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rwsaunders
03-11-2009, 08:54 PM
I spotted this vintage Norton Commando in Pike Market today.

Blue Jays
03-11-2009, 09:05 PM
Sweet. Nice find.

gemship
03-11-2009, 09:12 PM
a long time neighbor restored one from the ground up. Its fun to watch and listen to it ride by. Sweet sounds, different than a Harley which many other neighbors own. I'm 34 and I owned more motorcycles than I can count, all japanese. My last bike was a 2005 Kawasaki Ninja zx10r. Total rocket ship, had the front wheel off the road at 70 with just the blip of the throttle in fact I didn't even shift into 2nd until about 50 and it was so smooth in the process. To think back in the day that Norton was the epitome of sport bike.

maunahaole
03-11-2009, 09:47 PM
Nortons are sweet, although that one would speak to me in a nicer voice if the pipes had more upsweep and a reverse meg tip. I think that one is aftermarket.

ti_boi
03-11-2009, 11:08 PM
Like them in theory.....but as a former brit bike owner I find that they need constant tinkering and most people who own one have no idea what they feel like when they are running correctly because they seldom do. For the few hours you can get one dialed in they are absolute monsters. :cool:

ti_boi
03-11-2009, 11:09 PM
a long time neighbor restored one from the ground up. Its fun to watch and listen to it ride by. Sweet sounds, different than a Harley which many other neighbors own. I'm 34 and I owned more motorcycles than I can count, all japanese. My last bike was a 2005 Kawasaki Ninja zx10r. Total rocket ship, had the front wheel off the road at 70 with just the blip of the throttle in fact I didn't even shift into 2nd until about 50 and it was so smooth in the process. To think back in the day that Norton was the epitome of sport bike.


I have owned both Japanese and British and the two are so completely different you cannot really compare them. The British twin is insane when properly tuned...a nice Japanese bike seems to tune itself in it's sleep.

gemship
03-11-2009, 11:18 PM
I have owned both Japanese and British and the two are so completely different you cannot really compare them. The British twin is insane when properly tuned...a nice Japanese bike seems to tune itself in it's sleep.


true that but I guess what I meant was today's sportbikes would eat those of yesterday alive. Heck if my 05 Ninja had a reverse gear it would out drag that bike on wheel going backwards. When I bought that bike all the reviews tauted it as a 100mph in first gear machine and it has brakes and suspension that actually work at speed. Not sure you can say that about a old Norton.

Ken Robb
03-12-2009, 03:22 AM
[QUOTE= The British twin is insane when properly tuned...


*** does "insane" mean?

BryanE
03-12-2009, 05:49 AM
I think insane means the same as "sick".
Which both mean good.
Maybe.I think.
Bry
old

avalonracing
03-12-2009, 08:31 AM
a nice Japanese bike seems to tune itself in it's sleep.


Awesome quote! I have a nice Japanese bike that seems to do this. It also starts on the first try without hesitation after sitting in 20ºF temperatures for over two weeks (without a battery tender).
But it is a 2001 VFR which isn't exactly vintage... Yet... as VFRs are known to run well over 100K miles.

ti_boi
03-12-2009, 09:12 AM
[QUOTE= The British twin is insane when properly tuned...


*** does "insane" mean?

I got my little 750 tuned and completely dialed in.

Jumped on and left the shop, almost slid off the back it pulled so hard and smooth.

Was on a downhill next to a Yamaha cruiser and twisted it....with no clue that it was not the same 'pre tuned' bike.

It literally screamed and sent me along my way so fast it literally scared the hell out of me. I have ridden since age 15...I am 43. It had an insane smoothness of throttle with huge torque coupled with early lockheed disk brakes that do not really stop but do slow you down and a personality like a jackhammer shaking a lot.

It was a 'race bike' at that point...circa 1978...the guy on the Yamaha caught up to me and yelled..."what was that!? man oh man...I like that!! I was too shocked to do anything but nod and thank the good lord that i was still on the bike at that point.

Later on that afternoon an old crummy vaccum tube fell off the carb (they shake a lot)....and I was back to riding an overpriced British moped......*sigh*


Sick= mind blowing.

ti_boi
03-12-2009, 09:18 AM
true that but I guess what I meant was today's sportbikes would eat those of yesterday alive. Heck if my 05 Ninja had a reverse gear it would out drag that bike on wheel going backwards. When I bought that bike all the reviews tauted it as a 100mph in first gear machine and it has brakes and suspension that actually work at speed. Not sure you can say that about a old Norton.


Ridden a Ninja...liken it to staddling a ballistic missile as you wind through traffic. Kind of liked it....a lot.

Kevan
03-12-2009, 09:30 AM
There's nothin' like that sweet roar between the legs...

mcteague
03-12-2009, 10:01 AM
Ridden a Ninja...liken it to staddling a ballistic missile as you wind through traffic. Kind of liked it....a lot.
Well, there are Ninjas and there are Ninjas. I have an '08 Ninja 250R which is fun to ride, gets great gas mileage and is very reliable. But, fast it's not. It can easily keep up, and then some, on the highway but takes about 7 seconds to go from 0-60. Still, I have no desire to lose my license and the big Ninjas are only really at home on a racetrack.

Tim

Tracer
03-12-2009, 10:06 AM
Well, there are Ninjas and there are Ninjas. I have an '08 Ninja 250R which is fun to ride, gets great gas mileage and is very reliable. But, fast it's not. It can easily keep up, and then some, on the highway but takes about 7 seconds to go from 0-60. Still, I have no desire to lose my license and the big Ninjas are only really at home on a racetrack.

Tim

Don't you mean there are Ninjas and Ninjettes??

Proud owner of an 07 Ninjette as my first moto with classy flame stickers and all.

Chris

avalonracing
03-12-2009, 10:34 AM
Well, there are Ninjas and there are Ninjas. I have an '08 Ninja 250R


That 250 Ninja is a great looking bike! I think that Kawasaki really hit a home run with the styling. I read that in parts of Europe and Japan you aren't allowed to get a larger displacement bike until you have put your time in on the smaller bikes. That makes a ton of sense and I wish me had that rule here. There are too many 18 years olds with 4 days of riding "experience" on Busas. Your 250 is all most people will ever need.

(Chop the tail though... Not all the way but just to the bottom of the plate). ;)

johnnymossville
03-12-2009, 10:37 AM
That 250 Ninja is a great looking bike! I think that Kawasaki really hit a home run with the styling. I read that in parts of Europe and Japan you aren't allowed to get a larger displacement bike until you have put your time in on the smaller bikes. That makes a ton of sense and I wish me had that rule here. There are too many 18 years olds with 4 days of riding "experience" on Busas. Your 250 is all most people will ever need.

(Chop the tail though... Not all the way but just to the bottom of the plate). ;)


I think you've been out driving on 695. The 18 year-olds on Busas dodging through traffic on the back wheel is a bit unnerving. LOL

dave thompson
03-12-2009, 10:53 AM
As a vintage motorcycle guy (meaning I've been around for a very long time) I sold them when they were new (think Triumph Thunderbird), rebuilt them when they failed (frequently) and restored them when they became quaint.

You can't really disparage the early British bikes, this is where the legends started. Sure they were fussy, leaked oil (If they didn't leak, they had no oil) and were notoriously reticent to keep in tune. They were the first go-fast vehicles. Coming out of WWII where nothing that was fun or exciting was available, British twins made fun and excitement within easy reach of anyone who had the stones to swing a leg over. Stones? Oh yeah. How would you like to be the first guy to try to do the ton (100mph) when no one you knew had achieved that milestone. Street racing, cafe racing, came about as a result of these metal monsters.

You can't fairly compare British bikes to the bikes of today. The big twins were designed on paper, by people with big ideas, with pencils and slide rules and made on machinery that harked from a quite primitive era. Today's bikes are designed on computers, parsed, CAD/CAM'd to death and electronically tested even before they see the light of day.

The 'old' bikes had soul, charm, charisma and personality. I can't say that of today's machinery.

avalonracing
03-12-2009, 11:30 AM
Beautiful machines! As for the "Ton" it is strange how that changes on a modern bike. I see that if I twist the throttle for more than two seconds when passing someone on the highway... Theoretically of course :D

Ken Robb
03-12-2009, 11:48 AM
I got a Cushman w/2 speed tranny in 1957 and I can't count how many motorcycles I've had since then. There's a 2005 Ducati ST3 next to the bicycles in the garage now. I always loved Brit twins. They looked and sounded like a bike should bur really--only a highly modified 650-750cc Britbike could squeeze under 14 seconds in a 1/4 mile race.
In the 1960s we used to estimate wear on a bike by comparing it to a car with 10 times the mileage. That is to say a 1962 Triumph with 5,000 miles was like a 1962 Ford with 50,000 miles. They were both getting pretty tired and near an overhaul. I knew one guy who rode like an old lady, never winding his TR6 past 4500 rpm and he got almost 10,000 miles before his bearings went bad. He said he would have bought a BMW but there was no dealer near his home. Too bad because that bike would have suited his riding a lot better and he would have gone 50,000+ miles without major work.

My Duc with "track" pipes, intake, and engine control module dynos at 115-120 rear wheel horsepower. I can't imagine ever needing or using more power on the street. The good news is that it pulls well from 3,000-9500 rpm but I rarely wind it past 7,000 rpm. Overall average mpg is 44 with 52mpg attainable cruising at 75mph. Darn good street motor.

gemship
03-12-2009, 12:32 PM
Ridden a Ninja...liken it to staddling a ballistic missile as you wind through traffic. Kind of liked it....a lot.


here she is still stock with the addition of the vortex frame sliders. This thread is having me miss my missle!

But I miss the 03 z1000 even more so. Cadillac style :p

dave thompson
03-12-2009, 12:54 PM
From whence comes the name 'cafe racer', this perfect example. "Rockers were a young and rebellious Rock and Roll counterculture that wanted a fast, personalized and distinctive bike to travel between transport cafés along the newly built arterial motorways in and around British towns and cities. The goal of many was to be able to reach 100 miles per hour (called simply "the ton") along such a route where the rider would leave from a cafe, race to a predetermined point and back to the cafe before a single song could play on the jukebox.."

I was a Dunstall dealer for a time in the late 60s and early 70s. The demo rides were fun!

gemship
03-12-2009, 12:56 PM
that Norton cafe racer looks so sweet. great pic!

johnnymossville
03-12-2009, 01:10 PM
Rockers on their Cafe Racers,... then you had the mods on their Italian Hair Dryers. They lived to spend money on fashionable clothes and various pills.

http://i39.photobucket.com/albums/e194/xnodesign/mods.jpg

I'd say i run more towards the rocker side with my Harley Sportster, but I do have a 1957 Lambretta LD150 I love.

dave thompson
03-12-2009, 01:37 PM
Ah, Mods and Rockers. The eternal struggle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXqfff2XTI

pauly
03-12-2009, 03:05 PM
Hey - college memories & some lyrics from a good Jethro Tull tune ....


So the old Rocker gets out his bike
to make a ton before he takes his leave.
Up on the A1 by Scotch Corner
just like it used to be.
And as he flies --- tears in his eyes ---
his wind-whipped words echo the final take
and he hits the trunk road doing around 120
with no room left to brake.

And he was too old to Rock'n'Roll but he was too young to die.
No, you're never too old to Rock'n'Roll if you're too young to die.

dancinkozmo
03-12-2009, 03:48 PM
all this talk of japanese and brit bikes.....what about the ITALIANS ?
i hear the new slogan for ducati is:

"Making mechanics out of riders since 1949"

sure has been true for me !

slugbottle
03-12-2009, 04:36 PM
Fondly remember my 1970 Triumph Tiger 650 (think Bonneville with a single carb and green metallic gas tank instead of red/silver). Fingers always smelled of gas - had to "tickle" the carb before kicking it over. Terrible wiring, electrics by Lucas. "D_mn Refrigerators" was all I could think everytime it rained hard and the Triumph started sputtering and lights started flickering. Very fast but very fussy. When I got rid of it for a 1972 Honda 750 I realized we were suddenly in the "superbike" era.

mcteague
03-12-2009, 05:04 PM
(Chop the tail though... Not all the way but just to the bottom of the plate). ;)
There you go.

Tim

maunahaole
03-12-2009, 06:39 PM
I've had a zrx1100 for a couple of years now. Lightly modded, enough to get it breathing properly - pipe, pods, and jets. It's just a great bike for tooling around town and fast blasting. Great power spread (111hp/73tq according to Muzzy's buildup of the same set up I have) with lots of tq available everywhere. A nice feature is the sane ergonomics for a tall person.

avalonracing
03-12-2009, 07:28 PM
Gemship- That Z1000 is pretty damn cool. A slightly modded '03 in perfect shape sold here this week on Craigslist for $3750. I was trying to talk my friend into it as I was not going to give up my VFR for it and I don't have room for another bike at this point.

Johnny- Is that Sting with that bunch of... um... Dorks?

Tim- Photoshop doesn't count! :D

gone
03-12-2009, 07:37 PM
Bought it new, still got it. 1972 Norton "Combat" Commando

http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p170/ghsmith54/scan0484.jpg

dancinkozmo
03-12-2009, 08:06 PM
Bought it new, still got it. 1972 Norton "Combat" Commando

http://i128.photobucket.com/albums/p170/ghsmith54/scan0484.jpg

this is obviously photoshopped...no oil puddle under the bike !!
(beautiful ride btw !)

guyintense
03-12-2009, 08:53 PM
[QUOTE=ghsmith54]Bought it new, still got it. 1972 Norton "Combat" Commando QUOTE]

Sweet! One of the top years too. I could never get used to the later models with the shifter on the "wrong" side, or the electric start. Someone always has to make a crack about oil leaks, they didn't all do that. Depends on who worked on it. BTW the Nortons and the Triumphs are "vintage" the Ninjas not so much.

otis
03-12-2009, 10:14 PM
Another Triumph man here, but I've sold all my motorbikes since getting back into cycling.

Here's the last one to go:

http://www.otis.g2solutions.biz/ebayimages/bonneville1.jpg

http://www.otis.g2solutions.biz/ebayimages/bonneville2.jpg

It's a '70 with a Routt 750 kit and a later 5-speed. That was a fast Triumph.

guyintense
03-12-2009, 11:00 PM
Sonny Routt, now that's a name I haven't heard in years. I have a 69 Bonnie with a Chantland 750 kit. 1970 was the last good year for the Triumph 650, shame you had to sell it.

steelrider
03-13-2009, 01:45 AM
Gosh those English bikes are sweet. Cheers to Dave T and others for the sweet pics!

97CSI
03-13-2009, 08:16 AM
Like them in theory.....but as a former brit bike owner I find that they need constant tinkering and most people who own one have no idea what they feel like when they are running correctly because they seldom do. For the few hours you can get one dialed in they are absolute monsters. :cool:Certainly not true of my '72 T100R. Change the oil, keep the valves and points set correctly and other routine maintenance and it starts from cold on the 2nd kick almost everytime (sometimes will take 3 or 4). Wonderful bike. But, alas, I'm trading for a pristine '67 MB 220S this week. Pic's are posted here. http://forums.thepaceline.net/showthread.php?t=41116

TimD
03-13-2009, 09:06 AM
... an early Honda Gold Wing. I don't think they leak much oil :)

nelson
03-13-2009, 09:09 AM
As one who's got two Norton Commandos ('69 "S" & '75 MKIII) I've got to say that one great thing about the britbikes is that nearly all of the parts are still manufactured and readily available. In fact you can actually build a new Commando today from spares. Norvil in England does a great job of this. Through continual refinement over the last 30-40 years, the owners have developed lots of fixes for their quirks and problems and many of us have old bikes that are much more reliable than they ever were new. I wouldn't hesitate to take off cross country on mine. Of course, they're still quite a bit more maintenance than a typical UJB but that's part of the appeal. The Commandos especially handle well and can hang with most folks today and are actually pretty comfortable for long days. I regularly do 300-400 mile days on mine that could be much more tiring on a lot of modern sport bikes.