Numbers-Matching 1974 Norton Commando 850 Sees a Well-Deserved Restoration


Sadly, Norton’s history is plagued with uncertainty and turbulent times, but this doesn’t mean they didn’t produce some great bikes.

Old-school British motorcycles are a lot like precious relics – the remnants of a graceful past that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Nowadays, English classics tend to fetch a fair bit of attention whenever they make an appearance at online auctions, and it’s not uncommon to see gearheads spend some pretty generous sums on these two-wheeled gems.

Take, for example, this restored 1974 Norton Commando 850. The numbers-matching icon is searching for a new home on the BaT (Bring A Trailer) website, where you can place your bids until Monday, October 4. Mind you, the top bidder seems rather determined to secure this purchase, and they’re offering as much as ten grand for the vintage Commando.

Under current ownership, Norton’s jewel saw its dual Amal carbs removed in favor of a single 34 mm (1.3 inches) Mikuni alternative. Furthermore, the bike’s gas tank and side panels have been treated to a shiny coat of metallic red paintwork, while its 19-inch hoops received a pair of grippy K70 tires from Dunlop’s catalog.

In terms of electrical upgrades, the machine was rewired using modern componentry and a fresh battery. Last but not least, the seller went about installing a Boyer Bransden electronic ignition module and a new exhaust system to round it all out. Now that we’ve talked about the adjustments, we’ll be taking a minute to point out a few of the creature’s general characteristics.

The ‘74 MY Commando 850 is powered by a four-stroke parallel-twin engine, with two valves per cylinder and a sizeable displacement of 828cc. When its crankshaft turns at approximately 6,250 revs per minute, the air-cooled powerplant is capable of delivering 60 ponies to a four-speed gearbox, which spins the rear wheel via a chain final drive. This whole shebang leads to a respectable top speed of no less than 118 mph (190 kph).