It’s been a while since we last heard from Bike-urious reader David Sumner, but he’s just completed a 3+ week trip across the USA. One of his stops was a visit to Colorado Norton Works, or as David calls it: Commando Valhalla. Let’s see what he has to say!
A Visit To Commando Valhalla
Story and Photos by David Sumner
During a recent 23-day cross country bike trip, my wife and I had the tremendous good fortune of visiting Colorado Norton Works (CNW) near Cortez, Colorado. Witlessly unaware of day and date (which happens while one is on vacation), I had called on Friday in hopes of arranging a visit on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Owner Matt Rambo answered the call himself and kindly agreed to show us around.
Being a lifelong Norton Nut, a visit to CNW has been on my bucket list for years. I had seen their display truck at the Barber Vintage Festival several times, which caused uncontrolled drooling over the shiny, clean Commando creations that Matt has developed over many years of focused effort. I used the word “Valhalla” in the title because Matt is a native of Sweden, who landed here over 30 years ago. He soon decided that he was a ”Norton Commando guy”, and what a guy he has become!
We arrived at the appointed time and Matt greeted us warmly at the door. The shop was actually closed for the weekend, (duh!) but Matt was there to tie up loose ends. We went first to the main shop area. This is no dusty, cluttered skunkworks. It is immaculate, more like a surgical operating room!
It doubles as a showroom, with displays of various gleaming items of his own design. There are even large windows with mountain vistas – I suppose to calm and focus the mechanics. In the bottom photo below, Matt (right) and I are standing behind the last of 13 special frames built by AMA Hall Of Fame member, Jeff Cole. This represents the kind of specialty work that CNW can provide beyond a pure restoration.
Next, Matt wanted to show us his “dirty room”, where machining and grinding are done. Dirty?! It was as spotless as the main area! We then visited the parts and shipping room, where everything is neatly ordered for fast service.
CNW’s goal is to rescue, meticulously restore and enhance the Norton Commando in its entirety, including chassis, drivetrain and tasteful bling for these much-loved classic bikes. CNW creates thoughtful upgrades to modernize the Commando and make it to perform better in every way. You can send Matt your derelict Commando and he will return it to you as a bespoke gem! His customer list is worldwide.
Overall, this was an inspirational experience. Thank you, Matt, for giving us a glimpse into your world. Thanks also for helping to keep more Norton Commandos on the road! Valhalla, indeed!
Visit CNW’s website for info and pricing on services and interesting upgraded parts.
Got a motorcycling story you’d like to share? Let me know: abhi AT bike-urious DOT com