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Bike Profile

Norton Commando 750 Roadster

From his teenage dreams to a life with bikes, Tony Page has travelled the world with a Norton Commando

Now here's dedication for you: Tony Page bought his 750cc 1972 Roadster in 1974, when he was sixteen, and before he could even ride it! Since then he and the Mk2 have clocked up over 350,000 miles (and counting) on travels all around the globe and just around the corner; 'it's been used for absolutely everything, foreign travel to UK commuting.'

Yellow. You can't beat a yellow bike.

You can't munch those many miles without mincing a few mechnicals in the process, and indeed the engine has been rebuilt three times and the whole bike restored twice. But Tony rarely has to spend money on the Commando these days and it never breaks down, thanks to sensible modifications and developments made over the years; 'Originally it broke down a lot with stupid things mainly (points, valve guides and such) and it took a year or two to learn what I should do with it, then it was fine. Sorted.'

One of those stupid things was the layshaft bearing, which was finally fixed by fitting a Quaife 5-speed gearbox. Tony has also experimented with different carb set-ups, and reports achieving excellent fuel consumption of 75mpg with an SU item. Unfortunately the SU was destroyed by US petrol when on an American adventure ('I took the Commando on the US trip because I had absolute faith in its ability to transport me the expected 20,000 miles, across deserts and all sorts'), so now Tony uses a Mikuni carb instead. And after so many miles together, what's Tony's overall opinion of the Roadster... and riding it?

'I have LOTS of bikes. If I had to sell all bar one I'd keep the Commando, my first bike.

'Don't dream it: do it. Don't get old and say "if only". Just buy one and bugger off and leave the awful job behind!'

RECOMMENDED MODS

  • Fit Boyer or other electronic ignition
  • Swap to Mikuni carb kit, 200, or fit single SU or Amal carb conversion, 100
  • Use Koni aftermarket shocks
  • Use Japanese flasher unit if indicators fitted
  • Use Loctite on major fastenings
  • Replace fasteners with stainless items
  • Avoid poor quality pattern parts

    PEOPLE TO SPEAK TO

  • Norvil, spares and expert advice, 01543 278008. www.norvilmotorcycles.co.uk
  • RGM, spares and service, 01946 841517
  • Mick Hemmings, spares and service, 01604 638505
  • Tony Hayward, belt drives, 01244 830776

    Old fashioned, unreliable, anachronistic... but at least the bike's alright.

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