While looking for information about the Norvin, I came across with numbers of hybrids based on the Norton Featherbed frame that I was even not aware of. This is a little bit off-topic but I think it is interesting to share…

The Norton Manx was certainly one of the best private racing bike between 1947 and 1962 and despite only three world championship in 1951 (350 and 500 cc) and 1952 (350 cc) thanks to Geoff Duke, the Manx was also one of the most accessible racing bike for the private pilots. Consequently the frame design was used on the road models such 88 and 99 Dominator, Manxman and Atlas.

In the 50s and 60s this excellent rolling frame was an opportunity to improve significantly the performance of motorcycles with heavy or floppy frame. Triumph was one of the favorite donors and also Vincent on some extent. However, I was far to think that there was so much variation based on this famous featherbed and as a matter of fact anything can be fitted in this frame. Beyond the famous Triton and Norvin, the NorBSA were also quite well known, but have you heard about hybrids with Ariel, Velocette, Harley Davidson, Indian and much more….

Some of these one off were contemporary with the donor bike but the growing interest for Café Racer has pushed the creativity even further and perhaps too far.

Philippe Guyony © 2013

NORTON MANX | The one which inspired the mechanics The Norton Manx was built between 1947 and 1962, in 350 and 500 cc but only the latest got the Featherbed frame. This model is one of the latest 500 cc built in 1954. Look out the famous frame called Featherbed. Manufacturers like TGA propose recreations of this bike.
NORTON MANX | The one which inspired the mechanics
The Norton Manx was built between 1947 and 1962, in 350 and 500 cc but only the latest got the Featherbed frame. This model is one of the latest 500 cc built in 1954. Look out the famous frame called Featherbed. Manufacturers like TGA propose recreations of this bike.
NORVIN We have already discussed about the Norvin and the Viscount. Here is a fine example with a 1000 cc engine in a Featherbed dress.
NORVIN
We have already discussed about the Norvin and the Viscount. Here is a fine example with a 1000 cc engine in a Featherbed dress.
TRITON | Bonneville This fabulous Triton is based on a Bonneville block (650 or 750 cc) but the earliest one did use pre-unit engines (500 and 650 cc)
TRITON | Bonneville
This fabulous Triton is based on a Bonneville block (650 or 750 cc) but the earliest one did use pre-unit engines (500 and 650 cc)
TRITON | Trident At the time where the Rocket 3 and Trident were produced, Rob North and Rickman frame were more popular for the 3 pots, so there is not so much Triton of this kind. The result is however quite pleasant. Even modern Thruxton 865 cc engine are used today in the same frame.
TRITON | Trident
At the time where the Rocket 3 and Trident were produced, Rob North and Rickman frame were more popular for the 3 pots, so there is not so much Triton of this kind. The result is however quite pleasant. Even modern Thruxton 865 cc engine are used today in the same frame.
TRI2TON | The Twin Unit Triton This Triton, built by Peter Andrews, is so unusual that I really think it worth to be mentioned. It is based on two T100 pre-units blocks witch makes this bike a 1300 cc. Very well made but likely to be heavy and not so nimble.
TRI2TON | The Twin Unit Triton
This Triton, built by Peter Andrews, is so unusual that I really think it worth to be mentioned. It is based on two racing Bonneville spec 650 engines, witch makes this bike a 1300 cc. Very well made but likely to be heavy and not so nimble?
NORBSA A quite usual combination, the NorBSA is only for the aficionados of the Birmingham twin
NORBSA
A quite usual combination, the NorBSA is only for the aficionados of the Birmingham twin
MANXSUPERIOR The ManxSuperior… what’s that?  A Manx frame and a Brough Superior SS100 engine which is technically a J.A.P. engine. Not sure this one has a SS100
MANXSUPERIOR
The ManxSuperior… what’s that? A Manx frame and a Brough Superior SS100 engine which is technically a J.A.P. engine but not sure this one has SS100
NORAJS The NorAJS with AJS twin 1000 cc engine (Iron side valves)
NORAJS
The NorAJS with AJS twin 1000 cc engine (Iron side valves)
MATCHTON The Matchton with Matchless engine
MATCHTON
The Matchton with Matchless engine
NORVELO or NORCETTE The NorVelo or here NortonVelo uses Velocette. This bike has a Venom engine; not sure this was necessary as the Velo is an excellent stock sport bike but ad Anton mentions specials often happen after a crash!
NORVELO & NORCETTE
The NorVelo or here NortonVelo uses Velocette. This bike has a Venom engine; not sure this was necessary as the Velo is an excellent stock sport bike but ad Anton mentions specials often happen after a crash!
NORFIELD The Norfield with Royal Enfield engine. Here a 750 cc parallel twin Interceptor.
NORFIELD
The Norfield with Royal Enfield engine. Here a 750 cc parallel twin Interceptor.
NORIEL The Arial Square Four was a 1000 cc four cylinder built between 1931 and 1959. Considered more like a touring bike, in a Featherbed, it becomes an Esquire or a Noriel, which takes a look of a Café Racer.
NORIEL
The Arial Square Four was a 1000 cc four cylinder built between 1931 and 1959. Considered more like a touring bike, in a Featherbed, it becomes an Esquire or a Noriel, which takes a look of a Café Racer.
NORDIAN Quite a surprise to see this bike, wonder how the Chief transformed in a Cafe Racer works; belonging to Allen Goldwater.
NORDIAN
Quite a surprise to see this bike, wonder how the Chief transformed in a Cafe Racer works; belonging to Allen Goldwater.
NORLEY & HARTON Called her Norley, Harton or Harleyton, these variations exist with every single Harley engine from any period in any size, even if the Sporster seems to be the one which make more sense. In the mid-90s, Goodman tried even to come to the market with a complete motorcycle (1). Even today, you still can buy a completely finished Norley (2)
NORLEY & HARTON
Called her Norley, Harton or Harleyton, these variations exist with every single Harley engine from any period in any size, even if the Sporster seems to be the one which make more sense. In the mid-90s, Goodman tried even to come to the market with a complete motorcycle. Even today, you still can buy a completely finished Norley.
NORLEY & HARTON This Norley 1200 CR was built specially for the 75 jubilee of the Ace Cafe London.
NORLEY & HARTON
This Norley 1200 CR was built specially for the 75 jubilee of the Ace Cafe London.
NORBUELL Why not a Buell unit to make a NorBuell…
NORBUELL
Why not a Buell X1 unit to make a NorBuell… Built by John Whitby
LAVERTON Moving to the Italian mills, this 1000 Laverda becomes a Laverton.
LAVERTON
Moving to the Italian mills, this 1000 Laverda becomes a Laverton.
NORCATI A very rare Norcati with Ducati (Pantah or later 750 cc?)
NORCATI
A very rare Norcati with Ducati (Pantah or later 750 cc?)
NORILIA A Norilia, with Aprilia 1000 cc
NORILIA
A Norilia, with Aprilia 1000 cc
HEDTON Nisse Helund designed the Hedlund engine in Sweden, for sidecar racing. The first one was produced in 1975. One came third in the world championship in 1979.
HEDTON
Nisse Helund designed the Hedlund engine in Sweden, for sidecar racing. The first one was produced in 1975. One came third in the world championship in 1979.
YAMTON The Yamton, with a Yamaha 920 cc Virago engine. Article on the Virago. (front down tubes completely removed).
YAMTON
The Yamton, with a Yamaha 920 cc Virago engine.
Article on the Virago. (front down tubes completely removed).
NORDA A Norda with 750 Honda Four
NORDA
A Norda with 750 Honda Four
NEW | NORZUKI Norzuki 1100 GSX?
NORZUKI
Norzuki 1100 GSX?
NORSAKI A Norsaki with a Kawasaki 750 Mach IV engine
NORSAKI
A Norsaki with a Kawasaki 750 Mach IV engine
HUSQTON With a Husqvarna 600 cc Single engine.
HUSQTON
With a Husqvarna 600 cc Single engine.
NEW | NORIMP This is an interesting hybrid based on a car engine, the Hillman Imperial manufactured from 1963 to 1976 in UK and Autralia. The engine is a all aluminum 998 cc Straight-4 Overhead camshaft delivering up to 65 bhp. You can see there is some idea there!
NORIMP
This is an interesting hybrid based on a car engine, the Hillman Imperial manufactured from 1963 to 1976 in UK and Autralia. The engine is a all aluminum 998 cc Straight-4 Overhead camshaft delivering up to 65 bhp. You can see there is some idea there!
NEW | NORLAKE Another interesting hybrid is the use of a 500 cc Weslake in a Featherbed. This engine was widely used on grass track and sand track speedway.
NORLAKE
Another interesting hybrid is the use of a 500 cc Weslake in a Featherbed. This engine was widely used on grass track and sand track speedway.

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3 thoughts

  1. Hello, please find a picture of my bike. A Norton ES2, Mono 500cc on a Featherbed.
    Congratulation for the website, it’s amazing !!!

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