Discussion in 'Norton Commando Classic Motorcycles' started by Nater_Potater, Jun 6, 2016.
56 for Mr.Sparks.
33 years old here. Been riding 23 of those years.
Rupp minibike in the early 60's
Suzuki Trail 80 in the mid 60''s
Also help Dad start and ride G80 cs.
Yamaha 250 endure late 60's
Yamaha XS 850 Special 1980
Added the MK2a.
Both sold in mid 80's
Long dry spell
Got sober in 89
Ducati 750 SS 1999
Sold to purchase 1972 Commando in 2008.
Hi all , I'm 63 . Bought a new 850 in 73 , got Norton tattooed on my arm and I've been Norton bob ever since. I started riding in the mid 60's when people just gave bikes away . My brothers and I rode them to destruction around the fields and then Dad used them as concrete re-enforcement. There is a house in North Devon with a Calthorpe and a B33 in the foundations. Now own a 72 Combat , 66 Bonny , 70 Tiger , 65 NorBsa , (and a Honda Blackbird) Thanks for a brilliant forum .
58 this weekend
First British bike was my Triton, aged 19 it scarred the snot out of me! Open goldie meggas, never heard a noise like it.
Brought a T160 at 21 sold that for a deposit on my house. Always been a Triumph man Triples by choice, the fault of Fred Hugget & Hastings Motorcycles, Slippery Sam replica & Son of Sam & a deep love of Norths open meggas & the Isle of Man. Always liked a project & my Norton Commando story started as such. Far too many bikes bits & projects but a deep love of bikes & the people involved in them. I have loaned out bikes & parts to many people over the years & only ever recieved frendship back, never really had a problem.
However Commandos far outshine other twins, Seeleys Commandos especially so. Never even touched on racing, it all puts a smile on my face & a warmth to my heart & soul.
all the best Chris
63 here. Got a little car at 17 and started work on $29 a week in 1971. Not interested in bikes but a mate's sister had friends with Commandos. Mate bought a Suzuki 250 2 stroke which sprayed oil onto my windscreen when I followed him. I loaned him $900 to buy a 1970 Commando in 1973, which he paid back promptly.
In 1974 I bought a Honda 175 while my parents were on holiday. Next was a Yammy 100 trail bike, then something nice, a Ducati 250 Mk3 desmo. That got stolen.
Next a 1972 Commando, that got stolen too. Bought a house, so no money to spare. Bought aforementioned 1970 Commando (then a wreck) from mate. Took 4 months to build into a rideable bike in 1983. Did 1000 mile trip in 1984, didn't miss a beat. First ever major work on a motorbike, thought I was a genius. Blissfully unaware back then of hidden dangers lurking within gearbox etc. Still have that bike. Still think Commando is one of the best looking bikes ever, evenly matched with Ducati 750 GT. Anyone ever noticed how similar they look despite the obvious differences?
I noticed that comment about how would I heal if I crashed at age 74. Motorcycling is all about risk management. Risk is assessed in terms of likelihood and consequences. These days after having crashed so many times when I was younger, I have actually become competent. So when it all goes pear-shaped, I am unlikely to end up on the deck. Also I have had a double by-pass and three strokes, so I take beta-blocker tablets (motoprolol) which stops the adrenalin rush. If I ever have a moment, it all happens in the cold light of day and I simply ride through it. I've told my doctor about this and he said the tablets are nor really intended for this purpose. (it is lovely stuff). I know that if I had a biggie, I could end up as a skin bag full of bone chips, but the biggest risk lies in the physical and mental exertion involved. The thing is that in this life you have to decide what you really want. During my first marriage I always felt guilty about spending on motorcycle road racing, however as I said in my previous post - sometimes in you life you have to do something just for yourself. It is no good getting to my age and looking back thinking about what you should have done. I have always been disenchanted with way road racing is run in Australia, however I regret that I did not do more of it with a better bike.
A word of advice - to be competitive in road racing you need to be compulsive obsessive. Start with a bike that actually does something for you and do a lot of practising.
This is a fact of life...the things you thought were great when you were a teenager still appeal today.
Cars, bikes, music, sports stars, etc.
I still have a soft spot first-generation Mustangs, Triumph Spitfires, Dan Gurney, Emerson Fittipaldi, Jackie Stewart, Mario Andretti, Johnny Bench, Bob Greise, Franco Harris, Fran Tarkenton, The Who, Faces, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, Bob Marley, Jethro Tull.
See a pattern there?
I think whoever or whatever you idolized at the age range of 13-17 still attracts today. I was in high school when Norton was on its last legs. Most of my friends who rode had Japanese bikes, because Harley, Triumph and Norton were generally too expensive.
I like the Japanese bikes of this era, but they don't stir my soul like the herd I have now. H-D has never appealed to me, but that may be because the Harleys I grew up with were those AMF bikes - I lumped them in with AMC Pacers and Gremlins, and those God-awful Mustang II's.
When I take my bikes to shows, most know the Commando, only a very small percentage have even heard of Matchless or P11, and those tend to be guys in the 65+ crowd.
I tell people to look for and old Beach Boys song, 'Little Honda'. There's a line in that song (circa 1963) that says, 'it takes the hills like a Matchless, 'cause my Honda's built really light'. The Beach Boys had to change that lyric, changing Matchless to 'champ', much like the Kinks changing the line in Lola from 'Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like Coca-cola, C-O-L-A cola' to '...cherry cola, C-O-L-A cola'
38. Got on first Brit bike at ten (uncles the-140) and finally got my own Brit at 30. Commando as a project at 32. Sold my vintage Japanese and bought more Brits along the way. Done everything I can to get my younger friends into the hobby. My book helped. Have already given my three year old tank top rides on the commando around our yard. Got to do what I can to bring that average age down!
Here, here! I have had my two-and-a-half year old twins on the tank up our km. long drive as well. They loved it - especially the wee girl. They also have their own electric quad bikes which the bomb around on - albeit at walking pace.
First bike in the early 80's was a 72 Combat. The other acquired Norton's grew from there.
59. Have rarely been without a bike since I was 17 and 6 months - the earliest you could get on the roads here solo was on a bike, so it was a natural way to go for me. Had started occasional riding on a BSA Bantam a couple of years earlier. My Commando is a '71.
Agree Bill, and would add John Surtees, Ago and of course - our own Gregg Hansford and Jack Brabham.
The year was 1966, Christmas morning Bellflower Ca. I was 13 and all I wanted was something with wheels and a engine, I got a unicycle. I was a brat, and my Mom called me on it. My cousins 6mos earlier acquired a new step-though Honda 50 and Yamaha 80cc Trailmaster, now you see mthesituation, I was being deprived of my destiny.
Fast forward Easter 1967, me, my Dad, uncle and cousins all went to a warehouse in downtown LA. There it was a brand new white 1965 Honda s90, my Dad flopped down $250, we put it in the trunk of the car and took it home. It was one of those life changing moments. Oh yeah, the three months I had the unicycle I learned to ride it, wasn't easy, and sold it.
after stripping it for dirt, riding my Grandma
Now that´s one h-ll of picture Mark! One of the funnier I´ve seen, fantastic! And no shoes...... :shock: I´m impressed! Also want to thank Nathan for this thread idea, great reading!
Well, I sometimes have a difficult time believing it, but I'm 53. My Dad used to race 500cc speedway bikes in England before he and my Mom immigrated to the States in '56. So bikes were in his blood and he passed it on to us. I grew up on lawnmower engined minibikes and go carts in the late 60's. I was lucky in that I had an older brother. Around '71 my Pops started looking for a bigger bike for my brother and brought home a '69 Yamaha 180 cc two stroke twin (YCS-1)that he bought for 90 bucks. (later he said that he had gone to look at a bridgestone, and almost got that, but when the owner told him it had a 6 speed gearbox, he changed his mind, thinking it was too much bike for his young kids). Anyway the Yamaha had electrical problems so we re-wired the thing. None of the stores around us in Houston had the correct battery, well we were really eager to ride, and we would to take the battery out of our Mom's Rambler stationwagon and tie it onto the back of the seat.running some jumpers to the wiring harness. It looked goofey as all get out, but worked, and we would ride to one of the many fields close to our subdivision. I remember we would take turns riding on an oval track in one of the fields, and one particular time I was carrying way too much speed going into my first turn - I realized too late and grabbed a handful of front brake- ended up highsiding it and went flying. My brother came running over asking if I was okay. Even though my elbow was killing me all I could think about was the condition of the bike, but hey,I was only 9. That is way more info than was asked for, but it is what came to mind when I opened this thread. Cj
Start 'em young?
54. Riding since 1976 but latest obsession started when I was offered a wreck of a 1968 TR6P, only because I had the 4 wheeled version as well. I subsequently got hooked on restoring the old bikes. I then had the opportunity to ride a pal's Norton while in Texas and found it to be such a superior machine. I started looking and found the current Norton in Northern Ontario, in boxes; all bits and pieces. Rebuilt it from the frame up, correct numbers and now its my daily driver. I get compliments on it every time I take it out. It has the most incredible roar. (The Triumph is still a great bike; like a 2 wheeled tank).
I will be 60 in August .... been riding since my Dad brought home a $5.00 Vespa ( rebranded to Allstate ) from a house across the way .... bet he had no idea I would be still at the 2 wheel thing 50 years on ...
Man, I wish someone would have taken pictures of my early years on the bikes! I started riding motorcycles in '66 at the tender young age of 6 when my cousin got a Honda Z50. It was yellow, no suspension on the rear, and I haven't been able to look at a pedal-powered bike the same ever since.
No pictures of my dad's '68 Triumph Daytona, Ossa Pioneer and Trials bike, his Bultaco, '70 BSA B50 MX, and finally, the Norton. In fact, the only picture of the Norton when he owned it was with the Vetter fairing installed (using my Brownie Hawkeye camera).
Thanks for the kudos, Tommy! Y'know, this only started because I was curious (nosey) about the generation that owns Nortons. I would never have imagined that we'd be hearing all these great tales. Thanks so much to everyone that has added their history to this thread.
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