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1974 Norton Commando with Alton Electric Start

1974 Norton Commando with Alton Electric Start

$12,950 USD

1974 Norton Commando with Alton Electric Start

Once every couple of years we build a Norton at CBE for ourselves, to enjoy for a bit, and then sell it to move on to the next project. This is one of those bikes. It was built over the course of 18 months, road tested and then enjoyed at New Hampshire Motor Speedway at a number of Track Days with Fishtail Riding School. Not the fastest at the track and certainly ridden well within its limits, but no one had more fun with 50HP and no one had a cooler looking bike 🙂

The machine currently has just 1,000 miles on it, probably 2/3 at track days with no failures other than the occasional loose bolt and a broken aftermarket exhaust header that was replaced with hi end units (see below). Most Norton guys will tell you this is as nice a Norton (well sorted, handling, starting, power band, etc.) to ride as they have ever been on. The Fishtail instructors gave it very high marks for being very tight and just plain fun.

If you promise not to laugh at a rookie rider, here is a video of our second track day on the bike at New Hampshire Motor Speedway:

Notably, this bike is fitted with an Alton electric start conversion that works every time. Kick start it in front of the Harley guys and good looking gals, but push the button the rest of the time.

Our view is that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. The vision for the machine was to be a stock plus performer, but with visual cues from cafe/track bikes and custom two-tone paint. We don’t cut, weld, bob or otherwise abuse these machines. Everything is bolt on and bolt off – if you want to take the bike back to stock or in another direction.

As for parts, here is the partial rundown:

  • Matching numbers 74 850 that started life as a Roadster, but came to us more or less as a barn find.
  • Motor is 0.020″ over with a WebCam 312 camshaft, reground tappets and 0.010″ under big ends.
  • New pistons, rings, shells, superblend mains, valves, guilds, etc.
  • Updated venting at crankcase and rocker cover
  • Gearbox completely rebuilt with new bearings; primary has new clutch plates.
  • Mikuni carb; new fuel lines, filters, petcocks
  • Wassell electronic ignition; 6V dual coils with 5K plug caps
  • Viking Exhaust (New Zealand) black chrome SS pipes
  • Clubman Racing rearsets
  • Corbin gunfighter seat
  • Normal Hyde M bars
  • Clubman Racing steering dampener
  • Hagon rear shocks
  • Swing arm spindle collars to stiffen things up
  • Dave Taylor style head steady
  • Rebuild clocks from Nisongers; cafe style binnacles
  • Migura master cylinder; stainless steel brake line; rebuilt caliper with stainless pistons; drilled front disc
  • Chrome steel 19″ rims, stainless spokes, Avon Roadrunners
  • Old Britts taillight and directionals; sealed beam halogen headlight
  • Honda switch gear
  • CRC mirrors
  • Front fender from Glass From the Past
  • Quarter fairing
  • Powder coated frame; paint by the Vintage Vendor; ceramic ball tumbled castings from RP Abrasives
  • 4 Circuit fuse box and custom wiring harness

This bike is registered and ridden by one of the CBE owners. It is, of course, matching numbers and comes with a current Vermont title.

Why are we selling it? Why not! We are building another one.

We are, in all modesty, one of the premiere Norton shops in the country and have been featured in many trade rags as well as on Cafe Racer TV on the Discovery Channel (now Velocity) building cafe and stock Nortons. We know what we are doing and you will be thrilled with this bike… even if you have never ridden a Commando.

If you are local to our shop, I can offer you several months of “Guild” time wherein you can work on the machine here, learn to maintain it, or just hang out with us.

1972 Commando Roadster

1972 Norton Commando Roadster

$7,200 USD

1972 Norton Commando Roadster

1972 Norton Commando Roadster

Owner’s Statement:

This 1972 Norton Commando has been lovingly cared for by four owners, all living in rural areas within 25 miles of the selling dealer, situated in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec. The first owner took delivery of the bike in January 1973. Over the period of 12 years, the bike was ridden 4,800 miles. It passed to the second owner, located in the same town, who maintained it for eight years and added only an additional 1,600 miles to the odometer. It was next purchased by a friend of mine, a collector, who lived in the same village as I do, who kept it for a short eighteen months. I purchased the bike in August 1994, and have owned it until present day. Unfortunately, for various reasons, it has seen very little usage in the last ten years, and has graced my garage, as a prized possession. It is time for it to have a new owner, who is passionate about the Norton heritage.

CBE Assessment:

Very original and very stock 72 Norton Commando Roadster. Started life in Canada and has passed through four known owners, the last of which has owned the bike for 24 years. Current Quebec registration and in the US on an ACE Manifest. Owner can no longer safely kick start the bike and has asked CBE to find it a good home.

The machine has had a lot of quality parts and work done to it recently from ISO’s to tires to carbs/fuel system to wiring (receipts available…nearly $2K). But in the end, it is a very stock 72 (post Combat VIN 211878 with superblend bearings, etc.) right down to the points ignition. Starts, idles, runs as it should. It is one of those bikes with what we call “great harmonics”. Like a musical instrument, it seems like all the parts like each other and are in a nice harmony. Rolls on like a 750 should and handles as expected; 25K miles and the motor has never been apart.

On the to-do list would be rebuilding the front caliper which has a minor leak and getting the instruments rebuilt as they are showing their age and wandering a bit, just like most of the Norton owners do :). The motor “wet sumps” like all Nortons and can be corrected with an anti-sump valve. The charging system works, but the “assimilator” for the charging light needs to be replaced.

Overall the machine is very patina, but clean and well cared for. Chrome is passable with a little elbow grease, with some rusting on the rims and various hardware bits. Paint is solid with a few minor dings on the side covers. Inside of the tank is rust free. You could tend to the items above and have a sweet Sunday rider, or go ahead and dive in to a restoration. The long suit for this bike is its pedigree and originality. We just don’t see that many of them like that.

At CBE we do a thorough pre-delivery checklist, which we can share and discuss with qualified potential buyers. We are set up as a guild, so you are welcome to work on the bike in our shop with any number of engagement models we have, or we can do any work turn key.
We also carry the Alton electric start conversion if you would like a Norton but have a new hip and are concerned about kick starting.

Serious inquiries only. If multiple offers are made, the owner reserves the right to accept the highest bid. Please note that the paperwork and formal sale are between the owner and the buyer, not CBE as we do not take title of consignment bikes.