1974 Norton Commando Roadster info

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Sep 4, 2009
I will be purchasing in about a week a mint condition 74 Roadster. It was from a collection and basically used as living room furniture. It was restored in 2006. The details of the "restoration" are sketchy at best. I'm buying it through an automobile broker who represents the owner. Anyway, it's got 4600 miles on it. The gas tank and carbs were flushed out two weeks ago and the oil and filter were changed. They started it up and put 10 miles on it. O.K., I intend to ride it and want to upgrade it to modern times.Oh yeah, the tires are new.

Here is my list:
1)Boyer electronic ignition and coils
2)New style wiring harness and headlamp wiring harness.
3)Neoprene rubber rocker gaskets.
4)New disk brake (type? brand? whatelse???)
5)New fork oil. Also the rubber on the "fork seals"(I don't know the proper name for them, the black rubber or plastic gizmos that the upper fork tube slide into atop the lower fork tube). Seem to have small cracks (from age) at the top. Where can I get new ones.
6) The Isolastics look good but we know that and a quarter will get me a cup of coffee. How can I tell if the rubber is O.K., or reasonably O.K..
That's all I can think of so far.

Other items I've considered: Gasoline (Petrol). Can I run non leaded gas without a problem? I've been told it shouldn't be. I was told that the valve seats may be a problem. Anyway, any input you might have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks R.M. "Smitty" Smith
Except for the maintenance items I would just ride and enjoy. If it is in mint condition and restored in 2006 it shouldn't need much. Only fix what is broken. Keep the original wiring too unless there is something wrong with it.
Seadog -

I second the previous comment - just get on it and ride!

However, I'd be concerned with the "sketchy" description of the restoration. Any bike that is 35 years old and has only 4,600 miles on it has by definition spent 99% of its time just sitting, and there are consequences.

I bought a Mark III a couple of years ago. It had been restored a few years earlier, but in the proceeding years it had been ridden only once a year at best - for a very short ride.

As a result of all that sitting around there were several things that needed to be sorted out before I could ride it safely, and these little things quickly added up to $2,000 to $3,000. Examples:
- front brake caliper - rubber parts shot, caliper stuck
- front brake master cylinder - rubber parts shot, internals rusted, fluid leaking onto handlebars, etc.
- rear brakes - same deal for both the master cylinder and the caliper
- tires - old, and although they looked like new, they were at least 15 years old, with dried-out rubber, and completely untrustworthy
- rubber valve guide seals. Cost per seal = <$10. But cost of a whole valve job (which is what it needed too) = $700
- new clutch plates (old ones had "varnished" and were sticking/slipping
- carb - all gummed up from sitting with gas residue

Etc., etc.

Personnally, I think it makes sense to pay more for a '74 Commando that has 30,000 miles on it but is a regular rider with consistent maintenance, than for a bike with low mileage but probably all kinds of "cobweb" issues, some visible, some not.

I would pay less for the latter, because of all the additional spending that awaits.

Unless you want to use the bike as "living room art" ..........

good luck either way. In the long run, it will all work out.

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