Buyers Guide … or seek advice from a specialist ( Autor's Tip )

Is the Norton Commando a Bike for me ?

Well, this is probably one of the most difficult questions that can not be answered in general. But keep the following facts in mind. The Norton Commando was built about 30 to 40 years ago. The technique used meets the then applicable standards. For this, oil change every 4000 km, the grip of the brakes, the absence of an electric starter (except MkIII ES [though, a real electric starter was the original never, because what is the so beautiful name of the starter "Electric Foot"]) as well as the fact that the gear-shift of the Norton Commando is at the right side. For those used to modern Japanese motorcycles it gets even better. The first gear is above, and the second gear below the Neutral position. Logically, are the other gears lay below the neutral position, and therefore had to be "pulled" instead of being "pressed". Downshifting happens in reverse order. This sounds simple, but can be lost in the Adaption-phase from the usual shifting and braking patterns.

Which Model should i choose ?

The probably best-selling models are the Roadster, the Interstate, and the Fastback (where Fastbacks in lesser numbers). "S" were spotted which were up for sale. All other models
(See Commando models) reach almost never the official trade. A collector will never sell his FB LR, SS, or even production racer! If so, such sales are almost always underhand deals, so that "John Doe Commando Rider" not even know about it. So kthere are just the 3 models mentioned. 1972 models with the Combat engine constitute no obstacle anymore, as likely each Combat engine was upgraded to this day with the Super Blend camps.

From where should i get my Norton Commando ?

Here's to the author who considers himself to beginners, very clear: NORTON BY PROFESSIONALS!

No online auction and no newspaper ad can replace the advice of your Norton specialist. Certainly can professionals who are technically gifted, make a bargain on an online platform. Beginners make rather no bargains at an online auction (or at least not under the dash). If you still try to make a bargain on an online platform: Have a good look at the Commando previously! A road test must also be possible as an accurate inspection AT DAYLIGHT. If it's raining you make another appointment, and insist on the test drive. Maybe you have a friend who is familiar with Norton Commandos. Ask Him to accompany you during the visit. An honest seller has nothing to hide and would be happy on a gas talk with your friend.

Test drive and possibly visit is not possible, but "is in top condition, service just made, extremely well maintained" and other assertions in that way => Forget it ! In this Case only the seller makes a deal (or possibly your local scrap dealer).

What should i know ?

In general, the more you know about your Commando, the less surprises you will experience. Prepare well for the inspection and test drive before, because the Commando should bring you lots of joy, even after the purchase. A valuable asset here is the book "The Essential Buyer's Guide Norton Commando" by Peter Henshaw ( Commando books ). Write down important points of Henshaw's book out, or take the book along with you. For example, ask how long the seller possessed the Commando, where the services have been performed (be stupid: "Every 10000 km oil change, right?"). What type of oil is used (single or multi-grade). When was the last service performed and from whom? How long stood the Commando still after that ? What modifications have been made, and by whom? Are there bills of the service equipment and modifications? What is the reason for sale?

Ask the seller why he has just bought a Norton Commando. Answers such as "Old Brit Bikes are fashionable" or something like that, can possibly show a not quite correct idea on the hobby Norton Commando (authors opinion).

Kickstarting the Engine

Insist to kick-start the Commando by yourself. This has the following advantages: first, you will experience 1: 1 what will happen to you if you have no electric starter, and second, the starting behaviour always says something about the state of the engine.

Start the Commando as follows: Open the fueltap on the left side of the tank. Press the tickler on both carburetors briefly until fuel overflows (do not strike hard on the tickler!). Make sure that the ignition is OFF! (Ignition key even). Fold the kickstarter pedal, and kick it POWERFUL. Do not touch the throttle! Repeat the kick again. Turn on the ignition (turn the key away from the bike). Now carefully search the top dead center with the kickstarter pedal (you can feel the resistance on kickstarter). Now open the throttle about 3 - 4 mm, and hold this position. Now step powerfully on the kickstarter. Repeat the the procedure until the engine starts. Do not be frightened if the engine starts (Nor-Tone!) and not snatch the throttle full open. Now hold the engine alive with short but thoughtful throttle lift. Watch Out! Do not over-rev; the engine is still cold! Depending on the weather, the engine is able to maintain its idle speed after a few minutes.

Professionals might manage the use of choke; The author failed to do so after a few miserably failed attempts, and preferred the start method mentioned before.

Have fun on your the test drive!