Maiden Voyage !!!

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Yeeee haaaa!! What a ride!

OK, so it was only around the block :roll:

Without mirrors, rear brake, sidestand, battery straps, right foot rest, key, engine on/off switch, all rubbers, air filter, complete fuel lines, exhaust flanges locked down, , and a host of other odds and ends, I figured it was about time ... I was getting so itchy now that the engine runs OK (well as far as I can tell).

Around the block 3-4 times to get used to it, then a mile ride to the petrol fillerup place (the nozzle jammed, and spilled all over the tank).

Boy, what an experience. It certainly wasn't like the old put in key, push button, go of my past rice burners. Quite an interesting feel and sound. I really like the torque I felt when blipping the throttle :) :) And it starts on the first or 2nd kick almost all the time now.

Of course I had to leave a 1/4 mile space every time I needed to plan a stop. There may still be a tad bit of air in the line. And despite all the lube and new cable, the clutch was more than I was used to ... guess I'll build up the old left forearm.

No major leaks (a small one behind the oil tank somewhere), some smoke from the rebuild, ... and all the SOUNDS!! I'm certainly not used to the sound of an assembly line under the seat ... I have no idea what it should sound like, so I'll have Dave listen next opportunity.

I'm not feeling secure enough :shock: to go anywhere far yet (I keep waiting for parts to fall off, and oil to spew), so I'll extend my radius slowly till I build up a comfort level.

BTW ... I must have had the balance point in the wrong place. No problem getting it up on the center stand.

Lots more to do, but at least I can ride it to get parts.

So that's what a Norton feels like .... 8)
first run


Congratulations! Put the rest of the parts on an go with me up Mt Hamilton on June 5. We're leaving from Starbucks, Crow Canyon Rd & Camino Tassajara in San Ramon at 10:30am. Check the NCNOC website for details.

When filling the gas tank, don't push the filler into the tank. Rather hold the rubber vent back with one hand and watch the gas level as you fill.

I'm like you, seem to want only 20 year old motorcycles. Just bought an '83 BMW R100RS, Alaska Blue. Another story of I bought one just like it new and should never have sold it. Beemer styling just gets uglier every year. No desire to own one of the newer models.

Good going!

Please note that the front brake on my '75 Commando is marginal at best. I replaced the caliper pistons, pads and rotor and it still requires considerable distance to stop. Commando front brakes were never a strong point and they will never stop as well as your "rice burner".


Congrats Dana! As you're discovering it's a whole 'nuther world. Welcome to the past. It's better here :)

Mine's still in pieces while I work on various issues - carb problems, swiss-cheese tank, shot swingarm bushings. Every time I fix something I find two new problems :( But one of these days...

Hey David, d'accord on the new beemers. Aren't those things hideous? They get worse every year too. The old ones sure are beautiful though.

Maiden voyage

Congrats, Dana! Fiddle with the clutch until you get it to go "over center" when the lever is pulled in. The adjustment instructions you find in most manuals isn't very useful. As long as you get full disengagement and you still have free play in the actuating lever (inside the tranny) it's cool. Once you have it adjusted so the spring goes over center (assuming the cable is routed right and lubed) the Commando clutch is nice. The newest bike I've ever ridden (not counting H-D) was about 1982 so I can't speak for modern rice burners but the Commando clutch is as good or better than any I have ridden.
clutch, brakes, noises

Congradulations, welcome to Norton land. (The dark side) Once your hooked, your doomed.
All seriousness, you landed right on three problem areas.
The clutch:
Read dynodave's website @ and They explain how the tension is derived from the stack height of the plates. The Mark III came with a 5 plate metal clutch pack. If you are still running that, the smallest shim from oldbritts will probably solve the tension. Check the stack height and go from there.
If you don't have Dynodave's clutch rod seal, get one. I consider this a must.
The brakes:
The main problem is the master cylinder. The bore is too big. The caliper is actually a decent two piston design. The bore is approx. 16mm, it needs to be reduced to 12/13 mm. You can either buy a Magura for aboiut 75.00, then you will have to modify your switches and throttle at additional costs or it can be resleeved. Read for more info.
The noises:
Providing the engine / tranny have been properly assembled, the godawful noises you're hearing is probably the primary. It's the infamous Mark III clackety / clackety. It comes from the hydraulic tensioners bleeding down at idle and then pumping up, taking the slack out. Mine smoothes out about 1200 rpm. If it is not smoothing out, you have tensioner trouble.
Maybe a new primary chain would help, maybe not. The local Mark III owners around here tell me to live with it. I haven't gone to the expense of a new chain. I increased my idle to about 1100 and ignore it.
Hi all,

Thanks to all of you for the many kudos!!! If you haven't noticed, I've been off the board for a while ... guess where. Yup! Riding around. I have about 100 miles now, and have actually taken it on the freeway (2 miles worth).

Yesterday I noticed one coil bracket has broken in two (metal fatigued), and I was riding around (for how long?) with it dangling by the plug wire and the two DC leads :shock: Just ordered a new set of brackets.

Also, I've been gradually tracking down my oil leaks (so many I was down a quart :lol:) A major leak was from the oil tank cap. The cork seal had dried and the goo was happily running all the way down to the frame. Got that on order too.

The clutch problem is gone ... I had a serious case of wimpy-rightus-armus. Still some more to do however to get me to a comfort zone. I'll probably trailer it to the June NCNOC ride, and do the ride.

I sure do love the way it starts almost always on the first kick (thanks to Ken Armen for the Mikuni parts). I love hte torquey feel, and I get a kick out of the gawkers, and being stopped everywhere to answer questions ...

The original tires (can't tell, but the tread looks stock) are fine. They were stored out of the light where UV tears the rubber bonds apart. Almost no cracks in the sidewalls.

I also have developed an interesting fix for the leaks I had at the back of the rear master cylinder. Cut a new seat with an 8.0-8.3mm drill bit (carefully), and lap it with the actual pipe in place while you snug it down slowly, turning the pipe about 20 times between wrench turns. So far, no leaks.

I also have a pre-MKIII throttle with the stock right switch assy/master cyl. Perfect fit with the long Mikuni cable coming out the bottom.

I'll put some pics up soon on my site.
Congratulations, you are well on the way to being hooked by the sound of it. You have to be a bit of a masochist to own/ride a norton, but doesn't it feel good.......You kick it in the guts and not much else gives you more pleasure than to hear it fire up.

It doesn't matter where I ride my norton, there are always people want to ask about it. They are such a beautiful bike to look at and listen to.

Even when things fall off or stop fix it and know exactly what is going on underneath you. You can pull it apart and put it back together and be proud that you are riding a machine you have worked on.

After a period of time you will sort all the lil problems out and go anywhere on it :D

I have attempted to creat a lil website on common norton problems if you are interested:
You will probably be able to add a few more I guess.

Stay upright and enjoy your new Snortin Norton.

Good job Dana! :p

I've been off the list for a bit and was very pleased to read of your first
toodle 'round the block.

Fixing up a Norton can be a daunting task, so many new and different things. You should be proud :D

Soon as I figure out where Folsom, CA is I'll plan a ride out to your part
of the world. Would love to see your Norton.

I'm in Sonoma County, so since I know where I am I have to find my atlas to find out where you are.

Keep plugging away, it's a never ending project.
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