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Thread: A Short Guide To Supersports and Superbikes

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    Rusted ken cool's Avatar
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    Default A Short Guide To Supersports and Superbikes

    I realised that with the crash of the older xBhp, some of the data has been lost. I am putting back in what I could recover from my side. Some of the inputs here may not correspond to what I think and do currently. This is an article that I had written more than two years ago.


    The choice of motorcycle is not that simple actually. There is a plethora of choices and one can tend to get confused seeing the number of vehicles that are up for sale. But this choice can be narrowed down pretty simply but checking out what we are looking for, what we are getting from which vehicle and of course the image associated with the choice of vehicle.



    If you are looking for a daily utilitarian bike, just to travel from point A to point B, any 125 cc vehicle would do. But if we are looking at the pleasures of bike riding, a 125 cc would just not fit the demand. We are looking at something more powerful than that, in fact way more powerful. In biker's language, it is not riding at 210km/h that matters, what matters is how you got there. Now when we are looking at power, let us not forget that there is a significantly large portion of consumers who like off-roading and just for their purpose, there is a large range of Enduros and Trials and Cross bikes available. Here I will not talk about either of these vehicles since I am not at all qualified to talk on them and certainly not Trials since for me biking is essentially an outdoor activity and indoor Trials is fine to watch for a while on TV.



    Then you have the laid out, stretched, extremely beautifully even excessively chromed cruisers like the Harleys and Goldwings. You just sit back, put your bike on cruise control, light your cigarette, put your beer on the fuel tank and the bike will take you wherever you have programmed it to go. You dont do anything. I am sure there will be a futurist version of a Goldwing that will even remind you to take your insulin. With all due respect to Cruiser fans and manufacturers, this is not my cup of tea either.



    Next in line is the Street bike, at times naked, at times with a bikini fairing. They start from a beginner's 250 CC like the Hyosung Comet to the 600CC Suzuki Bandit at a whopping 77Bhp easily capable of cruising at 150 Km/h, pretty comfy, smallish bike, easy riding style, good naked bike with no fairing. The drawbacks being, though it is a small 600cc, it is still pretty heavy at a dry weight of 204 kilos and though it is supposed to be easy in the street in the city, it still takes some effort. Another drawback being that it is carburetted and not fuel injected. And while doing speeds of more than 120 or so, the lack of fairing makes it difficult to handle the wind hitting the face constantly.



    A similar bike from the Honda stable would be a CB 600 Hornet. Also a naked inline 4 cylinder bike with carb and not fuel injected. 95 Bhp at nearly 30 kilos less than the Bandit, it definitely has better power to weight ratio and a pretty satisfactory city performer.



    Both bikes produce 1200CC and 900CC bikes from their stable considered to be "all category" bikes, which means they are heavy and big and you cant do much with them in the city but go on nice long rides of 800 kilometers in a day with luggage though not like a Harley or a Goldwing.



    The Yamaha offers a FZ6 with an inline 4 cylinder 96Bhp, comes naked as well as with a bikini fairing. A short wheelbase and a lot of weight on the front fork, it is very nimble in city traffic.



    Finally that brings us to my favourite subject of Sportbikes.



    Let me say at the very onset, nothing rides like a sportbike. And as far as looks go it is very personal and tastes vary from person to person, but most people also agree that even as far as looks go, there is nothing like a sportbike. In the Sportbike category, there are three major engine capacities: 600 cc which are supersports, some 750cc which are called maxisport though not many manufacturers make this, and 1000 cc or litre class which is called a Superbike.



    The 4 Japs are around which make the most popular category, the 600cc class Supersports, Honda (Fireblade 600RR), Kawasaki (Ninja zx-6R), Suzuki (GSX-R600) and the Yamaha (R6). Of course there are the famed and beautiful Italians, Ducati, MV Augusta, Aprilia; but they are normally 50% to 100% more expensive than the Japs. And for normal enthusiasts, there is not too much difference in performance. There is also the British Triumph Daytona 650cc, a beautiful wonderful tri-cylinder, the only three cylinder in this class. The rest all are inline 4 setups. Some Italians do come in Vs ofcourse.



    Among the Maxisport, the most famous being the Suzuki GSX-R 750.



    And amongst the Superbikes; we have the Honda Fireblade 1000RR, Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R, Suzuki GSX-R 1000, and the Yamaha R1.



    All these machines are mean, fast and quick. They are faster and quicker than any bike on sale. So what makes one choose a 1000 over a 600. Nothing really other than a personal choice of a bigger machine and of course the looks. I personally think that a 600 supersports is a better choice than the 1000 superbike, for the simple reason, there is no place, I repeat no place, where we can fully exploit the power of 1000 cc. And with a good rider, a 600 cc Supersports can actually beat a 1000 cc Superbike. Which is why, in more mature economies and countries, there are more 600CC RRs sold than 1000cc Superbikes. Another reason being, the 600cc Supersports has a smaller wheel base and is around 15 kilos lighter, making it one of the lightest usable motorbikes available on sale upwards of 500cc. The 600cc supersports weigh in the region of 160 kgs which is extremely light compared to normal street bikes of the same capacity which weigh some 20-40 kgs heavier. The smaller wheelbase combined with the light weight, make the 600cc supersports category one of the most nimble and easiest bikes to handle in traffic once we get the hang of it. No other bike in any category can even come close to the ease of maneuverability of the 600cc Supersports.



    And later if you want to graduate to the 1000 cc monsters and feel the raw grunt of power, you are free to do so. But the 1000cc Superbikes are less nimble and do constrain you in certain situations compared to a 600cc.



    And finally we come to the Hyperbikes; the Sport Tourers, like the 1100cc Honda Blackbird, once the fastest production bike, to be taken over by the 1300 ccSuzuki Hayabusa, to be overtaken in 2006 by the Kawasaki ZX-14. These bikes are fast. And one can tour fast and relatively comfortably on them. They are also very heavy and dont bend as easily on curves like the Supersports or the Superbikes. But their powerband is quite uniform. It can pick up speed easily from a low speed of 50 on 6th gear and pull amazingly all the way till the top nearing 300km/h!! It is not possible with either 600cc or Superbikes to ride at 50 on 6th gear. These bikes are built like tanks and run forever. There is the million kilometres Blackbird club! That is how long they can last.



    I personally ride a 1000 cc Superbike for some practical reasons. A superbike has better resale value in my country than a 600cc for various reasons not related to biking. Else I would have bought a 600cc Supersports. And my second bike would be a 600cc. But when that happens, remains to be seen. For the moment I am enjoying my R1. And as I said in the beginning, it is not riding at 210 km/h that matters, what really feels good is how you got there. And nothing gets you there better than a Supersports or a Superbike.

    Since I meant this to serve as basic guide, I have not at all dealt with several other categories that exist and do appreciate, like the magnificent caf racers of the Thruxton kind, or the wonderful cruisers of the Road King kinds or the muscle bikes of the B-king kinds or the lifestyle bikes of the V-Max kinds. But we will keep that for the various discussions that may pursue here.

    Ride safe.


    Edit: Since I have come some way in the experience and life, with bikes and other things in life, there has been an ineluctable change in choices and attitude. There are however other threads available for bikes which have less plastic and more utility. Haroon has made some wonderful BMW threads. Please do look here for such bikes to be demystified: http://www.xbhp.com/talkies/superbik...many-pics.html
    Last edited by ken cool; 12-08-2009 at 09:40 AM. Reason: Time ushers in change!
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    Topic Approved.

    Thanks for re-posting this wonderfully written article.
    ...in search of that perfect world - My Travel Blog :)

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    Thumbs up Excellent Post

    This is a very good detailed analysis of the class of motorcycles as per their CCs, power.

    My Ultimate dream bike would be an R1. But yes, as rightly said by Ken da, I just cant utilise the power, the capability of this monster.
    What I think that even an R6 cannot be utilised fully, given the conditions we have here. But yes R6, I will be able to utilise it to 85%.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rx100.7050 View Post
    This is a very good detailed analysis of the class of motorcycles as per their CCs, power.

    My Ultimate dream bike would be an R1. But yes, as rightly said by Ken da, I just cant utilise the power, the capability of this monster.
    What I think that even an R6 cannot be utilised fully, given the conditions we have here. But yes R6, I will be able to utilise it to 85%.
    You see, it is not always about utilising 100% or 55% power. There are a lot of aspects going in to the choice of motorcycles when you are looking at higher capacity bikes. You have to see what are your needs. Most of us in this country go for looks and some of us go for brand loyalty and others go by hearsay. Which is why you have so many R1 going around and so little of anything else. It is also a question of how good marketing can create a hype around a certain product.

    I am closing in on 30K kms on R bikes and I am much the wiser. If I had the moolah, I would keep or rent a bike like the ONE for once a month 200km stint. For fun touring, I would like to have a bikini-semi-faired 600. And for really long rides, 800km a day for going all the way down south with luggage and comfortable pillion and have the pleasure of riding a bike without getting tired, it would be a nice, long, easy-going yet sufficiently powerful cruiser that can go on forever.

    And with the recession directly affecting me and my lifestyle, I am simply not looking at more options than what I own currently. Besides, nothing else is available off the shelves in this country.

    The R1 maybe one's favourite bike, as it was mine, but with sufficient riding, that is if one actually rides it enough, and then rides other bikes too, one inevitably move out of the R1 phase. I call this "Biking Spiritual Evolution"!
    The Wheel was a great invention; Two Wheels with a Motor in between was even better!


    BMW Motorrad Days 2011

    Xbhp's Indo-French Kashmir-Ladakh Tour

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    great article there ken

    i wanted a gixxer 750 s000 badly that i waited one year for it and even then when it eluded me i bought the ZX 10 r here. wll im really happy with it. bit i wanted to experiance the 750 and upgrade in a ayear or 2. its awesome my current ride. and yes ive not been able to properly use my last 3 gears.

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    All Rightly said waisey.


    If I had lots of Gandhijis with me, then 1 R1, 1 Triumph, 1 R15 & 1 P220 (which I have right now) would be the line up for me for different purpose.

    Ok no deviation from the subject.
    I query. Maxi sport cat is for bikes which are more than 500 but less than 1000 CCs, if am not wrong

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    Quote Originally Posted by rx100.7050 View Post

    If I had lots of Gandhijis with me, then 1 R1, 1 Triumph, 1 R15 & 1 P220 (which I have right now) would be the line up for me for different purpose.

    Ok no deviation from the subject.
    I query. Maxi sport cat is for bikes which are more than 500 but less than 1000 CCs, if am not wrong
    Maxisport is generally in the 750 category. But again, it is a Sport oriented bike. A 880 Sportster is not a Maxisport. It is a caf racer.

    Quote Originally Posted by kar1zma View Post
    great article there ken

    i wanted a gixxer 750 s000 badly that i waited one year for it and even then when it eluded me i bought the ZX 10 r here. wll im really happy with it. bit i wanted to experiance the 750 and upgrade in a ayear or 2. its awesome my current ride. and yes ive not been able to properly use my last 3 gears.
    The 10R is awesome. I keep riding it on and off. Just love its mindblowing throttle response. Similar to the Gixer1000.

    Actually 06 was a good year for most bikes across the Jap manufacturers including some Italians too. That was the year when the 1098 came into being as well.
    The Wheel was a great invention; Two Wheels with a Motor in between was even better!


    BMW Motorrad Days 2011

    Xbhp's Indo-French Kashmir-Ladakh Tour

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    One more thing i see as a trend is that abs/cbs is catching up in supersport and sport touring section but for some reason its not being incorporated into the cruisers.

    Which dosnt make sense and cruisers will be on the road more then any other bikes in general.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tazz View Post
    One more thing i see as a trend is that abs/cbs is catching up in supersport and sport touring section but for some reason its not being incorporated into the cruisers.

    Which dosnt make sense and cruisers will be on the road more then any other bikes in general.
    I like ABS as opposed to CBS. I have talked about why I do not like CBS.

    I guess why cruisers do not have ABS. Probably coz cruisers are not ridden "very" fast. Though from my experience of Harleys, their braking is not terrific.
    The Wheel was a great invention; Two Wheels with a Motor in between was even better!


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    Xbhp's Indo-French Kashmir-Ladakh Tour

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    nice article ken...

    And about ABS , CBS ?? i know
    There are Bikers
    There are Super Bikers...

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