“What is the best bike” discussion
March 15, 2010 at 6:37 pm #3758Gary856Participant
I realized that I have a tendency to think whatever bike I just rode is the best bike ever. It came into focus about 10 days ago, when I got the DRZ-SM.
– The first two day I rode the DRZ, I liked its high and upright position, its light weight (you can really feel it), and its “cool factor”. But its power was not impressive, and I wasn’t sure how to ride it and felt a little uncomfortable cornering hard.
– Then, I rode the YZF-600R to work, thinking it might feel big and heavy after riding the DRZ. Nope, it felt like a missile on the freeway. After the DRZ, It was awesome to have the power to be in the fast lane, and higher speed cornering was just beautiful. This bike is such a brilliant freeway bike and good at high speed, it’s the polar extreme opposite of the DRZ. While the DRZ feels like its’ straining at 75 mph, the SV feels like it’s topping out at 90-100 mph (some of that is from the wind on a naked bike), the YZF-600R feels like it would go way faster than I’m willing to on public roads.
– Then, I rode the DRZ last weekend, figured out how to ride it (very sensitive to weight shift), and had a blast in the hills. The power was just fine and very useable. The way it carved up tight turns (on roads like Hicks, Metcalf, Quimby, Mt. Hamilton) gave me the goose bumps; never experienced anything like it. Steep downhill turns that would have made me uncomfortable on other bikes felt easy on the DRZ. I started to think that I should sell the SV – why do I need a SV when the DRZ is better in the hills, and the YZF-600R is better on the freeway?
– I rode the SV to work this morning, and it felt freaking great! Significantly more agile than the YZF-600R, and significantly more powerful than the DRZ – what’s not to like?
– The under dog in this group, the GS500, surprises me with its basic, all-around goodness every time I ride it. It always feels much better than I expect it to be, even after riding bigger, better, newer, cooler bikes. Riding the GS500 is like having the satisfaction of eating a good hamburger after having steaks (YZF), sushi (DRZ), and seafood linguini (SV).
What this means is that each bike excels in certain areas, while not as good in others. Take it with a grain of salt when you hear someone says, “I currently own ___ and it’s the best bike ever!”March 16, 2010 at 12:41 am #24963WeaponZeroParticipant
While I haven’t ridden all THAT many bikes, I’ve ridden enough to know that supermoto bikes such as the DRZ have the most raw fun-factor you can have on an urban road.
I own an SV650 and while it’s a great urban commuter and an overall fun bike, to really be able to have *fun* on the bike requires taking it to special roads that I have to ride a good ways just to get to. There isn’t a whole lot you can do with it on city streets which is where I spend the most of my time. The bottom line is that with bikes like this, and even moreso with repliracer type bikes, you have to go really far out of your way to actually find a place you can truly have fun on your bike, if youre city folk like me. And getting there isn’t always fun when it involves navigating congested roads and freeways that are being detoured due to construction.
But supermoto bikes, well, they’re urban assault weapons. They may not have the power to do 90+ MPH but you don’t need it if you use them for what they were meant for. They were made for guys like me who want to be able to have their fun without having to ride an hour away just to find some mythical pothole-free winding road to be able to get up on it and toss the bike around. It can do at that left turn at the four-way intersection up ahead what your supersport or streetfighter can do on a winding mountain road, and it can make your commute to and from work fun even on pothole-ridden roads where you can’t even come close to cracking the throttle open.
These bikes were made to give you the same thrill supersports and other sportbikes provide without having to leave your urban jungle. They turn the city into your playground. Go into it understanding that, and you will see them for their magic.March 16, 2010 at 3:56 am #24968eternal05Participant
…and I have to say, the DR-Z is just about the most fun I’ve had riding on the street. Like the Ninja 250R, you can really ring its neck, bang through the gears, and throw the bike around without risking anything…’cause you’re only going 25mph. But it’s lighter than all the other bikes (aside from a few MX bikes and a lighter KTM I once got to ride), and it just has a rawness to it that I find really appealing.
I love my gixxer, but it’s just boring around town. It really is. And uncomfortable too. Honestly, I can’t have the same fun in the twisties on the GSX-R because it wants to go faster than I’m comfortable with…not because of my riding skills, but because it would be unsafe for the road. The last couple of rides I went on before the bike lost its lights (and its street-legality) were just frustrating.
The DR-Z, on the other hand, makes coming home from work fun. Just going around a traffic circle at 15mph instead of 5mph makes life interesting. At stop lights, people look at you like you’re riding a three-legged hippo, but when you let the clutch out in first gear, you’re at 30mph by the time they’ve reacted to the green. I can run eight-foot circles without trying at all, and I’ve never come close to losing control over bike, despite the fact that it suckers me into trying the most ridiculous maneuvers. Honestly, it’s the only bike I’ve ridden that I can have serious fun with (i.e., not feel like I’m missing out by not being on a closed course) and stay legal. It just begs you to play.March 16, 2010 at 1:40 pm #24971IBA270Participant
Over my riding career, my taste in bikes has gone from big power litre bikes (early ZX-10’s and 11’s) and BMW K11 series bikes to progressively lighter and more nimble bikes. The DR-Z’s I’ve ridden are a total kick in the pants to ride! I love them, and one day I’m sure one will be parked in my garage!March 17, 2010 at 2:41 am #24989owlieParticipant
That is quite the review. Kind of sounds like the fun I had with the bike I rode for the MSF. While everyone else was struggling with the box, I was whooping it up.March 17, 2010 at 3:05 am #24990IBA270Participant
I think I’ve posted this before…at one of the places I coach, we have brand new CR230M’s Hondas…230cc motards!!! WoooofreakinHooooo!March 17, 2010 at 10:45 pm #24994TrialsRiderParticipant
Best ever: 1957 Manx Norton Featherbed 40M
Best new: MV Agusta F4 CC
Best off-road: Honda RTL260F
Best Concept: BMW concept 6
…I have expensive tasteMarch 20, 2010 at 7:58 pm #25028Jeff in KentuckyParticipant
For in the city, a little scooter is the best- you do not need to go more than 40 miles per hour, and the lighter the better for cornering and at traffic lights.
For 55 mph speed limit roads with lots of curves, a supermoto bike is the best.
For long straight roads and going more than 70 miles per hour, especially with a passenger, you want a big, heavy touring bike for more comfort.
For a general purpose bike, it is hard to beat a 650cc like the Kawasaki Versys, Kawasaki ER6n, or the Suzuki SV650. Some will prefer the looks of a cruiser.
On a race track, the 600cc and 1,000cc supersports will be the fastest, but they will make your back and wrists sore on the street. Many people are young enough to have fewer joint and nerve problems, and ride a sportier looking, more expensive bike. I have a friend that bought a 1,000cc supersport, but will probably drop back down to a 600cc supersport for his next bike- the 1,000 is too much for the street- a bike that does 100 miles per hour in first gear is not that fun when the speed limit is 70 miles per hour, and speeding tickets are too expensive and he rents race track time to go fast- a modern 600cc will do maybe 165 miles per hour in a long straight, and the 1,000s are factory speed limited to 186 mph.
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