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The Norton Commando Bible


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About the Author

Peter Henshaw has had an enthusiasm for anything with wheels from an early age - from bicycles to 500hp tractors. He was the editor of Motorcycle Sport & Leisure for five years before going freelance, and now contributes to a whole range of transport magazines and websites, including MSL, TAG, A to B, Tractor and Machinery, plus Bike Social. He's also written over 60 books, many about bikes, and is an all-year-round motorcyclist who does not own a car.


I liked the fact that, other than the 'specialised' subjects, the book breaks the Commando story down into chronological sections making the overall subject easy to follow. I regard myself as pretty well clued-up with regard to the Commando story but I still found this book to be an enjoyable read and thoroughly recommend it.- Roadholder. If you have an interest in this classic model of Norton twin, here is just about the best book on one model of bike that Ive read for a very long time! Author Henshaww covers the roots of the Commando, including the flawed double overhead cam 800cc P10. The book doesn't shy away from the reliability and production quality the bikes had, but Commandos sold well for some years, especially in the USA although the faced ever-increasing Japanese competition. The racing chapters include the unsuccessful Cosworth Challenge from 1978 as well as the works bikes; theres even a nice photo of Norman White riding his blue and white pannier tank racer at Pukekohe in 2007! Among the books many strengths are the great selection of photos and wonderful period adverts. Getting designer Mick Ofield on board was a master-stroke because he adds lots of fascinating detail and illustrations about how the style of the Commando developed. Add in key people like Dennis Poore and Peter Williams, the Norton-Villiers-Triumph merger, the wonders of metal flake paint, the Trisolastic prototype with its Trident motor, the current build programme of about a dozen new Commandos a year, the Rotary and lots more, and you have an excellent 144-page book!- Bike Rider Magazine. Even today, the Commando polarises opinion with Norton aficionados who consider the loss of the Featherbed frame a crime. But there's little doubt that the Commando gave a much-needed injection of life onto the Norton brand which would have perished sooner than it did without this model. This book covers the Commando from the beginning to ed- in fact, before the beginning as there is a chapter on the ugly P10 prototype - thank goodness Norton didn't proceed with that one- with its one-metre long cam chain and prodigious oil leaks. The book even extends to the Bosworth Challenge, another one best forgotten, but which could have become the final incarnation of the Commando. As usual in this series, there are sections of engine numbers and production dates, component suppliers, and various model specifications- all handy stuff for buffs and restorers alike. Ironically, with the march of anno so mini, the Commando is probably, to the current generation, the best known Norton of all, and probably more popular today than ever.- Old Bike Australasia. The Norton Commando - in both 750 and 850 versions - is gaining popularity (and price) in classic circles, thanks to its all-round usability, although it has always has solid following with some owners having kept them from new. It is a bike that eschews all the joys of classic ownership with few of the hassles - thanks to the strong spares back-up that exists and modern modifications that allow is to still cover high milages as well as drifting down the leafy lanes. So, it is not surprising that Veloce Publishing have added it to its 'Bible' series and commissioned well-known motorcycle author Peter Henshaw to produce a comprehensive guide to the Norton Commando's year-by-year evolution and to produce a work to enable owners and prospective owners to be able yo ensure a bike's authenticity. As with all the Veloce works the 'devil is in the detail' as the author looks at both the 750 and 850 versions in some depth, along with the race bikes which once dominated the UK scene. The quality hardback covers all the aspects of the bike, traces its antecedents, development, and year-by-year production changes, including the turbulent story of the company that built it, bringing the story right up to the present day. As one would expect, there are comprehensive appendices of facts, figures, contacts, and technical specifications etc. at the rear that are worth the cover price on their own. It is tempting to say that this is only for those interested in buying and owning one of these iconic models, but the reality is, it is a walk down the final years of what was left of the British motorcycle industry and an insight into it. Highly recommended! - Ian Kerr. Peter Henshaw describes in detail the Commando 750's development up to the production end of the 850 Mk 3 in October 1977, but also the efforts of Kenny Dreer to revive the legend in the 1990s. Other chapters recall specialities such as the first Wankel-Norton (NVT) and the racing activities with the twin: road racing, endurance, flat-track, drag-race and, of course, side car cross. The twin was popular at the time in both displacement variants at the cross teams and was mainly used with Wasp and EML chassis- until the two-cylinder Yamaha and Wasp pushed it out. The appendix provides information on the progress of the brand in modern times, technical data on the Commando models of all grades as well as engine numbers and production data. Not only because there is no counterpart in German language, English-language books like this are indispensable for fans. - www.sidecar-news.de. The book that Peter Henshaw made visible under the title above describes in detail the entire life course of an iconic British two-cylinder. The Commando was devised in the course of 1967 and developed in just eleven weeks into a working model that made its debut at the Earls Court Show of September that year. The 750cc motorcycle bell came from the Atlas, but instead of the famous Featherbed frame, it was in a completely new bicycle section, with the block, barge and backbone rigidly connected and as a whole through rubber-steel bushes (so called Isolastics) were confirmed in the frame. As a consequence, the 360 a a twin inherent vibrations were effectively rejected, while the pathway for those of a Featherbed frame was not subordinated - if you applied the Isolastic suspension at least regularly. How the Commando achieved its production stage in 1968, what problems had to be solved, what changes were the model from year to year and how the model was part of the bankruptcy of the Norton-Villiers-Triumph Group in 1975 (already There are still Commandos built until the beginning of 1978 from available parts) are all described in detail in the 144-page book (21x25.5cm hardcover format). Of course, there is also attention to racing with the Commands, including the Cosworth and the monocoque machines. At the back of the book are tables included with specifications, engine numbers and production data. For the right order: The Norton Commando Bible is not a workbook; It's a solid and over 160 black and white photo's richly illustrated overview of the history of a motorcycle that still has many thousands of fans today. - Het Motor Rijwiel. This is an excellent, well researched book with contributions from many ex-Norton staff including Mike Jackson, Norton sales director; Brian Slark, Mick Ofield, together with former testers and development engineers chart this roller-coaster of a story. The book covers all models of the Commando including the production racers and the Cosworth Challenge; living with a Commando and appendices covering the 21st-cnetury Commandos; model profiles and engine number and production dates as well as club contacts and suppliers. Highly recommended. - Jonathan Hill.

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