At the end of the day...

RiDE (UK) - - Group Ride -

BMW’S R ninet is the pret­ti­est bike we’ve seen in a long time. “Ab­so­lutely,” says Lee. “If I opened the garage door, the BMW is the one I’d want star­ing back at me.” But those looks come with two price tags: £11,730 and a tough rid­ing po­si­tion: “The BMW is dis­tract­ingly un­com­fort­able,” says Lee. “Ev­ery­thing about it is com­mit­ted,” says Jimmy. “It makes me feel like a poor rider — miss­ing gears, slow turn­ing-in, snatchy get­ting on the gas — ev­ery­thing is clumsy and makes me feel rub­bish.”

I’m less ag­grieved by the Beemer; I think it’s charm­ingly quirky rather than wil­fully malev­o­lent. And I could live with the rid­ing po­si­tion so long as I never went out in week­end traf­fic.

The Kawasaki, on the other hand, is less charis­matic but has an all-day, ev­ery­day po­si­tion. But it isn’t a café racer, what­ever it says on the tank and for that we can be grate­ful. For trips over 100 miles, it’s the bike of choice. “I’d choose it to ride home on,” says Lee, think­ing ahead. It’s also the cheap­est here, at £10,792.

Which leaves the Tri­umph: “It’s the most re­ward­ing bike to ride,” says Lee. Jimmy agrees: “It’s the best com­pro­mise be­tween prac­ti­cal­ity, per­for­mance and looks. And it has the high­est spec too.” Sounds like a win­ner to us.

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