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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Super Bikes in India - Comparison (Part 1)

The Indian market has really opened up a new gene of Biking... the gene we know as the Super bikes and the Hyper Bikes and I'm talking strictly here about the Sports class and not Cruisers and Choppers.

The Super Bikes currently available in India are the -

1) Yamaha R1 (2010)
2) Honda Fireblade (2009)
3) Ducati 1098 (2009)

Very soon and in very high probability, these bikes might be joined by two other mighty ones -

4) Suzuki GSX-R1000
5) Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R

The only Hyper Bike currently ruling the Indian roads is the Suzuki Hayabusa.

I being more a Super Bike fanatic decided to do a quick comparison of the options we have in our hands and might be having in our hands and I would not be talking in terms of Spec sheets, but how do I feel about the Super Sports Class available in India

So, let's see how these race track shattering bikes would fare on Indian streets.

Yamaha R1


A complete legend and every sports bikers dream. The extreme sports machine, a roaring tiger!! There are not much words available in the dictionary to describe this blend of immaculate engineering. No other Sports bike has received so many version (probably a new one each year), which just goes to show how much the bike has evolved towards perfection.

Well in 2009, the Yamaha R1 received a complete revamp, both from the styling point of view and above all the engine. For the first time, any street legal bike got MotoGP mutations - the tried and tested Cross Plane Crank Shaft with Variable Firing Order.

The effects of implementing the Cross Plane Crank Shaft have been immense on the complete rideablity and tracktability of the bike. Along with that V-Twin grunt, now the R1 gives you that linear throttle response, meaning the graph of Engine Throttle and the Rear Wheel Throttle is now linear. How does it affect you??

Well now you have a massive Bottom-End and a meaty Mid-Range. You can Attack corners with more confidence without worrying much about the rear wheel over spinning because thanks to the Cross Plane Crankshaft, now the rear wheel is in complete control of your right wrist. Did I mention about the engine grunt!! Well this new R1 can easily make all other Liter Class sound like 600!! Sometimes you feel it's too much grunt for your comfort, but once you get a hang of it, it's all rock drums being played at their best.

The '09-'10 Yamaha R1 also now features the D-Mode selectors to select from modes A, B and C modes. Basically combined with the YCC-I and YCC-T, the D-Mode actually try to map your Throttle with the how much the valve butterfly opens. A host electronics thrown in to put everything right in place.

Yamaha has tried to make the entire package, as agile as possible, as compact as possible with massive importance being given to Mass Centralization.

On the down sides -

1) The bike has definitely gained weight, which means it's no longer a 1:1 Power:Weight.

2) Of all the primary Liter Class Bikes, the '09-'10 R1 has the lowest torque - 11.8 kg-m @ 10000 rpm.

3) The bike has looses to other contenders at it's Top-End which comes at a massive 12500rpm.

My take on the Yamaha R1 -

On actual city or highway riding conditions, you will never ever get a chance to exploit the bike's top-end. Lesser torque than it's competitors makes this bike one hell of city rider (accompanied by D-Mode functionality). The increase is in weight is definitely a let down, but can be lived with.

With it's massive Bottom-End and Mid-range, the '09-'10 Yamaha R1 is a fanatic Street Bike.

Honda Fireblade


If there's any Liter class bike which being a Liter class but is as maneuverable and as filckable as a 600, it's the Honda Fireblade. Simply amazing looks and amazing coutures and is definitely looking good than the current Yamaha R1.

A copy book sports bike, in terms of handling, performance and engine note. The best part is, the Fireblade makes you look a better rider as it comes with the C-ABS which really takes braking to a whole new level. Specially in countries like India, where unexpected pot holes and road crossers can give you nightmares with open eyes at 150kmph ... a Super Sports Bike loaded with C-ABS is always welcome.

Compared to the Yamaha R1, the Honda Fireblade is a bit docile off the hook, but it's not a machine to be taken lightly. The Fireblade is surprisingly fast and doing a 200+ looks like a child's play.

It's 1000cc engine sized like a 600cc engine makes the bike amazingly compact and very tracktable which adds to the overall handling of the bike. This bike is so so reliable that this is one bike which is Internationally recommended by experts as your first Super Sports bike.

On the down sides -

Well, ummmm.... I can't think of any... seriously!! The only thing I find missing are the factory fitted Projectors on the Fireblade, else this bike is just so sublime and special that it matches in all respects to the Yamaha R1, just might be loosing a tad bit on the Track, but who the hell is thinking about Track racing here.... it's a wonderfull Street Bike.

My take on the Honda FireBlade -

Well if you don't have the confidence to ride the roaring lion Yamaha R1, then the Honda FireBlade is the bike to go for. It pampers you, it's safe, it's fast!! You can't ask for more.

Ducati 1098


Well if you have the cash to spend, the Ducati 1098 is the Liter Class (well don't go by the engine number), you would have nailed your eyes to.

With the Torque coming out of that L-Twin going straight through the roof, Ducati's are not known as Ferrari on two wheels just like that. The rumble, the pull, it's all plain and simple symphony!! Currently discontinued for the 2010 calender year, but before the advent of the Ducati 1198 (which is of course a bigger bore 1098), the 1098 was the most powerful V-Twin in production and with a staggering 99.1 ftlb of torque, you just can't get much time to catch you breath.

Along with Ohlinis Steering Damper and Suspension, Brembo brakes and the Single Sided Swing Arm doing the job for the stability of the bike, the Ducati 1098 is the only Super Sports bike available in India with DTC - the Ducati Traction Control, coming straight out of Ducati's MotoGP arena. Dare to put your hands on the savage Ducati 1098R, and you would find it impossible to front wheel kissing the ground in first 3 clicks of the left foot. The bike pulls hard and fast all through the rev range, provided you don't run out of track :)

Ever heard the word Mean Ass Bike, well after having a feel of the 1098 (you don't even have to go for the R version), you would see how such a bike looks. Amazing eye shattering beauty. She is a Smoking Hot Megan Fox in Red Tights.

On the down sides -
Well it has to be the price. As sense shattering is the Bike's performance, equally pocket shattering is it's price. Well, that's the story of Ducati Bikes the world over. It's only for a very selected few for whom the Laws of Attraction work amazingly well.

My take on the Ducati 1098 -
Well if you have the money to expend, you would make no sense in looking further.

To be continued....
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Item Reviewed: Super Bikes in India - Comparison (Part 1) Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal Chakraborty
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