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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.

Regards,

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.

Regards

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.

Regards,

Clive

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.

Regards,

Alan

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by Clive Astley-Mynd at November 14. 2017

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,

Clive

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by Charles Bovington at November 14. 2017

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 November 14. 2017

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 November 14. 2017

Hi,

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!

 

Cheers

 

 

John H

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by alan_coath at November 15. 2017

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.

Regards

Alan

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by alan_clarke2 at November 22. 2017

I've been to the Motorcycle live show today and can clarify that the "Limited Edition" that Clive refers to is not the California but a 50 year Anniversary edition of their already existing Commando 961 Sport and Café' Racer models. They have loaded both bikes with most of the "pay extra" extras that they sell and have fitted the Sport with Upside down forks and the radial Brembo brakes. The standard price for the Sport is £14,500 but loaded with extras that would normally pump the price up to £21,000 is now going for £15,500 , The "fully loaded" Café Racer is 16,500. I know value is relative but compared with the standard price for these 2 models the Anniversary Edition is a steal.

Cheers Big Alan Clarke, Shenstone Branch Secretary

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by Clive Astley-Mynd at November 23. 2017

Hi Alan - You are pretty much right - we actually have 3 things going on here; the introduction of a new 'model' with the high bar California to sit alongside the Sport and Cafe Racer.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary a quantity of each of these three models is loaded up with extras plus some logos to indicate that it is an Anniversary edition. The list price of these is then being discounted.

So when do we get an anniversary Dominator???

This is all mixed up a bit with the usual great Norton offer of 'whatever paint, wheels, bar etc options you want we can give you'. When you think about it the different models are just serving suggestions.......

What do you think about the black line cafe racer forks? Make it look a bit more traditional or did the gold forks make it look a bit more 'sports'?

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by alan_coath at November 23. 2017

I can't actually find any pictures of these anniversary models anywhere and the Norton website is not specific about what extras are included.

The current Sport is £15495 and that already includes USD forks so I'm thinking there would have to be quite a few extras to make it up to £21000.

I'm also not sure as to how Norton can suddenly claim the engines to be bomb proof and I don't know what you mean Clive when you say "no major mechanical warranty claims". Does this appertain to Euro 4 engines, only made this year of course, which hasn't really given much time for major mechanical problems to arise.

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by Clive Astley-Mynd at November 24. 2017

Hi Alan - The state of the web site has always been an issue for me and I have voiced this to Stuart.

On the AccessNorton web site under the 'a night at Donnington Hall' thread there are a few pics from the launch, or the Norton facebook page.

Look at the price of extras eg £600 for polished chassis, £245 for a carbon plate bracket (gives you an extra 10bhp), £250 for a carbon hugger, £225 carbon chain guard (extra 25bhp). Not sure if it comes with a louder exhaust but that's an £895 option....

 

The 'no major warranty claims' for the engine is from Simon Skinner - a very good engineer who looks after that side of things among others and is very passionate about the Norton bikes and their continual improvement. As an example he cites the choice of roller bearings for the crank. Note the current warranty is 2 years.

The euro 4 engine is mechanically the same with the changes coming from the mapping and cat. Interestingly enough the power lost in the bigger cat for euro 4 was clawed back with a different style. A lot of issues seem to have been with the crankcase breather which should now be sorted, although I hear that a lot of problems are from people not understanding the dry sump and overfilling, like I did with my 911.

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by alan_coath at November 26. 2017

Many thanks for that information Clive. I've had a look at the AccessNorton site and the Norton facebook page which has given me a little more insight.

I'm still struggling to get anywhere near £21K however, unless carbon wheels were to be included, which looking at the photographs they clearly are not. Also I note FastEddie mentions he paid extra for a carbon chain guard so it doesn't look like that is included.

Norton's facebook page says "details include carbon hugger, bar end mirrors, road holder forks (whatever they are?), carbon flyscreen (which in my opinion suits the CR but not the sport), black engine pack, brushed finish oil cooler to name a few" but disappointingly doesn't go into any more detail. Still nowhere near £21K as far as I can see.

I notice also that the "50th anniversary" letters on the tail appear to be a stuck-on label rather than a transfer so I'm not sure how many weekly washes that will endure!

Still I suppose the bike is still quite a bargain compared to the standard models. A good move by Norton really to shift extra bikes at a quiet time of year.

I was surprised by the choice of roller bearings for the crank, is that a recent mod? I'm not sure of any advantage conferred by them, I thought most manufacturers had moved away from them now onto plain bearings and not just for cost purposes, I may be wrong though. It may explain why the engine is a little noisy! I believe oil problems were not just caused by overfilling and I read that a valve has been incorporated to prevent wet sumping and a lower oil level introduced. I'm not sure when this happened though.

I've probably misinterpreted you but I don't quite understand your mention of those whopping power increases, you would need more than a few carbon extras to achieve those.

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by richard_pearce at November 26. 2017

The 50th anniversary emblem is not a stuck on sticker ; so no fears of washing away, the Road holder forks are the black  ones from the dominator, all those anniversary models are well presented & finished,the short stubby pipes are louder than standard of course,but nothing like Harley’s or race pipes on the jap bikes ,don’t know of anyone being told off with the short pipes, & tbh it just looks like & sounds like how a bike should be

Attachments

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by alan_dixon at November 29. 2017

All

I might be able to throw some light on this topic:

 

* I have a 2017 ABS euro 4 sport,with 800 miles on the clock.

The bike was problematic from new, the engine mgt light came on randomly and the bike struggled to start when warm. I perservered as I love the looks, heritage and feel of the bike and tookthe short open pipe and decat option with remap at the first service(500 miles)

* I live about 100 miles from the factory in Cheshire, its a nice cross country ride so I was surprisedthat it would not idle at traffic lights on the way back from the factory. When I got home, I needed to move a car to get the bike in the  garage but what ever I did( including open throttle) I could not restart the bike.

* It restarted the next day whencold but after a few miles enginemgt light back on and i only just got it restarted after stopping for petrol.

* The following day I was meeting some friends at ride to the wall, (it was pouring down which may or may not be relevant) but en route the ems light came on again with a bad misfire and I managed to limp home.

* Following date started sounded fine, no ems light so drove 20 miles to buy some summer gloves for an overseas trip I was going on( hired enfield not the Norton)

Unfortunately, when had  I had bought the gloves, I could not get it started but finally did, and limped home with ems light on yet again.

Clem arrangedfor it-to be picked up and I am told that sensors lambdas etc have been changed and expect it back in a van this Friday.

*For me, it is its last chance- I have lost a bit of confidence but am hoping it is finally sorted. Whilst I am a sunday afternoon rider, I need to be confident it will not only get me somewhere, but back as well.

*On the noise front, the short open pipes sound wonderful, and help mask themechanical thrash from the engine- they are not police attracting noisy and would certainly pass an mot.

* I have a real issue in traffic or low speeds withthe wrist pressure, and bought some bar risers at the NEC which I hope will cure the issue. I agree the California would be great in town but an issue over 50 mph unless a screen was fitted, which would spoil the looks for me.

Hope this is helpful

 

alan dixon

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by alan_coath at November 30. 2017

Very helpful Alan, many thanks. I'm sold on the short open pipes but back to square one trying to decide which model to go for!

I had decided that the Euro 4 model was worth paying extra money for because it did seem that all the issues with the bike had possibly now been ironed out. Your experience however has made me think again. Do old problems still remain and has Euro 4 possibly even introduced new ones for the 961?

I've never actually seen a 961 on the road but my nephew, who is a biker, told me he saw one at Whitby which drew a big crowd of other bikers around. When the poor chap went to leave the bike promptly refused to start. Not good, and quite embarrassing for him I should imagine!

I'm like you a bit of a Sunday afternoon rider, although being retired it's more likely Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon! I don't like laying bikes up so I tend to keep on riding throughout the winter and sometimes around the North Penines where the scenery is pretty wild and the traffic is sparse. The last thing I want is to be stuck out in the middle of nowhere with a bike which won't start!

It actually did happen recently, although thankfully only a few miles from home, with my Triumph Scrambler (turned out to be a flat battery due to a faulty regulator). I got going by bumping the bike off but I've heard this a bad thing to do as it can damage the cat. (Could this be a bonus point in favour of a decat?)

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by Julian Wells at November 30. 2017

Previously Clive Astley-Mynd wrote:

A lot of issues seem to have been with the crankcase breather

 

Good to see the new proprietors keeping up our good old traditions !

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by Clive Astley-Mynd at December 01. 2017

Previously alan_dixon wrote:

All

I might be able to throw some light on this topic:

 

* I have a 2017 ABS euro 4 sport,with 800 miles on the clock...

 

Really sorry to hear of your problems Alan - early on I had 3 temporary non-starting issues and after around 400 miles the MIL light was on pretty much constantly but was told that the standard mapping did tend to do this. What I never had was a misfire which makes me think there may be an additional issue there.

At 750 miles my bike is in for a service, decat, and a pipe swap. I am planning to get some 'noise-enhanced' long open pipes fitted and a remap. Everyone including Simon Skinner says what a transformation the mapping makes.

Please keep us informed how things progress I am not too far away if you want to compare symptoms/ performance issues. Hopefully you can get these problems behind you and start enjoying it properly.

Regards Clive.

 

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by alan_dixon at Saturday 23:23

Previously Clive Astley-Mynd wrote:

Previously alan_dixon wrote:

All

I might be able to throw some light on this topic:

 

* I have a 2017 ABS euro 4 sport,with 800 miles on the clock...

 

Really sorry to hear of your problems Alan - early on I had 3 temporary non-starting issues and after around 400 miles the MIL light was on pretty much constantly but was told that the standard mapping did tend to do this. What I never had was a misfire which makes me think there may be an additional issue there.

At 750 miles my bike is in for a service, decat, and a pipe swap. I am planning to get some 'noise-enhanced' long open pipes fitted and a remap. Everyone including Simon Skinner says what a transformation the mapping makes.

Please keep us informed how things progress I am not too far away if you want to compare symptoms/ performance issues. Hopefully you can get these problems behind you and start enjoying it properly.

Regards Clive.

 

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by alan_dixon at Saturday 23:30

Clive

just had my euro4 sport returned from the factory- now has a nylon gasket between cylinder head and throttle bodies to lessen heat transfer and fuel rail evaporation. Am hoping it will start when warm now.!

Weather too bad to test it.

Happy to meet up when weather improves- have never seen another 961 on the road!

 

regards

alan

Re: Euro 4 - any advantage over 3?

Posted by Clive Astley-Mynd at Monday 13:29

Previously alan_dixon wrote:

Clive

just had my euro4 sport returned from the factory- now has a nylon gasket between cylinder head and throttle bodies to lessen heat transfer and fuel rail evaporation. Am hoping it will start when warm now.!

Weather too bad to test it.

Happy to meet up when weather improves- have never seen another 961 on the road!

 

regards

alan

Hi Alan - thanks for this info; it would be great to meet up - I've never seen another on the road. Certain individuals in NOC would say its because it's unlikely to have two 961s in a running condition at any one time...

My bike is Wintering at the factory after its first service and exhaust update (with the new long 'Clive's pipes' mod) so I will ask about this nylon gasket. As soon as the salt's off the road I'll collect it and let you know.

 

Regards Clive

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