Centre Stand Spring Replacement

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Dec 24, 2003
What is the BEST method of replacing the centre stand spring on a 1972 & on Commando :idea:

I have edited this to read 1972 & on instead of 1971 & on.
Even if the stand is new pull it off the bike for this mod. The hole in the cross bar needs to be built up. Find a piece of steel pipe that fits snug over the top of the cross bar. Cut a small section of the pipe that will cover half the tube. Pre-drill the spring hole through the new patch line up the hole weld on the patch. Fix the paint however you like.
Now hook the spring to both ends with the stand bolts still out. than pull back on the stand to line up the bolt holes. Best thing for a 71 stands center and side is to retrofit later model stands. I have done the ball bearing convertion to the mounting holes spelled out in the tech digest to brand new stands it works well. norbsa
That brings up a question I have, what to do about the (lack of) sidestand on my 71. The original pop-off-while-riding stand was discarded by a PO years ago. I do have a 72+ stand that came with the bike but no way to mount it.

I asked at Isles Motorcycles, the denver brit shop, about having a bracket welded to the frame. He said that would make the frame break unless the tubing was cut apart and reinforced internally. That of course would require removing the engine etc. He said a clamp-on mount would also break the frame.

Was he being overly conservative or was he right on? It would be so convenient to have a side stand, e.g. when I need to park on a non-level surface and there's no wall nearby to lean the bike against.

The bearing mod sounds like a good move. As this is may be the final commando I own, it would be a good idea.

But why the extra bit of tube over the cross bar ?
What does that achieve ? Do you have a photo of one you have done ?

I would like this 850 I am building to be the best commando it can be.
The CNW maroon bike "build 36b" really knocked my eyeballs out.
I am copying that bike.

The frame & other parts are off to the powder coaters this week. So I will delay until I do this bearing mod you have reminded me of.

I suppose I should really try & get one of the INOA tech digests before I start rebuilding it.

Thanks for the reminder norbsa.
Some time back I gave you the contact of where to buy a new sidestand lug. I am sure you must be able to get one in the US.

I would not think that the frame tube has any reinforcing inside where the lug is welded on. Someone will correct me if I'm wrong here.

I recently "converted" a 1969 frame to 1971 -1974 type myself.
It was no big deal. Replaced the cross piece under the engine where the centre stand used to mount. Welded a new 1971 & on sidestand lug.
Drilled a coupla holes in the gearbox mount to use a later type centre stand & there you go, instant later model setup.

I also drilled the holes to mount the 1972 Oil Filter setup. The hardest thing about it all is accurately marking where the holes have to be. Also you need to get the "angle" x 2 right for the sidestand lug. I just "tacked" it in place, tried the sidestand with spring attached & voila !!

The other thing I had to change were the yoke stops as I have 1971 fork yokes. The pump lugs I left on, you never know, someone may want to change it back one day. Some other holes for wiring etc were a little different but nothing mattered there muchly.

That frame has since been powdercoated & ridden around, no problem.
Only nuts like us at the forum would know any difference.

Can u weld ? Just do it. You won't be looking for a wall anymore :idea:
If you are carefull, you may not have to take the engine out !!
Disconnect the battery etc.
Well, that confirms my opinion. I don't see any big deal about welding a new bracket to the frame. I'll just have to find someone willing and able to do it. Welding is not in my skill set!

I think Norvil or RGM sells the bracket, don't remember who now. If nothing else I can order one from England.

If memory serves me correctly, the only difference in the actual side stand between the 1971 stand and the later ones is the 1971 did not have the "bump stop" that rests against the frame. The 1971 frame of course had the plate welded inside the frame tube and crossover tube with the pin (the one that always broke) welded through this junction.
A friend's '71 has this affliction and after looking at it, it seems reasonable that with the engine out you could drill/plasma torch the rest of the pin out and replace it with a new pin or even a grade 8 bolt. This might be easier than fabricating a new lug on the outside of the frame.
I have to admit, this is the reason I usually pass up a '71 baket case unless it's really cheap.
Reg, the spring will pull though the thin walled tubing very quickly if you ride it a lot. This doubes the depth of the hole preventive maintanace if you like. norbsa
Dyno dave, my belief has been that:

Some time during 1971 the frame changed to what you have just stated happened in 1972.

The yokes also changed to having the "allen heads" in the bottom yoke.

Check out the photo of the yellow SS in the "Wild Bunch" 1971 brochure.

This photo shows it quite clearly as do some of the others.

The extra "sidestand extension" is not there yet though.
Re: 71 sidestands

dynodave said:
The 71 is a one year only frame.
It has a fixed pin that is inboard of the frame rail. IIRC the side stand is retained by a circlip.
The 72+ is an outboard bolt.

yup, fixed pin on the frame with a circlip holding the stand in place. From what I'm told the circlip tended to pop off, resulting in the stand falling off while riding with potentially severe consequences. That's why the guy removed the stand from my bike and threw it away - he felt it was dangerous to ride with the stand fitted.

Plus the stand was extremely difficult to use anyway. I test rode another 71 before buying my bike. It had the stand fitted. It was shorter than the 72+ stand, didn't have the extension, and didn't have the bump stop. Basically impossible to operate by foot. I had to reach down with my hand and grope around by the hot exhaust pipe to grab the thing and flip it out. It's an incredibly poor design.

Whatever year norton truly started putting the later type sidestand on, this is the one you should have Debby.

The cross piece under the engine needs to be moved forward to the "later" spot also as the sidestand "lug" is partly welded to it.

The idea being the crosspiece gives you extra support at the sidestand mounting point. You would have to pull your engine out to do this properly.
BUT, you could pull your primary off and weld around most of it for now. While the primary is off, you could weld the "later" sidestand lug on.

Clear as mud ?
The outboard type (as dynodave likes to call it) sidestand was released for the 1971 model.

Some had the earlier crappy type & some had the later type.
The ones with the crappy type, my guess is, where the factory just used up old stock.

Simply a fact, if you do some research/homework you will discover it for yourself.

It is a bit like the "discussion" people have over the "beehive" tail lights. They were put on the earlier 1973 850s before they only put the square shaped one on them.

Friendly discussion is welcome !
71 side stands

The exact bike vin that the outboard side stand might not be a exactically at the 200000 point and is likely to have started earlier. Neither is this the point of debate, but clearly the MY 71 bike that I fixed and Debbie's is also an inboard type. For lack of a better name I call it the 71 inboard type. It generally was not done in MY 70, most 70 were with the rear crossbar, and then 72 starting with 200000 had gone outboard.
As model years and particular body styles were not released at the same time, the line gets blurry for some of these updates. Sure you will see particular bike that don't fit the clean definitions such as this one.
Otherwise I am just reporting the results of my first hand inspections of MANY hundreds of commandos.
I'm just telling the list what I have seen.
generally.... it is as follows
68-70 style
71 inboard

norbsa48503 said:
Now hook the spring to both ends with the stand bolts still out. than pull back on the stand to line up the bolt holes.

So getting back to my original question.......

norbsa is the only person to suggest a method, so can we call it the best, as it probably is ?
Norbsa's method sounds like about the only elegant way of doing it. I have also heard of clamping one of the spring hooks of the spring in a vise and flexing the spring back & forth, while placing washers between the open coils. Once you have the spring in position, pull the washers out one by one.
I never seem to have enough washers on hand, so I usually get ham-fisted and use a pair of vise grips (and some touch up paint!).


I have used the NORBSA method of attaching the center stand spring and can report that it works. I've tried the washer method that Derek mentioned but have not yet been successful.


I can relate to your method, with my back problem, I found it frustrating.

It also seems you may have read the NOC UK notes as well.

I have always hooked one end into the "gearbox cradle" point & then used a screwdriver to "stretch" it over & around the centre stand crosspiece. Sometimes it seems to go on easy.....but other times........
And as you have mentioned, you mess up the paint job.

Jason seems to think norbsa's idea is an OK method, so it still seems the best solution to an annoying little job. I will definitely try that way when my aprts arrive back from the powder coaters.
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