1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

What head steady is this?

Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by Petersen, Oct 30, 2018.

  1. Petersen


    May 2, 2014
    I just picked up this head steady for the princely sum of 300 Swedish Kronor (which would be 33 US dollars or 26 British pounds) but the seller couldn't remember where he got it in the first place. Just out of curiosity, does anyone know which manufacturer it is from?


  2. grandpaul

    grandpaul VIP MEMBER

    Jan 15, 2008
    Looks like a Norvil, maybe a repro (I have a repro)
  3. NortonMKIIA850


    Jul 20, 2017
    It's certainly Norvil-style, it's essentially the same, but it's more complex and fiddly-looking. In the Norvil headsteady, which I have, the split in the frame tube clamp is horizontal, not vertical, and the clamp attaches to the triangular plate on either side at one point only, with none of those intervening nuts. The one pictured above looks to me like it might be a home-brew, but I suppose more likely a knock-off. On the other hand, what do I know – maybe it's an original from way back when, or a prototype?! Pictures below are of my Norvil headsteady, bought from N*rvil up to 20 years ago.


    Last edited: Oct 30, 2018
  4. baz

    baz VIP MEMBER

    May 26, 2010
    Just a personal thing
    But I prefer this type to the Dave Taylor style rod link
    It's certainly better than the first and second generation of original commando head steadies
  5. kommando


    May 7, 2005
    Just be careful with tank clearances, some touch and then it will drill a hole in your petrol tank.
  6. lcrken

    lcrken VIP MEMBER

    Mar 15, 2009
    Looks pretty much home-made. The original PR head steady looked like this:

    Head Steady.JPG

  7. KiwiNeill

    KiwiNeill Guest

    Petersen & NortonMKIIA850
    I agree it looks like a (stainless?) Norvil isolastic copy and you could clean it up, round off the sharp corners and fit new iso shims to have a bargain (historic type) head steady which will work well when properly adjusted.
    I set the main iso,s 0.008" first, then the head steady adjusted the same.

    I still have my Norvil stainless version I bought ages ago for around £78.00. Well made and still looks like new, but also effective, one of my best buys.
    Handling definitely improved from the Mk3 original with none of the Commando handling problems reported over the years even with modern radials and uprated suspension.
    Fitted as bought so no idea if it,s centered or if the ends are truly square but vibes tamed nicely and I love riding the bike. (but minus 2c this morning and ice on backroads may end this years daily work ride)
    Like baz I prefer it to the link type, the third iso has a nice symmetry with the rest of the bike.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2018
  8. gtiller

    gtiller VIP MEMBER

    Nov 5, 2012
    Looks like a copy of the Norvil headsteady - I say copy, as your materials seem lighter gauge than the originals.

    Interestingly this Norvil accessory had nothing at all to do with Les Emery’s Norvil.
    Mick Hemmings was licensed to build parts under the Norvil name, and built some superb accessories.
  9. Petersen


    May 2, 2014
    OK, so probably home made then, inspired by the Norvil head steady. (Yes, it's stainless) I think I will give it a try on my Roadster. Thank you all for input!
  10. kerinorton


    Feb 12, 2013
    Ludwig's is the best and simplest I have seen. I use his design [ but my interpretation ] on both my commando's. I have a picture of it saved but haven't a clue how to add it here.
  11. DogT


    Jan 20, 2009
    I have Ludwig's pictures and drawings of his HS he sent me if anyone wants them.
    robs ss likes this.
  12. robs ss

    robs ss VIP MEMBER

    Aug 16, 2016
    Just sent you a PM with my email address - thanks
  13. gortnipper

    gortnipper VIP MEMBER

    Nov 11, 2013
    Send it to me Dereck and I will post it for you.
  14. DogT


    Jan 20, 2009
    Here's for all including some notes.
    IMGP5937-800.jpg ludwigplatefullsize.jpg ludwig tri fullsize.jpg ludwig hs3.jpg ludwig hs2.jpg ludwig hs1.jpg ludwig hs.jpg
    Hello DogT ,
    sorry for the somewhat late reply , but I guess there is no hurry .

    First of all , I would like to say that , even if it is a fairly simple piece of work , it should be made with care , and attention to detail .
    Do not underestimate the forces involved .
    That is why I would recommend 4 – 5 mm steel for material .
    If you use plain iron ,make it 6 mm thick .
    The 2 holes for the bolts in the cylinder head should precision drilled , not sloppy , or oval , so that it will always be installed in exactly the same position .
    When cutting the parts , alow some excess material in all directions , which can be removed when finished .
    Best to make cardboard templates to try out for first , .
    You see that I made a triangular cut out in the base plate for weight saving , but this is time consuming and not really nessecary .
    A big round hole ( or no hole) is fine .
    The 35° bend (ply) in the base plate must be square with the frame , not parallel with the holes .
    If steel , you’ll need to get it red hot to bend .
    I used a trough bolt , but if you want to keep the threads in the small cross tube , use a stud ( not a bolt! ) threaded deep and loctited .
    Spacer (1) is 8 to 10 mm long , diameter 14-15 mm , and makes the Hsteady stand off the frame , and allow space for cables , etc ..
    Spacer (2) is about 12 mm dia. and the length depends on the thickness of the vertical HS plate + PTFE sliders .
    The length of spacer 2 dertermines the clearance .
    Both spacers should be a close fit and cut straight to ensure parallellism .
    The 2 washers should also be machined smooth and straight , not generic stamped washers ..
    Mine are out of 4 mm stainless.
    The 2 PTFE washers slide over spacer 2 .
    Actually , I don’t think mine are PTFE , but Ertacetal or Delron , or something similar .
    I cut them out of a large 1mm sheet I have , and replace them every 10000 kms or so .
    the big hole in the HS is 24 mm and spacer 2 is 12mm , so there is a clearance of 6 mm all around , but I’m shure you could get away with less .
    the engine doesn’t move all that much .
    Welding :
    Install all the parts on the bike , but without spacer 2 , so that the vertical plate is clamped solid between the washers .
    This wil make shure that everything is in line .
    Make shure that the 24 mm hole is concentric with the stud .
    The bike should be standing vertical and on its wheels ! .
    On the centre stand ( engine cradle type) the engine will move up in the frame = not good .
    On the side stand the engine will move left = even worse .
    The idea is to mimic riding geometry .
    A pit stand is best .
    Tack weld the 2 parts .
    Remove the HS from the bike and finish the welds , remove excess material , polish , etc ...
    The welding must be high quality ! .
    If you are unshure about your welding , get a professional to do it .
    You will see that I also have a polyurethane ring inside the big hole .
    It is not really needed ;I only has a witness function to see how much , and in wich direction the engine moves .
    Now , does it vibrate ?
    Yes , but I set all my clearances ( isos + HS) at 0.10 mm , half the factory value .
    It gives a very mild vibration over the entire rev range , but it does not bother me , and isn’t tiresome , even after a 500 mile day .
    I gladly accept a little vibration for better steering and feedback .
    If you prefer less vibration , it is easy to make longer spacers (nr 2) .
    The 3rd hole in the cyl. head can be used for a spring .

    If you have any more questions I’ll be happy to answer .
    Best regards , and good luck .

    I must admit I have no idea how big the side load can be , so I made it pretty strong : the vertical piece is 5 mm (3/16") thick steel , the base plate 4 mm .SS end washers are 4 mm . the hole part is fully 3 dimensional .
    I mesured the amplitude of the vibration at the head : about 2 mm , so a clearance of 3-4 mm between spacer and eye is enough .
    To ensure perfect alignement , the 2 parts are tack welded in situ .
    Lateral movement is controlled by the length of the spacer . I set it at 0.10 mm (.004") . I only use 2 bolts on the head . On bolt 3 is a spring preset at 20 kg (44lbs?) to take the weight off the front iso

    robs ss, Kvinnhering and kommando like this.
  15. grandpaul

    grandpaul VIP MEMBER

    Jan 15, 2008
    How is this spring anchored, and where is the other end attached?
  16. Deets55

    Deets55 VIP MEMBER

    Oct 3, 2013

    I think Ludwig said the spring gets attached where the center SH bolts goes. He only uses the outer ones for his mount. Not sure where it goes on the frame.
  17. grandpaul

    grandpaul VIP MEMBER

    Jan 15, 2008
    I can think of any number of ways you MIGHT set up the spring, but if it's already been done cleanly and successfully, why re-invent the wheel (or the spring mount)?
  18. xbacksideslider

    xbacksideslider VIP MEMBER

    Aug 19, 2010
  19. DogT


    Jan 20, 2009
    Pretty sure he re-invented the spring because there's no original type HS hole to attach it to although that could be taken care of. Looks like it may be in one of those pictures. I was never sure about it either but I seem to remember a picture of it but I don't appear to have it. Ludwig shows up here once in a while. Someone could PM him maybe. I ended up making my own keith1069 (http://www.accessnorton.com/the-keith1069-headsteady-t5862.html which appears gone) type aluminum heim joint type so I didn't investigate any further. Ludwig's was a bit beyond my shop capability.
  20. gortnipper

    gortnipper VIP MEMBER

    Nov 11, 2013
    Dereck sent me his pics, and you can see how it is anchored on the head of the bolt and to an anchor in the right side hole.

    Ludwigs headsteady 3.jpg LUDWIG'S headsteady.jpg

Share This Page