1998 1500cc Norton Nemesis
225mph dream bike
After a five-year period during which Norton motorcycles were out of production, the marque returned with a bang in April 1998. A lavish reception at London's Dorchester Hotel was used to announce plans for a stunning range of ultra-modern high performance machines.
The proposed new Norton flagship was the Nemesis, with a compact fuel- injected 1500cc V8 engine housed in a cast aluminium frame. Other features seen on this preserved prototype are the use of super-light magnesium alloy for the one-sided rear swinging arm and a front fork assembly merging the suspension sliders, mudguard and brake caliper mounts. Peripheral front brake discs are fixed to the wheel rim.
Other novelties are a push-button gearchange and the first Formula One-style active suspension seen on a motorcycle. Lancashire-based Melling Consultancy Design created the machine for the Canadian Aquilini Investment group, which then owned Norton. Along with the Nemesis V8, Melling projected 900cc Atlas and 750cc Manx fours. At the launch, it was suggested that production could commence at Norton's plant near Shenstone, Staffs in the autumn of 1998. Naturally a very high price was anticipated.
Fantastic claims were made for the Nemesis, including a predicted output of 235bhp with 111ft-lb of torque and a top speed in excess of 220mph. But the whole scheme was over- ambitious and beyond the funds available. Disputes arose between MCD and Aquilini and the project was abandoned in 2000 before the prototype reached the road.
1497cc (73 x 44.7mm) water-cooled double overhead camshaft V8, fuel injection, electronic ignition.
Transmission: Geared primary drive, multi plate clutch, six-speed gearbox, chain final drive
Cast aluminium frame, fork front, monoshock rear suspension, disk brakes. Wheels: 17in
Power: 235bhp at 14,000rpm (projected) Weight: 478lb (217kg)
Top speed: 225mph (projected)