1974 Norton Commando

ABOVE & BELOW: The 1974 Norton Commando 850 made the same horsepower as the 750 did, but at a lower rpm.


MARK MADNESS
For 1974, the Norton Commando the confusion about Mark's continued on with a Mk1A version of the Roadster & the Interstate, while MkI's became MkIIA's with the addition of a new airbox, bean-can silencers (mufflers) & a pleated seat. Some US models retained the earlier intake & exhaust systems, because the airbox turned out to be hurting performance. The Hi-Rider continued as a MkII with its original airboxes & silencers.
ABOVE & BELOW: 1974 Norton Commando Interstate. The Interstate has a distinctive, hump-backed petrol tank, extending range in keeping with its mission as a long-distance touring bike.

TROUBLE IN PARADISE
Elsewhere in the Norton empire, the newly formed Norton-Villiers-Triumph (NVT) was stuggling badly. Norton's parent company, Mangenese Bronze Holdings, Ltd. had purchased the troubled BSA company (who also owned Triumph) & was attempting to breathe new life into them. They had mistakenly announced their planned closure of the Triumph plant at Meriden, with plans to move all Triumph production to Norton's plant at Wolverhampton. The Triumph employees revolted by taking over the Meriden plant & holding it for the next 18 months, shutting down all Triumph twin production. All of the problems plus the loss of income was starting to take its toll on Norton Motorcycles.

BAD PRESS
This began to show in many ways. Models would start dropping off the lineup very soon. And quality was beginning to suffer. Magazine articles, which use to gush praises of the Commando, were now having trouble finding machines that could complete their barrage of tests. Generally it was found that if they were properly built in the factory & correctly set up on the street, they were fast & reliable. But get a 'Friday bike' or one that has not been properly maintained & anything could happen.
ABOVE: 1974 Norton Commando "John Player Norton".


JOHN PLAYER NORTON
The real bright spot for 1974 was the introduction of the John Player Norton as a regular production motorcycle. Styled like a road racer of the day, and perhaps the first to do so on a production street bike (they're everywhere today), with full fairing, big tank, squared-off tail section & blacked-out exhaust, it was one tough-looking machine. It was painted white with broad red & white stripes with the Union Jack on either side of the tail section. It had 2 side-by-side headlights faired into the front. Performance-wise, it was essentially a box-stock 1974 Norton Commando. While it never sold in huge numbers, it was a real 'halo bike' for all Norton Motorcycles. It brought 'em into the showrooms. And it worked.

1974 Norton Commando SPECIFICATIONS

Model designations:





Engine type

Displacement

Bore & Stroke

Compression

Carburetors

Ignition

Engine output

Oil system

Oil capacity

Primary drive

Clutch

Gearbox

Ratios, overall:

1st, bottom

2nd

3rd

4th, top

Final drive

Frame type

Suspension, front

Suspension, rear

Brake, front

Brake, rear

Wheelbase

Seat height

Weight

Interstate

Roadster MkIA & MkII

Production Racer

Hi-Rider MkI

John Player Special

Air-cooled OHV parallel twin

828cc 

77mm X 89mm / 3.03" X 3.503"

9.0:1

2- Amal Concentric, 32mm

Battery & coil, Lucas

60 bhp @ 6200 rpm

Dry sump

6 pts

Triplex chain

Multi-plate diaphragm, wet

4-speed constant-mesh, right-foot shift


12.40:1

8.25:1

5.90:1

4.84:1

Chain

Welded double cradle, Isolastic Suspension

Telescopic fork, hydraulic damping

Swing Arm, 2 dampers, Isolastic mounts

10" disk, 2-piston hydraulic caliper

7" SLS drum, full width

57.1"

31.3"

419 lbs


A WORK IN PROGRESS
In our efforts to complete our online index, and make this the world's greatest website about classic British motorcycles, we're building pages as fast as we can. The first thing we add are the pictures. Then come the specifications and then the history. So, if you see a page that just has only pictures on it, or just pictures and specs, please check back in a few weeks to see if we have it done. Thanks for your patience. And thanks for visiting Classic-British-Motorcycles.com. Please tell your friends about us.



MORE NORTON PAGES:
Norton Motorcycles
.....Norton Manx
..........1948
..........1949
..........1952
..........1953
..........1952
..........1957
..........1959
..........1962
.....Norton Dominator
..........1957
..........1959
.....Norton Atlas
..........1966
..........1967
.....Norton Commando
..........1968
..........1969
..........1970
..........1971
..........1972
..........1973
..........1974
..........1975
.....Interview with a Norton Expert


Check out these NORTON BOOKS

NORTON COMMANDO: THE COMPLETE STORY


THE UNAPPROACHABLE NORTON


NORTON COMMANDO: ESSENTIAL BUYERS GUIDE


ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF NORTON MOTORCYCLES, by Roy Bacon


NORTON COMMANDO SHOP MANUAL, Haynes


NORTON COMMANDO: ULTIMATE PORTFOLIO


NORTON FACTORY WORKSHOP MANUAL, 1957-1970


NORTON


ILLUSTRATED MOTORCYCLE LEGENDS: NORTON by Roy Bacon


NORTON 500, 600, 650 & 750 TWINS WORKSHOP MANUAL, Haynes


NORTON MOTORCYCLES FROM 1950-1986


NORTON DOMINATOR PERFORMANCE PORTFOLIO 1949-1970


ILLUSTRATED NORTON BUYERS GUIDE, by Roy Bacon


NORTON, COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY


NORTON DOMINATOR


NORTON TWIN RESTORATION, by Roy Bacon


THE NORTON STORY


NORTON COMMANDO


NORTON FACTORY REPAIR HANDBOOK, 750 & 850 COMMANDO


NORTON ROTARIES


BOOK OF THE NORTON 1938-1956


BOOK OF THE NORTON DOMINATOR


MANX NORTON


NORTON: A HISTORY


BOOK OF THE NORTON OHV SINGLES, 1955-1963


NORTON: THE COMPLETE HISTORY


MANX NORTON SUPER PROFILE


NORTON SINGLES 1927-1966, by Roy Bacon


BOOK OF NORTON, ILLUSTRATED SHOP MANUAL 1932-1939, by Clymer


NORTON- THE RACING STORY


DOMINATOR IN THE SHADOWS


NORTON TWINS, by Roy Bacon


NORTON TWINS REPAIR MANUAL, Haynes


NORTON ROTARIES MOTOR CYCLES


THE MANX NORTON






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