We’ve been writing for a long time about today’s showroom stock literbikes. They are built by the factories for the single purpose of winning races and due to the requirements of the various sanctioning bodies, they also appear for sale at your local dealer with turn signals and mirrors. The funny thing is, quite a few people buy them and adamantly state they can use the capabilities of these bikes on the street … uh huh.
Motorcyclist magazine has an article in the current issue where a Suzuki, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Honda, all from the 1k category, are each ridden on the street by the magazine’s very experienced and capable riders with a review of what street riding is like. That’s a refreshing change from the track comparisons, and the reviews come down in a decidedly mixed fashion. Two reviewers say they’re incredibly capable and lots of fun, but, every day? No thanks. One is a bit more neutral and one, the lone female in the group, says it’s the perfect street bike and she was sorry to give it up.
It’s all subjective, but as one writer said, it’s after 9000 rpm where you really find out what all of those engineers have been doing over the last few years. Just who in their right mind keeps spinning the engine to 9k and above all the time? Below 9k, all those horses you paid for are still sleeping in the barn. Those “I can use it on the street” guys may be pushing these bikes to their own limits, flying along at 7000 or 8000 rpm and thinking they’re really hot racers. That’s ok, it’s a free country, and you can believe your spray on cologne will get you a dozen hot women, too.
Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying, freedom of choice is a wonderful thing, if the bikes are available and you think a literbike is for you, maybe you’re a track day regular, go ahead and buy one. If people keep buying, companies will keep selling and that’s the way it should be. Of course, one man’s (or woman’s) perfect bike may not be right for anyone else but somewhere along the line a reality check would be nice. My neighbor has a Top Alcohol dragster and I bet if you could somehow put lights and turn signals on that thing, someone would swear he could use it on the street, … Right.