Cut­ting-edge 1200cc sports­bike takes shape with 650 twin to fol­low

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Andy Cal­ton

Nor­ton’s stun­ning sev­enth place in this year’s Su­per­bike TT has ac­cel­er­ated progress on their new 1200 V4 road­go­ing su­per­bike, which is now in the fi­nal stages of devel­op­ment.

Work has been gain­ing pace at the Don­ing­ton factory and the state-ofthe-art su­per­bike is now ex­pected to be un­veiled dur­ing Mo­tor­cy­cle Live at the NEC in Birm­ing­ham, at the end of Novem­ber.

Nor­ton have steadily in­creased sales and pro­duc­tion since mov­ing premises from an in­dus­trial unit in the grounds of the Don­ing­ton Park cir­cuit to a fa­cil­ity within the grounds of Don­ing­ton Hall – a for­mer stately home that has been con­verted into a plush ho­tel by Nor­ton owner Stu­art Gar­ner.

But un­til now, the range has been cen­tred around the Com­mando model and var­i­ous limited-edi­tions us­ing tuned ver­sions of the same 961cc par­al­lel-twin en­gine. With prices start­ing at £14,495 for the Com­mando Sport, and ris­ing to £26,000 for the Domiracer, the busi­ness model of small vol­umes at premium prices en­sures a de­cent cash flow.

And the new V4 won’t be cheap ei­ther. The base model is ex­pected to cost around £28,000, while a run of 200 limited-edi­tion V4 1200s will each sell for around £40,000. The limited edi­tion will be avail­able as two ver­sions. One will be a race replica, fea­tur­ing chrome painted car­bon with forged wheels (see main pic­ture, right) while the other ver­sion will have ex­posed car­bon body­work, a car­bon fuel tank and BST car­bon wheels.

The high-end sports­bike is heav­ily based on the com­pany’s TT racer and will fea­ture a 72° V4 lay­out. Gar­ner ex­plained: “We went for 1200cc rather than 1000cc as we feel mod­ern tech­nol­ogy en­ables us to get the per­for­mance we want with­out com­pro­mis­ing on weight or han­dling. And be­cause we are not plan­ning to race this bike, it doesn’t mat­ter if it’s over 1000cc.

“We are tar­get­ing 200bhp and that’s very achiev­able with the ca­pac­ity and lay­out that we are us­ing.”

The chas­sis will be made from aero­space-grade bil­let alu­minium and the top-of-the-range su­per­bike will boast Öh­lins sus­pen­sion and car­bon wheels built by South African firm BST.

And the ma­chine will be bristling with top-notch tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing launch con­trol, trac­tion con­trol, an­ti­wheelie, an auto blip­per and ad­justable en­gine brak­ing con­trol. Nor­ton are also still con­sid­er­ing the fit­ment of semi-ac­tive sus­pen­sion. The bike will have Road and Race modes with data-log­ging func­tions that will dis­play lean an­gles, lap times and more.

And in­stead of mir­rors there will be rear-fac­ing cam­eras that pro­ject an im­age of what’s go­ing on be­hind on to a full-colour HD screen on the dash.

Gar­ner added: “It will have the per­for­mance of a Du­cati Pani­gale, but be specc’d much higher, the elec­tron­ics will be cut­ting edge.”

The limited-edi­tion ma­chines will also come with a full, ti­ta­nium race ex­haust along­side the road-le­gal item found on the base model.

And while the base model is ex­pected to cost un­der £30k it won’t be wa­tered-down in its per­for­mance. It’s ex­pected to fea­ture a cast frame and swingarm, rather than the bil­let/ hand-pol­ished ver­sions on the lim­it­ededi­tion, and some of the con­trols and levers will also be slightly down­graded.

There’s a new 650, too

Work on the top-end new V4 model is un­der way now and bikes will be de­liv­ered in June/july 2017. The fo­cus will then shift to the stan­dard model, and onto an all-new Nor­ton 650.

Gar­ner says the 650 twin will be un­veiled in Novem­ber 2017 and go on sale the fol­low­ing year. And while this bike may not have the head­line­grab­bing stats of the V4, it should be a very ca­pa­ble mid­dleweight.

Gar­ner said: “We are tar­get­ing 100kg and 100bhp so it should go and han­dle a bit like an old 250 GP bike.”

Both the 1200 and 650 have been de­signed in con­junc­tion with world renowned en­gine de­sign­ers Ri­cardo.

Nor­ton are also work­ing to en­sure the cur­rent Com­mando range meets new Euro4 regs that come into force next year. Gar­ner ex­plained: “We want to con­tinue with the Com­mando as it is a great bike that is sell­ing well. If we keep the Com­mando, then add the V4 1200 and the 650 we should end up with three en­gine plat­forms and eight or nine dif­fer­ent mod­els.

“While we never want to be a mass pro­ducer we would like to get to a point where we are sell­ing two to three thou­sand of each en­gine ca­pac­ity a year.”

‘Pani­gale style per­for­mance with a higher spec­i­fi­ca­tion’

Nor­ton shared its CAD im­ages for the 1200 with MCN Nor­ton’s 72° V4 has been de­vel­oped with help from Ri­cardo Tak­ing cues from the TT bike, this Nor­ton im­age shows the V4 that’s set to de­but at Mo­tor­cy­cle Live

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