Monday, August 20, 2007

The Featherlastic: or how to build the Norton of your dreams.

By Mark Hoyer From Cycleworld

It's pretty simple, really. You just need to collect parts for years, get a few Commando restorations under your belt and have one of your friends show up at a Norton club meeting with a for-sale Featherbed frame in the back of his truck.

Okay, so building the Norton of your dreams isn't easy, but it certainly is simple. Just use the best major ingredients the English manufacturer ever made: the Featherbed frame and the Commando engine with its Isolastic rubber-mount system. As most Norton fans will attest, Isolastics were an amazing advance that allowed the big and buzzy parallel-Twin to go about the business of making major horsepower without blurring the vision or numbing the hands of the rider. And the Featherbed frame, well, it was just one of the great advancements in motorcycle handling and served Norton in the form of countless wins at the Isle of Man TT and in roadracing around the world, as well as being the basis for thousands of streetbikes through the '50s and '60s.

Looks like a factory job, no? Featherlastic combines impeccable handling of the Featherbed frame with the livability of a Commando's rubber-isolated engine.
Texan Bob Cox isn't the first guy to marry these two elements into one special motorcycle, but his effort—featured in the current CW print edition—is perhaps one of the finest executed versions on the road. To follow along with Cox's step-by-step process of building the Featherlastic in his personal build-diary, click here. Don't forget your spanners and shop apron. And as long as all you're riding is your computer, feel free to crack open a pint.

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