Rotary revival: 220bhp, £85,000 Crighton CR700W track bike launched

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This rotary-powered, ultra-exotic, limited edition track bike is the just-unveiled CR700W – the latest project of former Norton rotary racing genius Brian Crighton.

And, with a whopping 220bhp from its 690cc twin rotor engine and the whole machine weighing just 129.5kg dry it’s claimed to have a better power-to-weight ratio than even a MotoGP bike!

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It’s the culmination of 12 years work by Crighton who headed development of the all-conquering rotary racing JPS Nortons of the early 1990s. Since 2009 the now 73-year-old has been working with rotary aero-engine specialists Rotron Power with the CR700W the result.

A rear view of the new rotary track bike

The partnership now plans to hand-build just 25 examples of the machine they describe as ‘the ultimate trackday bike’ with a price tag of £85,000 each. And, as the CR700W is neither road nor race legal (racing rotaries were banned in the mid-1990s), they might just be right!

Crighton says his latest rotary is far advanced from the Norton rotaries of the early 1990s and has been painstakingly developed with Rotron over the past 12 years.

Key structural components have been cast and machined in-house; there’s a novel internal cooling channel and it uses ultra-low friction silicone nitride ceramic apex seals. You also get a bespoke, integrated six-speed gearbox and slipper clutch by Nova Transmissions and, of course, Crighton’s pioneering exhaust ejector system.

These developments and others, he says, along with the highest volume-to-surface ratio of any rotary, are at the core of the CR’s impressive performance claims.

A side view of the Crighton CR700W

The partnership also claims its use of advanced materials and design also results in ‘close to zero wear’ and the engine should run a full season before requiring major work.

The CR700W’s chassis, meanwhile, comprises a more conventional but compact and lightweight aluminium twin spar frame, monoshock rear, top spec Brembo brakes, carbon Dymag wheels and a choice of either Ohlins or Biturbo suspension all clad in bespoke carbon fibre bodywork.

“In so many ways the CR700W is the culmination of my career’s achievements,” Crighton told MCN. “It encapsulates the absolute best of my engineering wisdom and I believe the result is the ultimate track and racing motorcycle.”

The bike was officially unveiled at the National Motorcycle Museum on 30-31 October 2021. For more information go to:

Crighton to spin-up new rotary at National Motorcycle Museum

First published on 06 October 2021 by Dan Sutherland

A Norton rotary racer previously designed by Brian Crighton

A brand-new rotary-engined race bike is set to be revealed at this year’s National Motorcycle Museum Live event on October 30-31.

The Crighton CR700 has been built by rotary pioneer Brian Crighton – the man responsible for Norton’s all-conquering rotary-engined race bikes from the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Although official details remain scarce at this time, videos shared to the Crighton Racing Facebook page in May last year show a stripped bike on the dyno – screaming its way to the redline and said to be producing 200bhp and over 100lb.ft of torque at the back wheel.

Brian Crighton set to reveal a new bike at NMM

The new machine will be revealed at the museum’s two-day event on October 30-31, with Crighton himself on hand to talk and for fire-ups of the new machine.

Crighton is planning to build a limited number of the new rotary machines for track use. Entry to the event is free of charge, barring parking – with other highlights including TV presenter Henry Cole live on stage.

More information is available at: