1. 2012 Triumph Speed Triple R
It is very comfortable, feels lighter and physically smaller than my Tuono. You also sit closer to the front wheel so it literally feels like the handlbars are right over the front wheel. The really long tank on the Tuono distances you somewhat from the front wheel. The engine is great, pulls pretty hard and is very smooth and linear. I havent looked at dyno charts or specs even to compare the two but I reckon it has more torque than the Tuono in the lower revs. It is certainly smoother and easier to pull away cleanly as the Tuono needs to be revved a bit to avoid getting bogged down. But the smoothness is kinda dull after a while. Where the Tuono's magical pounding twin engine is pulsing away always reminding you you're riding a visceral beast, the Speedy is a lot more understated, certainly more like an I4 than a V-Twin.
The chassis is fantastic and you can really feel the quality of the Ohlins front and rear. This bike was setup too hard for me but when you start pushing it (and I mean doing 200K on the Bylong Valley Way) it was wonderfully composed and confidence inspiring. The bike feels a very solid and "single unit" compared to the Tuono, which feels loose and flexes around its frame and suspension a lot more. But I think I just need to get my suspension dialled in properly. The brakes on the Speedy are almost too strong, monoblock Brembos I think. Fucken sensational! Mad stoppies would have been the order of the day had I known how to do them.
Overall, The Speed Triple is a very satisfying bike. Nimble, powerful, competent and very fun!
Would I buy one? For 10 grand Yes. For 15, naah. The Tuono has a lot more character and i was happy to get back on mine!
2. 2013 BMW K1600GT
OK, the 6 cylinder donk pulls like a fucken tank, it is QUICK, by any standards. Even with the akrapovics it doesnt sound nearly as good as a 6cylinder engine should sound but there is no mistaking it is very very quick. There are millions of buttons and screen readouts to distract you but I was only interested in riding the bloody thing so if you want me to tell you whether the stereo is audible at a hundred and fifty kilometers an hour then i'm fucked if I know but I can tell you that 150 comes up pretty quickly on that screen. And this is the really surprising part, it is nimble. Yes, its not a typo, NIMBLE. You counter steer, it turns immediately. It is a little unnerving how quickly it turns because of the bulk you feel like the Costa Concordia is doing a topsy turvy on you. But it is all part of the plan of Klaus, the germanic super engineer, it is DESIGNED to turn, it does not do it by sheer luck. So its all singing, all dancing, all amazing is it Harry? Is it the way of the future Harry, should we all sell our motorcycles and our offspring and put down a deposit on one?
Well, hold on. The problem is, aha..yes it has a problem and a big one. You are completely disconnected from the road. There is NO fucken feeling of what that front wheel is doing. You go over a bump and a mild sensation seeps through the heated couch you're sitting on. The suspension is pogoing around but you cant feel a thing through your hands or your feet or your bum. It is all strangely absorbed by the bike. So it really feels like you're floating around on an air balloon as you glide over rather than ride on the road. Also, I just couldnt get my head around how much I was leaning the bike as everytime I leaned it to take a bend, the whole starship enterprise starting tilting like the leaning tower of Pisa and it freaked me out. It is something that you will, of course, get used to but what you will never get is the sensation of what exactly the front wheel is doing and how far you're pushing it. Now dont you go thinking that I am new to this BMW Duolever shit and dont understand it. I do. I owned a K1200R and covered 20,000 twisty and bumpy kilometers on it fairly quickly so I totally understand "disconnected" suspension. But this K16 takes "disconnected" to the next level. You really dont know what the hell is going on under all that heavy bulbous that you see in front of you. You just have to trust Klaus on that one and once you do, you can go very very quickly around corners on it.
In summary, I cannot think of any more comfortable or quicker way to cover some serious miles on a motorcycle. It is the ultimate sports tourer. Yes, "sports" is totally appropriate for this motorcycle, you will have to be a very good rider indeed to lose a well ridden K16 in anything faster than 45K corners. They will be right up your arse, most likely with one hand flicking through radio stations and the other optimising the seat temperature.
Would I buy one? Naah, bitch fizz factor = ZERO!
3. 2006 Suzuki GSXR 1000
The legendary K6 Gixxer. I finally got to sample the legend and evaluate the myth. Its fucken true, its a truly great bike. Its comfortable, great mid range. I rev it in 4th gear from 6K and reach 200KMPH in the blink of an eye. That kind of acceleration is kinda addictive and I was more than a little naughty on those open stretches of the Oxley heading east into Long Flat. While I was reveling in the illegality of it all, it was totally routine for the gixxer, it was just warming up when I closed the taps. It is frightening how fast this thing is. Totally over the top of course but thats the fun of it isnt it? To have all that power and speed lurking just below the surface, ready to be unleashed with a twist of the wrist, will definitely add a few more inches to your manhood. I was bursting out of my leather pants by the time we got to Long Flat. I really like this bike, its insanely powerful, handles very predictably yet is comfortable and not intimidating.
Would I buy one? Naah, I'm over sportsbikes. But if you're in the market for one, there can be no better bang for buck than a K6 gixxer thou.
4. 2007 Yamaha R1
Fuck, I hate R1s. Would I buy one? I would rather cut my dick off with a blunt saw.