Total Pageviews

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The washer's broke, so I've gone Commando

I've got a confession to make. I've never really had what you might call a 'normal' vertical twin classic bike. In various acts of masochism and self harm, I always seem to be slightly drawn to the left field, and a succession of bikes from the smaller (usually idiosyncratic) manufacturers, punctuated by a few of the bigger branded single cylinder bikes have graced my garage and emptied my wallet.

Up to now the charms of Bonnies, A10's, Dominators etc., have largely passed me by but I have to admit to always liking the look of Commando Roadsters. Well, that itch has been scratched thanks to the proceeds of a bike sale coinciding with a late night ebay session (originally intended to find a new washing machine), and I am now the proud owner of a '74 Mk2 850. I fell in love with it instantly and thanks to J&M Couriers it was sat in my yard a couple of days after pressing the 'buy it now' button.

The bike is an American import and has only covered 9500 miles from new. Someone has very kindly painted the tank and panels rather nicely and in general terms it is very original, clean and straight looking. The Mk2 850 is regarded to be amongst the best versions of the Commando, combining the 750's light weight and lack of any emissions stuff with the punchy 850 engine. I spent the first hour of ownership looking at it from many different angles.

Oil and filter were changed, the too tight primary chain adjusted and the carbs were balanced. Ignition timing, (which is still on points) was set and then checked with a strobe. Due to badly distorted end plates, the standard air filter was very much more air than filter so I replaced it with a neat dual K&N which also looks a lot cleaner and gives a bit of 'gap' in the frame.

With this done, I turned my attention to the cosmetics and detail, and ordered a new set of bars, front and rear guards and a few other bits and bobs from RGM in Cumbria. The end result is what you see above.

Riding impressions so far have been a bit of a revelation. The Commando is probably the best classic bike (to ride) that I have owned. You may think this is a bit of a sweeping statement, but in real terms it does so much so well. The engine is lovely, with fabulous mid range punch and performance is well up to modern traffic. Handles great, brakes are better than expected, and the vibes disappear after 3000rpm. Distances are dispatched quickly and comfortably, scratching is undertaken with aplomb and killer looks place it near the top of the 'kerb appeal' stakes. And to think I owe it all to Indesit.

I think it's safe to say that in classic bike terms, a Commando will probably do everything you ever need - or want it to. Is that enough? Only time will tell...

J&M Couriers give a top class service, I've used them for many years.
See their website here:

RGM Motors in Cumbria have had all of the bits in stock and sent them next day - excellent