Norton 961 Commando a keeper?

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"... assuming they have no Astons and ambitions of TT glory.
Or a game farm on another continent.

I was taking a beer in the man cave earlier and polishing the bikes with a bit of muc off polish. I came to the conclusion that the 961 or rather what may come after it such as a "999 or 1200 Commando" will never be a volume bike made in the UK. But if the company goes into liquidation and someobody bids for whatever IP there is and decided to make small numbers and I really do mean small numbers from a small facility (not Donnington Hall), what would they sell for. Companies like Matisse sell their bikes for £17K+ I think and there really isn't much to them.

The quality of most parts on my 961 I think are very good, what if someone stuck to pretty much the same build quality, albeit improved on one or two things, maybe Al tank from the getgo, what would some folk pay for a british commando? unlikely they would achieve brough superior prices but would there be an appetite for something retailing around £25K and would a small concern make a living from that, assuming they have no Astons and ambitions of TT glory.
It's certainly possible to find buyers for 25K provided that the exclusivity, quality, reliability, and dealer support are there. However, using the 961 mill is probably not likely. The new startup would have to find suppliers, pay high prices to procure parts for low production levels, etc...
Working like Bimota would probably be better.
1. Buy someone else's motor (already tried, proven, and assembled) with Norton badging
2. Build the frame/swingarm, but buy premium rolling components - Forks, calipers, rotors, wheels, etc.
3. Design swoopy, stylish body work like the 961's

Kind of like the Morgan company.

Once the company is on it's feet and in the black, they can start to design their own engines.
Of course by that time the enviro-nazis will have banned ICE motorcycles and forced everyone onto electrics.
 
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I think only a small handful of old commando riders purchased 961's, I may be wrong but my perception is/was that they felt it wasn't a real Norton. I doubt any purchasers of 961's were not aware of the illustrious history of the brand and bought exactly because of that and the thought of a proper british bike fired them up. Exactly why i put my deposit down in Nov 17 at the bike show. By in large, I think they made a damn good bike once some of the niggly issues have been put right.
 
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I see, and the likes of MXMartin and Fast Eddie also but i just get the feeling from some posters here and some guys I met at bike shows, they didn't approve and now the latest saga will make them feel justified to be negative about this era of Norton.
 
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I see, and the likes of MXMartin and Fast Eddie also but i just get the feeling from some posters here and some guys I met at bike shows, they didn't approve and now the latest saga will make them feel justified to be negative about this era of Norton.
I actually agree with you.
I have met hipsters at outings who bought Triumphs even though they preferred the Norton's appearance, because of the negative press on the 961.
I know that there are some owners of old Bonnies on this forum who bought a 961 too.
 
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I was interested in a modern bonnie, around 2013 but got my moto guzzi instead and didn't regret it. I viewed the 961 as more of a british bike and I don't think I was wrong. I knew Norton was making bikes back when I bought the V7 but I just wasn't use to thinking about spending that sort of money (£13K) on a bike. So £7K seemed about right, even though I was probably earning more money then than I am now. I suppose getting older and wanting something special, I was even mildly contemplating the Brough but then into my world came the 961 and at £16.5K with £4K of extras included, it was too much to resist. I intend to keep but maybe limit the mileage to under 2K per year.
 

lcrken

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The chap that I bought my 961 from hadn't owned an earlier Commando, but did own a lot of really interesting high end bikes, and was a very serious rider, not a poser. I, on the other hand, had owned quite a few old Commandos before buying the 961:D.

I'd buy another one if I could find a good deal locally, but they are pretty thin on the ground here.

Ken
 

ntst8

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The P.O. of mine was a loooong time Norton owner, I have only had Norton’s since 1984.
My wife or kids will have to worry about what to do with mine when I’m gone.
 
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I was interested in a modern bonnie, around 2013 but got my moto guzzi instead and didn't regret it. I viewed the 961 as more of a british bike and I don't think I was wrong. I knew Norton was making bikes back when I bought the V7 but I just wasn't use to thinking about spending that sort of money (£13K) on a bike. So £7K seemed about right, even though I was probably earning more money then than I am now. I suppose getting older and wanting something special, I was even mildly contemplating the Brough but then into my world came the 961 and at £16.5K with £4K of extras included, it was too much to resist. I intend to keep but maybe limit the mileage to under 2K per year.
I've never owned a Norton but was blown away by the 961 when it came out in 2010. Some people said £15K was a crazy price for such a low tech bike, but I thought it was an amazing bargain for a high quality hand built machine and I wondered how Norton could possibly make money at such low volumes.
Then I read horror stories about people putting down deposits, not getting their bikes after many months and eventually having to seek legal redress - so I decided I didn't want that hassle.
The appearance of the Mk2 aroused my interest again, but after joining this site it seemed as if every other day another new problem with the bike reared its head and I just kept putting off the purchase.
I still haven't completely given up on the 961 however. I think if by any chance Norton was to survive in this country, and the bike made the way it should have been from day one, then £25K would be realistic - and I think it would be worth it. My other dream is for a UK Norton guru - someone of the calibre of Richard-7 in the US say - to set up and, for a suitable fee, take existing owners bikes in and rebuild them with all required mods to make them reliable, replacing components of dubious origin with genuine - if a person with the capabilities (and the inclination) exists.
In the meantime I'm looking for an alternative bike to tide me over and was looking to take a test ride on a V7 this month (scuppered by lock down of course). I'd be very interested to know what you think of your V7 and how it compares with your 961?
 

MAK

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I've never owned a Norton but was blown away by the 961 when it came out in 2010. Some people said £15K was a crazy price for such a low tech bike, but I thought it was an amazing bargain for a high quality hand built machine and I wondered how Norton could possibly make money at such low volumes.
Then I read horror stories about people putting down deposits, not getting their bikes after many months and eventually having to seek legal redress - so I decided I didn't want that hassle.
The appearance of the Mk2 aroused my interest again, but after joining this site it seemed as if every other day another new problem with the bike reared its head and I just kept putting off the purchase.
I still haven't completely given up on the 961 however. I think if by any chance Norton was to survive in this country, and the bike made the way it should have been from day one, then £25K would be realistic - and I think it would be worth it. My other dream is for a UK Norton guru - someone of the calibre of Richard-7 in the US say - to set up and, for a suitable fee, take existing owners bikes in and rebuild them with all required mods to make them reliable, replacing components of dubious origin with genuine - if a person with the capabilities (and the inclination) exists.
In the meantime I'm looking for an alternative bike to tide me over and was looking to take a test ride on a V7 this month (scuppered by lock down of course). I'd be very interested to know what you think of your V7 and how it compares with your 961?
Comparing a V7 to a 961 is missing the point.
With all due respect a V7 is not a Norton.
 

ntst8

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I haven't ridden a V7 although did toy with the idea pre 961. The spec sheet says 52HP, the 961 is sometimes criticised for being low on power but would be a rocket ship compared to that.
 
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I didn't compare a V7 to a Norton, I said I bought due to not wanting to spend £15K at the time. It was a great bike actually and despite 52HP, it had some grunt and handled and sounded great. But as I have had both bikes, I certainly prefer the 961 although in 7 years of ownership, I had zero issues with it
 
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My first road bike was a '69 750 Commando bought in '74. I was the only kid on the block with a Norton and that made it all the more special, my mates were on Triumphs, AJS and Matchless. The darn thing nearly killed me though, it wasn't set up right and what does an 18 year old know about isolastics and shims. After my accident I built a 750 Commando 'special' complete with CMA mag wheels etc but the left foot gear linkage didn't work so well so it got sold. I then went through a spell of several jap bikes because they were left foot shift... a Suzi 380, a Honda CX500, a Honda CB900 and a kwacka GPz1100. I missed the snort of a Norton so acquired an 850 Mk3 Interstate and ran 3 (might have been 4) of these one after the other, putting high mileages on each and getting rid of them when they broke, they are all probably out there somewhere. I fell in love with the 961 as soon as I saw it when first released but there was no way on this planet I was going to pay that sort of money, and I certainly wasn't prepared to go down the route of restoring an old Commando, I had had enough of them and didn't want someone elses nightmare. I had pretty much forgot all about the 961 until I bought the ThruxtonR, as good as the R was it invited a style of riding and a hint of past times that made me want a Norton even more. When I heard about the anniv. models I convinced the wife to let me have one , £16k was cheap compared to any of the previous H-D's I'd owned. I knew that I was likely to be inviting trouble but as a third bike in the garage I felt that I could take the risk if it proved unreliable, but so far so good :)
 

Bluey72e

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Did anybody buy a 961 not knowing anything about Norton’s.
Me, I was looking at a Thruxton R and an older mate that's ridden bikes forever said "They look like a Norton".... quick google search and here I am, out of pocket, obsessed beyond reason and mopping up pools of warm oil on occasion cause it blows oil out when it chooses to...... Will not get rid of it for anything but am looking at more... shall we say reliable options for the day to day ride.
 
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I've never owned a Norton but was blown away by the 961 when it came out in 2010. Some people said £15K was a crazy price for such a low tech bike, but I thought it was an amazing bargain for a high quality hand built machine and I wondered how Norton could possibly make money at such low volumes.
Then I read horror stories about people putting down deposits, not getting their bikes after many months and eventually having to seek legal redress - so I decided I didn't want that hassle.
The appearance of the Mk2 aroused my interest again, but after joining this site it seemed as if every other day another new problem with the bike reared its head and I just kept putting off the purchase.
I still haven't completely given up on the 961 however. I think if by any chance Norton was to survive in this country, and the bike made the way it should have been from day one, then £25K would be realistic - and I think it would be worth it. My other dream is for a UK Norton guru - someone of the calibre of Richard-7 in the US say - to set up and, for a suitable fee, take existing owners bikes in and rebuild them with all required mods to make them reliable, replacing components of dubious origin with genuine - if a person with the capabilities (and the inclination) exists.
In the meantime I'm looking for an alternative bike to tide me over and was looking to take a test ride on a V7 this month (scuppered by lock down of course). I'd be very interested to know what you think of your V7 and how it compares with your 961?
That's what happened with Hesketh, Mick Broom (I think that's the chap) rebuilt them as the should have been built in the first place developing upgrades as he went. Quite sought after now though I would much prefer a 961. Like you though I was tempted but the poor owner experiences put me off, I've got a 1973 Norton that needs enough care and attention without adding a new one! Still if the second hand prices come down a bit I might still take the plunge.
 
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Comparing a V7 to a 961 is missing the point.
With all due respect a V7 is not a Norton.
I agree, the 961 is unique. I'm just looking for a naked alternative to be going on with - and I don't want another Triumph!
 
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That's what happened with Hesketh, Mick Broom (I think that's the chap) rebuilt them as the should have been built in the first place developing upgrades as he went. Quite sought after now though I would much prefer a 961. Like you though I was tempted but the poor owner experiences put me off, I've got a 1973 Norton that needs enough care and attention without adding a new one! Still if the second hand prices come down a bit I might still take the plunge.
The new Hesketh Valiant SC looks absolutely stunning. Top quality and in a different league to the old Hesketh. £50K, but what a bike!
I'm not sure I could cope with 210bhp and 295Nm of torque though - not to mention the 239kg dry weight!
Now if they could come up with a 1 litre version, 40 or so kg lighter, then I could really be tempted!
 
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I didn't compare a V7 to a Norton, I said I bought due to not wanting to spend £15K at the time. It was a great bike actually and despite 52HP, it had some grunt and handled and sounded great. But as I have had both bikes, I certainly prefer the 961 although in 7 years of ownership, I had zero issues with it
I'm not looking for power, so in that respect the V7 looks a reasonable, albeit budget, alternative to the 961. I have yet to test ride one but they do appear a bit on the physically small side and, although I'm not overly tall at a shade under 6ft, I'm wondering if comfort would be an issue for longer journeys. How did you find the bike yourself?
 
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