The Ace Is a 1974 Norton Commando 850 Restomod With Utterly Intoxicating Looks

The Ace 9 photos
Photo: Laughing Dog Photography
1974 Norton Commando 8501974 Norton Commando 8501974 Norton Commando 8501974 Norton Commando 8501974 Norton Commando 8501974 Norton Commando 8501974 Norton Commando 8501974 Norton Commando 850
Given how clean this reborn Commando is now, it’s hard to believe that it had once been collecting dust, cobwebs, and rust in a barn.
Shaun Brandt, Randy Venhuis, and Justin Benson form the trio behind Canada’s Federal Moto (FM), and they’ve indulged in a wealth of custom projects since the workshop’s foundation in 2014. Some of these have already made their way to the autoevolution pages in the past, but we reckon it would be interesting to go back in time and have a look at FM’s very first build.

Enter The Ace, a breathtaking 1974 Norton Commando 850 that’s half restomod, half custom, and drop-dead gorgeous from head to toe. The classic gem had spent an extended period of time locked away in a barn prior to meeting the Federal crew, so it should go without saying that it was in a sorry state.

After a complete teardown, the guys began by amputating the motorcycle’s original subframe, then they built a much shorter, loop-style alternative from scratch. The following step saw FM pondering which ties would best suit the aesthetic they were after, and the three of them eventually settled on Coker’s retro-looking Diamond Tread rubber.

Many of the factory mounting points were chopped off and replaced with tailor-made alternatives, while the standard oil tank got ditched in favor of a repurposed unit from a ‘71 MY Norton. The Commando’s double cradle skeleton was powder-coated black, and its new subframe has been topped with a slim saddle upholstered in high-quality leather.

To breathe some new life into the powertrain department, Federal Moto installed an electronic ignition system, aftermarket air filters, and modern piston rings. The air-cooled 828cc parallel-twin saw its valve clearances adjusted, pistons bored, and every worn internal refurbished. However, what really catches our attention is the exhaust plumbing.

FM’s gurus took the high-mounted headers of a Commando SS, shortened and heat-wrapped them, then added a pair of reverse megaphone mufflers to top it all off. An unidentified Triumph from the mid-fifties was kind enough to donate its fenders, which were tweaked and painted matte-black before going on The Ace.

In keeping with the vintage look, the bike received bullet-style turn signals and a taillight that employs the same design, as well as a classy headlamp up north. Electrical upgrades come in the form of an all-new wiring harness and a fresh four-cell battery supplied by Antigravity. Over in the cockpit area, you’ll see a minute Smiths speedometer and a BSA’s handlebar wearing Tommaselli grips and premium hand controls.

For a good bit of extra stopping power at the front, Federal’s specialists busied themselves with retrofitting a two-piston Tokico caliper and the drilled brake rotor of a Suzuki Katana 750. Last but not least, The Ace was blessed with a glossy layer of white paint and gold Norton logos on its fuel tank, thus concluding this Canadian workshop’s introductory project in style.
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About the author: Silvian Secara
Silvian Secara profile photo

A bit of an artist himself, Silvian sees two- and four-wheeled machines as a form of art, especially restomods and custom rides. Oh, and if you come across a cafe racer article on our website, it’s most likely his doing.
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