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Inter head steady


Should the rigid frame prewar Inters have a head steady? It's hard to tell from the pictures I've seen, but lots of them don't appear to have one.   One has just popped up on this web site banner, and there's no sign of it.

If so - does anyone have a good photo (or even supplier)?


Found the part on the 1933 spares list: 3465.  Very small picture as usual.  It looks like a pair of them, bolted to the RHS and LHS front fuel tank lug, and back to (presumably) a pair of the cylinder head bolts.  And also looks like it vanished from the parts list later in the '30s.


The head steady parts are still shown in the 1936 Norton parts book. My 1936 Inter has these head steadies. The steadies attach to the frame to the sidecar lug mounting point. The parts book describes the parts as:

Part 3463 Frame lug aluminium plug,

Part 3464 Frame lug aluminium plug nut and bolt.

Part 3465 Frame cylinder head stay, left or right-hand.

My head steadies are original but I had to make the aluminium plug and use a nut and bolt from my stock.

Picture attached.

Regards, Nick


Thanks very much, Nick. Fine picture! Now I know what those two studs are for at the front of the head. Now to decide whether to fit the stays. My Dommie is unridable without, but this feel pretty smooth at the revs I've reached so far.If Norton decided to leave them off...

I'm not aiming for concours prizes! And I've only had it 2 weeks, so plenty of time to think about refinements as I find out about it. They will go on the list.

The gearbox is a challenge in London with the road humps. Mine has a kick start box and the jump is from 2.33 to 1.33 from 1st to 2nd. Not ideal round town.


I have an Inter head with lugs above the exhaust port for a head steady, and they are not machined. They were not machined on the 1936 bronze skull head my father fitted to his International.  My guess is that some bikes had a head steady, and provision was made for them, but not often fitted to iron lug frames. 

It's rather different with featherbeds, but it's the frame which needs the brace.  Sadly that brace is rather rubbish on  a featherbed Inter, as it does not brace the steering head.

As an aside, I once knew a man who made a rather fast featherbed Domiracer.  During testing, he got fed up with the vibration.  Then he forgot to refit the head steady after some mods.  It didn't vibrate, but the handling was awful.  Re-fit the head steady, normal service resumed.  So he made a removable tube running from top of steering head to the cross tube at the rear of the tank, and modified his tank to suit.  Good handling and little vibration.

There is a solution to your gearbox problem.  I found a way to get the same ratios as a Velocette Clubman cluster in a Norton box using only Norton gears.  Ratios 1, 1.2, 1.6, 2.33.  Manx / Inter sleeve pair, trials 3rd, standard road 2nd, Inter 1st. 

David you are a London resident.  So am I - we could perhaps meet up



When I first rode my Dommie I reached 60mph on the A3 and suddenly my eyeballs wobbled..resonated with the bike vibrations. Had to slow down as I couldn't see anything. It turned out the head steady bolts were loose...

But I've not noticed much vibration with this thing. I've not ridden it at high revs yet. I suspect from what you say and absence from later parts lists that they realised they didn't serve much useful purpose. But I've no experience yet.

I intend to be at the Surrey NOC meeting at Ryker Cafe Dorking on Sunday 8th Sept (not the week after as it says in Roadholder...). Will you be there?

I'm busy with dealing with a family bereavement at present and trying to avoid too many plans. I'm in that close?




I haven't tried to run my Model 88 without the head steady.  Its worst vibration is through the petrol tank, at lowish revs.  Above that it's just a steady increase in vibes but does not become bad.

I live in N5, haven't made any plans that far ahead.  I know what it's like organising a family funeral, just do your best with all and take your time



Took it out and ran from Wimbledon to Ryka (where there turned out to be Brit bike gathering). Not one yard of deristricted road all that way... no issues (apart from the mad gear ratios...its like having a two speed box).

There is a buzz through the bars as the revs go up.

Biggest issue is lots of blue smoke gathering especially when waiting at lights and leaving a cloud as I pull away. I fear broken oil control ring. I can't believe valve guide issues on such a newly assembled engine. We had a few bad backfires when trying to get it started after the timing slipped. I fear I might have to take off the barrel. I don't especially want to be dismantling the most complicated top end Norton devised so soon.

Not having a speedo added a bit of stress, with all the cameras. I followed a pace bike most of the way.


Hi, David.

I had a similar issue with smoking with my 650SS after I'd had it re-sleeved back to standard and new pistons fitted. Running them in was taking ages and I was troubled with much oil getting past the rings into the combustion chambers. Some of this then collected in the silencers and when they got hotter than usual whilst stationary or slow moving in traffic the oil in them started to burn off producing great clouds of smoke whilst idling and then whilst pulling away, much to my embarrassment. I took off the silencers and washed them out with petrol and they were pretty oily in there! My eventual solution was to change pistons, as the original new ones were too heavy anyway and causing too much vibration, and the replacements bedded in much more quickly and I never had the problem again. So, I suspect your problem is similar - it's the rings not having bedded in properly yet allowing oil to get up into the combustion chamber and beyond. Like you, I doubt it's the valve guides if they've just been done. On my engine once the head was off just turning the engine over by the kickstart revealed the oil coming up past the rings. Made me wonder if I'd fitted the rings the wrong way round but they had no markings on them. If you don't want to strip the engine down how about getting one of those little flexible cameras which you can then poke down the plug hole to see what's happening? I don't have one but don't think they're too expensive, though you'd have to beware of the valves opening and closing and catching it. Or perhaps you could simply look down the plug hole with an appropriate light shining down there to see if there's any sign of oil getting where it shouldn't?

You might have to endure the smoking till you can get everything run in properly. I was lucky as my replacement pistons were fine almost from the off.


Thanks, Lance. You might have see  by now I just cross posted a specific mail!

Maybe I should try working the engine harder. I've read ( on USA sites obviously) of riders holding teaspoons of borax powder at the carb throat! (Why borax, I've no idea).

I have a cheapy inspection camera (from Lidl!). It'z not good enough to show the condition of the cylinder walls, but is good enough to show a wet oily interior.

Maybe I'll work the engine a bit harder and see if it improves. Low speed limits and road humps don't assist that idea!


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