When The Featherbed Frame Revolutionized Motorcycle Construction.

featherbedframe1There are large variety of motorcycle frames such as single down-tube cradle, half duplex cradle, full duplex cradle, perimeter, beam, trellis etc, each with different handling characteristics for different types of motorcycles. When the Featherbed frame was invented by Mr. Richard McCandless aka Rex, in the year 1949 for UK Norton Motorcycle Company, his intention was primarily to improve performance under the extreme stress of racing. The term Featherbed frame was coined by Mr. Harold Daniell (an Isle of Man TT racer) after trying out the new frame developed by Rex. He declared that it was like, “riding on a featherbed” when compared with riding a “garden gate” frame.

featherbedframe2The patent, that you can read , describes “a frame comprising two parallel rectangular loops each formed from a single length of tubing, the ends of the tube which forms each loop crossing and being welded to each other at the top front corner of the loop and the free ends of the tube which extend beyond the crossing point being welded to an inclined head tube adjacent to the top and bottom thereof respectively.”

The Featherbed was the standard for all Norton motorcycles and rapidly became the preferred platform, in modified and/or improved forms,  of many motorcycle manufacturers because of its combination of stiffness, resistance to heavy torque and excellent maneuverability at high speeds and while cornering. The new Royal Enfield Continental GT uses a Featherbed frame.

6 Responses to “When The Featherbed Frame Revolutionized Motorcycle Construction.”

  1. 1 Rodent Nov 20th, 2014 at 9:30 am

    I learned to ride on the mean streets of Manhattan on a featherbed framed Snortin Norton. Them was the days..

  2. 2 nicker Nov 20th, 2014 at 11:49 pm

    The basis for many a Norvin and Triton.
    Good stuff that.


  3. 3 BCinSoCal Nov 21st, 2014 at 11:02 am

    Nicker, right on!

  4. 4 Nov 22nd, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    I think Alain Bernard down in Tampa still has these for Sporty’s to turn them into cafe racers…
    Norley’s may be the name of them. Saw one and it looks the beans!

  5. 5 Nov 24th, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I bought a Norton Atlas when I came home rom the Navy , fantastic bike 750 cc in 1964

  6. 6 B. D. Nov 25th, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Excellent handling frames and the Norton engines, despite their ancient roots, ran strong.

    But as so many of us learned back in the day, Norton spelled backwards is Not Run, usually thanks to cheap bits sourced from Lucas, the prince of darkness.

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