The Norcroft venture was started by Bill Hurr and Richard Hurst, longtime friends with a shared interest in motorcycles. Experience of various Triumphs, BSA's and Nortons, etc followed by Moto-Guzzis, Ducatis and a plethora of Japanese machines left both with a firm notion of their ideal machine. It would be a classic 50's/60's style British bike with a big V-twin engine.
As an engine designer, Bill was already familiar with the Royal Enfield Bullet when working for Austrian consultants AVL. Noting that the Bullet's bore and stroke are identical to the Vincent Black Shadow/Rapide, he started to envisage a 50degree V-twin built using RE top ends.
There were many problems to overcome, such as how to arrange the timing drive, finding space for the front carburettor, clearance for the rear exhaust pipe, etc........eventually however, it all came together. The first prototype was built and installed in a stretched Bullet chassis. Keen to explore the performance of their new engine, Norcroft then approached Metisse for a custom built rolling chassis. This was to be the basis for a limited scale production motorcycle, bespoke built to customer requirements.
By this time, financial constraints had started to be felt. Norcroft had always been run on a shoestring, and it was a remarkable acheivement to develop a new engine on a minimal budget. On the other hand, increasingly stringent legislation and rising costs meant that these ambitious production plans had to be shelved.
Norcroft continued to quietly develop the engine, improving power and durability. No 2 prototype is still running, albeit much modified from those early days, and has covered many thousands of miles. We hope it will cover many thousand more.
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