Norton/Ironhead Cafe Racer Build thread

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by Bevelheadmhr, Mar 17, 2013.

  1. Bevelheadmhr

    Bevelheadmhr Been here awhile

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    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..
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    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..

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    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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    #1
  2. Drilldogger

    Drilldogger Been here awhile

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    between the Smoke & Muskoka
    Looking forward to a ironhead being put to good use!
    #2
  3. Bevelheadmhr

    Bevelheadmhr Been here awhile

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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..

    Attached Files:

    #3
  4. Bevelheadmhr

    Bevelheadmhr Been here awhile

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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..



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

    Attached Files:

    #4
  5. Bevelheadmhr

    Bevelheadmhr Been here awhile

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    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..

    Attached Files:

    #5
  6. Bevelheadmhr

    Bevelheadmhr Been here awhile

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    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)..

    Attached Files:

    #6
  7. Bevelheadmhr

    Bevelheadmhr Been here awhile

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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.

    Attached Files:

    #7
  8. Jnich77

    Jnich77 Been here awhile

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    If shipping wouldn't be murder, I'd offer to sell you a set of Hornet 900 rims pretty cheap.
    #8
  9. Bevelheadmhr

    Bevelheadmhr Been here awhile

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    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 :D afterall) and give it a quiick polish..job done.

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    Attached Files:

    #9
  10. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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    I've never seen a brazed lug frame used in motorcycling... have I been living in a cave? :1drink:eek1
    #10
  11. Bevelheadmhr

    Bevelheadmhr Been here awhile

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    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

    Attached Files:

    #11
  12. robtg

    robtg Been here awhile

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    Yes. :D
    #12
  13. Jnich77

    Jnich77 Been here awhile

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    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.
    #13
  14. k-moe

    k-moe Long timer

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    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.
    #14
  15. Chad M

    Chad M Been here awhile

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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.
    #15
  16. Bevelheadmhr

    Bevelheadmhr Been here awhile

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    About ten years ago I was given a box of spares from someone who'd built an Yam XJR turbo streetfighter. I put them away and forgot them, until recently. Most of the parts were junk, except for a mismatched set of rearset components by the german company LSL. I was surprised to find I could make up a complete setup, although I'd have a make a few spacers here and there. The rearests were only a couple of mm out compared to the frame mounts, so with a bit of drilling, I could use them on the Norley.

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    I decided to remove the mismatched anodising from the levers and polish them instead. I'd read somewhere that the anodising could be removed easily using caustic soda, so I tried a little chemistry experiment..


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    After half an hour, the anodising was gone, just needed to polish the levers now...

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    To make a new gearshift linkage, I reused the original splined lever, but turned it upside down and cut the end off..
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    uploading pictures

    I bent and threaded a stainless bar and used a clevis joint at one end and a rose joint at the other. I drilled the splined lever and bolted a simple alloy triangle to it, which in turn was drilled to take the clevis joint. IT seems to work ok, and if not I can always changed the shape of the 'triangle' to give a different lever ratio. The rear sets are really far back, which means the link rod is long, not ideal, but this is the MK1 version, I may make a better looking MK2 version whn I know it works ok.
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    picture uploading

    On the brake side, I used a secondhand Brembo master cylinder from a Ducati, made a new mount and machined a new pushrod from a stainless bolt. I need to see how it all works in practice, but I'm quite pleased with how it looks, and they cost me nothing, which is a big plus..

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    #16
  17. Bevelheadmhr

    Bevelheadmhr Been here awhile

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    I didnt have a jig saw, but I did have a piller drill, so thats what I used, it wasnt too bad, it didnt take that long really.
    #17
  18. Bevelheadmhr

    Bevelheadmhr Been here awhile

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    Coming up to date, I recently bought a pair of new Harley Hubs, twin disc for the front. The rear was from a later model with one inch spindle, but a new set of 3/4 inch bearings sorted that out. The front hub needed more work.

    I couldnt find a source of a suitable wheel bearings that would fit the hub and the 20mm Honda spindle. It took five hours of machining to make an old 3/4 HD spindle fit the Honda forks. Another potential problem is having enough clearance between the calipers and the front wheel (when its built), as it looks as if the spokes may hit the inside of the calipers. I'm going to build the wheels up using Morad 18 inch alloy rims and stainless spokes, I intend to lace them myself, which I havent done before, so should be interesting!

    Attached Files:

    #18
  19. Bevelheadmhr

    Bevelheadmhr Been here awhile

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    This is as far as I've got at the moment.. Hopefully I can order the alloy rims and spokes soon, and once the wheels are on, I can work out where to mount the oil tank, find some discs, a rear caliper and make a mount for it. I may change from the Honda Nissin calipers which came with the forks, to a set of gold Brembos, no real reason other than I think they look better. I havent decided yet whether to paint the tank or leave it polished, or whether to powdercoat the frame gloss black or clear coat it to show off all that lovely brazing. Ditto for the exhaust, current favourite is to go for a XR750 style high level twin megaphone in stainless or even Ti if I can afford it...decisions, decisions..

    Attached Files:

    #19
  20. norton73

    norton73 drinkin'

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    :lurk

    Now I know what to do with that XLH motor I've got kicking around the garage.
    #20