Reasons to own a Commando

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Jun 6, 2003
The other day a kid asked me why I owned an "old" bike...After telling him that this was a "classic-vintage-collectible motorcycle" I end up with these excuses:

1 You will always have an excuse to not go riding:

a. Too far for an old bike (note the switch from classic to old!)
b. The generator/alternator/regulator/carb(s)/oil pump/light/brake(s) (choose the appropriate one/ones!) does not work
c. It’s too slow to cope with modern traffic
d. Did not start this morning
e. Cannot find the right size tire (s)
f. Too warm for the engine
g. Too cold for the W50
h. It might rain on the electrics
i. Parts have not arrived
j. Out of lead substitute
k. My back hurts (“and the thing is so uncomfortable!”)
l. My back hurts(bis) (“I was bending down working on the bike”)

2 You will always have an excuse to be slower than any modern bike, including a Rebel 250

3 You’ll be able to brag for hours the day you were faster than any modern bike, including a Rebel 250

4 You will never have to lend your “classic” bike (“if you cannot kick it…”)

5 You will never have to lend your “classic” bike (bis) (“gearshift is on the wrong side…”)

6 You will never have to lend your “classic” bike (ter) (“classic insurance…you know!”)

7 You will look a lot cooler on any “classic” bike than on any modern machine costing 4 times more (extra points if the “classic” is more expensive than any “modern” bike)

8 You will look like an hero the day you make 200 hundreds miles in one go

9 You will, finally, have an excuse to own a truck… or a van… or a trailer

10 You will have an excuse collecting the Craftsman,/Snap on/Facom catalogs

11 Meg Whitman (eBay’s CEO) will send you Christmas cards

Did I forget anything?

Did I forget anything?

Yes- The satisfaction of knowing you own a well sorted out Commando that isn't as lame as yours seems to be.
The only thing that stops me riding 200 miles in one go is a Roadster fuel tank.

I once filled it seven times in one day popping down to Czechoslovakia though :)
As for keeping up - put my Nort on a twisty back road and it will show up a lot of modern machinery. A mate of mine struggles to keep with me on his Ducati 999 on a real twisty lane we often use.

In fact I think I would struggle to keep up with myself if I was riding my Ducati 916 down that lane (If that makes sense??)

I think that post would have gone down better on a Harley site (bet that ones put the cat amongst the pigeons)
I don't think that the person who posted this can really be the owner of a Commando.

If he does than he should sell it because he doesn't seem to be made of the right stuff.

Is this what passes for humour (humor) on those harley sites?
old grey biker said:
Is this what passes for humour (humor) on those harley sites?


The fact of having bought a Harley IS the humorous part.
The satisfaction of knowing you own a well sorted out Commando that isn't as lame ~

Yes a sheer pleasure having total confidence in a well sorted Commando for sure~

And know its still minor but annoying idiosyncrasies ~ ^&% Lucas trafficators that droop and fall off.. etc

But I KNOW it will deliver ~ every time ~

Taken time and with some help from the Blokes and sheila/s herein ~

My Commando is fair dinkum ~ and now I endeavour to complete its stable mate.. Trident T150V ~ Perfect score.. Oh a BSA A65L would complete the package ~ and a new Sprint ~ lol
Nothing tees me off more than a bike snob who only waves to the chosen people - be it Harleys, sport bikes, Brit bikes, or whatever. Growing up, riding Japsickles, I gave up waving to Harley guys 'cause you knew they wouldn't wave back. No longer owning a Japanese bike, I don't know if that's changed, but I sure hope so. And that now the Hayabusa crowd don't sneer at HDs as below them.

I admit I'm partial to twins (I have a Duck, the Commando, and a HD Deuce, and the wife has a Bonnie), but I wave to everybody - cops on bikes, and scooters, included.

Do we really need animosity based on marques? And if so, somebody remind me, is is the star-bellied sneeches that are the good ones, or vice versa?

By the way, my Harley is a superb bike. I don't say that cause I own it. I own it cause its true. And if I take a LONG trip, I take the Deuce. The Norton - well, it's not QUITE sorted out (gimme time!). And the Duck would make it easily, but I wouldn't be able to walk afterwards. The Triumph, as I say, isn't mine.

But then, the same ("Superb bike!") can be said for the Duck, Snorter, and Trumpet. Maybe I'm just easily satisfied. Never been accused of it, though.

Don't make me have to get a Black Shadow and sneer at you all! (Actually, I *will* have one some day. I promise not to sneer, though.)
Yes I agree wholeheartedly..

I don't bother acknowledging Hurlies any more.. apparently anything else here in Ozz ~ lesser than a HD ~ does not have Atta -tuude and is ignored as a rule ~

So why bother ~

I do have to admit I rarely acknowledge scramblers either ~ :roll:

The two biggest issues I found with the sorting was the isolastics ~ (thanks to Mr Damp and Hewhoistoo~~~ for that ~) and the electrics..

I did have a lot oissues with the carb inserts too but that I consider a problem "outside the circle " ~ not really attributed to Norton as it were!
I think some people need to lighten up.
I don't know what a real Norton rider is any more than a real biker or real (insert fanatical sub group here) is. :wink:

I've never really understood the waving thing - having ridden scooters, Japanese and now Nortons, I've been snubbed and accepted by all.
I think the whole waving thing is a bit silly and in the city usually impractical. If I don't wave I'm probably doing something with my hands like trying to coax my TLS to stop with two-up on an orange light. (No officer, I wasn't speeding - it's these 40 year old brakes - don't seem to work too well, I had to run the light...) or contemplating how I am going to operate the clutch and signal my turn.

:lol: :roll:
I've been keeping an eye on this thing...Oh my...Oh my.

Tend to think fastback has a the time we are finished getting all hot and bothered about this...poor Philippe will never enter another comment in the forum, and that can't be productive for him, the forum, or for any one of us. I hope he pops in again and at least says Hello...scaring him away can't be right. Most of you must have by now figured out that I like jumping into just about every thing and getting all sorts of turmoil started, but I can say, getting upset or abusive to the point where some one of us never comes back again, isn't where it's coming from.

I personally have already done that in this forum. Remember Dynodave? Smart guy who sells nice stuff for Commandos? I had a good go at him , now a couple of years ago, when he made a comment I didn't see straight with, and what was the result? He stopped posting, and it seems he has gone in and deleted every post he ever made in the forum too.

All that knowledge was pulled out of the forum and he is gone. Stupid thing is...we might have gotten on quite well, if I had had myself under control and not reacted as I did. I think he reads the forum still, and if so, I hope he comes back in...I certainly didn't intend to have that happen.

So....chill out on Phillippe, and see the bit of humor in what he said...some of it is even true... :wink:

PS...Dyno...if you read this...see this as an apology for my over reaction...drop us a line some time!
How about that! Last night I was visiting various Norton sites and was browsing DynoDave's. Thought to myself "What or who pissed pissed him off that he deleted all his posts in Jerry's forum?"

Well now I know!

HeWhois.... you should be ashamed of yourself depriving all of us of DynoDave's insights! :cry:

Philippe, I believe your post was meant as humour so continue to hang out even if you only ride a Vespa :roll:

Cheers all, pour a chilled bevie of your choice and drink a toast to this great site.

Hi to all, I feel thoroughly chastised, perhaps Phillpe posted in jest and I overreacted.Hewho you are correct in your moderate stance,I know nothing of your issue with Dyno Dave, hopefully Dyno and Phillipe will once again join in the group discussions and set aside any ill feelings.
Good luck, safe riding.James.
Did I touch a nerve?

So sorry if I insulted so many people…next time I’ll ramble on a religious list it will be less heated… Die Religion ... ist das Opium des Volkes (any religion !).

Without having to justify myself I would only say that these excuses were only a concentrate of what I am hearing, all year long, from a majority of the “classic” bike community people around the San Francisco Bay and /or Europe where I used to live long time ago.
I guess I should have introduced myself, but I thought after all the silly questions I asked a couple of years ago when rebuilding my Commando was enough….I have been riding since I was 16 and I am now 52. When I say riding I do not mean “toys in the garage” : I used to go to work on a bike (we now have a dog, so it is more difficult!), vacations on it (…or this is not a vacation), road race when I was young…. I have over 20 bikes in my garage (Triumph T150, X75- BSA 250- Commando- Laverda RGS, SF2- Kawa H1, S1- Suz T125, DR400- Egli Vincent,-Honda PS50, Sl350, Cb450- Harley XLCR, FXTC, FLH- Yamaha Xt500, Xt225, Fazer700, Vmax- Ossa Yankee- Aprilia Pegaso- Vespa PX125. I do consider riding a way of life and I pity the ones who “hate” any brand or type of motorcycle: in my book this does not show what being on a bike is about, but to everyone is own!
Back to oil thread...

PS to mike916sp : did you ever admit on any Ducati list that you are slower on your 916SP than on your Commando???? You should get into BOT or sell me, cheap, the Duc!
Re: Did I touch a nerve?

prmurat said:
PS to mike916sp : did you ever admit on any Ducati list that you are slower on your 916SP than on your Commando???? You should get into BOT or sell me, cheap, the Duc!

I did say on very tight and twisty B roads - country lanes round Shropshire with very few fast straights. I do use Ducati forums, where I have not admitted to being faster on the Nort, but am also a member of the Ducati Owners Club (GB) - where all the guys in the local branch know I am faster on the Nort on the B Roads and often prove it in their company :D (That doesnt include the singles which is another thing altogether and I wont start on that one on a Nort forum)

Of course get on more open roads and their leagues apart - just talking about below 70mph where theres no straights to speak of to use the 916's power.

Apologies to everyone for drifting into Ducatis on this forum... I will try to restrain myself in future :)
Interesting thread...we've morphed from being upset at a tongue in cheek list on classic bike ownership, to debating whether we should be upset at such a list, to discussing the ramifications of being upset , to comparing the handling of a 90s Duc vs. a Commando...I will say this, I have been on BMW, Ducati, Laverda, Moto Guzzi and Norton sites, and this one tends to be the most cordial and flame free site of any I have visited... far at least.....I will say this, I appreciate my Fastback Commando for what it is - and what it is not, and I try not to get caught up in the fact I am on a Norton site when I post...The Fastback is a great, lightweight classic sportbike, but the emphasis is on classic, we are dealing with 40 year old technology here. It will not brake and handle as well as a modern Italian sportbike, and giving up 40+ or so horsepower it certainly will not keep up with any modern sportbike on even the slightest of straights. That being said, on it own terms it is a very satisfying bike to ride. I have a 1977 Ducati 900SS that handles much better and will leave my Commando in its wake regardless of the road, but that doesn't mean I like it any better than the Commando....if performance alone was the criteria, then I shouldn't be riding either bike, but rather a GSXR1000, Ducati 1098, MVF4, or the like....
Spub said:
we are dealing with 40 year old technology here.

Actually we're dealing with 40 year old components embodying 60 year old technology ! The Commando never had an up to date power unit, let alone a modern one :)

That said, it is one of the few machines that can give a real "old bike" feel and yet remain capable of covering long distances at modern (legalish) traffic speeds.

I also second your views on this forum being flame-free. We should all do our best to keep it that way.
79x100 said:
I also second your views on this forum being flame-free. We should all do our best to keep it that way.

Totally agree with that 79 x 100.

In my limited time here as an active posting member I have found that everyone on this forum seems totally commited to helping each other to keep the bikes where they should be - out on the roads - not neglected rusting away in a damp shed or in the back of a garage gathering dust!!

Though its nice to know there are still a few neglected ones out there ripe for future projects......if you can find them :D :D
mike916sp said:
Though its nice to know there are still a few neglected ones out there ripe for future projects......if you can find them :D :D

They're mostly expensive though, aren't they ? It's a very long time since Commando projects were cheap. When you think how expensive they are to sort out, it's a wonder that we aren't being paid to take them off the hands of those whose lives are being blighted by them ! :D
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