The historic British motorcycle brand Norton is set to return to the United States with its Commando 961’s next year. Heading up Norton’s push into the US market is former Ducati North America CEO Dan Van Epps, who also served time with Ducati in Bologna, acting as the company’s Director of Overseas Markets and Head of Product Marketing. Starting in May 2011, Van Epps and his crew will begin importing Norton Commando 961 Sport, Café Racer, and SE models. Built off the classic Norton lines, the Commando 916 series features a 916cc fuel-injected parallel twin motor, along with Öhlins suspension and Brembo brakes.

“We have been producing the new 961 Commandos for almost two years, and the orders have been well beyond our most enthusiastic expectations. We’ve had to ramp-up production much earlier than anticipated to grow on pace with our customer’s requests”, noted owner and CEO Stuart Garner. “The exciting news is that we are now ready to enter the important US market, and we’ve chosen Dan Van Epps be CEO of Norton Motorcycles USA. Dan’s depth of experience, and our policy here at Norton to add to the team only the best motorcycle industry professionals, makes him a perfect fit.”

While having the Norton brand back and selling the United States is great news, we eagerly await what the British company will come out with next. Racing their rotary-powered NRV588 at Bonneville last year, news of a NRV700 rotary superbike have been wafting for the past year. With over 200hp and weighing only 268 lbs dry, a Norton rotary would not be a hard sell to power hungry American riders, and we think we know just the bloggers to give the bike a test ride (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

Source: Norton

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  • Faster1

    ,,bad timing! ,, and lot’s of optimistic PR talk. With more than a few “main-stream” motorcycle dealerships here in Southern California closing their doors, there couldn’t be a worse time to plunk down “borrowed” capitol. Add to that, Norton has zero following from young and future American bikers. The Japanese big 4 and Ducati have the foot-hold here and they are struggling. After the few celebrities scoupe up the token few Nortons, the wind will be howling on the showroom floors. Even Harley Davidson is slowing down production to a fraction of their “break-even” output.. meh,, alot can happen between “announcement” and implementation,,, it will never happen…
    ,,and then there is the bike. In reality, even the best liter-bike can only be riden as fast as any 250 on public the streets,, so while a rotary bike has a better power to weight ratio than a Bimmer 1000ss, who cares, you can’t take advantage of it. Like I said, a token few would be sold.. not enough to support the endeavor… here come the creditors,,

  • joe

    I think if the product is good and the pockets are deep, the younger generation will learn the history. Times are tough, but it could work. Is Mr. Dreer involved at all?

  • bruce armstrong

    With Van Epps behind the effort, I’d be comfortable buying into a ‘new’ brand/model in the US market…..he’s a serious player and knows the ropes…….. Bruce

  • bruce armstrong

    With Van Epps behind the effort, I’d be comfortable buying into a ‘new’ brand/model in the US market…..he’s a serious player and knows the ropes…….. Bruce

  • Willie

    If they’ve been producing them for 2 years, where’s the pics, Jason ?

  • Tom

    Faster1, its easy to see things as you do and its also fairly logical. However, this is the BEST time to start a business as if you can survive in a recession/depression, then you can survive any time. Norton may not have the cache of the big modern names but just see the bike in a Justin Bieber video and you’ve got the your girls hooked who can be mined in a few years as well as put the bike in a cool movie with some badass star that young men want to be like.

    Harley’s reason for imploding are independent of Norton’s challenges to the US market and so the two cannot be fairly compared.

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  • Jim

    Behold and hear the Norton 961 cafe racer.

    I wonder what the USD price will be?

  • MikeD

    Cool Bike….Not so Cool Price Tag, for SURE.
    Rich People’s Toy…Not hating the players but the game.