Last of the old stagers


Nigel Waring with his bespoke Commando.

The fact that the Norton Commando was voted by readers of Motor Cycle News as their ‘machine of the year’ every year from 1968 to 1972 has been one of those facts I’ve never really quite been able to grasp.

That is meant as no slight, really, on the Commando, which is a fine performing machine and having had the pleasure to ride several – of which this accompanying stunner is the latest – they are, almost universally, a joy.

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But what I’ve never really grasped is how the MCN readership could choose this ageing pushrod pre-unit twin, with its engine mounted in rubber to isolate rather than actually solve its vibration problems (I always have half wondered if ‘Isolastic’ was actually some kind of joke term…), over some of the other machines which were about at the same time – not only BSA/Triumph triples with their own slightly dated features (basically, pushrods) but some of the exotica coming from elsewhere.

For example, in 1969, the Commando’s second year of victory, Honda launched its all bells-and-whistles CB750 (overhead cam, disc brake, electric start and so), while there was also Kawasaki’s H1 (500cc two-stroke triple) on the scene.

Read more in December’s issue of TCM

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