The blend of 17-inch front wheel and respectably sporty geometry gave sharp and accurate steering, too, making the Norton enjoyably agile on those occasionally bumpy Midlands back-roads. Big front discs and Brembo radial callipers gave fierce and controllable stopping power, albeit without ABS. The Dunlop Qualifiers gripped well, and there was enough ground clearance for hard cornering, although anyone contemplating track use should be aware that those sweeping downpipes are the first thing to scrape, possibly with front-tyre-unloading consequences.
The Dominator was great fun when ridden aggressively but the bonus with a bike like this is that you’re still not doing crazy speeds, and it’s involving at a more gentle pace. It’s no town bike but even coped reasonably well with the occasional slower stretch, pobbling through a few villages while I attempted in vain to keep the noise down. Thankfully, I got back to Donington Hall without waking the police, who might not have appreciated this outstanding but slightly anti-social example of local craftsmanship.
There were a couple of minor glitches along the way. The neat, machined alloy fuel cap leaked slightly after I’d stopped to top up the tank, when I also realised that the rear light assembly had vibrated loose. That’s one traditional British-twin feature that owners wouldn’t want after spending £24,500 (Rs 24.5 lakh) on the Dominator SS, but the odd teething problem is possibly to be expected.
Hopefully, Norton have sorted those issues because the limited run of 200 units of the SS is now being built, with almost all of them sold. But a bike like this is still available because the standard Dominator, which costs £19,950 (Rs 20 lakh) and whose production will not be limited, can be upgraded almost to SS specification with the addition of the alloy tank and a loud exhaust.
Either way, the reborn Dominator is a magical motorcycle. There are plenty of faster, more efficient and more sensible bikes – many for considerably less money – but there are very few that look, sound and feel remotely as special as this stunning old-school café racer with which Norton’s impressive revival goes up another gear.
|Need to Know: Norton Dominator SS|
|Engine type||Air-cooled parallel twin|
|Valve arrangement||Pushrod, two valves per cylinder|
|Bore x stroke||88 x 79 mm|
|Maximum power||80 PS at 6,500 RPM|
|Maximum torque||90 Nm at 5,800 RPM|
|Front suspension||41-mm Öhlins telescopic, adjustment for preload, compression and rebound damping|
|Rear suspension||Öhlins TTX shock, adjustment for preload, compression and rebound damping|
|Front brake||Twin 320-mm discs, radial four-piston Brembo callipers|
|Rear brake||220-mm Brembo disc, twin-piston calliper|
|Front tyre||120/70 x 17 inch Dunlop Qualifier|
|Rear tyre||180/55 x 17 inch Dunlop Qualifier|
|Dry weight||185 kg approx|