An idiot and a Norman Nippy need help...

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An idiot and a Norman Nippy need help...

Post  Dave Yates on Thu Sep 30, 2010 9:51 am

Hi Guys,

I am totally new to the world of the Norman Motorcycle and have been trying to catch-up fast. It all started a couple of weeks ago when I came across a Norman Nippy in a very poor state and took pity on it, bought it and saved it from the cruel owner. It seems very happy and at home in my garage, but the only thing is that I am now wondering if I did the right thing…! Sad

So far I have learned that I have a Norman Nippy Mk4 with the Villiers 3K engine. It is as rough as hell and missing some fairly major (and I suspect difficult to get) parts, such as rear light, front light (and cowl), whatever goes in the large hole in the handle bars, cables, and probably lots more. Oh, and the engine seems to be seized!!! However, that is about as much as I know and can find very little more about these bikes anywhere – let alone find any parts. So, to cut to the chase, is there anyone that can help me with information, documentation, parts and sympathy for my journey ahead. I am determined to try and get this bike working again. I already have a long rope thrown over the rafters in the garage, ready in case I just have to do the honourable thing! Smile

Thanks,
Dave.

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Daves Nippy

Post  mr.rabbit on Fri Oct 01, 2010 4:29 am

Don't do it,hanging the Nippy from a beam will gain you nothing.I started with a Nippy in that sort of state and last weekend I did 45 miles on it,great fun.The documentation will lead you into uncharted waters,do you have a registration number or even an old tax disc?A chap called Mike Worthington-Williams offers a service whereby some numbers can be reclaimed,if not you will have to register the bike with an age related number.Parts for the Villiers engine are available and not silly expensive.The hole in the handlebar is for a speedo,not a legal requirement,most machines just have a blanking plate there.Rear lights are easy to get from a man called Paul Gogh,on his web site you will find the right lamp(no stop lamp needed)it will be round and about 2 inches in diameter,6 volts of course.The plastic cowl that holds the front lamp will be virtually impossible to find,I made mine out of 2 broken ones stuck together with fibreglass,an old fashioned bicycle lamp might be made to serve,the front lamp does not need to be double filament(main and dip)depending on the age of the bike.If the machine has no lights at all you should be able to get a daylight use only MOT.To free off the engine remove the spark plug and fill the cylinder with something to free the piston,diesel fuel works and I am told that Coca Cola is as good,better than having to drink it ah?I found a derilict Nippy and bought it for spares(all gone now)perhaps that might help you.I learnt a lot rebuilding mine and have since had lots of fun with it,well worth the effort.Cheers Paul

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Re: An idiot and a Norman Nippy need help...

Post  johnj on Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:41 am

I have a lot of help from Mark Daniels and Andrew Prattle(sp). Mine also was a found as a sad shape Mk4 in Canada. No clue how it got here! I had to source a Villiers 3K out of Wales and many parts such as cables , lights and such from Mark at the East Anglian Cyclomotor Club (EACC). Villiers Supply helped me with a few other hard to find parts. As for the front fairing you may find one if you are lucky but they are made of some shitty plastic that doesn't stand up to the years. Decals for the fuel tank sides can be obtained from the Vintage Motor Cycle Club (VMCC). Good luck on your new project!

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It's getting a bit Nippy...

Post  Dave Yates on Fri Oct 01, 2010 10:55 am

Paul, thanks so much for replying, I wasn’t sure if anyone would. It sounds like you have completed the restoration journey I am about to undertake and so I hold you in great respect!

On the documentation front I have a V5 with an old (three letters, three numbers) registration number (that is non-transferable), I’ve not checked this document against the frame number because I’m not sure where the number is stamped, but the engine number certainly matches. I don’t have any manuals at all though, and not sure what’s about for the Mk4 Nippy. I have seen Villiers ones for the 3K engine (which is probably the most important), but nothing for the rest of the bike (i.e. workshop or parts list).

Paul Gogh’s site sounds like a useful one – how do I find this? I did a quick Google and got some bloke who’s an expert in marzipan cake decoration – it was quite interesting but he just didn’t seem the sort to be into bikes!

So, the handlebar hole is for a speedo! I thought it might be for something like that, but a friend confused me when he reckoned it was possibly for switches of some kind - because I'm even more of an idiot than him, I had to humour him and fostered the idea that it might be for an ashtray! Did you end up blanking yours off then – I guess speedo’s (and I’m not talking swimming trunks) are going to be impossible to find along with the front headlamp cowl.

I took this large, dirty, solid protuberance out of the frame where the motor should be and spent an hour or so yesterday whittling this lump down into an engine shape. I ended up with a big pile of crud and a small engine that looks like it could nicely equip a model aircraft. Welcome to the Villiers 3K – I love the fish shaped side case or was that my over enthusiastic whittling? I then took the head off and it didn’t look too bad down the bore, from the bit I could see. I will have go at giving it a nice drink of Cola at the weekend, just for a treat.

Thanks for your help so far Paul, I will keep my eyes peeled for a donor bike or any parts and look forward to starting all this crazy fun…!

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Re: An idiot and a Norman Nippy need help...

Post  Dave Yates on Fri Oct 01, 2010 11:05 am

John, thanks also – some really useful info there. I would love to talk with Mark and Andrew – I have just found a website for East Anglian Cyclemotor Club (www.autocycle.freeserve.co.uk) and will get in touch through that – thanks for that and Villiers info. What do most do about this fairing/cowl – make something up or do without it altogether? Sounds like it’s unlikely that I’ll come across one, let alone one that’s complete. Good tip for the VMCC and decals. Thanks for all that valuable info John…!

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Re: An idiot and a Norman Nippy need help...

Post  johnj on Fri Oct 01, 2010 1:40 pm

Dave if you contact Andrew at EACC he can provide a great CD on the Norman's and it has the Nippy owners handbook in it as well as other parts drawings etc. Also some interesting vintage ads from the Norman years. There is a nominal cost but it won't kill you. Mark is the "go too guy" for parts, if he hasn't got them he will know where they are hiding elsewhere. Cheers from Canada!

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Dave's Nippy

Post  mr.rabbit on Sat Oct 02, 2010 12:41 am

Hello Dave,me again,I bet you had fun with the marzipan man.Sorry I spelt the name wrong our man is Paul Goff, I bought some bulbs from him, at a bikejumble,for my AJS last week.With a V5 you should have no problems getting the number back,just remember that when you do get the bike up to date and in your name you must SORN it straightaway until you get it MOT tested.I don't suppose the front cowl would be impossible to reproduce in fibre glass or even be done away with and replaced with brackets to hold the lamp and horn.e,bay often has owners manuals for Nippys for sale.I rebuilt my Nippy engine with lots of new bits and have since made up a spare out of bits and pieces including rusty bits bought off e,bay.The frame number is stamped below the rear engine mounting bracket on the left hand side.Finding a speedo might not be too difficult,all sorts of French,German and Italian bikes used similar speedos as did things like Raleigh or Phillips mopeds but unless the bike was supplied with one originally you will have nothing on the front wheel to connect it to.Have fun Paul

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Re: An idiot and a Norman Nippy need help...

Post  Dave Yates on Sat Oct 02, 2010 4:00 am

Thanks again guys. I've found the Paul Goff website now with the change of spelling thanks Paul – I was slightly disappointed to find he doesn’t appear to appreciate the finer details of confectionary embellishment, but this feeling was soon subdued by the great selection of bike bits…!

John, I’ll contact Andrew today and see if I can get a copy of that CD – sounds very useful for reference.

Paul, I’ve now located the frame number but it is very hard to read – what sort of format do they normally take? Is there any sort of register or history for these numbers – I have seen similar for other marques where they know which numbers were produced through which years, and that can be extremely useful when trying to decipher this info? The speedo connection on the front wheel doesn’t seem to exist (not that I can make out anyway – nothing obvious there), so probably didn’t have one, but the way the paint on the handlebars is clean and better preserved (haha) around the rim of the hole, it looks like it did have something in or on this hole for some years. I wonder what – maybe just a plate but can’t see how it was mounted to the bars (no screw holes, etc), maybe in a rubber grommet or something? The learning process continues…

Managed to attached a picture of the bike for you to look at in horror! Are there any pictures of your restored bikes on the site or somewhere? I would LOVE to see them...!


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Re: An idiot and a Norman Nippy need help...

Post  johnj on Sat Oct 02, 2010 5:33 am

S/N was a letter and 6 digits. Stamped into the left side frame above the kickstand. My 1960 unit has a S/N E000234. Early Nippy's had a cast kickstand while later ones a pressed steel one. There were a few other minor changes as the Nippy progressed through its couple of year production. One being the rear wheel mounts being a cast fixture while the later ones a weldment. If you had the fairing, one was hooded the other without over the Miller light. Wipac made the rear light for the Nippy which was originally a Miller which was taken over.
E-mail me at "johnj AT mountaincable DOT net" and I'll send you some pictures of my Nippy before and after. Cheers, JJ

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Re: An idiot and a Norman Nippy need help...

Post  Dave Yates on Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:12 am

Thanks John - more very useful info and pointers.

The frame number is very difficult to read on my bike – it looks like E and five numbers but on the logbook it says B and five numbers. I have seen one or two other frame numbers for Nippy’s posted on various pages in discussions, etc and they always seem to start with a letter E, including yours as well now. I wonder if someone has made a mistake on reading or typing the frame number in my logbook, or was there a “B” series of numbers I wonder?

An email is on the way to you John...

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Re: An idiot and a Norman Nippy need help...

Post  mr.rabbit on Sun Oct 03, 2010 1:42 am

Hello Dave,The hole in the handlebars would have had a slightly domed plate with a metal strip and a screw to hold it in.I might have one as a pattern to copy,somewhere.The frame number is usally a letter and 4 or 5 numbers,I don't know of any way of using the number to date the beast but your V5 should be enough.Yesterday I fitted my spare engine,just to see if it worked,quicker engine change than Maclaren could do, about 35 minutes.Runs OK so I might leave it there.There is not a picture of either of my Normans on the site,I have tried to send a picture but haven't been able to make it work.Cheers Paul

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Re: An idiot and a Norman Nippy need help...

Post  Ron WARRENER on Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:39 am

Hi folks and Mr Rabbit
There is a couple of photos of Mr Rabbits wonderful nippy
just go to the home page click on upcoming events and scroll down and there it is along
with some other members bikes.
There are also details on how to join our club!
Ron

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motorwiz on line again

Post  motorwiz on Sun Oct 03, 2010 1:10 pm

I have been getting on with my Nippy after a summer of sailing The metal work was stripped to bare metal and is now resprayed. The wheels have been rebuilt with new rims and stainless spokes. The exhaust handlebar levers and bearing cups have been rechromed. I have also got a similar speedo but need a speedo drive. Does anyone know of a source or has photos? Other parts needed are handlebar grips the original are marked amal and I will need a speedo cable. The headlight reflector is badly rusted but I have yet to find a light of similar size. Fortunately my headlight nacelle was reasonable and repaired. I would like to change the pedal cranks and pedals as they are rusty and one pedal has been welded to the crank.

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Re: An idiot and a Norman Nippy need help...

Post  johnj on Sun Oct 03, 2010 1:57 pm

I got a speedo cable from Mark Daniels of "Mopedland" and I believe he may have the wheel drive unit. New splined pedal crank arms you can source from Villiers Services as NOS (chrome). You can use regular old style rubber pedals (9/16" thread, left and right) from any bicycle store or also Daniels. You will not likely find any with the word Norman on them like the originals unless by chance at a autojumbo. He may even be able to scare you up a speedo head to suit the Nippy. Grips you will be lucky to find the white Amal style but black ones are available at "Mopedland". Remember you will need 1" diameter ones for both sides of the bar. Cheers


Last edited by johnj on Sun Oct 03, 2010 2:08 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

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Nippy piccys

Post  mr.rabbit on Tue Oct 05, 2010 6:05 am

Thankyou Ron,I tried to send a picture of "The Golden Wonder"but my computer was not too keen,so you saved me a struggle.I have just dismantled the Nippy engine to try and discover the cause of vibration and found that the main bearings are a bit worn so I tried to get some new ones only to find that Kent Bearings in Ashford had a dozen in stock as well as the main bearing seals,not bad for a 50 year old engine.All I have to do now is balance the crank and put it back together.I suspect that the vibration is normal for these engines but I hope I can make it better and stop my fillings from falling out.Bye for now Paul

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