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#443843 - 07/09/12 2:38 pm Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin?  
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Desmond Kiddman Offline
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It seems everyone has heard of Norvil, and from what I understand they have a great reputation. I'm guessing Tonkin is less known. A lot of money to send overseas....any thoughts on what you have heard from these organizations would be appreciated. Thanks!

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#443866 - 07/09/12 5:41 pm Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Hi Des

An interesting question for a first time poster. Im guessing you might know bit more about Manx Nortons than you are suggesting because it would be pretty unusual for someone to decide to buy a Manx without a fair bit of experience around racing.

There are several people who sell Manxes apart from these two including:

Molnar http://www.manx.co.uk/

http://www.tga.co.uk/catalog/index.php

http://www.worksracing.co.uk/products.php

McIntosh in NZ although he seems to have gone into hiding these days and seldom answers the phone ! http://www.manxnorton.co.nz/

Summerfield Engineering for motors

and probably more.

If you are asking about Tonkin then are you looking at a bike for the road?

I imagine you have a lot of bike experience if this is the sort of machine you are after because they are certainly demanding machines.

When you say Norvil exactly who are you talking about. I know of at least two companies that can use this name. One is Mike Hemmings, the other is Fairspares Les Emery.

Hemmings is a well known racer from way back and is still seriously competitive today but more on twins although he does ride Manxes. Emery I would not be so keen on for racing machines. I have bought Dominator parts from him over the years and while they are OK for the road I wouldnt race them.

John

Last edited by johnm; 07/10/12 9:41 am.
#443936 - 07/10/12 12:54 am Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Hi John,

Thanks for your interest.

I am far from an expert on Manx. I know this much: fell in love the first one I saw. Absolutely love the handling and narrow stance of my ES2 (featherbed). I have a history of using pretty focused bikes on the road (Ducati bevel Supersports, Laverdas).

Looking for a little, rip-snorting, ultra responsive bike for blasting the back roads. I should have been more clear on the use: the Manx will be street legal (barely) with kick starter.

I have given up on a good deal on a used one. Getting a racer, then putting in the electronics, rudimentary wiring, mediocre lights on top of finding the correct bike is all looking less realistic than just buying a Tonkin Tornado or a Les Emery Norvin Manx, both of whom have done them (don't know if Tonkin has done more than one at this point).

I'm extrapolating from my experience with bikes in general, weight/horsepower/torque figures on the Manx versus same for my ES2, knowing they are the same chassis (Featherbed/Roadholder), and guessing that the modern Manx would indeed fit my desire for a little hot rod for the back roads.

You only live once..........

My real question was directed toward finding out about the reliability and track record of the 2 possible builders of such a bike, and I do appreciate your listing a couple other possible builders.

The post reflects my just having found this forum, not my experience with very sporting bikes or racing (But, I am at this point not interested in hitting the track.)

#443945 - 07/10/12 2:25 am Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: ]  
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#443968 - 07/10/12 9:39 am Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Hi Des

Ok understand where you are coming from. Kenny is in your part of the world so he can probably help out.

I thought you could have been talking about a Manx for the street when you mentioned Tonkin. This is an even smaller part of the small world of Manx Nortons so not a regular path.

I should add I have never owned a Manx but am thinking about it too although Im more likely to go G50. Im overseas at present not in NZ but it looks like my house sitter :-) is going to ride one in this years Manx so I will ask him his opinion. His Dad is a long time UK rider (including Classic Manx wins) and is pretty well up on the UK suppliers.

Hope you have won the lottery because these sorts of dreams are not cheap. If you are after a street bike then you will be looking for a softer lower CR standard motor, I would say a 5 or 6 speed box with first and second gear street ratios, something other than a GP carb. Your brake linings need to be for the street. Maybe more clearance on the bars and tank so you can manouver at low speed. Different exhaust system. Cams?? Check out the petrol you can get in your area and chose CR accordingly. Belt drive with a decent cover so you dont pick up stones and break belts.

John

Last edited by johnm; 07/10/12 9:49 am.
#443980 - 07/10/12 11:25 am Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: johnm]  
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Hi John,

I should have been more clear, bike indeed would be for the street. I'm in the country, easy to register a bike that barely has a headlight, tail light, brake light. No other considerations would matter. So, other than these minimal items and a not "too loud" exhaust (more for courtesy and my pleasure than for the law) and I'd be set.

Sure, the bike would be somewhat pricey, but I can swing it.

John, a G50 was indeed my alternative, or equal option actually, until I found a super ES2 and bought it. Now I have the experience of knowing the feel of the Featherbed and Roadholder combination, which I appreciate more than I ever thought I would even though I knew the history. So that makes the chassis of the Manx a known now, while the G50 is the unknown. That swung me to the Norton Manx side. If I tried a G50 and it railed like the Featherbed, if it had a feel that I absolutely love, then the G50 would be an equal choice. But.....when will I get that chance. With the Norton I have an idea what I'm in for.

John, as for your last paragraph, we're pretty much in agreement. Engine would be tuned more for midrange. Could live with a GP carb but indeed would probably go for something with an idle circuit since this is easy. As for steering lock, I've lived with race bikes with very limited lock on the street before so not too worried. The only thing that has ever bothered me on the street was the pinching of fingers against the minimial fairing cutouts of a race fairing when turning the bars to the lock, and that won't be a problem here with no fairing!

As for the earlier suggestion of International, certainly a valid point. But it seems not many Featherbeds Internationals were made, I have not had any leads on good ones. Neither will this be inexpensive, for a totally sorted one (I do not want a project) and I'll spend another $4k for a wheel with a Fontana.

If anyone has a lead on a Manx or Inter I would be appreciative.

Thanks for all suggestions so far.

#443985 - 07/10/12 11:52 am Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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kommando Online content
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You should check out Mike Pemberton and his 'Poor man's Manx'

http://www.pushrod-performance.co.uk/index.htm

and scroll to the bottom.

#444007 - 07/10/12 1:20 pm Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: kommando]  
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Interesting bike/option, but I want to leave my ES2 stock, and for a higher performance single I would like something really different, a bit exotic, very "sporty". My years old itch for a 7R/G50 or Manx was not satisfied by the ES2, though I love 'er. Rather, the ES2 intensified my itch, and more focused it toward the Manx.

Again, thanks for suggestions, and please forward any thoughts, even if I don't go your suggested route I'll gain info on who is out there making/working on/modifying these things, which will make me a more educated buyer.

#444076 - 07/10/12 11:17 pm Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Hi Desmond,

Originally Posted By: Desmond Kiddman
I have a history of using pretty focused bikes on the road (Ducati bevel Supersports, Laverdas).
Looking for a little, rip-snorting, ultra responsive bike for blasting the back roads.

On that basis, why not one of the 'super motards' - CCM, KTM, etc.? I appreciate that a few people have put modern development time in on the Manx engine but that's essentially to road-race them against other people's modern Manxes. When I read the article about the Tonkin Tornado, my overwhelming impression was it's a very expensive answer to a question only a couple of people asked.

Otoh, the various makes of super motards are mass-produced, but not so common even here in Europe that you'll see a row of 'em lined up anywhere; they'll be even less common in the US so it's difficult to see what a virtual one-off like a road-going Manx - even a Tonkin - would offer for the considerable premium?

2c

Regards,

#444126 - 07/11/12 10:56 am Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Stuart]  
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I appreciate the quality, thought generating posts here.

The evolution of my wanting the Manx on the road is probably like a lot of guys who ride vintage bikes. It started with knowing of the history of these storied bikes. Seeing one for the first time, decades after first hearing of the legendary Manx bikes, I stood back and had to say "now that's a gorgeous, focused, simple, beautiful bike, boy would I love to have one of those..."

The joy of riding my ES2 is partly due to the amazing road manners it has, even without considering it is a 50's design frame and a 20's design engine. Add onto that fact that it indeed is that old of a design, that also looks old (and beautiful to my eyes) and it's an irresistable package for me. The Manx just ups the ante.

But I have not found the suitable Manx or International. With the new production being so faithful to the old designs, to me it might as well be an old bike, but with the advantages of being new. So I gravitated toward this idea.

Some call it charm, or character, to me it is a basic mechanical beauty, elegance, directness that made me fall in love with old bikes (even when the were not old) where I don't find much of the same elemental charm mechanical beauty to new, smoothed over, water-cooled (anyone sit back and admire the beauty of a radiator lately?) appliances on 2 wheels. I do have a true supermoto, a raw edged wheelie-prone 270 pound (wet) little package that is exciting to ride. But, all charm aside, I like the feel of the low ES2 cranked way over in a turn than the sticky-tired Supermoto (those others who have had a low little featherbed at full lean might know what I'm talking about). Now add on the rest of the intangibles that I talk about above and you might see why I'm smitten with the idea of a Manx at 4x the price of the modern bike.

Not everyone would agree, different strokes for different folks and all that.

I'm not shooting down the post on the supermoto, it is very logical and practical. But I've learned that when talking about motorcycles, which for me are all about emotion and fun, logic and practicality don't tell the whole story. But I do appreciate your suggestion!

#444208 - 07/11/12 6:30 pm Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Hi Desmond,

Originally Posted By: Desmond Kiddman
the post on the supermoto, it is very logical and practical.
talking about motorcycles, which for me are all about emotion and fun,

"Logical and practical" ... about someone that owns two T160's and a CB750A (SOHC four but with a two-speed semi-auto 'box, if you haven't come across one). laughing

Friend of mine has a 1200 Buell and a KTM supermoto, both of which he's let me try. I'm sure someone could come up with 'logic' that describes either as 'practical' but it's easier to go with 'emotive' and 'fun' imho. grin Certainly, money-no-object, I'd have a similar Buell (although my friend's has done some horrible things to his licence ... whistle ).

Regards,

#444263 - 07/12/12 12:29 am Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Well, Stuart, compared to a Manx on the road a $10k supermoto does seem a logical solution, given:

1. I said I wanted to get raucous in the twisties
2. They are available new and parts are available at reasonable prices, there are dealers even!
3. They are 1/4 or less of the price of what I'm talking about.

I think, relative to a road going Manx, it's a practical solution, for some of the above reasons as well as others.

Like anything, it depends on your perspective. Compared to several of my bikes, my supermoto is does look downright practical! But, I believe I won't get it out of my system until I own a Manx.

Thanks for all suggestions, I think I am going to bypass the street legal Manx purchase route, and just go non-street legal and throw simple lights and a bulb horn, which is enough for the areas I intend to ride. That lets me go to any builder, or get engine, frame, suspension, wheels and do her up myself. More work, but I'd have some pride involved, always an enjoyable thing. Hard to be proud to own something you did not make, but just purchased, at least for me. Someone compliments one of my bikes, I just say "can't take any credit at all, just bought it that way".

I'll check in on the forum and let you know progress. And if anyone has good leads on a full Manx, or engine, or chassis, please let me know!

#444529 - 07/13/12 5:01 pm Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Hi Desmond,

Originally Posted By: Desmond Kiddman
I'll check in on the forum and let you know progress.

Good luck. bigt

Regards,

#444568 - 07/14/12 12:36 am Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Never heard of Norvil having anything to do with Manxes ??
You also mentioned 'Norvin', which is a totally different kettle of fish again.

Without wishing to be disloyal, for road riding a G50 Matchy based beast may be better ? No deliberate oil leaks (to lube the valve guides), so no oily knees after a ride.
(Do the last/late model dohc manxes still have the little pipes to lube the valve guides ??).

#444592 - 07/14/12 5:44 am Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Talking to a few people who seem that these guys are worth looking at.

http://www.worksracing.co.uk/products.php

Couldnt see any prices so make sure you are sitting down when you ask :-)


Last edited by johnm; 07/14/12 12:48 pm.
#444610 - 07/14/12 11:40 am Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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kommando Online content
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They have some prices in the WEBSTORE

This link may take you to the 500cc engine at 10500 or GP spec 11500

http://www.worksracing.co.uk/store/30m_engine_gp_spec.php

#444742 - 07/15/12 11:57 am Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Seems they do make road engines.

A six speed TT gear box with road ratios and a kick start and your on the way.
http://www.ttindustries.com/

You did say your real name was W Gates right? smile (Those UK prices are plus 20 % VAT or whatever import duty is to USA)

http://www.worksracing.co.uk/news.php

First road engine delivered.

The first Works Racing road-going Manx Norton engine has been delivered.

The engine incorporates several mods to adapt it for road use including a very neat decompressor, special cams, optimised combustion chamber shape and a lower compression ratio to aid kick starting.

However, this engine is no ES2! A quick run on the rolling road showed it to be super-responsive, silky smooth and have almost as much power as its all-conquering racing stable-mates. When combined with a featherbed chassis it should prove to be a weapon on the road, capable of embarrassing all sorts of modern tackle in the right hands.

We are currently building two more road engines for customers but new orders are being taken with delivery running at around 8/10 weeks.

03/02/2012

Last edited by johnm; 07/15/12 12:04 pm.
#458828 - 10/15/12 10:57 am Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Hi Des

Dont know if you are about to read this but the guy who recomended Works Racing to me finished second in this years Classic Manx Senior using one of their engines.

So they do have a "track" record.

John

#459315 - 10/18/12 3:05 pm Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Originally Posted By: Desmond Kiddman
Well, Stuart, compared to a Manx on the road a $10k supermoto does seem a logical solution, given:

1. I said I wanted to get raucous in the twisties
2. They are available new and parts are available at reasonable prices, there are dealers even!
3. They are 1/4 or less of the price of what I'm talking about.

I think, relative to a road going Manx, it's a practical solution, for some of the above reasons as well as others.

Like anything, it depends on your perspective. Compared to several of my bikes, my supermoto is does look downright practical! But, I believe I won't get it out of my system until I own a Manx.

Thanks for all suggestions, I think I am going to bypass the street legal Manx purchase route, and just go non-street legal and throw simple lights and a bulb horn, which is enough for the areas I intend to ride. That lets me go to any builder, or get engine, frame, suspension, wheels and do her up myself. More work, but I'd have some pride involved, always an enjoyable thing. Hard to be proud to own something you did not make, but just purchased, at least for me. Someone compliments one of my bikes, I just say "can't take any credit at all, just bought it that way".

I'll check in on the forum and let you know progress. And if anyone has good leads on a full Manx, or engine, or chassis, please let me know!


Desmond -

Any progress? I like to watch people chase dreams, and sometimes catch them. I've done a bit of it myself in my day .... And sometimes you realize that 90% of the fun was in the hunt!

Lannis


OK, I admit it, I'm addicted to brake fluid.

But I can stop any time I want.
#529835 - 02/23/14 11:41 am Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Desmond Kiddman Offline
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Finally. Found a Molnar. I'll report more and pics when it's in my hands.

#529853 - 02/23/14 12:30 pm Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Hi Desmond,A decade ago someone in the Uk did produce the bike of your dreams, (Brooklands?)and was intending to go into limited production,I did read a road test, it sounded fabulous.Don't know why it did not succeed. My dream bike would be a pre-war Manx of the type run by Works riders ,plunger frame etc.In the meantime I ride a tuned up Ducati Dianna single.You could also consider a BSA Gold Star,These will hold their value and new motors are now made(ABSAF).

Last edited by norton bob; 02/23/14 1:42 pm.
#529906 - 02/23/14 4:09 pm Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: norton bob]  
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Hi Norton Bob,

I never loved the feel of the Diana frame or any Ducati single frame. However, the feel of a single in a Featherbed I just love. Neither do I love the handling of a Gold Star. Effective, yes. Intuitive, like I am plugged into it and it into me, no. A So, there is the logical side.

As for the emotional side, the first time I laid eyes on a Manx I was blown away. What a gorgeous machine, from the look of the chassis to the look of the engine. And when I heard it I fell further in love. So, it was inevitable at some point that I would have one. That's all important to me, as it is for anyone looking for a period bike as if it were not we would all buy new bikes that could go around the track faster and be minimal fuss, all at a low cost.

In terms of roadgoing Manxes, no need to go back a decade, Tonkin and Molnar are covering that need these days - though more turnkey at Tonkin I think.

Originally Posted By: norton bob
Hi Desmond,A decade ago someone in the Uk did produce the bike of your dreams, (Brooklands?)and was intending to go into limited production,I did read a road test, it sounded fabulous.Don't know why it did not succeed. My dream bike would be a pre-war Manx of the type run by Works riders ,plunger frame etc.In the meantime I ride a tuned up Ducati Dianna single.You could also consider a BSA Gold Star,These will hold their value and new motors are now made(ABSAF).

#530102 - 02/24/14 3:40 pm Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Hi Desmond, A guy called Mike Pemberton in the uk is working on Pushrod Nortons to bring the performance up to Goldstar levels. You could just send him your motor to spice up.

#530248 - 02/25/14 10:33 am Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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Thanks for the post. Yes, he did the head on my ES-2. Wonderful bike, lots of fun, but I really don't want to change what it fundamentally is. I could take another ES-2 and trick it out, but that would require wheels, tank, oil tank, full motor job, on top of getting another ES-2, and still would not have that gorgeous, historic Manx motor. For a real taste of the hard edged racer I've got to go all the way to a Manx! Otherwise, I'll always be lusting for one and always be wondering.

#565617 - 09/30/14 12:25 pm Re: Purchasing new Manx, Norvil or Tonkin? [Re: Desmond Kiddman]  
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I found my Manx, in the US, a beauty, running, it will be here in a week or two. An original, not a repro. Thanks for the help everyone.

Last edited by Desmond Kiddman; 09/30/14 12:26 pm.
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