Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: San Antonio, TX & Moosehead Lake, ME
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
I agree with Fast Eddie, generally, in that I've little desire to return to the days of Old Brit Twins. However, one of my all-time favorite bikes was my 1975/76 Norton 850 Commando Interstate. I bought it from a friend while stationed (posted for our UK/Canadian friends) at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, during the late 1970s-early '80s. It was, in its own right, a wonderful British motorcycle . . almost that is.
It featured the now-standard left side shift, and even an electric (after a fashion) starter. To offset those modern features it was a massive 360 degree parallel twin equipped with Amal carbs complete with medieval "ticklers" and 12 volt positive ground Lucas electrics. When the engine was warm the electric starter worked reasonably well, but when the engine was cold the only way to bring it to life was very careful kick starting. I replaced the points and condenser ignition with what was then state-of-the-art electronic ignition and that improved things immensely.
What made ownership fascinating was that I could never tell when the Lucas electrical system would randomly decide to momentarily forget what it was supposed to be doing. By comparison, today things are really rather predictable and thus somewhat boring.
In it's defense, during the summer of 1980 I rode it from Germany, through Belgium, and England to the Isle of Man for the Manx Grand Prix (and return) in the company of an original Gold Wing, a BMW R75/5 and a Renault Le Car chase vehicle/baggage carrier. To its lasting glory the Norton was the single machine that did not suffer a single problem or mechanical failure. It was even mentioned on Manx Radio!
I intended to bring it home but a compatriot who believed I out maneuvered him when I bought it wanted it badly. I eventually sold it to him for more that I paid for it. I know, that's mercenary but I relented and made him very happy. Do I miss it? Yes. Would I buy an old British twin again? No thank you. I really appreciate fuel injection, Eddie's "magic button" and not having to clean up oil.
"Plan? Plan! There ain't no plan."
Pig Killer, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome
Last edited by Arion; 02-08-2020 at 05:29 PM.