Belfast Telegraph

Friday 9 October 2015

Stylish looks and modern technology, but there's really Norton special about this line-up.

By David Neely

Published 03/12/2009

The new Norton Cafe Racer, a modern blast from the past
The new Norton Cafe Racer, a modern blast from the past

There was a lot of interest in the revived Norton marque --- how many times has it been brought back to life? --- since the original factory closed in early Sixties.

The latest owner is businessman Stuart Garner.

His line up includes a Commando 961 Café Racer, priced at £13,495, and a Commando 961 Sport at £11,995. Attractive as they are for those into nostalgia – my opinion – but almost £14K is an awful lot of money to spend on what is a push rod, two valves per cylinder twin engine machined to high, modern standards, even though its fuel injected and has modern brakes.

Many who stopped to admire the three bikes on display thought they looked great. I have to confess to being slightly indifferent. However, when I asked if dealers were going to be appointed through the country, I was told not at present.

Then the obvious question. Well, when a customer buys a Norton what about servicing arrangements? Answer: all the servicing would be done at the factory at Donington in the Midlands. The bike would be collected and taken there. Ahem, most definitely not an arrangement I would care to spend £14K or £12K on.

The service intervals have still to be worked out, I was also told, but would be in line with industry standards.

The bikes are twin shocks – two suspension units at the rear. Both the rear shocks and the front forks are from Ohlins, top equipment and full marks to Mr Garner here. I wish him well.

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