Posts Tagged ‘Knucklehead’

And what a cracker too…

Kempton-may 18_0009 copy

Kawasaki H1b 500

 

And outside was a nice Knucklehead custom..

 

Kempton-may 18_0003 copy

Harley Knucklehead Custom

I found these pictures on the internet the other day, whilst looking for information on Manx Nortons, the bike is apparently a 1951 Manx garden gate, with a fitted Harley Knucklehead motor, that is all I know. I could not find any other info on this bike. Who built it, where it was built, where it is now? all just a mystery at the moment.

But it sure does have that cool factor.

I wonder if anyone reading this will be able to fill in some of the spaces with regards this bike… Well, someone did and has replied, please read Fred’s reply below, it is great to have some of the back story. Thanks Fred.

Norton Harley Special

Norton Harley Special

Knucklehead

Knucklehead

A Tight Fit

A Tight Fit

 

Doug Kephart says:

As mentioned, the bike was built by a friend of my father, Bill Selby. However it was built 1964-65, probably using resources of Piasecki Aircraft (not to be confused with Piasecki Helicopter, that became Boeing-Vertol) where he was working in the toolroom at the time. Locally it was known as the “Norley”. He then sold it to Caleb Cressman of Ward, PA., though I think it was in the mid- or late seventies. One of the first things Caleb did was ‘blow up’ the engine, which probably was just a used engine Selby scrounged up for the project. Caleb got another engine, had it rebuilt, but no one cleaned out the oil tank from the first blowup. That trashed the second engine. I think it may be on its 4th knucklehead motor or rebuild! Caleb had no involvement with building or design, though certainly knew Selby.

The ‘story’ was it was one of the bikes brought over for the 1950 or ’51 Daytona. Recent checking shows it does have features of the machines built for Dayton to look like Norton International models (Internationals were eligible, Manxes were not), but using Manx hardware. Unfortunately the frame number had been ground away, so it is not possible to prove that. Caleb took the Norley with him to Nantucket where he moved to in the eighties. It was there that he had an accident with it. On encountering a bend in the road covered with gravel, he aimed for a gap in the hedge leading to a field straight on beyond. Unfortunately the gap was for a guy wire to a telephone pole. This caught the bike on the kickstarter and threw Caleb, knocking him unconscious. Fortunately the accident was witnessed and he got prompt help. The only damage to the Norley was to treat off the kickstarter and fracture to the end cover of the Sturmey-Archer dollshead gearbox. It got laid up for a awhile, moved back to Pennsylvania, then came to our place to have the gearbox repaired and the motor checked over as it had sat for a while. The gearbox end cover got replaced, and the peculiar tall 1st gear Dayton ratio replaced with a standard road going 1st gear set.

By the way, the wheel hubs are magnesium and the petrol and oil tank aluminum. I took some photos of it at that time, 1989, while it was apart and then assembled. Also some 8mm camcorder video of my brother and I riding it about. At that time, it looked just as you see it in the pictures above. After Selby sold the Norley, he started on another project, sticking a 1953 Panhead engine in a 1956 Norton wideline feather bead frame. No special race parts there, other than Grimica and Fotana hubs and a big Lyta alloy gas tank. That never got finished and Selby also sold that to Caleb, and then through another mutual friend I ended up with it. Naturally it was called the Norley Mk2, and the original became the Norley Mk1. Selby in quick succession also started installation of a late Indian Chief motor in a Norton slimline featherbed frame, and then the last a Sportster engine (not sure of year), the frames being 1965 and 1967. Caleb probably helped Selby find the parts, which may the source of the idea that he had a hand in designing/building the Norley. These would have been the Norley Mk3 and Mk4, but got even less further along than the Mk2. Just before Selby died, I bought those projects too for the Norton parts, as Selby had already sold the Indian and Sportster engines to raise money.

Fantastic, thanks Doug.

Kempton Jumble…

Posted: March 23, 2014 in Just Me
Tags: , , , , , ,

Yesterday (Saturday) it was another Kempton bike jumble, the sun was out but not warm, but that is good enough for me,  so it was time to mooch around all the stalls, to see what was for sale…

But first a couple of shots from the car park, a nice BSA three wheeler, and a hard tail knucklehead, now both of these are on the hot side of cool.

BSA Three Wheeler

BSA Three Wheeler

Knucklehead

Knucklehead

As usual, there was plenty of other stuff to look at both inside the jumble, and out in the parking lot…

Barn fresh Triumph

Barn fresh Triumph

Silk 700S

Silk 700S