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#790393 11/17/19 10:54 pm
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I thinking about my next project. I’m selling my roller and parts because I realized that I don’t want to keep putting good money into bad.

I want a cafe racer and I want a Norton.

What are your opinions about trying to build a Manx style slimline Atlas, or go with the more modern and more available parts Commando?

I’m just shopping now, but I figure the Norton section is where you guys would have the best opinions.


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I'll Bite. And remember that opinions are worth about half of what you paid for them here !
I'd comment those are two rather different choices - and only you can decide which one is right for you.

Slimline featherbeds of the Atlas variety are renowned for their sharp handling - and less than smooth ride shall we say.
Commandos are renowned for their isolastically smooth ride, and the jury is still mostly out about the sharp handling.
They can certainly be made to go fast, and they've lapped race tracks faster than their featherbed cousins - but that is
with race riders aboard, and only they know how hard they were pushing.

Cosmetically, its easier to make a featherbed look like a cafe racer - but plenty of Commandos are about in cafe guise too.
Only you know how deep your pockets are, and how much $$$ you wanna spend on this.
I'd comment you sometimes see cafe racer bikes for sale that seem a real bargain - tough to sell like that ?
You also see them with sky high asking prices - a reflection of how much has been spent, perhaps ?

https://caferacerforsale.com/ad/norton-atlas-750-cafe-racer-1963-featherbed-unity-equipe/
https://www.returnofthecaferacers.com/norton-cafe-racer/ed-norton-commando-cafe-racer/

I'm going with an Atlas powered wideline, and a fairly stock Commando. Both still projects at this stage,
and a fairly leisurely build schedule. Mostly because thats what was in the garage, and achievable !!?
And other assorted projects, money pits all of them ....

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All great points. I would think that Commando parts are much easier to come by and the bike is a little more modern, but the older Atlas has such classic timeless lines.

Whatever I do, it will be a slow process.

And nothing could be truer than “working on whatever’s in your garage” and “they’re all money pits”.

I’ve been spending more than my projects are worth all my life...


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Sounds like you are all clued up on this !
Decisions, decisions....
The Atlas with manx styling, or Commando with cafe leanings

I'd comment that Nortons themselves did a few Commando cafe racer versions,
just to kick the styling trends along, and add to the possible themes.

https://www.motorcycleclassics.com/...n-commando-production-racer-zm0z13ndzbea
[Linked Image from opimedia.azureedge.net]

https://www.bike-urious.com/the-real-thing-1974-john-player-norton-commando/
https://i1.wp.com/www.bike-urious.c...o-Front-Left.jpg?fit=881%2C661&ssl=1

A lot of these parts simply bolt on.
Which may be a bit of a simplification, since you generally need the whole kaboodle...

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Commando !!!!

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if you plan on riding it for any length of miles most definitely a commando.


windy
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if it aint broke fix it till it is
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I’m selling my roller and have an eye on a commando frame and matching engine cases.

Someone buy my roller so I can buy a Norton 😊

Last edited by Norcoastal; 11/19/19 12:19 am.

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Good Luck.

You may want to put a reminder in the BSA/triumph section, since that is
where any likely buyer is likely to be lurking. ?

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Thanks, the roller is sold but that’s a good idea for my tank!


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I've already got a Commando, so I would go for a featherbed. I've ridden the 750 Atlas a few times and have to say that I'm not OK with all those vibes. So, there are several solutions to this, but I would lean toward a 650SS or a Featherlastic. Both will be more money than a Commando, so dig deep if you go that route.
Cheers,
Bil


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1985 Honda Nighthawk 650
1957 Thunderbird/T110 "Black Tiger"
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If I may add my 2 cents worth into this conversation, I've ridden a particular Atlas on several occasions that is very smooth at 65 to 75 MPH. It was still very comfortable vibration wise above and below that speed.
My friend who owns the Atlas and I ran across someone at Daytona at the 50th anniversary (early '90's) of the Daytona 200 who specialized in Norton's. I believe it may have been Leo Goff (don't hold me to that). He was on what I seem to remember was a P11.
We couldn't believe how smooth it was. He gave my friend the balance factor he used.
My friend was more that capable of doing his own balancing. This bike was so smooth and ran so well that he cost me $100.00 on a bet I made with him.
I bet him that his Atlas couldn't complete the the solstice run that takes place annually here in Texas (they line up on the Sabine river bridge separating Louisiana from Texas and take off toward the New Mexico and Texas border). The run must be completed in
daylight (meaning on official sunrise to sunset). For those of you overseas that don't understand how large Texas is, that's approximately 880 miles ( or 1400 kilometers) in roughly 12 hours. On that trip they had to travel thru the 4th and 7th largest cities in the U.S.
I might add that the bike has a stock Atlas tank, so you can imagine how many stops he had to make for fuel.
He made if with about 20 minutes to spare.
The bike was stone stock (AMAL, Lucas and all the rest).
My point is that an Atlas if properly set up and balanced, can be more that acceptable as a comfortable cafe bike.
Sam

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Thanks for that Sam. If I had unlimited funds it would be Atlas in a heartbeat. With limited funds and a race car that I’m also building, I think what makes the most sense financially as well as ease of accessible parts, I’m leaning Commando.

But I do have my eyes on a few Atlas frames, I just think it’s out of my budget zone


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Norcoastal: That Ford GT project looks interesting. Have you got that on a forum somewhere?


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Hi Nick

Yes there’s a Ford GT forum where I have a build log.


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I was eyeballing one for sale locally.
Expensive little jiggers when done.
How come you can afford to eat ??

https://i.ebayimg.com/images/g/qEgAAOSwunNd1I3A/s-l1600.jpg

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I love the GT40, but it’s a lot of work and I have a long way to go.

The body is a mold from an original car. I want it to have modern handling and braking so I have a C5 corvette breaks and suspension with QQ1 Coilover shocks.

The engine is a modern 2015 Gen 2 Ford Coyote Mustang GT engine with 435 horsepower out of the factory.

Engine and all the brake and clutch plumbing is done. Most work is fitting body panels and the transmission.

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]

[Linked Image from i.postimg.cc]


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We diverge, muchly !
Very nice.
But what do you need motorbike projects for ??

That exhaust looks like a work of art, wonder how they jig that up ??

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Been working on the car for two years. Need a break and focus on something new, plus it’s a very expensive project. The motorcycle is a bit easier to fund.

The exhaust is called A Bundle of Snakes. It’s designed from the original GT40. If you notice, it’s not 4 tubes on each side, they intersect with each other.

Last edited by Norcoastal; 11/23/19 2:59 am.

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A couple of tenuous links for you between the GT40, BSA and Norton.

John Wyler who was part of the GT40 team had worked for the Sunbeam Motor Company earlier in his career in the early 40's, BSA bought out the Sunbeam motorcycle side in 1943.

The Sunbeam Motor company started off in Villiers Street Works Wolverhampton, Villiers Engineering were neighbours and eventually became part of NVT Norton Villiers Triumph.

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Thanks Kommando, I knew something felt right working on these together!


1973 Norton Commando Project
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