Finally have my 961 SF !

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Sep 17, 2014
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After a six month wait (and years of watching, lusting, and saving before ordering) I finally picked up my new Commando 961 SF last weekend just a few days after it arrived from England. I got it through Hinshaw's in Auburn, the only dealer in WA state since there is no dealer in Oregon. I was their first delivered Norton other than the one the owner of the shop ordered for himself, so I believe there is now just one new 961 in WA and one in OR. I'd love to show mine to Kenny Dreer and find out more about the difference between the Donnington Hall bikes and the bikes Kenny was building. It was actually seeing Kenny's bikes on the Cafe' Racer TV series that first made me want an updated Commando a few years ago.

I am loving the bike so far! Many of the comments I've read here apply to mine, but for me the only negatives I can list are:

1. The foot pegs have a tendency to pop up since they have no springs. I've gotten used to it, but the dealer and me are putting our heads together to give them return spring.

2. I'd prefer just a bit more turning radius. Dealer says they can help with this and they already adjusted the owner's 961 to have more turning radius (by simply grinding down the metal that stops it from turning).

3. The engine stalled easily when cold at first, but after a few hundred miles it's not stalling for me and it's running better and better.

I love the engine's sound and extra noises. I love how it accelerates, handles, brakes, and I've always loved the look. I got the two-seater version and it's easy to change back and forth between one or two-seater with four allen-wrench screws, and I like how either configuration looks like it's meant to be that way.

I have loved my Thruxton as I loved my T100 before that, but this one wins and for me was worth the wait and the price. We'll see how it holds up: Some of the comments/problems I've read have worried me a bit, but overall it seems most owners are saying the bikes are only getting better as they put on more miles.

Here's a pic the dealer took on the day I picked up the bike:

 
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Feb 2, 2014
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Congratulations. Good when you finally get something you've been looking forward to for ages.
Hope you enjoy and it Works well.
 
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Sep 17, 2014
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Oh, and Dozer I guess my only other little complaint would be that I was not given tea like you were. That would have made the experience more English :)
The dealer did get me a free Mountain Dew though out of the vending machine so...
 
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Aaah, I did tell a little white lie there... I was actually given a ticket for 'a free tea or coffee of your choice' from the Ace Café upstairs, I assume its a franchise thing. It would have been nice if the dealer had actually put the kettle on, but alas, no....

Nice mug though, it said 'Theres no substitute for cubes' on it... I would have stolen it but theres nowhere on a 961 to hide contraband crockery.

Enjoy the SF, updates please, on a regular basis old chap.

You chose the correct colour too... :D
 

Fast Eddie

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Well, considering that pic was taken as you collected your new pride-and-joy... you could have smiled !!

I hope you enjoy it, do keep us posted as you rack up the miles.
 

BritTwit

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[/quote]


Dude!
Bitchin' Ride!

Just lose the mirrors. Get some Halcyon or CRG bar end units.

Happy motoring.
 
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Fast Eddie said:
Well, considering that pic was taken as you collected your new pride-and-joy... you could have smiled !!

I hope you enjoy it, do keep us posted as you rack up the miles.
Haha, yeah, my half-smile there might be from realizing I've only paid for half of the bike so far and I'll be making some payments for a couple years, or selling my Thruxton....

But yeah, in truth an awesome day that I wasn't sure would ever arrive. With Norton there was almost complete silence for about six months and then, "We have your bike ready and it can ship in 3 days." My dealer hadn't heard from Norton in so long they almost decided to stop being a Norton dealer about three weeks before the bike ended up being finished. They had already had a couple other clients get on a wait-list and then give up during the wait.
 
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Dozer said:
Aaah, I did tell a little white lie there... I was actually given a ticket for 'a free tea or coffee of your choice' from the Ace Café upstairs, I assume its a franchise thing. It would have been nice if the dealer had actually put the kettle on, but alas, no....
Oh OK then. You had me picturing a pack of tea-bags with the Norton logo printed on them. That'd be a cool little souvenir to get with the bike.
 
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BritTwit said:
Dude!
Bitchin' Ride!

Just lose the mirrors. Get some Halcyon or CRG bar end units.

Happy motoring.
I'll check those out. If I went with bar-end mirrors I'd want them to be as subtle as possible and still fit the look of the bike....cause I don't always like the way bar-end mirrors change the look and length of the handle bars. Wish I could just remove all mirrors and install some sort of rear-vision in my helmet.
 
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Apr 4, 2013
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Nice bike! Enjoy!

Some things you might consider...

Turning radius always seems small on a bike at first. At least that is what i feel. Before you grind away some metal, be aware your turning radius will automatically get smaller as you get more confident (lean over more) in short turns on the Commando. If it is the turning radius for maneuvering the bike by foot, that's another story.
Make sure that extended turning radius keeps everything far away from the tank. You don't want your handlebar or fork hit a plastic tank if you even fall. It can be an expensive mod.

If you want to add a return spring on the footpegs, you might as well consider changing them out for another type, including (what's it called in English) those bolts to scratch over the road at lean angles. It is very easy to get the pegs on the ground at angles on the commando.
 
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GoingCommando said:
Wish I could just remove all mirrors and install some sort of rear-vision in my helmet.
you can:

[video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYFla-d1lKA[/video]
 
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dimitri said:
Nice bike! Enjoy!

Some things you might consider...

Turning radius always seems small on a bike at first. At least that is what i feel. Before you grind away some metal, be aware your turning radius will automatically get smaller as you get more confident (lean over more) in short turns on the Commando. If it is the turning radius for maneuvering the bike by foot, that's another story.
Make sure that extended turning radius keeps everything far away from the tank. You don't want your handlebar or fork hit a plastic tank if you even fall. It can be an expensive mod.

If you want to add a return spring on the footpegs, you might as well consider changing them out for another type, including (what's it called in English) those bolts to scratch over the road at lean angles. It is very easy to get the pegs on the ground at angles on the commando.
I felt the same way with the foot pegs, but have found that I got used to them within the first few hundred miles. No issue now, in fact, I like the idea that they fold up as it makes walking the bike around the garage easier.

Same thoughts as Dimitri on the turning radius -- don't bother as you'll get used to it, but perhaps that's coming from a perspective of riding mostly sportbikes with clip-ons where clearance is generally restricted.
 
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Sep 17, 2014
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Thanks for all the input guys! Very helpful! I'll hold off on any mods until I've put on more miles. Today the turning radius felt just fine in a small parking lot, although sometimes backing it out of a space by foot is still cumbersome compared to my Thruxton.
 
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Its a standard mirror but you have to buy a machined down insert, which then still didn't fit. Cue 2 hours sitting in my garden with a file....

Mirror is v solid though, cost £45.00. insert was another £8.00

I just like the look of the halcyon stuff as that is what a lot of the original Brit iron uses.
 

BritTwit

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Dozer said:
Its a standard mirror but you have to buy a machined down insert, which then still didn't fit. Cue 2 hours sitting in my garden with a file....

Mirror is v solid though, cost £45.00. insert was another £8.00

I just like the look of the halcyon stuff as that is what a lot of the original Brit iron uses.

Email Halcyon.
They can do the machining for you. Enough people have requested their barend mirrors for 961's that they know what has to be done.
I had a set done for my 961 CR. machined down to 14 mm. They fit like a glove in the clip on ends.
Let them know that your 961 has handle bars.

Great looking units. I have them on my T100 too.
I don't work for them, or sell their stuff, but I do like companies that produce top draw, classically styled stuff.
 

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