RacingNorton Newsletter No.37 : Spring - Summer 2022: Part 1
What's Been Going On Since Last Newsletter In February?
Hi everyone, I hope you are all well. Well for the last 3 months since April, Steph and I have been in an intense period of 'catchup', following prolonged bouts of illness through Winter 2021/22 and culminatting in the whole family coming down with Covid in April.
However, wWhile all that was going on, we also had a number of manufacturing jobs and re-stoicks coming through - and much of my time since then has been spent checking and listing those items and updaing the website, as well as keeping my own CNC running as much as possible. `
Therefore, although there might not be a large number of new products listed in this Newsletter - I hope you will see that many of our most popular items are now backi in stock, with many more due to come through in the coming months (touchwood!).
Has The World Gone Crazy??
Unless you happen to have been living in a cave in somewhere like Outer Mongolia (or the Hebrides?), you could hardly fail to notice the happenings going on in the world in the last 18 months - and the effect this has had on the financial markets across the world.
First of all - I would like to offer our heartfelt sympathy and solidarity with all those in the Ukraine, the last 6 months have been terrible for them - and they have fought and reacted with great courage and fortitude.
But it seemss that the economic impact of that, added to the continuing supply issues as a result of the Covid epidemic have resulted in prices rising in all areas, demand outstripping supply for many materials - and ultimately, most manufacturing areas I am aware of having to face severe financial decisions.
I am afraid engineering (in the UK anyway) seems to be high up in that list of impacted areas - and as well as the cost of running machines, lighting, heating etc rising.. . the non-ferrous metal market (i.e. stainless steel, bronze and brass) has seen costs go through the roof - with myself and some of the engineering companies I talk with having to pay up to four times what we were paying 18 months ago.
When getting quotes from my material suppliers these days - it has been akin to the Gold market, while historically a quote for bar stock (most being supplied in 3m lenghts) was normally good for up to 4 weeks (and maybe a bit of negotiation was possible for extending quantities) - these days a quote is normally only valid for 1 day, and some materials are not actually available off the shelf at the moment.
With the UK having lost most of its own historic metal manufacturing industry - we are now heavily reliant on metal bought in from other countries, and I am told part of this shortage is due to the loss of nickel trade with Russia, and supply chain issues with China. Not entirely sure on this - but what I am getting to, is that for those of us that like to manufacture parts in small batch's from stainless and brass - the cost of manufature has risen by a substantial amount in recent months.
1920's-Early 1930's OHV and SV Parts - Thanks to Customers
Although it may be some months for them to filter through into the online catalog - we are starting to produce a selection of new parts for earlier OHV and SV single cylinder machines, and also some parts for the Walter Moore CS1 engines. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank a number of customers and friends who have helped confirm dimensions from original items on their own machines - it has been a great help in confirming what we produce will be definitive and correct.
An example above is the pushrod tube lower nut for pre-1938 OHV engines, and I must offer my thanks to John W (you know who you are John!), and many others, who has given dimensions for many early '30's parts in the last 6 months.
Watch following Newsletters to see some of these parts coming available
I am sure you can guess where this is leading - and you will no doubt think I am sounding like a worn out record , having heard it from every business you speak to - but although we have tried to eat up some of the manufacturing costs ourselves, as new batch's are filtering through - so are prices of many products having to be increased to cover the uplift. All I can tell you is that - like so many other small business's at the moment, we are only just keeping our head above water . . . and in some cases, some of my suppliers are already making the decision not to make the parts we previously supplied any more. This is a real shame - and for some products I am looking actively7 for new manufacturers . . . but I fear we may not see an upturn in the economy or our own position for some considerable time yet. Hey ho.
Some New Items - You Wont Find Elsewhere??
There are a few items below you will not find for sale elsewhere in this months Newsletter. . . the racing bumpads being a good example - which are really nice, and based on originals of which very few have survived. I am sorry that the the price is quite high on these items - but all I can tell you is I am not getting rich on having them commisioned, but it is nice to offer them - as they are period items.
In fact ditto with most parts we are making at the moment . . . particularly CNC in-house manufactured parts. Yes - when a batch goes well, it is definitely more economical to make the parts in-house, but a number of machine failures's and issues over the last few months have meant machine down-time and the main CNC mechanic I have to call is ehhh - me! That said, in truth - I still like programming, and making Norton parts myself . .. and it is definitely a benefit that I have original patterns that I can confirm tolerances against - even the most diligent external engineering company cannot test-fit in the way I have available - although I almost always send patterns to my own CNC maufacturing partners. .
It is also worth saying again, that we are continuing to add to our range of parts for the earlier Norton Single models - i.e for the 1920's and early '30's models - not just Walter Moore CS1, but earlier OHV and SV models as well. This will be a 'slow burn' process, so dont expect new parts every Newsletter - but if any engine parts you are particularly looking for, for these earlier models - then email as normal on our email@example.com email
I am now taking this route to upload 'restoration articles' rather than doing them in the old webpage article format I used to use on www.RacingVincent.co.uk, as it seems to be the way the world is going these days.
I dont know about you - but I have a list of about 50 'Subscribed' Youtube video creators . . . all of them producing extremely professional and absorbing content - which I tend to watch in the evenings, in preference to the normal crap terrestial TV..
I have looked at most of the most sucessful of these (and am sure most of them are now in that new class of entreprenour - 'media millionares'), in a futile effort to emulate their methods . . . but sadly have to report, actually - as well as great content - the majority of them also have one element I know I am lacking - charisma!!
No Matter!, I will persevere anyway. Just like the webpage articles I used to publish . . . I have found the Youtube videos take just as long to create (and mine still concentate on restoration photos, with commentary - as I am aware I am an ugly bastard!)
New Youtube Videos, New Office and Own Bike Progress.
I said in the last Newsletter it had It occurred to me, that I had not written any new articles in a while -and was going to try and make progress on more. Well, that was just before November and December got much busier . . . so not much has happened since then, but I have made a bit of progress and will try and get the at least one out in the next 4 weeks.
RacingNorton - New Office
Back in April we moved into new rented office premises, which have shared facilities and are relatively close to home. To be clear - this office is manned by Steph, and I am only allowed in for a few minutes by special permission - she does not like me getting in her way and cluttering the place up!
. Instead I am relegated most of the time to a sweltering hot workshop with my CNC at another location, but we also introduced Sharepoint (intranet) earlier this year - so can keep in touch through the day.
The photo shows us just moving in with some of our furniture and stock
As I am grapplling with this Newsletter in late June 2022 . . . and still have a few items to list - it occurs to me I ought to just publish what we have here . . . and publish the remaining stuff in a 'Part 2' in a couple of weeks time - I am slow enough at doing stuff as it is!
So, thats about it from me for now, I hope you find something of interest to you in the parts shown below, and thanks as always for your custom and interest,
Paul (and Steph) Norman
New Racing Bum Pad(s) and Seat Related Products - Spring/Summer 2022
Item 1099 : Pre-War (Moseley Air-Cushion Type) Racing Bum Pad - As fitted to KTT Velo's and some early Manx's
Here we have a new item that I am really pleased to be able to finally offer - I have been asked about them many times over the last few years - these are a very close copy of the racing style bum pad that I have fitted to my own 1938 Big Plunger Manx, and was itself a copy of the pre-war 'Moseley Air Cushion' bum pads - standard fitment on late pre-war Velocette KTT models, and sometimes seen fitted to other competition bikes of that era - including pre-war Manx's.
These have been manufactured specially to our dimensions by a long established UK specialist upholsterer, and are almost identical to the original design - other than not having the original rubber 'air bladder' (and zip to insert it) fitted - instead, using normal upholstery sponge inside - but this can be adjusted if necessary, as there is a velcro seam under the bum pad.
Just like the original design, these bum pads are 'slanted' to be taller on one side (i.e. an upended racing bum pad), and have two reinforced mounting flaps on their base, as per originals,- so they can be attached directly to the mudguard with 4 small 1/4" BSC bolts and pan washers, this bum pad design not having any steel frame, so it would curve to the racing style mudguard. The dimensions of these bum pads make them an excellent choice for fitting to the 'sports/racing' style rear mudguards we already manufacture (Items 0305 or 0307R) - and although looking quite flat in the photo, the sponge filling is designed to be fully filled when mounted to the mudguard. Finally, just like the originals, they also have the distinctive red beading around the top seam - which sets them off beautifully when mounted to a sports or racing bike
I am sorry that - being produced in very small numbers by a specialist UK company - they are definitely not cheap, I can only tell you we have spent a long time in getting these setup for manufacture, and I am pricing them as competitively as we can. Added to that, each bum pad will come with 4 stainless steel (Norton style) curved head 1/4" BSC hex bolts and nuts, and include stainless pan washerss. We do not punch the holes (as you may wish to mount them on your own type of mudguard) - but it is a simple task to punch these holes to your own dimensions
At this stage - only limited numbers available, but we have made provision for future batch's if they sell well
Item No 1100 - Sports/Racing Bum Pad - UK Manufacture
From the same UK specialist upholstery manufacturer as above, I have also had a small batch of these 'sports/racing' style bum pads made - with others available in future if popular.
This type are a more tradionational style of bum/pillion pad - employing a steel frame that bolts to the rear mudguard, and has a slight wedge profile, but is similar to many sporting bumpads of the 1930's. Incidentally - this design was the type I fitted to my own Racing International approximtely 25 years ago (and from the same manufacturer! - see old picture below)
Other Seat and Upholstery Updates
First of all - our normal 'offshore' manufactured bumpad (above) is now back in stock and is still providing excellent value for money (I am sorry - I fully appreciate that a UK manuafactured item cannot compete on price with these offshore items - that is just the way it is . . . but these are not as exclusive as the other items in this section.
Dunlop Type Rubber Saddles update - Sorry, still now good news on this one ( Our current Item 0679). I am still talking to a manufacturer - but our pattern template has now gone mssing in- transit . . .aggghhh!
New (or Re-Stocked) Norton Single Engine Parts- Spring/Summer 2022
Item 1077 : Norton Little End Bearings - Various Types -SOHC ((inter), SOHC (Manx), OHV and Side Valve Models
In the last Winter Newsletter I mentioned I was currently working on batch of Little Ends, in a variety of guises, to fit most Norton single variations. Well we now have those aailable and in 4 different guises - through Variable Listing Item 1077
1077_!: The most commonly fitted type - Standard Norton single bore (0.875" ID), standard width - as fitted to most SOHC, OHV and SV models, with 'Diamond' pattern oilways pre-drilled
1077_2 : Similar to above but left undrilled - as it easier for some people to press the Little End into the Conrod first - then just drill the 4 Diamond oilway holes to match the original Conrod - this is also the most sure way to ensure all oilways line up
1077_3 : Similar to above but for the 30M/40M/Manx variations - with narrorwer width and left undrilled (these can vary by rod type (but most often two in line oil holes on this narrower rod type)
1077_4 : As per the normal Norton single cylinder road going type dimensions (i.e.1077_1) other than the bore is a reduced ID of 0.750", which means it can be fitted to allow the use of BSA type pistons if required (i.e. B40, B44, B50 etc), which used to be a popular replacement
All Little Ends are CNC manufacttured from best qualtiy Phosher Brone PB2 . . . the price of which was already starting to sky rocket as I purchased this batch! of material! The listing gives more detail on each type
A new batch of these SOHC Cambox bottom rubber adjusters back in stock - and also the slightly longer versions. And of course - also the special 'reduced hex' nut also fitted to these distinctive square heded adjusters
0277 Cylinder Feed Lipped Nut, and 0317 Cylinder Feed Full Oilbolt Kit complete r Seat and Upholstery Updates
This distinctive milled nut looks lovely in stainless steel, particularly as it sits in such a prominent spot on the engine -. A new batch back in stock
And to go with these - we also have a new batch of the complete 0317 Oilbolt kits, ready to fit assembled and ready - all CNC manufactured by ourselves
0243 and 0243B SOHC Oil PRessure Aduster Screw and Nut
More SOHC Crankcase parts back in stock - these are the all important Oil Pressure Adjsuters and half Locknut, that control the engine oil pressure, situated behind the inner timing case. We also sell the half nuts seperately - see below, as well as the springs (Item 0245) and Balls (Item 0244)
0865 - Late 1930's/1940's OHV Exhaust Lifter Arms
Not an item you normally see - as they are hidden under the petrol tank - but these are the Exhaust Valve Lifter arms for OHV engines from 1938-48 and 1948 Onwards engines. This type are not totally identical to original (as these use our raw gearbox worm castings - but are machined and formed in a different way) but do the job just as well as the originals and are machined in the same way - specific to that use
I am pleased to report that our Stainless Steel SOHC bevel tubes are back in stock in all 3 sizes - 350cc, 500cc and 600cc (if you happen to have one of these rare model sidecar SOHC engines!).
Not wanting to make a big deal of it (or maybe I am!) - but I thought I would share with you some of the issues we have had getting these re-manufactured . . . first of all, the special seamless tube has been unavailable for some time - and needed special work this time to obtain (not to mention a huge price increase since last purchased) . . . but I thought I would share with you the press tools, below - all of which are required, just to form the special lip that is required on the bottom of the SOHC Tubes.
I still have our hydraulic priess setup in my wokshop - for manufacturing similar OHV Pushrod Tubes . . . but just cannot seem to find the time (or enthusiasm!) for going through the process of making new press tools for each OHV Type!! . . . but bear with me, I will - particularly as I made the effort to buy batch's of each of the 3 OHV seamless stainless tube diameters that were fitted from the early 1930's - late 1950's at the same time as the SOHC tube material.
Vertical Bevel Gear Updates
We recently had a new batch of our stainless steel 'reduced hex' nuts in, so have now made up new 0008 Vertical bevel housing stud and nut sets (above) and also we sell the nuts individually - below.
Oldham Couplings Update: By the way - we are currently having a new batch of the Oldham Couplings manufactured, but this is another item delayed by Covid. Email if you wish to reserve one of the lower couplings (Item 0683), as these are currently showing out of stock
Item 0459 SOHC Inner Timing Case Oil Pump Drive Gear Bearing
Similarly - we have made a new batch of these timing cover bushes, which are manufactured with a spiral oilway as per originals (i.e it does not come fully to the end of the bush - includes instructions for fitment
Other New or Restocked Products - Gearbox/Magneto/Carb/Chassis Parts
All transfers now re-stocked, and we have also been able to obtain a few of the very unusual 1920's Sidecar Transfer shown below . . . which I think would also make another very pretty and unusual Headstock transfer
0161B Float Needles to fit Alloy TT Float chambers
A new small batch of these now available - different to the earlier (pre-War brass TT and 276 float chamber needle), as it has a larger tapered section
Still the best Norton clutch plates (even if not cheap)
0136: Comprehensive Facsimilie of Numerous Amal TT/RN/GP Original Literature and Setup Sheets 1920's-1950's + Norton Carb Setup Tips
This is a new and comprehensive facsimile, over 50 pages in length, which brings together facsimile's of a whole range of original Amal competition carb setup sheets and spare parts list - starting with a (single page) copy of one of the first (Amac, pre Amal) comp carb sheets, all the way through various TT types, Remote Needle and GP carb notes.
We have also included numerous setup tips and articles written in period for setting up TT and RN carbs on Norton SOHC models.
Most of these sheets were from original Amal sheets or books I have collected over the years and took quite a while to bring them all together into a single facsimile. Invaluable if you are setting up one of these finicky carbs for the first time . . . or just need reminding on the order to do it . . . which I have to do every time I come back to one!
0253: Norton Upright Gearbox Tob Bolt Assembly
I am ple eI am pleased to report we have had a new batch of Norton upright gearbox top bolts and nuts CNC manufactured in stainless steel, and just like the previous batch they look very pretty.
Abover are our full assemblies - ready to fit in most pre-laydown gearbox frames (already starting to run out since I made them up about 6 weeks ago), and below is the large nut closeup
BACK IN STOCK - 0187: BTH KD1 End Cover Hex Screws - Stainless Steel
A small but very pretty screw - we CNC machine these ourselves, to fit the BTH KD1 TT type 3 screw competition end cover - now back in stock
BACK IN STOCK - 0189: BTH KD1 TT Advance/Retard Housihng Screws - - Stainless Steel (drilled/slotted)
As with the cover screws - we also have the special housing screws back in stock (and likewise for racing Lucas NR1 magnetos).
My CNC Lathe /Mill does not like making thesse in the hot weather - as there are 3 milling operations in one program - the hex being milled, then the lockwire crossdrill, then finally the screwdriver slot.
NEW ITEM - Item 1096 BTH Alloy Cover Securing Screws (Pair)
We recently introdicued these small roundhead screws in stainless steel, which are the type used to secure the alloy (BTH stamped) cover, as fitted to all BTH magneto models that used this type of alloy cover. As always an original (KD1) screw used as the pattern - but CNC'd in stainless steel
Note - we also sell the curved alloy covers with correct BTH embossed stamp in the same BTH section
0437Short Type HT Adv/Ret Rubber Boots
These back in stock, along with the long type (normally fitted to BTH magnetos. Other BTH magneto parts currently being re-stocked, update to follow in next Newsletter
We can now offer 3 variations of Exhaust Valve Lifter types for 7/8" handlebars. I am still hoping we can find a manufacturer of 1" handlebar size arms - but no luck yet! . . .hoping we are not going to have to make these ourselves!
Fork Spring Parts Back In stock (and updates on those not back in stock!)
. . . Ohh, and Mudguards!
. . .
We have a new batch of our Parallel Fork Spring Sets back in stock this month. I was also able to make up one last batch of the 'Dull Nickel' clevis pin variation of these sets - which with the current Health and Safety rules making dull nickel plating difficult now - might be the last batch of this type we produce.
Norton Headrace Bearing Sets: For those of you waiting for the Norton Head Race Sets (Item 0912 and 0913) in the same Fork and Wheel Section - These are in progress - but is one of the items delayed by Covid . . . we are expecting the next batch to arrive with us late Summer 2022 (any price increase still TBC, but should be similar to current price showing), email us if you wish to reserve either set, as the last batch's sold very quickly: firstname.lastname@example.org
A new batch of these back in stock. Not cheap - but lovely to look at, and just as per the original Norton design - so they can be greased with a grease gun - but ours harder than original and in stainless steel so they do not rust. Used on all Norton girder forks which were fitted with Checksprings. Also used on Upright Norton Gearbox selector rods
NEW ITEM - 1093: Long Roadholder Tele Fork Drain Screws/Washers (Stainless Steel)
Another new item we are pleased to introduce are these stainless steel tele fork drain plugs. As always, dimensions are copied from original items - not always the case with others I have seen, and with a nice screwdriver slot . . . as some originals were quite shallow and often got locked in the alloy sliders with a 'mauled' head. Note: if you have later tele fork (i.e. Dominator or Commando), check with us first - as the threads changed on later Norton models
If you have been on the website recently you may already have seen our popular mudgard range are back in stock - but if not . . . just to let you know - they are!
I was particularly pleased about this - as we have profiles made specifically for us (for 21" front wheel and 19"/20" Rear wheel, in Classic sports/racing profile, and manufacturing ownership had changed through Covid - but then new batch are the same excellent quality the last batch were.
For those interested - I am looking at having a batch of Norton road type mudguards made - as fitted to OHV/SV/CS1 models in 1930's/40's with split rear mudguard - However, the investment would be substantial, so if you are interested contact us on - Sales@racingvincent.co.uk
If enough interest - we may go ahead, but will ask for deposits after seeing first patterns
Item 0380: Lipped Norton Oilbath Chaincase Washers - Stainless Steel
This pretty stainless steel washer is back in stock again - we also polish them. they fit behind the large Hex footrest nut in a prominent position, so look nice in stainless.
I will try and get to making a batch of the large Hex nuts in the near future, as well as the rounded nuts that held the footrests on
BSC and Imperial Stainless Fasteners - Restocks
The price of Stainless Steel has gone through the ceiling in the last 18 months. We are still manufacturing our own in-house specialist stainless fasteners (but of course having to pay much higher prices for materrials) - but I know some of my trusted UK manufacturerr/suppliers are also struggling - and are either not continuing with some products as they run out, and/or facing big price increases for supplying in the future.
With that in mind, we have re-stocked many of our generic fasteners in the last two months, while we still can::
As part of re-stocking our smaller fasteners - from a specialist UK stainless fastener manufacturer - we have restocked this popular bolt - notice these have 2 nuts - ideal for exhaust clamps and similar fastenings
These 7/8" length 1/4BSC bolts are very popular, and now back in stock. Notice the heads (like all our stainless fasteners) - are nicely machined without any writing on them
Extremely useful on old British singles that are regularly used - these nice quality 1/4" BSC are back in stock again from or specialist UK Stainless fastenings supplier - excellent for things such as exhaust clips etc
0694 - 'Reduced Outer Diameter 3/8" Washers
. . . . Similarly - we have finally been able to get hold of these special 'reduced outer diameter' 3/8" stainless washers -as used on Norton engine bolts . . . last time these sold out very fast
Again - from our specialist UK stainless fastener manufacturer - we are now able to supply some 1/4 BSC Hex bolts with a curved hex head - which was of the type often fitted to Norton (and some other Brtish bike manufacturers) in period.
These are the 2 inch long variety - if popular, we will have other lengths made
Item 1098 - Curved (Norton Type) Head 1/4" x 7/8" BSC Bolts
. . . And with a similar curved head, these small and very useful 7/8" BSC bolts - also with the curved heads. We are supplying a set of these with our Moseley Style Bum Pads
If I say so myself - these kickstart spring covers are really nice - a good quality 'New Old Stock' item having been used for the pattern.
Originals often get dented and look shabby - these look very pretty.
Press tooling costs were prohibitive for making the cover like originally it woud have been made - so we machined it from solid bar - but to the same profile and thickness as originals
And of course - we already offer the kickstart spring for the Norton type gearbox - a popular item - click picture below
We make these in house to the original pattern fitted to many original 1920's-50's levers and fittings - including our competition levers.
New batch now in stock . . .
0335 - 2 BA Barturned Cheesehead Screws
. . .And ditto our 2 BA bar turned size screws - more normally fillted to other handlebar fittings and electrical switches. Contact us if you need details on the difference between 1BA and 2BA screws