Fun & excitement on a Norton!

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Jan 15, 2008
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This is fun to try:

Take a Norton Combat Commando with no license plate & registration,

90 degree afternoon,

lunch hour traffic,

4 miles to get across town back to the shop,

toss THIS in, just to make it exciting:

Fun & excitement on a Norton!

I managed to make it home without incident, but I did have one close call. I had to dodge around stopped cars waiting for a red light, and make a snap decision when I got to the intersection to hug a tight right-hand turn or blow though if there was no crossing traffic with the right-of-way. There was no crossing traffic and I breezed through.
I don't know which is worse, no clutch but all 4 gears or only 4th but with a clutch :p
Not having all 4 gears is a bigger problem (and more expensive) than losing the clutch in the usual manner (snapped cable). This one isn't a hard fix.
I was actually thinking about this very scenario just yesterday, I assume if the cable breaks on my 1970 750S I would start the bike, push it to get it rolling then bang it into second gear and try and picks the revs to change up or down from there, Red lights i see myself either sneaking up on till they chnage or else embarassingly clunking to a stop and repeating the start push procedure, Is there a tried and true method ??
I have a spare cable on the way i will store on the bike smewhere i think
4TH gear only

Speaking of that, I remember years ago early eighties I fella I knew from the military drove his 1975 norton from winnipeg canada to halifax nova scotia in only 4th gear.I dont know why it was stuck but it made it.approximently 3,000 miles(5000 kilos)
Happened to me many many times

What I would do when my clutch cable broke, I would snick it into neutral when I **absolutely** had to stop, then when starting out, I would push it with my feet and put it in FIRST (second is too high) with the engine just off idle and accelerate then just blip the throttle to put in the other gears. Thankfully, the Norton's gear box is easy to shift without a clutch, but making sure to hit the green lights helps a lot, in hilly terrain (just imagine in San Francisco :shock: ), just park it and come back with a cable.

While I was in College, most of the guys had bikes and most of them were ratty, out of tune clunkers. Mine was a 1953 BSA A7.

A friend had a spring-hub Triumph that wouldn't idle smoothly. He had the habit of sitting at traffic lights with the bike in gear and the clutch pulled, ready to take off the instant the lights changed. With the unstable idle, he had to keep blipping the throttle to keep the engine running.

One morning, just as a double-decker bus was right in front of him, the clutch cable snapped as he blipped. He took off straight into the side of the bus, bounced off and wasn't hurt much. A couple of milliseconds later he'd have gone up on the back platform of the bus and probably wiped out some of the passengers waiting to get off. A couple of milliseconds sooner, he'd have been under the front wheels.

Sure cured him of the habit of sitting with the bike in gear!
When I got my 750 S I opened up the head light and coiled up inside was an extra clutch cable.
Jason Curtiss said:
In the '70s we used to tape a spare cable to the bottom of the seat pan.
I always think the best way is to tape the spare cable to the one its to replace. Avoids having to try to route the new the dark ... wet....whatever.

Yeah I know it wont help a great deal with twin carb setup on a commando with the cable splitter on the throttle and choke but it would help a clutch cable change
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