10 reasons why this Norton is the ultimate vertical twin

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According to Webb’s of New Zealand, which will auction the motorcycle you see here on October 19th for something between $24,000 and $28,000, this Norton Commando production racer can be considered the “ultimate British vertical twin” for these 10 reasons. Take that, Triumph.

1. Only Norton, of all the British bike manufacturers, attempted to come to grips with the inherent vibration of a big OHV vertical twin, and thus only Norton’s Isolastic-framed Commando, designed by Bob Trigg and launched in 1968, can be said to have dragged the venerable old vertical twin into the post-war world.

2. The Norton Production Racer was the fastest, best-handling, lightest and quickest Commando you could buy.

3. When Tony Murphy took a ‘72 Production Racer to Willow Springs, former Norton factory rep Brian Slark reports, he got the bike around in less than 1:40. Considering that the lap record at the time was around 1:36, the motorcycle had to be taken very seriously as a racing machine.

4. They were hand built by Peter Inchley’s famous “Long Shop” race department team (home to a B-17 bomber wing of the Eighth Air Force, WWII).

5. To turn the street bike rolling-chassis that got delivered from the Andover factory to the Long Shop into a Production Racer, Inchley and development engineer factory racer Peter Williams used an old school run-it-and-see development program fine-tuning the original Wally Wyatt project racer of 1969 considerably.

6. The few bikes that emerged from the Long Shop (estimates vary from less than 100 to less than 120) proved the worth of the machine, because in 1971, ‘72 and most of ‘73, they virtually owned their class in England and Europe. Only the arrival of the Kawasaki Z-l and Honda CB750K put them on their trailers.

7. It’s yellow not red.

8. The engine’s vast reservoir of torque, allowed the Commando pilot to dial his speed as though the 70bhp twistgrip.

9. The Commando’s fundamental agility was sharpened by the chassis tweaks until the bike was so stable and responsive that it could be ridden anywhere on the track at an optimum velocity.

10. The generous suspension travel gave the Production Racer a soft ride almost unknown among racers of the day, allowing the rider to concentrate on racing rather than just staying aboard. At long tracks notably the Isle of Man—the fatigue-reducing aspects of the Commando played a decisive role.

  • dan

    absolutely grand

  • Thom

    Add in that it looks a Hell of a lot Better as well .

  • http://www.muthalovin.com the_doctor

    Hotness. The yellow looks awesome.

  • sluglog

    Norvil Motorcycle Company will build
    you a replica.

  • barryg

    There are three Commandos sitting on a display shelf at Deus in Auckland. Not proddie racers, as far as I know, but fine examples nonetheless.

  • The other Joe

    I thought they were called parallel twin. Awesome bike though.

  • Knife

    I’ve got a left nut I’ll give in trade for one.

  • M

    one of the most dick-hardeningly elegant examples of the glory of human ingenuity ever seen.

    • Scott-jay

      What about the Norton ad women?

      • Ben

        Oh god yeah!

        We need to get back to those days of adds. No more viral videos and subliminal messages, just “Hey look a super hot girl! Buy this motorcycle…” Simple, timeless, effective.

  • http://www.firstgenerationmotors.blogspot.com Emmet

    nice bikes. so long as the isolastics are in good shape