Abandoned Commando 850 Slow-Burn Rebuild Thread

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I don't believe I can post pictures due to the age of my account but check my profile picture for an image of my new project.

There has been a Commando 850 laying in a yard in downtown Columbus for as long as I've lived here (about 6 years). Evidently it's been there longer than I've been alive since the plates are from 1992 and there was a tree growing through it.

My neighbor had spotted a post on our neighborhood Facebook page that the owner of the house had cut down the tree and put the bike in the garbage. So I rescued it. I certainly wasn't expecting to get another project (I've got about 30 mopeds and 10 vintage motorcycles) but I had a Royal Enfield in high school that I enjoyed and always loved the appearance of Norton's.

I'm planning on a full restoration, which I anticipate taking me about 3 or so years. First things first though, I need to remove the windjammer and find a front wheel that isn't disintegrated and doesn't have a tree trunk grafted into the spokes. Moving the bike as it sits is impossible alone and very difficult with only 2 people.

I plan on making a post in the buy/sell section of this forum for a wheel, but if there's anyone in the central Ohio area that has Norton parts please let me know. Thanks!
 

L.A.B.

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I don't believe I can post pictures due to the age of my account but check my profile picture for an image of my new project.

You can certainly post pictures but you have to be a VIP member to upload images directly or non-VIPs need to use a photo-hosting website such as https://postimages.org/
 
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You can certainly post pictures but you have to be a VIP member to upload images directly or non-VIPs need to use a photo-hosting website such as https://postimages.org/
Good to know, thanks! So for ultimate redundancy here's some pictures in addition to my profile pic and banner:
Abandoned Commando 850 Slow-Burn Rebuild Thread

Abandoned Commando 850 Slow-Burn Rebuild Thread
 

Flatspot

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That front rim should polish out ;) that’s a proper ‘barn find’ of sorts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a tree that large growing through anything.

Have fun, and show us your rebuild as it progresses.
 

MichaelB

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Yup, a little rinse, some polish, change the fluids.
You'll be good to...:):) :cool:

All seriousness, I'll bet the internals are better shape than you expect.
And Yes, looks like a Mk2. That's a good Find.

Best wishes with this.
This will be fun to follow.:cool:

Cheers...
 

gortnipper

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And probably a later mk2 at that, as it has the inspection bungs in the brake plate.
 
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Did the MKII have electric start? This seems to have it, or maybe it just had controls swapped from a MKIII. I believe the VIN (or frame number) is 319485, which doesn't really correspond to anything I've seen from searching the internet. Seems too high for the MKII range of VINs and looks like the MKIII switched format to start with an F, but I could be wrong.
 

gortnipper

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No e start on mk2. Mk3 VIN started 325000.

F series frames stared in the mk2 model years.
 

L.A.B.

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Did the MKII have electric start?
No, although there are kits available to fit an electric starter to pre-Mk3 models.

This seems to have it,

Not sure what you mean by that as the photo shows it hasn't got a starter motor.
or maybe it just had controls swapped from a MKIII.

The LH switch cluster visible in the photo isn't Mk3 type however there would be an unused (black) button on the pre-Mk3 RH cluster. Red is the kill button.
Abandoned Commando 850 Slow-Burn Rebuild Thread

I believe the VIN (or frame number) is 319485, which doesn't really correspond to anything I've seen from searching the internet.

I assume 319485 is the certification plate number that normally matches the engine and gearbox number which makes it a Mk2 or Mk2A and the photo shows it to be a Mk2 Roadster.

There is usually a date stamp on the plate.



You will probably find there's also a non-matching 850*F1xxxxx* number stamped on the RH side of the headstock alongside the certification plate.
Examples: http://atlanticgreen.com/commandoframes.htm
The fact that there is a 'frame' number and a frame 'plate' number results in some confusion where model identification is concerned as you might expect.


F series frames stared in the mk2 model years.

The 'F' numbered frames began on the 850 Mk1.
 
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Mostly complete so, not a bad starting point if you ask me. You know that hub could probably cleaned up and inspected after cutting all of the spokes off. If it checked out okay, you could send it to Buchanan's and have a rim laced to it. p.s.... How much do you want to sell the fairing and cargo rack for? :)
 
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Fast Eddie

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Well I am please we will at least not be subjected to the current "Will It Start?" craze!!!
Absolutely !

I’ve never understood that. I look at folk doing that and just wonder what damage is being caused, utterly unnecessarily !
 

Onder

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Well it is the current mystery as choppers were once to me and still are I suppose.
 
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No, although there are kits available to fit an electric starter to pre-Mk3 models.



Not sure what you mean by that as the photo shows it hasn't got a starter motor.


The LH switch cluster visible in the photo isn't Mk3 type however there would be an unused (black) button on the pre-Mk3 RH cluster. Red is the kill button.
Abandoned Commando 850 Slow-Burn Rebuild Thread


I assume 319485 is the certification plate number that normally matches the engine and gearbox number which makes it a Mk2 or Mk2A and the photo shows it to be a Mk2 Roadster.

There is usually a date stamp on the plate.



You will probably find there's also a non-matching 850*F1xxxxx* number stamped on the RH side of the headstock alongside the certification plate.
Examples: http://atlanticgreen.com/commandoframes.htm
The fact that there is a 'frame' number and a frame 'plate' number results in some confusion where model identification is concerned as you might expect.




The 'F' numbered frames began on the 850 Mk1.
Great info, clears up a lot. I see that the starter motors are quite apparent and this doesn't have one, that unused button threw me for a loop.
Mostly complete so, not a bad starting point if you ask me. You know that hub could probably cleaned up and inspected after cutting all of the spokes off. If it checked out okay, you could send it to Buchanan's and have a rim laced to it. p.s.... How much do you want to sell the fairing and cargo rack for? :)
I'm going to try to get like $20 for the fairing, was planning on posting it on Craigslist or Facebook marketplace. It doesn't have the windshield but seems to be in good shape otherwise. Just very dirty inside.
 
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I don't believe I can post pictures due to the age of my account but check my profile picture for an image of my new project.

There has been a Commando 850 laying in a yard in downtown Columbus for as long as I've lived here (about 6 years). Evidently it's been there longer than I've been alive since the plates are from 1992 and there was a tree growing through it.

My neighbor had spotted a post on our neighborhood Facebook page that the owner of the house had cut down the tree and put the bike in the garbage. So I rescued it. I certainly wasn't expecting to get another project (I've got about 30 mopeds and 10 vintage motorcycles) but I had a Royal Enfield in high school that I enjoyed and always loved the appearance of Norton's.

I'm planning on a full restoration, which I anticipate taking me about 3 or so years. First things first though, I need to remove the windjammer and find a front wheel that isn't disintegrated and doesn't have a tree trunk grafted into the spokes. Moving the bike as it sits is impossible alone and very difficult with only 2 people.

I plan on making a post in the buy/sell section of this forum for a wheel, but if there's anyone in the central Ohio area that has Norton parts please let me know. Thanks!
That's a big project, good luck.
Hopefully the clear title came with it?
 

Flatspot

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Just to add a bit more clarity, and please bear in mind I am very new to Commandos. My engine number is 308372 and is a 1974 mk2a Interstate and has disc brake, solid plastic air filter and balanced front pipes.
 

Onder

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Interesting mine is 312xxx Feb 74 and is a 2 not a 2a.

Edit: I realize that 2 and 2a would have a lot to do with which market it was intended for.
Mine was sold in the states.
 
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Flatspot

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May 74, and prior to me owning it was untouched with the exception of peashooters in place of the black cap silencers which were included with a few spares. It had been initially an exhibit for a number of years and not ridden, then 2 owners covered 10,047 miles and not ridden for 15 years till I got it. Perhaps they were building both mk2 & mk2a at the same time?
 
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