Parallel-twin engine of the under-development Norton 650cc motorcycle is being designed in-house.

Norton 650cc Engine
The new 650cc engine will allow Norton to explore the booming middle-weight category

In India, Norton wasn’t exactly a known name for motorcycles until it announced its partnership with Kinetic this month to produce premium motorcycles. Norton’s products for India, which include the Commando and Dominator series, will be sold through Kinetic-owned MotoRoyale outlets. In addition, the British company is expected to enter the (comparatively) high-volume segment with a Royal Enfield rivalling product in a few years.

CEO Stuart Garner was quoted as saying, “The 650cc, twin-cylinder bike is still under development. It will commercialise the whole venture. It’s going to be a very good engine, very compact and I think it will be a very suitable bike for the partnership.” Earlier, the company had proposed to launch new platforms and engines under the partnership to reduce dependency on older products. The new two-cylinder engine is being developed with inputs from England-based Ricardo and is expected to develop around 100 BHP of power.

In comparison, Norton’s 961cc parallel-twin engine which powers the current lineup makes about 79 BHP of power. The upcoming motorcycle featuring the 650cc mill will rival the recently-unveiled Royal Enfield 650 twins which produce around 47 BHP of power. Testimony to Norton’s mastery in motorcycle engines is the 20-year design and licence agreement signed earlier this year between Norton and Zongshen to manufacture another 650cc parallel-twin which is similar to the new engine but outputs less power.

Starting with the Commando, Norton motorcycles will be sold in India through MotoRoyale outlets by end-2018. Domestic player Royal Enfield is also expected to bring its Interceptor and Continental GT around the same time. While Royal Enfield is aiming at an attractive sticker price to woo the audience with their 650s, Norton plans to price their 650cc products somewhere in between the Ducati and MV Agusta range.

Norton’s upcoming scrambler motorcycle, followed by a purpose-built off-roader, will be the first ones to feature the new engine. Yesterday, the company announced a 50:50 partnership with India-based Kinetic Engineering to assemble the Commando and Dominator range for India as well as other asian markets. Under this joint venture, Norton aims to capture a 10-14% chunk of the premium motorcycle segment in India.

Norton 650cc Motorcycle

– Norton 650cc engine under development, makes 100 BHP
– Will be used in upcoming scrambler and off-road motorcycle
– New products powered by the 650cc motor will be targeted towards the Royal Enfield 650 twins
– Norton’s 650cc range will sit between Ducati and MV Agusta motorcycles

Norton Commando 961 Sport Side Profile
The first Norton motorcycle to hit the Indian shores will be the Commando 961

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