TRAVEL & TOURING How do I crash proof Q my bike for a big trip? TECH WATCH
BMW S1000RR or Aprilia RSV4? What’s so special about Yamaha’s crossplane triple? Andrew Campbell
I’m moving up to a 1000cc superbike from my 2011 Suzuki GSX-R600. I’m partial to the odd trackday, and the bikes I have in mind are either a used BMW S1000RR or Aprilia RSV4. What would you recommend? Leigh Bishop, email
Answered by Michael Neeves, MCN If you are stepping up from the GSX-R600, the BMW makes sense for several reasons. It’s a fourcylinder like your 600 so it won’t be so much of a culture shock. It may feel even more familiar because when BMW were first developing their new engine the test mule was a Suzuki GSX-R1000 K5 chassis. If your budget allows go for a 2012-on S1000RR. That’s the smoother Mark II with better electronics and plusher suspension.
The Aprilia is jewel-like, as tiny as a 400 and an absolute weapon, especially on track. Again, go for a later model, as buyers of the early ones could choose their electronics package and may have foregone some elements on grounds of cost. Strictly speaking, a triple can’t be ‘crossplane’ because the name comes from the cross shape of the crank when viewed end on. A triple with 120-degree crank spacing is more of a ‘Y’ shape than an ‘X’ shape. In fact it’s just like the 120-degree spacing of the tuning forks in Yamaha’s logo. But what the triple does do is exploit the inertial torque cancellation effect as achieved by the crossplane in a four.
The benefits Yamaha claim about ‘clean torque’ is inherent to triples with 120-degree crank spacing – and they’re as true of the Triumph Street Triple as they are the MT-09. vulnerable radiator. I recommend full plastic wraparound handguards; they move around and bend a bit, and have no solid bar going through them, so they provide protection in an impact and save your levers but won’t catch your hand. Most adventure bikes come with a detachable rubber insert on the pegs. Take these off, and check the footprint is wide enough for your boot. Standard teeth are generally not sharp enough, so as soon as you get a little bit of water on them your feet will slip straight off. Check how much a replacement headlight is for your bike; the cost of a guard will quickly seem like a really good idea. It only takes one stone to flick up and crack it. On the road the stand isn’t a problem but riding on a soft track you’ll need a wider footprint so the stand doesn’t sink in, especially for big, heavy adventure bikes. limit, this will stay the case unless you’re talking of the nth degree of throttle control.
Yamaha’s R1 wasn’t the first bike with a crossplane crank. Some 40 years ago, Helmut Fath employed it in his ‘home built’ four-cylinder URS of the 1960s for his sidecar world championship exploits. That engine had lots of other new tech before its time too, but that’s another story.