This is why no single motorcycle ever made is the perfect machine that will satisfy all our desires for all eternity. No such motorcycle will ever be made.
In the absence of the perfect motorcycle, we buy the one that seems to tick most of the boxes that are important to us at that time.
I change bikes often and have ridden many bikes. But I always struggle to figure out whether I’m faster on one bike or another. Because the “feeeel” of every bike is different. Some bikes give an exaggerated sense of speed while others feel slower than they actually are. Big Twins and small i4s are perfect examples. Big twins rev lazily and feel slow due to the lumpy turning of the engine. You’re lulled into a feeling of “everything’s under control” till you look down at the speedo or arrive at a corner a lot quicker than you were expecting to. Small, revvy inline 4 engines are the exact opposite. They feel really fast because they rev to eternity and scream loudly. You feel like you’re taking off from the lights like a rocket only to look down at the speedo and see you haven’t even broken the suburban speed limit while the cars in your mirrors are big. On the Monster, a normal takeoff from the lights with average throttle feels totally nonchalant till I look in my mirrors and see the cars are tiny, blurry dots. It takes a while to get your head around this.
But like I said, we buy bikes for different reasons at different times in our lives. If going as fast as I can everywhere and all the time was my overriding aim, I would never have replaced the CBR. But the Monster is a lot more than speed. It has substantial presence and the looks have grown on me. It has a real quality feel to it and it makes me want to sit on it and make brrmm brrmm noises in the garage. The super comfortable riding position and hypnotic V-twin pulse allows me to relax and cruise if I want to, without feeling like “what the fuck? This shit makes no sense at all” like I did on the CBR. And lazy entry into corners, knowing I have truckloads of torque to enjoy while exiting, is also relaxing compared to the CBR, where the pressure was on to nail the entry on every corner and maintain high corner speed or it wouldn’t really be a satisfying experience. I don’t really know if I’m much slower overall on the Monster through a series of bends but the experience is a lot less intense and I’m noticing the scenery a bit more.
Looking back to my Tuono V2, on the face of it the Monster should be a very similar ride. In some ways it is and in many it isn’t. Serious torque propulsion kicks in on the Monster at 4K while on the Tuono, going by my seat-o-pant-o-meter, comparable torque would only build over 7K. While this may not seem much, it does change how you ride the bike. The Tuono was nowhere near as good a city commuter as the Monster. It had extra wide handlebars with weak and somewhat snatchy low-end throttle response which made manouvering through tight spaces at low speeds a chore. But the Tuono was most certainly a better touring and all-round bike. It’s probably the most comfortable bike I’ve ever owned, for extended time in the saddle. I was doing a lot more touring then than I do now and had other, more suitable bikes for the commute.
Was I faster on the Tuono or the CBR or the Monster? Who knows. Without objective timing under similar conditions, or feedback from riders I regularly ride with, one would never know. But the CBR “felt” the fastest while the Monster and the Tuono “feel” about the same, for whatever its worth.
Does this mean I’ve spent a fortune on a bike that I’m actually slower on compared to a bike 1/3rd the price? Possibly. Does this make me any less satisfied with my purchase? Nahh! Because what I do know for sure, is that I was having fun on the CBR and I’m having a blast on the Monster. And fun comes in different packaging – speed, adventure, daring, relaxation and the all-encompassing yet hard to define “how it makes you feel”.
And that’s what it boils down to folks. As long as you’re having fun on a bike and it “feels” right to you, it’s the right one. And you can’t put a price on that.