What a BEAUTIFUL Norton!

Reader Contribution by Margie Siegal
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The young woman disappeared inside the cafe, but quickly reappeared with a camera. She took several pictures. I was wishing I could share her opinion of my bike. At that point, over 200 miles into my trip, I was thinking it was a recalcitrant and difficult Norton, with a bad sense of humor.

A couple of months previous, I decided that I was going to ride my Norton Commando to the annual International Norton Owners Association (INOA) rally near Ashland, Oregon. Now, Nort and I go way back, and I had no illusions that the 900-mile trip would be a walk in the park. Nort is, after all, a 40-year-old British motorcycle. One of the challenges I was looking at was getting the motorcycle started. The Boyer ignition draws too much current for the “electric start” (more like “electric assist”) to work. Not being a 200-pound guy or a professional weightlifter, I can’t kickstart the bike unless it is on the centerstand, and I can’t get the bike on the centerstand unless it is either on the level or, better, pointing uphill.

I did my best to make sure that both Nort and I were going to make it. Before I left, I had the bike checked over by a competent mechanic. I had the front brake master cylinder replaced with an upgraded version. I manufactured a wedge to get that front tire up so I could more easily get the bike on the centerstand. I took a minimum of gear and checked the weather. I left early so I would not have to rush.

Problems had started to surface on the way home from the mechanic. The tachometer was refusing to indicate over 3,000rpm. I called the mechanic when I got home. He said it was the tach cable; he was going to the rally and he would bring a tach cable.

Motorcycle Classics Magazine
Motorcycle Classics Magazine
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