Norton Motorcycles 1950s

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Manx Norton 500cc

Long-stroke 1946-53

Short-stroke 1953-62

The Manx Norton was by far the most popular racing machine during the days of the Grand Prix Circus of the nineteen fifties and sixties, often surpassing the performances of factory racers and other technically superior machines.

The McCandless Featherbed frame, in both slimline and wideline variation, became the basis for a host of specials and copies of it are in production to this day, as are most of the spare parts required to maintain the original machines or create, at considerable expense, replicas. The Featherbed frames, designed for Norton by the McCandless brothers, were made by the Reynolds company and were used on production road models such as the Model 88 Dominator.

Norton Manx Model 30/40 Specifications 1959

350cc / 500cc

Manx 30/40

The most successful standard production racing machine in the world.

Basically identical, both engines employ bevel-driven twin over head camshafts, light alloy heads and barrels and high tensile steel connecting rods. A compression ratio suitable for international racing fuels is standard. Lucas rotating magnet magneto and Amal G.P. weir type carburetters are used.

TRANSMISSION : Close ratio 4-speed gearbox ; 3-plate clutch, primary chain oil carried in frame.

SUSPENSION: "Roadholder" telescopic forks with clip-on handle bars. Pivoted fork rear suspension with hydraulically damped shock absorber units.

WHEELS : Light alloy hubs, rims and brake shoes; two leading shoe type front brake.

TANKS : Light alloy with quick action caps.

FRAME : Double loop, all welded, equipped to carry fairings.

OTHER EQUIPMENT : 8,000 r.p.m. revolution counter, fly screen, megaphone, light alloy guards, steering damper, ball-ended brake and clutch levers.

FINISH : Black and Silver enamel with chromium plating.

Models Bore and
Cylinder Capacity Compression Ratio Gear Ratio Weight Petrol Tank Capacity Oil Tank
Tyre Size Brake Dimensions
30 M 86 x 85.6 499 c.c. 11-1*

Top 4-23 2nd 5-63
3rd 4-65 Bot. 7-52


5 Gal.

7 1/2 pts.

F.3-00 x 19
R.3-50 x 19


8" dia. x 1 3/4" wide

40 M

76 x 76-7

348 c.c.


Top 5-12 2nd 6-81
3rd 5-64 Bot. 9 11


5 Gal.

7 1/2 pts.

F. 3-00 X 19
R. 3 50 x 19


7" dia. x 1 3/4" wide

* N.B. 1959 model may have had 10:1 compression, as did 1960 and 61 models.

Norton M30 Manx 500 1954

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