After a horrible start to the year, Norton Motorcycles is back in business. At least, that’s what the new CEO says; John Russell says the V4RR superbike will be released by the end of the year.
If that actually happens, it’s a wild turnaround for Norton, which started the year by going into receivership (a fancy British way of saying the company’s gone bust). As days went by, the company’s finances were dragged into the public, with all sorts of questions about former CEO Stuart Garner’s conduct (he was dinged to pay back $17.5 million in pension funds!). After much ballyhoo, Indian moto manufacturer TVS came along and bought the brand, and started rebuilding the company.
Now, the bigwigs say Norton is ready to release the new V4RR. If so, that would indicate a massive change at the company, as Norton’s been infamous for years for production interruptions and other delays. If TVS can turn things around this quickly, it’s a good sign, probably. Production remains in the UK, but it looks like new bosses have improved morale and efficiency.
What would the new V4RR look like? Supposedly, we’re going to get an aluminum frame, single-sided swingarm and lots and lots of carbon-fibre bodywork and other bits. The Norton website confirms we’ll get 200 horsepower at the crank from the 1200cc V4 engine, and 96 pound-feet of torque. We also get the promise of an IOMTT-tuned chassis. Errrr, Norton’s not done so well at the TT lately, but maybe that will attract some customers.
Norton’s got a long way to go to rehab its image, but if this machine actually comes to market on time, and it’s properly-sorted, it could go a long way towards starting that process.