The Norman Trials Bikes.

 

 

Hi Guy's.

 

I have spent best part of yesterday researching the "Norman". Breed,

 

 And you are right they, the trials bikes seem to have only been made in small numbers.

 

 There was a resurgence after the works bikes , six I think ran in the 1955 SSDT, and this is the time I am interested in.

 

Why?

 

Well it was a guy named Glynn Thomas  that had a Norman B2 trials bike that made me want to get into the trials game.

 

Story on my site.

 

 Being owned by TI from 1952? onwards did not help in the end, when the brothers retired  in 1962 TI (Tube Investments) seems to have lost all interest in the breed, and were happy to see the name slip away.

 

I must say I liked the simplicity of the design of the machine, although the last B4C frame was the only welded construction with what looked like twin seat tubes, the cast lug frames on the previous generations were very pleasing to the eye.

 

And you know the old saying if something looks right it most usually works right.

 

Now a replica Norman might be the New James or Bantam?

 

 

Deryk had this drawing specially commissioned by Ted for Off Road Review.

 

You can see that from this  Ted Hardy drawing  the simplicity of the frame of the B2C.

A simple lugged braised front diamond with cast iron steering head and seat tube boss.

The steel engine cradle carries not only the engine but the footrest assembly and picks up with the swinging arm mounting.

The Armstrong designed leading arm forks were built by Norman,When Armstrong stopped making them in York. Norman Cycles had been helping with the development of these units ,so

a licence was bought to produce the Mk2 forks.

Thanks to Mark Gooding from the D.O.T. owners club for sending me this original drawing of the Armstrong Mk2 forks.

  And this company also supplied E Cotton Motorcycles with these forks up until there closure. The rear shock units were also Armstrong.

There was a  21" front wheel  fitted and a 19" rear, Norman, and James, were the last companies to use 19" rear wheels in a lightweight machine.

The Villiers 9E,197cc engine was an option on the later B4C along with the 247cc 32A.

 

 

Although the advert says by 1961 there were new features the frame and a slightly different fuel tank shape were the the only things changed .

The frame now was a L shape front member ending at the seat mounting, a fabricated subframe with twin seat tubes met up with the engine cradle which now seems carried the full swinging arm mounting. The footrest position was also moved back compared with the B2C

The change in tank design seems to have come about because Norman was working closely with an Italian company, to try and update all models.

One of the quirks to the Norman was the re-tension of the up-swept exhaust system on its production machines, most trials lightweight machines now had the high-rise type system.

The other change was the use of different hubs which also could have come from Italy.

 

 

This 1962 shot from Deryk shows  Ken Edwards  riding what was said to be a Works "Norman".B2C.

This was about the time with the Ashford factory now closed that "Tube Investments" were losing interest in the breed it had been posted off to Raleigh in Nottingham, and allegedly a very last small batch of trials machines were built at another TI subsidiary in the Midlands.

The machines were probably built to fulfil dealers orders.

 

Note That the machine above and below is fitted with TriumphTR20  front forks and hub in place of the Armstrong.

The subframe on the machine is also different than the last production run. and it still has the Villiers 8E fourspeed engine unit fitted.

 

Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde ORR.

 

The Norman Works Competition years.

 

The factory did have a competition side, Karl Pugh, Brian Butt, Gerry Mills, Clive Mills, Don Barret, G. Russel, Ray Peacock and Sid Wicken were entered by the factory in the Scottish Six day trials in the early 1950's. The Scottish Norman agent Ian McIntyre won the 125cc SSDT class outright in 1953.

The successes of the 1953 team were celebrated in the 1954 sales brochure.

But 1955 was to be the factories last year at the Scottish.

The Norman B2C, B2CS & B4C were produced mainly for off road riders in club competition.

They were very popular and successful in the South East of England. Derek Minter the famous road racer was loaned machines by the factory and featured in publicity for the road going models. Derek used to enter a special factory twin cylinder trials machine in winter trials competitions.

 


 

Photo Courtesy Deryk Wylde.ORR.

 

Here is a picture of Dave Lane? same registration on the bike but now with what looks like could be Dowty or DMW forks fitted and a D3 BSA Bantam front hub.?And this must have been before Ken Edwards took over the machine.

 

 

Photo Offroad Archive. with permission from Deryk.

 

Better view of Ken Edwards showing the rounded rear subframe of the Norman not common with the production B2C machines. and with a larger silencer fitted.

 

 

I have just gone through the entries of machines in the Max King "Trials Riding" book and the machine that is missing is the Norman B2C-B4C ? Why?

 

Fig 6, is the D.M.W. 249 Mk10 trials Model with the pressed steel frame, and the D.O.T. 250  " Works Replica".  Fig 7.underneath.

 But No Norman B2C or B4C,

 

Even the Fig 8, Francis Barnett 249 Model 85 Trials, that we know has been copied by everyone as a Mick Andrews Replica James, when the "Commando",  was nothing like this bike and they both had that terrible AMC twostroke engine.

So the Norman with so little numbers? of trials models built was shunned by the trials world at the time as Non existent. What a True ,True Shame.

 

 The Norman Brothers  ran the factory when they took the investment, under the wing of "Tube Investments", that seems to have taken all of the pride in the Mark out of the public and commercial eye. The other TI company under the wing Reynolds Tube must have been supplying tube to the factory though one would think?

 And I hope it was them that supplied the tapered front down tube that prevented the frame breaking underneath the steering head after tests at MIRA proved that this was a weak point in the design. 

 

 

 

You can see by May 1961. Norman Cycles LTD had a new address at Lenton Boulevard Nottingham.

Tube Investments were them selves after selling off various other companies under there wing  sold to Smiths Industries in the year 2000 they then vanished. TI was later set back up as fluid engineering company.

 

More later.