Tuesday, December 25, 2012

a better Norton

As far back as I can remember, my dad's Norton Commando (a 1972 Combat engined Interstate) has always been my favourite motorcycle in the world. My Fastback was a frame-up restoration, with the idea of turning it into as good a motorcycle as it could possibly be and tailored to my taste.
I never had clip-ons on any other motorcycle when I was growing up, and I always loved the look of them. So I didn't even think about practical implications when the time came to choose handlebars and went with clip-ons. At first I thought it would have been a matter of just getting used to them, and to a certain extent I have. I have done thousands of miles on my Norton, been up to Switzerland a couple of times, rallies up and down the country, weekends, day trips... I have used my motorcycle. But try as I might, clip-ons just aren't for me. It's not a question of comfort, it's a question of weight distribution and cornering. It just doesn't work for me and I'm sick of feeling like my pride and joy isn't as good as it could be, just because of a detail. It's an important detail, but that's all it is. It's time to stop letting it hold me back, and if sacrifying a small part of the looks means finally being able to enjoy this thing and getting the most out of it, so be it. I'm not saying I'll go for a major retooling of my motorcycle, but it's time to improve what is already a tremendous machine. There are a few things on the way, now is not the time to tell you exactly what, and I don't know how long it may take, but I'm confident that by the time I'm done, it will be a better Norton.


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