Norton Parts are the only Norton spare parts in the market
manufactured to original drawings,
within the factory-approved tolerances, from the correct materials, and
with the correct finish.
Andover Norton, have all the original factory drawings and own the
These imitations are often sold bearing pirate copies of our
"Genuine Norton Factory Parts" logo (above) with a different
If it does not say "Andover
Norton", it has nothing to do with us
but was sourced where some of the parts below come from.
We have now stopped supplying shops that ape our logo and pretend their
pirate parts are the real deal, i.e. our product.
If your dealer is not on our distributor list, you run the risk few, if
indeed any of the parts he sells are Genuine Norton Factory Spare
Instead you are bound to get some nondescript pirate copy.
Norton stopped production of the Commando, there were periods when
original spare parts were in short supply. A very profitable business
opportunity for "pirate" manufacturers developed, and
unfortunately such "pirate" manufacturers still exist, mostly
originating from India, Pakistan, and China. Some parts are just annoying
in that they don't fit, or are of inferior quality. Some parts, however,
are simply dangerous.
have examined and monitored most of the pirate parts over time. These
are some of the examples we have found in the marketplace available from
us start with a potentially very dangerous and costly item, the
big end bolt (Part# 06-6486).
picture you find two bolts; the top one is Andover Norton, the
bottom one is sold to the trade at the same figure we currently
pay for just the forging of each bolt, i.e. before it is hardened,
the thread rolled, ground to size etc… By the time our bolt is
finished and sold to the dealer, it costs far more than the pirate
bolt- hence the motivation for the dealer to sell the pirate part,
purchased cheaply and sold with a very hefty profit.
Our bolt is not just dimensionally different to the pirate part
below it, as a forging it is far stronger in use than the pirate bolt
that is turned from solid bar. Our threads are rolled, and as
every engineer knows, a rolled thread is far more resistant to
tensile loads than a cut thread.
If and when the pirate bolt gives up- and we hear this has
happened on numerous occasions-, the damage is normally devastating
and will at best cost a conrod, piston, and valve(s), at worst the
crankcase and more.
pirate bolts are easy to identify by the following points:
length- ours are 62.6mm, “pirate” are 63.3 mm long.
the end of the threaded section on the “pirate” there is a
section of uncut thread.
“pirate” main ground diameter length is 15mm long.
re-iterate- these “pirate” bolts do not have the durable tensile
strength required for this application and I would not use them in
a road, let alone race engine, where I have yet to see one of ours
Remember- we are the only Norton Commando parts manufacturer where
members of the management race
Commandos personally and regularly.
From big end bolts to
We are convinced- and our own
experience with very reliable racing engines with a lot more power
and torque than any standart production engines proves it- that
our standard production Genuine Norton Factory Parts
conrods (right) will stand all stresses
they are likely to encounter in a Commando engine.
Other offerings are in the
market. Steel conrods, heavy and asking for considerable
re-balancing iof the crank and therefore the answer to no
question, and aluminium conrods machined from billet.
The billet conrods look
"nicer" than ours, and look more substantial, too. This
they are- in weight, 10grams to be exact- but not in strength. Furthermore,
they have a lot more weight near the small end, where one does not
want it. Original conrods are far lighter in this crucial area.
Our original conrods are made
from forgings. A forging is far stronger than a piece of alumunium
that is then machined to shape. As with the big end bolts above,
whilst a part turned from billet may LOOK nicer, it is in
fact far less equipped to take stresses than a forged part. It can
only take the same stresses as a forged part if far more material is being used to
make it and it is then substantially bigger and heavier than the
If no forged conrods were
available to rebuild a Norton engine I might be tempted to use the
billet one on the left and take it easy on the engine to
compensate. However, as our forged rods are available, and
have withstood up to 8.500rpm in a friend's racing Commando
repeatedly, so are more than up to the job in any given Commando
application, I use nothing else for road and race engines.
The rod failures I have seen
in the last thirty years always had a basic technical reason-
engine ran out of oil, rod was mechanically damaged when
installed, wrong con rod bolts or re-used big end nuts and bolts.
With an original conrod I have yet to see a failure caused by
weakness of the rod itself.
I therefore use Genuine
conrods in all my own Commando engines, road and race, and
recommend to do as I do.
Another dangerous pirate
part- gears. On the left is a Genuine Norton Factory Part. Gears
are normally marked with the letters "AH" or
"AHA"; for the second (longer) gear of the late 850s
The gear on the right is a
pirate gear produced in the 1980s, but pirate gears are still
being produced today by various people. This gear is easy to
identify as it carries the letters "RS", which was the
(now defunct) manufacturer "Racing Spares", who made
them for W.E.Wassell, Burntwood.
Gears can be very
dangerous. We have seen- and experienced !- gears that were
hardened through and thus brittle as glass, locking up the whole
gearbox when a gear failed. This can cost the rider's life as
pulling the clutch makes no difference- the rear wheel will stay
The "RS" gears-
like many others- were of some nondescript steel, and the cogs not
undercut, hence gears would jump out under load. Surface hardening
was also not their strong point.
And on the subject of gearboxes, another
beauty from the Pirates Dept:
(Taken from the
If you have been sold one by
your "leading Norton Specialist" that did not come in
Andover Norton packing, you stand a fair chance yours is one of
the thin-walled hand grenades pictured on the left.
As the buyer and destroyer of
the pattern shaft wrote on being given the dimensions of the real
"That would mean a difference of 3.53mm between the outside
diameter of my pattern bush and the original.
As my pattern shaft
thickness here was only 1.4mm we can assume an original shaft
would have a thickness of approx 3.16mm if my maths is correct.
More than double the thickness.
Wow that is a huge difference.
Moral of the story, DO NOT buy a pattern kickstart shaft."
The real deal is on the
Just in from a "Leading
Norton Specialist" is the air filter element on the right
(genuine part on the left).
Try as we might we could not
fit it to the original air filter surround, hence the bottom left
hand corner of the element had to be pushed inwards, thus leaving
a gap (see detail below).
Air will always go where it finds the least resistance, and will
take gritt and other foreign matter with it. This means a good
proportion of the air that goes through an air filter fitted with
this pirate filter element will in fact be unfiltered, and one
might as well discard the filter altogether and fit velocity
fork stanchions are the only fork stanchions for Norton
motorcycles in the market that are made from the correct kind of
seamless steel tubing, a material that is so special we
need to buy 2 tons of it per order to even get it!
These fork stanchions are then machined according to the factory
drawings and ground to size, with a final layer of hard chrome.
a "Norton Spares Specialist" will sell you
"Genuine" fork stanchions, but somehow manages not to
buy any from us- they must have bought thousands of fork
stanchions years ago if this was true........Somehow we doubt it
is, easily explained by the difference in purchase price between a
Genuine Norton Factory Part and the offerings from China and other
Our fork tubes retail at UK£59.95 +VAT each, whilst the
Chinese effort can be purchased by the trade for as little as UK£6.00
+VAT, or in a slightly better quality from a European manufacturer
for about UK£18.00 +VAT.
We have just checked a couple of online prices, and one specialist
offers supposedly "Genuine" stanchions for £86.10/pair,
whilst another offers them for £59.00/pair. Needless to
say neither offering is genuine, and neither dealer ever buys any.
have seen the Chinese offerings in accidents. They bend as if made
from copper tubing. In two cases the motorcyclist ran into the
back of a car. The car was unharmed, the fork tubes were bent and
beyond repair each time! It is conceivable these stanchions will
give nothing near the stability of decent items, and will be prone
to premature fatigue of the material.
order to make the real thing easy to recognize, we have started to
mark our stanchions with "ANIL" for Andover Norton
International Ltd, and the batch number.
potential failure- swinging arm mounting parts.
“pirate” bushes (left) are turned from bronze bar, not sintered
as they should be (right) in order to absorb the oil they are
lubricated with. The machined bronze stock bar cannot absorb oil
and will wear very quickly, resulting in play in the swing arm and
erratic roadholding. Apart from the material another giveaway is
the internal chamfer which is not concentric with the bore. This
chamfer was obviously made by hand rather than as part of the
did not go to the length of having the steel of the axle analysed,
It is easy enough to recognise in that the centre screw that
secures the axle in the subframe is not the correct UNF thread but
a metric thread. Another clue is the general poor standard of
manufacture, as can be seen on the ends of the axle (genuine axle
left resp. top).
genuine swinging arm spindles have a central thread for the
locating screw as well as two cotter pin slots and are also hard
And still on the
chassis theme, another interesting offering we found- an
headsteady as first designed in 1967 was prone to fracture, and I
have advised my customers for the last 35 years to replace this
structure, one of which I have kept to demonstrate the bad design
For 1973 and the introduction of the 850s a new, box-section,
headsteady was introduced.
It was a motorcycle engineer's answer to the problem of the
original version that was unstable by design, hence the frequent
The new headsteady was light- desirable in a motorcycle-, stable
through its box structure,
and has since proven to be virtually
amazement when we found the old 1967 design was produced again
today(!) in thicker material, faithfully preserving the unstable
The "improvement" looks like it was made in the dark
corner of a garage by an American mechanic whose life motto is
"Fatter is Better", or perhaps by somebody used to
working on locomotives or tanks where weight is of no
A qualified motorcycle engineer saw this structure as a joke
compared to the 1973 box section headsteady.
To top it all the original box
section one weighs 25% less....
Original Headsteady 1968-72
indestructible & stable Headsteady
Another example of brilliant
(non-)"improvement on the original":
The answer to no question,
the "improved" rocker axle locating plate.
The material is too thick so
the flaps stamped out are brittle and break off in service.
Being on the wide side, they
get stuck in the slots of the rocker axle.
Pirate part tested for less
than 100 miles on left,
our real deal that we never had trouble with in the last 35-odd
years on the right.
area is the gearchange lever, that is sold for AMC gearboxes and
stated to be suitable for Commandos. Not only are the pattern
levers too long, but
the splines are the wrong pitch and not properly formed, as you
will notice when you try to push it onto the gear change shaft.
The Andover Norton lever (bottom resp. right) can be pushed on by hand, the Indian
counterpart needs a hammer.
And has a metric M6 pinch bolt through it!
Air Filter Element- 850
Mk1A, Mk2A, Mk3
prevalent pirate part is the disintegrating air filter; a difficult
one to identify straight away. What happens is that the cheap foam
is drawn into the engine, with two big problems resulting from this-
the damage caused by the melted foam depositing inside the engine
and carburettor, and the lack of any air filtration after a very
short time with the associated consequences!
way to identify these is from the structure of the wire mesh inside.
It can be seen in the photograph that our sample pirate filter
(left) shed its foam within months lying on a shelf unused
, this problem will be accelerated dramatically when the filter is
exposed to petrol vapour when in use.
Genuine Filters (right)
have a wider wire mesh inside which can be felt though the foam.
They also use a different, green foam which is ethanol-resistant,
which the other foam is not.
you be sold the black foam variety, at best your dealer has old
stock, at worst it is the pirate part on the left indicating what
quality you can generally expect from that dealer.
a critical item one might think, and there are plenty of offerings
in the market. However, it is crucial to engine performance to get
the proper item. Andover Norton sells four different versions- the
seamless one in the picture, one with seams as on the 850s, one with
"Norton" logo and seams, and a special one with 1
1/2" (38mm) inlet for specials and Triumphs. All of them are
crucial feature are the internals. They must be absorption
dampers-. many cheap ones are labyrinth ones that you can't see
through- and, also very important, not only for sound but for
performance, it must have "flutes" in the internal through
tube, not a tube with holes. Anything but the original style
internals will decrease performance, even the production racers had
the same internals.
Not necessarily a safety or
performance related item, but one that is the finishing touch to the
motorcycle. We have recently seen stainless front mudguards Made in
India. The colour of the stainless is different to ours, the radius
is slightly off, but a very significant feature is the front lip,
which in our case requires a costly press tool that the imitation
never had the benefit of, so looks amateurish in comparison.
We have since heard they tend
to crack, probably because the hand-formed lip is not as free of
local stresses as our pressing, or because the steel of the mudguard
Indian mudguard right, genuine
Not dangerous, but looking
at the wrong lenses all the time burns in the eyes, doesn't it?
Lucas these days supply warning
light lenses that, though original Lucas, look nothing like the
We have found a supplier for
the "original" type, which we sell rather than the
"wrong" Lucas ones. Part numbers 99-1207, 99-1208,
We also stock original-looking
warning lights for the Mk3 console.
Current Lucas Production
potentially costly, but wasted money nonetheless- Dominator/early
Commando headlamp brackets.
(Indian “pirate” part on the left)
beauties (grey/brown primer paint) are Made in India, and it is
likely that less scrupulous e-bay vendors sell them as
"genuine". At first glance the poor welding of the
headlamp holding "ear" is obvious, as is the round hole
with the washer welded behind it where the original has an oval to
allow for directional adjustment of the headlamp. Less obvious at
first glance is the fact that they do not fit! The headlamp
bracket should have a portion with a reduced diameter at the
bottom that locates the bracket in the upper fork shroud. These
Indian brackets cannot be located correctly at best, at worst
can't be fitted at all.