Norton 961 Commando
|Manufacturer||Norton Motorcycles, USA and now UK|
|Engine||961 cc Parallel twin with push-rod valve actuation|
|Power||80 bhp (60 kW) @ 6500 rpm|
|Torque||65 lb·ft (88 N·m) @ 5200 rpm|
|Suspension||Front: 43 mm Öhlins RSU - Adjustable preload Rear: Öhlins reservoir-style twin shocks|
|Brakes||Dual disc front, single disc rear|
|Wheelbase||1,435 mm (56.5 inches)|
|Seat height||813 mm (32.0 inches)|
|Weight||188 kg (415 lb) (dry)
|Fuel capacity||17.03 litres (4.50 gallons)|
The Norton 961/SS Commando is a motorcycle that was produced by Norton Motorcycles, the Oregon based company that bought the rights to the Norton brand name. Owner Kenny Dreer progressed from restoring and upgrading Norton Commandos to producing whole machines. He modernised the design and in the early 2000s went into production of the VR880. This machine was built on the basis of the original Commando, with upgraded components and a significantly modified engine. Dreer produced 50 of these machines before deciding to build an all-new motorcycle. With funding from Oliver Curme, Dreer hired a small design and development team led by Paul Gaudio (Design and Development Director), Simon-Pierre Smith (Lead Engineer), and Patrick Leyshock (Testing, Sourcing.) The 961 Commando never reached production in America due to lack of funding, and the company closed its doors in April 2006. The Commando 961 SS combined traditional Norton cafe racer styling with new technology. This included carbon fibre wheels to reduce weight, a counterbalanced engine, and a chro-moly tubular steel frame.
After fifteen years of US ownership the Norton brand has now been secured by Stuart Garner, UK businessman and owner of Norton Racing Ltd. Garner plans to develop a new 15,000 sq ft (1,400 m2) Norton factory at Donington Park. The relaunched Norton line includes three new versions of the 961 Commando; the 961 SE, 961 Sport and 961 Café Racer.