Marking the 50th anniversary of the ’Commando’ series of motorcycles.

The original Norton Commando first saw the light of day all the way back in 1967. Production spanned ten continuous years but slowly lost its steam. The Commando has seen a number of attempted revivals, with several entities trying to capture some of the success of the original, with varying degrees of success.

For its 50th anniversary, the British maker has given it an update and launched the 2018 Commando 961 California. ‘The easy riding roadster’. It ditches all the darkness and adorns a timeless classic styling with chrome all-over reminiscent of the ‘70s American motorcycling.

Norton launched the new 2018 Commando 961 California Exterior
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The California seems to be built on the same setup of the current Cafe Racer MK II model but chucks the fly screen and the 2-2 exhaust to be replaced with a chromy 2-1 exhaust. Flat handlebars also get replaced with Semi-Ape hanger bars and are given the blingy chrome treatment.

The shiny chrome is seen on a host of other places like the headlamp, chain guard, twin-pod instrumentation and the Ohlins upside-down forks. And it’s not only just chrome. There is even carbon-fiber on the front mudguard, tire hugger, and number plate holder.

Norton launched the new 2018 Commando 961 California Exterior
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Norton launched the new 2018 Commando 961 California Exterior
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Norton launched the new 2018 Commando 961 California Exterior
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Norton launched the new 2018 Commando 961 California Exterior
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The chassis and the engine architecture will remain the same with a traditional, double-cradle / double-downtube frame supporting the 961 cc engine made by Norton itself. Norton claims 66.3 pound-feet of torque at 5,200 rpm backed up by 78.8 horsepower at 6,500 rpm from this engine.

You can get the Commando 961 California in four unique liveries, with a bike cover and paddock stand to suit and will be limited to just 50 numbered units. They’re available now, on a first-come-first-serve basis, and each limited edition bike will also have its unique build number etched onto the clock face.

Norton launched the new 2018 Commando 961 California Exterior
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Sagar Patil
Motorcycle industry expert since 1997! - sagar@topspeed.com
Over the years, a deeper conscience of machines moving body and soul has given him a crisp grasp over the concepts of motorcycling. A sucker for details and common sense, he loves getting his hands dirty every once in a while. His love affair with motorcycles ushers in the specialist skillset making Sagar our go-to expert for everything on two-wheels.  Read More
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