One man's floor is another man's ceiling. The words'sports bike' can mean very different things, so we compare two contrasting takes takes on a common theme.
There comes a time in the life of many a motorcyclist when facts have to be faced and decisions made. Whether father time has finally caught up and riding race replicas has become physically challenging, or the long arm of the law has administered enough intimidation for you to consider 180mph motorcycles an unacceptable threat to your driving licence. Or perhaps marital pressures have been applied and a pillion seat the size of a Brillo pad is no longer appealing. Sometimes, something has to give.
We live in a country where the cutting edge sports bike is still King, but where 30 million non-motorcyclists are trying to get somewhere, clogging up the roads and knocking us into hedges where policemen are already hiding with their radar guns. Speed limits are coming down while speed cameras are going up and will no doubt soon generate more revenue than Internet pornography. That's enough digs at the establishment, but the point is this: until we trick the French into moving over to China we're stuck here with little in the way of alternative venues.
I've spent the last three years since my ban trying not to ride sports bikes on the road. I still love them but prefer the peaceful confines of the race track where cops and comfort are never an issue. I'm also stupid enough to ride in the same manner as I did 10 years ago, but paranoid enough to believe I'll get caught every single time from now on, which is an unhealthy combination. This slots me neatly into the category of 'nervous has-been seeking easy going type with GSOH and reasonable sporting ability.'
The purpose of combining a Yamaha R1 and Harley Street Rod on the same pages is not to put them through pointless rigorous testing, as you only need to look at the technical specifications to come to the obvious conclusions. But more interestingly, they both represent the pinnacle of performance for each manufacturer, while approaching the market from entirely different directions and no doubt selling to very different customer bases. In some respects, if you compare the company's respective backgrounds, the Street Rod sits in the Harley portfolio as a more extreme representative than the R1 in Yamaha's . With the opening comments in mind, we're keen to see if Harley-Davidson is actually offering a real-world alternative to hard-edged road rockets.
My first impression of the Street Rod is that of comfort. Its low seat is well padded and the stretch to the handlebars is natural and relaxed with a bias towards cruising for long periods in the saddle. The big, 60-degree V-twin has a smoother rumble than the Evo motors and even sat idling shows a willingness to rev. It's a big bike with a long wheelbase but launching it straight into series of bends gives a feeling of soft yet planted confidence. You have to lean a fair way over on the 180-section rear tyre before the pegs make contact with the road, which means enthusiastic scratching is permitted without the constant distraction of metal on Tarmac.
The configuration of the engine means there is useable power everywhere, and quite a lot of it from very low down. Enough power, in fact, to haul the bike from standstill to 60mph in much the same time as the Yamaha at around 3.5 seconds, despite carrying an extra 100kg.
Click here to read the review page 2 of 2
SPECS - HARLEY-DAVIDSONTYPE - CRUISERPRODUCTION DATE - 2007PRICE NEW - £10,995ENGINE CAPACITY - 1130ccPOWER - 116bhp@8000rpmTORQUE - 78lb.ft@7400rpm WEIGHT - 280kg SEAT HEIGHT - 762mm FUEL CAPACITY - 19L TOP SPEED - 135mph 0-60 - n/aTANK RANGE - N/A
Posted: 17/01/2011 at 19:03
Posted: 17/01/2011 at 20:08
Posted: 18/01/2011 at 18:34
OK, so let's expand this a bit.
If you couldn't have a sports bike because you've been banned and are paranoid, or are getting old and your knees are knackered, or for whatever other reason listed in the article above, then which way would you go ?
Harley / other cruiser ?
Supermoto or trailie ( big trailie such as Transalp, Africa Twin, F800GS or 690 or bigger KTM, or small light trailie ) ?
Street - street triple or maybe something different such as a TDM ?
I'm deliberately excliding the 1 litre super-nakeds, as that seems a bit too obvious an alternative, although I guess would be first choice alternative for many.
Posted: 20/01/2011 at 10:37
Posted: 23/01/2011 at 19:57
Posted: 02/07/2011 at 12:36
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