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1972 Norton Commando Combat

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1972 Norton Commando Combat

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At first glance the 1972 Norton Combat presents itself as a standard Commando, as it shares the legendary frame, suspension, forks, and isolated motor mounts that gave Norton their reputation for smoothness and superb handling. The Combat even utilizes the same 745cc four-stroke, overhead valve, twin-cylinder motor. What makes the Combat special is a series of internal modifications and a much-appreciated disc brake.

The Combat engine has a shaved head for higher compression and a long-duration highlift cam which adds 2000 usable revs to reinforce the high-end of the power band. The bike was also geared down to compensate for its weakness in the low and mid range. These factory customizations led to over-revving during racing situations, even in the top gear. While the pistons could handle duress at 5,000rpms - exerting the bike at the new 7000rpm cap could cause the crowns to be pulled loose from their skirts. Difficulty in making cam chain adjustments caused many owners to skip proper servicing, compiling the engine’s issues.

A Norton Combat motor can be identified by a “C” stamped on the top of the motor, black painted piston barrels, and black painted cases (assuming the engine hasn’t been polished during a rebuild). Ultimately the Combat will remembered for its bold and brazen engine design and immediate popularity, followed by distressing breakage woes, and eventual cancellation - making them the historic oddities that they are today.

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