I love this Norton Wasp because it has an understated, almost monochromatic beauty. It belongs to a member of the Coyote Racing Team in France, who built it four years ago to run in classic race events. It’s a very classy ‘bitsa’, marrying Norton parts with Italian and Japanese components.
The owner wishes to remain anonymous, but he’s happy to run us through the spec-sheet: “The engine comes from a 1972 Norton Commando 750. Mark II Amal carbs are fitted, with high-level pipes from a Commando S.” Norton Wasps are most closely associated with mid-70s sidecar motocross racing—there’s a niche for you—but this frame is custom-made, using powdercoated Reynolds 531 tubing.
Topping it off are a fiberglass Rickman tank, and a production racer seat. Italy supplies the Marzocchi front forks and the lovely 18-inch Borrani wheels. From Japan comes the front hub—via a Yamaha TZ350—and the Brembo front brake, stolen from a Suzuki RG500. The rear hub is a genuine Grimeca item: it’s from a Benelli Tornado 650S, a bike we don’t hear much about these days.
Elsewhere, hand-made alloy parts abound, and the renowned Toulouse-based builder Daniel Delfour helped set the bike up. The build took a whole year, but it was obviously worth it—and not just from an aesthetic point of view. “It’s always a pleasure to ride a different chassis with a Commando engine and good Italian parts,” says the owner.
[Image by and thanks to Vincent Prat.]