Announcement of Norton projects causes hope, scorn

Perhaps Asphalt & Rubber summed it up best, with this headline: “Norton Announces V4 Superbike, Again.”

Earlier this week, the British manufacturer announced they plan to build a V4 superbike. If that sounds familiar, it’s because they said the same thing last year in mid-August. Back then, Norton was coming fresh of a huge cash infusion from the British government, and promised their fans a 1200 cc superbike powered by a 72-degree V4 engine. Intriguing, but we haven’t heard anything since … until this week’s promise.

At that time, Norton also promised an IOMTT-friendly 650 cc sportbike, and they also reiterated that promise this week.

However, while Norton had plenty  of promises (Simon Skinner, their head of design, was full of promises their bike would be a desirable luxury machine), what they did not do was show off either bike. There were no teaser shots released, only artistic renderings.

When the 1200 cc superbike was first announced, there was considerable conjecture the machine would be powered by an Aprilia motor. On their Facebook page, Norton said that wasn’t the case — they said the motor is a totally new  in-house design.

Motojournalists and readers alike seemed dubious about Norton’s announcement (with some snide comments about government funding), and they also suspected the price would render the superbike unobtanium for the average riders. Maybe, maybe not — no price tag was mentioned — but Norton’s current lineup is certainly pricey. More importantly, it took a long time for the revised Commando to make it to market, with many customers unhappy over long delivery times. Norton has said they plan to unveil their new superbike this fall, with mid-2017 availability, but whether that is realistic is a good question. The first production run will be limited to 200 models anyway, which are likely easily snapped up in the UK and Euro markets, with backwater markets like Canada falling far down the priority list.

As for that 650 cc sportbike — Norton said nothing, but that they’re working on it. Maybe we’ll see something at next year’s Isle of Man?


  1. Have they really sold enough Commandos to finance either of these projects? Think about it – it’s a huge expense to bring a new vehicle into production.

        • Our plate is full with Bombardier…

          But didn’t you know that when it comes to spending and public debt Ontario is the new Quebec?

          • I know Ontario leads the legue in deficit and stupid economic policies (which leads to bleeding the populace dry through taxes, fees and service charges) but Quebec is still way out front in bailouts and equalization payments. It’s the only reason they can crow about a balanced budget.

            • Now, now, all provinces qualify for equalization payments. Quebec has certainly had their share. Now Onterrible has got their snout in the trough. And its not likely to end as long as Wynne keeps spending money she doesn’t have and stays in cahoots with Trudeau.Its politics – like it or not.

  2. This would be the Aston-Martin of bike I suppose…

    Big difference however with an Aston Martin (or Ferrari, Porsche, etc…) and today’s sport bikes: The cars are actually comfortable enough to appeal to the target demographics (older) that can afford it.

    If find today’s big sport bikes nice to look at, but riding them for any length of time is almost torture, no matter what age you are, and of course it gets worse as you get older. To me these things are so impractical they’re almost a joke. Rode a (stunningly beautiful) Panigale the other day, wrists in pain, thighs burning and all, at some point I hit a bump and the thing hit me right in the cojones, it was so uncomfortable it made me laugh! You surely need to be overwhelmed by testosterones to actually buy one of these things!

    A sport bike for the road shouldn’t always be a replica of a race bike. The car industry understood that a long time ago, it’s time for the bike industry to get it too.

    That’s why I’m interested in Ducati next «Supersport» model. If it is really a (relatively) comfortable sport bike meant to be ridden for hours on the road without subsequent need for a physiotherapist, I’m interested.

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