Norton Motorcycles has issued a press release noting another milestone in effort to return to the States: it has successfully completed durability and emissions testing for its Commando 961 Cafe Racer (pictured), 961 Sport and 961 SE bikes. Now the niche English motorcycle firm needs to submit and receive approvals for safety and compliance documentation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as well as complete other paperwork protocols for the Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board. Then it can submit individual requests to each state, and assuming all of that goes well, it can start shipping its modern retro wares here.
That doesn't, however, mean you can expect to own a Norton as soon as the mountain of paperwork has been scaled. If an article called "Nortongate" on the motorcycle site Hell for Leather is to be believed, Norton is now very poorly run, citing a woeful record of failing to deliver bikes – not to mention properly engineering it 961 line. Thus, U.S. approvals might not mean much. Using public access documents and speaking to numerous customers and people that have worked for and done business with Norton all the way up to August of this year, the story makes it seem much more reasonable to take one's chances with a vintage Norton rather than the new ones ostensibly on the way.