An RSV4-engined Norton TT racer

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What do you do if you’re a tiny British motorcycle company making mega-expensive parallel-twin throwbacks, struggling with funding, but still want to compete in the Isle of Man TT? Well, you call up your old friends at Piaggio, ask nicely for an RSV4 SBK motor, then commission English chassis legends Spondon to build you a bespoke frame. Hand paint the Norton logo on the raw aluminum tank and call it a day.

“We will be genuinely happy to come home with a solid finish this year,” says Norton ceo Stuart Garner. “Any position would be a bonus. Over three years we would like to be in a position to be podium competitive, although we understand that it is a huge mountain to climb, and we have our work cut out to achieve this.”

If you think the bike you see here appears startlingly close to one of Aprilia’s CRT bikes, you’re not alone. Unlike those MotoGP competitors though, Norton appears to be doing without APRC or other electronics (no wheel speed sensors) and both the components (SBK-spec Ohlins rather than GP-spec) and chassis geometry appear less track-focussed than those of the CRT teams. Makes sense, the 36.6-mile TT Mountain Course is a real road with real road bumps and weather and limitations. Still, this is about as close to a GP bike as you’re going to see in real road racing.

  • Lucas Worthing

    Hell yes!

  • Slothrop

    Where do I sign?

  • Case

    Love that the bike pictured has rain tires (tyres?) on it. It is the TT, after all. Also: no electronics? Are you mad?

    • Gary Inman

      They don’t run TTs in the rain any more.

    • Scott-jay

      What brand/application are those tyres?

  • Coreyvwc

    So Norton is essentially a company that puts stylized stickers on aluminum (alloominium) gas tanks. Is that where we are these days?
    Identity crisis aside, that is one mean looking motor scooter!

    • Jon B.

      Seriously. Does not compute. Should read Sponrilia or Aprildon.

  • ontheroad

    Rad. Looking forward to the TT this year.

    Also, any real news concerning the return of Norton to the world of making and selling regular motorcycles? Or have they just binned the idea for now and decided instead to have some fun with whatever capital is laying around (a completely reasonable course of action, IMO).

  • EdB

    How is this a Norton? Nornot..

  • Campisi

    When I read “Norton” and “Racer” together, I can’t help but think of rotary engines. Yet another totally amazing idea with absolutely zero problems whatsoever that the universe will not let me have…

  • *

    Bah. I love me some RSV4, but where’s the rotary-engined NRV588? That is one seriously bad-ass machine.

    • Ben

      Fuckin’ eh! Wheres my banshee whail, fire spitting, ear drum bleeding, spondon framed rotary wet dream!

  • Shaun Power

    Is it me, or is one rule for car manufacturers and one rule for bike companies? Yep,’fraid so. This is NOT F1, so it’s not OK, and this is not a Norton, it’s another Aprilia RSV4 CRT bike with off the shelf components and Norton badge. I’d like to think the current incantation of Norton will last, but it’s pretty unlikely when they’re sidetracked by producing this for some column inches when they should be delivering customer road bikes.

  • Thomas

    if it does not have a rotory engine its not a norton… mabye thats just my thick head. kinda like no 500cc two stroke no motogp. im stuburn