Archive for November, 2016

Thanksgiving morning, a perfect time to work on motorcycles!

Well, I had an hour or two so I figured why not see if the barn find runs?

Believe it or not, she started first kick! After some fiddling with the carbs a little it ran pretty much the way a Commando should bar some exhaust smoke. After sitting for 20 years or so I think the rings may be a little gummed up, as the smoking has dissipated after a few more heat cycles. It’s running way too rich so I think the next job is to install some fresh needles and needle jets. Normal vibration and use tends to rattle them about and open up the clearances so it’s my first tuning step.

Have a look at the video and enjoy some turkey!


Here’s a website with lots of Norton pics and info.

This guy messes with a a lot of proper vintage race bikes and some cars too if that’s your thing.

Be prepared to lose an hour or so looking around, don’t say I didn’t warn you….

Click on the pic

Had a little time for some “garage therapy” this weekend so I figured I’d wrap up some little jobs on the Norton.

Ya gotta hand it to Norton when it comes to Commando clutches. Without trying too hard you can swap out a set of clutch plates in half an hour. Try that on ANY BMW. (bikes made weird)

Anyway, after the new Barnett clutch I adjusted the primary chain after finding a screwy bodge on the adjuster. Easy fix but the only evidence I’ve found of any service (normal or otherwise) on the bike. Then I polished the cover which went easier than expected. A light sanding and about a half hour on the wheel and it looks fantastic.

I used a chromed exhaust plate for an ignition switch mount. Might change it at a later date but it looks pretty good for now.

I also polished the brake caliper and test fit all the parts. I’m not going to add brake fluid until I rebuild the front forks.

All in all, a nice bit of progress.


Even when you’re working on a bike that really is in excellent shape, it needs to have the perishable parts renewed. All rubber related items such as caliper seals, master cylinder seals, tires, etc perish over time.

The aforementioned brakesĀ  were in remarkably good shape with little overall corrosion. Indeed, if parts weren’t readily available, the pistons could have been cleaned up and reinstalled. However in the interest of self preservation I felt it prudent to cast caution to the wind and in turn cast the old parts into the nearest trash bin. Same goes for the old rubber brake hose; after 35 years I gave it eternal rest.

I pulled the carbs, disassembled them and gave them a bath in some Evapo-Rust to give it a good test. More than happy with the stuff, as it gives the crappy alloy a like new finish and removed most of the old gunk with a good rinsing under water. Top Marks.

Also I found a bit of a Unicorn: it has a 1/4 turn throttle which Norton offered but I had never seen before. The only reason I mention it is because I couldn’t figure out why a new standard throttle cable wasn’t fitting. The 1/4 turn throttle uses a different cable which luckily is available. Just when you think you’ve seen it all…..





I’ve been very lax about posting so I thought it was about time to post some pics of a customer’s bike that caught my eye. Truly a labor of love so have a gander and the rumor is that it’s for sale, so let me know if you have any interest.