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Norman JW Motorcycle

For years, John had wanted to build a motorcycle using a couple of radial engine aircraft cylinders. When he finally decided to just do it, he ended up building this motorcycle as a way to incorporate a little bit of the many things he has learned to do over the years...

  • wood-working

  • welding

  • sheet metal fabrication

  • auto mechanics

  • plaster & metal casting

  • upholstery

  • aircraft building and restoration

...and more... all into one, single entity.

Utilizing his abundant and varied skills, he has welded... machined... cut... cast... sewed... and simply created... this "monster" motorcycle out of bits and pieces of various materials he had on hand, and a very few that he needed to purchase.

John started out by constructing a cardboard 'model' of the engine he planned to build, using two Pratt & Whitney 985, radial engine, cylinders.

 

Then he placed the engine 'model' on his workbench, and drew the frame that would house this engine on the wall of his shop ... around the engine 'model'.

 

He then purchased the materials and built the frame he had drawn on the wall.

 

Once he built the cases, he kept going until he had machined the pistons and rods as well.

John had to build his own fuel tank to fit around the unique shape of the engine he had built.

He wanted the headlight and taillights to blend in with the design he had envisioned, so he built them as well. The taillight lenses are half red (to illuminate the brakes when they are on) and half amber (to illuminate the turn signals when they are on).

John built the fenders to blend in with the rest of the bike and they each have birds-eye maple accents on the sides.

John made plaster molds of his hands as he held the exhaust pipes in his hands. He then cast the "hands" in aluminum to build the unique exhaust pipe clamps for this motorcycle.