Full disclosure: I once owned a 1973 Norton Commando 750, and it was probably the most charismatic, sexiest, ego-boosting bike I ever owned. When it ran. Which wasn’t very often.
More disclosure: I was lucky enough to know the test rider when Kenny Dreer took control of the brand and began developing his version of the bike at facilities close to where I live. I got to tour the “factory” and see his vision of the bike develop. He came close to making it happen and it was a very cool re-think of the original Commando, with a modern, updated EFI air-cooled motor and a cool reinterpretation of the iconic bike’s styling. But ultimately, it was all for naught, and the Norton trademark and intellectual property moved on once again, eventually landing in India with scooter and bike maker TVS for the paltry sum of $20 million, but at least TVS has the resources to bring the marque back to market, and even built a factory to make the bikes.
So my heart lifted a bit when the latest iteration of the storied brand was announced by TVS yesterday, with a splashy website and lots of photos. But my heart also sank a bit when I saw the “new” Norton, and while past iterations (a rotary!!) have certainly been plasticlad hypersport land missiles like the new TVS bike, I was still kind of hoping for an air-cooled (and maybe air/oil-cooled) canted P-Twin with those peashooter pipes and inimitable, classic lines. Sort of like what Royal Enfield did with the 650 Interceptor, which is parked in my garage. But I’ll be patient and hope that “this” Norton finds success, and eventually leads to the inevitable cool retro “classic” version down the road, as it were.
In the meantime, let’s get to the numbers and photos of the new 2022 Norton V4SV Manx, which hopefully will actually materialize next year.
The TVS website claims the new V4SV Manx (OK, props for the name) will feature the said 1,200cc V4 liquid-cooled motor and make 185 brake horsepower at an impressive 12,500rpm, and 92 pound-feet of torque. Compression is a steep 13.6:1 and other engine tricks include titanium inlet valves, a slipper clutch, speed shifter with RPM matching and ride by wire. Feel free to add a cruise control, TVS. A frame constructed of polished tubular aluminum sections winks a bit at the past, while an “underseat” carbon fiber gas tank and bodywork along with LED lighting and a 6-inch flat panel LCD display point toward the future.
An Ohlins NIX30 system front fork and TTXGP rear monoshock, both fully adjustable, provide the ride and an Ohlins damper cuts down on the twitch from the bars. Wet, Road and Sport riding modes will be available along with engine performance tweaks through either the panel or more likely an app. Keys? Nope, it’s Norton 2022, there will be a fob and an “electronic steering lock” although in the photos there appears to be an ignition switch. Or maybe it’s a button. Oz aluminum wheels will be on the base bikes, feel free to option up to the full carbon units on what will be a more-lightweight lots-of-carbon-fiber Carbon version. Listed weight is 193kg, or 425 pounds, but the site doesn’t specify which bike that number is for (methinks the base version).
Some other cool tech: There will be a rear view camera in the tail that shows on the LCD, along with the mandated mirrors, and adjustable rake angle, steering offset and swingarm settings.
No prices are listed, and I’ve “enquired” as to what is required to reserve one so we will update with a new post when the bad news arrives. Meanwhile, check out the Norton site and don’t drool on your keyboard over the photo of the triple clamps.