Norton-powered Zongshen Cylone RX6 ADV keeps the V4-turned-twin ticking over

The Zongshen Cylone RX6 pops up again to prove the Norton 650cc twin engine lives on somewhere in the world while we wait for new UK models

Zongshen Cyclone RX6

Norton Motorcycles may be going through something of a transition phase at the moment following its collapse and resurrection under new ownership, but some elements of the beleaguered marque are still ticking over on the other side of the world.

This week’s Beijing International Motor Show has provided a slew of models we will never see on European roads, but there is plenty of evidence of western mainstream brands looking to take a slice of the huge Chinese market pie.

One such model is the Zongshen RX6 adventure bike - sold under the premium Cyclone brand - which has been revealed (again) in a second prototype form ahead of sale later this year.

The handsome (if generic) model gives a better indication of what we can expect from the final model, but it’s what lurks under the skin that demonstrates its party piece. 

That’s because you can find a Norton-engineered 650cc twin engine, which has been derived from its more potent 1200cc V4 superbike unit. It’s something of a belated debut for the engine which was supposed to appear in the Atlas two years ago before constant delays put it on an indefinite back burner before Stuart Garner and co. drove the company into the ground amid a high-profile pensions scandal earlier this year..

As such, there were some doubts as to whether the technical collaboration deal Garner penned with Zongshen would go ahead, but with Norton’s future looking substantially brighter under the ownership of Indian-firm TVS Motors, it seems prior arrangements remain in place.

The latest unveiling also provides more performance details, namely the power which comes in at a moderate 70hp, some way down on the 84hp originally quoted by Norton.

We’ll need to wait to find out if the Norton Atlas 650 does ever make it to production after all, but at least one part of a sorry recent tale is proving positive.