Fast Bikes - - FEATURE -

Noth­ing can pre­pare you for the on­slaught of a full-blown superbike’s per­for­mance, which is in a to­tally dif­fer­ent league to any­thing else out there. It’s men­tal, re­lent­less and bloody con­fus­ing. Es­pe­cially around Cad­well Park where there’s not enough room to swing a dead cat, and there are no lulls to re­set and re­group.

My first lap on the McAms R1 was in­tense. I got onto the start straight and let rip with the throt­tle, which caused the rear to squat, the front end to start hoist­ing and my bow­els to pre­pare them­selves for an im­promptu open­ing. That thing was rapid, to such an ex­tent that I wasn’t prepared for the speed at which Cop­pice de­scended into the sce­nario. And the same went for ev­ery cor­ner on that lap. The other thing that hit me was the stiff­ness of the bike. It wasn’t a plush feel­ing mo­tor­cy­cle that felt sta­ble and planted as I too­tled my way around; it was as rigid as a corpse. And an un­happy one at that.

I wasn’t go­ing quick enough to get the sus­pen­sion work­ing in its pre­ferred zone, which ex­ag­ger­ated the harsh­ness of the pack­age. It was only af­ter a hand­ful of laps, and just as many scary mo­ments, that the bike started to make more sense. The pow­er­ful brakes became more pre­dictable, and the sever­ity of the throt­tle less­ened as I learned to carry more speed out of corners and de­pend less on the mo­tor’s torque. Ev­ery cir­cu­la­tion was an ed­u­ca­tion that un­locked a smidgen more of the big Yam’s pref­er­ences, which de­manded to be un­der­stood and ac­tioned. Un­like the R1M, which felt wel­com­ing and easy to hus­tle around, the superbike came across quite the op­po­site. It was hard work and un­pleas­ant, but it held the po­ten­tial for pure bril­liance, as­sum­ing one had the skills to un­lock its in­ner good­ness. I didn’t, but I had a bloody great time trying.

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