Wednesday, August 8, 2012

1969 Norton/ Redline

1969 Norton/Redline

Flat track racing of the 1960s was largely the domain of torque-thumping, ground-pounding twin-cylinder engines. British-built bikes used a parallel twin design, while American mainstay Harley-Davidson was “The” v-twin. But the real secret to flat track racing is the motorcycle’s frame. 

A good flat track frame must be light and strong, and most importantly it must resist the flex-inducing forces of high-speed cornering. It must also have a sharp angle on the headstock that tucks the forks and front tire in close – better for quick steering and transferring weight to the front tire to help it grip. Finishing off the frame with flashy nickel-plating doesn’t hurt either.

The flat track racer here has all of the above. It uses a Norton engine in an early Redline frame, made “about ‘69” estimates owner Dick Slusher. Dick “found it at a funeral.” For years, the deceased had wanted Dick to meet a friend of his who had the bike in a basement.  Dick and the fellow never met until the mutual friend died, then they finally crossed paths at the funeral. Dick bought the bike, brought it back to life, and found himself flat track racing for the first time in decades. The bike’s sound stirs his soul.

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