Ever since India’s TVS purchased iconic British motorcycle brand Norton in April, 2020, the company has been repairing its public image. After keeping Norton based in the UK and expanding its local workforce, TVS opened the firm’s Solihull headquarters and hired new top brass.
Most recently, we’ve seen Norton’s V4SV break cover, but updates on the revived Commando 961 have been few and far between. Back in December, 2021, the company confirmed that it would make good on customers’ Commando 961 deposits submitted during the previous administration. Norton reported that it would fulfill those pre-orders before offering the model to the general public, and the new announcement suggests that time has come.
Of course, the Commando nameplate is synonymous with the British marque. While the original Commando 750 and 850s date back to the ‘60s and ‘70s, the Commando 916 is a product of Stuart Garner’s reign. Despite the mixed emotions tied to that era, the Commando moniker will always be tied to the brand.
“I can't imagine Norton not having a Commando in the lineup, so the big question is what should characterise a modern Commando and when we will bring it to market,” admitted Norton CEO John Russell.
Luckily, we won’t have to imagine such a travesty thanks to Norton recently posting a “New Commando 961” announcement on the company website. The landing page is light on detail and heavy on corpspeak, though, with descriptions like “stripped-back and sophisticated” and “the essence of modern luxury” building anticipation for the model.
However, the brand only supported those lofty claims with two images. A shot of the new 961’s tail section confirms that it will keep the traditional café racer-styled cowl and integrated taillight. A view from the top reveals a few more details, though.
Unlike the carbon fibre-clad rendition pictured in previous marketing materials, the latest Commando favours a classic silver paint base with black and red pinstriping. The twin exhaust pipes align with previous 961 iterations while the gold fork and twin shock reservoirs suggest that Ohlins suspenders will remain.
Those interested in receiving Commando 961 updates can register for e-mail notifications from Norton. It’s been a long road to redemption for the British brand, but a new Commando will certainly signal Norton’s much-awaited comeback.
Sources: Le Repaire Des Motards (1), (2), Norton Motorcycles