Topic: Riding a slow bike fast  (Read 458 times)

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Offline klaviator

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« on: June 01, 2017, 10:54:28 AM »
I think most of us have heard the saying: "It's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow".  I agree with that saying.  That's not to say that it's not fun to ride a fast bike fast, but riding a fast bike fast isn't always practical, safe, or good for your drivers license. 
I have more to say on this topic but I'll open it up for discussion first.

What say you?

Offline jrobinson

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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2017, 01:17:27 PM »
A vast majority of the "slow bikes" can get you in trouble if you are a capable rider.

I find it a bit amusing when folks say their 650 won't keep up and they need a larger bike.

The last 650 I had was more than I needed to get myself in trouble.

Offline Brian A

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« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2017, 02:31:02 PM »
Agree 100%

My 650 Versys doesn't have near the power of my previous two street bikes but it is a blast to ride hard/fast. I can ring its neck all day and it just grins and asks for more.

The fastest it has ever seen is about 115-120 mph and that was only a few times. That isn't really 'fast' when comparing it to truly fast motorcycles. But, I am not one infatuated with blasting wide open down the interstate. I much prefer 2nd and 3rd gear twisty roads where I can whack the throttle wide open, not having to worry about an unexpected high-side that might be lurking if I were on a bike with twice the power.

Yes. For me, any day and every day I'd prefer to ride a slow bike fast.

ETA: I did manage some 2nd gear rear wheel spin/slides on a particularly spirited ride with some fellow BR guys up in the twistys in North Carolina. It was a blast! and put a big grin on my face.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 07:37:26 PM by Brian A »

Offline Chitza

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« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2017, 02:35:50 PM »
I can't say I've ridden a fast bike fast(yes, I once rode a zx14, so...) or a slow bike fast. I'm just not fast. I'm slow. It's a dirty job and I'm okay with it. I am with Brian. Now that I have figured out wen I'm riding in the zone, it makes me happy. You will have to wait for me at the turns or if we're buzzing up the interstate.
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Offline Mulley

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« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2017, 03:27:03 PM »
"Riding a slow bike fast is more fun than riding a fast bike slow." I didn't truly understand this statement until recently. I started riding seriously 12 years ago on an SV650. Not really a fast bike by most standards. However to a beginner, it was fast. I went from it to a BMW K1200RS. That's a fast bike. Then to an Aprilia Tuono 1000 R Factory. Oh yeah that's really fast. Then in March I did the unthinkable. I did what most riders would call going backwards. I bought a slow bike, a 2015 Kawasaki Versys 650 LT.

The little Versys is a little slower than my SV650 was but man it sure is fun to ride fast and wring out. It's not in the same league with my Aprilia. Not even the same sport. It's a totally different ride altogether that makes you smile just in a different way. It's a blast to be able to go full throttle and not worry about the back end stepping out. With the Tuono you had to be very precise with the throttle and careful not to upset the bike or you will get body-slammed. It goes exactly where it was told to the point of a fault for your average rider (me). It is an absolute thrill to ride and I enjoy every minute of it (except interstate droning). The "slow bike" is so much more forgiving and easy to ride. I can toss it around with ease and by little more relaxed. Every ride isn't about being on the edge. I can ride my normal sporty pace without working as hard. I know that sounds counter-intuitive but it's the truth. Keep in mind, I'm not talking about all out race pace or dragging knees, just sporty. Of course I wouldn't be able to keep up with a group riding on the edge but I'm not going to on any bike. I don't want to go that fast unless I'm on the track. The risk is too great. However for my preferred street pace. This bike is pretty dang good and a lot of fun. It could be one of the best choices in the, "if you could only have one bike scenarios" (dirt excluded). Will I keep it forever? No. Will I trade again in a year or two for something with more power? Maybe. But for now I'm having fun and that is the reason I ride.


The day I bought "the slow bike"


2015 Versys 650 LT / 2016 Beta 300 RR / Suzuki DR-Z440S

Offline klaviator

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« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2017, 03:40:42 PM »
Interesting comments and great discussion

It's interesting reading comments about a Versys being a "slow" bike.  It's my fastest bike and by a wide margin :)

As far as going "fast" , that is all relative.  For me it's not so much actual speed but perceived speed.  Sometimes, (actually pretty often) I have the "need for speed".  I don't have to actually go fast to meet that need, I just need to fell like i'm going fast, or in some way pushing the bike.  That may be going fast around a tight, 15 MPH curve.  It my be wringing out the motor to the max with the throttle pinned.  On my Kymco that beats most of the cages off the line and might get me up to 60 MPH ;)

Fast is also not the same for everyone.  A newb may be thrilled to ride a curvy road at a speed that would bore an expert but if he/she is having fun then that's what counts.


Offline SpeedyR

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« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2017, 03:41:47 PM »
what do you want out of riding? I started with a slow bike. 89 Honda Hawk GT/NT650. probably 48hp at the rear wheel. 51hp with a pipe and a jet kit. I rode the piss out of that thing. I was dog slow and had no clue when I bought it how to ride (I was 30, first street bike). I spent the time and learned to keep corner speed. Less brakes, more corner speed and not much acceleration (it's all relative). After a few years decided to take it to the track and did the Bargy school with a friend that I rode with a lot. He was on an R1, I was still on my hawk (couldn't afford a new bike). We both passed the class and I started doing a bit of racing as I could afford it (not very often).

over the years I moved to an R6 (kept the hawks), SV650 race bike, Hawks with built motors (82hp at the rear wheel), FJR1300, CBR1000rr, and after a couple of year hiatus from street bikes, now have a 1290 Super Duke. I would still like to have a "slow" bike (does my 950 SE count? on the pavement compared to the 1290 it's dog slow) but I think some of the thrill i get is from riding the big bike and having power on tap. can I get into trouble with it? sure. but I can get into trouble with a hawk as well.

if you want to learn how to ride fast, buy an underpowered bike and learn to go fast on it. It'll help you with corner speed which is very hard to learn on a 600 or thousand cc bike. Beginners should have to ride a 650 twin or smaller motor bike to learn to ride and not use the power as a crutch.

I"m lazy these days, I like to come out of a corner and fire off to the next one with one wheel in the air and the rear clawing for traction. Well at least that how I like to think it looks in real life. actually I'm just slow in the corner and fast to the next one... These days I like riding a fast bike semi fast. but that's just me. :)

Offline SpeedyR

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« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2017, 03:44:38 PM »
For me it's not so much actual speed but perceived speed. 

I think this is a big part of it. My naked bike with a lot of torque makes me feel like i'm going fast even if I'm not hammering the top end. It will pull out of a slow corner and feel like you are flying when you might only be going 45-55mph. It's the "grunt" that I like. The CBR was great but to be having fun you had to wind it up, and if you hit the rev limiter in second you were close to 100mph. that's too fast IMHO for anything outside the track. 

Offline Mulley

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« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2017, 03:52:31 PM »
Good point. Speed is definitely relative.

The Versys by itself isn't slow nor underpowered. I didn't want it to sound that way. Relative to my previous rockets, it would be considered slow by most. By nearly all measurements of speed used for cars, the Versys is fast. It's 0-60 times are better than all but the very elite sports cars. Even the 1/4 mile time is respectable when compared to the same sports cars. Top speed, not so much.

My thoughts are just my perception based on my circumstances within my own realm and relative to my world.
2015 Versys 650 LT / 2016 Beta 300 RR / Suzuki DR-Z440S

Offline Al Goodwin

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« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2017, 04:52:05 PM »
"Are you the tall guy, on the little bike, with the skinny tires that keeps passing me every few laps?" guy taking the Ed Bargy class same day as myself and 15 others.  I was riding an RZ350, this guy on a new ZX-7R...That was worth every penny I spent on that course.  I finished 3rd on the 4-lap "mock-race" at the end of the day...from my last row starting place...it was a GREAT day.

Anyway...yep, I raced an SV650 for a year and a half, winning a few Heavyweight Twin races even...That bike made me smile every time I rode it.

Small bikes are a HOOT !!!!!
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 04:53:38 PM by Al Goodwin »

Offline klaviator

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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2017, 04:52:09 PM »
Fast also depends on what you are used to.  My first bike was a KZ400.  It seemed real fast at the time.  Several years later I was riding a FJ1100.  If I had ridden that KZ back to back with the FJ it would have seemed slow. 

My daily ride these days has all of 10 horsepower so when I get on my Versys, or even my KLR, they seem pretty fast.

Offline gulfcoaster

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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2017, 05:57:42 PM »
I agree and disagree with the statement.  I started off on my Dad's VStar 650, NOT fast.  It was a blast to ride.  In fact, now my friend has it and I still ride it occasionally.  Nothing more fun than dragging the floorboards on the pavement in a curve.  I love it.  Afterwards I upgraded to a Street Bob with the 98ci motor.  Tons more torque, but still not crazy fast.  Fun in it's own right.

Last summer I traded that in for my 1190R.  This bike is definitely FAST.  It will tear ass down the road, and put a permagrin on your face.  But it will also cruise around quite nicely at a normal pace.  I realize its not a litre bike where you're laying on the tank.  But it will do fast or slow easily.  Both are equally as fun, just depends on what kind of mood I'm in at the time I guess.

So I guess I agree that it is fun to ride a slow bike fast.  But now that I have a fast bike that does slow speeds just as well, I am loving the faster bike more.  The height of the bike has been a helluva adjustment, but otherwise its the best bike decision I think I could have made(of course that's subject to change in a few years).

Offline Brian A

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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2017, 07:36:24 PM »
It occurred to me that when I think of "riding a slow bike fast" I think I really mean to what extent of the bike's potential am I taxing it?

If it is an R1 on the street (or track for that matter!) I am not coming anywhere close to riding it near its potential. (Side note - I'd wager that the majority of owners would fall into the same category. At differing levels, but in the same category.)

The smaller the displacement and the less of a specialized tool, the more I find myself able to push it. Take traction control out of the equation and I'd kill myself whacking the throttle wide open exiting turn in 2nd gear on an R1, CBR1000RR, etc.

But put me on my Versys and it becomes the standard practice when ride hard/sporty.

So in that light, I'm riding a "slow" bike fast. Perhaps more accurately, I am pushing the "slow" bike much harder, and having a lot more fun than I would be able to on a bike with 2X or more HP/torque.

In years gone by, there were times, late at night or soon after midnight, when a number of unnamed individuals would ride 50cc - 125cc dirtbikes, pitbikes, etc. all decked out with street tires and battery powered LED headlights, on a certain road on the Tenn/NC border.
These were, by most any standard, "slow" bikes. But an XR50 with an 80CC big bore kit and sticky race tires was an shocking example of a slow bike ridden fast. Top speed, maybe 50 mph. But what occurred within the confines of that 50 mph top speed..... well, it would make your butthole pucker.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2017, 08:08:49 PM by Brian A »

Offline springer

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« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2017, 09:42:53 PM »
 Riding a slow bike fast.

 My #1 reason for buying that Harley XR1200. Good brakes, good handling, and you can flogg the ever loving crap out of it on a city, county road with out endangering everyone else on the road.

Offline Brian A

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« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2017, 09:49:28 PM »
I was thinking.......   (Don't worry. I didn't hurt myself.)

There's an old adage about flying an airplane:  "There nothing more worthless than sky above you or fuel on the ground."

By way of analogy, for ME, when riding hard and sporty: "There's nothing more worthless than HP I cannot use or speeds I cannot attain."