Discussion in 'Norton Commando Motorcycles (Classic)' started by Nater_Potater, Jun 6, 2016.
I'm only 18 or 19 years old, but I'm trapped in a 74 year old body.
67½ been riding since I was 16. Bought my first Norton, a 1969 S in 1970. After breaking just about everything on it, I bought a 1977 RD400 which I sold last year to buy a Kawasaki Versys 650. Aside from riding around town I never did any touring except one time with my brother, him on his Atlas and me on my S we toured the maritime provinces (New Brunswick, Nova Scotia) and northern New England (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont).
Aside from my Versys, I have a Featherbed Café racer and a 74 custom Commando.
WOW Old Farts forum
I'm 47 years young.
Began riding on the road in 2000. Bought my first Norton 2 years ago.
A mere pup. 8)
65+ and have owned this '71 in one form or another since 1973. Have had two other Nortons that I tarted up and resold, several Triumphs and a BSA. Riding since 1968. Used to repair lots of other people's bikes as a sideline until I started making enough money at a regular job to give it up. Seriously considering taking it up again when I retire at the end of 2016.
Farts are good when theay are OUT.
I was running with the BOIHHH last night on a farm off the Waimate North RD when I heard a 4 cyl bike go screaming down the road. One of the newby HHHers said "Mad Bastard" or something of the sort. I challenged him and said that bike wasn't going that fast. How come you said that. He said he used to ride bikes for years. Oh, what was your firs bike. It happened to be a 1969 Norton Commando 750. So i told him I have 2 of them at home, one [ Orange 71 750 roadster ] which I have owned since January 73. 'We both own Landcruisers as well.
My first "inexperience" with Norton's was at the Levin Motor race circuit when I was about 9 years old. I loved the bike racing and the only name I remember from those days, was Bill Wetsel, who was always coming in the top 2 at every meeting. He rode a Norton 500 I think. I didn't know shit from clay in those days .
My second experience with a Norton was at Hatepe in the mid 60"s where a guy named Reno, who was working on the lower Dam construction, owned a red Atlas. He got my dad to tune it for him, but being so small, my dad couldn't kick it over, so he got me to do it. An Amazing biker and one which I wish I owned.
The bug didn't set in till late teens when I left home for a while, and I bought my uncles BSA Bantam 125. That bike was really powerful. It would do 30 mph on the flat in Christchurch, slowed down in a head wind though. Got a 150 Suzuki twin , then a Suzuki Titan 500, then the 750 Commando.
Marriage, Kids and other hobbies meant the Norton got stored away for 25 years, going rusty unfortunately.
About 10 years ago the bug set in again and I ended up buying the 850 off Bob Nesbit. That's the bike I ride most of the time as I am nearly finished restoring the garage queen.
Oh. I turn 65 in July, and My first government paycheck apparently arrives on 20th July. Goody.
3 of my hobbies/interests I had before marriage are still with me. SWMBO and FA don't object tooooo much. Yeh right as we say down under.
I'll be 67 in a couple of months.
My first bike was a Honda Street 90 which I thrashed through the dirt as much as possible around 1964, meanwhile drooling over the "real" bikes at Joe Sarkee's shop on Broadway, the big Triumphs. By '71 I was making union wages, bought a new yellow Commando at Hall-Burdette, and began street-racing anyone who even looked my way. I put Tomaselli clip-ons, bikini fairing, and all the Dunstall stuff I could find on it, until it was so loud and uncomfortable, I could hardly ride it anymore. It was very fast for the day and looked great! Still, it was tough for dating, especially in the rain, so I sold it to Miles and carried on with old cars which had large back seats...
About 10 years ago, when you cd still see listings like this in the newspaper, I found a '74 Roadster (not running, wiring fried, rusting away under a blue tarp) and became that typical old fool who remembers bygone days with fondness. I've been doing something nice for the bike ever since, and still catch myself staring at it, thinking what a good-looking machine it is. Had Phil Radford renew the top end for it last year, and it has so much compression, I can just barely kick it over anymore...
I haven't started posting pictures, but Alex was nice enough to take one for me several years ago, and posted it here: http://motomeeto.com/?cat=4
Started riding in 74, Suzuki 80, Ducati 350 Sebring, 650 BSA A65, Norton Commando, in 77. Kept this till the early 90's, with a variety of Jap bikes. Sold it to buy carpets for the house!!
About 3 years ago after much searching found a decent 74 Mk2A.
Haven't done many miles but enjoyed them all, won't sell this in a hurry.
My son, 29 has put more miles on it than me, he loves it even though he owns a new Street Tripple.
Only issue I have is impending knee replacement, (kick start leg). will I be able to start it after that?
CNW estart kit.
I'm 54 & have been obsessed with British bikes from the early seventies. In 1975 I fell in love with an 850 MK 3 silver Interstate. From then on the plan was; leave school, get a job, FS1E, C15, Norton Commando. What actually happened was job, FS1E, Royal Enfield Continental GT, Norton Dominator 500. Many more bikes followed until I finally got my first Commando. For all their faults they are still my favourite bike to ride & look at.
I am 66 now, had my first bike an ex Dutch army Matchless at 17, and I have not been without a bike ever since.
Bought my Commando 40 years ago.
64. Bought my 74 850 new in May of 75 and have been riding it ever since. As I get older I sometimes wish I had spent the extra $500 for a MKIII electric start back then.
Good Day I'm 59 Bought my 850 MK2A new in 1974 at 17 for 850 pounds.UK.Used it untill 1982,When I moved to
South Africa.Shipped it to SA in 1990.Rode it for about a year then it stood for 22 years Kids,House,Work.
2013 Striped it down and over the next 3 years rebuilt it.Used a lot of Info from the Forum.It's back on
the road now .I have clocked about 500 miles up to now.
I'll shortly be 59. Getting to where it's harder to start higher compression bikes either at all, or without messing up my back for a week. Thankfully, I have a perfectly functional MkIII Interstate and the Dreer monoshock prototype with MkIII engine. Extrapolating from the past 20 years, I'm good for another 20 years I believe (maybe 30 if I'm careful). Oh, yes, I also have a set of DocZ rollers!
I posted the above bit before reading through all of these. Good stuff, so I'll fill in some blanks.
Riding for over 45 years, owned 152 bikes in that time. Still have:
2 each BSA and Honda
1 each Triton, Moto Guzzi and Rickman Montesa.
I've completed 14 custom bike builds (7 of them Nortons), 20 restorations (6 of them Nortons), 3 salvage rebuilds, 19 major refurbs (2 of them Nortons), 18 stand-alone engine overhauls (4 of them Nortons), and 31 rollers scratch built from spare parts (5 of them Nortons). I am finally out of signiticant parts to do another build from scratch, and am trying to focus on completing 3 major restorations that I've started over the years (2 Triumphs and a Honda).
Regular modern ride alternates between 2000 Triumph Legend 900 triple (70%) and 2003 Kawasaki ZRX1200R (30%)
Regular classic rides alternate between 75 Commando Interstate MkIII (60%), 70 Triumph Bonneville (20%), 66 Triton (20%)
I ride a half-dozen other classics, and one other modern, intermittently now and then. The rest (apart from the 3 restoration projects and 3 non-running rollers) need to be woken up, and I don't have time for that any more.
The highlight of my time riding started in 2007 when I treated myself to obtaining a racing license on my 50th birthday, on my scratch-built, bone stock 66/67/68/69 Triumph Bonneville 650. I raced the Sandia Classic in Albuquerque, and the season finale at Barber's. Finished in the top half of all competitors that year, only racing my first 2 meets. In 2008, I was blessed to race at Roebling Road, GA, Daytona, Road America, Grattan, MI, made a pass on the Bonneville salt flats setting my class record, then Miller Motorsports Park, Sandia Classic, and Barber's. Finished the season 5th out of 20 competitors, only racing 2/3 of the events, against 750 triples & fours, and much more experienced riders (I attribute that to my trusty Bonnie more than my abilities). In the latter half of '08, I also got to race a borrowed Formula 500 Kawasaki H1R, on which I clinched 3rd place in the championship racing less than 1/2 of the events, and against STIFF competition. Also got to race at Willow Springs in 2010 on my Bonnie, and in Formula 1 sidecar (two wins in F1S); Rick Murray, the sidecar owner, clinched the championship that year with some help from our finishes together. Perhaps one of these days I'll get to race again...
Just turned 60. I owned my '73 since 76 and my '74 since 78. I rode the crap out of them both until I got married and had kids.
Both have had sat for about 15 years then they got back on the road and have been riding the '74 since and robbing the '73 for parts.
Both bikes were Dunstalls when I got them but converted 1 back to a roadster.
Thanx to this forum I have been riding the '74 for the past 6 years practically trouble free.
There's some numbers to put in your spreadsheet.
A great read this thread... I've never felt so young...!
I'm a spring chicken at 48.
Pretty obsessed with Brit bikes from age 9 or 10 thanks to my father and grandfather.
First bike was a Tiger Cub when I was 12 (still got the f*cking thing)!
Stuck with Brit stuff for a few years even though most mates had Jap bikes, I managed to keep up, but learnt a lot more than them about motorcycle repair. Eventually I capitulated.
Had many Brit and Jap stuff plus a Ducati Paul Smart rep (most hideously uncomfortable creation ever).
Raced for a bit. Rode for Dresda and built / rode my own creations (some good, some not so). Crashed 'em too.
Collection of bikes got a little out of hand at one stage, now down to 2: Commando and the Cub.
Current Commando is my first despite nearly buying one on several occasions. Wish I had done so earlier.
Work / life balance currently out of balance, very busy with work. Thus am wanting a modern in the shed for spanner free riding. Thought I'd buy a new Thruxton but keep being drawn to the BMW R nine T...
YES YOU WILL! I'm 68, and with a right knee that was getting worse and worse for 2 decades, kicking over the 850 was getting to be just a wish. Luckily it's a MK 3 that's a fairly dependable button starter. Last October I got that knee replaced, followed all the really rigorous PT prescribed and more, and now, just 8 months later, I barely think about the knee except when I kick the cold Norton to life first thing,,, without out a hitch and no pain!
Bike's a '75 that I bought new in '75. Traded a BSA Thunderbolt. A year after I got it I met a new neighbor who wanted to get into a Brit Bike. We went to the Denver dealer and upstairs was the poor BSA I had traded. He bought it and we road together for several years until both of us left Colorado, he to Pennsylvania, me to New Hampshire. In his case, Philadelphia, was not conducive to riding and around 1987 He gave that Thunderbolt back to me. Still have that beauty.
Great story. Not a lot of those where an old bike came back "home"...
65 last April, First Norton was a 74 Hi-Rider purchased new in 76. Found an Interstate tank at a local breakers, life was so much better from then on, didn't have to stop and every gas station. Had a G15CSR at the same time, should have kept it. An Electra, not a bad little bike for getting around town.
Still have the 74 850 and ride it regularly.
John Ebert TX
74 850 Norton
70 750 Norton
58 Dominator 88
55 AJS 18s
Hummm. I'm 63 and riding since I was 15 (Idaho allowed 14 year old drivers license). In the Air Force at March AFB Riverside, Ca, bought my first Commando in '73 and have been on them since. Been through several Commandos as well as two singles (model 50 and ES2). I don't count the projects that never finished - '50 Model 7 and '63 Electra.
I'm 61 . My first motorcycle was a 1956 Norton ES2 500 single which I traded my Sears riding saddle for, straight across.
This was in 1966 when I was 12 years old. My parents were concerned about allowing a 12 year old to have such a large, heavy motorcycle capable of 80 MPH or so,(the seller told my father it would do 90mph) however the engine was apart and they didn't think I would ever figure out how to get it running.
With my older brother's help it was running two days after getting it home.
I immediately tried to recreate the Steve McQueen/ Bud Ekins jump in the Great Escape. I had been riding motorcycles for 30 minutes, why wouldn't I know how to do that jump?
I damn near killed myself by putting the Norton way up in the air off a big up- sloping rock at 70 MPH speedo.
Looking back at it.......my poor, poor parents. :shock:
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