Bikes You Should Know appears weekly as part of Two Wheel Tuesdays. Since Hooniverse primarily caters to automotive enthusiasts, this column focuses on historically or culturally significant motorcycles that are likely to interest a non-riding audience.
The Norton Commando is thought by many to be the ultimate expression of the classic Britbike, the high water mark of Britain’s original motorcycle industry. In fact, in a survey of readers by Old Bike Journal magazine in the early 1990s, the Norton Commando was voted THE single most desirable of all classic production motorcycles from anywhere in the world.
Even though I was a Triumph Bonneville man myself, I am unable to refute that reputation; by any objective measure it was bigger, faster, racier, more sophisticated, more popular, and more steeped in mythology than just about anything else England produced prior to the disintegration of that country’s manufacturing sector in the mid-1970s. Perhaps more than any other bike, to ride a late-model Commando is to understand why even today generations of riders still wax lyrical about the magic of big British twins.
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