┬áREINCARNATED British manufacturer Norton has chopped its sexy-as-hell superbike in half to give the world a new Norton Atlas — and remind us that, once upon a time, bike riders had limited cash and made do with just one machine to do lots of chores.

The new Norton Atlas will come in two flavours — one more off-road oriented than the other — both powered by a 650cc parallel twin that Norton reckons is good for 85 horsepower and is (more or less) the 1200cc, 200+hp engine from its V4RR chopped in half.

We reckon 85 horses would be huge fun on a 650 twin, especially one that tips the scales at a respectable dry weight of just 178kg. By comparison, Honda’s widely-adored Africa Twin claims the same power output and perhaps a bit more pork — depending on your choice of options.

We are always sceptical of manufacturers who say their new big-engined machines can cut it off-road, but we acknowledge modern adventure bikes (like the Honda) are brilliant pieces of kit.

Time will tell whether the new Nortons are tarmac-only or dirt-competent, but they look pretty darned nice. We’ve asked the company about pricing and availability in Australia, and we’ll post on Facebook when we get an answer.

There’s a link to Norton’s info on the Atlas here, and there’s a bunch of pics from Norton below.

CAPTION: They used to look like this. In the mid-1960s, the Norton Atlas was a working-class man’s week-day workhorse and weekend plaything.
CAPTION: No-one we know can afford a V4RR, but we can look and drool.

Peter Terlick