1975 Norton Commando 850 Roadster
Frame no. 325459
Engine no. 325459
Norton's popular Commando had a fulfilling if all too brief career with it eight different styling variations. During its lifespan the Commando changed from a free-spinning 750 to a high torque, low revving 850. Along the way it provided enormous success on the race track for hundreds of riders with perhaps its greatest victory being that of the Norton Race Department's brilliant development engineer, Peter Williams, on a 750 monocoque in the 1973 Isle of Man TT Formula 750 at a record average speed of over 105mph. On the street, meanwhile, and perhaps most important of all, the unique Isolastic engine mounting system effectively detached the Commando rider once above 2500rpm, that is from the Achilles heel of all large capacity British twins. Vibration.
The Roadster was launched at the Brighton Motorcycle Show in April 1969, expressly to meet American demand, following the US market's rather lukewarm enthusiasm for the earlier Commando Fastback model. Featuring a slim fuel tank, exposed fork stanchions, and upswept mufflers, the Roadster's crisp profile perfectly caught the mood, continuing thereafter as Norton's most voluminous seller.
The 1975 model year was really the last of the regular production as Norton, or by then NVT, or Norton Villiers Triumph, played their own part in the "demise of the British motorcycle industry". Examples like this original owner 850 Mk III Roadster, with electric start, left foot gearshift, and disc brakes front and rear, are as good as a working Commando gets. This particular, near stock, matching numbers example was first sold by Leo's of Bloomington, Minnesota, once thought to be the world's largest Norton dealership, and had its motor "blue printed" in the early 1980s by Roseth Racing of Minneapolis. More recently it has been looked after by Roy's Repair of Minneapolis and is reportedly in excellent running condition with good compression, a remarkably solid transmission, a recent front fork rebuild, new tires, a repainted tank in its original "John Player" white, blue and red colors, and Dunstall replacement mufflers, with 9,826 miles on the odometer believed correct - having led a somewhat charmed life.
- Please note that the title for this motorcycle is in transit.
Furthermore, please note that the fork lowers on this motorcycle were transposed during reassembly, putting the front brake caliper on the wrong side, a potential safety condition that should be checked before riding.