Daily Life On A Norton Commando Motorcycle

Is it bizarre that the classic-bike proprietor’s proudest moments come when impressing others who personal the identical sort of bike? Nicely, name me a weirdo for being so glad that a Norton man on the Quail Motorcycle Gathering in Carmel, California, this previous Might stated, “Rattling, that factor sounds nice.”

All it was doing was idling, however it was an attractive sound and an amazing second. We simply need our bikes to be liked and our mastery of the fickle machine to be recognized.

I’ve discovered myself loving my 1974 Norton 850 Commando greater than numerous different classic bikes, particularly once I’d wish to get there with out, ahem, stopping. Nortons mixed the normal qualities individuals love about British parallel twins (lovely design, compact dimensions, and a nice sound) with a lot of energy and torque and stylish smoothness because of Isolastic rubber engine mounts. My bike made forty seven hp and forty five pound-ft of torque on the Cycle World Dynojet 250 dyno. And it’s delivered magnificently on the street.

The most effective factor of all that there have been many Commandos made, so costs have remained sane.

As is the case with most combustion-powered classic love objects, trendy options abound to enhance reliability and operating/turning/stopping high quality. I are likely to benefit from the interval driving expertise, so I persist with minor and largely invisible modifications.

Whereas there are many engine efficiency elements out there, I left mine inventory since mine’s received simply 20,000 miles. Switching to Amal Premier carburetors, which seem like manufacturing unit models however supply materials and design upgrades that enhance efficiency and tunability, perked the bike up fairly a bit. Digital ignition choices abound; Boyer has been the normal selection, however Pazon (as utilized by Peter Egan on his former 850) has an excellent popularity. Some years in the past I opted for the Tri-Spark unit and have been very proud of its efficiency and idle-stabilizing circuitry. And nobody is the wiser.



The unique Lockheed entrance disc brake grasp cylinder has an inordinately giant-diameter piston and subsequently gives all the texture of a mahogany block and never a lot mechanical benefit. I purchased a Miles Classic Brake grasp cylinder the corporate sleeves to 13mm. The great half is it seems good and gives considerably extra braking energy on the pads with far decrease effort. The dangerous half was my first unit’s Delrin piston was machined too shut in tolerance to the bore and in scorching climate or daylight would increase and seize (locking the entrance brake!) till it cooled off. I appreciated the grasp sufficient I purchased one other one (the piston is now a smaller diameter) however was not delighted to pay for 2 of them.

There are lots of different choices like extra elaborate brake replacements, belt main drive conversions, suspension upgrades—greater than could be coated right here. Corporations corresponding to Colorado Norton Works (look it up and be misplaced within the shiny bits…) make in depth resto-mod elements, and Andover Norton and others supply plentiful elements and technical help. However even with my easy mods, the Norton will run seventy five mph all day lengthy and return forty five to 50 mpg with out skipping a beat and even respiration onerous.

And it idles so properly that even different Norton house owners are impressed.


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