Thursday, December 3, 2009

Norton Taking Commando

Out of the gates, two hundred have already been sold, thus marking Norton Motorcycles re-emergence from obscurity, back into the world of motorcycles, an official sell out in the U.K..

And now the classic Brit bikes (albeit, completely redesigned using high-tech cutting edge materials and modern engineering, wrapped around that familiar retro look ) are on their way to the Great White North (Canada), Japan and the United States.

It's somewhat ironic that he brand was bought by Norton Motorcycles Inc. of the US some fifteen years ago, (they spent $10 million developing models) and it tanked. Now Norton is heading back over the pond.

This guy, Stuart Garner the new owner, invested millions into buying the name from the US owners. The new Norton bikes will be produced in England at the company's headquarters at Castle Donnington.

Three models are now being produced.

My favourite, probably because it's featured in black, is the Commando 961se.

However, I'm sure the Commando 961 Cafe Racer will be a big seller. It's a natural.

They will also build the Commando 961 Sport.

Frank Melling wrote a piece for about the International Motorcycle and Scooter Show in Birmingham, England.

"But I am a motorcyclist and I had a fantastic time. The clear, utter and outstanding #1 of the show was the Norton stand. Norton Managing Director Stuart Garner has done a fantastic job in getting Norton back to life and the new 961 Commandos really are something special. They look absolutely drop-dead gorgeous and tread the line between state of the art and classic in a truly wonderful way."

Here's a great TV report from the BBC news.

Quick history lesson. In 1898, James Lansdowne Norton set up his new motorcycle shop and the first Norton motorbike was produced in 1902. A Norton bike (pictured above) won the first ever Isle of Man TT race.

Norton's then went on to dominate the track every year from 1947 to 1954.

And the Norton brand made it's historic return to the track in 2009. The 588cc Norton race bike has been developed by Brian Crighton and the Spondon engineering team.

The news of Norton's resurgence will not be welcome in the mile high city. Colorado Norton Works rebuilds the classic machines from the ground up.

There work is impeccable, but you'll pay for it. Each restoration costs around $35,000.00. Absolute master pieces.

The infamous and controversial rebel leader Che Guevara rode a Norton through South America (and was featured in the movie Motorcycle Diaries).

I'd love to do that. Forget the diary part though, who wants to write about their interests and love of motorcycles every single day. Oh, ya... never mind.

Ace ♠

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