After nearly 10 years with my beloved 71 Norton, I finally decided to give it a much-needed makeover. My main goal was to repair everything that was wrong (plenty) and to get every suspension upgrade available. I also had a few other goodies in mind along the way.

Brimming with confidence after my restoration of a 72 Triumph TR6 Tiger, I jumped eagerly into the project and stripped it to the frame. I'm not a believer in powdercoat, so refinishing was only a matter of sandblasting and a respray:

Problems, Problems (Just say No to Cracks)

I admit it. I thought nothing would go wrong. Nothing big, anyway. Foolish really, but how else do you convince yourself to take on a huge task with no practical purpose?

Examination of the rear engine plates has revealed that one of them is bent:

This is in addition to a couple of bolt holes being distorted, which I knew about. A drag, right? Well, no biggie. I find a used one at Old Britts (very nice people) at a good price. Back in business.

The distorted bolt holes are the result of loose motormount bolts, which are threaded at both ends. If not tightened equally, the bolts carry their load directly on their threads, which wear away. I replace them with stainless, single-ended bolts. I also drill the bolts for castle nuts and cotter pins from McMaster-Carr. So there.

Unfortunately, my next discovery is a crack in the transmission housing. Lots of asking and a few phone calls later, I get the case repaired with a strong and reasonably priced, if not aestetically pleasing weld. A similar crack is also found on the engine:

I strip the tranny for the weld and replace its bearings in the process. I get the engine welded still assembled and hope for the best.

A Ray of Sunshine

People who don't love old bikes don't understand the joy that comes with large UPS packages full of obsolete stuff. I need those moments to keep going, and a particularly good moment was had when I got my gas tank from TA Baker. I waited a long time (don't order from them if you're in a hurry), so naturally I squealed like a parochial schoolgirl when it arrived at my office. My coworkers were unimpressed:

Screw them. My bike's gonna turn heads in a big way. Someday. Soon. I hope.

Front End

Up to this point, my short-term goal had been to get the engine back into the frame. This appears unlikely anytime soon. While I get my stuff welded and wait for bearings and soforth, I decide to shift my attention to something else. Why not do the front end? I don't have my fork brace from Norman Hyde yet, but I do have a new headlight shell and ring, original Dunstall clip-ons, and headlight brackets. They've been waiting patiently on the shelf for this moment. I glass-bead and paint the triple clamps, and set about polishing the fork legs, when I discover that a bolt is broken off in one of the fender mounts. The supplier refuses to take it back. Adding insult to injury is the fact that I had bought this fork leg to replace another that was damaged.