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The (Un)Likely Ideal Streetbike


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German magazine MOTORRAD have over the years compared wildly different machines across the Alps to find the best road bike for that sort of riding. One of the early ones was this one from 1998 http://www.motorradonline.de/de/motorraeder/tests/vergleichstests/vergleichstest-in-den-dolomiten/104951 in which they learned that a a V-Rod could keep a Kawasaki 636 honest and that a Ducati 998 really isn't ideal for attacking haripins. And that the little ER-5 was the easiest to ride overall.

 

Which brings me to my questions; what do you consider to be the pros and cons with riding a sportbike on the road and what (type of) bike do you consider to be the ideal motorcycle for the road?

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Distances and being stuck in traffic are the worst on a crotch rocket. As are wide open roads (love that throttle).

 

I started out with a cruiser, which didn't last long, and have had two standard bikes: the Triumph Legend and my EX-650. I prefer the standard bike because if I want to get on a back road and enjoy the trip, or just get to my destination, I've got the bike to do that.

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My GSX-R600 is pretty awkward in low speed corners. Ifs its under 40mph and still gets me on the edge of the tire the bike starts to feel kind of top heavy for some reason. The only thing I could come up with is the forward seating position has me putting some pressure on the handlebars. Since theres no resistance to turn them at those lose speeds like there is at higher speeds it makes the bike feel a bit nervous. The stiff suspension makes the rougher back roads feel a bit unsettling sometimes. As long as your relaxed it not bad though. The Suzuki SV650 that I've ridden felt great in any speed corner and was a lot of fun for a street bike. The seating position was nice and neutral which made it very comfortable for long rides.

 

My friends KLR 650 dual sport is a total blast to ride on the street. Dual sports are still great through corners and if you have a supermoto its capable of pretty much the same lean angles that sportbikes are. The suspension makes rough roads much smoother, the seating position is more comfortable for longer rides and finding a dirt or gravel road just means you get to have even more fun!

 

If I wasn't planning on going to track days I probably would have gotten a supermoto bike.

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Interesting point there about slow corners, Fajita - this has been mentioned many, many times by MOTORRAD as well.

 

I used to own a GSX600F, aka Katana, some time back, with a riding position not that far from many current race reps. The comfort was both poor and excellent; poor because I never really felt nice on it, but it never got much worse, either. So it's the bike that made me feel the freshest after a long day in the seat. The seat was long and broad and it was easy to constantly vary my position - at least ever 5 minutes I'd move feet, rump, hands etc. So I never suffered from a sore bum on that bike.

 

However, the worst aspect of that bike for me was reduced visibility due to the forward cant of the head and torso. Not only is it problematic around hairpins on steep uphill sections (hard to see up and 'around' to the next 'level' for oncoming traffic), but it also makes it really hard to enjoy the scenery - you find yourself watching the road not all that far ahead of the front wheel, relatively speaking. So even if an upright riding position place more weight on the behind, I still find such a position preferable for road riding.

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I think something like the Triumph Street Triple R, or the Speed Triple if you must, would be my ideal streetbike. I looked hard at the Street Triple R a month or two ago as a possible replacement for my R6 and VMAX, and I was very impressed with the quality of the build, as well as the comfortable rider position. The bike has been highly regarded in a number of reviews for its overall comfort and utility on the street, but with equally notable comments on its suitability for occasional track use due to the upgraded suspension and forgiving motor. 10 to 20 years ago I wasn't too bothered by the racer position of modern sportbikes like my R6, but now I find them extremely unpleasant anywhere but on a closed road course, hence I rarely ride the R6 nowdays.

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I think something like the Triumph Street Triple R, or the Speed Triple if you must, would be my ideal streetbike.

I agree with you, I've been looking at a Speed Triple as a street bike too. A buddy has a Tiger and really likes the engine. I just went on a 370 mi twisty road trip yesterday on my F4i which is a bit more upright than most sportbikes so it's not too bad. Interestingly my hamstrings were sore after all that; a week prior I did 183 mi on a single track day and my quads were toast.

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I think something like the Triumph Street Triple R, or the Speed Triple if you must, would be my ideal streetbike.

I agree with you, I've been looking at a Speed Triple as a street bike too. A buddy has a Tiger and really likes the engine. I just went on a 370 mi twisty road trip yesterday on my F4i which is a bit more upright than most sportbikes so it's not too bad. Interestingly my hamstrings were sore after all that; a week prior I did 183 mi on a single track day and my quads were toast.

The local Triumph dealer has a demo Speed Triple (2009 or 2010 model), and a month or two ago I had a chance to give it a quick ride. I was impressed with the riding position, flexibility of the motor, and the light, predictable steering. My only complaint - bearing in mind I only rode it for 15-20 minutes - was a tendency for the front end to nose dive under even light braking (this problem has been mentioned in numerous reviews I've read). It was controllable and not alarming, but I think it would be a bit annoying in the long term. The Street Triple R and the newly revised Speed Triple reportedly do not have the nose dive problem.

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A ride on my XT600 would teach you a thing or two about noseble.., eh, nosedives :D That said, for my use and my type of favourite roads, nothing really beats dual purpose motorcycles/adventure tourers with big fuel tanks and generous seats.

 

 

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Okay. Ideal street bike? The 2012 GL1800 Gold Wing with a trailer. What else is there?

 

No, wait!

 

If it was just me, I might choose the BMW R1200R with a windshield and saddlebags. BMW crammed a lot of high tech goodies into that little roadster.

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I was looking for the answer to this question a couple of years ago. I had always ridden sportbikes but as I got older I wanted something a little more "road friendly", ie a little less leaned over. I tend to spend all day on the bike when I go out and we all know how that feels after a few hours leaned over the clip-ons. I ended up with a BMW K1200R partially because it was more comfortable, still sporty (maybe not S1000RR sporty but still...), and it is decidedly different looking! So far it has been a nice compromise between performance and comfort.

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