Sunday, 23 October 2016

The Mile Eater

Looks like a c1922 Model 16H Norton

-JdK- Roland Grossbichler of the NOC Austria sent the following text, pics and link to a Youtube film. Roland: "I think I have a very interesting silent movie (produced 1923/24) for you. The name of the movie is "The Mile Eater“. The story is about a bet between the sportsman Ernest and his colleagues. Ernest, a sort of a modern Phileas Fogg on a Norton, has to do 6000 kilometers through five countries within 15 days – or some 80 minutes of screen time. The subtitels are in English and in Italian. You can obtain a copy of the DVD for 25€ at"

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The first Triton?

-JdK- Dennis sent these very interesting pics and the text below. There you have it, a Triton made in 1939. One of the first crappy Triumph frames and forks replaced by proper Norton items.

Dennis: "This are interesting pics from the Rex McCandless archive within the VMCC library in Burton on Trent ... Will put the cat amongst the pigeons I suspect. Rex made a Triton in 1939! Amazing considering the 5T 500cc twin Triumph was only new in 1938 from memory ..."

Thursday, 13 October 2016

c1927 Model 18/21 Norton - For sale

'Yesterdays' have a  1927 flat tank Norton on their site at the astonishing price of 38.500 euros. It is described as a Model 18 with a Model 21 engine - correct because Simon looked up the engine and frame number in the records a couple of weeks back for some who had expressed an interest in it. Thus it is not a matching numbers bike, has no interesting history and has various things wrong with it even as a tidily rebuilt basket case.

Here's a few of the more obvious anomalies: wrong gearbox, wrong magneto, crude magneto drive chain arrangement (not that difficult to repair the timing cover), wrong petrol filler cap (makes us wonder if the tank is repro. but if it is, it looks pretty good), ridiculous handlebars, wrong steering damper set up (should have a top mounted Andre damper), wrong carburettor (which we covet none the less!).

A motorcycle is worth whatever someone is willing to pay for it; in our view there are more interesting bikes on Yesterdays' website for less than one third of the price of what this one would cost you.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Club Life in the Twenties!

-SG- Lee has sent in a couple of interesting period photos dating from end '25 (the group) and early '26 (the solo). They were taken outside the Kursaal Amusement Park in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.  The group photo shows a typical bunch of motorcycle enthusiasts at least two of whom are on Nortons. The solo shot is really very clear and allows  - I think - reasonably accurate identification of the Model 18 as a 1926 example  (full primary chain guard etc) so it can only have been a few weeks old at the time. Despite that, there's already various oily spatters on the rear tyre so that's not just something we have to put up with after several decades of use/misuse!l

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

New Hepolite 2797 pistons

-JdK- Viktor provided this very useful info for those looking for pistons for their vintage Norton.

"Here is a description and a few images of new pistons. Pistons with a 5/8" pin and fabricated according to the original 2797 Hepolite piston dimensions are being produced by a specialized manufacturer in the Slovak Republic - go to for more information. 

You will need to provide them with the exact cylinder bore. Pistons are supplied including three modern piston rings. Delivery time is around two months". 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

One thing leads to another ...

-SG- A while back (not sure how far as I don't keep records of such things) I sent a couple of sets of seals for Best and Lloyd filler caps to Paul. Recently he asked for a further pair for his 1928 CS1 - photos attached. The bike was restored back in the seventies by a previous owner - a bit of extraneous plating but not  a bad effort - and as a matter of personal interest I looked up the details in the records, which shows it as a standard CS1, still with matching numbers by the way, shipped out in March '28.

But my eye was taken by the entry on the line above for a rather special machine. It so happens that this section of the despatch records was completed by someone with fairly gruesome handwriting and quite a few of his entries are hard to decipher but there are some interesting details in the Extras column.  These appear to read as follows:

'Specially tuned for speed work; 10-1 ratio 2 ring piston; 1 3/32 Binks carb., jets for RD1 (ie Alcohol based fuel); 1 ea. sprockets 17 - 23.' 

What is not clear is who the customer for this bike was. The relevant column for the dealer's details appears just to show 'Simpsons' but there is no address given for the end user.  Unlikely to be anything to do with Jimmie Simpson as his association with Nortons did not begin until 1929 but perhaps an Export Merchant who shipped the bike to some overseas destination although I don't know to what extent RD1 or equivalent was available outside UK ... Be that as it may, it is interesting to note the basic 'Tuning for Speed' steps were taken by the works at this stage in the CS1's development.

Friday, 30 September 2016

Maudes Trophy

Find the PDF via this link

-SG- 'The Classic Motorcycle' recently printed an interesting article by regular contributor Richard Rosenthal dealing with Norton's Maudes Trophy achievements in the mid twenties. This reminded me that I have a small booklet published by the factory in, probably, early1926 which is entitled 'The Story of Two Unapproachables.'  This details the 1925 activities which won the Trophy for the third year in succession.  The booklet in itself is not that much of a rarity but there is a background anecdote as to my copy:  it was given me by the late Dr Joe Bayley (author of 'The Vintage Years at Brooklands') and with it came a letter to him from a chap called Leigh Huilbrook, who later owned the Model 18 used in the 1925 tests. Leigh describes it as the best bike he ever had!

Monday, 26 September 2016

Vintage Norton parts For Sale

-JdK- Heiko has some vintage Norton parts for sale; a crankcase, timing case and front wheel from 1928/29, CS1 barrel from 1928, 16H frame from 1925, rearhub and barrel with head from 1924/25 and a petrol and oiltank from 1928. The parts are located is East Germany. Contact Heiko directly via

Sunday, 25 September 2016

The Lord Norton

Charles Bowyer Adderley, 1st Baron Norton
(2 August 1814 – 28 March 1905)

-SG- Re-reading part of the late Mick Woollett's Norton History the other day, my eye caught on the vague suggestion made by an elderly member of the family that, perhaps, J L Norton's forebears were connected in some way with a member of the English nobility - whose title was Lord Norton.

Without wishing to diminish in any way James Norton's many achievements in his relatively short life, this is in fact not feasible, as the family name of Lord Norton was Adderley. The first Baron, Charles Bowyer Adderley, was created in 1878 and he took his title from his property, Norton-on-Moors, Staffordshire.  He died in 1905, in his early nineties. And to be absolutely clear - he had nothing to do with our favourite brand of motorcycles.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

CS type Sturmey Archer layshaft

-SG- Richard's 1929 Model 18 appeared recently on the site following a cam spindle breakage, happily now resolved. More recently, he reports that it has been jumping out of second gear and while it appears the second gear pair in use were not that good, Richard felt that the situation would be greatly improved by building up the worn area of the layshaft where the sliding gear contacts, using hard chrome. He advises - and we repeat this on the basis that we can't take responsibility if it doesn't work for you -.

-Richard- I didn't do any preparation of the "to be plated" area. But what is important is to carefully measure the ID on the sliding gear on the layshaft and the layshaft OD to make sure that not too much chrome is added. I added 0.002" to the surface (0.004" on the diameter) and this, at least in my case, was the limit. If too much is put on then it would be difficult to remove except by grinding. I needed to do some hand fettling afterwards using a small oilstone with the layshaft in the lathe, to clean up the extremities of the hard chrome, but the surface is otherwise being used without finish grinding. It is a good sliding and rotating fit without the "slop" that I had before.

I also fitted a pair of NOS second gears but  I think the layshaft hard chroming would have solved the "falling-out-of-gear" problem without new gears - I  only fitted those as I had a broken tooth on one. Anyway, it is now reinstalled in the bike and is working perfectly.