850 Mk111 on UK ebay

Good Grief ! Probably still with its' factory-fitted soft camshaft then.

Just out of interest, what is that component fitted in a spring at the rear of the tank? Wrong place for the capacitor. It looks like an earlier pattern Ignition warning unit. Or am I being dense ?
That's awful, not-ron. Did it come to you in a FLASH of inspiration :) ?
I suppose it is worth what someones is going to pay for it!

It is better to buy a well sorted commando and just do any modifications you prefer.

I bought mine from a dealer in London who looked after the bike for a local guy who had owned it for 23 years.

The problem was that I missed a few bodges, either by the dealer or owner. The crancase lip joint to the rear of the barrells was broken and the engine is now in bits witht he crancase being repaired. So while apart, new superblend bearings and a new crankshaft etc etc.

By the time it is in very good condition, I will have spent £6,000 on this bike. You name it I have replaced it or had better modified parts put on it.

So as the 6k does not include the initial purchase price, the bike in question could be a good buy if all sorted.
I have to say that I agree with Peteuk001.

My Commando which I have just finished totally rebuilding to exactly (nearly) how I want it cost £3,500 to buy, and with repairs new parts etc has totalled over £10,000 which is about $20,000 U.S. I know that I will never get my money back, but that doesn't bother me, as I wanted a Commando as mine now is.

The main error made by me was buying the bike originally at too high a price. I believed that because the tank and side panels were very well painted, and there was quite a lot of stainless on it that it was likely to be in reasonably good condition elsewhere. I didn't take the time to look. In reality, I paid at least £1,000 too much for the machine, and found to my cost that most of the cycle parts were worn out, the wiring was atrocious, everything was basically tatty or damaged. As I said, it was my own fault, as I didn't take the time to look.

I knew that the majority of Commandos that are on the market would probably cost me £3,000 to £4,000 on top of the purchase price to get as I wanted, but I have surprised myself with the £6,500 + bill I have generated. I have to say though that I am very pleased with the end result, but if I were ever to buy another, getting one that is already sorted would be a priority.
I paid $6500 CDN for my 75 and have probably bought $4000 worth of parts already for upgrades.

Then there is the engine rebuild next winter. Yikes.

That price of $11,500 US doesn't seem that bad if it is good to go.
I think the problem is, with very few exceptions, no-one sells good Commandos - They're just too nice. Even an apparently well sorted one can give problems.

Mine is well up together but I wouldn't want to have to sell it with a 12 months / 12000 miles warranty :)

I must admit that there have been times when I've wondered if it was all worth it but the trouble is, when it's broken no blighter will buy it and when it's fixed, I wouldn't dream of selling it.

The only correct answer to the immortal question "What's it worth mate ?" is "About half what I've spent on it over the last five years" :wink:
I've just read the posts in this thread and it all seems very familiar!

I bought my Commando back in 2000 from a bloke down south. After getting in contact with the local NOC, they confirmed the bike was a good example. I hopped on the train and was very pleased with the bike, so much so, I bought it soon after - the lovely painted tank and side panels was enough to seal the deal.

A few weeks later the owner dropped the bike off and told me to only use Silkoline Semi-Synthetic oil, I thought nothing of it until I started having problems. Having joined the local NOC, I explained the problems to the members. A man who rides a Commando MK3 (owned from new!) took pity on me and offered to take a look at the bike. My fears had been confirmed - the camshaft lobes were practically non-existent and this prompted a total engine re-build.

While the engine was out, I discovered that the frame numbers did not match the V5 which suggests it had been changed somewhere along the line. I wanted to be open about my findings and ended up with an age related number plate after the bike was re-registered with the correct numbers. I was able to trace that the bike was originally bought from TMS in Nottingham but was unable to find out much regarding the frame.

I paid £3000 for the bike and I have spent well over £6000 on it. From time to time I consider throwing in the towel and buying a new Triumph Boneville, possibly the Thruxton but I'm too scared I will miss the old girl when she goes.

Neil, It would probably be a bit unfair to blame the seller for the camshaft. It has happened to me several times despite careful assembly. It can also get quite bad before the performance is too drastically affected.

Is yours a Mk111 850 with an "F" prefix frame number ? We've discussed on this forum how confusing the frame numbering system became with these bikes. I suspect that many dealers at the time were not "up to speed" with how the frames were being numbered in addition to the red spec. plate.

In those pre-computer days, it was all done with forms filled-in by hand as well so mistakes did occur.
Hi 79,

My Commando is an 850 MK2A registered 25th Jan 1975.The frame number on the log book was F112958 which i think was manufactured around Nov 1974.

The number on the frame was F132272 which was from April 1975 The engine number 318577 on the red identification plate and also on the engine is correct; it also had the number 74 on the plate which probably means made late 1974. It looks like the id plate was taken off the original frame and attached to the mew one it also has the numbers 06-5632 stamped on the petrol tank left side mounting bracket which I think was a mk3 frame however i have been unable to find out the full story.


My MK2A was also registered using the stamped F number and not the red plate number (which matches the engine number) so the dealers were obviously confused on the numbers to use in 74 before the MK3 came out. The F number on the V5 still matches the stamping on the frame so mine is the original, when I get round to it I am going to get the bike inspected by the local DVLA office and get the matching numbers re-resitered using a dating certificate.
I think that I have mentioned on this forum before but I had the same problem with my April '75 Mk111 - The F number was an attempt by Nortons to introduce frame numbers in the light of new legislation which actually led to the International 17 digit VIN number but it was never really publicised.

When I bought mine, I checked engine number against the red plate and it matched and that was good enough for me because Roy Bacon said they should match ! I didn't spot the different F130*** number on the Docs. until later. Mine was coincidentally quite similar to the 330*** engine number and armed with lots of photocopies I convinced the authorities that a mistake had been made at registration and they accepted that and altered the V5.

It was only about five years later when I cleaned the frame off for painting that I rediscovered the F330*** number !

Since then, I have pranged it heavily and have a new Andover frame so the F330*** number would now be consigned to history were it not for the fact that the original headstock is mounted on a walnut plaque on my garage wall ! :)
79x100 said:
Good Grief ! Probably still with its' factory-fitted soft camshaft then.
The top end does seem to wear very easily.

Just out of interest, what is that component fitted in a spring at the rear of the tank? Wrong place for the capacitor. It looks like an earlier pattern Ignition warning unit. Or am I being dense ?
I'm afraid I don't know either. Can't think what it could be.

BTW, it was nice to see a photo of the full toolkit. I still have my original toolkit and I still have all of those 14 tools. The four Gedore open end spanners were always very useful.
BTW the Spare Parts Catalogue is different. The catalogue shoes an extra can of chainspray which didn't come with mine or the ebay one it seems. Also the catalogue doesn't show the isolastic tool which is included in the tookit and shown in the photo at far left.
For those who may not be aware:
1 the spark plug spanner uses a tyre lever to twist the plug socket.
2 the Lucas gap gauge is useless (surprise surprise), it's too thick.
3 The Allen key has a short end which is essential or it won't fit.
4 the oil seal guide is moderately useful
5 the C spanner is for the girling rear shocks, not the head exhaust flange. The other end of the C spanner is used for adjusting the tappet clearances with one of the spanners.