RacingNorton Newsletter No.31 : June-July 2020
Recent and Current Events Around The World:
Hi everyone. it is actually a only a couple of months since our last Newsletter, but as we have busy in the last few months, it seemed easier to just do a new short Newsletter to list those products recently manufacutred.
A lot has gone on in the the last few months and for many countries around the world the whole way we live our daily lives has had major change. However, as I write this update in late June, for the UK (and many other European countries), it is looking like we are turning a corner from the deepest down period of the epidemic - and we can see the first signs of life as we knew it before is returning - personally I am really looking forward to being able to watch a live F1 Grand Prix again on a Sunday, while doing the RacingNorton paperwork!.
Learning to Live With One Another
We have all had to learn to live in closer proximity to each other - as part of the lockdown. Here is our old cat Ringo (now 15 years old and preferring a quite life) and Steph's boysterous mutt - Milo who, is just 6 months old and constantly want to play - click on photo to see what i mean
. . . One just wants to be loved and the other just wants to be left alone!
Apart from anything else - I hope that it means for some of you, you are now getting the opportunity to ride your two wheeled favourites - we have certainly been busy in the last two months with your orders, so thank you for that..
In my own case - I went out on the Honda for the first time in a while two weeks ago - for it to receive its annual MOT, and to have new sprockets and chains fitted.
I find as I get older and with little time for tinkering on my own bikes. . . I can rarely be bothered to do any real mechanical work on the Honda myself - so indulged in the luxery of buying good quality chain and sprockets myself, then passing them to my normal motorcycle dealers, for them to fit them as part of the MOT process. A quick shout out for these guys - Fastrack Motorcycles in Leicester: Fastrack Motorcycles, they are a faimily busines selling good quality second hand modern motorbikes, and do servicing and MOT work. I have known Nathan, the owner, for 30 years - as his grandfather was old friend Bob Pike - a Norton racing rider and dealer in the 1930's, as well as a Brooklands Gold Star Holder. How is that for a family tradition!
Royal Enfield Constellation is about to go back on the road, fresh with new scissor clutch mechanism as shown here. Original 1960 item below - had sheared, upper replacement came from Hitchcocks and looks excellent. I also treated RE to new clutch cable and a couple of new clutch plates.
Click on picture above to see RE after wipe down with oil rag
Preparing To Go Back On The Open Roads!:
The other thing I did last week was give the bike side of my workshop a bit of a cleanup, and allow me to get at some of our stock stored in the small attic above. However, as part of doing this I swopped the Vincent Comet for the Royal Enfield Constellation at the front of the garage - as my current British 'Sunday ride' bike. As always, I found the 'wet' battery had died since last used - so as with my Comet I have replaced it with a modern 'dry' 6V battery. I will wrap it in rubber sponge, but will see how well it compares.
I am also looking forward to trying out the new clutch cable and replacement 'scissor clutch' mechanism (shout out for Hitchcocks for RE parts at this point), which have both been replaced since last use. I had got used to the RE having a clutch that had alwasy needed a gorillas hand to release - but the cable had finally snapped when last used and on stripping I found the original 60's cable almost seized solid and the scissor mechanism sheered across the balls - no wonder it had been so difficult! I did the replacement a year or two ago, but have not had it on the road since, so as I write this update in late June, I am just doing the final fettling before taking it for a ride. As always, on going round the bike to check it over I have also found the rear chainguard had snapped a bracket, so have had to weld this and that just needs fitting along with the battery, then fluids checked.
Incidentally, on checking its registration I see it has just had its 60th Birthday, it having been first registered on 6th June 1960. We have owned it since the early 1970's.
Royal Enfield Constellation is about to go back on the road, fresh with new scissor clutch mechanism as shown here. Original 1960 item below - had sheared, upper replacement came from Hitchcocks and looks excellent. I also treated RE to new clutch cable and a couple of new clutch plates
Talking of Birthdays . . .
At the same time as moving the Vincent Comet and RE around, I also took the opportunity to spray a couple of other bikes with Duck Oil and to take the project Douggie out and turn it round (see photo here) - so I can start working on some parts I want to make for the timing side, some of which will follow shortly on our catalog.
But how about this - according to the frame and engine number, the Douglas has just had its 100th Birthday!!
And in fact - the engine cover shows 1919 and I know many of the parts fitted to it are earlier than that - particularly the forks are of the type fitted to the early Douglas Works racing bikes, which I know are of the 1911-1917 period.
Unfortunately, it is not yet ready for the road, but I am still tinkering on it as I get time and it is still progressing forward. Like all good projects, it gives great enjoyment when I finish a little area or part and fit it - and can then sit back and admire. A case in point is the recent fitting of the front brake, which is of the bicycle 'pad on wheel rim' variety and which employs the original type Douglas brake lever on the handlebar. And I even donated a small section of my favourite 'New Old Stock' red-spiralled cloth, comp type brake cable for that extra bit of bling!.
As can be seen in the photo on the right, I also fitted a very pretty period Douglas headstock transfer, which looks very smart. Not cheap and only available in small numbers, but I have also taken the opportunity to list these in the Douglas section of our catalog.
Douglas Birthday - 100 Years Old!
Propped up against front garden fence, the Douglas is starting to look more purposeful, but still a way to go before ready for the road. it would be nice to get it done before it turns 101 but not sure I will have it done by then given my past track record of hitting timescales!
I am just in the process of finishing of the Oil Drip assembly for the petrol tank (slot it will fit in just visible in photo above at the front of the tank), but after that I will finally move on to making the valve caps on the CNC machine and hoping to have those available for sale on the online catalog for the next Newsletter.
New Norton Parts and General Progress on Work In Progress PartsAs I am sure you all have found yourselfs in the last few weeks, some business's are operating now almost back at full strength - while others are still severly affected by Covid. We have found this true of our own suppliers and manufacturers - an example being we have been waiting for chains and some smaller parts ordered just before the Covid lockdown which are still not in.
However, other stuff has still being going on much as normal - paticularly the manufacture of many of our own SOHC and Norton single CNC parts. Also, I have had an update recently that a batch of magnesium timing and gearbox covers we ordered before Covid should soon be cast and ready for me to take to our machinist - which is good news.
From my own part, CNC machining and new spring manufacture has been the key activities recently - although the hot weather has made my main workshop area a particularly uncomfortable working environment - three machines running in a confined space generate a lot of heat! But result have been positive so please read on and see what is new in this Newsletter:
Best wishes and continue to keep well
Paul (and Steph) Norman
New And Re-Stocked Products - Since Our Last Newsletter
Click on any photo to take you directly to the item listing on our Online Catalog:
New (or Back In Stock) Products In The Last 6 Weeks
Since the last Newsletter in May we have had a number of new products come in and manufactured in-house. I have not bothered to split them into categories, but will just put them all in this section:
Clutch Springs Cups for M30/Manx Clutch's - Stainless Steel
These clutch spring cups are of the shorter type originally fitted to the slimmer 3 plate M30/Manx type clutch. Unlike the original pressed steel cups - these are CNC machined from solid stainless steel billet
Clutch Springs Cups for Standard/AMC Clutch's - Stainless Steel
Similar the shorter M30/Manx type, we can now offer these clutch spring cups for standard length clutch's. They will all standard width clutch's including AMC type and are CNC machined from stainless billet
0881: Square Head M30/Manx Type Clutch Bolts in Stainless Steel
As originally fitted to M30 and Manx Norton clutch's - these distinctive shouldered clutch bolt have a square head -as per originals, but in stainless steel. We can also offer screwdriver tool to fit square
0386: Sq Section Type for Standard Typ Clutch
We can now offer this hard to obtain square section type clutch spring for both M30/Manx type and standard type clutch's - offering Increased strength over standard round springs (of type orgiinally for DOHC Manx Nortons)
0255b: Competition M30/Manx type Plain Clutch Plates
Not a new item - but a newly made batch - these competition type plain plates are based on a type sometimes seen on 1950's/60's DOHC Manx Nortons - slightly thicker (2mm) than std plates and with distinctive radial slots. Original Manx Norton plate used as template for these
0882: Shouldered Hex Clutch Bolt - to fit all Pre AMC type cluitchs
This is the 'standard' A2/403 clutch bolt, being a shouldered hex head bolt (rather than just a standard hex bolt with a washer behind it!). CNC machined from stainless bar with milled imperial hex head as per original
(Sometimes also fitted to early competition clutchs)
0883 - Shouldered Hex Clutch Bolt - 'Wasted' Head Type
If you do have an open competition clutch, but prefer the hex head lipped bolt - how about going for the ultimate bling and fitting this 'wasted head' version with the centre of bolt drilled and chamfered, again in stainless steel
0884: AMC Type Female Thread Cltuch Spring Nuts
. . . And to complete the set of clutch spring bolts we now offer - here is the later AMC type clutch Bolt (Nut?) that was fitted from @1957 onwards. This is a slotted and shouldered nut with a female thread - again to original pattern, but in stainless steel
0885 - Handy Screwdriver Wrench for Sq Headed Clutch Bolts
To go with the square headed clutch bolts, we can offer this handy square head screwdriver - the type I like most when using this type of clutch bolt
0886: Renolds 'Synergy' HD Type Primary Chain/Split Link
We already offer a good quality Renolds primary chain (Item 0448) - but as part of re-stocking just before Covid, we introduced this new type. Renolds Synergy chain which has a reputation for being possibly the best chain you can buy - probably on a par to the old GP type chain. Good choice if you are using a non-oilbath type competition Norton. Reassuringly expensive!
0639 - Thick/Pan Type Gearbox Selector Fork Washers
Although only a small part - fitting the correct wide/thick washers to the Norton selector forks is an important part of ensuring no flex/movement. These have been out of stock for some time, but recently found a new supplier of the correct spec - and in stainless steel
New Girder Fork Parts (and more to follow as this section is ongoing)
0875: Steering Head Nut to Fit Andre Damper Fitted Girder Forks
CNC machined from solid stainless steel billet - these steering head nuts are turned from round billet and the hex is then milled to give the correct imperial hex spanner size as originals.
Not cheap, but a lot of work to manufacture and very pretty!
08763 - Steering Head Nut to fit Girder Fork with Bakelite Knob
Similar to Item 0875, this girder fork steering head nut is of the type that was fitted to all Norton girder forks that used the 'standard Bakelite' Norton type damper knob. CNC manufactured in stainless steell
0878: Main Centre Spring to Fit All Norton Girder Forks
I am pleased to say we have had a batch of good quality UK manufactured main springs that should fit all Norton girder forks.
We have taken some considerable time comparing original (and non-original!) Norton main springs to ensure we can provide a spring with all the key dimensions of the most common/definitve Norton spring size - good if your original spring is tired or of dubious origin..
They come satin black coated and ready to fit.
Steering Head Ballrace Cups Kit << Coming Soon >>
I was hoping these would be available by now - but Covid has delayed them being finished off by our main CNC manufacturer. However, they are expected in the next 4 weeks. It should be noted that there are slight differences between girder fork headraces and tele forks - and we are having both types manufactured
Other New Parts - and Parts Back In Stock
0014: Stainless Vertical Shaft Bevel Nuts
One of our most popular items - but have been out of stock for the last 4 months (again partly throug Covid), we have just had a new batch of our stainless bevel nuts - and very pretty to look at, being machined from solid stainless billet with milled hex flats to original dimensions.
Our nuts also use (3) modern O-rings which ensure they do not leak, unlike the original single rubber washer type.
Also available as a kit with our stainless vertical shaft tube
0879 - Original Norton (SOHC) Type Black Satin Saddle Springs
These are UK manufactured saddle springs to the same dimension and pattern as those most commonly fitteed to Norton SOHC and Competition/Works Nortons, from the early 1930's through to the late 1940's. They are also black satiin coated as the original items were
0139: Tor Ring Leaf Spring to fit Later type Amal TT carburettors
I cannot remember if these came in just before we posted our last Newsletter, but an excuse to show them again anyway!
These are high quality UK manufactured, plated, and just as the original pattern. They can also be retrospectively fitted to earlier TT carbs (that used a lock bolt to secure the top ring) if required
0416 - SOHC Exhaust Valve Lifter or Gearbox Clutch Worm Arm + Bolt
These are another out of stock item delayed by Covid shutdown, but are now back in and looking just as pretty as before. For those customers waiting for these - Steph should be getting in touch with you in the next week
0865: Exhaust Valve Lifter Arm for CS1 and OHV Models
. . . And just a reminder that in the last Newsletter we introduced this slightly different exhaust valve lifter to fit those SOHC (CS1) models that have the exhaust lifter cable adjuster in the cambox foot, and OHV rocker boxes (as shown here). Using the same base casting, this type of arm has its slot and bolt machined on the opposite side and we heat the arm to cherry red to give it a more pronounced bend as found on the original arm
0878 - Gearbox Clutch Worm Adjuster/Exhaust Lifter Reduced Head Bolt
Along with this new batch of Exhaust Lifter/Clutch Arm manufacture - we took the opportunity to have a larger batch of the distinctive bolts made - as it occurred to me that this bolt is one of those that often gets adjusted and chewed on original bikes (particularly the clutch worm arm, where it is the primary means of making clutch adjustment). This bolt has reduced hex/deeper head than standard bolts, to avoid fouling, as well as a slightly curved face under head,(so as not to dig into the lifter arm).
Now available seperately (in stainless steel)
0889: Late 1920's -1936/37 Early CS1 and OHV Valve Spring
Due to a number of customer enquiries in the last year, we have just produced a batch of 'early' type coil valve spring, off the dimensions fitted (as far as we can ascertain!) from the mid/late 1920's to approximately late 1936. It seems this earlier coil spring was fitted to both CS1 and OHV models (includiing Walter Moore engine) and is slightly longer than the spring fitted from 1937 onwards. More information is available in the catalog listing. Manufactured in the UK by the same manufacturer who makes our other hairpin and coil valves springs
0877 - Hairpin Valve Spring Tongues
We have just a small batch of these hairpin spring valve tongues available - made to the original Norton design. The manufacture is from a proper blacksmith, so the have a 'rural engineering' finish - but are very strong and heavy, should last a lifetime!
0393 and 0802- SOHC (and later OHV) and Pre-War SV Magneto Chains
Magneto Chains (from Renolds) both now back in stock following Covid delay on delivery
Work In Progress Update
For all below, if interested and wanting to go on our waiting list - email us on our normal email: email@example.com
Magnesium Inner/Outer Timing Covers (ribbed and plain)
Following a Covid shutdown, we have now collected a batch of magnesium inner and outer timing covers from our casting foundry (and have also got some alloy outer covers with these). It is likely to be a couple of months until the outer covers are available, but email below if wishing to enquire on or reserve one. By the way - inner magnesium covers are still in stock:: firstname.lastname@example.org
Norton M30 (pre-war and early post war) Gearbox Racing End Covers
Likewise, since our last Newsletter we have also had back a limited number of upright M30/Manx type gearbox covers in magnesium, as well as alloy. Now out for machining, but as jigs will need to be made first, I do not expect these to be available until Autumn 2020
Alloy M30/Racing Inter Gear Lever Pedals
Still progressing (currently carrying out milling operations before broaching)- albeit alongside other jobs. Expecting they should be available in time for next Newsletter
Norton - Facsimile of Spare Parts Catalogs - 1920's-1950's
One of many jobs I have not got round to doing - new batch's of various Norton Spare Parts catalogs, which are invaluable for any restoratoin.
We already offer the 1934 catalog (in A4 format, as pre-war spare parts list were not exploded diagrams - so are better to identify in large format) and the definitive 1948 Spare Parts Catalog (4th along) - but as that recently went out of stock - I will use that as an excuse to spend some time away from workshop and get new batch's made, including some we do not currently offer.
Pictured in this photo from left to right - 1929 ES2 supplement, 1928-29 CS1/ES2, 1937 Spare Parts, 1948 Spare Parts, 1950 Spare Parts (one of the few to show early DOHC parts) and 1955 Road Singles. We have a few others as well
Other Stuff . . .
Lots of other stuff piled up to do . . . as time or funding permits (like finishing the vertical shafts above). Covid is still having some impact (including funding) as well, so please bear with us if waiting for parts out of stock or for me to get my finger out on parts still being made!
email address if you want more detail on anything WIP:
Covid and Recent Change Update
Just in case some customers are not aware - although the UK overall is now in a better Covid position (which is great news), we are based in the Leicester area - and are still in a full local Lockdown for at least the next month. Please bear this in mind, as it means we are still having to work inside strict Covid health guidelines which does have some impact on us.
However, since our last Newsletter in May, we now have a new Mail Order office, where Steph is now based for processing orders . . . which means I get my old home office back . . . and she does not have to put up with me - she can just put the phone down when she has had enough!
Best Wishes, Paul and Steph.