NORTON CAFE RACER s
The Norton Cafe Racer is the quintessential type. One of the first cafe racers was the Norton Manx. Norton Motorcycles were one of the few major manufacturers to truly recognize & embrace the Cafe Racer theme. They capitalized on it with several excellent factory-specials.
Once the Norton Manx was put into a proper Featherbed frame in 1949, it became an incredible street machine & was instantly transformed into a winning GP bike & the average Joe was replicating them on the street. When the Norton Dominator 88 500cc twin came out in 1952, it had the Featherbed. This frame carried virtually every heavy bike Norton built, right up through the 750cc 1966 Norton Atlas, when it was by the Commando & an all new frame.
The Norton Commando came out in 1967 & it introduced an entirely new type of frame. Norton's patented Isolastic Suspension mounted the swingarm pivot to the back of the engine, then rubber mounted the whole thing in the frame, as a means of isolating the rider from vibration. It worked & it transformed the big vertical twin into the world's first superbike.
The Norton Commando enjoyed great success in racing & several street models were introduced to capitalize on it, with a number of factory-specials like the Norton John Player Special & the Norton Production Racer. All make great Cafe Racers, Norton Cafe Racers.
1975 Norton Production Racer
The Norton Production Racer began in 1971 with a special high-compression Norton Commando 750 engine. The series ran until Norton Motorcycles fizzled out in 1975. Gorgeous motorcycles.
1974 Norton John Player Special
Norton teamed up with John Player Special cigarettes & went racing. After Peter Williams achieved a stunning Formula 750 victory at the Isle of Man in 1973 on Team Norton's John Player Special, the company scrambled to create a road version of its famous racer to sell to the public. Clearly a case of "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday".
1966 Norton Atlas 750 Cafe Racer
Period-correct 60s-style Norton Cafe Racer. 1966 was the last year for the Norton Atlas & for the famous & long-running Norton Featherbed Frame that had been born in the late 1940s & served Norton Motorcycles so well, earning it the reputation as the best-handling motorcycles in the world! The Norton Commando was introduced in 1967 & the Featherbed was replaced by the Commando's Isolastic Suspension.
1972 Norton Commando Cafe Racer
This 1972 Norton Production Racer is the epitome of a Cafe Racer: fast, sexy, hunkered-down & street legal. These bikes have beautiful lines. But then, what Norton doesn't (well...the High Rider was pretty ugly!)? There's some about yellow bikes that really turn me on.
1972 Norton Production Racer
This delicious 1972 Norton Production Racer (technically a replica, made from a standard Norton Commando) has a polished aluminum alloy tank & side covers, while the fiberglass seat & fairing are painted silver to match. Polished aluminum is an especially attractive finish & a personal favorite of mine.
1963 Triton Cafe Racer
The Triton is a cross-breed or hybrid, created with you put a Triumph (the "TRI"-part) engine in a Norton (the "TON" part). Of course, these weren't factory-built bikes. Many were built by fabricators in private shops, some were cobbled together in garages. This is a prime example & very nicely done. The 1963 Triumph Bonneville 650 engine fits nicely with custom-made alloy mounting plates. But, is it a Norton Cafe Racer?
1950 Norvin Cafe Racer
Norton Cafe Racer meets Vincent V-twin. The Norvin is what you get when you cross a NORton frame (Norton Featherbed Frame to be exact) with a VINcent engine (in this case a 1000cc Vincent Black Shadow V-twin. It's a beautiful installation all around. You can see that the engine had to be tipped back slightly to make it fit. Wonderful machine!
Check out these NORTON BOOKS:
NORTON COMMANDO, COMPLETE STORY
ESSENTIAL BUYERS GUIDE - NORTON COMMANDO
NORTON COMMANDO: ULTIMATE PORTFOLIO
NORTON MOTORCYCLES FACTORY WORKSHOP MANUAL 1957-70
THE MANX NORTON
THE BOOK OF NORTON DOMINATOR TWINS
NORTON DOMINATOR PERFORMANCE PORTFOLIO
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Norton Cafe Racer