Thinking about the John Player Special, any advice?????

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Jun 24, 2005
Have been considering buying the JPS for some time now. I have been lurking around for a bit and have appreciated all of the great info from all of you experienced Norton owners. Now I am finally ready to pull the trigger and could use some of your advice.

I found an immaculate JPS with only 9,000 original miles on it for $7,000. I love the looks but am worried it is not practical. Has anyone here ever riden one? How does it ride? Would like to take on 400 mile trips occasionally and am wondering if the cafe stance would get old. I have sat on the bike a number of times but never riden it.

The other question I have is while sitting on the bike, my foot dosen't seem to want to bend up enough to activate the brake, is this normal for these bikes? Are you supposed to lift your foot up off the peg and down to activate the brake?

Thanks ahead, Todd

I think riding a JP Norton will be uncomfortable for anyone over about 27 years of age, especially on 400-mile stints. Also, for those long 400-mile days, you may want a bike that has a bit more reliability. Nortons are great fun and are fairly reliable, but I've found that trips over about 100 miles are more work than fun.

So, for short hops and some weekend canyon blasting, the JP should be great. However, for touring I recommend something more comfortable and reliable.

In other words get two bikes: the JP and a “road-toilet” for touring.


John Players are fairly rare and would be nice to have from a collector's point of view. One thing to check is if it's genuine or just a Roadster dressed up to look like one. That would obviously affect its value. That was discussed here a while ago.

I'd imagine the bike would be pretty uncomfortable for rides longer than an hour or two. Or any ride around town. Of course that also depends on how much arthritis you have in your joints etc. Getting old isn't for wimps! :?

good luck,
Thanks for the reply. I think your right, I went back down and sat on it today and as diehard as I'd like to think I am, it puts you in a full forward chest on the tank stance.

Problem is I can only get one bike right now, I may go with the Triumph Thruxton and then come back to the JPS if they still have it. Anyone have any thoughts on the Thruxton? I've heard nice things about it. Shopping for that one bike is a lot more stressfull than I thought!!!!! I guess when I finally get it, all of the stress will melt away on the road.

Thanks, Todd

I know its heresy here, but I've ridden my pal's Thrux a bunch of times. Nice bike in stock trim but the suspension is underdamped and it really needs a steering damper. Oh, and the stock pipes sound awful.

Since purchasing it last year he's done a few things to it, including an airbox-eliminator, K&N's, Staintune exhaust, rejetting the carbs, steering damper, heavier fork oil with more spring preload and some Ikon aluminum body shocks. Its a whole different bike. Better all the way around, but still pretty tame.

That said, Norton's are much cooler. :wink:

Hi Gembat,

I bought a '74 JPN in 2001 and sold it in 2003. All the real JPNs I've seen have less than 10,000 miles. The comments about it being uncomfortable are true from my riding experience, but another local club member older than me has had one for more than 20 years and thinks it's fine for 400 miles rides. I took mine to Laguna Seca Raceway for the 2003 Superbike races. After riding 2 1/2 hours home I was in so much pain I couldn't get off the thing. Three weeks later it was sold. Other than the Avon fiberglass there is nothing special about these "artic snowfrogs".
Purple Silk Cut

John Player Special do tend to make my head spin a bit, capstan and Navy cut also tend to leave a few frogs which need a good clear in the mornings. Silk Cut and the other well known 'light' brands although smooth, require twice as many to keep the Nicotine levels up. For a real buzz though Gaulois Gitanes take some beating (available loose or ready rolled)
'you can't beat a good fag'
Ah, Gitane, what a smoke. But that Dutch tobacco that looks like Spanish moss is even tastier, I think it's called Vanelli, or something like that. It’s very abundant in Amsterdam, but not available in the USA.

How the heck did we get on this subject. Oh yes, John Player, the cigarette brand - memories of a misspent youth.

How did we get on this subject? The thread got hijacked.

You guys should try to quit. That stuff wreaks havoc with your body over time. I wish you could see some of the photos in my anatomy textbook.

Debby, nursing student

No smokes for me; I ride bicycles instead.

I've been a fairly avid bicyclist since 1992. In fact, several weeks ago I completed a century in just over (7) hours, not bad for a 51 year old with an arthritic left hip. I ride a Schwinn Voyageur and a Bianchi Premio, both road bikes.

good job Jason!

I used to be an avid cyclist also. My age - 48 - caught up with me though, and finding the time and energy for all those training rides became more and more difficult. The century rides were fun but I doubt that I'll ever be able to do another one :(

What doesn't kill you - must be good for you ???

Hi Debby,
I know the old fags are bad for me, but however much I try I can't give up. Over two decades of riding Brit Iron has also had its drawbacks, vibration white finger, tinnitus, 'Farmer Giles' and spanner rash. I also found early on that the fragrance of 20/50 tended to put off most prospective girlfriends!
greetings from Kent

BTW JPS Norton - I'm not too keen on the styling, but to each their own.
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