A Commando-powered street tracker from NYC Norton…
Kenny Cummings began restoring a 1974 Norton Commando in the mid-1990s, registering the domain nycnorton.com to document the project. He was visiting his father when he mentioned that he’d bought a Norton to restore:
“My father chuckled and walked out of the room, only to return a few moments later with a dusty old photo album. He opened it up and there, in true 1970s Polaroid glory, were pictures of me as a child sitting on my Father’s Norton. I about fell off my chair. Wow! Sure, I remembered he had a bike but had no idea it was a Norton!”
Perhaps Nortons run in the blood! Kenny went on to have some serious racing successes and turned his Norton obsession into a business. Today, NYC Norton is a household name in the world of vintage British motorcycles.
The story of the stunning Norton Trackmaster you see here started several years ago with a lone engine build, a Commando Combat engine — the more highly tuned version of the 750 twin:
“NYC Norton was secured to build up a ’72 Commando Combat motor with the addition of rebalanced crank for rigid mounting, a bigger cam, ported head, and all machining done to allow for a magneto in the traditional spot behind the cylinders — an elaborate mod requiring machining of the cases, fitting longer intermediate spindle, turning down the timing cover boss, and relieving the points cavity to fit the outboard cam sprocket.”
The engine boasted forged JE pistons, Carrillo rods, a Mick Hemmings PW3 cam, and a ported head with KPM Black Diamond valves and bronze guides, skimmed even further than a stock Combat for a measured 9.75:1 compression.
Initially, the customer was going to source a flat track chassis and build up the bike himself, but then he inquired whether NYC Norton would be interested in completing a full flat track-inspired street bike — yes they would!
“The NYC Norton shop is a sea of Commandos/Seeleys/Featherbeds, all built around superior ‘Roadholding’, so the opportunity to order off the menu was a welcome change. A short time later, a Tri-C Trackmaster replica frame was delivered to our shop, and the fun really began.”
The brief was simple: RH side foot controls like a real dirt tracker, just enough lights / electronics to pass inspection, and design inspiration from the famous Ron Wood / CR Axtell championship Norton twin-downtube flat tracker:
“Lofty goals, but hey… let’s shoot for the stars. Armed with a couple of cocktail napkin sketches, we went to work.”
The gearbox was built from scratch using an HD shell with increased wall thickness, and NYC Norton designed a custom manifold to run Dell Orto PHF 34s carbs as in the Axtell setup.
Then they turned down a custom set of bronze swingarm bushings — the same setup used in their championship-winning Titschmarsh Seeleys.
The Trackmaster is running a G85 primary with a Steve Maney Racing 40mm belt drive and anodized lightweight Commando clutch.
“This required cutting down the end of the Norton crankshaft and tapping to add front pulley fastening, and also necessitated adding a 1/2″ wide belly band for space between the inner and outer primary cover.”
Up front are a set of 35mm Ceriani replica forks with caliper hangers, and the bike is rolling on Borrani 19-inch flanged alloy rims with stainless spokes.
Many of the major components were nickel-plated: the chassis, swingarm, manifold, center stand, side stand, etc. All case covers were polished, while the velocity stacks and rear sprocket were gold-anodized.
As for the wiring, they kept it as simple as possible — just enough lights to keep the authorities happy:
“A simple harness runs from a key switch to a small battery under the single seat, which powers the 5″ Bates style headlight, Analog Motorcycles rear tail light, brake lights activated by hydraulic brake switches, and a small horn – enough to keep the coppers at bay.”
“When she brought the tank to our shop for the reveal it was like our baby was born!”
- Trackmaster replica frame, nickel plated and polished
- Custom bronze swingarm bushings ala NYC Norton Seeleys
- Handmade tank by Evan Wilcox
- Beautiful Hand-painted Gold Leaf Norton Logo by Jen Mussari
- Ceriani 35mm front end
- Borranni Rims
- NYC Norton Performance Street Motor Build (balanced crank, 9.75:1 comp, pw3, carrillos, JE pistons, etc)
- Joe Hunt Magneto
- HD Gearbox Shell and rebuilt with new gear cluster
- Dell Orto PHF34 pumper carbs
- Custom exhaust in tuned dimensions
- Hand made gear change and brake controls, on RH side, mimicking our NYC Norton rearset designs
- Maney Belt Drive fit within Matchless G85CS Primary with widening belly band
- Reed breather, plumbed
- AP Racing front master
- Hurst Airheart rear master
- Barnes Disk Rotors
- Barnes Spool Hub on rear with quick change knock-off sprockets
- Bates 5″ Headlight
- Bates-style custom fabricated rear tail light hand crafted by Analog Motorcycles
- Veglia tachometer adapted to Norton Commando speedo drive