Swings and roundabouts
Dear MCM, After reading Mr Cunliffes’s letter I thought I’d have my say. Yes, publications like yours and others feature heavily bikes such as the Kawasaki H2R, Yamaha’s R1 andBMW’s S1000RR, and there’s a reason for this. These bikes are at the cutting edge of technology. This is where the latest technology is developed; this is the area where the manufacturers like to showoff all the hard work they’ve put into developing motorcycles. I knowI’ll never own an H2R or an R1 as they don’t appeal to me, but I still like to look at them. I ride with people who, after a long day in the saddle look like they need to see a chiropractor. Bikes nowhave lean angle sensors linked to ABS which helps to keep bikers safe. KTMhas noweffectively put a handbrake on a bike to stop them rolling back on hill starts. Now, who wouldn’t want that when they come to an uphill off- camber junction on a fully laden bike? I knowI would love that on my bike. All these gadgets on the top-end bikes will no doubt, sooner or later, filter their way down to the more mainstream (affordable) bikes.
I prefer to be more upright and not having to strain my neck to look up. I’d rather have the MT09 Tracer as that is my style of riding; long days in the saddle done in reasonable comfort, but at the moment I can’t afford to swap my bike. I’ve ridden a Suzuki Bandit S 650GSF for the last four years. Not the most agile of bikes, not the best performing bike, but a bike that has taken me to the Lakes and the Yorkshire Dales more times than I can count, down to Devon and Cornwall quite a few times and into Wales on many a time, as well as a 3036-miles-in-nine-days journey to Austria. On this bike I’ve outridden people on GSXRs, S1000RRs and ZZRs. I’ve had it on track at Cadwell, scraping the pegs on more than one occasion and leaving a chicken strip of about 5mm on either side of the tyre. It was a perfect sunny day though. Mr C may not see the point of my bike as relative to the latest FJRs it is a dinosaur; basic suspension, no electronic gadgetry to control traction and no ride modes except for my mood.
Mr Cunliffe may prefer to do this on a bike such as the FJR. I don’t get bikes that virtually ensconce the rider in comfort and wind/weather protection but then are so susceptible to side winds. My brother rides a Kawasaki 1400GTR so I do have a bit of an understanding of this type of bike, but more often than not he prefers his old CBR. I’mnot a fan of Harleys and that style of bike but I still like to read about them, especially if there’s a new innovation on them which may, one day improve/add something to other bikes. Who wants the hassle of wheeling a bike like an FJR or GTR around a car park that is more than half the width of some of the cars on the road and probably about half the weight of a small car too? I don’t but I understand others do.
Why do people buy bikes likeBMW’s GS or KTM’s Super Duke when they’ve no intention of going off road or on an adventure? Because they like them. And howmany innovations first featured on these have filtered their way through to other bikes?
So to summarise, the manufacturers give us choice. They spend lots of money giving us that choice. To get some of that money back they have to let people knowthat these bikes are about and that is done through the press. Obviously as true bike nuts the press are going to go wild for something as “mad” as the H2R and are going to shred tyres like there’s no tomorrow. If someone said to me: “Here Alan, here’s a bike we’re going to let you ride and don’t worry about the cost of the fuel or smoking the tyres. All we want after is your opinion,” I’d rip the keys out of their hands.
So, Mr C we just have to accept that the press like writing about this type of bike and the majority of people like reading about them. Lots of us do dream that we could afford the money to buy one, as well as have the garage space to house one, not to mention having the ability to ride a bike to an inch of its full potential.
This month’s star letter wins a fantastic pair of RST Blade gloves worth £59.99. With a double-layer leather palm, carbon knuckles and pre-curved outstitched fingers it’s a great do-it-all sports glove. www.rst-moto.com