Norton’s new supertwins | Manufacture News | News
The Superlight and Atlas offer new options for riders wanting to stand out on the road or track
Still busy assembling the first of its 1200cc SS Superbikes, Norton has pulled the covers off two new models. While the Atlas scrambler has been teased to the media over the past few months Norton has surprised everyone with its Superlight. It’s dripping in top-notch componentry and Norton is asking big bucks for it. But most importantly, for Norton, it should deliver the firm its much-wanted but thus far elusive return to the winner’s circle at the Isle of Man TT in the Lightweight category.
The immediate reaction is that the Superlight is a great-looking machine that gives a welcome breath of life into the wheezing mid-sized sportsbike market. Combining a skimpy 158kg dry weight with a healthy-sounding claimed 78kW from a 650cc twin looks like a lot of fun.
But the fly in the ointment is both price and availability. Norton is asking the equivalent of $35,250 for sales in the UK market. That’s up there with Honda’s CBR1000RR SP1 and Yamaha’s YZF-R1M. And with the rush to put the Atlas models into limited production, it may well be 2020 before the Superlight is readily available. By then Aprilia should have its prototype parallel-twin RS660 sportsbike in production.
- The alloy twin-tube frame is similar to Norton’s big-bore IoM TT racers, allied to Öhlins front and rear suspension and Brembo M50 radial brake calipers. Full carbon bodywork and carbon BST wheels complete the exotic spec.
- The engine is derived from Norton’s 1200cc V4. A chain drives two overhead camshafts, operating four valves per cylinder, while twin injectors per cylinder deliver the fuel via fly-by-wire throttle bodies. The Superlight’s power peak is around 25 percent higher than the Atlas version and comes at 12,500rpm rather than 11,000rpm.
- Norton plans to hone the bike by competing in the 2019 Lightweight TT – where its top-notch specs must make it a race favourite against largely Kawasaki Ninja 650-powered rivals. A win’s a win.
Both have a scrambler aesthetic, but the Nomad is more road-oriented than the Ranger. The main differences between the two new models are the Nomad has an 18-inch front wheel, 150mm suspension travel at either end and a 824mm seat height. The Ranger is more off-road focused with a high-mounted front mudguard, headlight protector, sump guard and cross-braced handlebars. The front wheel is 19-inch, suspension travel is 200mm and seat height 867mm. And the Ranger will cost the Aussie equivalent of around $3500 more than the Nomad.
They’re set to go on sale in the UK next year at just under the equivalent of $18,000, which will make the Nomad, Norton’s ‘entry-level’ motorcycle, cheaper than the existing Commando range.
- A tubular steel chassis has an aluminium swingarm, composite fuel tank, seat and all-LED lighting. A fully-adjustable 50mm USD fork is matched with a remote-reservoir rear shock, Brembo Monobloc brakes and wire wheels. A dry weight of 178kg matches Ducati’s 2019 Hypermotard 950 while a 24.2-degree steering head angle suggests quick steering.
- The all-new parallel-twin engine is effectively the front two cylinders of the V4 Superbike. A 270-degree crank means the power pulse and sound will be similar to a 90-degree V-twin. Norton promises full Euro4 emissions compliance and an impressive 63kW at 11,000rpm. Compare this to Kawasaki’s Ninja 650, which has a similar bore, stroke and capacity but makes only 50kW at 8000rpm in standard trim.