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fancying something pre war

Posted by tom_steele at March 05. 2017

Hiya everyone ^^ so moving away from all my japanese bikes now, got my two dream bikes my Norton-Villiers Commando 68' and 650ss.

Fancying something pre war once some of my japanese classics are sold.

Really love inters but guessing they are gonna be way out of my price range, if you had 5-7,000 gbp to spend on something pre featherbed what would you go for? :)

Re: fancying something pre war

Posted by David Cooper at March 05. 2017

Now all the Inters seem to have found permanent homes, the prewar OHV singles prices are going way up.  So it'll be a 16H for you, if you are lucky.

But if you are getting rid of fast modern Japanese, and already have a (fast) 650SS and a (fast) Commando, then the 16H will be an ideal contrast.

Not a lot of prewar ones around.  Most are WD.  But they do allow you to joint in those military re-enactment events if that's what you like.

16H is good urban theatre.  It'll turn heads whenever you park up.  Using old bikes in busy places is good for us all - it makes the public know we exist and I'd like to think it makes it just that little less likely that we will be entirely marginalised.

Go for a side valve!  Easy to start, fun to ride, you know it makes sense!

Regards

David

Re: fancying something pre war

Posted by robert_tuck at March 05. 2017

There's a couple of nice early twins ,model 7 for sale, Not prewar but familiar enough to an SS owner and still with that old bike look and feel. Or an easy2  for that single  thumper feel.

Re: fancying something pre war

Posted by Martyn Watson at March 06. 2017

http://www.racebikemart.com/adverts/norton_international___1474489103.phpTell

Inform these wops you'll take this old relic off their hands for 7000 of your finest English quids.

Re: fancying something pre war

Posted by tom_steele at March 06. 2017

Reckon I could find that a good home thats for sure haha :)

 

Cheers for the suggestions everyone keep them coming even thought about building a bit of a special out of parts as and when bits came available, from what I've been reading though the Inter' frame was different to all the others? Really new to pre war stuff so lots to learn.

 

Thanks in advance,

Re: fancying something pre war

Posted by Martyn Watson at March 06. 2017

The fun with pre war stuff is you have so much "poetic license"to build specials coz nobody really knows what's it supposed to look like, so what if it's not original, it's better to have something you can use than a pile of bits you can't because you don't have an elusive original cylinder head for your 1932 Grindlay Peerless project.

Ignore nay sayers, don't limit yourself to just norton (looks over shoulder for NOC lynch mob) there's loads of good pre war stuff that deserves to be used in a special.

Get amongst it.

 

Re: fancying something pre war

Posted by tom_steele at March 09. 2017

Ahh yeah didn't think of that Martyn good shout :) those Scott two strokes look like a pretty decent bit of kit

Re: fancying something pre war

Posted by jim_royce at March 09. 2017

I would like a pre war Norton too but I have never found one priced on this planet!

Previously tom_steele wrote:

Ahh yeah didn't think of that Martyn good shout :) those Scott two strokes look like a pretty decent bit of kit


DON'T buy a Scott with bits missing or you'll have a nightmare building it up, I speak from experience!

Other things to be aware of relating to Scotts; there are only eleven or twelve bikes left that are matching numbers due to the "spirited riding" that many endured so with these it makes zero difference if the engine number doesn't match up. Try to ride one like a modern bike and you'll probably be looking for another engine rather soon especially if it is a long stroke!

If you're serious about going for one try to get an early 596cc Flying Squirrel circa 1927 or 28. These are known as long frame flyers and have excellent handling because of the very rigid frame design and if fitted with 8" rear and 7" front brakes correctly set up they stop really well unlike most other bikes of the era.

Then there is their party piece of being able to renew the big end roller bearings at the side of the road with only two spanners and a pair of thin nose pliers. No, I'm not joking!

Jim

Re: fancying something pre war

Posted by anna jeannette Dixon at March 09. 2017

Hello The best of the pre-war Norton's was the 600cc Model 19  made for pulling sidecars but makes a very solo motorcycle,   and it was built in the right place Bracebridge Street  Aston                        yours  anna j 

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Re: fancying something pre war

Posted by David Cooper at March 09. 2017

The 'Classic Motorcycle' March editorial tells of a gent who has 'upwards of 70' Nortons and 'now' employs his own mechanic to look after them.

No wonder prices are sky high... he must have way outbid a lot of luckless hopeful owners over time.  Nice for those hoping to sell not likely to allow new owners to join in the fun.

Especially if he is not alone...

 

Re: fancying something pre war

Posted by David Cooper at March 09. 2017

The 'Classic Motorcycle' March editorial tells of a gent who has 'upwards of 70' Nortons and 'now' employs his own mechanic to look after them.

No wonder prices are sky high... he must have way outbid a lot of luckless hopeful owners over time.  Nice for those hoping to sell not likely to allow new owners to join in the fun.

Especially if he is not alone...

 

Re: fancying something pre war

Posted by richard_payne at March 09. 2017

'Fancying something pre-war' ? I've had that problem ever since I first watched Madeleine Carroll in 'The Thirty Nine Steps'...

Presumably girder forks are what you're looking for ? A hand change will add to the fun but any Norton with a doll's head box will be as straightforward to ride as a fifties bike.

Nortons are expensive because of the name but even the side-valves feel quite sporty and steer well and parts availability is better than the unknown makes.  They're robust too.

Nothing with girders over 250cc or so is likely to be much cheaper than the lower end of your target price and it's really a case of buying the best that you can afford.

I suspect that unless you have a lot of contacts who are prepared to pass on parts for less than the eBay price, the days of building a decent Norton from bits has probably passed. I put a 16H together from a rolling chassis beginning about ten or twelve years ago and I think it cost me about £5000  in the end and parts have dried up in the intervening period.  I have no regrets as I thoroughly enjoyed doing it and I hope that I achieved a good degree of accuracy.

If a 'special' is thrown together with too many generic parts like control levers and lamps and any old fastener then in my opinion, it easily loses that 1930s feel. Some people clearly like bobbers but they are never going to give the feeling of immersing oneself in history that comes from owning and riding a well put together vintage or post-vintage motorcycle.

Building a special involves a lot of research and probably a lot of mis-purchases. Norton had a habit of making small changes to fit without altering appearance. You'll need to study parts books closely to see what was compatible.

There are seven different frame types listed in the 1937 catalogue. Add to this the post-war rigid frames and it becomes quite complicated.

DVLA rules are also quite strictly enforced now. Any suggestion of a machine built from parts, especially if the numbers don't look 100% can very easily result in a reflective 'Q' plate and a re-stamped 17 digit VIN on your frame. Some still slip through but it's a hell of a risk.

As David says, the WD16H is the ideal introduction to 1930s style Nortons. Parts are more common than any others. The frame geometry changes make for quite a quick steering thing and the trim is up to you. They look fine in silver too. There is a lively WD motorcycle scene and they get ridden hard without too much worry about dirt and scrapes.

Re: fancying something pre war

Posted by richard_woolnough at March 10. 2017

I think the suggestion to look laterally is a very good one, I sought a prewar girder machine for some time, I wasn't particularly worried what it was, I eventually settled on an Ariel W/ng of 1942, it has all the attributes of a prewar machine and is quite good to use, now I have sorted out some of the Dewhurst butchery! but realisticly what can you expect after 75 yrs? in addition it didn't break the bank.

oh it is in civilian colours so I won't have to dress up with a tin 'at and a bayonet.

kind regards

Re: fancying something pre war

Posted by paul_archibald at March 10. 2017

I recently bought a 1936 Sunbeam 250 Semi-Sports which was within your budget range. It has an overhead valve engine, girder forks, rigid frame, 4 speed foot gear change and electric lights and horn so is not too different to riding my ES2 - but very different to a Japanese bike!

Good luck with the search, that's as much fun as the ownership,

Paul

ps: here's a photo

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