Sunday, November 26, 2006

BMW R 1200 GS Adventure

The New BMW R 1200 GS Adventure

The following information is an English translation of the German press kit and some information and specifications may not apply to the U.S. models.

Further information and dates of expected U.S. availability will be provided at a later date. Text and photos courtesy of BMW AG.

Features and Highlights
Launching the R 1200 GS Adventure, BMW Motorcycles is proudly presenting the latest version of the ultimate long-distance enduro for the globetrotter and adventurer.

Apart from the unique synthesis of dynamic performance, touring and off-road qualities so characteristic of the "basic" model, the R 1200 GS Adventure offers additional off-road qualities and an even higher standard of long-distance riding comfort.

So without requiring any supplementary features, this new model from BMW Motorcycles gives the rider all these unique qualities in full straight from the factory.

Compared with its predecessor, the R 1150 GS Adventure, the new model is entering the market with numerous improvements and a far larger range of standard equipment. Its features add further potential to the unique qualities of the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure and clearly distinguishing the new model from the basic version which naturally still remains in production.

Many features previously only available as special equipment or accessories now come as standard on the new R 1200 GS Adventure, such as the 33-litre (7.3 Imp gal) fuel tank, a new windshield for enhanced protection from wind and weather, the seat adjustable for height, robust tank and engine
protection hoops, as well as extra-wide rider footrests combined with adjustable gearshift and brake levers.

With the new Adventure being based on the R 1200 GS, the rider also benefits from significantly more power and torque from BMW Motorcycle's latest two-cylinder boxer: maximum output is 74 kW/100 hp at 7,000 rpm (72 kW/98 hp at 7,000 rpm in the German version), peak torque is 115 Nm/85 lb-ft at 5,500 rpm.

The other technical features and highlights of the R 1200 GS Adventure are also the same as on the current "basic" model. Using lighter components on the engine, transmission and exhaust damper, as well as weight-optimized components such as the frame, suspension and wheels, the new R 1200 GS Adventure, despite a wider range of series equipment, does not weigh much more than the previous "basic" model.

Last but certainly not least, the new six-speed gearbox, the most recent Paralever and Telelever technology, new instruments in digital technology and the on-board network with CAN bus technology represent a significant step into the future compared with the former R 1150 GS Adventure.

The new R 1200 GS Adventure continues the successful design concept introduced by the former model, offering a unique combination of dynamic performance and robust riding qualities. High-quality materials and surfaces such as stainless steel and aluminum ensure a unique touch of clear high-tech and very functional elegance. And depending on his personal preferences, the customer can choose from two entirely different colour schemes.

Reflecting its wide range of use and riding qualities, the new R 1200 GS comes with an equally wide range special equipment and accessories.

Features available right from the factory include BMW Motorrad Integral ABS (a partly integrated, on-demand anti-lock brake system), special off-road tires, additional headlights, and an on-board computer.

Over and above these features available straight off the production line, the BMW Motorcycle Dealer is also able to offer a new range of aluminum cases, the BMW Motorrad Navigator, as well as numerous practical accessories enabling the customer to upgrade his machine individually according to personal requirements and the particular riding conditions and demands he - or she - expects to encounter.

Improved in all areas and in every respect, the new R 1200 GS Adventure is certainly a very proud successor to the former 1150-cc model. Based on the "standard" version of the R 1200 GS, this new machine is not only the ultimate long- and short-distance enduro for the globe-trotter, the adventurer and traveler, but also a professional machine for bold riders participating in overland expeditions and demanding the utmost of both themselves and their material.

And last but certainly not least, the new R 1200 GS Adventure appeals to the discerning customer looking for impressive handling qualities and a striking appearance also in everyday life.

Fuel Tank
Without doubt, one of the most conspicuous and significant new features on the R 1200 GS Adventure is the large fuel tank with useful capacity of 33 liters (7.3 Imp gals) including approximately 4 liters reserve.

This means that the rider benefits from an extra 13 liters or almost 3 Imp gals more than on the standard model - and the increase in fuel capacity is also approximately
three liters over the former R 1150 GS Adventure, where a larger tank was available only as an option.

At a steady speed of 90 km/h or 56 mph, the R 1200 GS Adventure has a - theoretical - cruising range of 750 kilometers or 465 miles. In practice, this means that the rider of the new R 1200 GS Adventure is able to cover even longer distances between stops for refueling than on any other competition model in the market.

With its carefully conceived design, the new windshield diverts the flow of air smoothly past the rider with hardly any turbulence or air swirl, thus effectively taking the usual forces off the rider's head and upper body particularly at high speeds.

Additional, specially designed flaps behind the windshield serve furthermore to minimize any draughts in the kidney area. And since the windshield is adjustable for angle, it offers riders of virtually any size excellent protection from wind and weather in all cases.

Tank, Engine and Valve Cover Protection
Stable and robust stainless-steel pipes protect the fuel tank and engine effectively from the consequences of involuntary encounters whether off-road or on the tarmac. And at the same time high-quality aluminum covers help to avoid any traces of tough riding conditions which might otherwise be left behind on the valve covers.

With its carefully conceived design, the new windshield diverts the flow of air smoothly past the rider with hardly any turbulence or air swirl, thus effectively taking the usual forces off the rider's head and upper body particularly at high speeds.

Additional, specially designed flaps behind the windshield serve furthermore to minimize any draughts in the kidney area. And since the windshield is adjustable for angle, it offers riders of virtually any size excellent protection from wind and weather in all cases.

Tank, Engine and Valve Cover Protection
Stable and robust stainless-steel pipes protect the fuel tank and engine effectively from the consequences of involuntary encounters whether off-road or on the tarmac. And at the same time high-quality aluminum covers help to avoid any traces of tough riding conditions which might otherwise be left behind on the valve covers.

Stainless Steel Luggage Rack
Robust and practical fastening points and supports for the rider's bags are absolutely essential for an off-roader with the qualities of a genuine global traveler. Precisely this is why the new R 1200 GS Adventure comes with a generously designed and stable luggage rack made of stainless steel perfectly accommodating, say, the optional aluminum top case.

Adjustable Seat
To ensure an optimum seating position under all conditions, the two-section seat on the new R 1200 GS Adventure can be adjusted to two different levels on the rider's area.

In its upper position with seat height of 915 millimeters or 36.0´´, the seat offers the rider all the comfort of an absolutely flat seat area without any steps in between, thus guaranteeing the freedom of movement the rider requires particularly off the beaten track.

In its lower position, the seat moves down to a level of 895 millimeters or 35.2´´, making it easier for even the somewhat shorter rider to reach the road and hold the machine securely in position, for example when stopping at the traffic lights. This is also enhanced by the particular shape and design of the seat itself, which is distinctly narrowed at the front.

Aluminum Handlebar With Hand Protectors
The high-quality, cone-shaped handlebar made of light alloy comes complete with a foam protection element embedded in a special plastic material. Practical hand protectors are also a standard feature on the new R 1200 GS Adventure.

Extra-Wide Footrests and Adjustable Gearshift and Brake Levers

Reflecting its enhanced off-road riding qualities, the new R 1200 GS Adventure comes with extra-wide rider footrests offering a particularly safe and secure position and helping the rider above all on rough tracks requiring him - or her - to stand up on the machine most of the time.

Adjustable gearshift and brake levers also meet all kinds of varying requirements, adjusting to various styles of riding and individual preferences as well as various kinds of shoes or boots,
for example touring or off-road riding boots. The height of the footbrake lever can be adjusted most conveniently by a folding mechanism on the pedal surface, the gearshift lever is adjusted by means of an eccentric kinematic unit.

Springs and Wheels
The suspension and running gear of the R 1200 GS Adventure is perfectly prepared even for the toughest off-road requirements, with an extra 20 millimeters or 0.79´´ spring travel both front and rear versus the "standard" R 1200 GS.

And to offer optimum wheel guidance, the new Adventure features the same superior lightweight elements already boasted by the R 1200 GS.

The most important highlights of the new R 1200 GS Adventure versus the "standard" R 1200 GS:

* 33-litre (7.3 Imp gal) fuel tank.
* Larger windshield.
* Tank, engine and valve cover protectors.
* Stainless-steel luggage rack.
* Adjustable seat with off-road ergonomics.
* Adjustable aluminum handlebar with hand protectors.
* Longer spring travel for superior off-road qualities.
* Cross-spoke wheels.
* Extra-wide rider footrests, adjustable gearshift and brake levers.
* High-performance 720 W alternator.

The most significant technical highlights of the new R 1200 GS Adventure versus the former R 1150 GS Adventure:

* Substantial reduction in weight.
* Significant increase in output (plus 15 per cent) and torque (plus 17 per cent).
* New six-speed manual gearbox.
* New Evo-Paralever with TDD spring struts.
* New Telelever.
* New instruments in digital technology with Info-flat-screen.
* On-board single-wire network using CAN bus technology.
* Electronic immobiliser.

The Telelever featured on the front wheel measures 41 millimeters or 1.61´´ in diameter on its fixed tube, while the Evo-Paralever at the rear boasts a central spring strut and travel-dependent damping unit (TDD) - the more the spring strut is compressed, the firmer the damper becomes. Detailed information on the frame and suspension is provided in the R 1200 GS press kit.

The new R 1200 GS Adventure comes as standard on BMW Motorrad's proven, extra-strong cross-spoke wheels offering their superior benefits particularly on extreme tracks, at high off-road speeds, and under high permanent loads and it almost goes without saying that the machine may be fitted with tubeless tyres, just as the spokes can be replaced individually one-by-one.

BMW K 1200 GT

Features and Technical Highlights
Introducing the new K 1200 GT, BMW Motorrad is strengthening its worldwide market leadership in the touring segment and gaining an even greater lead in the market.

Following the success of the former model bearing the same name, the new K 1200 GT opens up new dimensions in riding dynamics and long-distance qualities, once again proving the outstanding skills and competence of the white-and-blue marque.

A special feature of the K 1200 GT is that this new machine does not require the slightest compromise, but rather overcomes the apparent contradiction between superior sportiness and a high standard of touring comfort.

BMW's new top-end motorcycle combines maximum agility and dynamic performance with an ideal package for long trips and pleasant journeys. To reach this objective, the development engineers at BMW Motorrad have carried over the trendsetting running gear and engine technology of the former K 1200 S and K 1200 R straight into this new sporting tourer.

The innovative wheel guidance systems - the BMW Duolever at the front and the EVO-Paralever at the rear - make a very significant contribution to the excellent and highly dynamic riding characteristics of the K 1200 GT.

Drive power comes from the cutting-edge straight-four engine in transverse arrangement, developing maximum output in the GT version of 152 hp (112 kW) and thus currently setting the benchmark in the touring segment.

Not one single competitor in the market offers the same standard of dynamic performance as the new K 1200 GT. A comparison with the previous model clearly proves the huge step taken by BMW Motorrad with this new machine: The K 1200 GT is more powerful (maximum output up by 17%), develops more torque (up by 11%), offers a higher theoretical cruising range (up by 17%), and at the same time is lighter (down by 6%), but is nevertheless able to carry a higher load (up by 19%).

It goes without saying that the new GT has all the features you can rightly expect of a BMW touring machine. In particular, it is just perfect for riding with a passenger and covering long distances in comfort and style. Maximum riding comfort is indeed ensured by excellent protection from wind and weather, the electrically adjustable windscreen, perfect ergonomic design of the rider's seat thanks to flexible height adjustment of the seat itself and the handlebar, as well as side cases featured as standard.

Last but certainly not least, the K 1200 GT also meets the greatest demands in terms of environmental compatibility and safety. Apart from a fully controlled three-way catalytic converter, the high-performance EVO brake system with semi-integral ABS anti-lock brakes and an electronic immobiliser are among the features naturally offered by this sophisticated new tourer as standard equipment.

Given all these qualities and its consistency through-and-through, the new K 1200 GT is able to meet even the high standard of comfort so important to the passionate touring rider, at the same time making the sporting heart of the dyed-in-the-wool motorcycle enthusiast truly skip a beat. The "GT" abbreviation for Gran Turismo, therefore, describes this BMW sports tourer even more appropriately than ever before.

The new K 1200 GT is available in three standard colors to be combined with two contrasting colors on the side covers and the seat, thus interpreting the unique character of this Gran Turismo in various different ways.

As usual, BMW Motorrad also offers a wide range of optional extras and special equipment tailored to the new machine and leaving nothing to be desired. Apart from comfort-oriented features for traveling in style, the customer has the choice, to mention just a few examples, of Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA), an on-board computer, a xenon headlight, cruise control, or the BMW Navigator.

The most important features of the new K 1200 GT in a nutshell:
- Front-mounted straight-four power unit, cylinders inclined to an angle of 55°
- 1,157 cc, 112 kW/152 hp at 9,500 rpm, 130 Nm/96 lb-ft) at 7,750 rpm
- Duolever suspension at the front
- Paralever suspension at the rear
- BMW Motorrad Integral ABS, semi-integral version
- On-board electronics with CAN-bus technology
- Electronic immobiliser
- Brake pad wear indicator
- Seat and handlebar adjustable
- Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA, optional)
- Aerodynamically optimised full fairing
- Electrically adjustable windscreen

The most important technical distinctions improving the new K 1200 GT over its predecessor:
- Increase in maximum power (+ 17%)
- Higher maximum torque (+ 11%)
- Decrease in unladen weight (- 6%)
- Higher load (+ 19%)
- Larger tank (+ 17%)
- Longer theoretical cruising range (+ 17%)

The K1200GT engine is a high-performance straight-four second-generation power unit. The new K 1200 GT is powered by the same engine that has already hit the headlines in the K 1200 S and K 1200 R.

Now the GT version of this highly advanced power unit offers maximum output of 152hp (112 kW) at 9,500 rpm and peak torque of 96 lb-ft (130 Newton-meters) at 7,750 rpm. These performance figures alone bear clear testimony to the outstanding dynamic potential of BMW's new model currently ranking right at the top in the sports tourer segment in terms of engine power.

The plateau-like torque curve with more than 75 per cent of the engine's maximum torque available from just 3,000 rpm clearly proves that the K 1200 GT offers superior acceleration and pulling force, definitely living up to its name as a Gran Turismo.

Dry sump lubrication and the position of the compact power unit with its cylinder bank tilted 55° to the front have enabled the engineers at BMW Motorrad to move the centre of gravity as far down as possible.

This optimum centre of gravity offers the best of two worlds, providing the appropriate load on the front wheel and at the same time ensuring the handling of a genuine sports machine. For a detailed description of the technical details, please see the details of the BMW K 1200 S.

The six-speed gearbox of the BMW Motorrad K Series is both light and compact, and is conveniently integrated into the engine housing.

Particular features of the gearbox are its smooth gearshift enabling the rider to shift gears quickly and precisely, with shift travel reduced to a minimum.

Duolever Front Suspension
Like the other K-models, the new Duolever front-wheel suspension ensures superior precision and accurate tracking at all times, combined with supreme suspension comfort. The entire structure offers optimum torsional stiffness and is designed for light and agile handling. With resistance forces kept to a minimum, the suspension responds smoothly and precisely even to the smallest bumps on the road.

The kinematic configuration of Duolever suspension, finally, offers brake dive compensation remaining virtually unchanged throughout the suspension's entire spring travel. In terms of running gear and suspension qualities, therefore, the new K 1200 GT offers an ideal combination of riding comfort also on long tours and superior sportiness with a strong touch of dynamic performance.

Rear-wheel Paralever Suspension and Optional Electronic Suspension Adjustment
Developed by BMW Motorrad, the Paralever has proven for years that power transmission and rear wheel suspension can be combined with one another most efficiently. The latest Paralever is an ultra-firm lightweight construction with the spring strut connected to the rear wheel mount by a progressive
pivot link.

This not only offers significant advantages in terms of response and the progressive damping effect, but also reduces unsprung masses, minimizes load change response, offers more ground clearance, and looks highly attractive in its filigree design. In all, therefore, the Paralever is a perfect match for the concept and philosophy of the new K 1200 GT.

The K 1200 GT is available as an optional extra with BMW Motorrad's unique Electronic Suspension Adjustment (ESA), allowing the rider to adjust the spring/damper setting individually simply by pressing a button on the handlebar.

The new K 1200 GT proudly features BMW's proven EVO brake system with Integral ABS and brake pad wear indicator, which is also found in the other K- and R-Series models. With brake disc diameter
of 320 millimetres (12.6´´) at the front and 294 millimetres (11.6´´) at the rear, the EVO brake system is perfectly equipped to ensure superior deceleration even from high speeds with the motorcycle carrying maximum load.

The steel flex brake lines fitted as standard not only look good, but also help to provide a consistent pressure point.

Yet another standard feature is BMW Motorrad Integral ABS in its semi-integral version. On this system the rider activates the front and rear wheel brakes via the handbrake lever, while the footbrake lever acts only on the rear wheel brake - exactly the right configuration for riding in sporting style.

The new K 1200 GT also comes as an innovation with yet another safety and comfort feature fitted as standard: a brake pad wear indicator (warning indicator) telling the rider when the brake pads have been worn down to the limit and need to be renewed.

Single-Wire System (SWS) With CAN-bus Technology
It is only natural for a modern BMW motorcycle to feature a modern data bus network connecting all of the machine's electrical and electronic components, with digital information now being transmitted through one single wire. Indeed, the single-wire system dramatically simplifies the entire system of on-board electrics, reduces the need for cables and connectors, and makes the system significantly lighter.

A further essential point is that only this technology is able to provide reliable, comprehensive and quick troubleshooting and diagnostic functions. It also enables the Service Technician to read out data and/or redefine specific parameters. And last but not least, the single-wire system with CAN-bus technology allows the simple addition of electronic accessories broadening the motorcycle's wide range of functions.

Electronic Immobiliser
To make sure that only the rightful owner is able to enjoy the new K 1200 GT on the road, an electronic immobiliser comes as standard (and is also integrated in the data bus network just described). Like on a modern car, the ignition key incorporates a coded data chip communicating via a transponder in the ignition lock with the electronic engine management. So both ignition and fuel supply are only activated when the data exchanged corresponds as required, allowing the rider to start the engine.

The extra-large display right in the middle of the cockpit serves as the interface between man and machine. This is where the rider can check all data relevant to riding conditions and the use of his motorcycle. The system presents your overall mileage, trip mileage, the time of day, coolant temperature, the gear currently in mesh, the fuel level, and the mileage you can still cover when reaching the fuel reserve left in the tank.

The connoisseur choosing the optional ESA suspension adjustment or the TPC Tire Pressure Control system, in turn, can go even further, checking out the current set-up of the suspension and air pressure in the tyres. Even the on-board computer available as an optional extra uses the Info-Flatscreen to present its functions, illumination of the instrument being controlled automatically by a light-sensitive photoelectric cell.

The striking, aerodynamically optimized full fairing on the new K 1200 GT is unusually lean and slender for a tourer. Keeping the drag coefficient to a minimum, the fairing guarantees optimum riding stability at high speeds on the road. And despite its sporting look, the light and stable fairing, benefiting
from aerodynamic refinement, offers excellent protection from wind and weather improved to an even higher standard over the previous model.

The front end of the fairing is made up of two plastic shells and the load-bearing headlight unit. With all fairing components being easy to remove and fit back in position, maintenance and service is easy and convenient at all times.

Focusing on the shape and design of the windscreen, the designers and aerodynamicists at BMW Motorrad have created an ideal combination of maximum protection from wind and weather, on the one hand, and minimum dimensions, on the other. Carefully controlling the flow of air on the side contours, the windscreen guides the wind and air rushing by smoothly around the rider, reducing the loads acting on his head and upper body significantly even at high speeds.

A further advantage is that the light windscreen adjusts infinitely by electrical control over a range of 100 millimeters or 3.94". All the rider has to do is press a button on the left-hand handlebar to set the windscreen to his desired position. A higher windscreen (+ 60 mm/2.4") is available as special equipment, ensuring that virtually every rider, no matter how tall or how short, is able to adjust the windscreen perfectly to his requirements by choosing the right model and adjustment options.

To ensure maximum riding comfort and freedom of movement, the specialists at BMW Motorrad have once again concentrated on the step arch length criterion in designing the seat.

This is the distance measured between the rider's two footprints across the inner length of his legs and around the seat, taking both the shape and the width of the seat into account. So clearly, the rider benefits from the slender line of both the frame and the body of the K 1200 GT.

To provide these advantages, the seat has an extremely slender waistline exactly where the rider sits, enabling him to easily reach the ground and offering a very comfortable knee angle. And to provide the final touch of perfection, the standard seat can be set to a height of either 820 or 840 millimeters (32.3 or 33.1"). A lower seat is available as an alternative for the not-so-tall rider (optional, with minimum seat height of 800 mm/31.5").

The "ergonomic triangle" made up of the footrests, the seat itself and the handlebar offers maximum freedom of movement both for sports riding and in touring, at the same time allowing the rider to cruise in relaxed style without fatigue. The passenger, finally, also enjoys the unusual seat comfort offered by a BMW.

To ensure that the handlebar can also be adjusted to riders of various height with their own seating preferences and different styles of riding, the handlebar is adjustable to four different levels, moving towards the upper body of the rider when required by a maximum of 40 millimetres or almost 1.6". Again, this ensures an ideal posture under all conditions, with simple, manual adjustment for height by means of teeth and bolt clamps.

The new K 1200 GT offers a perfect symbiosis of touring comfort and sporting performance - features also reflected by the design of the machine with its flowing lines and clear, striking surfaces and shapes. Self-confident, forward-urging lines clearly visible even at a standstill emphasize the dynamic character of the new K 1200 GT. And the machine's slender proportions all round, combined with the very compact engine cover, again point clearly towards the sporting and dynamic DNA of the new GT.

Seen from the front, the K 1200 GT also looks good right from the start: The windscreen and hand protectors are compact and discreet in design, the strikingly chiseled headlight stands out as a dynamic highlight typical of the brand.

The three main colors for the body of the K 1200 GT - Dark Graphite Metallic, Deep Blue Metallic, and Crystal Grey Metallic - form a perfect combination with the two colors available for the side covers (on the tank and below the seat) as well as the seat itself. This colour concept clearly accentuates the special character of the K 1200 GT, with different interpretations depending on the colors chosen.

Elegant Dark Graphite Metallic combined in standard trim with lighter, Granite Grey side covers and a Grey seat, gives BMW's new tourer a most sophisticated look and at the same time emphasizes its sporting understatement.

Paintwork in Deep Blue Metallic combined with dark, slate-colored side covers and a black seat, exudes a touch of superior elegance and gives the machine a particularly luxurious look.

Crystal Grey Metallic with the seat in Black and Slate-colored side covers, finally, highlights the modern and innovative design of the new K 1200 GT. In this bright and very metallic colour scheme, the GT looks extra-light and agile, at the same time offering a special touch of extravagance.

With alternative combinations of the main colour and the colour chosen for the seat and side covers, the customer has every option to personalize the K 1200 GT to his individual wishes. Colour combinations with greater contrasts focus more on dynamic performance, underlying the differences between the rider's area and the body of the machine.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Narrowly focused sportbikes to the left, massively overwrought tourers to the there any place left for the simple, do-it-all motorcycle?

Sure there is, and far from becoming an endangered species, the lightweight enduro - a kind of motorcycle that embodies off-road capabilities alongside roadworthy manners tailored to please experienced and beginning riders alike - has become immensely popular around the world.

Between 1995 and 2003, BMW has sold more than 110,000 F 650s, with 32 percent of the latest versions going to female riders worldwide). What's more, some 21 percent of F 650 buyers were new riders. And now, for the 2005 model year, BMW's entry in the amazing category returns refined, refreshed and ready to do business. Crossing continents, crossing boundaries

No motorcycle can do everything, but the BMW F 650 GS and the F 650 GS Dakar come close. Based on the fundamentally flexible "enduro" concept, the F 650 line has been carefully developed to meet a broad range of requirements, to enable cross-country travel in comfort as well as jaunts across town with consummate ease.

BMW F650GS motorcycle

For example, the Dakar, with dirt-spec tire sizes and long-travel suspension, can truly be taken off road (unlike many similarly concepted but differently equipped enduros on the market) and yet sacrifices nothing in terms of on-road civility.

Central to this multi-role versatility is the F 650's relaxed, upright riding position that is the ideal compromise between on-road comfort and off-road control. For the new F 650 GS and F 650 GS Dakar, BMW has focused on improving the bike's ergonomic profile and making it even kinder to beginning and returning riders.

To this end, a new clutch lever featuring incremental span adjustments that provide riders with smaller hands improved control and comfort (an adjustable brake lever continues as standard.)

New this year are myriad seating options for both the F 650 GS and the F 650 GS Dakar.

The GS comes with a standard low seat, and yet there is the option for an even lower seat height - as a no-cost option, the GS can be modified by the dealer with a different rear suspension link that, working in concert with repositioned fork tubes, reduces seat height to 29.5 in. (750mm).

In addition, a taller seat is available for the GS that provides taller riders with extra legroom. A lower dual seat is available for the Dakar that reduces seat height 0.8 in. (20mm).

The GS's overall compact dimensions are made possible by a slender engine and a fuel tank located under the seat. Not only does this placement improve chassis packaging, it dramatically reduces the bike's overall center of gravity, making the GS feel smaller and lighter - considerations critical to the beginning rider.

New for 2005

This year, the F 650 GS and F 650 GS Dakar have new bodywork placed upon the strong and durable steel frame. A new clear-lens headlight puts more illumination on the road and works with entirely new windscreens to improve weather and wind protection. (Both screens may be removed for off-road use. In addition, a clear version of the taller screen fitted to the Dakar is available for the standard GS.)

Revised inserts alongside what would normally be the fuel tank distinguish the new model and improve cooling by allowing more air past the oil cooler (the fuel cell is located under the rider's seat for lowered center of gravity and improved handling.) Finally, the rear luggage rack has been redesigned to accept an optional top case without an adapter plate, as required in the past.
BMW F650GS motorcycle, side view

BMW F650GS Dakar motorcycle
F Series- 2 Spark ignition for 2005

The F 650 is powered by a BMW-designed, single-cylinder engine embodying technologies not seen on other "thumpers." For 2005, the engine's technological resume stretches to include 2 Spark ignition for the four-valve cylinder head and a new and advanced BMS-C II computerized engine-control unit that dynamically manages spark and fuel delivery to suit any riding condition.

With these improvements, the liquid-cooled, 652cc engine produces fewer harmful exhaust emissions, is more fuel efficient, and has a torque peak at 4800 rpm instead of the previous model's 5000 rpm. In addition, the 2 Spark ignition system offers increased drivability, stronger mid-throttle response and greater engine flexibility. As before, the GS uses a three-way catalyst in the updated, stainless-steel exhaust system to meet the stringent Euro2 exhaust emissions requirements.

F 650 GS Dakar - True Off-Road Intentions
In addition to the standard F 650 GS - a model intended for mainly on-road escapades yet still more than capable of trips off the tarmac - BMW offers the F 650 GS Dakar. More than special paint, the Dakar embraces true off-the-beaten-path adventures with longer-travel suspension and special wheels sized to carry traditional dirt-oriented tires. Owing to the higher natural riding position, the GS Dakar sports a taller tinted windscreen that can be easily removed for off-highway treks.

Although the GS and GS Dakar may see different missions, they are both available with BMW's advanced ABS system, the only such single-cylinder bikes in this category for which this is true. To optimize the system for off-road use, the ABS may be switched off via a cockpit-mounted switch.

BMW Accessories
BMW owners, even those new to the fold, are staunch individualists, which is why there are so many options and accessories available for the new F 650 GS and F 650 GS Dakar. These include:

*ABS II with rider-selectable defeat - This system is available on both the F 650 GS and GS Dakar.
*Multiple seats - For the F 650 GS, there is a taller dual seat as well as a lowered-suspension option using the standard seat. For the Dakar, there is a lowered seat. Either the GS or the Dakar can be fitted with a special black single seat with luggage rack that provides the same seat height as the standard saddle.
*Luggage - Several soft- and hard-luggage options, including variable-thickness hard saddlebags (Vario), soft bags for passenger seat and luggage rack, a hard top case, as well as liners for the hard bags.
*Windscreen - A taller windscreen for the F 650 GS, similar to the F 650 GS Dakar's.
*New hand guards
*Heated hand grips
*Anti-theft alarm
*Engine protection kit
*On-board computer installation kit.

Monday, October 30, 2006

07 YZF R1

All-new, light, powerful and packed with trickle-down MotoGP trickery, the YZF-R1 is the most advanced Open-class production motorcycle ever built.

All-new inline four-cylinder engine is the most powerful, tractable R1 powerplant ever, thanks partially to the world’s first electronic variable-length intake funnel system.
The YZF-R1 uses the YCC-T fly-by-wire throttle system for flawless response under all conditions.
Slipper-type back torque-limiting clutch greatly facilitates braking/downshifting from high speed.
All-new aluminum Deltabox frame and swingarm take Open-class handling to the next performance level.
New, six-piston radial-mount front brake calipers and 310mm discs generate the kind of braking power a bike like the new R1 requires.

Short-stroke 998cc DOHC, 16-valve, liquid-cooled inline four- cylinder engine produces more tractable power than ever.
Yamaha Chip Control Throttle controls a 32-bit ECU fuel injection system for super-responsive, smooth, instantaneous power delivery.
Yamaha Chip Control Intake electronically adjusts intake funnel length between either 65 or 140mm for an amazingly broad, smooth powerband.
Two-piece ergonomically designed fuel tank carries fuel in the rear section, for good centralization of mass, while the front half contains a Ram-Air-fed airbox for increased power.
Lay-down design cylinder head optimizes weight distribution, straightens intake tracts for improved cylinder filling, and allows frame to pass over instead of around the engine for great strength and a narrow chassis.
Closed-deck cylinder block increases strength and allows a narrow engine in spite of big, 77mm bores.
Narrow-angle four-valve combustion chambers produce a highly efficient 12.7:1 compression ratio; 31mm titanium intake valves and 25mm exhausts controlled by new, high-lift cams flow plenty of air.
Light and strong nutless connecting rods with fractured big ends produce a quick-revving engine with excellent high-rpm durability.
High silicon-content ceramic-composite cylinder sleeves ensure great heat dissipation for consistent power delivery and reduced friction.
Close-ratio six-speed gearbox with triangulated shaft layout for great strength, compactness, and quicker acceleration.
Ramp-type slipper clutch makes braking from speed into tight corners while downshifting smoother and therefore faster.
Redesigned titanium underseat exhaust system (with stainless steel midpipe and catalyst) provides excellent cornering clearance and a broad, seamless powerband.
13-percent greater radiator capacity and an aluminum liquid-cooled oil cooler maintain stable operating temperature.
Direct ignition coils, dual-electrode spark plugs and high-output magneto deliver extremely accurate, reliable firing.
AC generator behind cylinder block produces a narrow engine with excellent cornering clearance.

An all-new Deltabox frame tuned for optimal flex carries the lay-down four-cylinder stressed-member style, for great handling and efficient aerodynamic penetration.
A new truss-type swingarm is extremely strong and tuned for optimal traction and feedback.
Dual 310mm front disc brakes; new, six-piston radial-mount calipers and Brembo radial-pump front master cylinder with adjustable lever deliver amazing braking power and feel.
Fully adjustable KYB inverted telescopic front fork with 43mm tubes has been revalved to complement other chassis changes.
Piggyback rear shock now offers both high- and low-speed compression adjustability, rebound damping and a new, twist-style spring preload adjuster.
Light, five-spoke wheels enhance acceleration, deceleration, handling and suspension action.
Additional Features:
Redesigned headlights provide great illumination and distinctive style, while the LED taillight is light, bright and highly efficient.
Adjustable LCD illumination and multi-function digital gauges: adjustable shift light, odometer, dual tripmeters, water temperature, air temperature, full-time clock, lap timer and large 15,000 rpm analog tachometer.
New-design fairing with bigger Ram-Air intakes and screwless windscreen provides maximum aerodynamic efficiency and engine performance.
Sticky 120/70-ZR17 and 190/50-ZR17 radial tires for incredible grip and precise handling.
Forged footpegs are extra durable and light.
Extensive use of hollow bolts and lightweight fasteners helps trim overall weight.
8.6 AH battery is compact and light.
Durable #530 O-ring–sealed drive chain.
Standard toolkit located in convenient storage compartment under passenger seat.

Ninja zx10R


Racetrack performance with real-world stability

It didn’t take long for Kawasaki’s original Ninja® ZX™-10R sportbike to earn a reputation for dominating horsepower and excellent handling. The second generation ZX-10R continues that domination, featuring a racetrack-focused chassis and more horsepower than any other open-class supersport. Street riders and backroad enthusiasts will also appreciate the ZX-10R’s solid stability and predictable handling, thanks to its superb engineering.

With excellent mid-range power and a screaming top-end, the ZX-10R’s ability to accelerate out of corners is aided by its linear power delivery and enhanced traction provided by its long swingarm. This makes it easier for riders to capitalize on the ZX-10R’s horsepower advantage.

Designed for the rider who feels at home in racing leathers, the ZX-10R delivers unmatched track performance. A short wheelbase coupled with a long swingarm gives the bike outstanding maneuverability and excellent rear wheel traction. Even more to the liking of experienced racers, the Ninja’s concave tank top and the relationship between pegs, handlebar and seat only magnifies its appropriateness for the track.

The ZX-10R shines in the upper speed ranges, thanks to a fairing, seat cowl, and dual under-seat exhaust system which are designed for slippery aerodynamics and a clean look that sets it apart from its competition.

When arriving at the next corner faster than the competition, the rider needs brakes that are up to the task. Not only does the ZX-10R offer impressive stopping power from its dual floating 300mm petal discs, radial-mount four-pad/four-piston calipers and radial-pump master cylinder; it also provides precise modulation and a consistent feel at the brake lever.

The ZX-10R features an adjustable, race-spec, twin-tube, Öhlins steering damper with relief valve. The twin-tube damper uses the second tube like a reservoir tank to help ensure consistent performance under demanding race conditions.

At its core, the Ninja ZX-10R is a motorcycle built for the accomplished rider who can fully appreciate its capabilities—whether put to the test at a racetrack, or merely the focus of bench-racing conversation. It is, by all standards, the embodiment of the ultimate superbike.

Special Edition

Key Features

- Incredible Power-to-Weight Ratio
- Race-Oriented Performance
- Track-Tuned Handling
- Aggressive Aerodynamic Styling

998cc Four-Cylinder, DOHC Engine
- Very compact, narrow and lightweight design
- The upper crankcase and cylinder are a one-piece casting, which is more than two pounds lighter than using a separate cylinder and offers increased rigidity. A slanted casting process rotates the piece during casting to eliminate imperfections and excess casting material
- Channels in the case mounting surfaces route oil to various parts of the engine, eliminating oil lines and saving weight
- Crank axis, input shaft and output shaft create a stacked triangular layout that reduces engine length and lowers the center of gravity
- Narrow engine design allows excellent ground clearance for 52 degrees of lean angle
- Round (not cam-shaped) throttle pulley provides low throttle resistance and combines with revised ECU mapping to provide linear transitional power characteristics when the rider gets back on the gas coming out of a turn. Ultra-fine atomizing fuel injectors aid combustion efficiency and power output
- Lightweight Denso radiator has tightly packed cores for optimum cooling
- A high-efficiency, liquid-cooled aluminum oil cooler uses specially designed internal fins to dissipate heat and cool the oil

Four-Valve Cylinder Head
- Compact valve train reduces cylinder head height
- Intake ports and coolant passages developed using flow analysis for efficient cylinder filling and more power, and maximum cooling efficiency
- Camshafts are carved from forged chromoly billet, which is more than one-half pound lighter than cast cams. The cams and tappets are treated with soft nitriding to prevent galling and seizing with the aggressive, high lift profiles
- Single valve springs with oval cross sections are light and lower to reduce overall cylinder head height
- Forged sintered aluminum spring retainers are half the weight of steel retainers and allow higher rpm

Forged Pistons
- Forged pistons are lighter, stronger and more heat resistant than cast versions. Flat-top design matches the compact combustion chamber and improves combustion efficiency

Ram Air Induction
- Central ram air duct produces a straighter path to the airbox for maximum intake efficiency and provides the mounting surface for the instrument panel, eliminating brackets and weight
- Flow analysis used to design efficient ducts to the airbox that also prevent water from reaching the air filter
- Compact airbox and air cleaner are highly efficient and contribute to the compact riding position

TCBI Ignition with Digital Advance
- High-speed 32-bit ECU processor provides precise engine management
- Spark plug-mounted ignition coils are compact and help reduce weight

Titanium Exhaust with Butterfly Valve
- All-titanium system provides the ultimate light weight exhaust
- Butterfly valve, located before the exhaust splits to the mufflers, is controlled by rpm, throttle position and gear position to improve low-end response and help smooth overall power. Optimum exhaust tuning is attained at all engine speeds to prevent blowback that can occur with high speed overlapping valve timing

Six-Speed Transmission
- The splines on the transmission shafts are barrel ground so the gears slide smoothly for improved shift action
- Close ratio transmission increases circuit performance
- A back-torque limiting clutch automatically disengages the clutch under hard braking and deceleration to prevent rear wheel hop during corner entry. Optional springs, spring retainers and shims are available to fine-tune the clutch for specific conditions

Aluminum Twin Spar Backbone Frame
- Combination of pressed and cast aluminum components are welded to form the twin-spar backbone-type frame. By combining cast and pressed pieces frame weight is kept to a minimum while still providing high strength and stability with responsive handling
- Twin-spar backbone design provides 600cc class width
- Die-cast, one-piece subframe is strong and light
- Chassis features optimum center of gravity for easy roll response, this is particularly important when riding through a series of esses or returning to vertical as the rider exits a corner

Uni-Trak® Rear Suspension
- Short, compact frame allows the swingarm to be longer, which makes it easier to control rear wheel powerslides
- Rear shock is fully adjustable for preload, compression and rebound damping. Ride height can be adjusted by adding/removing optional 1mm shims at the upper shock mount
- Equipped with top-out spring that allows the rear wheel to better follow the road surface when the rear end is light due to hard braking
- Small piggyback shock reservoir is designed to save weight

43mm Inverted Cartridge Front Fork
- Kayaba 43mm inverted cartridge fork provides exceptional rigidity
- Equipped with top-out springs which allow the front wheel to better follow the road surface when the front end is light due to hard acceleration
- Stiff settings suitable for track use
- Fully adjustable for preload, compression and rebound damping

Aluminum Wheels
- Six-spoke cast aluminum wheels are practically as light as race-specific wheels. The six-spoke design requires much less material between spokes so that rim thickness is thinner and lighter

New 07 z1000


Kawasaki engineers have literally upped the ante in the naked bike arena with the introduction of the newly-redesigned 2007 Z1000. Offering both increased performance and the styling to complement the visceral riding enjoyment it provides, this purpose-built Kawasaki is sure to find a home in the garages of both practical motorcyclists—and those simply seeking a smile-producing weekend ride.

This latest incarnation of the Z1000 features a seriously bulked-up performance capability that is created by refocusing engine and chassis characteristics for serious street riding. With one liter of superbike technology, the Z1000’s boosted engine performance provides greater exhilaration when passing or pulling out of corners. This version of Kawasaki nakedness has been tuned to satisfy the most demanding musclebike riders. Not only will its reconfigured torque measurements provide low-end get-up-and-go, but the increased pull follows through its mid-range, giving the rider extra thrust for conquering most road challenges.

Placing maneuverability at the forefront of the engineering task, Kawasaki has developed a new engine sub-frame and re-engineered chassis rigidity balance to provide truly outstanding feedback, enabling the rider to read and respond to all motorcycle behaviors, in all speed ranges.

Improvements in mass centralization and revised ergonomics have significantly enhanced the synergy between rider and machine. The handlebars of the Z1000 have been positioned closer to the rider, and combined with a slimmer saddle, the result offers a more compact riding position. This, in turn, lets the rider take full advantage of the motorcycle’s greater stability and sharp, nimble, handling characteristics, while making short work of their favorite ribbon of asphalt.

A big increase in the “Fun to Ride” factor is an unavoidable side-effect when you couple a more powerful engine with a more maneuverable chassis. When it comes right down to it, isn’t that what motorcycling is all about?

This particular model—perhaps more than any other—speaks to the intrinsically raw desire of the dedicated motorcyclist. While providing maneuverable, functional transportation in any daily environment, it provides the ability to unleash the fun-seeker in every rider. And it does it with Kawasaki performance and styling characteristics unmatched in the naked bike category.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

2006 Middleweight Supersport Shootout

Honda CBR 600RR : Kawasaki ZX-6R : Suzuki GSX-R600 : Triumph 675 : Yamaha YZF R6

By the MO Staff, April, 2006

Buttonwillow Raceway Park, CA -- Not too big, not too small. Not too slow, not too fast. The middleweight supersport category -- cutting-edge sporting tackle bigger than 500cc and smaller than 750cc -- is a hotly contested category that has grown in popularity since the class's inception in the mid-1980s. Around this time of year, the first robin of spring is drowned out by the howl of 14,000 rpm engines bouncing off the rev limiters as the magazines torture the latest bikes to determine which bike will be the hot ticket for that riding season.

We here at MO have a great love for 600cc machines, as well as a great love of free tracktime, tires and crispy fried foods. So every year we call up the manufacturers, procure trackday
tires, and poach some tracktime from a cooperative trackday organizer. We've done it so many
times now it practically runs itself.

The fly in the ointment was Triumph announcing the potential Jim Thorpe of middleweight sportbikes, the Daytona 675 triple. We figured we could ignore it and do our usual Honda-Kawasaki-Yamaha-Suzuki thing like we've been doing since 1997, but the feedback and buzz on the message boards indicated we would have to somehow get the Triumph to maintain even a shred of dignity and credibility with our attractive and discerning readership.

Triumph wouldn't have one available for us until 2009, and Publisher Sean Alexander had just spent our last $8,999 bailing his manservant Abdul out of county jail yet again, so we couldn't buy one. We put out a frantic call to our readers, and by some miracle, a bike materialized.
We have the 675. We have the new Suzuki GSXR 600. We have the new Yamaha YZF- R6. We also have the Honda CBR600RR and Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R. They have fresh tires, there's a trackday scheduled, and we have enough gas, snacks, lap timers and other implements of destruction to get the job done. Good MOridian, set your phone to "out of office" and hang the "Back In 15 Minutes" sign on your cubicle. It's Supersport Shootout time once again.

Five Bikes, but Only One is Best: The Competitors

Picking contenders for this annual comparison is easy; since the mid-90s, each of the Japanese factories has offered a cutting-edge middleweight sportbike. In 1999, Yamaha upped the ante with their YZF-R6, which offered uncompromising, track-oriented performance and handling. In 2003, Kawasaki fired back with a 636cc machine with very focused ergonomics, and even Honda -- long known for building slightly softer bikes that offered friendly, balanced performance with a CBR600RR, based on their hi-tech MotoGP racer. This year is as exciting as 2003, with the
addition of two all-new machines. The Triumph is the big news, as it signals the abandonment of the English, company's strategy of attempting to compete with the Japanese on their terms. Instead, the 102 year-old marque uses their signature engine configuration --the inline-triple
-- to offer consumers a lighter, slimmer machine with the same top-end hit as a 600cc inline-four and the grunty torque of a middleweight twin.

The other big news is an all-new Yamaha YZF-R6. Lighter, faster and with aggressive styling, the new Yammie boasted a 17,500 rpm redline -- at least until it was discovered that the tachometer was optimistic, reading over 1,000 rpm higher than actual crank speeds. Still, it's a light, fast and potent sporting machine that has some of the most amazing looks we've seen in any sportbike.

As if these two new missiles weren't enough, Suzuki snuck in an all-new GSXR 600 for 2006. It's based on their incredibly versatile and dominating GSXR 1000, which is a blend of speed, comfort and incredible handling prowess. We also can't ignore the Honda and the Kawasaki, which we tested last year. They return for 2006 mostly unchanged, but they are still very good and looking for trouble. It's a motojournalism cliché to say they are all excellent bikes, but the level of competition in this class makes this a true statement. How do we determine which one is best?

Who Ordered Rain? The Test

To figure out which bike is best, we have to actually ride all the bikes. Poor us. Lining up the four Japanese bikes was fairly easy, but Triumph wasn't as forthcoming about pooping a 675 on command. "We'll put your name on the list and let you know when it's available" they said, and judging by the 14-month wait we had for the Rocket III, we'd rather not hold our breath.
So we put out an all-points bulletin for a MO reader with a 675 we could flog. We got many
responses from all over the country, but we settled on loyal MO reader Ole (say "ol'-ee")
Holter of Long Beach, CA, a piston's throw away from MO's Torrance headquarters. In exchange for the use of his shiny new 675 for a couple of days, we gave him a measly two sets of $300 tires, lodging, meals, a trackday, free racetrack coaching, two dyno runs and all the gas he could burn. What a sucker!

Pirelli launches the Diablo Corsa, the first tire with the revolutionary MIRS™ technology

Pirelli creates their latest tire without the use of those bothersome "humans." Sounding similar but completely unrelated to the dated Russian space station, MIRS ( Modular Integrated Robotized System) developed by Pirelli R&D, is now utilized in Pirelli's production of their Diablo Corsa. The strength of this process is in "allowing the construction of a one-piece seamless cover, the new production method provides users with a tire whose qualitative standards are on a
different plane than those obtained via the traditional process: absolute structural uniformity, no vibration or tire imbalance, and maximum comfort in road use." Pirelli also touts the "uniformity guaranteed by MIRS™ that permitted Pirelli engineers to develop the unique mix of compounds that render the tire suitable for use on the track." he end result of all this tech is to offer riders who "use their Supersport bikes more for trackdays (70%) than on the road (30%)" faster riding enjoyment, peace of mind in all weather conditions and racetrack performance. An additional feature of the latest radial member of the Diablo family is a tire that is perfectly matched
in motion to it's mate because the tire's profile always keeps the most suitable shape thanks to Pirelli's ICS (Ideal Contour Shaping) design and 0 degree steel belt construction. Imagine, all that from some soul-less robot.

Tread pattern plays an important role, with the front tire being "assigned the task to 'attack' water layers to clean the asphalt", thereby leaving what water is left in the path of the rear tire
to be dispersed even further by way of transversal grooves between the center and shoulder sections of the tire with the remaining area being slick so as to be tractable and stable.
Man, those robots sure know how to make one heck of a tire.

With five bikes procured, we needed to level the playing field by putting equal, track-ready tires on them. A call to Pirelli sent a couple of pallets of Diablo Corsas to spoon on. The Corsa is a step up from the regular Diablo, offering more grip and a carcass better suited to track use, yet that is still suitable for street riding in all kinds of weather conditions; this last feature was to be useful later in the test. Ole himself turned out to also be a useful resource, because not only did he provide a spare rider to help with the test (motojournalist and author of 101 Sportbike Performance Projects Evans Brasfield had to cancel), but he also mapped a route for us to Buttonwillow Raceway for the racetrack testing. The route went through some of the
most spectacular roads in Southern California, with almost no Interstate involved. We started
near Glendale at the Angeles Crest Highway and worked our way over to Lancaster, where we
took flat, empty and wind-blown Highway 138 to I-5. After watching Publisher Sean "Editor
Emeritus" Alexander consume a 1.5 pound chimichanga in a horrifying, anaconda-like manner at a very tasty Mexican restaurant, we headed in a top-secret direction on one of the most excellent roads we've seen to do our photo passes and enjoy the handling and motor of the
best sportbikes made. The road is so good, MOridians, that we will not reveal, even under
torture, the name or location of the road.

Sadly, the weather Gods did not smile on us, lightly sprinkling us with rain for the remainder of the test. We stayed dry enough to enjoy some more high-speed hijinks on another top-secret road near the racetrack, and then retired to the palatial (compared to some other Buttonwillow area motels) Buttonwillow Inn and Suites after a traditional charred large-mammal dinner at the Willow Ranch barbecue. The next morning it was off to Buttonwillow Raceway for the racetrack evaluation. Composed of 14 twists and turns, Buttonwillow is already a technical challenge that highlights a machine's suspension and responsiveness.

Trackday organizer Ti2TT decided, after getting strong customer demand, to run the full
course backwards, in a counter-clockwise direction for more fun and challenge. Now exits would become entrances, increasing radii turns would be decreasing ones, and apex would be in the wrong place. If there was a place that flexible, easy-to-ride and forgiving characteristics of a bike would shine, this was it.

Did I forget to mention the forecast for rain?

Fortunately, we did not have to go it alone. Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki all sent their tech support staff to keep their bikes clean, fueled and perfectly tuned for each rider's preferences, and the Suzuki and Triumph had their suspenders dialed in by the very competent hands of Dave Moss of Catalyst Reaction suspension.

The Riders

Ole Holton
195 lbs, 6'3", 42 yrs, Favorite Fried Food: Clam Strips
An electrical engineer for a large corporation that builds expensive and destructive machines for the government, Ole (say "Ol-ee") was a natural to test expensive and destructive motorcycles for us. He has been riding motorcycles for 16 years and is the proud owner of the grey 675 we used in the test. He stood up to Sean's withering torrent of foul jokes and alpha-male posturing with flying colors and rode a passel of unfamiliar motorcycles with confidence and verve on our test. He is currently building a death-ray to attach to Ashley's RV.

Eric Putter
150 Pounds, 5'6", 41 years old,
Favorite Fried Food: Crispy Power Bar
We also enlisted the throttle-twisting services of Eric Putter, a 20-year veteran motojournalist. He's a former 600 owner and racer who is now an unabashed open-class streetbike devotee. He currently rides a lightly modded Yamaha FZ1 and is in the market for a middleweight track-day steed to offset his diminutive Honda NSR50 race bike. He attended the R6's press introduction and
recently spent a day riding all of this year's open-class sportbikes.

Mike Goff
152 lbs., 5' 7", 48 years old, Favorite
Fried Food: Sashimi
Remarkable for not eating land animals and being married to a former Mouseketeer, (Mary) Mike (also an engineer for an aerospace firm) proved his mettle by riding in wet leathers over the 4100-foot Tejon Pass in the rain and then eating a large and greasy In-n-Out cheeseburger at Sean's urging. He's a true enthusiast with 18 years of riding under his belt and over 60,000 miles on his 1998 CBR 900RR as well as odd tastes in motorcycling footwear.

"Editor Emeritus" Alexander: 225 pounds, 6'2", 37 years old,
Favorite Fried Food: Lots of it.
Pugnacious, gracious, tenacious and with the innate fashion sense of a Mexican Soap Opera star, Dirty finishes up his tenure here at MO with this shootout. He is known throughout the industry for having a flawless moral sense, an incredible knowledge of anything and everything with a motor, and being incredibly filthy-minded, with nothing off-limits to his foul and offensive sense of humor.

Sean is also wicked fast on the track or street and can go faster then most mortals while riding one-handed. He will be sorely missed by all of us here at MO who don't offend easily. Editor Ets-Hokin has spent the last four days sitting outside Sean's office, waiting for him to take him to lunch. We don't have the heart to tell him he's not coming back.

Gabe "Are We There Yet" Ets-Hokin
157 pounds, 5'6",
Favorite Fried Food: Please, no more.
Woody Allen once said, "90% of success is just showing up." To prove that true, Gabe stuck through 14 months of almost daily abuse from MO's executive power structure to move to the front of the line and become the Editor when Dirty left the building.

More than qualified to plan, execute and write content for MO, Gabe is an AFM expert roadracer and former trackday coach who still can't wheelie on command. He is, however, furry, warm and easy to subdue, characteristics that make him popular on long road trips.

After a trackday that was disrupted by an afternoon rainshower, we packed up MOvan, connected electric vests, and got on I-5 for a chilly, rain-soaked 150-mile trip back to the office. The next day, we commenced to put the bikes on the MO DynoJet Dynamometer and hash out our votes. As always, votes are based on the 100 percent subjective impressions of our five
testers. We ask ourselves which of these bikes we'd want to own if we happened upon the necessary cash for the asking price of each one. We then tallied the votes and turned in our notes and impressions. One week later, the finished story is presented for your enlightenment.

Fifth Place: Suzuki GSXR 600

If you're a club racer, you probably ride a Suzuki. The Blue Team's products are so balanced, so race-ready, that even a lowly commuter tool like the SV650 is on almost every club-racing grid in the United States. So it surprised us when the fabulous, all-new GSXR 600 came in last place.
If you're looking for a ride to show off on, the GSXR shows itself off pretty well. The styling is aggressive and balanced, with some futuristic touches like the exposed engine cases, built-in
turnsignals in the rear and tucked-in rear fender.

We all liked the electric-blue treatment on the wheels; Ole called it "absolutely gorgeous" and liked the way it made the wheels stand out. Sean said the bike was "an absolute stunner in direct
sunlight." Mike was a little less appreciative, saying that the instrument display "just looked
exceptionally cheap" and that the long shift linkage looked like an afterthought. However, nobody could deny the bike has a compact, aggressive look that sums up what a 600-class
sportbike should be.

Slipping aboard, we all noticed a very tight riding position. The bars seem lower than the larger GSXR's, and the pegs a bit higher, too, although they are adjustable for three positions over a 14 mm range, a classy and welcome touch. Eric noted that even if it did feel "like it had a "sit-in"
(instead of "sit on top" feel), the short-tanked GSX-R felt best... [it's] the most oddly comfortable of the lot." Gabe also liked the cramped quarters, noting it felt comfortable and familiar on the track, the way GSXRs often do. Tall guys might not agree with our more dainty testers; Ole complained that "for riding long distances, the GSXR6 is the worst of this bunch". However, nobody buys these things to tour on (unless they are masochistic or jockeys, or both) and we mostly agreed that the difference in comfort levels between the bikes was negligible.
What we do buy middleweight sportbikes for is that precision-engineered, high-rpm kick-in-the-ass we love from these little screamers, and the GSXR has it. We all noticed the soft low- and top-end power from this motor, with Sean calling it "a bit lacking" in the power department and Eric noting he was "dropping down into first and second on the Suzuki where I was in second and third on the Triumph."

The rest of the testers found the power delivery somewhat bland, contributing to the overall average feel of the bike. The gearbox is typical Suzuki-good, with a short throw and positive, smooth action; Eric stated "as always, the GSX-R wins the slick-tranny award". Only Mike noted slight difficulties getting into first or neutral without feeding a bit of throttle.

Overall, as a street motor, the GSXR is probably the weakest, even if it is tied for most horsepower with the Yamaha R6 at 111.3. Unfortunately, it makes that power at rpms that most riders never use at a street-riding pace.

We might not have been too impressed by the motor, but we liked the handling. The GSXR, although it might have a "screaming, head-banging, mosh-pit kind of" reputation, according to Ole, is a pussycat in the handling department. Even though Sean found it "not as plush" as the other bikes, the suspension and chassis are very well set up, making everyone confident and comfortable in most sorts of turning situations, whether making U-turns for photo passes or 100 mph, knee-down racetrack turns. The brakes are great, too, with all the power and sensitivity you'd expect from this kind of brake arrangementut.

Like the motor, where the chassis on the GSXR really shines is on the racetrack. The harder you push it, the better it feels, which some of our testers liked and others didn't. Ole said that "it felt like I had to work at it a bit more to get the best out of it", but Gabe and Eric turned in some of their best times on the GSXR; it seems to reward aggressive, wild antics on the track. "You can just rail on that thing" said Eric, breathless and wild-eyed after his first session on it, and Sean relished how it allowed him to "dance around the apex while carrying excellent corner speed."

It's a well-engineeredbike that allows a good rider to become better the faster he goes but lacks the character a less experienced rider might notice on the track. The GSXR finishing last illuminates what a tightly-contested class this is. It's really outstanding in its own right and would make any owner ecstatic, especially if they lived at the base of Latigo Canyon or right outside Mid-Ohio Sportscar Track. The GSXR is an incredible bike but is probably too track-oriented to really be considered better overall than the other machines here. The 675 and 636 have better motors, the R6 is sharper handling, and the 600RR edges out the Suzuki with its refinement and balance. However, a racer or serious trackday rider -- especially if she's a Suzuki fan -- would be foolish to discount this bike on the basis of its position in some
magazine shootout written by five idiots. We think this is a winning bike, Suzuki,
just not in this test.

2006 Suzuki GSXR 600 Tech Briefing

Suzuki must have been busy for the 20th anniversary of the US introduction of their mind-bending, earth-shattering GSXR sportbikes. They revamped their 1000 last year, and
blew the minds of motojournalists everywhere with what might be the best sportbike ever
made. Unfortunately, their 600cc tool was getting a bit long in the tooth and wasn't getting
the attention and respect they felt it deserved.

The solution is the all-new 2006 GSXR 600. The fellas from Hamamatsu started with a
similar frame as the 1000, with just five cast sections for maximum rigidity and minimum
weight. It's mated to a swingarm that's boasts a 25mm larger swingarm mount and measures 38mm longer for better traction and suspension action.

Overall, chassis dimensions are smaller and more compact, with revised rake and trail figures.
Hanging out in that frame is an all-new motor, smaller and more powerful than before. The crankshaft and transmission is designed to be smaller and more compact, (although the crank is 16 percent heavier to "add traction during cornering") and the whole assembly is rotated forward in the frame for better mass centralization. An all-new back-torque limiting clutch is also new for 2006. Brakes are still twin four-piston, radial-mounted calipers, but they now grip 310 mm discs. The rear caliper is now lighter as well. Forks are 41 mm and adjustable for preload, damping and rebound, and the rear shock sports a "16mm larger rod", according to Suzuki's website. It must be getting the same spam we are.

Other features include a new instrument cluster with a gear position indicator, all-new aerodynamic bodywork, super-light aluminum alloy wheels, a bigger, trapezoidal radiator
and some very cool, adjustable footpegs that every sportbike should have. The whole package weighs in the same as last year's bike at 355 pounds and sells for $500 at $8,799. It's available in four colors: red, blue, black and grey.

Fourth Place: Honda CBR 600RR
How can a bike this refined, this well-balanced, this exquisitely well-crafted come in fourth place in this shootout? The competition is really tough, but how can Honda, with R and D resources like the Pentagon's not beat the smaller upstarts? This is a bike that is nearing the end of a four-year life cycle, eons in middleweight sportbike years. However, we've always really liked it. Gabe and Sean both picked it as their favorite track bike in our 2005 comparison test, so it doesn't lack in handling prowess. So why didn't it win? None of us had any complaintsabout the styling. The aggressive, RC-211V- inspired bodywork looks great, and the center-up exhaust set
the standard for trick, even if it does reduce under-seat stowage to almost zero. Overall, the styling is as polished and finished as the rest of the bike is.

On board, the bike fires up smoothly and easily, with an electric-smooth feel from blipping the throttle. The motor is eerily smooth on this thing, as is its bigger brother, the 1000RR. The gearbox is also faultless, with a feeling like you are clicking the knobs on an expensive piece of medical equipment as you row through the gearbox. The fuel injection is the best, "combining great accuracy with smooth delivery", according to Dirty, who knows a thing or two about injection. Comfort and day-to-day living with this bike is pretty run-of-the-mill for a middleweight sportbike. The bars are low, the pegs are high, and the seat is hard. "No part of
the Honda's ergonomic layout stood out", according to Eric, but Gabe didn't find the comfort level as objectionable as he thought he would. Around town, the push-up body position can
be painful for extended periods if you're not going fast enough for the wind to prop you up;
again, that's to be expected in this company. We're not on sport tourers here.

What this bike is built to do is deliver confident, effortless handling under all kinds of riding conditions, and it has that in spades. Every one of us noted how easy the Honda is to ride fast, and how well-built it feels. Whether Ole was on the street or track, he reported it was "totally effortless and easy to go very fast" on the little red bike. Eric said the Honda spoke to him "in all the right ways. It has an electric-smooth powerband, flicks easily, is super-stable and the chassis gives great feedback." Even Sean, demanding an expert that he is, praised the RR for feeling
like it was "carved from billet."

Braking and suspension action are top-notch as well. The big brakes deliver outstanding feel and response from one or two fingers, and the unit pro-link rear suspension is as precise and well-balanced as the rest of the bike is. It all adds up to what Mike called a "well balanced, almost reassuring" feeling.

The brilliance of the CBR is the way it can inspire confidence on the track, and we all liked its racetrack performance. Ole said "on the track, the 600RR was totally effortless and easy to go very fast on", and Sean maintains that it "plasters a grin across your face as soon as you roll it out of pit lane. No other machine can combine this much racetrack prowess with a friendly a nature like the CBR." Like the GSXR, this is a good choice for those who want an incredibly
competent chassis to build their cornering skills in a controlled environment.

However, that competence is marginalized by what we all thought was a soft or characterless motor. Gabe loved the smoothness, but even Mike, with the least track experience, complained of having to downshift more often to pass or gather a head of steam. On the dyno, the RR puts seven less hp on the ground than the top middleweights, with not much on tap below 8,000 rpm. Eric Putter wryly complained of having to ride the "low-power version" of the Honda and was reminded that "these damn 600s are weaklings; the CBR the weakest of the weaklings", but was happy to spend his first two track sessions on the "mellowest bike of the group". It seems tough to nit-pick the Honda over seven horsepower, but in this kind of competition, that's a large gap,
especially compared to the R6's monster top-end rush and the Triumph and Kawasaki's mid-range stomp. Anybody who buys a Honda will not be disappointed, for sure. It's an incredible-handling, balanced bike that has enough power to win races with a competent rider aboard, but on the street, most riders will notice a comparable lack of power. Great handling and quality feel isn't enough alone to get top billing in this test; the Honda was close to tying the next two bikes, but close only counts for horseshoes and hand grenades. For $8,999, the same price as the much more-exciting 675 and just $200 less than the explosive and dripping-with-technology R6, Big Red doesn't offer enough of a value to top the list here. To quote the Soup Nazi: Next!

Two-way Tie for Second: Yamaha YZF-R6 and Kawasaki ZX-6R

What is interesting about this two-way tie (and we rarely tie here at MO; a first-place tie will result in the senior editor casting a tie-breaking special vote) is how different these two bikes are. Both machines make similar horsepower and weigh almost the same, but they take different approaches to how they get deliver riding goodness.

We covered the Kawasaki 636 in last year's shootout, and it took second place last year as
well. It's a balanced, comfortable bike that has a stomping mid-range hit; whether you think
adding 36 cc of displacement to get that stomp is cheating is beside the point.

Styling is just OK; we don't think it has the same visual impact of the 2003-2004 ZX-6R.
It's more bulky and burly than the other bikes, with little to distinguish it visually from the
ZX-10R. The tail-mounted exhaust looks great but reduces underseat storage. In the cockpit
waits that same crazy bar-graph tachometer that has been replaced in the ZX-10R. Eric
complained "with all the ZX-6R's horsepower fighting for my attention, that tach is a terrible joke." Almost everybody griped about it, and all we can say is that the 636 has enough midrange
so you don't really need to look at your tach. However, there's also a lap timer and a programmable shift light, which classes up the instruments package to an acceptable level.
Once in the saddle, you can notice how comfortable and plush it is, which belies the less-comfortable low bars and high pegs. Sean declared that "on the street, the Kawasaki's cushy seat is compromised by what seems like too long of a reach to the bars." Gabe spent a few days
cruising around the LA basin on the 636 and thought the comfort was totally acceptable, as long
as you don't spend too many hours in the seat and you keep moving fast enough to keep the
weight off your wrists and lower back with the wind blast. Mike noted the 636 "felt bulky and
heavy compared to the other 600s, even though I know it weighs about the same", and Eric agreed; "With its wide tank, the Kawasaki felt like the biggest of the group -- and this wasn't a bad thing on the street." Some of us don't want a bike so tiny it disappears; the Kawi has a substantial, comfortable presence, making it a good street ride. Ole even went so far as to say that "If I was choosing a middleweight with the expectation of doing repeated 500-1000 mile days, I'd choosethe 636."

What helps is that motor. With 108.6 hp and as much torque as the Triumph's 675 cc triple, this is the bike for the lazy middleweight pilots among us. The midrange -- fatter on the dyno chart than the 675's -- lets you leave it in a higher gear than some of the more peaky bikes. Gabe noticed carrying two gears higher in some turns at Buttonwillow, and Eric liked the "killer midrange pull". Still, how that midrange feels is subjective, and Ole thought it still felt "like just another 600cc (or so) inline four." 675 ownership makes one jaded, apparently.

You can't hide from that famous Kawasaki intake shriek. Dirty said "this new bike seems a bit louder than last year and there's a mischievous note to it throughout the mid range." It sounds so good you want to ride in that higher rev range all the time, but the "vibration in the tank and
seat from 7,000 to 10,000 rpm" was noticeable to Eric, which might put a damper on listening
to that music as much as you'd like.

We don't buy bikes to listen to (or do we?), so how is the 636 in the handling department? Like
the Honda, the Kawasaki makes the rider feel at home much of the time with precise, yet stable
handling. Mike noted the bike felt stable leaned over, yet quick to steer. Sean thinks he might
have set his fastest times on the green machine if our track day hadn't been rained out. Gabe appreciated the balanced and neutral feel the bike had; that high comfort factor goes a long way
towards making you faster in the twisties as well as making long commutes tolerable.

On the track, the meaty powerband, balanced handling and comfortable feel made it a favorite bike for many of our testers, although Eric said it "offers less chassis feedback than some of the sharper tools in this pack", even though it was setup well for trackdays. This could be a perception caused by the larger, wider feel this bike has. Brakes and suspension are top notch, and the slightly shorter front tire profile (a 120/65-17 rather than the 120/70-17 the other bikes use) didn't cause any noticeable handling issues.

That's the Kawi; a solid, dependable, comfortable bike that also has pretensions of being a "headbanging rocker which would make you want to grab the shotgun and a couple of Molotov Cocktails and have a little fun", according to Ole. However, it's anything but. Instead, you get a good all-around mount that can still carve it up at a trackday or win a club race or two. And even if it does have all the power and torque the 675 does on paper -- and much more midrange than the R6 -- it still doesn't stand out enough to overcome that big, heavy feel. What do you expect from a company that calls itself "Heavy Industries"? Still, the 636 is a terrific bike that would make most riders happy for a long time, as long as they haven't ridden a 675 or an R6. "I
was just about to sign the check for a 636" said Ole. "Now, I'm glad I didn't."

For $8,699, this bike is a value compared to some of the other bikes and a solid performer. Second place two years in a row is impressive in this company; well done Kawasaki.

Tied for Second: Yamaha YZF-R6
It's nice to see a love it or hate it kind of bike in a class dominated by carefully engineered machines with differences measured in tenths. This newest R6, the third total redesign since 1999, is an extreme bike, one that elicits strong reactions. Styling-wise we think the
Yamaha people have hit it out of the park, maybe even the parking lot outside the park as
well. Every part on this bike was designed to be aggressive-looking and purposeful, from the big
aerodynamic wings on the fairing to the teeny little tail section that will frustrate racers
looking for real estate for their numbers or sponsorship stickers. The little stub of an exhaust pipe is very MotoGP, and kudos to the stylists for not jumping on the done-to-death undertail exhaust bandwagon. Our test unit was dressed to kill in its Yamaha 50th anniversary gold
and black paint scheme, which makes grown men weep with joy when viewed in sunlight.

On board, our riders noted a very compact seating position, with bars and pegs close to the seat. Surprisingly, it wasn't too uncomfortable; Sean called it "quite comfortable on the street", but Gabe found the seat's comfort lacking after he rode it back to Torrance after our trackday was done. He made it in one (tired) piece, but not without some judicious complaining; "my ass hasn't been this sore since my first night at MO!" It's no tourer, but there are less comfortable bikes out there. What makes the R6 exceptional, aside from its cutting-edge styling, is an incredible
motor. It makes 111 hp at the rear wheel, with a genuine 600 cc of displacement and no tuning tricks. What's the catch? This power comes on like a light switch; Sean described it as "almost two-stroke like with its distaste for low revs and an explosive upper-RPM hit." Gabe almost pooped himself when he went to pass a pesky B group slowpoke on the racetrack by clicking down two gears in the smooth, flawless gearbox and twisting the throttle hard exciting a turn. The bike jumped forward and shot past a clump of riders so fast he thought he was crashing. "It leaps out of corners and screams its way downrange just like a real race bike" according to Sean, all the while making delicious high-rpm wailing sounds that cause sterility in migrating birds and make property values plummet 15 miles away.

Maybe 17,500 rpm was a figment of Yamaha's PR hacks, but our MO Dynojet Dyno did record power at 16,000 rpm, although peak power comes on at just a little over 14,000. Still, at 10,500 rpm it's pumping out close to 90 hp and keeps it up until Mr. Rev Limiter growls "lights out!" and shuts it down at 16,000. That's a 5,500 rpm-wide powerband, hardly what we'd call "peaky" if it was any other bike. "I felt comfortable keeping the engine revving above 10,000 rpm" said Mike. "In doing so, the bike felt fast and the engine just shrieked." That's the idea; keep it over 10 grand and let the fun begin. On the street, that means Mr. Toad's wild ride, wheelieing off the corners and accelerating the 357 pound (claimed) critter like a cinder block
dropped off an overpass. "When ridden in its sweet spot, the R6 flat-out ripped!"gushes Eric.
Handling is similar to the motor's character; manic yet precise and effective when utilized correctly. The forward-biased chassis and lack of a steering damper made the bike feel a little unsettled when pushed a bit; Eric claimed he could get the R6 to "wag its tail easily" on the track, and Mike thought the handling was "very sharp, maybe sharper than the Triumph." Gabe noted headshake under even mild racetrack conditions, and a chassis very sensitive to input or suspension tuning. If this is your first sportbike, we just hope you know what you're doing. If you have any doubts about your tuning or riding abilities, get the lower-spec R6S: it's a fantastic bike that is forgiving and a lot less expensive, yet almost as fast. The new R6 is as ground-breaking and controversial as the original. It's a unique bike with incredible charisma and presence. It "makes the greatest sounds in all of sportbiking", according to Eric, and Ole liked the "delicious and sublime" handling and chassis. However, it is clearly harder to ride than the other bikes and designed for hard-core trackday enthusiasts and racers; "If you're a racer looking for a middleweight track weapon, look no further" says Sean.

The Pink One also said "it's a hell of a bike... and it should be, considering how much Yamaha charges for it." $9,199 ($9,299 for Raven and $9,499 for the 50th anniversary paint) is a lot of money for a 600, but it's a lot of 600 for your money, and one that should safely stay on the leading edge for several years. Will Honda orKawasaki be able to top it next year?

Yamaha YZF R6 Tech Brief

Seven years ago, the first YZF-R6 screamed out of its mother's womb, making a huge impact on the middleweight sportbike scene with an amazing combination of light weight, free-revving horsepower and razor-sharp handling. Yamaha set themselves a very high bar of being
the leader in 600 cc sportbikes, but the last iteration of the R6, though a sweet-handling and comfortable ride, was a little behind the curve when it came to power. Yamaha entered 2006 with guns blazing. The all-new 2006 YZF-R6 offers sharpened power, handling and boasts a 17,500 rpm redline. Yes, we know the 17,500 claim is bogus, the result of an over-excited PR
department not checking their voicemail frequently enough. It still has an incredible motor and great chassis.

The motor is completely redesigned, with several firsts for Yamaha. The 16-valve, liquid cooled motor uses titanium valves and 67 mm pistons working in a 42.5 mm bore compressing fuel and air to a 12.8:1 mixture. The clutch and gearbox is all new as well, with a super-tall, 80 mph first gear and slipper clutch for maximum racetrack performance. Fuel injection (with digital engine management, of course) is controlled by an all-new fly-by-wire system for precise control. The result is 111 hp on our Dynojet Dyno at just under 14,500rpm.

The chassis is also new, of course. The GP-inspired Deltabox frame and swingarm are much more rigid in all directions than the old frame, and it's constructed of a combo of plates and castings to create what Yamaha calls a "straight connection layout." The swingarm pivot is also moved 20mm, and all the changes result in a 5 mm shorter wheelbase and sharper, steeper steering geometry. However, there's still no steering damper.

The suspension is as serious as the rest of the bike. The 41 mm inverted forks have separate high and low-speed damping circuits, as does the rear shock. Since most sportriders don't know enough to even set their spring sag, Yamaha's message is clear: they are catering to very serious racers and trackday enthusiasts. Brakes are similarly serious, with radial-mounted, monoblock calipers grabbing 310 mm floating discs. The whole package weighs in at 357 pounds dry, (claimed) just a couple of pounds lighter than last year's model. However, those two pounds come at a steep price; the 2006 YZF-R6 rings up at an MSRP of $9,199, a cool grand more than the old bike. That might be immaterial; Yamaha is going to bring in a limited number of these bikes anyway (motojourno old hand Eric Putter thinks less than 1,000 total). However, the old model will still be available as the YZF-R6S, with standard forks and brakes for just $8,199.

The Winner: Triumph Daytona 675

Do you remember all the hype for the Jerry Bruckheimer production of "Pearl Harbor"? It seems the more something is hyped, the more it actually sucks. Fortunately, motorcycles frequently measure up to the hyperbole, and here's a good example. Triumph's sportbikes, especially 600-size, tend to be overweight and underpowered, if excellent handling. So when they announced this three-cylinder 675cc wunderkind, we were skeptical. Would they really offer class-leading power and be able to wrap it in a sweet-handling, lightweight chassis? And sell it all for a reasonable price? We braced ourselves for another Triumph-sized disappointment, but we were spared. Instead, we started hearing from the early ride and introduction reports that this thing really was all that. This was good and bad. Good because a good motorcycle is always a good thing in general, but bad because we knew there was no way we would get one to test against the other middleweights, and no amount of intellectualizing would explain away the lack of this bike in our test to our fiendishly discerning and demanding readership. Fortunately for us, reader Ole Colton came through with a lightly-used, bone stock (we had to switch the off-road canister--which adds exactly one horsepower--for the stock exhaust) example for us to use, so we can tell you how it measures up. One glance at the bike tells you it's something different. The styling is a combination of 80's sharp lines and 90's curves that results in a mature yet aggressive look that stands out in this pack. Eric said it had "more gorgeous, swoopy lines than a Lotus Elise", and Mike just called it "beautiful to look at." The high tailsection looks a bit insectoid, but that high seat helps taller riders with comfort, too.

The bike is dripping with sweet details. There's a cast, bolt-on subframe, gold-anodized forks,
solo seat cowl, easily-detachable license plate bracket, and a cool three-outlet exhaust can. The
instruments, housed in what Eric called a "beautiful and elegant" dash are as comprehensive as it gets, with a gear indicator (ironic, as this is the bike that least needs an indicator), lap
timer, shift light (that flashes a series of three blue LEDs at you as you near the limit) and MPG
calculator. Gabe and Eric complained about the MPH readout being too small, but you can set the clock to display the time in Big Ben-sized numbers in case you leave your glasses at home, grandpa. Hopping on, shorter riders like Gabe, Eric and Mike can still just about get their feet
flat, thanks to an incredibly narrow cross section. It's so slim at the waist you can practically touch your heels together under the bike. The frontal profile is noticeably smaller than the other bikes, and the low bars and cut-outs on the top triple clamp contribute to the feeling of compact lightness. It "felt a little weird because of its tall, stinkbug stance" to Eric, but Sean thought "it was perfectly comfortable for the couple hundred of street miles we covered." Gabe and Mike loved the narrow tank; this is a tiny-feeling, yet comfortable bike.

The motor fires up easily, and aside from a fuel injection stumble at about 1,500 rpm, pulls easily and cleanly to the 13,000 rpm rev limit we saw on our Dynojet Dyno. The torque
curve is remarkable, getting near 40 foot-pounds at just 4,000 rpm and staying ironing board-flat all the way to redline. This flexible, torquey, free-revving and powerful mill is the heart of this bike's appeal, and we think it's one of the best middleweight motors we've experienced. Eric noted a slightly notchy gearbox, but he thinks it will improve with time, like other Hinkley-produced transmissions.

Possibly the best part of it all is the incredible sound the 675 makes when it's wound out. Here's what the peanut gallery had to say: Ole: "Oh my God I love triples. The sound that this bike makes between 6000 and 12000 rpms is one of the sweetest sounds I've ever heard."
Sean: "That beautiful howl makes me ride like even more of an idiot than usual --good bye license."

Mike: "The engine is just awesome; awesome torque, awesome sound, awesome pull -- I want one!"

Gabe: "The sound is so incredible that I was actually caught myself singing along
with it in my helmet; does Triumph make a disc of triple music for my Karaoke machine?"

Hey, the Rocket III has a great motor, too, but we didn't like the bike overall. How good is the chassis? Does it measure up to a great motor? You bet. The 675 doesn't handle like the other boys, but it neatly matches the triple's quick-revving, nimble character. With its forward weight bias and that ass-high back end, the bike feels like it has "unbelievably light steering", according to Mike. Eric had no trouble getting accustomed to the bike quickly on the track and set his fastest laps on it. Ole likes the way it's "totally effortless and highly comfortable to go very
fast [on] while feeling like you have a huge amount in reserve."

As a package, track or street, the Triumph is fun, exciting and effortless to ride. It has light steering, a free-revving, powerful-feeling motor, outstanding brakes, and supple, well-controlled
suspension. Expert and not-so-expert riders alike loved the bike, and in fact we all picked it as the bike we'd like to own. Sean made serious sounds towards owning one, and Gabe swears he'll buy the naked version if (when!) it comes out. Ole and Sean noticed vibration; the rear motor mount is very close to the rider's footpeg, but because you can keep the bike on the boil at much lower rpm, the rest of the crew didn't really notice (or shut up about it if they did). The other little nit pick is the way the high tail section slopes the seat into the tank; Ole recommends gripping the tank tightly with your knees at low speeds.

What's the catch? We don't think there is one. Triumph has pulled off a real coup here. The 675 is great-looking, sweet-handling, and very fast for a middleweight. It's also surprisingly novice-friendly and easy to ride, with the flexible motor and forgiving, yet precise chassis letting you focus on your riding, whether you are on the street or on the track. It's even priced reasonably at just $8,999, cheap compared to an MV Agusta Brutale or Ducati 749. After years of struggling to compete with the Japanese factories following the rules, Triumph wrote their own so they could win. The result works well and will be a strong contender for Bike of the Year.
Congraulations, Triumph.

Triumph Daytona 675 Tech Briefing

The bike we've been wishing Triumph would make for a long time, the 675 uses a lot of cutting-edge technology to give us a bike that will beat the giant Japanese factories. The heart is an incredibly compact, liquid-cooled 12-valve three-cylinder motor. The pistons are jumbo-sized, with a 74 mm bore and 52.3 mm stroke. The compression ratio is a sporty 12.65:1 and fueling duties are handled by a multipoint sequential electronic fuel injection system managed by an inductive digital ignition and an electronic engine management system. Triumph claims 123 hp at the crank, numbers right in line with our reading of 108 hp at the back wheel on
the MO Dynojet Dyno. The chassis is also innovative, with the extruded aluminum frame spars
arching over the motor to give it a slender, compact feel. The wheelbase is a stubby 54.8 inches and the chassis geometry is fashionably aggressive with 23.5 degrees of rake and 86.8 mm of trail. Suspension is handled by a pair of gold-anodized 41 mm inverted forks, adjustable for
preload, rebound and compression damping. The rear shock works through a linkage and is also three-way adjustable. It also has a ride-height adjuster, if you can scrounge the right sized washers and don't mind taking the shock out to adjust it. Brakes are radial-mount four-piston calipers and 308 mm free-floating discs. The bike is topped off with swoopy, modern-looking bodywork and an all-steel tank, a welcome thing if you've got a tankbag. The instrument panel is loaded with features, but there is no anti-theft system built into the ignition. With a price of just $8,999, the Triumph is priced right in line with its Asian competitors. Will Triumph devastate the Japanese automotive industry, leaving Japan as deserted and depressed as England's Industrial Midlands in the 1970s and '80s? We doubt it, but this is an exciting product from a company that has enjoyed more success than failure in recent years, and should boost their fortunes even more.

Conclusion: The Junior High School Track Meet
Oftentimes when we do a comparison test, at least one bike is a real stinker, but no bike stands out as a clear winner. Here, it's even tougher. Although the 675 was the clear winner, all the other bikes were incredibly good and we really liked them all; Sean said if he picked a random
key out of a hat he'd be happy with whatever he got. So, in the spirit of the Junior High School Track Meet, where nobody goes home without a ribbon, we present five first prizes.

Best bike for Serious Racers: The GSXR. It's got serious features and great contingency
support from Suzuki, and is well supported by the aftermarket and shares DNA with two other
Suzuki models, making bodywork and other parts easier to find used. The top-weighted powerband and durable design is suited for heavy track use, as is the compact, focused riding

Notes from the Test
Observed Fuel Economy on Street ride: Honda 33.3 MPG, Suzuki 36.1 MPG, Kawasaki 36.9 MPG, Yamaha 32.8 MPG, Triumph 34.4 MPG Preload Adjusters: Yamaha and Honda use convenient stepped adjusting collars on the rear shocks, while Triumph, Suzuki and Kawasaki use harder-to-adjust but more precise threaded adjusters with locking collars.

Yamaha boasts high and low-speed compression damping in the front fork, affording squids yet another opportunity to degrade their bikes handling. Mike was impressed by the Kawasaki's decent wind protection, but Ole (who is much taller than his Stepfather-in-law) complained that it needed a taller windscreen.

Although three bikes had built-in laptimers, they only work via the rider hitting the "lap" button at the exact same place every lap. We don't think that's either a safe or reliable way to record laptimes, and urge the manufacturers to use a magnetic or infra-red trigger like AIM or Ducati
uses, as most racetracks have a magnetic trigger or IR beacon set up for trackdays and racing.
Slipper clutches on the Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha are pretty nice insurance policies to have on the racetrack against engine damage caused by overreving or rider damage caused by highsiding.

It used to be you could tell a manufacturer by build quality, now everyone meets very high standards. The Honda is still the nicest, though, with Yamaha and Triumph close behind. The Kawasaki and Suzuki are very nice, although Mike Goff complained about cheap-looking plastic panels on the GSXR.

Most of the mirrors on these bikes are too short and don't reveal much view to the rear. Our 675 test unit has the Triumph accessory tall windscreen mounted. Best Built: The Honda is such a classy, quality ride that we weep to see it take fourth place. It's also a hoot to ride, and whodda thunk that 105 hp would ever be a "slow" 600? We never thought they'd break the 100 hp barrier. It makes those 105 horses in a smooth, flawless manner, something that counts more than outright top speed. Best Street-Only Bike: The Kawasaki's monster midrange, sensible wind protection and comfy seat make it a good choice for urban commuting. It's also a good handler and not-too-shabby with a passenger. When you're ready to get nutty, that unique intake shriek and fat midrange power hit will gather all the wanted -- and unwanted -- attention you need.Best (Bad) Boy: The R6 has an Impala SS, a tattoo with your mom's name on it and a three-legged pitbull. It is a serious bad-ass that will change the reputation of the R6 from that of a forgiving, comfortable puppy into a tough-to-tame, wild stallion. It needs a steering damper and won't suffer fools gladly but in the right hands can run rings around anybody on anything at the track. On the street it's comfortable enough and is fantastically nimble through traffic. Stunters will probably like it too, but let's not encourage them.

I hope that makes everybody feel good about the other machines, but let's face it; this test was all about the Triumph. Is the 675 really that good? Does it really set a new standard? Yes. There is something undeniably right about this three-cylinder motor, and Triumph should be praised for waiting to get everything, not just that wicked powerplant, right before going to market. If you're in the market for a middleweight sportbike, slap down a deposit on a 675. You might even be able to get one before you're too old to ride.

What We'd Buy

Eric Putter:
Picking a winner in this shootout was simple.
Of all the motorcycles offered in 2006, I was most looking forward to swinging a leg over the
Triumph 675. I may be a crusty, old, jaded motojournalist, but I was truly jazzed to ride the little Triple. Much to my delight, it didn't disappoint.

Although I'm not interested in a middleweight streetbike, if I were gonna lay down my
not-so-hard-earned money on a new 600-or-so-cc track tool, I'd have to gather $9000 worth of sterling pounds and trot on over to my local Triumph dealer.

The 675 is so sexy, so competent and carries such a tremendous buzz factor that it's the no-brainer pick of this fine litter. Hell, the thing's so good, I'd even take it on a few street sorties.

The best of the Fours for me was the ZX-6R. It has a big-bike feel without the big-bike weight, great midrange power, a seamless slipper clutch, the best fuel injection in this comparison and is comfortable, to boot.

Even though I felt more comfortably enveloped by the GSX-R's ergonomics and appreciate its top-end rush and excellent slipper clutch, the Suzuki's weaker and somewhat less balanced chassis made it a bit tougher to ride than the Kawi.

The CBR600RR is a tremendous all-around performer, but, simply put, its motor's lack of
steam negates all of the wonderful things its chassis translates and delivers.

This final spot is the toughest pick. As much as I wanted to love the beautiful, high-tech,
shrieking Yamaha, we're like lovers who haven't found that magic chemistry. All the
components seem to be in place for a happily-ever-after ending: serious power, sharp
handling, near-infinitely-adjustable suspension and great looks. Too bad I found the R6
hardest to ride due to its super-narrow powerband and chassis that wasn't even close to
being properly set up for me. On top of that, the slipper clutch is the least effective one I've
ever used. That said, I'd jump at the chance to spend another day at the track with the R6 to
see if we can rekindle our unrequited love.

Ole Holton:
Why would I buy a 2006 Triumph Daytona 675, rather than all the great bikes which the big
boys (Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Yamaha) are offering for 2006 ? Simply put, it's the
entire riding experience; the look, the sound, the feel, the ease of use, and the incredibly high grin factor that this bike creates. After riding the R6, CBR600RR, ZX6R, GSXR600, and the 675, I have to say that the Triumph is in a class all it's own. These bikes are all within a
fraction of an inch of each other in how fast and incredibly amazing they are, but the Triumph just exhibits all the right traits, and blows the other bikes out of the water in many ways. The
sound .... oh my god I love triples. The sound that this bike makes between 6000 and 12000 rpms is one of the sweetest sounds I have ever heard.

The riding experience is an absolute joy, just breath on the throttle, and you have a fistful of
Torque in a nice, convenient 250 sized package. As this bike starts to sing at 6000 rpm you
feel the huge torque advantage it has over it's competition. Splitting through traffic, idling
along at around 6000 rpm, you always have plenty of pull to accelerate quickly and get
away from potential trouble (where riding on a "normal" 600, you'd be dropping 2 or 3 gears
to get the same acceleration). This bike is by far the best bike to use for everyday driving. The Triumph is also drop dead gorgeous and is one of those bikes which would thrill me every morning I'd see her parked in my garage. This bike has a suspension/frame/geometry which makes it totally effortless and amazingly comfortable to go very fast while feeling like you have a huge amount in reserve. The first time I rode the 675 relatively hard on a familiar road I got to see a little glimpse of sportbike Nirvana. I was able to go much faster than I'd ever gone on my
Tuned/Tweaked/Well Adjusted Speed Triple, and I was really way more relaxed than I'd
ever been before. If I was in the market to buy a middleweight sportbike (they all cost about
the same), there is no doubt in my mind that I would buy the Triumph Daytona 675 before
ever considering anything else.

Mike Goff:
For me this isn't a tough choice; it would be a Triumph. It's a beautiful bike; stunning
looking, in my opinion. It's easy to ride, extremely nimble and light and that engine sounds phenomenal and pulls from wherever you're at -- it just has a lot of torque. It comes with a
steering damper and slipper clutch. There was nothing about the bike I didn't like; probably the only reason I wouldn't buy one is that my son-in-law already has one and I can ride it any time I want to. Besides, he chose the best color and it would be boring to have two of the same.
The tough decision is what would be my second choice. I would be happy with any of these bikes; I think it comes down to personal preference rather than which is a superior bike. That said, my second choice would be the Kawasaki, because of that great motor and the slipper clutch. I love the slipper clutch and the torque of the motor; I don't want to have to shift all the time.

My next choice would be the Honda because it feels so comfortable and easy to ride. Then I would choose the Yamaha, leaving the Suzuki as my last choice. Those last three bikes were great, but felt so similar that it seemed a matter of "that was cool -- next".

Gabe Ets-Hokin:
Some of you desperate for time-killing reading material might recall our Best of the Best
shootout last year, where both Pete Brissette and I selected the 2005 Yamaha R6 as a better all-around ride than the awesome Suzuki GSXR 1000. It's no secret that I love middleweight sportbikes. The good ones have a combination of power, handling, weight and fun-factor that verge on perfection, with technology and performance that belies their sub $9,000--make that $10,000--asking price.

The problem is that intense competition in the showrooms and on the racetracks has harnessed the power of convergent evolution so thoroughly that the bikes have incredibly subtle differences. Four cylinders, about 420 pounds wet, with 56-57 inch wheelbases and around
110 hp. They even have almost identical bar-peg-seat relationships. They are all very, very
good machines that will thrill however buys them. (Gong!) Enter the Triumph. It is stunning how good this bike is, and it does it with a simple concept; combine the performance and handling of a 600 with the torquey flexibility of a three-cylinder motor. Unlike a lot of good ideas, (like Ashlee Simpson or Boston Market) this one works very well, making the other bikes feel antiquated and hard-to-ride in comparison. Imagine an SV650 with racetrack suspension and 110 hp and you get the picture of howfantastic this thing is. I think it's the best bike of 2006, although I tremble to think how fun the Speed Triple 675 will be.That's why I gave the sympathy second-place spot to the R6. If the Brits hadn't shown up to a knife-fight with a .44 magnum, the R6 would be my favorite. It's a real racer with lights, a high-strung, nipple-pierced stallion that's the pure essence of what a 600 cc sportbike should be. The sound it makes at 14,000 rpm is so alluring you want to ride it to Nevada so you can legally perform an unnatural act with it. As a bonus, the styling is very fresh and original.

I liked the 636 almost as much and would pick it if I was restricted to street riding. It's
relatively comfortable and has a powerband I'd call user-friendly if I never rode the Triumph. That GSXR was great on the track, with enough balance and ease-of-use to probably be my
track-only choice. The Honda is of course the benchmark in rideability and quality but
doesn't stand out enough for me.

Sean Alexander:
Triumph Daytona 675: I'm driving home from a weekend in Vegas dictating the story to my
wife who sits ever so patiently in the passenger seat. Unfortunately, we've lost $500 at the
craps table and are running home, tails between our legs. But there is good news; not only
did I save money on my car insurance, but I also feel like I'm several grand ahead thanks to
the new Daytona 675. You see, it just replaced the Tuono at the top of my "Bike I'd Buy With My Own Money" list, and at a CH under $9,000 the Triumph is four grand(!) cheaper than the Aprilia. Triumph's press fleet may well be the hardest to work with in the industry and this fact wins them no points with MO. However, the basic goodness of this new 675 triple just can't be denied. It offers everything we love about middleweight supersports, plus more useable
torque and a sound not unlike a Honda CBX or even a flat-twelve Ferrari. I think it may well be the perfect sport bike. Hey Buzz, instead of just teasing us about buying a 675 to loan for our shoot out, you actually should have bought one. The Daytona's riding position is quite sporty as you would expect from a bike in this class, but I found its taller seat height to offer more comfort and a cool aggressive stance. Though you won't go touring on it, it was perfectly comfortable for the couple hundreds street miles we covered. My only gripe is that the vibration can be a bit grating at certain engine speeds. And that the beautiful howl makes me ride like even more of an idiot than usual -- good byelicense -

The Triumph's power is truly impressive, in every roll-on test from 60 mph be it 2nd, 3rd, or
6th gear, the Triumph was able to pull away from Kawasaki's very quick 636. On the race
track, the 675 pulled cleanly out of the corners though it didn't offer quite as much over-rev
as the inline-fours. Its neutral chassis lets you hustle it through the turns in the same
manner that makes middleweight supersports so much fun on the race track or in a canyon.