Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by Fast Eddie, Jan 28, 2019.
It looks like it was made in my shed!
Last on a racetrack in August 2018!
I am jealous. I have an appointment in my shed when the weather cools-off. Then I have to find some money. I might have to settle for a practice day, but I would love to race again.
When you rode in August 2018, did you do any good ? The last time I raced, I was up with the leaders in every race, not that that means much when the racing is historic. When I raced regularly, I always raced an old bike against moderns, so I really had to get with it. Racing an old bike against other old bikes is much easier.
I have a wood stove burning in my workshop!
Since you asked, and noting it has nothing to do with the gear shift pattern:
At the two French championship rounds I ran at last year I came away with second in class trophies, not a massive achievement in a poorly supported class, but nice to have. At Gedinne in August I consitently lapped several seconds faster than I did at the same track in 2017 on my first visit there, placed about 8th in a relatively strong field of 30 mostly younger riders, in 20 to 25 minute races, that's a win for an unfit guy of my age.
To be fair my results today are similar to what they were in the '70s! Unless it is wet, when they are much better! Experience counts sometimes. Youth other times.
70 looks like a likey cut off point here, there are older riders out there but the way they restrict your road licence for towing will make it harder to get everything to events, and there are more medical hurdles.....as if there aren't already enough for an insulin dependent diabetic!
Will see how I feel at the end of the season each year, I am thinking 67th birthday might be the end, which gives me two more seasons, but we will see. But I want to see some more of this country we now live in, and no doubt my wife would prefer we spent time doing that.
Alan, at the risk of seeming rude, I believe you are several years older than me, and it seems it is a few years since you actually raced, do a practice day, run at your pace, rest when needed and enjoy it, then sell it, buy a nice lightweight road bike and move on.
If I could afford to buy a nice lightweight road bike, I would be racing. I am afraid of riding road bikes. On a race track, I know I am safe. From what you have said, it sounds as though you are having good rides. That is all that is important. If you are still up with the lead bunch in races - keep going. My problem is I can feel myself getting weaker and what I could do easily 8 years ago, is now much more difficult. But this year when the weather cools-off, I will fix the bike and do some on-board video at Winton. I want to record the way my bike handles - talking about it doesn't portray what it does in corners. I've never ridden any other bike with which I could be so aggressive. Unfortunately it has come too late for me. But other people might find it useful.
I used to be able to outride most guys around the back of Winton with my Triton, the Seeley is way ahead of that. The last time I raced was about 7 years ago. I rode under the three leaders in a corner on the Seeley in an Unlimited Period 4 Historic race, and they were the fast guys. When you can do that, you can win easily. It is the bike - not me ! The steering geometry and rear suspension are critical.
Steve - not as beautiful as your handiwork, but changing the drum might be better :
That is roughly what was on the bike in the '70s, but the Rickman made part was neater than that.
Point is, I bought the box used, it came with the typical TTi fit, Bruce should not be obliged to change a used drum FoC, and I needed to make a linkage anyway. The difference in doing this was the cost of a new drum and the delivery from the Antipodes! It was cheaper! It works great.
Having dealt with Bruce, I think he would probably do the drum swap pretty cheaply for you. But if what you have works well, that is good. With my bike the footrest looks to be a bit more behind the box. When I was considering doing a crossover setup , it looked too difficult. As it is, the rose joints on my linkage are spaced out at each end to get a straight push and pull across the top of the box. With a complex linkage, it is easy to get the situation where you are pushing and pulling at a severe or obtuse angle. Even a reversed lever on the box is not so good. At some angles, you can end up pushing up the length of the lever with your foot. So changing gears can be more difficult. I used that approach on my Triton, but was never happy with it.
It is the lightest gear change I have ever used!
When I looked at what you have done, all the angles looked right. After I had fitted the TTI box, I found the problem - I did not realise the box was longer. I could have done it your way, but it was easier to simply phone Bruce and arrange a swap. The other thing is, I am probably a bit strange - I like to keep my bike looking a bit authentic. I can remember what the bikes were like back in the 70s. These days a lot of our 'historic' bikes are nothing like what was raced back then. The guys are having fun and that is important. But when you look at most of what is raced at the Goodwood Revival, our Australian bikes are a joke.
One thing I have noticed is, if I take my Seeley to a race circuit, the guys are all over it - getting an eyeful. One of the young guys said to me 'at least your bike looks right'. What he probably did not realise is that it probably could not be built any other way and still function correctly. When you build a bike, value analysis is important.
Well along the lines of "looking original" has anybody buffed out a TTI cover? In its natural rough state it does stand out a bit on my street bike.
Funny, my bike is the one I raced back in the '70s! (though maybe a bit like Trigger's Broom!)
As for the Revival, since I only lived 25 miles away from Goodwood I went to it, about 7 years in a row....the Manx Nortons and G50s had TTi boxes! and 90 bore engines.....
Now the Lansdowne Series is a bit more authentic.
I ran a campaign at the UK CRMC to consider handicapping similar to Lansdowne to promote more authentic machinery.....basically the owners/builder/riders weren't interested since they prefer to be allowed to 'develop' their classics. Now people are complaining there are no classics racing! Whilst in France the class I race in, which last year was up to '72 has just been opened up to '83, and I have the only Norton registered so far with about 6 later Ducatis and a 750 Kawasaki!
Yes, I believe Yves did it.
I thought about doing it too but A) I’m trying to de-bling and B) I can’t be arsed ...
I am pretty much of the opinion that the best race rules are no rules. However there should always be capacity classes and separate races for the main types of bikes. I don't see anything wrong with racing a Manx against a Yamaha TT500 or Seeley G50. What I object to is 350cc two strokes or four cylinder bikes racing against 350cc Manxs and 7R AJSs. When I race my Seeley, It would rather race against an air-cooled Ducati of about the same capacity, than against 1100cc methanol fuelled CB750 Hondas or TR3 Yamahas. If the races are to be serious and against two strokes, I would be on one of those, not my Seeley.
The argument about Molnar Manxes is they COULD have existed back then. The same argument applies to the Irving Vincent which is 1400cc and completely remanufactured. It is not a Vincent, but it COULD have existed. Theoretically the Irving Vincent could race against my Seeley in unlimited races - they choose not to do that. One of them was at Goodwood a couple of years ago, racing against the Manxs and G50s- even though it actually looked like a Vincent, they were asked to take it away and not return. It would take a MotoGP Ducati to beat it. It was just our guys playing silly buggers.
In Australia, we had a popular class called Supermono. It had no rules except the bikes had to be single cylinder four-strokes. The guys who bought the biggest bikes were competitive, however the bikes blew up and the class collapsed. With a 500cc Manx in the old days, you used to rebuild it once per season. 650cc Japanese singles will not cop racing for long.
A Seeley Commando is a good bike to race, but any decent two-stroke would make it look stupid. And personally I have no interest in big four cylinder bikes - I can beat them, but they are not relevant. An air-cooled Ducati is different - that is worth beating because it is the same sort of rubbish.
Steve, you mentioned the TTI boxes in the Molnar Manxs at Goodwood. When I bought my 6 speed box from Bruce, he told me it is basically a Schaflietner. I asked him whether it would cop 80 BHP and he said it would. I have taken him at his word, but when I get around to racing with it, I will be very gentle. Two of my friends were two top A graders in about 1960. The bought two Manxs from Jack Ahearn - one of those guys ended up with both manxes. The 500 had a 5 speed box, the 350 had 6 speeds - both Schaflietner boxes. A 350 Manx does not have 80 BHP.
If you want to know what a 6 speed TTi can take do remember that the NZ made 750 SBR Norton runs one, probably around 100bhp on methanol! I don't think your 850 even on methanol will worry it too much.
There were no 350 Manx running at Goodwood. A really good 500 Manx and your Commando are probably not as far apart on top end power as you would like!
That certainly was a nice machine.
Al’s bike wouldn’t be too far behind Steve !
When I started racing in the 60s, most of the top A graders were on Manxs, so I have got a pretty good idea about how fast they are. I think I would beat them with my Seeley, but there would not be much in it. The thing about the Manx is that it is so highly developed that it is almost perfect. Anybody riding one for the first time, immediately improves their riding skills -because they do everything right. A Seeley Commando is usually a relatively undeveloped home-built special. A Minnovation Seeley might be better than most, but it all depends on feedback and continual improvement. A Manx has got 50 BHP, a Seeley would be lucky to have 65, the rest is in the handling. Unless you have ridden a genuine Manx, you probably have no appreciation. For any young guy, if you ever see a genuine Manx and you are interested in road racing, it is worth paying money for a ride on it. They are a bit different.
I'd been racing my Triton for several years when I had a ride on an Ex-Ginger Molloy Manx. It was slower than my Triton in a straight line, but I was instantly faster on it. If you got off-line, you simply gave it more stick.
I had to laugh - I saw a video where Wayne Gardner rode a Manx. He pulled up with tears in his eyes and said 'I did not know what they were riding'.
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