Archive for April 20th, 2009|Daily archive page

Norton Featherbed Cafe Racer (Not Quite Complete)

Up on eBay right now is this Norton Featherbed cafe racer. Or should I say partially completed cafe racer. Most of the major bits are there, but a few things are missing. First, the seller does not have carbs installed, but has a set of Amal 930 carbs that will be thrown in for an extra $200. And then you will need to find some kind mufflers to put on there. The motor is a 1969 Atlas 750 that has supposedly been modded, and the Featherbed frame is a 1962 600SS.

If you can live with the caveats listed here and in the seller’s listing, this might be a great bike that will really turn heads once it is completed. Just go into the purchase with eyes open expecting to have to do a bit of work. Bidding is currently at about $3K with just over 4 days left…

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Idea = Win / Execution = Fail

Here’s a bike into which somebody has put a fair amount of time and effort. It’s a 1975 Honda CL360 that has a Ninja 250 motor stuffed into it. Stuffed is probably the wrong word, as the motor itself appears to fit quite nicely in the frame. Stuffed might apply to a Ninja 500 or 650 motor stuffed into the frame. But I digress…

The idea seen here is kind of unique for the cafe racer scene. Stuff a quarter-liter late-model liquid-cooled engine in a fairly small bike, and then you’ll have a bike that screams like a banshee, but probably isn’t much (if any) faster than the original. In fact, the Ninja motor probably puts out less horsepower and torque than an in-tune CL/CB360/350 motor. But boy would this surprise anyone who happened to hear it scream by. The idea equals a potential win. And another plus: rear-sets!

The execution, however, is a fail. I think this is mainly driven by two things. First off, a simple driveway tip-over is going to crush the hell out of that radiator hung out over the side of the bike. Ouch. Secondly, the muffler. Aesthetics and ground clearance. Enough said…

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