One of the most famous motorcycles ever produced, the Norton Manx is rich with history. With both 350cc and 500cc versions built, the Manx’s racing pedigree runs deep. Featuring such advancements as telescopic forks and engines with overhead cams (both single and double), the Manx was a competitive machine at the Isle of Man TT. But 1950 saw a significant advancement for the Manx when the Featherbed frame was developed. The new frame was light and gave the Manx a shorter wheelbase for quicker handling, plus it incorporated a swingarm rear suspension that provided a smoother ride and was the impetus behind the chassis’ Featherbed nickname. A shorter-stroke engine for 1953 gave the Manx a higher rev ceiling, but the factory pulled out of Grand Prix racing the following year. However, that didn’t stop numerous tuners to continue developing and racing the bike. Among the Manx’s many claims to fame, in 1969 Godfrey Nash rode one to victory at the Yugoslavian Grand Prix, marking the last time a 500cc race would be won by a single-cylinder machine.

  • Starmag

    It’s said that Soichiro Honda was quite the fan of NSU racers.

  • Old MOron

    I like thumpers.

  • DickRuble

    The Supermono ended up second at the Isle of of Man in 1994 with Robert Holden atop.

  • Mahatma

    I think the AJS wins the style competition here.

    • Ian Parkes

      I’d put it third behind the Manx Norton and, in top spot, the dustbin with the blue whale on the side.

  • craig collins

    Y’all forgot Isle of Man champion Bultaco Metralla. I had two of ’em.

    • MikeH

      I’ll put in a nod for the Bultaco Metralla as well. I had one and it was surprisingly good, especially handling. Very neutral and forgiving, you could really push them HARD.

      • craig collins

        True – performance was limited only by the tires of that era. I raced the kitted version ( oh, god – priceless today, ) at a couple of old converted airports in northern California. My everyday street / canyon ride was the victim of a nasty, dirt strewn, decreasing radius, left-hander in the hills above the eastbay. I bailed about two thirds of the way through – bike and rider straight off cliff into the poison oak. Fantastic times!

    • TroySiahaan

      That is, in fact, a very cool Single. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  • Ian Parkes

    Never heard it called a Norton Manx before. I’m pretty sure they were always Manx Nortons over the pond. Amazing too how the MV Augusta engine has such a strong family resemblance to its descendents. Powerful genes.

    • Kevin Duke

      Just sticking to conventional naming conventions. Same reason we don’t call it a Tuono Aprilia.

      • Ian Parkes

        Wow, it’s usually me that gets put in Pedants’ Corner. Your Tuono example is not be the same thing at all because but no-one (let alone everyone, as in the Norton’s case) says that. I’m just sticking up for the naming convention of using its actual name…

        • Jon Low

          It’s not “MV Augusta”. It’s “MV AGUSTA”.