Good Times – The Hot Seat

Good Times – The Hot Seat

How good was it getting back on your bike after lockdown? I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t get back in the saddle fast enough once we were released.

And I probably couldn’t have had a better mix of machines in the BRM lock-up to sample once we got back up and running. It’s just a shame the weather didn’t continue to play ball, with the sensational and unseasonal climate we experienced while on home detention unsurprisingly coming to an end almost as soon as we were let out the door. Damn!

Still, with bikes like Triumph’s incredible 765cc Street Triple RS which is like a ‘sensible’ Moto 2 bike for the road and Suzuki’s semi-updated V-Strom 1050 X to play on, I didn’t really care what the climate was as a smile was etched on my face that would put the Joker to shame.

And then there was a couple of learner legal machines from Kawasaki, with the Ninja 650 and Vulcan S featuring the same stunning parallel-twin powerplant that produces enough power to make you second guess whether they’ve sent you the wrong bike by mistake. Okay, the cruiser style of the Vulcan isn’t everyone’s cup of Earl Grey, but the way you can bespoke set-up the riding position before you leave the dealership is a stroke of genius that should make every budding cruiser rider sit up, take notice and give it a try. Read the review next month.

It got me thinking that, as motorcyclists, the market is pretty exciting at the moment, with new models, excellent technology and different genres giving us the most choice we’ve ever seen. Demonstrating this nicely is the announcement that Kawasaki NZ have got 20 of their new ZX25R pocket-rockets heading to our shores, with almost all of the screaming 250cc, four-cylinder, four-strokes already spoken for. At a time when the world seems intent on over-regulation and cancelling any fun, this is quite possibly the biggest two-fingered solute you could give to the authorities as you wail down the road at 17,000rpm using all of the 50-ish horsepower we reckon the mini Ninja will be producing. We can’t wait to try one!

But speaking with a reader the other day who called up for a chat about which tyres to put on his Honda VFR1200, it seems the one area that’s quietly falling by the wayside Is the big tourers like the Honda V-four, Kawasaki ZX14 and Suzuki’s legendary Hayabusa. With big capacity adventure bikes taking over the role of do anything long-distance tourers, the hyperbikes of yesteryear seem destined to be confined to the history books, and that’s a sad thing. Unless you’ve got deep enough pockets to get one of Kawasaki’s super-charged offerings in your shed, the options of a modern big horsepower touring machines are limited, with bikes at the end of their lifespan realistically your only choice. And that’s a shame.

Yes, the big capacity adventure bikes are incredible, highly sophisticated, powerful and able to knock off hundreds of kays between fuel stops while carrying gallons of luggage, but there’s nothing quite like the exhilaration of opening the throttle of a Hayabusa or ZX14 and watching the world go backwards. And, maybe that’s the problem which has led to the demise of these incredible machines.