Bonneville vs Commando - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2005, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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Okay - a bit provocative this one but it has been swimming round my head for a bit now...

Back in the day (rose tinted removed please) which was the better bike and why?

The best bike I ever owned was an 850 Commando - and I am not ashamed to say it is the reason I own a Bonnie today (the nearest to the experience without the constant tinkering and bruised kick start leg!).

My Bonnie comes very close and aside from the Commando non of my other 10 bikes compare.

As someone who wasn't around in the 60's and had a pram/bmx in the 70's I am interested in how this one goes

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2005, 12:32 PM
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Very hard to compare. In my opinion, the best Bonnevilles were the early 60's models when the Bonneville ruled the world, and the best Commandos were the '69-70 models. And I dearly want a restored "S" model.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2005, 12:33 PM
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I don't think they had Commandos in the 60's (not sure), but they had the Norton Atlas.
Both the Trump & the Atlas were Lucas nightmares.
My Bonnie was better looking, though.
Pretty sure the 850 would take the 650.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2005, 12:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
On 2005-06-10 11:33, Roadglide wrote:
I don't think they had Commandos in the 60's (not sure), but they had the Norton Atlas.
Think the Commando came in right at the end...just after the Atlas shook itself to bits! :hammer:

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2005, 02:31 PM
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2005, 03:08 PM
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The Commando came out, in 750cc form, in 1968. Before the Commando, the 750cc Norton was the Atlas. The Atlas had the famous "Featherbed" frame that Norton developed for the Manx racers. The "Featherbed" frame and "Roadholder" forks gave the pre-Commando Nortons fantastic handling. Unfortunately, the Norton engines were very unreliable. That's why Tritons (Norton frame with Triumph engine) and Norvins (Norton frame with Vincent engines) were very popular custom conversions.

My '66 Atlas left me stranded with blown engines and seized valves regularly.

But when it ran, there was nothing like it. The handling was great. Nothing could beat it on a winding road. I left Triumphs, Harleys, Corvettes, and even Panterras in the rear view mirror (which was useless due to vibration).

I rode a Commando once, but never owned one. When the Commando came out, Norton owners were disappointed because they kept the crummy engine and got rid of the great frame.

My T100 is just like the Atlas should have been. You can see from the picture of me on the Atlas that the Hinkley Bonneville frame has been strongly influenced by "Featherbed". Not only does it handle well, but the T100 is always ready to take me out and always brings me back.

The old days were good then, the new Bonnevilles are way ahead.

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[ This message was edited by: raproe on 2005-06-10 14:12 ]

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2005, 03:32 PM
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Interesting thread..

I have a '72 commando (combat engine) and before I rode a T100, I thought it was just about the smoothest (at speed), best-handling thing I'd ever been on.

Then along came Bonnie, and I have to say, it IS the smoothest, best handling thing I've been on to date.

The Norton still has that certain charm, and oozes character , and I'm not quite ready to get rid of here (yet), but gimmee a new Bonnie anyday..

-Mark.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2005, 06:52 PM
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I agree with both Tex and Raproe. I have a '72 Norton, also. The T100 is better in every way, but does not have that 'raw', sort of 'on the edge' feeling. It is also gives a feeling of higher risk, when you ride. even when it is running well. Some of this is due to the little 3.25 Dunlops, front and rear. And people topped these out at 100+ mph.
The Commando frames had what was called an 'isolastic' suspension for mounting the engine and other components, which were rubber mounts, and did reduce the vibration, which was mammoth. The 750 Commando, particularly the '72' Combat version (65 HP & 10:25 Compression ratio), had really exceeded the capabilities of the engine-it was the same block as the Atlas 650.
My hours on the Norton are much reduced, and I feel great about not ruining my knee further to start, and not having Amal carbs and Lucas electronics.
There is a sort of daring to the Nortons, but I just love the T100. Despite this, I had to get the Thunderbike reverse-cone silencers, as the look of the Commando has always captivated me. And the look of the Commando is still superior, in my eyes.
Both great bikes.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2005, 07:21 PM
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I put a steering damper and Avon Supervenoms on the bike, made a HUGE difference. These bikes also look great with a Corbin Gunfighter on. And sound? Whew, the Emgo peashooterts are darn loud.

I'm considering selling the '72 and getting an '74, my favorite year for commandos.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 06-10-2005, 07:42 PM
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I " go commando" often while riding my Bonnie,and vibration is rarely a problem. And those rebuilt Nortons are only 2k more than I paid for my house. Hmmm

Ruining a perfectly good Bonnie since 2004.
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