To meet the current requirement for Euro 4 compliant motorcycle engines in many markets, ZhongShen Motorcycles of China has entered into a 20-year Design and License agreement with Norton Motorcycles UK. The agreement is for the engine design and intellectual property developed by Norton for an all-new 650 cc two-cylinder motorcycle engine.

Jointly developed by Norton and engineering design firm Ricardo – which designed Proton’s GDI and TGDI engines – the 650 cc twin is licensed exclusively to the Chongqing, China, based company, and will likely be produced under its brand name or the “Cyclone” brand. In Malaysia, riders might be familiar with the Cyclone RX-1, badged locally as the KTNS 3 dual-purpose 250 cc motorcycle.

No numbers were disclosed about the agreement, but a statement on Norton’s Facebook page said “millions of dollars” were paid by ZhongShen as initial consideration, and a royalty will be paid to Norton for each engine produced. In 2016, ZhongShen produced approximately 4 million engines of varying capacity, and claims a manufacturing output of over 1 million motorcycles a year with over 18,000 employees.

“It’s a great endorsement of our new 650cc engine platform and shows the high level of engineering expertise we have here at Norton. Working with Zhongshen going forwards will enable them to deliver high quality low emission engines compliant to current global standards,” said Stuart Garner, chief executive officer of Norton. He continued, “the commercialisation of our IP is a key area for Norton and we will be investing the substantial revenue received back into our skills, training and engineering capability, thus ensuring long term sustainability to our British made Norton motorcycles here in the UK”

While ZhongShen is a large manufacturing entity, Norton, once one of the most illustrious names in the motorcycle world, is today a UK-based low-volume boutique manufacturer of sports motorcycles. Norton strongly emphasised that while it is selling the design and IP license for the 650 twin to ZhongShen, it continues to hand-make all Norton motorcycles in the UK at its Donington Hall facility.