Test NORTON 1200 V4-SS: 001/200


I had the privilege of being the first Norton person to have uploaded to the new 1200 V4-SS. It is the manufactured unit of a model that means the first British hyper-sport in history. And therefore, the most powerful and technological ever built in this country.

The husband of the couple of “fifty-something” that passed in front of the Norton 1200 V4-SS when I had a coffee says: ” How does this bike shine? What is it? ” And before I have time to answer, his wife says: ” I know her, it’s the new Norton V4, I’ve seen her on a TV show on the Isle of Man races “. And he asks me: ” How are you doing? It seems very fast! “

I never judge a book by its cover but on that occasion. You have to give them every reason. Yes, the new 1200 V4-SS is very fast and in this chrome decoration, unmistakably Norton, very bright. So much that it shades any motorcycle that is around you before you start your engine.

Here I am in the country of Shakespeare, 80 km south of the Norton factory in Donington hall and impressed for very different reasons. First, because of its ability to attract the eyes of people as soon as you stop. And second, because in this area of ​​Warwickshire is where I started to ride a motorcycle. Populated with fast roads and others full of curves in its many hills. It was the favorite territory for the Norton test pilots when the factory was only 30 km away from here in Birmingham, also from its colleagues from BSA and Triumph. And still today it is an ideal territory to analyze how is the last. The biggest and possibly the best British motorcycle of the modern era.

The Norton 1200 V4 is the first fully British hyper sports motorcycle. It was presented at the NEC Show in Birminghman in November 2016 in two versions, handmade and designed in Great Britain. A first series was sold immediately before being manufactured. But its buyers have seen how its production has been delayed in the usual style among many Italian brands. Last October, Norton began to produce the 200 limited units of the 1200 V4-SS edition at a price of 44,000 pounds sterling (about 51,000 euros). And I have had the privilege of being the first person outside the brand to try a copy of the most powerful and technologically advanced British motorcycle in history.

In the facilities of the brand annexed to a mansion with 230 years of history. The head of Norton, Stuart Garner, explains why this delay before handing me the keys to the Norton 1200 V4-SS 001/200. ” The cause has been the engine, ” he says resignedly. “Designing and developing an engine is a great job, especially a V4 of 1,200 CC capable of exceeding 200 HP. For me, the only way to give Norton back to the present was to develop our own engine. It is true that we competed with Aprilia RSV4 propellers on our TT bikes. But it was only to advance our presence in the circuits and to adapt our chassis to the needs of this level of performance.

We had problems with delays in the supply of parts, then it cost us to achieve a proper calibration of the propeller. I would not say it was more difficult than expected but we did not want to make any mistakes. The shortcomings that we suffered in the first Commando series of 2011-12 for throwing them too early gave us serious problems and we still drag it to some extent. “We must remember that the Australian Josh Brookes finished fifth in the Senior TT of 2018 with his Norton SG6 in his last appearance with Aprilia and that in 2019 the legendary John McGuinness will take the witness, with a lighter version than the V4 -SS and with ready to surpass 240 HP!


The 200 units of the V4-SS are already built and its sale is expected to start in June. The next step is to start marketing the 300 units of the less exclusive Norton V4-RR that will be produced in 2019 at a price of 28,000 pounds sterling (about 32,500 euros). They will fit chassis and cast aluminum swingarm instead of the hand-made V4-SS, although other wise they are identical. The engine of both versions is a V4 at 72º of 16 valves with DOHC distribution and water cooling. The Swiss specialist Eskil Suter Racing (SRT), whose motorcycles have achieved three Moto2 world championships, has been responsible for everything related to the set-up of the injection.

This V4 exhibits internal measures of 82×56.8 mm for an exact displacement of 1,200 cc. Declared more than 200 hp at 12,500 rpm, with a maximum torque of 130 Nm at 10,000 rpm, therefore, even more than an Aprilia RSV4 1100 (122 Nm) like the one I tried in Mugello only four days before getting on the Norton . Includes titanium valves, cassette type gearbox, Anti-lock clutch, “quick shifter” to raise and lower gears, double injector per cylinder and variable length intake intakes.

The electronic accelerator acts independently on the front and rear cylinder banksthrough an electronic control unit developed by Norton itself. This allows three response modes: Road, Race and Rain. Both engine and chassis has been developed completely independently of Aprillia.

The polishing of the chassis takes 26 hours of work to finish. The single-arm swingarm weighs only 3.1 kg after being machined from a block of 70 kg. Both versions SS and RR have variable geometry for the chassis, being able to modify the steering angle and pivot point of the swingarm. The wheelbase is estimated at 1,430 mm, with a swing of 570 mm and a launch of 23.9 ° for your fork Ohlins NIX30 43 mm.

The shock absorber is a TTX-GP designed specifically by Ohlins for the 1200 V4. As for the brakes, the equipment is a Brembo with a double front disc of 330 mm in diameter and radial monoblock calipers M50, accompanied by a rear 245 mm. The dry weight is estimated at 179 kg and is a very thirsty bike. The warning light of reservation is lit almost immediately after leaving the gas station … Nothing is free in this life, and have fun with this motorcycle either.

I guarantee that the Norton 1200 V4-SS would be too much motorcycle for certain types of roads without the support of electronic aids. In its origin, we found a 6-axis IMU inertial control unit signed by Bosch that acts on the traction control, motor brake, output control cruise control in addition to a data collection system for circuit use and an anti-caballitos of course disconnectable.

The 7 “TFT color screen is touch gives access to all this electronic and includes a space where images taken by its shows small rear camera. Which makes mirrors are there only for reasons of homologation. The quality of finish of this unit 001/200 is absolutely outstanding and in spite of having a good accumulation of kilometers behind him in tests of the boys of Norton. It is kept in perfect condition.


You get on it on a seat located at 817 mm and with a tail adorned with the British flag. It is comfortable and spacious despite relatively high footrests to achieve adequate ground clearance. Especially with the V4-SS. grip that allow the Dunlop Sportmax GP Racer D212 (with rear 200 / 55-17) mounted on forged aluminum wheels OZ. Unpainted units in carbon fiber mount BST carbon wheels.

Although the bike is quite compact the remarkable space available allows me to hide behind the dome to help it go faster. Or that’s what you think, because it’s already fast enough with ultra-flat mega-torque between 4,000 rpm and 13,000 rpm. With my 1.80 mI get well with both feet on the ground at the traffic lights. Although it is a bike with a purely sporting position. It is accessible for almost all statures thanks to the recessed shape of the central part of its chassis. Although your legs are very close to the back of the engine the heat does not bother you.

The act of pressing the start button is the ticket to an incredible sound show. It seems that you are on the Moto GP starting grid thanks to its titanium exhaust without racing silencer. Standard on the V4-SS and optional on the V4-RR. It’s unique. Not in vain, no one else makes a V4 at 72º.

You try not to disturb the people in the city too much but outside of you will love making her sing. If you allow me the comparison, imagine that the Ducati V4 R is a tenor. The Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory a baritone and the Norton 1200 V4 a bass. At any rate of rotation from 1,700 rpm idle. It sounds like a bike full of muscle.

The change is very smooth to operate and the semi-automatic change is very well set up even for urban traffic. It has so much torque that changing gears is almost an option. You can open at full speed only 2,500 rpm without any problem of transmission, although below there is a bit of brusqueness.

The ignition short is at 13,500 rpm, which can be defined as almost an automatic motorcycle. As soon as the TFT screen (very readable and with three ways of showing the information for each “mapping”) shows the figure of 4,000 rpm on the tachometer, the Norton explodes as an authentic “V4-SS.”.

I spent practically the whole day of tests changing over the 8,500-9,000 rpm. Reaching a performance much more than enough for real life. If you want to get to the cut in third or fourth I advise you to hold on tight. Because the acceleration is amazing for a street bike, especially in Race mode. Almost the entire day I rode in Road mode. Which gives you a controllable response while maintaining a solid acceleration and without offering a sour touch at the time of open-close-open gas. In Race mode the answer is really more alive and I would reserve it for circuit. With the Road you have enough.

Its handling is extraordinary. The multi-adjustable fork is especially well tuned and offers a good “feedback” of what the front Dunlop does. So you make the most of your appetite for high cornering speeds. Something amazing on a motorcycle with so much engine that you do not expect so much steering docility. It goes on rails in fast corners. Something that derives from the centralization of masses thanks to the V4 engine at 72º with respect to its wheelbase. In sequences of linked curves, this 1200 behaves like a V4-SS. of 600 CC.

Even with an engine that likes to roll high in turns and with a wide torque curve. It is not a motorcycle that requires you to “aim and shoot”. But rather it is meant as a package that is driven in a pleasant way, more than what you thought before you got on it. The reason is that with so much torque and very well designed geometries. The Norton I could draw the curves I knew from other tests in a higher gear.

He forgives mistakes, like a couple of times when I was able to save the front wheel when I was very inclined in a curve. It’s amazing the information you get from the chassis and it tells you where the limit is before you reach it. It’s as if he spoke to you. Each departure with this bike is an experience, driving and sensory thanks to its sound. I would say it’s even cheap … if you can afford to buy it!

The truth is that I ended up impressed after spending a full day on the back of the most powerful British motorcycle ever made with license plate and horn. It is literally incredible that a brand that has never manufactured anything more exotic than a 961 cc. 80 hp air bicylindrical engine has been able to create this great motorcycle. Capable of facing you with the best current supercars.

They have designed, designed, developed and manufactured everything at home, something only present in this segment RR European by Ducati, Bmw, Aprilia. And do not let yourself get confused by the image of the British flag waving on my helmet and playing with the colin of the Norton. Surely everyone who gets on this bike will get the same conclusions from a motorcycle as well built as this one. What happens is that few motorcycles can carry in their deposit a name as mythical as Norton.

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