AROUND THE TRACK

Fast Bikes - - CORE TEST -

SPE­CIAL BONUS POINTS GO TO THE KAWASAKI’S BRAKES. Green, lean and mean.

Let’s get straight to it; the Kwacker’s an awe­some track bike. I was taken away by its cir­cuit-lov­ing in­cli­na­tion, ef­fort­lessly de­vour­ing cor­ners with a sure­footed and en­cour­ag­ing dis­po­si­tion. The front end in par­tic­u­lar was ut­terly bril­liant, be­ing more trust­wor­thy than a nun, and prov­ing ef­fort­less to guide in to cor­ners. The gen­eral feel of the bike was plush, and I was im­pressed with how well the rel­a­tively ba­sic sus­pen­sion mopped up the track’s smat­ter­ing of lumps and bumps. Brunt­ingth­rope’s a great track, but its ever chang­ing sur­face con­di­tions are more cer­tain than a tax in­spec­tor to whee­dle out any dis­crep­an­cies. Cor­ner­ing-wise there were no fingers to be pointed, but in the power stakes it just didn’t make the grade. That was the big­gest down­fall of the bike, which seemed as ex­cit­ing as slow-dry­ing paint when com­pared to the brutish ways of its punchier ri­vals. That said, the en­gine had a nice and pre­dictable flow of power and it was a treat to rinse through, and out, of cor­ners. There were never any slides or scary mo­ments to write home about, de­spite the Zed be­ing as prim­i­tive as a rock in the tech­no­log­i­cal de­part­ment. There was no trac­tion con­trol to act as a com­fort blan­ket; it didn’t even sport a shifter, which meant my brain had to syn­chro­nise gear changes with a culled throt­tle – who do I write to com­plain to? On a chirpier note, the gear­box proved fault­less, the clutch ab­sorbed all the abuse I could throw at it and the brakes were prob­a­bly the best in the mix. Sure enough, they weren’t de­void of trou­ble­some ABS, but they seemed to have a sen­si­ble level of en­gage­ment di­alled into them. To get the sys­tem kick­ing in took a bit of ef­fort, buck­ing the trend of its ri­vals.

There were loads of good points to the Kawasaki, which not only han­dled great and sounded great, but had re­ally good ground clear­ance and a sad­dle that was easy to hop around. But to go quick around any track with a straight as de­mand­ing as Brunt­ingth­orpe’s there’s no sub­sti­tute for grunt. It was a great pack­age, loads of fun to ride, and nicely fin­ished, but more low down grunt could’ve seen this top­ping the charts. Such a shame.

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