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A closer Look at some Pirate Parts
Let us start with a potentially very dangerous and costly item, the big end bolt (Part# 06-6486).
In our picture you find two bolts; the top one is Andover Norton, the bottom one is sold to the trade at the same figure we currently pay for just the forging of each bolt, i.e. before it is hardened, the thread rolled, ground to size etc… By the time our bolt is finished and sold to the dealer, it costs far more than the pirate bolt- hence the motivation for the dealer to sell the pirate part, purchased cheaply and sold with a very hefty profit.
Our bolt is not just dimensionally different to the pirate part below it, as a forging it is far stronger in use than the pirate bolt that is turned from solid bar. Our threads are rolled, and as every engineer knows, a rolled thread is far more resistant to tensile loads than a cut thread.
If and when the pirate bolt gives up- and we hear this has happened on numerous occasions-, the damage is normally devastating and will at best cost a conrod, piston, and valve(s), at worst the crankcase and more.

The pirate bolts are easy to identify by the following points:
Their length- ours are 62.6mm, “pirate” are 63.3 mm long.
At the end of the threaded section on the “pirate” there is a section of uncut thread.
The “pirate” main ground diameter length is 15mm long.
To re-iterate- these “pirate” bolts do not have the durable tensile strength required for this application and I would not use them in a road, let alone race engine, where I have yet to see one of ours give up.
Remember- we are the only Norton Commando parts manufacturer where members of the management
ride and race Commandos personally and regularly.
Another imitation of the real deal
The bolts are offered as: "Norton Atlas, N15CS/P11/P11A/G15CS/G15CSR/G15 MK2/ 750 Commando 1969 on/ 850 MK3 Commando GENUINE NOS Conrod Bolt Set." In fact they are no such thing. On the sample we examined (right, our Genuine Part on the left):
1. Corrosion on the centre locating shank and the centre relief has caused 2 pin holes
which will contribute to early failure in use.
2. Head diameter is oversize for both parts at .558” but will still fit into the conrod recess.
3. Centre locating shank for both is undersize on length at 1.530”.
Length to start of thread is undersize at 1.530”.
This makes the threads too long.
Looks like it has been heat treated for strength .

Is this new old stock – Yes. Is this Genuine – No.

In fact, from my early days as a dealer I remember them. They were pirate parts offered by W.E.Wassell/Burntwood in the late 1970s.
From big end bolts to conrods.
We are convinced- and our own experience with very reliable racing engines with a lot more power and torque than any standart production engines proves it- that our standard production Genuine Norton Factory Parts conrods (right) will stand all stresses they are likely to encounter in a Commando engine.
Other offerings are in the market. Steel conrods, heavy and asking for considerable re-balancing of the crank and therefore the answer to no question, and aluminium conrods machined from billet.
The billet conrods look "nicer" than ours, and look more substantial, too. This they are- in weight, 10grams to be exact- but not in strength. Furthermore, they have a lot more weight near the small end, where one does not want it. Original conrods are far lighter in this crucial area.
Our original conrods are made from forgings. A forging is far stronger than a piece of alumunium that is then machined to shape. As with the big end bolts above, whilst a part turned from billet may LOOK nicer, it is in fact far less equipped to take stresses than a forged part. It can only take the same stresses as a forged part if far more material is being used to make it and it is then substantially bigger and heavier than the forged part.
If no forged conrods were available to rebuild a Norton engine I might be tempted to use the billet one on the left and take it easy on the engine to compensate. However, as our forged rods are available, and have withstood up to 8.500rpm in a friend's racing Commando repeatedly, so are more than up to the job in any given Commando application, I use nothing else for road and race engines.
The rod failures I have seen in the last thirty years always had a basic technical reason- engine ran out of oil, rod was mechanically damaged when installed, wrong con rod bolts or re-used big end nuts and bolts. With an original conrod I have yet to see a failure caused by weakness of the rod itself.
I therefore use Genuine conrods in all my own Commando engines, road and race, and recommend to do as I do.
Andover Norton Camshafts
You may have read some idiosyncratic opinions about camshafts elsewhere. Here is what experienced automotive engineers say;
Andover Norton camshafts, and around 90 % of all production car camshafts,are made from “Chilled Iron”.
Chilled Iron is around 25% better than normal case hardening steel and around 15% better than nitrided steel at resisting wear.
This material's ‘wear scuffing factors’ give the camshafts longevity and improved wear characteristics over even original Norton production camshafts. It works better than other materials due to a matrix of carbides being formed when cast. The cam lobe shape is formed by the metal chill casting process; when the molten metal comes into contact with the cam lobe areas of the casting it changes the structure of the iron to form a matrix of carbide approximately 4 mm deep.
It all comes down to Tribology, which is the interaction of surfaces rubbing together and the scuff resistance of the materials that are rubbing together.
When Jaguar were sports car racing they had repeated failures using nitrided tool steel camshafts. They began using chilled iron camshafts and never had another failure….
Pirate Gears
Another dangerous pirate part- gears. On the left is a Genuine Norton Factory Part. Gears are normally marked with the letters "AH" or "AHA"; for the second (longer) gear of the late 850s "AHB".
The gear on the right is a pirate gear produced in the 1980s, but pirate gears are still being produced today by various parties. This gear is easy to identify as it carries the letters "RS", which was the (now defunct) manufacturer "Racing Spares", who made them for W.E.Wassell, Burntwood.
Gears can be very dangerous. We have seen- and experienced !- gears that were hardened through and thus brittle as glass, locking up the whole gearbox when a gear failed. This can cost the rider's life as pulling the clutch makes no difference- the rear wheel will stay locked up.
The "RS" gears- like many others- were of some nondescript steel, and the cogs not undercut, hence gears would jump out under load. Surface hardening was also not their strong point.
And on the subject of gearboxes, another beauty from the Pirates Dept:
Kickstart Shafts
(Taken from the accessnorton forum)

If you have been sold one by your "leading Norton Specialist" that did not come in Andover Norton packing, you stand a fair chance yours is one of the thin-walled hand grenades pictured on the right.

As the buyer and destroyer of the pattern shaft wrote on being given the dimensions of the real deal:

"That would mean a difference of 3.53mm between the outside diameter of my pattern bush and the original.
As my pattern shaft thickness here was only 1.4mm we can assume an original shaft would have a thickness of approx 3.16mm if my maths is correct. More than double the thickness.
Wow that is a huge difference. Moral of the story, DO NOT buy a pattern kickstart shaft."
Just in from a "Leading Norton Specialist"
is the air filter element on the right (genuine part on the left).

Try as we might we could not fit it to the original air filter surround, hence the bottom left hand corner of the element had to be pushed inwards, thus leaving a gap (see bottom left hand portion).

Air will always go where it finds the least resistance, and will take gritt and other foreign matter with it. This means a good proportion of the air that goes through an air filter fitted with this pirate filter element will in fact be unfiltered, and one might as well discard the filter altogether and fit velocity stacks!
Fork Stanchions
Our fork stanchions are the only fork stanchions for Norton motorcycles in the market that are made from the correct kind of seamless steel tubing, a material that is so special we need to buy 2 tons of it per order to even get it!
These fork stanchions are then machined according to the factory drawings and ground to size, with a final layer of hard chrome.
Many a "Norton Spares Specialist" will sell you "Genuine" fork stanchions "Made in England", but they weren't supplied by us.The difference in purchase price between a Genuine Norton Factory Part and the offerings from China and other places easily explains the lower retail price..
Our fork tubes retail at UK£59.95 +VAT each, whilst the Chinese effort can be purchased by the trade for as little as UK£6.00 +VAT, or in a slightly better quality from a European manufacturer for about UK£18.00 +VAT.
We have seen the Chinese offerings in accidents. They bend as if made from copper tubing. In two cases the motorcyclist ran into the back of a car. The car was unharmed, the fork tubes were bent and beyond repair each time! It is conceivable these stanchions will give nothing near the stability of decent items, and will be prone to premature fatigue of the material.

Recently our buyer was quoted a "straightening charge" by the machine shop that also machiines- for another party- the "Made in England" "Genuine Norton" fork stanchions. Our buyer declined to pay one. The machine shop owner, after having machined our material, admitted no straightening was required with our steel tubing "quite different to the crap steel tubes the others supply me with".
In order to make the real thing easy to recognize, we have started to mark our stanchions with "ANIL" for Andover Norton International Ltd, and the batch number.
Not a PTFE Washer!
PTFE Washers for the Isolastik that aren't
This is the sorry attempt at cost-saving and price-cutting a friend in the trade took out of a Commando's isolastik that had been rebuilt in the UK only recently. It illustrates why our PTFE washers are much dearer, being made not out of what appears to be nylon, but out of a special, high-yield PTFE that lasts for many years.

The things some self-acclaimed "Norton Experts" sell their amateurish customers......
Pirate Parts- Beware!
If it doesn't say Andover Norton.....
.... it is a pirate part, more often than not of inferior quality.

These packing cards are being used by one particular outlet that claims to have a license to use the "Norton" logo and to call his offerings "Genuine", but has repeatedly declined to show this alleged license.

Given that Andover Norton had an exclusive, uninterrupted license for just that since we bought the classic Norton spares business from Norton Motors Ltd in Shenstone your guess is as good as mine if the license exists or not.
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