Watson On: The Top Speed Wars

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Top Speed Wars

There was a time, not that long ago, when motorcycle manufacturers were locked in an ongoing battle with each other in trying to design, produce and sell a road bike with the highest top speed.

Photo: Danny Clark

Speed may be dangerous in the wrong hands, but speed is also sexy and it helps attract buyers to new motorcycles. Back then, if you could brag that your bike was capable of 180 mph, the chances were any of your bike-loving friends could have gone out a few months later and bought a bike that the manufacturers claimed would do 185 mph.

It was the Honda Fireblade that started it all and fuelled a battle amongst the race replicas that would eventually escalate leading to a showdown between the “hyperbikes,” as they were called then — Suzuki’s Hayabusa, the Honda Blackbird and latecomer to the fight the Kawasaki ZX-12R.

Whether you would ever achieve that magical top speed claimed by any of one of the manufacturers would have depended on a number of things; such as where you were riding, weather conditions and if members of the law enforcement community were about.

More importantly, it would also rely on how big your balls were to actually ride at those speeds. There was also no way of knowing if anyone ever did achieve what their bikes were capable of. It was your word alone that you managed to ride it over 150 mph. it was just nice to know as you shut the garage door that you had a bike that could achieve ridiculous speeds.

But then something happened, and I’m not sure exactly what it was. Maybe it was the economy taking a nosedive or interfering bureaucrats demanding a cap on how fast a motorcycle should be allowed to go. Perhaps it was a combination of both, or maybe the bike manufacturers just lost interest in trying to out do each other in the speed stakes and reigned things in to ensure if, nothing else, they survived the recession.

But with the green shoots of financial recovery starting to be seen around the world and proof that last year in the U.S. that bikes were starting to sell again I’d like to see things pick up in the industry that gets the manufacturers trying to out do each other again. Whatever performance-enhancing technology makes it on to the top end super bike it will one day filter down to the more affordable bikes that I like to ride and own.

The maximum speed thing is dead.

The motorcycle manufacturers seem to have gone cold on the idea of top speed and have sat around a table and agreed to settle for around 186 mph as the acceptable maximum top speed for all road-going sports motorcycles.

But without that speed factor, a little bit of the excitement has gone that came with each manufacturer trying to out do the other. It also created a friendly rivalry in the motorcycle community, huge brand loyalty and caused a lot of conversation and debate amongst the enthusiasts.

So what is it going to be next thing we all get excited about? Which bike has the most safety technology built into to it, which ABS system works better than the other, or having switchable traction control better than non-switchable? I really, truly hope it’s none of these.

I maybe being naïve, but if we currently have a fast sportbike with around 180 bhp, then maybe the next big thing is going to be a motorcycle with 200bhp. We’ve been promised 200bhp bikes for a few years, but as of yet nothing has materialized.

Just like the top speed battle of the past there was absolutely no reason to have a motorcycle capable of running at more than 170 mph. It gave the manufacturers something to promote about themselves and us the riders to enjoy watching from the sidelines. A bike with 200 bhp is something to be talked about, looked at and considered.

We’ve done the speed wars, maybe now is the time for horsepower wars. I’m not sure how a 200 bhp plus motorcycle rides, but with the advances in all of the electronic technology, I’m willing to give it a try. If nothing else, I hope it will give me something to talk to my grandchildren about one day when they ask what was the scariest motorcycle I ever rode.

  • metalheartmachine

    Am currently rebuilding a zx1100, and looking forward to seeing what all the hype is all about.
    I can’t wait.

  • Justin McClintock

    I’m kinda torn on this. I like my current stable. And my biggest bike, my SV1000S, has all the performance I’ll ever honestly need for the street. But at the same time….man, wouldn’t it just be awesome to say, “Yes, that’s my bike. And yes, it’s 200 hp.” Like a big middle finger to every Prius driver out there.

  • 962c

    I think the major trend is going to go to lightness and handling. 100 hp in a 300# bike is way more than enough to get your undivided attention on the street.

    • Jack Meoph

      This is the way I would like to see it go. Give us light, high tech, quick, exceptional handling, and forget about who’s the fastest in a straight line, or 0 to 60, or whatever the measure may be. I want a real world bike that is state of the art and goes in the direction your thinking in a smooth, fast, predictable manner. I want the best brakes and suspension, and I want the mechanicals to be refined and high quality, built to last. A bike like that could make less than 100hp and still be exciting and fun.

      • Justin McClintock

        They already make bikes like that though. They’re called motards. And most people seem happy-go-lucky to pretend they don’t exist. The KTM 690s are around 65-70 hp and barely over 300 lbs. Very few people care. If they can’t sell a 65 hp, 300 lb. bike, they have no reason to think they’ll sell a 45 hp, 300 lb. bike. Hence the 390′s not coming over yet.

        • enzomedici

          The problem is that the motards are hideous looking which is why no one wants one.

          • Mykola

            Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I’d lust after a Duke 690 if I saw any around. Only reason I wouldn’t get one myself is I don’t think I’ve got it in me to use it to its full hooligan potential

            • Stuki

              The duke is not a motard. It’s a light, single cylinder, (very) sporty standard.

          • Justin McClintock

            S1000RR’s sell pretty well. They’re hideous looking. If you’re concerned about how your bike looks and not how it performs, I’m sure there’s a Harley dealer nearby.

            • Clint Keener

              If I didn’t care about how my bike looks, I would just drive a Prius. Motorcycles are suppose to be fun toys that are exciting to look at, even if it is a daily rider.

          • Jack Meoph

            Thank You. Not to mention absolutely ZERO wind protection and worthless for a passenger or any type of luggage.

            • Justin McClintock

              You want a touring bike or a lightweight sporting machine? Because you’re not getting a 300 lbs. FJR, but that sure sounds like what you’re asking for.

              For the record, I’ve hauled a passenger around on my DRZ400SM just fine around town. And it has a top box on it. Is it a touring bike? No. But nothing in the 300 lbs. range is going to be. You could make the whole bike out of carbon fiber and if you beefed it up enough to handle a passenger and luggage while providing wind protection, it would still be WAY beyond 300 lbs. and probably 400 lbs. too for that matter.

          • Lee Scuppers

            Also, the name. DERRR UR A MOTARRRD yeah right.

          • Chris Optional Freeman

            no, the problem is that they are way overpriced. for $8000 i can buy a bigger faster bike, or build 2 motards. Motards also are not practical and are really just town hooligan machines. Also the KTMs are not one of the big 4 Japanese brands and therefore will not sell as well. the motard community is probably the fastest growing motorcycle community right now however, but again people are buying used motoX machines and doing a build for a lot less than buying a new bike that isnt exactly what is desired

            • contender

              My plated KTM 520SX (with 540 Big bore kit) is ~240 pounds and right at 70 horsepower. I have less than $3k into it. There is nothing more fun in the city or on tighter mountain roads, save for the maintenance.

              If I need wind protection (like when it is raining) or cargo capacity (like almost never) I take the Ulysses.

        • Kevin Broce

          I contemplated the 690 Duke but 9K for a bike that I’m not really sure about road tripping (Single Cylinder) was a bit much. I bought a CB1100 and it’s my only vehicle. I’ve taken it to the bay area from LA, I’m not sure I’d want any of the Duke/RC’s for that. But a Duke 390 would make a killer commuter/around town bike for my situation, and would have tempted me a lot more with the lower price. The difference between the CB and a 390 could put a used sports tourer in my garage quite easily. This is a route I could easily have gone. The RC390 would make a perfect addition to my CB1100. I’m not an experience sport rider, for a fun, impracticable bike I think the RC390 would make a lot more sense than a 600 sport bike. I wouldn’t mind paying more for something higher quality than a Ninja 300.

          • Justin McClintock

            That great in theory. Problem is, we don’t even know what the RC390 will cost if/when it comes to the US. Almost certainly less than a Duke 690, but how much? May not end up being that much if the components really are good. Good suspension and brakes aren’t cheap.

            • Kevin Broce

              Nope, quality isn’t cheap, but I wouldn’t mind paying for it. I have an great standard motorcycle already so the 690 isn’t appealing to me as a 2nd bike, but RC390 sure is.

        • Dennis Bratland

          Barely? The 690 is almost 350 pounds. And it doesn’t have 100 hp.

          I came here to say the same thing: 100 hp (and 65 is not 100) and 300 pounds. Not 345, not 360. 300 full stop. That would be way more incredible than a 200 hp superbike.

          And the 390 is coming. They solved the pricing problem by making it in India.

          • Justin McClintock

            More responding to Jack’s point about not needing 100 hp to be fun at those kinds of weights. And the 390 isn’t 300 lbs. wet either. The Duke 390 (which will weigh less than the RC) is 305 lbs….with an empty tank. Meanwhile, the Duke 690 is under 300 lbs. with an empty tank and the 690 SMC is roughly 4 lbs. heavier than the Duke 390…while providing somewhere between 20 and 25 more hp. It sold so poorly they yanked it from the US market.

            As for the 390 coming….we’ve been hearing that since it was introduced. And it’s still not here. I hope it comes. But I’m not holding my breath either. I’ll just keep riding my DRZ400SM…that lightweight bike with good suspension and brakes that everybody apparently thinks doesn’t exist.

            • Dennis Bratland

              Are there really that many people who think the Duke 690 is under 300 pounds? Where did this rumor start? The 390 is 139 kg, or 305 lbs dry, and the 690 is 10.5 kg, or 23.1 lbs, more than that. The 690 is 149.5 kg, or 328.9 lbs dry. I’m baffled as to who wants a motorcycle with no gas. Gas isn’t an optional accessory. Fill it up and it weights 350 lbs.

              I think you might not have looked at the Duke 690 that came back to the US in 2010. The new version has more power, is lighter, and costs $1900 less. And the 390 is lighter, and cheaper, still.

              • Justin McClintock

                True, I was checking the UK website since the US website no longer has the SMC on there. The SMC is all that many people have asked for, yet nobody bought it. Now people are clamoring for the 390 despite the fact that it’s almost the same weight as the SMC, doesn’t have as good a suspension setup, doesn’t have brakes as good as the SMC and weighs basically the same as the SMC (probably more than the 690SMC for the RC390). Yes, the 390 will be less expensive, but it probably won’t be as much less as people are thinking. It’s not going to come in at a Ninja 300 price point.

                • Dennis Bratland

                  Bikes with a 36.5 inch seat height are not going to have buyers lined up around the block. And the 690 SMC is made in Austria, not India. Making the 390 Duke in India means all your assumptions about price go out the window.

                • Justin McClintock

                  Not necessarily. If the suspension and brakes really are good units from Showa and…well, I don’t know who did the brakes, but anyway, those are still purchased parts and will still add a lot to the cost of the bike regardless of where it’s built.

                • Dennis Bratland

                  Suspension is KTM’s house brand, WP. Brakes are ByBre, Brembo’s discount brand targeted mainly at scooters, in Brazil, Russia, India, China, and Southeast Asia.

                  So the 390 Duke is a basic motorcycle made in India; nothing earth-shattering. The original point was that while news of a 200 hp bike would be a snooze, a powerful 300 lb bike would be send shockwaves. The 390 is a nice little package, but there’s nothing amazing about it, other than the unwillingness of many manufactures to build anything in that range.

                • Justin McClintock

                  I’ve had the same discussion with a couple of my friends over and over again about the likelihood of seeing something truly powerful out of a mainstream manufacturer that’s really lightweight. In other words, something over 100 hp and in the 300 lb. range. In short, don’t hold your breath. If it were easily doable, Ducati would have already. They don’t have to worry about over the top costs and can get away with it. But the closest they’ve come thus far is the new 1199 Superleggera. And it’s still nowhere near as light as 300 lbs. Heck, it’s 390 lbs. with a full tank. The only thing I’ve seen that comes close is a few bikes from NCR…and those use hand-made titanium everything, including a hand-made titanium trellis frame. They start at $40K and go up very, VERY quickly from there. Meanwhile, most of them would never pass emissions because most of them don’t even have emissions equipment on them. In short, a 300 lb., 100 hp bike just is not going to happen from a manufacturer that has to play within government rules and still build something at a price they can sell it at.

                • Piglet2010

                  You can buy a 300 pound bike with 140 HP – called Moto2. ;)

                • Justin McClintock

                  Are they up to that kinda power and down to that weight now? I admittedly don’t pay much attention to them. That’d certainly make for a fun track toy!

                • Piglet2010

                  The Moto2 engine is a very highly tuned 600cc Honda I-4, based on the current CBR600RR engine. Minimum bike weight is 297 pounds, and minimum bike + rider weight is 473 pounds. Price – if you have to ask…

                • Piglet2010

                  How does KTM expect anyone to buy a motard from them if they do not keep one in the line-up? (Only considering street legal here.)

                • Justin McClintock

                  I think they’ve just given up. My whole point in all this is that motards provide a lot of what many people ask for, only for those people to pretend motards don’t exist. I think KTM ran headlong into that problem in the US and finally just gave up and pulled out.

                • Piglet2010

                  Both the Husqvarna SMR 511 and KTM 690SMC were dropped just as I was considering buying one. :(

                • Ken Lindsay

                  I think they are not successful for 3 reasons:
                  1. Seat height
                  2. Seat is uncomfortable. You are basically sitting on a 2X4!
                  3. Single cylinders aren’t sexy.

        • ThinkingInImages

          I’d be riding a KTM 690 Duke right now if there was a nearby dealer. I’d travel the distance for the RC390. I feel the same about Moto Guzzi, too.

          High horsepower and high top speed are nice – on the track and for bragging rights. I want performance for the real world.

    • Stuki

      In my little adv riding corner of the biking universe, I believe this insight is about to reach critical mass these days. It seems almost everyone planning on traveling, is trading in their big Touratech rigged GS’ for smaller dual sports with soft bags these days. I’d be surprised if manufacturers don’t respond by selling more travel friendly smaller bikes soon; with for example larger tanks, cushier seats, (defeatable?) abs for the variable weather street sections, more wind protection, stronger subframes etc. Right now, it’s still largely a do it yourself project if you want a long distance, multisurface bike, smaller than a KLR.

      • atomicalex

        BMW already makes those…… but people are afraid to buy “girl” bikes.

  • di0genes

    Before the speed wars were the quarter mile wars of the 70′s and 80′s. As I recall both those conflagrations were primarily fueled by the moto mags of the day, as in the latest numbers were always in the first line of anything written about a specific model of motorcycle, and gathering the currently fashionable performance numbers formed a major portion of a ‘road test’.
    So, you want a horsepower war, Ride Apart? What are you waiting for? Fire up those dynos and word processors.
    (Or is that what you just did Mr. Watson?)

  • Nathan Haley

    Why not have price wars, if we’re going to evaluate motorcycles based almost solely on a single number (with no regard to largely numberless qualities such as build quality, looks, comfort, practicality, handling)? Or price-to-power-to-weight-ratio wars?

    Excessive speed on *public* roads reinforces the public perception that motorcyclists are only in it for the danger, the thrill, etc. – and it will prevent motorcycles in the USA from being accepted as reasonable mainstream transport.

    • Justin McClintock

      You make a good point, and Honda might already be jumping on that wagon a bit with the new 500s. I’d really love to see some of them bring the price of decent suspension down as well.

      • Nathan Haley

        Honda is making it happen with every bike they assemble in Thailand. They ain’t fast, they ain’t pretty (debatably) – but they’re cheap at what they do (as well as cheap to fuel, maintain, etc.) and not one other manufacturer is stepping up to the plate in the same way. Except perhaps Yamaha: If you think of the FZ-09, you can argue for days over whether a v-twin or a triple or an inline four is better in a middleweight naked, but you can’t argue with the price – the FZ-09 is at least a thousand bucks cheaper than its competitors, without skimping on build quality one bit.

        So we see tiny glimpses of price wars and wherever we see them, we see exceptionally exciting machines popping out of factories.

        • Piglet2010

          With the MT07 twin being introduced in Europe, expect a FZ-07 in the US for the 2015 model year.

    • Dan

      The problem with simply competing on price is that each person’s idea of value (not to mention their requirements) is different.
      Price-to-power-to-weight is slightly better metric, but then what if the ‘best’ bike is an ugly beast that doesn’t handle well?

      • Nathan Haley

        Like I said – if we’re going to evaluate motorcycles based on a number – because numbers are what manufacturers have “wars” over – why does it have to be bhp? Price-to-power-to-weight ratio is a better metric than raw power, but a metric nonetheless – and metrics do not make a good bike great.

        • Ken Lindsay

          The only bragging rights they should be working on is the which manufacturer brings in the most new riders to the sport.

          • Nathan Haley

            Even that might be a misleading number – what if they have poor retention? Scooter manufacturers introduce many a person to the sport – far more than Honda’s introductory 250s and 500s – but they don’t seem to get hooked on it and are less likely to buy a second two-wheeler.

            • Piglet2010

              What if you eliminate college kids who buy scooters solely because there are no parking spaces for their cars close to class? In the US they must make up a large percentage of scooter owners who do not continue riding.

            • Ken Lindsay

              Add retention as bragging rights number 1A. Let’s save scooters for another debate. They are wonderful in their own right.

  • Braden

    I’d be curious to see when the industry will reach a point of diminishing returns pulling every last drop of HP out of the current engine designs. The engines can’t get physically bigger, and emissions regulations are only getting tighter. If I were to guess the upcoming marketing strategies from the industry, I would point to electronic aids. Refined traction control and stability control, abs, semi-active suspension all sound great in a brochure, and cost less on the implementation end of manufacturing. What I hope they actually go for is lightness, simplicity of maintenance (will never happen), and engine refinements (fuel direct injection anyone?).

    • Justin McClintock

      Ah, but the engines CAN get physically bigger. Maybe not within the limits of what’s allowed for racing. But in the same manner that you can fit a V4 or an inline 4 in relatively similar packaging, you can get a V8 in there as well. And a 2600cc V8 Hayabusa would be interesting to say the least. Make for one helluva halo bike!

      • Braden

        That does sound amazing. Reminds me of Moto Guzzi’s Otto (V8) back in the day.

  • Kevin

    Is articles like this that remind me that while there are aspects of motorcycling that bind us together–the visceral interaction with the environment, the sensation of cornering, the love of the machines themselves–there are also aspects of the sport that not all are drawn to. Top speed? My new F6B is reported to top out at about 120, which is meaningless to me because I’ve never gone that fast on a motorcycle anyway. It’s not my thing. Those aren’t the thrills I’m after when I’m on a bike. When I get on a motorcycle I want to ride all day in beautiful nature on uncrowded roads. My top speed when doing it? Who cares?

  • Marc

    A few of the answers to the writer’s questions are floating out there on the internet. The speed wars stopped in 2000 with a gentleman’s agreement between the Japanese manufacturers to not release a bike (stock) that could exceed 300kmh (186mph), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fastest_production_motorcycles#Gentlemen.27s_agreement_to_end_competition. The Euros didn’t have a dog in the fight at the time (the 996 wasn’t even close to 186mph). In 2007 MV Agusta made that clear with the F4 312 which claimed a top speed of, duh, 312kmh. Between the S1kRR and Panigale, the other Euros apparently don’t care about the agreement either.

    • Jason

      Exactly right, this article was a bit light on the research. The Fireblade also wasn’t the start of the speed wars and never was the fastest bike in the world. When the CBR900RR came out the Kawasaki ZX-11 was the undisputed top speed king and held onto it’s crown at 175 mph. The ZX-11 was knocked off by the Honda Blackbird.

      The CBR900RR’s claim to fame was Honda’s revolutionary reduction in size and weight not top speed.

  • Paul Cypert

    I know it’s not sexy, but I’d welcome a “Practicality War” from manufacturers.

    Would love to see others pick up the gauntlet Honda’s thrown down lately and give a bit of heated competition in smaller CC bikes in the states…not just 2-300 cc mini sport bikes (I know there are a couple others in a “mini cruiser” style but would love to see more standard style).

    • Piglet2010

      Don’t hold your breath – almost no one in the US bought a Honda Deauville.

      • Nathan Haley

        but a lot bought the NC700X…

  • Piglet2010

    More horsepower on top end sport-bikes is useless on all but larger race tracks, unless tires with significantly more traction come along.

  • Brian

    A bike like the ZX-14R is easy to derestrict with an ECU flash (which can by done in a couple different ways) and it becomes a ~200mph bike. Big power isn’t only about top speed, though- it about massive acceleration, which is why bikes have continued to increase in horsepower even after manufacturers starting limited their bikes to 186mph/300kph. Sure, few people topped out their unrestricted ’99/’00 Hayabusas, but most used that eyeball-flattening acceleration every ride, even at speeds within the posted limit.

  • gregory

    All you need is about 60hp and about 400cc.

    Go buy a used 1997 Honda RVF 400R for about USD $2’500.

    To one side of the dashboard it has a speedometer that goes up to 300kph/185mph and in the centre it has an over-sized tachometer that’s red-lined at 14’500rpm. It has a liquid-cooled V4 with sixteen 28mm valves, and has double overhead gear-driven cams. (It’s not chain-and-spring driven, like your other motorcycle. It’s cam-driven. There’s a physical cam spinning around and opening and closing the valves.) It makes its peak ~60 some odd horsepower at about 13’000rpm, so thrashing the engine higher and higher is what it’s about. Max horsepower @ 13’000 and redline @ 14’500. Glorious. There are two tubes to feed air into the engine, channelled overtop of the low-mounted handlebars, next to your ears as you lay across the tank, but it’s not a “ram air system” as the air is unpressurised. The air whirls and sings as you speed up. The front cowl has twin circular headlights, like two beady fox eyes staring out at the world as you tear into a corner. The gear-driven valves on the V4, methodically flapping open and closed via the cam shaft, whine like a siren at any amount of revs, creating a symphony for the ears. The gear-shift process is like Beethoven: clunk-first-wheeeeeeeeee-clunk-second-wheeeeeeeeee-clunk-third-wheeeeeeeeee, et cetera, all the way to sixth. Between red lights, you can only get to about second gear, maybe third. The 360-degree firing order of the four V-aligned cylinders pumps like Daft Punk. All the little moving parts are like an intricate Swiss watch. Clickety-clack, clickety-clack. The 400cc engine is perfectly balanced, and there’s a single-sided rear swing arm ripping the rear 17″ wheel to a rubberised frenzy. The front forks are upside down. The frame is aluminium and the brakes are big. It’s as uncomfortable as hell. The thin plastic seat whacks your ass as you go up and over urban asphalt. It’s an engineer nerd’s dream-come-true, a speed demon’s animal talisman and it’s deadly fast. If you ever make it to sixth gear, an unlikely occurrence, at about 10’000rpm you’re pushing the top of the speedometer– let’s say, in the high 250kph/ 155mph range– and are at inappropriate speeds for human roads or for civilisation in general.

    So… I’m all for the next power war, or horsepower war, but, honestly, why bother?

    Go back to 1997 and buy a RVF 400R.

    -g

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      I’d be very surprised if an RVF400R (admittedly a nice bike) could reach 130mph.

      • Piglet2010

        A much larger Honda Deauville with 65-HP can reach about 125 mph, so 130 mph does not seem unreasonable. The 155 mph that gregory mentions would be very unlikely, since super-sports with about 110-HP top out at about 160 mph.

    • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

      Have you ever sat on an rvf 400r? You need to be 5′ 6″ or shorter

      • Archie

        Same overall ergos as the MC22 and I ride one of those 5 days a week. I am 6′ 3″ with irritatingly long appendages. I have no dramas AT ALL on it. Height arguments are no excuse.

        • http://krtong.com/ Kr Tong

          Generally i would agree with you but we had that bike in the shop for a long time. Its tiny.

    • Mariofz1

      The price and the top speed you mentioned, reside in utopia. However, I do love v-4′s of any size…

  • Blu E Milew

    The next battle will be who can sell the highest-priced “adventure bike.”

  • Robotribe

    My bike purchases get slower and heavier over the past couple of decades. I don’t know if it’s getting older or wiser, but I can say with confidence that I’m having more fun.

  • Luke

    I think we’re about to go where we already are with the small/pricey car movement. I think we’re going to start seeing the motorcycle equivalent of the Mini – (the 390R might be an example). I really don’t care about HP over what is useful to me. For an around town bike, that’s something that still has good acceleration from 45-65 to get me out of trouble if need be. For a highway bike 55-85. Once my bike can do those things, I’d much rather put my extra money into “non-engine” upgrades. If I was shopping for a $15K bike, I’d much rather spend it on a beautiful, great handling, 500cc machine that tops out at 95 – than a 135hp monster.

  • Tim Watson

    Hmmm. Not really what I said. Never said I didn’t care for top speed. The maximum speed wars are over – so I’m suggesting maybe the next thing is a horse power war.

    • Speedo007

      Next thing should be torque…before HP…On a track HP is what you need (cause you can just redline the thing all the time), on the road, low end torque should be main priority.

    • Chris Optional Freeman

      why would power be the next thing, power and speed are essentially one and the same. increasing power will give a byproduct of speed as will the converse. that would basically imply that the speed wars are in fact still going. Unless you are implying efficient power, which goes back to the first comment.

  • Mariofz1

    Suzuki, get that recursion to production please !

  • juliansr

    power..whatever…
    lighter please!

  • Piglet2010

    I am hesitant to buy a used supermoto, without knowing the break-in procedure and service history.

    • Justin McClintock

      I can certainly understand that.

  • Gabe Cosarca

    I’d like to see a 400 lbs light weight “sport touring” bike with good brakes and fully adjustable suspension. I currently have a 2006 Triumph Sprint 1050, about 125hp and 500 lbs. The suspension is pretty bad, I’ll leave it at that. Not bad on the highway for long hauls but leaves alot to be desired when commuting through the city. The brakes are acceptable, the usable power of the engine is great but the weight of the bike really shows during stop and go and making right angle turns. I don’t need or want heated seats, grips, 20 power outlets, wind screens, hard luggage mounts, hand guards or a 7 gallon gas tank. Just want a bike that I can ride everyday or for 12-14 hours and not feel like live been in a car accident afterwards. After buying a bike and changing the ergonomics, you’ve just added anywhere between 1,000-1,500 to the price tag. I think manufacturers should offer options such as lower height/adjustable pegs, seats and handle bar height instead of all the “luxury” crap.