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Commando alloy tank group buy

Discussion in 'Norton Motorcycles (Modern)' started by Ferreteer, Dec 4, 2019 at 9:02 AM.

  1. Ferreteer

    Ferreteer

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2019
    I was motivated to start this thread because of a number of conversations I've had with owners regarding the increasing problems with the plastic tank and the current solution offered by Norton which is basically to buy their alloy tank at a highway robbery price. I say shame on them given the plastic item is not fit for purpose.

    I have been in discussions with a very well established and respected UK alloy tank manufacturer who would be happy to tool up to make a short run of tanks.

    The proposal is that an initial group buy will qualify participants for a significant discount that roughly covers the initial tooling and development costs and the manufacturer can take his profit in sales thereafter.

    As a very rough estimate at this stage an alloy tank with a recess to take the OE fuel filler, the battery on the spine and a welded in machined plate with blind tapped holes to take the fuel pump would work out at between £870 and £900, inc Vat plus delivery if we can give firm commitment (ie a deposit for the hard of thinking) to build between 6 and 8 tanks.

    Over to you guys.

    Q&A

    q, Who the hell are you fella!
    a, I have a low post count here but I'm well known elsewhere including for running successful G-Buys, mods please get in touch and I'll happily respond.

    q, why are you secretive about the manufacturer?
    a, because i'm negotiating with him to get one design at one price (or options as we agree here) and I'm not going to fill his day up with nuisance calls that will dilute our credibility and his goodwill. I will reveal all at the appropriate time and before any financial commitment is sought. If we don't reach that point then you will never know! but I will at least have saved intrusion into his work day and his integrity in the eyes of his current customer base. Any further questions of this nature will prompt a more robust response.

    q, how do we know you won't run off into the night with our money you Tuareg!
    a, Because, my little wallflower, you won't be giving me any money. I'm just happy to put this deal together because I'm semi retired and I have more time than money or sense (you know, a Norton owner!).

    If we get to the stage where we are agreed on spec, pricing and GB numbers I will put together a time based list including a short reserve list in case of dropouts. I will then publish the manufacturers website so members can satisfy themselves of the quality then you will be asked to place a deposit or possibly just straight payment direct with the manufacturer.

    Any other questions please ask away.
     
    Voodooo and Mark Pashley like this.
  2. jan nelder

    jan nelder

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2018
    Sounds very good so far. Question: I realise that the shapes of the top/sides may not be an exact replica, but have you established how close they will be, and what finish to welded visible welded seams? Thanks, Jan.
     
  3. BritTwit

    BritTwit VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Well, 870-900 with VAT seems incredible inexpensive for 6-8 unit run of a specialty alloy tank.
    Not saying impossible, just seems unrealistic.
    I certainly would be interested, but without having a sample to inspect I would not be willing to commit financially.

    Will the units be pressure tested to any standard, and be certified as having passed?
    Will tanks have polished alloy, or wire brushed finish, or will both finishes be available?

    Will there be a manufacturer’s warranty such as 1 year, etc? For instance, what happens if tank is received and does not fit due to interference with standard frame or component interferences.

    Will the manufacturer have a 961 available to test fit tank to the frame, check battery clearance, or will he just be working from a sample tank?
     
  4. Ferreteer

    Ferreteer

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2019
    Good Question, I'm guessing the alloy tanks that Norton buy in are also not an exact replica of the plastic tank. For now I'd assume they will be a damn close representation but I'll clarify about manufacturing tolerances once I've collected a few more questions. As to visible undressed welds I'm assuming the only one might be at the front around the oil filler, again, I'll clarify. Once I share the website most things will be clearer.
     
  5. Ferreteer

    Ferreteer

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2019
    To take your points one by one.

    Well, 870-900 with VAT seems incredible inexpensive for 6-8 unit run of a specialty alloy tank.
    Not saying impossible, just seems unrealistic.

    Well, you clearly have a different opinion to me and the established/respected company I have been talking with!
    In response I can only quote the American writer Harlan Ellison whose words, although from a different age, seem appropriate here. “ You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant.”

    I certainly would be interested, but without having a sample to inspect I would not be willing to commit financially.
    Your tank has just disappeared in a puff of early adopter illogicality. At Christmas your fortune cookie will read - stay clear of crowd funding websites....

    Will the units be pressure tested to any standard, and be certified as having passed?
    This will form part of my eventual due diligence should we get that far. In my initial conversation I didn't feel the need to ask. In the same way as I didn't ask "are you really a Nigerian Prince?" or "are these really just beaten out of old fridges in Hyderabad?".
    Having said all that, if when tested they fail en-mass, Norton lawn sprinklers anyone??
    Good question though, and noted.


    Will tanks have polished alloy, or wire brushed finish, or will both finishes be available?
    Both

    Will there be a manufacturer’s warranty such as 1 year, etc? For instance, what happens if tank is received and does not fit due to interference with standard frame or component interferences.
    Warranty? Obviously!
    Even in addition to the manufacturers warranty, European distance selling legislation dictates a requirement to be as described, free of defects and be fit for purpose else refund/repairs are the responsibility of the seller. If it calms you down I'll get him to include a little toffee hammer for individual adjustments to the tank. Alternatively a larger hammer will be an on-cost option for adjustments to the frame.

    Will the manufacturer have a 961 available to test fit tank to the frame, check battery clearance, or will he just be working from a sample tank?

    They require a bike to be available for inspection initially as is the norm in this situation. This will be down to one of us.
     
  6. BritTwit

    BritTwit VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    I agree with the Ellison quote.
    Very happy you didn't use caveat emptor

    Thanks for the info, and entertainment.
     
  7. lcrken

    lcrken VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Assuming all the details look good when your discussions are finalized, I would put up a deposit for one. I recognize the cost of shipping to the US will be a bit painful, but at your estimated price it is still a bargain, compared to the price from Norton.

    Ken
     
  8. cehenard

    cehenard VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2014
    Ferreteer,
    A few years back I purchased the prototype tank and seat portion (both plastic prototypes from Acerbis (?)) that Kenny Dreer had used in development when he designed the Norton 952 in the U.S.. My 2014 Norton 961 tank is having paint peeling issues, so I'm interested in what you're doing. I keep the items purchased from Kenny on display in my house for their historic (to me anyway) value. I'm currently trying to fabricate a seat tailpiece to go on a Featherbed frame shaped like the one on my 961 and would like to do the same with the tank, using these prototypes as patterns. The Dreer pieces are visually shaped like those on the 961 but don't have the same configuration underneath. Of course on my featherbed frame, it wouldn't be shaped the same underneath anyway, but the 961 could possibly work out good. Is there any possible help you could get by using as these pieces as patterns without altering or destroying the prototypes? I'd be willing to work something out with you on your project. Kenny Dreer sold off a lot of the equipment he had used in designing the 952. I'm pretty sure Fast Eddie got the flat slide carburetors and the last time I talked with Kenny he was trying to find a buyer for engine castings. I was unable to help him.
    I also have a 2008 Ducati with a plastic Acerbis tank, and I've had distortion problems with that tank. My experience is that motorcycle fuel tanks should be steel or aluminum and do not trust plastics or fiberglass. I have no experience with carbon fiber fuel tanks, but I would be leery of a superlight until it's proven to hold up. Chassis distortion would be a much bigger issue than a fuel tank not fitting easily.
    Thanks, Charlie
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019 at 3:05 PM
  9. MxMartin

    MxMartin

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2017
    The factory tanks have a threaded fuel filler boss which accepts standard Monza style caps... also don't forget the tapped holes on a machined plate to mount the tank to frame.
     
    Voodooo likes this.
  10. TonyA

    TonyA VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2015
    Do you have a tank to give him to copy ? Or maybe your bike for fitting it ?. Can we discuss capacity also ? I would be interested too .
     
  11. BritTwit

    BritTwit VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Even though we will not know who the manufacturer is until you have reached an agreement with him:

    Any chance that these tanks can have the name of the manufacturer engraved on the tank bottom, and maybe with the date and serial# (i.e. 1 of 10).
    If the manufacturer is well known, the serial# would make the tank even more exclusive, and valuable.

    Just a thought.
     
  12. Welshrugby

    Welshrugby

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2018
  13. Voodooo

    Voodooo VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2016
    75FC0BFA-AAC5-4AC3-AD2C-22CDA84858D8.jpeg DC9C06A0-02B3-4854-9230-4005031604C8.jpeg 925BCBD4-8948-427D-98E3-97121759AC71.jpeg 92B3F4CD-FDA4-48CC-AF9E-9D4CAA92BD15.jpeg E4934531-022F-43DE-9DD9-DD3E21D328D8.jpeg DF9A15C6-BF23-4A7C-B696-5D6146BCF1AD.jpeg I have 2 norton aluminum tanks on each of my bikes. They of course look nearly identical to the plastic tank, they do have a very slight contact marks on the bottom side where the battery / coil, frame meet.
    Before I fitted my tanks on my Commando and Dominator, I placed masking tape on the bottom of the tank and colored it with a paint pen to check for contact points. When I removed the tank, it had witnesses marks of contact.
    Although the norton aluminum tanks come with foam installed, I added adhesive foam on each contact point on the bike itself.

    Without giving away your fabricators identity, are you able to show some of his previous metal work?
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019 at 5:55 PM
  14. Voodooo

    Voodooo VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2016
  15. skidmark

    skidmark

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2014
    I'm in, hopefully the saved VAT will offset the shipping to Oz. Looking at other manufacturers the price is comparable with alloy EFI tanks for Hinkleys.
    Skiddy
     
  16. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    As I recall, the standard tank is very close the the battery and, more importantly, the battery terminals.

    I would suggest building in more clearance here to avoid the risk of a short. Also to avoid fatigue from fouling (alloy doesn’t respond well to unintended contact + vibration).
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2019 at 3:08 AM
    jan nelder and Voodooo like this.
  17. Ferreteer

    Ferreteer

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2019
    Gentleman thank you all for your brilliant feedback. Voodoo thank you especially for the photographs they are so useful. Cehenard thank you also for your very kind offer, the best thing would be if you could take some good reference photographs in a similar vein to voodoo.

    All points noted and will be included in my next discussion with the manufacturers.
    Having a Monza cap instead of the original recessed cap will also be an option.

    4 interested parties so far.......
     
  18. Ferreteer

    Ferreteer

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2019
    5 interested parties!
     
  19. MAK

    MAK

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2018
    Just for the record.
    I have an alluminium fuel tank fitted to my Norton F1 Sport.
    This bike has now done 55.000 miles and the only damage done was a crack in a mounting bracket at the rear caused by overzealous tightening of a ratchet strap securing the bike on numerous ferries over the years.
    I now use the method the Auto Zug guys use when fastening the bike to the train.
    I also use my own straps for securing bike.
    Any bike not just my Norton’s.
     
    BLIGHTYBRIT/SF and speirmoor like this.
  20. ntst8

    ntst8 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    And possibly a 6th. I will need to do some research on shipping costs to NZ.
    I currently have a Givi tanklock arrangement on the recessed cap in the plastic tank, would prefer to stay with that on an alloy tank.
    Thanks for looking into this.
     

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