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 Norton - ES Electra
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Norton D2-492-40-17
Photo ou archives : Don Morley

Capacity : 400
Model : ES Electra
Production : 1962 -
Category : (R) Street Bike


ES 400 Electra -1964

The first electric-start British bike

A new generation of Norton twins appeared in 1958 with the 250 jubilee designed by Bert Hopwood. At that time all British 250s were singles. This original two-cylinder had

The hallmarks of success. It featured novel characteristics, like the oversquare bore and stroke (60x44mm) and a unit construction engine built on compact lines.

Lacking in Horsepower

Unfortunately, the little Jubilee's 16 hp had a hard job stirring its 342 lb into action, and top speed was only 70 mph. The fault was corrected in 1960, with the launch of the Navigator, uprated to 350cc by a total reworking of the engine. Norton's error was

to retain identical wrap-around styling, right down to the front mudguard, so that the new 350 shared the poor image of its predecessor. Undeterred, Norton went back to work and unveiled the Electra at the start of 1963.

Classic Styling

This time, the new bike seemed to have all the right ingredients for success. The bore was increased to create a highly oversquare 400cc. Abandoning the clumsy rear fairing of the Jubilee and Navigator De Luxe, the Electra took the classic route, adopting esthetics and a silver color scheme, which recalled the marque's 650 SS. Finally, in an

attempt to match Honda in the US market, the Electra gained 12 volt electrics and an

electric start. The Electra might have been a success. but it was too late. In the hard- fought 400cc category, the Electra proved too fragile to be a real challenge to the more attractive and sophisticated Japanese bikes.


Engine: 384cc (66x56nun) air-cooled 360- degree parallel-twin four-stroke

Power Rating: 22 hp @ 7000 rpm

Valves: overhead, actuated by high-set camshafts

Fuel System: 22mm carburetor

Transmission: 4-speed, chain final drive

Suspension: telescopic forks (front); swing arm with twin spring dampers (rear)

Brakes: 7.9 inch drum (front); drum (rear)

Wheels: 19 inch (front); 18 inch (rear)

Weight: 375 lb

Maximum Speed: 86 mph


Modern in concept and classic in appearance, the Electra came on tbe scene too late, and went outof production during 1965.


Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

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