One year later

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Apr 15, 2004
Country flag
It was one year ago today that I drove down to the ForwardAir terminal in Denver to take possession of my new-to-me Norton. I was very excited! It was the fulfillment of a dream I'd had for many years, to someday own another Norton. When I pulled it out of the container I wasn't disappointed. The seller had detailed it beautifully and it gleamed in the spring sunshine.

He was not so good at maintenance however. The bike leaked a huge amount of oil, was hard to start, and was running so rich it wouldn't rev past 4000 rpm. The front brake was mushy and ineffective, the gas tank cracked and leaking, the points oily from a leaking seal. Neither brake light worked and the headlight was burned out. The seller's statements regarding the bike's condition proved to be wildly optimistic. Thus began my education.

I've learned many things in the last year. I've learned about dissolving gas tanks, flimsy centerstands, defective sidestand designs, bad oil scavenging designs, and "leaky" valve guides. I've encountered bent fork tubes, missing oil seals, leaking petcocks, stuck carby slides, broken wiring, and missing clutch spacers. And I've learned how something so seemingly innocuous as a little extra oil in the crankcase can cause so much trouble.

Today I think I'm through the worst of it . The bike starts easily, has a smooth stable 1000 rpm idle, and runs as good as it looks. The oil leakage is down to "the usual drips." The last major project is to install the new forks, bolt up my professionally-rebuilt caliper (my rebuild didn't go so well) and get the hydraulics working. Then I can start thinking about upgrades :D

It's been a long difficult road and I nearly gave up several times. But I received lots of help and encouragement from the people on this forum and now I've hooked up with a local NOC (I learned about it from an Aussie forum member!) If I'd known what I was getting into I probably wouldn't have bought the bike. But now I'm glad that I did!

71 750 Roadster
Bravo Debby!

With summer coming you'll soon be able to really enjoy the results of your efforts. The Commando is one of the great designs (albeit a little long in the tooth now) and you can feel good about saving yours from some horrible fate. But do remember next time you buy a 30 year old bike, no matter how good it looks, it's still a 30 year old bike and unless the PO has gone through the bike thoroughly it will have problems :? .
On mine, anything that was rubber has turned to rock, anything plastic has cracked, anything that was steel has rusted, anything aluminum is corroded; and that's only the stuff you can see. Inside there was a worn out cam, broken rings cracked gear teeth,,, I've got to stop now another load of replacement parts just arrived and I'll have to go to the blood bank to make the visa payment.
Repeat after me; A 30 year old bike is a 30 year old bike, is a 30,,,,,

Sounds like you are deserving a bit of praise! It was quite an accomplishment! Send it some pictures.....we'd all like to see.
Ride safe!
Pics are already on this website on the Visuals section, page 6, down at the bottom. Those photos show the bike with the Fireflake Blue tank. The black tank that came with the bike is all patched up now and back on. The blue one needs to be cleaned out and lined before I use it again.

Two fibreglass tanks, double the fun :)

Great to see you have sorted that Norton of yours out Debby :)
A lesser woman would not have persevered, well done.
If you have the song by Helen Reddy "I am woman" please play it now.
You were close to selling at one stage, I am glad you kept at it also.

I suppose with all the snow you get, you had nothing better to do :?:
Doesn't it feel good, now that you have learnt so much about your bike. It just feels so much better riding a norton you do all the work on.

The 1972 model I currently own was brought from a woman that had it for 5 years. She only rode it once, then couldn't start it anymore. So it ended up sitting in her garage for 5 long years before she decided to sell.

Ok now forum, this will rock you..................
The reason the 1972 model I brought would not start was because of.......

You guessed it.....The Boyer Black Box was dead :!:
There's some ammo for some of you boyer knockers :D

But :!: That was 2.5 years back, I put a new one in & it has run beautifully ever since. Previous Nortons with Boyers never let me down.
Took a look at your's quite pretty!
I should get the pitchfork out and dig a 73 Roadster out of the corner of my barn where it sits under broken bicycles, old rugs, broken furniture and even a couple of untanned wild boar skins (smelly...smelly) , for the last 10-15 of those things I never bothered to take care of and now it's a pile of poop, I'm sure. Maybe next it won't look like yours though...good job!
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