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Thread: Superbiking in India

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    Always wear a helmet! The Art Of Safe Riding's Avatar
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    Default Superbiking in India




    Superbike is a generic term for motorcycles with large capacity engines that are very powerful and so can accelerate extremely quickly and attain very high speeds. These can include super-sports, cruisers, hyper-tourers and even some super-motards. Sbk’s are motorcycles nonetheless and eminently rideable provided the rider calibrates his/her actions in strict accordance with the dynamics of the motorcycle.

    A large cubic capacity engine means a heavier engine in a heavier frame compared to the small capacity engines we get in our bikes here. And since this large engine produces ‘large’ horse-power, its running gear has to be strong and robust enough to make that power useable and controllable. All this adds weight and its accompanying bulk to the bike and is the first apparent difference that strikes us when we see and sit on a superbike.

    The next major difference is the quickness of the throttle or the throttle response. This is especially so amongst the track derived production models like the Honda Fireblade, Suzuki GXSR, Yamaha YZF R series, Kawasaki Ninja, Ducati’s etc etc. For almost similar throttle rotation, a Sbk can be producing some 10 times the power compared to our Indian bikes. So one can well imagine the consequences if the throttle hand is not ‘taught’ or re-calibrated while riding such a bike. In fact, one needs to be as careful about throttle operation on a superbike as he is about using the brakes because careless use of either can have identically disastrous consequences.

    Braking is another area that is such a surprise when one moves from a smaller capacity bike to a superbike. These bikes have very powerful brakes, usually large diameter twin discs up front and a single disc at the rear. A gentle two-finger pull on the front brake lever can get the bike to slow down with astounding rapidity from high speeds. And the brakes are also very responsive, which in other words can be said as ‘sensitive’. Go ham-handed on either of them and you’ll surely hit the road in a wheel-locked skid. The need to be progressive and smooth with the braking is of utmost importance when riding a superbike. And yes, the front brakes are the ones that dominate the ‘braking share’ here i.e. you get most of your braking from the front brakes. The rear brake is used just for stability and at low speeds.

    Handling is one more aspect that needs getting used to. Usually, superbikes have a large turning radius, especially the super-sports bikes. The handlebars turn through a relatively small angle lock-to-lock compared to our usual bikes and this translates to drastically reduced maneuverability at low speeds. You cannot weave through traffic at low speeds all that easily on a superbike. And U-turns need special care as they are way wider than smaller bikes and braking or stalling the engine while the handle is in a full lock turn will almost surely result in the bike falling. Dragging a foot while taking U-turns on a superbike is not a reflection of the rider’s lack of skill. It is a necessary safety precaution. High speeds are a different story though. Get above say 40 kph and these bikes handle like a dream. They follow a precise line and road undulations rarely upset that. But the rider has to counter-steer positively to initiate a turn. Smaller bikes can be thrown around using body weight but not these superbikes. You need to use their geometry to initiate and keep control.

    Tips and points-to-ponder for riding superbikes:
    1. Be clear and honest about your mindset. An aggressive attitude that gets triggered into competitiveness at the smallest pretext is a very dangerous and usually fatal combination with a superbike. These bikes demand that you ride your own ride.

    2. Learn to become focused and stay focused on the ride. Superbikes can really stretch human ability and reflexes to their utmost and even beyond, in a jiffy. Only concentration on the ride at hand can save a riding situation from transiting from close to risky to fatal in the span of a few seconds.

    3. Proper riding gear is of paramount importance when riding superbikes, not just for protection from a fall but as protection from the wind and debris thrown up by other traffic. At speeds around 150kph, a small stone chip can hit hard enough to puncture and penetrate human skin. Think of what it can do to an unprotected eye.

    4. A high level of riding skills already developed through serious learning-oriented riding on lower capacity bikes goes a long way towards safe super-biking. Learn as much as you can both off-road (through reading, videos, televised racing events, the internet, interacting with experienced superbike users) and on-road while riding. Remember, learning never ends in motorcycling and more so when riding superbikes.

    5. Smoothness in operation of all controls is of utmost importance with superbikes. Rough handling of the throttle can induce a sharp wheel-spin that can have your ‘rear’ on the road before you realize what happened. And so it is with the brakes. Respect both these controls and learn to shift gears as smoothly as you can, taking special care while down-shifting (even on bikes with the ‘slipper-clutch). The engine-induced braking can lock the rear and send the bike in a skid.

    6. Increase your margins of safety under given conditions when riding a superbike compared to what you did while riding smaller capacity bikes. For example, go easy in heavy traffic, avoid weaving through lanes and keep an alert eye on those rear-view mirrors. Remember your bike can brake quicker than almost every other vehicle behind you. Getting rear-ended on a superbike is a very real possibility.

    7. Keep the motorcycle’s equipment level in the best of shape. Stick to the recommended maintenance schedule but still keep a sharp eye for obvious and impending mechanical failures. Slack chains, worn brake pads, low oil or coolant levels, weak battery, low tyre pressure, fused lights or worn out tires, all or individually can contribute more or less to an unsafe ride. Some safety issues like worn brake pads, low oil level or slack chain are obvious for their effects but others like a fused brake light bulb that can make the following car rear-end you at night even when you braked ‘normally’ are not so obvious. So ‘all-ship-shape- is all-safe’.

    8. These bikes have complex and expensive hardware and so take care to ‘feed’ them the proper fuel, oil and coolant. Bad fuel causes a drop in power and overheating in the short term and can severely damage the engine internals in the long term. So take care where you refuel from. And keep a mileage log for the bike. Not primarily for economic reasons but because ‘fuel consumption’ is a good indicator of engine health.

    9. Most superbikes are so made these days that at least one of their headlights is always on while the engine is running. This is a very good safety feature making the bike visible from far off and even through heavy traffic. If this is not a standard feature on your bike, remember to ride on the low beam all the time, night or day.

    10. Other road users in a country like ours, that have a sparse superbike population, don’t expect a motorcycle to move so fast as a superbike can. Don’t expect them to anticipate your high approach speeds and get out of your way. They usually won’t. Slow down to ‘common motorcycle’ speeds when riding through a populated area or where people are expected to cross the roads.

    11. Riding on our mountain highways on a superbike seems very enticing and is admittedly very enjoyable. But always remember that a superbike is NOT flickable as our smaller bikes and so keep a very safe inside line during turns. High speeds invariably result in wider turns and you will have no chance to change your position towards the inside of the turn if another vehicle has encroached upon your outside lane. Braking while leaned is also no remedy as it too will result in a skid and a fall. In fact while on mountain roads, it would be safer to ride a trifle slower on a superbike than you would on your smaller bike.

    12. Wet roads, whether due to rain or spilled water or whatever, can be a real pain on superbikes. Their soft-compound tyres have minimal grooves (to keep the maximum amount of tractable rubber on the road) and so are not very efficient at dispersing water from under the contact patch. Also the powerful engine can easily induce a wheel-spin under such low-traction conditions. So be very gentle with the throttle, especially while exiting turns and when starting from a stop. And the same care is critical while braking too. Locking up either or both the wheels is a distinct possibility on wet roads.

    13. Iced up roads are NO place to be on a superbike and so no amount of wisdom or tips shall get you and your bike across this ‘zero-friction’ environment where even mere walking can be an issue.

    14. Take a pillion with you on a superbike only after you are thoroughly familiar with its behavior with just ‘you’ on it. As a thumb rule, do a few hundred miles on the bike alone, under differing conditions and at differing speeds to get the hang of things. Then take as pillion only someone who explicitly trusts your riding abilities. A pillion who ‘resists’ leaning and tenses up during acceleration and while braking can seriously upset the bike’s balance and things can go from bad to dangerous in a moment. Compared to a small bike, the acceleration on a superbike will necessarily feel a LOT stronger and this can scare most pillions. Same with braking. Talk to them before the ride and tell them what to expect.

    15. Heat can be a big issue with these bikes, especially in weather conditions that prevail through most of our country. The powerful engines produce a LOT of heat and though liquid cooled, the heat has to be rejected into the surrounding air by the engine’s cooling system. So, the cooling fans throw out hot air close to the rider’s feet and legs and this heat can turn downright uncomfortable and debilitating during our hot summers. Also the bike’s engine too can get overheated when used under high-ambient temperature conditions. So during summer months at least, avoid using the bike except during the relatively cooler mornings and nights.

    Photo: It is extremely important to wear safety gear from top to bottom when astride a Superbike, in fact any kind of bike!



    Superbiking is fun and addictive. The thrill of accelerating hard, harder than in any other form of transport, allied with the high speeds possible makes it an out-of-ordinary experience. And to keep this experience as pleasant as possible, the rider must take the SOLE RESPONSIBILITY both for his own safety and that of other road users he shares the roads with. A level head when allied with educated skills can go all the way in making superbike riding an extremely pleasurable sport.




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    Default Some important aspects of general Superbiking

    This Man Will Teach You to Ride Better
    Keith Code makes world champions. He wants you to be a brilliant road rider. Steve Westlake joins his California Superbike School on mission to learn the secret.
    By: Steve Westlake

    Source:Superbike School :: This Man Will Teach You to Ride Better

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    Rookie Karan_9er's Avatar
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    Thank You for this information.. now i feel confident dat am ready to own a superbike.. Thanks

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    Thank you so much for this especially for me coz im a complete noob at superbiking and have just bought a monster ! i will make this info my bible to biking and will follow it.. Thank you again ! will be taking a printout and reading this everytime i take the bike out !
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    im loving this . . . . Getting geared to go for the super machines

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    One needs to graduate with smaller capacity machines first to get started

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    Thank you for posting this. I would like to add my own emphasis to yours on just how dangerous these bikes can be if not given the proper respect. Even if you've been riding for years here, and are coming off something like the Pulsar 220, which is a pretty hot bike as far as Indian bikes go, something like the CBR1000RR is still almost certainly going to be far more capable than you are.

    In the US, many beginning or limited-skill riders every year are killed because they buy one of these bikes thinking they're the next Valentino Rossi. All they are thinking about is how cool it will be to go as fast as the bike will go. They jump on their new bike, grab a huge handful of throttle, and either launch themselves into some solid object, or very quickly accelerate beyond their riding skills and lose control. A superbike's acceleration can be exciting, but if the rider's expectations don't properly match the bike's capabilities, it can be scary, and will cause the rider to panic.
    rugved likes this.
    ATGATT: All The Gear, All The Time!

    Put the phone away, put your helmet on, and ride!

    Scooters are like fat girls: fun to ride, but embarrassing if your friends see you with one.

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    Addicted blak bandit 350cc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Superbiking in India

    Quote Originally Posted by The Art Of Safe Riding View Post


    Superbike is a generic term for motorcycles with large capacity engines that are very powerful and so can accelerate extremely quickly and attain very high speeds. These can include super-sports, cruisers, hyper-tourers and even some super-motards. Sbk’s are motorcycles nonetheless and eminently rideable provided the rider calibrates his/her actions in strict accordance with the dynamics of the motorcycle.
    ........
    Superbiking is fun and addictive. The thrill of accelerating hard, harder than in any other form of transport, allied with the high speeds possible makes it an out-of-ordinary experience. And to keep this experience as pleasant as possible, the rider must take the SOLE RESPONSIBILITY both for his own safety and that of other road users he shares the roads with. A level head when allied with educated skills can go all the way in making superbike riding an extremely pleasurable sport.
    very helpful, which super bike you suggest 10 lakhs or under lakhs ?
    Last edited by The Monk; 6 Days Ago at 03:13 PM. Reason: Please don't quote all the pictures. Thanks

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    Default Re: Superbiking in India

    Quote Originally Posted by The Mountain View Post
    Thank you for posting this. I would like to add my own emphasis to yours on just how dangerous these bikes can be if not given the proper respect. Even if you've been riding for years here, and are coming off something like the Pulsar 220, which is a pretty hot bike as far as Indian bikes go, something like the CBR1000RR is still almost certainly going to be far more capable than you are.

    In the US, many beginning or limited-skill riders every year are killed because they buy one of these bikes thinking they're the next Valentino Rossi. All they are thinking about is how cool it will be to go as fast as the bike will go. They jump on their new bike, grab a huge handful of throttle, and either launch themselves into some solid object, or very quickly accelerate beyond their riding skills and lose control. A superbike's acceleration can be exciting, but if the rider's expectations don't properly match the bike's capabilities, it can be scary, and will cause the rider to panic.
    I feel anyone going for their first superbike should train himself/herself for it. that will prepare them for what to expect from the bike, and also help them make a better choice in their purchase (given their 'Hands On') rather than going purely by specs!

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    Default Re: Help me buy a superbike

    Quote Originally Posted by entsurgeon View Post
    thanks a lot sir.
    believe me, i am actually searching for a bicycle right now. would love to wander in early morning breeze while i maintain my fitness and be green about it. went to decathlon but wasnt impressed by the range of bicycles they had. but let me not pollute this thread by bringing my cycling career here and lets stick to the advices given to op. he is inclined towards a ducati panigale however people are opining that one should not jump to a superbike directly and should improve step by step as a rider while upgrading. i find this idea very logical. however since this was being discussed here, i thought i d better ask people here about my doubts.
    sir i am in reality not a bit enlightened by your answer about utilizing of potential because your answer was very brief and didnt address the query.
    i would seriously like to have some more clarification ( not just from you sir but any FM) as i cant understand this upgrade cycle without this.
    here are my doubts regarding same:
    do i need to hit the top speed of my existing bike to be utilising its full potential? does a front disc brake means i have to at least once perform a stoppie to be utilising its full potential. will a plain stoppie do or is a rolling stoppie mandatory. what other parameters to judge the potential of a bike and rider?
    i understand that i am absolutely noob but i couldnt find anything on google regarding these details . in fact i didnt find any international forum that talks about utilising full potential of a bike outside of a track. does this means i have to ride my bike on a track once or repeatedly to match her full potential and then be eligible for upgrade?
    i doubt most bikers and superbikers are doing that although a lot of them do. or does this means here in a track emaciated india, we are utilising potentials of our bikes in some other way. in fact, i saw a mention of california superbiking school which are a track riding training institute. we assume that riding nicely on track will make you better rider on street automatically but then again, they come to india once a year and all their seats are full the day they are announced.
    i am all confused and that too without factoring in various families of motorcycles. eg touring, adventure, motocross etc.
    what about utilising full potential of a touring motorcycle. how much would i need to tour on bajaj avenger before buying a um renegade or hyosung aquila or street 750. or is there any other criteria to judge tourers. its all very confusing to me.
    since this forum is open to public i am sure a lot of future buyers may have same doubt as mine hence i dared to ask at the risk of being called ignorant. pardon me but this point should be clarified.
    ps- ur handle is nice. ac dc . are you an electrical engineer by profession?? nice to meet you.
    Ok, I am just assuming you are having genuine queries and will try to answer. Simple thing is - there is no mathematical formula about potential of a bike and how much of it a given user has utilised it and when he should upgrade and to what he should upgrade (he/she ...I support all genders riding bikes - just mentioning he as a representative!)

    Nobody else but you can tell you whether you love riding bikes and want to learn how to go faster - not just in straight line but also in corners...One that kind of want exists in you, definitely you will find Splendor kind of bike to be very inadequate. Nothing wrong with it - it wasn't built for that purpose at all.

    If you try to corner hard on a Splendor, you are likely to meet a disaster soon. It just doesn't have engine to go fast, brakes to stop suddenly and tyres that will hold the road and forgive you some mistakes. That doesn't make it bad product - it just means you have chosen a wrong product for a wrong purpose. If you are in love with 100 km/litre stuff (ok, that is too much but at least 60-70 km/litre) then it is correct product. If you are moving in that direction, then next option is Cycle...But on the other hand, if going faster on a petrol consuming two wheeler is your aim, then read ahead!!

    If you really want to go into details - this could be one possible sequence of your progress:

    1) Pulsar 200 NS (or RS) or Yamaha R15 - This would be your entry into performance motorcycles
    2) KTM Duke 390 (or RC 390) or Yamaha R3 - This would be next step
    3) Benelli 600i/Kawasaki Ninja 650 - These aren't exactly sporty bikes - so you may or may not go to these choices if your primary aim is to learn being faster - Again, there are riders who can ride these very fast and put to shame many riders on much bigger/faster bikes - but I am not talking of superhuman capacity - talking about a normal Indian Motorcycle Rider who is trying to learn the art
    4) Triumph Street Triple765/Kawasaki Z900 - Mentioning these because now Street 675 and Z800 are obsolete and being replaced by these bikes. This is where real big game is just starting. These bikes are really fast and deadly if not taken seriously. They will easily do 200 kmph anytime you twist the accelerator hard and quickly shift gears! I have seen 208 kmph in 4th gear quite a few times.. These will also provide you capability to corner hard...They have tyres with awesome grip and chassis and suspension to match the engine power...On these bikes if you do it right, you will be toe-scratching within 1 year and may be knee-scratching in another 1 year...(Again individuals will achieve this at different points of time. Note that Toe slide/Knee slide is a by-product of going fast in a corner, having proper body position and right amount of lean angle - don't try to scratch toe/knee for the sake of it - it automatically happens.
    At this stage you would have invested a lot in riding gear also and possibly should have gone to riding school (there are multiple options and not just CSS though that is considered as the top one).

    The above bikes are truly usable on our roads - whether weekend fun or daily riding. Few other options exist as well - I am not into any kind of marketing of the brands I have mentioned - these are just my personal thoughts.

    Beyond this, realm of mind-warping fast supersport and 1000cc bikes starts. These are super expensive, rare, harder to maintain, tougher to ride in normal Indian road conditions and very focussed track weapons.

    That is where bigger and more exotic names like Ducati, MV Agusta, BMW come in...These have super fancy electronics and adjustable suspension and what not - plus they have engines that propel you like a missile on 2 wheels...Truly not suitable for our conditions - just imagine - you are riding one of these, you happen to sneeze with a shudder that accidentally shakes your wrist also while unfortunately it is gripping the accelerator tightly - consequences of such thing are better left undiscussed!!

    Some people can get tired of the fact that whether it is naked or faired sport bike - those are quite unsuitable for bumpy/potholed roads and are not comfortable for riding beyond anything from 150-400 km. These sort of people want not to ride as fast but they want long distance riding capability with ability to soak up bad roads without punishing the spine and other bones in your body.

    For them Touring/Adventure segment exists - like Kawasaki Versys (650, 1000 cc), Triumph Tiger (various models - 800, 1200 cc). These are tall motorcycles that are not made for going screaming fast but they are still quite quick compared to anything normal Indian riders can think of yet they handle almost all bad roads that we have. Depending on choice, they handle off-road also.

    In that segment, one focussed bike is Honda Africa Twin - This is also a very accomplished motorcycle and will be available in India soon as per some magazines.

    If you have plenty of money, want to really show it to the public and love to be in the limelight - then big cruisers are for you. These are really huge and expensive and make some noise (larger number of "aam Indian Junta" loves these bikes and they will come in hoards to get their photos with such bikes).
    These have nice brotherhood and all...Lot of celebrity people ride these big bikes and they have really fancy parties etc..
    Among cruisers I will rate INDIAN as refined and worth rather than Harley.
    Anyway, with these bikes you will go fast very rarely - these are for easy going but long rides in very comfortable manner (almost like you are sitting on a moving sofa!)
    These are still much faster than our commuter motorcycles and still need to be handled with respect due to huge power, scary torque and super heavy weight along with long wheelbase and turning radius.

    Clarification - It is very much possible to directly buy Kawasaki ninja H2 and ride it without much trouble if you do have funds. Only reason for gradually going up the capacity and power is to allow our body and brain to adjust sufficiently with behaviour of the machine. So, it would be much better to spend 1-2 years on say a 200-300 cc bike, 2-3 years on 600-800 cc bike and then to move to higher segment (if at all you think that 600-800 cc can't entertain you enough and you personally feel that you need a faster bike to satisfy yourself.) There is of course no criteria or formula - you just feel it - it is one of those intangible things. In my case, I moved from KTM Duke 200 to Street Triple because I wanted to go into multi-cylinder sport bike segment and definitely wanted such bike to have ABS - only Street Triple, CBR650F and Z800 met such criteria at that point. But I liked Street Triple most (read my thread for more info on that aspect if you intend to buy that bike).

    I hope this helps..

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