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I am always looking but I am not really full of knowledge when it comes to these. I was wondering what kind of personal experience have you guys had? Are there years to avoid or look for... I think about the only thing I really know about them is that the 850 is a vibration king and that after 73 they had disc brakes. Any of that true? I have been to the Specialty website dedicated to them but I am wanting to hear from this group not those. Thanks.
 

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asillymick said:
I am always looking but I am not really full of knowledge when it comes to these. I was wondering what kind of personal experience have you guys had? Are there years to avoid or look for... I think about the only thing I really know about them is that the 850 is a vibration king and that after 73 they had disc brakes. Any of that true? I have been to the Specialty website dedicated to them but I am wanting to hear from this group not those. Thanks.
I had a '71 Commando 750. It was totally fun bike. I personally wouldnt ever get a later Norton or an 850 for that matter. I have a 650ss now still putting back together, but my friend had a Mercury and that bike was a dream to ride. If you can, stick with a featherbed frame.

-Jason
 

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I had a 1970 Norton 750 commando series S i freackin loved it and want to buy another if i ever come across one. I too would stay away from anything after 71 or 72 and the 850's
asillymick said:
I am always looking but I am not really full of knowledge when it comes to these. I was wondering what kind of personal experience have you guys had? Are there years to avoid or look for... I think about the only thing I really know about them is that the 850 is a vibration king and that after 73 they had disc brakes. Any of that true? I have been to the Specialty website dedicated to them but I am wanting to hear from this group not those. Thanks.
 

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It sort of depends on what your looking for and what type of riding you do. I am biased, but I think Commandos are the best riding Brit bike for the $. They will cruise more comfortably and at a higher sustained speed than anything other than a Vincent.

I have had many Nortons over the years & still own a few. The stock 750 is quicker and faster than the stock 850, especially the 750 Combat. The 750 will rev quicker and will straighten out the twisty stuff with ease. The 750 Commando frame has a little steeper rake than the 850, and this makes it steer quicker. Only by 1 degree (27 vs 28) but you definitely feel it.

However, the 850 is built stronger. The 850 breather arrangement is far superior to the early timed breather off the cam. The engine cases are thicker and easier to make oil tight. With the right cam profile, and head work, an 850 will kick ass. The extra displacement makes it a torquer, and better on the open road.

Featherbed framed Nortons are another discussion. These frames have a long standing rep for their handling. The 750 Atlas was the predecessor to the Commando series. Any Norton twin is a shaker if mounted solid. That said, I will agree that the smaller displacement twins (88,99,650 SS) make for a smoother ride.

Quick overview:
- 1st year Commando was '68 Fastback, (last year for Atlas)

- '70 S model was the 1st year for points off the end of the cam

- '71 many variations of 750 were made Highrider, Proddy Racer, Roadster, SS, Fastback, and Fastback LR.

- '72 was 1st year front disc was an option, 1st year Interstate, also only year of Combat production, end of the Fastback model.

- '73 1st year 850, last year 750. All models now front disc brake.

- '75 1st year Mk III production, an attempt at an e-start, disc front & rear, and last model year sold in US

Body work will interchange. You can make any Commando a Roadster, Interstate, Fastback, Highrider, S, or SS, just by changing seat, tank, etc.

Parts interchangability between years is good. '70 and '75 models are the most unique in parts specs.

Any Commando can be made into a great motorcycle. Like most bikes of that vintage they were "kit" bikes. The factory sold you a base model, then you took it home and wrenched to make it better.
 

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I use a '70 750 for commuting, some people believe english bikes are unreliable - and they are - but a nicely rebuild engine and with a bit of love and care they are as reliable as any bike.
A friend picked up a nice original combat a few weeks ago for €4k... :(
 

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who said "get them while they're cheap?"

they cost about 3 or 4 times more than a triumph or BSA which are already climbing higher themselves.

they are cheap compared to a vincent black shadow which is the only better britt bike..

anyways, check out my Commando. It's the rare high compression RH6 Stamped head combat 750. it uses bigger intake and carbs than the regular 750.

also the most kick ass thing about a commando is it's incredibly LONG STROKE movement. it sounds better than any bike i've ever heard.

i get a boner every time i kick start my bike.

i wish i had more recent pics so you can see my pipes and stuff.

also, i will break it down and shorter rake and springer soon.

check out the aunthentic ww2 iron cross i welded to the norton foot peg and then chromed..

the norton commando is basicly 40's technology so i like the ww2 stuff on it.
 

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"It's the rare high compression RH6 Stamped head combat 750. it uses bigger intake and carbs than the regular 750."

Snorton,
Don't mean to piss in your Wheaties, but the RH6 Commando head was speced out for a '73 750. This head was not the higher compression (10-1) Combat head. The Combat head designation is RH3, but was never stamped this way over the RH exhaust rocker cover. The Combat head was stamped with the letter C near the center of the head, just in front of the head steady. The RH6 head did have 32mm intake ports like the Combat, but Compression ratio was 9.3-1. Late '73 RH6 heads carried the letter S suffix which indicated they were fitted with the improved 850 style valve guides. The RH5 750 head was the low compression head (8.9-1) for '73, and it also had 32mm intake ports. Any Commando head an be skimmed to increase the compression ratio. This is effectively what Norton did to create the Combat (RH3) head.

These figures were factory specs using a copper head gasket. The flame ring fiber type gaskets are thinner, so they will increase the CR.
 

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oh, my confusion is probably because i bought the engine and tranny by themselves as the rolling chassis was lost in a barn fire while the engine was getting repairs.

So i had to get parts by measurement.


I know for sure that the ports are 32mm, and that the head says RH6, I guess i got the year wrong, and which ones are high compression?

thanks for the heads up.
 

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Consider yourself lucky. The RH6 head might be the best stock head Norton ever produced for the street. More compression is not always the answer, especially with lower octane fuels.
 

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cool, thanks again for the info. its' kinda tricky looking up norton information.

I have the vin number on my title in my closet to check for reference also, but you already corrected me that it's a 73 and not 72.

after fixing the wet sumping problem, my commando is pretty solid and reliable.
 
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