What was it like in 1968?

Craig

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Mine was sold by Sears , All State (Vespa) scooter riding Acadian dyke along Salmon River at end of our Street was a hoot !
 
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MichaelB

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My ride in 68 was a Schwinn......

Wasn't till the Summer of 69 I was riding...
 
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Back in 68/9 I regularly used to blast off at the lights outside Streamline MC in Lordship lane Dulwich London. Full revs in 2nd on my 88SS. (showing off!) Usually on my way back from HL Daniels shop in Forest hill. This time I stopped to check out the stock . The Guvnor Neil Wallace came up and asked me how come my old 88 was so fast , and asked me to look over his 650SS . He then showed me his latest new stock, a green Fastback , one of the first. Told me to give it a twirl !, I took it down the South Circular past Dulwich park and College and was amazed at the way it felt like a plane about to take off. Got it back in one piece somehow. Told Neil the 88 was only fast because it was flat out. Not many rode flat out in London for long. Just lucky.
 
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motorson

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I had a 1970 Fastback in 1976 and 1977. It was only 6 years old when I got it and only 3 years from when the commando was bike of the year etc. Kawasaki's were out by then and of course the Honda fours. I even remember seeing a naked Gold Wing on the 405 freeway. Mine had a 22 tooth front sprocket and would do 55 mph in first gear. It still had points of course so on the top end it ran badly. I remember doing 110 on Jamborie Rd. and noticing that it still had 1000 rpm to red line. There was a canyon road where a Kawasaki and I got into an exchange of places. He would pass me on the straights and I would blow past him in the next corner on the outside while he tried to hold the frame straight with his legs. Anyway, that was '76/77 and there just wasn't much around more fun than a Norton Commando. Some of the best times I had on it were going slow on mountain hair pins rubbing the pegs in every corner while my helmet was basically stationary in the center of the turn. That kind of performance is still not too easy to beat and if you do I bet it doesn't come with the thump.
Cheers.
 
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texasSlick

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Well, I was cooling off in 1968. My Atlas was the King from '62 thru '68. I was an undergraduate most of that time when i was into fast bikes , fast cars, and chased fast women. Weekends were spent in search of excitement and new escapades, while trying to stay out of jail ..... not always successful at that. In 1968, I was wrapping up my doctoral thesis and was starting to decellarate into a moderate, professional, and upstanding lifestyle.

Riding the King from 62 to 68 was an experience. One had the feeling of invincibility. Police cruisers were no match, even with radios, as one could, in most places, leave the highway and head across country, as there were usually no fences along the highways.

A Harley Sportser was the most formidable 2 wheeled competition, but no match. There was no 4 wheeled bucket of bolts that posed any competition except a Shelby Cobra with a 427. I think I could have given a good show to a Shelby with the 289, or was it a 287?

"It's good to be King" ..... Tom Petty

Slick
 
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Back then, the 650's and 750's seemed like enormous bikes to a lad of 13. Now they seem a bit midsized to small. Especially parked next to a Busa and a Victory.
By the time I was road riding Suzuki/Yamaha/Honda on the road (legally) in the mid-late 70's, there seemed to be very few British bikes around. No dealers left either, which likely contributed to this.
Cheers
 
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I remember the cushmans & Mustangs were ancient by the mid-sixties. English bikes were somewhat scarce in my area.... Whenever a Triumph or BSA howled past everyone made the Oooh! Ahhh! noises and that was the day's topic... On occasion someone with big bucks would have a 900cc Sportster making them 'Lord of the Realm' as they made big thunder in their passing leaving us in awe.... A Norton was unknown until almost '69-'70, and then the name was only whispered amongst your best buds. We had no clue as to what they were and so spoke of them quietly, and it seemed overnight they were crowned king. Little Honda and Yamaha 50-65cc were infesting the place like mice interspersed with Allstate mopeds and step-through scooters.
Then came along that nasty Honda 4 and the Kawa trip, etc.... I've seen one Commando in the last 30 years, but I see that one daily in it's nest. The times have definitely changed.
 
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-68. The year I was a dispatch rider in a tank regiment. And rode a slimline 99 on my free time. Lovely bike. Sadly replaced two years later by a JAWA speedway bike. 8 years ago bought a small modern sports bike. First impression was it handled like a Norton.
 
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Back then, the 650's and 750's seemed like enormous bikes to a lad of 13. Now they seem a bit midsized to small. Especially parked next to a Busa and a Victory.
By the time I was road riding Suzuki/Yamaha/Honda on the road (legally) in the mid-late 70's, there seemed to be very few British bikes around. No dealers left either, which likely contributed to this.
Cheers
I gotta say that's was how it was for me too. We lived on the north side of Houston and the only brit bike shop was across town on the south east side, about 30 miles away. My big brother traded his '69 Chevell for a '70 750 'S' with the deepest Blue metalflake paint job I'd ever seen, the chrome musta had a high nickel content 'cause it was super shiny and had that halo ring around the headlight. I was 15 riding a red two stroke single cylinder Suzuki TS100, The Norton seemed huge then.
 
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California born in the SF bay area. 1968 was the in 60's, wasn't it? Flower power and so on and so forth.

I did not own a motorcycle until the early 70's. My first 3 bikes were not Nortons, so I can't wax poetic about what it was like to ride a Norton in 1968. I got my Norton P11 in boxes in 72. I think it was 72, could have been 74.

By the time I got a Commando, 750's could be had complete and running for $1 US per cc. 850's were more desirable, but Nortons weren't a big draw to the Silicon Valley motorcycle crowd I hung with, and British motorcycle dealerships were turning into parts and service houses.

I wish I'd held on to that Commando. It would have been the best financial investment I've ever made if sold today.
 
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It would be nice if they were to return because when I was young, at the time, smoke & munchies and girls destroyed what little money I could come by making even those prices hard to meet.
 
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The girls was happy when I spent my money on fuel so we could ride more on the Dommie. And you could not smoke while riding.
 

grandpaul

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It would be nice if they were to return because when I was young, at the time, smoke & munchies and girls destroyed what little money I could come by making even those prices hard to meet.
HA HA HA ME TOO!!!!!

(but, add "dirt bikes")
 

luckyed

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Blowfly here. I bought a '68 Commando recently. Riding it has been revelatory. So much feedback from the machine. Sticks to the road like sh-t to a blanket, and that feeling when everything goes 'hummmm* at 3,000-6,000. Totally addictive.

I was born when all superbikes were Japanese. It got me wondering what it must have been like to ride a bike like this in '68. Don't get me wrong a Beezer or Triumph are fine machines, but a '68 Commando is so different. Sublime.

Oops I just joined the Access Norton, hi everyone! ...

There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven't yet met.
Bob Dylan, c. 1968 atop a Norton Atlas? I think?. Had this poster on my bedroom wall through my junior and senior year in high school. Acquired my 1971 750 Roadster 6 years later in 1974.
 

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I bought my first (red) Fastback in 1978 when I got my first proper job, in SW London. It had high handlebars. I stripped it completely and fitted clipons and John Player replica fairing from Gus Kuhn’s shop in London. Had a Triumph TLS front brake. Then rode it to work on good weather days. Also to the Box Hill gatherings at weekends in Surrey, and to the TT once. Reliable bike, and only sold it for a mk 1 le Mans, which was much less involving and slower steering!
Work was at the BP Research centre, where I read about global warming in their library... the irony!
 
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Hi Jan, you seem to have slipped forward by 10 years to 1978 !

Coincidentally I worked at the BP Research centre at Sunbury in 1978. I worked in a team led by Dr Tony (?) Barwise (easy name to remember !)

Dr Barwise was a worldwide expert on the combustion of coal in a fluidised bed, but we worked on the analysis of Petro-porphyins in crude oils to
give a signature to the origin of crude oil spils. One hot and sunny day my Norton inexplicably went south to the coast rather than north to Sunbury
and I spend the day on the beach. I took a gearbox pinion with a missing tooth, but from a Triumph (!) with me the next day to "prove" my Norton
had broken down ! Nobody commented on my rather red suntan, nor that it was a Triumph gearbox pinion !

I also went to Box Hill on a regular basis as did much of the Surrey Police force.

Perhaps it's wrong to state, but I'm rather partial to global warming; I don't remember being able to whizz about on Nortons at this time of year
in the 1970/80s !

I often wonder if burning coal in a fluidised bed improves the emissions, or are fluidised beds standard practice now?
 
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it was kinda like this

 
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