TAK­ING IN­SPI­RA­TION FROM BERT HOPWOOD

Classic Bike (UK) - - YOUR CLASSICS -

In 1959 I first set eyes on a Nor­ton Ju­bilee 250cc twin. To me, a bud­ding tool­maker at col­lege, it was the ul­ti­mate de­sign – I think Nor­ton’s de­signer Bert Hopwood and I were think­ing along the same lines – it was just what I had been sketch­ing in my col­lege note book at South-east Lon­don Tech­ni­cal Col­lege.

It wasn’t un­til 2006 that I got my dream bike, via an ad in CB. A ’64 model, it was ‘al­most com­plete’, but a com­plete strip­down and re­paint was re­quired. The wheels were in a state, the en­gine cas­ings full of holes, there was no clutch or al­ter­na­tor and the shocks had col­lapsed. Luck­ily, I was able to buy a com­plete en­gine in good or­der. The tin­wear was blasted, zinc coated and painted by a lo­cal clas­sic car re­storer. The en­gine was a 1965 MKII, which meant re-drilling the frame and plug­ging the old holes, but in it went. Af­ter rewiring to my own de­sign, the en­gine started third kick. I fixed the seat, the stain­less wheels and spokes came from Supreme Mo­tor­cy­cles and new ex­haust pipes and si­lencers from Ar­mours of Bournemouth. I made new han­dle­bar mounts in alu­minium and fit­ted re­place­ment al­loy levers. I am also ex­per­i­ment­ing with a pull mul­ti­plier on the ’bars, as the brakes are not good.

The restora­tion was over, but I still had the old en­gine in bits, and I got to think­ing what old Bert would have done if Nor­ton hadn’t stopped mak­ing lightweights in 1966. Surely he would have fit­ted al­loy wheels, disc brakes, bet­ter sus­pen­sion, im­proved switches and wiring. So I am now in the process of fit­ting the ren­o­vated en­gine into a 1981 Kawasaki Z250 rolling chas­sis. Once the bug has bit­ten, it’s hard to stop. JIM LLOYD

Jim fi­nally got his dream Julilee in 2006 – but it needed plenty of work

LEFT: ... in this Bertin­spired Kawasaki Z250 spe­cial

ABOVE: This is where the Ju­bilee’s orig­i­nal en­gine ended up...

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