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It was the late John Robinson, a former technical editor of this parish, who first observed Honda’s split personality. Returning to the paddock one spring day after a swift track session on a VFR400R, he made a typically penetrating statement. ‘Half the factory make ST1100s and Reveres,’ he quipped, patting the fuel tank of the exquisite baby RC30. ‘The good ol’ boys make these.’ That was 1991. Eighteen years later, it’s truer than ever: walk into a Honda showroom and it’s crazy fast CBRs on the one hand, lukewarm porridge CBFs on the other. Not to mention the inheritor of the NTV600 Revere’s V-twin engine, the 700 Deauville. But are we being unfair? Does some of Soichiro Honda’s maverick, raceworshipping DNA still lurk in Honda’s cuddliest motorcycle? Only one way to find out. Put Guy Martin on it at Cadwell.


PRICE £7621 POWER 64.7bhp@8000rpm (claimed) TORQUE 48.8lb.ft@6500rpm (claimed) TOP SPEED 110mph (est) CAPACITY 680cc BORE X STROKE 81x66mm RAKE AND TRAIL 28.5°/115mm BRAKES 296mm front discs with three-piston calipers, linked and ABS TYRES F: 120/70-ZR17 R: 150/70-ZR17 WHEELBASE 1476mm WET WEIGHT 254kg PB RATING ■■■■■■■■■■ WEBSITE

Despite being finished in a handsome shade of claret, the Deauville came over all coy on being introduced to Mr Martin at Cadwell. It was two sessions before he could get her to giggle


pb metal

2009 Staff words pb staff pics rory game, paul bryant and pb staff

ben’s suzuki gsx-r1000

Miles this month 1301 (total: 5505 miles). Best road ridden A373/375 Cullompton to Sidmouth. Stand-out moment Sitting in the Taunton Deane services nursing a steaming cup of coffee after hours on the bike. With a smile.

4204-5505 miles

I’ve been making the most of the last of the summer weather. Extended routes on the way home from the office have turned my commute into late evening rides that make the most of the light evenings. There have been several chip shop runs too (see for details of a run near you). My big run on the GSX-R this month has been down to Devon to watch the Wiscombe Park 50th anniversary hillclimb (www.wiscombepark. There’s nothing like the mix of methanol burning British iron and CR500s on wet fronts and cut slick rears to remind you what performance biking is about. Fearsome. While Matt’s R1 is getting 126 miles before running out of fuel, the GSX-R is literally sipping the juice. I’ve been getting 160 miles before needing to fill the tank. Okay, there’s only a litre left in the tank at that point but the reserve light isn’t coming on until almost 140 miles. Previously I’ve had no complaints about the GSX-R’s riding position. The pegs on the lowest setting gives enough leg bend to keep it comfortable for hours on end. The bars have been a problem for me though. Sitting on the motorway for four hours makes my wrists hurt. When I went down to Cornwall earlier in the year I didn’t have any issues, but that time I took A roads most of the way rather than sitting on motorways down to the Jurassic coast this time. The Bridgestone BT003RS tyres I’m using are proving to give good grip in all conditions. They’ve done well over 1500 miles and aren’t showing much sign of wear. They suit the GSX-R and my riding too. I’ve got a Dyna Pro Interceptor to go on the bike for the next issue. The box of electronics controls the fuelling and igntion but can also can be configured to provide a form of traction control. I’ll get it fitted this coming month and see exactly what it can do for the GSX-R’s performance.


40.91 The amount of seconds it took the fastest rider of the day (Paul Jeffrey on his carbon wheeled CR508) to demolish the Wiscombe Park hillclimb. More on that next month.


Paul Jeffrey getting it on at Wiscombe Park

matt’s yamaha r1

Miles this month 401 (total: 5631 miles). Best road ridden A361. Standout moment Wheelspin in fifth on the greasiest road I’ve ridden on. A personal record. It hadn’t rained for three weeks.

5230-5631 miles

This month I had the chance this month to ride my R1 back-to-back with a 2009 R1 press bike. There’s a massive difference. Incrementally, bit by bit, we’ve managed to make it better than stock. Extra rear ride height, thanks to the height-adjustable Öhlins shock, makes the bike steer better (the same was true of my 07 R1), it now brakes better thanks to the combination of the wavy discs and Brembo pads, plus the Braking discs: stainless steel you engine is much more can lean on involving thanks to the pipe and PCV combo. Of course, it’s easy to say this is all pointless – unless you’re a BSB-spec rider you can make your bike faster just by riding it better – but bikes are about feel, and now the R1 has the feel and confidence-inspiring qualities that let me push it to my limits. Looks aside, surely this is the point of modifying bikes? Back to the brakes. The Braking Wave SK discs (new on the R1 this month), are proven to stop the R1 faster than the stock set-up, but I’m keen on seeing how they last over time – and how the pads wear. Some say that wavy discs destroy pads. It’ll be interesting finding out. I’ve also just had a pair of slightly-worn Avon Viper Extreme tyres fitted to the R1, which were left over from last month’s road test. Recycled rubber will probably be the only nod to environmentalism this bike will ever have. What I can say is that these tyres steer sweetly, warm up reasonably quickly in mild autumn weather and give you loads of confidence to ride hard. As I write this in early October, there’s still enough warmth on the roads to get these trackday/fast road tyres just about in their operating zone. A few of my biker mates have gone off too early – they’re already talking about touring tyres and winter hibernation. I’m still trying pretend it’s still June. It is, isn’t it?


6 The amount of times I checked my garage in the middle of the night after seeing the local chavs hanging around my lock-up. I want to borrow one of Ron Haslam’s shotguns…

Bik e S

kar’s street triple r

Miles this month 900 (total: 5300 miles). Best road ridden The road leading up to Mallory Park – arguably more interesting than the circuit itself. Stand out moment Standing in a dark Tesco car park, admiring the sheer handsomeness of the Striple R.

4400-5300 miles Another month, another

trackday, this time at Donington Park, where the last trackday ever on the circuit as we know it was being run by Bennetts Insurance with James Toseland in attendance. I managed to get on a pillion ride on an 09 R1 with the man himself during the lunch break – four laps later, my legs were wobbling to compliment my aching arms as I tried to memorise the lines he’d just shown me. Cheers James. All was going well until the last session where I went out on the wife’s 07 CBR600RR. With hot tyres from the previous session she handed me the keys. Seven corners later I was on my arse at Coppice. In a bizarre twist of fate it was the first crash I’d had in a decade, the last being at exactly the same track – at the same bloody corner. Too much faith in the OE BT-015s and too little patience to acclimatise myself saw the front wash out and dump me in the kitty litter. I now have even more admiration for the Dunlop Qualifier RRs that I’ve been running on the Triumph, which have been 100% dependable.

Data 6 The number of poses I got the Bennetts Babes to do.

18 The number of gifts I’ve bought the wife since binning her CBR. Big John has taken the Triumph keys from Matt. Matt’s not getting them back

joHnny’s triUMpH Daytona 675 Miles this month 651 (total: 6459 miles). Best road ridden The Dartford Tunnel. The sound of a race can in a tunnel can still make me smile – in second gear all the way through. Stand out moment Getting the D675’s keys.

5808-6459 miles With winter around the

corner, the Triumph is now going to be my daily transport so any nasty habits it has won’t have anywhere to hide. Things don’t get off to a great start when the engine management light comes on during a ride to Derbyshire. The finger of blame is pointed at the EXUP valve. Turns out that the screw which attaches the cable pulley to the motor that turns the valve had fallen out robbing the bike of its ace card, midrange. Screw replaced and we’re back in business. More next month.

s p e e d

t e s t

Matt and Kar roll onto the slip road of Bundesautobahn A31 for a bit of how’s your father


words matt wildee pics james cheadle

F L A T O U T We ride the world’s two fastest bikes on Europe’s fastest roads


PB road test///the rIde

‘it’s hilarious watching them in the mirrors trying to keep up with the cB’ 072


ide bars, huge engines and 80s styling. This combination has only two possible outcomes for a rider of the PB faith. Wheelies or slides. Probably both. Oh yes, the bikes will weave and wobble their way through corners too. Not alarmingly mind you, but after the precision of a post-2000 race-replica it’s all a bit wild and uncontrolled.

Before anyone gets themselves in a flap, they handle fine in normal use; they only get out of shape if you want to ride them really hard. You might say that you shouldn’t ride these kinds of bikes like that anyway. I say, ‘Shit happens’. These bikes are never going to be about clinically hitting an apex time after time. Just as tax is for accountants, an apex is something only to be found on a pitched roof when you ride one of these. No, these bikes need muscling around a corner, and pretty much any line will do. In some ways an 80s retro is more satisfying to ride than a modern sports bike. Ride an XJR through a set of bends at 70mph and you’ll come out the other side slightly breathless with your arms pumped and eyes wide. Take the same bends at the same speed on a GSX-R600 and you’ll be seriously under whelmed. You’ll need to add another 30mph to get the same rush. Riding the CB it’s hilarious to watch Kev and Phil in the mirrors trying to keep up. I’m going hard enough to scrape the pegs on either side of the bike, pushing and pulling the bars hard to make it change direction quickly. The back end is starting to break loose and the ABS is doing its thang on the way into turns. While the CB1300S looks like a retro it can be ridden at speeds that have the three other bikes behaving really quite badly. It’s essentially a modern bike but with slightly retro styling. Kev’s similar to a Scottish terrier in many ways; he’s Scottish for a start, not the largest of the breed and he’s also not one to give up the chase easily. However, after ten miles of very twisty roads he’s dropped back. When I slow down he comes into view, giving the thottle some grief and sliding the back out of the corner. Then he hoists the front and all I can see are tyres and the bottom of the engine. Hanging off the back of a bike this size he looks like a mouse humping an elephant. It doesn’t matter who rides the Honda, they take the lead. Similarly, whoever rides the ZRX trails behind. But it doesn’t seem to bother the ZRX rider because they look the hardest doing it, and the coolest when they get there. It’s also immensely satisfying to overtake someone who’s on a better-handling bike while you’re bucking and weaving around the outside. That’s really what these bikes are about. Ride hard, have some stories to tell and look good. What more could you ask for? U


XJR1300 Kev Very sharp brakes; it’s easy to lock the front up. The pegs scrape really easily. Good paint job makes up for average looks. Pulls really well once the needle is past 4000rpm. Phil The steering is really light and makes the bike pretty agile. I love the paint job; it gives it an edge. Awesome brakes, easily the best here. But it reminds me of a pumped-up Diversion.

In total control maybe, but how can Kevin Smitth see where he’s going?

ZRX1200R Kev The best-looking bike here and the easiest to wheelie too thanks to the great engine. I really want to like it but lean it over and the rear wheel goes into a judder. Even with maximum damping. It’s a shame. Phil Iconic styling and a great colour scheme. Really high pegs give loads of ground clearance but I couldn’t make the most of it because the front and rear give no confidence; it moves around too much. Scary.

Health-conscious Mekon rolls an earplug, rather than a smoke

GSX1400 Kev Much more grunt than the others and very responsive at the bottom end. Very little ground clearance though. Good on A-roads but it’s not too happy on B-roads. Really comfy for distances. Phil Best engine of the bunch for me; about as muscly as a muscle bike gets. It’s heavy but really loses the weight as soon as you’re moving. The brakes are only just enough.

The Suzuki, apparelled in celestial light. As Wordsworth might have said

CB1300 Kev It’s very Honda – such a good bike to ride. I’m big fan because it does everything well. It could do with some more go though; the engine is a bit dull. Phil The one I’d buy. It’s the most together and the suspension is in a different league. My only criticisms are the colours and that it could be a bit more exciting. I’d love to see it in HRC colours. FUEL ECONOMY (hard riding) XJR 27.6mpg GSX 30.6mpg CB 31.3mpg ZRX 26.4mpg

fast faste faste










We took the ten fastest production bikes in the UK today to find out which is the 2009 king of speed

d u c a t i 11 9 8 / / / y a m a h a r 1 / / / s u z u k i G s X 1 3 0 0 r h a y a b u s a / / / k t m r c 8 r / / / h o n d a c b r 1 0 0 0 r r f i r e b l a d e / / /


t ter test


words alan seeley pics james cheadle

a p r i l i a r s v 4 /// m v f 4 10 7 8 r r 312 /// s u z u k i G s X - r10 0 0 /// k a w a s a k i z z r14 0 0

poiled by you Indian summers: can’t beat them superlative

handling, cosseted by compliant suspension, arrested by braking systems that stop us as quickly and assuredly as we desire and require. 21st century performance biking scales hitherto uncharted technological pinnacles. Maybe the manufacturers needn’t have gone to all that bother, because the one question that bothers many of us more than any other, is: ‘What’ll it do, mister?’ To go fast you need power: the more you have, the faster you’ll go. But that’s only part of the story. By the reckoning of the late, great PB technical editor John Robinson, if the rear wheel’s spinning and the front’s lifting you’ve already got too much. So power is nothing without the ability to get it down. That’s why Hayabusas and the like have long wheelbases, where sports 600s have short ones. And why the fastest bikes have good aerodynamics. Today’s power outputs mean that 200mph, and even beyond, is almost within reach. But there’s a gentlemen’s agreement between certain manufacturers to limit bikes to 300kph (186.4mph to me and you). ‘Why would they do that?’ we ask aghast in PB world. ‘How do they justify them being that fast?’ wonder those not drawn by the lure of speed. That’s a debate for another day. The question for now is how do the fastest 09 bikes deliver within that parameter – or, we hope, a little bit beyond, as today we have a decent following wind. So we fuelled them all to the cork, weighed them and hung the logger on them before launching up Bruntingthorpe’s two-mile strip. We wanted 0-60, 0-100mph, zero to top speed. We also did coast-down runs from 140-50mph to test each bike’s aerodynamics, and race engineer Simon Martin offers an analysis of the fastest two bikes’ windcheating abilities on p94. Enough of the menu. Here’s where we find out: ‘How fast do they go, mister?’ U


Performance Bikes  
Performance Bikes  

PB mag DEC 09 sampler