Sunday, March 10, 2013

Refreshed Norton

The Northern California Norton Owners Club had an event yesterday called "Bring out your almost dead." It was held at Ken Armann's British Motorcycle shop in Campbell. The idea was that you could bring in your Norton or British bike, get advice, work on your bike, and get help to work on issues with expert mechanic guidance and experienced Norton owners. Also, there was food and socializing. This is a totally free event they hold each year. I am so glad I went. I haven't even officially joined the club but I met very nice people and my bike got some sorely needed adjustments while I got some sorely needed knowledge on owning and caring for my bike. The ride leaving was noticeably smoother. A nice ride.

Diane, who works with Ken at the shop, spent a lot of time with me. She was friendly and answered the big questions I have had for a while. What do I need to know to properly care for this bike? How do I check and level the various oils on this bike? How close to normal are these brakes that don't seem to care much about stopping? (Normal for these stock brakes.) And more such as how I should modify my starting routine on the bike. In the process of showing me all of this on my bike, Diane said "f#*£!" when she felt the slack in my primary chain through the check cover. She showed Ken who said exactly the same word. Then my bike found itself on the lift once it was empty and I watched Ken adjust the primary, then adjust the newly created slack in the final drive chain, add gear oil to the transmission, and eventually adjust my carbs before I left with his pocket knife. My bike was quieter, waaaay smoother riding, easier and smoother shifting, and overall felt refreshed. The engine, which has always felt healthy, really got to shine with proper adjustments and lube for the carbs and drive line. All this and socializing, neat bikes, friendly people, home made food from Ken's wife AND pie for desert, a Vincent (yeah, a Vincent - only the second I have ever seen in real life out in the world and quite a peace of art), and I even ran into a teacher I had from college.

I was really looking forward to this event as the opportunity to finally ask someone knowledgeable so many questions while I was simultaneously nervous about what kind of crowd it would be and weather it would be comfortable. I considered not going just to avoid an event with a bunch of people I didn't know but thankfully the sales pitch to bring your Norton to get help and advice was just too much to pass up. I am so glad I attended. I am so much more prepared to own and care for my Norton now and it rides so well. Thanks Diane and Ken for all the help. And to Ken's wife for delicious food and to everyone else for easy conversation and bikes to look at.

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