It’s A Mid-Displacement Supersport With an Engine Derived from the V4

Norton Motorcycles put together its Superlight for riders who are looking for a mid-size, street-legal ride that still qualifies as a racebike. Looking at this ride, it’s safe to say “mission accomplished.” The factory built the 650-twin engine in-house and borrowed heavily from its V4 powerplant for some real racetrack DNA to drive this aptly-named bike. Why aptly named? Mainly because the liberal use of carbon fiber and aluminum keeps the tally low at only 348 pounds (dry), so the 105-horsepower mill has less mass and inertia to deal with. I guess you could also call it the Superquick as well. Lest you doubt its racing chops, know that the factory plans on tackling the Isle of Man TT with this model, so if you’re looking for a bona fide British street racer, you need look no further.

  • 2019 Norton Superlight
  • Year:
    2019
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Parallel-Twin
  • Displacement:
    650 cc
  • Top Speed:
    115 (est) mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    25500

Norton Superlight Design

2019 Norton Superlight
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2019 Norton Superlight
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2019 Norton Superlight
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The V4 RR's influence is plain to see in the overall body shape, just in a supersport-sized package instead of a full-on superbike one.

The V4 RR’s influence is plain to see in the overall body shape, so the Superlight brings much the same windtunnel-tested design elements to the table, just in a supersport-sized package instead of a full-on superbike one. Lightweight and strong carbon-fiber is the material of choice for the “sheet metal” components, and the aerodynamic influence starts out in earnest right up front with the molded front fender that doubles as a fairing for the fork lowers to an even greater degree than its V4 sibling.

A blunt nose houses a pair of recessed headlights that come complete with angel-eye DRLs. All-around LED emitters ensure maximum visibility, even in daylight. Intake ports at the upper-forward edge of the cowling scoop take advantage of the pressure wave in front of the bike to deliver a ram-air boost to the induction in order to improve the volumetric efficiency, but the effect doesn’t really kick in until you get up around the 100 mph mark so it’s more-or-less a feature for a track or proper road-racing course.

On top, a smoked screen punches a hole in the wind, but since it’s even shorter than the RR’s bubble screen, you’ll have to tuck in as tightly as ever for you to find the pocket. The cowling all but completely hides the powerplant and other innards, and it continues all the way down to form a full belly-pan fairing that continues all the way back to the rear wheel/swingarm area.

Even the 4.75-gallon fuel tank is carbon fiber. It runs Kevlar reinforcements for strength with a chemical coating to keep the gasoline from attacking the resin. The tank rocks the usual fairing-flanges on top with a strong wane at the rear end to create the obligatory knee pockets and leave plenty of room for body English.

A diamond-stitch, multi-material solo seat comes with a padded butt-stop ahead of the tail fairing, but that’s all you get since this is not a bike that’s built to share with a friend. If you must have that p-pad, I’d direct you to some of Norton’s less race-tastic models.

An LED taillight rides tucked away under the terminus of the tail, and while the factory doesn’t explicitly address the tagholder, if I had to guess, I’d expect both the tag hardware and mirrors to be easily removed and their mount holes plugged ahead of race day.

The instrumentation is handled in its entirety by the high-def, 7-inch color display that doubles as an interface for the ride-quality controls, including three ride modes: Road, Sport, Pro-Race.

Norton Superlight Chassis

2019 Norton Superlight
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2019 Norton Superlight
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2019 Norton Superlight
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Both the headstock position and swingarm pivot for fine-tuning ahead of racedays.

Much like the V4 RR, aluminum is the material of choice for the twin-tube perimeter frame. The weight of the structure is further reduced by using the engine as a stressed member, which displaces a large section of the frame while maintaining rigidity. Seat height is typical for supersports at 32.4 inches off the ground, which may tax riders with shorter inseams.

You can adjust both the headstock position (rake) and swingarm pivot for fine-tuning ahead of racedays. The stock rake rides at 24.2 degrees with a billet tripletree to hold the USD fork stanchions and establish a compact 55-inch wheelbase. Add that all up to more agility and flickability. Öhlins provides the steering damper as well as the fully-adjustable front forks and rear shocks that allow you to further tune the ride. A single-side aluminum swingarm finishes out the structure and does its bit to keep unsprung weight down.

Carbon fiber makes up the 17-inch wheels as well, and they come lined with ZR-rated hoops so they’ll take as much speed as you dare. Brembo brakes haul it down with dual 330 mm discs and monobloc calipers up front opposite a 245 mm disc out back and all-around ABS protection.

Frame: Twin tube chassis, polished tubes. Engine acts as a structural member. Adjustable swingarm pivot and rake angle.
Swingarm: Single sided aluminum swingarm.
Fork yokes: Billet top and bottom
Steering damper: Öhlins damper
Front suspension: Öhlins NIX30 system front fork. Fully-adjustable
Rear suspension: Öhlins TTXGP Norton bespoke fully adjustable rear shock.
Wheels: Carbon fiber.
Front brake: Dual 330 mm full floating Brembo discs. Radially mounted twin Brembo monoblock calipers with ABS. Brembo master cylinder.
Rear brake: Single 245 mm Brembo disc. Brembo twin piston rear caliper with ABS. Brembo master cylinder.

Norton Superlight Drivetrain

2019 Norton Superlight
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2019 Norton Superlight
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The in-house, 650 cc parallel-twin is essentially the front two cylinders from the 1,200 cc V4 engine, so it starts life with a healthy dose of racing DNA.

The in-house, 650 cc parallel-twin is essentially the front two cylinders from the 1,200 cc V4 engine, so it starts life with a healthy dose of racing DNA. A 270-degree firing order gives it a v-twin-style lope at idle and improves traction by giving the rear tire a chance to get a grip between the two widely-spaced power pulses. Dual over-head cams time the poppets, and since it uses the same heads as its big brother, I expect the intake valves to be made of titanium in a bid to keep reciprocating weight down and help stave off harmonic valve float at the top end.

Ride-by-wire throttle control sends the signal from the right grip to the ECU, where it’s then modified by the triple-map engine-mode feature. The fandanglery continues with a six-axis inertial-measurement unit that modulates the levels of intervention of the traction-, launch- and wheelie-control based on vehicle attitude and calculated traction.

A quartet of fuel injectors feed the two cylinders and deliver highly-atomized hydrocarbons in order to maximize combustion and minimize emissions, and that works with the secondary air-injector in the exhaust and EVAP feature to complete the package. An 82 mm bore and 61.5 mm stroke pushes compression into the insane zone at 13.4-to-1, so you can expect to run top-hook gas and/or an octane booster.

Power is measured at 105 horsepower at a lofty 12,500 rpm with 55 pound-feet of torque. An auto-blipper and quickshift system provides seamless shifts without ever letting up on the throttle for blistering acceleration and controlled engine braking.

Engine: Norton-Designed 650 cc parallel twin. 270 degree firing order. Chain driven double overhead cams with idler gear.
Displacement: 650 cc
Compression ratio: 13.4:1
Bore x Stroke: 82 mm x 61.5 mm
Power: 105 hp @ 12,500 rpm
Torque: 55 lb-ft (75 Nm)
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel injection system. 4 fuel injectors. Full drive-by-wire system.
Euro 4: Full compliance including secondary air injection and EVAP.
Quickshift: Full quickshift system and auto down blipper
Ignition: Keyless ignition system

Norton Superlight Pricing

2019 Norton Superlight
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MSRP comes in at $25.5k for this naked carbon-fiber beast.

U.S. buyers can expect to shell out $25,500 for this carbon-fiber delight. You can have it in any color you like; just as long as you like naked carbon fiber with black resin.

Instruments: Full-color 7-inch HD display with multiple functions. Engine mode adjustability.
Electronic aids: Traction control, wheelie control, and launch control using a built-in six axis IMU. Engine modes: Road, Sport, Pro-Race
Color: Carbon Fiber
Price: $25,500

Norton Superlight Competitor

2019 Norton Superlight
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2017 - 2019 Ducati SuperSport / SuperSport S
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All things more or less equal, the difference in price doesn't account for the exclusivity of the carbon-fiber build the Superlight brings to the table, so you've got to decide where your priorities lie.

One outstanding supersport deserves another, and Ducati seems to be my Huckleberry this time around with its Supersport S to go up against the Superlight. Ducati follows the usual design considerations starting with windtunnel-tested body panels that all but completely enclose the machine and its innards from the casual observer. The sloped front fairing does its bit to keep the front end down and use the force of the incoming wind to plant the front contact patch. Distinctive headlights and DRLs light the way ahead, and in a bid to tidy up the front end, the turn signals are integrated with the mirrors.

Like the Norton Superlight, the Duc rocks clip-on handlebars and a sloped fuel tank to enable that racing posture, but if you like to share the fun with a friend, Ducati has the only game in town with a pillion pad hidden away beneath the tail fairing with fold-up footpegs to complete the passenger’s points of contact.

The suspension parts are pulled from the top shelf with the full range of adjustments, fore-and-aft. Same with the brakes; Brembo anchors and Bosch ABS haul down the Duc to more or less break even again. Power comes from a Testastretta L-twin plant with 110 horsepower and 69 pound-feet of torque for a slight edge over the Norton, though to be fair, the Ducati does pack a total of 937 cc, and if I’m honest, that size difference seems like it should generate an even greater power difference, so credit to Norton where it’s due.

Ducati chucked on its usual top-notch electronics suite for another impasse, but the biggest advantage to come to light for the Italian marque becomes clear at the checkout; the $15,195 sticker makes for a hell of a selling point. Again, to be fair, that doesn’t account for the exclusivity of the carbon-fiber build the Superlight brings to the table, so you’ve got to decide where your priorities lie.

He Said

“It takes a certain type to want a bike like this, but if you’ve got the deep pockets (and potentially the deathwish) then it’s hard to beat this supersport. It’s less expensive than the large-displacement superbikes but delivers a comparable ride due to the chassis setup and overall adjustability, thus making it more accessible for someone who’s looking for something that’s a cut above the rest of the pack.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “This is a nice mid-displacement engine, shared by the new Atlas Ranger and Nomad, and derived from the V4. It uses the same clutch, gearbox, and valvetrain as the V4, so you can already get a feel for the performance potential of the Superlight. According to Norton CEO, Stuart Garner, this bike was developed with TT wins in mind.”

Norton Superlight Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Norton-Designed 650 cc parallel twin. 270 degree firing order. Chain driven double overhead cams with idler gear.
Displacement: 650 cc
Compression ratio: 13.4:1
Bore x Stroke: 82 mm x 61.5 mm
Power: 105 hp @ 12,500 rpm
Torque: 55 lb-ft (75 Nm)
Fuel injection: Electronic fuel injection system. 4 fuel injectors. Full drive-by-wire system.
Euro 4: Full compliance including secondary air injection and EVAP.
Quickshift: Full quickshift system and auto down blipper
Ignition: Keyless ignition system
Chassis:
Frame: Twin tube chassis, polished tubes. Engine acts as a structural member. Adjustable swingarm pivot and rake angle.
Swingarm: Single sided aluminum swingarm.
Fork yokes: Billet top and bottom
Steering damper: Öhlins damper
Front suspension: Öhlins NIX30 system front fork. Fully-adjustable
Rear suspension: Öhlins TTXGP Norton bespoke fully adjustable rear shock.
Wheels: Carbon fiber.
Front brake: Dual 330 mm full floating Brembo discs. Radially mounted twin Brembo monoblock calipers with ABS. Brembo master cylinder.
Rear brake: Single 245 mm Brembo disc. Brembo twin piston rear caliper with ABS. Brembo master cylinder.
Dimensions & Capacities:
Wheelbase: 55.1 in (1,399 mm)
Dry weight: 348.3 lbs (158 kg)
Top Speed: 115 mph (est)
Details:
Lighting: Full LED lighting system including super bright high and low beam, angel eye DRL’s, rear lamp and indicators.
Instruments: Full-color 7-inch HD display with multiple functions. Engine mode adjustability.
Electronic aids: Traction control, wheelie control, and launch control using a built-in six axis IMU. Engine modes: Road, Sport, Pro-Race
Color: Carbon Fiber
Price: $25,500

Further Reading

Ducati Supersport / Supersport S

2017 - 2019 Ducati SuperSport / SuperSport S
- image 777374

See our review of the Ducati Supersport / Supersport S.

Norton V4 RR

ALLYN IMAGES - DO NOT DELETE
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See our review of the Norton V4 RR.

Norton Atlas Nomad

2019 Norton Atlas Nomad
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See our review of the Norton Atlas Nomad.|

Norton Atlas Ranger

Buying Guide - Norton
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See our review of the Norton Atlas Ranger.

Norton

ALLYN IMAGES - DO NOT DELETE
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Read more Norton news.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: nortonmotorcycles.com, ducati.com

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