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1972 Roadster Rebuild

Member's Norton Restoration Projects

1972 Roadster Rebuild

Postby pantah_good » Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:35 am

I am newly signed on here and I should introduce myself, as I have finally acquired a Norton Commando. A "shed fresh" 1972 Roadster with the disk brake option, s/n's 201202. I would say it is 99.9% complete, doesn't appear to have been abused too badly, is thoroughly surface rusted, and has no telltale crash scrapes. I had heard it was newly listed on Craigslist and not even 5 miles away, so I went right over. It was a little scary looking, but I decided if I was ever going to get a Commando this was it, so I agreed to his firm asking price of $3K. It had a 1983 Vermont inspection sticker on it, but it's usage history and why it was put up is not known. Back in the later '60's when I was riding Triumphs, a friend had a Norton that I always thought was cooler than a Triumph. Kind of like my thinking at the time that another friends Austin-Healey was maybe a little cooler than my TR-4. Down thru all my years of riding and a little racing, mostly Ducatis, owning a Commando was always in the back of my mind. And for the last couple of years, what with the awful condition of New England road pavement and unrelenting speed limit enforcement, I began thinking an older slower bike might put more fun back in street riding. I dearly love my Ducati 748 but it doesn't come into its fun zone until speeds that are much higher than conditions or police will allow. So I am in the process of returning my old BMW R90S, that was all stripped down for vintage racing, back to street legal use as a "cafe". But I think this Commando will make the ideal fun street bike. All I have done to it so far is spray almost a full can of PB-Blaster on it and removed the exhaust system to cut off the completely rotted out mufflers. I put a couple quarts of 5-20 in the oil tank to top it off, sprayed a healthy amount of engine fogging oil into the spark plug holes, and with the kick start lever cranked it over until plenty of the fresh oil was coming out of the return line. It shifted it into all the gears and was told it had spark. The fiberglass tank I am sure has never seen ethanol gas, and appears to be a good candidate for a Caswell coating. My plan is to slowly but surely get it into a nice looking good rider, treating it as a collection of sub-assembly's as was suggested in the recent "Where To Start" thread. The last thing I want is a basket case. The good looks part should be easy, as I've long considered the Commando the best looking motorcycle ever made. I'm sure all my questions along the way will have already been covered on here, so this forum should be an excellent resource.
Bill
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1972 Norton Roadster Combat
1974 BMW R90S
1997 Ducati 748/853
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Re: New Sign On

Postby grandpaul » Mon Jul 20, 2015 9:42 am

Welcome to the forum.

You have some excellent "before" photos there, can't wait to see the "after" shots!
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Re: New Sign On

Postby Nater_Potater » Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:13 am

pantah_good wrote:... a Norton that I always thought was cooler than a Triumph. Kind of like my thinking at the time that another friends Austin-Healey was maybe a little cooler than my TR-4.


Correct on both counts... That, or maybe just a little bit of the grass is always greener syndrome.

Welcome to the forum! Like someone once said, "Rust never sleeps"

Nathan
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Re: New Sign On

Postby NoiseyNorton » Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:12 pm

Welcome, I have a pair of header pipes that you may be interested in that are just sitting in my garage in a pile. Shoot me a PM as they will be a great steal for you.

Nathan
Last edited by NoiseyNorton on Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
1970 Commando 750 S
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Re: New Sign On

Postby hobot » Mon Jul 20, 2015 12:27 pm

My buddy Wes has a nice 69 Bonneville and 71 Cdo and says the Cdo is like a UFO compared even though he also like the Bonnie light handyness on twisties and on THE Gravel, its gotten away from him in surprise shock going secure slowly. Truninps look like faceted gemstones to me all cleaned up but in antquie setting like childs red wagon. Triumph drum vs Combat disc is night and day too. You will see way more Cdos out in public than any other vintage Brit Iron. We would not be having this discussion even with you Duci 750 experience if you had actual tasted a Commando, especially to the Cream of Crop Combat Bomb. Btw 1972 Combat era and actual factory issue features is a touchy subject to discuss as some versions issued that year are not full Combat spec and some shared features but real Combat had black barrels and yours does not seem so but otherwise has external features of Combat. Can search up Combats numbers to see if your lands in time and number range.
I know what vintage 750 Ducatis are capable of and seen hot shots on elite 600s loose it and ask Ducati pilot how the hell such an antique can go around that fast : ) Put triple isolastic links or swash plates on the Combat and see which ya like best. Will want the swign arm spindle back up collars as cheap hidden upgrade. Rear brake safety spring is not in any parts book. Get the 1/4 Whitworth bent end wrench vendors should all have.

$5000 is slightly pricey side but not unreasonable money inflation age for intact dream machine which looks fairly straight forward to get it nice & roadworthy for about 10 grand more if not getting too fancy on upgrades and finishes. Be alware the brake system and fork and swing arm likely as rusted as the rest of it. I file and sand to 2000 grit before the series of buffer wheel polishing begins... and keep a FIRM grip on items.
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Re: New Sign On

Postby pantah_good » Mon Jul 20, 2015 3:05 pm

Thanks for the replys.

NoiseyNorton: I will get a PM off to you.

hobot: I was hoping for some feedback on what I paid for it as it was kind of a rushed / shot in the dark / take it or leave it purchase, but if you were talking about my deal, you might have mis-read the price which was three thousand. I was leaning toward just replacing the stock master cylinder with a Brembo 12mm rectangular reservoir master and hoping I can rebuild the caliper. If the caliper isn't saveable, I am curious if anyone has adapted a Brembo F08 caliper which I am very familiar with. I will do a search on here for that and for the rear brake safety spring. And I agree, there are no short cuts when polishing.

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Re: New Sign On

Postby ashman » Mon Jul 20, 2015 3:11 pm

Rotten mufflers? I through they were the open sports exhaust pipes, joking aside I think you got a good buy, another one saved and I am sure you will have some fun with it and will be better when you first fire it up and take down the road, good luck and welcome.

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Re: New Sign On

Postby gortnipper » Mon Jul 20, 2015 3:52 pm

pantah_good wrote: I am curious if anyone has adapted a Brembo F08 caliper which I am very familiar with. I will do a search on here for that and for the rear brake safety spring.

Bill


cNw adapts the Brembo 5165 Series: P3034, I think, for their lovely kit

http://coloradonortonworks.com/part-categories/brakes/
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Re: New Sign On

Postby Craig » Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:03 pm

Welcome ... nice looking Commando project ... lots of opinions here ... lot of true blue knowledge too ... take your time and get to know your bike ... you are going to love it ... the CNW Brembo master works well with rebuilt caliper , SS brake line and new modern pads ...
Craig
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Re: New Sign On

Postby gortnipper » Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:21 pm

Craig wrote:new modern pads ...


Dont forget new modern shoes...

http://www.rgmnorton.co.uk/buy/rgm-rear ... d_2471.htm

:mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: New Sign On

Postby gortnipper » Mon Jul 20, 2015 4:27 pm

Bill - you should give this thread a read (teaser below) - ugrade-brake-lockheed-plus-ninja-t22556.html

comnoz wrote:
jaydee75 wrote:Ok, it is finished. It is actually better than I expected. The road test was a joy. With the increased diameter frictional radius it should be 14% stronger due to mechanical advantage alone. The slick hard chrome oem surface has a terrible coefficient of friction and I knew it would improve. The A/N hoses replacing the oem rubber hoses gives a solid feel. The original rotor weighed 5 1/2 pounds, new one a little over 1 pound.
All in all, I am tickled and probably will never add the Brembo caliper I had originally planned.
I'll be at the INOA rally in a couple of weeks if anyone wants to see it.

Jaydee


What you have done is a much better upgrade than trying to make the original brake work by increasing the hydraulic ratio.
Using the original caliper and rotor with a small master is a disaster waiting to happen if you ride in the mountains, as it will overheat quickly and then there will be no brakes at all.
See you in NC. Jim
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Re: New Sign On

Postby Danno » Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:04 pm

That is the gnarliest exhaust I've ever seen still clinging to a motorcycle. :shock:
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Re: New Sign On

Postby Mark » Mon Jul 20, 2015 6:41 pm

Welcome to the forum.
How many miles on the odometer?

Whenever I check out a new project, I always look at how buggered up the fasteners are.
I figure that if whoever worked on it in the past couldn't take it apart without tearing up the nuts, bolts and screws,
Then it a sure bet that whatever they "fixed" was done poorly and will need to be repaired correctly.
Yours luckily don't look to be too bad.

Those tabs welded to the downtubes. I wonder what they were added for ?????

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Re: New Sign On

Postby hobot » Mon Jul 20, 2015 7:11 pm

Ok 3000 is 2000 better but now see you are in for it over 10 grand as already spent most a grand to lose Norton brake. Enjoy the process and decision points$. Picking the right oil is something else to ask. Have ya been initiated yet on the classic vdieo we drive L.A.B. nutz with, who might send em is ya ask or just delete ya.
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Re: New Sign On

Postby Biscuit » Tue Jul 21, 2015 7:08 am

Nice complete bike that looks pretty well unmolested.

"...put a couple quarts of 5w20 in the oil tank to top it off..." Have you drained the sump? A Norton that sat that long with oil in it would most certainly have wet sump'd it's contents to the engine in which case it may now have twice the amount of oil it should and the extra will get pumped into the re-filled oiltank and out through it's vent line (and anywhere else it can escape too).

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