BRUCE IN BRIEF
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.