Long-Term Norton Ownership and Windshield Repair

Reader letters about troubles with new and second-hand bike sales, as well as a recommendation from a longtime writer.

article image
by Bob Andren
Bob Andren's sweet 1971 Commando Roadster.

Long-term Norton

I purchased my Fireflake Blue 1971 Commando Roadster new through a “fly & drive” program from Taylor-Matterson Ltd, London. I rode to the factory at Andover for a tour and to replace the clutch cable which broke shortly after heading off from the dealership. They graciously SOLD me a new cable after the tour. After riding around England and Scotland, the Commando was air freighted to Boston for the grand sum of $125. At the Boston airport, customs people told me to remove the tires so they could check for drugs. I refused and said that if they wanted to remove the tires, to go right ahead, and then put them back on again themselves. After checking with their supervisor, they finally let the bike in.

The Norton has performed wonderfully in my 50 years of ownership. About 25 years ago, I did a complete ground up restoration with many of the usual upgrades including a Boyer ignition, which has never been touched since. Most fasteners are now stainless, as are the spokes and BUB exhaust system. A Norman White belt primary was installed about 15 years ago. Most recently, my 77-year-old right leg convinced me to install an Alton electric starter. Best upgrade ever! Just push the button and the engine springs to life. Fantastic! Someday the Commando will go to my nephew, then hopefully to his son, and perhaps even to his son after that. And she looks as good to me today as she did that day 50 years ago when I picked it up.

Bob Andren/via email

Motorcycle Classics Magazine
Motorcycle Classics Magazine
Motorcycle Classics Magazine Featuring the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!