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Norton Commando

Updated 12/02/23

Norton Commando

Updated 06/26/22

Norton Commando

Updated 11/26/23

Norton Commando
Head Stud Study

Updated 11/25/23

Norton Commando
Service Releases

Updated 06/13/22

Norton Commando

Updated 09/17/23

Special Parts
Updated 06/18/23

Used Parts For Sale
Updated 09/13/20

High Mileage 850
Updated 10/14/23

Customer Combat
Build Oct 23

Updated 12/03/23

Norton Rear
Wheel Lacing

Updated 05/06/22

Norton Front
Wheel Lacing

Updated 10/22/21

Norton Front
Forks Helper

Updated 01/08/23

Norton Wiring
Updated 09/02/23

Norton Wiring Diagrams
Updated 02/28/21

Combat 5
Updated 11/07/23

Roadster 850
Updated 08/07/23

1973 Customer
BasketCase Build

Delivered 07/15/22

1974 Norton 850
Commando Rebuild

Sold 01/12/21
Updated 06/10/21

1974 Norton Wiring
Updated 11/21/21

1972 Norton 750
Commando Rebuild

Completed 05/15/19
First Place Norton 5/16/19
Sold 01/01/20

1972 Norton Wiring
Updated 09/06/20

Customer Combat
and 69S Builds

Closed 10/18/23
US Flag Tuesday, December 5, 2023
January 29, 2019  I'm building a 1974 850 Commando, and both wheels need new rims.  So, I'm going to build them with new rims and spokes.  Before taking them apart, I am documenting the measurements and I'll detail it all here.  This page covers the front wheel.

Norton front disc brake wheels are harder than most to assemble and true. The rim is not centered on the hub, and the spokes on the disc side have very little angle to the rim. This makes getting the offset difficult.

The rim is More complicated than normal.  The picture shows the old built wheel and the new rim with the hole for the tube aligned.  When we start lacing, we'll start with the non-disc inner spoke and go to the fourth hole.


There are 10 each of four different spokes.  The longer are non-disc side.  The more square are outer.

The offset from the hub to the rim is 0.500" on the disc side.  On mine, the other side is 0.831" but that will be ignored and 0.500" will be used as shown in the first picture.

Disc Side Offset
Non-Disc Side Offset

January 30, 2019  Ok, time to take the old wheel apart, polish the hub, and then start building.

January 31, 2019  Here's the hub ready to go below.  It was hard to get to this condition.  First used #0000 steel wool, then the parts that could be done using my buffer, and finally by hand.  It took about three hours.

Front Spool Hub 1
Front Spool Hub 2

February 2, 2019  Still stuck without the correct spokes for the rear wheel so back to the front. In the first picture, the inner spokes are installed.  They were partly tightened to make sure they were the correct length and the loosened so the outers could be installed

In the second picture, the outer spokes are installed and the first round of static truing is done.

By static truing, I mean that the hub offset is very close, and the rim is equidistant from the hub (centered).  This is all done with the disc side.  The disc side spokes have very little angle from the hub to the rim and slight turns of the nipples makes big changes.  To start, the non-disc side nipples are tightened to about 4-5 threads showing and the disc side 1-2 threads showing.  Then the offset and centering are set using just the disc side spokes with the office around 3/8" (will be pulled to 1/2" later using the non-disc side spokes). 

On this wheel I decided to install the bearings after the wheel was nearly trued and cleaned up.  Generally, it's better to install them first so you can use the axle for measuring center and of course, they need to be there for a truing stand or to true on the bike.  I've had so much trouble with the rear wheel spokes causing me to take it apart a few times and getting grease and anti-seize on my hands and then  on the hub.  With the bearings installed, it's much harder to cleanup the hub.

Front Inner Spokes Installed
Front Outer Spokes Installed

February 4, 2019 After searching for hours I found the double row bearing I set aside for this wheel and installed the bearings.

February 6, 2019 The disc side is trued and the spokes are nearly tight enough. Notice the arrow - it's hard to see, but the gap is 1/8" and it will be pulled to 1/2" when the non-disc side is tightened. Right now, the non-disc side is just finger tight.  The outside disc side spokes set the side to side offset and the inner disc side spokes set the center offset.

 Truing 1

February 9, 2019 Back on this wheel.  I decided that it would be nice for this page to know actual torque values so I bought a spoke torque wrench.  It is simpler when you don't really know!! 

Various info says that the torque on the disc side should be 40-50 inch pounds in-lb (4.5-5 newton meters (N-m) and the non-disc side less, maybe 25 in-lb.  My wrench is much easier to read in N-m so I'll talk that way and state the final in-lb at the end.

I tightened the disc side to 3 N-m and made sure the wheel was still true.  Then, planning to go a little at a time, I tightened the non-disc side to 1.5 N-m.  The wheel was still true, but my offset was 5/8"!  So, I tightened the disc side to 5 N-m and the offset barely moved,  So then, I tightened the disc side to 6 N-m and the offset was slightly more than 9/16".  Clearly, it wasn't going to be possible to get back to 1/2".

So, I loosened all non-disc side spokes until loose.  The disc side spokes were then not overly tight.  I tightened them to 4 N-m and the offset was then minus 1/16".

Then I went around the rim tightening the non-disc side a little at a time checking for true all the while.  Then I tightened all the non-disc side to 0.5 N-m.  This brought the offset to a little less than 1/4" while still true. Then I tightened to 1 N-m and the offset was about 3/8" with a little wobble so I re-trued. Then I tightened to 1.5 N-m and the offset was just under 1/2" and still fairly true. Very small changes on the non-disc side makes a big difference in the offset so I tightened all to 1.75 N-m. This brought the offset to exactly 1/2" with a tiny bit of wobble.

Finally, I carefully trued by tightening as needed and I verified the offset at several location around the rim.

I tested the torque to see where it ended up on the disc side.  It was 5.75 N-m (51 in-lb).  Keep in mind that they were tightened to 4 N-m before I started on the non-disc side.  So, with this rim, these spokes, using anti-seize, the procedure ended up being:
  • Tighten the disc side incrementally to 4 N-m (35 in-lb).  Probably best to do 1 N-m, then 2 N-m, then 3 N-m, and finally 4 N-m.
  • Tighten the non-disc side incrementally to 1.75 N-m (15.5 in-lb).  Yes, it sounds light, but any more and the offset is too large.  Also, since anti-seize was used on the threads and grease under the nipples, they are tighter than the torque implies.
  • Touch up the truing (tighten only).
February 21, 2019 Mounted the tire and installed the disc so this wheel is done except balancing so back to the 74 Norton rebuild page.

Burlen, the parent of the AMAL Carb Company    The AMAL Carb Company     Tri-Spark, inovative electrical products for the Vintage British Motorcycle     Wassell, the 70+ year old suppliers of British Motorcycle parts     Central Wheel Company, the 120+ old suppliers of spokes and rims     cNw has become a leader in bringing new parts and improvements to the Norton motorcycle market.
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