I’ve been to more than my fair share of motorcycle shows over the last few months. Along with all the latest and greatest kit and new bikes from the big manufacturers, there has been one consistent machine on display at all of these events. The reborn brand that is Norton. With a new V4 motor and a very cool looking frame, the new bike looks resplendent in its chrome on chrome finish.
It is of course, not one, but two hand-built and British designed superbikes. The Norton V4 SS and the Norton V4 RR. These aren’t bikes that you’d be likely to take on the morning commute. The cheaper of the two, the RR is a mere 28,000 of those quaint English pounds. While the SS, limited to just 200 units, will set you back a cool forty four grand. If you’re feeling flush the bad news is that all of these are now sold.
These two machines are all set to redefine what British sports motorcycles stand for. Together, they are the most technologically advanced road-going British motorcycles ever produced. The motor is an all-new 72-degree Norton V4 engine. These bikes are the fastest Norton road bikes ever produced, and, they are set to join the ranks of exclusive superbikes.
Both the V4s bring Norton’s knowledge from an extensive five-year Isle of Man TT race programme to the road, and do so for the first time in the firm’s recent history. This follows on from Norton Motorcycle’s TT success last year. This saw the SG5 achieve a near 131mph average speed lap of the 37.73-mile Mountain Course.
All of the bikes are hand built and designed in-house at the companies East Midland factory. The design team used inspiration from Norton’s 118-year history of building motorcycles. They combined this with engineering and design techniques used by supercar manufacturers.
Announcing the new bikes, Norton CEO Stuart Garner said: “We’re now ready to bring that Isle of Man TT race experience we’ve learnt over the last five years to Norton road riders worldwide. At the TT, we’re doing an average speed of 131mph, and it’s a road course. To be able to get the bike set-up to work at every point on the Mountain course - from 120mph sweepers to flat-out 200mph straights - has allowed us develop everything we need for a great handling road bike.”
The heart of the revolutionary new Norton is an all-new 72-degree, 1200cc V-Four engine designed in conjunction with engine technology specialist Ricardo. It puts out a nice round 200bhp at 12,500rpm.
The liquid-cooled V4 motorcycle is built in-house at Norton’s Donington Hall factory to the firm’s own design. The engine package was developed concurrently with the whole design to complement Norton’s designs targets for the motorcycle. These included a timeless design, use of expensive materials, hand-fabricated parts. All of this is in keeping with and staying true to Norton’s authentic heritage. Engine modes will be available including Road, Track, and, Race Pro. The all-new engine’s 72-degree V-angle allowed the team to give optimum chassis geometry and reduce the length of the engine for a more compact motorcycle.
With a polished, hand built aluminium twin-tube shotgun chassis on the V4 SS, and a cast frame and swing arm on the RR, the bikes use geometry and stiffness tested at the TT on the Norton SG5 race bike. And in the case of the V4 SS, large sections of the main frame are CNC machined from aerospace grade billet. The frame is actually 3kg lighter than the SG5 race bike frame. It is designed to deliver great feel and feedback to the rider, allowing it to be pushed harder.
Using carbon-fibre bodywork, both the Norton V4 RR and SS are available in carbon-fibre, or in a TT-replica chrome, just like the Norton SG5 race bike. Full LED lights are used front and rear. For improved rider accessibility, the dash is a 7-inch full-colour HD screen. All rider modes and electronics are managed through this on-board system. Meanwhile, the Norton V4 features fully-adjustable Ohlins NIX 30 system front forks with radially-mounted Brembo Monobloc calipers on large 330mm fully-floating front discs.
At the rear, the bike features a specially designed Ohlins TTX GP rear shock. An Ohlins steering damper is also fitted as standard. We have noticed that the butcher’s apron adorns the tail unit. We have, however, been reliably informed that this can be remedied before delivery.