what the market will bear

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I know this question may be very subjective, But. What has everyone been seeing for pre-restored Nortons. Rolling or basket cases. What ever. I fantasize (not like that :? ) of someone telling me of someone who has an old bike in a barn or garage they want to get rid of. Please share your stories.
 
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Here's my 2 cents; non-running basket cases or rollers 90% complete seem to be going for $1000 to $2000. Runners that need restoration may get another $1000 but that depends alot on the condition. If the bike is really rusty or in desperate need of a rebuild or missing a lot of parts then your back to the $1k to 2k range. Really fine examples either original or restored look like they're going for $5000 to $7000. You've got to assess the condition and in reality the only way to do that is to actually inspect the bike hear it run and if possible ride it. I've seen bikes on ebay bid up to $3000 and when I went to see the bike all I could think was how sad the new owner will be.
Of course you will find exceptions to the above but the chance of finding a mint Commando in a barn for $100 is pretty slim. My own story; after looking for about a year I found a '75 non-runner that needed total restoration for $1500. No bargain but it was 99% complete and hadn't been abused other than having spent some time outside i.e. a little rusty.
 
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thanks Scooter. I bet a lot of the condition depends on the part of the country/world the bike spent most of it's time. I'm in the north east USA. The land of salt and sandy roads and snowing winters. Though no one,(occassionly you see bundled up bikers :shock: ) rides in the winter, the salt and sand remain on the roads long into the spring until the crews come around to clean up. So needless to say rust is prevelant here.
 
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Your correct. I suspect the bikes from California will generally be in better shape than most other places. In Florida first not as many bikes were sold second the strong sun and prolific rain takes a toll on any bike that is left outside. There seems to be a lot of vintage bikes in the midwest that end up in barns or garages and since they're usually only ridden in the summer they sometimes are low mileage examples. Remember these bikes are around 30 years old and by now the rubber and plastic parts are hardened or cracked and unless it was stored in a climate controlled space it will have rust.
 
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Your correct. I suspect the bikes from California will generally be in better shape than most other places. In Florida first not as many bikes were sold second the strong sun and prolific rain takes a toll on any bike that is left outside. There seems to be a lot of vintage bikes in the midwest that end up in barns or garages and since they're usually only ridden in the summer they sometimes are low mileage examples. Remember these bikes are around 30 years old and by now the rubber and plastic parts are hardened or cracked and unless it was stored in a climate controlled space it will have rust.
 

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There are quite a few in all conditions on eBay. They come up often.
 

ILLF8ED

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What's it worth

To get some sanity on what a Norton is worth, take a look at the following URL from NADA (AKA the Blue Book). For the most part NADA says a Commando in very good condition needing nothing but a rider has an average value of around $4500. I have seen some with asking prices much higher, but I think NADA is at a realistic level to what most are acutally selling for. It would be interesting to see how many Commandos still exist in the US.

http://www3.nadaguides.com/Values/Value ... 8&Letter=N
 
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Thanks for the input. The Norton restoration seems out of my reach for the moment. I think I'll try restoring a more available (cheaper) motorcycle while I continue to admire the Norton from a far. This will give me time to do more research, build up my tool cache and find the right deal without jumping into something I might regret later. I hope everyone checks the "other classic bikes" board. The knowledge and experience of this board is unbeatable.
 

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Hi Stavenstumper,

Don't give up completely. Keep browsing those old farm houses and barns scattered around New England.

Even if you find a real basket case, you can take your time going over a small piece at a time. I suspect there are folks here willing to help out here and there. :wink:

Ya never know ... :)
 
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Thanks Dana. I will still keep my eyes open. :shock: I have shortcuts to ebay and my local used item classifieds set on my machine in work and at home. :wink: I also make every effort to work it into conversations with the people I know who travel in the motorcycle and junk circles.
 
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Dana you were right about old farm houses in New England. True story...
The wife and I took a weekend get away to an Inn in VT. We found a sleigh ride on a working farm in the area. After the ride my eye caught a quick glimpse of an old snowmobile by a barn. My wife had asked what was in the barn. The farmer said it was his work shop and would we like to see it. We went in and saw the traditional work shop items, propane heater, air compressor, tractor, 2 cows, 4 cats and a motorcycle. I what??? :eek: . Not a Norton but close. It is a barn fresh 1965 Triumph 650. :D I asked if it was for sale and he said it should be. He went on to say he bought it from a guy in town about 5 years ago. Rode it into the barn with the intention of restoring. That is where it remains today. He said he may consider selling if I bugged him enough. I will go visit next month with my pick up and some cash. I will lead the conversation onto future topics such as how busy he will be with spring planting. How much time and effort go into a restoration. etc etc and hopefully ride off with the bike in the back of my Chevy... I find the irony of this entire thread inspiring...
 

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LOL!!!

Too funny :lol:

We'll keep our fingers crossed for you. With luck, you can snag it cheap, sell it, and buy a Norton :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:
 

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Restoring Brits

Stavenstumper,

Your comment about restoring a cheaper bike....the cost of a "core" Brit bike might be higher than say a '72 Honda CB750, but the cost of parts is a lot cheaper for the Brits. By the time you get finished you might find a Norton, Triumph or BSA more affordable.

Another plus for the old bikes (even Japanese) is the cost of issurance. Through Condon & Skelly (Metlife insurance) I can ride my '72 Commando 2,500 miles a year on club activities with full coverage and agreed value at $7K all for $74.50 per year (and in California).
 
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Dana, maybe your right. Once I shew the chickens off and clean it up and get it running well, as a opposed to a complete down to the frame restore. Turn a little ching for the Norton I've been looking for.

Ill8fed, Are the Brit parts really cheaper? Is that for new aftermarket parts or used "greed-bay" parts. or both?
 

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Hi Stavenstumper,

I've been getting mine from both sources. I have price books from several parts dealers, so I can compare when they come on eBay.

Generally, eBay is a whole lot cheaper, and you can get good used stuff and some NOS. I just missed an auction for a seat I wanted :cry: It was new, and went for $75.00. A new one costs around $250.00. Do an eBay search on "Norton" and "Commando".

The dealers only sell new and usually British made. I do like the dealers though ... I can order over the phone with a credit card, and have the shiny goodies in my hands in 2-3 days 8) and I know they're correct and backed up by a return policy. Pros and cons.

I'm keeping track of all my purchases.
 

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Norton parts costs

An example of what I mean is a new exhaust system for a '72 CB750 is around $1000. For a '72 Commando it's less than half that.

Dana is right about e-bay parts prices being less than new in most case, but there are some "stupid" exceptions such as the set of roadster side covers currently at over $200 on e-bay.

I've found the best prices for new parts are at norvil motorcycles
www.norvilmotorcycles.co.uk

The owner is Les Emery was the Norton Owners Club spares manager before starting his own business in the early 80s. When I order online and use a credit card the parts generally arrive in just under a week....not bad coming from England. Don't order one or two things or the shipping will eat you up. Don't order heavy or bulky things such as chains or tires that you can source in the US.
 

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Stavenstumper
Bikers are not supposed to care what others think.
 
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My story.

:x You may already be familiar with the bulk of my tail of woe. See "Commando Kickback." This fall I was in a good positon to seek out and purchase a nice Commando. I kept an eye out on the usual sources for awhile and thought I had found the right machine at Baxter Cycle. I corresponded back and forth with a guy but then came across a bike in Walneck's. The ad listed a website and I was quite impressed. A battery of e-mails and photos helped me to decide that this '72 Roadster was going to be my next ride. The details I was given fit my desires pretty much to a tee: Not a show bike, but a good looker and an excellent runner.
Ready for the road! I was told that an experienced mechanic had gone over the bike, repaired anything that was not up to snuff, and pronounced her as being in excellent mechanical condition. Receipts would be supplied with the bike. I sent off my cashier's check for $4200.00 and then paid another fella $300.00 to deliver it to my home.
When the bike arrived, cosmetically it was close to what I had expected, but not exactly as described. After countless minutes of kicking and cursing I got the bike to run. The just rebuilt carbs were covered with varnish and leaked profusely and the power seemed down compared to my little Triumph T-100. The gearbox was difficult use and the brand new battery had no hold down and had slopped acid out onto the battery box. You get the picture. It hasn't ran since that day and I'm lucky my tibia wasn't broken by the violent kickback when attempting to start it again. I sent a lengthy message to the seller and his answer in a nushell was: Hmm, it was fine when it left here, you must be doing something wrong.
I'm 38 years old, riding since I was nine, fully certified Michigan mechanic, owned numerous bikes, (6 right now, the newest being a 1980 Honda), and have always done ALL my own repairs. But, I don't know how to start a '72 Norton. OK. In the sellers defense, he did send me a Boyer he had at his house that had never been on a bike. The receipt he sent me for the most recent repairs was hand written on a piece of loose leaf paper.
I'm in the process of sorting out the problem and have no doubt that the bike will be on the road this Spring. However, I'll obviously be putting in more time and money than I had expected, or wanted too.
Chuck
 

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norton kickback

Dear Irritated
Screw a pressure guage into your sparking bolt holes and kick the engine over. If the reading is high over 150psi you will have to scrape the carbon from the top of the pistons and the inside of the cylinder head (decarbonize the top end) The last Commando I put together had a cylinder pressure of 95psi it started on the first kick and idles about 700 Rpm
 

Anonymous

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Dear Sway,
Thanks for your advice. I have done a compression check and both cylinders were right around 100psi., so I'm in good shape there. By the way, my user name is Irradiated. I work in a nuclear power plant. Thanks again.
Chuck
 
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