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Snortin’ Norton – coolest bike award

April 19th, 2010 · No Comments · Vintage

Snortin-Norton-1This Cheney-framed 750 Norton twin received the Coolest Bike award at the 2010 Diamond Don’s Riverport National. The bike was hand-crafted by Bob McNamara of Dallas over 2 1/2 years. Everything on the bike that could be machined, was. Every bolt had a dished head for weight savings. That huge primary cover? It was machined from a solid block of aluminum and weighs only 2.2 lbs! That cover, by the way, hides a belt-driven primary setup to replace the original chain.

The wheels are vintage CZ hubs (magnesium) laced to shouldered Akront rims with custom-machined spacers and axles to get the alignment right.  The rear backing plate and chain guide are also custom-fab units. The in-line axle forks are off a ’70s-era Can-Am. Everything about this bike is as sano as I have ever seen.

Snortin-Norton-2The exhaust was custom-built by D & D Performance Exhaust of Fort Worth, TX. Like everything else on the bike, it’s a work of art. I believe this was Bob’s first race on the bike. He had a minor teething problem with the ignition after the first moto, but his crew worked on the bike in the pits and got him going for Moto 2, where he took 1st in class.

The bike looked like it was a blast to ride, and seemed to handle the rough Gran Prix-style course with ease. These big, booming 4-strokes from the ’60s just sound different than today’s 450F bikes — different and better. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s my memories of watching John Banks man-handle a big, booming CCM BSA around the Lake Whitney national track in the mid-’70s.

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