Remember Norton’s rotary-engined bike of the 1980s? Want to see it reborn? Well, it has been … sort of. The good guys over at Asphalt and Rubber spotted it, and we’d thought we’d share it with you.
Brian Crighton, the engineer who was responsible for a lot of that project, has returned to the racing scene with a new project from his own firm, Crighton Racing. Dubbed the CR700P, his latest machine uses an aluminum Spondon frame, just like the original, but the 700 cc twin-rotor Rotron RT700 motor puts out 200 hp at 11,000 rpm, and 100 ft-lbs of torque at 9,500 rpm. That’s a lot of get-up and go for a bike with a 136 kg dry weight …
Other fast facts: Suspension, front and rear, is from Bitubo, and braking comes from Brembo four-piston calipers on 320 mm discs up front, with a two-piston caliper and single disc in back. Fuel capacity is about 22 litres, and wheelbase is approximately 1445 mm. There’s a six-speed transmission. The cooling system works on pressurized gas, and the bike uses a Kevlar belt for final drive.
Their web page says “The vision of Crighton Racing is to produce a class-beating rotary-powered bike and deliver a riding experience that exceeds any other.” The problem with that, of course, is that they’d have to have homologation in MotoGP beat the world’s best prototypes, or World Superbike, if they wanted to go toe to toe with the manufacturers’ top superbikes. In a world where series organizer Dorna changes the rulebook as often as they change their underwear, that’s not likely. Even if they allow rotary engines, the regulations on fuel consumption and electronics are still in a constant state of flux.