This took a while, but it was sorely needed. The original pipes had been modified for “more sound” by drilling or chiseling or generally gouging out the baffles. The sound was increased, but it did not fit the Dominatir to my ears. Correct replacements proved harder to find than expected. I finally found a correct set of peardrops in Canada. It was quick and easy work to install them.
1956 Norton Dominator
The tail light lens on the Dominator was broken, but not in a very noticeable way. Those familiar will know that the lens is actually a two piece design with the clear license plate section sliding into the red tail light housing. The red section had broken at the bottom, cracking the clear section. As a result, the replacement was a low priority, and the replacement lens sat for a year. Then the recent ride resulted in the clear lens falling out.
In addition, an LED bulb had been awaiting the replacement as well. Not that this machine gets a lot of night time riding, but the increase in visibility that these "bulbs" produce enhances daytime conspicuity as well. As a bonus, they draw practically nothing in amps, so they are perfect for vintage iron.
A beautiful fall day allowed for the Dominator to get some exercise. The chosen route followed Spring Creek and Spruce Creek, which form the base of a fly fishing Mecca in the region. The Dominator really likes these meandering back roads with curves and elevation changes every few hundred feet. The four speed gearbox is more than adequate, and the torque allows for brisk progress whenever needed. This was no doubt helped along by the Aviation Gas !
While on a search for something entirely different, I found a couple of Dominator videos. The first is from Leon's garage, and the other is from a guy in England named Jerry Bloggs.
Almost a repeat in terms of distance, this ride took advantage of a beautiful fall day. It was a tad nippy, and the Dommie took a while to warm up and cease to sputter. Once there though, the machine moved along in glorious harmony. It has also been enough miles now to reach a conclusion. The exhausts need to go back to stock. The sound great underway, but they are needlessly loud at first, and the noise is amplified by the need to rev at idle for a while. I will see if there are baffles to install in these, or new pear shapes are needed.
Another longer outing this time. The bike takes a while to get warmed up and run smooth. The choke does not seem to be very effective. I also noticed a false neutral between 3rd and 4th once warm. We did just over 40 miles and a wider loop. 3/4 of the way through the loop, fuel is coating my boots. Not good, but better than oil! It turns out that the drain for the float bowl had worked its way loose, and fuel was flowing out starving the combustion chamber and causing the bike to sputter and stall. I hand tightened the drain bolt and made it back to base ok. Not bad all things considered, and another concentric circle completed.
The Dommie has a magneto system, so it does not rely on the battery. However, there is a 6v battery and it needed replacement. The local battery outlet had a Yuasa in stock and after charging, it was placed in the compartment complete with the insulators and rubber pad.
Well it was time to begin the series of concentric circles that would prove the Dommie is ready for regular duty. First a jaunt up the street and back. Then a 2 mile loop. Check the oil, make sure no bits are falling off, and there are no leaks. So far so good. Add some non-ethanol fuel. Then a 10 mile loop. No incidents. The font brake needs some adjustment, and it won't idle until properly warmed up, but otherwise a good series of tests.
The Dommie starts and idles .....
The fault belongs to my friend Jeff. He has a habit of finding and fixing cool machines. Particularly British ones. On several occasions he has had something British that was either iconic, cool, or both. My fear of British machines allows me to keep a safe distance. Except for Nortons. I have owned several commandos and an Atlas. However, Jeff got a Dominator, and that was too much of a draw. It is a proper motorcycle from the golden era of British machines, and it has a featherbed frame. Of course, they leak oil and have oil pumps that need a tear down periodically, but they are the quintessential British bike. I traded my Commando for it, and a new adventure begins.....