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Rob North frame or replica ? Made for Daytona engine


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#1 RC162

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Posted 05 February 2011 - 20:34

Hi all
Now there are some really clued up people on this forum and I hope someone may be able to help with this puzzle.

My friend Keith bought the frame in the pictures below from an advert in Classic Racer. Very much in Rob North style and the construction has been done with some thought. After he bought the frame he was contacted by Claudio Sintich who's book Keith recently bought. They had a long chat but were unable to say who had made it. Claudio only new of one frame of this type that was made for Percy Tait by Rob North but this was for a 650 Triumph. Keith is a Triumph nut and a Rob North is his dream bike and this is probably the only type of Rob North he could ever afford so he will build a bike, using a 500 Daytona engine, whatever it turns out to be.

The frame is stamped 500T/01 and the gusset was stamped before it was fitted as it is very thin and would have distorted if stamped after fitting. The frame was never completed as it has no brackets to talk of and there are no front engine mounts. One oddball thing is the two inserts at the back of the frame. They are rubber mounted steel bushes. Could they be for gear linkage transfer or simply fairing mounts.

Please ask any questions and I will try to answer them but if anyone knows who built it an why we would love to know. A very kind forum member who is in contact with Rob North has asked him about the frame but he was unable to give a clear yes or no as to wether it was built by him or his company.

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#2 bsracer

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 03:20

Sorry I haven't got back to you yet Stuart.

I've been down to Rob's shop the past two weekends and both times he left early (4:30pm). I guess he slackin off some since he turned 70. I talked to him today and plan on going to see him tomorrow. I'll pull these pics up and show him.


paul

#3 RC162

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 08:02

Sorry I haven't got back to you yet Stuart.

I've been down to Rob's shop the past two weekends and both times he left early (4:30pm). I guess he slackin off some since he turned 70. I talked to him today and plan on going to see him tomorrow. I'll pull these pics up and show him.


paul


Hi Paul
That is great news. Many thanks for your help. I hope Rob may be able to shed some light on this one.

Stuart

#4 rotrax

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 12:19

Sorry I haven't got back to you yet Stuart.

I've been down to Rob's shop the past two weekends and both times he left early (4:30pm). I guess he slackin off some since he turned 70. I talked to him today and plan on going to see him tomorrow. I'll pull these pics up and show him.


paul

Hi, When you see Rob North next please pass on my regards. I raced one of his bikes-an NTF- I think this stood for North Tube Fabrications. It was a JAP powered Speedway bike,loosely based on the JAWA 2 valve frame and forks. It even had NTF cast in the countershaft housing.The fuel tank held both fuel and oil and it was high at the headstock with very steep head angle. It was a great ride on small tracks but a bit lively at high speed.I had a lot of success with this bike and I still have a spare front frame diamond-in case anyone needs one.In sport,Rotrax.


#5 mfd

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 14:28

Hi Paul - That is great news. Many thanks for your help. I hope Rob may be able to shed some light on this one.
Stuart


Hello Stuart, can you go to each of the other four identical threads you started & delete them please


#6 RC162

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 15:17

Hello Stuart, can you go to each of the other four identical threads you started & delete them please


I have been searching to find how to delete the extra ones but can't find how to. Any help please ? The topic took a while to load and when I went to the forum there were 5 copies. It looks as if someone else had the same problem.

#7 GD66

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 15:19

Notify Twinny and he'll sort 'em out in no time...

#8 mfd

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 16:54

Notify Twinny and he'll sort 'em out in no time...

Do I here the cavalry? Yes, thought so :wave:

Edited by mfd, 06 February 2011 - 20:17.


#9 bsracer

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Posted 06 February 2011 - 20:53

Hi Stuart,

Some slightly positive news. I just got back from Rob's. I took down the add in Classic Racer and pulled up the pics you posted here. He seems to think it could be
one of the two frames he built for 750 twin Triumph. Rob said he built the first one for Percy Tait and a second one with modifications based on handling complaints.
He said these were the first two frames he built for Triumph prior to building the triple frames. He also sadly indicated that he never stamped the frames with any identifing numbers. He thinks these were added by someone later. He also dosen't remember the rubber mounts at the rear but said there were front eng mounts. Maybe someone modified this frame for another motor?

I hope this helps.

Rob laughed and said he never thought when he was building all these frames that down the rode someone would want to identify them or he would have taken notes.


paul

p.s. Mike I told Rob you said Hi but he couldn't place the name. He did remember the Rotrax speedway frames though!

Edited by bsracer, 06 February 2011 - 20:54.


#10 RC162

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 06:59

Hi Stuart,

Some slightly positive news. I just got back from Rob's. I took down the add in Classic Racer and pulled up the pics you posted here. He seems to think it could be
one of the two frames he built for 750 twin Triumph. Rob said he built the first one for Percy Tait and a second one with modifications based on handling complaints.
He said these were the first two frames he built for Triumph prior to building the triple frames. He also sadly indicated that he never stamped the frames with any identifing numbers. He thinks these were added by someone later. He also dosen't remember the rubber mounts at the rear but said there were front eng mounts. Maybe someone modified this frame for another motor?

I hope this helps.

Rob laughed and said he never thought when he was building all these frames that down the rode someone would want to identify them or he would have taken notes.


paul

p.s. Mike I told Rob you said Hi but he couldn't place the name. He did remember the Rotrax speedway frames though!


Hi Paul
Many thanks for all your help with this. What Keith will do now is remove the paint from where the front engine mounts would have been to see if there is any trace of them having been removed at some time. I'll let you know what he finds.

Stuart

#11 RC162

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Posted 10 February 2011 - 18:43

Hi all
Just an update in the search to find who made the frame. Keith was in the Birmingham area today so he took the frame to show Les Whiston of Rob North Triples and he had a very close look at everything and he is convinced it is a genuine Rob North frame. He says all the measurements are how they would be plus all the little things are there that identifies someones work. Les has been making these frames for so many years and is certain it's Rob's work. Les said that the swingarm is some 2 inches shorter than those on the triples but the construction is identical. He also remarked on the mustard yellow primer on the frame which he remembers from a long time ago. Keith will now strip back the paint on the frame where the engine mounts would have been, to see if they have been removed at some time.

All interesting stuff.

Stuart

#12 RC162

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Posted 11 February 2011 - 07:04


I have just spoken to Keith again and I need to amend my last post a little. Although he went to see Les Whiston at Rob North Triples he spent most of his time there with Mick Pearce who has made Rob North replica frames for many years with different companies. It is Mick who is convinced that this is indeed the genuine artcle.

Does anybody know if Rob was making frames before the first two he made for Percy Tait and Triumph or was this the point at which he started ?

#13 rotrax

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 17:43

I have just spoken to Keith again and I need to amend my last post a little. Although he went to see Les Whiston at Rob North Triples he spent most of his time there with Mick Pearce who has made Rob North replica frames for many years with different companies. It is Mick who is convinced that this is indeed the genuine artcle.

Does anybody know if Rob was making frames before the first two he made for Percy Tait and Triumph or was this the point at which he started ?

Hi, I believe that Rob North got into frame making when some Coventry Speedway riders gave him Les Owens Jawa 2 valve frame to copy. Unfortunatly Les had smacked into a safety fence dead straight and the headstock was pushed back a tiny bit.The resulting frame was not a straight exchange for the Jawa,but was great on small tracks where it would turn hard and quick. Rob made a proper job of his speedway stuff,even the fuel tank was embossed from the inside with NTF. He also made the countershafts. Mine had a Norton clutch,and had NTF cast in the housing.I got this story from Col Smith at Coventry speedway who worked at the Triumph at Meriden in the comp shop under Henry Vale. I turned up one night for a veterans race with the NTF and Col filled me in on how he remembered it.He said that when Percy Tait wanted better frames they went to Rob North for them as he was local and did great work.I imagine this must have been late sixties early seventies. Col also told me that an occaisional visitor was a very young Kieth Huwen who would sometimes turn up to spanner for his uncle, the late Alan Cowland.

#14 RC162

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 19:51

Hi Rotrax
That is really interesting as it points to Rob having not made any frames to suit Triumph engines until Percy Tait turned up and as we alraedy know he only made two frames prior to doing all triple frames so hopefully this frame is one of these two. Do you have any contact with Col Smith as he may have some extra information as to what happened to the two frames that Rob made.

As a point of interest my uncle Peter Atkins rode speedway for Norwich and his claim to fame was that he beat Ove Fundin and made the headlines in the News of the World. Sadly shortly after he developed glandular fever which ended his career.

Many thanks for the reply and the information.

Stuart

#15 rotrax

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Posted 13 February 2011 - 20:20

Hi Rotrax
That is really interesting as it points to Rob having not made any frames to suit Triumph engines until Percy Tait turned up and as we alraedy know he only made two frames prior to doing all triple frames so hopefully this frame is one of these two. Do you have any contact with Col Smith as he may have some extra information as to what happened to the two frames that Rob made.

As a point of interest my uncle Peter Atkins rode speedway for Norwich and his claim to fame was that he beat Ove Fundin and made the headlines in the News of the World. Sadly shortly after he developed glandular fever which ended his career.

Many thanks for the reply and the information.

Stuart

Hi,Col Smith is still active in the Coventry area. He rides trials and does a few JAP motors for his mates. He was riding Speedway with the Coventry Vets untill recently. PM me and I will find his contact details. I never knew your uncle but he must have been mustard the night he beat Ove. What a scalp to take. I hope he tapped the promoter up for some more money!

#16 bsracer

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 15:52

Hi Stuart.

I asked Rob about other frames. He said that he was also involved in making some 500 frames for Triumph, however these were based on drawings they provided. He said as to the swing arm being shorter, he said it was standard length. So I guess that means the standard length Triumph 750 twin. As for the end bits on the swingarm being genuine Triumph, he said he was allowed pick the bits right off the assembly line back when he was building these frames. Now he actually makes everything himself. I'm not certain when Rob started his frame making. He was a side car racer. I believe he started building his own parts for his rig based on some of the regular front runners rigs. This led to him making complete rigs then branched out to other frames. If you give Rob a call I'm sure he can give you more info than me trying to relate it.

paul

Rob North Fabrications # 619-474-6424
Rob's usually in the shop everyday 9-5 (San Diego, California)

#17 RC162

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Posted 14 February 2011 - 18:34

Hi Paul
Many thanks for all you have done for me with this. Your help has been invaluable and we seem to be nearly there in where what and when with this frame. Keith is over the moon to have, what almost certainly is, one of Rob's own frames and from all the bits and pieces he is putting together it will be a great bike.

Stuart

#18 RC162

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 19:51

Hi all
Just an update for those of you who are interested. I spoke to Col Smith who worked in the competition shop at Meridan and he very kindly put me in contact with Les Williams. He related to me that his first contact with Rob North was when he had one of the seven bonneville frames, that Ken Sprayson had made using 531 tubing, modified by Rob. This is how Rob remembers his first contact with Triumph. It seems it was after this that Rob supplied a frame, for a 650 twin, of his own design. Les very kindly sent me the only photo he knows of showing the bike they built with this frame but I am uable to post it up due to copyright. This frame is not the one my friend Keith has as the top tubes run from the seat to the headstock and not as you can see in the previous photos where they meet the diagonal tubes before the bend that goes up to the headstock. We believe this is the frame that had handling problems which is why, according to Rob, he made a second with the changes that appear on Keith's frame. Now this is where Rob's account differs as Les was of the opinion that Rob North only supplied one frame of his own design and that was the one in the photo. This frame was cut up and scrapped according to Les. However after I sent Les the pictures of Keith's frame which he found in his words ' very interesting ' he kindly has offered to speak to Arthur Jakeman, who was Percy Tait's mechanic at the time, and see if he can shed any light on it.

I'll keep you posted.

#19 rotrax

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Posted 28 February 2011 - 20:32

Hi all
Just an update for those of you who are interested. I spoke to Col Smith who worked in the competition shop at Meridan and he very kindly put me in contact with Les Williams. He related to me that his first contact with Rob North was when he had one of the seven bonneville frames, that Ken Sprayson had made using 531 tubing, modified by Rob. This is how Rob remembers his first contact with Triumph. It seems it was after this that Rob supplied a frame, for a 650 twin, of his own design. Les very kindly sent me the only photo he knows of showing the bike they built with this frame but I am uable to post it up due to copyright. This frame is not the one my friend Keith has as the top tubes run from the seat to the headstock and not as you can see in the previous photos where they meet the diagonal tubes before the bend that goes up to the headstock. We believe this is the frame that had handling problems which is why, according to Rob, he made a second with the changes that appear on Keith's frame. Now this is where Rob's account differs as Les was of the opinion that Rob North only supplied one frame of his own design and that was the one in the photo. This frame was cut up and scrapped according to Les. However after I sent Les the pictures of Keith's frame which he found in his words ' very interesting ' he kindly has offered to speak to Arthur Jakeman, who was Percy Tait's mechanic at the time, and see if he can shed any light on it.

I'll keep you posted.

Hi, Looks like you are getting nearer the answer! I am impressed how this particular jigsaw seems to be resolving itself. The knowledge on this forum is outstanding. I look forward to the next post! In Sport, Rotrax.

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#20 peterd

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Posted 01 March 2011 - 07:21

Keep it coming. I'm loving this thread.

#21 bsracer

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 15:31

Hi Stuart,

did you talk with Rob then?

paul

#22 RC162

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Posted 03 March 2011 - 18:22

Hi Stuart,

did you talk with Rob then?

paul

Hi Paul
I have given Rob's number to Keith as it will be very special for him to talk to one of his heroes. He will ring Rob hopefully after we have a reply from Les Williams who hopes to talk to Arthur Jakeman. There may be things that Arthur remembers that may click with Rob.

All the best. Stuart

#23 RC162

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 19:44

Hi all
Well Keith has spoken to one of his heroes, Rob North, and I hope you will find some of the information interesting.

Rob has looked at the photos of the frame and confimed to Keith that it is certainly one that he made, however he cannot recollect when and who for. Keith removed the paint on the downtubes where the front engine mountings would have been and there is no sign of any having been fitted. But at the back of the frame near the rear engine mounts there is evidence of some brackets having been removed. Rob could not remember supplying a frame incomplete but did not rule out the possibility. He does remember making smaller frames for Triumph twins but only a few and this is certain to be one of them. Maybe somewhere out there is the person who stamped the number on the frame but we may never know. Les Wiliams has not got back to me as yet but even if we don't find out any more than we know already it has been well worth the time.

The frames he made for Triumph have a tale about them. The first frame which is in a photo from Les Williams had problems with weaving at speed so it was returned to Rob who felt that the top rails were the issue so he added another tube between the top rails and the diagonal tube that goes up to the headstock. What the result of this is unknown but what is significant is that where Rob fitted this tube to the diagonal tube is the point at which all seat rails connected on Rob North frames from then on.

Keith asked Rob how he decided to fit the tubes to the headstock how he does. He said that he used modified featherbed frames on his sidecar outfit and had problems with cracking of the tubes. On the featherbed the downtubes cross the top rails and he felt this was the issue so he changed to the arrangement of top over bottom and this was carried over onto his Triumph frames and the rest is history as they say.

So the upshot of all this is that Keith has genuine Rob North Triumph twin frame made and verified by the man himself and with the bonus of having talked to one of his heroes. Keith is a happy man !



#24 RC162

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 06:05

Just an update on how the bike is coming on. Keith has been very unwell since last September but is on the mend now and has been able to make progress with the bike. As you will see it has reflections of Percy Tait's 500 GP bike with the four leading shoe front brake and the disc rear. Hopefully it will be up and running before the end of the year.

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#25 GD66

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 08:13

Don't wish to be a Negative Neville, but at first glance the motor looks a little lost in the spaces of the engine cradle from the rhs. As though it could be lowered by an inch or even more, as the crank appears way above axle height. But from the other side, we can see that the gearbox sprocket is well forward of the swingarm pivot, and already lower than it, suggesting significant chain irregularities as the swingarm moves up and down. But, these issues aside, it looks like a real handler and should be a fun clubbie when sorted, so best wishes to Keith with his labour of love.

And I wouldn't mind betting it gives us a good, fruity SOUND as well.... :drunk:

#26 RC162

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Posted 25 May 2012 - 18:42

Don't wish to be a Negative Neville, but at first glance the motor looks a little lost in the spaces of the engine cradle from the rhs. As though it could be lowered by an inch or even more, as the crank appears way above axle height. But from the other side, we can see that the gearbox sprocket is well forward of the swingarm pivot, and already lower than it, suggesting significant chain irregularities as the swingarm moves up and down. But, these issues aside, it looks like a real handler and should be a fun clubbie when sorted, so best wishes to Keith with his labour of love.

And I wouldn't mind betting it gives us a good, fruity SOUND as well.... :drunk:


Yes the front sprocket/swingarm clearance was the deciding factor for engine position. It will need a chain skid on the arm as it is. Rob made the swingarm 1 1/2 inches shorter than was used on the triples and this pitches it down a bit but it's an ongoing project so Keith may well make changes in the future but as you say it looks like being a fun ride. I really hope so.

#27 bsracer

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 14:42

Yes the front sprocket/swingarm clearance was the deciding factor for engine position. It will need a chain skid on the arm as it is. Rob made the swingarm 1 1/2 inches shorter than was used on the triples and this pitches it down a bit but it's an ongoing project so Keith may well make changes in the future but as you say it looks like being a fun ride. I really hope so.


Hi Stuart,

the bike is looking great and glad to see it coming along! Hopefully Keith will have a big smile on his face soon!!!

paul

#28 RC162

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Posted 21 July 2012 - 07:37

Here's a few photos of Micky Pearce of Rob North Triples UK giving Keith's Rob North twin the once over at the 1000 Bikes. Bit wet at the time but I think Micky enjoyed looking at the bike. Micky has not enjoyed the best of health in recent years and we wish him well.

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#29 firestorm3

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Posted 26 May 2014 - 09:02

G'day from Australia, guys!

 

I am a newbie on this forum, got here by putting Rob North's name into a google search. I am doing up a Kawasaki KZ1000S1replica, the bike that Eddie Lawson won the American AMA Superbike series 1981/82 and gave Kawasaki its first and second ever championship. Rob had little to do with this bike, but was used by Kawasaki US to fix up the problems with the 'iffy' handling of the super bikes in that era - plenty of power, interesting handling.....!!! And I would like to use Rob's fix for the big Kwaka-saki frames to make them not such a handful.

Finding information on what Rob did to the frames has been nigh on impossible to find and when I saw on this forum write that they knew where Rob's workshop was and had dropped in to see him on occasion, I thought I might ask this person whether he would pass on Rob's details so I can possibly contact him.  :)

By what was written, Rob would now be 74 and hopefully is still in good health.... and good memory!!!

 

Thank you to anyone who can help me in my quest.

Cheers

Wayne  :wave:



#30 RC162

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 06:04

G'day from Australia, guys!

 

I am a newbie on this forum, got here by putting Rob North's name into a google search. I am doing up a Kawasaki KZ1000S1replica, the bike that Eddie Lawson won the American AMA Superbike series 1981/82 and gave Kawasaki its first and second ever championship. Rob had little to do with this bike, but was used by Kawasaki US to fix up the problems with the 'iffy' handling of the super bikes in that era - plenty of power, interesting handling.....!!! And I would like to use Rob's fix for the big Kwaka-saki frames to make them not such a handful.

Finding information on what Rob did to the frames has been nigh on impossible to find and when I saw on this forum write that they knew where Rob's workshop was and had dropped in to see him on occasion, I thought I might ask this person whether he would pass on Rob's details so I can possibly contact him.  :)

By what was written, Rob would now be 74 and hopefully is still in good health.... and good memory!!!

 

Thank you to anyone who can help me in my quest.

Cheers

Wayne  :wave:

 

Hi Wayne

                  Have you tried the phone number in post 16 on this thread ?   Best of luck with the build.

 

      Stuart