Nor­ton un­veil Su­perlight 650 which could be their best chance yet of win­ning a TT

All-new Nor­ton 650cc sports­bike is top-spec V4 clone

MCN - - CONTENTS - By Richard New­land DEPUTY ED­I­TOR

Nor­ton peeled the cov­ers off yet an­other all-new bike at Mo­tor­cy­cle Live last week. Hot on the heels of the first de­liv­er­ies of their V4 SS su­per­bike, and the un­veil­ing of two new At­las 650 mod­els (the No­mad and Ranger) comes this gor­geous new 650cc Su­perlight. Built to do bat­tle in the wildly com­pet­i­tive light­weight class at the Isle of Man TT, the new Su­perlight is a thor­ough­bred race bike aimed at tak­ing on the best in the world. This isn’t a bud­get 600cc su­per­sport replica, it’s the real deal – and that doesn’t come cheap.

The Su­perlight will cost £19,950 and for that you’ll get a roadle­gal ver­sion of the bike you’ll see carv­ing over the Moun­tain Course next sum­mer with John McGuinness on board. Don’t be fooled by the re­cent un­veil­ing of the At­las range of 650s, ei­ther. While the new Su­perlight shares an evo­lu­tion of the same 650cc en­gine, ev­ery­thing else about it is sep­a­rated by just a cou­ple of genes from the firm’s £28,000 V4 RR. “We’ve gone to town on this bike; it has all the high-end parts that the V4 has got,” says Si­mon Skin­ner, head of de­sign at Nor­ton. “It’s a ra­zor-sharp road bike. This is a su­per-pure and fast sports­bike for the road. It’s like a mod­ern RGV250 or RS250; it’s a purist’s bike. We wanted light weight, rea­son­able power, with great cross-coun­try abil­ity and su­per han­dling.”

You look fa­mil­iar

The Su­perlight is a dream in car­bon. Shar­ing near iden­ti­cal lines to the V4 RR and SS, it’s ac­tu­ally a marginally smaller bike in al­most all di­men­sions, but not so much that your av­er­age biker would feel cramped by its fo­cus.

The car­bon fair­ings, cowl and tail unit are all aimed at mak­ing it cut through the air with the min­i­mum of dis­rup­tion. It also gets the new aero ver­sion of the front mud­guard, which cre­ates a much-im­proved air­flow around the front wheel and into the ra­di­a­tors. With only a lit­tle more than half the power of the V4, it’s de­tails like this that make all the dif­fer­ence to its speed on the road. Even the car­bon-kevlar tank is dif­fer­ent from the V4’s, while you’d be hard-pushed to spot the dif­fer­ence and the ca­pac­ity is the same 18 litres.

You’ve been framed

The frame is a near ex­act clone of the V4’s with con­ces­sions to the more com­pact na­ture of the par­al­lel-twin 650, which is a shorter en­gine than the V4. The wheels are the same 7-spoke BST car­bon fi­bre rims, while the rear is ex­pected to wear a 190 Dun­lop GP Racer D212, rather than the V4’s 200 sec­tion tyre. The sin­glesided swingarm is iden­ti­cal to the V4’s, as are the fully-ad­justable Öh­lins NIX30 fork, be­spoke TTXGP monoshock, and steer­ing damper. “The chas­sis is very sim­i­lar to the V4,” says Skin­ner. “It’s alu­minium, with sim­i­lar stiff­ness and struc­tural char­ac­ter­is­tics. Think of the Du­cati 916 and 748; it’s the same sort of re­la­tion­ship be­tween our V4 SS and the Su­perlight. The weight dis­tri­bu­tion is very sim­i­lar to the V4, too. It also has an ad­justable

head­stock an­gle and swingarm pivot point.”

Brak­ing comes from the same Brembo M50 calipers as its big brother, bit­ing onto 330mmm full float­ing Brembo discs – more than up to the job of haul­ing down its 158kg dry (circa 175kg kerb) mass.

‘This is a su­per pure and fast sports­bike’ HEAD OF DE­SIGN, SI­MON SKIN­NER

Keep­ing con­trol

The en­gine is a race-de­vel­oped ver­sion of the 270-de­gree par­al­leltwin used in the new At­las range. The changes re­sult in a jump to 105bhp @ 12,500 (from 84bhp) and a fat­ten­ing of the torque to a peak of 55ftlb. This is all brought about with the help of the cylin­der­head from the V4. That means ti­ta­nium valves, and cams which de­liver greater lift and du­ra­tion, a higher com­pres­sion ra­tio, and new con­rods and pis­tons, as well as dif­fer­ent throt­tle bod­ies. It boasts the same elec­tron­ics pack­age as the su­per­bike, mean­ing a 6-axis In­er­tial Mea­sure­ment Unit (IMU) which con­trols ev­ery­thing from the multi-mode trac­tion con­trol to the ABS, quick­shifter and au­to­blip­per, anti-wheelie and launch con­trol. It also has key­less ig­ni­tion, and the same 7in TFT dash as the V4, and three modes: Road, Sport and Pro-race. There will also be a full ti­ta­nium race sys­tem that re­leases an­other 6bhp at peak, while lop­ping 6kg off its mass. Ob­vi­ously, that’s only for race use only, of­fi­cer.

Rac­ing pedi­gree

The bke will make its de­but at the TT in 2019 and, if it can per­form in line with the ex­pec­ta­tions aroused by the spec sheet, this will be the bike to beat on the is­land.

“On pa­per it sounds good and in re­al­ity it looks good,” says John McGuinness. “I’m su­per ex­cited. It’s a awe­some look­ing thing and I com­mend them for mak­ing it, but the proof will be in the pud­ding when it gets on the race track. It’s gen­er­at­ing a lot of at­ten­tion and the fig­ures and facts around the bike look very good. It’s what the Light­weight class needs.” Nor­ton’s or­der book is open now, with de­liv­ery ex­pected to start in late sum­mer 2019.

McGuinness will be go­ing for the Light­weight win The frame has the same lux­u­ri­ous spec as Nor­ton’s V4 RR

Full ti­ta­nium race sys­tem adds 6bhp and sheds 6kg O O O The same 7in full colour dash as the V4 RR su­per­bike The Su­perlight’s sus­pen­sion is top-spec Öh­lins The first V4s have been de­liv­ered

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