Norton Commando as good as new after 50 years
Wednesday 8th September, 2021 - 11:00am
It’s exceedingly rare to find a near 50-year-old motorcycle in practically brand new condition, but that’s exactly what Dave Keenan has.
Keenan’s Norton Commando has just eight kilometres on it, having undergone a restoration that spared no expense.
It’s a trophy winning example of the classic British bike, and it could be yours.
Manufactured for a decade from 1967, the Commando was capable of a top speed approaching 200 km/h out of the factory.
While Keenan has never tested that fact, it’s fair to suggest it’d be capable of nudging that figure.
“Norton was very good, especially in England, with Peter Williams and Dave Croxford, they used to race them, and had a lot to do with the Norton factory over there,” he explained.
“Peter got hold of the Norton Commando and sort of made something out of them; he developed his own race cam. He was a brilliant engineer.
“He developed a twin cylinder from a road bike to a racing bike and made all these bits for them, and everyone else jumped on board and started making this stuff too.
“As a road bike, they are a brilliant bike,” he added.
“Back in its time in the ‘70s, they would have to be one of the quickest twins around.
“They had the isolastic suspension in the swinging arm, and a big main bolt going through the swinging arm – and the swinging arm is actually bolted to the motor.
“The whole motor is sort of rubber mounted. The main bolts up front are rubber mounted so the whole bike is rubber mounted and it stops a lot of the vibration.”
Keenan’s example features a number of fibreglass components, including the seat and tank.
Painted silver and offset with French blue, it’s been impeccably maintained.
But, after a number of years of maintaining and showing the bike, it’s time for it to move on so Keenan can focus on his next restoration.
“I sort of burnt myself out showing it at shows and things,” he explained.
“It just sits and every now and then I kick it in the motor and start it up.
“I think it’s just time to move it on.
“I’m building up another one – I’ve got a couple, actually, just getting around to it,” he added.
No expense has been spared on Keenan’s Commando, with even the exhaust having been painstakingly recreated to the original specifications.
“There’s a lot in it,” he admitted.
“And the reason why I put it all in there was because it sounds good.
“It sounds really good because it’s got all those hot parts.
“It’s the sort of thing you’d do if you wanted to race it, but you or I wouldn’t race it now, it’s too good!”
The bike has never been registered, though Keenan suggests it could be if so desired.
CLICK HERE to view the Norton Commando on Speedcafe.com Classifieds.