John Player Replica
The JPN Replicas were
quite popular in the early 1980s when the Norton fans realized how rare
they were. Rumour has it only about 300 were made.
Even today a premium is asked for "genuine" models.
Amazingly- as with "genuine" Production Racers- the number of
"genuine" examples now far excedes the number produced at
The bike above was rebuilt from the bones of a real JPN over a period of
I bought the bike as a semi-rebuilt wreck when I studied at Southampton
University in 1979.
What I mean by semi-rebuilt wreck is obvious to those who ever bought a
bike that "needs slight attention".
The very special petrol
tank under the fairing, the slightly cracked glass-fibre parts, various
odds and ends used only on these replicas plus the fact these beasts were
not considered "collectables" yet in 1979 were a good indication
this was the real deal.
The rebuild was not 100%
authentic, as can be seen from the alloy rims and the 750 type exhaust
Due to the loss of
production records for the late 750s and most early 850s no JPN can be
verified as genuine today.
The ride is most
uncomfortable and the front forks flex more than normal due to flexibility
of the front mudguard-
the steel variety with the centre stay markedly stiffens the forks.
What one does get
with these beasts is lots of admiring glances and attention.
I was stopped on Hayling Island once by a police motorcyclist. As was the
custom at the time amongst young men my "tax was in the post"...
But I need not have worried. All he wanted is to have a look at the
unusual motorcycle- he never looked for a tax disc.