Norton F1: The Perfect Motorcycle for RX-7 Lovers


There are plenty of reasons why the F1 is an amazing bike. The most obvious one so far is that it doesn’t have a standard, piston-engine. Instead, it has been fitted with a twin-rotor, 588cc unit. It is part of a select group of motorcycles that use a Wankel engine, and chances are you’ve never seen one in real life. I’ve been attending automotive trade shows and races for years, and I’ve never come across one.

I’ll give you one more reason why this is as cool as it gets. The F1 is based on the RCW588 racing motorcycle. We’re talking about a motorcycle that was successful in racing both in the British Superbike Championship and the Isle of Man TT. This may be a nearly 600cc motorcycle, but most reviewers have compared it to liter-bikes thanks to its capabilities. It’s not going to surprise you at low revs, but as with all rotaries, you’ll feel a sudden rush of adrenaline as you reach 5,000 rpm.

I’m not going to go into all the details that make this bike special, but I will say that it’s quite hard to get your hands on one. Norton only built 140 F1s and an additional 70 Sport versions. To put that in perspective, Ferrari built 349 units of the F50. Sure, this is still a 30-years old motorcycle. It may not come close to handling like a modern motorcycle or going faster than one. After all, it’s only rated for about 100 horsepower and 60 lb-ft of torque. But that’s still good enough for a quarter-mile (402 meters) time of 12.47 seconds.

But there’s something about it, maybe the looks or perhaps the exhaust note, that makes me desperately one to at least ride one. Back in the day, this would have set you back £12,700 ($17,264), which was slightly less expensive than Yamaha’s OW01. But these days, it’s a bit more expensive than that. This one is a 1990 model and has had only one owner so far. It has been on display in a London Rolls-Royce dealership until 2001, before being acquired by its current owner.

He’s covered 2,256 miles (3,630 km) on it, so this is an almost brand new motorcycle. The auction will start later this month at the National Motorcycle Museum in Bickenhill, the United Kingdom. It should fetch anywhere between £27,000 ($36,703) to £29,000 ($39,422), which is still rather cheap. We’ve seen these bikes sell for almost £40,000 ($54,376), but prices may increase in the future. It’s not quite clear at the moment how many of them are still around, but I can wholeheartedly suggest you watch them perform at the racetrack.