Norton Commando 850 Roadster: history, specs, pictures

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Norton Commando Roadster

In January 1973 the Norton Mk 5 Fastback was launched and the 'Long Range' was discontinued, foreshadowing the first 850cc machines launched in April 1973. The 'Roadster', 'Hi Rider' and the 'Interstate' all began to use a new 828cc. engine, which had similar power to the 750cc models but were less stressed.

1973 also saw the start of development on a new machine with a monologue pressed steel frame, that also included a 500cc twin, stepped piston engine called the 'Wulf'. However, as the Norton Villiers Triumph company was again in serious financial problems, development of the 'Wulf' was dropped in favor of the rotary Wankel type engine inherited from BSA. In late 1973 redundancy notices were issued at Andover, followed by a sit-in at the works. The Conservative Government withdrew the subsidy in early 1974, restored by the Labour party post the general election. NVT resultantly decided to concentrate production of the Commando at Wolverhampton and Small Heath, causing unrest at Meriden which resulted in a workers' sit in and stopping production at Small Heath. By the end of 1974 NVT had lost over £3 million.

However, the company still managed to produce new Commando models, with 1974 seeing the release of the Roadster based 'JPN Replica' and the 'Mk 2a Interstate'

Norton Commando 850 Roadster
Production 1973
Class Road
twin, four-stroke
Bore / Stroke 77.0mm x 89.0mm
Top Speed 119 mph (191 km/h)
Horsepower 49.89 HP (37.2 KW) @ 6250RPM
Transmission Gear box: 4-speed
Final Drive: chain
Brakes Front: single disc
Rear: expanding brake
Front Tire 4.10-19
Rear Tire 4.10-19
Weight 221.0 kg (wet)
Fuel Capacity 2.91 Gallon (11.00 Liters)
Manuals Service Manual

The Norton Commando 850 Roadster was a twin, four-stroke Road motorcycle produced by Norton in 1973. It could reach a top speed of 119 mph (191 km/h). Claimed horsepower was 49.89 HP (37.2 KW) @ 6250 RPM.


The engine was a air cooled twin, four-stroke. A 77.0mm bore x 89.0mm stroke result in a displacement of just 828.0 cubic centimeters. Fuel was supplied via a overhead valves (ohv).


The bike has a 4-speed transmission.


It came with a 4.10-19 front tire and a 4.10-19 rear tire. Stopping was achieved via single disc in the front and a expanding brake in the rear. The Commando 850 Roadster was fitted with a 2.91 Gallon (11.00 Liters) fuel tank.

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