Combat Purchase

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Classic Motorcycles' started by profdave, Jan 11, 2018.

  1. profdave

    profdave

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    I have posted elsewhere in this forum that I have always wanted a Commando, but never ridden one, though I have been riding for 40 years. Now, I am going to look at a Commando with a Combat engine. Don't think it was original since it's on a '73 bike, and I thought combats are on '72 bikes.

    The seller told me, "The engine was modified with superblends,4s cam ,60 over 11 to 1 JP pistons, head was sent to England install big valves by Mike Hemming ,Mikuni bore 34mm, Paxton ignition, belt drive , high output coil and much more." I honestly don't know much about it, though I have read whatever I can put my hands on. What should I look for? What should I ask about?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. Beach

    Beach VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    That bike may have been built in 1972,and not sold and titled until 1973. That's the way my 1974 Commando is. I would ask to see paperwork on things he said was done. Sounds nice if correct, but of course what cosmetic condition is it in and how much he is asking for it. Good luck.
     
  3. jimbo

    jimbo VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2004
    Sounds like a real hot rod, race fuel Norton.If that's what you want,(do you have a big leg?),then look at the quality of the overall bike, and hold on!
     
  4. concours

    concours VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2011
    How good of a mechanic are you?
    How much do you want to wrench vs ride?
    Those mods if done well (and that is the big "IF") could be a rockin hot rod.... or if not, a box of firecrackers ready to pop. Any hard info/receipts from the engine builder?
     
  5. Beach

    Beach VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2013
    I honestly think the MarkIII in for sale section would be a good deal. I would imagine shipping would be less than a $1000 and the electric start would be nice.
     
  6. L.A.B.

    L.A.B. Moderator VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2004
    Due to the modifications, whether it was a Combat or not originally, is now basically irrelevant.
     
  7. RoadScholar

    RoadScholar VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Welcome, you have come to the right place to learn about the Norton world. Based on what you wrote I'm immediately skeptical. The seller's claims make the Norton sound more like a hand grenade then a motorcycle.

    Whether or not it left the factory as a Combat would be revealed by the engine number, which, hopefully, matches the frame and transmission numbers, worth a check not that a bitsa bike belongs in a leper colony, but some title states get upset if the number don't match.

    .060 overbore? I was faced with this prospect on a 750; more learned members of this forum pointed out that taking a 750 to .060 over requires a sleeve, which, because of its' size, can be seen from between the fins, not good.

    Paxton Ignition? Probably not especially if the Norton in question utilizes a, as manufactured, positive (+) ground electrical strategy. I think of Paxton ignition in association with V-8 muscle cars, no reason you couldn't adapt one to a Norton, assuming it is compatible, but why? There are many electronic ignitions that are made exclusively for Norton applications and they are less expensive (new) than a Paxton unit. I could see some rational for using a Paxton, if it increased the power of the spark, but they are timing controllers.

    11:1 CR? That is really pushing your luck, even with a cam as aggressive as the 4S; probably OK if you run on race fuel, and not when the ambient temp is above mid 80s, and you don't get stuck in traffic.

    A single 34mm Mikuni? With that cam and that CR you'd want twin monster carbs, the Norton you are looking at is analogous to putting a pair of outboard engines on the Queen Mary. A pair of 34s is more like it although with the available manifolds for adapting same there is no room for your knees.

    I hope I'm wrong, but it sure sounds like the seller is more comfortable selling Chevy's and Fords to high school drop-outs. Run, don't walk away from this deal, or get it for $1500 or less and plan to spend a bundle defusing the grenade engine (and every other thing that has been touched by the person who thought that Paxton was neat).

    I feel bad raining on your parade, having a Norton is a wonderful pursuit. The example you are looking at may well be worth buying, depending on price, and what you are capable of doing, but it doesn't strike me as a daily driver, but rater a daily project.
     
  8. grandpaul

    grandpaul VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    My guess is that it's a PAZON ignition, not Paxton (could be wrong).

    Another guess is that the pistons are JE, not JP.

    Also, likely not Mike Hemmings, but Mick Hemmings.

    I agree the single Mikuni carb is not a good idea for all the other mods that were done, but more akin to a Ford Pinto carb on top of a 454 Chevy engine.

    Lastly, I have bored 750 Nortons out .060 over with stock liners, with no ill effects. Only 2 of those that went to +.060 are still running fine 10 years and many miles on (typically only need to go .020 over, but one of these was already at +.040, and the other was already +.020 with deep gouges from a bad seizure).
     
  9. o0norton0o

    o0norton0o

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2015
    IMO, Rediculous purchase for a person's first commando. 11 to 1 compression, good luck finding a more finicky bike to kick start than the one you've discribed above.... You're asking for a headache. None of what you discribed says, "daily rider" to me. It may be a well thought out combination of modified parts that work well together. I know I have a few parts in my engine that I wish were custom made parts, but my wish list wouldn't begin with 11 to 1 compression/kick start, and I'm 6'2" 210lbs....
     
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  10. Stephen Hill

    Stephen Hill

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2009
    Ask to see the paperwork detailing the work: maybe he got some details wrong.
    Ask him to show you how he kickstarts the bike. Then see if you can.

    Stephen Hill
     
  11. profdave

    profdave

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    You guys are very helpful. That's why I came here. The seller said he raced the bike but he doesn't race anymore and that is what it is set up for and it looks it from the photo he sent. But he said it's an easy conversion back to an Interstate and he would include the parts. From the comments, it does not sound so easy. I am fine with wrenching, though I would prefer a bike I can just get on and go. My problem is I have no experience riding or wrenching on a Norton, or any other brit bike for that matter. The price is not bad (around $6K) if I want a racer, but does not sound like what I want.
     
  12. profdave

    profdave

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    Yeah, and I haven't kicked over a bike since the mid-90's. If this one would be stiffer than a normal kick, I would be just asking for trouble.
     
  13. worntorn

    worntorn

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2006
    I'd be buying that MK3. Estart and the sturdiest engine of all the Commandos, strengthened cases, crank and many other areas.

    Glen
     
  14. profdave

    profdave

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2017
    Honestly, I would buy it too, but it means also traveling out to see it before I buy. Otherwise, I would just rent a van and go buy it. Btw, I just realized and am confused. All engines after '72 have the black cylinder, and not just combat engines?
     
  15. worntorn

    worntorn

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2006
  16. worntorn

    worntorn

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2006
    Re the shipping etc.
    I've bought a lot of bikes from afar and it's not been a problem.
    If you drive out to look at it, you won't really learn anything you don't already know, because you are new to Commandos.
    We already know that it is a numbers matched MK3 that starts on the button and runs well.
    That's a very good starting point.
    It could use some Cosmetic improvements, maybe paint .Those items are easy and fairly inexpensive. And totally uneccesary if you just want to ride.

    I would bargain with Jimbo to get him to help figure out the shipping, maybe find a free box to put it in ( sorry Jimbo)
    MC dealerships give them away.
    Don't limit your search to close to home only.
    Your chances to end up with expensive junk increase in inverse proportion to the search radius.
    The 11 to one Combat is not a good first Commando. Maybe not a good seventh Commando either!

    Glen
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  17. grandpaul

    grandpaul VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    No box needed for shipping with J.C.Motors or Keyboard Motorcycle Shippers.

    "roll-on, roll-off"
     
  18. worntorn

    worntorn

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2006
    Good to know

    At $625 that is a more expensive service than the trucking company I've used.
    In 2013 I bought 2 bikes in Ontario, one was $230 the other $245 for shipping to Vancouver.
    Distance was equivalent Michigan to Seattle.
    But I had to have them crated. The sellers found free crates at MC dealerships, strapped the bikes in and dropped them at the depot.




    Glen
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  19. jimbo

    jimbo VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2004
  20. grandpaul

    grandpaul VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    That ain't no street bike.

    I like the oil filter setup.
     

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