We’ve talked a lot about the Norton Motorcycles pension funds scandal, as well as the factory closing and sources close to Norton starting to speak out. Now, one Norton V4 owner gave an interview about his experience on the podcast Chasin’ The Racin’. For anyone who loves motorcycles, it’s a tough listen.
Imagine if you’d saved up a lot of money for a long time to finally get your hands on your dream bike. Maybe some of you have done this, and you don’t have to imagine that part. Now, think about how you’d feel if you left that dream bike of yours with the manufacturer for service. Then you learn that the company took parts off it to make ‘new’ bikes, likely because it couldn’t get new parts from its suppliers, possibly because it couldn’t pay them.
That’s what this Norton V4 owner said happened to him and to eight other known V4 owners in the UK who took delivery of their bikes. In the interview, he lays down the whole story. He is a regular, middle-aged guy who worked all his life, saved up a little bit of money, and wanted to support Norton’s legacy. He was excited to see the brand come back and even happier after seeing the Norton stand at the 2016 London bike show.
Soon afterward, he put down a £4,000 deposit (or US $5,166) on his £44,000 (or US $56,822) Norton V4 SS. He knew that he’d have to wait for it but that part was totally fine by him. Eventually, he was told in 2018 that if he paid in full, he’d be bumped to the head of the line—so he did exactly that.
He finally took delivery of his brand new Norton V4 SS in May 2019. It was later than he’d hoped, but at least he got it. This happy new Norton owner then promptly put 500 miles on his new baby, as you do. Then, he took the bike over to the Norton factory for its first service and that’s when the dream started to sour.
Again, this interview is hard to listen to because you feel so bad for everyone that Stuart Garner's Norton has allegedly hurt. This owner considers himself one of the lucky ones because he said that he knows of a total of nine customer-owned V4s that were allegedly stripped down at the Norton factory. Of that number, he said that he’s personally seen four that were stripped down to just the engine and the frame with all the body, dash, throttle bodies, radiators, and other assorted bits and pieces totally gone.
Hearing that number by itself, you might think that nine doesn’t sound like a lot. However, when you consider that these were specialty, low-volume bikes, and that educated guesses estimate only around 30 bikes ever made it into into customers' hands, that’s almost 30 percent of bikes stripped.
On the Norton pensions scandal front, some of the affected pensioners have started a Change.org petition to convince the UK government to do a fraud investigation. If you’re interested, you can show your support here.
Source: Chasin’ the Racin’