Federal Moto – The Norton Commando Tracker via Silodrome
The Norton Commando is a motorcycle that I have a lot of time for, many consider it one of the greatest motorcycles of all time and I’d be inclined to agree pretty enthusiastically.
Originally introduced in 1967, the Commando won worldwide acclaim that continues to this day, it won the coveted Motor Cycle News “Machine of the Year” award for 5 straight years from ’68 to ’72 – staving of stiff competition from the new generation of motorcycles coming out of Japan.
The custom Commando tracker you see here is the work of Federal Moto, a relatively new Canadian custom motorcycle workshop based in Edmonton, Alberta and run by Justin Benson, Randy Venhuis, Shaun Brandt, and Kyle Nichols.
The expansively detailed write up the team at Federal Moto did for this bike is so good I’ve decided to post it here unedited. It covers every aspect of the build from start to finish and should interest those of you who want to know exactly what goes into building a custom motorcycle to this level.
So depending on the time of day in your part of the world, go make yourself a coffee or open a beer, then scroll down and have a read.
“We found this 1974 Norton Commando 850 on a farm in Rimbey, Alberta. It ran, barely, and had a ton of attitude. We wanted to create a surf style tracker that you could ride around the city, or cruise through the rockies all the way to the coast. We only had one condition: maintain the soul of the classic design and feel that Norton had built 40 years ago. We made some major design changes to the shape and feel of the bike, but the spirit is all still there. We can only hope that the employees at Norton would be fighting each other to take it for a spin if it rolled onto the factory floor.
We began by taking the bike down to the frame. Norton Commandos have a very thick centre tube that slants downward towards the tail of the bike, making it very difficult create the perfect line we wanted from headlight to taillight. First step was cutting the rear section of the centre tube out and re-shaping the frame to have one clean line. It took some engineering, but we’ve welded and formed the frame to be just as strong as the original. After that we shortened the frame by 18 inches in order to sit just in front of the centre of the rear wheel, and shaped a new rear hoop. This was the beginning of tracker shape we were going after.
Read the rest at Silodrome