Bare Necessities - Naked 1000s

Niall, Gus, Jon and Daryll get back to nature and dabble in a bit of group nakedness

Giving Niall, Gus and Daryll big capacity naked bikes is roughly equivalent of casually mentioning to your missus that you find her sister quite attractive. As soon as you've done it you know there will be fireworks, but it's still bloody funny to watch.

Although to be fair Niall did manage to make it almost ten yards before hoisting the front of the Z1000 and performing a very graceful stand-up wheelie down the road. Gus did slightly better, he managed all of 15 yards before repeating the trick on the SV1000, while Daryll on the Fazer was somewhere between the two markers when the clocks appeared over the top of his helmet. Well, if you can't beat them, I thought as I dipped the clutch of the Hornet.

This year the spotlight has been well and truly on the supersport 600 class. Which isn't that surprising when you consider that four of the five bikes, six if you include the Ducati 749, are brand new machines.

But for many riders 600cc sportsbike are just too extreme. And while there is no denying bikes like the GSX-R1000, R1, FireBlade are amazing machines, riding them on the British roads often isn't a very enjoyable experience. I mean, we are talking about bikes that will break the national speed limit in first gear, wheelie off the throttle in second and hit over 180mph in a very short space of time. After taking one for a ride you often feel more relieved that you have survived the journey with both your limbs and licence intact rather than buzzing at the enjoyment of riding it.

Which is where naked bikes come in. By removing the fairing and race riding position you instantly limit their top speed, and with it the potential for disaster. But added along with the flat bars and single front headlight is bags of fun and loads of hooligan potential, if you want it.

The naked bike market itself is about as varied and diverse as David Beckham's hairstyles. As well as being able to choose from just about any type of engine configuration and from almost any manufacturer on the planet you also need to decide which style of bike you want. Do you want a naked muscle bike, a naked retro bike, a large capacity naked bike or a small capacity one, a semi-faired or naked naked bike? Confused yet? We were.

So to make matters a bit clearer we decided to stick just to the Japanese naked bikes for this test, and large capacity ones at that. So it was the Yamaha Fazer 1000, Honda Hornet 900, Kawasaki Z1000 and Suzuki SV1000 that found themselves at the mercy of the TWO test team.

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