From 1959 on, with the exception of the Norton/Matchless hybrids, all Nortons over 250cc used the "short" Roadholder forks. While there have been detail changes over the years the basic design has not changed. The early forks were 7" wide, measured between fork tube centers, and were increased in width to 7 3/8" in 1964. Commando sliders (lower legs) from 1971 on are larger in diameter (plus oval not round) and stronger than those used on earlier models. When a disc brake was fitted, the slider that included the backing plate anchor slot was redesigned to accommodate it. Though externally different, these sliders can still be installed on the earlier forks. Doing so is the easiest and least expensive way to fit a disc brake to a featherbed model. Listed below are most, but not all of the parts available to rebuild or upgrade Norton forks. Additional items can be found in our Norton Factory and Norton Stainless Steel lists. The most up to date prices for items with Norton part numbers can be found in the Factory parts list.
Steering Head Bearings - The forks on the 1971 and later Commandos pivot on a pair of sealed ball bearings. The first Commandos
and late featherbed models such as the Atlas used "cup and cone" bearings. These bearings can be upgraded with either
the later sealed bearings or the taper roller bearing kit illustrated. Taper rollers provide a much larger contact
area that ball bearings which results in longer life, the down side is that
"adjustment" is more critical. The kit
shown includes both upper and lower bearings and a pair of seals to keep grease in and dirt and water out.
Basic Rebuild - Accidents damage aside, the most common
repair to Norton forks is to replace the oil seals and/or bushings. These
parts, along with the related gaskets, etc. are available individually or as a
complete rebuilt kit. For current prices see our
Factory Parts - Norton page.
|Guide (Upper Bronze) Bush Upgrade - One of the errors in the description of the operation of the Norton forks in the Commando Workshop manual tells how the upper fork bush covers the larger of the two holes in the fork stantion as the forks are near full extension, slowing fork action and preventing the forks from "topping" out. This never happens because the bushing is to short to reach the hole before the forks are fully extended. We now offer a pair of longer bushing that greatly reduces topping and also supplies additional support to the stantions. To prevent increasing "stiction" the center section of the bushings are relieved to provide only approx. the same contact area as the originals. (A rebuild kit as above but with the extended bushings will be available shortly) #N0200 - $34.95|
Fork Tubes - Our Norton fork tubes are
supplied by Andover Norton as we have found them
superior to all others we have tried. The heavyweight
models use fork tubes of the same design, but of various
lengths. They are machined to a plating dimension, hard chrome plated to minimize wear and prevent rust
then precision ground to final size. Part
numbers/prices are for a pair but single tubes are available.
Damper Rods - The Featherbed and Commando forks use damper rods of the same length but with different thread types. New steel factory damper rods are available for the Commando but not for the Featherbeds. Featherbed owners can either use our aluminum rods, or fit the factory steel ones by using our #C010 aluminum fork top nuts - Featherbed length/Commando threads.
Fork Springs - Both Featherbed and Commando models used the same straight wound, internal springs. We offer a choice of either internal or external progressively wound replacements. Use of progressively wound springs allows for a smoother ride over small road irregularities without a loss of the ability to deal with more severe bumps. Switching to external springs is a change popular with those building a cafe or race bike and is primarily cosmetic. A020 is an external spring set that has been used for decades on featherbed Norton's and Tritons. C020 is an external set with a free length actually shorter than the A020 but due to its thicker windings seems to work better on the longer Commando fork or for those featherbed owners who prefer a higher spring rate. At this time we do not have spring rate specs on either pair. A countersunk oil seal holder is needed on Commandos and oil level should be increased to 7oz. per leg. Priced per pair.
Damper Bodies - The originals are steel with aluminum top caps and the
ones used on the Commandos are longer than those for the Featherbed models. To
improve fork action, we offer aluminum replacement bodies which reduce unsprung weight, the less unsprung weight the better,
and have been reconfigured to reduce mechanical bottoming out under
compression. Commando bodies
include our brass body
caps (see below) and bottom retaining bolts. At this time Featherbed
length bodies are in limited supply and only come with the factory
aluminum cap plus the bottom bolts. Both lengths are priced as a pair.
Damper Body Caps - Probably the most neglected of the internal fork parts. These caps are actually an important part of the dampening system and should be replaced, or at least checked, when the forks are reconditioned (either tubes or bushings are replaced) but seldom are. The damper rod which passes through the cap is nominally .375" in diameter and the hole in the cap is currently specked at .378" to .381". As the hole opens with wear, the rebound dampening is reduced and "topping" increased. The Dommie/Atlas and Commando both use similar caps but the threads are different. Dommie/Atlas caps are 06-7641. The Commando uses 06-1347.
Because dissimilar metals wear less when in contact than do similar metals, factory caps are made from aluminum. We can now offer a precision, CNC made brass version of the 06-1347 cap that, though slightly heavier than stock, reduces wear when used with our light-weight aluminum damper rod and work equally as well with the factory steel rod. #N0050 - $14.95 ea
Oil Seal Retainers - We offer two types of aluminum oil seal retainers. The one shown on the left is a lightweight reproduction of the factory item fitted to most Commandos and reduces unsprung weight. The other is used when an external spring is fitted and features a countersunk center section that surrounds the bottom of the spring. Though not shown, a similar styled cosmetic cap to fit the top of an external spring is available. Either retainer will fit both Featherbed and Commando sliders. Priced per pair.
Installation Tool - Factory oil seal retainers are designed to be installed /removed with a strap wrench. Alloy ones for use with external springs often came with holes on the side to accept a "C" spanner. Since aluminum is soft, use of a "single pin" spanner is almost a guarantee that the hole for the pin will be distorted. CRA retainers have four holes located on the upper surface and our CNC machined tool to tighten/loosen them slides down the fork tube and simultaneously engages three of the four holes to reduce distortion. In the event there is some minor distortion the hole's location ensures it will not be seen. When ordering the tool at the same time as any of our retainers deduct $4.00 from the listed price. - #N0005 - $21.95
Fork Covers - Over the years, a variety of covers have been used to protect the lower forks tubes from dirt and water. The following items are illustrated left to right and priced as pairs.
CRA Fork Top Nuts - Actually top "bolts". The Featherbed version was very short with the center drilled and tapped 3/8" CEI to accept the damper rod. For the Commando, they were lengthened to accommodate the new thicker instrument brackets and the center thread was changed to UNF. The items listed below are made from 6061aluminum and priced per pair. Original configuration Factory and Stainless Steel parts are also available.
Engraved Commando Fork Top Nuts - Standard size, aluminum nuts that have been anodized black and laser engraved "Norton". Photo to follow. #C0002 - $46.95 pr.
Front Spindle & Nuts - Spindles and nuts for the 1961 up Featherbed and Commando models differ only in the threads used. The spindles illustrated are stainless steel, carbon steel versions and can be found in our Factory Parts list. A lighter (lower photo) spindle has been made and may be available at a later date. Factory and Stainless Steel spindle nuts can be found on those web pages. Lightweight, aluminum versions Are listed below.
Dust Covers - These parts are used to protect the wheel bearings and/or locate the front wheel. Between the drum and disc brakes, 3 different covers are used and they can be found in both our Factory and Stainless parts list.
After Norton increased the width of the yokes in 1964, there was no major change in them till the 1971 Commando appeared. The 1968 - 70 Commando, with the exception of steering stem threads now being 28TPI, were the same as used on previous models. For 1971, the yokes were restyled, without changing the geometry, and the steering stem moved to the top yoke. With the coming of the 850, the yoke's offset was modified to match the frame's new steering head angle (the wheel base was also different) and additional changes were made for the MK3. Top and bottom yokes from the 750s and 850s cannot be mixed due to the different offsets and while yokes from the 850 can be fitted to a 750 frame, fitting 750 yokes to an 850 frame will result in unstable and dangerous handling.
|750 Commando Racing Yoke Set - A CNC machined aluminum yoke set that is ideal for racing or a high end Commando Cafe. Pattered after the Featherbed racing versions, there is no provision for clamp on handlebars, the steering spindle is attached to the lower yoke and it uses the early style bearing adjusting nut and steering column top nut, both of which are included with the yokes. Unlike the factory yokes, these do not have built in lock stops - its up to the buyer to fabricate them. The other down side is though the finish is not bad the polishing could be better. Even even when the last two items are considered, at the current price they are a steal. Not for use on 850 models. #C0030 - $359.00|
Seeley Style Yoke Set - Cast aluminum yokes with a stainless steel steering stem that are patterned after those designed by Colin Seeley. This set comes with a "flat" top yoke and includes a bearing-adjusting nut and steering stem top nut CNC turned from aluminum plus a stainless steel washer for use under the top nut. They are intended for use as a replacement for yokes fitted with the standard street length (A005) fork tubes. Only 7 3/8" yokes are stocked, 7" are available on special order. Requires the use of clip-ons plus new steering stops must be fabricated to limit handlebar travel. - #A0100 - $430.00
Flat Seeley Style Top Yoke - Those who already possess 7 3/8" Featherbed/Early Commando type yokes have the option of replacing only the top yoke. The top yoke is the most visual one and is approximately one-third the cost of a complete set. In addition, while the standard bottom yoke is quite heavy, retaining it means less work involved to reduce the steering lock-to-lock (always required when using clip-ons) and the ability to fit a period friction steering damper. - # A012 - $152.00
Alternate Cast Yokes - An aluminum "dropped" version of the Seeley top yoke can be ordered, either separately or as part of a set, for those wishing to run Manx length fork tubes. Original "Manx" style top yokes are also available on special order in either aluminum or, as shown on the left, in magnesium. Both 7" and 7 3/8" widths are available as well as a 7" Manx style magnesium lower yoke. Call for prices.
Steering Stem Nuts - The stem top nut and the bearing adjusting nut, in both 26TPI (Featherbed & Aluminum yokes) and 28TPI (Commando) versions, can be found with the Norton Stainless Steel parts. We also offer the beautifully machined lightweight aluminum versions listed below.
CNC Yoke Set - Available only in a 7 3/8" width, these CNC produced yokes offer a good balance between a lighter, more modern look and traditional styling. Machined from aircraft grade aluminum, they are extremely strong yet the deep pocketing on the undersides keeps the weight down. Current sets are without "Norton" engraved on the top yoke and include the necessary steering column adjusting and top nuts as illustrated - #A009 - $359.00 - Temp Sold Out
CNC Top Yoke - Just like the previously shown Seeley top yoke and for the same reasons, the CNC top yoke can also be ordered by itself. - #A008 - $139.00
Commando Steering Damper - Use of a hydraulic steering damper reduces or eliminates the high-speed headshake found on some Commandos. It also can prevent the tank slappers that can occur when the front wheel encounters severe surface irregularities. Our kit includes an English made powder coated bracket that clamps to the frame down tubes and hardware to mount the damper to the factory lower fork yoke via an existing hole. A 5 position hydraulic damper is included. - #C1210 - $202.50
|Commando Instrument Case - We offer both factory and replica
versions of the
polished aluminum version used on the early models.
#C017 - Replica - $69.95 pair 06-0510 - Factory - $59.95 each
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