12th February 2007
Last year, RC readers John and Lizzie Powell undertook a monster ride across Canada on a classic bike in aid of their favourite charity. So how did the Dommi cope with the trek?
When John and his pillion Lizzie were left a bequest, they decided that the best way to spend it was to take the ride of a lifetime and - hopefully - to raise some money for their favourite charity along the way.
So last summer they took their 1962 Norton Dommi 88 across Canada, starting at Vancouver in May and heading to finish at Halifax in late July. All this was in aid of Fundukuphila -- a pre-school charity at Natal in South Africa.
John's Norton started life as a standard 497cc Slimline Dommi. When built in 1961 it would have output roughly 30bhp - these day it might be a fair bit less! And you can't just leap onto a 45 year old bike and aim to travel across an entire continent without preparing the motorcycle first. So here's how John equipped his Dominator for the big trip:
After all that you would hope that the Norton survived reasonably intact - and it did. Says John; 'She did all but 15 miles or so in the U-Hail-It truck at Ottawa under her own steam. There were only two breakdowns and the causes were very minor (the diagnosis were difficult, though). Fuel consumption was 70mpg or more, all the way, cruising at 100ph. The tyres held out for the whole trip, but two final drive chains were used due to the heat, dust, gravel and mud, hail, and lightning. The only additional modification I should have made, and did not prior to the trip, was to fit some kind of air filter to the carburettor.
'A comfortable speed for cruising two-up and fully loaded was around 60-65mph. She sounded fine even going faster but that could be cruel over long distances!
'Everywhere we went we found the nicest people you could hope to meet. We don't know exactly how many miles we covered on the whole trip but it must be more than 5000. We ended a lot nearer to home than where we started from!
'At the end Lizzie looked a bit wan -- but she was still smiling…'
You can read John's blog and find lots more details about his trip at
There's also a link so you can donate to his nominated charity, too
And Even More!
The full story of John and Lizzie's adventure appears in print in the March 2007 issue of RealClassic magazine (RC35). You'll be able to buy that issue online in April, or you can subscribe to the mag straight away and have it delivered to you as soon as it's printed…
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