SPORTING MACHINES ON TEST.
THE 490 c.c. OVERHEAD-CAMSHAFT NORTON.
By L. A. H.
FOR many years the firm of Norton have gathered round them an ever-increasing band of enthusiastic devotees, to whom the word ” Norton ” is synonymous with ” motor-cycle.” Supporters of other marques might sneer at the Norton policy as conservative and old-fashioned, as for year after year the design remained substantially unchanged, but even they had to admit that the large band of Norton enthusiasts, together with a huge list of successes in open competition, were sufficient proof of the worth of
but, even so, we were not attracted by the idea of a throttle lever opening outwards as standardised by Nortons and one or two other ” die-hard” firms. We were, therefore, pleasantly surprised, to find that the model handed to us was fitted with the more convenient and common-sense system of inward opening levers. Changing over from a low-geared, noisy o.h.v. 350 c.c. combination, to the large, comparatively slow-revving and extremely silent Norton, was conducive to a sense of violent contrast and tended to emphasise the latter
this machine. In 1927 Norton Motors, Ltd., decided to produce a really modern motor-cycle, and appropriately enough the first examples were entered in the Senior T.T. in the Isle of Man. Three laps at 70 m.p.h., followed by a win at record speed, proved the merit of the design, and, at the 1927 Show, Norton admirers were delighted to find the new model on the market. After many years adherence to the normal diamond frame and conventional “push rod” o.h.v. engine, Norton Motors offered an up-to-date cradle frame model fitted with an overhead shaft and bevel driven camshaft —.the tank ensemble representing the last word in modern motor-cycle design.
There is no doubt that this move satisfied a longfelt (but not often expressed) want on the part of Norton ” fans ” and at the same time attracted many new followers, who had previously fought shy of this make.
It was with genuine interest, therefore, that we accepted the offer of a day’s run on the C.S.T. model in the Birmingham district, some weeks before the 1928 T.T. A pressman must naturally accustom himself to driving machines with varying arrangements of controls,
desirable qualities, which otherwise might not have become apparent so rapidly. Slipping through the Birmingham traffic, we were at once charmed by the uncanny silence of the engine and the exhaust—quite a new thrill in store for those who surreptitiously revel in a hearty crackle—if such a paradoxical enjoyment is possible. The only circumstances under which mechanical noise became apparent was when the bicycle was over-running the engine, when a slight, but quite unobjectionable, clicking proceeded from the valve gear. Even on full throttle the latest duplex Norton silencer subdued the exhaust to a thoroughly respectable note. The massive saddle tank and long wheelbase do not allow one to forget that the Norton is a large and heavy machine, so that on comparatively empty but twisty roads we felt that a certain amount of concentration and restraint was necessary when motoring fast. We have little doubt that this feeling of slight unwieldiness was partly due to the aformentioned sense of contrast with our previous mount, and that it would soon disappear on longer acquaintance with the machine. On the straighter main roads this very same feeling o.F solidity proved a great comfort and enabled us to open