Jupiters Travels On A Commando ??

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Just musing here as one does in a pub with a pint in one hand a rum chaser in the other and munching on a pickled egg lol !!! .......

I recently rediscovered my old copy of " Jupiters Travels " by Ted Simons and was wondering how he ( and the bike in particular ) would have got on if he had made the journey on a Norton Commando ???

For the book virgins .... Jupiter's Travels is a book by Ted Simon which narrates his four-year journey through 126,000 km across 45 countries on a Triumph Tiger 100 500 cc motorcycle from 1973 to 1977.
 

Tornado

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Motorcycle Diaries, riding across South America, was on a Norton:

"1939 Norton 500 cc motorcycle
Guevara and the 29-year-old Granado soon set off from Buenos Aires, Argentina, astride a 1939 Norton 500 cc motorcycle they named La Poderosa II ("The Mighty II") with the idea of eventually spending a few weeks volunteering at the San Pablo Leper colony in Peru on the banks of the Amazon River."
 
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Baz ...... Still riding it to get there or perhaps he enjoyed the ride so much he kept on going :rolleyes::rolleyes:


Tornado .... I've not read those diaries must take a look
 

baz

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Baz ...... Still riding it to get there or perhaps he enjoyed the ride so much he kept on going :rolleyes::rolleyes:


Tornado .... I've not read those diaries must take a look
I believe he would be on the roadside with other Norton owners in a heated single versus dual carburettor debate
Leading to which oil
And anti wet sump valves !
I don't think he'd ever get home!!!
 

ashman

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I believe he would be on the roadside with other Norton owners in a heated single versus dual carburettor debate
Leading to which oil
And anti wet sump valves !
I don't think he'd ever get home!!!
Well if its been ridden all those miles and traveling everyday I don't think it would have time to wet sump.
 

slimslowslider

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Anyone read "High Street Africa", by Anthony Smith?
A good read, about his trip in the fifties with a Triumph Cub from Cape Town to Cairo.
In the eighties, he returned to Africa, now with his son, now travelling from north to south, again on Cubs.
 
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For both Simon and Elspeth Beard ("Lone Rider") who made a 2-year journey on a /5? BMW ten years after Simon, much of the trip was what we Westerners would consider, off-road. The bikes took a terrible thrashing, as did the riders, which in Simon's case included being jailed by a couple of huntas in South America. Beard pich-poled her BMW in a sand wallow in the Oz outback and was seriously injured. Her traveling companions patched the bike together while she was in hospital. As their accounts made clear, the simpler, the better.

A Commando is simple compared to modern, electronic-laden bikes but perhaps not simple enough. Brazed-lug frames can be fixed in Timbuktu, mechanical brake cables fabbed in Fez but could one have gotten isolastic rubbers or PTFE washers in Istanbul? My own experience with Commandos is that even when properly looked after, they are a bit delicate. I've ridden a 500 Triumph twin and it's not too far removed from a two-wheeled tractor, yet still too far for such tortuous journeys. When you see pictures of Beard's bike after a year or so you can see items she forgot, like a stone guard for the headlight. Simon had to have new pistons fitted for the first time in South Africa only a few months into the journey. Elspeth broke a fork tube and later had to replace individual diodes in the alternator's diode board, which was unavalable locally.

What British bikes of Simon's era would have been suitable? Norton no longer made ES2s or Dommies. Matchless was long gone. Maybe a 500 Enfield Bullet? Were they making those in India by '73. Were there suitably large Japanese bikes in 73? The little Hondas were ubiquitous across Aisa. Parts would have been no problem but aside from having seen father and a couple of kids on a Honda 90 with a dozen live chickens dangling from the bars, I don't think that would cut it in the Outback, except maybe in the Steakhouse parking lot. I think Simon and Beard picked the best of the lot for their respective times. A commando might have been more comfortable and faster but think of the reliability upgrades owners have developed since 1973. What would you have done had a lay shaft bearing cratered in Katmandu? Or the cam gone flat in Pnom Pen?
 
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