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Norton Rolls Out Three 650cc Bikes

Historic British company still very much in Triumph's shadow

Earlier this year, we speculated that if Norton’s rebirth were real, it would have to deliver on those 650cc parallel twins it promised at last year’s EICMA.  It’s been a long wait, but the company finally rolled out not one, but three new bikes at the UK’s Motorcycle Live last week – each built around a new 650cc parallel twin engine.

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The bike that the MCN boys got all drooly for is the new Superlight. Set to cost just shy of £20,000, the middleweight supersport will allegedly pump out 105 hp at 12,500 rpm. Think about what it would be like to actually push a parallel twin hard enough to get that kind of peak power. It gives you a vibration-induced headache just imagining it.

Atlas Nomad 4 850 WEB
Norton Atlas Nomad

The bikes we’re interested in, though, are the visually indistinguishable Atlas Ranger and Atlas Nomad. Both promise a more relaxed (but still very respectable) 84 hp, Brembo brakes, and LED lighting. The Nomad is being listed at £9,995, whereas the Ranger will set you back £11,995.

What do you get for the extra £2,000 you spend on the Ranger?  A longer wheelbase (1470 mm v. 1446 mm), a better suspension for off-road (200 mm v. 150 mm wheel travel), a bigger front tire (19 inches v. 17 inches), a higher seat (867 mm v. 824 mm) and generally a more off-road look with a high mudguard, sump guard, headlamp guard and braced handlebars.

Atlas Ranger 4 850 WEB
Norton Atlas Ranger

But, uh, honestly… We’re willing to bet the new Triumph Scrambler 1200 will cost less (prices not yet announced). It’s British, comes from a better established company (with a much larger dealership network), and has a lot more technowhizzbangery. If you don’t want electrical bits, the new 650cc Royal Enfield Interceptor will probably (prices not yet announced) cost half that of the Atlas Nomad – you can spend £2,000 turning that bike into a legitimate scrambler and still save money.

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The Atlas bikes are expected late next year; the Superlight delivery is still TBA.  These puddings are still waiting to be proved.

So, what do we think? Is Norton legit now? Or is it still a company to be taken with a grain of salt? And is Norton showing up too late to the scrambler party? Discuss.