We’ve debated the merits of the current cafe racer fashion in the past. And while there’s good and bad to the trend for ’70s and 80’s bikes being reworked with clip-ons and exhaust bandage, it’s nice to see a rare beast like the Manx Superior.
I stumbled into it on the Welsh coast. So technically for that weekend it was a beach racer, rather than a cafe racer. Ice creams rather than bacon butties.
The chassis isn’t a cheaper production item. It’s a genuine Manx Norton. That’s the racing Norton built between 1947-1962, including the factory race bikes and the version available to selected customers direct from the factory. In 1950, the all-welded tubular featherbed framed Norton’s took a double hat-trick of podium positions at the Isle of Man TT, and in addition to road racing, a Manx MX even won the 1956 European Motocross Championship.
It was common at the end of the 1950s to buy a Manx Norton, and then strip out the engine to use in a Formula 3 car, which meant a lot of Manx chassis were then paired with Triumph engines – hence Triton cafe racers.
This Manx Superior goes even further, with a JAP 1260cc twin-cylinder motor squeezed inside.
It’s a menacing and somewhat scary bike when it’s stood still. Thankfully, I’ve got no idea what it must be like to actually ride – on sand!
It appears that the Manx Superior was produced by Cameron Racing Engines, based in Malvern, UK. They make a range of parts for JAP engines and the cars and bikes they powered – and could potentially make you a brand new Brough Superior SS100 if you fancied one. They also appear to be a family of racers and enthusiasts. There’s no mention of the Manx Superior on their website at the minute, but they do have a Youtube channel if you want to hear it.
It’s probably one of the only bikes that makes it onto both mine and Dan’s dream shortlist…