Considering a 961 Cafe purchase.

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I owned a Thruxton R and sold it after I got the 961. The Triumph could have had any badge on the tank and it felt about as bland as listening to compressed music files. Yes the Thruxton is leaps and bounds better than the 961 in every measurable area, and MP3 music has it's place (I guess). That doesn't mean that my 961 is a keeper, I get bored very quickly, but after 3 years of ownership I must admit I'm finding it difficult to let go.
 
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I actually test rode a 961 Sport back to back with the Thruxton 1200R. The Thruxton is a good looking bike (apart from the ugly back mudguard) but the 961, to my mind, looks sensational. The Triumph, alas, felt quite ordinary, but not only did the Norton feel special - it made me feel special to be riding it (my first time on a Norton of any description, I don't know whether they all do that!)
Each to his own of

I actually test rode a 961 Sport back to back with the Thruxton 1200R. The Thruxton is a good looking bike (apart from the ugly back mudguard) but the 961, to my mind, looks sensational. The Triumph, alas, felt quite ordinary, but not only did the Norton feel special - it made me feel special to be riding it (my first time on a Norton of any description, I don't know whether they all do that!)
Each to his own of course, but that was my experience.
I would love to hear what you think is good regarding rideability, eg; handling, power delivery etc, etc. I am not trying to be clever, just curious to understand what you find about the bike that a rider would enjoy when carving the twisties. It felt really disconnected from the bitumen to me when pushing it, which is not hard to do.
 
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I owned a Thruxton R and sold it after I got the 961. The Triumph could have had any badge on the tank and it felt about as bland as listening to compressed music files. Yes the Thruxton is leaps and bounds better than the 961 in every measurable area, and MP3 music has it's place (I guess). That doesn't mean that my 961 is a keeper, I get bored very quickly, but after 3 years of ownership I must admit I'm finding it difficult to let go.
I can understand you saying that the Triumph engine feels very refined but there are a lot of outstanding features about the Thruxton that make it completely different to other brands, it doesn't look or sound like a Honda or Yamaha. And you said yourself that the Thruxton is ahead of the Norton in "every measurable way" pretty much sums it up I thought. I dont know your riding ability, but maybe you should have pushed a bit harder in the mountains while you owned the Thruxton to enjoy the ability of the bike, I would assume a good rider would have a blast on the Trumpy in the twisties so I can't imagine growing bored with it very quickly. It is great that you love the Norton but i can only assume we ride very differently & expect different things from our motorcycles. Just so you don't think I need to own a powerfull refined motorcycle to appreciate it, one of the most character filled joyfull motorcycles i have ever ridden was the Moto Guzzi V7 Racer, I think they are about 50hp but just a total pleasure to ride, they shake, they sound great, they are not refined at all but they just make you smile. If the Norton had the character of the V7 Racer I would have bought it in an instant, regardless of price.
 
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It sounds like tire pressure was not right .
1st question I asked, so they checked it. No, to me it just didn't feel like the Norton worked as an overall package.
 
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Good to know that the 961 ran smooth. I think a lot depends on who assembled the bike.
Jim's had an out of balance balancing shaft and a wonky crank.
Not going to run smooth like that. I think it is pretty decent now.

Re Thruxton R and Martin's " bland" comment- after 20,000 kms of riding on the red one in the photo, it is anything but bland!
Lots of adrenaline flowing when you chuck it into corner after corner, although the exit is fun too.

Photo taken in mountains of Montana, about 1500 kms from home.

 
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BritTwit

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It sounds like tire pressure was not right .
You're right Tony.
When I rode my 961 home the handling was so heavy I was really disappointed.
Once I got it home I started checking things.

1. Front tire pressure - 21 lbs
2. Rear tire pressure - 17 lbs
3. Rear to front wheel alignment out over 1/8 inch.

I was outraged that a dealer would allow a new motorcycle to leave their shop without checking these things first.
Then I remember reading a post here from a former Norton employee were he stated that the bikes are assembled by apprentices with little to no actual supervision, and not test ridden before being shipped off to dealers.
Knowing that - kind of put everything into proper perspective for me, trust nothing, check it out yourself.

These bikes (mine included) were generally delivered over sprung too.
I weight 190 lbs with full riding gear, and sitting on my 961, the suspension barely moved 10mm. Norton suggest 30mm of sag. Most sportbike setup sites also specify 30mm. Setting the front and rear suspension sag has a great impact on turn-in and overall stability.

Once these issues were corrected, the handling was far better, and much more to my expectations.
 
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Good to know that the 961 ran smooth. I think a lot depends on who assembled the bike.
Jim's had and out of balance balancing shaft and a wonky crank.
Not going to run smooth like that. I think it is pretty decent now.

Re Thruxton R and Martin's " bland" comment- after 20,000 kms of riding on the red one in the photo, it is anything but bland!
Lots of adrenaline flowing when you chuck it into corner after corner, although the exit is fun too.

Photo taken in mountains of Montana, about 1500 kms from home.

How's the long distance seat comfort ?
 
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It's excellent, have done 1100 kms in a day but that was a bit over the top.
Comfort is a bit like the vibration question, it's different for everyone.
For me, I do better tipped forward a bit. This gets some weight off the spine. That weight goes onto the wrists at low speed, but over 60 mph the wind pushes the chest back up so there is negligible weight on the wrists.
Now the wind is lifting 15 or 20 pounds off the spine, which is ideal.
The situp bikes like the original Commando or Vincent are tougher to do long distances on, I limit those to about 600 kms per day.
For me, the feet forward Harley position is the very worst for back pain and general discomfort.
 
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It's excellent, have done 1100 kms in a day but that was a bit over the top.
Comfort is a bit like the vibration question, it's different for everyone.
For me, I do better tipped forward a bit. This gets some weight off the spine. That weight goes onto the wrists at low speed, but over 60 mph the wind pushes the chest back up so there is negligible weight on the wrists.
Now the wind is lifting 15 or 20 pounds off the spine, which is ideal.
The situp bikes like the original Commando or Vincent are tougher to do long distances on, I limit those to about 600 kms per day.
For me, the feet forward Harley position is the very worst for back pain and general discomfort.
Owned a Harley, easily the worse decision I ever made about buying a motorcycle, lol, and I agree about them being uncomfortable, particularly my softail.
 

Stephen_Spencer

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Personal preferences, marque loyalty, perceptions of power and speed along with poor comparisons between bikes (your apple v my apple) make it nigh on impossible to reach any meaningful conclusion In such debates. They are fun though

My2P - we are trying to compare a Granny Smith with a Golden Delicious (I like both by the way) when comparing the Thruxton R to the 961. Despite my protestations of speed and power earlier I (and I suspect most others) did not buy the 961 based on outright performance. Who chooses an 80 hp, air cooled, push rod, parallel twin with 70 year old engine design technology if looking for performance. If you doubt the design heritage of the 961 start the engine, stand back and watch the front end jump up and down whilst on the side stand. Know of a modern bike that does that. The 961 is just not a modern bike, performance purchase. Hand built and as close to a classic/heritage machine as you can get from a new (ish) build? Not even sure it fits the Modern Classic genre.

The Thruxton R on the other hand is a modern, machine made, mass manufactured bike, built with outright performance as well as styling in mind. It is a modern sports bike in classic clothing. It highlights cooling fins, whilst hiding the radiator. It hides the fuel injection behind mock carbies etc etc. I guess a true modern classic. A great bike with great performance but for me, just another modern vanilla machine, and one that is not made in the UK despite leaning very heavily on its British heritage for marketing. That matters to me!

For me the Norton is a genuine British bike and yes, we know containing some foreign components - maybe more than we would like. It is built in the UK by British workers. That matters to me and if that changes I will not feel the same about the marque. I love the history of Norton, it’s racing pedigree and it’s cafe racer connections. It is not about power and 0-60 times, it’s about pride of ownership, character, exclusivity, individuality and patriotism. I just can’t get anything close to that from a modern Triumph, I am sad to say. With all that said, I do not discount the performance of the 961. Sorted, and with carbon wheels fitted as mine is, I have no doubt that the 961 can at least match the Thruxton in the twisties! After all, that is where a Cafe Racer belongs.

PS. Oh yeh! And the 961 is f#@*^g beautiful!

Long live Norton.
 
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Fast Eddie

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It sounds like tire pressure was not right .
Agree, i noticed myself that only a few PSI loss made a tremendous difference.

And / or wrongly adjusted suspension, especially if too hard.

Low tyre pressure and overly hard suspension would definitely do it.

Most testers 961 ha doing for being a bit slow, but I don’t recall any saying they felt ‘disconnected from the tarmac’ etc.

Not that it matters to 900RS, he just didn’t like the bike, and it’s far better to find that out BEFORE buying!
 
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Personal preferences, marque loyalty, perceptions of power and speed along with poor comparisons between bikes (your apple v my apple) make it nigh on impossible to reach any meaningful conclusion In such debates. They are fun though

My2P - we are trying to compare a Granny Smith with a Golden Delicious (I like both by the way) when comparing the Thruxton R to the 961. Despite my protestations of speed and power earlier I (and I suspect most others) did not buy the 961 based on outright performance. Who chooses an 80 hp, air cooled, push rod, parallel twin with 70 year old engine design technology if looking for performance. If you doubt the design heritage of the 961 start the engine, stand back and watch the front end jump up and down whilst on the side stand. Know of a modern bike that does that. The 961 is just not a modern bike, performance purchase. Hand built and as close to a classic/heritage machine as you can get from a new (ish) build? Not even sure it fits the Modern Classic genre.

The Thruxton R on the other hand is a modern, machine made, mass manufactured bike, built with outright performance as well as styling in mind. It is a modern sports bike in classic clothing. It highlights cooling fins, whilst hiding the radiator. It hides the fuel injection behind mock carbies etc etc. I guess a true modern classic. A great bike with great performance but for me, just another modern vanilla machine, and one that is not made in the UK despite leaning very heavily on its British heritage for marketing. That matters to me!

For me the Norton is a genuine British bike and yes, we know containing some foreign components - maybe more than we would like. It is built in the UK by British workers. That matters to me and if that changes I will not feel the same about the marque. I love the history of Norton, it’s racing pedigree and it’s cafe racer connections. It is not about power and 0-60 times, it’s about pride of ownership, character, exclusivity, individuality and patriotism. I just can’t get anything close to that from a modern Triumph, I am sad to say. With all that said, I do not discount the performance of the 961. Sorted, and with carbon wheels fitted as mine is, I have no doubt that the 961 can at least match the Thruxton in the twisties! After all, that is where a Cafe Racer belongs.

PS. Oh yeh! And the 961 is f#@*^g beautiful!

Long live Norton.
With the same riders on board i dont think the 961 would stand a chance against the Thruxton, not even close. Also, to me it is not about this performance anyway, it is simply that the 961 imo falls way short of what it should be. I was looking forward to the bike vibrating & the engine noise and mechanical feel of an older bike, just like my old Bonnie, but the 961 to me doesn't work as a package, and it doesn't have the character of the older bikes. It just seems to miss the mark everywhere and doesn't feel like a nicely balanced motorcycle, rather, just a bunch of miss matched parts. imo. Like I said earlier, the Moto Guzzi V7 Racer is a bike with no power but loads & loads of character & a joy to ride, anyway I have probably said too much. Thanks for all the advice and help, but I am going to look into the older classic Nortons, cheers.
 
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Agree, i noticed myself that only a few PSI loss made a tremendous difference.

And / or wrongly adjusted suspension, especially if too hard.

Low tyre pressure and overly hard suspension would definitely do it.

Most testers 961 ha doing for being a bit slow, but I don’t recall any saying they felt ‘disconnected from the tarmac’ etc.

Not that it matters to 900RS, he just didn’t like the bike, and it’s far better to find that out BEFORE buying!
I did say earlier that I asked the dealer to check the tyre pressures when I returned, and they were fine. The suspension was on the hard side but I always prefer that over soft.
 
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Seem like you made your point and it’s obvious you “love” the Guzi.
In my opinion, you can not judge a bike or car in 25 minute, come on now!
and the anodized aluminum pieces you mentioned, the top of the engine being ugly and ugly cooling fins?
You said you wanted a modern vintage bike, that is exactly what a 961 norton is. It’s 60+ year old technology with modern suspension and braking with high quality components and billet machined pieces. Don’t try telling me a thruxton R or a guzi v7 has any of that. I seen the v7 in person, and its not impressive at all.
But youre entitled to your opinions.
The norton isnt for you and maybe this forum isn’t either.
Good day.

Im not sure what you are talking about ? The Thruxton has many high quality parts and certainly has modern suspension & brakes. Onlins suspension, nicely finished alloy, good brakes, nicely shaped engine & cooling fins (as did the early Nortons) + it even has high quality mirrors compared to the cheapies on the 961. I dont recall saying I wanted a modern vintage bike ? I was just expecting to ride something that was very special because of the $38000 price tag on the Norton. Maybe 25 minutes is not enough time to get a good indication of a bike in its entirity, but in reality, that is all you get when buying any motorcycle, and manufacturers must understand that when they build them & expect to sell them. I only used the V7 Racer as an example (i rode it years ago) and didn't buy it at the time because it is a 50hp bike, but it certainly made me feel great with the short test ride I had, as did the Thruxton but not with as much character. I dont think the current V7s are as nice as the originals. I also didn't try and tell anyone about the quality of the V7 but it is certainly not a cheaply finished motorcycle, imo.
 
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I am out of here, sorry if I upset anyone. Sometimes it is better that i keep my opinions to myself. I am willing to delete my comments if you guys would prefer .
 
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Fast Eddie

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I am out of here, sorry if I upset anyone. Sometimes it is better that i keep my opinions to myself.
Opinions are fine.

But when you’ve decided you don’t want something there is nothing to be gained arguing / justifying your decision on a forum dedicated to owners !
 
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