Author Topic: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?  (Read 1684 times)

Offline Tidyrob69

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Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« on: February 07, 2018, 09:48:57 PM »
Hi.
Would someone be able to identify if this gear lever is original. You have to lift your foot up and forward about 8 inches to change gear which doesn't seem right and is certainly uncomfortable. I've looked at photos of others and on some the nose of the gearlever droops towards the ground which makes sense.

Offline cardan

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Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2018, 03:07:54 AM »

Are we looking at a 4-speed box? Norton used such a thing 1933-34-ish for its sportier models before going to the dolls head, but I think the 16H went straight from hand change to dolls head in 1935. What year is the bike?

We could muck round here, but Simon and John over at http://www.vintagenorton.com/ are experts and would no doubt know what is going on here. If you give them the engine, gearbox and frame number they can likely tell you how it all left the factory.

Do report back!

Leon

Offline 33d6

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Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2018, 04:06:27 AM »
Thatís a very interesting foot change. Itís Sturmey Archers add on accessory positive stop foot change from the early 30ís period. It dates from when a positive stop foot change was an either/or option. The interesting thing isnít that the change has what is now considered a long throw but that your bike has a foot change at all. For a short time until foot change became standard this was a rather exotic racing bike accessory.
Many bikes of the period had the rear brake on the right side and for a brief period you could have had both your fancy new foot change gear lever and the rear brake on the same side. It made for entertaining riding. This is why the British industry moved the rear brake to the left.
If I remember rightly there should be a limited adjustment option for the gear lever so you can have it sloping downwards but who knows what has been done over the lifetime of the bike.
Cheers,

Offline R

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Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2018, 09:12:51 PM »
Yes, what year is your bike ?
That could be correct for an early 30's bike.
But for a later bike, someone has fitted an earlier box and mechanism.

The footrest is on a splined fitting, so can be adjusted, within limits.
Whether more forwards and upwards or downwards and more within
reach of the gearlever and is still comfortable is another matter.

Offline R

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Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2018, 10:27:32 PM »
And, if that gearbox is correct for your year, and that footrest location is comfortable, you could probably have a local engineering co fabricate you up a new gearlever, with more of a downward slant. Its only a flat sheet of steel with some cuts and bends in it, then polished and chromed.
The later WD 16H levers on ebay sourced from India are now well over $100, so you probably could do just as well with locally made, although chroming will add to that.

Or, the existing one could be cut and rewelded shorter with a more downwards slant. Although the weld might look a bit ugly, unless polished and rechromed. Or welded in stainless.

Offline iansoady

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Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2018, 09:59:59 AM »
I would go for making up another lever as what I can see of the bike is relatively unmolested and it would be a shame to hack about what is probably a rare original enhancement.
Ian
1952 Norton ES2
1982 Moto Guzzi V50

Offline Tidyrob69

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Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2018, 03:37:53 PM »
Thanks for all your replies.
Its a 1946 model so must have had an earlier box fitted. I'm not impartial to having a hand change gear lever if that's what would work better on that box but there doesn't seem to be any provisions for brackets or the like.
I'll take the lever off and see what lurks behind and i'll drop vintage norton a line.
Maybe i'm expecting too much of it though, i normally ride modern bikes and motocross so am not used to false neutrals and oddly placed gear levers.
I will update with my findings.

Offline Tidyrob69

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Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2018, 03:44:47 PM »
That's interesting that the footrests are splined, I assumed they were fixed. Looking at the photos if the footrest was rotated clockwise about 45 degrees it would help the situation a lot. I'll try this too. Thanks R

Offline Tidyrob69

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Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2018, 11:07:50 AM »
I have some more information if any one is interested.
John at vintage Norton said it's an early sturmey archer box 1931 to 34.
I've moved the footrest up which has helped but the throw on the lever seems too much, is the some way of limiting the outer limits. I sometimes get false neutrals up and down through the gears.
If this is normal then I'm happy to live with it but if there's a way of refining things then I'll persue it.
I've attached some more photos.

Offline cardan

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Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2018, 10:23:58 PM »

I think you'll get used to it - just remember on old bikes there's no hurry to change gear. In 1929 and 1930, the SA box had a lever that could be configured for either hand or foot use, but was most often used as a foot change. No positive stop! I rode a 1929 CJ (350cc "cricket bat" OHC) with this setup and it was fine - just had to "feel" the lever into the next gear.

Here's your box in a 1933 ES2. As I noted up the top, it was only used on the sporty Nortons.

Enjoy.

Leon




Offline R

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Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« Reply #10 on: February 15, 2018, 10:29:19 PM »
Yes it had to be a SA gearbox, Nortons introduced the "Dolls Head" box circa 1934 to improve and enclose the gearchange action, and also get away from the hand change era.

This was because Sturmey Archer stopped all motorcycle manufacturing then, and this included no longer supplying gearboxes to Nortons and others. Nortons bought the SA design, improved it and had it built for them elsewhere - by Burmans as it happens. (although there is nothing Burman about the design.)

The long lever throw is about how they came.
As said, you'll get used to it !!

You may be able to do an outright swap for a later dolls head box to suit your era of bike, early 1930s boxes aren't that common, and folks are probably looking for them. Whether this would include cash either way is another matter, may depend on the condition of each box, and yours sounds to be pretty good. Ex-WD boxes are often extremely worn, so watch for this if you go down this path.

Offline chaterlea25

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Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2018, 12:03:55 AM »
Hi Tidyrob69 and All
Any wear in the clevis pins and linkages will make the gear change sloppy and cause missed gears
I can see a gap between pin and clevis in the photo's
Sort those out and the gear change will be as good as possible

John

Offline R

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Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2018, 01:07:09 AM »
The dolls head boxes still had quite a long throw, with that long gangly gearlever,
even with all play taken out of the linkages.
It was only the shorter lever of the laydown box that reduced the lever movement,
and the even shorter 5" lever of the AMC box further reduced the throw.
But the footrests need to be suitably positioned to be able to take advantage of this.

Offline Tidyrob69

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Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« Reply #13 on: February 17, 2018, 10:13:34 PM »
Thanks for all your input, it makes for an interesting read.
I wonder why it has a gearbox from a decade before fitted, maybe it's an early bike registered later or maybe simply the burman/SA box was the only one available at the time to replace a faulty dolls head or lay down or whatever box it had originally.
I think my course of action will be to look at replacing the worn linkages and see how I get on. I will also keep an eye out for a gearbox suited for the year, the dolls head and lay down boxes look different in pictures, which would be the better choice? Also I assume mounting plates etc will also be required.

Offline R

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Re: Norton 16H. Wrong gear lever?
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2018, 10:51:07 PM »
The laydown box is later than your bike, and won't fit - the mountings are different.
So you are looking for a dolls head.
Ex-WD ones are fairly common, but make sure its in good condition.
Your present box is purely SturmeyArcher, as supplied for a Norton.

The Burman manufacturing connection is largely unknown to most, and not generally referred to in connection with any Norton gearbox.  Burman boxes are different.