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Old 03-17-2013, 07:28 AM   #1
Bevelheadmhr OP
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Norton/Ironhead Cafe Racer Build thread

Now I'm semi retired I spend my days drinking tea and getting bored, so I like to have at least one bike project in progress to keep me busy. Last year my current project was going ok (a Guzzi Cali3 Cafe Racer) so I was on the look out for a new project bike. I'm not a skilled mechanic or machinist, but luckily I have a couple of mates who are, who often end up digging me out of the holes I dig for myself.

This is the Guzzi (already posted on the Italian picture thread).. which hasnt made much progress since I started the Norley, but it'll get finished when I have the time and money..


I found a 79 Harley Ironhead XL1000 for sale in Wales (UK) which hadnt been used for a few years, but did have a rebuilt engine with 3000 of receipts to prove it. It had been customised and the frame raked, which meant it handled like a drunk mule, so I knew I'd be looking at a new frame or modding the original. This is the bike as it arrived home..



I bought the bike from a trade seller, as the orginal owner had died and he was selling it on behalf of the ownders widow. What I didnt know when I went for the bike is that the trader (Wynne) was the owner of workshop which made Norley frames. Having bought the bike, after a welcome cup of tea, we went to farm where his workshop is located. I was impressed with the work quality of the frames, and since I like Cafe Racers, I had the idea of building a Norley, but using the Ironhead engine which looked more appropriate than the Evo motors they usually use. Back home I thought about it for a few weeks, then ordered a frame, tank and oil tank from Wynne, then I had to wait a few weeks for the frame to be made. Here are some photos I took on my visit, along with a short video, thats Wynne giving me the guided tour..watch out for the Vincent motor at the end..

http://youtu.be/NVT_yPK_4Pg

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Old 03-17-2013, 08:59 AM   #2
Drilldogger
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Looking forward to a ironhead being put to good use!
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Old 03-17-2013, 09:27 AM   #3
Bevelheadmhr OP
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While I waited for the frame to be made, I stripped the Ironhead down, the only thing I'll be using will be the engine. In time I want to tune it a little with performance cams, ignition, carb etc, but for now I'll just make it look a bit better..


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Old 03-17-2013, 09:42 AM   #4
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A few weeks later my frame arrived, complete with slimline tank and oil tank. By now my piggy bank was empty, but I did fit a pair of YSS shocks which were built to my specs and were very good value. The frame is made from brazed T45 tubing, its very light at 26 lbs, thats about half what the standard Harley frame weighs..



Time to see if the motor fits the frame, those Ironheads are bloody heavy, but with an extra pair fo hands it went in without too much swearing..





oh, and I'll be changing those awful pushrod tubes for a new std set..

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Old 03-17-2013, 10:28 AM   #5
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New carb

The old carb had been chromed which was now flaking off, and it looked as if it had been bodged at some point. My fav carb for a Harley is the Mikuni HSR, but it looked a bit too modern for the look I was going for. Fortunately I got a good deal on a S&S super E, I only got the carb, no air filter or manifold, so I ordered a manifold and used a big old velocity stack I had to hand. I probably wont use it, but I havent found an air filter I like yet, so it can stay for now..




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Old 03-17-2013, 10:42 AM   #6
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Front end..

I was sorely tempted to fit a modern USD front end, but decided to keep the bike reasonably 'in period', though not to the extend of fitting old Brit forks and drum brakes. A friend was in the middle of updating his Honda Hornet 900, including fitting a front end from a GSXR K9, which meant the original forks were spare.. I claimed them for free, as he owed me a favour.. Then I went to see another mate, Jeff, who has a small workshop at home with a lathe and a miller, where he builds one off parts for bikes, mainly drag bikes. Jeff had a couple of unfinished Yokes made to take 43mm forks, I did a swap and snagged the pair that looked most suitable. Luckily neither had been drilled yet for risers, as I intended to use clip ons. We used a stem from an old set of Evo yokes and made it fit the billet yokes (well, Jeff did the work, while I drank tea and got in the way)..



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Old 03-17-2013, 04:18 PM   #7
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To finish the yokes, I made a pair of lock stops in stainless and mounted the Dakota electronic guages to the underside of the top yoke.There is still the idiot lights to mount, but that guage was a little too much to fit to the top yoke, so I'll find a home for it later.



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Old 03-17-2013, 04:21 PM   #8
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If shipping wouldn't be murder, I'd offer to sell you a set of Hornet 900 rims pretty cheap.
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Old 03-17-2013, 04:24 PM   #9
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Head steady

I decided to make a new head steady, as the original which came with the frame needed a bit of work to clear the tank, and I was bored...

I 'borrowed' an off cut of alloy plate from my mate Jeff, marked out the shape and line drilled it out of the alloy plate. It would have taken me hours to file and shape the edges, but Jeff took pity on me and milled the straight edges for me. That just left me to shape the corners by hand, drill some big holes in it (it is a Cafe Racer afterall) and give it a quiick polish..job done.



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Old 03-17-2013, 04:41 PM   #10
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I've never seen a brazed lug frame used in motorcycling... have I been living in a cave?
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:14 PM   #11
Bevelheadmhr OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jnich77 View Post
If shipping wouldn't be murder, I'd offer to sell you a set of Hornet 900 rims pretty cheap.
I couldve had the wheels of my mates Hornet, but I want to fit 18inch alloy rims front and back with stainless spokes.. still saving up for those, I'll be using Harley hubs, which has caused a lot of work to fit to the 20 mm Honda front wheel spindle.

BTW, here is his bike, the one my forks came off

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Old 03-17-2013, 05:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by concours View Post
I've never seen a brazed lug frame used in motorcycling... have I been living in a cave?
Yes.
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:43 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bevelheadmhr View Post
I couldve had the wheels of my mates Hornet, but I want to fit 18inch alloy rims front and back with stainless spokes.. still saving up for those, I'll be using Harley hubs, which has caused a lot of work to fit to the 20 mm Honda front wheel spindle.

BTW, here is his bike, the one my forks came off

I love the USD fork conversion, I just can;t justify spending that kind of cash...lol. I did the CBR 900/CBR F3 rim swap instead.
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:49 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by concours View Post
I've never seen a brazed lug frame used in motorcycling... have I been living in a cave?
That's how most motorcycle frames were made before electric arc welding was invented. Done correctly, brazed frames are just as strong, and are easier to repair.
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:43 PM   #15
Chad M
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A jig saw works well for cutting aluminum! That would be absolutely murder with all the drilling and filing. Interesting project that I'd consider too.
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