7) Literbikes Cost Too Much To Run
The latest generation of 200-section performance tires cost about $300 a set. And you’ll need new ones every 2,000 miles. That’s once a month if you’re riding every weekend during the summer. Figure in service costs for ever-higher performance motors living in ever-more complex bikes, suspension that now needs to be rebuilt when the valves are adjusted (TTX36, anyone?) and chains and sprockets every other tire change. It really does add up. And that’s before you factor in any damage or the sky-high insurance premiums.
8) Literbikes Are Hideously Uncomfortable
Make no mistake, these are not race bikes for the road. Race bikes have tall windscreens and custom ergonomics tailored to the individual racers, who are sized like horse jockeys and are 20-years-old. You’re not 20 anymore and you’re likely much taller than 5’2”. But, literbikes still aren’t built for average-sized men. I don’t think they’re built for humans at all. Showroom fashion dictates tiny screens, paper-thin seats, insanely high pegs and clip-ons so low you’ll feel like you’re gripping the front axle. One of the major advances touted by the Panigale is its first-for-a-Ducati “traditional” sportbike ergonomics. That means you can actually ride it, but doing so for more than 20 minutes will still leave you with back spasms and numb hands.
9) Literbikes Compromise Handling For Power
In pursuit of that outright, headline power figure and not immediately killing their customers with it, literbikes go through all sorts of changes that are designed to manage the power, but compromise handling in the process. Reference the Panigales, 1199 and 899 for a perfect example. The bigger bike requires a longer wheelbase and more conservative steering geometry designed to improve stability, but which make it slower to turn. The 1199 is also fitted with a 200-section rear tire to the 899’s narrower, steeper 180. Again, that blunts steering response and speed. The result? Journalists on the 899’s launch unanimously preferred riding the smaller bike, describing its overall experience as “sweeter.”
10) Literbikes Don’t Teach You Anything
If you’re one of those idiots that bought a literbike before first becoming a total riding expert, then all you’ve learned in the process is how not to kill yourself. All your efforts, every ride, simply go into managing the power. You’re not learning squat about riding and as a result, you don’t know how to ride well, you simply know how to transport yourself from A to B on your overcompensation machine in some semblance of safety. Sorry, but that’s the harsh truth and it’s limiting your outright enjoyment of this sport.
11) Riding A Literbike Isn’t Rewarding
When I rode the Ducati 1199 Panigale R down at COTA, I hit 202 mph and got the chance to experience that track before even most MotoGP riders. How did I feel at the end of the day? Lucky to be alive; the experience was absolutely terrifying. Contrast that with riding the Ducati 899 Panigale at Imola in the pouring rain. I actually had fun. I was able to get on the throttle — hard — drag knee in the wet and you know, actually ride the bike rather than just manage the power.
Do you ride a literbike? Why?