Recommended Upgrades

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Oct 10, 2017
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ok i'll bite I built my 72 from a bare frame over the course of 18 or so months...I had to buy everything down to the nuts and bolts.. so I picked parts new and gently used...some things I did- mikes xs650 breather, single mikuni kit with K&N air filter ..Vernier isloastics...13mm magura front brake MC with SS braided hose..stainless steel front caliper pistons..upgraded front pads....upgraded rear shoes...Pazon Surefire...Tympanium….gel sealed battery...new sealed steering head bearings...totally rebuilt forks...built a simplified wiring harness...box head steady (coming from Craig)...Renthal high road bars..superbike silicone grips....new emgo tank (after disaster with another brand)...tank going to local hot rod shop after xmus for Ford Ruby Red metallic paint...new SS fenders...aircraft lock nuts used wherever possible...avon roadriders...new exhaust,,,good used seat...new 6v coils...new chainguard/headlight shell/headlight ears...smaller rear light..new Diamond rear chain..new lucas alternator rotor/stator...polished primary case..rechrome rear brake pedal. and footpegs...polished z plates...got excellent set of used wheels for $300...don pender one piece SS rear axle..got engine (1973 850) from guy in springfield Ill. for $1,900..starts on first or second kick no smoke believed to have had recent top end as evidenced by no carbon on pistons tops or in exhaust ports shiny sides to copper head gasket.... got rebuilt gearbox for $400..that's about it for the 'big' stuff..cost in parts and engine about $5,500-$6000 total to make one from 'scratch'..with careful shopping, luck and I did everything myself
 
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Craig

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Cliffa ... while no doubt our modern Ducati motorcycles are very reliable and exceptionally fine performing bikes , they do demand a rigorous maintenance schedule to keep them at their best .... like all my bikes I’m responsible for all maintenance and repair .... some procedures on a 3V Ducati can be a real joy , quite similar to our beloved Norton’s .... just sayin .....
Craig
 
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yeah, I guess I missed the joke. Perhaps if the info on '70 commandos was more well known and clearly communicated, I'd be more apt to see that post as a joke rather than just another late model owner, who isn't aware of the early bike's special issues, recommending some high performance part to a person who asks for help and doesn't know enough to distinguish his joke from a helpful comment.

Sadly, the '70 model has some serious flaws that need to be addressed. Having ridden with a worn swingarm tube for decades before I discovered the kegler modification here, which fixed my bike, I'm probably more into helping someone fix their early bike's flaw before I make a joke to the insider crowd here.
 
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I guess owners range from perfectionist traditionalists to those who don’t care what it looks like and/or how poorly it performs. I am not among the latter. I’ve seen motorcycles that I wouldn’t ride to the end of driveway, let beyond. Have more oil on the outside than the inside. Tires that should have been retired hundreds of miles ago. Yet owners of these eyesores seem perfectly content with their bike. Usually they explain they will someday get around to doing something.

Commandos are notorious wallet vacuums. Most owners of a well prepared Commando are in serious denial of what they spend on their bike.

A brake pedal return spring, transmission layshaft bearing replacement and upgrading the front disc brake I consider mandatory. A single piece rear axle replacement would be close to mandatory. After that the list is long and expensive.

Most experiences are somewhat like this: “I got this great 1972 Commando for $2500. Needs a little work. $1000 will probably bring it around”. When they reach $5000 in expenditures, not counting the original $2500, they either sell the bike or quit counting. IF they continue, initial stage of denial sets in. Once they reach 10 grand they are in terminal denial.
 
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yes I was rich before I started building my bike but.....it's the last vehicle i'm going to do and it's one I really wanted, and I enjoy building/restoring old things...it was on my bucket list...only 2 things left go up in a P51 Mustang and see Great Pyramind of Khufu....of course hooking up with the Cuban bombshell I work with would be nice but more expensive than all the others put together and then some...:)
 
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Fast Eddie

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I guess owners range from perfectionist traditionalists to those who don’t care what it looks like and/or how poorly it performs. I am not among the latter. I’ve seen motorcycles that I wouldn’t ride to the end of driveway, let beyond. Have more oil on the outside than the inside. Tires that should have been retired hundreds of miles ago. Yet owners of these eyesores seem perfectly content with their bike. Usually they explain they will someday get around to doing something.

Commandos are notorious wallet vacuums. Most owners of a well prepared Commando are in serious denial of what they spend on their bike.

A brake pedal return spring, transmission layshaft bearing replacement and upgrading the front disc brake I consider mandatory. A single piece rear axle replacement would be close to mandatory. After that the list is long and expensive.

Most experiences are somewhat like this: “I got this great 1972 Commando for $2500. Needs a little work. $1000 will probably bring it around”. When they reach $5000 in expenditures, not counting the original $2500, they either sell the bike or quit counting. IF they continue, initial stage of denial sets in. Once they reach 10 grand they are in terminal denial.
There is a LOT of truth in that statement. Personally, I decided to stop counting. If I can afford / justify it, I’ll buy it. If I can’t, I wait until I can or change my plan.

Simple as that.

Starting out thinking that you can do this on a shoe string is either gonna lead to a very steep learning curve, or dissatisfaction, or both, or worse.

It is why so many bikes end up unfinished.

People on here have reported how they restore Commandos on a shoe string. But they are people with barns full of stuff to use or trade, large established networks to fall back on, and years / decades of experience of doing all this.

However you look at it, a newcomer to the game has none of the above.

That does not mean they shouldn’t take up the challenge, but it does mean they should do so with their eyes open.
 

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