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Señor Member
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Some time back I posted pictures of a Norton build I am working on. There's a story that goes with how I acquired this particular bike. My girlfriend's brother is Evan Wilcox Evan Wilcox Hand Crafted Alloy for Motorcycle Enthusiasts and when I told him I was looking for a vintage bike project, in particular a Norton, he offered tips on what to look for. When I told him the trouble I was having finding the right project he made me an offer I couldn't refuse. Sitting in his shop for some 25 years was his father's 1972 Norton Commando Interstate, he said if I would get it back running he would built a tank set for me. How could I refuse. With Evan's shop now in Big Bear, my girlfriend, Sue, and I went to pick it up. The Norton looked terrible from years of sitting in the dust generated from Evan's metal working. We loaded it up and brought it to Sue's family business warehouse where there would be room to work on it. When I started tearing it down, 18 months ago, I could see the challenge ahead of me as there were a lot of missing components and wiring that looked incomplete. I labeled what I could and made diagrams of what was coming off. The start of project was slow as I had two car projects in the works at the same time. Then last summer I finally got going on the bike. One of the first things was getting the frame and some other pieces powdered coating. I also figured I would update some components causing me to rewire it completely.

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Señor Member
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Discussion Starter #2
Another challenge was finding parts for the Norton. Surprisingly there are quite a few vendors selling NOS and repro. This project also taught me a few things I had no experience doing. Luckily the forks are quite simple to rebuild because two vendors I contacted wanted a ridiculous amount of money to rebuild them. About $45 in parts and a morning on the workbench and I rebuilt them myself. Another was the wheels. The original spokes were pretty corroded but the wheels were in great shape so new spokes were in order. I learned how to lace and true the wheels, again because of the cost to have a shop do it. It did, however, take me three tries on each wheel to get the lacing pattern correct. From there the reassembly went pretty quick.
 

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Señor Member
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Discussion Starter #3
The wiring that came out of it was a terrible mess. With installing some modern components such as electronic ignition, single coil and alternator with solid state voltage regulator, I converted it to 12vdc negative ground and eliminated a lot of now unnecessary components. I also installed a belt primary drive. Yesterday, almost 18 months to the day we picked it up, I rolled it out of the warehouse. I still have a few minor issues to sort but my part of the rebuild is essentially done. When I get those things sorted I'll try starting it, even without a tank. From here it goes to Evan for his part of the rebuild. Once that's done I'll post some pictures of the finished project. The last picture is of Evan on this bike when he was in his early teens.

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Very nice project bike. I used to ride and race Nortons in the 70's. I also restored one in the 90's. I got most of my parts from "Fair Spares". Here is a pic of mine that I restored. It was a mess when I got it. Frame and forks tweeked a bit. Engine was seized. I rode it for a few years quite a bit.
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Whoa! Great story and sweet build, redpato! That is a labor of love. Can't wait to see her all done. Awesome old picture of Evan with the bike !!
 

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Now you're taking me for a stroll down memory lane. I rode a 72 Norton in the late 70's that I got for nothing after a friend's garage burned down and he said if I wanted to dig it out of the rubble it was mine. Well I managed to get out and the damage wasn't all that bad. Tore it down and gave it a paint job, a new seat cover, two into one exhaust and a wire harness and it was on the road.
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I have had a love/hate relationship with my '71 Commando. I bought the bike when the first ebay bidder tanked and I was the second. I drove quite a way to pick it up and the owner had it running and it sounded good. I rode it a couple of times that summer and then put it away as it needed quite a bit of cosmetics. I started on those about 2 yrs ago and, as I peeled back the onion, I gradually realized that the bike had gone through perhaps too many hands, some of which should not be allowed near a motorcycle. The forks had no oil, the condensers were literally hanging by a couple of threads of copper wire, coarse threaded fasteners driven into fine thread nuts, bent stuff that I didn't notice blah blah blah. It still needs a wire harness.

I wound up doing quite a bit to it - re-chromed and new chrome parts, replated the orig fasteners, rebuilt instruments, steel fuel tank, new fr fender, new mufflers, prem carbs, different paint job. Still runs pretty well.
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Yes, agree, forgot to mention that your bike looks great.
 

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I’ve always been a Brit bike nut and lusted for a Norton. I still have a few Triumphs. At this point I’ve decided not to buy any more kickers, but if the right deal came along...
 

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I really like the belt primary drive and I've thought about putting one on my Triumph. Are you running the stock ignition? I put a Boyer Bransden in the old Norton I had and I was more than pleased with results. Looking forward to seeing yours when it's finished. It's looking good now !
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, except for a couple of petcocks, my Norton project is done. The tank and side panels were the last major items to get installed. Once I get the petcocks it will be time to fire it up and take it out for a long awaited ride. DA4B6C99-75F3-462E-8296-0E1A63E08E0C.jpeg 72D7B653-30BB-4029-9322-95BDDBBE9BC1.jpeg 001EC27D-E51C-4EB8-B3CC-2CAD1937206E.jpeg 33E3D799-2692-4C15-9D39-B957AEFB1357.jpeg 31A3C447-168C-4C79-AB88-01EEEDDEFA62.jpeg 65415148-25EE-45AC-9C4C-5C918EADBDD7.jpeg 73348F99-4EE9-43A5-9F11-96D8D8B09C40.jpeg 82F9557B-9741-4B35-B656-01D982F80730.jpeg
 

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Are you gonna bring that jewel to WCM for the bike show?
 
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