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May 24, 2006

I have finally convinced the wife I need a Commando. I ran into a guy who has a 1971 750 and a 1973 850 and he may be willing to sell one. Both have been had the front ends changed to have a disc brake and have Mikuni carbs on them. I think he has done other things, but can't remember the details. He describest hem as more ridable with these changes, which is what I'm looking for. I'd rather be able to ride it often than have everything correct on it. I haven't really discussed price and have just started looking at what else might be for sale out there.

Do you all have any recommendations on things to look for and be wary of? I know next to nothing about Nortons and look forward to learning.

Hey Walt, welcome.

Surely the best thing you can do is to get in touch with the local Norton owners club or the national club where they can give you the complete run down on whats available and what price you can expect to pay. They may even have a couple of bikes for sale against which you can compare the ones you have seen.

Personally I always contact owners groups when I switch marque of bike because the bikes they own are usually well maintained and kept on the road etc.. Good luck and keep us posted.
As has been posted here before, the '71's have a poor side stand design. If the side stand has not been replaced, look closely at the pin on the frame that the side stand connects to. These usually break.
The '73 850 would have a disc brake as stock, so if the front end was replaced, look closely for frame damage (crash). All Commandos have light thinwall frames, so always inspect the frame tubes. The front downtubes are often crushed from bolt-on highway pegs popular in the late '70's.
Grab the rear wheel and move it side to side looking for play at the swing arm pivot. This usually means poor handling, as the pivot pin wears out the cradle. This is usually caused by grease in the swing arm rather than 140 wt oil. This can be fixed, but requires welding or installation of one of Heinz Kegler's bolt on kits.
hi walt. i'm in the same boat since i'm a newbie myself but since you're in baltimore, i think you should take a look at this site. based out of dc:

i'm sure there are md guys in that club that could help you w/ checking a bike out. who knows, maybe the guy w/ 2 nortons is a member?
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