cNw electric start conversion

cNw has developed a new electric start conversion that will fit on any pre 1975 Norton Commandos. The design incorporates a belt drive, high quality drive gears, a high out put solenoid operated starter, custom billet aluminum parts, all in a high performance package that will delivery trouble free and dependable starting for your Commando

cNw Electric Start Conversion, cNw electric start development

cNw Electric Start Conversion

Manufacturer:  cNw and STS (Special Tool Solutions)

Description:  A complete electric start system that fits your Pre MkIII (1970-1974) Commando. We designed this so that it is a straight forward installation that requires no modifications to your existing machine. It uses a stock type alternator so that you are not forced to use one that is supplied by us. The clutch basket is made to work with a std Commando type clutch stack. The starter itself is solenoid operated wich means that it is not engaged with the system when the bike is running. So in case of a backfire or kick back,  the gear set would just free wheel and the starter would not be damaged. We use the best possible material when manufacturing this system to ensure longevity and performance over time


  • CNC billet aluminum inner primary. Precision cut 6061 billet to ensure highest quality, tightest tolerances and best possible finish
  • The kit includes a complete belt drive system with a hardened clutch center
  • Belt drive uses a narrow (21mm) Gates, Poly Carbon belt
  • Front sprocket is made from S7 tool steel for superior strength and wear characteristics
  • Clutch basket is made from 6061 billet aluminum for strength and weight savings. Hard anodized finish
  • Starter system is completely driven by precision cut gears
  • Front drive gear is made from S7 tool steel to ensure longevity without any reduction in performance
  • All other gears are made from 4340 steel and will be cut to AGMA class 10 or 11 specs
  • High output, solenoid operated starter motor. Proven design used on large displacement V-Twins and Diesel applications
  • Sealed bearings are used throughout
  • System is designed to use a stock Lucas type alternator
  • Easy and straight forward installation with all hardware, wiring and gaskets included
  • 3 different finishes to integrate with the rest of your machine
  • The kit can be used both on a Positive ground machine or a Negative ground machine
  • Kit includes a starter switch and all wiring to hook it up to your bike
  • The major components are all made in the USA by STS in Jacksonville, Florida

Important Notes:

  • The kit will not fit on a 1975 MkIII machine as a replacement for the original
  • The kit will not fit the early Commandos that have the points pod behind the timing cover
  • The kit will not allow you to use the stock Amal air filter. See K&N replacement below
  • The kit does not include an alternator. Be sure the one that is usedwill keep the battery fully charged, especially if running lights on at all times.
  • The kit does not include a clutch stack. We do recommend a Barnett type clutch. Bronze plates should not be used
  • The kit does not include an outer primary cover. Your stock one will fit
  • The parts above not included in the kit are all available separately listed below if you need them


  • Polish is a show polish. High luster and a bit sensitive like all polished alloys.
  • Satin is a tumble finish with a silver appearance. Very durable and nice looking
  • Black is an anodized, semi gloss finish

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cNw part # 0500-22   Complete kit, Satin inner primary with a Chrome starter

Price $ 2,495.00

cNw part # 0500-23   Complete kit, Satin inner primary with a Black starter

Price $ 2,495.00

cNw part # 0500-19  Complete kit, Polished inner primary with a Chrome starter

Price $  2,645.00

cNw part # 0500-20  Complete kit, Polished inner primary with a Black starter

Price $  2,645.00

cNw part # 0500-29   Complete kit, Black inner primary with a Chrome starter

Price $ 2,795.00

cNw part # 0500-30  Complete kit, Black inner primary with a Black starter

Price $ 2,795.00

Parts below are optional parts not included in the kit.

cNw part # 0503-12  K&N air filter kit for Amal carburetors

Price $  TBD

cNw part # 0600-07  Polished cNw Billet outer primary cover

Price $  745.00

cNw part # 0600-14  Black anodized cNw Billet outer primary cover (to match # 0500-29)

Price $  845.00

cNw part # 0800-37  cNw complete plug kit for outer primary

Price $ 92.95

cNw part # 0701-12  Shorai Lithium, 21 series battery

Price $  248.95

cNw part # 0703-03  High output alternator kit

Price $  379.95

cNw part # 0604-03  Barnett 850 clutch pack (uses thin 850 pressure plate)

Price $  98.95

cNw part # 0604-06  cNw complete belt drive clutch kit. Complete Barnett 850 clutch pack, 850 pressure plate

Price $  186.85

cNw part # 0600-15  Gates 21mm Poly/Carbon replacement drive belt for the cNw belt drive kit

Price $  63.95

Add #0500-19 to Cart

Add #0500-20 to Cart

Add #0500-22 to Cart

Add #0500-23 to Cart

Add #0500-29 to Cart

Add #0500-30 to Cart

Add #0503-12 to Cart

Add #0600-07 to Cart

Add #0600-14 to Cart

Add #0800-37 to Cart

Add #0701-12 to Cart

Add #0703-03 to Cart

Add #0604-03 to Cart

Add #0604-06 to Cart

Add #0600-15 to Cart

cNw electric start development

Below are some details and images from when the cNw electric start conversion was developed


Specifications and materials used:

  • Inner primary will be CNC machined 6061 billet aluminum
  • Front belt drive sprocket will be made from S7 tool steel
  • Front starter gear will be made from S7 tool steel
  • Clutch basket will be made from alloy and hard anodized
  • Starter gears (other than front) are made out of 4340 steel and will be cut AGMA class 10 or 11
  • All gears will be using deep groove, sealed ball bearings. Nothing riding on shafts with just bushings to support
  • All gears will get a Titanium Nitrate coating
  • High capacity sprag clutch/bearing used to drive the front sprocket. This sprag has a deep groove sealed bearing on either side of it

Few images of the prototype inner primary being machined. The final finish will be show polished on the outside

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First installation to check fit on a stock Commando

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Here are a couple of pics as we are fitting the starter into a fairly stock Commando. There will be a K&N air filter kit available for those that are running the Amal carburetors since you will have to remove the stock air box. As you can see, the Black starter makes it somewhat ‘go away’ visually. Since we decided to go with a solenoid type starter, it is a bit larger in size. We were willing to accept this since the feature of having the starter withdraw and disengage from the system after the bike is running was more important

cNw 1      cNw 2

Starter end cap installed

cNw 7

Images showing the gear sets that will be used. As you can see in some of the images, the starter gear (on top) is completely withdrawn from the idler gear when at rest. In other words, it is disconnected from the starter gears while the engine is running. Also some pictures of the stock type Lucas stator installed on the outrigger plate

cNw 8      cNw 9      cNw 10      cNw 11

Showing the splined shaft between the two gears. On each side of this shaft (inner primary and outrigger plate) there is a sealed bearing to ensure that it will run smooth and always true. 

cNw 13      cNw 18

First look of the clutch basket for our belt drive

cNw 15

Big day today. A ‘green’ assembly was completed. This essentially means that all components that is part of the kit were assembled to ensure proper fit and clearances. Everything was rotated through and even though there will be a few minor adjustments, the system looks and feels great. Also completed was the electronics package that will make this a very straight forward install. Of course, system is designed to operate either with a Negative ground or Positive ground.

cNw 19      cNw 20      cNw 21 (Large)      cNw 22 (Large)

Could not resist putting a polish on the inner primary to see what it will look like. I know that cNw is known for ‘shiny bits’ and this primary is no exception. However, do remember that the actual  starter is available in Black as well as Chrome finish


Complete assembly with gears, belt drive, alternator and starter

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First showing of the completed kit at Barbers Vintage Festival in Birmingham, Alabama. I also built a test rig to show all the detail and operation

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photo 1      photo 2


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IMG_20160310_150728202 (Large)      IMG_20160310_151105596 (Large)      photo (Large)


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