Additional photos are available here for your perusal.
Upon its introduction at the 1967 Earls Court Show, the Norton Commando was an instant classic; Motor Cycle News named it Motorcycle of the Year in 1968… and continued to do so for the next four years in a row. Though the bike borrowed much of its componentry from the Atlas and Dominator that had come before it, it finally remedied one issue that had plagued British motorcycles for years: vibration.
In order to accomplish such a feat, Norton ditched its trademark Featherbed chassis — a daring move considering its reputation for its low weight and impressive handling — in favor of an all-new design. Rather than mounting the engine directly into the frame, the Commando instead canted it forward between a pair of cross-frame tubes and some rubber buffers. On the road, this kept the swingarm true to the engine, effectively isolating the rest of the bike from vibrations produced at higher rpms.
Better still, such changes meant that Norton could bump the displacement without fear of rattling the rider to pieces. Thus, in 1973, the brand introduced its 850 engine to the Commando line. Thanks to its 8:5:1 compression ratio and 32mm Amal carbs, the 828cc parallel twin put down 60hp at 6,200rpm and boasted much more low-end torque. In order to provide adequate stopping power for that extra giddyup, Norton also replaced the front twin leading-shoe drum with a hydraulic disc brake.
Cycle World put it best here in its Norton Commando retrospective review: “Norton Commandos are a joy to ride. They blitz the chicanes and squiggle through gridlock with equal finesse—and return 50 mpg. Whether 750 or 850, the Commando is one British classic meant not to be babied or paraded—but used.”
After receiving some inquiries regarding the extent of the rebuild, we reached out to Colorado Norton Works for further clarity. They confirmed that this bike (build #035) was delivered 07/11/2003. Additionally, they note that it was a “full rebuild… that would have included a complete engine and gearbox rebuild” and that it was “built up on a bare frame.”
The seller reports that the bike has been “well maintained and it was recently cleaned, polished, and mechanically inspected by a multiple championship-winning AMA and Motoamerica mechanic” throughout his ownership.
Not pictured is a high-output alternator, tri-spark electronic ignition, single coil setup, and belt-drive primary.
Currently located at our facility in Santa Monica, California (please make an appointment for an inspection), this Norton is offered on a clean California title with registration current through November 2023.