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Norton’s All-New 2019 Atlas Nomad And Ranger - First Look

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation

By Carlos Scintilla, Motorcycle Cruiser

Who says Triumph and Ducati get to have all the fun? With a string of high-profile releases over the last few months, the Hinckley and Bologna crews may have claimed a good share of the new-bike headlines for 2019, but other cool stuff is coming out from that other Brit bike maker, Norton. And the firm just took the wraps off not just one, but two fine-looking versions of its all-new Atlas—the Norton Atlas Ranger and the Atlas Nomad. But, first, a little backstory.
A year ago Norton announced plans and even showed some vague designs for a new series of bikes based around a new twin-cylinder engine the company was developing in-house. The Atlas design was chosen, and now Norton has revealed two mainstream production versions of the bike at the Motorcycle Live event at the NEC last November in England. The Atlas Nomad and Atlas Ranger both get their structure from a tubular steel chassis bearing an all-new parallel-twin engine that was developed as a spin-off from Norton’s brand-new 1,200cc V4 RR superbike.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation

As far as styling goes, both Atlas models have a road-friendly scrambler-style vibe that'll give Norton a chance to dip a toe into the popular adventure-bike pool while still riffing on the firm’s 1960s glory days. Both have the same chassis and internals, but the Atlas Nomad is the more streetable of the two (some have called it café style, but I don’t see it), while the Ranger butches it up with off-road-worthy bits like a taller suspension, different tires, and a skid plate.
More important though is the 650cc parallel-twin engine shared by both Atlas bikes; it’s essentially modern-day Norton’s first middleweight engine. The all-new 650cc parallel-twin mill with double overhead cams is a downsized variation of the 1,200cc V-4 found on the firm’s V4 RR superbike, but with a different cylinder layout (it effectively uses the front two cylinders from the V4 engine, with a bigger bore but the same heads, valves, pistons, etc.). It also has a 270-degree firing order, which means even with the parallel cylinder layout, the pulse and sound will be pretty much like a 90-degree V-twin. There are four valves per cylinder, while two injectors per cylinder serve up fuel via fly-by-wire throttle bodies. Norton has said the engine will make 85 bhp at 11,000 rpm.
The Nomad is the cheaper, lower-key version of the Atlas, and goes with a more naked scrambler feel. It gets spoke wheels with aluminum rims holding a 110/80R-18 Avon TrekRider tire up front and 180/55R-17 rubber at the rear. One of the brighter spots on the spec sheet is a fully adjustable 50mm inverted fork with Norton Roadholder suspension giving 5.9 inches (150mm) of travel, while a remote-reservoir shock delivers the same amount of travel at the back, but is adjustable for preload only. Also a treat are the impressive dual floating 320mm Brembo discs with dual Brembo calipers and ABS found on both bikes. And that tubular steel chassis (and aluminum swingarm) and spoke wheels means the bike weighs in at a super-light 392 pounds (dry).

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation

The up-spec Ranger meanwhile is the wilder child, running with a 19-inch wheel at the front and a 17-incher at the back. This more expensive Atlas model also gets a skid plate, higher-mounted fender, aluminum rear panel, a cowl with windscreen, and braced handlebar. As you’d expect, there’s also a longer-travel adjustable Roadholder suspension (7.9 inches [200mm] of travel front and rear), radiator protection, and a flyscreen as well, but the Ranger has the same chassis, engine, tank, seat, switchgear, and brake kit as the Nomad (though the wheelbase is an inch longer).

And so the name from Norton's 1962 catalog is back. And why not? With revamped Commando and Dominator models already in the new lineup, it made perfect sense for Norton to dust off the Atlas name too.

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation
 
Norton has said it wants to crank out a healthy number of units annually, which will make the new models more affordable. The company’s bread and butter—the retro Commando 961s—hold the middle of the firm’s bike range, while the bespoke, monster V4 RR superbike carries a wallet-melting price somewhere north of $35K. The new Atlas Nomad, however, will sell for £9,995 in the UK, which translates to $12,623 US. The more off-road-focused Ranger will go for £11,995 ($15,149), but both bikes still slot into the lower level of Norton’s current range and somewhat in the same neighborhood as Triumph’s all-new Street Scrambler, which starts at $11,000. The Triumph has a bigger engine and is cheaper, but it looks like the Norton makes more power and has better components, and presumably build quality. Shootout!

© Provided by Bonnier Corporation

The new Norton Atlas will joining the top-of-the-range 1,200cc V4 RR superbike, as well as the Dominator, Superlight, and Commando 961 models in the 2019 Norton lineup. UK deliveries are set to start in May 2019, with European bikes set to release later in 2019. In the USA, we’ll see the bikes sometime after that.

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Autos Magazine: Norton’s All-New 2019 Atlas Nomad And Ranger - First Look
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