GROUP TEST UN­SUNG HE­ROES

Three stun­ning buys you shouldn’t ig­nore

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Michael Neeves MCN SE­NIOR ROAD TESTER

These are three of the most ex­cit­ing bikes on planet Earth. The growl­ing RSV4 RF, scream­ing GSX- R600 and bonkers Hyper­mo­tard 939 SP all leave you shak­ing with adrenalin and breath­less with lust af­ter ev­ery en­counter. They sum up what I love most about bikes: speed, ac­cel­er­a­tion, flat-stick cor­ner­ing and crossed-up, hov­er­ing wheel­ies. But clearly they’re not for ev­ery­body be­cause they are not the big sell­ers you might imag­ine.

To find out why we asked you on­line and were bom­barded with your opin­ions – re­gard­less of whether they sell or not, these are bikes you care about. We also vis­ited Suzuki and Aprilia deal­ers to hear what the peo­ple who sell them ac­tu­ally think.

A life­time guar­an­tee

Of all the bikes here it’s the RSV4 RF that elicited the most opin­ion on MCN’S Face­book page. Hap­pily there are lots of sat­is­fied Aprilia own­ers out there, but there’s an equal amount who wouldn’t buy this in­cred­i­ble su­per­bike.

Most point to its price, which is a fair whack more ex­pen­sive than its ri­vals, but the RF is cheaper than the equally ex­otic Du­cati 1299 Pani­gale S, which sells in greater num­bers.

Lots go on to men­tion the small pool of deal­er­ships and back-up in the UK, which doesn’t in­stil them with con­fi­dence. On the flip side for those who have a de­pend­able lo­cal dealer, ser­vic­ing, spares and parts aren’t an is­sue.

When we spoke to Wheels Mo­tor­cy­cles, who sell around 50% of all April­ias in the UK, they said they give a life­time guar­an­tee on ev­ery Aprilia sold, as long as they do all of the ser­vic­ing. That’s a huge piece of mind, es­pe­cially as some early bikes suf­fered me­chan­i­cal teething prob­lems.

The RF’S tiny Bi­aggi-de­vel­oped di­men­sions put many off, as does the per­ceived (but un­founded) un­re­li­a­bil­ity of a bike packed with so many elec­tron­ics. Oth­ers point to poor de­pre­ci­a­tion, high in­surance and the fact that you’ll only see the Aprilia com­pete in WSB and rarely in Su­per­stock or BSB.

The Ital­ian man­u­fac­turer is work­ing hard to boost cus­tomer con­fi­dence with bet­ter re­li­a­bil­ity and im­proved dealer sup­port, but let’s put that to one side for a mo­ment and talk about the ma­chine it­self. Put sim­ply it’s one of the best su­per­bikes money can buy.

It’s not as cramped as you’d imag­ine and ac­tu­ally has more legroom than its ri­vals. It’s civilised at nor­mal speeds, comes with the safety net of ABS and trac­tion con­trol and it’s built with breath-tak­ing at­ten­tion to de­tail.

On the road the light­weight wheels and Öh­lins sus­pen­sion let you glide from point to point and the flex­i­ble V4 en­gine has a de­li­cious wide spread of power. On the road or at a track­day it will keep up with any­thing out there.

Hyper­mo­tard Du­cati’s hooli­gan-mo­bile

Talk about niche - the Hyper­mo­tard 939 SP is as sin­gle-minded as they come and at close to thir­teen grand for a su­per­moto, no mat­ter how spe­cial, is an aw­ful lot of cash.

We heard from a few hard­core fans that would never be parted from theirs, but even Du­cati Peter­bor­ough ad­mit­ted that for many it’s a sec­ond, or third bike for the lucky few that can af­ford it.

Most agree the Hyper­mo­tard is a one trick pony – one to en­joy for an hour on a Sun­day morn­ing, and they’re right. But for the short time you’re in the Du­cati’s com­pany you for­get about the lack of prac­ti­cal­ity and en­joy the mono-wheeled crazi­ness of it all.

New for this year the Hyper­mo­tard mo­tor is bored-out to 937cc. It has more power, torque and 18% more oomph in the midrange, which of course means even eas­ier wheel­ies.

The base model costs £10,195, but this SP ver­sion is an­other £2655. For that you get Öh­lins sus­pen­sion, forged March­esini wheels, racier elec­tronic rid­ing modes, a bit of car­bon and a grip­pier seat. Power stays at 113bhp, but dry weight is trimmed back 3kg to 178kg.

It may look like an off-roader, but this is ev­ery inch an ex­quis­ite, ex­otic Du­cati. As well as all the top-drawer com­po­nents and car­bon fi­bre, it’s flaw­lessly screwed to­gether.

Rid­ing along you can see down the back of the tank, where it’s sculpted to let the bars turn and even there the paint is re­as­sur­ingly glossy. You’re go­ing to get as much plea­sure look­ing at the SP as you are rid­ing it – al­most.

Ev­ery part of the Du­cati works in har­mony with the next. The mo­tor has a per­fect throt­tle and in­stant, hard­hit­ting grunt in ev­ery gear. It’s sta­ble in the corners, has Brem­bos that would have you over the bars if it weren’t for the ABS and the agility of a BMX. It’s a great town bike, stunt ma­chine, for­mi­da­ble back lane scratcher and track­day war­rior all rolled into one.

The WSB champ Dash has a track mode with a clear lap timer The axe mur­derer The wheelie mon­ster SUZUKI GSX-R600 30TH AN­NIVER­SARY DU­CATI HYPER­MO­TARD 939 SP £9499 APRILIA RSV4 RF £12,850 £18,236 The RSV4 has three WSB ti­tles, dozens of wins and im­pressed us dur­ing count­less MCN su­per­bike tests, but bikes sold in 2016 to­talled just 128. This is the goodie-laden 30th An­niver­sary edi­tion, but the bike hasn’t fun­da­men­tally changed since 2011. Suzuki have only sold 174 this year. Re­freshed with a big­ger 937cc Euro4-spec mo­tor for 2016, the Hyper­mo­tard is as niche as they come and Du­cati have sold just 85 SPS this year. A small dealer net­work and per­ceived un­re­li­a­bil­ity un­fairly harm RSV4 sales

Su­per­mo­tos have al­ways been a niche mar­ket and a price tag of £12,850 doesn’t help sales

It’s not a dash, it’s a wheelie height gauge

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.