Carole Nash
Content Writer
Published: 3rd November 2017

Classic British motorbike maker Norton has revealed a new variant for its traditional Commando range, named the Norton Commando 961 California, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of its most famous model.


Technically there is nothing to distinguish the California from the other 961s, being powered by the same old school 961cc air-cooled motor that pumps out 80bhp and 90Nm of torque, meaning that the new model is largely a styling exercise.


The California harks back to the Commando’s heyday, the 1970s, when manufacturers regularly offered a more laid back version of their models for the American market. The Norton California uses the tried and tested recipe of classic higher handlebars, lashings of shiny metal and some distinctive colour schemes, although the modern interpretation is more conservative than some of the late ‘70s efforts, which featured full on Raleigh Chopper style apehanger ‘bars and high backed seat. Despite the semi-apehanger handlebars, the rest of the Commando bodywork appears unchanged, including the sporty looking seat unit.


Norton’s 2017 interpretation is part of a series of Commando specials, which will see all models upspecced in recognition of 50 years of the Norton Commando. Prices and full specs are expected to be released later this month, however Norton says that the first Commando Californias have been built and are ready to find new owners.