961 as your only bike...

lcrken

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My 961 isn't my only bike, but it is the one I ride most of the time. But if I could only have one bike, it probably wouldn't be a 961. I own one because I've been a Norton guy for almost 50 years, and it just seemed like I needed one. If I could only have one bike, and was still physically up to riding regularly, I'd want something more reliable, with stable parts availability, and preferably a bit lighter weight. Hopefully, I'll never have to make that choice.

Ken
 

BritTwit

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Weight seems to be a real issue with some modern classics other than the 961.
I noticed on the Kawasaki website that the 2020 W800 weights in at 496.1 lbs.
WTF?
 

Stephen_Spencer

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Hey Ken, “never have to make that choice” - have you found the secret to eternal youth ;)? Guess we are all going to have to make that choice, we ‘old farts’ sooner than most I suppose! Would be really interesting to know the average age of the Norton 961 owner - anybody want to hazzard guess?

I’m gonna ride my CR until I can no longer peel myself off it following a ride with the boys. Thereafter, I’ll do the high bar conversion and keep riding until I start dropping it turning in the pub car park - a sure sign it’s time to stop! After that I’ll park it up somewhere prominent and polish it until it cannot be viewed without the aid of sun glasses!! Meanwhile I’ll be grooming my grandson (poor phraseology) for future ownership! Always used to give my old man a hard time for not keeping his Royal Enfield Bullet 500, but then again he did write it off t-boning a hearse (true story!)
 
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lcrken

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Hey Ken, “never have to make that choice” - have you found the secret to eternal youth ;)? Guess we are all going to have to make that choice, we ‘old farts’ sooner than most I suppose! Would be really interesting to know the average age of the Norton 961 owner - anybody want to hazzard guess?

I’m gonna ride my CR until I can no longer peel myself off it following a ride with the boys. Thereafter, I’ll do the high bar conversion and keep riding until I start dropping it turning in the pub car park - a sure sign it’s time to stop! After that I’ll park it up somewhere prominent and polish it until it cannot be viewed without the aid of sun glasses!! Meanwhile I’ll be grooming my grandson (poor phraseology) for future ownership! Always used to give my old man a hard time for not keeping his Royal Enfield Bullet 500, but then again he did write it off t-boning a hearse (true story!)
Average age of the 961 owner? That would be interesting. I'm 78, but I'm pretty sure that the average age is a bit less than that :D. I've only met maybe 6 other owners, and they were all younger than me.

I do plan to keep mine as long as I can still ride it, and then pass it on to my grandson. Hopefully that will be some years in the future. He already has a nice MK3, and likes the 961 a lot. I let him ride it occasionally when we are riding together, and I want to give one of the other bikes some time.

Ken
 

Fast Eddie

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Weight seems to be a real issue with some modern classics other than the 961.
I noticed on the Kawasaki website that the 2020 W800 weights in at 496.1 lbs.
WTF?
It’s a real bug bear of mine for sure. And given that a lot of older guys are in that market, it’s just does not make sense.

Ignoring factory figures and going by my bathroom scales, my 961 was around 70lbs heavier than my liquid cooled 1200cc Ducati Monster, although both are slightly different to stock (the difference between them felt a LOT more than that though).

And I remember the time my Dad, who rode a Hinckley Bonnie, went on my T160 and said “Wow that’s light” and that’s a bike that the classic world thinks is a heavy old truck.

It must be down to cost at the end of the day I guess.
 
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Voodooo

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Average age of the 961 owner? That would be interesting. I'm 78, but I'm pretty sure that the average age is a bit less than that :D. I've only met maybe 6 other owners, and they were all younger than me.

I do plan to keep mine as long as I can still ride it, and then pass it on to my grandson. Hopefully that will be some years in the future. He already has a nice MK3, and likes the 961 a lot. I let him ride it occasionally when we are riding together, and I want to give one of the other bikes some time.

Ken
The topic of ownership age is interesting. IM 48.
Don’t ever see myself selling my Norton’s
 
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MAK

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The topic of ownership age is interesting. IM 48.
Don’t ever see myself selling my Norton’s
Is this a confessional..
60 with a Curly Norton tattoo on upper arm done in 1977.
Had to be a Norton arm not big enough for Kawasaki
 
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Is this a confessional..
60 with a Curly Norton tattoo on upper arm done in 1977.
Had to be a Norton arm not big enough for Kawasaki
Keep the thread going I’m 69 and the Norton is a definitely a keeper
 
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Weight seems to be a real issue with some modern classics other than the 961.
I noticed on the Kawasaki website that the 2020 W800 weights in at 496.1 lbs.
WTF?
It seems hard to get a series produced twin bike weighing less than ca. 215 kg, whether modern (watercooled) or retro styled (air/oil cooled). A modern twin bike needs an e-start, a balance shaft, a decent clutch, 5 or 6 gears, cooling ancillaries, a restrictive exhaust system possibly w/cat, some fairing, and all those electrical gizmos.
I've compared the Norton 961, Triumph's T100, Yamaha TRX850 (TDM900 was heavier), Ducati Multistrada 950, and BMW F800GT (the new F900 is heavier). They all fall into the 215 kg range, give or take a couple of kg. The Kawa W800 and the TDM900 tops the scale at 223 to 225 kg.

Shedding weight requires lighter materials, elaborate optimalizations and a more advanced manufacturing techniques - which all lead to a higher price. It's doable - but I doubt the average buyer would be prepared to pay the increased cost.

-Knut
 
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I believe in having spares. Spare car. Spare bike. Not spare wife - that would be too much. :p
 

BritTwit

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Shedding weight requires lighter materials, elaborate optimalizations and a more advanced manufacturing techniques - which all lead to a higher price. It's doable - but I doubt the average buyer would be prepared to pay the increased cost.

-Knut
I think you're right.
Plus with the severely limited quantities that "classics" like the 961 are produced in, there aren't that many production units to recover production costs.
It's a shame really.
 
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As an outsider here.... would the 961 have held as much appeal if it had used a 'bought in' engine?? Though I assume that might have to lead to water cooling and the attendant add ons...
 

BritTwit

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If the 961 had another say 15 Horse , I doubt we would be complaining about its weight too much.
With these changes:

Another 15HP
Better throttle bodies/EFI system (Keihin)
Better crank/balancer synchronization (lower vibes)
Tubeless mag wheel option (alloys, not the BST wheels)
Metal tank (unfortunately heavier than plastic tank)
Aluminum swingarm with eccentric chain adjusters (Save weight of the new metal tank)

I would not be complaining again.:p
 

BritTwit

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As an outsider here.... would the 961 have held as much appeal if it had used a 'bought in' engine?? Though I assume that might have to lead to water cooling and the attendant add ons...
I think I suggested previously a way to build a new Command:

1. Buy 1000 units of the Triumph Speed Twins.
2. Have Triumph (or their Asian manufacturer) slap on Norton and Commando badges.
3. Announce the new Norton Commando 1200.
4. Sell me one.

As I recall, it was not a popular suggestion for some at the time.
 
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I think I suggested previously a way to build a new Command:

1. Buy 1000 units of the Triumph Speed Twins.
2. Have Triumph (or their Asian manufacturer) slap on Norton and Commando badges.
3. Announce the new Norton Commando 1200.
4. Sell me one.

As I recall, it was not a popular suggestion for some at the time.
Yes, but I wasn't suggesting re-badging another bike, was thinking more along the lines of CCM who use proprietary power units yet retain their own identity.
 

BritTwit

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Well, when CCM builds a model they probably know which power unit they will be using, and design the chassis for that unit, no?
Shoehorning a motor into the 961 frame that it wasn't designed for will be difficult, and of course have an effect on the overall CG and weight bias and handling of the bike.

We have seen examples of the previous generation of Hinckley twins placed in 961 frames.
However, it's impossible to tell how this effects handling.
Looks nice though.
 
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Well, when CCM builds a model they probably know which power unit they will be using, and design the chassis for that unit, no?
Shoehorning a motor into the 961 frame that it wasn't designed for will be difficult, and of course have an effect on the overall CG and weight bias and handling of the bike.

We have seen examples of the previous generation of Hinckley twins placed in 961 frames.
However, it's impossible to tell how this effects handling.
Looks nice though.
Again, the scenario was the bike built from the off with an out sourced power unit.....
 

lcrken

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It seems hard to get a series produced twin bike weighing less than ca. 215 kg, whether modern (watercooled) or retro styled (air/oil cooled). A modern twin bike needs an e-start, a balance shaft, a decent clutch, 5 or 6 gears, cooling ancillaries, a restrictive exhaust system possibly w/cat, some fairing, and all those electrical gizmos.
I've compared the Norton 961, Triumph's T100, Yamaha TRX850 (TDM900 was heavier), Ducati Multistrada 950, and BMW F800GT (the new F900 is heavier). They all fall into the 215 kg range, give or take a couple of kg. The Kawa W800 and the TDM900 tops the scale at 223 to 225 kg.

Shedding weight requires lighter materials, elaborate optimalizations and a more advanced manufacturing techniques - which all lead to a higher price. It's doable - but I doubt the average buyer would be prepared to pay the increased cost.

-Knut
I was looking at modern twins before I bought my Triumph Street Triple late last year. The most appealing candidates were the Ducati Scrambler 800, which weighs 70 to 90 lbs. less than the 961 (depending on whose numbers you believe), with only 7 less horespower; the KTM 790 Duke, with 80+ lbs less weight and 23 more horsepower; and the Yamaha FZ-07, with 100+ lbs. less weight and only 6 less horsepower. The MV Brutale 800 and the BMW F700GS also looked pretty good.

I didn't see any of them as replacements for the 961. After all, they aren't Nortons :), But I was looking for a more modern twin with better performance and less weight, for those rides where I wanted a bit different experience. I ended up with the Street Triple instead, and it has been a revelation. It weighs 100 lbs less than the 961, and has 26 more horsepower. The extra horsepower is nice, but it's the lighter weight that I find makes a huge difference in riding the tight, twisty stuff.

Ken
 
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