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1954 Norton 350cc

1954 Norton 350cc Outside Flywheel Racing Machine

The factory racing machines for the 1954 season were tried out at Floreffe where Ray Amm gained second place in both 350 and 500 classes. Whilst the bikes looked more or less as before, the engines were considerably altered. In the search for higher rpm to compete with the 4 cylinder Italians, the Norton engines had a higger bore and shorter stroke than previously and so were able to employ shorter con-rods. To minimise crankcase size and to reduce oil drag, the internal flywheels were replaced by a single external flywheel mounted behind the engine sprocket.

Transmission changes included the fitting of a rubber element engine shaft shock absorber, the adoption of a 5 speed gearbox with direct operating gear pedal and a 5 plate clutch.

This was to be the last year of the true works machines, Norton's future policy being that the works riders should use standard Manx Nortons with various minor details on test for inclusion in the following year's production models.

If the trus 1955 works machines had been revealed, they would have had horizontally mounted outside flywheel engines with an integral 5 speed gearbox. This would have been designated the 'F' type and on test gave as much power at the rear wheel as the 1954 engines gave at the crankshaft. However, special racing machines had become too expensive and the machine in the picture is an example of the last of Norton's Works Racers.