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434 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Been awhile since I logged in over here, but my last build was a 500 Triumph Bobber and that isn't really your poison. That's done, and it's sweet, but now onto something new.

I went to the National Antique Motorcycle Meet down in Rhinebeck a couple of weeks ago. My buddy, Brian Carrol was there selling off all his old project bikes, and I bought a G80 off him. The engine is all rebuilt, it has a Dunstall tank and seat on it, the frame is rebuilt and painted, and he was at one time going to race it. I no longer race, but I thought it'd make a good street cafe project.

I've heard those single down tube frames are nothing great, so I'm picking up a featherbed for it, going with an alloy gas/oil tank, later Triumph front end and I'll use the conical 71/72 hubs on both ends, but I'll put a 68' backing plate with a spacer in that front hub as I don't like that squeeze the cable set-up that came with those. I've got the shouldered rims on Matchless wheels and I'll buy the spokes for the conicals and lace them up. This should be a fun project for next winter. Right now, I've got to gather gather gather!


326 Posts
Sounds like a fantastic project to work on. I have some old books with race bike pics in them and the Matchless machines are some of the best looking race bikes ever built.

There's company in the U.K. I believe I saw a few years ago that builds replicas(G50?)from scratch. From pics on the net they look absolutely stunning as was the price at like $20K or so.

You can have them built with all top of the line racing components just like back when they were new only these are probably built with much higher quality assurance. They should be for the price they charge!

Here's a link to one:

I don't know if this is the shop I saw on the net or not.
I remember the site showing some shop/manufacturing photos and listing the component options/upgrades if the buyer wanted them. The replica brakes were AWESOME,but very expensive.

5,783 Posts
Sounds like a good project. If you are not married to the idea of the Norton frame, you might want to consider a Seeley type. If you have the money, Randy Ilg at Framecrafters makes a beautiful frame. I saw the one he made for Craig Hirko's CB350 last week at Road America and it makes me want to have one. I don't know the price range, but he has sold one to a chap in England because even with shipping and import duties it was still cheaper than a Seeley from there. You might want to check him out at


13,810 Posts
hey dgy, yeah, welcome back!!! youve for sure been missed!!! hope everyone at home is well.


4,721 Posts
I can think of at least twenty other much more useful wheel hubs to use other than the comical hubs

very very overweight front and rear, the smallest sprocket that will go on the rear nearly prevents useful street gearing unless you really like revving the snot out of one of those somewhat frail engines

of course you could always one off a large enough counter shaft sprocket or engine sprocket

but you'd still have a nearly 100 pounds of wheels on your ride......... bleh and I don't really care if they look like something they aren't especially after those big holes have been sawed into them

fwiw....... I'm also of the opinion that the correct backing plate for that front hub works much better than the hatful of rectums ugly 68-70 backing plate

once the 71 up front brake is set up correctly....... it will certainly outstop the earlier DLS brake

may as well swing them off some wimpy brit fork tubes that have virtually nothing for rigidity or hydraulic damping while you are at it

maybe some wimpy roadholders, or the 34mm 71 and up forks, or the 33.5 mm 70 and back forks

none of those are as good as even a common pair of universal 35mm fork sets found nearly for free on many early 70's UJM's


me........ I'd be thinking of a much lighter DLS front hub with as much or more swept area

and a much lighter rear with a cush drive that also allows easy sprocket changes

and especially so if you are going to run a belt drive primary

and I can't think of anything british that would do the deed without spending silly amounts of money

maybe nothing at all Brit since the Cush drive norton wheel is a joke at best with it's puny weak toothpick axle

my money says this one has zero in the way of a compensator sprocket/engine pulley, no cush in the Newby clutch, and I know it doesn't have one in that back wheel which I wouldn't use even if, and especially if, it were magnesium and a bona-fide manx part

wouldn't live in my stable until that silliness was fixed....... and an intelligent back wheel would cure a lot of it

and ditch the wimpy roadholders for some very inexpensive 35's off anything japanese ..... if actual vintage racing rules were the limits on fork tube sizes

anyhow, I know my opinions sound harsh perhaps........ but that's all they are....... opinions and I'm not sending anyone a bill for consulting

anyhow, the Seeley thing is beautiful eye candy but it sucks to know if those ol boys weren't so damned afraid to use a component or two that didn't have a certain look........ but actual useful and effective function

just how fine they could actually be and live much longer in the process

I despise stuff like that even more than stupidly outrageous choppers that really are nothing more than living room art and virtually useless as transportation

why? they should know better by now since years ago their refusal to deviate from proven frail tradition put them all right out of business

Heck..... I've yet to see any of the Fbed repop frame builders that have the nads to even correct the serious design/execution flaws in an otherwise very fine frame..... and that....... after all these years is nearly beyond belief

and probably not a great idea to ask me my opinion of that trick looking swing arm on the back of that Seeley bike

jeezus........ I just looked at the Seeley frame again....... the plates for the swingarm pivot where the foot pegs also mount

beautiful welds but........

wtf ?????
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