2017 Quail Motorcycle Gathering

Celebrating 50 years of the Norton Commando at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering.


| September/October 2017


Fifty years ago, the crowd at London’s annual Earls Court show, then the most prestigious motorcycle show in the world, lined up at the Norton stand, gawking at a silver bike with an orange seat. A separate stand displayed the bike’s new and innovative frame, and a third display explained the trademarked rubber engine mounts —“Isolastics” — that kept engine vibration from annoying the rider.

That silver bike, dubbed the Commando, was the prototype of what became one of the most popular British motorcycles of the Sixties and Seventies. Fast, smooth and sexy, the Commando was somehow considerably more than the sum of its parts, and a surprising number of the possibly 90,000 built over a 10-year stretch are still on the road.

This year’s Quail Motorcycle Gathering featured a recreation of the Earls Court Commando that started it all, plus examples of every model produced during the Commando’s 10-year run. Accompanying the bikes were displays of period Norton ads, models dressed up like the Norton Girls and even one of the original Norton Girls!

“It seems like everyone has a Norton story,” says event organizer Gordon McCall. “When I was in high school, one of the maintenance guys had a 750 Commando. I was mesmerized by that bike. When he started it up, it looked like it was pirouetting on its center stand.”

Phil Radford has been running Fair Spares America, a parts supply for Commandos, for many years. “I’m now talking to the sons and grandsons of the original owners. They want to keep Dad’s bike on the road. Parts availability is better than when the bikes were being made. For a bike that hasn’t been built for 40 years, that’s pretty amazing,” Radford says.

Although the weather was unexpectedly cold and windy, that didn’t seem to deter the crowds. The pre-show Cycle World ride sold out, and ticket sales ($75 in advance) to the main event were better than ever, as more than 3,000 spectators gathered to take in the more than 350 motorcycles, scooters and bicycles on display.





Ride 'Em, Don't Hide 'Em Getaway

Classic Motorcycle Touring and Events.


The latest classic motorcycle events and tours.

LEARN MORE



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!

Save Even More Money with our RALLY-RATE plan!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our RALLY-RATE automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $4.95 and get 6 issues of Motorcycle Classics for only $24.95 (USA only).

Or, Bill Me Later and I'll pay just $29.95 for a one year subscription!




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265