The Café Racer version of the 961 Commando is a real emotional trap. Combining beauty, vintage and English passion, this Norton improves with this so-called Mark II evolution. The manufacturer has made efforts to raise the level of finish and make various mechanical improvements. The brake calipers are still radial Brembo but they are now one-piece; the gold coating has given way to a graphite finish. The brake and clutch master cylinders are also signed Brembo. Engine side, the crankshaft is revised, the cylinders receive a new Nikasil treatment, and the box is improved by a new set of gears.
The 961 Commando Café Racer:
This is a 3rd verse of the new generation Commando. And like all of the manufacturer’s charismatic motorcycles, it smells like arson. This model lives up to its name beautifully, with the look of a 70s motorcycle always ready for a good wad. Like its predecessor (750 and 850 Commando), it delivers all it can through a big, air-cooled twin. The same mechanics as on the SE and Sport versions – something completely out of step with the concept of modern sport. Consider: 2 valves per cylinder, 80 nags, a symbolic output per liter, fins to cool it … But who cares! And that’s good. This machine is pure passion, a sportswoman for the streets of London in the heyday, a revival that takes you to the guts. In short, an essential motorcycle, which thinks of character before thinking of performance.
But that doesn’t mean she lets go. Equipment side, there is still something to salivate: a superb inverted fork Öhlins with fully Brembo braking and radial calipers, a pair of handlebars-bracelets (a café-racer is no different), a sport nose screen, and a selection of colors that snap. Quite close to exclusivity, the Norton 961 Commando Cafe Racer can be found for a large handful of euros, much more than for a hypersport with increased efficiency.
But that’s not how it works. It doesn’t compare and it doesn’t want to compare. The Norton is one of that race of motorcycles that lives differently, beyond time and space. If you are passionate and deeply into the Norton spirit & vintage, the Cafe Racer is for you; if it’s just for the look, the Triumph 1200 Thruxton R will offer you the same attitude … for almost half the price, but less passion in the pognes.
What you must remember
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961 Commando Café Racer MK II 2016
Model marketed in
about 200 km / h
The technical aspect
Norton 961 Commando Café Racer MK II 2017
- Tank: 17 liters
- Wheelbase: 1,420 mm
- Dry weight: 188 kg
- Weight in running order: 205 kg
- Train before
- Secondary chain transmission
- Rear axle
(88 x 79 mm)
at 6500 rpm
at 5,200 rpm