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I just got my 1974 Norton Commando 850 from my uncle and it's been my daily driver for about 8 weeks now. I am concerned about a few things. First the tight cornering. Is there any way I can improve its turning radius? and how one can improve comfort? It is really stiff and uncomfortable so are there any suspension adjustments I can make or any aftermarket seats to install for improved comfort?
I do like its raunchy sound but I have been pulled over a couple of times for that so is there anything I can do to limit its sound?
And one more thing, my initial thoughts were to sell it and go for the scrambler but would it be a nice move to sell this and buy the Ducati scrambler? It is only 6900 miles driven so any estimate of how much will it be worth these days? and I think I could bag a 2020 scrambler around 9K. The bike is in pristine condition only a few scratches on the tank due to putting a tank bag over it. but I guess it could be removed by compound and buffing

Your suggestion would be highly appreciated.

Thanks.
 

MichaelB

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Values are all over the board and even tougher to determine blindly.
What color is it and what part of the country are you in?
 

concours

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Welcome.
The Ducati Scrambler is a bike that EMULATES the time period of the Commando. Only you can decide if owning a vintage bike is for you. How talented a mechanic are you? How much free time do you have? The fact you are asking the question is telling, likely not fully bought in to the neediness of vintage.
The "tight cornering" you mention is only an issue wiggling the bike out of a confined parking space. After that, it corners rather well, for a 50yo touring bike.
The seat cushion is made of chopped foam, to a price point. The suspension, well, how much money do you want to spend?
It's worth what someone will pay.
"Pristine".... pictures please.
 
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maylar

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Howard Leight do some quality earplugs so you can let bystanders enjoy the music :cool:
I saw some little kids putting their hands over their ears one day as I rode by :(. That made me feel bad, and it changed my riding style to being a bit more courteous to standers-by. Gotta be responsible after all.
 

Mart UK

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I had a Harley that clunked like someone was hitting it with a sledgehammer when I changed gear. I changed right next to a child walking with his mum, he jumped a mile. I was more careful when I changed gear, after that.

TBH, the Commando exhaust isn't anywhere near as loud as most Harleys. Sounds like it may not have the right silencers / mufflers.
 
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L.A.B.

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1974 Norton Commando 850

I do like its raunchy sound but I have been pulled over a couple of times for that so is there anything I can do to limit its sound?

Which model? Roadster (most likely), Interstate or Hi-Rider as each has a different seat and the Mk2 Interstate also had a different exhaust system to the Mk2 Roadster and Hi-Rider assuming it is the original exhaust and it is an 850 Mk2 model.
If a Mk2A version of any of the above then the exhaust system would be different again but that should be quieter than the Mk2 if original.
 
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I just got my 1974 Norton Commando 850 from my uncle and it's been my daily driver for about 8 weeks now. I am concerned about a few things. First the tight cornering. Is there any way I can improve its turning radius? and how one can improve comfort? It is really stiff and uncomfortable so are there any suspension adjustments I can make or any aftermarket seats to install for improved comfort?
I do like its raunchy sound but I have been pulled over a couple of times for that so is there anything I can do to limit its sound?
And one more thing, my initial thoughts were to sell it and go for the scrambler but would it be a nice move to sell this and buy the Ducati scrambler? It is only 6900 miles driven so any estimate of how much will it be worth these days? and I think I could bag a 2020 scrambler around 9K. The bike is in pristine condition only a few scratches on the tank due to putting a tank bag over it. but I guess it could be removed by compound and buffing

Your suggestion would be highly appreciated.

Thanks.
The one part that you got right was deciding not to act on your initial thoughts ...Today i still kick my ass for getting rid of my first car and that is 42 years later.

As for the rest of your concerns .. Your bike should be about you and what works for you . Improved turning radius may come with simply more time on this bike . It's new to you so it will feel different .. Comfort ? What works for one may not work for anyone else . I put a Corbin seat on a new Triumph Trophy ..Big mistake and a wasted $600 . AS for sound ....... In my opinion , that is one of the most exciting things about a Norton .. You can pick one out a long way down the road just by the sound and you'll smile , unlike a Harley . You might want to take a box of donuts down to the local police station and introduce yourself :)

Lastly ..... there is usually a social side to being a bike owner and when you are a Norton owner you are among a group of people who live the same dream dream as yourself .. You'll meet interesting people if rally's are your thing and the support from this site will be strong . There is a wealth of information here from a group who will go out of their way to help .
 

Time Warp

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I just got my 1974 Norton Commando 850 from my uncle and it's been my daily driver for about 8 weeks now.

Bought or gifted.
It's a near 50 year old motorcycle and with 6900 miles on the clock has spent most of its life sitting so will need some attention be it a full service or parts replacement as upgrades to make it more usable to the rider.
If it was gifted then what is some time and money.

The flip side is maybe you are better off on a new motorcycle and its creature comforts and reliability, only you can decide that.

The rest is guesswork without pictures, the mufflers could be original and rotten.
The forks might have who knows what inside and the dodgy old Girlings in who knows what state (pogo sticks)
The tyres / tires / tyers might be decayed and oval or flat spotted.

The forks have no external adjustment.
The shocks only have spring preload.
The seat is old.

When that bike was made my old country was just getting colour / color television.
Perspective.
 

Time Warp

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I just got my 1974 Norton Commando 850 from my uncle and it's been my daily driver for about 8 weeks now. I am concerned about a few things. First the tight cornering. Is there any way I can improve its turning radius?

What does this mean.
If you mean slow speed it is all about throttle and body position.

This thread reminds me (as a triple fan) of a mate who bought a super low mileage original 1973/4 Kawasaki H1 500 around for me to have a ride on back in the 1990's.
It was the most wooden riding, poor handling what brakes bike I had ridden until then.

Remember if you ride an old bike that is all but stock you are going back to the era it was made, 40 + years later does not improve that.
Bringing one up to a modern (ish) standard takes time and money but firstly the will to do so.

No doubt the Ducati Scrambler has budget suspension also.
 

Mart UK

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What does this mean.
If you mean slow speed it is all about throttle and body position.

This thread reminds me (as a triple fan) of a mate who bought a super low mileage original 1973/4 Kawasaki H1 500 around for me to have a ride on back in the 1990's.
It was the most wooden riding, poor handling what brakes bike I had ridden until then.

Remember if you ride an old bike that is all but stock you are going back to the era it was made, 40 + years later does not improve that.
Bringing one up to a modern (ish) standard takes time and money but firstly the will to do so.

No doubt the Ducati Scrambler has budget suspension also.
My seat is very comfortable though and while the handling is not sportsbike, it's ok. It manoeuvres in the garage as easily as my modern bike. So it may be age and neglect, how old are the tyres? My brakes are wooden though.
 
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What does this mean.
If you mean slow speed it is all about throttle and body position.

This thread reminds me (as a triple fan) of a mate who bought a super low mileage original 1973/4 Kawasaki H1 500 around for me to have a ride on back in the 1990's.
It was the most wooden riding, poor handling what brakes bike I had ridden until then.

Remember if you ride an old bike that is all but stock you are going back to the era it was made, 40 + years later does not improve that.
Bringing one up to a modern (ish) standard takes time and money but firstly the will to do so.

No doubt the Ducati Scrambler has budget suspension also.
I just read about a UK Scrambler owner having the suspension upgraded by Maxton... big improvement. The standard is quite basic.. by modern standards.
 

Time Warp

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I just read about a UK Scrambler owner having the suspension upgraded by Maxton... big improvement. The standard is quite basic.. by modern standards.

I would rather have my first year of production Hypermotard 1100S with it stock Ohlin's shock, 50mm DLC coated Marzocchi forks, radial monoblock Brembo calipers and radial MC. (No ABS)
Its old school enough for me.

HM1000S.jpg
 

Time Warp

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My seat is very comfortable though and while the handling is not sportsbike, it's ok. It manoeuvres in the garage as easily as my modern bike. So it may be age and neglect, how old are the tyres? My brakes are wooden though.

There are plenty of suspension options these days that will not break the bank and at the end of the day mediocre suspension can make for a ride the same. (imho)
Even the steering feedback can benefit.

Life is to long be beaten to death on an old bike when it can be remedied.

The OP bike sounds like a decent Commando but maybe it has been in storage for a while maybe even due to health reasons.
 
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Re. seat. The seat on my bike was always uncomfortable - no 'support' in the foam cushion so I always felt like I was sitting on the seat pan. A new foam cushion from R K Leighton cured that. I managed a 300m day on it last summer with no discomfort. The easiest fix I have ever done on my Commando....
 

Tornado

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I bought a new, original type "pattern" seat for my '74 MKII Roadster bike when I first got it....never had any complaints on comfort...in fact I find it quite excellent on multi hour rides, compared to my modern Triumph bike (Bonneville). There are replacement foams and skins available.

My bike rides very nicely and does not feel harsh over bumps. Have you checked the rear shock and front suspension for issues that might be making ride harsh? There is spring pre-load settings on the rears....nearly everyone seems to keep them on the middle setting for single riding. Fronts might just need a fluid change or bushing replacement.

The excess noise could be blown out silencer baffles, poorly setup carbs (running rich, air leaks giving pops & bangs). Do you have the original air filter in place or just velocity stacks fitted (that will give induction roar)?
 

concours

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I bought a new, original type "pattern" seat for my '74 MKII Roadster bike when I first got it....never had any complaints on comfort...in fact I find it quite excellent on multi hour rides, compared to my modern Triumph bike (Bonneville). There are replacement foams and skins available.

My bike rides very nicely and does not feel harsh over bumps. Have you checked the rear shock and front suspension for issues that might be making ride harsh? There is spring pre-load settings on the rears....nearly everyone seems to keep them on the middle setting for single riding. Fronts might just need a fluid change or bushing replacement.

The excess noise could be blown out silencer baffles, poorly setup carbs (running rich, air leaks giving pops & bangs). Do you have the original air filter in place or just velocity stacks fitted (that will give induction roar)?
My Rocket IIIT and the Tiger1050 have the Russell Day-Long..... pretty sure they can help the Thaiumph Bonneville too https://day-long.com/gallery/specialty-seats/

1641585437727.png
 
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