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Old 05-25-2009, 10:08 AM   #101
touristguy87
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...having read some but not all of these posts, many of which are interesting and relevant, and having ridden sportbikes off and on for the past 20 years, I have to say that there's still little point in having a superbike shootout without posting laptimes. For several reasons. One we need an objective reference. Otherwise it's just one persons opinion vs another and it all comes down to the credibility of the person issuing the opinion. Which is what really makes me wonder why so many of the testers think that the CBR handles well yet it's the one bike that went down. This really concerns me. Second as others have posted, these are ultrafast bikes that have little real use on the street, in terms of their potential, meaning that much less powerful and much cheaper bikes are very relevant to this comparison. So why don't we at least see how these bikes are so much better than slower, cheaper bikes. Third, just how much does the weight and newer technology, stiffer/better frames and components matter? This is a good way to keep a relation to *older* bikes, which is a good indication of how or why these bikes will justify their higher cost and how well they will keep their resale value. And I think this is one of the MAIN reasons why laptimes aren't posted here.

The fact is that there are always reasons to do things just like there are reasons to not do them. You could have 10 reasons one way and just one the other way. Someone has to make a value decision but that doesn't change the fact that there will be good reasons to do it and things that will not be realized by not doing it. Same the other way. We can only ask that you and your staff consider the value of what is asked for in the comments section and not just dismiss those concerns, either rationally or irrationally. Find a good solution. There's nothing wrong with posting lap times with caveats, we're quite capable of understanding why they can vary, why they would vary. And anyone who takes them literally deserves what they get in response.

I for one would love to see how bikes in each category compare to bikes in the other category in terms of lap times and also I really am interested in why these bikes go down in the hands of competent, experienced riders, since the point of riding is to *not* crash. No one is going to get on a bike thinking that they are going to crash and if you guys can't keep these bikes up (or are not interested in keeping these bikes up) I really want to know why.

Other than that, thanks for the article. It's a good read in and of itself. Could have been more but still it's good. And I also enjoy all the comments.
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:17 AM   #102
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...just as an aside, what I see most happening with these bikes? Either they are being raced or ridden quite recklessly. If the public were to look at the overall market share of these bikes, the average age of the riders, and the history of each bike sold? I'd bet that you'd hear a substantial hue and cry for banning their sale. It's bad enough that motorcycles provide little if any protection in the event of a crash, and certainly their maneuverability and power can be a problem as much as a benefit, when it comes to road safety. But it's very important to keep in mind that these bikes are probably the most expensive on the market, the fastest, the most dangerous, and the *least* rewarding in terms of legal on-road value. Unless you're actually racing the bikes. And that is the one piece of data that you guys refuse to give. One has to ask exactly why that is. I'm not a safety Nazi, I really want to know just what I would be getting for my $10k plus full-coverage insurance at God knows what rate, and that's a critical part of a motorcycle review that is just not there. Instead it is sort of hinted at and assumed given the class of the bike. Is that real journalism?

You don't publish lap times, you're saying that lap times are either unimportant or not credible, but the main reason for buying a literbike over a 600 or 400 or even a 250 sportbike is to get that level of power which leads to several things, directly: higher acceleration and higher top-speeds, higher "rider fun" and certainly higher rider risk. To not quantify this in a review is to dismiss the entire concept and undermine the entire review. Bikes with less power due to their smaller engines are lighter, cheaper and potentially better-handling and certainly a better value as a result. Yet, the Honda CBR600RR lists for $2k less than the CBR1000RR, the ABS system is at least a $1k premium for both bikes, and the ABS version of the CBR in this test is now retailing for almost $14k. You can't credibly just ignore this.

Second and most certainly just as important if not even more, I really want to know the likelihood that the average rider would go down in normal riding (especially on the street) due to some innate character flaw of one of these bikes relative to others. For example, just how susceptible to headshake is one vs the other, and in what sort of normal riding conditions is it a real concern. What about these new damper systems, what happens if they fail, or are they such a good idea that all sportbikes should have them. If not then why are they a good idea on some bikes but superfluous on others. Is there some way to test the chassis for "stability"? What about it standing up under braking on corner-entry, is the tendency to do this mild or severe? What about the comments that one bike was so stable under cornering or so sensitive to chassis setup that a rider gained 2 seconds per lap just with a few tweaks or changing to a new bike? What exactly does it mean when one rider says that sliding the backend around is easy on one bike but a problem on the others? What is the real-world significance of putting in a more flexible rear? Does that suddenly expose stiffer rears as unsafe or slow, difficult to manage, what? Or is it just marketing fluff?

You guys think that these things are important to mention in "passing", only? I want to know these details, because they are not only going to help me to make a good value judgment about buying a bike, they are also going to help keep my ass up off the pavement.

So please publish some laptimes for tests like these and also give us as much detail as possible about the chassis quirks and the setups, and how and why one setup was chosen over another. Thanks!

As an aside I'd mention that the laws of physics say that a bike with half the horsepower but half the weight should accelerate just as well as a bike with twice the power but also twice the weight. What *won't* happen is that the heavier bike will stop as well or handle as well. And I would think that the real goal should be lighter bikes that are much more energy-efficient, even if they can't quite hit the high top speeds of these liter-bikes. I'm *really* surprised to see that none of these bikes are blown, still and that they are going to wider and wider rims with greater rotational inertia, along with and longer gearing and higher redlines. This tells me that the mfgs think that higher top speeds, wide-powerbands and normally-aspirated throttle responses with super-high redlines and commensurate HP are the most important thing. And sure: high top speeds may make sense on the *track* but that makes NO sense on the street. And maybe that is the point of disconnect with regard to track times, the biggest factor, really, is is the top-end of the bike...and if that's the case, you guys should stick to testing these bikes on tighter, slower tracks! Or at least enforce a top-end limit when testing on tracks with long straights and fast sweepers. Keep the bikes under 100MPH, say. Something that isn't going to get you thrown in jail for 6 months if you are caught by accident. I'm not taking my bike to Summit Point this weekend and riding it in a club race, I'm just riding it back and forth to work and maybe out on the highway or in rural areas on the weekend. It's not the money, but is a literbike really the best way to spend $10k? It seems not. It might be the cheapest way to lap Willow in under 1m 20s, but that's not why I'm spending $10k on a bike, assuming that I have no problem spending $10k on a bike and I'm not looking for the best value in a streetbike. If I'm buying a racing bike I'm not going to worry too much about value. So the whole question becomes moot for most riders, and thus you're doing a service only for *racing* riders who running in street-legal or near street-legal categories, a disservice to *road* riders, and the racers running bikes which aren't street legal really don't give a damm about these reviews.

The bottom-line is that these bikes only make sense on really-fast tracks in road-ready or near road-ready categories. Like a 930 Turbo. Yet you refuse to publish laptimes. It's patently nonsensical. The only *rational* reason to buy these bikes is to cut fast laps on a fast track.

Last edited by touristguy87 : 05-25-2009 at 10:54 AM.
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:58 AM   #103
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...If I can't ride the bike legally over 80MPH even in Nevada, short of riding it on a track, and I really don't care about track times, why would I want to buy it because it can do 180MPH? What, am I going to take it to Germany?

Why should anyone who *does* care about tracktimes care about a review that doesn't include them?

And why should anyone who *does* like to race either not care about tracktimes or even buy a $13k bike that can do 180MPH when they can buy a $5k bike that can do 150+ and run in a slower class?

And last but not least: why would someone who *does* care about getting the latest technology or buying a light bike care about this review if you don't even bother to quantify the advantages of new technology and light weight?

In the end this review was nothing more than a journal of how 5 guys had fun riding a bunch of new literbikes around a racetrack, on someone elses' dime.

Last edited by touristguy87 : 05-25-2009 at 11:06 AM.
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:32 AM   #104
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin_Duke View Post
Now a little historical perspective. In 1997, Honda's CBR900RR weighed about 455 lbs full of fuel, pretty close to today's average weight of a literbike. So, one might say, that's no progress in 12 years. (Although, a ZX-9R of that era scaled in wet at about 530 lbs.)

But consider that 900RR produced only about 110 hp at the wheel, and this low output in todays terms has major ramifications on weight.
...but you can buy a 97 CBR900RR on eBay now for about $3k, that will run 150MPH+.
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:44 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by Kevin_Duke View Post
First, the more power a bike has, the more it wants to tie itself into knots under acceleration, so frames and swingarms have to get stronger and, hence, bigger, which means heavier.
But better technology should mean that it is stronger & *lighter* so that more horsepower is not wasted in trying to accelerate a heavier bike. Else you might as well just drive a truck with a steel cage frame and a 1500HP motor.

Plus, now you have to move weight forward and lower and put a longer swingarm on it, which means that it's going to tend to flip forward under braking and the head has to be steeper to maintain the responsiveness. And that's fine. That's what the price-difference is for.

But you guys don't want to say how much faster the bikes are!

Without that information, and indeed, not caring to have the very fastest bike on the market (certainly one wouldn't know that reading this review anyway) it would make no sense at all to buy any of these bikes instead of an older bike which is almost as fast and almost as good but much less expensive. The review becomes pointless other than as technological titillation plus any riding or setup tricks and tips in the review. The biggest one of which goes unmentioned: just don't ride a bike at illegal speeds, on one wheel, scraping the pegs, running it up to redline in each gear!

I guess that I've made my point by now
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Old 05-25-2009, 01:18 PM   #106
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Old 05-25-2009, 04:04 PM   #107
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Quote:
Originally Posted by touristguy87 View Post



I guess that I've made my point by now
You sound bitter! Hey it's what sells in these here parts. Otherwise they would sell the Tenere or the bags and windscreen for the Monster 1100 that are available across the pond. Heavy sigh...

Did I forget to mention the Deuville?
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:41 PM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by touristguy87 View Post
.
The bottom-line is that these bikes only make sense on really-fast tracks in road-ready or near road-ready categories.
So the tens of thousands of people who buy a literbike each year and don't race them are idiots?

Quote:
Originally Posted by touristguy87 View Post
.
Yet you refuse to publish laptimes. It's patently nonsensical. The only *rational* reason to buy these bikes is to cut fast laps on a fast track.
You obviously aren't a racer, so then your whinging about a lack of lap times has no bearing on what you think about these amazing street machines.

If you were a racer, you'd know enough to qualify the question of which is quickest by asking: On what track? On what tires? With which rider. With which chassis tuner. After how many laps? (I'm curious if you bothered to read post #24.) And then you'd choose a bike based on which dealer you're friendliest with or which OEM offered the best contingency program, which is what racers do.

We gave you several thousand words of what the latest literbikes were like to ride on the street and on the track, based on the impressions from riders with experience on all the latest sportbikes and who have raced motorcycles. Plus tons of pics and video. I still have a hard time believing anyone didn't get their money's worth.

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Old 05-26-2009, 08:40 AM   #109
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Hey Tourist guy what about the excess weight? Yeah! The freeking unbelivable weight of 450 lbs on a 180 hp street bike!

I'd say they sould weigh 150 lbs tops, what with all the new metals, plastics, wood fiber and bamboo the factories have available.

Not to mention phenolic resins.
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Old 05-26-2009, 05:23 PM   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin_Duke View Post
We gave you several thousand words of what the latest literbikes were like to ride on the street and on the track, based on the impressions from riders with experience on all the latest sportbikes and who have raced motorcycles. Plus tons of pics and video. I still have a hard time believing anyone didn't get their money's worth.
Did you smell that? Smells like K-Pee.

Anyway, in today's society, not enough "thanks" go around. I just wanted to say thanks for the write-up. I know it's your job, but it was a good read, nontheless.

I still love the Ducati 1198 (sch-wing!), but I might have to consider the Ninja thou', though.
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