Norton's all-new Scrambler 650 takes shape

Published: 30 June 2018

This is the latest picture of Norton’s all-new 650 Scrambler which is due to be unveiled at the NEC show in November and could be a game- changer for the revived, Donington Park-based British firm.

The Atlas is to be powered by an all-new, 650cc parallel twin which is effectively half of Norton’s latest 1200cc motor and will produce 70bhp-100bhp, depending on spec. It will also have an all-new, tubular steel frame by Spondon (which Norton also own) and top-notch components such as Brembo radial calipers.

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The bike will come in ‘high’ off-road-style spec and ‘low’ road trim. It is expected to sell for under £10k, which could transform Norton as a business.

“We’re right at the end of the design phase, about to start the tooling and should see the first engines in the next couple of months,” Norton’s Head of Design, Simon Skinner told MCN. “This picture (above) is based around the fully engineered CAD, so the geometry is right, the frame is right, the balance is right, everything is now spot on.

“I’ve tried to make it a little bit edgier, so that it sits naturally between our 961 Commando and the V4. It’s not a retro scrambler like, say, BMW and Triumph are doing. I didn’t want to create a retro bike. Instead the closest other bike out there is probably the Ducati Scrambler Desert Sled but this a more premium, more powerful motorcycle.”

This ‘high’, off-road-style version has more premium parts such as twin Brembo M50 monoblocs while the more road- focused ‘low’ version is expected to cost less than £10k.

Skinner added: “It was always planned to be a sub-£10k motorcycle. And that is still the plan. If we want to grow our volumes we have to be at that price point. It’s a game-changer for us.

“The bike at the NEC will be an early prototype. It’ll be roped off and have a similar level of finish as the V4 had when we first unveiled it.”

Norton have decided to call this exciting new model the Atlas, which is a name the firm used back in 1962. The original Atlas was a 750cc parallel twin and a Scrambler version went on sale in 1963.

Supercharged sportsbike next for Norton

Norton are also developing a new sportsbike, based around the same 650cc parallel twin engine but this time supercharged. It is expected to weigh around 150kg and have over 150bhp. It will also feature a completely different frame including a carbon fibre swingarm. “It’s still under development and coming along nicely,” Skinner told MCN. “In fact it’s not that far behind the Scrambler. Who knows, that might be at the NEC too.”

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