Cravens and Com­man­dos

Old Bike Australasia - - BLOW YOUR OWN -

I had a Com­mando MKIIA in the mid 70’s and as I did a fair bit of trav­el­ling be­tween Nowra and Syd­ney I had a set of Craven Comet Pan­niers fit­ted by John Galvin. The best thing about the Comet de­sign was the abil­ity to slide a car­ton of beer into each with a bit of space for ice, just the thing for a day at Ama­roo or Oran Park. One night that Com­mando was stolen with­out the pan­niers fit­ted. I bought a Com­mando MKIII as a re­place­ment but for some rea­son I was not able to se­cure a set of Craven racks so I adapted a set of univer­sal racks to fit the Craven pan­niers. The pan­nier to rack at­tach­ment was not too se­cure and on a run in the coun­try with my brother on pil­lion the left pan­nier de­parted company with the bike after we hit a pot­hole at 120km/h. It was very badly gouged and scratched but it held to­gether and I just re­cently had it re­paired by a lo­cal bloke who does surf­board re­pairs as part of get­ting the Com­mando back on the road after 20 years in the garage. The pan­nier is back near new with the Galvin sticker vir­tu­ally un­dam­aged. The MKIII served me well for sev­eral years as my com­muter bike but it did let me down once in the early ‘90s. On the way home from night shift one morn­ing the Boyer ignition sys­tem failed com­pletely at Home­bush just near Fraser Mo­tor­cy­cles. I didn’t want to leave it on the street as I went home to or­ga­nize a trailer to pick it up so I walked over to Fraser’s and asked if I could leave my bike there. The colour drained out of the work­shop fore­man’s face and he re­luc­tantly al­lowed me to hide it out the back. He said that if the boss was to find out he had let a Nor­ton in the work­shop he would be sacked on the spot. How times change, here we are 20 odd years down the track and Frasers are ex­pect­ing a de­liv­ery of new Nor­tons. I hope to have the MKIII with the Craven pan­niers back on the road with his­toric plates be­fore the end of the year. An­drew McCarthy Toormina NSW

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