Norton 650cc motorcycles to roll out by end-2021

by Autocar India 10 Nov 2020

In November 2018, Norton revived its Atlas model name with the Nomad and Ranger powered by a 650cc, liquid-cooled, parallel-twin, DOHC motor that develops 84hp at 11,000rpm and 64Nm of torque.

First showcased in 2018, Norton’s highly anticipated 650cc parallel-twins are likely to make it to production only by late 2021. In a recent interview with UK-based Bennetts BikeSocial, the interim Norton Motorcycles CEO, John Russel, has revealed the company’s plans for 2021. 

In mid-April this year, India’s TVS Motor Co acquired Norton Motorcycles. While both companies have been mostly silent about future plans, here’s what to expect in 2021. Norton Motorcycles is also in the process of moving from its glamorous address at Donnington Hall to a new production facility in Solihull, which should be operational by the end of 2020.

Norton’s initial commitment will be towards meeting pending customer orders. In terms of products, the company will be focusing on the new V4 superbike, as well as its Commando 961 platform. The V4 will be upgraded to Euro-5 spec next year, but the Commando range will be sold in limited numbers before being retired. The storied parallel-twin motor in the current Commando won’t be making it to Euro 5 compliancy, but Russel says that the iconic name will be used again in the future on a new motorcycle. 

Norton 650cc motorcycle launch
As for the highly anticipated Norton 650cc Atlas range, Russel says that the bikes are still under development and won’t be ready until late next year. The 650cc parallel-twins were first shown off in 2018 by Norton’s previous owner, Stuart Garner, but that was around the time the company’s financial issues began to get significant. Russel also mentioned that the Norton Superlight sports bike, which uses a higher-performance version of the same 650cc parallel twin is also part of the company’s planned model line-up, but the timing for that bike remains unclear. 

When will Norton be launched in India?
At the time of acquisition, TVS Motor Co had mentioned that it would be bringing Norton to India but did not commit to a date. With no motorcycles currently Euro-5 compliant, and UK production only beginning in earnest after the new plant is fully operational, don’t expect an India launch any time soon, especially since the priority remains serving pending orders in the UK and other markets. 

Further, a Euro-5 compliant Norton V4 superbike will undoubtedly be an expensive affair in the Indian market. Even if TVS manages to keep the price under control via some basic assembly, it will still probably cost well over Rs 20 lakh. That will be a hard sell against established superbike competition, especially given the troubled times the Norton V4 was born from. 

The upcoming Norton 650cc motorcycles will be a far better fit for India, although they will be much more premium and expensive than the Royal Enfield 650cc bikes. When those Nortons will go on sale here and how localised will they be are questions that remains unanswered for now, but it’s unlikely to happen any time soon.  



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