Norton Returns To The USA! All That Is Old Is New Again. A Modern Classic, A Truly Remarkable Machine, Aged Like A Fine Spirit, Literally BETTER THAN EVER BEFORE! tO BORROW AN OLD SLOGAN, "THIS IS NOT YOUR GRANDPA'S NORTON".
The Norton 961 Series II line of Commando and Dominator motorcycles are the first in the series of new production Norton Motorcycles. Powered by a fairly conventional (for Norton) looking 961cc parallel twin cylinder motor, cooled by the flow of air and oil and fueled by modern EFI (Electronic Fuel Injection) and perhaps most importantly spinning a superbly designed counter balancer shaft, this is the motor taking Norton into the modern world, and smoothly at that. All those stories of vintage Nortons with motor vibration capable of breaking fillings loose from your teeth, those are stories for old timers, anyone trying out the newest 961 series of bikes will be rather impressed by the smoothness, not only the power and torque. To keep the look appropriate for the modern classic class of bikes the EFI is well hidden and it takes more than a cursory glance to even spot the lack of old-school carburetors mixing the fuel and air that will propel your ride! The engine uses 270 degree crank pin offset to further smooth vibrations as well as laying down it's prodigious power in a completely tractable manner despite not using modern computerized traction control.
The 961 Series II bikes with the exception of The Dominator use a dual shock swingarm/frame design in a nod to the past, as recognition of the present and future however Ohlins suspension is used at both ends, and not the bargain barrel variety of Ohlins either! Brakes are by Brembo front and rear and lifted from the modern Super-Bike class of machines, quite simply the stopping power is staggering, more akin to hitting the arrestor cable on an aircraft carrier deck than any vintage bike braking experience, serious stopping power. Small details like the air dam on top of the headlight are executed in carbon fiber. The 961 series of bikes truly are captivating, you can stare for hours daily and still spot new details on each inspection.
The riding experience is sublime. As one might expect handling is fantastic for a modern classic, actually better than even sport bikes of only a decade past, the sound of the motor, especially through the optional open pipes, is intoxicating. At idle even there is a certain "clatter" that only a whole series of gear drives can provide, a mechanical symphony of sounds from straight cut gears that entices you to just sit and listen for a bit as the motor warms up. Power is more than adequate though obviously well short of the 200bhp of modern sportbikes, around town riding a Commando is satisfying at so many levels. Not a bike for introverts as in traffic, gas stops or seemingly at random people want to talk to you, to tell you of their old Norton or their Dad's or Grandpa's, these machines have a cultish following going back generations and for very solid reasons. With these newer and more modern machines you need not become your own best mechanic, you can actually relax and enjoy what may truly be the ride of your lifetime!