1975 NORTON COMMANDO 850 MK3
Two-owner bike, recent full service
Norton’s sporting Twin first saw the light of day with the Dominator 500 of the postwar 1940s, growing in popularity and displacement through the Commando 850 of the mid-1970s. By the Mk3 version in 1975, the Commando was a reliable and well-liked roadster — with five U.K. “Machine of the Year” awards — now with electric starting, twin disc brakes & left-side gearchange, bringing Norton in line with other bike-makers. A big part of the Commando’s popularity came from its engine-mount arrangement, a system of rubber biscuits that lets the motor rumble about at idle but squashes vibes at speed, insulating riders from the inherent buzz of solid-mount parallel-Twin engines.
Because of that “rideability,” more than any other vintage Britbike, Nortons are fettled & tinkered with, hopped-up & modified, brought up to date and freely customized, so it is indeed rare to find an example like this matching-numbers Mk3 in largely original specification. It is a two-owner bike, showing just over 28,000 miles. About 4000 miles ago, the current owner freshened the engine’s top end and fitted high-quality replacement “peashooter” mufflers. During his ownership some detail improvements were made, such as the Allen bolts used to secure both engine side covers, and the use of stainless-steel fasteners throughout. To improve tractability, a single Mikuni carburetor conversion was fitted, and the troublesome electric-start motor was removed, its mount point neatly blanked off. Installing a modern improved starter motor would be an easy retrofit, but as-is the Commando is an easy starter, thanks to the Mikuni and a Boyer-Bransden electronic ignition.
A few years ago, the original “Union Jack” paint scheme was resprayed, otherwise the bike is in original & unrestored condition, right down to the turn signals & reflectors. The Norton just received a full service from Century Cycles, one of SoCal’s best-known Britbike shops, work that included a carburetor cleaning, new ignition coils & fresh drive chain. Also included with the bike is the original bill of sale, the owner’s handbook & parts catalog. The Commando has a clear California title, is located in Orange County and available for inspection by appointment.
Location: Aliso Viejo, California, United States
See listing: 1975 Norton Commando 850 Mk3 Roadster (from November 6, 2020)