Up-Close with the Norton SG1 TT Race Bike

05/31/2012 @ 7:49 am, by Jensen Beeler13 COMMENTS

The Norton SG1, as it is now being called, is the talk of the Isle of Man TT paddock (we presume the SG designation stands for Norton’s new owner, Stuart Garner). Completed just before the TT fortnight, the Norton squad has an enormous amount of work ahead of it to bring the SG1 up to speed. Norton’s rider, Ian Mackman, posted a 112.364 on Tuesday night’s practice, and was out again Wednesday night, scaring the hell of out of elderly Manx women.

What is rapidly becoming the Norton SG1’s defining feature, is the bike’s anti-wildlife system, which is able to produce enough of a intone a sound somewhere between “Four Horseman of the Apocalypse” and “Queen of the Harpies” — as heard from several miles out. Scaring virtually anything within earshot, the anti-wildlife system also doubles as the bike’s exhaust, and would be banned twice-over at noise-restricted tracks like Laguna Seca.

Drawing some resemblance to the rotary-powered Norton NRV588 project, the Norton SG1 also features an Aprilia RSV4 motor in a custom Spondon frame. With all the trappings of a CRT bike, it doesn’t take too much imagination to link the SG1 to the rumors about Norton’s return to MotoGP, which makes for some interesting conjecture on the trajectory of the team’s racing future.

Said to be a bit on the heavy side, the teams explains that the Norton SG1 was built to be rugged for the Mountain Course, and not svelt like some of the short-circuit course racers feature in the TT — whether that plan will pay off remains to be seen.

Looking up-close at the race bike, the air intake is immediately eye-catching. The front nose inlet goes straight back like any other RAM air system, while additional breathing for the airbox comes from the two ducts at the top of the fairing, near the windscreen. Those drop down into the forward mock fuel tank, and which houses the four-barrelled throttle body and airbox.

The frame is an interesting piece of work, and has been hand-welded. Using the RSV4 chassis a base model, Spondon has made another distinct piece of work, with its name etched into the swingarm, in case anyone had any thoughts otherwise as to whom was responsible.

Photos: © 2012 Jensen Beeler / Asphalt & Rubber – Creative Commons – Attribution 3.0

  • Ed Gray

    Spondon has certainly take a different approach with the swingarm. It looks like an arm from a late ’80s street sport bike , extremely spindly by current standards. They must have a different idea about vertical versus lateral stiffness than the rest of the engineering world. I would like to know what their reasoning is!

  • KHS1

    What part of this bike did Norton make?

  • RSVDan

    Norton owns Spondon, so it is very much a Norton other than the motor. They are supposedly engineering their own in-house V4, but wanted to get a jump on development and racing data by using another engine supplier while they develop their own motor. I applaud them. Takes balls for a small firm like Norton to put it out there with the big boys.

  • Ownly

    RSVDan is just about right. Except that Spondon owns Norton.

  • Whoops! Just realized I messed up the photo gallery. More photos to look at now boys.

  • 76

    +1 Ed Gray, Whats with that swingarm? It does look straight out of the 80’s, I guess they like flex at TT? Something dosent jive with that thing unless they have something going on like a revolutionary inner structure or supermaterial?

  • 96

    Looks like they just took a saw to the main frame rails and welded their own in, the swing arm casting and front engine mounts are all stock.

  • Good look to Ian & the Norton team,
    The Quill Exhausts Megaphone looks great.

    Cheers from the lads at Quill

  • RSVDan

    @ Ownly:

    Both firms are owned by Stuart Garner. Not really sure of their corporate structure.

  • Nice post Jensen. That Norton sounds incredible dont it. Wow, talk about raise the dead. MotoGP? Yes please

  • Paul Jones

    Frame was built at Allmond Cycle Design in Oxfordshire….not by Spondon!

  • How did the norton preform yesterday at the seniors i missed it because of work

  • Joe Ellison

    Although bikes are not my favourite form of machine, they still make my top list. This article is a good update on one of my favourite bikes. Thanks for the update and bringing me to level with the bikers!