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beginner question, 1971 Norton Commando
#76053 07/31/08 5:12 pm
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Hi,

I have been reading posts on this forum for the past week or so. I have no experience with building/restoring motorcycles at all, but I am learning alot just by reading magazines, websites like this, etc. I am really interested in 60's and early 70's era british motorcycles.

Today there was an ad in the paper for a 71 Commando 750 that needs assembly, for $1000 Canadian, obo. would I be in way too deep if I bought it for restoration? I have a friend who has mechanical skills who would be helping, granted he has never restored a brit bike, but works on cars, trucks, dirtbikes, etc.

I would very much appreciate any advice you can offer,
Thanks in advance
Drew

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Re: beginner question, 1971 Norton Commando
#76054 07/31/08 5:43 pm
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Nortons probably require more special tools and procedures, and are certainly more expensive to buy parts for than most other "common" Britbikes. The price of your local bike seems fair if it is all there and not blown to bits, and you'll spend enough time iced in this winter to get pretty far along before next riding season if funding permits.

Make no mistake; you are considering a long term, frustrating and shockingly expensive intro to the hobby, but when you finish you will have one of the premiere bikes of the time. Help is a mouse click away on this site... but only you can decide if the journey will be worth the reward.


1974 TR5T
Re: beginner question, 1971 Norton Commando
#76055 07/31/08 6:20 pm
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Hey Drew, if it is all there and not rusted away, 1000 is a very good price for a commando... it is a long haul to bring back to life, but I suggest putting most of you time and money in the engine and then cosmetically do the rest, just to get it on the road, then another winter you can redo alot of the other stuff knowing that the heart of the bike is done right... nother worst then not doing everything to the engine that needs to be done, just to have to open it up again later...

Jack beerchug


Jack
1967 MGB Roadster..
1959 Bonnie
1967 Bonnie in disguise as a Trophy
Re: beginner question, 1971 Norton Commando
#76056 07/31/08 7:33 pm
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Quote
a 71 Commando 750 that needs assembly
Drew,
If you have never attempted to restore motorcycle, I suggest you start with one that is as complete and together as possible. Unless you have someone that knows Commandos and can look at the pile of parts, there is no way you will know what is missing and where those parts in the box mount.

Find one that is together and complete and take notes and pictures as you disassemble it to aid in re-assembly. I'm afraid if you are going to rely on manuals and pictures to assemble a basketful of Norton parts you will be frustrated in a matter of hours.

Even better, find some like-minded people with Commandos that can both look at the potential purchase and hopefully provide a complete example of a Commando to follow when you get stuck.


Ron L
1973 MkV 750 Roadster
1974 850 Interstate
1975 850 Cafe Racer
1968 750 Fastback
1967 P11
1969 Ranger 750
Re: beginner question, 1971 Norton Commando
#76057 07/31/08 8:25 pm
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Drew,

I agree with Ron. If you're new to Brit bikes, then getting yourself a solid runner is the best route. It will let you learn about maintenance, fixing the little things. But most importantly, it will let you ride!

Still, these bikes aren't the most technologically advanced systems on the planet. With some basic wrenching experience, good manuals, and sites like this one, you should fare well if you go the resto route. Just know it could end up being a long (and expensive) road.


McQueen
+ Ton Up Club NorCal +
Re: beginner question, 1971 Norton Commando
#76058 07/31/08 9:05 pm
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Drew,

The $1000 dollars is an ante. If you want to play, the opening bet is $10,000.

Re: beginner question, 1971 Norton Commando
#76059 07/31/08 9:33 pm
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If you have patience and are mechanically inclined, go for it.

If not, save your money up and find a good mechanic.

Re: beginner question, 1971 Norton Commando
#76060 07/31/08 11:17 pm
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Quote
Originally posted by Ron Leisner:
Quote
a 71 Commando 750 that needs assembly
Drew,
If you have never attempted to restore motorcycle, I suggest you start with one that is as complete and together as possible.
That was really the original plan, but when I saw the ad I got anxious and had to see what you experienced guys had to say. I think I'll go have a look at it tommorow and see what kind of condition it is in and how dis-assembled it really is.

Thanks alot to everyone who took the time to reply, I appreciate it.

Re: beginner question, 1971 Norton Commando
#76061 08/01/08 12:59 am
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go to the "members project" board and read my post titled "Norton Resto by the Numbers" this will give you a small idea.

Personally, if that bike was near me, I'd buy it.


Rich (last remaining member ThreeMustGetBeers)
"It's not always about going fast. Sometimes it's nice to slow down" (Wendy E.2016)

69 bonney
72 commando
75 commando
couple of beesas a ducati
and a Honda?
Re: beginner question, 1971 Norton Commando
#76062 08/01/08 1:36 am
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If you want it, better hurry. If complete, doubtful it will last long at that price.

Think positive...easier resto than a Triple.

Re: beginner question, 1971 Norton Commando
#76063 08/02/08 4:57 pm
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Quote
Originally posted by Ron Leisner:
Quote
a 71 Commando 750 that needs assembly
If you have never attempted to restore motorcycle, I suggest you start with one that is as complete and together as possible.
Drew,

I must agree with Ron also.

• One problem is that the small bits cost as much as the big bits. And the small bits tend to get lost so easily you'll never know you need it until the instruction book says, "... now place the snazzy do-dad fizz-whizzer onto the shaft". Well, there may be only 3 "do-dad fizz-whizzers" in Canada, so it's off to eBay to loose 3 or 4 auctions, and dealing with rip-off artists, meanwhile the weeks roll by. It can be exasperating. My first resto took 8 years.

• Another is cost. I work at a shop and get my parts at wholesale... and I still think they're over priced. So believe me when I tell you this is an expensive hobby for the uninformed nubbie with no contacts. By the way, BB.C is the best place to meet people in your locale.

• I'm tickled to death you want to get into the hobby. I'm excited for you. I want to encourage you. But let's be honest and realistic too. Buy a running bike and restore the forks one month, then ride. Then restore one wheel at a time, then ride. Then paint the tank and side cover, and then ride. You'll learn so much while you enjoy your bike at the same time.

:bigt:


Don't hide 'em, Ride 'em !!

RF Whatley
Cornelia, GA
Re: beginner question, 1971 Norton Commando
#76064 08/02/08 7:46 pm
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wrong again, Buell oiler, the paint should be the very last thing you do.


Rich (last remaining member ThreeMustGetBeers)
"It's not always about going fast. Sometimes it's nice to slow down" (Wendy E.2016)

69 bonney
72 commando
75 commando
couple of beesas a ducati
and a Honda?
Re: beginner question, 1971 Norton Commando
#76065 08/04/08 9:48 pm
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I have pretty much mechanical experience and my first and only Commando was a little rough but a pretty good running one. I have had my hands full just improving slowly on what I have and keeping up with all the little things that a Norton can throw at you. I vote with the group that say to get something at least running.


Jim

1970 Triumph Bonneville
1973 Commando Interstate
1971 OSSA MAR
Re: beginner question, 1971 Norton Commando
#76066 08/04/08 11:04 pm
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Why anybody would pay 1000-1500 for a rusted bag of bolts is beyond me. And the sellers think they have a gem to sell you. You are way ahead of the game buying a runner that you can at least ride and have some idea of mechanical condition. You can find good bikes out there for 3500 to 4500. You will be much happier if you save a little more money and step up a notch. I paid 3500 for my 750 about 6 yrs ago. It was an unmolested original bike. I have put about 25k miles on it and never had a real problem or anything fall off.
The motor and trans have never been opened. Ride on.

Re: beginner question, 1971 Norton Commando
#76067 08/14/08 8:42 pm
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They can be quite expensive. I spent 900$ on the gearbox alone. 500$ or so on fasteners,new carbs @400$, pistons 250$, crank work was a few 100,head was 400$, cam & lifters 400$ etc. But shes a great racer and very reliable. Very easy to build and work on once you have the proper tools. I've owned mine since 1970


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