Salute to All

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Aug 8, 2005
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Hi all I have been browsing this forum for about a week now and I find it a great place to get information on the Snortin Norton. So hats off to those who make it happen.
I guess I will introduce myself as Thomas and I hale from Ontario Canada and I have owned Nortons since the early 80's. My first Commando was a Red 750 72 Combat and through the years I have collected another Combat 750 and an 73 850. I am rebuilding the first combat to 20tho over pistons and a regrind on the crank, new supperblends. and the Frame and all attachments will be Powder coated. I am keeping the bike fairly stock but will modify to stainless parts and a norvil headsteady. Boyer ignition Those kind of things to make the bike more road driveable.
I have been a member of the Candadian Norton Owners Association and the CVMG but I have slipped out of the loop for quite some time. Now I am getting back into it and working on getting things back on the road again.

Keep the Rubber side down and Thanks for the great site.
Hi Thomas,

Welcome to the forum. I too am in Ontario. Ever heard of the Ontario Norton Owners? We have a website:

Good selection of upgrades. I would do some more research before installing a Norvil Headsteady. IMHO there are better alteratives, I had a Norvil and could never really get used to the extra vibes transmitted by this unit. I ended up machining up my own, using two hiem(?) joints, a la rubber mounted HD / Buell. Works great, no more vibes!!


Strange that you should mention the norvil head steady....I have mine apart at the moment and I see a couple of things that could have been better designed if someone had taken the time. On mine, the center bolt, which passes through the isolatic rubber, had come a bit loose, and the bolt had the play to move up and down in the holes in the sideplates.....result, egg shaped holes in side plates, and the bolt has a nice area on both sides that thas no threads and is smaller than the rest of the bolt...all designed to cause it to happen again, no matter how tight you made the bolt now. Will have to be solved with a couple of special made washers with shoulders on them that fit into an enlarged hole in the side plates and take up the slack/correct the damaged bolt surface. I had been happy with the head steady, until I now see what it was doing there under the tank. The vibrations were, though, as you say....not productive towards producing children, to say the least. I just accepted it as the cost of finally having a bike that would go around a corner without doing a Hula dance. Any aftermarket head steady has got to be better than the original type..... I have to get this fixed, and I have no lathe myself...time to beg and whine to a freind of mine who works in a machine shop.

All in all, though...good advice, check the other types of head steadies out , there might be something that will last longer than the Norvil, as they now produce it....but do get something to replace that factory thing!!!!!
'72 combat

Dyno Dave had recommended not using a Boyer for the combat engine due to the advance curve difference. I ran a Boyer for the first 4 years after rebuilding my combat. It always had an engine knock problem even with premium pump gas. After installing a Lucas RITA ignition all of this went away.

I have not experienced any handling problems caused by the factory head steady. The usual causes of poor handling are a loose swing arm spindle or too much gap in the isolastics With a fiberglass tank, it's not recommended using the Norvil head steady anyway. It doesn't fit under these gas tanks. Stick with the saying "if it isn't broken, don't fix it."
Might be generally good advice, but not in all cases. Sort of like not replacing the timing belt on my car because it wasn't broke...yet. Learned my lesson.

Even if all else is order, the lousy factory headsteady will cause sloppy handling. Even given the problems I now find with my Norvil...I will fix it, put it back in and not even think about putting the factory item back in. Replacement of this, and the two other motor mounts made my bike a pleasure to drive again. Who wants to go backwards? I think you would be surprised what a difference it makes.

As to whether it fits under a glass tank...don't know, why wouldn't it? Is the clearance so tight? I have a steel tank.....wouldn't know, so you might be correct about that.
It's not that there is anything wrong with the stock (box section) head steady. With proper isolastic maintenance, it's adequate ... but not as good as it could be. Things could be better, i.e. heim joints. I do not expect anybody believe me on this, nobody did until they rode my bike. Just stating my findings.

As far as the Boyer goes, been running it since I put the bike (combat) on the road. PO put it on in 1974. Only time it pinged was when I tried to lean out the mixture. Yes, it burns lots of gas (40 mpg), but it does run very well.

In my experience with Nortons, there is enough manufacturing variability that there is no one thing that cures all on all bikes. Experiences vary, patience is recommended.

My $0.02. Lots of luck!!

Thanks Derek for the site I'll look into this more closely. I am going to set this 750 Commando up with a Steel Roadster tank but I know what u mean about tight fit. with the headsteady... not applicable with FG tanks. The Boyers never gave me problems with the Combat model or the 850 that I own I just know it is a far cry better than the Lucus Points that came with the bike.... I drove this bike with the Boyer EI from Ontario to the East Coast... Quebec, New Brunswick PEI and Nova Scotia, Cape Breton... around the Cabot Trail and back again and never had a hitch of problem...I put over 3000 miles on it with that trip and it didn't hicup once. I Blew a head gasket on the way back in Quebec but the Boyer ran strong. May be I got lucky. who knows.
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