The New Norton: Classic Style and Classic Engineering With Modern Components…

22 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on The New Norton: Classic Style and Classic Engineering With Modern Components…
Norton water-cooled Classic

The New Norton: Classic Style and Classic Engineering With Modern Components

The great motorcycle name “Norton” has seen several starts and stops since the original went out of business decades ago. The classic style of a Norton Commando (frequently, with an attractive, shapely young woman draped over it) is still etched in the minds of many older motorcyclists. Norton is finally back in a substantial way.

The new Commando 961 (available as a naked, a Cafe Racer, pictured above, and in a Sport version) utilizes a steel frame, modern Ohlins suspension and top line Brembo brakes together with an air-cooled, pushrod parallel twin engine displacing 961 cc. Norton claims 80 horsepower at 6500 rpm together with quite ample torque from the classically designed powerplant.

Modern fuel injection allows compliance with current environmental standards, and the bike, already available in Europe, should be here in the U.S. for sale sometime next year. Follow this link to the current Norton Motorcycles’ web site for additional details and a look at the other models – http://www.nortonmotorcycles.com/ .

MD Readers Respond:


The discussion of economical bikes is interesting, as in Europe until

recently they used such things in vast numbers, generally they were a

reasonable capacity low revving big single. I have 50 year old Norton

that pretty well satisfies the brief, with today’s technology 100mpg is

very feasible. I believed your military makes just the ticket now, a 650

diesel Kawasaki, road test one of them, job done. Patrick

Ah, heck… sign me up, I’m in! Black 961SE, please. Chris

love the looks of the new Commando, and I especially appreciate Norton using an actual air-cooled parallel twin rather than a water-cooled engine that is gussied up to look like one (and with all the plumbing clutter that entails). It’s a very clean-looking and classic design.

I do wonder if the modern suspension and brakes, as well as the stickiness of modern sport tires, will wind up that steel cradle frame and cause the whole thing to act like a piece of spaghetti when it gets pushed. Hope not. I’m looking forward to reading your riding impressions should you guys ever get lucky enough to get your grubby mitts on one! Tom

I owned both a 1968 Commando 750 Fastback, which I bought for $300 and

Norton water-cooled Classic
Norton water-cooled Classic

built up from bits in cardboard boxes, and a new 1971 Commando 750

Roadster. The ’71 was tricked out cafe style with Dunstall exhaust, rear

sets and clip-ons. I loved both bikes but they were real maintenance

hogs, leaked freely, and were unreliable. In spite of meticulous care,

the ’71 threw a rod 1500 miles from home, which disillusioned me enough

that I sold it and eventually moved on to a soul-less GpZ750.

I have owned several street bikes over the years, and lots of dirt

bikes. I gave up street riding 10 years ago, but this new Norton would

get me back on the pavement if the price were lower. 300 watts of DC! I

Norton water-cooled Classic
Norton water-cooled Classic

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