Swings and round­abouts

Motorcycle Monthly - - Letters -

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

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