A Bit of Biking Future
Courtesy ANDREWR posted at
The Future of Superbiking
(From the author of The History of the Motorcycle parts1-3)
October 9, 2001
Authors note : Although my voices have been fairly quiet recently they suddenly awoke this morning. Stirred, I suspect, by my achievement of beating my personal best for "Most strong black coffee consumed in a one hour period".
Anyway the voices were kind enough to give me a brief insight into the future of superbikes. I thought I'd share it with you.
As Suzuki currently hold the crown, with the Gixer thousand, having beaten the Yamaha R1 which, in turn beat the Honda Fireblade it will come as now surprise to learn that Kawasaki are next in line to hold the title. The new Kwak, to be launched late in 2002, will move the game ahead by an unparallel margin. Their entry, the ZX-2Ri, uses a 2 litre straight-4 engine, producing a class beating 300bhp. Kwak engineers working to the specification that the bike must not exceed 186mph, but also must not be electronically limited have produced a bike where the gearing is so low that it has become necessary to have an idiot light to warn the rider if they select a gear lower than 4th and the bike comes with a free back-protector. The "Performance Bikes" review contains the stern warning "This bike will fuck you over". Alan Gower's initial review is that it is "15-20mph faster everywhere than the Gixer".
The ZX-2Ri will, however, rule for less than 6 months before Triumph launch their TT-1800RR. The bike is immediately plunged into controversy as Honda claims, "It was our turn!" and starts a court case against the Hinckley based manufacturer. Further questions are asked when the initial test of the TT-1800RR shows that it will happily reach 210mph, despite the gentlemen's agreement on 186mph. Triumph defend themselves with the statement "We at Triumph support personal responsibility and the TT1800 will not exceed 186mph if the rider doesn't want it to". In the group test ('Blade vs. R1 vs. Gixer vs. ZX-2Ri vs. TT-1800RR) "Performance Bikes" have their first ever fatality of a serving tester when Ronnie, testing the Blade, dies of boredom. Alan Gower's initial review is "It's 15 20mph faster everywhere than the ZX-2Ri".
In a sudden backlash insurance companies announce they will only insure riders who give their occupation as "deceased", but Dr Gower convinces them that being Welsh and ging-ger is as good as being dead.
Triumph, however, only rule the roost for a month before 2 new bikes are launched. The first is the Harley Davidson Pig-Fucker, which weighs as much as a bus, but has the power of a 400. In the "Fast Bike" review it is beaten over a quarter mile sprint by a bloke with a dodgy leg. Alan Gower buys one anyway and lets ukrm know that it is "15 - 20mph everywhere".
A more important launch is that of the Honda Inferno which moves the game forward again. The engine capacity is a relatively titchy 1200ccs, but a supercharger and nitrous kit comes fitted as standard. With it's helium filled frame the bike has a dry weight less than that of an Aprilia RS250, but needs to be serviced every 100 miles to have the NO tank refilled. Owners are further outraged to discover that each service also includes new pistons, as the bike does have a habit of melting them and liberally smearing them over the back tyre. The initial "Performance Bikes" review labels the bike "Fucking evil" and insurance companies add a new group, group 25, to their rating system just to cover it. Alan Gower's initial review is the surprising comment "It's a bit of a handful" is delivered while he waits for the fire brigade to get him down from a tree.
Honda are disappointed when the Inferno is top bike for a mere 36 hours before Yamaha get the GZ-3R^10 out of the door. Yamaha have copied the helium filling idea from Honda and have extended it so that the bike has a dry weight of less than zero, meaning that only riders who have access to a ground anchor can possibly own one. The combination of sub-zero weight and a 3-litre engine prompts "Performance Bikes" to comment that the Yam is "Not very novice friendly" and also "We now have vacancies for 7 new road testers".
Insurance companies, scared witless, have taken to having burly men lurking in Yam dealerships and kneecapping anybody they see even looking at the GZ-3R^10. Alan Gower's initial review is never heard as he proves too light to keep the bike on the ground and floats off somewhere on his test ride. He is last seen over the Atlantic when a 747 narrowly misses him.
Just 48 minutes after the official launch of the GZ-3R^10 a surprise contender, Rolls Royce, jumps into the ring with the Rolls Phantom. The Rolls is powered by an aircraft jet engine and is rumoured (by MCN) to be the first production bike to break the elusive Mach1 barrier. This is unconfirmed, especially when during speed testing, at Heathrow, the rider makes the mistake of sitting upright to aid braking. The bike is later found embedded in a tree in Norfolk with the rider's arms still maintaining their white knuckle grip on the bars. The shelf life of the Phantom proves to be surprisingly short when, in a test case, the police successfully bring a speeding prosecution based simply on ownership of the Rolls, pointing out that a bike where the first gradient on the speedo is 200mph is "simply taking the piss".
In the face of impending legislation the big 6 (Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki, Triumph and Rolls-Royce) "agree" to power, speed, acceleration and lower weight limits that are so draconian that making a bike bigger than 125ccs is a waste of time. As it happens this proves to be a boon to bikers, as it gets the wibbly posers off bikes that they can't handle and on to something manageable.
Initial reports to ukrm suggest that the latest "hot" bike, the Honda CG125 MkII, is "15-20mph faster everywhere" than the old superbikes