Great looking bike. But I would buy a Royal Enfield and do the cafe racer kit. Compared to the $18,000 for this Norton, you could completely rebuild it's engine with performance mods and still have enough money to buy another bike. And I wouldn't feel bad about racing the Royal Enfield like I would the Manx.
I never rode a Norton single, but a friend had a 1954 BSA B-33 500cc single. It was the first year of swing arm rear suspension. Another friend had a 1951 BSA 500 with the hardtail. I rode them both a few times. I used the '54 to get my motorcycle license. You had to run-and-bump start it because you could stand on the kickstarter with both feet and it would not kick through. This meant you had to park it on a hill. Tune-ups were a real treat because someone had welded the points backing plate to the case, so you had to loosen the entire assembly and tweak the crankshaft to set the points.
Both had the same brakes, which is to say you would have done nearly as well to just use a stick like a soapbox racer.
These bikes are nostaligia rides only. Pick a sunday and ride early before anyine else is on the road. Better yet, buy a poster or a Revell kit and spend the money on a used Concours, a used Gixxer and a used dirtbike. And still have enough left to buy a used truck to haul the dirtbike in.
I want it, but the price/performance ratio just won't meet KPaul's standards!
Seriously, as much as I lust for something like that, I have gotten spoiled by real brakes and suspension over the past 30+ years. Guess I will have to continue with my SR500 project (similar to what pplasm did). Plus, my SR has sentimental value -- my first race bike and the vehicle my wife and I took on our first date.
That's a lot of scratch for a relic! Get a Gixer AND a dirtbike, man! ;-) --MO
It's not a relic, it's a replica. The engine is a re-do of the original using modern materials and mods that Norton should have made to improve reliability and retain oil. Power is like 20% up over the original. Costs L7,800.00 in the box.
One of these has done 4 years of vintage racing in the USA without a rebuild.
They build racing, racing/road-going and touring models. This one is pure race of course.
I wouldn't buy one either, but it's cheaper than the original when you allow for inflation since 1964.
Something about the really crazy guys that rode them, and the legendary race venues. Mike Hailwood made a terrible development rider because he'd never complain about a bike; just find a way to ride around the problem.
I always lusted after a BSA Lightning Rocket, back when the largest Honda was a 305 SuperHawk (a jewel of a bike itself, for the time, why they replaced it with the comparatively crappy CB350 I'll never know, but I digress).
I still love the things. It's just too bad that the fiction of the dream or riding them becomes punctuated with the reality of the smell of smoking Lucas electrics. Too bad the Brits were too hidebound to change. Coupled with the anti-business policies of Britain's Labour govts of that era they simply couldn't compete with the Japanese.
Still, I saw someone riding a pre-unit 650 a couple of months ago. I wonder if I could find a fixer upper anywhere.......
The myth that the British labor government a much to do with the death of the British motorcycle industry has been repeated so many time people just assume it is true. Take a look at Burt Hopwood's book "What Ever Happened To The British Motorcycle Industry". Once you get past Mr. Hopwood's tendency to vilify people, specifically Edward Turner, and excuse his own mistakes you'll find some interesting things.
The first one is that by the time the Labor government came to power it was much to late for anything to save the industry. Not even going into what killed all the others (James, Matchless, AJS, etc.) and lost the lightweights battles take a look at the prototype three cylinder Hopwood and Doug Hele built in '65 (pages 214 to 217) the amazingly ugly 1969 triple (page 229) and the 1971 version that finally sold well (page 230). Anybody want to guess how well the prototype would have sold in '66 without the Honda CB750 or Kawasaki 500 on the market for three and two years respectively?
The British killed themselves, government stupidity (Conservative and Labor) provided a little help but saying the government had a role is like saying the person who made the rope has a role when people hang themselves. Specifically blaming Labor would be like blaming the person who finds the body, if they'd just gotten there sooner he might have lived. The British just proved that capitalism works, a group of companies didn't make what people wanted, another group did. The former failed and the later thrived.
I didn't mean to place the major blame on the anti-business practices of the time. Obviously smart management could (and with other companies did) find a way around govt stupidity. Those companies had only themselves to blame for their failures. Britain in general was on the downslope.
They proved that it is difficult to sell 1930's quality vehicles in 1970. American autos nearly went the same route, even without the anti-business interfrence of the govt.
If it weren't for the Japanese the American and British auto industries would probably still be building 30's quality cars today.
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