Norton V4 Shakedown

norton-v4-track-testing

With just 24 days until qualifying for the Senior TT, our 195bhp V4 racer is almost ready for the gruelling 226-mile race.

Track testing is now underway and the focus has been on fine tuning the way the bike turns and brakes, along with preparations on the Ohlins suspension and Dunlop tyres – ensuring both are synchronized and ready for the toughest road race in the world. The bike is being put through its‘ paces on a high speed test, including a 165mph ‘no hands’ test to check the stability of the bike – definitely not for the faint-hearted!

AT Power are sorting out the throttle bodies, fuel injection and ignition mapping. The combination of 195bhp and 190kg when fully fuelled and ready to race is a great combination for the TT. Head of Design, Simon Skinner says, “We’ve gone for a bike we hope will be rock solid…The biggest stuff in terms of the design and engineering are all now done and the list of things to do is much smaller, but no less important. Some of these are going to take a lot of work to get right but we have a good team and determination.”

Stuart Garner, CEO said, “Being there for the first high-speed test was interesting and we were all a bit nervous because we needed to know the bike was stable. Our rider Ian Mackman did some high-speed runs, hard braking and lots of track laps – he was really happy.”

Ian Mackman is one of the few people to have ridden the bike and said, “The first time was just a few weeks ago…the bike feels quite small like a 600 sports bike. We pushed the bike up to 165mph – everything seems right with the stability. The engine feels great in terms of the way it delivers the power, really strong.”

Follow the progress of the V4 build as it happens on twitter – @norton_ceo

The full article is in today’s MCN.

Norton returns to the Isle of Man TT!!

Norton return to the TT

Today we launch our new race bike and announce our entry into the Senior TT race 2012.

Over the last 12-18 months Norton have been looking at a return to racing. Given that WSB and BSB only allow Homologated Road bikes into their racing classes, Norton has to look for ‘open’ or ‘prototype’ race classes to enter the new race bike in.

For all of the above, the TT stood out as the very obvious choice for Norton. The hard edge style of racing which gets much closer to fans and supporters in a true and real world way which is a very genuine and passionate form of racing, appeals to Norton far more than the energy drink and lycra clad pit lane of homologated road bike racing.

5Ian Mackman is riding the new bike for us, he is a great guy and hugely passionate about his racing. We are pleased to have him in the team working with us to develop the bike. He’s in later for a bit of testing, Donington have kindly helped us with some track time.

The bike itself is a Spondon chassis with Ohlins front and back, BST carbon wheels are shod with Dunlop’s. The engine is an RSV V4, we have been talking to the Aprilia Factory in Italy and similar to CRT we have no absolute factory support off them, but they are there for information and help if and when required.

The bike itself has been built solely within the factory at Donington Park, we have made very many of the parts ourselves within our CNC machine facility here at the Norton factory. For example we have made our own wheel spindles through to throttle bodies! We have a great partner with the fuelling system and electronic package for the bike in Active Technologies Limited.

4We’ve gone with our traditional polished aluminium tank, all the styling and bodywork has been put together here at the factory also. Replicast are working with us to complete the aero package.

Norton see this as a three year project, we are genuinely happy to come home with a solid finish this year. Any position would be a bonus! Over the three years we would like to be in a position to be podium competitive, although we totally understand it is a huge mountain to climb and we have our work cut out to achieve this.

3Only now are we going racing on the budget we have available from sponsors and other commercial racing income, we have taken no money from the factory road bike business. We see this as a sustainable route to racing for Norton. Some suppliers to the road bike business have been really helpful and this has helped reduce costs to develop and make the bike.

We have lost no focus in our road bike business and we remain totally committed to growing volume in our road bike business to meet demand for the Commando 961.

The TT organisers have been really helpful and a refreshing change in the racing game. The Norton team are looking forward to getting there and providing some excitement and fun for the TT crowd, we’ve even lined up a TV presenter to serve brews for the fans front of garage!!

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Stars at Darley Moor

Norton attended the final round of the 2011 Annual Stars at Darley meeting last weekend. The hot weather drew in the largest crowds ever for a ‘Stars’ meeting who all descended on the Norton stand at some point over the weekend to admire the current World Speed Record holder Norton NRV588 and the special edition road production Panther.

On the afternoon of race day Sunday, Senior Production Technician Shane Pearson showed off the Panther while Production Manger Ian Morgan demonstrated the NRV588 Norton over 4 laps to the eagerly awaiting crowd.