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The Unapproachable Norton

Norton Model 16H 490cc Sidevalve

Manufactured 1921-1954

The 'H' denotes that it was the 'Home' model, as distinct from the 'Colonial' Model which had a different frame and fork, and higher ground clearance for use on the typically rougher roads found in places such as Southern Africa and Australia. The early side-valve models achieved several sporting successes, but when Norton began campaigning the OHV Model 18 in competition the 16H was relegated to the role of sports tourer.

When the 16H was launched following the Great War, it featured a three-speed, hand-change, Sturmey-Archer gearbox and a Brown & Barlow carburettor. Druid forks provided front suspension and acetylene lighting supplied the candlepower. It changed little bar the introduction of electric lighting until 1929 when a saddle tank was introduced.

The 1925 16H had an expanding internal brake drum at the front and dummy belt rim rear brake. The Enfield rear brake incorporated a patented shock absorbing device for the rear sprocket.


From the 1928 Catalogue:

MODEL No. 16H. 4.90 Sports.

Code Word: "ACTON."
Engine: Bore 79 m.m. Stroke 100 m.m. Capacity 490 c.c.
Mechanical Lubrication
Standard Ratios, 474, 6.96, 12.55. Large type expanding Hub Brakes. Grease Gun Lubrication; front chain enclosed and lubricated. Patent Rear Hub Shock Absorber. New type Norton highly-efficient Silencer. Steering Damper, Adjustable Bars. Newly designed separate Oil Tank, magneto shield. Tyres 26 x 3.25, wired-on.
MODEL No. 2, as above, but with semi. T. T. Bars and footboards. Code Word: "Fleet."
Prices .
No. 16H, £53 10 0
No. 2, £54 10 0

Sources: NZ Classic Motorcycles, 1928 Norton Catalogue.