1970 Norton Production Racer | ME & MY BIKE

In spite of spewing oil, broken clutch cables, useless brakes and dead electrics, Sky Moore loved his first Norton.

  • NAME: Schuyler (Sky) Moore
  • AGE: 59
  • HOME: Los Angeles, California
  • OCCUPATION: Entertainment lawyer

This is my 1970 Norton Production Racer, which I still ride regularly. I go way back with Nortons; I rode my first Norton to class at Palisades High School in the early '70s, and I even crashed that one spectacularly next to school during lunch hour one day. I had been racing a friend on his Triumph, and he managed to jam his front wheel between my muffler and rear wheel at 60 mph. It didn't end well for either of us, though it was worse for him: He ended up with a pin holding his broken arm together. In the process of repairing that bike, I converted it to look like a black version of the production racer, complete with clip-ons, a half fairing, and Dunstall pipes.

I became a fairly decent mechanic owning that Norton; it was that or perish, given its unique proclivity to break down at the farthest point from home. Oil lines spewed, clutch cables broke, the Lucas ("King of Darkness") electrics went dead, the brakes were useless, kickstarters sheared off, and the "Isolastic" suspension would unhinge—but darn, I just loved that bike. When the opportunity came along to own another one 20 years ago, I jumped at it. And there is nothing—and I mean nothing—quite like the romantic nostalgia I get riding the curves on Sunset Boulevard on a chilly night tucked behind the half fairing with that sweet, twin-thumper exhaust note reminding me of my high school days.