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Grumply's Naked Adventures...

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' at netrider.net.au started by Grumply, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. Now that I'm off restrictions and in need of a bigger bike, I've decided to begin my hunt for some naked fun. So I figured I'd recount my experiences here in case they prove of some use to others on here who prefer riding naked.

    So, with that in mind I took the Triumph Street Triple R and the KTM Superduke out for a test ride today (was supposed to try the Speed Triple as well but that was out **grumble, groan**). A simple assessment of the two would be that they're both great bikes, but that they do the same thing VERY differently.

    The Street Triple is, in a word, 'easy'. It's light, it's flickable, the gear changes are ridiculously smooth, as is both braking and acceleration. You basically just think about what you want the bike to do and it does it. It's an incredibly precise machine, and as easy to ride and manoeuvre as any little 250. I thought the most notable thing about the bike was that there was nothing to note, it just does everything perfectly. My only complaints would be that the seats a bit too thin, and the angle of your legs on the bike was a tad extreme.

    The Superduke is a very different beast, it's a fair bit larger (which I preferred) and compared to the Street it's rough, gruff and raw. The throttle is much snappier and it requires a lot more effort to drive smoothly, but once you get used to it, it's an absolute blast. It goes where you point it and growls as it goes.

    I think the best analogy to compare them would be that the Triumph is a surgical scalpel to the KTM's machete. They're both very good at cutting through things, they just take very different approaches to doing so. Where the Street is comfortingly precise the Superduke is horrifyingly thrilling. So although the performance of the two is pretty comparable, the KTM feels much faster, there's an edge of danger to it that is remarkably absent from the Triumph, which does absolutely everything with no fuss at all.

    In the end, the KTM left a huge ****-eating grin on my face whilst the Triumph had me feeling wonderfully calm. I think the KTM certainly has far more 'character' to it, I felt like it's a bike I'd have to learn to tame, whilst the Triumph felt perfectly sorted from the get go.

    The Triumph definitely makes more sense as a daily rider as it's just so calm, capable and precise, but I suspect I'd probably have more fun on the KTM. That said, I think both would make incredibly satisfying bikes to own.

    I'm testing the Speed Triple and the Yamaha FZ-1N tomorrow morning so I'll report back on how they compare. I'm hoping the Speed might sit a little more between the two extremes of the Superduke and the Street, I think that'd make it almost perfect for me. We'll see how it goes.

    Here's the KTM for your visual pleasure:
    (the damn thing's sexy as hell)
  2. awesome, looking forward to your next review.

    i adore the superduke...too much money for me to spend on a bike, but one can dream.

    what about test riding the new Z1000 ?... $15,500 rideaway new and has had rave reviews
  3. I want to consider the Z1000, I really do. On paper it makes terrific sense, but sadly it doesn't matter what angle I look at the bike from, I just can't bring myself to like the look of it :(

    I think the FZ1 nails that 'manga' styling, it's just a shame the Z1000 doesn't because I hear it's a notably better ride than the Yamaha (particularly in regards to low-down pull, which is far more important to me than the top end).
  4. aw... i was hoping for naked pictures of YOU :cry:

    otherwise, wicked write up and looking forward to more :D
  5. I believe that is EXACTLY what you will find.

    I rode a street and a speed right after one another (with a z1000 in the middle) , and initially I found the speed quite itchy.

    All good now tho. !!!!
  6. $17990 ride away for a 09 model !
  7. I luuurve my Superduke but I'd turn for the Speed Triple, IMO the chassis of the Speed is not as good as the Superduke(slower steering, not as nimble) but the motor is an absolute pearler. It is so smooth and linear, yet has so much torque you can get on the gas unbelievably early out of tight corners...nice easy 2nd gear power wheelies out of corners FTW

    It's such a balanced and easy bike to ride fast...but when you are really pushing on it doesn't have the same mongrel feel of the Superduke, it's like your steady girlfriend whereas the KTM is the hot wild stripper :D
  8. Well I got naked again this morning, this time with the Street Triple’s burlier big sister, the Speed Triple…

    I have to admit I prefer the Speed’s larger girth, the Street is a slinky little thing, but sometimes it’s nice to have a little more to grab on to. 8-[ I found the wider seat to be a particular improvement comfort-wise, the bike feels like a snugger fit, with its little sister I felt like I had to squeeze my legs together a little to hold on properly.

    The main show though, is of course that wonderful Triumph triple; just like its little sister it’s a gloriously smooth engine, free-revving with oodles of torque in every gear. It certainly has as much urge as I’ll ever need in a bike. The power just comes on beautifully smoothly until you’re not legally allowed to let it keep going.

    I was hoping that the Speed might sit somewhere between the quiet precision of the Street and the snarling wildness of the KTM and it does – just WAY over towards the Street’s side of things. The main differences are the larger bikes handling, it doesn’t have the same flickability as the Street, and the smoothness of the gearbox. Where the Street Triple’s gears slotted in with perfect smoothness for me, the Speed’s were notably more awkward (I ended up finding that pulling the clutch in halfway made the changes smoother, but I’m not sure if that’s a good thing for the bike).

    So I’m rather torn between which of the two sisters I want to get naked with on a permanent basis now. With the Street it felt like the bike would response to my every command, I feel like I could probably ride it better than it’s big sister, but I really did prefer the larger size of the Speed, it just felt like a better fit for me – at the moment the two are neck and neck for me.

    Here’s the Speed I tried:


    I love the orange on it, but I have a sinking feeling I’ll get over the colour soonish (though this may be the difference between looking at the bike in Summer, when it seemed perfectly appropriate, and looking at it now when things are a bit colder, and fashions are a lot darker – it’s that or it’s my fickle heart). As much as I said I’d get a more colourful bike after my black Ducati Monster, the Speed just looks superb in matte black (I’d prefer the special edition in red with the white stripe, but I don’t have quite that kind of money).

    Having got frisky with the Speed, it was time to take a look at the FZ-1N, another immensely sexy bike. So I headed over to the other dealership, though it sadly amounted to naught, as I was to be disappointed yet again when it emerged that the bike was not there for my scheduled test ride. The dealers apologised and offered me a ride on the FZ-6, which I had initially discounted as I’d heard I wouldn’t notice any huge improvements over my little Monster. But in the interests of furthering my naked adventures (well in the FZ-6’s case, semi-naked) I decided I should investigate further.

    The FZ-6 is the first non-250cc inline four I’ve ridden and the differences between the four-pot and the twins and triples I’ve been trying are immediately noticeable, there’s none of the low-down pull I like most. That said, the FZ-6’s engine is a wonderfully smooth thing, it revs up smoothly and the bike makes for very light, easy riding. Interestingly, the bike has literally twice the horsepower of my little Monster, but none of it feels really accessible at lower revs and slower speeds. She’s not all Plain-Jane however, you can still have fun with her if you’re a little more forceful - as the revs start to climb the engine really starts to sing, and when she does you can fling her smoothly into and out of corners with a big grin on your face.

    Essentially, my main problem with the FZ-6 is simply that you can’t legally have much fun with her. You have to be going too fast before she becomes enjoyable to ride, so like so many spritely and nubile things, they’ll throw you in the lock-up for having fun with her…

    I thought that was it for the day, but some last minute probing turned up one final bit of intriguing nakedness for me to explore. The difference this time around was that the object erecting my interest had been clobbered by the ugly-stick something fierce.

    As an occasionally vainglorious bastard I’m something of a sucker for a pretty face, and this bike ain’t got one. Instead it was the name however that caught my eye, emblazoned in garish orange/red decals I spied a letter... ‘R’, intrigued, I looked closer, ‘Tuono R”… I’d just found myself a mad Aprilia! It’s a 2004 Tuono R and, travesty-of-travesties, has only been ridden 2,400km in its life before it was traded in for a Harley… :-k

    Although I normally avoid ugly bikes like the plague, the Tuono has a certain Eighties-toughguy-with-mediocre-taste-in-heavy-metal charm to it. So I have a test ride scheduled for Tuesday!

    Stay tuned!

    A 2004 Tuono R for your viewing... pleasure(?):
  9. Fantastic writeups! May I ask, is there any reason why you aren't giving any bigger monsters a shot?
  10. I adore my Monster, I adore all Monsters. Im my mind's eye, when I think of 'motorcycles' the Monster is the image that comes into my head, I reckon they're pretty much the best-looking and the best-sounding bikes in existence, and they're a delight to ride.

    But when you're 6' tall, as much as it pains me, they're just too small. I've had to put 3cm lowered footpegs on mine just to allow my knees to fit within the tank grooves.

    I love my bike to death, but I need something that fits me better physically (and preferably has a bit more room on the back for a pillion). So as much as I'd luuuurve to have myself an S4R (in red, with a white stripe, no headlight cowl, tail chop, and a boom tube exhaust) I just don't think it's quite the bike for me at the moment.

    And I may also feel the need to spread my seed a little (motorcyclically speaking, of course :wink: )
  11. All valid reasons I suppose :p
    I can't wait for November to come, when I can finally start test riding some bikes. Were you scared to test ride the big bikes, in the sense that you could be up for some big costs if something happened? lol
  12. I guess the question is , do you want the bike that is the right fit for right now, or the bike you will grow into ?

    I know I have chosen the "right now" option , and it left me always thinking about the "other" one.
  13. enjoying your reviews (y)
  14. The very first test ride I took was a bit nerve wracking, but I suppose hopping on a bike with twice the power you're used to, should be.

    After 16 months of riding I'm now reasonably comfortable and capable on I bike (or at least I'd like to think I am), so with the test rides I've just tried to approach them with the same caution and sensibility that's kept me upright thus far (touch wood).

    Plus I think letting your nerves get to you too much can unsettle you enough to make your riding less safe, and therefore the likelihood of running into trouble more likely. So I just try to keep as calm and collected as possible.

    Any particular regrets with going for the Speed? The sheer precision of the Street Triple makes me think I'd be a little foolish to opt for a less capable bike, but I do keep coming back to the size issue (a large part of the reason for upgrading is to move to a bigger bike) and although the Street is much taller than the Monster, it's not that much bigger on the whole. I definitely preferred having something a bit more substantial between my legs (don't we all? 8-[ ).

    I just don't know whether the size issue, particularly the thinner seat, will end up mattering much in the long run (i.e. would you just get used to it after a week and not care?).
  15. Great write up's Grumply, I enjoyed reading very much. I had a very simular experience about 6 months ago. I had owned a Honda Spada for about 2.5 years and as good as she was it was time to upgrade. I had spent countless days reading reviews, watching videos, etc. I then went and looked at a few dealership and had abit of a sit on a few bikes. In the mean time a few mates i ride with were kind enough to let me have a ride of thier bikes. Remembering ive only ridden a 250 i was offered the Superduke. We were on some country roads after a spin down the GOR and back and i nevously accepted. WOW! The accleration and brute power. I had been a passenger in some fast cars (HSV's, Porsches, etc.) but this bike was amazing and put them to shame....Next up was a 2 month old BMW R1200r. This thing was silky smooth. Larger than the SD in feel still good fun. The SD was still in the back of my mind. I got to ride the SD a few more times (including a little spit down the GOR)
    A few months laters my restrictions finished and it was off to the dealers to test ride. I booked in to bring a Honda CBR600 (something totally different to what id ridden) and a Street triple. Just like yourself after lots of mucking around and bikes not been ready i got to go for a ride.
    The CBR600 was fun but you had to let it rev up before the power really kicked in. It lent into corners very nicely but ultimenlty after the 15 minute spin i was getting a bit sore. My wrist and lower back started to anoy me, so with this ride and sitting on a few other 600 sports bike i ruled them out based on comfort.l
    The Street Triple ride was great. I had all but decided on this bike based upon reviews and videos. I jumped on and straight away felt at home. Everything about this bike just worked. It was smooth, handled nicely and looked great. I wanted this bike - now just to sell the Spada first.
    But the next week i had another spin on the Superduke - that feeling came back. The Street Triple was just to sensible, to proper.
    The Superduke was addictive, it was a wild animal, crazy in everyway. THe idea of practicality went out the window. The SD was comfotable because it had a more upright seating position, had insane acceleration and it looked different to anything else.
    After searching long and hard i found a SD with a mere 5,500kms on it. The next week after a quick test i handed over the cash and rode home a happy man on a shiny black SD.
    Grumply, go with what you recon will be the most fun. I love my SD and the fact i dont see many others makes it more special. It is crazy and you have to have some self control (perticulary if your jumping up from a 250) but it is a amazing bike that will bring a grin to your face everytime you ride it.
    Best of luck with the decision, have fun and safe riding.
  16. No regrets at all with the speed triple.

    It feels no bigger in traffic, there is ALWAYS more than enough power, always. and because there is no bigger better triple to get there is none of the what if?...

    I guess I felt like buying the street would have been settling for less.??!

    But the speed felt like "home", bigger more planted and more suitable for me.

    I park it right outside the front window at work and each time i see it, it gives me a buzz.... hard to explain.

    Seriously you can't lose either way.

    If it's that close a call, you need to take them both out a few more times.

    Im sure kelly at melbourne triumph wont mind.
  17. Gonna ride the 690 Duke?

    I threw a leg over one on the weekend and liked it muchly. Have a feeling it might be my other, other bike once I'm off restrictions.
  18. I love the Street and Speed triples. Street is much better on the road in general than my R6, more comfortable, more usable power etc. Speed triple would be my pick if I had the cash though. Keep in mind you can get a Triumph gel seat for them if that's your main issue. I think they're $350ish?

    Never ridden the superduke but the small tank would probably annoy me if I owned one. Love the look though...
  19. They're very fun looking bikes and I LUUURVE that headlight assembly on them, but the 690 wouldn't be enough of a step-up size and performance-wise for me.

    Is the gel seat for the street triple wider than the standard seat?

    Apparently the 2007-onwards Superdukes get over 200km to a tank (it's the 05-06 ones that struggle), so that's not really an issue for me.
  20. Well yesterday my search for a long-term fling (with something sexy and naked) continued. So I headed back into the city for my date with the intriguingly ugly Aprilia Tuono R.

    Now I had read a little about this bike, most of it highly complimentary of it's abilities (if not it's aesthetic appeals). The first thing that strikes you about the Tuono is the size of it's exhaust; with an Akrapovic the size of my leg, you know she means business. The next thing you notice are the atrocious decals - that they've been placed on a bike only built in 2005 seems notably odd, they look like they'd be far more at home on something 20 years older.

    But strange looks aside, let's get down to the business end of things. When we turned the bike on every person/animal/living organism within a 50m radius jumped slightly. 'Tuono' means 'thunder' in Italian, and the name is remarkably apt, the bike ROARS. Having had to content with the EPA just recently, over a single decibel with my little Monster 600, that this bike was even allowed into the country seems odd. On the plus side, in traffic, everyone around you (and that includes cars several streets over) will be aware of your presence.

    On the road, the Tuono is… well, she's scary. And not in an 'oh, she's a fast bike' kind of way, but rather a 'PLEASE NO, PLEASE DON'T HURT ME!' kind of way. The Tuono is the first bike I've ridden that made me feel genuinely out of my league skill-wise, I reckon she's on another level of performance from the Triumph Triples and the Superduke. Riding her onto one on-ramp and then accelerating onto the freeway left me literally hyperventilating (with a stupefied grin spread from one ear to the other).

    The bike grabs you by your manly bits and, none-too-gently, growls into your ear, 'Lean further. Go faster.'

    She's a mad bike, utterly inappropriate for anything other than going really, REALLY fast. The speedo is practically impossible to read whilst you're riding and you can't get out of third gear unless you're on a fast road. In the end, as terrifyingly thrilling as she is (my heart was pounding something fierce for some time after we'd finished the test ride) she's simply too much for me. I was left genuinely cowed by the experience, though on the plus side, I now know what my limits are with bikes.

    Next up was the Yamaha FZ1-N, which sits at polar opposites to the Tuono. The inline four is smooth and tractable, easy to potter along on at slow speeds, but with all the urge you could ask for just waiting for a twist of the throttle. The FZ1 is far and away the most powerful engine of any of the bikes I've tried so far (sitting at just under 150hp) but you only have to use that power if you want to, you can ride her very calmly if you like.

    Twist that throttle though and she leaps into action, the bike has plenty of torque low down so she pulls smoothly and firmly from slow speeds in any gear, but when you want to move, she REALLY moves.

    Ergonomically I had some issues with the bike, the tank is extremely wide, now I've been looking for wider bikes as I feel more comfortable on them, but it did feel like my legs were a bit splayed out on the FZ1. The handlebars also felt a bit strange when it came to turning her into corners, possibly they were a bit too close to my body (I'm not quite sure).

    Aesthetically, I think the bike is really nice, one of the best looking naked bikes out there, with clean, handsome lines.

    I suspect my main issue with the FZ1 would be the same as that I experienced with the little FZ6, namely that she's not the most characterful thing at legal speeds. She has a lot more urge down low compared to the FZ6, but she only really made me smile when the revs were up at less-than-politically-correct levels.

    Which I think brings me to a sticking point in my bike selection process. I need something with character at legal speeds. It's one of the things I love most about my little Monster, and it's a must have for me in my 2nd bike. So the question is: what's the most fun I can legally have whilst getting naked?

    My adventures shall continue...