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British Iron

Trojan441 May 22, 2020

  1. Trojan441

    Trojan441 Well-Known Member

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    A history lesson for me in the making:
    Well Guys, i hope you are all okay and surviving these strange and concerning times. Things are really crazy here between people swaddled in protective gear and people usually male, walking round in shorts n' trainers. Not really seeing anyone for ten weeks is driving me stir crazy, but...
    So, I started on my Norton Dominator 99, the frame was power coated black and I didn't like the finish so I stripped it off by hand 4 to 5 days with burning chemical paint stripper and the usual sharp implements, 99% off , with probably have to use a small blow torch for round the steering head and gusset plate. The stripping uncovered the frame had been shop-peened, a crack in a footrest mount, (Left) and a crack in a shock mount,(Right), I would say the bike has been dropped at some point, but no major damage had ensued.

    Someone had tried to alter the Feather-bed frame stamping by trying to change the Model designation code. The bike frame belonged to a 650 SS exported to a Norton dealers in Hamburg Germany in February 1962, it has never been registered in the UK! The engine that came with it is a 99 597 cc unit at some point it had been stolen and non-Norton fake Engine Numbers had been stamped on it so I have to strip it down put it in another set of cases, with proper Norton numbers and rebuild it. The bottom end is either from a 1957-1959 unit and the cylinder head is a 2 bhp upgrade 1960 unit with horizontal fins, but pre the 1961 down-draught SS unit ! No replacement Connecting rods have been made since the 1960s!

    So it is a Puzzle and a jig-saw, I now have to think about balancing the crank new big-end shells, having the con-rods shot -penned, checking oil ways, stripping the three-start oil pump, do i convert it to Magneto from the coil ignition, going to 12 volt system from the 6 volt standard set up; as well as the usual attention to Tin-ware, plus in my boxes of bits what is missing! all this concentrates the mind and gives a good excuse for the Reaper not to come knocking on my door! Take care out here. 20200519_105248.jpg 20200519_105226.jpg 20200515_173135.jpg 20200515_173005.jpg 20200508_155110.jpg 20200508_174703.jpg 20200506_132950.jpg



    John
     
    R. J., JohnH#II and 87kawzl like this.
  2. 87kawzl

    87kawzl Supporting Member

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    That is certainly a project that will keep your mind occupied! Keep us posted for sure!
     
  3. R. J.

    R. J. Supporting Member

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    :hello: Nice project. :notworthy:. Growing up in the 70s I had a few friends that had Norton 750 Commandos.
     
  4. Trojan441

    Trojan441 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I will, everything is so different from working on Japanese machines, you can almost feel and Agricultural industrial heritage from the beginnings of the "Industrial Revolution" . Designed in the late 40's by Bert Hopwood and launched in 1949 it lasted for almost 30 years ending up as the 823 cc Commando, having to be isolated Isolastically to stop it shaking you to bits. first 497 cc, then 1956 update 597 cc, then 1960 646 cc Manxman Stateside and 1962 Dominator 650 SS here, with an engine redesign crankcase changes so more power and speed, 1962 also the Atlas 745 cc unit and finally the Mercury 646 cc.

    All except the Commando was housed in Feather-bed frame, which was developed in the late 40s to race round the Isle of Man and the very first "Modern" frame design, modified from the 1950 Wide-line to the Slim-line in 1960, my frame is the sweeter handling 1962 Slim-line from the 650 SS a good 650SS could reach almost 120 mph prone! The 650SS was the one raced in production races and developed for the Domiracer. I think it was 1961 Tom Phyllis was the first to lap the Isle of Man Mountain course 37 3/4 miles long at over 100 mph on a pushrod twin cylinder motorcycle, they though the engine was putting out around 50 bhp, but tested on a dyno' after the race it produced 58 bhp @ 7,480 rpm. On a lightweight stripped down motorcycle 30 bhp will take you over 100 mph!

    The USA styled 650 cc Manxman is now sought after having been ignored for a long time and the single carb Mercury is the last in the line of the original Norton pedigree and supposed to be a lovely mount!

    The Commando is a much more "modern" concept and has relatively poor handling for a British machine when set against any Feather-bed modesl, so Norton owners are very divided Feather-bed or Isolatic frame and "never the twain shall meet"! Many purists wouldn't give the Commando garage space!

    When I work on Kawasaki's I feel the influence and thoughts of a second "Industrial" New Age and the product is produced from new techniques and ideas, I have had and still own bikes from Britain, Germany and Japan, but never owned any from Italy or the USA, yet!



    John

    Screenshot at 2020-05-23 11:02:43.png
     
    R. J. likes this.

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