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TOAD TALKS: CCM prove that building bespoke UK built bikes can work

With many pointing the finger of Norton’s demise at its business model, CCM is showing the UK and the world how it should be done

IT’S fair to say that the story of Norton’s sad decline in the last twelve months has been a topic that can split opinion more than Brexit.

Many, like us, are just sad that the iconic brand is seemingly slipping back into obscurity. While many, and we are only going by the comments on our own Facebook page, point the finger of blame at the company’s business model and the range of bikes they sold.

The main point that is getting raised again and again is that Norton’s products were too expensive, not real-world usable and therefore not a viable option. So, the first point, around the price point of the bikes, could be a problem but only if you’re looking at selling hundreds of thousands of bikes a year. For a company looking to shift a small number of high-value bikes, that business model can work – take a look at CCM.

For a few years now CCM moved out of the adventure sector, where their GP450 adventure bike sold well, but not meteorically on the mass market. Choosing their moment with sniper-like accuracy, CCM switched their focus from the adventure segment to the custom and café racer scene, right when it was about to take off in a big way.

From then their Spitfire has been a huge success, selling out at the during the first London Motorcycle Show when it was unveiled. From there they have launched an even larger range of Spitfire models, with eight hand-built machines. Each and every one of them is everything Garner promised customers their next Norton would be, hand-built, artisan-crafted and British built. Furthermore, pretty much every bike in CCM’s range has very limited use. You wouldn’t tour on them, take them on track and definitely wouldn’t want to commute through winter on one! But that doesn't stop every new bike they announce pretty much instantly selling out.

It is worth noting that the CCM range of motorcycles isn’t powered by their own engines like Nortons were. For that, the team at Bolton relies on a 600cc single-cylinder thumper from Husqvarna, and I’m more than fine with that. If some of the owner’s stories we are hearing from people contacting us on email are true, the ownership experience was not worthy of the name on the crankcase.

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