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Commando Gaiters

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by BritTwit, May 24, 2018.

  1. BritTwit

    BritTwit

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    I intend to do some long needed work on the frontend of my MK3 shortly. Along with this work I will be fitting a set of Norvil gaiters. I remember a while ago reading that it was suggested to make pin holes in the lower folds of the gaiters to allow moisture to seep out, and also to prevent ballooning of the gaiter when the suspension compresses. The suggesting was to heat a wire until it’s red hot, and poke it through the gaiter fold. This will produce a hole without a jagged circumference and be less likely to tear over time.

    Does anyone have any advice on this, or is anyone willing to share their experience with gaiters on their Commando?
     
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  2. NortonMKIIA850

    NortonMKIIA850

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    That's interesting, I've got a pair of those gaiters, still in the bag as I haven't got around to fitting them. I just had a look, no holes. From (distant) memory I think it's normal for such gaiters to have those holes, which would be orientated to the back of the fork leg, whether on our Nortons or other bikes I've owned that had gaiters. It's a bit late to go looking at the ones on my bike tonight – I'll aim to have a look tomorrow. If you want holes, the method you describe seems sound.
     
  3. BritTwit

    BritTwit

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Just the thought of burning holes through perfectly good gaiters puts me off.
    I believe the gaiters that BMW sold for the old R1200 series were manufactured with reinforced holes.
    Hope someone who has done this on their gaiters chimes in.
     
  4. ashman

    ashman

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    They should have holes in them, the ones that I put on my Norton has them and the ones on my 2 Triumph Thruxtons also has holes, they are like air pumbs the air needs to excape.

    Ashley
     
  5. RoadScholar

    RoadScholar VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    I fit the gaiters to all my Nortons; they keep the stanchions from attracting abrasive material as they do have a very thin coat of oil as part of normal operation. I use a hole punch to make an 1/8" hole near the bottom on the underside of one of the folds. You can't see the hole unless you know where to look and they keep the gaiters from ballooning or constricting. The gaiters are relatively easy to remove from the sliders to check for leaks or excessive moisture; I, typically, do the checks annually.

    The hole punch I use was originally purposed to make holes in leather; it looks like a pair of pliers, has a manually indexing head with 8 different sizes of hole punches.
     
  6. Robert_Norton

    Robert_Norton

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2008

    Yes, I have advice for you on this subject: Fit both the gaiters and the standard fork boots, and omit using clamps, zip ties, or whatever clamping mechanism you would have chosen to use. No need to stretch the gaiter over the fork boot (just set them on), and no hole punching needed. I think you'll find you like the look better, plus you'll have the benefit of keeping road dirt off the forks, as well as the protection offered by the standard fork boots.

    I think the application of hose clamps, zip ties, or whatever, on a Norton front end to secure the fitment of gaiters, is detrimental to the appearance of the bike.




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  7. ashman

    ashman

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Well I got to disagree with you there I have the proper S/S gaiter clamps top and bottom and they look good if you don't clamp the tops they will slowly move down the fork and not look right, we use gaiters is to keep all dust, dirt and water out of fork seals so why run the orginal dust covers under the gaiters, running 2 sets of dust covers is really silly, I have seen a few bikes without the clamps and they are not sitting right up the top under the triple tree and my Norton did it the first time I put the gaiters on without the clamps.
    As for the detrimenal to the appeatance to the bike, what a load of hog wash, anyway we all have our own opinions and they do need a little air hole in them the get the air out when the forks compress, I use to replace fork seals all the time from crap getting into the seals but since running gaiters I have not replaced the seals since and has been over 6 years now of hard riding with gaiters in all sorts of weather and dusty roads, Australia is a very dry country.

    Ashley
     
  8. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    That’s an interesting approach. It also means that when the gaiters perish and split, they can be removed without forcing a front end rebuild!

    Personally, I prefer the clean naked look of Cdos without gaiters. But another thing that stopped me using them were the many reports of premature perishing and cracking etc. Being forced to strip the front end because some $5 gaiters failed would be rather fristrating!

    Can you post pics of your described set up ?
     
  9. NortonMKIIA850

    NortonMKIIA850

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    I'd put money (max £0.05) on these N*rvil gaiters being synthetic rubber, and that putting a hot wire through one would produce a perfectly round hole with very little chance of it shearing in future. Maybe it's not comparable, but I can't help thinking of how you seal off a cut end of synthetic rope – heat it 'til it melts, and it'll never fray ...
     
  10. gtiller

    gtiller VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2012
    I agree with Nigel - I prefer the clean look without the gaiters.

    Plus, I can’t help wondering on bikes that have them fitted, what are they trying to hide underneath - bad chrome, leaky seals or wrench marks?

    ...I get their purpose though, and functionally can’t argue with what they are there to do!
     
  11. ashman

    ashman

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Whether you use gaiters or not you still got to do the maintenance on the forks, one thing I have made since using gaiters is not finding moisture mixed in the old fork oil like I use to without gaiters, but I like the look of gaiters on my bikes, but also you got to spend the money and buy decent gaiters there are some cheap ones around but the ones I got from RGM are so far long lasting, they have been on now for 6 years now and are as good as the day they went on and have over 30,000 miles on them now.

    Ashley
     
  12. XTINCT

    XTINCT VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2012
    The gaiters that I just bought from Klemph's have air holes already in them. I do not know where they came from though.

    I deny the allegation, and I deny the alligator.
     
  13. NortonMKIIA850

    NortonMKIIA850

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    Yes, I just checked the gaiters on my bike, they have holes, I'd guess about 3mm across: they're on the outer circumference of the bottom ring of the bellows, and orientated to the back. These gaiters have been on the bike since about 2000, came from one of the big UK suppliers – probably AN but maybe RGM – and are fine apart from a small cut in one of them very near the bottom, I'd guess caused by flying debris impacting at speed. So without the holes I don't think the N*rvil gaiters can actually be 'perfectly good gaiters'. Another reason to shop elsewhere, if one were needed.
     
  14. BritTwit

    BritTwit

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2009
    Great feedback all.
    Thanks.
     
  15. NortonMKIIA850

    NortonMKIIA850

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2017
    D'you know, I'm not sure I'd have thought to check the spare pair of gaiters that I have for holes if you hadn't raised this question, so really, thank you! Without those holes, maybe I'd have ended up with comedy gaiters ... :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2018
  16. Robert_Norton

    Robert_Norton

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2008


    Eddie,

    Sorry, it's been years (25?) since I last put gaiters on a bike as I've described, so I don't have photos to share. I went looking on the internet to see if I could find a photo of someone else having done it, found one, but to be honest it didn't look as nice as I remembered mine looking, and looking for that photo again now (on search engines), I am unable to find it.

    Ashley's comments aside, believe me, they look fine installed without clamps, are less likely to slide down the fork because the movement of the lower leg does not pull on the gaiter, and no holes for air are needed because it's not an airtight seal. And it would probably be less likely to tear as the gaiter wouldn't be subjected to the constant back and forth that a gaiter installed in the usual way would be.

    There does seem to be several different types of gaiters sold for Nortons, though, so choosing the right kind will probably make a difference.




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  17. kommando

    kommando

    Joined:
    May 7, 2005
    I bought Norton Genuine ones the year I bought my bike some 30 odd years ago from a ex Norton dealer in Birmingham, more plastic than rubber with a glossy surface. The only reason for changing them was I rebuilt the forks 2 years ago and they looked grubby and matt not glossy in places but still in one piece. I bought the replacements from RGM and they came in Andover Norton packaging and appear exactly the same as the 30 year old ones but new and unmarked. So expecting another 30 years out of the new set.
     
  18. auldblue

    auldblue VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012

    I complained to RGM about their gaiters failing , and was told they send them all over the world with no hassle but they were not AN . So it looks like they've started supplying AN , which I also bought direct and they have been fine. I'm still in a huff with RGM and haven't used them since!
     
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