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I know wood - you know mechanics


Hello, hope you all are well.

Would like shortly introduce myself as a new member. I live in Sweden and I'm trained as a wooden boat builder/restorer at International Yacht Restoration School in Newport. RI, USA in 2012. Since then, gained experience working at wooden boat shops in Cornwall, Iceland, Norway and now, since 2017 in Sweden.   

Just recently bought a Norton ES2 1953 as a barn find. Bike is not original as you can see from the photos. It was modified as a chopper back in 70's as I found out from old tech inspection records.

After talking with numerous mechanic shops I realized that I can't afford to recommission the bike. I came with an "odd" idea to offer a oldschool trade. 

"I know wood - you know mechanics"  

If there is experienced mechanic who is specializing in ES2 and also has a passion for classic boats and wishes his wooden boat to be restored.  I'm offering skill exchange...equivalent to the work cost.  I know, that for most folks this will sound silly...but I can see the opportunity, both parts to benefit from this.

I know a very affordable shipping company who would transport an insured (for example a bike) from Sweden to UK and vice versa, for about £600. Of course, boat would cost more (depends on the size) but still would be on the "budget" manner. I would find the cost and would arrange.  To be specific...Boat type and size, should be trailable to fit in enclosed trailer. 

Well, hope you not going to judge me for being a "dreamer" or naive.  Either way its a cheer up introduction. I'm sure I will enjoy a valuable info on Norton Owners Club.

Thanks for reading and hope there is another dreamer like me.




Hi Mack - and welcome!

i love wooden boats too, but sadly don’t have one to restore! If you want to restore it I think your biggest challenge will be finding the tinware, mudguards, oil tank petrol tank etc, if you are not too fussy about exact originality then it wouldn’t be a difficult job. Or are you hoping to recommission it as it is - that would be much easier. 

What are your hopes for the bike - oily rag chopper, smart custom or restore back to original? 

Ive put your pics below for ease of looking!  ........ just noticed your front brake, nice!i



Chop 2


Hello Dan,

Thank you!

No, I'm not aiming to restore it to original classic. It would make no sense. If the bike would be a very crusty original bike, then definitely would be appropriate to go this direction. 

My hopes for the bike is more like a non oily rag chopper... if I can describe this way. Just reliable and good running bike.








Hi Mack

with the skills and attention to detail required for your wooden boat restorations I don,t know why you don,t attempt the bike rebuild yourself. The costs wouldn,t be very different as parts still need to be bought and the Easy Rider ES2 would be a great first project to learn and acquire basic mechanical and electrical skills

A couple of mates who are long term bikers but don,t have engineering backgrounds are rebuilding Japanese four cylinder bikes, one bike standard the other a cafe racer.  We give them advice as required but a good manual, the internet and owners clubs have resulted in very good results including paintwork. I,ll be showing one how to synchronize and colortune the carbs next week as the bike gets ready for regular road use

I have a classic small wooden boat resto ready to start. It.s a 1960 Twinkle Twelve dinghy, mahogany over oak clinker built powered by a 1970 Seagull Silver Century Plus outboard. I completely rebuilt the Seagull, which has an Amal carb and choke lever for a throttle. The boat I,ll finish according to US restorer Rebecca Wittmans beautiful book, Brightwork, the Art of Finishing Wood. Further info I got from visits to the annual Thames Traditional Boat Show. There are open workshops but mainly many similar boats and owners who freely offer advice. 


I restored an early enterprise dinghy a few years ago I think it was number 43, originally built in the 50’s.  I also had a couple of Seaguls, almost indestructible but are noisy and shake your fillings out! They used to race them too! 

I think your plan is best - if you want to have a go yourself there’s a very good video the club sells on rebuilding the gearbox which really is very straightforward. 

I think there is one for the motor And wheels and forks too.

What spares the club doesn’t have RGM, Norvil and Andover Norton usually sell.  Dan   




Your forks look like they're from a Matchless/AJS, about late 1950's.  Spares should be OK for these.  I've never seen a Triumph front brake fitted to these forks before, but reputably a very good twin leading brake.

Good luck with this project.

Dan and Mack

the £600 freight costs would be saved straight away which could buy alot of bits and pieces. We both know he has the skills to do it if he restored boats, just trying to convince him. I think it,s a unique quirky little special, with history and a place in time. Well worth restoring as it is

Haven,t seen an Enterprise but I imagine it,s similar to mine. Yet to run the Seagull but modified the head to use modern 14mm sparkplugs. Like the Commando, classic British design, worldwide following, big community and many parts still available


Seagulls..... sorry to hijack the thread! ....not a ball bearing in it as I recall!  can’t remember what plug mine used I think it might have had an adaptor, but I did get a jet kit so it could run on 20:1 instead of 10:1! I tried rubber mounting mine but it still shook the boat ! 

The enterprise was like the mirror in that it was sponsored by a daily newspaper, it was a double chine plywood and mahogany boat with big sails and no spinacre. A bit like an early GP 14.

Anyway i agree, Mack I think you should give it a go!  Take loss of photos as you go, label everything and keep it clean, and you should be able to do most of it yourself. 



Yes, good to think outside the box, the most knowledge and expertise is around the engine, the rest is just bigger "Mecanno" skills.

Singles are the simplest motors about, can anyone test the motor for you, compression test, does thet run?

The forks are Matchless Teledraulics, copied and refined from BMW telescopic forks, courtesy of Jock West, late 30s, helped during the war, despatch rider duties; as are the fork yokes as Phil identified. Spare parts can be got from Russell Motors London.  My suggestion would be to take the engine and gearbox out, and see whether anyone has a more suitable proprietary frame, for a Norton single. Once you have found a more suitable frame, sell the Chopper frame to some Custom builder, look at the frame has it got Identification on it, if it's a "Uncle Bunt" or a known maker, it could be worth more than you think!

Someone, somewhere must have a spare Norton single frame within the NOC Membership, that they are never/ever going to use!

What about Norton Owners in Sweden?

Put an advert in the paper asking if anyone retired, is mechanically minded. The only daunting bit is measuring wear and tear from an engineering perspective, but the motor may be sound, long distance on Choppers generally doesn't happen, except in Cult American films!


I have just looked on Ebay for frame prices, got to be some old frames around!





Hello Neill, I totally agree with you that this would be a great project but I don't believe that I can do correctly and have a strong running bike. Engine, gear work requires knowledge and skills that can be developed over the years of working professionally in mechanical/engineering field. Also, requires spec tools, machinery too. The same in wood and finish achieve high end result it takes loads of practice to get in to a muscle memory.  In my believe, we all can do more or less anything but will it be good results...I would say no. That's is the reason we have professions.  I guess, best is to send a engine and gear box to professional and rest to do by myself with a grateful advice from you guys.     

Hello John, thank you for all suggestions.  I follow what you say. Actually I don't want to change the frame...I like how the bike is and I'm not thinking to restore it to original classic.  Norton Owners club in Sweden haven't responded and haven't accept my request to join the group yet...




Could you guys recommend a suitable literature for these ES2 bikes. Especially part list book or catalog. I can't find one for 1953...all is for earlier or latter models.

Also, where is best to look for a wrench key sets and spec tools?

For example, I was removing magdyno the other day (since it doesn't  give a spark. (it shows a tinny barely noticeable spark on the contacts but non on the sparkplug). I removed carefully withhought special sprocket extractor (all came just fine).




Hi Mack,

You could do worse than looking in the NOC shop. (4th tab along under the banner). The single cylinder section has some parts, parts lists and some tools.

Otherwise a google search will also bring up suppliers of spanners and sockets. I can suggest as a minimum you get a set of Whitworth spanners - these can be used on BSF, BSCY and BSW nuts and bolts which proliferate on the bike. The sizes are NOT the same as the more popular AF sized spanners. A set of 3/8" drive sockets and or some box/tube spanners will also be very useful. Laser are ok at the cheaper end of the scale, Britool are excellent, but can be pricy. I have a mix - the ones that are used a lot,(3/16", 1/4", 5/16") I have Britool, but have the cheaper ones for the less regular sizes.

I'm sure Sweden has its fair share of old bike specialists and vehicle restorers - I believe Mikael Ridderstad, who often posts on here, resides there and may be able to advise you better, so it may be worth contacting him. Otherwise, widen the search to include different makes - Triumph & BSA owners will know the good places.

I do hope that you can get the assistance you need.



PS: I think you are 100% right to keep it as a 'chop'. It isn't too extreme, and it shows you like the less serious side of the bike world. 




Your brake unit is either a 7" BSA/ Triumph 250cc Star Fire Barracuda one or an 8" unit from a 500/650/750 Twin and Triple, Thunderbolt/Lightning/Bonneville/Tiger/ Rocket Three unit. The activation lever on those bikes is parallel to the road. But your brake installation is set at an angle to  perhaps miss the Teledraulic forks!


The torque stop was on the BSA forks  and fitted into a recess on the BSA  TLS brake plate.




That brakeplate install looks good to me, the 68 suffered from a long loopy cable that caught under the mudguard. Your install removed that issue, torque arm is under compression as required. Only check I would do is the thickness of the torque arm as the brake is good but can be grabby first application so the torque arm needs to be able to cope with that.


The only problem is the Air-scoop not being parallel to the road is angle down towards the road and rain and debris will enter more easily!


I ran a BSA for 10 years on a brake like that with no problems or "oh! shit" moments!








Books like these are excellent and have tons more of valid information. More so than the often empty skimpy manuals of today!

Norton Motor cycles; Edgar Franks 1949-1952, My Edition C. A. Pearson Publications;

The Book of Norton; W.C. Haycraft, 1942-1948, Sir Isaac Pitman;

Norton Motor Cycles; P.L.Garratt, 1949-1962, C.A. Pearson;

The Motor Cyclist's Workshop,  1932-1954, Torrens, lIiffe &  Sons ;

Motorcycle Overhaul, W.C. Haycraft, 1930-1952, Sir Isaac Pitman;

All the books are 7 1/2   by 5 inches, (190 x 125 mm) I have paid between £4:50 to £10:00 for them;

The newer Manuals are useful for bigger diagrams, usually have not got much dialogue in them though and often lack the shed mechanic's touch! For general stuff Torren's book, pictured is excellent!





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