I just rode my 2008 1000rr for the first time today and I thought I would write down my thoughts. Don’t know if any of you guys considering a bike might be interested or not but here goes:
I am 38 years old and have been riding motorcross bikes for most of my life, and street bikes for about 20 years. I used to race a limited amount of WERA novice on a 1996 GSXR750, and did a moderate amount of track days, and Bargy race school, so I mostly know what I am doing on a bike. This was almost 13 years ago, however, and I have not ridden since then.
I started thinking about a new bike (mid-life crisis) a few months ago. I thought I would try something different since I had only owned sportbikes, so I took a long demo ride on a Ducati Hypermotard. I will be honest, I was not really that impressed. The riding position seemed comfortable at first for an old guy like me, but at speed the wind seemed to push you back too much. The bike was fun, but not really too exciting. I had expected massive torque, (I had never ridden a V-twin before) but the power and feel and even the sound just under-whelmed me. The brakes were touchy and the fork had some dive to it.
I hated the electronic tach. Bike looks great except for the stupid front fender.
Giving a different type bike another try, I tested out the KTM 950 or 990? Supermoto. I really wanted to like these bikes. I did like the KTM somewhat more. The bike seemed lighter to me than the Hypermotard, although it is not, and seemed to just handle a little better. The looks and fit and finish (orange plastic everywhere) did not excite me however. The motor was again about the same, not that impressive to me. Front fork was very soft, and the bike had lots of dive under braking. Maybe this could be dialed out with some compression damping, I don’t know. Again, the upright seating position, and with all of that wind pushing against you with no fairing, the bike was less comfortable at speed than I thought. About 80-90 mph seemed to be the comfortable max. No tach at all. All the sophistication of a dirt bike with the weight of a street bike. Oh, yeah, and they also wanted $15,000 for it.
I guess for the “massive torque” of a v-twin I have been hearing about, I would need a 1098. I just don’t think the riding position would be practical for the street. Maybe I will get to try one soon.
I am not saying that these bikes are bad by any means. They are what they are. All of these statements are just my observations and opinions, nothing more. I had just expected and hoped for more excitement. All I wanted was a super-fun street ride. I decided I would just get another sportbike.
A 600 would have been just fine for me. They have plenty of power for the street or track in my opinion. The 600rr has a great comfortable seating position or so it seemed from sitting in the showroom, and is very light. The look is a little dated for me.
The R6 is beautiful but I think would be very uncomfortable for the street.
GSXR 600 is too heavy, heavier than the CBR1000.
New 2009 ZX-6, I really liked, but they wanted $10,000 + OTD. No option to buy used yet.
What about the 1000’s?
GSXR too heavy.
New R1 too expensive, No option to buy used yet.
ZX-10 too heavy and didn’t like the looks.
1098 race ergonomics too uncomfortable for the street.
That left me with the 2008 CBR 1000rr. I really like the modern look of this bike and it is the lightest 1000, with a reasonable, comfortable seating position. I got a 2008 LE with 380 miles off of ebay for $7,900; no tax. The bike is in perfect condition, like new. This is value for the money IMO. It is a great time to buy a bike.
Now to the point: This bike feels so small and light, not like a 1000. The riding position that seems so leaned forward while sitting still is just right with the wind hitting you, and even better of course the faster you go.
I remember when I rode the first street bike I ever bought for the first time, back in 1991, a GSXR1100. I remember thinking after that first ride that I would never be able to turn the throttle more than a quarter of a turn, or rev it past 6000rpm. It was that fast. Of course you get used to it.
I had the same feeling today during my first ride on the 1000rr, despite my greater experience level, because it has been so long since I have ridden. (Thinking to myself in the helmet…) “I will never be able to turn the throttle on this thing any more than one-quarter turn or rev it past 7 grand.” The level of performance is light years ahead of the other bikes I mentioned at the beginning of this long rambling story. Those bikes felt like normal fun motorcycles that you just ride normally.
This Honda feels like an electric smooth, super-lightweight cruise missile that corners on a dime. You only have to think about turning, and it is there. I am truly wondering if I will ever find out just how fast it really is. There is no way I could hit the rev limiter at full throttle on the street. I live on a great curvy road in the country that I know well and love to drive in a car. It was fun on the KTM taking the curves on this road. They don’t even feel like curves anymore on the Honda. I would have to be going way too fast for the street to even experience what it would be like to really lean this bike over.
To those who haven’t tried a sportbike in a while, you owe it to yourself to try a recent one. The Honda is so so smooth, and I was not intimidated at all by it. I used to have a ZX12 at one point. That was a little intimidating. This little Honda is just so easy to ride. I am 5-7 190 pounds and fits me great.
Did I make the right choice? I love the bike, but I wonder if I will ever have the satisfaction riding it anywhere near its capabilities. Maybe as a street bike it really is too much. Of course I knew this would be the case before I bought it. I don’t care though. Just the thrill to be on it today was worth it to me.
I apologize for this story being long and boring; I really just wrote it for myself anyway for the record. I thought I would post it for anyone else in case it might be of any help comparing a few modern and very different bikes. I have found my recent experience enlightening.
If anyone is interested, I can post a much better review to follow after I have had a few months of riding under my belt to get used to the speed again.