An historic british motorcycle marque
The Norton Manufacturing Company produced bikes from 1898 until 1975. A small
group continued to build a wankel rotary powered bike sold only to police
forces (the Interpol). An attempt to revive the name following the increased visibility of motorcycling in the late 1990's failed to get any bikes into
Norton is possibly best known for the winning results their machines achieved
in racing in the 1950s, when they introduced the featherbed frame. Norton produced winning designs both before and
after (notably the (single cylinder) Manx in the late 1930s and the Atlas
twin cylinder machines produced in the late 1960's.
In 1967 Norton released the inexpensive and widely popular Commando,
a parallel twin which put a modified Atlas engine into a lightweight
frame utilizing rubber mounts to reduce vibration. Originally sold as a
750cc machine, it was followed in 1972 by an 850cc version, which eventually
sported a front disk brake (1973) and electric start (1975).
Norton's continue to have a loyal following, and parts for the Commando
and Atlas machines are still readily available. At least one maker of
custom bikes in the US produces a modernized version of the Commando
utilizing modern engine, suspension and tire components. These bikes
are said to be fully capable of rivaling modern production superbikes.
Like most british bikes Nortons included electrical parts by lucas
electric (aka the prince of darkness).