What can I possibly add to the ongoing dialogue over recent years regarding the influx of European-inspired ‘naked’ bikes arriving in the Canadian market that hasn’t already been said?
|A slightly menacing look that send out a "This is no toy" message without going into overly complex lines. (Photo: Dustin Woods/Moto123.com)
Sure, I could mention how they blend the all-round versatility and comfort of a touring bike with the performance of a sportbike, grumble about how North Americans don’t seem to have the same affection to these fairing-free mounts as our European friends, and of course insert a humorous reference to nudity. There we are; all of the boxes are now checked.
Now for the truth! The main reason I enjoy this recent influx of Streetfighters, aside from the opportunity to make endless innuendos regarding nudity, is that while my affinity for speed has not dwindled as I age, my body’s ability to spend an entire day hunched over the handlebars of a supersport has. And as things stand today, the competition in this new “Naked bike” segment is growing fiercer by the day, which means nothing but good things for the consumer.
As I recall, the first time I rode the previous generation Z1000, I debated going to see my dentist afterwards to have my fillings put back in place. The potent powerplant with boatloads of torque was endlessly entertaining but wasn’t enough to outweigh a suspension setup that was unpredictable, and a somewhat disturbing motor vibration that bordered on explicit. A revised model came in to save the day in 2007, calming the vibration and adding some mid-range gusto, but the damage had been done so sales continued to slump.
A big leap forward
After riding this all-new-for-2010 naked liter bike however, another trip to the dentist was not required, unless it was to remove the bugs that were lodged in my giant toothy grin. The improvements to this 2010 model are vast and all encompassing, including a stronger and lighter aluminum frame and swingarm. The centre of gravity has been lowered and the wheelbase has been increased, but rake and trail remain unchanged (24.5 degrees and 103 mm respectively), all of which have a positive effect on handling.
|The easy to read dash includes the usual idiot lights, the time and an analog rev counter, and a nice BIG speedometer that is impossible to miss. (Photo: Dustin Woods/Moto123.com)