This weekend, completely unexpected, the weather is splendid. Almost summer like. So this morning I’ve polished and cleaned the whole Norton. Since her oil change and fixed exhaust locking nuts, the Norton leaks less oil. Not that I mind some oil leaks, but it feels good that for once the whole engine, carbus and frame are less “greasy”.
After having finished cleaning the Norton I took her out for a ride. The Norton starts fine, cold on the 4th or 5th kick but to my feeling is her engine idle speed a bit low. At Boulogne while waiting for a red light, I was joined by a couple on a chopper. We exchanged a friendly “bonjour”, but at the next trafic light he said, in Dutch, “dat is een prachtige motor, van wanneer is ze?”. That was a bit surprising, because the number of Dutch people I’ve crossed here, in 11 years time, limit themselves to the van der Laan family (neighbours of my parents-in-law), my mother and her friend. I went back to Holland several times, but in fact, no member of my family ever came to visit me and Catherine here in France. I wonder though how they knew that I was Dutch myself, because it isn’t actually very visible, besides a very tiny written “NL” placed in a tiny circle on the Norton’s license plate, but even then, only visible when looking real close.
Norton Commando 850 all clean and fixed again
Besides the slightly lower engine idle speed, I can only state that Machines & Moteurs did a wonderful job. The Norton runs great, airtight, I’m very happy. Or perhaps, go figure, has the Norton now the correct engine idle speed and was she running idle too fast before? That could also be possible. I just have to get used to it, because when closing the throttle, it gives the feeling as if the engine dies, but no no, she idles alright.
My wife told me that I should write “http://norton.alterlinks.com” somewhere on the Norton or on my helmet, perhaps I make new friends to stay in touch, but to be honnest, even if I would do that, I can only imagine that someone would think after they got home “what was that again what was written?” and it wouldn’t do much good anyway.
The Norton is back home again. This morning I went to go pick her up with my father-in-law. The weather was fairly good; as the forecast predicted rain all weekend long, we must have been in between two rain showers. Just when I thought to make it back home dry, it started to rain from the pont de Sevres, enough to become wet anyway. Oh well.
Norton Commando 850 back home
Of course, it didn’t go as smooth as planned; on the way back, just at the highway exit to take the direction of Nanterre Prefecture, I lost my father-in-law who was following me in our car out of sight. I stopped, waited, but nothing… After about 10 minutes of waiting I figured that he must have gone straight direction Paris rather than taking the sharp right turn direction Nanterre. I continued my way untill I could pull over in a safe spot to call my mother-in-law. Of course he didn’t have his mobile phone with him, so impossible to contact him to find out where he was. I continued my way, hoping that he would find his way back and also hoping the Norton wouldn’t break down, as all my tools were in the car.
Norton’s right exhaust locking nut fixed (inner thread)
Once back home, parked the Norton in the garage to take some pictures. I’m happy, it looks good, both exhaust locking nuts are fixed or rather, the cilinderhead’s inner thread is fixed that holds the locking nuts. When I picked up the Norton, Laurent told me that it is a good little bike; besides the two inner thread reparations they also replaced some other parts and an oil change.
Norton’s left exhaust locking nut fixed (inner thread)
One of the parts that got changed is the camshaft’s feeding oil tube. From what Laurent told me, the one that was in place was the bricolage and not original. If ever it would break or loosen, it would starve the camshaft from oil. The sparkplug cables got replaced as well, which is strange, because this are the cables that were delivered with the ignition coils. Oh well, I don’t really care, I suppose they know what they’re doing and if they fitted the right cable and as long as it works, I’m happy.
New (original ?) camshaft oil feed tube
Meanwhile I polished and cleaned the Norton a bit, waiting for my father-in-law. He came home about 1 hour later. I don’t know how he managed but he told me that he stopped and waited too. Somewhere. At least not along the same road. But when he wanted to continue his way, he couldn’t; he had pulled our car up the side curb and got stuck under the engine; the right front wheel spinned around in nothing, not having any grip. As he didn’t have a phone he couldn’t call anyone, but luckely for him, some people stopped to give a push. I wish they hadn’t, because now I have a nice dent in the hood on the front right side where they pushed the car … On top of that, it didn’t even do the trick. Someone else was smarter, turned the steeringwheel a couple of times, enough to place the right front tire on solid ground and the car came free on its own. He also explained that he was later because he had to pay toll when he came over a toll road, but.. The way he was supposed to go, there aren’t any toll roads! Oh well, he made it home, next time he will probably remember to take his mobile phone.
After 500km, the cilinderhead needs re-tightning and re-set the valves, but I’ll try to have it coïncidence with work on the clutch towards the end of winter. I don’t use the Norton all that much and as I don’t even have the right tools, I prefer that Machines & Moteurs re-tightens it.