Commando Improvement List

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Dec 27, 2005
Everyone is welcome to add to this list of what should be replaced with 21st century equipment or improvements/mods that should be made.

So far i know of:

Power Box
Belt Drive
LED Taillight
520 O-ring chain
Halogen Headlight
Improved alternator
PCV valve

so please add things and if they are modifcations if possible add a link so we can do these mods and such. So evryone can have a nice reliable and this will also help alot of new norton owners with stuff to add to their to-do list.
To be honest, if I wanted a 21st Century motorcycle, I'd buy one.

Putting the bike together to the standard the designers intended is the first step.

Apart from that, I do consider electronic ignition essential, (not so sure about Boyers anymore though. Anyone got a RITA box they don't want ?)

Some sort of brake improvement is a good idea as well.

Both of these things were available in the 70s.

Dare I suggest that if anyone really can't live with a well-sorted Commando to 1970s standards, then they should perhaps be thinking about a Ducati Monster :)
So no LED tail light?, No sealed wheel bearings, no better horn, No better head light even just the internals? Gotta run those new K-81's ,No fork kit? no fresh stack up of the clutch plates? No 520 chain for you no sir re.
Well I sure am glad your keeping the faith cause I am riding and breaking the piss out a mine.
It really IS a great list and only makes a Norton MORE BETTER!
Not Italian or Japanese.........

You can't go wrong! I would (did) add a Magura clutch power lever
and Teflon cable housing for a honest to gawd two finger pull..

BTW, there is a new electronic ignition from England and have heard good things SO far! don't forget the single fire dual plug coil!

PS, Midnite did us VERY proud in the GA mountains AND brought home the GOLD! Sweet and thanks y'all for letting me brag!

Go norbsa GO!
Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against modifications. I've always done it. I just think that we shouldn't loose sight of the fact that a good Commando is a bloody nice bike to ride even if it hasn't been "got at"

Does a standard tail light bulb diminish the riding pleasure ? Not for me. I think my current one's been in about 20 years. We're not talking about three-bulb-a-week-Bonnevilles !

I don't find standard wheel bearings a problem - I repack them every so often. Halogen headlamps were standard for many markets.

I've played around with fork mods and springs but I'm back to standard now.

I currently run a 2.15x18" front and a 2.50x18" rear but I might put the 19" back in again for a while. There is a difference but is it better ?

I like my Tommaselli twin pull twistgrip but that is probably more or less a period mod and I wouldn't say that a Commando is unrideable without it.

I don't know about the 520 chain. It seems like a good idea but I can buy a lot of chains for the cost of the conversion. I have moved with the times in some ways because I now boil my chains up in a 1990s deep-fat fryer rather than on the old Camping Gaz stove :)

I have a belt primary on my 750 (to raise the gearing) but I don't have a problem with the triplex chain and I've seen a lot of shredded belts over the years (I am aware of a lot of the causes but the fact remains that they they are less tolerant than chains).

The Commando is a wonderful straightforward motorcycle that is relatively easy to modify but I think that we should avoid giving the impression that there is a huge list of expensive modifications to make them rideable. We're not talking about acetylene lamps and dummy belt rim brakes.
Any croch rocket can clean the floor with our old bikes no matter what we do to them. I have fixed things as they brake and that is the basis for all the mods they are never done that's the fun for me. Every year I go a little more. There is no best way only the current best way. I was just messing with ya man. I really like to see an old stock bike keep up with the heavey mod. ones because they are rode by skillful old people. I think that's the funnest thing I have ever seen. I realy like waxing the crotch rockets in the corners if you run into the less skilled.
norbsa48503 said:
I realy like waxing the crotch rockets in the corners if you run into the less skilled.

It's been said by an oldtime tuner, "Speed is 95% rider, 5% machine."
Im not saying it that in the standard way they are not ridable as they are. With norton owners riding their bikes further and further accross the country people want to keep a stock apperance but have a reliable bike that will take them to where they need to go without problems arising. So why wouldnt you improve your norton with the many things that are made for them as these parts are made for a reason becuase the orginal parts just didnt do the job to a satisfactory standard in the 21st centuary.

By all means keep her looking stock maybe a change to the brakes to improve safety and the LED tailinght because they are brighter, use less power and take strain of the stock alternator when running electronic ignition.
I love my bike as raw as it is, i like having to actually DRIVE it rather than RIDE it, but it doesn't hurt to tweak a few things, Braided brake hose & maybe electronic ignition.
I binned my old boyer and fitted a Pazon iginition system to my mk3, the bike now starts much more easily, pulls better and idles much more smoothly.
other than setting the timing i made no other adjustements,(the timing was correctly set on the boyer)
The whole thing seems much better constructed than the boyer unit with for example no horrible crimp type connectors.
In my experience this is a thoroughly worth while modification.
I should say that i have no connection wit the company other than being a very satisfied customer.
mikeymike552001 said:
I binned my old boyer and fitted a Pazon iginition system to my mk3,

Interesting stuff.

Did you go for the analogue or digital version ? If the analogue, did you stick with standard coils ?
Hi in reply to your question i e-mailed Pazon and they recomended the digital system for the mk3 because it would spark consistently down to six volts, cranking the engine on the starter dropped the voltage to around ten, i couldn't afford the digital system at the time so i went for the analogue.
i am very happy with it, the engine hardly kicks back against the starter at all, with the boyer it did it all the time.
I am using the standard twin six volt coils.
Hope this helps
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