While normally a job for deities, resurrection often requires a bit of hubris when tackled by mere mortals. But, when given the opportunity to return the Norton Motorcycles marque to its former prestigious glory, Stuart Garner could not resist the challenge.
The new Norton Commando 961 SE, limited to a production of 200, features an honest-to-goodness British-designed, air-cooled, long-stroke, parallel-twin powerplant, with pushrods, a dry sump and, saints preserve us, a balancer shaft (no Isolastic frame this time around).
"It was felt that to bring the Commando up to date and deliver a good value product, a ground-up engineering exercise was necessary," according to Head of Design Simon Skinner. "This work started in 2008 and has now progressed to completion."
Weighing in at a claimed 414 pounds dry-thanks, in part, to such components as BST carbon fiber wheels-and cranking out 67 ft/lbs of torque at a modest 5,200 rpm, acceleration should be brisk and easy. First-class bits abound, from a Brembo braking system to full Öhlins suspension.
Built in a new manufacturing facility at legendary Donington Park in the British Midlands, the new Commando is a retro-styled motorcycle with its fair share of modern technology. "The biggest challenge for the UK design team was the full integration of the fuel injection and engine management systems," Skinner says.
"This needed to be done without compromising styling and the classic look of the Commando. The fuel injection system is necessary to pass modern worldwide emissions legislation but also offers other benefits such as improved drivability and reliability. The engine in the Norton Commando has been engineered to bring the 961cc parallel-twin engine up-to-date with modern expectations of refinement and durability as well as complying with the latest emissions and noise legislation. All this needed to be achieved whilst maintaining the classic lines and character of the Commando."
Norton Motorcycles will be distributed in the United States by South Bay Norton in Lomita, Calif., a dealership with over 35 years’ experience in motorcycling.
– Frame: Steel tubular with integral oil tank
– Swing arm: Twin-sided steel construction
– Wheelbase: 1420mm (55.9 in)
– Rake: 24.5 degrees
– Trail: 99mm (3.9 in)
– Front suspension: 43mm Ohlins RWU
– Rear suspension: Ohlins reservoir-style twin shocks
– Front wheel: 3.50 x 17" BST Carbon Fibre
– Rear wheel: 5.0 x 17" BST Carbon Fibre
– Front tyre: 120/70 x 17"
– Rear tyre: 180/55 x 17"
– Front wheel travel: 115mm (4.53 in)
– Rear wheel travel: 100mm (3.94 in)
Brakes & Hydraulics
– Front brakes: Full Brembo system, twin Brembo 320mm semi-floating hi
carbon stainless steel discs, Brembo 4 piston "Gold Line" axial callipers
– Rear brakes: Full Brembo system, single Brembo 220mm disc, Brembo 2 piston "Gold Line" calliper
– Brembo "Gold Line" front brake master cylinder
– Brembo "Gold Line" hydraulic clutch master cylinder
– Brembo rear brake master cylinder
– Brembo hydraulic clutch actuation slave cylinder
– Gear box: constant mesh 5 speed
– Final drive: 525 "O" ring chain
– Clutch: Wet multi-plate hydraulic lifter
– Electric startPower Assembly
– Engine type: New engine developed by Norton and F1 engine builders, MCT of Oxfordshire, England. Parallel twin with push-rod valve actuation, dry sump, 3 bearing crank and balancer shaft.
– Displacement: 961cc
– Cooling system: Air
– Valve actuation: Push rod, 2 valves per cylinder
– Bore x stroke: 88mm x 79mm
– Compression ratio: 10.1:1
– Power: 80PS @ 6500RPM
– Torque: 90Nm @ 5200RPM
– Ignition: Crank fired electronic
– Euro 3 compliant with electronic fuel injection and multiple 3 way catalytic converter
Electronics & Controls
– Charging system: 300 watt hi-output charging system
– Instrumentation: Norton electronic analogue speedo & tachometer
– Fuel tank capacity: 17 litres (4.5 US gallon)
– Dry weight: 188kg (414.5 lbs)
– Seat height: 813mm (32 in)
– Steering: Fully machined billet yokes, triple clamp lower yokes
– Handlebars: Tubular steel in chrome
– Front mud guard
– Chain guard
– Rear wheel hugger
– Rear number plate hugger
– Headlight mounting
– Front wheel
– Rear wheel
– Black & Gold
Video: On July 7th, 2010 the Bremont Norton Commando 961SE motorcycle was revealed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed which was designed especially for Bremont founder Nick English and premiered by Orlando.