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WEDNESDAY 29 APRIL 2009 kkk"achcfWmW`YbYkg"Wca

Modern classics

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By Chris Pearson

If you ever tire of modern motorcycle dealerships, with their swanky glass and chrome, and pine for ’70s-style bike shop grit and grime, Cosmo Classics is the place for you. Located on the prom at St Leonardson-Sea, Hastings, Cosmo is caught in a time warp. Named after its proprietor, 43-year-old, half-Welsh, half-Greek, Evan ‘Cosmo’ Cosmos, the place takes you back 40 years. The shop and workshop is crammed full of tasty classics and memorabilia ranging from a pair of ultra rare and expensive Triumph X75 Hurricanes, to more bread-and-butter Japanese tackle, plus a few examples of Latin thinking, too. Although a big fan of all machines of the period, Cosmo has a particular passion for the Kawasaki Z1. “I could never afford one back when they were the bike to have,” he recalls. “A decent Z would cost thousands so I stuck to running cheaper machinery like Tridents and Commandos, along with the odd Yamaha twin that could be had for under a ton back in the early ’80s. I started buying and selling bikes to make ends meet and that was the start of my business.” Cosmo Classic Motorcycles was founded eight years ago in an industrial unit in nearby Worthing. The current premises, a long-time former classic bike shop, became available four years ago. “It was perfect because it offered the opportunity to have a retail outlet, as well as a cracking workshop with bags of character,” Cosmo says. “Suddenly the business kicked into gear and now the main problem is not selling machinery, it’s finding replacements for the four or five bikes I’m selling every week.” Cosmo learned his trade at Merton College in south London, in the mid

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WEDNESDAY 29 APRIL 2009 kkk"achcfWmW`YbYkg"Wca

13

KEY: QSPORTS QSPORTS TOURERS AND TOURERS QCRUISERS QNAKEDS Q TRAIL AND SUPERMOTO DUCATI 1198S

HONDA CBR125R

HONDA CBR600RR ABS

HONDA CBR1000RR FIREBLADE ABS

KAWASAKI 250 NINJA

KAWASAKI ZX-6R

KAWASAKI ZX-10R

PRICE £16,616

PRICE £3070

PRICE £8753

PRICE £10,721

PRICE £3899

PRICE £7899

PRICE £9499

Capacity: 1198cc Power: 168bhp Torque: 97ftlb Weight: 169kg Top speed: 141mph Insurance group: 17 (of 17) Colours: Red, black Also available: 1198 (£12,995)

Capacity: 124cc Power: 13bhp Torque: 7ftlb Weight: 118kg Top speed: 75mph Insurance group: 6 (of 17) Colours: Black, red, Red/white/blue

Capacity: 999cc Power: 162bhp Torque: 78ftlb Weight: 210kg Top speed: 179mph Insurance group: 17 (of 17) Colours: Black, blue and HRC, Repsol (extra options)

Capacity: 249cc Power: 32bhp Torque: 16ftlb Weight: 154kg Top speed: 93mph Insurance group: 7 (of 17) Colours: Green only

Capacity: 599cc Power: 115bhp Torque: 47lbft Weight: 191kg Top speed: 161mph Insurance group: 15 (of 17) Colours: Green, black, blue

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Capacity: 998cc Power: 170bhp Torque: 80ftlb Weight: 208kg Top speed: 186mph Insurance group: 17 (of 17) Colours: Green, black, white

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Capacity: 599cc Power: 107bhp Torque: 44ftlb Weight: 194kg Top speed: 163.19mph Insurance group: 15 (of 17) Colours: Red/white/blue Also available: CBR600RR (£7345)

Nobody else has a 168bhp V-twin on its books, complete with traction control, Ohlins suspension and data-logging – and if they did, it’d probably cost more than the £16,495 Ducati 1198S. It’s one of those motorcycles everyone should be allowed to ride once in their life.

Tried and tested for the past five years, Honda’s smallest CBR sports machine has an enviable reputation for reliability. For 2009 the CBR gets an optional Honda Racing red/white/blue paint scheme, along with gold wheels. Unfortunately the CBR’s styling is looking dated.

The world’s first ABSequipped superbike. The system takes none of the enjoyment out of riding this incredible superbike, staying in the background until you get into a difficult braking situation, then the ‘brake-by-wire’ kicks in. The shape of things to come.

Arrival of the Ninja on these shores (Kawasaki 250s have sold consistently in the US and elsewhere since the late ’80s) has awoken a level of interest in the quarter-litre 33bhp roadster class not seen since the 1980s. The 250R is no screaming scalpel, more a steady and stylish novice-friendly tool.

In terms of chassis and handling, the new Kawasaki ZX-6R a big step forward over the old ZX-6R. New MotoGP-derived Big Piston forks make a huge difference – you can brake devilishly late and the bike stays stable. With 115bhp at the back wheel, it’s the most powerful standard 600 we’ve ever tested.

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YAMAHA R6

YAMAHA R1

BMW F800S

BMW K1300GT

BMW R1200RT

BMW K1300S

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VERDICT A few engine tweaks increase the midrange but the big news is the optional electronicallycontrolled Combined ABS system, which is a first for a supersports bike. Purists will be pleased to hear it stays in the background until you really need it.

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VERDICT Super-agile and stonkingly powerful, what the ZX-10 lacks in polish and refinement it makes up for in aggression and excitment. On a bumpy back road, the firm suspension gives a choppy ride, but if you plan more than a few track days this year, look no further.

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PRICE £8420

PRICE £11,120

PRICE £6355

PRICE £12,240

PRICE £11,045

PRICE £10,165

PRICE £8871

Capacity: 599cc Power: 111bhp Torque: 43ftlb Weight: 166kg Top speed: 172mph Insurance group: 15 (of 17) Colours: White/red, blue, black

Capacity: 998 Power: 157bhp Torque: 78ftlb Weight: 206kg Top speed: 181mph Insurance group: 17 (of 17) Colours: White, blue, black

Capacity: 798cc Power: 84bhp Torque: 59ftlb Weight: 182kg Top speed: 140mph Insurance group: 11 (of 17) Colours: Red, white, silver

Capacity: 1293cc Power: 158bhp (claimed) Torque: 99ftlb Weight: 288kg Top speed: 155mph (est) Insurance group: 15 (of 17) Colours: Beige, red, blue

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Capacity: 1170cc Power: 110bhp Torque: 85ftlb Weight: 229kg Top speed: 130mph Insurance group: 13 (of 17) Colours: Dark grey, grey, red

Capacity: 1293cc Power: 172bhp Torque: 103ftlb Weight: 254kg Top speed: 170mph Insurance group: 16 (of 17) Colours: Orange, grey, grey/silver

Excellent engine, superb handling and everyday useability make the F800S a bike you could learn to ride on, then keep and enjoy for a very long time after you’ve passed your test. The ST Touring version features a fuller fairing, raised handlebars and a taller screen and will set you back £6855.

True Grand Tourer combines massive performance with supreme practicality and comfort. On the move, its huge bulk evaporates and it becomes a wieldy bike. With heated grips and seat and an electrically-adjustable screen, hundreds of miles in a day are easy meat. New K-series range now has ‘proper’ indicators, too.

VERDICT

Turns as fast as a 250 race bike, has manic top end power and on track it gets more fun (and frantic) the harder you push. A hole in the mid-range spoils it on the road and means you need to really work the engine and gearbox, but once it’s on the power the R6 is scarily quick.

Like no inline four-cylinder sports bike ever produced. The sensational R1’s ultrashort-stroke engine has a MotoGP-style crossplane crankshaft. It grunts out of corners like a V-twin, while giving superb feel through the rear tyre, and howls along straights like the mad inline-four it is. Sounds like Rossi’s M1 at full chat, too.

VERDICT

Capacity: 1074cc Power: 95bhp Torque: 76ftlb Weight: 196kg Top speed: 142mph Insurance group: 15 (of 17) Colours: Red Also available: Multistrada S (£9616)

Sporty enough to be fun, but with all the comforts you could possibly want on a long journey. Optional electronically-switchable sports and normal suspension is worth the extra £400. ABS brakes come as standard. Nearly as good as a K1200LT, but much cheaper.

With 172bhp and some very clever electronicallyadjustable suspension, traction control and a long list of options, BMW has built a bike that can handle almost everything. As with the K1300GT, it now benefits from proper indicators, instead of BMW’s three-switch system.

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VERDICT

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CHECK OUT THE NEW LOOK, VISIT...

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VERDICT Ducati’s Multistrada plods on as an often overlooked and generally unloved oddball. On the plus side it’s a genuinely versatile machine that’s strikingly different from the crowd and amusingly competent – especially in Ohlinsequipped ‘S’ trim.

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