Sometimes bikes are launched that fail to excite and slip under the biking radar for one reason or another. We find three of the best.
Timing, as your better half has probably told you at one point or another, is everything. Letting out a ripping air biscuit that clearly identifies every one of the spices in last night’s curry at the moment she nestles up for a loving cuddle is bad timing. A witty joke, delivered at precisely the right moment, that leaves a table of guests in floods of tears and you basking in your own brilliance is good timing.
Sometimes manufacturers deliver a stinking air biscuit. More often than not the bike in question isn’t that bad, usually it is pretty good, but the timing is all wrong. It could be that a rival manufacturer has chosen the same year to launch a similar styled, but far superior, model. Or simply that the marketing on the bike in question is all wrong. Either way the bike doesn’t sell, slips out of magazine tests and becomes almost invisible to the average, mainstream, buyer.
Which is where we now pick them up. Armed with a budget of £4,000 we took a long, hard, look into the second-hand bike market to come up with three bikes that for one reason or another slipped out of popularity. Triumph’s Daytona 955i was never the Japan-beating superbike that it promised to be, and neither was Kawasaki’s ZX-9R. Both fell foul of the R1, GSX-R1000 and Fireblade. Honda’s Hornet promised so much, but when it arrived it failed to excite the hooligan crowd or tempt the commuters.
Now the dust has settled and a few years have passed, should our opinions of them change?
Continue for the Triumph 955i Used Review
I went shopping for a k1/2 gixer thou in 2005 but came back with a low mileage zx9 e model and I've never looked back. I'm 6'2 and weigh around 17 stones and the size of the fairing helps immensly, theres loads of power (even for a lard ass like me) and, after a medium to long haul, I just grin at mates who get of their new litre machines looking like john wayne with sore wrists and backs. comfort is a major advantage with the zx9
I've made some minor mods to the bike in the 3 and a half years - set the suspension height to max, this gives sharper turning at the expense of straight line stability. fitted an undertray to get rid of the hideous mudguard, fitted a single seat cowl to tidy it up when I'mout on my own and fitted some harris rear sets to try and make it more uncomfortable - it didn't work but surprisingly improved the handling.
So far as power and speed, it'll power wheelie in first, second and third and in the right place I've seen 195 on the clock (didn't actually bellieve the speedo but it did feel good). It will keep up with my mates 07 hrc blade to 130 which is all you can ask.
Parts are cheap and easy to come by as some are available from the earlier zx6 and zx9 as well as some of the newer ones.
handling is good enough to have completely knackered 1 set of trousers and partly knackered another, no counting how many knee sliders have been binned and I've never done a track day on it. Jack up the back end and throw some BT016's on and theres nothing much out there that'll leave you.
All in all it's been a terrific bike and admittedly I have on occasions been tempted to change but 1 more trip out puts the massive grin back on my face. If you're not bothered about being one of the drowd and want a fast bike to keep up with the boys, you won't go far wrong with a zx9!
Posted: 04/02/2009 at 03:04
Posted: 04/02/2009 at 07:30
yep gotta agree with you binfer ..mines a 98 c1 i bought it 3 years ago with only 2.500 miles on it it had been stored !! its a cracking and often overlooked bike its fast enought has loads of grunt and handles well enough once you get the suspension sorted !!! had my rear shock re valved and re sprung (showa valves) k .tech spring dps suspension did it for £180.00 ..done a few other small mods e1 seat cowl ..re moved the grab handles meshed in the vents on the tail unit love the bike .. had a 6r before this and before the 6 a 98 r1 .. i lve the top end on the 9 its like a big 600
Posted: 04/02/2009 at 10:04
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