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Snortin' Norton Returns To Keen US Market

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On: Fri, Feb 18, 2011 at 10:07AM | By: Chris Salamone

Snortin' Norton Returns To Keen US Market

 In 1902 the first Norton motorcycle, aka ‘the Engerette’, was unleashed out of a Birmingham, England factory and sport motorcycling changed forever. Nortons dominated world road racing for decades to come. After generations of UK ownership, the brand changed guard to a US company based in Oregon. Recently, however, after fifteen years of US ownership, Norton is once again secured under the British flag by CEO Stuart Garner. For the last two years orders for the newly produced 961 Commandos have vastly exceeded the company’s expectations. Perhaps more interesting, buyer interest is equally robust for the US market. As of February 15th only three of the fifty US allotted 961 SEs were still available for purchase.

Norton’s most recent press release indicates that three versions of the famed Commando series will be available in US markets by May 2011. Models include the Commando 961 Sport, the ever captivating 961 Café Racer, and the performance-oriented 961 SE. John Perkey, the currently exclusive US distributor and dealer, claims that US models will be priced lower than the those offered across the pond in an effort to generate American buyer interest. While the wire-wheeled SE will be priced at $17,999 in the US, the UK equivalent hovers around $19,500. Considering recent booming media coverage, sales projections, and road tests of the newly produced Commando series it looks like Norton’s US debut will be met with much enthusiasm.

The recently elected CEO of Norton Motorcycles USA, Dan Van Epps, is astutely aware of the magnitude of the Norton brand and importance of a successful US launch. “We are fulfilling the dream and delivering the excitement of a truly iconic all British motorcycle. Partnering with dealers who likewise understand the significance of this brand and its rich heritage is critically important and will be the key to our success.” You may remember Van Epps as the former Ducati North America CEO. The ultimate Norton USA goal is to launch dealer presence in each of the top 50 densest red, white, and blue population areas.

In case you just can’t wrap your mind around the newly recreated Norton’s significance, consider this: aesthetically the Commandos look and maintain the traditional Norton image, but mechanically they are completely modernized with cutting-edge engineering. Thus riders can enjoy the functionality of a modern road warrior while still getting the glory-points for mounting a classic motorcycle. Each of the Commando series bikes features a stirring 961cc computer controlled, counter balanced, fuel injected parallel twin engine paired with an Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes. Furthermore, all three bikes will be priced below their British counterparts. All of these features together are meant to recreate and improve the legendary Norton brand on US soil. The time has come to dust off your classic goggles and dome-shaped helmets, British sport road bikes are back. The new Norton 961 Commando really takes the idiomatic cake...or shall we say biscuit.

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DipStick | 7:13PM (Mon, Feb 21, 2011)

There are not going to be many for the US market, even if you had the coin to buy oneit's unlikely that they will be sold near the suggested MSRP :(

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