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Norton


‘74 Norton Commando – 59 Café

Posted on June 20th, by Andrew in Café Racer, Classic. 16 comments

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Written by Martin Hodgson.

In the modern incarnation of the Café Racer culture perhaps no motorcycle waves the flag like a Deus Yamaha SR500. So when Rob decided his had to make way for something even better he set Erik Johnson of 59 Café a hell of a task and what better way to beat a modern classic than with a true original. First he tried to persuade Erik to part ways with his own award winning Norton Commando but waiting for hell to freeze over is a very long wait, so he commissioned Erik to instead build a Commando of his own that could gleam outside his Coeur d’Alene restaurant and take him home in hand crafted ‘old school’ British style.

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1971 Norton Commando LR Fastback Special

Posted on March 17th, by Scott in Café Racer, Classic. 10 comments

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Written by Martin Hodgson

The Norton Commando with its Isle of Man heritage and five times Motor Cycle News “Machine of the Year” award is special enough, but this particular 1971 Fastback Special has a tale that starts with the man who rescued Norton from its British grave. Across the Atlantic Kenny Dreer was the man behind Portland based Vintage Rebuilds who salvaged the Norton name in the 1990’s and commenced work on reviving the brand to its former glory under the Norton America banner.

George Kraus from GEK Restorations tells how his dream of building the ultimate Commando that is now pictured before you first came to mind. “It was an all-night drive back from the San Jose BSA Clubman Show, about 1993 or ’94 with Kenny Dreer. The sleep deprived drive developed a drug-like effect on us two vintage crazed individuals and in our hyperactive minds, we designed the perfect “Manx Commando”. To get his hands on a Commando, George designed Kenny’s original Vintage Rebuilds and Restorations brochure in exchange for a core bike and all the parts and services at cost price.

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1930 Norton CS1 TT

Posted on December 21st, by Scott in Classic, Racer. 12 comments

When the original Norton CS1 was released way back in 1927 it pretty much blew the socks off everyone. On its first race it won the Isle of Man Senior TT and also set the fastest lap time. This thing was like a superbike before the word even existed.

Marcel Schoen from the Netherlands is lucky enough to own the pictured 1930 CS1 TT. “It belonged to my late uncle and has been in the family for more then 50 years” said Marcel. Over the past few months Marcel has been busy rebuilding this classic motorcycle. He gave it a complete check over, new 20″ tires were fitted, the magneto was rewound and many original nuts and bolts sourced. It has a special 3 speed gearbox type N103, Webb 650 forks, the engine is a hybrid between a W.Moore and A.Carroll design.


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Norton Featherbed Commando

Posted on December 6th, by Scott in Café Racer, Classic. 9 comments

After a chance encounter with a Featherbed framed Commando powered café racer, Canadian Jean Des Rosier’s blood started pumping again and he quickly realized he wanted to build something similar. Luckily, Jean had a few parts in storage “I had a featherbed frame, a complete front wheel including a Suzuki front drum brake, a transmission, the front forks, the rear shocks, a bit of money and lots of time” he says. Jean sent us a six page document telling us about his motorcycle history and some details about this Norton Cafe Racer project. This is the abridged version:

I had a Featherbed frame (the one from the ’68 Atlas) stashed deep in my brother’s basement in which I had plans to install an Ariel 500cc single, that project was put away when I raised my family. Even though it was almost complete, the thought of building a nice Atlas and better still an Atlas café racer was in my mind from that day on.


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Imaginary Garage – 1929 Norton Café Racer

Posted on September 13th, by Andrew in Classic, Other. 15 comments

If you’re anything like me, the bikes you lust after tend to go through phases. My current obsession is English bikes from the 20s and 30s so I’ve been doing a lot of thumbing through Google images and drooling over various Matchless, AJS, and Vincent collectibles from the era. Yesterday I found myself daydreaming about customising something from this era, but shrugged it off as pointless – like tweaking a Jean-Michel Basquiat or re-recording a Joy Division album.


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1936 M30 Norton

Posted on February 22nd, by Scott in Classic. No Comments

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This stunning M30 International 500cc motorcycle was recently sold by John De Kruif from the Norton site unusually named Rapid Hare. He bought the bike as a “basket case” and we love how John describes the build: “Restoring was not that difficult. The engine was rebuilt by Stu Rogers and you drop the engine parts at his place, wait for one and a half year, collect and fit. Many of the other parts are similar to abundantly available 16H items that can be made to fit with a little work. What’s left is very careful assembly. It’s not an original bike but then again, very few Inters are”. You might be wondering why he sold such a beautiful machine? Well, like a lot of motorcycle enthuisasts he ran out of room in his garage and moved it into his house for a little while “where it spent a few happy years next to the television”, he then ended up buying a vintage flat tank OHV Norton so this beautiful Inter had to hit the road. To read the full story and to check out a couple more pics check out John’s Norton blog.


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Norton 880 monoshock

Posted on February 15th, by Scott in Café Racer. 6 comments

Many years ago Paul Zuniga from Born Again Bikes had a dream. The dream was to own one of the stunning new Norton monoshock bikes Kenny Dreer was planning to build. Unfortunately Kenny and his partners came up about $10 million short to actually produce the bikes but that didn’t stop Paul from making his dream happen. Paul had been working on British bikes for decades so he decided to build his own monoshock Norton 880 Cafe Racer. He got a lot of parts from Kenny, bought some others on ebay and haggled for the rest. He did come across some modern front forks from a Ninja 636 which he couldn’t resist and decided to merge them with the Norton chassis. Paul also eventually talked Kenny into selling the swingarm, seat, tank, side covers and tuck-in headers from the original prototype bike. The bike looks amazing and we are glad Paul realized his dream of owning a custom Norton Mono. To read the full story about the project and lots more pics visit Born Again Bikes. [Spotted on Kneeslider]


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Norton Watch

Posted on January 22nd, by Scott in Other. 4 comments

Legendary British motorcycle brand Norton has teamed up with British watch brand, Bremont, to produce limited edition chronograph watches to mark the return of the classic brand. You better get in quick because only 200 Bremont Norton watches will be hand crafted at the Bremont workshop in Switzerland. These watches won’t be cheap, at the special price of £3,850 ($6200) you could place a large deposit down on a real Norton motorcycle. But for the serious (or seriously cashed-up) Norton enthusiast these watches will be hard to resist. Bremont will also be the Official Timing Partner for the British ‘Goodwood Festival of Speed’ again in 2010. Check out this video to see last years event. [Hat tip to BikeEXIF]


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Nortozuki

Posted on October 26th, by Scott in Café Racer, Classic. 1 Comment

This custom bike was built by Ben Rumbelow from Crap Chicken. We don’t know which name is better, Rum Below or Crap Chicken, but usually they both end up making us sick. When we say Ben built this bike, we mean he built it in photoshop. You see Ben is an artist, photographer and designer who also has a love of motorcycles. This creation is named the Nortozuki, obviously by combining a 1962 Norton Manx and a Suzuki together plus many other motorcycle parts. Some other features include a KTM690 stunt running gear, Ohlins rear shocks, Kawasaki Z750 engine from a wrenchmonkees bike and mounted using bolts from a Confederate P120. If you want to see more of Ben’s motorcycle mashups visit his unique gallery.


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Norton Freedom

Posted on September 21st, by Scott in Classic, Other. 1 Comment

Nothing says freedom like a purple one piece. I love the opening line in this vintage Norton Commando print ad. “Freedom is when nothing inhibits your desire to move in the best possible way” (just like this one piece inhibits her ability to access the toilet quickly). But seriously, this Norton Commando was specifically tricked out for the American chopper market (check out those bars). Unfortunately and predictably it wasn’t the greatest hit. Was always going to be a tough sell convincing guys that have Harley Davidson tattoos to change bikes.


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