The British motorcycle marque will be launching limited edition CBU units in early 2018 and then CKD units by late 2018
Norton Motorcycles has officially announced its joint venture with India’s Kinetic Group.The agreement for the venture was signed at EICMA just last week and today a formal announcement has been made. Norton will be bringing the Commando and Dominator, two popular motorcycles from the brand, to the Indian market.
Norton will launch the bikes during the first quarter of 2018 as limited edition offerings. These will be Completely Built-up Units (CBU) exported from Britain and will naturally be more expensive with the amount of tax they will attract.
Later on, the Completely Knocked Down units will be assembled at Kinetic’s facility in Ahmednagar. The Commando, which will be launched first and around late 2018, will come in two different variants: 961 Sport and 961 Cafe Racer. While the Sport variant is a large motorcycle featuring high-set handlebars and mid-set pegs, the Cafe Racer will have small clip-ons with a small flyscreen. Besides that, both the bikes will feature the same engine and frame.
The prices will be similar to Ducati’s Panigale line; however, they will not offer the same level of performance. But in Norton’s defense, the company focuses on the nicheness and craftsmanship of their products and not the engineering.
After the CKD units of the Commando, we will see the Dominator roll out in early 2019. Just like the Commando, this bike will also come in 2 variants: Sport and DomiRacer. The Dominator looks like a Manx-style racer with low-set bars, rear-set pegs and an aggressive riding position.
Both the Commando and the Dominator are powered by a 961cc parallel twin air-cooled engine that can churn out 80PS of max power and 90Nm of peak torque, which is sufficient. The Commando’s suspension duties are handled by USD forks at the front and dual shock absorbers at the rear whereas the Dominator gets telescopic front forks and a monoshock unit at the back. The Dominator is also different because of the carbon fibre it employs in the front cowl, rear tyre hugger and tailpiece.
Norton will share the assembly line and showroom floor with MV Agusta. The retro modern Nortons will be sold through Kinetic’s Motoroyale dealerships, which also deals in MV Agusta motorcycles.
Currently the joint venture is structured in such a way that 51 per cent shares are with Norton and 49 per cent with Kinetic Motoroyale. They together will sell the bikes not just in India but also other ASEAN free trade countries. As per the venture, Norton will provide IP and engineering and Motoroyale will provide the infrastructure needed to assemble the bikes. Norton is also currently working on new bikes and engine platforms for smaller capacity bikes to compete against Ducati and Triumph. They will make their way to India too.
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