Norton has teased that a new motorcycle was in the works for a few weeks now; finally, it’s here. The Norton Atlas is a big break from the company’s modus operandi — it’s not a cafe racer, it’ll be affordable and built in bigger numbers. Like many manufacturers looking for success, Norton is jumping on the wave of scrambler and street tracker popularity, signaling a change and a peek at what’s to come. But keep in mind it’s all relative.
The Atlas comes in two flavors: the Nomad and the Ranger. Both get a 650cc, parallel-twin engine good for 85 horsepower and 47 lb-ft of torque, and both weigh a little over 400 lbs and use Brembo brakes to reign it all in. The Nomad is the more affordable of the pair, starting at $12,900 while the more built up Ranger will come with a $15,000 price tag. For the extra $2,100, the Atlas Ranger gets a bigger 19-inch wheel up front capped with a high mudguard, a skid plate, aluminum rear panel, a cowl with windscreen and raised braced handlebars.
It all fits in line with offerings from Triumph and Ducati, but since Norton hasn’t been in the light off-road game for some time, it’s tough to tell if their 650cc motorcycle can compete with the more powerful, less expensive mainstream models. Price tags in the $15,000 range might be affordable for Norton considering its other bikes run between $20,000 and $30,000, but it might have to lean on its prestige to sell the number of bikes it wants.
Norton will have 250 examples of each bike ready to sell by next week with plans to build and sell more. Now, 250 might not sound like large production numbers to brands like to Ducati, but Norton is likely testing the waters. The Atlas certainly classifies as an ‘affordable Norton,’ however, it still lands in the top brackets of what motorcycle riders are willing to pay. I wouldn’t expect the British brand to sell tens of thousands of these — as beautiful as they are, but it’s going to have to be a damn good bike to take on the segment stalwarts.
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