Norcroft Royal Enfield V-Twin Project Lives Again

Norcroft Royal Enfield V-Twin

Norcroft Royal Enfield V-Twin

In the very first year of The Kneeslider, way back in November of 2004, I wrote a short post about a V-Twin called the Norcroft. Like the Carberry and the the Musket, the Norcroft is based on a new bottom end designed to mount the top ends of a Royal Enfield single. Although it was built and running at that time, it seemed to disappear over the years and I heard no more about it. In the ever changing fortunes of small scale businesses like these, the Carberry endeavor has shut its doors, but yesterday, I got a note pointing to a website about the Norcroft and it seems that project has been revived.

The Norcroft was the brainchild of Bill Hurr and Richard Hurst in the UK. After successfully building an engine and installing it in a stretched Royal Enfield frame, development costs began to rise, going beyond what was comfortable for the funds available and the project went mostly dormant though development did continue.

A pair of German enthusiasts, Andreas and Mathias, were fascinated by these V-Twins and initially tried to work with Carberry before that enterprise folded, with the intention of helping them with financing and production. It never worked out and they turned their attention to Norcroft. They located Bill Hurr and visited him in the UK, seeing the original Norcroft for the first time. After some discussion, a new team was formed, consisting of Bill, Andreas and Mathias along with Mathias' friend Uma from India. They decided to restart the project and made plans to update the engine and build it in India, the present home of Royal Enfield.

Norcroft Royal Enfield V-Twin

Norcroft Royal Enfield V-Twin

From the look of things, they've made quite a lot of progress. They've gone the route of designing, casting and machining new bottom ends and have a lot of photos on their site of the process. How long before work is complete on the new engine remains to be seen, but they have a couple of videos of the original Norcroft which has now been restarted and is being ridden on the road. The big takeaway from the video is the sound of this engine, it is EXCELLENT! It sounds very strong and just like a V-Twin should.

I will try to get more details of this project, but if they get this engine built and sorted, it will be a welcome addition to this array of Royal Enfield twins, which now seems to be Aniket's Musket and the Norcroft. If the Carberry is revived, we could have a real battle on our hands.

Be sure to listen to the videos below. The first is a restart after years of sitting. The second is a nice run on the road where you can get a sense of how strong it is. Very Nice. I think you'll be impressed, I know I was.

Link: New Norcroft website
Link: Norcroft on Facebook
Link: Original Norcroft website


Ignore the music, it fades when the bike runs.

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Comments

  1. Mark L. says

    This pretty impressive. I find myself attracted more and more to bikes with character like this. I don’t have any problem with the latest greatest, I just don’t find them as rewarding as I used to. I’m not sure what is wrong with me? I must br rusting……

    Mark

  2. B50 Jim says

    A smallish, light, good-handling frame with a fabulous V-twin that doesn’t sound like a you-know-what; all in an English-looking package that doesn’t weigh much more than a single…. what’s not to love about this bike?

  3. Ben says

    I admire Aniket and the Musket. His work is amazing. I did prefer the tighter angle of the Carberry V-Twin and I like this one for the same reason. The Musket sounds great, but visually and aurally it doesn’t nail the brief for me.

  4. Bigshankhank says

    Bravo to these guys for sticking it out, and the Germans for keeping the concept alive. I love the looks of this machine, and the sound is fantastic. This is what R.E. should be building themselves.

  5. Tom Lyons says

    This v-twin appears to have no cylinder off-set, so the cylinders are one in front of the other, like a Harley.
    Maybe that means they are also using a blade-and-fork type con-rod like a Harley too.

    Also has a proprietary primary chaincase, which is not from some other Royal Enfield model. Perhaps a different clutch too?

    It’s interesting to see how different people approach things.

    • says

      Thanks for the nice comments.
      The cylinders have an off-set. Which means the conrods are side by side. It is hard to see on the pics.
      The clutch is a non-Enfield part.
      If there are more questions feel free to ask.

      • Tom Lyons says

        Thanks.
        I’m sure that I will eventually have plenty of questions, since my line of work is modifying Enfields for performance. I suspect that we will see one of these at some point.
        I look forward to it.

        • Norcroft says

          I already saw the nice work you have done on Enfields.
          I assume it is more likely you will see one of Aniket’s Muskets, since he is in the US and already far progressed with his great project.

  6. steve w. says

    It’s nice to see. Most of today’s machines while they are very reliable are completely boring. Motorcycles are best when you see bits and pieces and they work that way. Looking the the past but able to do present day road work would be a great joy.

  7. Tom Lyons says

    Thanks.
    We know Aniket very well.

    If you follow the racing in the UK, we have just finished up an engine for one of the top competitors on an Enfield, Performance Classics. Should be making its debut at Mallory Park in March. This is a special engine kit which produces VERY high hp that is unusually powerful for an ENFIELD, and is a recent development. Estimating 55-60 hp from the single 500.
    It can work on any Enfield 500 based platform, including the various v-twins.

    We are keenly awaiting the opportunity to get a pair of these things running on a V-Twin crankcase. It’s an exciting prospect, and I am watching all of the V-Twin efforts that are underway.

  8. says

    Having ridden British twins for many years I find the new Enfield singles very interesting, but not interesting enough to lure me in for a purchase. This iteration of the Enfield evokes memories of classic British V twins and is something outside of the mainstream that could cause me severe anxiety if I didn’t own one. I will keep my eyes open to see where it progresses. Thanks for sharing this with us & keep up the good work Norcroft!

  9. Paulinator says

    I love the instant vintage look and smell, but they are small bikes. The extra lung and frame stretch makes this platform seriously attractive for riders six feet and taller. With several players in this genre, I can see a critical mass developing – leading to friendly competition, fraternity and wider acceptance.

    Good for all of you!!! (and maybe me some day)

  10. Yeti2bikes says

    I see from previous posts that the clutch is a custom for this build. How about the gear box and such? I wonder does adding a second cylinder up the power enough that the gear box is over taxed?

    Nice looking build by the way

    • Norcroft says

      Thanks,
      the gearbox is up to the task. The one in the prototype bike is used box from the early 90′s and covered way more than 20.000 mls in the prototype. I don’t know the total mileage of this gear box, but it is still running strong.

  11. Dr Robert Harms says

    I am always interested in engineering works such as this. I can also understand that the existence of readily available and adaptable parts is the crucible to such works but I would note that there really isn’t/wasn’t a lot of lineage for the V twin in British motorcycle history. Duh, of course there was Vincent but Triumph (never), Norton (never or really obscure) , RE (ancient maybe) and BSA (prewar flat heads only) so I feel save with my point

  12. Tom Lyons says

    The Enfield and variants always seem to be an attraction. I think that people like styles and simplicity of the “golden age” motorcycles, but they need the power and speed more in keeping with today’s world.

    These twins seem to offer a way to get that desired blend of vintage style and more acceptable power level.
    It’s not so much about being a rocket, but more of a capable mount with some imperial class and style of a time gone by.

    Many people are quite satisfied with “just enough” power to cruise the highway comfortably, and also ride the back roads on a unique and interesting mount.
    For a lot of people, today’s modern motorcycles with their unnecessary overkill of power and speed is not an attractive option. These vintage type rides provide a nice alternative without falling into the Harley category. They are unique enough to be their own genre.

  13. Paul Crowe says

    As a few of you have noted, this engine and bike combination do have a certain Vincent visual flavor and as I said in the article, the sound is really right, perhaps a happy result of the V angle.

    As Mark says above, I, too, am finding less appeal in the newest bikes. Whatever the reason, I tend to find myself drawn elsewhere and projects like these are far more interesting.

    • tim says

      I totally get that. In fact the only new motorbikes I really lust after are things like Triumph Bonnevilles and their variants, Harley Sportsters, and the Honda CB1100f, and the small block Guzzis. Retro-style all.

  14. Roy says

    I support the Norcross effort to bring forth a Royal Enfield V-Twin but based upon the wealth of information available at this site regarding “The Musket 998″ it seams to be a much better design and implementation of the V-Twin. In addition “The Musket 998″ is one of the most visually appealing motorcycle engine I have ever seen. It compares favorably with the engine images in the book “The Fine Art of the Motorcycle Engine”.

  15. says

    Well, this is a pretty intense moment.
    Firstly, Norcroft…from the heart, congratulations on the revival. Messrs. Hurr and Hurst, you were the very first to think of it and build it and that is engraved into motorcycling history. I’m privileged that you mentioned my project, particularly when I recall the time a decade ago when I was a clueless student who read of your project online and was simultaneously destroyed and inspired…I say this with slightly wet eyes.
    Here’s to the glorious sound the Enfield V twin, in its different interpretations from different corners of the globe…may it be heard for years to come.
    From both cylinders,
    Aniket

    • says

      Aniket,
      I really like you comment, especially what you said about our different interpretations of the theme and working from different parts of this globe. From this point of view I don’t see us as direct competitors, but as addition, where we can work out the different philosophies in coexistent.
      I admire your passion doing such a project as a one man show. And I have to admit that your very first video on YouTube,showing the start up of the 700cc engine, brought new enthusiasm to go ahead with our V-twin project.

      May the V-twins roar on both sides of the big pond.

      Regards
      Andreas

  16. Scotduke says

    I’m glad this project is moving forward again. It has a lot of potential. I do wonder why Enfield hasn’t worked more closely with either this or Aniket’s project.

  17. Lostinoz says

    Aniket,
    That was perhaps one of the most classy responses one could give to another company that technically is in competition with you. Well said, and I truely believe that it was heartfelt and honest.

    Norcroft,
    I have a few questions about your build. I noticed that you have what appears to be an extra long frame tube running the length of the fender, is there a particular reason for this? You also appear to be running the “traditional” right side shift, will your cases work for us “lefties?” Overall great work, I love the sound and the 2 into 1 pipe layout.

    I like the design of the seating of this one better than the Musket (sorry Aniket) more comfort and better suited for a 2up situation. But I’d like to see more in the way of the modern conveinances in both. Fuel injection, CDI, Hydraulic Disk brakes, you get the idea. Just because it was “good enough for grandpa” doesn’t mean I would feel confident in its reliability and stopping power. I’m not afraid of points, carbs and drum brakes, I just trust my modern parts a bit more to do the job better.

    • says

      The frame you see on the pics is a one off from the Metisse team made back in the 90′s.
      For the first engines, we will go the same route as Aniket and Carberry went. Meaning we will use modified Enfield frames, since we need to focus our resources on the engine. When accomplished this, we will go ahead and anything may happen frame wise.
      Due to the fact that we are talking here about a cottage industry, every bike will be according it’s customers taste. Drum brakes, disc brakes, tanks, seats, ….. whatever you like. Also your choice on which side you would like to have your gear lever.
      All engines will have electronic ignition, but that’s it with electronics.
      For the time being we will use carbs since they are available and easy to adopt for our project.

      • says

        Great project! I admire such projects deeply because it is the wish of every motorcycle designer to design “his own” engine:) When I read about the frame, my thoughts were “this bike need a new frame which highlights the engine” and then I thought “I know just the guys who can do that” ;) Are you considering selling the engine as a unit?

  18. David Duarte says

    I wish I had the time, the tools, the money, and most importantly, the talent to do this type of work. Bravo to Aniket and Norcroft!

  19. Mike says

    All of these engines are very cool & interesting, but just how many V-twins does the world need ?. Aren`t there enough vintage style & modern to go around already?. I`m too lazy to count !. Can`t see the point in all the time & energy spent to make another one, except to say you did. Never has so much time, effort, & $$ been spent on any other engine configuration for no apparent reason.
    I thank this site for allowing me to give my opinion without having to subscribe to a some social networking site.

    • Chuck says

      The world doesn’t “need” any V twins.
      These projects are about passion and desire, two emotions that can never be squared with practicality.

      • Paul Crowe says

        The world doesn’t “need” any V twins.

        Amen, … or motorcycles or most anything else except food clothing and shelter. If the only thing anyone created was based on what people need, it would be a very dull world.

        That’s the whole point of this website, doers and builders and positive people, making stuff just because they can, making things to find out IF they can, building something new or different because it feels good. If Mike in his comment here, or so many others in their comments elsewhere, don’t understand that, they’re missing out on the whole point of life. Do something! Be productive, be creative, be positive. Even better, if you can do that while solving problems for, or satisfying the needs or desires of, other people, you’ve just hit a home run

    • says

      A great question and please allow me to present my point of view.
      It’s simple…there really aren’t many “vintage British” V twins around. When was the last time I saw one? Except for Mid Ohio vintage days? Never. Vincents and Broughs and Matchlesses and Ariels and AJS and all of those, long gone, very rare, very expensive. How are they different from Harleys? Slimmer, lighter, leaner.
      Hence this line of thought. Enfield Bullet parts are freely and affordably available, it’s a handsome looking topend with all the classic British touches and a pair of the prettiest rocker boxes just aching to be pulled off to allow a peek at these adorable things they call rockers…to see the oil ooze from the outlet holes as they dance while it ticks over is to immediately lose all the stress and anxiety of everyday life. Seriously…if your rockers are getting good oil, is there anything else you can’t face? Bosses, unemployment, girlfriends, money, rash loans taken from the mafia…all of these pale into insignificance if your top end is getting its doze of the slippy stuff.
      The other big thing about our Enfield V twins is that they certainly aren’t shy in the crankcase department. Here’s the fundamental thing…many Brit singles and twins of this era had this interesting approach to the cylinder…only half was finned, half being inside the crankcase. The thinking being, the area above the piston dome is what the hot gases dance in and even at bottom dead center, the piston dome is about halfway down the bore, remaining bore being there to guide the skirt. SO….we end up with an engine style in which, by virtue of the short visible jug, the crankcase suddenly has a lot more mass, giving the engine it’s distinctive proportion of polished alloy versus finned cast iron. This translated into all V twins based on this too…the really massive, imposing crankcase, every bit as visually imposing as the cylinders and heads, allowing the designer of the castings to really express the inner workings of the valvetrain. The Harley’s distinct stamp is the really massive, tall, full length cylinders and much more compact cases. I must of course mention that the old Brit Vtwins (which were born as V twins) were this way too, J.A.P, Matchless, BSA etc, all, back them, had the tall cylinders and compact cases. In contrast, Vincent had the opposite, the big cases and shorter jugs, as do these Enfield V twins, which have all been inspired by the Vincent and have other features like it, such as both exhausts pointing forward for better cooling of the hottest part, same bore and stroke (84×90) and offset cylinders.
      Ah well, I tried.
      You’re right…the world doesn’t need any more V twins…sigh…it just *wants* a few of these. I hope.
      :-)
      Aniket

      • Bill Hurr says

        You are right of course, Aniket, about the ‘muscular’ look of the crankcases. Enfield in particular have a high cylinder barrel flange on their pushrod singles because the tappet adjustment access is in the crankcase rather than the cylinder barrel. My guess is the designer did that to make the barrel stiffer and less prone to cylinder bore distortion while avoiding separate pushrod tubes. History has also proved that you don’t need full cooling below the piston ring travel, and sometimes less, so I guess Enfield got that bit right.
        In any case, it was very fortunate for Norcroft because we wanted to have high mounted camshafts and short, stiff pushrods. The height of the barrel flanges helped us to achieve that.
        Aniket, best of luck with your project. I hope to ride it some day.

        • says

          Hullo there Bill! Absolutely *thrilled* to hear from you! You are cordially invited to ride my bike and I hope I can someday ride yours! Here’s to a roaring good ride followed by a pint and chinwag in the near future.
          Warm regards to you, Richard and the Norcroft team,
          Aniket

  20. R. Quick says

    You are just wrong— BSA made ohv V.twins and I can think of at least 20 other makes, given a bit of time I could probably go to about 40.

    Regards R.

  21. paul carberry says

    Hello Bill, hello Aniket and oh yes hello Andreas, it feels like a family gathering! I wish both your projects all the best. I know as well as anyone it is a hard road you guy`s have chosen; and a road that can only be traveled if you are men of passion ” which you obviously are”
    It has been an interesting game of leap frog that that or projects have taken, every time the other team went quiet and we thought they were dead in the water; they would spring up for another breath of air and push their V twin project a little further. Bill I did`nt know of your project when I started; and Aniket you did`nt know of my project when you started. it has been an interesting journey,and I guess it is nice to see that I am not alone on this road.
    regards: Paul Carberry

  22. Paul Crowe says

    This is truly wonderful, we now have the originators of all three of the major Royal Enfield V-Twin projects represented here in the discussion, The Norcroft project with Bill Hurr, Aniket Vardhan with his fantastic Musket project and now Paul Carberry of Carberry V-Twin fame. As Paul Carberry notes, the various projects have leap frogged one another at various times over the years, but they have all shown what a vision and dedication can bring about.

    A heartfelt congratulations to all of you. You have each been an inspiring example for builders everywhere. Great work!

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