2016 saw Norton’s SG5 bring the company’s highest finish in a quarter of a century. The fortnight saw 7th place finish, a 194.5mph Sulby speed-trap and an incredible 130.87mph lap crowning the Norton as the fastest British motorcycle to ever lap the TT. Once again, Norton Motorcycles has secured their position at the competitive end of motorcycle road racing.
Both Wheels in the Air
Davo on the startline
Continuing on from its predecessors, the SG5 features an in-house designed tubular aluminium frame fabricated onsite at Norton’s Donington Hall factory. The bike features a fully adjustable chassis. This includes headstock angle, yoke offset, steering axis offset and swingarm pivot. The bike also features several billet linkages which allow varying degrees of stability and feedback over the bumpy TT course. The fuel tank is handmade and tailored to the rider with a focus on mass centralisation.
Norton signed Australian rider David ‘Davo’ Johnson in 2015 to compete at this year’s TT. The team spent the winter developing and manufacturing the SG5 motorcycle ahead of early testing in January 2016.
Steve Plater, who has been Norton’s test and development rider since SG2, was on-point pushing the new bike in less than favourable conditions early in 2016.
Steve Plater Tests Launch Control
Steve on the grid at the TT 2016
With initial testing out of the way, the team spent time on the Isle of Man at the Jurby circuit testing and developing the chassis and electronics. After an intensive testing schedule Steve was finally happy with the bike ahead of Davo’s arrival mid-April.
Steve testing SG5 at a wet and windy Jurby circuit
The testing schedule continued with Davo’s inaugural ride taking place during Steve’s final 2016 test. With Davo happy after his first ride, the team headed back to HQ to make the necessary ergonomic changes to meet new rider’s riding style.
The team then headed to the local Mallory park circuit to test the new changes.
John Cooper Esses
The next step for the team was to head to the Oulton Park BSB test. The team made steady progress in the morning focusing on setup. The afternoon brought a breakthrough with the electronics curing chatter issues during the morning.
After their return, the team headed to Bruntingthorpe proving ground to test high-speed stability.
With testing complete, the team headed for the Isle of Man.