What a BEAUTIFUL Norton!


| 5/20/2015 9:14:00 AM


Tags: International Norton Owners Association, Margie Siegal,

Norton Commando

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.

More problems appeared the morning I left. I realized that I could not get Nort on the center stand unless I removed the saddlebags and the duffle I had packed, even with the wedge. I resigned myself to a tiring trip, fired up Nort, and left. Instead of kicking back at the motel that evening, I spent an hour with the tools out. I figured out a way to bleed the rear brake with a minimum of equipment (it had been fine when I rode it home the week before) and went over bolts with a wrench. The sidestand was loose. I tightened it.

doug
5/28/2015 3:05:47 PM

I guess the point of the article was the difficulties of touring on a vintage bike? No mention of the bikes at the rally, the amazing scenery, or anything else? I too was at the rally, and while I had a number of complaints about the rally as well as the time and expense i invested, at the end of the day the weather was great, scenery was awesome, some great bikes at the rally, some of the people i enjoyed spending time with, booze to drink, food, a nice lake to swim in, sure beats sitting in a cubicle any day of the week, AC hotel rooms? Sheesh. Your Boyer is NOT your issue, there are fixs for the starter issue, and sounds like you need to invest some time to learn how to fix the issues on the bike, not pay someone else. Spend some time at a tech session with Ken Armann or others, read tech on AccessNorton. Use this space to feature something cool like Ken Carnagas or Sir Eddys rocket Land speed record Nortons. I have read many of your articles over the years and many quite good. this was not one of them.


doug
5/28/2015 2:55:48 PM

I guess the point of the article was the difficulties of touring on a vintage bike? No mention of the bikes at the rally, the amazing scenery, or anything else? I too was at the rally, and while I had a number of complaints about the rally as well as the time and expense i invested, at the end of the day the weather was great, scenery was awesome, some great bikes at the rally, some of the people i enjoyed spending time with, booze to drink, food, a nice lake to swim in, sure beats sitting in a cubicle any day of the week, AC hotel rooms? Sheesh. Your Boyer is NOT your issue, there are fixs for the starter issue, and sounds like you need to invest some time to learn how to fix the issues on the bike, not pay someone else. Spend some time at a tech session with Ken Armann or others, read tech on AccessNorton. Use this space to feature something cool like Ken Carnagas or Sir Eddys rocket Land speed record Nortons. I have read many of your articles over the years and many quite good. this was not one of them.





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