Flashback. 1969 Norton Commando 750S.

It’s one of the most famous British bikes produced by Norton-Villiers from 1967 until 1977. Despite the Norton Commando being a pre-unit construction (meaning where the engine and gearbox are separate components with their own oil reservoirs) and numerous design problems addressed over the years, although some persisted until the end of production, the Commando was popular all over the word. Even Norton’s chairman Dennis Poore, expressed publicly his surprise at the Commando’s remarkable success. 5 ears in a row, from 1968 to 1972 Motor Cycle News gave it the award of “Machine of the Year” (photo @ Doug Mitchel 630.605.6276)


11 Responses to “Flashback. 1969 Norton Commando 750S.”

  1. 1 Guy Jul 6th, 2017 at 9:58 am

    One of the best looking Bikes ever made. I have a MK2a and it is a superb Machine.

  2. 2 highrpm Jul 6th, 2017 at 11:15 am

    nice looking bike with the right mix of chrome, polish and black.

  3. 3 Tim Jul 7th, 2017 at 7:20 am

    The Bike that got me hooked on motorcycles

  4. 4 Hillbilly Jim Jul 7th, 2017 at 10:14 am

    So beautiful it hurts to look at it.

  5. 5 Gym Jul 10th, 2017 at 11:15 am

    I saw a brand new one back when I was in junior high school and I was forever altered as a human. The chrome side pipes was all it took…

  6. 6 B. D. Jul 12th, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    Umm, the bike pictured is not a Fastback, it’s a Commando Roadster. I had several Nortons back in the day. Google ‘Norton Commando Fastback’ and you will see multiple images of True Commando Fastbacks – what made it a Fastback is the painted bodywork that was behind the seat – it was part of the seat assembly.

    These bikes offered great performance and handling primarily because of their light weight. and excellent frame design and weight distribution and their vibration was minimal thanks to the unique isolastic suspension of the engine/transmission/swingarm assembly from the rest of the bike..

    But they were already antiques by 1970 with their primary chains, pushrods, and undersquare bore and stroke that so limited their ability to rev…

    Still, looking at these pics make me want to go tickle the Amals, leaving a drop of gas on my index finger,, kicking one over (no ’75’s with their electric start and left foot shift for me! and taking one for a flog on a tight twisty road!

  7. 7 B. D. Jul 12th, 2017 at 3:23 pm

    OH yeah, and those high ‘Scrambler’ pipes are wrong for a fastback or a Roadster,

    Mine always used Hooker 2 into 1 headers to get the weight down even more (just under 400 lbs).

  8. 8 B. D. Jul 12th, 2017 at 3:26 pm

    Of course, w/ 19″ wheels front and rear, your choice of tires is limited on these. But at least you could remove the rear tire without touching the chain, a big plus!

  9. 9 nicker Jul 12th, 2017 at 7:42 pm

    B.D…. i just checked the 850 electric start Commando out in the garage. While both wheels are 19″, the tire s make a significant difference in diameter. The 4.10 h Dunlop up front has a way higher profile than the 4.10 Avon G.P. in the rear. I got that scoot from the original owner who purchased it because his brother purchased one. It got loaded up with crash bars wind-screen and luggage rack. was ridden a couple of times then stuffed into the back of the garage next to his table-saw. So im certain that he never changed tires…. And i can’t recall doing anything to it other than removing the crap, washing off the saw dist, mounting a fresh battery, and flushing out the carbs.

    So, i think that tire configuration is stock. A dealer once told me the reason for the smaller rear tire was to lower the gearing to give them a little more punch (???).

    Although its fast enough, (probably) old and mushy isolastics make it handle like a hook-n-ladder fire-truck with a drunk rear driver. I love looking at that Norton, but when push comes to shove my 78 750 5 speed Triumph is a much more predictable ride.

    Regarding “quick change” rear wheels… I’ve 2 BSAs and an Enfield with the same handy feature. My 42FL could also be said to have that capability if your willing to deflate the rear tire. I really don’t know what Harley had in mind. I suspect their designers simply weren’t talking to each other that day…. 🙂


  10. 10 nicker Jul 12th, 2017 at 7:48 pm

    “…will not be published…”

    Oh really?
    How very interesting.


  11. 11 nicker Jul 12th, 2017 at 7:55 pm

    In short then:

    “Quick change” rear wheels were not unusual on Brit bikes (see Royal Enfield, BSA, etc).

    And the 42FL in the garage is also set up that way, but requires deflating the rear tire to clear the frame (for some unknown reason). I suspect two Harley designers simply weren’t talking to each other that day…… 🙂


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