Pierre Terblanche Leaves Piaggio for Norton

01/13/2011 @ 9:37 pm, by Jensen Beeler18 COMMENTS

While Norton Motorcycles finds itself currently in the middle of a relaunch period, having recently resurrected the brand at its Donington Park headquarters, being widely rumored to contend in MotoGP for the 2012 season, and just a month ago announcing that it would return to the North American motorcycle market, more changes seem in store for the historic British company. Announced today was the surprise move that sees famed South African motorcycle designer Pierre Terblanche moving from Piaggio, where he was working on revamping the Moto Guzzi line, to Norton Motorcycles.

“Pierre’s experience of bringing innovative new products to the marketplace will be a vital factor in developing the Norton range, whilst paying due respect to its traditions,” says Stuart Garner, CEO of Norton Motorcycles. “Combining his flair for original concepts with Norton’s sporting traditions, will allow us to create a range of motorcycles bearing the historic Norton badge that will be unlike anything else in the marketplace.”

Terblanche is noted for his work at Ducati, which brought about popular bikes like the Supermono, Hypermotard, Sport Classic, and MH900e. Terblanche is also infamous for his work on the Ducati 999 Superbike and the original Multistrada, which have had a more of a “love it or hate it” reception with consumers. Working with Moto Guzzi, Terblanche’s latest work however has been met with very positive criticism, as the Piaggio sub-brand launched three pieces of his work at the 2009 EICMA show.

We imagine Norton will not only benefit from the South African’s unique and trend-setting designs, but will also see Terblanche’s strong personality and vision enter into the company culture and brand. A part of Norton’s future strategy surely involves setting itself apart from its competition and creating new engaging motorcycles for consumers, for that role we think Terblanche should fit in quite nicely.

Source: Norton Motorcycles

  • Dr. Gellar

    I think this is a brilliant move by Norton to acquire Terblanche’s services. Gutsy, but brilliant.

  • Andrey

    Yet another stupid decision by Piaggio to create a situation where he would leave, and another kick in the guts for Guzzi enthusiasts everywhere. What is it about these fools that they keep neglecting Guzzi? Simply unbelievable.
    Anyway good luck to Norton. Stuart Garners’ single brain is obviously smarter than the combined brain power of a whole bunch of Italian corporate execs. This is a classic case of how corporate decision making is a disadvantage to a company and why small businesses can still succeed. Love the new Nortons and I can’t wait to see PTs’ new designs.

  • 76

    Look forward to the results, cheers pierre

  • Isaac

    @Andrey: LAMO!

  • norton may be able to be the best :)

  • y2ktlr

    I feel Andrey’s pain. Moto Guzzis are one of my favorite brands for a number of reasons. I drooled over the superbike they tempted us with about 7 or 8 years ago, but it turned out to be just another one of those devices that you can see at one of the shows, but never buy in the real world. However, Mr. Terblanche is an artist, and as such he is also a free thinker. I doubt seriously if the Guzzi board of directors could have done anything to hold onto him (in terms of money anyway). It’s likely he saw another opportunity to broaden his horizons while practicing his craft and went for it. I dig the new Nortons and hope that they can weather the storm in this crap economy and truly flourish. Ride safe everyone…

  • jar

    Likely expensive.

    Let’s hope the brand (and PT) focus on the first two, and less of the third.

    Go Norton go!

  • Andrey

    What on earth does LAMO mean???

  • Other Sean

    It’s like LAME, but worse. It’s LAMO!

    I am a reformed Terblanche hater. I used to spit copious vetriol at the Multistrada, Hypertard, and 999. Still not big on the first two, but the 999 has come into it’s own…now that it’s not the flagship of Ducati it works.

    And I can’t believe some people don’t like the MH900e, that thing is great. Supermono too.

    Hope he does good things for Norton.

  • Rexr

    Well there go’s the last of the classy looking Norton’s all down hill from now on……

  • RD350

    I can only hope Terblanche will put his SuperMono experience to good use and build a modern version of the Manx Norton!

  • ds

    Andrey – good points, but the departure could be from various reasons…corporate culture? 2 high profile chief designers working together?

    LAMO vs. LMAO . strange either way

  • Mike L.

    Has he ever designed a hit motorcycle? Not being a smartass, I just wonder. Guzzi enthusiast love their funny bikes- and I am a 999 fan- but has anyone ever made a profit at the sales volumes his designs have generated?

  • RSVDan

    For all of you bemoaning Moto Guzzi’s loss, don’t forget that those beautiful concepts we saw last year were a joint effort between Terblanche and Galuzzi. Galuzzi is still head designer for Aprilia and Guzzi, and I wouldn’t count out seeing some really interesting designs coming out of Guzzi in the very near future. You guys must remember that Piaggio has only been at the helm for a relatively short period of time, and Guzzi, for obvious reasons, was not the priority. Now that parts supply and dealer services have been sorted, a new superbike has been designed and SBK championship won, they may be able to put a little more attention towards new designs for Guzzi. They have already improved the quality control, and fit & finish of Guzzi’s ten fold since their acquisition.

  • It’s scary how serious and fast moving the new Norton company is.

    It hasn’t attracted much attention in the press, but Norton has purchased a company that has developed a very advanced vertical twin engine.


    Maxsym has: “A patented integrated balance system, which completely cancels both primary and secondary inertial vibration forces. This novel yet simple system allows conventional engines to operate at higher speeds and produce more power.”

    Maxsym developed a vertical twin that is light, and which produces a surprising amount of power. Perfect for a completely modern Norton!

  • Sorry, the link in my previous message should have been:


  • Jaybond

    One thing for sure, both Moto Guzzi & Norton deserved to have a Superbike model of their own!! For Norton looks like they have made the necessary steps to launch a serious Superbike project (at least in road form) with the acquisition of Maxsym and, the hiring of Pierre Terblanche. As for Moto Guzzi, just transform those faboulous concept into production form please, albeit with a proper liquid cooled V-twin engine!

  • I think some fantastic results are going to come out of this venture. Pierre Tereblanche has a very unique vision of form and function.