Nostalgia

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by paulter, Aug 28, 2012.

  1. paulter

    paulter Adventurer

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    I've been bitten by the nostalgia bug and looking to get an older (70's) bike. I used to have a Norton Commando when in college (in the 70's) and wouldn't mind another. Electric start, though. Anyway, models of interest: BMW airheads, the /series--models to avoid, things to look for? Same with Norton, but choices are limited because of electric start. My plan is to hang onto bike until I can no longer ride, then pass it on to my nephew who has a healthy appreciation for tradition and functional works of art. Funds are not really limited, but I appreciate value. Thanks for any insight.

    Walt
    #1
  2. crampfan

    crampfan Banned

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    Did anyone ever make electric start Norton's a reality? Because I had two with that thing that looked like an electric starter but all the button did was kill the battery.
    #2
  3. daveoneshot

    daveoneshot Been here awhile

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    Ya, get an airhead and restore it....we need new blood.
    #3
  4. dilandau

    dilandau Been here awhile

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    Where do you live and what sort of riding? city streets, freeway, traffic, or open country, twists, gravel, long or short trips etc etc. any chance of getting parts locally?

    to me these become the main factors in what bike to ride.
    #4
  5. paulter

    paulter Adventurer

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    I live in the western foothills of Maine. In a rural area with a lot of secondary roads. I ride for the pleasure of riding, not for the thrill--if that makes any kind of sense. I do quite a bit of camping, and a fair amount (like a lot!) of fly fishing. At first I figured that a GS would be perfect, but then thought that a period piece would bring memories to the forefront. I do backpack, so if I need to get really remote, I can do it. I also have a CT 110 which I bought new in 1981, so I can always set up a base camp and putt along single track if necessary. That's why the GS became more secondary. For some reason, the 75/series has appealed to me. Covers the time frame (mid 70's) that I'm interested in, and seems to be a sedate ride. I like to stop and smell the roses :D.
    #5
  6. Voltaire

    Voltaire Bored Of The Rings

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    I have a Commando and an Airhead....the airhead is more practical but the Norton is more fun.
    the Electric start can be made good apparenty and you can get Shorai battery that put out lots of omph.
    My Norton is a Combat and is pretty easy to start as gone are the points.......
    Check out this site for all the Commando stuff you will ever need http://www.accessnorton.com/
    I sold a modern Triumph Thruxton, very good bikes, a bit bland but not bad.
    Everyday rider is a 1983 R65....have fun with your decision.:D
    #6
  7. zoo mob

    zoo mob Been here awhile

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    Get an airhead.
    #7
  8. retiredgentleman

    retiredgentleman Been here awhile

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    This is a pic of my 1978 XS650 SE. I've been using electric start for the last 6 years. Never had to kick start yet. I've added a few modifications...........Pamco Ignition (solid state), Accel coil, solid state regulator, modern rectifier, Brembo 4 piston calipers front and rear,LED tail light etc. It will go anywhere you want to go. Very reliable and fun to ride. Parts are readily available and a large following on the internet at sites such as XS650.COM.
    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. ADV8

    ADV8 Taumarunui..Darwin..

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    Norton Commando 850.

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/eX7zWqqGfgE" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe>
    #9
  10. dilandau

    dilandau Been here awhile

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    fairly convincing video for a norton! But if you are leaning airhead also consider its sexier Italian cousin: Moto Guzzi.

    get yourself a nice set up T3- rock solid, dead simple and intuitive to work on,plenty of baggage options, great for both long haul highway and twists.

    [​IMG]

    after I clean up my current stock of bikes a bit, im thinking of getting one myself (if i can find one).
    #10
  11. ADV8

    ADV8 Taumarunui..Darwin..

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    Don't forget the Eldorado.
    Here is my original 1973.

    A nice 76 T3 went for $2500 on eBay this week. (in storage since 1999)
    The Norton in the video sold for over $15000.

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/mEWpZ3i0aFI" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" width="420"></iframe>
    #11
  12. Nick in PRC.

    Nick in PRC. Been here awhile

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    Ambassador/Eldorado all the way.
    #12
  13. paulter

    paulter Adventurer

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    Very handsome Guzzis. They were also on my short list. Reason I'm leaning toward the airheads is availability of the different models. Hence the question regarding weaknesses of the various models, or which model/year to avoid. I envision the bike to be kept in the family for decades and can see my nephew thinking it to be cool to ride on a bike that was state of the art a hundred years ago.:lol3
    #13
  14. ADV8

    ADV8 Taumarunui..Darwin..

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    If you mean Commando's then the later the better (850)
    Stronger engine cases and con rods etc.
    If you want drama go for a 750 Combat. :lol3
    #14
  15. Kurt V

    Kurt V Been here awhile

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    Be tough to go wrong with either a /5 or /6 Beemer. Lots of them to choose from. $2500 will get you a good bike. $3500 will get you a very good bike. Tons of parts availability, good rider network. And they look cool!
    #15
  16. dilandau

    dilandau Been here awhile

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    since you are not planning city driving I'd say most airheads are fine. The big issue I had with mine was the brakes- they are pretty heavy bikes that go pretty fast, and they do not stop quickly. It was fine in the 70s but in 2012 in traffic it can be pretty hairy
    #16
  17. Sox Fan

    Sox Fan SoxFan

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    I went through exactly the same thing a couple of years ago. I wanted a real vintage bike and had it narrowed down to a Commando, Airhead or late 60s/early 70s Triumph.

    Decided to go the Airhead route based on more bike for the money, reliability and parts availability.

    Bought the nicest 76 R90/6 I could find and added some brand new Krauser cases. With the cases on an R90, you have a very vintage looking bike with a big engine, electric start and practical storage that still looks right on the bike. One of the rare bikes that, in my opinion looks better with luggage. All I have done in the two years I have owned my R90 is change fluids and put gas in it. Runs like a champ.

    Also - like someone said, if you do go with a Commando get an 850. I believe they only had electric start the last year though (1975 I think) and I want to say their version of electric start was poorly engineered. When I was looking, I thought a kick start 850 was the best one to get which I think would be a 73 or 74.

    Good luck.
    #17
  18. lrutt

    lrutt SILENCE.....i kill you

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    75 was the only electric start year for Norton. But.....do not discount any other year. Alton makes a retrofit electric start that is vastly superior to the original, does not require irreversible mods, and includes an improved charging system. When I get too old to kick my 850 Commando, I'll be putting one of those on. Google commando Alton starter and take a look. Great unit.
    #18
  19. ADV8

    ADV8 Taumarunui..Darwin..

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    I said it then brought a 1971 Commando Fastback 750. :lol3
    #19
  20. Rob Farmer

    Rob Farmer Long timer

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    A friend of mines had one for 30 years, thrashed it mercilessly, wheelied it, toured on it and it's still going strong today. He did fit superblend mains when he first bought it though.
    #20