Re The Isles in Denver -- what's up with this?

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May 30, 2006
Back in October 2007 I took my Norton chopper to The Isles British bike shop in Denver, CO. It was puking oil from one pipe. Greg, the owner thought I needed a top end valve job. Every month after that he had one excuse after another on why he hadn't started my job. August 2008 and he begins. Turns out top end ok. So now he says he's gotta look into the bottom end. Now it's November 2008 and the job's still not done. Any other bike shop I have ever used always completed a job straight through once they started. Not Greg. Now doesn't know when he'll finish my bike. It's now been over one year! He even had the timerity to say he's still taking on new jobs. Has anyone else ever dealt with this dude? This seems totally unprofessional and unbusinesslike. If I go down there to get my bike, I'll wind up with a box of parts where my engine was. I strongly recommend people not to deal with this guy. What incredible bulls--t!
There are shady mechanics from coast to coast on every continent. There are also good ones that are scattered just as far. Find a good one. Anyone that takes over a year to take a couple of steps backwards, while still taking on new jobs, probably isn't one of the good ones.
I've never had these guys rebuild an engine, but I have bought stuff from them. They are the only show in town. That kind of explains it.

I recently bought an oil filter assembly from Acme Machine in Fort Collins. I would definatly talk to these guys if I were going to get machine work done.
I can't imagine dealing with retards like that. :shock:
bob just go and get your bike back in the time this guy took i could have swam the the atlantic to pick it up and swam back with it all sorted
Dr. Bob,

Get that bike out of there as fast as you can. There is no reason to think this guy is ever going to complete the job. Certainly not satisfactorily, anyway.

I live in Port St. John, FL. Near the Kennedy Space Center. I can tell you a number of horror stories about shops here and my Norton. The latest is about a "painter". Comes highly recommended by a Harley (should of known better) shop. I prepped the tank and panels. Provided the color (paint), decals and gave him two 8x11 photos of what the finished project should look like. He painted and cleared it. No decals, no stripes, which were pictured in the photos. I paid him and got everything the hell out of there. Suggest you do the same.

There are any number of people on this site who take on outside work. I personally use Leo Goff for anything I can't handle.
JimC said:
Dr. Bob,

Get that bike out of there as fast as you can. There is no reason to think this guy is ever going to complete the job. Certainly not satisfactorily, anyway...

There are any number of people on this site who take on outside work. I personally use Leo Goff for anything I can't handle.

Agree completely.
Thanks all. That's what I decided last night. I talked to a friend in the Colorado Norton club and he told me he's heard this same story before and most of the members refuse to do business with Isles. So I'm going to get my bike back on Saturday. I was worried that the bike was in pieces, but a friend says he's seen my bike sitting in the shop just the way I had brought it in a year ago. It seems the owner may have led to me several months back when he said that he had "started work." Beware of this a_____e.
MichaelB said:
Agree completely.

+1000. Go get that bike back NOW. I'd do it today if I were you.

Pull the head and barrel yourself and take the parts to Acme. They'll know what to do. The guys there don't have the attitude that Greg unfortunately seems to have, either. It's an old-timey sort of place, you'll like it.

My 750 had a similar problem with smoking and "blowing oil" as you put it, from the right cylinder when I bought it. Turned out to be loose valve guides and a bad hone job which caused the oil rings not to seat. A rebore and a full head rebuild made it good.

good luck,
Back up one HUGE step.

It cvould be the bike was just severely "wet" sumping (I know, not technically correct).

If so, an oil pump rebuild might be all it needs!!!!

DEFINITELY yank it the heck out of there.
Good call GP.
Bob, when you get it back, drain the oil from sump and pour it back into the oil tank. Clean the plugs, then start it and see what happens.

If it sits for more than a couple of days, drain the sump again. And try it.

Nortons love to wet sump.
Bob, both Grandpaul and MichaelB have given good advise here, If it is a case of wet-sumping, you might also want to check the primary case oil level, as the motor oil will often find it's way into this case and cause clutch problems, especially as it has now been parked for about a year. Make sure also that the oil tank is not over-full and that when the engine is running you can see oil returning from the scavenge pipe inside the oil tank with the cap off and that there is some oil mist coming out of the breather pipe also inside the oil tank. The maximum mark on Commando oil tank dipsticks is often too high and having too much oil can cause leakage and smoking.

I would also reinforce what Debby said about doing the work yourself if it turns out not to be a wet-sump issue, especially as you seem to have the advice and support of your Colorado Norton club community. The removal of the cylinder head and barrel is quite straight forward and can be done without removing the engine from the bike (you will find lots of advice available on this site) and any specialised engineering work can simply be farmed out to reputable people.
I wanted to add that Gahi and Debbie are pointing you in the right direction. Fort Collins is a "drive" but Acme Machine can help. They did the machine work on my Fastback and always give great advice. Not only are they a good machine shop but they still have Norton parts. They used to be a dealership!
There is a wealth of info in the local Colorado Norton Club also.
I know this is an old thread, but things in Denver have only gotten worse. Greg moved his shop and had a falling out with his father. A friend's Commando motor has been with him close to two years. My Commando is starting to smoke from the left cylinder. I will probably tear down the motor myself.
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