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My Norton Electra


Hello, my dad gave me this bike about 20 years ago and it was in pretty good running condition. I recently moved and exhumed it from the damp shed where it sat for 20 years gently rusting. I would like to find someone who could strip and check the engine before rebuilding it and upgrading the starter. I will do the other cosmetic work myself. Any suggestions gratefully received. Thanks


There is no need or way to upgrade the starter on the electra, it is a very willing motor. You need to get some decent amphrs into the battery. And the mechanics of the sprag needs to be kept in good order. The starter solenoid also seems to go on forever. The Lucas regulator box mounted on the rear mudguard seems to on for ever also but it does not fully control the battery voltage-too much or too little is the result, So a reg rect will be in order in this department. The Electronic ignition is also a must. Everything else needs sorting as you go.



Hi Nick,

I'm guessing you are fairly new to the NOC. So - welcome.

If the bike has stood for 20 years condensation could have degraded the internals of the engine.This is very common and well known to owners who bring old Brit bikes back to life.

Some are incredibly lucky and just change the engine and gearbox oils, put on a new battery, and kick it into life. No guarantee at all on future reliability.

At the other extreme, if you want a reasonable chance of trouble free motoring, you may have to replace rust pitted cams, corroded main bearings, and piston rings as a minimum. Soon the costs add up as you add new gaskets, new oil seals, and decide to replace primary chain and tensioner, worn valve guides. Possibly regrind required on crankshaft journals, new shells, and clean out the crankshaft sludge trap.

You can quickly rack up £672 on parts as this recent rebuild, on attached spreadsheet, done 2019 shows. Check the items. Boyer and 12v rec/reg as recommended by Al Osborn. No new piston rings. If you want a rebore and new pistons then add another £250. You will need new tyres and these are included in the spreadsheet.

There are restorers, like Robin James, who will take on anything, but few will take on a Norton Lightweight. Is that what you had in mind?

In the NOC there are some very capable types who have amassed the special tools needed for a Lightweight engine strip down. Are you thinking one of these will do it for you? 

My recommendation would be that (if you are in UK) you contact your nearest branch, speak to the branch secretary, and see if you can be put in touch with a Branch member who knows Lightweights.

Or try Andy Sochanik, NOC Lightweight specialist, contact details in Roadholder, for advice.

It can be done.


Thanks so much for that, I assumed that the starter would not be great as I remember many years ago on my new Commando that it wouldn't start on the starter very well. 

Hi Peter 

Thanks for you very comprehensive reply. I have checked the engine spins freely and I will see if |I can get some fuel in and try to start it. Oil is clean but I will change it. I currently have two 6v batteries in series so I expect a high capacity 12v battery would be a better bet in the side panel. What spec of battery would you recommend? 

I will post a couple of before pics soon. 


thanks for the welcome, I used to ride a combat Commando and an Mk3 in my younger days but have been on a Suzuki for the last 5 years. Maybe I will get another Commando some day





Nick Gould 



The Electra has two 6 volt batteries in series. 6N11A-3A is the type that has terminals and drain tubes to suit.

Google will throw some ideas for suppliers.

To change to a single battery requires all the heavy duty cabling is re-jigged. Do you want to do it?

Any fully charged Car/motorcycle 12 volt battery in good condition could be fixed temporarily to the bike while you try to kick start it for the first time. Good luck ….Peter

PS  Don't forget the Norton Electra is POSITIVE earth.


hello Well, I am in east Yorkshire And In the processes of restoring a 1961 Navigator standard, And at the moment I have an engine in bits  and will soon be buying a set of main bearings and shells from our club priced at 103-pound notes  but why is their VAT on the postage as they added everything up including the postage and then added VAT on the lot So members are paying vat on postage   Now Last time I had a Crankshaft regrind cost me 30 quid at Arnets engineering  Doncaster  and that was two year ago, back to the Navigator well I have checked my crank is OK only needs a new set of shell and two new main bearings  I have clean the cases and on other to other parts  the gearbox is still in one peace and looks good some fitted new bearing in there and not that long ago  the bores are fine so are the pistons and rings  but the cylinder heads will need a strip down and a check over and the seat recut and reground in and a light bit  of gas flowing  the exports need opening up a bit the let the gases flow better, and I have the roadholder fork stripped down and it need new stantion and a seal kit and a good clean the leg bottoms are on the Lathe for cleaning  up  I did try the stantion On the Lathe and got them some what clean but they have some pitting  and its deep in places witch will not grided out  next is the frame for a good clean stating with my presserwasher  to get the heavy crap off  and then try strighten the foot rest bar the other problem we have is the petorl tank as 3 of its screw broken off for the tank badges  and there some dings to get out too So I do have some tooling for this with my set of left handed drills and my mini gas welder  witch will come in handy for these jobs  after cleaning it to the painting stage witch I now have all the paint in hand and the gravity feed mini paint guns  these work at 40 o 60 psi  so I have make a paint tent and set up an extractor though a filter bed we do not want cellie to the open air So if some one ned a elecrta sorting just bring in down and I will sort what you need doing I wiil mark all your bits so we do not get mixed up  I restored many bikes in my time  two heavy twins  and many BSA C15s and B40s and Honda CB 500 fours and Suzuki 550gt at one time and I still have a frame forks wheels and other parts for Suzuki 550GTs So  I have the skills and know how and well tooled up to do the job  ,PS i would forget that horred electronic igntion  and replace the lot as the wipac altenators wear out rather quick so If I was you I go electrexworld   STK102D  KIT  Fiit it and forget it,  and No need for a battery  its replace with a power capassitor  only cost 13,99                     Yours  Anna J 



Ignore previous drivel-not relevant to this post about Electra. What battery? well the biggest Ahr you can get on board. I do not recommend 2X6V but as big a 12V as you can fit. I removed the original Lucas regulator mounted on the rear mudguard and used the area to mount a 12V battery.. The other point to note that Electra starting on the electric starter is a totally different 'bucket of worms' to the Commando, The latter with its high compression and cc (relative) was always a struggle the Electra is 7.5:1 with a following wind. Pete H-rehashing the high current cables around the battery is not an issue.


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