After a couple failed returns, Norton is set to race in the upcoming Isle of Man TT with a race bike that features an Aprilia RSV4 engine and proprietary chassis (does that remind you of anything?). Sponsored by Monster Energy, at the helm of the still unnamed Norton will be top be the TT Privateer’s Champion Ian Mackman, who will race in the Seniors TT on June 8th (the first time a Norton has been in the Senior TT since 1992).

The new Norton is a bit of a departure from the British company’s last race bike, the rotary motor-powered Norton NRV588. Unable to race the NRV588 in the 2009 Isle of Man TT, the new Norton is surely a byproduct of the firm’s heavily rumored MotoGP entry, as it fits very well within the premier class claiming rule team (CRT) provisions.

Built using a Spondon chassis, the Norton TT bike has Öhlins suspension both front and back, Brembo monoblocs, and of course the RSV4 motor. Virtually every other part, from the wheels, to the throttle bodies, to the bodywork was made in house at Norton, making this a truly unique motorcycle. Norton has also partnered with Active Technologies Limited for the fuelling system and electronic package, while the team will operate with their traditional polished aluminium tank.

“It is a huge honour to be riding a Norton at the Isle of Man TT Races, following such iconic names in competing on the Mountain Course,” said rider Ian Mackman. “It will be an incredible experience and I’m confident that we can do justice to this legendary company.”

Source: Isle of Man TT

  • Minibull

    Ahhhh the Spondon ART…

  • Johndo

    Design looks a bit simple to me, but looking forward to see how it will do at TT.

  • John

    How about actually delivering some Commandos??

  • Richard Gozinya

    Doesn’t look as good as the NRV588, that’s for sure. And yes, those Commandos need to get delivered. Starting to look like the revived Norton is nothing but a vanity brand for someone who doesn’t know how, or care, to deliver a product.

  • Earl Shives

    I don’t get it. What does Norton make anyways? That rotary engined bike was interesting at the least. Who owns Norton? It seems kind of like the Hasketh racing garages of old, except with more ineptitude. Another prancing pony for some rich bloke, eh? Those Commandos do look nice but I’ll bet I’ll have a Panigale paid off before ever even having a realistic option at one. Maybe they’ll beat that crazy American made sport tourer to market…

    I hope Kawasaki eats everyone alive at the TT and in WSBK. They’ve been the anus far too long.

  • Ryder

    Indeed, in 10 years they will be a Zombie like Hesketh or they sold the name to China (and we will see it on mopeds which are sold in building centers). An 80s frame with a boring Design might work with at least fascinating engine but with one from Aprilia… that just crates something nobody was waiting for.
    This might have been one of the the reasos that made Terreblanche leave Norton after 1/2 year.

  • RSVDan

    You can blame the EPA for the delay in the US getting Commandos, not Norton. Our shop is supposed to get them in June, just as they have been saying all along.

    As for the TT bike, it think it is pretty cool, but a bit of a disappointment after all the talk of a proprietary V4 for MotoGP. I guess this is at least a good place to start.

    What happened to them working with the Spanish engineering firm? Inmotec, I believe?

  • The Inmotec was just too slow to develop its bikes. Despite how long the 800 era was, they still couldn’t get their bike together for even the Valencian GP last year.

  • RSVDan

    I know they were developing their own machine, but I thought I heard rumor of Norton working with either them, or some other Spanish engineering firm.

  • No you’re right, Norton an Inmotec were linked at one point in time. I dont’ think that relationship lasted much longer than the rumor though.

  • RJ

    The rotary design is a very good one. So it was embarrassing the last TT, but so what?!? Learn from your failures and make it better. How they managed to make something with 4 times LESS moving components less reliable than a conventional engine is beyond me. They should grow some balls and make something new and unique, not another RSV4 repli-racer.
    Norton is too good of a brand to be represented by this.
    Nothing new here, boring..

  • Tom

    With an Aprilia engine, just how the hell is this a “new” Norton in any way?

  • Pooch

    Tom, +1. To call this a Norton is a joke.

  • mxs

    The strangest announcement I have heard in years ….. I mean I am trying to be excited, but I just cannot fathom what is it supposed to do for them. On contrary, I think it must be quite embarrassing for them, definitely hard to see how there could be any sort of benefit to Norton from this release.

    Aprilia board must be having good times ….

  • RSVDan

    Just as an aside here folks, Spondon is owned by the same bloke that owns Norton, so in a round about way, this is in fact all Norton except for the motor.

  • Dr. Gellar

    Indeed, Stuart Garner owns both Norton and Spondon as RSVDan states. So the fact that this bike uses a Spondon frame is in that respect sort of a no-brainer. Jensen nailed it on the head when he said “the new Norton is surely a byproduct of the firm’s heavily rumored MotoGP entry”. This bike has CRT written all over it. It’s been written somewhere (MCN perhaps) that Garner and Norton were not happy with the original V-4 that was being developed for Norton, so hence…not too big of a surprise that they are using an Aprilia motor now. I agree with many who feel this bike is not really in the spirit of what a Norton should be. But…perhaps it is merely a starting point to what may someday develop into a completely Norton built machine…engine and all. Nonetheless…I wish them the best of luck at the TT.

  • RSVDan

    The thing I find hilarious about this conversation is the fact people are complaining about Norton using an Aprilia motor, when in fact, up until a couple of years ago, Aprilia weren’t even using power plants of their own manufacture, but one of Austrian make! Did that make those bike any less brilliant, exotic, or Italian? HELL NO! This bike is a stepping stone, and I applaud them for having the balls to attempt it.

  • dimitri

    Like RSVDan I do not understand what’s the fuss about the Aprilia engine being used in this bike. But what I really do not understand though is what’s all the fuss about the new Norton 961 bike. It’s totally over priced and is definitely not a looker. And as a blast from the past bike it sucks too. That kind of money buys me a real “entry” level NYC Norton Seeley. The real deal. Or I’d buy a new Triumph for less than half the money. Which does look the part. Please let me know what you all think. I must be going mad….

  • Dr. Gellar

    I think the fuss is simple to explain: people want to see new Norton motorcycles that are pretty close to 100% Norton, that have the heart and soul of a Norton, that have a Norton-designed and/or produced engine. I totally understand why they are using an Aprilia engine in their TT racer, and I’m fine with that. And despite some disappointment, I’m sure others are too. But it would be cool to one day see such a machine with a motor designed by or built by Norton.

    You think all this fuss is bad…can you imagine when MV Agusta was reborn by the Castiglioni’s if the F4 was powered by a Japanese I-4?? Yeeeeeaah…there would have been hell to pay.

  • Paul Jones

    I know for a fact that the chassis was actually built by Roger Allmond. They gave him the Aprillia frame and an old Spondon frame and he cut them up and matched them both together and worked an 80 hour week to do it. He also made the tank and modified the Spondon swing arm to fit. Shame they don’t give him a bit of credit really, lot of work and very clever!