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Sep 10, 2007

I am thinking about buying a restored Norton Commando. Always loved them but know nothing about maintenance, reliability etc. Probably opening a can of worms here, but are there any year/models that I should definitely avoid? Any common problems that I should look for before buying?

The only motorbike I have owned is a 1980 Yamaha Special v-twin. Nice bike and I did my own maintenance etc. I also have an old (1962) Corvette that I restored so I am not afraid to get my hands dirty, but I do like to drive/ride without fear of getting stranded too often ;-)

Any info/advise greatly appreciated.

Thanks, Mike Sheldon in Westfield MA
There are none to avoid except a few early 1968 ones where the frame failed, they should have been sorted under warranty but they are still around with the orginal frame waiting to fall apart.

On the rest it is the later the bike the more sorted it should be as the factory slowly improved the breed, exception is the 72 especially the Combat version but they can be fixed too.

Best of all is the 850 MK2 / MK2A, the 850 MK3 has more improvements but the weight increased with the electric start which offsets the improvements IMHO
Very early Commandos (67 I think) had frames that broke at the steering head. Each year after had improvements and refinements. Most folks agree that 1972 and later is preferred. That's when disc brakes came out. Side stand was also improved in 72 (earlier ones were too short).
Hey Mike-
Welcome! There's some incredibly sharp fellows on here who can really save your bacon if you run into trouble in the future.
My opinion on a Commando choice--
First, determine what kind of riding you want to do. Long range touring? Bopping around town? Lone hunting to scare the Sportster pilots? :twisted:
The 750's will do you around town or stoplight to stoplight. The later 850's are a joy on the highway. Interstate tank is the way to go touring, Roadster is sexier if you don't need the extra capacity. Fastback is the best of both worlds, but the seat is an iron butt affair if you like long saddle time.
If you want rarity look for a 69-70 "S" model or a 69 "R", John Player replica or Production Racer if you like 'em zoomy. Unique styling and you'll not see a dozen of em at a meet. Getting into the big dollar range there, though.
Best solution-get 2! Dr Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde thing. A nice, reliable Interstate for the long haul and a later 750 with big jets, a 19 tooth sprocket and nasty straight-through muffs for when you're feeling saucy. You won't smoke a modern sportbike but the "Brand H-D" boys need a taste of British Steel once in a while. 8)

Just an opinion-

Kansas, America
Newbie Intro...

Thanks for all the great replies. This is a great forum. I'll letcha know how I make out and I am sure I'll be seeking your advise in the future.

Thanks again, Mike Sheldon
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