MCN tests the Spirit Moto2 racer

‘It turns like noth­ing else’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Feature -

Beau­ti­fully styled by renowned de­signer John Keogh, the Spirit is tiny – more com­pact than any 600 and full of stun­ning de­tails, from the braised frame, to the del­i­cately-ma­chined yokes, to the beau­ti­fully-man­u­fac­tured Har­ris swingarm. The level of fit and fin­ish shows that Spirit mean busi­ness.

Once you get over the lim­ited steer­ing lock, ev­ery­thing feels fa­mil­iar. De­spite be­ing small, the rid­ing po­si­tion is fine for six-foot riders, with wide bars and enough room to move around.

The bike’s run­ning a near-stock 130bhp Day­tona 675 mo­tor, but when it’s com­bined with a wet weight of less than 150kg, you’ve got the recipe for some se­ri­ously quick ac­cel­er­a­tion.

Race-style gear­ing and a whipcrack race quick­shifter means the Spirit growls men­ac­ingly and rapidly eats ra­tios. The front lifts in sec­ond and third gear and floats in fifth on the crest on Starkey’s straight. I can’t imag­ine how fast it’ll feel with an­other 30bhp.

But it is the speed of the steer­ing that takes the most get­ting used to. I’ve been lucky enough to ride quite a few toplevel race­bikes over the years, from a Sch­wantz-era Suzuki RGV500 to cur­rent-model WSB rac­ers, but noth­ing turns as fast as this. The bike shares ge­om­e­try with the Day­tona 675, but feels lighter and far more re­spon­sive. On my first lap I ac­tu­ally run over the kerbs at the Mel­bourne Hair­pin and have to steer left when I should be turn­ing right…

Once you get used to it, rid­ing the Spirit is an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. You guide the bike with your fin­ger-tips, never hav­ing to bully it to­wards an apex, never need­ing more than one fin­ger on the brakes to pull up so quickly that you have to get on the gas again.

As a man more ac­cus­tomed to vol­ume pro­duc­tion bikes, the GP Corse’s lim­its are so much higher that it’s im­pos­si­ble to even get near with­out plenty of laps.

But the idea of own­ing one, and get­ting to un­der­stand its ex­tra­or­di­nary abil­i­ties will ap­peal to both wealthy track­day purists and rac­ers head­ing to the top. I wish I was ei­ther.

‘You can guide it to each apex with your fin­ger­tips’

Fit and fin­ish of the race­bike is up there with the best Spirt GP Corse ma­chine is rac­ing this year in Bri­tish Su­pers­port Even the brake lever guard on the racer is stun­ning K-tech’s DDS Pro shock is one of the best avail­able

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