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Weak links

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by Fast Eddie, Apr 15, 2018.

  1. Danno


    Feb 7, 2010
    We all must be masochists.
  2. Danno


    Feb 7, 2010
    And remember this; at one time, those crude Girling shocks, Roadholder fork and Burman gearbox were state-of-the-art and used on many other machines by builders who wanted and needed the best available at the time.
  3. oldbeezer

    oldbeezer VIP MEMBER

    Nov 2, 2017
    Weakest link.....owners?
    Nater_Potater likes this.
  4. texasSlick

    texasSlick VIP MEMBER

    Jan 2, 2013
    So ..... why do we luv'em? Maybe that should be a new thread.

  5. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie VIP MEMBER

    Oct 4, 2013
    Well, the intention behind this thread was to first list all of the known weak links...

    And then to list the various known options to countermeasure them...

    But the list is so big, and broad, I’m not sure how to go about it now !
  6. kommando


    May 7, 2005
    For a comprehensive list I would take

    1. The NOC Commando service notes

    2. The INOA Tech Digest


    A combine the 2 removing duplicates and selecting best version

    B update the mods eg change new amals to new premier amals

    C add in any new mods eg the Heinz Keigler swingarm pivot clamps, 3rd iso's under engine etc

    D final vet and then publish
  7. worntorn


    Dec 22, 2006
    I guess for the MK3 version the main weak points would be the RH4 head possibly cracking, weak front brake and weak Estart. Potentially soft cams would also be on the list, tho some are just fine.

    Most every other weakness had been addressed with all of the previous model upgrades. The MK3 was quite an aggressive step in that so many changes/upgrades were made in one model change. Clearly they were aiming at the Japanese, who were building a customer base by building reliable if bland motorcycles.
    The fixes for the MK3
    -Head- find a good RH10 or buy a Fullauto. I have a good RH10 in drawer and no problems at the moment with the original RH4.
    - Front brake - sleeving the MC reduced hand strength required but does nothing for the undersized brake pads. The Brembo or Madass brakes cover that.
    I installed the Madass complete single disc setup and it's all you need.
    In fairness, if you ride at the speed limit or even 10 over, the stock brakes are fine. They have two rapid stops in them, which is generally all you need. They finally overheat on the third rapid stop/slowdown.
    So for most riding the inexpensive sleeve to increase leverage is all that's needed.
    If you ride in the mountains a lot then you would really enjoy the Madass brake , or, I expect, the Brembo from CNW.

    The Estart has a few upgrades available.
    Mine has heavier cables and a four pole starter conversion . With the proper battery in place it starts in a second.
    The sprag is the weakest point in that starter system. I'm not aware of any truly uprated sprags out there. There are 14 roller and 18 roller versions. 18 might be a bit better than 14, but both have failed quite often.
    At the moment I'm using a cheapie Chinese 18 roller. So far no problem, but it has only done a few dozen starts.
    One day Matt at CNW may offer some higher grade starter drive parts for the MK3. He has mentioned that this is something they intend to do.
    I was waiting for them to appear but nothing turned up after a year or two, so in went the $17 sprag , just to get the Estart functioning again.
    As far as crap suspension, I don't know. Mine's all stock and it floats over the bumps better than my any of my 3 modern bikes.
    If I want to do 60 or even 70 mph down a rough pothole filled road, it's the best.
    Kind of amazing when it's up against state of the art Ohlins and Showa Big Piston.

    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
  8. MikeG


    May 31, 2012
    The weakest point I've found so far is the $$$ to get one properly sorted compared to what I spent on my BSA....and lets not forget exhaust port threads.
  9. JimC


    Oct 12, 2007
    A Norton damn sure isn’t for the weak of heart or skint of wallet.
  10. 84ok


    Aug 10, 2014
    one step at a time, like building an engine,

    amass all available info in this thread, then organize & prioritize,

    start new threads with prioritized topics

  11. baz

    baz VIP MEMBER

    May 26, 2010
    The good thing is with a commando there are fixes and up grades for just about everything
    And it's all well documented and after the initial outlay a commando is not a dear bike to run and maintain ,spare parts are mostly available and a lot cheaper than say a Japanese or Italian bike
    Nater_Potater and worntorn like this.
  12. CanukNortonNut


    Aug 8, 2005
    Right on, Then get L.A.B. or Jerry to make it a sticky. ;)
  13. 84ok


    Aug 10, 2014
    the parts availability or support for out of production nortons vs the equivalent mega models, changes galore japanese equivalents might as well be day & night, even for mega sellers like old goldwings,

    pretty amazing how it all turned out in the long term, what continues to thrive vs going away & what nortons go for today
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
    Nater_Potater likes this.
  14. Onder


    May 11, 2010
    Im currently dicking with a Rickman Enfield. Norton is fully supported in parts , aftermarket parts, rebuild guys, knowledge base and on and on. 20 years ago
    it wasnt so easy to keep an Norton going. Now it is very easy. The Rickman is like owning a brit bike in 1980. Everything was hard to find.
    baz likes this.
  15. The Buckeye Rider

    The Buckeye Rider

    Jan 1, 2005
    The loose nut behind the handlebars, just above the seat!
    Ride On
    Fast Eddie and baz like this.
  16. Fast Eddie

    Fast Eddie VIP MEMBER

    Oct 4, 2013
    The trouble is, the ‘list’ is already 5 times longer than I thought it would be. And every problem, and every potential solution, will generate massive debate. The thread will just explode.

    I therefore can’t see it leading to anything helpful.

    Whoever started this thread was clearly not thinking very straight !
  17. oldbeezer

    oldbeezer VIP MEMBER

    Nov 2, 2017
    I agree with the degree of difficulty it would present.
    BTW who is Strewth?
  18. Mr. Rick

    Mr. Rick VIP MEMBER

    Feb 6, 2009
    Thread exploding not necessarily a bad thing, but I agree the scope is rather large, and prob better approached on a subject-by-subject basis.
    Straight thinking vs realistic expectations has inherent tension, no fault there.
    The motivation had good intentions, already produced results, all good!
  19. worntorn


    Dec 22, 2006
    If it's any consolation to Commando owners, someone on the Rat forum started a similar thread for the new Triumph Thruxton 1200r.
    It's already up to about 80 pages for a bike that I haven't been able to find a single fault on, other than it is faultless and some might think that boring!

    Imagine what that thread will look like when the Thruxtons have been in use for 45-50 years like our Commandos have!

  20. hobot


    Oct 19, 2005
    As worntorn Glen stated, pick any make/model and search with faults, failure, repair, warranty, upgrade or replacement terms - to realize the deep south wisdom...

    If its got ovaries or a motor powering it, expect ongoing troubles and expenses. But hey what's life w/o some fast flings and fun...

    One my main mentors/guru's on diagnosis & treatment, George Goodheart DC, had a quote about the body that applies here.

    "Body is Simply Complex and Complexly Simple."

    A taste of how Dr. Goodheart mind applies to us. He was sent to Africa as
    a WWII P51 pilot trainer that solved a deadly mystery - every Mustang 50 cal all jammed every time in Combat but never on any ground tests. He realized it must be put in full functional conditons to get a clue, so did Einstein level thought experiment, young American hot rodders seeing Messerschmitt Bf 109's baring down, ignored throttle limit warning lable >>>> WOT - pilot pushed back in seat as it twisted air frame which jammed gun bolt ... IIRC more clearance of gum mounts started turning the odds.

    One time a Suadi Prince flew Goodheart to Europe for a sex problem daily servicing his concubines, d/t back pain, so Goodheart asked him get on his knees, which the Prince at first Blatantly Refused to do as a Royal, till Goodheart said, got to put the body in position of trouble to find the cause. Prince relaxed saying Ah yes I see your wisdom. Turned to be simple piriformis fascia syndrome to find/fix. Got paid 30K for the visit and bought a ' 68 Corvette Stingray.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2018
    Nater_Potater likes this.

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