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#836268 01/11/21 6:14 am
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I'd be surprised if this hasn't been done already ?
but a 961 engine in wideline is on fleabay in the UK as a project..

Potential problems that I see are that the chainline is on the 'wrong' side and the injection
and tank and riders anatomy will all be in the same place ?
It'll need quite some brakes too.

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Flip the intakes over, that'll fix it!

That's one FAT engine.


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They've got a lot more bearings in the crankshaft haven;t they ?

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They've got a balancer assembly in there.

But just look at the overall scale, EVERYTHING is bigger! Of course it's 961cc, so there is that...

Last edited by GrandPaul; 01/11/21 2:58 pm.

GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
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Rohan #836364 01/11/21 10:27 pm
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We wonder if anyone has explored if the tappets can be set with that engine position in the frame ?
Lifting that in and out for a few thou adjustment could get ????

Rohan #836377 01/12/21 12:08 am
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i started to ask "why?" but then i remembered that the Norton featherbed has some sort of mystical astraction for engine swappers, so i changed my mind.

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Rohan #836379 01/12/21 12:29 am
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A goodly collection there !
And that barely scratches the surface of frame designs it inspired. ?

I'd take half an issue with this one though.
Although it has a large spine backbone, the single front downtube barely puts it in the featherbed class ??
A bit like having having half a bet each way. Rather collectible these days though.

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missed that

didn't look closely enough


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I mentioned it somewhere else, but I would tend to believe that there MUST be a more modern (70s or 80s) "universal" chassis that has at least as good handling characteristics as the Featherbed. I'd also tend to believe it would be lighter. Almost certainly, they'd be CHEAPER! I know by the 80s, the Suzuki multis were well-reputed for their handling...

A few considerations (for custom builders), of course would be A) Might not sound as 'cool' as "Featherbed", B) Might not be as plentiful / readily available, C) may not accommodate certain American V-twin engines, and I'm sure there would be other considerations...


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
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Rohan #836528 01/13/21 12:06 am
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Alloy beam frames are a dime a dozen in the modern bike world these days,
although may not look quite as traditional. And eat featherbeds for breakfast ?

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Even if they hide it under a coat of paint/fairing. (And lookat the size of that muffler).

Garners Norton knew a thing or 2 when they bought into Spondon.
Even if it was a prelude to dodgy dealings...

The question that really comes out of this thread is 'why didn't the 961 end up with a spondon alloy beam frame' ?
Or was that reserved for what emerged on the V4 Aprilia copy ...

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The RCW588 had a Spondon frame.

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Yes.
Not much to do wif Mr Garner though ...

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Originally Posted by Rohan
Alloy beam frames are a dime a dozen in the modern bike world these days, ...

Yeah, but they don't fit well...

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GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
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[Linked Image from yamaha-motorcycles-for-sale.com][/quote]

I bought one of these new in 1979, and with clipons it handled exactly like the Featherbed Manx that I was riding in Historic races. I hope that this doesn't ruffle too many feathers. It had an aftermarket exhaust for better clearance, and I often scraped both sides on fast bends (exhaust on the right, footrest on the left). The front brake was another story, acceptable in the dry and positively dangerous in the wet. I don't know how many red lights I went straight through in wet weather, due to a total non-function of the front brake.

The Featherbed can be a home for nearly anything. When the Mazda R100 rotary came out I went to a presentation at the local tech. and I remember thinking "100BHP rotary + Featherbed", but I don't think anyone has actually done it.

Last edited by sammysnail; 01/14/21 3:57 am.

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Or a V8-in-featherbed

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One of the locals here turns out a featherbed that a Vincent will slot straight into.
No mean feat, if you've played with Norvins apparently.
He reasons that the whole idea of the featherbed was to keep the steering head and swingarm pivot
in a constant cross-parallel plane, so whats inbetween is not etched in stone ...

I'm not entirely convinced that the 961-in-featherbed would be any better than what it was born with ??

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Originally Posted by sammysnail
I bought one of these new in 1979, and with clipons it handled exactly like the Featherbed Manx that I was riding in Historic races. .

Did you push it as hard ?

Its when you push something to the max, and it does something you don't like that you find out who your friends are.
I recall braking with EVERYTHING on a certain flat twin to avoid something that popped out in front of me
- and it changed lanes for me, without me wishing it. Hmmmm ...

Rohan #836669 01/14/21 10:00 am
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Yes Rohan, I pushed them both, made mistakes, and was forgiven.

I had one of those flat twins, and under hard braking the rear wheel chatter was something to behold. In one of the Six Hour races at Amaroo Park you could hear it from the spectator area as they braked for the "stop" corner (right hander).

A Norvin is a fine machine, and I wouldn't say no to one (after all, Ogri rides a Norvin), but it is largely a matter of necessity. If you have a Vincent motor, no running gear, and can't afford an Egli frame it is an option, but a well set up standard Vincent is very easy to live with.

I haven't ridden a Norvin myself, but when he started riding a 350 Manx with its good manners, Eric Debenham said to me that hadn't realised what a beast his Norvin was to ride, with the implication that it was somewhat difficult. Of course he did ride it somewhat hard.

Last edited by sammysnail; 01/14/21 11:00 am. Reason: Grammar!

1954 Norton Dominator 88 cafe - Yamaha wheels, Lyta tank ( project in progress)
1969 Triumph Bonneville
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Past history includes 11 Brit and 13 non-Brit machines.
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Rohan #836676 01/14/21 11:03 am
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I've seen that Debenham Vincent in action, that was awesome.
Closest I'll ever be to a Norvin.

My guzzi never changed lanes on me when I didn't expect it.
Or even if I thought it might...

Eric Debenham and the Norvin - the most motor in the least frame you can achieve.
( I half expected one in the Brisbane GOMA motorcycle exhibition, but not so).
(they did have Jack Ehrets Black Lightning)
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Rohan #836767 01/15/21 12:04 am
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Rohan, I think a little cheating went on with the Featherbed Range Rover - the rear top corner of the main frame loop is much squarer than that on my wideline. perhaps it was remade to allow clearance for the rear rocker box.

I saw a Dominator the other day that made use of all that space above the gearbox by filling it with a small Rootes type supercharger, driven by chain from the clutch.


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1969 Triumph Bonneville
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Some do seem to be taller and squarer in the frame than others.
Whether this is factory or aftermarket I know not.
That V8 looks much taller ...

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Wonder how it handles, the motor is set back a fair bit. I had a Trident, and I was very fond of it, despite its flaws.

If you go for a ride how do you park it? Lean it on the nearest cafe?


1954 Norton Dominator 88 cafe - Yamaha wheels, Lyta tank ( project in progress)
1969 Triumph Bonneville
Currently 6 other non-Brit machines.
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Perfect balance.
You just get off and walk away.


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1968 Lightning - 'Dora'
Rohan #836876 01/15/21 11:16 pm
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Originally Posted by Rohan
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^^^this pushes my buttons.


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Originally Posted by Rohan
Alloy beam frames are a dime a dozen in the modern bike world these days,
although may not look quite as traditional. And eat featherbeds for breakfast ?

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Even if they hide it under a coat of paint/fairing. (And lookat the size of that muffler).

Garners Norton knew a thing or 2 when they bought into Spondon.
Even if it was a prelude to dodgy dealings...

The question that really comes out of this thread is 'why didn't the 961 end up with a spondon alloy beam frame' ?
Or was that reserved for what emerged on the V4 Aprilia copy ...

The Kawasaki ZZR1400 is unusual in that it isn't an beam frame as such. The frame is a monocoque made of aluminium cast and fabrications that runs from the headstock over the engine and then down to the swing arm pivot
.The frame contains the air filter, air box and battery. the fuel tank is behind the frame and below the seat
The result is a bike that even a short arse like me can put both feet flat on the floor with knees slightly bent


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Originally Posted by Andy Higham
Kawasaki ZZR1400 is unusual ...
I just CANNOT stomach the hideous mufflers that all the manufacturers are using today.

Not a single one of the lot that I'd give a toss for...


GrandPaul (does not use emoticons)
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Too many bikes to list, mostly Triumph & Norton, a BSA, & some Japanese
"The Iron in your blood should be Vintage"
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