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New to me ES2

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New to me ES2

Posted by kip_kyler at November 13. 2018

This bike has adopted me to be its caretaker for the next few decades (I hope). My plans are to get it into excellent running condition and enjoy it until a new caretaker is needed. Please have a look and let me know what you experts think. I believe it to be very original. The story is that a US service man brought it back to the US when it was new when he returned from service. Is there a way to tell where this bike originated from? The numbers from the frame and motor match. The N4 and serial number lead me to believe that it is a 1958 ES2 – although it is titled as a ’59. I have not been able to find another picture of a seat that matches this one (white boarder on the bottom). Is that original? I may need another seat as that one is very dry and starting to develop cracks. I have ridden the bike a few years ago but feel the need to go through everything now that it has come home with me. It has been rebuilt at least once as I have the original connecting rod and other bits that came with the bike. Are those saddle bags original Norton options?  I do not want a complete disassemble or a perfect restoration – it has earned its colors at over 46K miles. The plan is to go through it one section at a time to get it back to ridable condition. I would love to hear your suggestions on where to start. Tank and carb? Brakes and tires? This will be a new adventure for me as my other bikes are American (please don’t hate).

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Re: New to me ES2

Posted by robert_tuck at November 13. 2018

Looks perfect,  and I can tell from your first four words that you are the right person for this bike to own. Yes the bike will own you. Its likely to have wet sumped ,the carb pilot  jet filter and float chamber may need a clean,(but may also be just fine,Try it first). The tank may have a bit of sediment from dried out fuel . The oil levels may need a check ,particularly the primary which usually (but not always) will slowly drip a little (not worth any worry). The battery may need changing (always fit a breather and direct to below the bike to avoid acid damage to the chrome).It will start without a battery but the  charge system needs one. Use only thin basic 20 oil in the primary and not much of that. The clutch plates will have stuck together but can usually be freed off with the kickstart .Its likely to be positive earth unlike modern stuff, but may have been changed.The motor with its roller and ball bearings will be happy on a 40 or 50 oil,changed regularly as there is no real filter. Enjoy the journey into a different time and pace.

Re: New to me ES2

Posted by Mikael Ridderstad at November 13. 2018

Some think that original is how the bike was when it left the factory. Not easy to tell as the factory made bikes for the home market and and export models. Paint and chrome are the most obvious differencies. Not really shure but handlebars could be as fitted by Norton on bikes exported to the US. Some other (including me) think that period add-ons are OK. I believe the crash bar could be period. I think panniers never was fitted on the factory, except on police and military motorcycles. Uncertain, but  they could be US-made. Hopefully someone can tell. Mirrors is another question. Nowadays, most countries request them even on old bikes. Yours don't look too modern. Even if not legally required, it is a useful addition in modern traffic and regarding visability limitations in modern helmets. The Monoblock carb you have is correct for a ES2 from -55 onwards. The -59 ES2 had featherbed frame, so you are right about -58.

Nice looking bike, hope you'll get it running giving you many pleasant miles.

Re: New to me ES2

Posted by ian_soady at November 13. 2018

Looks very nice. The colour scheme is of course non-standard but is in good condition so I would leave it. Panniers are after market and to my eye don't quite match the bike. I would definitely change tyres and those plastic oil pipes which always go brittle and split. And given the length of time it's stood change all oils. As said, the crankcase will probably be full of oil so will need draining as well as the oil tank.

I'm sure you'll enjoy the bike.

Re: New to me ES2

Posted by christopher_shepperd at November 13. 2018

Looks quite like mine (1957 ES2) but with the white bits and crash bars added.  Yours is tidier too but mine is used as and when I feel like it and no need to send in an application form in triplicate before riding.  The starting procedure on mine (they're all different) is: Set advance lever to about half of its travel.  Fuel on and give the tickler only a few prods.  Push kickstart to compression.  Pull decompressor and push kickstart a fraction past compression and release kickstart.  Release decompressor.  Give kickstart a long, steady push.  Don't try to go too fast and it should now be running.  Move advance lever to fully advanced and you're ready to go.  It sounds a lot more complicated than it is in reality.  Good luck and let us know how you get on with a British thumper in the USA.  Cheers................Chris

Re: New to me ES2

Posted by christopher_shepperd at November 13. 2018

Oh, I forgot to say in the starting procedure, hold the twist grip so that you're only giving the motor a tiny bit of throttle.

Re: New to me ES2

Posted by Richard Tool at November 13. 2018

Hi Kip - Very nice bike you have there . I have a 1950 ES 2 which I have been through every piece of during a complete restoration. I am in the USA and can give you my contact info via private message if you wish . If I can be of any help let me know .

Wishing you many safe miles  - Richard

Re: New to me ES2

Posted by Dan Field at November 13. 2018

The club have the factory records and should be able to give you some history.

Re: New to me ES2

Posted by George Phillips at November 13. 2018

Do you not need any choke (air lever) , Chris?

Re: New to me ES2

Posted by kip_kyler at November 14. 2018

Previously George Phillips wrote:

Do you not need any choke (air lever) , Chris?

Yes, I have the air lever on the throttle (right) side. The spark advance and comp release are on the clutch (left) side. Maybe it does not show well in the pics.

Re: New to me ES2

Posted by robert_tuck at November 14. 2018

Your kickstart is set back, probably to suit someone with a bad back who can not get his leg up  (like me!) , if its an easy starter it won't be a problem,otherwise you are losing some of the action.

Re: New to me ES2

Posted by George Phillips at November 14. 2018

No - I meant that you didn't mention any air lever usage in your starting procedure, Kip. Mine won't start when cold without the a/lever being closed.

George

Re: New to me ES2

Posted by christopher_shepperd at November 14. 2018

When I bought it, it didn't have an air lever/choke fitted.  I have never missed it, not even on a bitterly cold day.  As I said, they're all different.

Re: New to me ES2

Posted by kip_kyler at November 14. 2018

Previously robert_tuck wrote:

Your kickstart is set back, probably to suit someone with a bad back who can not get his leg up  (like me!) , if its an easy starter it won't be a problem,otherwise you are losing some of the action.

 

Good catch. Thank you sir. It will be fixed promptly!

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