11/21/08

1981/2008





1981 – 2008, 27 years of English bikes…and more to come

I was 18 when my friend Vincent talked to me for the first time about a Triumph that I had to see before I bought the BMW I had chosen…
This was in June 1981 and since then I never imagined riding other way than on an English bike…


April 2002, after 21 years of good old loyal services, I decide to “break up” with my Triumph and acquire for the first time a Norton Commando.
I wanted a European model with gear change on the left same as on Triumph T140 that I knew by heart.
see previous post
http://southsiders-mc.blogspot.com/2008/05/25-summers-ago.html


It would be a 850 MK3 Commando interstate from 1977 with only 9000 miles on clock.
When I discovered my new motorcycle I decided firmly to make it an every day Norton that I could use whenever I wanted, easily and without any restraint.
In some way from this classic, bike I wanted to make a modern and trustable one. Transformations were necessary…

First of all the breaking system with a floating disk package of 300 mm on the front,
a grimeca caliper, a new master cylinder, all together allowing an optimal efficiency.
Rear break had also been significantly improved: by change of original “master cylinder” made of steel that rust inside and never miss to block the hose. The new stainless steel “master cylinder” from (MAP) definitively solved this global problem of all MK3.

Wheels have been reconditioned by Patrick with alloy akront 18” WM3 and WM4 rims. This allowed the use of modern tyres (bridgestone BT45).
The way it modified the handling is really radical. The end of K81 had come!
The stainless steel spokes allow an easy maintenance.


-standard ignition has been replaced by an electronical “boyer”
Girling rear shocks too old fashioned are replaced by Ikon shocks (Koni in French slang) adjustable in compression and also in rebound, the improvement is also very sensitive.
-on the transmission side, the primary is made by RGM with belt. The weight gained is really impressive (14 kg includind electric start devices ) and as a matter of fact maintenance is much easier. The loss of the electrical starter is the other side of the medal.

-Another important modification has been the replacement of iron cylinders by a pair of Steve Maney aluminium “cylinders”, which allow not only a 5 kg weight gain but also a better heat dissipation.
-Finally, the carb kit with Sudco intake manifold and Mikuni single carb used:
again this modification is radical and on the contrary of what is often said must not be considered as vital organ suppression! In the end the engine works a lot better with no doubt.
the idle is extremely easy to obtain when engine is cold as well as when it is hot, idle speed is very easy to rectify in a second.Thanks to the adjusting screw. This brings a lot more flexibility in low revs and an amazing progression in going up the high revs and this is thanks to the intermediate jets.


for make-up, of course a black painting with Norton logo made by Momo (MBS) in Toulouse, then some details such as replacement of rear light by a more ancient one and the front mudguard in aluminium allow to give lighter appearance to the MK3 that Time made a bit too heavy.





The Norton design is perfectly matching with my expectation of a motorcycle:

stylish, brutal and…sexy! For me in the classic bike world it is the
closest to perfection.