New Bikes

The Norton Atlas V4 will continue to live on in this Zongshen ADV twin

Norton Motorcycles' future may be set to follow a new path but its Atlas V4 looks set to continue living on in China with the Zongshen Cyclone RX6

With news over the weekend that Norton Motorcycles has been saved from complete collapse with a sale to TVS Motors, it seems the beleaguered British firm will also continue live on through its engine supply to Chinese firm Zongshen.

Way back in 2017 when things seemed a whole lot rosier for Norton, the company signed a ’20-year Design and License agreement’ to use Norton’s all-new 650cc V4 engine even though it was still on the drawing board at the time.

The V4 was intended to power the Atlas and Superlight models, but never reached any form of volume production in the two years that followed, right up to the point Norton collapsed into administration amid a scandal over misuse of pension funds and unfulfilled orders.

Despite this, Zongshen appears to be ploughing on with its plans to use the engine in a twin capacity even though Norton’s future looks set to follow a very different plan, with this ADV model to be known as Cyclone RX6 and a tourer called RK6.

Despite Norton’s collapse – and apparent imminent rebirth – Zongshen is ploughing on with its plans to use the engines in its forthcoming models, according to these patent filings.

The RX6 made its debut in concept form during the China International Trade Exhibition and these drawings reveal the Ricardo-penned production model is set to remain true to the prototype revealed last year.

The Zongshen Cyclone RX6 appears to be targeted at the Kawasaki Versys 650 is expected to produce around 70hp, though there is talk of an 850cc version that would lift it up to around 90hp.

What remains less clear is how Norton’s deals prior to its folding under its former Stuart Garner-helmed guise fit into its new future.

Garner had maintained a sense of ‘business as usual’ right up to its high-profile demise, even seemingly managing to sell the rights to the 961 engine to Jinlang just days before the company slid into administration.

Since then, TVS Motors has swooped in to purchase Norton for a princely sum of £16 million, a deal which will presumably will see it need to get a grip on the firm’s desperate pensions scandal but perhaps have some say on what happens to contracts signed in the lead up to its public issues.
 

Comments

I thought the 650 was a twin!

Technicals's picture

Not a great image but that looks like a parallel twin.

Yes it's a twin but with V4 origins. Probably a very robust twin for that matter...

Back in the day Skinner, the head designer at Norton said: “Remove the rear cylinders of the V4 and you’ve got a 600, or stretch it to a 650 parallel twin. Between the new V4 and the parallel twin that’s our engine platforms done for a number of years. And then you could do a small street bike, or a naked, or whatever we want from those two engine platforms.”

leett's picture

Just search and Google "Norton Navigator II concept" and "Norton NE 1 concept" to see what I tried to present to Norton using their V4, and also the NE 1 electric TT ZERO category and road bike... Still Norton no best lol

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