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4, 3 or 2 cylinders in a Middlewight naked?

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by TST675, Oct 30, 2008.

  1. I was in the market for a middleweight naked street bike. I had pretty much narrowed it down to what I thought (on paper) was the best 3 bikes. The Suzuki SV 650, Honda Hornet 600 and Triumph Street Triple 675. I then test rode all 3. I hope you will gain some insight from my thoughts.
    My background comes from only riding 250cc bikes. I have ridden a Honda Spada and a CBR250RR.

    Ok so first ride was the Suzuki SV650. First thing you notice is the engine note. Really great, you just feel like blipping it at a standstill and every downshift sounds rich and full. Pretty much like a Ducati. On the road it’s very easy to control the engine and clutch at low speeds and the turning circle is good although the bike can feel a little heavy. Ok in 1st gear and I give it a bit of throttle and was nearly thrown backwards off the seat! This thing has fast and instant torque from right down low all the way through the midrange! The gearing is pretty short but the power tails off a bit compared to the other two so lots of gear changes are needed in a straight line. But crucially that torque means that you can pull a high gear and flow from corner to corner without having to shift excessively and you can concentrate on braking and steering. Although braking may be a bit of a problem as the suspension has a tendency to dive in the front, combined with the high engine braking, the rear on this bike stepped out a bit when I did a practice emergency stop, although this model is available with ABS which should restore alot of confidence. Around corners through the bike is planted, requiring a bit of a push on the bars to hold it down through the corner. The tyres though look and feel harder than the others –perhaps replacing these would do good things for the braking.

    The stying is a bit dated but a really good bike, feels solid and has alot of character. If you have only got $10,000 buy this one.

    Next the Honda. First impressions were not so good. Initial good quality reputation is suspect with rusty brake and clutch levers (on 2 bikes I have seen <1500km). My 20 year old Spada has no such problems. However the ergonomics are excellent and switch gear easy to use. More difficult to ride at low speed than the SV thanks to a grabby clutch and fast revving engine without a lot of torque. Yeah torque, after the SV650 you really notice the lack of torque until about 6000RPM+. However above this the bike really gets going, lifting the front wheel in 1st gear and screaming like a F1 car to the redline. If you like your CBR250RR then you’ll love this bike. Although the problem with all this is that on your average 50-100Kph corner the SV650 will actually be faster. The problem is that 1st gear goes like hell but is too sensitive for corner work and runs out at 115kph or so. And 2nd gear you have to be 120Kph + before your in the powerband. In fact the Hornet can feel pretty slow unless you are ultra committed to the corner. Other than that the handling is very neutral without requiring much conscious thought. Braking is good and straight. Engine braking is very slight and rev-matching on downshifts was difficult.

    Honestly the styling is ok but doesn’t really do it for me. Overall quite a disappointment as I really wanted to love this bike and was my favourite “on paperâ€. Would probably work best on the track.

    Finally the Triumph. I have to say first up that this bike looks fantastic. A mean technical style that is unlikely to date quickly (unlike the Honda). It’s a pretty unique style (unlike the SV). Sitting on the bike it’s quite comfy and it feels like your sitting high and forward. Riding at low speed is the worst of the three thanks to a ‘very’ fast revving engine and sensitive throttle. This was the only bike I stalled. However once hooked up a blast from low revs unleashes the best sound I have ever heard from an engine ever! It’s like there are 3 different engines in one. The initial sound is a growl then something like the SV which merges into a screaming wail similar to the Honda. Fantastic. And really that’s what this engine feels like, the grunt of the SV with the top end of the Honda. The gearing suits the engine although it can feel a little short in 6th. Instruments are excellent, with lots of useful info the others don’t have like instant fuel and a gear position indicator. Handling is very sharp and it actually requires a hand on the opposite bar to ‘hold it up’ on low speed corners. Other than that the suspension felt similar to the Honda. It’s only gripe is that the sensitive throttle takes some getting used to and the brakes require a little more pressure than the Honda. Quality was great with little touches like the angled valve stems and sturdy mirrors showing alot of thought.

    Its a really good bike and clearly the best of the 3. The only downside is the massive waiting list 4-6months! And at the moment it’s the most expensive at $12500.

    However I am happy I bought it 3.5 months ago. It arrives in 2 weeks!

    Conclusion: Why do people buy so many 4 cylinder bikes?
  2. :applause: :applause: :applause: :applause:
    Great review!
    Love TS3 my next bike.
    Love the way you explained the sound of the motor, makes me want to go out and buy one tomorrow.....
  3. very nice write up of your experiences there man.... Might need to test my patience levels one day with that wait....
  4. Have you thought of buying used? There are heaps of pristine ones to be had for much lower than retail with hardly any kms on them. Get a Trumpy, you won't be disappointed.
  5. Triumph's Triple 675 motor is truly one of the great motors in motorcycling history. A modern classic.

    I'm not surpised that you stalled it, because it has such tractable grunt from so low down that you can end up being overly cruel to it and expect it to haul you from standstill off idle. Truth of the matter is that 90% of the time it will actually get you off the mark like that, but the other 10% of the time it'll stall through no fault of anyones but the rider. Give it a good whiff of throttle off the mark while quickly feeding the clutch out and it'll launch you to the speed limit unbelievably quickly.

    The airbox induction growl is one of the best motor induction noises to be heard on any motorbike, anywhere.

    The "sensitive" throttle acts like that because the motor has so much mid-range punch. If you're used to riding I4's or small capacity bikes that are mellow on the pick-up to the point that you can be ham-fisted with the throttle, then the 675 triple will slap you back into real world. Soon enough you'll develop the delicate throttle control required to instruct the motor to do you brain's bidding.

    There's power everywhere, all the time, in any gear, at almost any speed. I used to own a VTR1000F, and I reckon the 675 trumpy mill has it soundly beat everywhere from 1800rpm upwards, and at the top-end it's no competition, the mid-sized triple pulling hard right to the limiter.

    While you're probably not at the level to appreciate it yet, when cranked over at the edge of the tyre, the fat well spaced power pulses allow the rider to crack the throttle wider and earlier than on an I4, which if you try the same thing there will just result in the rear tyre spinning up instead. The triple will just allow the tyre to bite in and launch you out of the corner.

    Overall, the triple format, especially the motor that Triumph have produced, just makes a lot of sense.
  6. You forgot 1 !!!! :)


    Ive loved the trumpy tripples ever since i saw the 900 speed. but the fact that everyone raves about them is almost a bit of a turnoff for me. They are starting to get a bit of a reputation as the volvos of motorbikes (taking over from the honda 600s) which is a bit dissapointing.

    good to here another happy customer, i'd love to take one for a ride, i reckon it would be a hoon. i like your review of the 650n i reckon they look like a pretty good commuter/allround/second bike.

  7. I'm starting to like how the trumpies sound. After spending some time with mates with a daytona and speed triple (one with a free'er stock pipe and the other with an arrow full system) I used to think they sound a bit like a tractor low down on the revs but I like it heaps when it gets up and going.

    PS. Nice reviewww
  8. This is a great argument for the SV650 as a LAMs bike, sounds like an easy bike to ride and has the potential to be a screamer when you derestrict it after restrictions phase of course! :cool:
  9. You cant beat a 4 cyl bike
    they are smoother, longer lasting, and develop more power
  10. That 675 triple is an absolute balltearer. As far as I'm concerned there's absolutely no contest.
  11. Obviously an uninformed opinion from someone who has clearly never ridden a 675 triple.
  12. lets not start this debate again.

    we should all have 4 bikes. one each of 1cyl,2cyl,3cyl and 4cyl

    everyone knows 5cyl bikes are crap :p
  13. + 4

    what about a six

  14. i knew that was coming :)
  15. yea but then again, the OP said middle weight naked, the CBX6 has the weight and naked but its middle weighs a tonne :wink:
  16. What about an 8??

  17. err, sure about that? in autmotive terms, even 4 cylinders is not smooth. theres a good portion of the engine revolution spent in negative torque, ie drag. twins are worse

    then that doesnt factor in gearing either, ie how many power strokes per revolution of the back wheel

    however, ive got nothing against twins
  18. Am I sure that a triple hooks up the rear wheel better than an I4? Yes. Pretty sure. Don't care about no theory on why. Just ride one and you'll find out soon enough.
  19. (Citations Needed)

    Hope you're not talking vibrational smoothness; an i4 requires two counterbalancer shafts to cancel vibration, while an i3 only requires one.

    (Boxer twin, inline six and V12 are all 'perfectly balanced')
  20. The Triumph is hawt, but if you're on a budget there's not a lot wrong with the SV that some fork oil, brake pads and tires wouldn't fix...