Commando compared to BMWr75 etc (2015)

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I have ridden factory Combats with hotted up vintage BMW that knew how to ride it and then almost as quick as a wrung out Combat up to 90s then neck and neck after and BMW may handle better but for long mileage give me a smoothy IS tank Combat to be the first vintage cycle to arrive with pilot not wanting the ride to end. The show room 1200 BMWs will spank even rigid race Commandos in every way but cool looking. Vintage 750 Ducatis would be hard for Combat to keep up with.
 
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It depends on a lot of variables.
Who is riding the bike ,whats been done to it and how keen you are on public roads. Me not so much these days.

My R90 BMW race bike gives Triumphs and Nortons a good run for their money, and cost about as much to build as a TT gearbox :D , makes my day when I can pass a Norton or a Triumph with a BMW on the track.
Last weekend managed to keep a Rob North Trident and Maney Commando behind me for a few races.
However the cylinders do stick out a long way and I found out in the weekend what happens when they touch the track.... :shock:
 
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hobot said:
and BMW may handle better
I'd suggest that was a wild claim ?
BMs have long travel touring suspension, and unless they are tightened up and extra heavy damping, they wallow when you push them hard.
I had a 100/7 (1000cc) for a few years...
Commando felt positively racy by comparison. (Roadster).

BM seats back then were way better than anything else - you could ride all day and still WALK away.
BM brakes were nothing to write home about either. Until the dual brembo disks up front versions anyway.
 
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Older Bimmers have really squishy suspension. Unless you stiffen them up, they are too wallowy for sporty riding.
 
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We probably covered this before, but what have you done to the suspension to allow that.

My 850 commando would blow my 1000cc 100/7 into the weeds, when you pushed them.
The BM had a thin sheet steel top yoke, and there was an aftermarket thicker steel item,
that improved things considerably I had heard. Stops them wandering all over the road. (?).
But that suspension was long travel, and very plush...
 
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BMW cars and cycles were ugly funky utilitarian things until early 80s. No question of Commando being more Thoroughbred off the floor back then but both can be upgraded and I know how well they can go around and pull out of exits fitting with bigger carb just can not lean as much but ya better know about Cdo hinging onset to get ahead or stay ahead with engine thats then feeding on itself. One my buds has a cycle accessory shop and rides a black and chocolate mid 80s BMW that is actually attractive to me - on the painted parts. When I brought P!! home form school to Miami in 1972-3 my acid dealer bought a 750 BMW that melted my eyes starting into his custom paint job in bright sun, deepest almost black purple with fine rainbow chips and gold dust so like looking into deep inner space. Its drove good as any clunky German BMW taxi car. I do want to find Peels pecking order against well ridden SR1000 in tighter technical tracts even they can not hit 150 before next turn frightens them.
 
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Racetech emulators, .85kg/mm linear springs, Ohlins fork oil, billet triple clamp, fork brace, later swingarm, Ohlins Shocks, brakes have SS lines and 13mm M/C with cast iron discs and Avon race tyres.
Frame is stock.

The R100/7 is much the same bike but with soft long travel forks, undertank master cylinder on an oversized cable operated M/C, the flywheel is like a car one and bloody heavy, the carbs are probably 32mm. All in all an ok touring bike.
I don't like the pre 81 bikes engine/gearbox characteristics.

Currently on the Norton fitting rearsets, Lansdowne fork internals and overhauling the forks as well as fitting the Madass sleeved M/C.
Those forks are pretty basic, just stronger made Triumph ones really. :roll:
Hoping it makes it a nicer ride as I hate the feet forward riding position.

If at the end of the day I had to choose between my R90s and the Combat....mmmmm
 
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72Combat said:
I don't like the pre 81 bikes engine/gearbox characteristics.
Before 81, you didn't have much choice !!

Thanks = fully worked suspension.
For fast road riding, they about need all that.
The stock suspension was very plush....
 
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I used to own a 75/7 , it was a pretty nice bike.
It made me a big fan of horizontally opposed, shaft driven motorcycles.
 
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I have a couple of Commandos & also a couple of air head BMWs. In standard trim the Nortons are far more sporting to ride. If however I wanted to sit at 100mph all day I think the BM would be the best choice. To be fair though, it is a R100RS which has the most amazing fairing. The other Beemer is a R100R Mystic. Stupid name but brilliant bike. It has beefy Showa forks & four pot Brembos along with tubeless rims which are fitted with Avon radials. This bike out handles the Nortons proving there is nothing wrong with the BMW frame, it just needed proper suspension.
Which bike would I choose if I could only have one? NORTON!!
 
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Glen - thanks for posting this. I have an almost standard BMW R75/6 at the moment, and I cannot help but make comparisons with my Mk1 850, which was almost standard when I got it.

As standard, and not with all the upgrades and modifications that are considered normal practice with Commandos, a contemporary BMW is a much better built machine than a standard Commando, with a more comfortable riding position. Once you sort out all the bugs on a Commando, which involves taking it apart and building it properly, with great care and engineering knowledge, and with the 'usual' modifications, you can end up with a machine that is equal to or better than a standard or lightly modified Beemer.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at both the handling and performance of the 75/6, as I didn't expect either to be that good. It doesn't wallow, even with the original shocks (which will be replaced), the steering is neutral and it carves a nice, tight arc in corners. The performance is surprisingly good for its time, too. But the old Beemer weighs a ton, and the lack of torque and that slow, clunky gearbox eventually get to you. There's not much you can do about either, whereas there is a lot you can do with a Commando.

Even with the factory option of a second disc up front (new fork slider, disc and ATE caliper, at vast expense) the BMW's brakes are only barely adequate. God knows what the single disc felt like; probably as frighteningly awful as a drum brake Commando.

With the knowledge base that has been accumulating over the years, we can build Commandos that look reasonably standard but are far better in so many ways than the factory ever turned out.

I view my Beemer as filling the gap until I get the time and can justify the expense of owning another Commando. A standard Commando wouldn't do it for me, so I would have to put a lot of time and effort into building it. I guess people love their Beemers because they are comfortable old things with solid build quality which keep going mile after mile. But are they exciting and fun to ride? When you park them up outside the pub, would you gaze at them in the same way as you would a fresh, tidy Commando? Is the Beemer a more satisfying machine to own and ride? My answer to all those questions is No, and at the end of the day, these are the deciding factors.

Dave
 
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Comparing these bikes when new was always a bit of an Apples/Oranges situation. 40+ years has muddied the waters more than it's cleared them.. In the end it comes down to condition of the individual bikes, who's riding them, what they're intended use is, & individual preference. A dedicated Airhead Beemer Fan will always side with Bavaria's best, while a die-hard Nortoneer will never be convinced that there's ever been a better bike than a Commando. Personally I've never had much of a preference. I like Blondes, Brunettes, & Redheads. As long as they're smokin' hot I don't care what badge is on the tank. In other words any of the above mentioned bikes would find a welcome home in my shed (& Lounge)
 
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72Combat said:
They seem to wallow past Commandos, Bonnies, and Tridents quite well :lol:
On factory stock suspension? I doubt it.

When the BMW factory team showed up for an early Superbike race with one automobile shock on the rear instead of the factory pair, Phil Schiiling, tuner of Cook Neilsen's Ducati was heard to say, "I see we've fallen well behind in our cheating."
 
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Matchless said:
I have a couple of Commandos & also a couple of air head BMWs. In standard trim the Nortons are far more sporting to ride. If however I wanted to sit at 100mph all day I think the BM would be the best choice. To be fair though, it is a R100RS which has the most amazing fairing. The other Beemer is a R100R Mystic. Stupid name but brilliant bike. It has beefy Showa forks & four pot Brembos along with tubeless rims which are fitted with Avon radials. This bike out handles the Nortons proving there is nothing wrong with the BMW frame, it just needed proper suspension.
This
 
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Had enough of late model brit bikes in the early 80s and went and bought a used R90s. I rode it
faster and further than any other bike. But it was more fiddly to work on and I wasnt tooled up
for it properly. What caused me to sell it after five well used years was the handling. It wasnt
bad it was scary. One spring day took it out layed in to a high speed uphill curve and it went
into a tank slapper. Survived drove home and that was it.
I think the problem was apples and oranges. Brit bikes make a pro out of a punter but will
either break down blow up or leave you unable to walk after a long distance day whereas
the BM will run at speed effortlessly and reliably and comfortably. Back then it either
handled and was useless for touring or it toured and was useless for scratching.
Today Id probably be better off with a R100 but the Norton is pretty smooth and I
dont go that far or fast anyway.
 
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My BMW story

Back in 1975 my buddy had a r75 and I had a 73 Interstate. We were on our way to an old friends wedding had a couple of cocktails.

He was the better rider back then and he really had to work to keep up with the norton. Anywho... we were in corner and he lost traction and got into the lose stuff. We both ended up going down and we totaled both bikes. I bent my frame. But I will never forgot what Herb at Flint Indian ( who was the Norton dealer back then ) said when he picked me up. He asked what happened? I said " I was following a BMW into a corner.....") He threw his hand up and said " Never follow a BMW into a corner...." and that was that. We threw the bike in the van and talked about other stuff on way home.


In my opinion.... the r90 changed everytihng much like the 900 kaw did.
 
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I think it is interesting how well the Norton stacked up against the BMW of the same vintage, given that BMW is definitely a quality machine with a lot of (mostly) well thought out engineering.
The BMW guys seem to think they need BMWs top machine from at least a decade later to stay with an old Commando, one even states that his friend's Commando "ran circles around my 1150 gs", a bike built two decades later and with about half again the displacement of the Commando.
On the comfort front the Norton seems to do very well too, with a couple of owners of both BMWs and Commandos finding the Commando to be smoother and more comfortable overall than their BMW.

Glen
 
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worntorn said:
I think it is interesting how well the Norton stacked up against the BMW of the same vintage, given that BMW is definitely a quality machine with a lot of (mostly) well thought out engineering.
The BMW guys seem to think they need BMWs top machine from at least a decade later to stay with an old Commando, one even states that his friend's Commando "ran circles around my 1150 gs", a bike built two decades later and with about half again the displacement of the Commando.
On the comfort front the Norton seems to do very well too, with a couple of owners of both BMWs and Commandos finding the Commando to be smoother and more comfortable overall than their BMW.

Glen
I wonder, though… The skills of the respective riders could have made the difference in contests with more modern BMWs in the twisties. A Commando with a decent head steady and a capable pilot, maybe.

Having converted an Interstate to rear sets, I can say that it was as comfortable as my old Beemer - you could sit on it all day. If anyone wanted to convert their Interstate from the standard riding position to something more ergonomic, sit on a stock R75/R90 and use it as your benchmark.
 

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