The Norton Commando 750 was a classic British motorcycle produced between 1967 and 1977 by the Norton Motorcycle Company. It quickly became one of the most iconic motorcycles of its time, with its sleek design, powerful engine, and superior handling.
The Commando was designed as a competitor to the Triumph Bonneville and BSA Lightning models, which were dominating the motorcycle market at the time. The engineers at Norton knew they had to create something special to stand out in such a competitive market, so they came up with an innovative frame design that eliminated traditional problems associated with vibration.
The result was a bike that not only looked great but also performed exceptionally well on the road. The Norton Commando’s unique Isolastic frame system made it one of the smoothest rides available in its class. This revolutionary technology used rubber mounts to isolate engine vibrations from the rider’s body, resulting in a much more comfortable ride.
Underneath this revolutionary frame lay an air-cooled parallel twin-cylinder engine that produced up to 58 horsepower at peak performance levels. With plenty of torque throughout its power band, this bike could easily accelerate from zero to sixty miles per hour in just over five seconds.
Overall, these features made for a highly desirable motorcycle that appealed to both casual riders and racing enthusiasts alike. Today, collectors around the world still seek out original or restored versions of this legendary machine as it continues to be regarded as one of Britain’s greatest motorcycles ever created.
History of Norton Motorcycles
Norton Motorcycles is a British motorcycle brand that was founded in 1898. Originally, it produced bicycles under the name of James Lansdowne Norton Ltd. In 1908, Norton began producing motorcycles with its first model being the “Norton Big Four”. The company’s early years were focused on racing and developing high-performance engines.
In the 1920s and 1930s, Norton established itself as a dominant force in motorcycle racing, winning numerous championships and setting speed records across Europe. During World War II, the company shifted its focus to producing military motorcycles for Allied forces.
After the war ended, Norton resumed production of civilian motorcycles and continued to innovate with new designs such as the featherbed frame which introduced better handling and stability to their bikes. In 1949, they launched their most successful model yet – the “Norton Dominator” – which remained in production until 1963.
The next significant milestone in Norton’s history came with the launch of their iconic “Commando” series in 1967. The Commando featured an innovative engine mounting system that reduced vibration significantly while maintaining impressive power output. This made it one of the most sought-after motorcycles during its time.
Norton went through several ownership changes throughout its history but experienced financial difficulties by the late ’70s due to increased competition from Japanese manufacturers who offered cheaper alternatives with similar performance capabilities.
In recent years, however, there has been a resurgence of interest in vintage Nortons among enthusiasts looking for classic British motorcycles with exceptional build quality and race-winning heritage.
Development of the Commando Model
The Norton Commando 750 was introduced in 1967 as a replacement for the aging Norton Dominator. The development of the Commando model began in late 1964, when Norton’s chief engineer Bernard Hooper started working on a new frame design that would reduce vibration and improve handling.
Hooper’s solution was to use an Isolastic system, which consisted of rubber mounts between the engine and frame. This helped isolate engine vibrations from the rider, resulting in a smoother ride. The first prototypes were built using modified Atlas frames with Isolastic mounts welded onto them.
After extensive testing, it was determined that a completely new frame would be necessary to fully realize Hooper’s vision for the Commando. In early 1966, a new double-loop steel backbone frame was developed that incorporated Hooper’s Isolastic system.
The original engine design used in the Commando came from Norton’s successful Atlas model. However, modifications were made to increase power output and improve reliability. The most significant change was upgrading from an iron cylinder head to an aluminum one.
Other improvements included larger valves and carburetors, high-lift camshafts, stronger crankshaft bearings, and improved oil flow through the engine. These changes increased power output from around 50 horsepower to over 60 horsepower.
The first production models of the Norton Commando were released in late 1967 as part of their “Fastback” series. Over time, various iterations of the bike were produced including roadsters and café racers.
Despite initial success with sales numbers exceeding expectations by more than three times at launch; however due to financial mismanagement , declining quality control & inability or reluctance to adapt quickly enough compared with other brands- ultimately led towards downfall & closure by mid-1970s.
Today ,however original examples are highly sought after motorcycles among enthusiasts who value their classic style and unique riding experience.
Technical Specifications of the Norton Commando 750
The Norton Commando 750 was first introduced in 1967 and quickly became a popular motorcycle known for its speed, handling, and reliability. Here are the technical specifications of this iconic bike:
- Engine: The Commando 750 features a four-stroke parallel twin engine with a displacement of 745cc. The engine is air-cooled and produces around 58 horsepower at 6,800 rpm.
- Transmission: The transmission is a four-speed manual gearbox that delivers power to the rear wheel via chain drive.
- Suspension: The front suspension consists of telescopic forks with hydraulic damping while the rear suspension uses twin shock absorbers with adjustable preload.
- Brakes: The Commando 750 has drum brakes on both wheels. Later models were equipped with disc brakes on the front wheel for improved stopping power.
- Tires: Standard tires for this model are Dunlop K70s which are tube-type tires. Front tire size is typically 3.25 x19 while rear tire size is usually around 4.00 x18.
- Fuel tank capacity:The fuel tank capacity of this model is approximately3 gallons (11 liters).
In addition to these technical specifications, it’s worth noting that there were several variations of the Norton Commando produced over its production run from late ’60s through early ’70s . These included different engines sizes such as:the Fastback (also called S-Type), Roadster ,and Interstate.Other modifications include changes in frame geometry, color schemes or engine tuning. Regardless of the model, however, the Norton Commando 750 remains one of the most iconic motorcycles ever produced.
Design and Styling Features
The Norton Commando 750 is a classic British motorcycle that was originally produced between 1967 and 1977. The bike has a distinctive design, with its iconic fuel tank, curved seat, and twin exhaust pipes.
One of the standout features of the Commando’s design is its Isolastic suspension system. This innovative system used rubber mounts to isolate the engine from the frame and reduce vibration. This made for a smoother ride, even at high speeds.
The bike’s styling also set it apart from other motorcycles of its time. The flowing lines of the fuel tank were complemented by chrome details on the headlight, handlebars, and fenders. The black-and-silver color scheme gave the bike a timeless look that still looks great today.
Another unique feature of the Commando was its “peashooter” exhausts. These twin pipes added to both the bike’s aesthetic appeal as well as its performance capabilities.
In addition to these styling features, Norton also offered a range of accessories for owners to customize their bikes further. These included everything from saddlebags to windshields to performance upgrades like larger carburetors or racing camshafts.
Overall, the design and styling features of the Norton Commando 750 helped make it one of the most iconic motorcycles ever produced. Its sleek looks combined with cutting-edge technology made it popular not just in Britain but around the world – which is why it remains such an enduring symbol among motorcycle enthusiasts today.
Riding Experience and Performance
The Norton Commando 750 offers a unique riding experience that’s hard to find in modern motorcycles. Its classic British design and powerful engine make for an unforgettable ride.
One of the most notable features of the Commando is its comfortable riding position. The handlebars are positioned just right, allowing riders to sit upright with their arms relaxed. This makes it easy to control the bike while also reducing rider fatigue on longer rides.
In terms of performance, the Commando doesn’t disappoint. The 745cc engine provides plenty of power, producing up to 58 horsepower at 6,800 rpm. It may not be as fast as some modern sportbikes, but it certainly has enough oomph to get you where you need to go quickly.
Handling is another area where the Commando shines. Its lightweight frame and suspension system make for a smooth ride even on rough roads or bumpy terrain. Whether you’re cruising down a straightaway or tackling tight turns, this bike handles like a dream.
Braking is also excellent thanks to its front disc brake setup paired with drum brakes in the rear providing ample stopping power when needed.
Overall, if you’re looking for a motorcycle that combines classic style with impressive performance and handling capabilities – look no further than the Norton Commando 750!
Legacy and Cultural Impact
The Norton Commando 750 has left a lasting impact on the motorcycle industry and popular culture. Its innovative design and impressive performance made it a favorite among riders in the 1960s and 1970s.
One of the most significant contributions of the Norton Commando was its introduction of an Isolastic system, which reduced engine vibration by using rubber mounts to isolate the engine from the frame. This system not only improved rider comfort but also led to better handling, as less engine movement meant more stable steering.
Additionally, many features of the Norton Commando were ahead of their time, including its electric start option, disc brakes (introduced in 1972), and five-speed gearbox (introduced in 1973). These innovations helped set new standards for motorcycles that are still seen today.
The cultural impact of the Norton Commando can be seen through its appearances in popular media. It was featured prominently in several iconic films such as “The Great Escape” (1963) starring Steve McQueen and “A Clockwork Orange” (1971) directed by Stanley Kubrick. The motorcycle’s sleek design also influenced fashion trends, with leather jackets becoming a staple for riders who wanted to emulate their favorite movie stars.
Today, the legacy of the Norton Commando lives on through enthusiasts who continue to restore and ride these classic motorcycles. Its influence can also be seen through modern-day bikes that have adopted similar designs or technologies first introduced by this legendary machine over half a century ago.
Maintenance and Restoration Tips
If you own a Norton Commando 750, it’s essential to take good care of it to ensure its longevity. Regular maintenance and restoration are necessary to keep your bike in top condition.
Here are some tips on how to maintain and restore your Norton Commando 750:
Cleanliness is Key
Keeping your bike clean should be part of your regular maintenance routine. Use a soft cloth or sponge with soap and water to clean the bodywork, wheels, and engine components. Avoid using harsh chemicals that can damage the paintwork or corrode metal parts.
Regular Oil Changes
Changing the oil regularly is crucial for maintaining proper lubrication in your motorcycle’s engine. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on when to change the oil, but as a general rule, aim for every 1,000 miles or six months.
Check Tire Pressure
The correct tire pressure ensures optimal handling performance while reducing wear and tear on the tires. Check tire pressure regularly (at least once per month) using an accurate gauge.
Lubricate Moving Parts
Lubricating moving parts such as cables, chains, pivots will reduce friction between them during operation hence increasing their lifespan.
Replace Worn-Out Parts Promptly
Over time mechanical parts tend to wear out from prolonged usage. Replace any worn-out parts promptly before they cause more significant problems that may lead to costly repairs
If you want to restore an old Norton Commando 750 back into its former glory here are some tips;
- Create a plan: You need first decide what kind of restoration project you’re undertaking- whether it’s full restoration or partial.
- Assess the condition of the bike: You need to evaluate the extent of damage and what parts are salvageable or not.
- Get a manual: A comprehensive guide comes in handy when undertaking restoration projects.
- Gather parts: You will need to source for original or replacement parts required for restoring your Norton Commando 750
- Clean and disassemble:Cleaning helps remove dirt, rust, grime, corrosion build-up while disassembling makes it easier to access all areas that may require repair.
- Sandblast and powder-coat frames: To give your frame a fresh new look sandblasting removes any paint residue leaving an ideal surface. Then proceed with powder coating giving you long-lasting protection against weather elements
By following these maintenance and restoration tips, you’ll keep your Norton Commando 750 running smoothly on the road. Remember always adhere to safety procedures when working on motorcycles!
Conclusion and Future of the Norton Commando 750
In conclusion, the Norton Commando 750 is a classic motorcycle that has stood the test of time. Its unique design, powerful engine, and smooth ride continue to capture the hearts of enthusiasts around the world.
As with any vintage motorcycle, proper maintenance and restoration are essential for keeping these bikes on the road for years to come. Many parts for these motorcycles are still available from aftermarket suppliers or can be sourced from other bikes in need of repair.
While production of Norton motorcycles ceased in 1977 due to financial troubles, there have been attempts at resurrecting the brand in recent years. These efforts include a new range of limited edition models as well as plans for an updated version of the iconic Commando.
As technology continues to evolve, it will be interesting to see how traditional motorcycle designs like the Norton Commando adapt while still maintaining their timeless appeal.
Overall, it’s safe to say that fans of this classic British bike will continue to cherish and preserve their beloved Nortons for many more decades to come.