750cc & 850cc. 1967-1977. OHV air-cooled twins.
Fastback, Roadster, Interstate, S-Type, SS, Hi-Rider, 750 Racers, JPS Commando
Norton Commando 750/850 Pros
Fast: Expect around 120mph. Good mid-range. Lusty.
Gearbox: Generally reliable and positive. Clunks a little.
Smooth: Isolastic engine mounts limit the vibes.
Reliable: Generally very good. Minor roadside issues.
Spares: Every part is available, new and used. Fair prices.
Maintenance: Easy. Few special tools needed. Durable.
Handling. Fair to good. Great acceleration. Fun to ride.
Braking: Adequate, but easy upgrades are available.
Looks: Handsome. Svelte. And (naturally) a little macho.
Fuel economy: If you can control yourself, expect 50mpg.
Value for money: Generally good. Usually higher than T140s.
Investment potential: Bikes generally hold their value.
Modifications: Upgrades for added pep, stop and lean.
Sound: Fantastic if you like throaty British twins.
Road presence: Plenty, and that always improves safety.
Motorways: Tackled with ease. An 850cc model is ideal.
Norton Commando 750/850 Cons
Oil: You'll learn to live with a few weeps
Theft: Thieves like these. Lock, double lock, alarm.
Maintenance: Regular attention will be required.
Gear change: Right side pre-1975. Won't suit all riders.
Starting: Feeble electric starters on later 850cc models.
Kickstarter: Not a great action, but it works with the knack.
Engine power: Very fast riders might consider it a little tame.
Lighting: Weak by modern standards.
Noise: Plenty of mechanical clatter.
Emissions: "Right-on environmentalists" look elsewhere.
Clutch: Light for a Brit bike. Heavy for modern riders.
Instruments: Basic. Speedo. Rev-counter. No frills.
Electrics: Heated grips are about all you can wire-in.
Original silencers: Ugly sausage style taken from the Atlas.
Pillion: A Roadster will better suit your "significant other".
[Okay, tell me more about Norton Commandos...]
Some people will go through their entire life without riding a Norton Commando. We know that to be true because we've asked around, and plenty of riders admit that they've eyed-up these bikes, but have never straddled one. And that's a shame because they ride even better than they look, and they look pretty good from any angle.
As with many, if not most, great designs, these were right pretty much from the start, and for our money, the early 750cc Fastback with drums brakes front and rear (as shown here) is the prettiest of the bunch by far.
£14.99 plus P&P
We can live without those "sausage" silencers and would prefer a pair of peashooters which both look good and sound good. But the watchword these days is originality, and few owners want to mess with the formula.
That said, it's easier enough to replace the silencers and keep the originals; just remember to swap them back before you sell. Starting isn't particular difficult (once you learn the knack). But a Norton Commando will definitely better suit a younger rather than older rider. Overall, however, these are as cool as anything in the British classic bike world.
Check the pros and cons on the left, then follow the link if you're still interested. And why would you not be? Commandos rock.
Copyright Sump Publishing 2013/2014