We are attempting to create a massive database on all things motorcycle, and archiving the history of the brands that have helped shape this industry is something that we think is important.
We consider this list “complete for now”, but it will never be finished– we are building and expanding our motorcycle brands research section over time.If you know of another motorcycle brand or custom bike builder that starts with A and isn’t listed here, please get in touch so we can add you to this list!
Norton Motorcycle Company
The Norton Motorcycle Company is a brand originally based in Birmingham, England. The company was founded by James Lansdowne Norton at 320, Bradford Street, Birmingham, in 1898. In 1902 Norton began building motorcycles with French and Swiss engines. The company was best known for the 750 cc Norton Commando which was introduced in 1968. The new 750 cc Norton Commando Model appeared, with the engine/gearbox/swingarm unit isolastically insulated from the frame with a series of rubber mountings. This kept the vibrations from the rider, giving a smoother, more-comfortable ride. The Commando was a bestseller, and voted #1 Motorcycle of the Year a number of times in Britain.
The Naza Group of Companies is a Malaysian business conglomerate involved in many types of business ranging from motoring to education. The group began operations in 1975 as a motor trading company. Motoring sector remains the most important sector for the group. Today, Naza produces and distributes motorcycles under their six subsidiaries.
The Nimbus was a Danish motorcycle brand produced from 1919 to 1960 by Fisker and Nielsen of Copenhagen, Denmark. The Type C which was better known as Bumblebee (because of its distinctive humming exhaust note) was released in 1934 and soon became the best-selling motorcycle in Denmark. Of around 12,000 “Bumblebees” produced, today more than 4,000 are registered and running in Denmark alone, and likely a few hundreds are used outside Denmark, mainly in Sweden, Germany and the US. Many other Type “C” examples exist, either in museums or otherwise not currently registered for road use.
New-Map is a former French manufacturer of motor-bikes and, more recently, of very small cars and delivery vehicles. The business of powered vehicle production was instigated by Paul Martin at the bicycle plant that had been founded by his father, Joseph Martin, at the end of the previous century. The motor-bike and small vehicle business operated from Lyon between 1920 and 1956.
Nougier was a brand of French hand built road racing motorcycles made by Jean Nougier from 1937 to 1972. Entirely hand-built, the engines were dual overhead camshaft units with hairpin valve springs, which remained popular on racing engines due to their ease of replacement. The motorcycles had maximum power at 10,000rpms, rear suspension (rare for the time), and a forward mounted rear brake.
The Neander motorcycle was designed by Ernst Neumann, who made his name first as a painter and graphic artist, and later turned to motorcycle and car design, going into production in 1928 under the Neander name, and changing his own name to Ernst Neumann-Neander, a doubling of the German and Greek words for ‘new man’.
NSU Motorenwerke AG, or NSU, was a German manufacturer of automobiles, motorcycles and pedal cycles, founded in 1873. The first “Neckarsulmer Motorrad” motorcycle was produced in 1901, using a Swiss 1 3/4 hp Zedel single-cylinder AIV (automatic inlet valve) motor with battery/coil ignition, clamped at the underside of a heavy-duty bicycle frame (of NSU manufacture), with the crankcase slightly below and in front of the pedal crank. Specialized racing motorcycles were campaigned from 1905 in events in Europe, the UK, and USA. The NSU Quickly was the most popular moped of its time. It was produced between 1953 and 1966 in over 1,000,000 examples and still can be found today all over the world as more than 60% were exported.
The Ner-A-Car was a type of feet-forward motorcycle designed by Carl Neracher in 1918. It used an unusual steel-channel chassis, much like an automobile, and hub-center steering at the front wheel, making it ‘nearly a car’ in design. The Ner-A-Car was the most successful hub-center steering motorcycle ever produced, with sales far eclipsing earlier or later examples of this design, such as the Yamaha GTS1000 or Bimota Tesi.
New Hudson Motorcycles
New Hudson Motorcycles was a British motorcycle manufacturer. Founded in 1903 by George Patterson in Birmingham, their first motorcycle was produced in 1902 but was unsuccessful. The New Hudson range expanded between 1910 and 1915 using JAP engines, then the factory joined the war effort until 1919. In 1927 Bert le Vack broke the 100 miles per hour (160 km/h) record at Brooklands on a 500 cc New Hudson. The firm stopped motorcycle production in 1932 and changed their name to Girling Ltd – which still exists as a brake-component company.
New Imperial Motors
New Imperial was a British motorcycle manufacturer founded by Norman Downes in Birmingham, between 1887 and 1901, and became New Imperial Motors Ltd in 1912, when serious production commenced. New Imperial made innovative motorcycles that employed unit construction and sprung heel frames long before they became commonplace, and were moderately successful in competition. The 1920s were a financially successful decade, enabling the innovations of the 1930s that fought decline.
Norman Cycles was a British bicycle, autocycle, moped, and motorcycle manufacturer in Ashford, Kent, England. The company and its products are remembered today by the Norman Cycles Club at Willesborough Windmill, in Willesborough, Ashford. The Norman museum is in the Windmill’s barn and displays some of the company’s mopeds and bicycles.
NATI was a manufacturer of motorcycles in the Soviet Union from 1931 -1933. It built the NATI-A-750, designed by Soviet engineer Pyotr Mozharov, prior to the transfer of manufacturing to Podolsk Mechanical Plant.