Car video reviews:
1972 Norton Commando 750 Shapeshifts to a Groovy Scrambler
This bad boy looks ready to get dirty!

1972 Norton Commando 750 Shapeshifts to a Groovy Scrambler

1972 Norton Commando 7501972 Norton Commando 7501972 Norton Commando 7501972 Norton Commando 7501972 Norton Commando 7501972 Norton Commando 7501972 Norton Commando 750
Vintage Steele is a Southern Vermont-based workshop co-owned by Chris John and Josh Steele. To be precise, the firm is located in a beautiful little town, by the name of Brattleboro. Let me tell you, these folks aren’t exactly amateurs when it comes to creating some genuinely breathtaking custom builds.

As you browse their extensive portfolio, you’ll run into several two-wheeled works of art that’ll leave you speechless, such as their delicious 1960 BMW R69S, a spectacular 1972 Triumph Trophy and one fascinating 1975 Honda CB750 Super Sport.

These magnificent masterpieces (and more) can be admired on Vintage Steele’s Instagram and Facebook profiles. But first, let’s take a sneaky look at one of their miraculous makeovers, namely a reborn 1972 Norton Commando 750.

To give you a better idea as to how far this project has come, I’ll go ahead and point out a few of the donor’s specs. Before we dive in, there’s one thing we ought to keep in mind; this ‘72 model underwent an engine transplant prior to reaching VS’ doorstep. Its standard unit was replaced with that of a 1970 variant in Norton’s splendid Commando 750 lineup.

The four-stroke parallel-twin behemoth prides itself with a generous displacement of 745cc and two valves per cylinder head. At around 6,800 revs, this air-cooled piece of machinery will generate up to 58 bhp. A four-speed gearbox is tasked with transmitting the mill’s force the rear wheel by means of a chain final drive. Ultimately, the Commando is blessed with a respectable top speed of just over 115 mph (185 kph).

On its 1972 sibling, suspension duties are handled by a pair of telescopic forks at the front, accompanied by fully-adjustable dual shocks on the opposite end. Furthermore, stopping power is taken care of by front and rear drum brakes. By today’s standards, this whole shebang sounds rather stale, right? Hang in there though, we’re getting to the exciting part.

Vintage Steele envisioned a scrambler-oriented project and teamed up with an old friend to breathe new life into an ageing Commando 750.

This is not the first motorcycle Caleb Matthiesen and the Vintage Steele crew have built together, and hopefully not the last. Caleb is my long-time friend from the seventh grade. Growing up, we were always working on projects together,” says VS’ co-owner, Chris John.

During the winter of 2014-2015, Caleb shacked up with Vintage Steele to shelter from the extreme cold of Southern Vermont. We came up with a game plan and decided that a Norton Commando would be the base for our scrambler-style custom motorcycle.

After taking the bike apart, they kicked things off by removing the old brushing and grommets to make room for fresh counterparts. Next, the team shortened its frame to accommodate a slimmer leather saddle, which was neatly upholstered by Matthiesen himself.

A local craftsman, named Matthew Hyde, was tasked with powder-coating the frame. Vintage Steele swapped Commando’s original fuel tank out for a 1976 Honda CB400 module that looks right at home on the tweaked frame. At the front, a ‘67 Black Bomber’s headlight housing kit was installed between the forks, matching the desired aesthetic.

The parallel-twin engine exhales through a custom two-into-one exhaust system built in-house. Finally, VS rewired the whole thing using modern electrics and treated its suspension to new fork springs at the front, along with a progressive linkage on the other end.

Right, now that we’ve wrapped this up, I’ll be heading over to the workshop’s social media pages to please my eyes with this workshop’s awe-inspiring creations, and I’d suggest you do the same!


Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories