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rchase

Bike Bias

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If you were in the market for a reliable brand new track / street bike and cost was no object what would you look at and why?

 

With the age on my fleet of bikes I'm starting to realize it might be good to have a "plan D, E and F". I'm looking for a rock solid reliable bike that's fun to ride on the street and great on the track. I have an obvious bias towards Yamaha but was wondering what others liked and why.

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I can vouch for the S1000RR as being excellent at both street and track, I imagine the HP4 is as well. I haven't ridden the Panigale, but I understand it's a great tracker but not much of a street bike. Not sure about streetability of the RSV4 but certainly a good track bike if it fits you ergonomically (fairly compact). If you're looking for a 600, it sounds like the Daytona 675 is excellent all the way around. You can already know more about MV than I.

 

Benny

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After riding them at the school, if cost were no object then I'd be hard pressed not to take a S1000RR.

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WARNING - ONLY HITS THE TOPIC ON A TANGENT. But to answer your question first, off the showroom it's probably hard to beat a HP4 as a track bike. But it is not the best bike if you plan to have the bike upgraded to superbike standards, apparently, if world series results are anything to go by. For a road bike, I will claim that every race rep has a more suitable sister or brother in its lineup.

 

NOW TO THE INTERESTING PART :D

German magazine MOTORRAD compared the very unlikely pair of a HP4 and a Enfield Continental GT. They found the GT to be the far more satisfying road bike as long as you stayed off the motorways. The HP4 would lure the rider into trying too hard, ending up blowing braking markers (from pure fright since corners come up REAL fast) and cornering slower than on the measly GT 535 single. What was lost during the corner was more than gained back on the next straight, of course, but blown corners and missed lines became the norm on the HP4. The ride was hectic and in general not suited for road situations. After 30 minutes, the rider was drained, physically and mentally. Also, they found the HP4 demanded a gentle hand, which was difficult with the strong brakes and radical seating position.

 

The slowness itself made the GT much easier and more relaxed to ride. When an unfamiliar hairpin comes up at 100 kph, it's much easier to determine your entry speed than when you storm into it at twice the speed. After 30 minutes on the GT, the rider had just begun his venture and was enjoying every moment and looking forward to a long day in the seat.

 

Of course, the HP4 / S1000RR is a more competent bike than the Indian built single and can be ridden just as slowly - albeit the seating position is not very comfortable for gentle cruising over narrow, bumpy, winding backroads - but the point of the magazine was that the 200 hp race rep simply isn't made for slow going and is actually quite poor at it.

 

An interesting observation for me was that the 535 cc single made almost as much power as the 1000 cc four - at 2000 rpm. However, while the GT peaked at 28 hp on the dyno, the HP4 pulled an even 200 hp. In fact, the old Suzuki GSX1000S Katana from 1981 made more power than the HP4 up to about 5000 rpm, where the modern bike moves ahead and at 7500 rpm the HP4 makes the same hp as the Katana at its peak; 103 @ 8500 rpm. But the HP4 is just halfway to its 200 hp @ 13200 rpm.

 

You can read the test here, but be warned that the google-translation is pretty poor and often fail to get the meaning of the text across, so if you understand German you will enjoy it more http://www.motorradonline.de/vergleichstest/bmw-hp4-und-royal-enfield-continental-gt/519216

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The BMW is super impressive and is certainly on my list. I have a friend with an RSV4 Factory and he loves it on the street.

 

Eirik tangent or not that's kind of what I am looking for. I'm looking for insight beyond the performance specs and numbers as they don't tell the whole story.

 

An example of this is one of the bikes on my list. A 2014 R6. Not the fastest. Not loaded with lots of new tech but it's ubiquitous with tons of aftermarket support. On top of that it's a great value.

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Unless you are good enough to know that the bike is holding you back, I believe it is better to find a bike that suits you than buying the "best" as described by somebody else. This is what I would do:

 

Does it fit my body, as am I comfortable on it? Can I sit upright? Can I tuck in? Do my legs and feet have enough room? Can I easily balance myself and brace against braking forces? Can I easily move from side to side?

 

If the bike fits quite well, then you have a base. If you spend the money saved between the R6 (if that's your choice) and HP4 on upgrades to make the R6 suit you even better (suspension, brakes, rearsets etc.) if you think it is good but not perfect, you will end up with a tailor made machine for your own needs. One that will work well on the road and on the track - and can be easily adjusted to suit both environments. My guess is that the R6 is much comfier than the S1000RR/HP4, because the BMW bend you very far forward to the point where it is nearly impossible to sit relaxed and not use your arms for support. The old Ninja 600 from 1998 that I once rode offered a pretty good riding position, much better balanced than that of the BMW.

 

Whatever you do, go with what YOU want and not what others tell you. You can listen to others, but be your own judge ;)

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Exactly. I just want to find that good base. Hearing the strengths and weaknesses that other people see is helpful. For example the guys that work on my Yamaha's hate them because of how much has to come off of a Yamaha to service them. That's interesting to know and consider. I would love to further understand some of the "why" involved between people's choices.

 

I found the S1000RR to be quite comfy. The only ergonomic issues I had were with the rear sets and those can be changed in under 10 minutes.

 

You do make a good point about ability as well. It's doubtful I'll be finding the outer limits on any 2014 model bike for the time being. :)

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If you were in the market for a reliable brand new track / street bike and cost was no object what would you look at and why?

 

The Honda RCV1000R ....

 

need I explain why .....

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r,

I think u've seen my custom seat. With that I think I'd go with the HP4 Competition or the 1000rr with some carefully chosen upgrades...which is what I prefer because I like to tailor the bike to my own exacting personal specs. Either way it's the BMW no question although the Honda does a lot of things really well and their race support is tremendous.

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Anybody know other than the Active Suspension what you get with the HP4? I do think it's the most beautiful of the S1000's of course. When I was looking at specs it's similarly powered to the stock S1000RR.

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If its in the US

 

Yamaha wins in aftermarket stuff and support ...

 

Cost in time is another factor imho...

 

if time and money is no biggie , i'd get the ZX10R / 636 / daytona triumph 675R , super comfy race bikes for my body type.

 

S1000RR is only soso for my frame ; R1 kills me in 1 min... i start getting aches here and there

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Have you considered a 600 over a litre bike? The Kawasaki 636 is a great track and street bike.SO is the ZX 10.Near S1000RR performance but more comfortable it seems.Both are the most powerful jap bikes stock.

 

The Honda 600 and 1000 are easy to ride but not the most powerful.The Suzuki 600 and 1000 are great, but the 750 is best for you i think.Have you considered the gixxer 750?

 

The Yamahas are nice for track work.

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Of all the bikes I've ridden the steel framed Suzuki RF900rf was the most balanced street bike. Plenty of power, delivered smoothly, cornered lightly and quickly and well suited to my shorter stature 5'10". The only drawback on the street was that it was very very easy to rack up mountains of speeding tickets because it felt so effortless to ride. With effort I would guess it would give more powerful bikes good competition into and through corners.

Secondhand prices are almost reasonable for a ten year old low km bike.

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