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“Taylor” Commando Head Steady

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by Skyguyz, Mar 31, 2011.

  1. Skyguyz


    Mar 16, 2011
    *If this has been posted before then disregard.


    From Clubman racing.

    NEW - “Taylor” Commando Head Steady - Designed to fit all Commando models, this totally new and revolutionary head steady uses no rubber components and locates the motor in a more positive manner than even the Norvil version can manage. It significantly improves cornering, and handling in general, while minimizing vibration. The latest version (earlier one illustrated) is constructed of a cast aluminum main section and a Dural (high strength, aircraft grade aluminum) frame clamp. The Taylor unit is stronger and yet leaves more room under the tank for cables, etc, than other designs. Available both as pictured or with the MK3 head stead spring and mounting plate included to allow for custom tuning of vibrations vs. road holding.
    Without spring - #C279 - $144.00 With spring - #C280 - $169.00
  2. 1up3down


    Jan 12, 2011
    I installed a Dave Taylor head stead about a year ago on my 850.

    I noticed an immediate improvement in handling.

    It allows the head to rotate up and down and front to back, but virtually eliminates side to side head movement.

    This sharpens handling, feels more predictable rather than the sense of wondering side to side with a stock unit.

    Vibration? I can't remember if there is less now than with the stock unit. Yes, I think there is less.

    I like the Talor unit. There are other aftermarket head steadies, no doubt even better, but also more money.

    If you have the stock head steady then yes, the Taylor is an improvement, no hesitation in recommending it.

    And, if you get one, specify with the spring and spring clamp. I think this holds the head even better.
  3. hobot


    Oct 19, 2005
    I installed the first rod link heady steady to prove in worked w/o vibration then Dave Taylor was encouraged to produce his prior existing but not tried design.
    Taylor steady works as advertised. Not a handling transformer like rear and front links but detectable improvement in ride smoothness and surer aiming. I'm sold.
  4. cash


    Nov 10, 2006

    No you weren't Steve, your reccollection is a little mixed up.

    I already had a design with most of it made and it was Bob's revelation there was no vibration transmitted through his rear link that got me to splash out the £20 on the spherical joints to make up a link (expensive for me in those days).

    I sent the NOC web of which you were a member photos of my proto type as you were busy raving over Bob's rear link.

    And finally, why do you think the Norvil race department fitted an extra ISO to the head ? clearly the standard head steady is the weak point in the ISO setup.

    Dave Taylor.
  5. swooshdave


    Apr 15, 2009
    Wasn't the Commando designed from the beginning for a headsteady iso but pulled for budget reasons? Without such cost constraints the racers could add it back in.
  6. batrider


    Aug 9, 2008
    Check the archives because this is a well worn but popular topic. Head steady threads are abundant.

    I have one and I think it turned my bike into Jennifer Garner but there are many opinions swirling.

  7. CanukNortonNut


    Aug 8, 2005
    "Wasn't the Commando designed from the beginning for a headsteady iso but pulled for budget reasons? Without such cost constraints the racers could add it back in."[/quote]

    I think it was the Mark 3 Vernier Isolastics that was initially designed at the beginning but Norton elected to use shims because of the added cost. Correct me if I am wrong
  8. xbacksideslider

    xbacksideslider VIP MEMBER

    Aug 19, 2010
    Who is Jennifer Garner? And, does she handle? And, if so, what? and does she handle it well?
  9. batrider


    Aug 9, 2008

    She is a bit older than this picture now.
  10. DonOR


    Jul 24, 2009
    boom boom BOOM!

    ahem... back to Dave's headsteady. Before I fit one on my '72, on quick turns I sometimes got the feeling the motor was going to fall outta the bike. Now it handles most sweetly, as I can image ms. garner would, hehe.

    The only trouble I had setting it up was that apparently mine is an Italian made, metric frame. I shimmed the smaller tube with the lead foil from a bottle of mark west pinot noir, which is another highly recommended upgrade.


  11. DogT


    Jan 20, 2009
    Since it's an Italian frame, I would suggest a Sangiovese label. It might fit better.

  12. hobot


    Oct 19, 2005
    Ok Dave, thought you'd told me you had the design but waited to produce till my head link in '03. I've no ego on who developed these wonders and bow down to rider Patton and your innovation. I do claim to be the first to know their full triangulated Flabbergtingly Fabulous transformation in motorcycle handling, let alone merely bringing a Commando up to safer standards.

    The things I am wondering about and want your brains working on it too, is how various places to mount links and how much rigid mounting or not makes a difference. Only Peel's rear Patton link is robust rigid the other on expedient stalks just to see if noticed or not.

    Bob Patton is the only one that describes cornering like I've experienced it on Peel. The harsher ya go at it the lighter the pilot has to work and intervals with forks steer themselves. Set the lean angle and just forgetaboutit, bike just surfs its own way around. I've pressed this almost hands off state on THE Gravel then pavement, The trick to me is to keep going in harsher till bike is falling over on its own but not lossing grip - yet frame can be felt twisting up, rather more than other unlinked Commandos can - because they seem to spring back in cycles that flap the forks. This is what I get on modern sports bikes but at higher loads, more sudden onset and at higher frequency. I can not induce the first hint of this in Ms Peel.

    What i found on moderns was tank slap state was end of pressing them in delight, but on Peel first hint of tank slap was just the entry into next phase of handling. When I began sliding the heated non-DOT race front tire on my SV650 trying to approach the G's I got on sane commutes on Ms Peel, I gave up on them corner cripples for turning thrills.

    One of my favorite ways to do turns, where I could see ahead, was shift to power up so about any lean broke out rear and then just used the lean-skip out to aim and the jerk more upright to hook up power. In this playing if I run out of power to keep accelerating into apex >>> HI Side City! Guess how I discovered the next phase 4 of handling : ) It took me a few weeks of contests to realize Peel was about in wheelie state where everyone else and their sister was hard on the brakes.

    Ms Peel's rear link is committed welded install, so really thinking how to make a center stand with a hook in a leg to clear the link radius shaft. I do think you'all don't yet know what your are missing out on with Pattons rear link, Byan Tryee's front link and Taylor's cute head link.

    Almost ashamed to show how spindly Ms Peel head and breast controls are and mystery if they are hurting or helping Peel's Phenomenon.


  13. cash


    Nov 10, 2006
    Steve I wouldn't disagree.

    Three links have got to better, though in my opinion and others including Trigg, the weakness in the standard ISO set up is the original head steady.

    I would think any more than three would cause fighting and might prove difficult to set up. If I ever get round to fitting the other two I'll fit them as near as possible to the ISOs for strength and keep them the same length and mount them on same side of the frame to ensure everthing remains parallel when vibrating. However, in practice it probably won't matter much. I do wonder though, if the PTFE thrust washers etc will have to be retained to damp out any unexpected bad ISO frequencies?
    Hiding the links out of the way shouldn't be a problem as they are proving to have a long service life. The original link I fitted is still on my Commando, it was fitted in 02 and must have covered more than 30k miles.

    As regards the handling with one link on the head. I have two younger Brothers who are tech' freaks and run the latest plastic rockets available on the market. I get to ride them now and then as they do my Commando and we find the handling is very similar. I live near a couple of very good IOM racers podium finishers and winners, and their comments were something like "Christ ! it's well planted". When I took it to RGM Roger was a little sceptical, after riding the bike he just said, "the first batch will have to be at least a 1000".

    Now you may think I'm stupid and perhaps I am. I haven't made a penny out of the head steady or any other of my mods/inventions that are currently in use by a lot of Commando owners. And I don't intend to for me it's all part of the fun of owning and improving an old motor cycle.

  14. cash


    Nov 10, 2006
    Sorry,I somehow missed out a main parragraph.

    As Bob Trigg mentioned, the slight horrizontal movement of the rear wheel is not a huge problem, but twisting relative to the front wheel is. To prevent this a mount was fitted to the head.
    Therefore; if a link is fitted anywhere other than inline with the two ISOs it will create a triangle and will support the original weak head steady to resist this rear wheel twisting. Clearly the bigger the triangle the better, and the best and easiest way to achieve this is to replace the original head steady with a link.

    Looking at where you have fitted your rear link I believe you have a triangle, is this why you find a similar improvement in handling?

  15. grandpaul

    grandpaul VIP MEMBER

    Jan 15, 2008
    It seems common sense (to me) that reinforcing the existing triangulated isolastic mounts (top, front, rear) with rod jointed units at, or very near, those same three points, should be the goal. The further removed from the existing three iso points, the more obscure the resulting triangulation.
  16. bpatton


    May 19, 2009

    I agree with you that you need three points to create the plane you want and that the headsteady is actually the ideal place to put it. It's in line with the load path from the headstock to the swingarm spindle and it's got reasonable strength to take the load. I used a Norvil headsteady for years but replaced it last year for one of yours because it does the job and it's much easier to set it up right. The headsteady is the keystone to stabilizing that twisting of the rear wheel in the roll axis that you mention. But there are other reasons for putting a rear link under the swingarm.

    The Commando frame and cradle assembly look good on paper but the reality is that it's pretty tough sledding for every one of the components. The front iso's are located by long sections of small diameter, thin walled tubing which can be deflected with one hand relative to rest of the frame. Ducati's and Birdcage Maserati's frames work great with this kind of tubing because each section is only dealing with tension and compression. The front iso's are all over the place. The cradle plates walk relative to each other and the mounting bosses on the engine were never intended to carry the loads as a stressed member component so they stretch and waffle.

    Anything you can do to stabilize the cradle near the swingarm is good. Then that twisting force isn't fed forward through the front of the cradle, the engine, the front iso, and the headsteady. The rear iso's already there so putting an additional mount below it covers it. Kenny Dreer pointed out that you can skip the headsteady altogther, but I wouldn't if you don't need to because the Commando frame isn't all that stiff below the cradle, at the front iso, or anywhere else. So distributing the load over as many places as possible may not be a bad thing.
  17. cash


    Nov 10, 2006
    One of the biggest frights I've had on a motorcycle was ridding pillion at speed on an early Fastback when the headsteady snapped, it was all over the road and all but threw us off.

  18. 79x100


    May 19, 2006
    I posted my feelings on the headsteady some time ago and nothing has happened in the intervening period to reduce my satisfaction with it.


    I've just had a quick blast along the Belgian motorway system today. Those in the US have probably never been 'lucky' enough to experience riding on the longitudinal 'rain grooves' that French and Belgian roadbuilders seem to like putting on the concrete sections. They can induce a shimmying on quite a few motorcycles (and even some small cars as well). Tyre choice makes a difference, as does isolastic clearance but I have never found anything which removes the vagueness altogther. The Taylor steady however makes these grooves impercebtible. I can ride along one-handed scratching my nose, my arse or anything else which helps to reduce the boredom of motorway travel.
  19. jeffdavison


    Feb 22, 2011
    Northern California can be brutal as well a.f.a rain grooves....it's a quesy feeling riding them, but you get used to it (after a while).

  20. bpatton


    May 19, 2009
    For queeziness, you have to hand it to those steel grid bridges that are so popular in northern BC and the Yukon. In the rain :eek:
    It's great desensitization therapy.

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