Buy Norton Commando parallel twins

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Buy Norton Commando parallel twins
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Buy Norton Commando parallel twins

Buy Norton Commando parallel twins

Buy Norton Commando parallel twins

Buy Norton Commando parallel twins

50 pictures

Buy Norton Commando parallel twins
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The rear Isolastic, on the other hand, is hidden on the subframe of the transmission.

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As a result of excessive play in the auxiliary shaft ball bearing, vibrations can also break the “double” plain bearing of the auxiliary shaft.

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The kickstarter pawl will often show signs of wear.

Then the kick starter slips through.

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The selector lever of the automatic switch can be accessed without removing the gearbox.

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The bearing on the pinion side of the transmission output shaft can loosen in its seat. This is particularly important for commandos that have been converted to belt drives.

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The secondary drive: Despite the dimensions 5/8 x 3/8, the specialists recommend that you only use drive chains from the Japanese manufacturer RK (type RK 530) for the Commando.

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The telescopic fork: The telescopic fork of the Commando still works mostly without any problems today, provided that the oil is changed regularly.

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If the response of the fork is too soft, this is usually due to a worn out tie rod damping locking bush (see center of picture).

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Caution: If the axle clamp of the immersion tube has ever been tightened too tight, it may be broken.

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The swing arm mounting: When replacing the swing arm mounting, the improved version offered by Joe Seifert is recommended. In this case, the swing arm is locked using two clamping wedges.

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The frame back tube traverse: It is essential to remove the tank from early Commandos built in 1967/68. If this lower frame back tube traverse (available here) is missing, there is no avoiding the purchase of a new frame for safety reasons!

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The rear frame: If the luggage rack is not suitable, the rear frame loop may break at this point. Breakages in the rear frame loop can only be avoided if a luggage carrier can support itself on the main frame.

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The Isolastic shots: In the Commando advertising brochure, Norton proudly showed how the Isolastic decoupled the drive train from the main frame.

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The individual parts of the Isolastic installed at the front and rear. One can guess why many Norton owners “forget” to distance the Isolastic.

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The front Isolastic of the Norton Commando is fairly accessible.

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The gearbox: The auxiliary shaft bearing in the gearbox quickly gets play. To avoid damage, the ball bearing should be against
a better roller bearing can be replaced.

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If engine oil is used for lubrication in the primary drive, the clutch slips and can partially burn as a result.

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Here typical oil mist on the cover of the primary drive. Sealing the primary drive cover is not a problem with good silicone sealants, however.

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The JPS-Norton Commando offers nothing technically extraordinary. The GRP cladding parts weigh heavily, the look is a matter of taste.

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Checkpoints.

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The engine and its components: This is an original aluminum connecting rod. These are sturdy and light, so they shouldn’t
can be exchanged for “tuning connecting rods”.

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The standard pistons can tear or even break at the slotted bores (left); Here you can clearly see the difference: This is what the improved “break-proof” piston looks like (right).

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The camshafts of the Mark III models (from 1975) are too soft and run in quickly.

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The manifold nuts can loosen and destroy the thread in the cylinder head.

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In this photo you can see the two different crankcases. On the right one of the critical Combat models, easily recognizable by the small oil drain plug.

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The oil supply: all clear! If the large oil drain plug is located on the belly of the crankcase, the oil circuit does not need to be revised.

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For Norton Commando models built up to 1971, retrofitting the fine oil filter is recommended. This was already installed ex works from 1972.

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The conversion to toothed belts shown here is superfluous if the correct gear oil is used and the primary drive cover is carefully sealed.

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The primary drive with clutch: The original triplex chain of the primary drive lasts a long time. From the Mark III models, the primary drive received an automatic chain tensioner.

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Here in detail the manifold of the 850 models from 1973 with the interference tube.

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The so-called Dominator mufflers were also installed on early Norton Commandos.

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The exhaust system: The roadster pots are very popular with Norton drivers because of their pithy tone.

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The carburettors: The Amal carburettors are durable, provided they are operated with an air filter. When the hoppers are open, the slides wear out .

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The ignition: After long periods of inactivity, the Norton’s mechanical ignition adjuster rusts up more often. It can also get stuck while driving.

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The electronic ignition system “Sure-Fire” from Pazon has proven itself in many commands.

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When buying, you should also pay attention to the correct assembly of the ignition coils. If they are tightened too much, the housing of the coil will be crushed. The result: short circuit and total failure.

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Further tips: Attempts to kick start on the side stand lead to cracks or even breaks in the side stand mount on the frame.

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The original Commando instruments are sought-after spare parts. In the event of defects, however, repairs can be carried out without any problems.

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The model variants: An English seating position, the powerful engine and an excellent chassis characterize all Norton Commando models.

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At the moment the trend among Norton Commandos is towards a Fastback, it is one of the sought-after rarities.

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Lima rotors from the 1970s hardly have any magnetic force. In addition, the steel core often detaches from the aluminum casing.

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The electrical system: The requirement for converting the Bilux headlight to H4 is a three-phase generator with an adapted charge regulator.

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The effect of the disc brake can be significantly improved with the hand brake cylinder from Grimeca.

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A real case of maintenance: the brake pistons (removed here) in the brake calliper work without dust sleeves.

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The disc brake: Even the Commando disc brake was hardly more powerful than the weak drum brake.

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A clear improvement can be achieved with the installation of the “stiffining kit”. It consists of a plate that fixes the brake cams to one another so that they can no longer twist.

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The drum brake: The effect of the standard duplex drum brake is rather modest.

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Retrofitting the Isolastic with the “Production Racer Headsteady” is recommended. This prevents the motor from tilting to the left and right in the frame.

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A revised version of the Isolastic was used in the Mark III models (built from 1975 onwards). The correct play can be set more easily here using clamping nuts.

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The SS-Commando was unmistakably aiming with a lot of chrome and the raised exhaust as “Street scrambler” to the taste of the Americans.

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Buy Norton Commando parallel twins

The Norton Commando parallel twins
What to look for when buying?

Content of

The Norton Langhuber are among the classics that are sought after, and their prices continue to rise. We show you what to look for when buying these bikes with a strong sound and character.

Marcel Schoch

02/20/2014

English motorcycles have a reputation for being real bitches. You hear of frequent defects and constantly drooling engines and gears. Nevertheless, they were and are coveted collector’s items – above all one Norton Commando. It doesn’t matter whether it is a 750 from 1967 to spring 1973 or an 850 from 1973 to 1977. It doesn’t really matter which type it is, because the differences are only in the details.

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The Norton Commando parallel twins
What to look for when buying?

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Strong sprinter and excellent touring motorcycle

In terms of technology and driving behavior, the different variants are essentially identical, regardless of whether it is a Fastback with the distinctive duck tail, the slim Roadster with the small 11-liter tank, the Interstate with a 24-liter fuel tank or an S-Type with raised scrambler exhaust turns. This also applies to very rare models such as the JPS-Norton Commando. In principle, it is also a completely normal 850 Mk 2A, which, however, has been “decorated” with heavy GRP parts. For collectors, the type is therefore rather indifferent as long as the item you are looking for is a (reasonably) original item. Because many commandos were more likely to be damaged by inexperienced screwdriver hands than by a brisk throttle hand.

“Anyone who buys a Norton Commando not only gets a strong Sprinter, but also an excellent touring motorcycle,” says Joachim “Joe” Seifert, Managing Director of Norton Motors GmbH in Gilching, west of Munich. Joe has been dealing with motorcycles from the British Isles for over 35 years, he has almost all spare parts for the English classics on offer. No wonder, he owns the Andover Norton company, which manufactures these original spare parts.

“A lot of people think that the long motorcycle is very stubborn to ride,” says Joe, “but the exact opposite is the case. As soon as it is moving, the Commando lies playfully in the hand and can be easily steered through every curve. ”Even on the straight, the Norton Commando lies in every speed range like the proverbial board on the road. The typically English seating position takes some getting used to. The footrests are placed relatively far forward, with an upright upper body and – depending on the model – little contact with the machine, you sit more passively, even with a sporty driving style. The aged parallel twin feels most comfortable between 3000 and 5000 tours, there are hardly any engine vibrations to be felt. The spring elements, which are relatively comfortable at the front and rear, are also pleasant.

Torque and smoothness

The Langhuber is not only convincing when it comes to running smoothness, but also with its power in the lower speed range. Only a few gear changes are necessary on fast-moving country roads. If you still have to switch between the four stages, this is done easily, precisely and without making any noise – just as you are used to from Japanese motorcycles to this day. Newbies only need to get used to the fact that they have to switch to the right, and also using a reverse switching scheme.

The same applies to the front brake, because its effect is very modest, regardless of whether the duplex drum brake, which was built in until 1972, or the disc brake that followed, is very modest. At least if you apply today’s standards. Sporting ambitions can also do no harm when starting a Commando, because you will usually look for a start button in vain. Only the late Norton Commando 850 Mk III built between 1975 and 1977 has an electric starter. So it is important to bring the machine – completely British – to life with the Kickstarter. However, this is usually not a problem with flooded carburetors and pulled choke. A maximum of two kicks is enough and a well-tuned engine will run. It is even easier at operating temperature, a light step is sufficient here. If you don’t want to do without an e-starter, you can retrofit the Alton E-Start-Kit. It fits all commandos.

For Joe, however, the following point is more decisive: “If you want your Commando to have a long life, you should avoid short distances of less than 25 kilometers at all costs. Only then is the engine more or less at operating temperature and you can accelerate. ”The Commando prefers changing engine speeds to a supposedly gentle driving style on low tours. Because both the 750 and 850 can be turned up to 7000 rpm. Important: Do not use synthetic engine oil. High-quality modern mineral oils are completely sufficient, especially since these are much better
Can compensate for bearing play as thin synthetic mixtures.

“One thing you shouldn’t forget when buying an English motorcycle, especially the Norton Commando: the right tools,” Joe warns. “Many overlook the fact that they need inch tools for screwing. And then mess around with the machine with metric tools ”. A look at the screws quickly provides information about this. “The construction of the Norton Commando is basically very solid,” continues Joe. “Provided that the machine has always been properly maintained.” Nevertheless, a Norton Commando also has some quirks, some of which extend over all years of construction and model variants.

The problem areas of the engine

Rudi Kolano, master toolmaker with his own workshop and Norton specialist from Althegnenberg in Bavaria, knows them all. “Anyone who is considering one of the earlier 750 Commandos up to the so-called Combat models up to about the year of construction 1972 should ask the supplier whether the pistons have already been changed.” Rudi shows an original piston that has slotted bores underneath the piston rings to protect against overheating damage owns. “While that was a good idea, the production pistons have a tendency to crack or break right here. We recommend replacing it with better ones from Hepolite or GPM. ”Not a cheap affair, both pistons cost around 200 euros. In addition, there are around six hours of work, including the overhaul of the cylinders and costs for various seals.

Joe and Rudi can give the all-clear for cylinders and cylinder heads. “They are very robust and actually last forever”. However, a look at the manifold connections on the cylinder head can’t hurt. “The thread in the head is often damaged when installing the manifold. The elbow nuts can also come loose, especially if the wrong lock washer is used – then the vibrations gradually destroy the thread, ”says Rudi. “The lock washer is right behind the crown nut and has to be turned over. A thread repair is possible. However, depending on the damage, such repairs can be quite time-consuming. “

The Commando’s valve train is also considered to be quite undemanding. Exception: the Mark III models from 1975. Here camshafts were used that were simply too soft. “At first you notice that the clearance increases in one or even both intake valves. If the damage is already more advanced, there is a considerable loss of performance. Then the inlet cams are already down so far that they hardly open the valve any more, ”explains Rudi. However, mechanical noises can not be heard. The engine sounds a bit strained when accelerating. A stable camshaft can be delivered without any problems, however, and costs around 220 euros. In addition, there are a good eight hours of work for removing and installing the engine. 

If the engine has already been dismantled, we recommend replacing the right crankshaft bearing on the control side with Commandos built up to 1971. A ball bearing is installed ex works, which quickly gains play due to the vibrations of the crankshaft and finally gives up. “A barrel store was to be installed as a replacement. It goes along with the vibrations and therefore lasts much longer, ”advises Joe. A sensible conversion because it protects the crankshaft. Because it is no longer available as a new part. Replacements – if available at all – are only available on the second-hand market. Used crankshafts are therefore accordingly expensive.

Beware of tuning sins

Skepticism is also appropriate with tuned engines. “A lot of such conversion measures are superfluous, they usually lead to worse improvements,” Joe knows from experience. “Especially when the original connecting rods have been swapped for accessories, for example from Carrillo. The result is very strong vibrations. Because many do not consider that when changing the connecting rod, the entire crank drive has to be rebalanced. And that is an expensive job, because it is very laborious and not worth it. The original aluminum connecting rods are robust enough and also lighter than the Carrillo connecting rods.” It looks similar with valve enlargements. “Anyone who overhauls the intake and exhaust valves should only do this – if at all – with an increase in displacement, otherwise this measure is of little use,” advises Rudi thanks to his long experience.

Oil with circulatory problems

Many 750 Norton Commandos from 1972 with frame numbers between 200,000 and 300,000 cause really massive difficulties. “The problem is known as combat drama,” explains Joe. What is meant by this is that, due to a changed main oil routing in the engine housing, these models tend to pump the oil out of the engine ventilation system at full load. The fatal thing about it is that this usually happens unnoticed and the engine runs dry, of course with the corresponding consequences. It’s good that you can recognize these engines relatively easily by the small oil drain plug.

The unproblematic engines, on the other hand, have a significantly larger oil drain plug for the oil strainer on the belly of the crankcase. “Anyone who has such a combat engine can have the oil circuit revised by Rudi Kolano,” recommends Joe. Duration with the engine removed: around five hours. There are also the usual engine seals. On this occasion, the fine oil filter, which was standard from 1972 onwards, was also to be retrofitted. “This is a sensible measure on all Commando models, because the standard oil strainer hardly holds back any dirt,” confirms Joe. The 850s from 1973 onwards no longer had any problems with the oil circuit.

Sometimes breathing difficulties

The Amal carburettors are also worth a critical look. “With the original air filter, they usually don’t miss anything,” says Joe. “With open carburettors, however, the slide must be checked for wear, as the road dust will sand it off like a sandblasting blower.” The result is increased slide play. If the cold engine can be started easily without a choke, the needle nozzle and nozzle needle are usually knocked out. Joe explains what that means: “At medium speeds, the engine is mercilessly over-greased. Many people have even removed the choke mechanism because they considered it superfluous, but without knowing the cause. “

Defective Amal carburettors are sometimes replaced by Mikuni ones. In addition to increased performance, they should also ensure that the engine runs better. “It’s all nonsense,” said Joe. “Up to now, hardly anyone has managed to properly coordinate the Mikunis with the Commando. If it does succeed, they are at most just as good as the Amal carburettors. ”Here, too, the specialists Joe and Rudi recommend leaving the original condition.

The same applies to the exhaust system. The Norton Commando runs best in its original state. This also includes the ones that are so popular because of their sound “Roadster Pots ”. They were standard until 1975 and are often retrofitted on later models. The 850 models had quieter mufflers and manifolds with an interference pipe. “Many believe that the later manifolds will perform better because of the interference tube. But that’s a mistake, the performance is about the same, “notes Joe.

Primary drive

Originality should also be striven for in the primary drive. The factory-installed triplex chain is often replaced by a nylon toothed belt to keep the primary drive dry and to prevent clutch slipping. “A measure that is not only expensive but also superfluous. The ten-plate sintered metal clutch running in an oil bath has no problems with the right oil. And with the primary drive cover properly sealed, nothing leaks anymore”, Rudi Kolano is convinced. “I use ATF oil, then the clutch doesn’t slip and the primary chain is properly lubricated.” The clutch only causes problems when normal engine oil is used. The additives literally stick the sintered metal coverings together. The result: You slip through and can partially burn. Since washing does not help here, the entire clutch must be replaced in this case.

Of switching and ruling

Norton’s transmission has three weak points. Pay attention to the auxiliary shaft bearing with all commandos. “If there is already too much play, you will notice this when you start up. Because then the Kickstarter moves down a bit, ”explains Joe. “In order to fix the defect and avoid major damage, the ball bearing should be replaced with a better roller bearing as soon as possible.” This costs around 30 euros, but the gearbox must be removed for the replacement. Around eight hours of working time are billed for this. While you’re at it, be sure to check the “double” plain bearing on the auxiliary shaft. This is because the defective ball bearing leads to a wobbling movement of the shaft, which can result in the sliding bearing breaking.

Furthermore, it must be ensured that the transmission can be shifted easily. If this is not the case, the so-called small spring in the selector lever of the automatic switchgear may be broken. The repair costs are manageable here, however, because the spring is available for a few euros, and you only need to remove the right gearbox cover for replacement, the gearbox itself can remain installed.

The third checkpoint is the Kickstarter latch. If this is worn out – which is often the case – the starter slips when stepping on it. The cause is a poor material quality of the latch. “You should stay away from new old stock parts here,” advises Joe. “These are often replicas that will soon run out again.” No big deal, because Joe has the part reproduced in a higher quality. And the change is just as easy to do as with the spring of the automatic switch.

Secondary drive

The secondary drive shows no abnormalities. Provided that the right chain from the right manufacturer is used. “Although the chain has the usual dimensions of 5/8 x 3/8, you should only use the RK 530 type made by the Japanese manufacturer RK,” advises Joe. “The chains from other manufacturers can rub against the gearbox housing because they are sometimes designed to be wider.” This would all list the problem areas of the drive. But the chassis of the Norton Commando with the infamous Isolastic also has its pitfalls.

Spring elements

The telescopic fork, on the other hand, is unproblematic. “If it has been serviced regularly, the Commando’s fork is still fully functional today”, give Joe and Rudi the Forke a good report card. This includes, in particular, the regular change of the fork oil (10W20), of which 200 ml belong in each handlebar. Stucking or sluggishness indicates a fork that has been incorrectly installed and thus strained. If, on the other hand, it is too soft, the cause is often a worn-out locking bush of the tie rod damping. No drama: The part doesn’t cost the world, the installation is done in an hour. You should also examine the axle clamping of the immersion tubes. “They break if they’re pulled too tight,” says Joe. “Then the entire immersion tube has to be changed.” That makes around 180 euros per immersion tube, plus one hour of working time.

When it comes to steering head bearings, only models before 1971 should be treated with caution. Ball bearings with loose balls were installed here, which run in quickly and then “lock” the fork in the middle position. From 1971 deep groove ball bearings were used, which last forever. If a replacement is necessary, tapered roller bearings can now also be selected for around 100 euros. A good two hours must be budgeted for the conversion.

Sometimes the swing arm mounting is also a problem. Especially if it was lubricated with grease instead of oil. “Oil has to be used here, otherwise the sintered bronze bushings will not be adequately lubricated and will run dry,” says Joe. Knocked out swing arm mounts in the lower subframe are also not unknown. At the factory, these are fixed with a small ¼ inch screw. “The problem is well known,” explains Joe. “We have developed an improved version with which the swing arm is locked using two clamping wedges.” Joe sells the complete kit for 420 euros; the conversion takes a good four hours. The rear shock absorbers work fairly inconspicuously. In the event of defects, a tried-and-tested replacement is available from Ikon for around 300 euros, while NJB Shocks only costs around 140 euros for a pair of new Classic shock absorbers.

Bend and break

The situation is not quite as relaxed in the context of an early commando. The first Norton Commandos were delivered in 1967 and partly still in 1968 with an incorrectly designed frame. In this case, the lower frame back tube cross member is missing, which is why there can be breaks in the area of ​​the steering head at the upper back tube connection. “The frame of such a command must urgently be changed for security reasons, it is not called a ‘widow maker frame’ for nothing,” warns Joe. 

For a new frame with a lower support cross member you have to put 1200 euros on the table. The subframe rear loop is also at risk of breakage. Especially if a luggage rack is attached to it without any support to the main frame. Then even a few kilograms overweight can cause a break near the upper shock absorber mounts. The rear loop may, however, be welded as it does not belong to the main frame.

The elastic decoupling

“The Norton Commando’s biggest mystery, however, is the Isolastic,” jokes Joe. “It was developed in 1967 for Commando and decouples the engine, the gearbox and the rear swing arm including the rear wheel from the main frame and stem in order to protect the driver from annoying vibrations.” of the engine and on the subframe of the transmission. There is also a bracket with two silent blocks in the head area of ​​the engine. The construction works flawlessly as long as the clearance between the rubber blocks and the retaining plates on the frame is properly spaced and the rubber elements are not already hardened or brittle.

To separate the front and rear Isolastic mountings, washers of different thicknesses are required, which must be placed between the subframe, a collar and a cover plate and the retaining plates so that the bolt can be pushed through. “After the bolt nuts have been tightened, the play may not exceed 0.25 millimeters if the distance is correct,” explains Rudi. “Otherwise the connection will float and the driving behavior will be severely impaired.” Since adjusting the Isolastic is a very time-consuming job, many Norton owners like to “overlook” it..

Rudi knows how to do it: “To set the Isolastic correctly, the drive unit must be relieved. For this purpose, it is best to lift the machine at the rear shock absorber mountings with a lashing strap and crane so far that the front wheel just barely touches the ground – then you can remove the Isolastic attachment one after the other without it becoming warped.

It is easier with the Mark III models from 1975 onwards. They have a revised version of the Isolastic, in which the play at the fastening points is no longer adjusted using spacers but using clamping nuts. Here, too, the machine has to be relieved for adjustment according to the method explained by Rudi. However, the revised version saves you the trouble of distancing it with washers. A special hook wrench is sufficient here to pretension the perforated nut on the bolt.

However, this improved version also harbors sources of error. “The Mark III Isolastic is also often set incorrectly,” reports Rudi. “In order to achieve the correct pre-tensioning, the hole nut must be tightened hand-tight. Then you open it again by one and a half or two times the distance between two holes in the hole nut and check whether the play is around 0.25 millimeters. The hole nut is only countered with the locking nut when everything fits. ”The improved Isolastic version can be installed in older Commando models from before 1975 without any problems. The conversion parts cost around 300 euros. In addition, however, there is the wages for a good ten (!) Hours of work. When buying, make sure that the Mark III-Isolastic has already been retrofitted.

“The so-called ‘Production Racer Headsteady’ is still a real improvement”, advises Joe on this part. “It is installed on the head of the motor in place of the standard Isolastic connection and prevents the motor from tilting to the left and right in the frame.” A sensible optimization that costs around 200 euros.

Stopover: the drums

The effect of the front brake on a Commando is really weak. It does not matter whether it is the duplex drum brake of the early models built up to 1971 or the disc brake of the MKII and III models. “With the original duplex brake, the brake cams are overhung in the anchor plate and are therefore not torsion-resistant. When the brakes are applied, they evade the forces instead of pressing the brake shoes properly against the drum, ”says Rudi, who knows the dilemma.

The so-called “stiffining kit”, consisting of a plate that fixes the brake cams to one another, provides a remedy. The kit costs around 130 euros, and installation takes around one and a half hours. According to Joe Seifert, this is a worthwhile investment, as “the brake works really well and lasts for a long time”. By the way, if you are lucky, you will catch a Norton Commando, in which the kit is already installed as standard. But that only existed in 1972, when customers of the 750s had the choice between disc brakes and duplex drum brakes.

Discs also brake

Those Commando buyers who opted for disc brakes were probably not quite as happy back then. Because this decelerated the front wheel due to the too large selected piston in the hand brake cylinder only halfway sensible with high force. Today, however, there is room for improvement. “We’re changing the original Lockheed handbrake cylinder for one from Grimeca,” report Rudi and Joe. “It has a piston with a diameter of 12.5 millimeters and brings the front wheel to the locking limit with moderate hand force.” It is mounted using an adapter plate so that it can be used on all 750 and 850 Commando models that were equipped with a disc brake as standard , can be mounted. Of course there is a parts certificate for this.

You should also take a closer look at the brake caliper when buying. The two brake pistons have no dust sleeves. To prevent the pistons from seizing up, especially if they are not used for a long time, they must be cleaned regularly. “By the way, you can safely do without a steel braided brake line instead of a rubber brake hose,” says Joe. “It hardly brings any noticeable improvement in braking performance.” If the rubber brake hose is swollen on the inside, you can alternatively install a steel flex line, as the additional costs are hardly worth mentioning.

Long lines age

A lot of bad things are said about electrics. “One shouldn’t forget, however, that some of the electrics in a Commando are over 40 years old,” says Joe. “It is very important to be in good condition. If the switches on the fittings have been regularly oiled, plug and screw contacts cleaned and watertight insulation ensured, it will normally work. ”Nevertheless, the accessories market offers numerous improvements. These range from electronic voltage regulators and flasher relays to H4 headlight retrofits with three-phase generator and charge regulator. Originality fanatics have a lot of trouble separating the wheat from the chaff.

The original Lima rotor on the crankshaft can actually cause trouble. On the one hand, its magnetic force has often decreased significantly after 40 years, which is why the alternator winding no longer provides a reasonable charging capacity. On the other hand, until the 1980s, the original rotors had a steel core that could detach from the aluminum rotor – with unpleasant consequences which caused the crankcase to crack. However, the production date is stamped on the rotor. His advice: “Replace rotors that are more than 25 years old as soon as possible. “

Converting from mechanical contact ignition with a centrifugal governor to an electronic ignition system also makes perfect sense. “Mostly the Sure-Fire from Pazon is installed here,” Rudi knows. “Then there is no need for the mechanical centrifugal adjuster, which often rusts up after long periods of inactivity.” If this happens, the Norton only runs at idle and has no power at all at the top. The electronic ignition costs around 170 euros, and installation takes a good two hours.

This and that in the end

Finally, Rudi gives another tip: “Most Commandos are started with the Kickstarter. So inspect the side stand mount on the frame. It is often bent or even cracked because many people put the machine on the side stand to kick off. ”Since welding has to be carried out on the frame, the repair is only a job for specialists who charge around 200 euros for it.

Of course, Rudi and Joe could now talk about worn seats, corroded chrome, defective instruments or dull paint. But these are not typical malaises of a Norton Commando, but defects that are simply due to the ravages of time. And what is more, they can be remedied quickly: apart from a few special and body parts, the spare parts supply works perfectly, almost everything is available in a relatively short time. Restoring a Norton Commando is therefore hardly a problem. On the other hand, it is much more difficult to find a good restoration object in the first place.

Our experts

Joachim “Joe” Seifert is the Grail Keeper of Norton spare parts supply in Germany.

At Joachim “Joe” Seifert everything has revolved around Norton and Triumph for over 35 years. First privately, from 1981 onwards professionally with his shop “Rockerbox”. From April 1985 he was co-owner and one of the managing directors of the Studemann company in Hamburg until he founded Norton Motors GmbH in 1989. The supply of spare parts to the Norton community was always close to his heart. In addition, Joe made a name for himself as a motorcycle manufacturer in 1998 with Norton “International”. In 2007 he succeeded in establishing Andover Norton International Ltd. to be taken over by the BSA-Regal Group.

With this, all production tools, technical drawings and extensive spare parts stocks for all Norton models built before 1977 passed into his possession. Today Joe manufactures and sells all genuine Norton spare parts through Andover Norton. He can therefore rightly say of himself: “I sell more Norton original spare parts than any other dealer in the world.”

Rudi Kolano knows all Norton engines. No problem is alien to him.

Master toolmaker Rudi Kolano set up his own workshop as a Norton and engine specialist in 2000. Many years earlier, his friend and scene connoisseur Stefan Knittel had infected him with the Norton virus. He bought his first Norton, an ES 2, in 1981. Since he was already used to screwing on Italian motorcycles, the technology of the Norton prewar single-cylinder did not pose any major problems for him.

Over time he gained so much experience that he soon had to keep all Norton models in his circle of friends in good condition. In 1990 he met Joe Seifert, for whom he initially only overhauled the Norton rotary engines. At some point all the engines went through his hands. Today Kolano with its workshop in Althegnenberg is the “home and yard” engine specialist of Norton Motors GmbH.

Market situation

We market watchers could despair of motorcycles like the Norton Commando. We meticulously put together a precise typology of the individual models, with all the subtleties that have existed over the years – and in the end all models cost practically the same! If you want a Commando, you don’t ask for a 750 or 850, even the question of Interstate or Fastback is more about personal taste than your wallet. This means that you currently have to pay around 8,000 euros for a really nice copy.

On the other hand, more than 11,000 euros are rarely paid. At the lower end, the entry starts at around
4000 euros for a worn, but ready-to-drive model.

Generally it is the “Generation 50 plus”, who is enthusiastic about a Commando. It is mostly those who missed buying a new one back in the 1970s. The reputation of unreliability no longer unsettles Norton fans as it did in the past, as the vast majority of bikes are no longer used in everyday life.

Not only Norton Pope Joe Seifert has been showing an increasing interest in Commandos for some time. The trend is there
easy to fastback, because the interstate seems too unwieldy for many of today’s interested parties due to its seating position.

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