Norton gets street wise
Norton owner Stuart Garner tells how a timely partnership with Maxsym Engines has opened doors to GP racing and a brand-new line up of ultra-modern streetbikes.
While most motorcycle manufacturers are reducing production and costs, newly acquired Norton has exclusively revealed grand plans of adding supersport and superbike contenders to its line-up, starting just two years from now.
Norton boss Stuart Garner has revealed to AMCN the firm's intentions to rapidly expand, a move made possible though clever partnerships that allow the firm to leapfrog many pre-production hurdles.
Not only will Norton have the option of 1200cc superbike and 750cc supersport twin-cylinder machines, Garner revealed that the English firm is elbow deep in developing a Moto2 bike for Grand Prix racing's new four-stroke support class, thats scheduled to replace the two-stroke 250GP category.
Garner has inked a deal to acquire a controlling interest in British engine firm Maxsym, which owns a radically engineered parallel-twin engine design originally for MotoGP, which will form the basis of the new models.
"There was always a focus to get a platform for new-generation four-strokes into Norton and I can now confirm that we have that"
We've done a deal with Maxsym Engines which gives Norton the capability to deliver future new models to the marketplace powered by ultra-modern parellel-twin four-stroke engines, retaining our traditional four-stroke engine format.
We also have an option on the rest of the Maxsym equity, plus we have exclusive use of all their existing engine designs, as well as their capability to design and develop more. We'll be bringing those engines into the factory here at Donington over the next few weeks and putting our design team to work on a new generation of Norton motorcycles using those engines as a platform
The current Maxsym line-up ranges from 500cc thought to 738cc- all parallel twins, but Garner revealed the british-based firm is currently working on a range of larger-capacity motors, up to 1200cc.
"This will allow us to produce a 1200cc Norton twin-cylinder superbike, using our traditional parallel-twin format"
Similarly, Garner said that a supersport machine is "convenient and commercially viable" and since the 600cc Moto2 concept and the 750cc Maxsym engines use the same platform, the 750 supersport streetbike which Norton envisages producing will be compact, light and fast steering.
"So the Maxsym engines can give us a basis of a family of sportsbikes ready for the race track, which will be fully in keeping with Norton's racing heritage, as well as our parallel-twin traditions, but employing extremely avant-garde technology,"
" In fact, we're very close to having a production Maxym streetbike engine ready. In one fell swoop we've leapfrogged many hurdles in establishing an engine concept and pre-production development.
Whether we target the superbike and supersport categories, whether we go faired or unfaired, we need to evaluate that potential to see best where the brand fits and where the engines are best positioned,"
What sets Maxsym engines apart?
"The difference between Maxsym and a conventional parallel-twin engine is it has a very clever, patented counter-balancing system, which pretty well reduces vibration to zero,"
"When you see the bike running, it almost makes your physics teacher look like a clown. When a engine's running, you expect to see it vibrating, so you know its running. But when you see a bike running that's fitted with a Maxsym engine, it's almost cold to touch and since there's so little vibration, you have to hear the noise and put your hand over the exhaust to know its actually firing.
And because of the lack of vibration, it revs very high, which in turn of course produces more power and performance"