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My First Commando...

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by Tornado, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. Tornado

    Tornado VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    ...Six sleeps from the delivery of a '73 850 in HighRider config. Been studying the Haynes book (which I pulled off Amazon.ca for $6.49 CDN Shipped?!?!) and have the Owners service Guide/Riders manuals in PDF format.

    Been reining in the temptation to buy lots of stuff ahead of time...not sure of precisely what is on bike (single carb but looks to be Amal...dual carbs were promised with the sale). Not sure what cable lengths to get until I inspect fully...I did order the UK roadster bars, oil filter and rear brake cable to give me something to play with as I go through all bike systems. Roadster replica seat on order (sale price from Walridge Canada too good to pass up).

    Need to swap out the abhorent 16" rear wheel so will be trying my hand at first ever wheel build. Any rec's as to stainless/polished or chromed spokage?
     
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  2. JimC

    JimC

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007

    What size rear wheel are you contemplating?
     
  3. Tornado

    Tornado VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Trying to go to stock 19" as a first effort as I want o experience the ride as it came from the factory before deviating too much. I've read that the 18" setup is preferable...b/c of better rear tire wear and sizing options.
     
  4. MichaelB

    MichaelB

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Just a personal observation through my lenses, I think Commandos look more correct with 19” on both ends.
     
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  5. YukoNorton

    YukoNorton

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2017
    I'm just wondering; do you know if this a factory Hi-Rider, or someone's attempt at making a Hi-Rider model?
     
  6. JimC

    JimC

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007

    It's been reported here, by someone supposedly in the know, the reason the Commando had 19" rims on both ends was due to supply costs. Regardless, check the tire manufactures recommendations for rim width. I think you'll find most tire manufactures consider a WM-2 (1.85") too narrow for a rear tire. Personally, I like a 18 x WM-4 (2.50") for the rear.
     
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  7. ashman

    ashman

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    If you read the history of Commandos they were designed to run 19" rims back and front its was part of the over all design changing to 18" rear was not part of that, I have the orginal paper work that came with my new Commando and its all there black and white about tyre fitting etc, but of coruse they where also designed to wear K81s rubber but we all know things change after over 40 years of owning, myself have always stuck with 19" rims.

    Ashley
     
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  8. gtsun

    gtsun VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2009
    I’ve known a few people who have ridden both and So far most have said they handle better with 19’s front and rear. I like the look of a bigger tire which means you have to go to an 18 but personally I have never ridden on one.
     
  9. Danno

    Danno

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2010
    Don't know if it's true, but back in the day, (1966?) the questionable integrity of 18" tires was thought to be a risk at over 100mph. Supposedly there was no 18" tire as safe as the 19s. Didn't Tridents come with 19" rear wheels also?
     
  10. ashman

    ashman

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Still only a small patch that sits on the road.
     
  11. JimC

    JimC

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    I've ridden the same Commando with both 19" and 18" rear rims. No discernible difference. Possibly, an expert road racer might be able to tell the difference in handling. Of course, there is always the placebo effect. If you study the sizing specifications from tire manufactures you will find 18" tires with almost the same circumference as 19" tires.
     
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  12. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Indeed, my 18 rear roadrider has exactly the same circumference as my 19 front roadrider.
     
  13. JimC

    JimC

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007

    Sure did. I struggled like a bitch, unsuccessfully, to get an 18" tire on that 19" rim on my first rear tire change of my Trident. Quite a motorcycle, by the way, the Trident was. Unfortunately, it had to compete against the Honda CB 750. No contest. Too little, too late for the folks from Meriden.
     
  14. marshg246

    marshg246 VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2015
    Yes but most Triumphs had WM2 at the front and WM3 at the rear whether 18" or 19" and a wider tire at the rear. My 850 MK IIA has WM2-19 front and rear and if I remember right that is what most Commandos had. It has the same Avon tires front and rear. The rear seems too narrow to me even though it rides fine. I do corner harder on my Trident as it feels more stable - I have no idea if that's tires or just that I've ridden them much more or what.
     
  15. o0norton0o

    o0norton0o

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2015
    Do what santa claus does,... Crack open a beer and make a list. When the bike comes, do a careful inspection while you drink and make a list of all the stuff you know you need. Then make a list of questions to ask, topics to research, and parts that seem like good modern options. (tires, electronic ignition, headlight bulb,... there's a long list actually)

    Things like tire sizes and rims deserve some research. Buying the old design stock steel WM2 rims and classic Dunlop K81's is that "classic" factory configuration you seek, but IF I had to buy a new rim and tire for my commando I wouldn't buy that combination. I'd buy wider light weight alu rims and Avon roadrider tires... This is one of those situations where you have to buy both the new rim and tire anyway so don't buy old technology. If you have to buy a new hub too, you might look at buying one of Don Pender's cush drive rear hubs as well. The stock commando hub, rim, and tires were OK in 1970. The newer set up rewards you with a more ridable bike.. good luck
     
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  16. Tornado

    Tornado VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Thank for all the responses. I've posted a shot or two of the High Rider I got from seller in another thread ("Talk Me Down..."). As far as I've been told, bike has had two owners (supported by registered owners report), and seller is #2 and only had it a couple of months...he runs a classic bike museum and got the bike as part of a collection from original owner. 8300 miles on clock (though unclear if clock is original). Was refurbed by an HD dealer in the '90s...some non stock parts.
    Seems used wheels go for quite a bit of cash on fleabay...but tend to come with hubs...something I'd not need so could sell later. New OEM or aftermarket rim(s) might be the better option...need to research sources/prices.
     
  17. Craig

    Craig VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    L
     
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  18. Craig

    Craig VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    I sent my bare hubs to Don P. Madass on here ... he built me alloy rims with stainless spokes etc including all new bearings In 19” for a very reasonable cost even with the shipping .... the bike had come with 18” rear , after 2 years I have to say like the look and performance over the previous setup at the back
    Craig
     
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  19. hobot

    hobot

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2005
    Legend has it the Commando being 1st road bike to sustain over 100 mph, new construction 19" tires were the first size sold to tolerate this. Harleys, Commando kissing cusins, sustain the market for our size hi quality tires.
     
  20. Tornado

    Tornado VIP MEMBER

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2017
    Thanks...can you help me reach this Mr. Madass?

    Cheers!
     
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