Supreme commander

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trevair
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Supreme commander

Post by trevair »

What spec does this bike have over a standard commander and where they sold buy the company
Trev
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kanonkopdrinker
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by kanonkopdrinker »

Having MZ upside-down forks is the most obvious modification.

They were conversions from standard Commanders done while Norton was based at Rugeley.

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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Richard Negus »

OK, you've provoked me from slumber!
At Norton Motors Rugeley, we converted eight standard Commanders to Supreme specification, only on of which was a Krauser.
The main change was to offset the power unit 10mm to the left to give clearance for the chain gaiter on a 170/60 - 17 radial rear tyre. Front tyre was also radial, 120/70 - 17.
Forks, wheels, and brakes were lifted straight off the MZ1000 touring bike which seems to have been a total failure in the UK. Nissin 4-piston,320mm floating discs, matched to Brembo disc and caliper at the rear.
Rear fork was the F1 item with lower shock mounts added. The totally enclosed rear chain remained as for the standard Commander. The fork pivot was extended through the footrest plates either, making a very stiff arrangement and contributing to the vastly improved handling and straight line stability.

The last one:
4393-02.JPG
And the first one:
4393-02.JPG
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by johnbirchjar »

All extremely well sorted bikes cool,(but I expect the white one was an absolute b*****d to keep clean exclaim)SVF,J.B.
trevair
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by trevair »

hi richard
why were the forks a total failure did nobody like yhe upside down forks or was handling poor
i peronally think they look good and may try to find a pair if handling wasent a problem
regards trev
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by kanonkopdrinker »

Reading Richard’s post, I think it was the MZ1000 motorcycle that was a (commercial) failure .... not it’s component parts ... which were actually rather good.

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Richard Negus
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Richard Negus »

The Supreme is actually a very good touring bike. In my opinion, the modifications gave it straight like stability up to maximum speed, something I wouldn't try with the standard set-up, tyre-screeching braking, and trail braking through bends without the bike wanting to pick up and go straight on.
I did think the Commander needed greater engine performance to match, but the gearbox is already over-stressed.

A couple more:
4273-07.JPG
BY'sP53S.JPG
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Charles Wilson
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Charles Wilson »

Thank you for the photos, Mr. N!

Which brings up a point: On the old Site, you would Post old pictures of various Prototypes, changing them every month, it seemed. One photo, if memory serves, was of the air-cooled engine that had a unique looking Plenum Chamber (I was reminded of a painted 2 quart fruit juice can!).

I loved seeing them!

Could you dig into the Archives and Post some more?

Thank you!

CW
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Clive603 »

And one more, to (almost) steal Steve Jobs line.
01 Norton SC L Side red.jpg
04 Norton SC Front red.jpg
07 Norton SC BackP red.jpg
Lights are Hella projector style stolen from the commercial vehicle / bus catalogue and rather good. Bit much for the standard alternator with both on for full beam. (Yes Richard I will do the alternator and water pump upgrade, promise. Somewhen. The bits have had over a year maturing in the garage so they should be ripe by now.)

Full size Krausers make for a fat arse so a bit of extra visibility from the stickers is desirable. Bloodrunners cartoon!

Overstressed standard gearboxes is an understatement. That long main shaft bends under load. Castrol R seemed to help my gearboxes stay in one piece. Hopefully adding the £££££ DLC coating from Oerlikon Balzers will keep it together for as long as I need. R does make the gear change lighter and the coating makes it lighter still. Frankly its now better than the Yamaha gearbox on my GTS1000 which, I think, has the same innards as the F1.

I'd put the improved handling more down to the ability to use modern radial tyres, rather than the grievously undersized and overloaded standard fit, although the much stronger forks can't hurt. The Supreme now approaches the funny front end GTS for stability and general roadholding. OK nothing comes close to the militant indifference of the GTS to road surface quality variations but its still vastly better than the standard set up which I always reckoned to be basically an enduro bike in supertourer clothes.

The near lunatic nimbleness of the standard bike could be fun but sometimes something a bit more restful would have been nice. Like at sparrow burp on the way to work on a snowy morning! I still sometimes forget the Supreme now responds safely to countersteering rather than Velo style nudge with the knee and damp the bars with your hands tactics. 180,000 miles on two Commanders in standard trim makes for fairly fixed habits. Just hope I never go so far as to give it a GTS "think truck, big truck" level heave on the bars! At least I was used to having brakes as my 4-piston FJ1100 - 1200 brake conversion on the standard forks was just as effective as the modern brakes on the Supreme.

But I don't miss the ability to lock the front wheel at 100 mph when squeezing a bit to hard to avoid the furry dice on the mirror brigade! Bigger front tyre really helps there.

Being less than heavy I found the standard MZ fork innards too hard and harsh. Never got more than 50% travel out of them on the road. Eventually forked out for a set of springs and innards from Maxton which are a bit more suitable to my weight. Still not entirely satisfactory being, unsurprisingly, too racer orientated in design approach but its much better. Except that I now have a frequency response mismatch between front and rear which is going to be a bitch to sort. Something you'd never really notice unless you happen to have just the right set of road geometry to set things off! Which I have. When a pitching movement on an undulating road surface builds up to full travel both ends over about 50 yards at 80 mph life gets interesting. Once you know you can feel it all the time. Temporary cure is to stick to the speed limits. AKA boring.

Seat height comes out a bit higher than standard. Bad news for short legged folk like me. But thats the only real gripe.

Was it worth £9,000 + on a 90,000 mile bike? When you look at the alternatives absolutely yes. Nearest thing would be a BMW and they are even higher in the seat. Quite apart from the even worse, seemingly inherent, telelever front - rear paralever frequency response mismatch. I nearly ground looped an RT on a test ride once! Modern BMW build quality is iffy too.

Clive
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Richard Negus
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Richard Negus »

Hi Clive,
Thanks for your critical support - much appreciated.

Charles,
My photo files are only of pictures I've taken personally, I have none rotary before 1987, meaning that many of early Norton's development projects don't appear.
Maybe you were thinking of this engine, built for a customer in Holland who said he was making a high performance scooter. Nothing heard after that so I guess he went on to other things. Photo shows it being made ready for static testing before depatch.
4089_05.JPG
Reverting to the Supreme theme, there was also a customer who was building rather large feet-forward project based around a Supreme power unit and rear suspension. I've not heard from him in a while so maybe another stalled project.

This is the last Supreme. Notice anything different about it?
157.JPG
R.
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trevair
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by trevair »

Ok then did anyone just put the mz fork on a commander without the rear set up or would that throw everything out
Probably doesent matter as i dont think theres any mz set ups about
Trev
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Clive603
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Clive603 »

Hi Richard

Run out of MZ bits did you? So what did you nick the front end and running gear off of for that one then?

I'm surprised that most of the Supremes were ordinary fixed pannier machines rather than Krauser type.

I couldn't live without the extra carry space.

As you know having seen my "What Clive did over a bank holiday weekend" conversion to get Krausers onto my first one. Indicators too close together, three part rear light more creative than designed, and rush job finish. But it worked. 20/20 hindsight says there was a better way.

Often wonder what happened to it and if it ever got the filling and paint work pulled up to scratch. I know Carl Rosner stripped the down turned exhaust extensions off the silencers so whoever bought it would have had to keep cleaning exhaust deposits off the panniers. Aerodynamics are strange as the official Krauser version didn't suffer.

Trev

You have to move the engine over and widen the swinging arm to get a suitable rear tyre on so simply fitting MZ or other modern forks won't fly. I'm told you can now get a semi radial style in sizes to fit old style BMW airhead flat twins. Whether that would work on standard Commander running gear I don't know. Way back I looked into a Hossack style conversion quite seriously but Norman had passed the production rights onto folk who didn't give me that nice warm fuzzy feeling of confidence in their competence.

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Richard Negus
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Richard Negus »

Front and rear are all Kawasaki ZXR750. Those are 6-piston calipers. A lot of swarf was created when machining the K rear fork to suit the pivot arrangement. Didn't run out of MZ bits, but used up the last of the F1 rear forks in Rugeley's stores. Arm 'n a leg for Spondon to make more.

As a proportion of model types, more Krausers were converted than fixed-pannier bikes.

As a rough guess, I'd say that 60% of the improved handling/stability is down to the stiffer rear fork/pivot and the radial tyre on a fat rim.
I believe current UK law says a radial on the front with a cross-ply rear is not a legal combination, although Roger S in the US said it made big improvement to his standard Commander.

Another one?
4283-02.JPG
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Charles Wilson »

Thank you, esteemed Mr. Negus.

There are a few of us Obsessives who will enjoy any and everything we can find about the Norton Rotary. I still hope to get another copy of the article by Jeremy Summers from "The Engineer" magazine, "NVT Rotary Sets the Pace", from Way Back When. Alas, my copy was lost years ago...

The Norton Rotary was a True Advance, a sturdy piece of engineering. It made its way into several niches. It was even Turbocharged - See SAE Paper 930682, with Pilot Injection and Upstream Main Injection. Of course, many of the Norton races in the British Supercup Series are now on Youtube. Absolutely wonderful stuff.

You were there and that's why it's important to see what was done, if possible.

So, I thank you for your fine work Mr. Richard Negus!
Any pictures at all are appreciated.

CW
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Richard Negus »

And just for you, Charles, photos of an odd engine that I'm unsure what it was for.
Basically a Mid-West AE50R with fuel injection, I think it was a Mid-West employee's engine for his race hovercraft. The photo date puts if after MW had moved to Austria so I guess he just wanted it 'freshening'. That would be a 58bhp at 8,000 engine.
It's odd that the rotor housing with its huge inlet stub should end up in Oz with an assortment of new and used engine parts.
4374-01.JPG
4374-01.JPG
4374-03.JPG
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Charles Wilson »

Thank you very much!

Did you do any work with AAI and Len Louthan on the Pilot/Main Injected Turbocharged Norton mentioned above?

THANX AGAIN, RN!!!

CW
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Richard Negus »

Charles,
Not while at Norton Shenstone, but later at Mid-West, there was a minor cooperation in the supply of parts, mainly heavy fuel rotor housings, when he was working for Patrick Power.
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Charles Wilson »

RN --

Your mention of "Patrick Power" led me to this:

Image

Ahhhh, what could have been...
"The Direct Injected Norton Rotary!"

Thnx.

CW
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by johnbirchjar »

What sort of BHP are we talking about with a turbo'd rotory?(always assuming it was a two a chamber engine smiley)did anyone put one in a bike?if so, I bet it was well quick Very Happy,J.B.
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Richard Negus »

Charles Wilson wrote: Wed Apr 28, 2021 9:02 am RN --

Your mention of "Patrick Power" led me to this:

Image

Ahhhh, what could have been...
"The Direct Injected Norton Rotary!"

Thnx.

CW
That's the one, a pre-chamber where a spark plug would normally go with a fuel injector (not shown) and a glow plug to start things off.
It wasn't a true diesel as the compression ration was too low.
The holy grail of a heavy fuel rotary was for military applications where the aim was to have one fuel, either diesel or kerosene, for all engines. Petrol/gasoline was considered a no-no due to its highly flammable nature.
From Mid-West's own development, detonation became a major problem which remained un-solved when they closed. It eroded the faces of the end plates and even got underneath the plating of the rotor housing. Experiments with knock sensors on the test engines didn't produce any sensible results.
Mind you, this was 30 years ago and technology has moved on.
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Richard Negus
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Richard Negus »

johnbirchjar wrote: Wed Apr 28, 2021 10:37 pm What sort of BHP are we talking about with a turbo'd rotory?(always assuming it was a two a chamber engine smiley)did anyone put one in a bike?if so, I bet it was well quick Very Happy,J.B.
There were only two that I can recall:-
The AAI/Patrick Power that Charles has mentioned has a variable output turbo to maintain power at increasing altitudes. The turbo was a US design that had it's own internal oil supply for the bearings, so didn't need a separate circulating oil supply. Forgotten the make however.

The other is the streamliner 'Penetrator' which was powered by a turbo'd Commander engine. I don't recall what speed record it set but it was no faster than the JPS race bikes of the time.
Photos of the burned out remains of the engine after the NMM fire have appeared recently on FB.

Turbo Mazda RX7's are another matter. Huge power outputs from such a small engine.
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Charles Wilson »

I offer no guarantees for the next few days but I will try to summarize the SAE Paper 930682, Development of a Lightweight Heavy Fuel Rotary Engine.

The Turbocharger used in Phase 2 of this Project was from Aerodyne Dallas and for all of these jobs in every field, the Turbo has to match the engine in a number of particular areas for it to work properly. They ended up using a much smaller Turbo than originally planned (Designated Model 53000). Sometimes it would seem to be easier to build the T1000 Terminator with stone knives and paper plates. Serious Stuff! This ain't your Mom-and-Pop's Hoyt-Clagwell Farm Tractor.

Interesting Sentences: "A brief test was run on a naturally aspirated fuel injected 294 cc engine using JP-5. Power output was virtually identical to the turbocharged configuration..."

The whole point of this was to use Good Military Practices on the engine ("Hey ever'body! I know! Let's Turbo this thing!!!) for the Naval Air Propulsion Center and get it to run more efficiently on Heavy Fuel than Gasoline. In the end, it was somewhat a Zero Sum thing. The Science was advanced but go back to Curtiss-Wright and John Deere and Mazda for your ball point pens and pocket protectors. See: SAE 770044 and go from there. YIKES!

Speaking of SAE Papers, they're up to around US $33= a pop these days. You may have to ask Sanny Claus for some help. Back when they were $12=, it was a little easier. I ordered the Paper on the Mazda Le Mans Motor. I found it Online later. This Paper has been seen Online as well but I can't find it.

"Always respect Intellectual Property Rights, boys and girls..."

Mo' later.

CW
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Richard Negus
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Richard Negus »

As this thread is now so far off Supreme Commander, would someone like to start a new thread?
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Re: Supreme commander

Post by Charles Wilson »

I apologize, Mr. Negus, no harm intended. If I can get back on track later, I'll start a new Thread. O/W, someone else may begin anew.

One note on the Supreme Commander:
Richard Negus wrote: Tue Apr 27, 2021 10:04 amI did think the Commander needed greater engine performance to match, but the gearbox is already over-stressed.
When the Kawasaki Z-1 made its first appearance, what was its Horsepower on Cycle Magazine's Dyno? As they stated: "82 horsepower cannot be denied." *Whew*! Times have changed...
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