Not one, but two hand-built, British designed superbikes are revealed exclusively for the first time at EICMA, International Motorcycle exhibition – after the launch at Birmingham in Nov. 2016 at the NEC. The all-new Norton V4 SS and Norton V4 RR are set to redefine what British sports motorcycles stand for. Together, they are the most technologically advanced road-going British motorcycles ever produced.
Two versions are available – the limited-edition Norton V4 SS which will be available to just 200 buyers – plus the exclusive V4 RR.
However, such is the success of the initial launch of the Norton V4 SS, the exclusive batch of 200 has already been sold to excited Norton customers keen to buy a slice of Norton’s newest flagship. Orders are now being taken on a limited production run of 250 Norton V4 RRs.
With a British-designed, all-new 72-degree Norton V4 engine, the new Norton V4 SS and RR are the fastest Norton road bikes ever produced, and set to shake up the world of exclusive superbikes forever. The new Norton V4 RR models redefine the British superbike as you know it, and bring Norton’s knowledge from an extensive five-year Isle of Man TT race programme to the road, for the first time in the firm’s recent history. Following on from Norton Motorcycle’s TT success in 2016 & 2017, which saw the SG6 achieve a near 131mph average speed lap of the 37.73-mile Mountain Course, and finishing 6th & 7th in the Senior TT 2017 as well as 7th & 8th in the SBK class 2017, the Norton V4 SS and V4 RR are now ready to hit the road in 2017.
Lots of motorcycles claim to be bred on the racetrack, but the new Norton V4 is THE TT racer reborn.
Hand built and designed in-house at the East Midland factory, the design team used inspiration from Norton’s 118-year history of building motorcycles, combined with great British engineering and design techniques used by the British supercar manufacturers.
Announcing the new bikes, Norton CEO Stuart Garner said: “We’re very excited to be finally showing the world our new V4 and can’t wait to see what you think of it. For us, it’s an incredibly exciting bike and another chapter in Norton’s future.”
Stuart continued: “Through our experience building the business over the last seven or eight years, our recent Isle of Man TT activity, our seventh place in the Isle of Man Superbike TT earlier this year, and a near 131mph lap, we feel now is the right time to bring our own V4 to market.”
He added: “We’re now ready to bring that Isle of Man TT race experience we’ve learnt over the last five years to Norton road riders worldwide. At the TT, we’re doing an average speed of 131mph, and it’s a road course. To be able to get the bike set-up to work at every point on the Mountain course - from 120mph sweepers to flat-out 200mph straights - has allowed us develop everything we need for a great handling road bike.”
Stuart continued: “When we say we’re race developed, we’re road race developed, and we think that’s the best way to test your road bike. Sure, some riders will take the new V4 on a track day and it will be ace for that, but it’s a very, very pure development process that we’ve done at the TT that has given us a very strong all-round road capability with the platform we’ve put together.”
Norton has produced a hand built, British motorcycle using the finest materials available in motorcycling, and is ready to shake-up the competition.
Stuart said: “We’ve tried to move the bar a little bit with this bike, with the chassis, the swing arm, the carbon, the electronics, and a V4 with 1200cc, banging out north of 200bhp. We’ve looked at where the competition is at today, and thought ‘how do we take that on and beat it?’ We wanted to create a bike that’s not lesser spec than the competition, but a V4 that is at least where the cream of the market is today, and then go past that. We’re confident we can go past it with some performance, we can go past it with some handling, and the electronics too. But then you get the exclusivity and the hand built British Norton. A V4 that delivers everything with a little bit more swagger, and a little bit more exclusivity than the mass market superbikes out there today, but with a hand built finish and exclusive numbers.”
The heart of the revolutionary new Norton is an all-new 72-degree, 1200cc V-Four engine designed in conjunction with engine technology specialist Ricardo and putting out 200bhp at 12,500rpm.
The liquid-cooled V4 motorcycle is built in-house at Norton’s Donington Hall factory to the firm’s own design. The engine package was developed concurrently with the whole design to complement Norton’s designs targets for the motorcycle which included: timeless design, use of expensive materials, hand-fabricated parts, and staying true to Norton’s authentic heritage.
The Norton V4 is designed to offer uncompromised ride ability with a wide spread of torque for real road riding, combined with an exciting and power-packed top-end. To further aid riders and make the bike suitable for all kinds of riding, engine modes will be available including: Road, Track and Race Pro.
Through the whole development project, the team have engineered the engine to be a true Norton with real TT racer feel for the road, while delivering an exciting power curve for maximum rider satisfaction and explosive power.
The all-new engine’s 72-degree V-angle allowed the team to give optimum chassis geometry and reduce the length of the engine for a more compact motorcycle.
The design and engineering team designed the engine to make it as compact as possible, including placing the starter motor and oil filter on one side.
This allows the exhaust pipes to run down the opposite side of the engine so they’re tucked in, allowing the engine to be moved further forward in the chassis, improving weight distribution. It also makes for a narrower motorcycle overall.
The V4 engine uses titanium valves, a 6-speed cassette gearbox and a race-bred slipper clutch to assist with sports riding and rapid down changes along with the autoblipper system.
Eight fuel injectors use variable inlet tracts and full ride-by-wire throttle system. It makes 130Nm of torque at 10,000rpm. And of course, the new engine is Euro 4 compliant yet putting out 200bhp.
The technology in the V4 continues with a six-axis Bosch Inertial Measurement Unit to give the rider full control of the 200bhp TT-inspired race bike for the road using one of the most advanced electronic systems available on the market.
Norton’s Head of Design, Simon Skinner said: “It features multi-setting traction-control, anti-wheelie, engine braking strategies, cruise control and launch control along with a datalogging system for use on the track. For keen track day riders, or a sneaky run at the traffic lights, launch control is also fitted as standard.
He continued: “The V4 has launch control, anti-wheelie, auto down blip gear changes, a quick shifter upshift, traction-control, fly-by-wire throttle, cruise control and it all functions through a full-colour 7-inch screen. We don’t think we need an infinite level of traction-control settings, it’s not about that. We have a couple of settings, or a rider can turn it off and have some fun. That’s what we’re about.”
He added: “The V4 is entirely our own engine developed in conjunction with Ricardo. We’ve packaged and designed the motorcycle at the same time as the engine to allow us to put everything where we want it, and it has allowed us to create an incredibly compact package. For a 1200cc, 200bhp, 72-degree V4 it’s incredibly tiny yet the riding position means bigger riders are comfortable too.”
With a polished, hand built aluminium twin-tube shotgun chassis on the SS, and a cast frame and swing arm on the RR, the bikes use geometry and stiffness tested at the TT on the Norton SG5 race bike. And in the case of the V4 SS, large sections of the main frame are CNC machined from aerospace grade billet. It’s true to say the new Norton V4 truly was bred at the Isle of Man TT on the world’s most rigorous racetrack. Some bikes claim to be race-bred, the Norton V4 truly is road race bred.
The advanced chassis, with the engine acting as a stressed member, features an adjustable headstock angle, and swing arm pivot to suit even the most aggressive riders trying to tame the TT bike for-the-road.
The frame is actually 3kg lighter than the SG5 race bike frame, but is designed to deliver great feel and feedback to the rider, allowing it to be pushed harder when ridden on track. It allows riders to gain confidence in the feeling from the bike’s chassis, while still exceeding the highest standards of fatigue, testing and abuse learnt from Norton’s TT experience.
Of course, being TT developed, stability is at the bike’s core, while still remaining agile and quick-steering.
On the V4 SS, billet machined outriggers are made from 7020 aerospace grade aluminium, combined with a 7000 series extrusion specially developed for motorcycle frames to aerospace quality standards. The frame is hand tig welded at the Norton factory and hand polished to a mirror finish.
The RR will feature a cast swing arm and cast outriggers.
Such is Norton’s quest for the highest-quality finish and materials, the Norton V4 SS features CNC-milled billet single-sided swing arm built for extreme stiffness and underslung to lower the centre of gravity. An incredible 70kg of billet is machined down to a swing arm that weighs just 3.1kg.
Depending on the colour ordered, wheels are full carbon-fibre front and rear on the black carbon-fibre bike. The chrome bike will use forged aluminium wheels in red as used on the SG5 TT bike.
Race-spec footrests, top and bottom yokes and brake lever and gear change lever are all machined from billet, too on the SS.
Packaging and styling:
The design and engineering team concentrated on designing the engine and chassis as a package from day one of the project. Using cutting-edge technology with integrated design, no part of the V4 is there for show, every louvre and duct on the bike is functional.
In a first for motorcycle design, the team used advanced design techniques including rapid CAD design to take the concept straight from CAD without an intervening clay model or physical prototype. This process speeds development by up to a year and shows Norton at the forefront of motorcycle design.
The narrow engine allows for a sleek fairing wrapped tightly to the chassis. With inspiration taken from some of the finest British supercar manufacturers developing world class design, the V4’s styling gives a modern, contemporary feel while still being clearly British.
Getting the stance of the bike right was paramount to making it look aggressive, yet subtle on its wheels. With dimensions more suited to a modern MotoGP bike, there’s a short distance between the tank and handlebars, but that’s combined with a long, flat seat to suit all sizes of riders also allows sporty riders to move around and maximise the bike’s handling.
At the front, the bike is smaller and narrower than equivalent class 1000cc inline four-cylinder rivals, and closer in size to some supersport rivals.
The narrowness at the front profile is thanks to clever engine packaging. An under seat MotoGP-style 18-litre fuel tank is all carbon-fibre, with Kevlar reinforcement and chemically coated internally to meet fuel resistance standards. The airbox is formed as part of the underside of the tank.
A split, two-piece radiator with an additional oil-cooler is used. This allowed the team to place the cooling fan at the bottom of the radiator and squeeze the motor forward for optimum weight bias.
Using carbon-fibre bodywork, the V4RR and SS is available in carbon-fibre, or in a TT-replica chrome, just like the Norton SG5 race bike.
Full LED lights are used front and rear, and for improved rider accessibility, the dash is a 7-inch full-colour HD screen. All rider modes and electronics are managed through this on-board system.
Norton’s Simon Skinner had to look outside of traditional motorcycle design for inspiration for the V4, he said: “I’ve had to go outside of motorcycles for design inspiration for this bike. From a design point of view, brands like Aston Martin, Jaguar and McLaren are leading the world, so I’ve been looking at the DB11 for instance, and the way that has developed, the way McLaren has built the P1, and what Jaguar are doing, and I’ve tried to incorporate that into a motorcycle design.”
He added: “We want the same kind of ownership experience from this bike that people get when they buy an Aston Martin. We want owners to go outside and look under the cover and dream of riding it. For us, it’s the quality of design, the materials, and the ability to do things with a motorcycle that larger companies couldn’t. I’m talking about the billet swing arm, the carbon fibre bodywork, the hand built frame. Working with bikes like our Norton Domiracer where we had a hand built aluminium tank next to carbon fibre, it was a really unique design and proposition and we’ve built on that philosophy with the V4 for a really unique experience.”
Continuing the relationship with the suppliers of the race forks for the SG5 TT race bike, the Norton V4 features fully-adjustable Ohlins NIX 30 system front forks with radially-mounted Brembo Monobloc calipers on large 330mm fully-floating front discs.
At the rear, the Norton V4 uses an Ohlins TTX GP rear shock specially designed for the Norton V4SS in conjunction with the legendary suspension firm. An Ohlins steering damper is also fitted as standard.
NORTON V4 SS TECHNICAL HIGHLIGHTS
Type: Norton 72-degree liquid-cooled V4, 1200cc. Chain-driven cams with idler gear for reduced engine height. Titanium inlet valves. Slipper clutch
Bore x Stroke: 82mm x 56.8mm
Compression Ratio: 13.6:1
Power: 200bhp + @ 12,500rpm
Torque: 130Nm @ 10,000rpm
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel-injection system. Constantly variable inlet tracts. 8-fuel injectors. Full drive-by-wire system independent of front and rear banks of cylinders for ultimate control and feel.
Euro 4: Full compliance including oil thermostat, knock sensors, secondary air injection and EVAP
INSTRUMENTS: Full-colour 7-inch display with multiple functions. Engine mode adjustability including: Road, Track and Pro-Race. Road modes include rear-view camera.
QUICKSHIFT: Full quickshift system and auto down blipper
ELECTRONIC AIDS: Multi-setting traction-control, wheelie control, launch control and cruise control. Uses six-axis Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)
BUILT-IN DATALOGGER: Full data-logging capability including: lap times, max lean angle, max speed, max throttle, and max braking force.
ENGINE MODES: Road, Sport, Pro-Race
IGNITION: Keyless ignition system
TYPE: Polished aluminium twin tube Shotgun chassis.
ADJUSTABLE GEOMETRY: Chassis is fully-adjustable including swing arm pivot and adjustable rake angle. 23.9 degree steering head angle as standard set-up.
SINGLE-SIDED BILLET SWINGARM: 570mm long. Braced and underslung design developed in conjunction with SG5 TT race bike. Billet machined from 7020 billet aluminium.
DRY WEIGHT: 179kg
FRONT SUSPENSION: Ohlins NIX30 system front fork. Fully-adjustable.
REAR SUSPENSION: Ohlins TTXGP Norton bespoke fully-adjustable rear shock.
STEERING DAMPER: Ohlins damper
FORK YOKES: Billet machined top and bottom
FRONT TYRE: Tbc
FRONT WHEEL: Choice of carbon or forged wheels depending on spec
REAR TYRE: Tbc
REAR WHEEL: Choice of carbon-fibre or forged wheels depending on spec/colour
FRONT BRAKE: 2 x 330mm full-floating discs. Radially-mounted Brembo Monobloc calipers. Brembo discs, and Brembo master cylinder
REAR BRAKE: Single 245mm disc. Brembo caliper and master-cylinder
BODYWORK & STYLING: Full-carbon-fibre bodywork. Available in either bare carbon-fibre, or chrome with air-brushed Union Jack on the tail unit.
LIGHTING: Full LED lighting system including super bright low beam & high beam, angel eye DRLs, rear lamps and indicators
FUEL TANK: MotoGP-style 18-litre fuel tank is all carbon-fibre, with Kevlar reinforcement and chemically coated internally to meet fuel resistance standards. Underside of tank forms part of upper airbox.
FOOTRESTS: Billet foot rests, billet pedals and billet sprocket cover supplied on SS model. Forged foot controls on the V4 RR.
OPTIONAL: Full titanium race system supplied with aftermarket tune, approx 8kg lighter and approx 10bhp more. – NOTE: RACE EXHAUST NOT FOR ROAD USE
Specifications correct at time of going to press but liable to change. Further design and engineering information, plus information on other Norton models and history available at: www.nortonmotorcycles.com