Up-Close with the Norton SG1 TT Race Bike

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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