Norton Motorcycle Company (formerly Norton Motors, Ltd.) is a British motorcycle marque, originally from Birmingham, founded in 1898 as a manufacturer of "fittings and parts for the two-wheel trade".
By 1902, they had begun manufacturing motorcycles with bought-in engines. The first Norton engines were made in 1908, beginning a line of side-valve single-cylinder engines which continued with few changes until the late 1950s. This began a long series of production of single and eventually twin-cylinder motorcycles.
The Isle of Man Senior TT, the most prestigious of events, was won by Nortons ten times between the world wars and then every year from 1947 to 1954.
After the Second World War, Norton reverted to civilian motorcycle production, gradually increasing its range. A major addition in 1949 was the twin cylinder Model 7, known as the Norton Dominator, a pushrod 500 cc twin-cylinder machine designed by Bert Hopwood. Its chassis was derived from the ES2 single, with telescopic front and plunger rear suspension, and an updated version of the gearbox known as the "lay-down" box. More shapely mudguards and tanks completed the more modern styling to Nortons new premium model twin.
In 1951, the Norton Dominator was made available to export markets as the Model 88 with the Featherbed frame.
When major shareholders started to leave Norton in 1953, the company declined and Associated Motor Cycles bought the shares. Although motorcycle sales went through a recession in the 1950s, and Norton Motors Ltd was only a small manufacturer, Norton sales flourished. A series of Norton Dominator Twins of 500cc, then 600cc, then 650cc and then the 750cc Norton Atlas kept sales buoyant, especially with sales to the USA.
In 1968, the new 750cc Norton Commando Model appeared, with the engine/gearbox/swingarm unit "isolastically" insulated from the frame with a series of rubber mountings. This kept the vibrations from the rider, giving a smooth comfortable ride. The Commando was a best seller, and voted #1 Motorcycle of the Year a number of times in Britain.
850cc Models appeared for 1973, giving more torque. And for 1975 an electric start arrived in the 850 Mk3.
In late 2008, Stuart Garner, a UK businessman, bought the rights to Norton from some US concerns and relaunched Norton in its Midlands home at Donington Park.
The first Norton logo was a fairly simple, art nouveau design, with the name spelled in capitals. However, a new logo appeared on the front of the catalogue for 1914, which was a joint effort by James Lansdowne Norton and his daughter Ethel. It became known as the "curly N" logo, with only the initial letter as a capital, and was used by the company thereafter, first appearing on actual motorcycles in 1915.
Mon, 20 Feb 2012 00:00:00 -0800
Not sure if I've ever seen an XJR given the Cafe Racer treatment? Well, until now that is. Created by Italian motorcycle builders, Emporio Elaborazioni, 'The Hound' is based on an XJR1200.
Fri, 13 Jan 2012 00:00:00 -0800
Sex sells, right? So when you're trying to sell your bike, a picture of a pretty girl will fool anyone into buying anything. Or maybe not.
Wed, 11 Jan 2012 00:00:00 -0800
On the 11th January 1962, Steve Hislop was born in Hawick, Scotland. Today would have been his 50th birthday, but he was tragically killed in a helicopter accident in 2003. Hizzy was a genius on a motorbike and when he was happy with everything around him, he was amongst the best in the world.
Fri, 21 Oct 2011 00:00:00 -0700
Some motorcycles bite, particularly those with a kick starter. Kick starter levers sometimes “kick back” as any past or current owner of a bike with a kicker will attest. But what would you do if you discovered your bike really wanted to get you?
Thu, 19 May 2011 00:00:00 -0700
The International Motorcycling Federation announced 11 teams have passed the latest round of applications for the 2012 MotoGP season. MotoGP promoter Dorna and the International Road Racing Teams Association selected 11 new teams representing 16 riders to continue with the application process for the 2012 season. Applicants submitted detailed plans for participation to the IRTA by May 14.
Thu, 16 Sep 2010 00:00:00 -0700
SPENDING WHAT looks like no more than £50 its production, Norton has released a new promo video of the company's 961 SE Commando. The handbuilt bike features fully adjustable inverted Ohlins forks and radially-mounted Brembo Monobloc calipers and discs, along with carbon-fibre BST wheels.Constructed in the UK at Donington Park, using mostly British parts, the 961 SE retails at £15,995.
Thu, 27 May 2010 00:00:00 -0700
WITH BIKES LAPPING at 18 seconds off times posted by the AMA Superbikes, competitors in the inaugural TTXGP North America series still enjoyed a good old scrap at Infineon Raceway, California. An eclectic mix of bikes lined up for the start of the 2010 TTXGP series; a modified 1966 Norton and a 2010 Mavizen TTX02 Superbike were just two of the machines that took part in the race. US rider Shawn Higbee took victory in the event, riding for team Zero Agni.
Thu, 25 Mar 2010 00:00:00 -0700
ARAI HAS launched a 2010 Isle of Man TT tribute RX-7 GP with a limited run of just 500 helmets.This black and white helmet design features the famous Isle of Man three-legged symbol in bronze and the famous TT letters. The design is the first in a series of three to be released by Arai. Bueys of series one will automatically be offered the chance to purchase series two and three before they go out for general sale.UK pricing and availability has yet to be announced, but the helmet will retail for 899 euros in Europe and £700 in the UK.The Isle of Man TT organisation will receive a commission for every helmet sold and the marshals will use the TT series for promotion.
Tue, 09 Mar 2010 00:00:00 -0800
SEE THE MACHINE that could propel Britain to a new motorcycle land speed world record at The Race Retro 2010 show, held at Stoneleigh Park, Coventry from 12th to 14th March. Almost a year has passed since Visordown broke the news of the planned UK assault on the land speed record - this coming August the Angelic Bulldog team travels to Bonneville, where it is hoping to smash the 400mph barrier and bring the motorcycle Land Speed Record back to the UK for the first time since 1937. The current record stands at 360.913mph over a kilometre.
Wed, 02 Dec 2009 00:00:00 -0800
NEC Birmingham 2009 – The bikes, the babes, the kit and the people. Raptors & Rockets present the 2009 Carole Nash international motorcycle & scooter show from Birmingham, UK. Check out the video highlight list and Tor Sagen’s video walk through from the 2009 NEC show.