Archive for the ‘Norton’ Tag
For some reason I seem to be on a Norton kick at this time. I want one. That big long stroke motor, watching the front wheel shake at stop lights…wait a minute, we’re heading into a way different topic of discussion here…uh, back to motorcycles.
I think the main reason I’m on this Norton kick is because my friends at ‘Left Coast Racing’ and I are getting ready for another Bonneville LSR run in couple of months with a pair of Norton’s. We currently hold a Land Speed Record with a rather built up 1959 Norton.
The very first Norton I ever took for a ride was a ‘rode hard and put away wet’ 750 Commando back in the early 70’s that my step dad rescued from some guys back yard. It was a lot different from the BSA’s and Triumph’s I had been riding, and honestly…at that time, I liked my Lightning 650 a lot better. But, being the good motorcycle souls that we were, we went about resurrecting it…a project that took over a year and a lot more money than my mom knows about.
During that same time, we were also upgrading a Triumph Bonneville from a standard 650cc to a Weslake 750 model (again, another story for anther time…and a really good one??). The Commando rebuild was a lot easier thanks to people like Brian Slark, Domiracer and Berliner. At the end of the year both motorcycles were finished, broken in appropriately and then taken out for a proper thrashing…Sunday morning on Angeles Crest Highway.
I fell in love with the Norton. Up to that time my motorcycling life had been with high revving two strokes, and somewhat high revving (by then current standards) English and Japanese twins, the Norton was a different feeling altogether. Where my BSA would feel light at the bars, the Norton was dead steady, the BSA needed some revs to get off a corner quickly, the Norton just needed a nudge on the throttle…the BSA needed you to pay attention, the Norton just went along with however you were riding that day (even with a minor (major) hangover).
The Norton was sold to a friend of a friend of a friend or their third cousin by marriage twice removed (no Alabama jokes here…) and was never seen again. I had grown to love that motorcycle and was sad to see it leave the garage…the guy didn’t even ride it home, he put it in a pick up truck!??? After all the work we did?… and he didn’t even live 20 miles away!! This was way before the days of ebay and buying a motorcycle on the other side of the world was easy.
So today, while working on our other websites, http://www.ilovecaferacers.com and http://www.themotoworld.com and cruising ebay looking for yet another project bike for a friend, I came upon a very nice Norton that is ready to ride and has some very nice bits and pieces.
This is a 1974 850 Commando that is a runner but…it has been sitting for years according to the owner so if you buy this bike you really need to go through the carbs, change the fluids, probably the tyres…all the standard stuff but I think this bike will be well worth the effort.
The bike has been outfitted with the Dunstall bits that really make it great, starting with the Dunstall 2 into 1 into 2 exhaust system. This exhaust is worth the price of admission alone, it is a work of art in every respect…performance and looks. The beautiful tank and that very slim front fender (I put one of those on the front of my H2, it was pretty worthless as far as fenders go, but I loved how it looked), the 850 also has what looks to me like Lester mag wheels. This Norton only has only 8800 miles on the clock and like I said before, with just some standard service, should be a wonderful ride.
Click on the pics below for more pictures and a little more info. This is a great bike for the money.
A while back I posted a listing for a Hogbitz Sportster cafe racer that was the most expensive bike to ever hit the blog ($25K asking price). It was relisted at least once, if not multiple times. This Norton comes in a close second with a Buy-It-Now price of $22,500. As is this the second Norton in a row I’ve posted, it is interesting to compare the bikes, and what differentiates an unrestored Norton Commando from a fully restored and cafe-racerized (including lots of motorwork) Norton Featherbed/Manx. I guess the difference comes down to this 1962 Norton being what is essentially a show bike with a hopped-up motor you could ride, versus the 1971 Norton Commando posted before being an unrestored daily rider that has a frame in good shape with “no visible cracks”.
You decide. $22.5K for a beautiful bike that has been gone through with a fine-tooth comb, or $7.5K for a bike that you might put a little elbow grease into over time (and maybe a motor rebuild while you’re at it). It would be interesting to see what this bike sells for, but it is a Buy-It-Now with Make Offer (2 offers so far), so we won’t be able to watch any climbing auction prices.
Here’s a nice looking example of a first-gen Commando that has been converted to cafe-racer duty. Overall, the modifications are spot-on, but I do have one minor quibble: the rear ride height. Shocks one inch longer would really balance the bike front-to-rear, and lifting the back end up would also probably quicken the handling just a smidge.
Other than that, this is an unrestored runner that is currently not seeing much action in the auction. There is a a day and a half left in the auction, and the current price is $4,550. Reserve has not been met, but there is a Buy-It-Now price of $7,500, so we can probably assume the reserve is set somewhere around $7K. With only two bidders so far, it seems there isn’t a huge chance the bike will end up selling.
Here’s a relisted Norton cafe racer that I liked a lot the first time around, and I don’t like it any less now. There is no reserve on the auction, so it should sell this time. Maybe it was a non-paying bidder last time? No idea. Current price is $2,550 with over 4 days left and a few bidders. Here’s the link to the original bike, or you can click through to the new listing through the pics below…
Beautiful. Nothing much else to say. I might have missed some minor detail that’s out of place and someone will point it out. Don’t care. Here’s some specs and more pictures below. There’s more pics and the seller’s writeup if you are interested in learning more or trying to buy the bike. The auction’s at $8,200 with 2 days left and 17 bidders (reserve HAS been met)…
The engine features the work of noted tuner Leo Goff including a balanced lower end, 10.1 pistons, Norris SS cam, and gas flowed head resulting in a very fast and smooth 750 Norton motor.
Steering Damper (Manx type)
Multi Rate Valve Springs (S&W)
Special Camshaft (Norris SS hotter than 2S Combat cam)
Paired Monobloc 1 1/8″ Carbs
Competition Manual Advance Magneto
5 Gal Racing Tank
The tach and speedo were restored by Nisongers.
The magneto was rebuilt by Doug Wood.
The only flaw is some acid stains on the left silencer from a vented battery (since replaced with a sealed unit).
The bike is very strong and smooth and is ready to ride.
With about 21 hours left in this eBay auction, here’s a chance to own a classic Gus Kuhn Norton that is fully kitted out. It’s definitely not a show bike, and as the seller claims it starts easily and runs great this would probably be a great bike for Sunday morning runs up to Alice’s Restaurant. That being said, I’m sure this bike would attract a lot of attention if it was parked at any classic bike show.
Here’s a list of parts fitted to the bike
Racing 850 Kit
Updated AMAL MK2
Morris mag wheels
AP brake master cylinder
Frame and motor number matching
First off, I would like to apologize for the poor quality of the previous bike and post. After taking a month plus off from blogging about the current crop of cafe racers, I was mostly discombobulated while writing that, given a comment or two that I received both online and in person. 😦 Be that as it may, it is time to move on to bigger and better things. Below you will see what I hope is my apology in action…
Here we have a really nice Commando 850 that has been entirely cafe’d. I am having trouble finding anything missing from this bike that would need upgrading immediately upon purchase. You could, of course, add higher-performance parts to it. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it is basically a turnkey bike that the buyer can hop on and ride. The seller has been honest with the few issues that it has (speedo cable, oil weep, and tank dings), and it has a recently rebuilt engine. If there is anything I have missed that should be there (me not being a true Norton expert or anything like that), please let me know…
Currently, there is less than a day left in the auction, and the price is in the mid $4K range with 21 bidders. Perhaps it will break $5K before the auction ends. It isn’t perfect, but the seller is being very upfront with the issues it does have. Good luck if you bid…
Here’s a beautiful, clean, and non-restored Norton Commando cafe racer. The price is currently a low $3,150 with 2 1/2 days left in the auction. The seller has it listed on craigslist for $4,100, so I suspect the reserve is no higher than the craigslist price.
I focused on the price first, because the pics tell most of the story. However, there is more to the story. The seller is honest about the flaws on this bike, which include a small amount of road rash from a low speed dump and a couple of instances of cracked glass (speedo and headlight). It also has some nice upgrades other than the cafe racer aesthetics including electronic ignition, new headers, and an RGM brake system.
What’s especially nice about this bike is that it is very representative of a true British cafe racer. And honestly, the only aesthetic thing that has been done to this bike is the conversion to clubman bars. Damn, I wish I could afford this bike!
Here’s a beautiful cafe racer that is the real deal. This full on Triton build is at auction on eBay with a current price of $6K with about 3 days left. I expect this bike to close much higher than the current price. According to the seller, it is a ground up rebuild with almost all new parts. It is missing the battery tray, so factor that in if you want this bike. Overall, a very beautiful motorcycle.
I thought I had posted this bike already, but apparently I hadn’t. There’s only a little over a day left in the auction, so I’m sorry for the late notice. It is a beautiful bike, though, so I’m glad I caught it…
This Commando 850 cafe racer appears to be a pretty clean bike. The paint appears to be in good condition, and the “engine has fresh service and valve adjustment, all new fluids, runs perfectly…………. easy start hot or cold” to quote the seller. No idea if that’s true or not. It’s got a bunch of new parts and upgrades including 18″ wheels and an electronic ignition. Overall, a really nice Norton.