Ed Norton Commando Cafe Racer

It’s not often a well known custom builder sends me photos of his living room, but seeing as these particular photos included Kim Boyles jaw dropping 1971 “Ed” Norton Cafe Racer I wasn’t about to complain. Back in 2006 Kim purchased the Norton Commando with the intention to build his own vision of a Cafe Racer. After a first attempt in 2007 Kim was left disappointed with the result so to make way for other projects the bike was moved to a corner of his workshop where it sat waiting its turn. Fast forward to 2012 and a phone call from the Brooklyn Invitational crew asking Kim to display a bike gave him the perfect excuse to get the Ed Norton back up on the bench…

Over the years Kim had been accumulating parts for the bike and to his surprise discovered he had most of what he needed to finish it off. Along with the boxes of parts he also had a hand formed tank, tail and front fender that Evan Wilcox built for the bike back in ’07,  hubs that had been refurbished by Colorado Norton Works and a set of custom shocks from Works Performance. Kim had also previously lowered and shaved the forks but the stance of the bike was what he disliked the most. It was too low and too long so fixing those issues would be the first challenge.

To get the bike sitting right Kim tackled the forks again and relocated the rear shock mounts, raising the frame away from the ground and leveling out the bikes stance. The seat was sent back to Evan Wilcox for some final adjustments (remember that seat you made me 5 years ago?) and good friend Kiyo (formerly Garage Co.) was given the task of bending a shorter rear loop to help tighten up the Nortons stance. With the reworked tail in place leather upholsterer extraordinaire Ginger from New Church Moto, stitched together Ed’s new saddle.

All engine and electrical work was performed by Tony from Classic Cycles which included the addition and tuning of Dual Keihin flat slides with custom turned velocity stacks by the guys at Prism Motorcycle Co. The frame underwent another cleanup to remove everything but the essentials and along with the rims was powder-coated in classic black. The triple clamps are the work of Martin from Minnovation Racing while the rear sets and mounting hardware are all Kim’s handy work.

With only weeks left till the show Kim decided to build a high 2-into-1 system which he thermo coated black to match the frame and to ensure Evan’s tank and seat got the attention they deserved. Finally small touches like the heat shield on the pipe and discreet cable routing was done and the Ed Norton was complete, just in time to pack it all up and head to the Brooklyn Invitational. Now that the show’s over Kim’s clocking up plenty of miles on Ed which is exactly what we like to hear.

To see more of Kim’s great work follow his BCM Blog.
Extra imagery (last 2) by Jose Gallina for Iron & Air.