Following the Norton Motorcycles saga over the past few years has been a wild ride—and sadly, one that involved fewer motorcycles than most people would probably have liked. That’s changing as of October 11, 2022, though. Back in June of this year, the company announced that the long-promised Commando 961 was on its way—and now, at long last, it’s finally here.
Style-wise, it does look quite a bit like you’d expect of a Norton Commando in 2022, and it comes in two variants: Sport, and Café Racer. It’s powered by a 961cc air and oil-cooled, pushrod parallel twin engine, which makes a claimed 76.8 bhp at 7,250 rpm, alongside 81 newton-metres (59.7 pound-feet) of torque at 6,300 rpm. It’s mated to a five-speed gearbox with a wet clutch.
Suspension consists of an 43 mm, fully adjustable Öhlins upside down fork up front, along with a pair of fully adjustable Öhlins twin shocks with a remote reservoir in the rear. Braking duties are performed by a twin, radially-mounted Brembo four-piston monobloc setup in front, which comes with a pair of 320 mm floating rotors and a Brembo front brake master cylinder. In the rear, there’s a single Brembo two-piston caliper and a 240 mm disc, also with a Brembo rear brake master cylinder. ABS is standard at both ends.
Gallery: 2023 Norton Commando 961
The new Norton Commando 961 features a frame that is both TIG and MIG welded by hand at Norton’s new headquarters in Solihull, England. The wheelbase is 1,400 mm. Rake is 24.5 degrees, and trail is 99 mm. The yokes are billet-machined aluminium units, and both Commando 961 variants get a full stainless-steel exhaust system with a multiple three-way catalytic converter (so fancy).
Wheels on most bikes will be 17-inch polished aluminium spoked units, which come shod in Dunlop Sportmax GPR 300 rubber. If you opt for a Commando 961 Sport in the Matrix Black colourway, you can also choose colour-matched black wheels instead.
Both the Norton Commando 961 SP and CR are available in two colourways: Matrix Black or Manx Platinum. The Sport comes with black, anodised, tapered, high handlebars, while the Café Racer comes with anodised billet aluminium clip-ons installed. Both bikes have a carbon front mudguard, a colour-matched seat cowl, and an optional pillion seat that is available for purchase.
If you’re interested in learning more, there’s a signup form available on the official Norton website. Current availability is only in the UK, and pricing starts at £16,499.