First Look: 2023 Norton Commando 961 SP and CR

Published: October 12, 2022

Revitalised British brand relaunches its Norton Commando 961 modern classic roadster, built at the firm’s new Solihull factory

2023 Norton Commando 961 SP and CR
2023 Norton Commando 961 CR

It’s only two years since the troubled Norton brand was taken over by Indian giant TVS Motors, and this is the first fruits of the new ownership – a relaunched Commando 961 roadster. Using the same parallel twin overhead valve air-cooled  engine layout as the original 1970s Norton Commando, the new bike puts out 76.8bhp and 81Nm of torque from an 88x79mm bore and stroke.

2023 Norton Commando 961 SP and CR
2023 Norton Commando 961 SP

A modern fuel injection and engine management system looks after the fuelling, while a full stainless exhaust with 3-way catalyst keeps the emissions clean. Wet clutch, five-speed gearbox and a 525 O-ring chain completes the transmission setup.

2023 Norton Commando 961 SP and CR
2023 Norton Commando 961 SP

The dry-sumped 961cc engine is mounted in a classic steel tube frame that’s hand-made in Solihull using TIG and MIG welding. Running gear is premium kit all round: 43mm Öhlins USD front forks and Öhlins twin rear shocks with remote reservoir, all fully adjustable.

Brakes are by Brembo, with 320mm dual discs up front, four-piston radial-mount Monobloc calipers and Brembo master cylinder. Tyres are Dunlop GPR300s in 120/70 and 180/55 17 sizes. The styling is a big part of the Commando of course, and the new bikes look spot-on, with large round stainless steel headlamp, polished aluminium rims on wire-spoked wheels, and hand-painted fuel tanks with fine pinstripe detailing.

2023 Norton Commando 961 SP and CR
2023 Norton Commando 961 CR

Overall, the engine and chassis setup is a recipe for a sweet-handling classic machine. It’s light enough at around 185kg, but the 77bhp power output is a little bit on the leisurely side. Those cycle parts are excellent though, and the new Commando should make a great fun road bike, with superlative looks and handling.

2023 Norton Commando 961 SP and CR
2023 Norton Commando 961 CR

The new Commando 961 is available in two versions: an SP roadster with upright riding position and wide flat bars, and a CR café racer with a tucked riding position and clip-on bars. The SP costs £16,499 and the CR is priced at £16,999. More info: www.nortonmotorcycles.com/range/commando-961/

 

 

 

NORTON COMMANDO 961 SPECIFICATION

ENGINE

  • Engine type: Norton air-oil-cooled pushrod parallel twin with dry sump lubrication
  • Bore & stroke: 88mm x 79mm
  • Displacement: 961cc
  • Compression ratio: 10.1:1
  • Ignition: Crank-fired, electronic fuel injection
  • Exhaust: Full stainless steel exhaust system with multiple 3-way catalytic converter

TRANSMISSION

  • Gearbox: 5-speed constant mesh type
  • Final drive: 525 O-ring chain
  • Clutch: Wet multi-plate

PERFORMANCE

  • Power: 76.8hp @7250rpm
  • Torque: 81Nm @6300rpm

BODYWORK

  • Colour-matched seat cowl
  • Fuel tank: 15 Litre
  • Mudguard: Carbon front mudguard
  • Optional pillion seat (Aftersales)

 

CHASSIS

  • Frame is hand TIG and MIG welded at Norton HQ
  • Handlebars:
    • SP: Black anodised tapered high bars
    • CR: High-grade anodised billet aluminium clip-ons
  • Wheelbase: 1400mm
  • Rake: 24.5 º
  • Trail: 99mm
  • Seat height: 810mm
  • Yokes: Billet-machined

BRAKES

  • Front brakes: Full Brembo system – twin Brembo 320mm fully-floating high carbon steel discs and Brembo 4-piston Mono Bloc radially mounted calipers with ABS, and Brembo front brake master cylinder
  • Rear brakes: Full Brembo system – Brembo 240mm disc and 2-piston caliper with ABS, and Brembo rear brake master cylinder

SUSPENSION

  • Front suspension: 43mm Öhlins upside-down forks – adjustable for preload, compression and rebound damping
  • Rear suspension: Öhlins twin shocks with remote reservoir – fully adjustable

WHEELS

  • Front wheel: 36-spoke, 3.5” x 17” polished aluminium rim
  • Rear wheel: 40-spoke, 5.5” x 17” polished aluminium rim
  • Front tyre: Dunlop Sportmax GPR 300, 120/70 x 17”
  • Rear tyre: Dunlop Sportmax GPR 300, 180/55 x 17”
  • Optional black rims available with Matrix Black colourway

ELECTRONICS

  • Lighting: Polished stainless-steel single headlamp
  • Instruments: Norton analogue speedometer and tachometer
  • Electronics: 300W high-output charging system

COLOUR OPTIONS

961 SP

  • Matrix Black with polished rims
  • Matrix Black with black rims
  • Manx Platinum with polished rims

961 CR

  • Matrix Black with polished rims
  • Manx Platinum with polished rims

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