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Norton launched the new 2018 Commando 961 California

Norton launched the new 2018 Commando 961 California

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.

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2016 Norton Dominator

2016 Norton Dominator

The new Dominator from Norton captures the look and feel of the limited-edition Domiracer, but with a more production-friendly and street-legal layout. Norton may have been a bit surprised at the pace at which the Domiracers got snapped up and at the high rate of conversion to street-legal status, but its response was right on target.

Not only does the Dominator resurrect a venerable and storied name, but it shows that this once-mighty, British racebike factory that started out in the late 19th century is still relevant here in the beginning of the 21st. You see, the company fell prey to the flood of cheap Japanese imports during the ’60s and ’70s, and even broke up and changed hands a few times in subsequent years.

Honestly, there was a time when I really felt the same as I did about the original Indian Motorcycle company; once it closed down and changed hands the first time, it wasn’t the same ever again. Well, the new Indian under Polaris made me eat those words once, so join me to see if Norton does so again with its new/old race/street bike.

Continue reading for my review of the Norton Dominator.

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2015 - 2016 Norton Commando 961 MK II SF / Cafe Racer / Sport

2015 - 2016 Norton Commando 961 MK II SF / Cafe Racer / Sport

The original Norton Commando first saw the light of day all the way back in 1967. Production spanned ten years, and the Commando was crowned “Machine of the Year” by the U.K.-based Motor Cycle News for five consecutive years, starting with its sophomore year in ’68 and running through ’72. Since then, 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.

Norton Motorcycles re-introduces us to the Commando with the 961 MK II family that brings classic, British style and modern engineering together in what may be the best attempt to date. Let’s find out, shall we?

Continue reading for my review of the Norton Commando 961 SF MKII, Commando 961 Sport MKII, and Commando 961 Cafe Racer MKII.

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