There were plenty of amazing Cafe Racers to drool over at this years Melbourne Mods vs Rockers ride but one stand out for me was this 1972 Norton combat.Owner Richard a hair dresser of 35 years bought the Norton in reasonable condition as a US import then over the past six years he’s transformed it in to what you see here today. Starting out with what Richard calls a “limited knowledge of motorcycles” he has built a show quality Cafe Racer that was the envy of many rockers in attendance that day.
When Norton released the Combat engine in the early seventies it was plagued with performance issues and as a result some very bad press. Issues with the breather and main bearing lead to some unfortunate failures which have been attributed to the downfall of Norton motorcycles (amongst other things). Thanks to some modern engineering though this Combat won’t be suffering from any of it’s engines inherited issues.
Upgrades to the engine and running gear include an X ring conversion, Norvil belt drive, oil tank modification, ventilated primary case and the much needed engine breather modification from Colorado Norton Works.
Bolt on performance upgrades to the Norton include a set of 35mm FCR Keihins carbs and a big bore 1 5/8 exhaust system from Viking exhausts in New Zealand. Internally things have been improved with close ratio gears, a 64% balanced and polished crank which is now 3 lbs lighter, Lightened valve train, black diamond big bore valves, ported and polished head to match intake manifold, forged JE pistons, Trispark electronic ignition and MK3 Vernier isos upgrade (stainless).
To get the bike looking as good as it performs a hand formed aluminium spirit tank from the UK was fitted along with stainless bolts and nuts all round, polished side covers and fenders, braided brake and oil lines, stainless spokes and a custom made leather seat.
The Norton looks outstanding in its current state but as with many custom builds there’s still more to do with a Brembo brake upgrade at the top of the list.