I’ve recieved a LOT of great material form Paul zuniga (AKA:GrandPaul) in a short period of time and I’ve been so busy that it’s taken me a bit of time to get it sorted out. I’ll start out with the first bike he sent me. An outstanding custom Norton monoshocked special.
I came across your site through a link from PipeBurn.Com. I’d like to submit a couple of my Norton Monoshock projects for you to consider on your site. I have been into classic bike (especially Britbikes) for over 20 years, and have been restoring old bikes for almost 5 years now as a business; http://www.bornagainbikes.com is my web address. I am a forum moderator on TriumphRat.Net & TriumphTalk.Com (classic & vintage sections), and I host my own classic, vintage, and customs forums on Delphi (links in my signature). I ride with CMA (Christian motorcyclist’s Assn.) and the BIR (Brit Iron Rebels); wierd mix, I know.
Anyway, here’s the poop on the bikes-
Ever since the first time I spotted a pre-production Photoshopped picture of the proposed “New Norton” in 2001, I KNEW I had to have one. Kenny Dreer was in the process of acquiring the worldwide rights to the Norton name; he came up with the new design for a horizontally split “wet sump” engine, started building a couple of test mules, and started taking deposits for the first 100 “signature” edition bikes. My goal was to have one!
Well, I got tired of waiting for the new Norton, then heard Kenny was selling out the whole operation to some dude in Great Britain; so I contacted Kenny and made a deal to buy some of his leftover VR880 stuff. Sometimes you just end up in the right place at the right time; it turned out Kenny still had most of the 951 prototype bike, so we made a deal!
Kenny sold me several ONE-OFF components from the ORIGINAL prototype bike including the monoshock swingarm, “tight tuck” headers and carbon fiber primary; he also sold me the Blue fuel cell/gas tank, boat-tail seat & sidecovers, a set of FCR carbs, and most of the major components to build a VR880 engine including a freshly rebuilt high-end Baisley-built head & Spyke electric starter.
My plan was to take a ’75 Mark III Commando frame and adapt it to accept the Dreer monoshock swingarm; The adaptation proved to be a bit tricky, but using AutoCad, I was able to come up with a simpler shock top mount setup than the relatively complex horzontal layout that was on the original prototype bike. For the front end, I decided to go with a modern inverted fork, and was able to source a nearly new complete ZX6 front end locally. The hardest part of the build was taking a Dreer VR880 front hub and sourcing the appropriate bearings and spacers to accept a modern 1″ axle and 300mm full floating brake discs; Buchanan’s did the lacing up to the drop-center rims. I decided against using clip-on handlebars because I intended to put some miles on this bike as a regular rider, and my back can’t handle the boy-racer ergonomic position with clip-ons.
As anxious as I was by this point, I decided to install a complete running 850 e-start engine and build the VR880 lump later; I took a friend up on his offer for an engine and rear end, which I needed for the disc brake rear hub assembly. I then fabricated an electrical panel and hand-wired the bike to mate the classic charging system & lighting with the modern Sparx electronic ignition and UJM thumbswitch controls; the big-amp battery to crank the e-start is hidden under the seat’s hump. A set of Clubman racing reaset footpegs were installed, using an earlier model right-foot-shift outer tranny cover & shifter shaft. The rest of the project came together pretty quickly and the results are what you see here, my take on the “modern” Norton Commando”
Norton 850 Commando Mark III, vertical air-cooled OHV pushrod twin, dry sump
Kehin FCR 35mm flat-slide carbs mounted to 33mm intakes, matched to head
Norton 850 Mark III primary system & electric starter
OEM Norton 850 engine covers, oil pump, transmission & clutch (Sureflex clutch plates)
Norton 850 Commando Mark III frame, modified for upper monoshock mounting
Dreer Custom fabricated monoshock swingarm with “big bearing” conversion
Isolastic eng/trans mounting subframe, modified for e-start and swingarm bearings
Kawasaki 636 Fork yokes, stem turned to fit OEM Norton steering bearings
Mark III vernier isolastic mount system with Taylor top steady & Eads front steady
Wheels & axles
Excel rims (2.5” F, 3.5” R) laced with Stainless Steel spokes & nipples by Buchanan’s
Custom built rear axle & spacers for OEM Norton Mark III rear hub
Kawasaki 636 front axle with custom built bearings by Buffalo Bearings
Dreer VR880 dual disc front hub & rotor spacers, with custom built axle spacers
Metzeler Lasertech tires: 100/90×19 Front, 120/80×18 Rear
Suspension & Brakes
Front: Showa 41mm fully adjustable (compression, rebound & damping) inverted forks
Rear: KYB fully adjustable, gas charged reservoir rear monoshock
Front: Dual 4-pot Tokiko calipers, 298mm Brembo full-floating rotors, Nissin master cyl.
Rear: 2-pot Nissin caliper, lightened & drilled Norton 280mm rotor, Nissin master cyl.
Dreer VR880 matched seat/tail, fuel cell & sidecovers; in Blue with Red & White pinstriping
Dreer ONE-OFF “tuck in” exhaust headers w/ peashooter reverse cone megaphone mufflers
RK 520 chain, Drag Specialties Aero 95mm gas cap assembly, CRG bar-end mirrors
Kawasaki 636 push-pull throttle & clutch lever assembly, Doherty HD cables
OEM Norton footpegs, center stand, oil tank, kickstarter
Sparx 12 volt, 230 watt, 3-phase alternator, Sparx 3-phase regulator/rectifier, H4 halogen headlight
Sparx magnetic trigger electronic ignition, Blue Streak dual-lead 4 ohm, 12 volt ignition coil
Kawasaki 636 handlebar mounted lighting & accessory control switches (2005 spec)
Born Again Bikes hand-wired electrical harness system
AGM heavy duty battery, Barrel-type security keyswitch
Thanx for your consideration, I’ll add a link from my website.
Proprietor of Born Again Bikes Refurbs & restorations
Host of the Vintage Bikes Forum
For what it’s worth, the Silver bike is my own design “double” swingarm with Lyta aluminum tank & TL1000 front end, and the Blue Mark III with the bum-stop seat is a client build, my 3rd variation on the monoshock theme with “single/double” swingarm and ZX9 front end.
Any chance of a picture of the other (drive) side of this great looking machine?
Hi I have an incomplete 750 commando basket case and I would like to rebuild with a complete USD fork and brake assembly
Any tips/advice would be most welcome