® A Day in the Life: Norris Barsumian

My friend and Honda dealership service manager Norm Henkel and I rode from L.A. over to San Clemente one afternoon to visit with a fella that had promised to help Norm with his dragbike. Norm actually held the IDBA record for his class on a tricked-out little Honda 305. Laydown frame, Yoshimura aluminum rocker arms. Modified Offenhouser crankcase breather. Ultra-light (and ultra-illegal) bicycle wheel on the front. A very purpose-built bike that weighed I think just 100 pounds or some such. We used to carry it to Terminal Island tucked into the back of Norm's econobox! Anyway, this newfound friend did in fact help us. You see, the friend was none other than Norris Barsumian of Norris camshaft fame. He owned San Clemente Honda, as well as another business in back of the dealership, Norris Cams, at one time a very well known motorcycle cam grinder. He was famous for his work with Volkswagens, too, they say. We had dinner with Norris and of course got the long story about camshafts. He later sold the dealership and retired, his sons taking over the camshaft business. He and his wife are both gone now, but I think one son is at a dealership in Nevada. Megacycle seems to have acquired much if not all of what was Norris' business.

Recently, I heard from one of Norris' sons, Bruce. A pleasant surprise, to say the least! Here is his email to me as received. A treat.

Hi, Mike! I'm one of Norris Barsumian's sons (Norris Cams). I'm Bruce and currently live in Reno Nevada. My brother Brian still lives in San Clemente above our old cam shop. I read your article about you and Norm Henkel visiting our old shop and getting to know my parents. I just wanted to say hi and if you have any questions feel free to e-mail me!
Respectfully,
Bruce Barsumian

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