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Norton 961 SE Commando First Look

Monday, August 17, 2009
2010 Norton 961 SE Commando
After failing to enter production during Norton's US ownership, the 961 Commando looks to be finally making it to the public.
It now looks like September could see the first of the new Norton 961 SE Commandos rolling off the production line. Although very similar in appearance to the ‘Kenny Dreer’ machine, it has been totally re-engineered and now boasts fuel injection.

The motor remains a pushrod Parallel Twin and is expected to give 80-85 hp in its final form. The frame too remains as per the prototype, BST carbon fiber wheels, Ohlin’s forks and twin rear shocks; along with Brembo brakes also mirror the original. Only 200 of these new machines will be built, all coming with a numbered plaque, costing £15,995.

Stuart Garner and his team though are remaining tight lipped about future models, proffering to concentrate on fulfilling the orders for the new SE model and establish confidence that the historic brand is back as modern day manufacturer before promising further models!

Norton 961 SE Commando Specifications
2010 Norton 961 SE Commando
2010 Norton 961 SE Commando
Frame: Steel tubular cradle with integral oil tank
Swing arm: steel construction
Wheelbase: 1420mm (55.9 in)
Rake: 24.5 degrees
Trail: 99mm (3.9 in)
Front suspension: 43mm Ohlins RWU - Adjustable preload, compression, and rebound damping.
Rear suspension: Ohlins reservoir-style twin shocks - Adjustable ride height, preload, compression, and rebound damping.
Front wheel: 3.50 X 17" BST Carbon Fibre
Rear wheel: 5.50 X 17" BST Carbon Fibre
Front tire: 120/70 X 17"
Rear tire: 180/55 X 17"
Front wheel travel: 115mm (4.53 in)
Rear wheel travel: 100mm (3.94)

Brembo 320mm semi-floating hi carbon stainless steel front discs
Brembo 220mm rear disc
Brembo 4 piston "Gold Line" axially mounted front callipers
Brembo 2 piston "Gold Line" rear calliper
Brembo “Gold line” front brake master cylinder
Brembo “Gold line” hydraulic clutch master cylinder
Brembo rear brake master cylinder
Brembo hydraulic clutch actuation slave cylinder

Engine type: Parallel twin with push-rod valve actuation, dry sump
Displacement: 961 cc
Cooling system: Air
Valve Actuation: Push rod, hydraulic lifter, two valves per cylinder
Bore x stroke: 88 mm X 79 mm
Compression ratio: 10.1:1
Power: 80PS @ 6500RPM
Torque: 90Nm @ 5200RPM
Exhaust:1 3/4" header system with merged collector and twin silencers with catalytic converters.
Ignition: Crank fired electronic
Euro 3 compliant with electronic fuel injection and multiple 3 way catalytic converters

Front mudguard
Chain guard
Rear wheel hugger
Rear number plate hanger
Headlight mounting
Front wheel
Rear wheel

Gearbox: constant mesh 5 speed
Final drive: 525 "O" ring chain
Wet clutch
Electric start

Charging system: 300 watt hi-output charging system
Instrumentation: Norton electronic analogue speedo and tachometer with dual trip meters and ‘hidden until lit’ warning lights

Fuel tank capacity: 17l (4.5 US gallon)
Dry weight: 188kg (414.5 lbs)
Seat height: 813mm (32 in)
Billet machined upper yoke
Billet machined lower yoke
Tapered aluminium handle bars
Specifications are subject to change without notice.
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ian adams -got a ducati sport  January 11, 2011 06:21 PM
would be proud to own and wont this now, when price comes down to ducati price, hurry
Austraila -Norton  November 18, 2010 06:38 PM
This is the prettiest bike i have ever seen. I cant wait till it gets to Oz i will buy one that day. Will have to instantly do what we aussies do with it and turn it from english pussycat into Aussie tiger....Someone will know how to get it thumping!!! Nice work Norton.
Bushy -I'm having a wet dream.  October 29, 2010 10:10 PM
I want one to share space with my FXSTB. The only way I would be able to decide which one to ride would be a toss of a coin. Bloody,bloody nice!!!!
Steve Harris -Just got one!  October 11, 2010 12:33 PM
I've just picked up my 961 SE from the factory at Donington Park Race Circuit. What a completely fabulous bike! This is the best looking bike I have seen since my Velocette Venom Thruxton Clubmans or my Jota. Both truly great machines in their day.

The performance isn't shattering just quick, and the bike handles and stops like a modern Ducati. I've given a couple of sports bike riders a bit of a shock. A torquey 80hp motor in a light, precise chassis is better than 150hp in a lardy and heavy high revving behemoth. And I've had them all, so I can compare.

I recently went to a bike gathering with over 5000 bikes in attendance. I was mobbed. Everyone loved the Commando and what Norton are doing to resurrect the brand.

If anyone is thinking about getting one of these bikes - Just do it. You won't be disappointed. Even if there is snow on the ground outside, you can get a beer, and just sit back and just look at it. It's automotive pornography,

A note to the negative commentators on this thread, you are uninformed and over opinionated. I have ridden in closed circuit races and off road competitions. I've been riding since the age of 12, on public road since 16. I am now 59. I have ridden everything from multi cylinder bikes to single cylinder 50/60s bikes.

My comments are based upon my personal real life experience, not half baked biggoted BS. I learned years ago to keep my mouth shut unless I know what I'm taking about. There are a few here who could learn from that.

You all have a nice day.

Steve H

motomark -Great looking bike!  September 11, 2010 07:54 PM
Only wish Dreer and company had been able to put it in production. If in a couple years they are still being produced and my ship comes in, I plan to buy one. No fairings, nice big air cooled twin, very nice lines, now to see what the new pillion seat will look like.
russ brown -texas rex  September 7, 2010 04:27 PM
thats usable power,, it looks better than the ducati classic line , and thruxton any day , il stick wth spoke wheel tho , looks like it corners well , and enough on the flats . rock on norton .
Del Dowda -Master  August 29, 2010 07:15 PM
I have two Triumph's; would love to have Norton only at 10K.
Capester -Black top blaster  July 24, 2010 05:16 AM
850 Commando, one of my all time favorites that I never owned. Glad to see them back. Want one but will grow old with my sweet 89 vmax too.
David -A real bike  June 22, 2010 05:52 PM
Norton isn't about mass produced machines but hand built high quality bikes which have plenty of character and an excellent racing pedigree. There are plenty of people willing to pay reasonable money for a bike which is different it stands out from the crowd and gets talked about. I have one on order.
Robert Slezak -NEW NORTON  May 31, 2010 07:32 PM
The price is still far better than a new Harley Davidson so I think with a little creative financing I'll be able to swing one... I have a 74 Roadster that I'll have to sell to acquire the machine. Tough decision, but it'll be something I'll ride all the time. The Roadster is more for showing than for riding...
footski -awesome and unaffordable  April 18, 2010 09:33 PM
too sad.
footski -awesome and unaffordable  April 18, 2010 09:32 PM
too sad.
Nasir Khan -Modern Norton bikes.  February 5, 2010 08:18 AM
Wonderful that both Norton & Triumph are again in production of modern bikes.However, their prices are forbidding and came rather late in life as most loyal Brit bikers are now old with children and even with grand children. The new guys now are long used to Japanese ones,after the sad collapse of the cruder English bikes and unless these modern guys have a strong Brit bike pedigree in them, they are unlikely to go for one! Anyway,a good restart and hope, unlike the past, you keep up with technology and price.Long live Brit bikes.
Tim Nutley -Kenny Dreer  January 29, 2010 09:45 PM
A few years ago, a few miles from where I live in Oregon, Kenny Dreer was so close to selling his creation of this exact motorcycle to the public. I had my deposit sent in with an expected asking price of around $11k (US). The motorcycle (same as you see here) was completed, though Kenny ran a bit short of financing operations. The UK outfit is asking way too much for the same motorcyle, and taking all the credit for Kenny's labors. I wouldn't consider buying a Norton under such false pretenses, leaving Kenny Dreer in the dust.
Alan White -Welcome back Norton  January 26, 2010 11:36 PM
I have a 850 Commando and a Vfr 800 for a bit of fun.. but you've combined these into a hot looking machine that even the Jap riders say looks wild, well done ..if you can match the japanese prices .. get a bigger assembly line you'll need it!
"Flash" Emery -NORTON-&-TRIUMPH Rider  January 8, 2010 07:36 PM
go back to the commando with the extra strength combat cases,put on a drouin supercharger. ..then wrap it all up in a street fighter chassis and watch the rice burn in the rearview...thats what im wrenching on right now...you could sell the sh#t out of them...p.s.keep the gear drive primary that dreer was working on.
Hendrick -Harping backwards  December 13, 2009 08:40 AM
Push-rod parallel twin, dry sump?? Had a look at the exploded (but not enough) diagram of the engine - does this have a centre bearing? Are we looking at something new or is this a Commando motor in disguise? Thin I'll stick with my 75 Laverda - much more modern!!
Richard Wilkes -Norton  September 27, 2009 09:54 AM
Your photos really are annoying, must they be so dark, you basicly show nothing of the biles, all you notice is some bars a wheel and a bit of what?, bodywork. Lets see the whole bike in daylight, can you manage that?
Norton Nice -wow  August 26, 2009 02:54 AM
I like this one fore sure. Wonder if it will ever make it acroos to Australia
dan the man -::  August 25, 2009 05:42 PM
braaap! who care's if its a turd, i would totally buy one!
Mike -Model?  August 24, 2009 10:23 AM
If it's a 961, why does it say 952 on the sidecover?
flan -retro gimmick  August 23, 2009 03:31 PM
Pricier thsn a rocket 111 with hardly any preformance.
Why not a retro rotory or something original.Another rebirthed marque tailing the renoun of a shelved company.
x2468 -ohilins  August 22, 2009 06:28 PM
Oh and it's a nice looking bike. Seems like the suspension is kind of over kill for the motor though. they could easily put Showas or KYBs on it and sell it for 3k quid less. But then it would lose some of that rarity effect, as well as the cool gold bits.
x2468 -Norton  August 22, 2009 06:27 PM
What's up with the bike Norton was going to race at the TT??? I hadn't heard of it once until i saw the Isle of Mann special on Discovery HD.
moozh -very nice...very, very nice....just make it so that I can afford one..  August 21, 2009 05:12 PM
All alas, I'm just a regular middle-income fellow so canot oblige, but if they would make a 'dumbed-down' version, I'd be on it like like a 2-year old with a lollipop!. You know ditch the BST for something more regular, Ohlins for showa's, brembos for nissins, sans any spendy carbon fiber, substitute for black (flat, matte, gloss..whatever is appropriate), bring er in at $9-10k and I'm in!!
SS -BitterSweet  August 20, 2009 09:03 AM
Would keep the Brembo, Ohlins, and BST. Trash the rest. A waste of high end performance parts.
Drunkula -Gorgeous  August 19, 2009 05:54 AM
Very nice looking bike. Shame about the price though (I can't get one)...
themountain -one nice Baby!!  August 18, 2009 02:04 PM
OOh man, I would love to swing a leg over that thing!!
benroe -nice, but pricey  August 17, 2009 08:30 PM
I would love to have one of these bikes, but not at that price. Make an affordable version now!!!
Desmolicious -A stunner!  August 17, 2009 03:48 PM
Gorgeous looking bike. This is what the modern Triumph Bonnevilles should have been.
Shame about this Norton's troubled past and not coming to production.
Hopefully it will happen.
Bob Miller -Norton  August 17, 2009 02:11 PM
Good to see it back and with style!