Bike of the Month
1975 Norton Commando Mark III
By Jeff Park
I purchased a New Norton Commando roadster in 1975. It was not known to be the most reliable bike, it wasn’t the fastest bike, but it was a Norton. Unlike the UJM’s (universal Japanese motorcycles) that were dominating the marketplace this bike had character. Norton had a long history of producing road race winners and great road motorcycles. The rumor was that 1975 would be the last year Norton would be in business. Because of that, I figured it would become an instant collectors item, one that would only skyrocket in value. I was so confident that it would happen, I turned down buying stock in a young upstart microcomputer manufacturer named Intel and instead bought a shiny new red Commando MKIII Roadster. I of course added Dunstall pipes to get the full effect of the 850cc motor. After the ride home from the dealer I vowed I would never sell this motorcycle.
Three years later life circumstances changed and I had to sell the Norton, but I knew some day I would buy another one. After about 35 years, putting one child through college, and getting ready to retire I started searching for another MKIII Roadster. My search led me to a bike for sale in nearby South Shore Lake Tahoe. I contacted the owner and made an appointment to see it. He told me he had just gotten it up and running after a couple of years in storage and it did not have current tags. I rode it around the block and made the deal on the spot. He asked me when I was going to come and get it, and much to his and my wife’s surprise I told them I was going to ride it back to Reno. What could go wrong? A British motorcycle awakened from a two year nap taking a 90+ mile journey, no problem. I was right, no problem it made it back to my home and I have been its happy caretaker ever since. Aside form normal maintenance and a few upgrades it has been a great ride.
I will not sell this Commando, well never say never. A wise man once said, “Everything has a price”