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

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage -


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.

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