1974 Norton Commando 920cc Cafe Racer

Date 03.2.2016

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1974 Norton Commando 920cc Cafe Racer (Gus Kuhn Replica) Sold: $20,500

So much has been written about Norton’s Commando that little can be added. The bike, using an Atlas engine in a new frame featuring the company’s patented Isolastic vibration damping system, made its appearance at the Earls Court show in 1967.

The engine, gearbox, swingarm and rear wheel were mounted to the frame via a system of rubber bushes, isolating the rider from most of the vibes. The Commando continued in production until the company closed around 1978.

Gus Kuhn was a British speedway rider of the 1920s and ’30s. He also competed in scrambles, trials and five IoM TTs during the 1920s. He opened a motorcycle dealership in London in 1932 and died in 1966, but the business bearing his name continued and got pretty excited with the release of the Commando the following year.

The Gus Kuhn workshop took standard Commandos and transformed them into road racing replicas.

The list of special parts included a fibreglass tank, half fairing, clip-ons and alloy rims.

The engines could be tuned with high-compression pistons, 32mm Amal carbs and a special camshaft.

A close-ratio gearset and a special Rod Quaife five-speed gearbox also were available for it.

Racers such as Mick Andrew, Charlie Sanby and Dave Potter had great success with Kuhn Commandos on the track. The pre-auction estimate for this one was $16,000-20,000. It sold at the Sydney Winter Classic Auction.

This article appears in Motorcycle Trader #299