Touring France on a 1928 Norton Model 18

A Man, A Boy ... and a 1928 Norton

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Most people wouldn’t think of motorcycle touring on a 1928 Norton Model 18 — let alone with their 10-year-old son on board. Then again, Phillip Tooth isn’t most people. A regular contributor to Motorcycle Classics, Phillip has more than a passing interest in vintage and classic bikes, having served as editor of two of England’s top classic bike magazines.

And the Norton’s no trailer queen, with Phillip riding it far and wide as often as possible, including annual runs in the Irish Rally (the late, great Bud Ekins rode it for a stretch at one rally, leaving a permanent dent in the rear fender after hitting a deep pothole: Phillip calls it “Bud’s ding”) and holidays in France, Holland, Sweden and Belgium.

“This has been an unbelievably reliable motorcycle,” Phillip says, which is why he didn’t hesitate jumping on it for a run to France in 1990, taking son Owen along for his first overseas motorcycle trip. That’s Owen on back, obviously having a great time. Phillip says he’ll never part with the Norton, a favorite since he put it together “from a pile of bits” in 1985.