The original Commandos all had front and rear drum brakes, some people (like me) prefer the look and authentic, period correct feel that these give the bike – but if you like to stop in less distance than a standard international runway you might want to buy a Commando with a disc brake up front.
The performance is notably better, more reliable and the disc brake fitted Commandos are far more common than the earlier drum models.
Often they would drain the battery before the engine would start and you’d be left to either bump start it or use the trusty old kick starter.
Kick starting a 750/850 parallel twin can be a difficult, tricky business – it requires a certain amount of strength and a certain amount of practice but if you get it right, it’ll make you look like Steve Mc Queen.
The timestamp is only as accurate as the clock in the camera, and it may be completely wrong.
The Norton Commando is a motorcycle that even today, 46 years after it was first introduced, lives on as one of the most iconic British motorcycles of the 20th century.
This sub-12 month deadline was extremely tight however the team pulled it together and created the Commando – a bike that would go on to win Motor Cycle News “Machine of the Year” award for 5 successive years from 1968 to 1972.1968This was the first year of construction for the Norton Commando and so as you might imagine, there were some teething issues.
Even though Norton wasn’t officially supporting a race team some dealers began entering races, the 1969 Isle of Man TT had Norton Commandos finish in 2nd (Paul Smart) and 4th (Mick Andrews).19701970 saw the introduction of the Roadster model to the Fastback and S Type, expanding the Commando line up to 3 bikes.
In some respects, 1970 was the last year of the ‘original’ Commando – from ’71 onwards there’d be far more model variations, largely to appeal to the American market – many of which were very successful.1971The Commando model range grew to 6 bikes, a Hi-Rider was added to try to appeal to the burgeoning ‘Easy Rider’ chopper market, the MKIII Fastback, MKII Roadster, Street Scrambler, Fastback LR (long range) and the production racer were also offered – with varying degrees of popularity.19721972 wasn’t a good year for the Commando, what should have been an improved bike with the upgraded, optional Combat engine and new, faster performance figures quickly descended into a nightmare as engines began internally disintegrating due to overloaded main bearings and pistons that were prone to fail in a catastrophic fashion – immediately turning the engine into a large, oily paperweight.
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