Weapon of Choice - Best bikes of 2008

There were some great bikes released in 2008. But which is your absolute favourite? We picked the four we love the most and headed west to Wales

Posted: 20 May 2009
by Staff

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The biggest change in the bike market in the last 10 years has undoubtedly been the buyer. In the past you either purchased a sportsbike or you were a girl’s blouse. Simple. But that’s not the case any more, the market is full of buyers that not only have the money to spend on a toy, they also have big expectations. Today, the average Joe has a well paid job, drives a shiny rep mobile, has every conceivable gadget going, all of which are market leading. He wakes up one morning and decides he wants to be a biker, so he heads for his nearest bike dealer. To him (the uninitiated) ‘character’ just means unreliable, ‘challenging’ equals painful and ‘focussed’ is a fancy word for unrideable. Bikes can’t get away with having rough edges or just being good at one thing anymore. Thanks to advances in construction technology and the strength of the market, the majority of the bikes that are available to us now are as versatile as the expectant owners. The good thing about this is the fact that, whichever bike you choose, regardless of style, it’s going to built to a better standard than it would have been a decade ago.

In a typically British fashion we can still find something to moan about, though. It makes picking your favourite bike so much harder. But people are happier to go for something a little out of the ordinary now, you only have to look at a gaggle of passing bikes to see that rather than choosing a bike that riders think will impress other riders, people are able to express there biking character so much more freely. Supermotoists ride with sportsbikers, who can now appreciate the virtues of a cruiser without carrying out a lifesaver first. We’re not saying that bikers all get along sweetly just because we ride bikes, in fact it’s the opposite. Riding is a solitary existence that is mostly about just making yourself feel good. But that’s how it’s supposed to be.

In an effort to put this theory to the test, four of us have each chosen our favourite bike of 2008 for a road and track test in Wales. The picking of the bikes was a completely personal choice with the only limitation being realism, no Desmosedicis or one-off specials allowed. For some the decision was fairly easy, for others a lot of deliberating ensued. After some thinking time we all came back with a list of three bikes each. After we had worked out that a test involving four Suzuki GSX-R 750s wouldn’t exactly prove the point we were trying to make, we tried again.  So, step forward the Suzuki Hayabusa, KTM’s clockwork 990SM, Ducati’s striking 848 and Triumph’s omnipresent Speed Triple.

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Discuss this story

I think there has been a typo!

 Look at the 'Power' for both the Triumph and KTM... 13bhp? I don't think so, lol

Posted: 20/05/2009 at 19:57

And the 'Busa is a "1340cc, liquid-cooled, two-stroke single" Bloody hell, i bet thats a laff!!

Posted: 20/05/2009 at 21:18

Excellent obs!

Posted: 20/05/2009 at 21:36

Good review, but to make it clear, all the reports I read always moan about Triumph gear boxes. Try adjusting the chain correctly and the box is superb. All these reviewers forget the basics, i.e. maintenance. The single sided swing arm needs to be treated differently. The chain needs to be adjusted with the riders weight taken into account. It takes two to do it. Rider on the bike and a mate who can check the tension. Over tighten or too slack and you get gearbox issues, spot on and its a dream. Adjustments then every 500 miles or so depending on how you ride. Don't believe me, ask any decent trained Triumph mechanic.

Posted: 02/06/2009 at 12:20

Is it not an issue that a gearbox is so sensitive it doesn't work properly with a slightly loose chain?  Just asking,  I like Triumphs, just isn't an issue on most modern bikes.

I too wanna do on the 2 stroke Busa

Posted: 02/06/2009 at 13:23

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