Norton 650SS

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Norton Manxman 650/ 650SS
Norton 650SS.JPG
ManufacturerNorton Motorcycles
Production1962 – 1967
SuccessorNorton Mercury
Engine646cc overhead valve, air-cooled parallel twin
Top speed110–115 mph (177–185 km/h)[1][2]
Power49hp @ 6,800rpm[2]
TransmissionFour-speed, chain final drive
BrakesDrum brakes
Weight198kg (434lb) (wet)

The 650SS was a Norton motorcycle made by between 1961 and 1967 at Norton’s Bracebridge Street works in Birmingham. Developed from the Norton Dominator, the Featherbed frame was altered so that the top rails were closer together under the seat to create what became known as the "slimline featherbed".

A 650cc engine with twin carburettors was installed which was capable of 110–115 mph (177–185 km/h).[1][2] "SS" stood for "Sports Special". Norton discontinued its 600cc models to concentrate on production of the 650SS, which quickly gained a reputation as the "best of the Dommies".[3]


A 650SS converted into a café racer

Norton produced a custom touring 650 on 7 November 1960 for export only, sold in the US as the Manxman finished in polychromatic blue and a bright red seat with white piping and much chrome plate, and a special exhaust system only fitted to the Manxman 650 twin.

The Manxman 650 twin produced 52 bhp, giving it a top speed of more than 120 mph (190 km/h). A race machine developed by Heinz Kegler had speeds of 150 mph (240 km/h) and won pebble beach races.[4]

In September 1961 the 650SS was introduced to the UK home market. On 20 April 1962, Norton launched the 745cc Norton Atlas as its main export model.[4]

The Model 99SS was developed from the Norton Manxman 650, as were the 650SS and Atlas. It had twin Amal Monobloc carburettors with the intakes angled downwards. Twin exhausts replaced the 99SS two-into-one and the headlight nacelle was replaced with a separately mounted speedometer and tachometer. The 650SS was finished with a black frame with silver fuel tank and optional chrome fenders.[4]

In February 1962 Motor Cycling magazine achieved a best one-way speed of 119.5 mph (192.3 km/h) at MIRA with a 650SS. This was more than 10 mph (16 km/h) faster than the rival Triumph Bonneville tested the previous summer.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b Reynolds, Jim (1990). Best of British Bikes. Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 978-1-85260-033-4.[page needed]
  2. ^ a b c Brown, Roland (2006). The Ultimate History of Fast Motorcycles. Bath: Parragon. pp. 214–215. ISBN 978-1-4054-7303-3.[page needed]
  3. ^ Kemp, Andrew; De Cet, Mirco (2004). Classic British Bikes. Bookmart Ltd. ISBN 978-1-86147-136-9.
  4. ^ a b c Smith, Robert (January–February 2007). "The Norton 650SS". Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved 13 August 2009.

External links[edit]

Media related to Norton 650SS at Wikimedia Commons