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Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

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Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by alan_coath at November 03. 2017

Hi, I've been considering buying a 961 for some time now and have seen a second hand 2017 Euro 3 model, complete with dual seat option, for sale. I was wondering if anyone has any ideas as to whether a Euro 4 model would be a better bet.

I think ABS is probably worth having, although my Fireblade doesn't have it and I can't say as I've ever needed it. The other change is of course upside down forks, which I can't see any advantage over. On a supersport track bike yes for sure, but in my eyes they don't look any better than standard forks and I've heard they are more difficult to work on. Norton adverts say they give a better ride - is that the truth?

A Norton dealer did tell me that the Euro 4's have more muffling to dampen engine noise which, after reading various complaints from owners, sounds like it could be worthwhile - but I've not read that anywhere and I've no idea as to what sort of muffling he was referring to.

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by Clive Astley-Mynd at November 06. 2017

Hi Alan,

First assumption is that you are based in the UK. I just bought a new euro 4 Commando as I wanted the ABS and to choose a special paint finish plus options such as polished yokes and chrome sprocket.

I'm not sure if the exhausts are different for Euro4 but I have been recommended to replace them with the open 'loud' exhausts and decat option as these changes combined with a remap transforms the performance. These are recommendations from the factory. You might want to consider whether the s/h bike has the latest crankcase breather and if it has any options fitted as these can be eye-wateringly expensive on a new bike; eg over £500 for the polished yokes or over £800 for 'loud' pipes. Is it a factory pre-owned? If not this may be an option.

Mine has UD forks but I feel that the handling is way ahead of its performance so I can't imagine conventional to be a problem. Anyone else comments?

As an aside I absolutely love the look and feel of my Commando although you must ride one as it feels very different to a >2 cylinder sports bike. If you want any info such as engine revisions try Clem at the factory - he is very approachable and a great guy.


Clive AM

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by alan_coath at November 06. 2017

Hi Clive,

Yes I live in the UK, on Teesside. I loved the look of the 961 when I first saw it in 2010 but when I read about the problems some owners had I just put the idea out of my mind - until the mk2 came along! So I had a test ride at the factory in June this year and met Clem who, as you say, is a great guy.

A minor problem on the test bike was that the neutral light kept flickering on and off during the ride and also the engine itself hunted badly on tickover. I was told this last problem was because the bike, being a demonstrator, had been well used, which seems a strange explanation. One issue I had was that my knees didn't quite seem to fit the tank cutouts, which I solved by sitting further back - which then, however, put weight on my wrists. I'm thinking this could probably be sorted by fitting bar risers.

All in all I found the test ride hugely enjoyable and the performance actually more than adequate so I don't think I would be looking to increase it - although I do like the look of the short pipes and would probably specify them as an option. The bike vibrated a bit which I expected - but they were good vibrations and just enhanced the whole experience for me! Some time after that I had a test ride on a ThruxtonR, a bike which seems to be getting ever more expensive, but feelgood wise it wasn't in the same league as the 961 for me.

I also own a 2009 Triumph Bonneville Scrambler (a bike which has let me down on more than one occasion and is currently off the road due to electrical problems!) so I'm familiar with and love the feel of a twin cylinder bike.

I did think about a special paint finish but I'm struggling to think of anything better than the silver finish of the bike I've seen. The bike has had just one owner and was registered about four months ago with less than a hundred miles on the clock I believe  - and its £2.5K cheaper than a new one!

It has a dual seat, which would have been an option, so the only things missing I can see are the USD forks and ABS neither of which are that important to me. I'm not sure what effect the latest crankcase breather would have but I'll enquire if the bike has it and I think I'll ring the factory to find out if there's any truth about extra muffling to the engine.

To be honest I'm all for worthwhile improvements but one concern I have is about extra complications that Euro 4 might have brought to the bike, particularly electrical because that's the way bikes seem to be going. I'm actually surprised that Norton have managed to achieve Euro 4 without water cooling, which will surely be needed for Euro 5?

Thank you for your reply Clive, I can tell you enjoy owning your Commando, which is most encouraging.


Alan C

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by Clive Astley-Mynd at November 07. 2017

Hi Alan - When I mentioned improved performance I meant a more refined throttle response rather than performance hike. Ask Clem. Personally I think the silver is the best colour - mine is a slightly more special silver - and I got the saddle updated by Saddlecraft with a special finish and gel inserts - I find that when riding I tend to push myself back in the seat against the bum stop. I am used to drop bars on racing cycles so the riding position is fine for me but maybe look at the bars fitted to the new California if you need something more upright?

The constant attention the bike gets is a true testament to its superb lines - I had intended to get a Thruxton but the brushed metal 'kitchen appliance' finish and overseas manufacturing put me off.



Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by alan_coath at November 11. 2017

Hi Clive,

I must say I had no problems with the throttle response on the demonstrator, which was a Euro 3, I found it delightful, very smooth and responsive - maybe it just happens on Euro 4, or maybe the factory had sorted it? I do find the throttle response on my Triumph Scrambler EFI to be very poor however, it's very jerky indeed which can be irritating not to say unnerving at times. I intend to solve that problem with a booster plug however as, although I know it's just a device to trick the ECU, I have yet to hear of a dissatisfied Triumph-owning customer.

Gel inserts are a good idea as I remember the seat being a little on the hard side. I think the bars on the California would be way too high for me but I've noticed a reference to Rox bar risers on this forum so that's probably the way to go.

The Norton brochure I picked up recently says USD forks give a better ride quality whereas the Norton website (when are they going to update this?) talks about conventional forks for a more comfortable ride - so I'm still mystified!

I spoke to Clem and he said the new bikes are quieter but I'm not sure on reflection whether he meant engine or exhaust wise.



Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by Clive Astley-Mynd at Tuesday 08:11

Hi Alan - I went to the new model and anniversary launch on Sunday and after asking around the line does seem to be to remap, decat, and loud pipe it to 'transform' the response. Apparently the engine mechanical noise will reduce a bit after servicing and remapping.

As a NOC member the anniversary bike discount seems very generous - I'm a bit peeved not to have known that is was going to be available. This would get you a limited edition bike with all the latest breather etc mods and full warranty. They described this engine as bomb proof with no major mechanical warranty claims, which is encouraging. You also get the 'black line' forks which look great to the more traditionalist eye.

I would not get too worried about the USD fork issue - unless you want it for hard track use I would like to bet that you would not tell the difference on the road.

Hope this helps,


Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by Charles Bovington at Tuesday 09:02

A silly question perhaps,but if you fit loud pipes, de cat the engine and remap the ECU, can you still comply with noise and emissions regulations? If so why did Norton need them in the first place? Also what is the view of the insurance companies with regard to such modifications.?

Non of the above matters if it is a track day only bike, but for normal road use you might ignore at your peril.

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by Clive Astley-Mynd at Tuesday 11:12

Please feel free to correct me but as far as I see it there are EURO regulations for NEW European registered motorcycles, ie it must comply with these limits when it leaves the factory door.

Then there are UK regulations for use on our roads, generally what it needs to get it through an MOT test, and particularly when it comes to noise is open to a certain degree of interpretation.

Once the bike has left the factory then so long as it complies with these 'on the road' UK limits then everyone is happy. The insurance companies situation is a bit more nebulous. On enquiring I have been told that mine is happy with factory supplied and fitted 'accessories' and a lot of companies will also accept aftermarket fitments if they are told about them; especially since so many riders are replacing their Euro dustbin exhausts. Hence my choice of the Norton pipes.


Regards CliveAM

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by john_hall1 at Tuesday 16:18


Beautiful bikes but....can anyone else see "Freedoms" being taken away, with all this Euro garbage?

The motorcycling community is walking into a trap that will end with no motorcycling at all!





John H

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by alan_coath at Wednesday 12:52

I believe you are right Clive about Euro regs only applying to bikes leaving the factory and then a more relaxed MOT test applying. How long however before this "loophole" is closed and stringent emission tests are applied to road going motorcycles?

And governments are not beyond applying retrospective legislation. 2001, when I bought a new Mondeo, was the first year that CO2 emissions were measured on cars and I thought little of it, but I didn't know then that tax bands would be introduced several years later and applied retrospectively back to 2001 as a stick to perpetually beat me with, even though I now drive it only when I have to, just a few hundred miles a year, preferring to go by motorcycle - or use my bus pass!

To be honest I'm not sure I'm comfortable about loud pipes anyway. I suppose I would have to hear them first. I'm also a bit miffed about the need to make expensive modifications just in order to get a machine running the way it surely should be in the first place. I'm still curious to know whether this is just a Euro 4 problem?

I also think Charles is right to be concerned about the reaction of insurance companies. In my experience they use any opportunity to raise premiums and to them open pipes probably mean one thing - the owner is a power hungry boy racer! Strangely though, the cheapest quote I can get for the standard Norton is actually £30 more than my Fireblade, a machine which puts out twice as much bhp! I wish they'd do something to encourage British bike ownership.

I've done a little research into USD forks and I agree I don't think anyone would notice any difference on the road, they certainly don't offer a better ride. The disadvantage however is that they are more complex and difficult to work on, requiring special tools. And that weeping seal that you keep meaning to fix on your classic bike had better be seen to quickly on USD forks as oil will soon run down onto brake components - with obvious potential consequences!

I take it by limited edition bike Clive you mean the California, offered at standard bike price? The bars are semi-apehanger which unfortunately are too high for me.



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