Norton plans 1200 cc superbike, 650 cc sportbike

Norton’s Head of Design says a government grant is going to help his company build a new 1200 cc V4 superbike and a 650 cc sportbike.

Last month, we told you about a £4 million grant from the UK government that was intended to help Norton innovate, shore up their supply chain, and train new workers.

Now, thanks to an interview with Bike Social (which we found via Asphalt & Rubber), we have an idea of what that money will be spent on, and what their new projects will look like.

According to Simon Skinner, Norton’s Head of Design, his company is working on a 1200 cc superbike powered by a 72-degree V4 engine. This will be their company’s flagship, a premium bike that is intended to compete with the Ducati 1299 Panigale.

Skinner told Bike Social the machine will make 200 hp and have electronic aids like ABS and traction control, but not the increasingly-prevalent anti-wheelie technology because “It’s not what we’re about.” The bike will have a base model and an upscale, flashier machine with higher specs, just like the Panigale.

Here's what the V4 concept looks like at this point.
Here’s what the V4 concept looks like at this point.

Skinner said the new bike will have carbon-fibre bodywork, carbon-fibre wheels, a single-sided swingarm made form either aluminum or carbon-fibre, an aluminum chassis, Ohlins forks and shock, Brembo monobloc brakes, underslung muffler with titanium headers and an underseat fuel tank.

According to Skinner, this V4 machine has been in the company’s plans ever since 2009, but the company has been busy sorting out issues with their Commando to this point.

Along with the V4 superbike, Norton’s also planning on working on a 650 cc sportbike. In another article on Bike Social , Skinner said he wanted this machine to focus on corner speed, offering an experience similar to Japanese repli-racers such as the Suzuki RGV250 or the four-cylinder 400s.

Skinner reckons this 650 will be Norton’s volume seller, since it’s more affordable, but says it will still be a premium bike. The motor will be a parallel twin, based on their V4.

It’s worth noting that Skinner worked on Triumph’s Daytona 675 before moving to Norton, so he’s familiar with mid-sized sportbike design.

In some ways, neither of these bikes should come as a surprise. Norton has run experimental V4 1200s and parallel twin 650s at the Isle of Man TT, and this information makes those moves a lot more sensible in retrospect.


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