Fast Bikes - - CORE TEST -

Yes, we’ve seen a dras­tic im­prove­ment in safety and performances lev­els since the turn of the cen­tury, but this test was far more than a trip down nos­tal­gia lane. This quar­tet of­fers some­thing for ev­ery pi­lot and, as we con­stantly blab­ber, the used mar­ket is there for abus­ing. Not all of us (not least us journos) can af­ford the lat­est of­fer­ings and this test demon­strated that you don’t nec­es­sar­ily need them any­way.

There are ob­vi­ously things to be aware of when scout­ing for used bike tal­ent that’s near­ing the 20-year-old mile­stone. The UK is brim­ming with gifted painters and bodyshops, which means hid­ing nas­ties is an easy task nowa­days. With­out scare­mon­ger­ing too much, we live in a world full of nasty bas­tards, so don’t rush into buy­ing some­thing you’re un­sure of. At the same time, don’t be afraid of Cat C/D dam­aged bikes if the his­tory and trust is ev­i­dent. What’s re­mark­able is there’s now ex­ten­sively tal­ented bikes out there for as lit­tle as £1,500.

There’s no real fin­ish­ing or­der here, more of a cel­e­bra­tion of what’s on of­fer. As pre­vi­ously men­tioned, there’s some­thing for ev­ery taste and bud­get, but the Honda CBR600F falls short against this com­pe­ti­tion in al­most ev­ery as­pect, bar price and prac­ti­cal­ity. Not only are there plenty of ex­am­ples, there are plenty of clean ex­am­ples too – thanks to the 400,000 sold be­fore the RR took over.

This stun­ning Du­cati 748S ticks ev­ery lux­u­ri­ous box imag­in­able. Its fussy dy­nam­ics and hor­ri­ble er­gonomics make it re­dun­dant for com­muters or those look­ing at lengthy jour­neys, but there’s some­thing in­trin­si­cally spe­cial about the 748. It makes you feel spe­cial, al­though find­ing one is now be­com­ing more chal­leng­ing.

On the con­trary, in the Suzuki GSX-R750, you could have your­self one of the best han­dling sports­bikes ever built read­ily avail­able if you don’t mind 20,000 mil­ers. Most have been dec­o­rated with shit stick­ers and an­odised bolt-ons, but the in­her­ent ap­ti­tude isn’t skin-deep.

Dy­nam­i­cally, there’s only one bike to go for here. There isn’t the buy­ers’ ap­peal that comes with the orig­i­nal model, but the 2001 Yamaha R1 is the bike I could spend the most time in the sad­dle, it’s the bike I’d want to spend most time rid­ing. There’s only one con­cern with the 2001 R1 and comes in the shape of Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 K1…

It’s a strong look. Maybe a bit too strong.

These boys can’t get enough of some layby ac­tion...

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