Will's '75 Commando custom restoration

Not open for further replies.


Jan 15, 2008
Country flag
I received the engine for overhaul, then after a few back and forth discussions, will decided to send me the whole bike, mostly dismantled.

It was a rusty bugger, and the engine had been beaten up trying to free off the stuck pistons; pretty sorry sight-

Will's '75 Commando custom restoration

Stripped everything for powdercoat-

Will's '75 Commando custom restoration

Not much for chrome-

Will's '75 Commando custom restoration

Mishandling by UPS, and possibly some inadequate packing resulted in broken fins on the head and cylinders. Cylinders aren't such a big deal,
but the RH4 head IS!

Will's '75 Commando custom restoration

The rods had been flopped about, resulting in some nicks-

Will's '75 Commando custom restoration

All the dull bits going out to the polisher-

Will's '75 Commando custom restoration
Powdercoated stuff back, exactly as ordered by the client-

Will's '75 Commando custom restoration

Chromed suff back, out to wheel lacing next-

Will's '75 Commando custom restoration

Polished bits all sparkly, my favorite-

Will's '75 Commando custom restoration
How about some "after" pictures of the con rod nicks? They looked really bad.

The rod close-ups will be coming post-haste when I get busy building up the lower end, probably next week.

I'm still clearing the decks from a long racing season and making space in the shop for three simultaneous builds (although one is 70% complete).
I love the shiny bits. I'm now thinking I should have had my conrods polished while the motor is being rebuilt.

Paul, what is the frame colour? It looks kind of like a blue/grey on my screen.
It's a "Dove Blue" or something like that (the powdercoater stayed with the paint chip). The client is shooting for something looking akin to the Paul Smart Ducati. I think it's a pretty smart color selection if we end up with the Silver tank.

Another goal is a custom oil tank, as small as possible, up against the rear fender, across the frame, to produce an "open space" behind the air filter area. That'll be combined with a small gel cell battery (no electric starter will be used).
I have a subcontractor who works in large volume business, I have to send him 3 bikes worth of parts at a time to get a reasonable discount. But, he's the best.

If you want a project done, give me a heads up and I'll try to coordinate 2 other projects to make a go of it. I'm talking about $250.00 for the typical Norton project as seen in the photo.
Rods polished out quite nicely. Just a hint of the nicks that were too deep to polish out, smoothed to the point where they will not be an issue.

Will's '75 Commando custom restoration
Thoose rods will look nice sticking out the bottom of your crankcase,dont be so mieserable. Read les emerys comments on later model rods.
Thoose rods will look nice sticking out the bottom of your crankcase,dont be so mieserable. Read les emerys comments on later model rods.

Are they "D" rods? Not all '75's were fitted with them.
Greg - the nearest thing to a turd that I've polished was the clutch cover of my '75 Honda CB550. I spent several hours a day for several days with 0000 steel wool, wadding polish and Simichrome, and it only looked marginally better. Never again; I send all my stuff out now, every other month or so in a big ol' box. It all comes back nice and sparkly.

Splat & Ron - more info on those rods would be appreciated...
Jason / Grandpaul, go to Norvils website;


Go to "tech talk," and scrolldown to "D rods, demons be gone."

Not everybody agrees that they are prone to fail early, but I decided to put new rods in my MK3 which for some reason had one NM prefixed rod and one "D" rod in :?: Also as I didn't know the history of the engine, and chose to play safe.
I don't think that I would put those rods back in. The residual damage would still provide a starting point for a crack in my opinion and they had clearly been very roughly treated.
The client will make the final call based on his anticipated use and available budget, after all of these suggestions & recommendations are noted. I'm leaning toward recommending replacement.

Not open for further replies.