Wisconsin based Norton Owner British motorcycle organization

13 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Wisconsin based Norton Owner British motorcycle organization
Norton Triumph Prototype

The Wisconsin Norton Owners are a Chapter of the International Norton Owners Association.

We feature a newsletter of current events, several enjoyable meetings annually and a network of members who hold a vast knowledge of the British Motorcycle and Norton Motorcycles in particular. Please feel free to join us and see what we are about!

For Additional Information on Events and Membership Please Contact

President Anthony Albano

2025 Waukesha Road, Caledonia, WI 53108, (262)835-9052

Membership is only $10. all that is required to join is an interest in Norton Motorcycles (you do not have to own a Norton or reside in Wisconsin to support this fine organization.) Send your annual dues to the address above and you will receive our newsletter – with calendar a Norton network of contacts. Plus invitation to membership meetings and parties.


Norton was founded as a bicycle components company in 1898 by James

Landsdowne Norton, who first manufactured a powered bike in 1901 (1902?)

using his own frame and a French Clement engine. Norton’s reputation as a

superior machine was gained through its early successes on the race track. A

Norton powered by a V-twin Peugot engine won the very first TT race in 1907.

In 1908, Norton started making its own engines (a 4bhp 633c side-valve

single called the Big Four) and made its first ohv singles in 1922, starting

with the Model 18 which proved a successful race winner. Norton made its

first parallel twin in 1948.

James Norton raced in the TT himself, unsuccessfully on his new 494cc model,

in 1909, 10 and 11. Norton went into liquidation in 1913 while its owner

recovered from an illness contracted on the Isle of Man, but a new company,

Norton Motors Ltd. was formed shortly after with Norton and Bob Shelley,

using the services of Dan Wizard O’Donovan, racer and master tuner. They

soon built the world’s first production racing bike, the BRS, or Brooklands

Racing Special, as well as a slightly slower BS, Brooklands Special. Not

large enough for wartime production levels, Norton managed to obtain a small

contract to provides bikes for the Russian army in WW1.

After WW1, the company returned to civilian production, and Norton developed

a number of innovations, including a desmodromic valve system, although he

opted for another design using overhead valves for production. Norton bikes

were entered in several TT races in this time, with some successes in 1923,

24. Norton died in 1925 at only 56 years old. By then he had built a

reputation for fast, reliable bikes. Walter Moore, its other major designer,

left for NSU in 1929 after designing the CS1 (Cam Shaft 1), which won the TT


The 1930s were the glory days, when Norton was winning many races, including

all but two Senior and Junior TT races between 1931 and 1938. The most

successful Norton racer was the 499cc single Model 30 International, first

released in 1932 and made until 1958. International was used for Norton’s

top line of sports-roadsters, originally intended for racing but sold until

1939 in road guise to the public..

Norton Triumph Prototype
Norton Triumph Prototype

Prototype telescopic forks were introduced in 1939, but were not brought

into production until 1948. During WW2, the company produced bikes for the

Allies, including the venerable 16H, developed from the Model 16 around the

turn of the century (dropped only in 1954).

From 1949 to 51, Norton won at Daytona, but the company withdrew official

support for racing in 1955.

Norton released its first parallel twin in 1949, the Dominator, designed by

Bert Hopwood. They would later put the engine in a featherbed frame (1951)

and release it as the Dominator 88, in 1952. In 1955, a 600cc Dominator 99

was added. But the really fine version was the 1962 Dominator 650SS with its

upgraded engine, and a challenge to Triumph’s sports models. In 1963,

production was moved to AMC’s factory in south London.

The most famous and most popular Norton was the parallel-twin 750cc

Commando, released in 1968 designed by a team led by Dr. Stefan Bauer. It

was upgraded with electric start and 850cc in 1974. The last Commandos were

the Mk3 built in 1977. The last production Norton was a 50cc moped using

Italian-made components offered in 1977.

After World War 2, Norton was controlled by several companies. The company

faced financial problems when smaller models failed to sell, and was bought

by Associated Motor Cycles (AMC, a combination of Matchless and AJS) in

Norton Triumph Prototype
Norton Triumph Prototype

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