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The Commando Miracle...

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by ntst8, Mar 30, 2019.

  1. ntst8

    ntst8 VIP MEMBER

    Feb 14, 2004
    Reggie likes this.
  2. Madnorton


    Jun 9, 2008
    Some nice photos, the first I have seen before, the bike is not so very early. The late John MacLaren is stood at the top of the stairs.
  3. acotrel


    Jun 30, 2012
    Norton Atlases do not have 'fearsome vibration'. The vibration they have, is much more than a CB750 Honda at low revs. The Atlas crank is balanced for high speeds. Most bikes are used at lower speeds on public roads. My friend has a Norton Atlas which he used to race in A grade in the sixties against Manx Nortons and hot Triumphs etc. It was and is excellent for that purpose. The 850 motor in my Seeley actually causes the whole bike to rock backwards and forwards while it is idling. What sold the CB750 was its smooth running motor and it's finish. As far as handling and speed are concerned, it was inferior to the Atlas. I rode a CB750 Honda when they were new - it didn't do much for me, and my 500cc Triton made them look stupid in road races. The Honda CR750 was fast, but you had to be a hero to ride one.
    Fullauto likes this.
  4. baz

    baz VIP MEMBER

    May 26, 2010
    I can assure you some norton atlases DO have fearsome vibration the more you rev them the worse it gets!
    I suspect the balancing wasn't top of the agenda at that time
    So it was probably luck of the draw what you got?
  5. robs ss

    robs ss VIP MEMBER

    Aug 16, 2016
    Interesting article.
    When I find gems such as these I usually save as a pdf (web material often disappears)
    Here's the pdf for anyone that wants it.
    (if you want the MS Word file - PM me)

    Attached Files:

  6. frankdamp


    Oct 7, 2005
    Having been an N-V engineer during that time, I enjoyed that article very much. There were two Commandos on the stand at Earl's Court, but the engine in the second one was not a runner until it got finished after we got back to the factory. We were running two protoytypes on the street at the time, but they didn't have all the Commando goodies and didn't look like the final product.

    There was an oddball machine on the stand also, a scooter called the "Fantabulous". I tested that also and found it underpowered and very "twitchy".It was made by Villiers (India), if I remember correctly. We swapped the 150cc engine for the 9E (197cc) which improved the performance a bit. It disappeared from the factory about the same time I emigrated to the USA - no connection! Does anyone know what happened to it?
  7. jseng1


    Nov 26, 2009
    They all shake pretty bad - parts fall off regardless of balancing (some were worse than others). To smooth mine out I had to reduce the reciprocating weight by 30%
    KiwiNeill likes this.
  8. ashman


    Jul 11, 2010
    The 650s Dommies were noted a lot smoother than the 750 Atlas, bigger bores or stroke made them vibrate more???, I will find out when I pull my finger out and get back into building my hot caferacer 650 Dommie but its a ex race bike and the crank has been balanced.

  9. Dommie Nator

    Dommie Nator VIP MEMBER

    Apr 2, 2013
    I heard it was the piecework Atlas crank balancing that was part of the problem.
  10. Onder


    May 11, 2010
    Piecework is fine as long as Inspection is up to the mark. Labour relations at build time were adversarial to say the least hardly an inducement to
    quality work. Not absolving management here either they werent exactly leadership material.
  11. cliffa


    May 26, 2013
  12. jseng1


    Nov 26, 2009
    If you have your Atlas professionally rebalanced, it will still shake so bad that the headlamp filiment will blow out if you revv it too high. Changing balance factor won't cure it. The rubber mounted cradle of a Commando is shaking all over.
  13. mdt-son


    Jan 19, 2012
    You of all persons should know the stroke of the production 650s is identical to the Atlas :)

  14. ashman


    Jul 11, 2010
    I have ridden both bikes over the years of riding my good mate had a 650 Dommie and I have ridden a 750 Atlas a while back and the 650 was a pleasure to ride but wasn't impress with the Atlas with the vibrations could feel it on the foot pegs and handle bars etc, but the Dommie was quite nice to ride maybe the Atlas was having a bad day, but both bikes handled pretty good but the Dommie felt better all round.

  15. slimslowslider


    Jun 29, 2010
    Thank you so much for this fine, all-revealing piece of historical research, Cliffa :D
    cliffa likes this.
  16. cliffa


    May 26, 2013
    Glad you liked it slimslowslider. One day i'll get around to the sequel ;)

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