Rickman Commando

Chris

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
1,092
Country flag
Hi
You probably remember my Rickman Commando project. Well its time to resurrect it again.
It suffered a loss of teeth on the Quaife 4 speed & when I build a standard road box (Mick Hemmings suggestion as gears were not available) I found soft alloy in the sump filter. So time to start again.
As the bike was.



Then with the replacement engine & petrol tank.



All the best Chris
 

Chris

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
1,092
Country flag
Hi

Cant believe it but that ride at Pembury was 2014! Where has that time gone.
So far I have had a bracket braized on to the swinging arm for the shark fin. Had 2 spacers made up for the swinging arm as it had a load of shims in there.
Had the fairing bracket sorted, it had been cut & lengthened & looked cr*p. I have ground off all the extra brackets that secured the silencers, the oil tank & coils.




all the best Chris
 

Chris

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
1,092
Country flag
Hi

Forgot to say! I have had new brackets brazed on the frame for a Rickman oil tank. I got this as the one fitted to the bike was suspended by bobbins & the sheared at an amazing rate. This new tank also has more capacity.

Chris
 

Fast Eddie

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
12,350
Country flag
Chris, give us the lowdown on handling relativity, you've ridden Rickmans, Seeleys, Commandos, and fearherbeds (I think), so how do they compare with regards to handling and ride ability ?
 
Joined
Feb 5, 2011
Messages
1,911
Country flag
Fast Eddie said:
Chris, give us the lowdown on handling relativity, you've ridden Rickmans, Seeleys, Comandos, and fearherbeds (I think), so how do they compare with regards to handling and ride ability ?
+1 I'm curious about that too...
 

Chris

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
1,092
Country flag
Hi
Interesting question. Race bikes all.On the road I can get my Commando to gently weave. With the Norvil proddie it doesn't but it is heavy on the wrists. Balance? I think its the riding position altering the weight distribution.On the track the featherbed was faultless the long stretch over the tank suits my build, footrest position was not so good & I always found the wideline chaffed my thighs.Never had a problem with handling same as the Rickman really.I was always told both these frames were great until they let go! I was told the frames are too stiff.My view of a good frame is if I don't think about it when I have raced. The Seeley Mk2 is on rails it goes where you look.However with the mk4 you can alter the handling by moving about on the bike. Perfect balance? I would like to see what the weights of these bikes are.The featherbed is heavy as its a road frame the Rickman is pretty solid & I don't think the mk2 is that far away.The mk3 & mk4 are worlds away.The Seeley's are tiny in comparison to anything else. Funnily enough the proddy racer handled fine on the track I did feel it really dropped into hairpins but on the fast stuff it was pretty good. I am not the fastest by a mile but bikes to me are all about what you feel & the mk4 just puts a smile on your face.
Chris
 

Chris

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
1,092
Country flag
Hi all

Well bit stunned by this project! Its got legs!!!
Its not my priority & yet all of a sudden its moved on.
I took the bike over to a company in Worthing to look at colours & their work. They order the colour in. Well my frame has been blasted & primed & is being coated this week! To add to this, I asked my mate John at last months Norton owners club meeting if he could paint my tank seat & mudguard. Well all prepped, primed & awaiting my colour to arrive. I don't know if I mentioned the engine. Lent the bike out & the quaife 4 speed made its mind up to make do with less teeth. Well I did a swap of some long roadholer fork legs & had a pair of replacement gears made by Ellis Moore. (not been available for 34 years) Well when I drained the engine oil to race the bike with a road box I found alloy (shells) in the oil. Me being me, I then lent my engine to a friend of a friend Steve. He used the barrels & pistons which proved his plus 80 rings were u.s. Well he actually found some old stock plus 80 piston rings this year & offered to rebuild my engine for me. I dropped the crank off to P Seager who reground the crank. Andover Norton delivered a new timing chain, gaskets oil seals & good quality crank bolts & nuts. Work has commenced :D
Another thing I may not have written anywhere. A few years ago I had 5 pairs of fork sliders made up. Rickman 41mm in certificated steel but a bit thicker tube. The project stalled when the fork specialist of choice asked me for £800 to hard chrome & grind them. Probably a good price but on top of the cost of the material & the engineering costs not something that would be viable. i.e. I keep 2 pairs, one pair to use one pair as spares, flog the rest. Well Friday I had an e mail from a company a friend suggested /recommended & they have asked for details. Hopefully this time I might be able to move things on. The reason is something Steve Adlem said, about not seeing Rickmans in the period running Norvil/Seeley front ends. Well mine has a Norvil Commando front & Triumph rear. Other than the stantions I nearly have a complete Rickman disc front fork set up. I have a Rickman front wheel, the later type i.e. not the drum/disc hub & a rear wheel :D Now I have a funny feeling that I lent the discs out to someone!!! to have some made. 11 inch front 10 1/2inch rear? I will probably build it as it was to get it all together. I am sure it will take a bit of time to sort out the Rickman parts but eventually it will be all Rickman! Last thing! The bike now has a 5 speed Quaife as the 4 speed is in the Norvil proddie bike.
Photos to follow when I get the bits. hehe

All the best Chris

All the best Chris
 

grandpaul

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jan 15, 2008
Messages
11,066
Country flag
As this forum has provided such a rich variety of Norton & Britbike related wonders and eye-candy, and I've read the vast majority of it's threads (especially the project build threads), my mind's eye is on edge waiting to gear more about this project!

I especially like the stories from people that have all manner of go-fast and rare goodies sitting on their shelves, and those that have amazingly well-equipped shops with lathes and mills, and produce most or all needed special parts and appurtenances. Again, this sounds like one of those...

(certainly, photos will be a plus)
 

Chris

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
1,092
Country flag
Hi Paul

I've got a hacksaw & a file! not to hot at measuring iether. Just garage space.
This frame came to me with the bottom rails cut to put in a sleeve for a BSA 650 unit engine. A fate worse than death. The Commando lump looks much better in it. However it was originally built to house a Daytona engine.
Photos will follow.

all the best Chris
 
Joined
Apr 20, 2011
Messages
4,609
Country flag
Re; “Another thing I may not have written anywhere. A few years ago I had 5 pairs of fork sliders made up. Rickman 41mm in certificated steel but a bit thicker tube. The project stalled when the fork specialist of choice asked me for £800 to hard chrome & grind them.”
You can get almost any fork sliders hard chromed and ground to you diameter in England for about 100 notes :!:
just look at the M/C press.
 

Fast Eddie

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Oct 4, 2013
Messages
12,350
Country flag
Great summary of the different frames Chris, thanks. I love the idea of Seeley frames, but at just over 6 foot, I'm thinking I'd be a bit cramped and kinda think a Manx or Rickman would fit better... to that I'm building out like that though!

Chris, how about a similar summary of your experience with different Commando engine configurations as you've run a few different set ups. And, although I know you've mentioned it before, can you tell us about your experimentation with cams and your preference thereof ?

All in the interest of science of course....
 

Chris

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
1,092
Country flag
Hi
Bernard it was Philpots that quoted me that price.
Fast Eddie I will have a think & write that up, sometime! :D

So it begins!


A new swingingarm spindle made up by my friend Terry. 6mm allen head put in each end with a wobbly broach. New nuts on order.

Chris
 

Chris

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
1,092
Country flag
Hi Eddie

Zinc primer :D lol
Cant wait to see the tank seat & mudguard!!
Bit of alloy & who knows.

Chris
 

Chris

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
1,092
Country flag
Hi

Made a start, as my skf taper rollers arrived. I dont usually post po stuff as I have raced & comitted horrible crimes to get out on track. This one was a suprise to me though.
Photo shows a large ding in the ring that seats the headstock bearing. Usually find a few dings as people try & hammer out the "outer" part of the bearing. However my previous owner has tried to remove the seat! Its the top one & the ding is in the top! Hopefully the seating area is big enough to seat the new bearing but it looks like I will be carrying a spare set of bearings to race meetings with me.
Off to polish the yokes later

All the best Chris
 

Chris

VIP MEMBER
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
1,092
Country flag
Hi

Its pretty picture time :D I have the frame on a stand & have started proping up various bits & pieces to see if items I have to hand in the garage are better than some of the items on the original bike! Shopping list to compile plus decisions about getting it back on its wheels & finishing/updating items to add later.
So, Headstock bearings, my friend Lee has supplied me with boxes of SKF 30205 taper roller bearings at a fantastic price. If you need some let me know! Once fitted I polished up my bottom yoke, it is made by Altec a company name. I have seen that name cast in a few period pieces. No name in the top yoke. Yokes fitted I brought some stainless button heads for the fairing bracket/lockstop. I left the top section nickel. I also have a swinging arm in nickel, ideas to play with. However I am loving the yellow :D my mate John came to club night last Thursday with the tank seat & mudguard in the boot of his car. Stunning. Going with the yellow swinging arm as we speak. So new swinging arm spindle fitted with new spacers fron Terry the frame man for the yellow swinging arm. First suprise! 3/8" shock mounts 8m fittings!! Cant find the sleeves that I had made, they allowed me to fit the Harris stand ie 8mm they are not made in imperial sizes. So top mounts spare 3/8 rubbers fitted new sleeves on the list for the bottom mounts. As an aside Norman of NJB shocks tells me rubber mounts are not available in all widths & sizes, so I have saved all my old shock rubbers as a back up. Swinging arm fitted for now I turned my eye to the wheels & forks. Spare stantions & seals added to the list as I have a couple of rusty/patchy areas although they are not in the seal area. Will post more as I go.

All the best Chris








 

Top