Thursday, 19 April 2012

Stop Messing Around!

I’m sure that many of you will have heard that Norton will be present at this year’s Isle of Man TT races with a V4-powered bike. And those of you who, like myself, are Brit-bike enthusiasts will have been most excited at this news.

However, as I gathered further information about this bike, my enthusiasm turned to indignation. Quite simply put, this motorcycle does not deserve to bear the famous Norton name on the flanks of its petrol tank. Yes, I can already hear those of you at the back muttering “yet another bloke who can’t see beyond a ’71 Commando”, but it’s not that at all. I have a fondness for V4 engines born of many a ride aboard various examples of Honda’s VFR 750 (by the way, I’m still angling for a ride of the fabled RC30 – if there are any kind-hearted owners out there who wish to oblige in return for a full write up in The Thruxtonian, please make yourselves known!). But I digress. [...]

No, what makes me indignant about this pseudo-Norton is that it is little more than a lash-up job built around the powerplant from Aprilia’s RSV-4. Not what one would expect from a brand that positions itself at the exclusive end of the market. Of course, people will argue that in this time of financial crisis, saving on development and engineering costs by using somebody else’s engine can only be a good thing and a smart move. Perhaps, but we are talking about a marque with outstanding racing heritage behind it: Internationals, Manx’s and the JPS Nortons, for example. There must be enough engineering talent in Great Britain to be able to design and build a bespoke engine without having to spend a vast amount of money in the process, surely?

In my view, this is just another example of Stuart Garner taking the mickey. Whilst I can only applaud the idea of trying to revive glorious British brands (whether it be in motorcycling or any other sector), I believe that there are certain ways of going about the endeavour. There is, of course, the subject of respecting and upholding a certain heritage and tradition. But there is also the question of respecting and upholding great British engineering and manufacturing know-how and expertise, as well as creating British jobs in Britain. And unfortunately it would appear that Mr Garner is not sensitive to any of this.

And in the meantime, let us not forget the very many disgruntled – to say the least – prospective owners of the Norton Commando 961 who have made down payments (or who have paid the full retail price) for their bikes and who still haven’t received their bikes, several months after having coughed up their hard-earned. Mr Garner, since you have revived the Norton marque, you have done it – and are still doing it, apparently – a great harm and disservice. Now – stop messing around! A British bike bearing a British name should have a British engine. Let’s at least hope that the Norton does not make a laughing-stock of itself round the mountain course, for I fear that otherwise that could be the last nail in the Norton coffin.

1 comment:

  1. Here Here Marc well wrote. Keep it British.
    Nick. Nc999