Norton’s Rotary: 1989 Norton Commander

1 / 7
Invented by German engineer Felix Wankel in 1929 and further developed in the 1950s at NSU, the Wankel — or rotary engine — offered simplicity and smoothness thanks to its lack of reciprocating parts as well as high power-to-weight ratio and compact size - desirable attributes for a motorcycle engine.
2 / 7
Although the Commander's rotary mill doesn't have the visual appeal of a traditional Norton single or twin, it's well-designed and technically interesting.
3 / 7
Although the Commander's rotary mill doesn't have the visual appeal of a traditional Norton single or twin, it's well-designed and technically interesting.
4 / 7
1989 Norton Commander
5 / 7
The acres of plastic hiding the Commander's rotary engine manages to look contemporary 25 years later, a testament to good design.
6 / 7
Owner Roger Slater says that once properly set up, the Norton rotary is a "bomb-proof, long-lasting engine."
7 / 7
1989 Norton Commander

1989 Norton Commander
Claimed power:
85hp @ 9,000rpm
Engine:
588cc liquid-cooled twin rotor Wankel rotary, 9:1 compression ratio
Top speed:
125mph (est.)
Weight (dry):
517lb (235kg)

Motorcycle Classics Magazine
Motorcycle Classics Magazine
Motorcycle Classics Magazine Featuring the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!