Where are the Rob North Northtons?

lcrken

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First, I've previously posted some of this on the forum, but can't find it in searches, and the links I had are now dead. So, apologies for any repeats.

I'm hoping someone here on the forum can provide some more information on the status or bikes built with the Mick Hemmings kits using a Rob North style frame designed to take a Commando engine and transmission. I have one of the kits that I bought from Mick back in 1985 and have stored ever since. I'm trying to decide what to do with it now, sell it or build it, and would like to see what others have done with the same kit. I have at least some info on 6 others of them. I think Mick only had 10 of the frames made at the time.

The first one is Mick's own racer, taken from a Spring 1985 Classic Racer magazine

Cropped Page 1 1200.jpg

The next is one currently owned by Roger Middleton, who has recently provided a lot of history and detailed info on it via one of the forum members

20190310_142747_resized 1200.jpg

Next is one built by Henry van der Sleen

Henry Van der Sleen Northton.jpg


And one from a Car and Classic for sale ad some years ago, but no other info

View A.jpg


And the last one, built by Howard Lally, of Hybrid Motorcycles in Hertfordshire, using the second frame manufactured. The first one was used for Mick's bike.

8399067.jpg


I'll post the last picture in my next post, along with some more info. That accounts for 7 of them, including mine. Anyone know what happened to the others, or even an update on one of these?

Ken
 

lcrken

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This is the other one I have a picture of, from a sale ad in Weilrod, Germany, in 2014.

4537816.jpg


These are the pages from the article in Classic Racer in Spring 1985

Page 1 1200.jpg


Page 2 1200.jpg


And a news blurb about it from Classic Bike April 1984

Frame Kit News Blurb 1200.jpg


This is the price list from back then

Price List 1986 1200.jpg


That's if for now.

Ken
 

Dommie Nator

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20170805_122858.jpg
Is the SBR Norton one? its on facebook.

It doesn't look like a North although I did ask the rider (James Flitcroft) what the frame was and he didn't know. He did win the race easily though if that lets him off.
20170805_122911.jpg
 

ntst8

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I think its a Steve Bridge (f1e.nz) version of a Ray Breingan (blacksmithfactory.co.nz/our-history) version of a Seeley.
 
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Roger Middlebrook

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Seen Dobsy racing the SBR Norton at Sound of Thunder Ruapuna 2008 unbelievably fast, have never seen a Norton twin being backed into the hair pin and two wheel drifting under power coming onto the front straight away moto GP style, that bike is lightning fast !!. Same year also seen Dave Cole AJS 7R and (I think it was) Chris Swollow on his dads Manx 500 shoulder to shoulder backing the bikes into the hair pin. The singles would have been half a bike length stepped out at the rear shoulder to shoulder, unbelievable spectacle memory of that year and standing in the pits during riders briefing with such legends will be with me always. RIP Dobsy and Chris.
 
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First, I've previously posted some of this on the forum, but can't find it in searches, and the links I had are now dead. So, apologies for any repeats.

I'm hoping someone here on the forum can provide some more information on the status or bikes built with the Mick Hemmings kits using a Rob North style frame designed to take a Commando engine and transmission. I have one of the kits that I bought from Mick back in 1985 and have stored ever since. I'm trying to decide what to do with it now, sell it or build it, and would like to see what others have done with the same kit. I have at least some info on 6 others of them. I think Mick only had 10 of the frames made at the time.



And the last one, built by Howard Lally, of Hybrid Motorcycles in Hertfordshire, using the second frame manufactured. The first one was used for Mick's bike.

View attachment 15711




The last one built by Hybrid Motorcycles was for sale for a while in the UK in one of the mags CB or CBG can't remember which one, about 15 years ago. Of course I was tempted , until I checked my bank account.:)




Ken
 
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Oops. meant to say, the last one built by Hybrid Mcs was for sale in the UK maybe 15 years ago in one of the mags, CB or CBG. Of course I was tempted until I checked my bank account :)
 
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the white tanked one was for sale on carandclassic , located near Rome, in the last two years. Don’t know whether it sold. I thought the engine looked unnecessarily high then.
 

lcrken

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the white tanked one was for sale on carandclassic , located near Rome, in the last two years. Don’t know whether it sold. I thought the engine looked unnecessarily high then.

Thanks, Jan. I got that picture from a Car and Classic ad, but it was way to long ago, so there was no additional info on their web site. Good to know it was in Rome, though. I have this picture of another Northton that has an Italian file name, but I have no other info.

rob-north-norton-commando_imagesia-com_iug3.jpg


Ken
 

lcrken

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I think its a Steve Bridge (f1e.nz) version of a Ray Breingan (blacksmithfactory.co.nz/our-history) version of a Seeley.

Yes. Here's a picture from a Hampton Downs race (2013, I think) that shows a little more detail of some features. At that time the bike had Steve Bridge's name, as well as Dr. Dave, lettered on the fairing. I also have some pictures of it at Hampton Downs back in 2010, so it has been raced for some time. Tidy looking bike. Crankcases look suspiciously like they were machined from solid.

1040802 LR edit-0602-X2 1200.jpg


Ken
 

lcrken

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This is a description of the Howard Lally/Hybrid MC bike, taken from their web site.

http://www.hybridmotorcycles.co.uk/rob-north-commando.html

Rob North Commando
The name of frame maker rob north will forever be linked with the works 750cc Triumph/BSA triples raced at the begining of the 70's by riders such as Mike Hailwood, Tony Jefferies, Gene Romero and John Cooper.
less well known as the adaptation of that famous frame produced in the mid 80's for twin-cylinder Norton Commando engine.The project was the brain child of Northampton Norton specialist Mick Hemmings, who had a batch of about ten made by Miles Engineering, the company which bought the North jigs and copyright.
Mick fitted the first frame to a classic racer he campaigned himself. The second chasis, Pictured here, was bought by Howard Lally, who used it at the heart of a road going special.
Howard was working as a Rolls Royce engine fitter when he splashed out about £700 for the North Commando T45 frame in 1985."i saw the bike mick had built and had to have one," he said.
Café bikes have been Howard's business as well as pleasure since his launch 7 years ago of Hybrid Motorcycles, in Croxley Green, Watford, Hertfordshire(01923776660).
He has built dozens of Britsh, Japanese and italian specials, But the North Commando remains a favourite he kepps tucked away in readiness for his own summer madness.
He says it handles far better than a standard Commando and the tuned big-bore 920cc motor delivers 135mph on the speedo. The drawback is the engine is no longer locked in its rubber-padded cell. Without Isolastics to soak up the vibration, the ride can get a little rough at times.
Howard, says:"it handles as well as a Japanese sports bike". You can keep up with anything on twisty back roads, but its not as comfortable as a standard Commando and its not a machine you would like to ride all day on a motorway."I am running the engine with the balance factor of 75% and it does smooth out at about 90mph." Howard spent 5 years and £10,000 building the North Commando. The spec includes box-section swinging arm, ten-pint central oil tank, Bartel Aluminium five-gallon petrol tank, Roadholder forks with Norvil sliders, Miles Engineering fork yokes, Fontana rear shocks, purpose made exhaust system and seat unit, Akront alloy wheel rims, rectangular car head-light and Norvil brakes.
 

lcrken

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This gives some more detail on the black bike that was for sale in Germany back in 2014.

Sale Details.JPG


Ken
 

lcrken

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For anyone interested, this is a copy of my receipt when I bought my kit. £1625.75 was equivalent to about $2300 in July 1985. The cost to ship it all was $704. So my cost in 1985 dollars was right around $3000. Seemed expensive then, but feels like a bargain now:).

Ken's Receipt.jpeg
 
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The Rob North frame looks good and the motor is well forward. There is a Youtube vid. of a RN Trident on the IOM. It seems to try to stay wide in corners. The Trident motor is probably heavier than a Commando engine, and the rake on those frames is 28 degrees. So the handling would probably be more like a Ducati than a Seeley. If you watch that Youtube vid. , the bike does not seem to be very nimble. If I had the frame, I would build the bike and adjust the steering by altering the yoke offset a few times. With a 28 degree rake, you would still probably get it to be pretty good. If you were clever, you might be able to fit a Ducati type system into the steering head to adjust the rake a couple of degrees each way.

 
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Roger Middlebrook

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Hi Ken, I am waiting for my VIP membership to be accepted so I can post some pictures and share some of the information I have.
Some how my Avatar now has a Singapore flag which is incorrect, I reside in Perth Australia, hoping I can change this once VIP is accepted.

I also have the original sales docket from Mick for my bike, although I bought it from the original owner it was like yours a complete kit complete un assembled and still with some packing tape and wrapping from new. Interesting my frame is numbered 151 sales docket 25/04/85 your frame number is 165 sales docket 07/12/85 I always wondered if the numbers were sequential for the 10 North Norton's however it is now confirmed they were not and followed the legacy Rob North numbering. Will post my sales docket when I can.

Also I recall a conversation with Mick back mid 90's and I recall he said the first two bikes had the Rob North signature oval tapered swing arm. His bike has oval swing arm as does the white one in post #15. All other I have seen have had the box swing arm.
I am wondering if the white RNN in original Post and the white RNN in post # 15 are the same ?? what do the followers think ??
If the two bikes are different and we count your bike Ken that is 8 accounted for, if the one in the Add from Weilrod Germany is not one of the above that could be #9.
Would be great to get some of the other owners engaged to share there known history to se if we can locate all 10 bikes. :)
 
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