Classic Norton Motorcycles

1974 Norton Commando 850

Motorcycle enthusiast Dan Bockmier decided it was time to build a custom Commando that looks as good as it rides, stops and handles.

Dave Kaufman's Norton Commando Fastback Memories

A reader shares a story from his teenage days about a Norton Commando Fastback that met with an unfortunate fate.

Steven Herberg's Norton Commando Fastback

A reader shares his Norton Commando Fastback similar to the one he had several decades ago in his younger days.

Mercury Rising: Norton’s Forgotten Featherbed

Comparing the Norton Mercury with its parallel-twin competitors, the Kawasaki W1/W2 and BSA 650 Thunderbolt.

Scott Somers' John Player Norton and 850 Roadster

A reader shares the stories of how he acquired his 1974 Norton 850 Roadster and John Player Norton.

The Approachable Nortons

Norton’s release of a new “all-British V4” has us sifting through the sands of time, starting with the Monocoque Commando.

Lowboy Racer: 1960 Norton 350cc 40M

Alan Cathcart rides the 1960 Norton Lowboy racer, which hadn't been seen in public in 40 years until it was rescued by Sammy Miller.

California Style: 2018 Norton Commando 961 California

A modern Norton Commando comes with a new set of bars for the model’s 50th anniversary.

Field Find Redux: 1963 Norton Electra ES400

A Norton Electra found in a field is restored to perfection by readers Ian and Craig Easton.

The Final Featherbed: 1967 Norton Atlas

Norton Guru Colin Kelly revives and restores a 1967 Norton Atlas to show-winning perfection.

Darrel Ricketts’ 1973 Norton 750 Commando

A reader shares a 1973 Norton 750 Commando that he built and sold to a friend.

Riding High: 1974 Norton Commando Hi-rider

We take a look at a very original 1974 Norton Hi-rider, one of the most unloved of all the Commando variations.

Uncommon Commando: 1972 Norton Fastback LR

Owner Colin Kelly built his Norton Combat LR from a basket case Combat Commando.

1975 Norton Commando 850 Mark III

The Norton Commando 850 was somehow always more than the sum of its parts.

The Way Ahead: John Player Norton Monocoque Replica Racer

Alan Cathcart rides the latest creation from Peter Williams.

Mix and Match: Norton Commando "Interback" Custom

Making a Commando custom using only Norton factory components.

The Long Wait: The 2015 Norton 961SE

U.S. buyers waited a long time for the 2015 Norton 961SE, but was the wait worth it?

McIntosh Manx Norton

This New Zealand-built 1962 Manx Norton replica set the lap for the fastest-ever Manx on the mountain course at the Isle of Man.

Norton Gets UK Funding to Expand Manufacturing, Develop 'Green' Model

New manufacturing facility, clean motorcycle engine technology and training academy among planned uses for government investment.

Unapproachable: The 1957 Norton International Model 30

The Norton International Model 30 with its Featherbed frame epitomizes British bikes.

Jack Manning: The Classic Bike Experience

Jack Manning and Nick Woodbury of the Classic Bike Experience know a thing or two about Brit bikes, particularly Nortons.

Classic Experience: Living With a 1973 Norton Commando 850

Some 55,000 Norton Commandos were built over the years. After riding one, we wish they’d built more.

Norton’s Rotary: 1989 Norton Commander

Built in small numbers and never sold in the U.S., the Norton Commander rotary represents an unappreciated chapter in the story of the fabled British marque.

Rotary-Powered Nortons: From Commander to F1

Norton’s winding road of rotary-powered motorcycles.

Michael Bailey’s 850 Norton Commando (Video)

A recently completed 850 Norton Commando rebuild starts on the third kick.

1962 Norton Manx

A 1962 Norton Manx on display with other classic motorcycles at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Leeds, Alabama.

Norton Motorcycles are Finally Shipping to the U.S.

The first shipment of Norton Motorcycles for the U.S. was loaded aboard ship, October 24, 2013.

Production Racer: Norton History

A little Norton history provides insight into the Production Racer.

Yellow Peril: Norton Commando Production Racer

The Norton Commando Production Racer has become the most collectible of all Commandos.

John Player Norton Monocoque Replicas

Former Norton engineer Peter Williams will produce 25 replicas of the John Player Norton Monocoque.

Norton Upgrade: MkIII Head Steady

Upgrade your Norton to a MkIII-style head steady.

Commando Electronic Ignition

Motorcycle Classics’ tech expert Keith Fellenstein discusses different electronic ignition options for Norton 750 Commando Roadsters.

Racing Manx Nortons at the Daytona 200

The Norton Manx’s success at the Daytona 200 proved Norton’s excellence.

Manx Norton Daytona Racer

Alan Cathcart rides Dick Klamfoth’s 1952 Daytona-winning Manx Norton.

Norton Motorcycles Moves to Donington Hall

Norton Motorcycles (UK) Ltd. announced that it has completed the purchase of historic Donington Hall, which will serve as its new corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities.

Evel Knievel and a Norton P-11

Reader Al Tellis remembers his P-11, and an encounter with an up-and-coming daredevil named Evel Knievel. 

Hogslayer Documentary Chronicles the Unapproachable Legend

Filmmaker James Cutting looks at drag racer T.C. Christenson and John Gregory’s Norton motorcycle in Hogslayer, The Unapproachable Legend. 

Attention to Detail with a Seeley Norton Commando

Alan Cotterell’s Seeley Norton Commando goes faster after a few changes. 

Norton Motorcycles Receives EPA Certification – Finally!

We’ve been pretty quiet about developments at the revived Norton Motorcycles in England headed up by businessman Stuart Garner, mostly because there hasn’t been much news coming out of the U.K.-based company. Now word comes that Norton has finally cleared one the biggest hurdles to entering the U.S. market, EPA certification, and is on track to deliver 2013 Commando 961s.

1929 Norton Model 18

A 1929 Norton Model 18 on display with other classic motorcycles at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Leeds, Alabama.

Michael Bailey's Norton Project Bike

Michael Bailey finished up this 10-year Norton project bike just in time for his birthday.

1975 Norton Commando MK 3

A 1975 Norton Commando MK 3 on display with other classic motorcycles at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Leeds, Alabama.

1960 Norton Dominator Model 99

A classic Norton Dominator Model 99 on display with other vintage motorcycles at the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Leeds, Alabama.

1936 Norton Manx

A vintage 1936 Norton Manx racer (Borro Castellani's race bike) on display with other classic motorcycles at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa.

Norton Motorcycles unveils its 2012 TT contender

Norton Motorcycles has announced the factory’s intent to compete in the 2012 Isle of Man TT Senior race, and the development of their new race bike.

Fernando's Fast 1975 Norton Commando

Fernando Vela and his fast-moving 1975 Norton Commando.

Agnes the Norton Commando 850

The Norton Commando 850 was the last of the line for Norton, but was it the best?

A Grand Day Out on a Norton Commando

Cam Norris describes a joyful ride on his classic 1969 Norton Commando S.

Ken Peters’ 1973 Norton 850 Commando

Firing up Ken Peters' 1973 Norton 850 Commando after installing a Tri-Spark electronic ignition system from Colorado Norton Works.

Fouled Spark Plugs

Motorcycle Classics tech expert Keith Fellenstein solves a fouled spark plug problem in a 1973 Norton 850 Commando.

Norton Commando: 850 Versus 961

Clash of the Commandos: Classic Norton Commando 850 vs. a new Norton 961

History of the Featherbed Norton Manx

A brief history of the Featherbed Norton Manx and how the featherbed frame provided durability and superb handling.

The Tonkin Tornado: A Street-Legal Norton Manx

Steve Tonkin hand builds a street-legal Norton Manx, the British motorcycle every rider dreams of owning.   

High-Mileage Classics: 200,000-mile 1973 Norton 850 Commando

Stan Keyes shares the experience of racking up more than 200,000 miles on a 1973 Norton 850 Commando that he bought new.

Colorado Norton Works Keeps Commandos On the Road

Larry Suglia's 1975 Norton Commando 850 MkIII becomes the 55th Colorado Norton Works Commando.

Last Norton Commando Sells for $30,748!

The very last Norton Commando built, a 1977 850 MkIII Interstate, was sold at Bonhams’ April 24 auction in Stafford, England, for an eye-popping $30,748, with buyer’s premium. That’s 15 times the cost when new and easily double what any Norton Interstate has brought at auction to date.

1936 Norton Model 18 vs. 1938 Velocette MSS

Two of the best representatives of girder-forked 500cc British singles.

The Norton 961 Commando in America

"Patience" best describes the demeanor U.S. buyers for the new Norton 961 Commando have had to assume since Stuart Garner’s 2008 relaunch of Norton.

Norton 961 Commando Café Racer

Alan Cathcart's road test of the Norton 961 Commando Café Racer verifies that Norton is back.

Found on eBay: 1973 Dunstall Norton Commando

This week we've found something both rare and desirable: a 1973 Dunstall Norton Commando 850. The current owner began restoring the bike in late 1999, and the restoration was completed in early 2004.  

Found on eBay: 1974 John Player Norton

While it's not the rarest Norton in the U.S., the John Player Norton is one of those bikes a whole generation of gearheads longed for. And while this one is definately in need of some serious restoration work, it looks to be a numbers-matching JPN, though the seller welcomes more information anyone may have on the provenance of the motorcycle.  

Dad's 1972 Norton Interstate

This photo was taken just a few days after Dad bought a new 1972 Norton Interstate.

Found on eBay: 1969 Norton Commando S

One of the rarer variants of the notorious Commando, the S model is effectively a Commando dressed as a scrambler. Few were sold still wearing all their “S” pieces, and this one looks to have the right gear.

1966 Norton P11 Prototype Replica

It was 1966 when Bob Blair and his mechanic/parts manager Steve Zabaro worked together to blend components from two motorcycles to create the prototype of what would become one of the most legendary classic Norton motorcycles — the 1967 Norton P11.

Racing Classic Norton Motorcycles

Bob McKeever is still active in racing classic Norton motorcycles at age 90 with the Norton Champagne classic motorcycle racing team.

Road Test: 1973 John Player Norton Monocoque

Just as the sun was setting on the British Empire, Norton set the racing world on edge with its revolutionary stainless steel-framed racer — the John Player Norton Monocoque.

John Player Norton Commando

Go-fast good looks and low production make the John Player Norton Commando a top collectible among classic Norton Commando motorcycle fans. 

11 New 1975 Norton Commandos Found in Belgium!

Here’s something you don’t come across every day: 11 brand new 1975 electric-start Norton Interstate motorcycles, still in the crate and awaiting final assembly! The horde of Nortons came to light recently following the death of the owner of Motoshop Podevyn in Aalst, Belgium. Incredibly, the bikes are just a small part of an even larger collection.

Found on eBay: 1974 Norton Commando Roadster

It's not every day you stumble upon a Norton Commando that looks ready to ride. Many of the good ones are being stashed away in collections, and even a basket-case Commando can bring a pretty penny anymore. But this Roadster looks like that perfect example of a well-loved but well-used bike that makes us itch for a tank full of gas and a warm spring day.

Manx Norton at Daytona, 1948

Carefully draining fuel from a Manx Norton into a gas can is Clarence Czysz, a top Norton tuner in the years following World War II. The location is Daytona and the Daytona Beach Course, and the year is 1948.

Norton Gear Giveaway!

In celebration of the new Norton Commando SE, we’re giving away some hyper-cool Norton gear. How cool? At the top of the list is a framed metallic print from the Lord of Light and Master of the Pixel, motorsports photographer Daniel Peirce. Featuring a 1973 Norton 850 Commando, the signed and numbered print is from Peirce’s critically acclaimed book, The Fine Art of the Motorcycle Engine.

New Norton to premier at Long Beach motorcycle show!

Norton Motorcycles in England, which has relaunched the Norton brand with the new 961 Commando SE, is bringing three new Norton Commandos to display at the International Motorcycle Show in Long, Beach, Calif., Dec. 4-6, 2009, and Motorcycle Classics will be there with them, welcoming the return of one of the most storied names in motorcycling!

Colorado Norton Works

Colorado Norton Works keeps the snarly, but smooths out the gnarly on classic Norton motorcycles

Stuart Garner, the New Face of Norton Motorcycles

The Norton name is back in the U.K., this time under the sole ownership of a British businessman with passion for motorcycles, Stuart Garner. 

Found on eBay: 1973 Norton Commando 850 Interstate

Norton Commandos are some the most loved and coveted of the Seventies bikes, and their prices have been climbing steadily for years. Rarely do we see a Commado worth having for less than $5,000, and often the ones for sale at that price still look like they need a good bit of sorting.

1975 Norton Commando Returns from the Grave

On Sept. 15, 2007, I celebrated 25 years of owning my 1975 Norton Commando. In that time the bike and I rolled through a litany of adventures and misadventures, our relationship sometimes harmonious, sometimes not.

Colorado Norton Works Plans Limited Production Run

Dolores, Colo.-based Colorado Norton Works (CNW) is planning a limited run of 12 “production” Norton café racers modeled on CNW’s critically acclaimed #038 Café project, a bike we featured in the March/April 2006 issue of Motorcycle Classics. Up to now, CNW has focused on crafting custom-built Norton Commandos to customer specifications in either 750 or 850 guise. For this project CNW will draft its own specs, giving customers a handful of options but deviating little from its idea of what a production #038 Café should be.

The Oddball Norton 750 Commando

The forgotten S, SS, and R Norton Commandos.

The Norton 650SS

For a short time, the Norton 650SS was the company's top dog until the Norton Atlas arrived. Today it's a rare classic.

The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

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