On Bromsgrove Street in Birmingham, England, James Lansdowne started his own business in 1898. The Norton Manufacturing Company specialized in making chains and other parts for the bicycle industry.
In 1902 a man named Charles Garrard began to import French 143cc Clement engines to fit a standard bicycle. They were sold as the “Clement-Garrard.” The motors were four-strokes with an overhead valve, a small crankcase, and large external flywheel. “Beefed-up” frames were made by Norton Mfg. Co. and a 160cc Clement engine was used for the first Norton motorcycle, called The Energette, pictured above.
The first advertisement for the Energette appeared on the 19th November, 1902, in Motor Cycling magazine, where the bike was touted as “the ideal doctor’s bike.”
“Surely you can’t be serious,” you may think if you didn’t read the whole ad, but I am serious. Norton marketed their first motorcycle to doctors. And don’t call me Shirley.
The machine weighed about 70lb (32kg) and the one pictured here has a two-speed gearbox of unknown manufacture.
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