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Hotfoot

Wished-for bike?

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What bike do you wish was made and available where you live? Or which old model that used to exist do you wish was available again now?

Mine is a lightweight sport bike (300 lbs or less) with a LOW seat height (like 29"), with a 400-600cc engine, with middle to high-end adjustable suspension components, good brakes, and good handling. Something like the older Ninja 250s seat height but more power and better components.

Also a really good lightweight dual-sport bike with a 350-450cc engine and a short seat height and adjustable suspension. All the current 450s are too tall and heavy, and the 200-250s are totally entry level with non-adjustable suspension and very limited upgrade capability.

 

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I haven't played with enough bikes on the track to tell, but I definitely would like to have more racing bike options available. Buying a racing bike is such a headache: either you purchase a stock bike and all the mods, then dispose the stock parts, or buy a used racing bike, which is never what you exactly want since there are only few options available in the local market (if any).

Sometimes I wonder if there isn't a market for fully built racing bikes.

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My suspicion is that with the increased racing of 300s you might get your wish.  WSS even has a 300cc class this year.

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I had high hopes when the KTM 390 was announced, but the seat height is 830 mm, that is over 32", even taller than a typical 1000cc bike! What were they thinking? Even the Ninja 300 has a seat height of nearly 31", and it weighs 362 lbs dry, not far off from the weight of an S1000rr (about 10% difference), and the R3 is similar in weight and seat height.

The manufacturers seem to be competing to make an inexpensive and slightly more powerful bike (compared to the venerable Ninja 250) but they are not making it friendly for small riders - they aren't reducing weight much and seat height is going UP not down, nor are they putting in suspension and brake components comparable to what is going on the 600s, and upgrading those smaller bikes is difficult - and pointless, since you are still stuck with a relatively tall, heavy, underpowered bike - so you are basically forced into a 600 if you want a decent ride.

Lowering bikes always SOUNDS easy - especially when a sales person says it - but in my experience it is actually a real hassle, you are monkeying with the geometry and/or cutting down the seat and most dealerships don't know how to do it, they tell you to take it to an auto upholstery shop, or if you are lucky they offer to put in a lowering linkage - but they can't tell you how that will affect the handling, and if you are short and FEMALE, they might even tell you the handling "won't matter" and that "you'll never know the difference".

It seems to me that the manufacturers need to take a look at their 450cc class dual-sport bikes and use one of those as a basis for a 450cc road bike that is in the 320lb range. The frames are lightweight and the engines are powerful, if they would just drop the ride height/ground clearance and put on a fairing and a low seat (29.5"), they'd probably have something I'd want to buy. :) 

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Have you tried the ergos of the Grom or one if its competitors? it's 30" seat height.

 

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Hotfoot- As I give this more thought, I'm wondering if ground clearance might be the real limiting factor for both a streetbike or a trackday/ racebike.  This might be worthwhile to engineer a solution, and I believe that would be the major obstacle.  I'd start with a V5 engine to get really good, decent power and a slim design, fully modern adjustable suspension and a rear-end on the order of Honda's Unit Pro Link swingarm design.

Another thought- Not imported into the US was the much clamored Honda CBR400RR.  I know a guy- okay I don't really know him except we've chatted online who's doing a restore on his 2nd one.  I think the 1st is about ready for sale and trust me....it's a thing of beauty.

If you came across something suitable for your needs, are you considering a purchase? 

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22 minutes ago, Jaybird180 said:

If you came across something suitable for your needs, are you considering a purchase? 

No, not really. I have found my own solutions, and I don't need another bike. I have a Moriwaki MD250H race bike (around 190 lbs, seat under under 29") and I also have a SuperSingle race bike (a converted YZ450F) that is around 240 lbs- it's tall, but very light and an excellent race bike and track day weapon. Neither are remotely close to street legal, but I do I have a street legal YSR50 which is the absolutely most awesome bike ever for someone my size. :) Yeah, it's a little slow but you sure FEEL like you are going fast....

If I was really in the market I would probably give the Grom a serious look. WERA racers have a created a race class for those, sounds like a hoot. 

The other bike I keep looking at is the Zero electric dual sport. I want one, but it is expensive (and tall and heavy too, unfortunately), but I like the idea of an all-electric, very quiet trail bike. No more old-fuel issues, clogged jets, etc., no oil changes, almost no maintenance at all, and tons of torque.

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Honestly, the Suter MMX500, if only I could afford one...

 

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I had that bike..., my old trackbike was a VFR400/NC30 heavily modified, lightened and well suspended, with 60 ish hp in a perfectly fuelled easyrevving V4 engine. But it was too fragile and spares harder and harder to get, so had to go

a 150 kg ready to ride, 100 hp, race focussed bike is ideal

IMG_0067.JPG

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S1000RR only 160# lighter.  Must have titanium front forks, magnisium frame, ECU that takes on the fly verbal commands, 3" narrower seat, with 1 1/4" less padding, cornering headlamps, self heating elements on axles to feed heat lined carbon wheels (eliminates need for tiee warmers by heating the wheel and tire casing from the inside), red, white and blue everything, and a voice activated digital readout to talk to riders or students behind you.

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I’d like modernised 1987suzuki gsx 400x. Impulse. The unfaired version with the larger tank. Modern suspension and tyres. This has a low seat a shortish wheel base at 1346mm on 17” hoops. And when well tuned provides 55-57 hp and a top speed of 240kph. Even the stock cheap-as 1980s suspension is adequate, and I often wonder what it would be like to have a modern adjustable suspension system.

The seat is unique, wide at rear and narrow at the tank. Hanging off is easy as, but one can still ride long distances comfortably. The engine is unburstable, full time oil pump, seriously over cooled ( air, water, oil jacket) , and the brakes are phenomenal for a bike this size. Indeed, if any thing, it’s over braked. To get the brakes truly hot requires serious abuse. 

In the late 1980s these were the formula three bike of choice, not only because the were cheap but because with few refinements they could compete n equal terms with two strokes the RD350, and th more race orientated TZR250, and the NSRs. Not bad for a sports commuter favoured by courier riders.

the engine is unburstable, with a full time oil pump ( doesn’t disengage with the clutch) and very well cooled. I had one that did over 580 kilometres without much more than plug and oil changes, -before it was stolen ( immediately after my fifth replacement of chain and sprockets, and new rubber). 

Adding modern odern suspension would make the bike more amenable to my present weight, the original suspension is unfortunately tuned for a 65kg rider. The original suspension also was quite entertaining during hard braking into corners as the entire front end wriggled furiously, and jumped side to side all the way to the apex, every single corner. Stiffer, more compliant suspension would improve predictability  enourmously. Shortening the wheelbase by straightening up the fork angle to about 1297mm makes this bike turn more like a GP bike. The steel frame makes this mod easy with nothing more than a car jack. Building the frame in a modern lightwieght rigid and straight ( the original factory frame was built with the wheels not in line by 30mm)  would be a good solution. Replacing the stock rear suspension rose joint with a nylon brush stiffens the rear up to an amazing degree and makes steering from the rear reliable. 

in the meantime I’ll continue riding my 30 year old hack, that I obtained after 17 abusive previous owners. One day, it will have a very expensive birthday, if I can find a good engineer.

83D2D9E9-4FA5-4C78-BDA1-682CFF778EDC.jpeg

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