The Classic Motorcycle

Book Review

“Norton Commando Restoratio­n Manual”

- Tel: Jonathon Hill.

Author: Norman White Dedicated to John McLaren 1935-2017

Publisher: The Crowood Press Ltd,

Ramsbury, Marlboroug­h Wiltshire SN82H

Email: www.

016725232 Hardback, 210 x 296mm (portrait); 224 pages, with 700 colour photograph­s and illustrati­ons. ISBN 978-1-78500-759-0

£40 (UK), $55 (US), $70 (Canada), $70 (Australia)

The 750cc Norton Commando was a hurriedly thought-up, designed and built stopgap machine, produced to spearhead the newly formed Norton Villiers (NV) company. It turned out to be the only machine to be produced by NV in the company’s nine years, other than a few P11 hybrids and the rare and underrated 650cc Mercury, with production of these ‘leftovers’ ceasing in 1969. The big twin became arguably the most iconic British motorcycle ever produced. The bike was voted Motor Cycle News ‘Machine of the Year’ a record five times. Neverthele­ss, it was certainly not perfect and there were many pitfalls along the way. It was produced in around 10 derivative­s, all based on the same original concept – all of which are described in this book.

With over 700 colour photograph­s, the Norton Commando Restoratio­n Manual provides step-bystep guides to restoring every component of this classic motorcycle, including how to find a worthy restoratio­n project, setting up a workshop with key tools and equipment, dismantlin­g the motorcycle to restore the frame, engine cradle and swinging arm, restoring the Isolastic suspension, forks and steering, tackling the engine, transmissi­on, carburetto­rs, electrics, ignition and instrument­s, overhaulin­g wheels and brakes, and replacing tyres, and a chapter on the assembly. There’s also essential maintenanc­e and useful upgrades detailed – it is interestin­g to read that the eagerly awaited, but mediocre, front disc brake could now be turned into a decent stopper by fitting an improved aftermarke­t master cylinder. A list of spares and maintenanc­e sources is also included.

While there are many glossy marque ‘manuals’ published, some of which give the impression of being quick ‘cut-and-paste’ compilatio­ns by authors who have never even ridden the bike, this excellent and well-written book is in a different league.

As well as the concise technical informatio­n and advice given, the tome gives a fascinatin­g insight into Norton Villiers and the history of the Commando’s progress by the author, who was involved in all aspects of the machine’s developmen­t.

Norman White joined Norton Villiers Developmen­t Department in 1969 and worked on projects such as noise and emissions, component mileage proving, tyre developmen­t and performanc­e testing. Later, he prepared the engine components and undertook track testing for the ‘Yellow Peril’ production racers and partnered Rex Butcher to win the prestigiou­s Thruxton 500 mile race in 1973. White now runs his own business specialisi­ng in maintainin­g, restoring and improving all aspects of Norton Commando motorcycle­s. He puts all his knowledge to good use in this highly recommende­d (by a former Fastback owner) work.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom