Jerry's rebuild

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Jerry Doe

May 21, 2003
Hello everyone. I am still alive, just been way too busy. :lol:

I have my bike just about down to where I want it. I was just going to send the head off to get the ex threads done but got carried away.

Now I am doing these things:

* Head needs ex threads done and I need help [see below for my help questions]
* Barrels are off and will be getting bored to +40.
* Gearbox going back to 4 speed and forward quadrant.
* Everything powder coated/stoved/chromed etc.
* Tank and side panels painted original blue/silver.
* Foot pegs back to original.
* Front muguard back to original.
* Bars will be original.
* seat will be original.
* Carbs to original.

Here are some questions I have:

1) My exhaust threads have already been repaired with the welded insert. [see photobelow] I am thinking I have to get the same repair done again [the weld rather than treaded inserts?]. I need to find a reliable source where I can send my head for this work :?: [Preferably in california or the US].

I would also like my barrels rebored/painted by the same shop that works on my head.
Where can i ship it all and get a good job done?

2) I cant get my swinging arm spindle out. What's the best way?

3) Where is a good place to get a decent paint job in California?

Thanks for the help.


Jerry's rebuild

Jerry's rebuild

More photos here:


I had a quick look at their website. It looks like they can do my re-bore too. I am going to call tomorrow.

Hi Jerry,Quite a laundry list.I got my seized swingarm spindle out by making up a slide hammer-- a long piece of bar 18 or so inches in length with a boss at the outer end,the opposite end is threaded to screw into the swingarm - not sure of the thread size, 5/8 -24?,a piece of heavy tubing slides over the bar,screw the bar into the swingarm and very sharply slide the tube hard against the end boss -- heat may be needed to aid in removal also, or a good soaking with KROIL.Good luck. Ride safely. James.
Jerry, Why are you putting your bike back to standard spec? it looks like a fabulous piece of kit in the photos that you have posted. I myself have a cafe racer with clip ons, rear sets, alloy tank etc. which I find beautiful to look at but rather challenging to ride long distances (in fact after about ten minutes I feel like getting off and hailing a taxi) but I am keeping it for short runs and showing off with with my bike mates. I am building another more practical S-type for running around with a passenger and for longer runs, is this the reason behind your own modifications? How did you find the 5-speed box? I am thinking about fitting a close ratio 4 speeder to mine.
I can heartilly recommend Rabers, I visit them every year while in the US during August and they are a wonderfully enthusiastic and helpful bunch of chaps. Anyway it looks like you are doing a thoroughly competent job.

I found that using a bolt screwed into the end of the swingarm spindle and then whacking it with a very large hammer generally has the effect of getting it moving without mushrooming the end and making it really hard to get out. If it is that tight it is probably unuseable again anyway and you will probably have to fit new bushes or buy an oversize pin and ream out the standard ones.

Keep us posted.

First of all I think I already have sold the 5 speed. I am not selling anything for a while. I probably should'nt have mentioned I will sell these things yet. I will edit the post further up.

Why am I going back to the stock feel?

Well-- I have been riding and working on commando's for 22 years. I always wanted what I have now. Now I have it I dont want it any more.

I am 6 ft tall with long arms and legs. I recently [2 years ago] started riding modern bikes, Triumph ST and now a Rocket 3 with loads of arm room. My Commando looks great and flies along well. I feel cramped on it is the issue. I am keeping all sensible mods, but need the arm room. My biggest worry is the saddle. I love that corbin, but it isnt going to look right. I am thinking I might get a stock saddle made up with space age material or something. Do you know anywhere I can get that done?

I have enjoyed the 5 speed. The commando was my only bike for a long time. I used to ride it like a nut through the mountains and the 5 speed is perfect for that. Things have slowed down a bit due to speeding ticket and police around here.

I guess the main reason for this is that I want a complete change. You all know what I mean.

I'll call Rabers tomorrow and thanks for the advice on that.

All for now,

Jerry, I perfectly understand your thought proccess on this, I made the same choice in 1975 when I was 27, after years of cafe racer Nortons, I put my '72 Combat back to stock as it came from the factory, as an Interstate. I put over 45k on this one, with only a gearbox counter shaft bearing laying her up for 3 days.
My ridding style stayed the same, no power shifts but max rpms and race anything and everything, used as every day transportation. Ofcourse, Kendall 40 oil kept her alive and well, despite what the nasayers now days, have to say.
The problem is, I am now going back to the cafe racer build, after just about completing a PR transformation for a friend. Go figure!
Hi Jerry,

Here's another idea for you. You could keep the cafe bike as-is and build another up all stock. Best of both worlds! :D

I second Debby's reply. That's why I have my stock Roadster, my Interstate, and the cafe racer. Each is great fun, but each one is different.

By the way, give Sargent a call about re-doing your stock seat. I have one of their seats on my Ducati 900 SP and it is top notch. I also have a friend that sent his Interstate seat to them and they added different density foams to his liking. Another had them do up the seat on his 620 KTM when he made a street bike out of it. Both were impressed with how easy they were to work with and the results.
Q & E Machine in Anaheim used to do the machine work for HPI 'back in the day.' They do a ton Japanese stuff nowadays. I just called them and they said they could do it.
Just a note, I haven't used them, haven't had the need.
It's worth a call. Save a bundle on shipping.

FYI, HPI was building 900cc Nortons before just about anybody.
They also were the distributer for Droiun. HPI knew how to build FAST Nortons, this was the machine shop that did their work.

Q & E Machine
1140 N. Kraemer Ave. (just north of La Plama)
Anaheim, CA
(714) 630-5720

I have also spoken to Phil Radford of Fair Spares in the past. Very pleasant and knowledgable.
Q & E Machine

I called Q & E.

They cannot do the ex. thread repair and suggested Jack Simmons in Utah to do that.

They can handle the rebore but not stove enameling etc of the barrels and other precision head work.

I really want to get everything done at the same place, so will give Rabers a call tomorrow.

Regards-- Jerry


I didnt know sargent did custom work. I will call them for sure. The saddle from them on my ST was great.

Thanks for the info,

Jerry, I find one of the benefits of doing or redoing a bike is to keep me in the workshop rather than occupied putting up curtains, repairing vacuum cleaners etc. I normally have a couple on the go at any one time and try to finish at least one a year so that I have a permanent excuse to be in the workshop. I'm currently bead blasting and repainting my cafe racer barrel, restoring a Roadster for my best friend's birthday present, restoring an S-type replica for myself, building a flat-tracker based street bike using a combat motor and restoring a 1927 BSA flat tanker. So I think I've got things covered for a few months, but undoubtedly my domestic obligations will intrude at some point.
Good luck and please do keep posting photos of your progress.
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