Norton in trouble?

storm42

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Why do you constantly say the Atlas is “Chinese”?
It is not.

My point of the 961 being similar to a 60-70s bike, I’m meaning the Mechanicals of it. Push rod, air cooled, minimalistic design.

I have a 1992 Mustang with 6200 miles on it. I have a 2018 Mustang GT350R with 22 miles on it.
I have a 2016 F150 with less than 2000 miles on it.
Why?
Because I can.
I love the look of the F150 If I came to live in America I would be a Redneck with a Ram or an F150, with a gun rack in the back window:)

I must be understanding the article in MCN wrong then.

Norton thinking big
A little while back Norton struck a deal with Zongshen to licence their new 650cc engine platform, which also enabled Zongshen to distribute the bikes in China. As part of the deal Zongshen would be producing new bikes using the Norton engine, but nothing would be branded Norton. Now Norton have set their international sights even further by signing a joint venture agreement with Motoroyale, the motorcycle arm of Indian business group Kinetic.

Unlike the deal with Zongshen, the new joint venture will build the current range of Nortons and any future models in at Kinetic’s plant in Ahmednagar, India. These models will then be sold in India and all over Asia by 2018, although bikes destined for other markets will still be built in the UK. Kinetic have been producing motorcycles in India since 1972 and current import MV Agusta and SWM to the region.
 

Fast Eddie

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I have had a look back through my posts on this thread and here are the positive comments:

"the carbon one looks good"

"True Norton didn't design the street, our very own ex heroin addict Henry Cole had something to do with that, I still say it looks good though."

"the V4 the Superlight and the 961s (didn't an American design that one though?) look good"

And the negative.

"the Atlas is ugly, and not a Norton but a Zongshen which makes it Chinese,"

"but to paint the V4 to look like chrome, makes it look rank to me.
that chrome thing is a classless abortion that only rappers and pimps would buy. the Atlas looks like a Hipster has designed it and their bikes look like they do because they don't have any money, so I don't see a market for that either."

So if you read my posts correctly, you will see it is only the (Chinese) Atlas and the chrome V4 I don't like and criticise.

Like you point out not liking something is personal but I don't think I have been constantly putting them down.

But as you say the 961 is in many ways like a 70s bike and that might be part of the problem, we are no longer in the 70s and the issues i have been reading about shouldn't really exist in this day and age. I couldn't comment on the total flops but the fact that the American dealers lost money on the bikes tells it own story.

I think it is brilliant that you have not had problems with your two bikes and the the others that have posted the higher milage tours on theirs is great, I also agree with Fast Eddie that for Stuart Garner to keep the Norton name alive is an achievement that I, or a lot of others couldn't do, but what I know about modern Nortons is stopping me from pulling the pin on what looks like a bargain, when they come up. Like this.

https://www.autotrader.co.uk/classi...N&model=COMMANDO&advert-type=standard-listing

8 years old and only 1300 miles. Why?
Ralph, the earlier ones had a greater number of problems, generally speaking. I would not go near a low mileage early bike personally.

‘The later the better’ is a pretty good rule of thumb for these bikes as far as I can tell.
 

Eljahara

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8 years old and only 1300 miles. Why?
Probably because the roads are covered in shite and I for one prefer riding to polishing!
That said, I really enjoy riding my 961 when I can - but as many on here will testify - it is not my only ride and I can only ride them one at a time!
John
 

BLIGHTYBRIT/SF

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Ha, do you remember the Joan Crawford sketch, "she could have had carpets fitted"
Mm well you’ve made me listen to that again now ,” say no more ,nudge nudge” we really have digressed now ,40 degrees in the deserts,lots of water & ok, so did u lot ride all the way to Germany ? ,as those easy riders do have a massive comfy seat, think u must of hid them in cabin luggage .where bouts u live ?
 

Fast Eddie

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40 degrees pah!

46 degrees when I went to London Bridge.

I’ve never quite experienced anything like it before.
 
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I love the look of the F150 If I came to live in America I would be a Redneck with a Ram or an F150, with a gun rack in the back window:)

I must be understanding the article in MCN wrong then.

Norton thinking big
A little while back Norton struck a deal with Zongshen to licence their new 650cc engine platform, which also enabled Zongshen to distribute the bikes in China. As part of the deal Zongshen would be producing new bikes using the Norton engine, but nothing would be branded Norton. Now Norton have set their international sights even further by signing a joint venture agreement with Motoroyale, the motorcycle arm of Indian business group Kinetic.

Unlike the deal with Zongshen, the new joint venture will build the current range of Nortons and any future models in at Kinetic’s plant in Ahmednagar, India. These models will then be sold in India and all over Asia by 2018, although bikes destined for other markets will still be built in the UK. Kinetic have been producing motorcycles in India since 1972 and current import MV Agusta and SWM to the region.
My take on the arrangement with Zongshen is that they have got their hands on a Norton designed 650 engine which they will put into production for the Chinese market but not branded Norton. Norton branded bikes will come out of the new factory being built as I type. Reading between the lines I would guess that SOME of those parts made by Zongshen may well end up inside Norton branded bikes... how many parts I wouldn't want to speculate but I would be surprised if they didn't use any. The Indian connection allows Kinetic to manufacture and assemble the air cooled 961 using the Norton brand but only for the Asian market, the rest of the world will continue to be served by the Donington factory.
 
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storm42

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Ralph, the earlier ones had a greater number of problems, generally speaking. I would not go near a low mileage early bike personally.

‘The later the better’ is a pretty good rule of thumb for these bikes as far as I can tell.
I remember you telling me to go for a MKll which that one is advertised as, is it too early to be a MKll?
 

storm42

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Probably because the roads are covered in shite and I for one prefer riding to polishing!
That said, I really enjoy riding my 961 when I can - but as many on here will testify - it is not my only ride and I can only ride them one at a time!
John
Me too and I have the same problem, too many bikes and not enough arses.
 

storm42

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Mm well you’ve made me listen to that again now ,” say no more ,nudge nudge” we really have digressed now ,40 degrees in the deserts,lots of water & ok, so did u lot ride all the way to Germany ? ,as those easy riders do have a massive comfy seat, think u must of hid them in cabin luggage .where bouts u live ?
40 deg, too hot for me. I am guessing Nigel's 46 deg was in Arizona.

The trips on the NVTs are by trailer to the country of choice and then a couple of days riding and mending the peds. We tend to end up paying our respects to the war dead around the many cemeteries out there, hence the Menin Gate for the daily remembrance service. So far the trips have been to the Edinburgh area, Ypres, The Isle of Man and last year France. I am between Sheffield and Chesterfield but the trips abroad tend to go through the tunnel so if there is space pick up would be possible, maybe.
 

storm42

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My take on the arrangement with Zongshen is that they have got their hands on a Norton designed 650 engine which they will put into production for the Chinese market but not branded Norton. Norton branded bikes will come out of the new factory being built as I type. Reading between the lines I would guess that SOME of those parts made by Zongshen may well end up inside Norton branded bikes... how many parts I wouldn't want to speculate but I would be surprised if they didn't use any. The Indian connection allows Kinetic to manufacture and assemble the air cooled 961 using the Norton brand but only for the Asian market, the rest of the world will continue to be served by the Donington factory.
Yes my second reading came to that conclusion, although it would make economic sense to use all the parts from Zongshen and use the UK factory to assemble them.
 

Fast Eddie

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I remember you telling me to go for a MKll which that one is advertised as, is it too early to be a MKll?
Yes it is advertised as a MK11, you’re right... but it’s a 2011... that’s about 5 yrs before the mk11s came out !
 

BLIGHTYBRIT/SF

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That mark 1 sport 961 was prob bout £12k at the time it was new ,so not a bad deprecation over several years really, probably the guy ordered it from new , waited probably longer than expected,maybe bought as an investment as many people expected Norton to go under at the time,as Stuart Garner was not from a Bike industry background
 
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Ralph, the earlier ones had a greater number of problems, generally speaking. I would not go near a low mileage early bike personally.

‘The later the better’ is a pretty good rule of thumb for these bikes as far as I can tell.
I am going to disagree. 2013 were bad and 2014 were better. And 2015 the best. Then not sure what happened but all the 2016 we seen were really bad with issues. And issues that were old 2013 issues. So maybe they found old parts or maybe had a bunch of new employees????? But all fixable by owner. So any year 961 2013 or newer is a great year to own. And in my opinion every year should have an engine torn down and inspected. Trust nothing. Year means little with these bikes. I would rather get a deal on a 2013 that has the better brakes and rebuild it and be better off then buying new and have issues. My two cents. My opinion only.
 

Fast Eddie

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From my discussions with the factory, I would definitely want a mk11. There’s a whole list of ungraded items that ‘became’ the mk11.
 
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I was recently told by a very reliable source that at least one MK2 bike had been found with the old " hold down bolts too long" issue in the crankshaft centre bearing mount.
Hard to figure out how this could occur, but I trust the source. (961 owner)

Glen
 

comet

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I am going to disagree.......
I was going to disagree with FE's comment as well, although this is just my opinion based on perception, whereas Richard-7's is based on actual experience. Mine is a 2013 and I was surprised at the variety of issues I have experienced with it. What I found interesting was that some issues appeared to be one-offs, in that I didn't hear of any others experiencing the same. This suggested to me that the particular individual(s) who built the bike could be the factor here, and the apparent lack of rigorous QA processes wouldn't have helped. I recall a post, last year I think, where the front disk bolts came loose on a newish bike because they hadn't been torqued down. Given that this current thread was triggered as a result of SG sailing close to the wind with his accounting practices I'm wondering how much has happened to improve other internal processes.

The issues that I haven't heard of others experiencing were:

- Side-stand snapped off at the weld in week one (awkward when there isn't a nearby wall to lean against)
- Cylinder liners dropped causing the head gasket to fail
- Misfire due to blocked injectors, caused by material flaking off inside the injector rail

Other more common issues were:

- Problem with clutch cage
- Stuck in third gear due to broken selector shift claw?
- Starter motor seal leaking oil
- Fuel light flicker

Now I'm not complaining as all of the above were fixed by the factory and mostly within warranty, but it meant that my bike spent a lot of time back at Donnington when I could have been riding it.

The irony was that back in 2013 I wanted a cafe racer, and having owned British bikes in the 1970s and experienced things like the pre-nodular-iron crankshaft snapping in half on an AJS 650CSR (it still got me home though!) I thought I would get a modern bike with the retro look as a happy compromise, and not have to worry about reliability. I know there are others on this forum who enjoy the spannering aspect of owning a 961, but I'm not one of them. I bought it to ride, not to sit in a shed with it trying to convince my knackered joints that I can still do the things I used to do nearly 50 years ago.

I have no intention of selling my 961 as I love it, and I would love it even more if only the tick-over issue could be resolved. The contributions from Richard-7 and his dad, and now the ECU work that iWilson is doing give me the confidence that this bike is fixable and is worth keeping.

I think if you buy a new one you need to get the miles on it quickly to flush out any issues while it's still in warranty, and while some of the parts may have improved they still need to be put together properly. I would be wary of low mileage without warranty, simply because potential issues may not have had a chance to materialise, and rectifying them could be expensive unless you can do it yourself.

PS - I've never experienced any oil in the airbox.........
 

Fast Eddie

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I was going to disagree with FE's comment as well, although this is just my opinion based on perception, whereas Richard-7's is based on actual experience. Mine is a 2013 and I was surprised at the variety of issues I have experienced with it. What I found interesting was that some issues appeared to be one-offs, in that I didn't hear of any others experiencing the same. This suggested to me that the particular individual(s) who built the bike could be the factor here, and the apparent lack of rigorous QA processes wouldn't have helped. I recall a post, last year I think, where the front disk bolts came loose on a newish bike because they hadn't been torqued down. Given that this current thread was triggered as a result of SG sailing close to the wind with his accounting practices I'm wondering how much has happened to improve other internal processes.

The issues that I haven't heard of others experiencing were:

- Side-stand snapped off at the weld in week one (awkward when there isn't a nearby wall to lean against)
- Cylinder liners dropped causing the head gasket to fail
- Misfire due to blocked injectors, caused by material flaking off inside the injector rail

Other more common issues were:

- Problem with clutch cage
- Stuck in third gear due to broken selector shift claw?
- Starter motor seal leaking oil
- Fuel light flicker

Now I'm not complaining as all of the above were fixed by the factory and mostly within warranty, but it meant that my bike spent a lot of time back at Donnington when I could have been riding it.

The irony was that back in 2013 I wanted a cafe racer, and having owned British bikes in the 1970s and experienced things like the pre-nodular-iron crankshaft snapping in half on an AJS 650CSR (it still got me home though!) I thought I would get a modern bike with the retro look as a happy compromise, and not have to worry about reliability. I know there are others on this forum who enjoy the spannering aspect of owning a 961, but I'm not one of them. I bought it to ride, not to sit in a shed with it trying to convince my knackered joints that I can still do the things I used to do nearly 50 years ago.

I have no intention of selling my 961 as I love it, and I would love it even more if only the tick-over issue could be resolved. The contributions from Richard-7 and his dad, and now the ECU work that iWilson is doing give me the confidence that this bike is fixable and is worth keeping.

I think if you buy a new one you need to get the miles on it quickly to flush out any issues while it's still in warranty, and while some of the parts may have improved they still need to be put together properly. I would be wary of low mileage without warranty, simply because potential issues may not have had a chance to materialise, and rectifying them could be expensive unless you can do it yourself.

PS - I've never experienced any oil in the airbox.........
I’m not sure how that is dissagreeing with me?

Perhaps a matter of perception...

My theory is ‘the later the better’ and with a particular note to the mk11 upgrades.

We’re in 2019 now, so I wouldn’t call a 2013 bike ‘late’... and it’s clearly not a mk11
 
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