DAY 2: ON THE ROAD

Con­tin­ued over

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week -

Ob­vi­ously you can’t use all this power and speed on the road, oth­er­wise you’ll be spend­ing a few years as her Majesty’s guest in a small cell, so do they make any sense at all as road bikes? The H2 may be lit­tered with rider aids, but there’s no tak­ing away from the fact if you want to at­tack a back road the H2 is a hand­ful, it’s like try­ing to con­trol a drunken, ag­gres­sive mate out­side a night­club.

Un­leash the su­per­charger a few times and you’ll quickly see the dig­i­tal speedo read­ing three fig­ures, pre­sum­ing you have time to re­fo­cus your eyes from be­ing pinned to the hori­zon.

The throt­tle re­sponse is on the ag­gres­sive side, you end up short­shift­ing to calm things down, but once the su­per­charger gets up to speed every­thing gets a lit­tle fre­netic. This means you end up en­ter­ing cor­ners way too quickly. Try­ing to ride a H2 fast on an un­fa­mil­iar road is a pas­time best re­served for the brave, or stupid.

Trun­dle around be­low 6000rpm and the H2 turns into a docile sleep­ing dragon, the throt­tle re­sponse isn’t too ag­gres­sive, and de­spite the fact you’re only tick­ling the throt­tle at 50% or less it’s al­ready more than quick enough for the road. But let the nee­dle climb past 6000rpm and the boost gauge il­lu­mi­nates on the dash, and you’ve sud­denly kicked the dragon in the balls while squirt­ing lemon juice in its eyes.

There’s no doubt that the ZZR is eas­ier to ride on the road, de­spite its size and bulk. The throt­tle re­sponse is close to per­fect, es­pe­cially when com­par­ing it to the H2. You don’t need to dance all over the gear­box as there’s so much torque on tap at all times, just roll on and en­joy the seam­less drive. The ZZR has over 20ftlb more torque avail­able than the H2, and it all ar­rives dra­mat­i­cally lower in the rev range. On un­fa­mil­iar roads the mighty ZZR is your friend, waft­ing you be­tween turns with Bent­ley-like surges of drive, with­out ever feel­ing like it will take off on its own, pro­pel­ling you through the near­est hedge. It’s this tidal surge of de­liv­ery that means there’s no real rea­son to be in­tim­i­dated by the sur­feit of power, and there’s al­ways the rider modes, trac­tion con­trol and ABS to back you up.

The ZZR also edges ahead in the com­fort stakes, and is head and shoul­ders above the H2. The ZZR is the bike equiv­a­lent of a lovely bat­tered leather sofa, while the H2 is one of those chrome and black leather bar stools that you can never quite perch on with­out feel­ing like you might slide off if you let your con­cen­tra­tion slip. The H2 also has a se­ri­ous drink prob­lem, the fuel light il­lu­mi­nat­ing at the 100-mile mark, or even less at fast mo­tor­way speeds, whereas the ZZR’S 22-litre tank will last over 150 miles at the same pace, if rid­den gin­gerly you can coax 200 miles be­tween fuel stops on the ZZR. The H2 wins the fil­ter­ing com­pe­ti­tion around the M25 but in ev­ery other as­pect of road rid­ing it was an out and out win for the ZZR and it’s the only one you can scare a pil­lion on, too. But no mat­ter how un­com­pro­mis­ing the H2 is on the road it’s still the bike we al­ways wanted to be on.

It’s only af­ter 150mph that the H2 stretches its mas­sive speed ad­van­tage over the ZZR H2 Bruce read­ies dat­a­log­ger for its H2 blast ZZR1400

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