Road Test

Dancing in the rain - Niall Mackenzie's R6

Niall’s been getting wet, fiddling with his suspension and learning how not to use a side-stand...

At least the rain we’ve been having this summer is warm. Earlier this month I had a booking for personal instruction at Oulton Park, so with the forecast being fine I decided to make the three hour round trip on the R6.  After having clear blue skies for at least thirty minutes I then encountered an hour long deluge from Stoke to Tarporley. 

Always looking for a positive I thought well at least this will be an opportunity to test my ‘BSB’ Pirelli Diablo Supercorsas that had so far only seen dry roads and tracks. I had asked the Pirelli guys if my new rubber would be any good in the wet but they said ‘to be honest we don’t have too much feedback so you tell us’. 

My verdict then is a big thumbs-up because from slightly damp roads to splashing through deep standing water they coped well giving me plenty of confidence throughout my trip (it rained coming home as well). 

I also used them when I got to Oulton Park but couldn’t really get any feel going – on track taking it steady at all times is my best advice.

My ballpark wet settings for any bike is to slightly reduce the preload and compression damping front and rear. In the case of my R6 that is 3 turns off the front preload adjuster, three clicks of low speed compression and three flats off the high-speed compression adjuster.

On the rear, the high and low speed compression reduction is the same as the front but I only back off the preload by one notch which brings it to four back from maximum.  The grip level from the Pirellis didn’t increase that much but I guess I’ve always known that to ride fast on wet racetracks you need wet tyres.

A pet hate of mine is bikes with crap side stands that you either can’t get to or are unstable when you flick them out. I have no such problems with the R6 stand and I love it.

In fact it works so well sometimes I fetch it out with the heel of my boot and pull up without even taking my feet off the pegs. Last month in pit lane at Donington Park I took this a stage further. I did the stand/heel thing, swung my right leg over the screen, hopped off and walked into a pit garage.  Instantly three people put their hands on their heads.  Anyone got an R6 clutch lever, footpeg and mirror for sale? 

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