Norton's new super-naked cafe racer is highly saucy, way too pricey
Norton has made good on its threat to turn its slinky V4SV superbike into a cafe racer – without neutering its rorty 1200cc V4 engine. The new V4CR carries an absolutely brutal price tag, but a bike this pretty might just get away with it.
When I think British naked motorcycles, the second thing I think of is a nice, curvy tubular Spondon frame with too much motor in it and as little of everything else as possible. The first thing, of course, is the magnificent Triumph Speed Triple, the only true dream bike I've ever owned, built around a curvy, tubular frame.
The rear three-quarter view of a Triumph Speed Triple, with its single-sided swingarm and those curvaceous frame lines, still gets me right in the pants, and makes me pine desperately for the torrid lawlessness of goosing the throttle on a second-gear corner exit, putting some air under the front tire and sailing off towards death, glory and new horizons on the back wheel, giggling into my helmet like an unhinged lunatic.
It's a powerful piece of design like that, and I bring it up because Norton's V4CR is lighting that trouser fire for me in a similar way. Indeed, with its standard single high pipe, star-shaped rear hub on a single-sided swinger, and stubby, single-seat tail, this thing absolutely channels some epic British bare-knuckle streetfighter vibes from down low and behind the bike.
Elsewhere, it branches off into an altogether more gentlemanly avenue, looking a lot more sensible and respectable from a forward angle, with a tidy pair of clip-ons and discreet, round LED headlight. But while it might not scare old ladies quite enough for my liking, this is still a superb-looking bike, and one drizzled with expensive-looking details. Don't worry, Norton owners, it's yours, and you're allowed to wash it as often and as vigorously as you like.
The bodywork around that gleaming aluminum frame is all carbon, including the 15-liter (4-gallon) fuel tank, sandwiched away under the seat. The engine is largely hidden, because like many V4 motors it's not real flash to look at. That's alright; the clutch cover looks nice enough, and you can see a cylinder head poking out of the top. Most importantly, it's remained blissfully unmolested, delivering the same 185 horsepower (136 kW) and 93 lb-ft (125 Nm) of torque as it does in the equally special-looking V4SV Superbike.
So while it won't be troubling the likes of the Ducati Streetfighter V4 in a bench race, it's right in the mix with machines like Triumph's latest Speed Triple, the venerable Aprilia Tuono V4 and the outrageous KTM 1290 Super Duke.
Radial Brembos and NIX30/TTXGP Ohlins handle your stoppage and bouncy portions. There's a 6-inch color display, three engine modes, lean angle-sensitive traction control, ABS and wheelie control. There's keyless ignition, and a quickshifter that swings both ways with auto-blip as you kick it down. Kerb weight is 204 kg (450 lb).
The silvery Manx model rocks forged aluminum wheels from Oz Racing, but to blazes with that; give me the black Carbon model with its carbon fiber BST rims.
Actually, don't, because if I had to spend £41,999 (US$51, 860) I'd take a $20-grand Super Duke and spend the rest on petrol, hotel rooms, rear tires, speeding fines, nipple tassels, three sets of fresh grundies a day and bail money. Check out a video below. Of the Norton, not of me with nipple tassels.
Source: Norton Motorcycles