1953 Norton Manx 30M Vintage Motorcycle Test Drive

The bike has a featherbed frame, roadholder forks, and a 500 cc single DOHC engine. Starting requires effort. It was bred for the track so there are no niceties such as a compression release valve or kick start lever. It is a matter of putting it in 4th so the rear wheel doesn't lock up, and pushing it as fast as possible, hopefully with the aid of a friend. Tickling the carb repeatedly resulted in fouling the plug repeatedly. We stopped tickliing the carb. The spark advance must be set to full retard, meaning pulling the thumb lever back towards rider. With an enthusiastic enough push we were rewarded with a few throaty explosions before the bike roared to life.

The bike is light and responsive. The castor laced exhaust fumes smell delicious. And the noise, what a sound! Riding it is an experience that transports one back to the heyday of the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy race, the birthplace of the Manx Norton !

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