I recently purchased TWO “old” bikes, a 2013 Honda VFR1200 plus a 2009 Yamaha FZ1, so I have been thinking about recent progress or otherwise with regard to motorcycles, in particular Japanese motorcycles (which I have been enjoying since I was a spotty 14 year old kid).
I sold back to Martin (Alf England Motorcycles) a 2019 Yamaha MT10SP plus a virtually unused 2020 Yamaha FJR1300 Ultimate. I decided that my fleet was too big and too new. I have recently really enjoyed working on bikes cos during the recent lockdowns we could not really go anywhere so I spent some time working in my lovely garage. I have a bike lift and plenty of tools, plus a little knowledge and YouTube.
I recently rode both of these “older” Jap bikes and I really enjoyed the experiences, this led me to think about what progress we have made over the last three or four generations of bikes (so the last 10/12 years) and I now throw the following thoughts out for comments:
- With the ever-increasing restrictions that manufacturers face to meet the current EURO standards, bikes today are very quiet (strangled) and must run very lean, for emissions.
- These restrictions force manufacturers to develop ever more efficient engines and then share that engine over a range of bikes. It also forces out of production some fantastic engines which become uneconomical to develop further, big singles for instance are on the way out as they make too much noise and even the wonderful Yamaha FJR1300 engine will soon die. Shame.
- The power output of modern sports bikes is crazy, they are well over the 200 bhp mark now. In my opinion and experience for the road that is over the top, but great fun of course if you know how to ride them. The power to weight ratios of these sports bikes is now over 1 horse per kilo!!!
- We now have so much electronics as standard that I feel we are going to forget how to ride a bike without them! In my experience ABS is a fantastic tool for a bike and 100% a good thing.
- I would like to be able to switch OFF all of the other rider aids. On modern bikes we now have Traction Control, Wheelie Control, Power Modes, Electonic Suspension, not to mention cruise control and and and.
So my point is really to debate and to consider how much we need these rider aids (for safety) and how many of them would be better NOT to have on a “normal” road bike cos they can remove us from a real motorcycle riding experience. In my case, all of my new bikes have these riding aids and my step back to a 2009 FZ1 feels like a true revolution to me, I must relearn to ride a bike without electonic aids!!
The new equivalent to the FZ1 is the MT10 which is also a detuned version of the R1 engine and both are fantastic bikes, but in terms of character I think that the FZ1 has alot going for it!!! PLEASE tell me what you think.