Intro and Front Fender Questions

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Sep 27, 2006
First let me introduce myself. I have a 1968/69 Early Fastback that I've been restoring for and embarrassing long time. It was a real basket case. I bought it (or maybe rescued is a better word) from a guy buying up brit bikes to ship back to the UK. He got a little over extended so I relieved him of a Norton and a 69 Triumph.

I've had every nut and bolt on the Norton apart except the transmission. Its back together and running. Now I need to do the tanks/tail/panel paint and some re chroming stuff.

My question is about the front fender. Its chrome with the silver painted brace that attaches the fender to the sliders. The brace is fitted to the fender with rivets that I think are aluminum. Chroming the brace would be "incorrect" to the original. If I remove the brace, it scares me to think about replacing the rivets on a newly chromed fender.

My question is what is the correct way to get the front fender re chromed?

Coincidentally, the guy I've used to chrome parts just did a similar Norton fender. He just chromed the whole thing, brace, rivits and all. It came back on him because the chrome started pelling off one of the rivet heads.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. I tried the search function but didn't see thing helpful.

Welcome to the forum H-Jay,

I don't think that there is an easy answer to this one. Chroming in one piece is really not an option. Even if you make rivets to match the originals, and have rivet snaps of the correct size, I don't think you will be able to match the original factory finish.

I suspect that most of us who have gone down this route have ended up using small stainless steel screws. Whatever head type you use, it will never be 100% accurate.

Sorry that this is probably not the answer you wanted to hear.
I would have done it like it was original ,chrome the fender only ,and have the braces aluminium (colour of the material it is made of). And the nuts should also be the steel colour.
Thats how it is on my 72 roadster ,and i would guess they did not change that.
Hi -
On a '70 which is really close to, if not dead on to your bike, I had the braces off to re-finish. Chrome was very near perfect, so I did not have it redone. Removing the braces is the way to go, though. When you go to reattach the braces use aluminum rivets. They are still readily available at "real" hardware stores and rivet sets are not hard to come by. Didn't lose any points for this one, you will for screws. Re-riveting is a 2-person job, though. Steady is the rule here! One slip and.... well, you know.
Hope you find this helpful.

Kansas, America
Nortons and such
front fender "original"

Hey guys, once you take the original rivets out, the machine is no longer factory original. Things wear out and get replaced, that's normal. You probably don't have the original air in the tires.

It really isn't that difficult to remove the rivets and find appropriate new rivets if 100% accuracy is your goal. I have done both rivets and round head stainless screws. The screws look good, but if winning shows is the intent, you have no choice but to use the rivets. If this is daunting to you, re-think the project, because there will be many more difficult and expensive dilemmas before you are through. Incidently, the front and rear stays on this early model were originally black. Those on the 'S' model in '69 were silver.
Personally, I enjoy the bikes I have modified for better handling and reliability more than the ones I have tried to restore to complete originality. With the Commando, it seems that a bike that is visually close to stock but improved, retains value nearly as well as a 100 point restoration. This may not always be the case, but for now it is.

Your '72 fender brace is aluminum?? If you are talking the front and rear brace, they are painted silver in '72, but were steel. Obviously, the center bridge is also steel.
I only have the rear brace on my fender ,there`s no front brace. Yes the centerbridge is steel and painted silver ,and the brace too ,i just looked very aluminum like.
Thanks all for the information.

Your comments have convinced me that I need to remove the brace b4 plating and hunt down some aluminum rivets. If reattaching with rivets starts looking too daunting I'll go the screw route.

My goal is to not "over-restore" it. I want to return it to what it would have looked like in its early life --- post showroom.

Hi Folks-
To be sure, modernizing some things on the Commando makes it more reliable, easier to service and more enjoyable. There's nothing wrong with a "nuts on" restoration, though. Show machines can be a real challenge to build and to have one "factory perfect" is it's own thrill. That said, I have gotten away from the rabid resto end of the spectrum, after all, I live in an 80 year old farmhouse with a perfectly serviceable and all-original outhouse (A 3-holer no less with a concrete path leading to it! Class act!) But I prefer indoor plumbing. Originality has it's limits but if you have a machine that you want to dedicate to show perfection, why not? It's a piece of history. There's plenty of room in our chosen affliction for everyone; Restorers, Day Cruisers, Short-Trippers, Iron Butts, Peg Grinders, Collectors and even Drag Racers. I only look down on the Vultures.

Kansas, America
Reformed Rabid Restorer

Rivets are easy...just use a good block of wood against the head side. and do the ball-peen hammer thing on the other side..I did my fender that way a number of years problem.

Rivets are available...might have a few in the garage too..keep us informed.
hewhoistoolazytologin said:
Rivets are available...

Norvil sell the mudguard bridge rivets so they are probably available from other suppliers as well.
So---I gues that leaves my single Mikuni carbed-electronic ignition-stainless front fender-Akront/stainless spoke wheeled-belt driven-12V neg ground-MKIII centerstanded-Ace bars-anti drain valved-oil pressure gauged-triumph side standed 1971 Fastback in the "somewhat modified" category.....
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