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Commando Frame Test Film

Classic Norton Commando Motorcycles.

Re: Commando Frame Test Film

Postby frankdamp » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:37 am

The "tapered pressings" weren't used on the Commando. They were developed later for the AJS Stormer after a number of frame failures on the works M-X bikes, including one on which Malcolm Davis won a major race. When we took the gas tank off the frame separated - the tank was keeping it together!
The "top tube" was actually made up of two semicircular "half-tubes" with a long tapered flat piece brazed between them on each side to make a frame "backbone" that tapered from an obround shape of about 90% of the headstock depth at the forward end, to a circular cross-section at the connection to the rear loop. We didn't use welding on the Stormer because of metallurgy issues.

The Commando was in full production at Plumstead, having moved there in early 1968. The folks there went for the re-inforcing second tube below the "real" top tube since it would be an easy retrofit. The Stormer was still in its pre-production phase when we developed the concept.
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Re: Commando Frame Test Film

Postby L.A.B. » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:48 am

frankdamp wrote:The "tapered pressings" weren't used on the Commando.


That was what I said, Frank, but it seems they were seriously considering the idea.
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Re: Commando Frame Test Film

Postby cliffa » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:26 pm

Frank, was that you doing the headstand :lol:

Did they ever consider using the top tube as an oil tank a-la BSA Triumph ?

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Re: Commando Frame Test Film

Postby frankdamp » Mon Aug 07, 2017 1:53 pm

I pulled the plug on N-V just after Easter 1968, having accepted a job offer from Boeing earlier in the year. We cleaned out our house in the village of Coven, a bit north of Wolverhampton. The Boeing-contracted shippers came and took all our stuff and packed it for shipment to Seattle. DW and I and our two kids went to stay with folks in our old home town (Leyland, Lancashire) until fly-away date arrived (July 2nd). We flew non-stop from Heathrow to Seattle on Pan Am and stayed with friends who had emigrated from the UK a couple of years earlier.

We're still in Washington State, though we did spend 3 years in Tidewater Virginia (Hampton/Newport News, 1971-73) after being laid off. I retired from Boeing early, fed up of all the travel, and we moved to a small seaside town (Anacortes) about 60 miles south of the US/Canada border on the WA north coast. Wouldn't want to live anywhere else.
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Re: Commando Frame Test Film

Postby cliffa » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:26 pm

Frank, I Just took a look on Google Maps / Steetview. Anacortes looks very nice indeed! Don't blame you at all.


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Re: Commando Frame Test Film

Postby Dances with Shrapnel » Mon Aug 07, 2017 2:37 pm

NortonMKIIA850 wrote:Unless my eyes are deceived by some spell (!) isn't the frame (frames?) carrying a mini tank already braced? If so, maybe the film's intended more to prove that the new frame's safe than anything else?


Spot on. Good eye for detail and I agree with your assessment.
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Re: Commando Frame Test Film

Postby grandpaul » Mon Aug 07, 2017 4:48 pm

frankdamp wrote:... we moved to a small seaside town (Anacortes) ...

Virtually neighbors with Fred & Ella at Old Britts. It Texas, you'd be considered "right next door"
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Re: Commando Frame Test Film

Postby Ron L » Mon Aug 07, 2017 5:56 pm

L.A.B. wrote:
cliffa wrote:
cliffa wrote:Looks like NV were cheating a bit though as the red bike doing the jumps is a Ranger isn't it?


Perhaps they were checking those too but as you noticed, there's also what appears to be a silver pre-production 'S' Type doing the jumps.

Edit: The "Ranger" RJD 45E was registered in May '67 according to the DVLA database (last taxed in '81), so must have been an early P11A, not a Ranger. Who knows what it was doing there but perhaps it was a factory hack or development bike?


That is the same P11A that was tested in Motorcycle Sport (May 1968 issue). Quite odd as it has the steel license bracket/taillight of the hight pipe P11. Rumor has it that is was indeed the development bike that started life as a high pipe P11 and was the basis for development of the P11A.

Perhaps it was included in the testing to assure they would not suffer the same failure as the early Commando as it was expected to be subjected to tough desert racing in the western U.S.
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Re: Commando Frame Test Film

Postby Ron L » Mon Aug 07, 2017 6:09 pm

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Re: Commando Frame Test Film

Postby kerinorton » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:15 pm

Mr. Rick wrote:You're headed out to the test track, trying to break a frame that's already killed 5 guys, and figure the proper attire is a pair of bathing trunks? :roll:
Whoa! Who's in charge here?


Isnt that the norm for some. While my wife and I were riding down the motorway north of Brisbane, wearing full leathers and on a hired Hardley Doodle, we were passed by a local on a modern biker who was wearing shorts and tee shirt [ 110 kph ].
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Re: Commando Frame Test Film

Postby wakeup » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:08 pm

".... modern biker who was wearing shorts and tee shirt [ 110 kph ]."
Obviously this biker has never seen the result of sliding down the road on bare flesh.....REALLY painful!!
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Re: Commando Frame Test Film

Postby kerinorton » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:50 pm

They obviously needed a [ wakeup ] call from you.

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Re: Commando Frame Test Film

Postby NortonMKIIA850 » Tue Aug 08, 2017 3:13 am

I know it's easy to be wise after the event, but picturing the Commando frame without that bracing tube does make me wonder how anyone ever thought it'd stay together ...
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Re: Commando Frame Test Film

Postby MexicoMike » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:26 pm

wakeup wrote:".... modern biker who was wearing shorts and tee shirt [ 110 kph ]."
Obviously this biker has never seen the result of sliding down the road on bare flesh.....REALLY painful!!
cheers
wakeup


That attire (or less) - often no helmet - is pretty much standard in TX in mid summer.
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Re: Commando Frame Test Film

Postby olympus » Thu Aug 10, 2017 7:44 am

Elf & Safety police would have a field day (or coronary) if done now..

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