Things have been pretty quiet from Norton Motorcycles in the past year or two.
After the never ending soap opera of the Stuart Garner years, the now TVS owned brand is quietly going about rebuilding the company while working on new models in the background.
In the meantime, Norton is celebrating 125 years since the company was founded. James Lansdowne Norton started his business in 1898, originally making components but producing his first full motorcycle in 1902. Norton would go on to be one of the most important motorcycle manufacturers in the pioneering days of the industry, before entering a steep decline in the 1970s. A series of attempted revivals, some enjoying moderate success, have followed – with Indian giant TVS acquiring the company in 2020 and promising a brighter future.
The current Norton range consists of three models, the classic Commando 961 and the SV and CR derivatives of the more modern V4. All are reengineered versions of designs launched under previous owner Garner’s controversial stewardship and, for 2024, these will get the limited dition treatment with special paint jobs paying homage to four of Norton’s most iconic models.
All three models will be available in the ‘588’ livery, which is inspired by the JPS branded Formula One machines from the late 1980s. Racing versions of the bikes, which used an unusual Wankel rotary engine, were dominant in British Superbikes and won at the Isle of Man TT.
The Commando also gets the Energette, Manx and Transatlantic treatment. The Norton Energette was Norton’s first motorcycle, a motorised bicycle produced between 1902 and 1906, and the modern day Commando shares its yellow paint and period ‘The Norton’ logo on the tank. Meanwhile the silver ‘Manx’ echoes the iconic Manx Norton racers which were so dominant in 1940s racing, with the ‘Transatlantic’ taking its inspiration from the Formula 750 race bikes of the 1970s – which enjoyed great success in British championship racing, the Isle of Man TT and Transatlantic races, where a British team took on their American counterparts.
The modern day Norton Commando 961 LE ‘Transatlantic’ reinterprets the iconic red, white and blue colour scheme across the petrol tank, airbox, seat unit and seat cowl, with a black coloured black engine, black footrests and black yokes. All the machines feature a special ‘125 years’ crest to further mark them as limited editions.
A total of 125 examples of the limited edition Nortons will be produced across the entire collection but, beware, they come with a hefty price tag. The Commando 961 LE models will be priced from £18,999, while the V4CR ‘588’ and the V4SV ‘588’ will be priced at £49,999 and £51,999, respectively.
The bikes will be on display at this year’s Motorcycle Live show, which takes place from 18-26 November at Birmingham’s NEC.