When I first saw this 1969 Norton, I’d have bet big money that it was from one of the established Japanese workshops. But it’s from my old backyard—Sydney, Australia.
Damian Bombardiere bought his Commando on the cheap from eBay three years ago. “The seller mentioned a bottom-end noise, but I found it was simply a loose tappet.” With non-matching numbers and a bizarre stepped backbone frame—perhaps to suit a short rider—Damian rode the Norton for a year while debating what to do with it.
“I decided to create a street track-dirt track-cafe racer hybrid. And after a year of building, here we have it.” Damian ditched the frame and picked up a stock frame with the rear loop already cut out. He narrowed and shortened the new frame, rebuilt and shortened the forks, and reinstalled the motor. The engine was in good condition, so Damian just ground the valves and added a Joe Hunt magneto. The headers are from BUB, and Damian converted the carburetion to a single Mikuni.
There’s a Sparx capacitor with a hidden battery in the seat cowl to handle lighting duties. The pan and cowl are custom, and upholstered by Damian’s wife. New alloy rims complete the build, and the only work that was outsourced was a rewire.
It’s a simple build, when compared to many customs. But sometimes simple is best—and this is one of the best Nortons we’ve seen for a long time.
Images courtesy of Melissa Bombardiere.