When you think of Norton, of the new generation Norton motorcycles, you know that the terrain is not that of the average biker. Reserved for connoisseurs, expensive, expressive, offbeat, the machines of the small English manufacturer flow to the rhythm of a strong brand image. Proud of its illustrious surname, the Commando 961 never ceases to charm the small and the high people. The different versions are all similar to the café-racer, with this more or less pronounced identity. The California version does not understand it that way. On his handlebars, the roadster type resumes its rights, with the English-touch halo.
Here, his handlebars precisely. It is he who will change many things in the conduct of the Commando. Taller, higher, wider, it very clearly raises the pilot’s bust and will allow a much more relaxed position. We don’t drive this Norton, we take it for a ride.
And she feels the urge to flirt. The chrome is displayed, clearly. The whole front benefits, whether it is the fork sleeves, the counters, the triple trees or the headlight. Don’t forget to take a look behind, because the chain guard is part of the tape.
Norton presents his Commando California as an easy to ride motorcycle. Easy certainly, but first and foremost top of the range. All depreciation is entrusted to Öhlins, the brakes come from Brembo and there are some carbon parts (front fender, license plate holder …).
In addition to its line of wasp fundamentally attractive, the Commando is one of those motorcycles that we love for elements that many enthusiasts would not understand. For those who lean low to judge spoked rims, who strain their ears to flood them with the rumble of this air-cooled twin-cylinder with 80 nags. Exactly, the engine. No technical changes but a touch of style: the cylinder block is painted black while the cylinder head retains a metallic gray.
This California is part of the homage that Norton concocted for the 50th anniversary of the first Commando of the name. In the blink of an eye, it will only be produced in 50 copies. A great way to ride in the English, old-fashioned, aesthetic way. But that comes at a price, and more than that. One way to appreciate.
What you must remember
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Model marketed in
about 200 km / h
The technical aspect
Norton 961 Commando California 2018
- Tank: 17 liters
- Wheelbase: 1,400 mm
- Train before
- Secondary chain transmission
- Rear axle
(88 x 79 mm)
at 6500 rpm
at 5,200 rpm