Norton returns to U.S. with three models for 2014

Publish Date: 
Nov 13, 2013
By Beth Dolgner

DERBY, United Kingdom – After a 30-year absence, Norton Motorcycles can once again be found in U.S. dealerships. 

The Commando 961 Sport (see image, right), Commando 961 Café Racer and Commando 961 Sport Factory models are arriving in small shipments, with a California-specific version to come in the near future.

Norton’s new production facility is located adjacent to the Donington Grand Prix Circuit. Dubbed Hastings House, the U.S. models are some of the first to roll off the production line, each bike built by two technicians from start to finish. Norton reportedly does all of its own frame building and alloy machining in house, and company officials say they hope to begin producing more of their components at Hastings House.

“This is such a proud moment for us, and is the culmination of years of work in the U.K. and here in the USA,” said Dan Van Epps of Norton Motorcycles USA. “As it turns out, making a motorcycle company is a hard thing to do, and takes a bit more than working 24/7 and unbridled enthusiasm. Some things just take time.”

For American riders, getting one of the new Nortons may also take some time: The company says advance deposits for bikes have far exceeded their expectations, and it will probably be spring before current orders are filled.

In addition, Norton has put a hold on adding new U.S. dealers until the company has met the early demand.

Here's what debuted this week:

Commando 961 Sport ($17,995 single seat, $18,995 dual seat): All of the new Norton models are based on the same platform, which includes a 961cc air-cooled parallel twin engine. The traditional Norton styling results in a naked bike with a dual exhaust and a vintage café racer look. There are single rider and two-up options for the seat.

Brembo brakes do the stopping with twin 320mm fully-floating discs with four-piston calipers in the front, and a single 220mm disc in the back that pairs with a two-piston caliper. Stainless steel braided lines are stock. The suspension includes 43mm Ohlins forks with adjustable preload, compression and rebound damping. The rear Ohlins twin shocks have adjustable ride height, preload, compression and rebound.

The Commando 961 Sport and Café Racer come in three colors: Black, Manx Silver and Piper Red.

Commando 961 Café Racer ($19,995 single seat, $20,995 dual seat): Although it shares many of the same styling cues as the other two Norton Commandos, the 961 Café Racer has clip-ons instead of handlebars, and Brembo front and rear master cylinders.

Commando 961 Sport Factory ($20,995 single seat, $21,995 dual seat): The Sport Factory (SF) has alloy tapered bars in black along with carbon touches like the flyscreen, chain guard and front and rear mudguards. The three color options include black and gold, red and gold and silver.

Media images courtesy of Norton Motorcycles.