! Surely he could have looked using their part No. or in the stores or something. Very unhelpful. I just wonder if it is that as Les has all the knowledge, that he has possibly banned the other staff from giving out info as it may occasionally be inaccurate or not up to his standards and therefore may damage the company possibly?

I have just come back to Nortons this year after a few years away, and was put onto Mick Hemmings by Nick Hopkins at BSA Regal. Nick Hopkins has been very helpfull and pleasant to deal with as were Mick Hemmings and both were very quick with the delivery of the parts.

Having said the above, I have spent a lot of money with Norvil this year, and apart from one part that was badly machined and was returned, I am nevertheless happy with their products and the quality thereof. It's a pity that the friendliness of the customer service is quite variable.

My experience with Les Emery and Norvil a few years ago is of poorl made brake conversions needing re-machining just to fit, lousy machined finishes on iso abutments, looking at the kinked oil feed hose on a new commando in their showroom made me think that not a lot of care went into this, rude treatment, all above sent me to another supplier who informed me that Norvil isn t exactly popular in the trade. They are however a genuine business that will not run off with you rmoney, but treat with caution, the quality of products may not be the best. I would recommend RGM in cumbria - no complaints at all.
My 2 cents - which I have posted here before.

Their attitude sucks. I practically had to beg them to take my money. The parts are fine but really, they all come from the same suppliers regardless of who you buy from.

I switched to buying from Andover (BSA-REGAL) Mick is great chap, rides a Norton and their shipping fast and cheaper.

There is never an excuse for consistantly bad service. Attitide comes from the top; "shit runs downhill" is the crass way of putting it.

Low margins is no excuse either (and I don't think the margins are that low) consider that Walridge motors decided to get into the business after seeing the huge volume being done by Brit suppliers and figured he could take some of the market (says so in the front of the catalogue)

Ok, maybe that was about 5¢'s worth
Dang there fastback, sounds more like $.10 to me. Next time you'll have to tell us how you really feel!

By the way, where did you find that "cent" symbol; it's conspicuosly abscent from my keyboard?
ha ha - yeah well, I guess I really got rubbed the wrong way. :p

The cent is an html character looks like this ¢ it doesn't render in this window so I tricked it by pasting it from a browser... try half a degree, ½°

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