CW Garage: Michael Latham's 1963 Norton Atlas - First Look

New from the ground up.

CW Garage: Michael Latham

This is one of my two Nortons. She is a '63 Atlas that we built from the ground up. Everything was redone from the attachment hardware on the crank to the valve train. Interesting bits include the incorporation of a Commando primary to the motor; this eliminated a lot of leaks and added a triple-row primary chain over the standard single-row unit. Using this primary required use of a two-into-one exhaust. The motor was completely overhauled, including new hardware for the crank, Hepolite pistons, Superblend bearings and new spindles and rockers. The head is a Norton Combat unit that was shaved and ported. The bike runs about 9.75:1 compression. A magneto is used to supply spark, the entire electrical system is simple and includes a couple of kill switches, headlight and taillight. No messy battery.

Custom pieces include the aluminum oil tank, which incorporates an anti-sump valve, motor mounts, oiling system (required due to the Commando primary), chainguard and too many others to list. The front end is a Ceriani GP unit mated to a '75 Honda front hub and dual discs. A Commando hub was used on the rear. The wheels are Excel shouldered aluminum with stainless-steel spokes. The front fender is an original Paul Dunstall fiberglass unit while the tank and seat are replica Manx units. A modified (longer than stock) rear fender was used to allow for a license plate and taillight.