CJ Norton is now sold.
Number CJ1228 71 x 88
The CJ Norton is the baby
brother of the famous CS1: Walter Moore's 'cricket bat' motor which
appeared in both models was the beginning of Norton's 30+ year affair
with overhead cam sports and racing machines.
The 350 and 500cc bikes are very similar in style and design, with the
extra rear chain stay on the CS1 being one of the few obvious
differences between the two models.
Our CJ has an interesting
history. Some time in the 1950s it was given to well-known motoring
identity Theo Van Alkamade of Bacchus Marsh by one of his neighbours.
The bike had been raced, Theo was told. Being more of a car man, Theo
passed the bike on to the present owner, a fellow member of the Veteran
Car Club of Victoria. Pleading failing memories, neither Theo nor the
current owner can be precise about the exact date.
Because of its long history as
a 'vintage bike', it was surprising to learn that this bike is not as it
left the factory. Simon and John (
www.vintagenorton.com ) supplied
the following information:
"It is of no great importance
but the bike is a mixture. Engine number CJ1228 was originally fitted to
a CJ with standard DESL (Druid Enclosed Spring) forks and frame number
38309. Gearbox number was 159370. There is nothing to show it was
anything special - just a standard CJ dispatched through TKM (Tozer,
Kemsley and Millbourn, the export agents) to Australia on May 25, 1929.
"Frame 35375 was
originally fitted with a JE engine (350 OHV) number 1128. Again,
standard Druid forks and gearbox number 151542. This was shipped through
TKM on April 19, 1929.
"Norton did not start
delivering the CJ and JE models until April '29. There were no
production CJs or JEs sold in 1928 although they would have assembled a
couple for the Olympia show in 1928. Both CJ and JE models had identical
frames and DESL forks when in standard trim. A few CJs were supplied
fitted with Webb forks, mainly for racing (see catalogue illustration
below). A previous owner must have fitted the Webbs at some later point
in the bike's life."
So there you have it: the
bike's racing life must have been a tough one!
Not that the bike is much of a
racer these days. It has completed many thousands of miles on vintage
rallies in the hands of the present owner and has shown itself to be
completely reliable. I have ridden the machine on a number of occasions,
and can report that it is a joy to ride. The
motor starts easily and runs smoothly. The bike handles beautifully and
is amongst the most comfortable vintage machines I have ridden. The gear
change lever has been moved down to be used as a foot change and the
change is light and easy, despite the absence of a positive stop
mechanism. The intermediate gears (neutral and second) require a
delicate foot, but the technique is easily learned. Brakes are more than
As you will no doubt notice from the
photos the bike is not a likely concours winner in its current
condition, but is believed to be in excellent running order. Personally
I'd touch up of the paint and tidy up the handle bar
controls. But I'm a patina man. For the perfectionist restorer there is
scope to bring the bike up to catalogue specification; for riders here
is a vintage motorcycle ready to delight on country roads. Looking for a
vintage racer? Perhaps best look elsewhere...
My favourite bike
from the collection.
for more info on the CJ? Try
Details of the
Expression of Interest process
The images below show the motorcycle in its present
condition. Click on an image below for a high resolution view - return to this page with
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