Posts by tag: commando

Norton October 12, 2017 posted by

Throwback Thursday: 1974 Norton Commando Fastback

In the mid-20th Century, Norton occupied rarefied standing in motorcycling, making itself legendary among racers in Britain and Europe, taking home Manx TT trophies and trading wins with other big names on the continent and in the Isles. Its big-bore engines and revolutionary vibration-isolating frame designs made the brand wildly popular, cutting edge and fast.

1974 Norton Commando Fastback for sale on eBay

By the 1970s, Britain's notorious knack for corporate mismanagement and reliability woes had hit the company hard, and as it tried to make its Commando - which had debuted in the late '60s with yet another innovative suspension setup - all things to all people, it was being outgunned by Japanese rivals.

The Norton Commando Fastback had helped debut the badge, and by 1974 was essentially just a sportier-looking seat and fender setup for the popular-but-flawed platform.

The 1974 example seen here is in excellent condition, and carries a raft of modifications to the parallel twin, including a displacement bump, big carbs and a high-compression RH7 head from an earlier Commando 750. We dig the era-appropriate copper-bronze paint, the overstuffed seat and simple, purposeful stance.

From the eBay listing:

900 CC.. BALANCED WITH LIGHTER SOLID STEEL FLYWHEEL.. 80MM BORE.. 36 MM MK2 CARBS MATCHED TO A RH7 HEAD.. BIG BORE EXHAUST. CLOSE RATIO GEARBOX WITH QUAIFE SHELL.((( MOSTLY FOR DOWN SHIFTING TO LESSEN GEARBOX STRAIN))) BIKE HAS NO ISSUES.. LOOK INSIDE MUFFLERS TO SEE HOW CLEAN IT RUNS..STARTS WITHIN 2 OR 3 KICKS AND WILL IDLE AT 500 RPM. EVEN WITH BIG CARBS... E MAIL FOR MORE INFO. E MAIL FOR PHONE NUMBER AND WILL CALL BACK IF SERIOUS. OTHERWISE PLEASE DONT WASTE MY TIME

Rarer than Japanese bikes of the same era, albeit a lot more temperamental, the big Norton is a time capsule to the end of the era of British manufacturing might, rendered in the brutal simplicity that made the breed famous.

Throwback Thursday: 1974 Norton Commando Fastback
Norton June 3, 2016 posted by

Classic Style, Modern Speed: 2015 Norton Commando 961 for Sale

2015 Norton Commando 961 R Side

While it could easily be mistaken for a vintage machine updated with modern wheels and suspension, this Norton Commando 961 is actually a brand-new motorcycle. This is a pricey, exclusive, retro-styled motorcycle for classic bike fans who want vintage charm and modern-ish performance, like a British SportClassic. With the sport v-twin configuration most closely associated with Ducati, the Norton instead uses a big parallel-twin unit for a similar character: thumping midrange and accessible, real-world performance.

2015 Norton Commando 961 L Side

Norton’s original Commando was a parallel-twin British sportbike from the late 1960s that offered up serious performance, good-looks, and charisma, and was a prime example of budget British ingenuity: as the Norton’s parallel-twin increased in size to keep pace with rivals, vibration became a real issue. A complete redesign of the engine wasn’t in the budget, so Norton isolated the engine from the frame with a set of rubber bushings they referred to as their “Isolastic” mounting system, which worked very well when properly maintained. But the package still used ancient non-unit construction, the overhead valves were still operated by pushrods, and the relative lack of reliability stood in stark contrast to the smooth, oil-tight Japanese machines that flooded the market in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Unable to compete, Norton hung on for a few years, chasing American sales with bikes like the Interstate and Hi-Rider, but had faded into history by 1980.

2015 Norton Commando 961 L Tank

Kenny Dreer brought some attention back to the marque with his VR880, which was basically a vintage 850 Commando rebuilt from the ground-up using as much modern technology as possible to create a bike that combined the best of the old and new, a vintage bike that didn’t leak, started without fail, and offered up performance more in keeping with modern machines. They were well-reviewed, but proved to be a headache for a small shop to produce and production was very limited. The Norton 961 took Dreer's idea of a new/old Norton and ran with it. The gestation of the “new” Norton 961 has been difficult, but these machines have been trickling their way to the US.

2015 Norton Commando 961 Clocks

The new Norton uses big parallel-twin with pushrod-operated valves and a balance shaft as a nod to modern technology and produces 80hp with effortless acceleration at any rpm. Top-shelf Öhlins suspension components are used front and rear, and although the bike looks old-school with a twin-shock rear, the handling is reportedly excellent. I even saw one configured as a highly unlikely track bike at a recent AHRMA event!

2015 Norton Commando 961 R Engine

From the original eBay listing: 2015 Norton Commando 961 for Sale

There are few certainties in life. Death, taxes – and now a brand new absolute: if you like retro bikes you will lust after a Norton 961. The reason is simple. The Commando is quite simply the best retro bike in the world – and by a handsome margin.

At the heart of the bike is a surprisingly clever engine. The 961cc – hence the 961 name – Twin is no technical tour de force, but captures the spirit of British big Twins and improves on the feeling in a way which is as special as a cross plane Yamaha R1.

The power output belies the performance. Despite making only 80 horsepower, the Commando zips up to an indicated 110 mph – maybe a shade over 100 mph in actuality – with the merest flick of the wrist. In this respect, it is far more willing than the Ducati Sport Classic, which is its direct competitor, and the Norton simply slaughters the Triumph Bonneville.

The engine runs at 270 degree firing intervals and this, combined with a gear driven balancer shaft, makes the 961 smoother than the Ducati – and vastly better than any original British Twin.

The chassis is a typical British design, but modernized. Because the engine is dry sump, the oil lives in the top spine of the frame. This is simple, effective engineering and has worked perfectly on many British designs.

The suspension is one of the few things not made in Britain. Both the front fork and rear shocks come from Ohlin and they are quality items. I just loved the twin shock swinging swingarm, and the 961 handling is a treat.

In summary, this is a bike which you need to sell one, or maybe both, of your kidneys to own. It looks stunning, handles impeccably and has a motor which is so much better than the retro opposition that it deserves to be in a separate class.

To be honest, I think the look of the Norton 961 is a little too vintage, and the shape of the tail section seems gratuitously curvy to my eye. But having seen a couple in the flesh recently, the level of detailing is impressive: check out the shift rod that curves under a bulge in the transmission case. And those side panels are set inboard of the frame rails, a very nice touch that's easily missed at first glance.

2015 Norton Commando 961 R Tail

The seller has set the Buy It Now price at $19,995.00 and there are just ten miles on the odometer, so the bike is virtually new. It's obviously not a very good dollar-per-horsepower proposition, but if you're a British bike fan looking for the ultimate Norton, that might seem like a bargain...

-tad

2015 Norton Commando 961 L Side 2

Classic Style, Modern Speed: 2015 Norton Commando 961 for Sale
Benelli November 13, 2014 posted by

Classic Sportbike Recap: Benelli, Moto Morini, and a Dunstall Norton

If your biking interests occasionally run to the historical, take a look at some recent entries over at our sister site: Classic Sport Bikes for Sale. This week featured a Benelli Tornado, the Italian alternative to big-bore British parallel-twins, a jewel-like Moto Morini 350, and a rare Dunstall Norton Commando

1974 Benelli Tornado 650S L Front

With a 642cc parallel twin and a top speed of 117mph, you could be forgiven for thinking you were reading about a classic British roadster. But this 1974 Benelli Tornado had a short-stroke engine that loved to rev and, even stranger, was actually oil-tight... Read more over at classicsportbikesforsale.com

1984 Moto Morini 350 K2 L Rear2

With a jewel-like 344cc v-twin, this Moto Morini 350 K2 emphasized brains over brawn, offering brilliant handling and a wealth of innovative technical details. Moto Morinis have long been bargains of the vintage Italian bike world, but prices are finally on the rise and this one is in amazing shape... Read the full article over at classicsportbikesforsale.com

1969 Norton Dunstall R Front

The 1960's were a golden age of motorcycling innovation, when ambitious and talented tuners could knock up machines in their backyard sheds and compete against the world's best. Some, like Paul Dunstall managed to turn their success into a thriving business, making go-fast parts for a whole range of British bikes... Read more about the Dunstall Norton over at classicsportbikesforsale.com

Classic Sportbike Recap: Benelli, Moto Morini, and a Dunstall Norton
BMW February 1, 2013 posted by

Catching Up with Classic Sport Bikes For Sale [R60/6 Polizei, CB350F GP Replica, Commando Fastback, CB750, CBX, TZ125 & TR2 Projects, LeMans III, CB400F]

Here's the latest from our sister site, ClassicSportBikesForSale.com

Have a great weekend everyone,

dc

Let's get things kicked off with this cool 1975 BMW R60/6 Polizei that sold for a shade over $7500.

1975 BMW R60/6 Polizei For Sale


Available right now is this Honda CB350F GP Replica, which is wearing an $8800 buy-it-now with 5 days remaining.

Honda CB350F GP Replica For Sale


This lovely 1969 Norton 750 Commando Fastback failed to sell with a starting bid of $8900 and a buy-it-now of $9900.

Norton Commando For Sale


This unusual yet very clean 1971 Honda CB750 sold for just $2920.

1971 Honda CB750 For Sale


This 1979 Honda CBX reached a high bid of $10200 but failed to sell.

1979 Honda CBX For Sale


These vintage two stroke projects, a TZ125 and a TR2 race bike, sold for $11,100!


This 1983 Moto Guzzi LeMans III has a little time remaining with a current winning bid of $4999.

1983 Moto Guzzi LeMans III For Sale


And finally a reader ride, this 1975 Honda CB400F is available in Los Angeles for $4700.

1975 Honda CB400F For Sale

Classic Sport Bikes For Sale November 15, 2011 posted by

ClassicSportBikesForSale.com and CafeBikesForSale.com Weekly Recap!

Feel like checking out even more awesome sport bikes for sale? Well in case you missed it, here is what’s been showing up on ClassicSportBikesForSale.com. And if that isn’t enough, be sure to drop by the RareSportBikesForSale Facebook page and check out even more bikes that didn’t make up here. Enjoy!

1974 Aermacchi RR350 up for Auction on eBay!

1974 Norton Commando Interstate MKII on CSBFS

1955 Norton ES2 on ClassicSportBikesForSale

-JS