ABOVE is a picture of Mike Henderson in France on his sister-in-law's new Norton Commando 961S. He went for a 75k ride on it with his brother-in-law (Patrick), who was on his 748 Ducati. They rode through some interesting French countryside, and he said it was great to be out on a bike.
Mike said the Norton goes very well with lots of torque,
handles great and stops as good as any modern European
superbike. What a great looking machine! And a buzz to ride.
Patrick has other bikes: Velocette 500 Venom that he races,
Norton 850 Commando Mk 3 that was the 15th last Norton sold when
Norton finished production in the mid 70’s, he has another
Velocette 500 being restored and his wife has a Ducati as well.
Later Mike and his brother-in-law went on another two and half
hour ride on the 961s Norton, having a great time with no rain
and warm weather.
Being critical he thinks the bike is geared a bit too high for
Australia, easily fixed by changing sprockets. The 961S is
happiest sitting on 5000 revs and in top gear it’s about 145
km/h. He spent about 40 minutes at this speed following Patrick
on his 748 one afternoon, a bit hairy but great fun following
the leader on country roads you don’t know. I would say that the
gearing is good for France because the speed limit is 130k’s on
the freeways and most of the French drive at 140 to 150k’s + on
Sounds like a great holiday Mike, with some enviable relatives.
Other bike pix from Mike:
Wakan powered by S & S. This small French firm made these bikes from the late 1990’s. In their lowest state of tune they had a top speed of 155mph. Unfortunately with a price tag of $47,000 and limited production the firm eventually folded.
Petty Manx Norton. Ray Petty was a leading tuner of Manx Norton engines as well as designing his own frames which he marketed successfully as kits in 1971.
The Voxan was completely French made, from the 72° 996cc V-twin to its unique frame. It was manufactured from 1999 and had dealerships in five countries. The company went into liquidation in 2009 after a chequered history.