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Colorado Norton Works Plans Limited Production Run


CNW's #038 Norton Cafe

Dolores, Colo.-based Colorado Norton Works (CNW) is planning a limited run of 12 “production” Norton café racers modeled on CNW’s critically acclaimed #038 Café project, which we featured in the March/April 2006 issue of Motorcycle Classics. Up to now, CNW has focused on crafting custom-built Norton Commandos to customer specifications in either 750 or 850 guise. For this project, however, CNW will draft its own specs, giving customers a handful of options but deviating little from its idea of what a “production” #038 Café should be.

“The café we built (#038) is timeless, we’re still getting comments on it and still have lots of new people finding us because of it,” Rambow says. That feedback prompted Rambow’s desire to craft a limited run of bikes based on #038. “We’re going to do this with caution,” Rambow says, “but the idea is based on #038. The big difference is we’re going to build these to CNW specs. We’ll have a build schedule, and I’ll send out information on how each machine will be built, with only a very few options.”

Highlights of the build include a custom frame, a hand-formed aluminum tank, seat, fenders and oil tank crafted by master fabricator Evan Wilcox, a balanced and blueprinted 828cc Commando engine punched out to 879cc, a brand new CNC machined cylinder head, dual disc front brakes, belt drive primary, CNW’s own billet triple trees and -- wait for it -- fuel injection!

“Carburetors are wonderful things, except in our neck of the woods. We’re at 7,500 feet, and I can climb another 2,500 feet right out my door, but then I need to deliver a bike to someone at sea level,” Rambow explains of the decision to go with fuel injection, a technology that frees engines from a host of potential running maladies, including elevation changes. The system was designed by Jim Comstock Engineering out of Pueblo, Colo., and Rambow says they’re in the final stages of fine-tuning the software, with the hardware tested and almost ready for prime time. “We’ve got 5,000 miles on a bike, and mechanically it’s perfect. All he’s doing is tweaking the programming right now.”

Rambow says he plans to start production in the spring of 2009, building three bikes at a time with the final set of three finished in 2010. Unlike previous CNW builds, customers won’t have to supply a donor bike, and the finished machine will be supplied with a clear Colorado title. “This is very exciting,” Rambow says. “When you can build 12 of one machine and still be in an exclusive group, it’s really neat.” So what’s the cost of exclusivity? In this case, $39,500, with a $5,000 deposit required to nail your chance at owning one of these unique machines. Go to CNW’s website for more on their builds and on the #038 Café. — Richard Backus