Oct 232010
Well it looks like we’re having an early winter this year, with temperatures just above zero. Today I had the choice; or leave in the early morning to take the Norton out for a ride but freezing my butt off, or wait a bit but become wet. In fact, neither has my preference… Yet I managed to be exactly in between them; I left around 11am, took the Norton out for a mini-tour and was back just minutes before it started to rain. On my way down into Sevres a friendly cardriver yielded to give me priority and of course, you’ll always see that and though it has been a long time ago, the Norton stalled.. Not really a surprise neither as I left home a bit quickly and the Norton wasn’t at all at temperature yet. After excusing myself and pushing the Norton aside (as it isn’t a modern bike where with a push on the button the engine runs again), putting it on the midstand, kicking, kicking again, the Norton ran again. I just had time to go to the gasstation, just to discover that they still didn’t have any gas and be back home again before the rain. The gasstation in Chaville has been all out of gas since last weekend or so. Due to strikes in france they had, from time to time, some gasoil (diesel) but no regular gas.
Het begint er op te lijken dat we een vroege winter krijgen dit jaar, met nu al temperaturen van net boven het vriespunt. Vandaag had ik de keuze; of vroeg in de ochtend gaan en bevriezen of later gaan en nat regenen. Eigenlijk heeft geen van beide mijn voorkeur… Toch slaagde ik er in net tussen beiden te gaan; met de Norton weggereden rond 11 uur voor een kort ritje en was terug net een paar minuten voordat het begon te regenen. Op de terugweg naar Sevres stopte een vriendelijke automobilist om me voorrang te geven en natuurlijk, zal je net altijd zien, dat is waar de Norton afsloeg.. Niet verwonderlijk omdat ik wat gehaast weg was gereden en de Norton nog niet eens op temperatuur was gekomen. Na mezelf geexcuseerd te hebben en de Norton aan de kant te hebben geduwd (het is geen moderne motor waar je op een knopje drukt en de motor loopt weer), op de middenbok gezet, aantrappen, liep de Norton weer. Ik had net de tijd om even naar het benzinestation te rijden alleen maar om uit te vinden dat ze nog steeds geen benzine hadden en weer terug voordat het begon te regenen. Het benzinestation in Chaville heeft geen benzine meer sinds het afgelopen weekend. Vanwege stakingen in Frankrijk hadden ze, van tijd tot tijd, wel wat diesel maar geen benzine.
J’ai l’impression que nous allons avoir un hiver très tôt cette année avec températures juste au dessus de zéro aujourd’hui. J’avais le choix aujourd’hui; partir tôt avec la Norton et me geler ou attendre un peu mais me faire arroser par la pluie. Au fait, ni l’un ni l’autre a mon préférence… Pourtant j’ai réussi de partir entre les deux; parti vers 11 heures de matin avec la Norton et de retour quelques minutes avant qu’il ne commençait à pleuvoir. Sur mon chemin vers centre ville Sèvres un conducteur d’une voiture était sympa et s’arrêtait afin de me donner la priorité mais, au pire moment bien sûr, c’était justement là où la Norton calait.. Pas vraiment étonnant car j’étais parti pressé et la Norton n’était pas de tout encore au température. Après m’avoir excusé (ce n’est pas une moto moderne qui redémarre avec un appui sur un bouton), j’ai poussé la Norton sur le trottoir, garé, quelques coup de pied au démarreur la Norton démarrait. J’avais juste le temps d’aller au station de service à Chaville, juste pour découvrir qu’ils n’avaient toujours pas d’essence et de rentrer avant qu’il pleuvait. La station de service à Chaville n’a pas eu d’essence depuis le weekend dernier. A cause des grèves, ils avaient de gasoil de temps à l’autre mais pas d’essence.
 Posted by at 1:40 pm
Oct 092010

This weekend, completely unexpected, the weather is splendid. Almost summer like. So this morning I’ve polished and cleaned the whole Norton. Since her oil change and fixed exhaust locking nuts, the Norton leaks less oil. Not that I mind some oil leaks,  but it feels good that for once the whole engine, carbus and frame are less “greasy”.

After having finished cleaning the Norton I took her out for a ride. The Norton starts fine, cold on the 4th or 5th kick but to my feeling is her engine idle speed a bit low. At Boulogne while waiting for a red light, I was joined by a couple on a chopper. We exchanged a friendly “bonjour”, but at the next trafic light he said, in Dutch, “dat is een prachtige motor, van wanneer is ze?”. That was a bit surprising, because the number of Dutch people I’ve crossed here, in 11 years time, limit themselves to the van der Laan family (neighbours of my parents-in-law), my mother and her friend. I went back to Holland several times, but in fact, no member of my family ever came to visit me and Catherine here in France. I wonder though how they knew that I was Dutch myself, because it isn’t actually very visible, besides a very tiny written “NL” placed in a tiny circle on the Norton’s license plate, but even then, only visible when looking real close.

Norton Commando 850 all clean and fixed again

Besides the slightly lower engine idle speed, I can only state that Machines & Moteurs did a wonderful job. The Norton runs great, airtight, I’m very happy. Or perhaps, go figure, has the Norton now the correct engine idle speed and was she running idle too fast before? That could also be possible. I just have to get used to it, because when closing the throttle, it gives the feeling as if the engine dies, but no no, she idles alright.

My wife told me that I should write “http://norton.alterlinks.com” somewhere on the Norton or on my helmet, perhaps I make new friends to stay in touch, but to be honnest, even if I would do that, I can only imagine that someone would think after they got home “what was that again what was written?” and it wouldn’t do much good anyway.

 Posted by at 4:18 pm
Oct 022010

The Norton is back home again. This morning I went to go pick her up with my father-in-law. The weather was fairly good; as the forecast predicted rain all weekend long, we must have been in between two rain showers. Just when I thought to make it back home dry, it started to rain from the pont de Sevres, enough to become wet anyway. Oh well.

Norton Commando 850 back home

Of course, it didn’t go as smooth as planned; on the way back, just at the highway exit to take the direction of Nanterre Prefecture, I lost my father-in-law who was following me in our car out of sight. I stopped, waited, but nothing… After about 10 minutes of waiting I figured that he must have gone straight direction Paris rather than taking the sharp right turn direction Nanterre. I continued my way untill I could pull over in a safe spot to call my mother-in-law. Of course he didn’t have his mobile phone with him, so impossible to contact him to find out where he was. I continued my way, hoping that he would find his way back and also hoping the Norton wouldn’t break down, as all my tools were in the car.

Norton’s right exhaust locking nut fixed (inner thread)

Once back home, parked the Norton in the garage to take some pictures. I’m happy, it looks good, both exhaust locking nuts are fixed or rather, the cilinderhead’s inner thread is fixed that holds the locking nuts. When I picked up the Norton, Laurent told me that it is a good little bike; besides the two inner thread reparations they also replaced some other parts and an oil change.

Norton’s left exhaust locking nut fixed (inner thread)

One of the parts that got changed is the camshaft’s feeding oil tube. From what Laurent told me, the one that was in place was the bricolage and not original. If ever it would break or loosen, it would starve the camshaft from oil. The sparkplug cables got replaced as well, which is strange, because this are the cables that were delivered with the ignition coils. Oh well, I don’t really care, I suppose they know what they’re doing and if they fitted the right cable and as long as it works, I’m happy.

New (original ?) camshaft oil feed tube

Meanwhile I polished and cleaned the Norton a bit, waiting for my father-in-law. He came home about 1 hour later. I don’t know how he managed but he told me that he stopped and waited too. Somewhere. At least not along the same road. But when he wanted to continue his way, he couldn’t; he had pulled our car up the side curb and got stuck under the engine; the right front wheel spinned around in nothing, not having any grip. As he didn’t have a phone he couldn’t call anyone, but luckely for him, some people stopped to give a push. I wish they hadn’t, because now I have a nice dent in the hood on the front right side where they pushed the car … On top of that, it didn’t even do the trick. Someone else was smarter, turned the steeringwheel a couple of times, enough to place the right front tire on solid ground and the car came free on its own. He also explained that he was later because he had to pay toll when he came over a toll road, but.. The way he was supposed to go, there aren’t any toll roads! Oh well, he made it home, next time he will probably remember to take his mobile phone.

After 500km, the cilinderhead needs re-tightning and re-set the valves, but I’ll try to have it coïncidence with work on the clutch towards the end of winter. I don’t use the Norton all that much and as I don’t even have the right tools, I prefer that Machines & Moteurs re-tightens it.

 Posted by at 1:56 pm