BAB PROJECT PHOTO JOURNAL
Born Again Bikes
1975 Norton Commando "High Rider" to Cafe Racer conversion
Commissioned by client on 9/1/05 to locate a good Norton Commando for conversion to a
Cafe Racer. Researched various sources over the course of two weeks, during which
time two-way discussions with BAB and client resolved details and specifications for
the finished project.
Located and purchased bike on 9/28/05, cleaned carbs, flushed all fluids, replaced
battery and fixed flat tires, replaced spark plugs. Got bike running and performed tests
on all systems, as well as test riding under varying conditions in order to fully asses
Totally stripped the bike to bits, sent chassis to powdercoat, engine covers to polish,
wheels for truing & balancing, and brake discs for skimming & drilling. Sent seat, fairing
and sidecovers to paint shop for professional paint job in Gloss Black.
Sourced and installed rearset footpegs, aluminum gas tank, bikini fairing & tail,
peashooter pipes, clip-on handlebars, fully floating front brakes, modern controls &
electricals, stainless steel fork brace, braided stainless lines, high performance clutch,
upgraded shocks & fork springs, speed rated tires and custom tail & signal lights.
Thoroughly cleaned and polished each and every part on the bike, and repainted all
painted items including yokes, brackets and engine & transmission cases. Overhauled
starter, alternator, carburators, rear brakes, forks, primary system (including clutch),
isolastic mountings and steering head bearings. Repaired and modified the wiring
harness to accept modern electronics and controls.
Fabricated several brackets and adapters including ignition module mounting bracket with
vibration isolation, tail light and turn signal mounting brackets and Left sidecover mounting
bracket. Modified, reworked and adapted several items for optimal use & functionality
with this specific project.
Replaced all rubber items on the entire bike, and replaced all gaskets and seals (with the
exception of the power unit internal seals and gaskets), as well as all locking and tab
washers & cotter pins.
Meticulously re-assembled the bike, making a complete photo record at every significant
step. Also made a narrative record of the entire project including testing & construction
Compiled project record binder consisting of warranty information, project notes,
component manufacturer installation & tech notes, project narrative & color photo essay,
correspondence, shop time log, drawings & rendering, copies of all invoices, and other
pertinent materials in clear sheet protectors, bound in a 3-ring binder with professional
quality photo cover and Master CD in front pocket.
On 11/23/05 (under 60 days from project start), the bike started instantly after (power
off) kicking the starter pedal several strokes to ensure top end lubrication, then tickling
the carburators; this dead-cold startup was captured on live video and included in the
project Master CD.
Bike was then run tested, leak checked, re-torqued, and the sequence repeated. Minor
seepage was addressed on slightly loose engine inspection caps and loose fasteners
were tightened. After thoroughly de-bugging and nipping up all fittings & fasteners, the
bike was run-tested at speed (above the ton) to ensure client's satisfaction upon
delivery. Only discrepancy noted was loose muffler which was then sealed with
high-temp silicone and re-tightened.
The bike was delivered on 2/15/06 after a 50 day delay waiting for the hand-fabricated
aluminum gas tank to arrive. A brisk 60 mile ride was immediately taken and client reports
Actual shop time, start to finish, was 167 hours in 34 actual days over the course of 134
I want to go on record as being one very happy customer. In addition to
being a fine wrench with these old bikes, Paul is a good businessman and
a joy to work with. The process of conceiving, buying, thinking through the
build, and executing the build was loads of fun. - Charlie S.