I really would love a literbike. Not because this is a good idea: I’d also love to have a pet great white shark, and I think that’d probably be much less dangerous.
But there’s something built into the motorcycle mystique that involves strapping yourself to the biggest, most dangerous, thing within reach and just hanging on for dear life. I’ve ridden a few BMW 1000RR’s and they’re eyeball-stretchingly fast. I didn’t get anywhere near redline until I got one out on the track at the Keith Code school. And really, all that power can cover up for a lot of sloppy track riding. So what’s the point, if you ride mainly on the street?
My good friend and riding buddy recently made me very happy. We’d made the decision recently to become track rats and needed bikes suited to that. I picked up a Triumph Daytona 675, he found a Yamaha R6 with a lurid “Rossi Fiat 500” paint scheme that hurts your eyes if you stare at it too long.
It’s weird, how two machines with ostensibly the same design brief could look and feel so different.
This spring, as we’re prepping for the upcoming season, he told me that he “just can’t imagine needing anything faster than the R6.” Which is interesting, because the bigger bikes do make passing slower traffic much easier, since you can do it on the straights, instead of having to you know: use actual skill to do it in the corners. Just a quick twist of the wrist, grab the brakes a teensy bit late, and boom, you’re past.
But I agree with him: the 675 has a pretty wide powerband and I never even run it past 10k on the street. Twisted to the stop, it’s a shockingly fast machine.
But used MV Agustas are pretty cheap, unless you count maintenance costs, and they are so very pretty. Except for the instrument cluster: I kinda hate that. And the symmetry of having two, three, and four-cylinder bikes is weirdly appealing.