More than a century after Rem Fowler won the first TT race aboard a Norton motorcycle, the marque is still so famous that Norton motorcycles command a price premium over other Britbike equivalents, and attempts continue to this day to breathe life back into the brand.
1956 Manx Norton
Yet Nortons aren't one of those classic bikes which are beyond the reach of the everyday classic rider. The exotic, overhead cam, works and clubman racers like the Manx and Inter singles are only part of the story. The Norton factories at Bracebridge Street, Plumstead and Andover produced a full range of motorcycles for some 70 years, so today's classic bike enthusiast can purchase lightweights like the Jubilee or Navigator if buying on a budget, or might consider one of the heavyweight singles like the Model 50, ES2, Big Four, or Models 16, 18 or 19.
Matchless G15 and Norton P11 today
Sporting riders have always adored the superb steering supplied by Norton's Roadholder forks and featherbed frame, and for many the Norton Dominator represents the ultimate British post-war sporting twin. For others, the British superbike of the 1970s was epitomised by the Norton Commando and the various versions of the isolastic 750 and 850 twins represent the marque's ultimate achievement. The Desert Sleds, a hybrid of Norton Atlas engines in AMC frames, are the icing on the cake for marque aficionados.
Norton Aurora '1010' Prototype in the studio
Norton is unusual for a British manufacturer in that its story doesn't end in the 1970s with the collapse of the old industry. The rotary engine project created new Nortons for the 1980s in the shape of the F1 racer, the Classic, Interpol 2 and Commander.
Bruce Pollard rode his Norton Big Four to Featherbed Lane in Shrewsbury
RealClassic contributors have ridden many miles aboard a surprising variety of Norton motorcycles and our rebuild of a Dommi 99 is (still!) a work in progress. Follow any of the links on this page to learn more about the different models of the marque and real-life riders' experiences with them…
More Nortons on Right Now...
Norton on RealClassic.co.uk All of the Norton pages on RealClassic.co.uk, in one big list:
www.NortonChallenge.net: An invitation to ride your classic bike to anywhere called Norton. Norton motorcycles welcome but not essential!
Oil for Nortons: Many classic bike specialists run a technical helpline, and they're often asked exactly the same question. So we investigated: what's the most common technical question asked about Norton Commandos? Norvil's Les Emery tackles fuel, oil, liquids and lubricants...
Norton Commando Brakes: It started with a simple post about Norton Commando brakes and ended up keeping the message board buzzing for days. NVNL shares what he's learned so far...
Rising From The Ashes: Enough of all this riding around in the sunshine. Get back indoors and watch some TV. We dragged Frank Westworth away from his spanners and sat him in front of the telly for an hour...
www.nortonownersclub.org: Founded in 1959, the Norton Owners Club is now an international organisation with several thousand members worldwide. It is dedicated to the worldwide promotion, encouragement and development of an interest in Norton motorcycles, their preservation and usage
Norton Commando and Dominator Parts
www.norvilmotorcycle.co.uk: With over 4000 Norton product lines in stock, Norvil are the largest supplier of genuine Norton & Norvil spares in the world.
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