British motorcycle manufacturer Norton surprised crowds at last month’s Motorcycle Live show in Birmingham with a prototype of a new model, featuring a carbon fibre frame and a supercharged version of its new 650cc parallel twin engine.
Deliveries of the standard 650 twins are only just due to begin in the coming weeks, but that hasn’t stopped the ambitious reborn brand rolling out the Superlight SS.
Based around the already delicious looking Superlight, which was shown in 2018, the SS swaps the ‘standard’ bike’s aluminium chassis for a carbon fibre frame and swingarm, while the 105bhp motor gets a boost of 70bhp through the addition of a Rotrex centrifugal supercharger running at 1.2 bar boost. Claimed weight is just 159kg, lighter than the normally aspirated Superlight, thanks to the frame, which is 47% lighter than the aluminium equivalent.
The carbon fibre continues through the Dunlop-shod wheels and MotoGP style under seat fuel tank. Other componentry is as upmarket as the £49,995 price tag would suggest, with Ohlins suspension, Brembo brakes and a full suite of sophisticated electronics, taken from the company’s 200bhp V4.
Norton say that they will make just 50 examples of the Superlight SS, although there’s no word on when deliveries are expected. The new Norton company has traditionally shown its prototypes well in advance, leading to long waiting times for their newest models.
There was no chance to see the supercharging system on the prototype shown in Birmingham, but they did have a stripped down carbon fibre frame on display for our delectation and frankly it looks stunning.
Prior to the show, Norton had been in the news after announcing that it was launching a crowdfunding campaign, inviting individuals to make small investments in the company, with the aim of raising £1m to help grow the brand. Almost 5000 people were said to have expressed an interest, however the offer was later withdrawn after CEO Stuart Garner said that a single investor had stepped forward with the full amount.