1974 Norton 850cc Commando MkII Hi-Rider
The Norton Commando’s vibration-beating Isolastic frame enabled Norton Villiers to successfully prolong the life of their hugely successful parallel twin. The futuristic, boldly styled 750 Commando Fastback was announced at that Earls Court London Show in 1967, the Commando used the preceding Featherbed-framed Atlas model’s 745cc engine and AMC gearbox, and was an instant hit with the motorcycling public, being voted Motor Cycle News ‘Machine of the Year’ for five consecutive years. It might have been a little down on top speed compared to rivals such as BSA-Triumph’s 750cc triples and Honda’s CB750 four, but the Commando more than made up for this minor deficiency with superior mid-range torque and far superior handling. Initially offered as a 750, the capacity was increased to 850cc for 1973 for even more midrange torque, and with stronger gearbox and clutch and a plethora of minor improvements.
Introduced in 1971, the chopper-style Hi-Rider model was the brainchild of US exec Michael Jackson with input from Brian Slark. Designed to cater to American tastes displayed in offerings from Harley-Davidson, it featured high “ape-hanger” handlebars and a kicked-up seat with “sissy bar”.
The motorbike offered
The 1974 Norton 850cc Commando MkII Hi-Rider offered here, a matching numbers example, comes from a discerning, knowledgeable and meticulous collector, restorer and enthusiast. Purchased at the Rabers Auction in San Jose, mostly, in boxes of good original or NOS parts, the bike was put together around the original finished frame. Engine and all mechanicals were refurbished, restored or replaced. The tank and side panels were repainted to a high quality in the original yellow. The bike is offered in good running condition, fresh from service to ready it for sale.
Not a hugely popular model at the time, many Hi-Riders were returned to standard Commando trim with simple replacement of the handlebars and seat, so to find an original bike in such good condition is something of a rarity.