The Classic Motorcycle
BACK TO NORMAN-ITY?
Norman Cycles was the only motorcycle manufacturer based in Kent and during its years of operation a workforce of hundreds turned out thousands of machines.
Production of mainly Villiersengined motorcycles ceased in the early 1960s, but there are a good number of survivors.
With so much common interest, a club was formed in 2000 and soon attracted enthusiasts, former employees and also Kent historians.
The club usually offers the chance, twice a year, for interested parties to meet at its museum and clubhouse adjacent to the imposing Willesborough Windmill at Ashford, about a mile-and-ahalf from the former Norman factory. The pandemic has meant this was the first such gathering in some two years, but with everything ready, the sudden fuel shortage meant attendance on September 26, was a little less than expected.
There was news of works in progress as restorers use the occasion to network and hunt down elusive parts. A B1 model from the early 1950s was nearing completion. Next to it was James Lane’s B3. This belonged to his father, Greg, and the engine had seized much earlier in the bike’s life and it was stored, dismantled and unrepaired, for years until James took over. The bike is finally up and running, with only minor details remaining on the ‘to do’ list.
Another welcome attendee was club president, Brian Norman, whose father and uncle began the eponymous concern.
Norman production began with bicycles and among examples of the prodigious pedal-powered output were two restored Autocycles with the regular issue 98cc Villiers engines.