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Offline OuzoStreet

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Early 675R compared to a few other bikes I've owned
« on: March 26, 2020, 12:57:13 AM »
I'm bored, so here are some bike comparisons with stuff I've owned, just in case any of you are looking at bikes on eBay to pass the time at the moment and are getting itchy "buy it now" fingers, hankering for an old piece of two wheeled lunacy to mess around with in the garage.

My bike background is that I like sports bikes over and above everything else and would still be riding them exclusively if it weren't for back and neck problems. I suspect one of the reasons I've enjoyed owning my 2009 Street Triple R so much is because it's basically a nekid sports bike, albeit with half a Zimmer frame attached to the top yoke instead of clipons and a couple of pressure cookers hanging out the back.

So, on to the bikes:

TL1000SV (1997 or 98, I forget!) - a deeply flawed but lovely bike that tried to kill me on a number of occasions. It usually did this quite lazily and slowly, but sometimes in a much more manic way, as though someone waiting behind a hedge had seen me coming and decided to remotely flick the bike's hidden "Angry Pit Bull switch", then calmly pulled out a camping chair and some toffee popcorn and settled down to watch me have a near death experience. One particular tank slapper on a curvy stretch of dual carriageway still stands out over twenty years later. At @# mph leant over to the right it started to slap as I accelerated. Unfortunately I was a bit slow to feather the throttle and things went south very very quickly, to the extent that each increasingly violent left/right oscillation of the front wheel actually started to lift it off the floor while the bike was still leant over. This was not a happy situation to be in. Fortunately I was in the right hand lane and there was absolutely no traffic around so I could just shut the throttle completely and use the space of the left lane to recover in (and it took the whole lane to do it). There was much parpage during this event and no amount of softly apologising to Mr Bum Bum afterwards would stop him clenching the seat for dear life for the next forty miles, until I reached Norwich. Sorry Bum Bum, I hope you've forgiven me.

The TL weighed about 470lbs with a full tank of fuel and it carried it in quite a bulky and unflattering way. A mate had a Ducati 916 at the time and in spite of the fact it weighed about the same the TL felt so much heavier to push around and was much bulkier when sitting on it.

Mine made a healthy 113bhp at the rear wheel and would lift the front in first from about 6,500 rpm with just a twist of the throttle. It was the kind of bike where the engine kept you company on long journeys and when you rolled on the throttle in top gear it made a nice "huuuuuurh" sound as the big twin lazily, but deceptively quickly, spun up. At high revs on full gas it sounded great with a lovely bark to it. The brakes weren't great so I swapped them for six pot calipers from a TLR, but it was always closer to a sport tourer than a race replica and all the claims of it being a cheap 916 slayer for the masses were just nonsense from my point of view. I never got my knee down on it and gave up trying after a while. In spite of this, I absolutely Ioved it at the time, but the Street Triple is basically better in every way and has just as much character. Well, unless nearly dying is your thing of course in which case please do buy an old TL and ride it hard on bumpy roads, but please put me in your will first though, ok? Joking aside it's fine if you don't try to ride it at ten tenths. Sort of.

R1 (5JJ), 2000/2001 : I had two of these. The first was stolen very early in its life shortly after I had it dynoed. For some bizarre reason it made 143bhp completely stock. The dyno operator was absolutely floored, especially as I had arrived at his place complaining that it felt a bit flat. Oops. My disappointment might be explained by the fact that before buying it I test road an earlier 4XV. I still owned the TL1000 at the time and in comparison the 4XV felt tiny and light. For the whole test ride I kept looking down to see if the engine was still running whenever I stopped at a set of lights or a junction - it was that quiet and smooth. The other thing that stood out was that even with my lardy self on board, from just 4k rpm in first the front wheel would lift very easily with what felt like a tiny whiff of throttle. Basically, as soon as you pulled away and finished slipping the clutch it would wheelie. I couldn't believe it. I had to have one in my life. For what reason the dealer didn't accept kidneys so by the time I had the money to go ahead the 4XV had been superceded by the slightly more sane 5JJ, with it's taller first gear (hence why I guess I thought mine was "slow"?). The 5JJ needed a whole 4,500 rpm in first before it would wheelie (!). Frankly it made my TL feel like a heavy, lumbering asthmatic CX500. I kept the TL to commute on but every single day when I opened the garage door I chose the R1 even if I had put it at the back behind the TL. Just like some of you guys and girls on here with your Street Triples I ran it in in a couple of days. I just couldn't get enough of it. When I got the replacement bike after the first one was stolen, I ran that in in less than a week because I was still smitten. It was noticeably slower but everyone else on the road still reversed away from you when you overtook in a hurry, plus it was still far quicker than the TL.

The R1s were by far the easiest bikes I've ever owned to drag a knee on. Certainly much easier than on my 2009 Street on which I've never done it. In fact things soon got a bit out of hand with the R1. Near where I used to live there was a set of traffic lights on a junction where three bits of dual carriageway met. If it was quiet (and I mean no one around!), every single time I turned right there one of two things would happen. If the lights were green I'd get my knee down, even with shopping in my tank and seat bag. If they were red, I'd turn right slowly when the lights changed and then wheelie all the way to the next roundabout. It was all so easy and so much fun. One of the best things about the bike was that it was so utterly docile. Most of the time I just rode around within the speed limit making sure I could stop in the distance I could see clear, and because it was so smooth and the fueling was so impeccable the engine just didn't mind. It never forced you to go quickly. But when a safe opportunity presented itself, wham, on the gas, unleash the torque and behave like a hooligan even if you were only accelerating back up to the speed limit. It was ace. On A roads making sure you slowed down for dangerous looking junctions was actually fun, because once you were past you just rode the torque back up to speed looking for the next hazard. I doubt safe riding has ever been so much fun!

The suspension was on the softer side compared to many modern sports bikes and the brakes faded terribly on the track. Talking of which, brakes aside, it loved being on the track and loved being leant over at knee down lean angles but it did have a habit of hiding where the ultimate limit was. As you got faster you suddenly found yourself crossing that line even though a split second earlier everything felt nice and safe. This was usually followed by the realisation you were heading for the gravel trap or were actually in it, though also usually upright and just feeling silly. It never did anything truly evil like the TL though, and by the time you actually fell off the R1 the TL would have already killed you at half the speed, revived you and then killed you all over again, possibly very slowly with big soft eyes and a look of innocent surprise.

The front on the R1 gave good grip even with a lot of suspension travel. There was one time at Anglesey where I ran into a hairpin far too fast and simply had to keep braking as I turned in. To my surprise my knee went down while I still had the brake on a little bit and it didn't bat an eye lid. Clearly it was much better than me.....although there was also the time I got a bit complacent, ignored the bars waggling exiting a chicane and soon discovered I'd unwittingly caused pad knock. At the next right hander at the end of the start finish straight there was no pressure at the brake lever, but after a frantic bit of pumping and a much faster than normal entry into the corner, the bike got me round with very little fuss. My buddy was watching from the edge of the track and said I looked proper fast, so obviously I made out I did that every lap. Ahem. I don't think he believed me.

Unfortunately the R1 weighed over 450lbs in stock trim so it's a lot heavier than our Streets and it was fairly noticeable, especially compared to the later 675s with low exhausts.

The brakes on all the early R models are much better even once the R1 had braided lines fitted.
If I could magic any bike into being though, it would be a 765 RS chassis with an early R1 engine in it. It would be unbeatable. And illegal of course because it wouldn't meet current noise or emission regs, but that's a minor issue, obvs!

ZX10R, C1h and C2h: I currently have a C2h. This bike is really why I thought I'd write a mini comparison review. Although I've owned it since new, until a few weeks ago I'd only ridden it a handful of miles in the last four or five years, just taking it through town to get MOTs. For years I've wondered if I should be selling it.

At 432lbs with a full tank of fuel it's pretty light. In fact when my 675R was stock the Trumpet felt heavier and more cumbersome to push around because the weight was so high up. Now that I've shed 11.3 kgs from the Street the ZX10 feels a little porky, especially with a high fuel load. Other problems are that the ZX10 has a very head down bum up riding position as well as ridiculously hard suspension, especially at the rear. I'm talking almost no sag at the rear even at a riding weight of fifteen stone! If you have a bad back, just forget it. Unfortunately the problems don't stop there. If you know anything about the bike you may be aware they quickly got a reputation for being demanding, rabid animals, with sporty geometry, way too much power for the road and an all round friend to undertakers. The truth is a bit different. They are actually very docile in town and traffic but not quite in the same smooth way as an early R1. First gear is good for a whisker over 100 mph so getting off the line quickly is not that straight forward. The ECU also retards the ignition in the first four gears so below about 6,000 rpm and especially below 4,000rpm, it all feels very fluffy and gutless. And I really do mean gutless. The lovely, precise, crisp fueling that we have on our Street Triples just isn't there at all. It's kind of annoying and after spending a few years riding the 675R getting back on the ZX10 was frustrating. One of the difficult (dangerous?) things about the bike is the way the fluffy fueling at low rpm, the tall first gear and the quite peaky nature of the engine combine. As you pull away you slip the clutch a bit more than normal, dial in some throttle and it often bogs down a bit. As you get going and feed in more throttle not a lot happens. However, because first gear is so tall you're probably already going a bit quicker than you realise and then you hit about 6k rpm and it starts to clear it's throat. By the time you reach 7k rpm you've probably got the throttle open quite a long way willing it to feel like the fire breathing animal you've read about and then all hell breaks loose. Lots of throttle in first gear at those revs equals instant, hard wheelies. Have your foot ready on the rear brake! If you cope with that little problem and then wind it open again it just goes bonkers. It suddenly has way more power even than a 765RS and by 10k rpm you desperately want to wimp out and chuck a gear at it to get some relief. Unfortunately at this point you discover that it has very close gear ratios and the madness comes back immediately. The further you go above 10k rpm the crazier it gets until about 12.5k rpm. If you have the space you can just bung one gear after another and it just pulls and pulls. As an aside, when I got my first ZX10 I was a bit disappointed but then I discovered the single change gear light comes on at about 11k rpm by default. Once I upped that to 12.5k rpm my complaints stopped.  Compared to modern sports bikes with even more power it may very well be a bit tame now, but it FEELS crazy and the chances are that while accelerating it will have been gently (or violently) shaking it's head as you fed it higher gear ratios and probably the front wheel had been lifting over undulations in the road. In fact, it's bloomin' great but is obviously a bit flawed for the road - though not TL1000S flawed. And more importantly it can be modified to suit your preferences, either by taming it's ways or tuning it for even more bonkersnessnessness. It's already about 20lbs lighter than a lot of current litre bikes in standard trim so you have a great starting point.

A few ways that our Street Triples are immediately better and more fun revolve around the lower gearing and crisper fueling. At lower rpm the fueling is so much nicer that combined with the lower gearing you have much better, much more accessible real world "go" in stop start situations. On my 675R if I were to pull away briskly and pin the throttle the front would lift far sooner than on the ZX10. In fact, the ZX10 would still probably be slipping it's clutch unless the rider had dialled in a racing start. I can't stress enough how much more fun our bikes are in those situations so for forum members who have bought a Street Triple as one of their first bikes, be happy, you're not missing out as much as you might think :) That dollop of torque we have early in the rev range is great.

Another way our bikes stand out is the brakes. My R has so much more intial bite as well as more stopping power. The ZX10 requires a lot of lever travel and effort to shed speed. It's a bit daft really given how quick it is! I got a shock when I started riding it regularly again a couple of weeks ago. When I got back on the Street I felt so much safer. In comparison to the RS I test rode in 2017 the ZX10 lags behind massively.

The ZX10 does have fantastic character though. The standard exhaust has a nice rasp to it especially once the EXUP valve has opened. When hard on the gas above 7,000 rpm, like so many Kawasakis, the induction noise is really fantastic. I think I just about prefer the drone of our triples now, but the Kwak is very very good even in stock trim. In fact I never felt the need to change the stock exhaust because I love the induction noise so much.

The handling is lovely too although bumpy roads aren't great (Mr Bum Bum agrees). The front forks have a tendancy to kick off bumps mid corner but the actual geometry is lovely and it steers beautifully, though I guess it's not as nice as an RS or even a post 2013 Street Triple. However it's much more planted at speed. Where the Street tends to lift and get a bit vague and floaty the ZX10 is very happy indeed. It's built for speed but it does require attention and effort especially compared to the R1 which was much easier to ride quickly. When I took the ZX10 on a track evening it was obviously so much better than me, but although it didn't try to kill me it pretty much felt like it was rolling its eyes at me the whole time going "really? Get with the programme already and ride me properly. Stop wasting both our time. You're fired!!". I suspect if I plugged it into a laptop it would immediately email Randy Mamola and request an emergency extraction followed by some track time with a decent rider. Randy Mamola raved about the ZX10 in 2004 by the way. Pffft. I could take him. Not.

So even the early Street Triples aquit themselves very well. An early ZX10 is technically faster and in certain situations it really is a hoot, but most of the time the Street Triple is more fun on modern UK roads. It's more economical, it stops better and generally makes you smile even on mundane runs.

Since I put raised clipons on my ZX10 a few weeks ago and taxed it, I am, however, having a major dilemma. Part of me is tempted to flog the Streety then use the proceeds to modify my 10. A reflash of the stock ECU to sort the fuelling and ignition followed by some suspension mods front and rear, lower gearing (down a tooth at the front and up two at the rear), a lighter end can, better front master cylinder and calipers would make a huge difference. The trouble is I could easily spend three grand doing it and even more if I went bonkers and fitted a really decent shock, fork cartridge kit and brembo parts at the front. Is it worth it on a fifteen year old bike? Difficult to say...

So there you go. EDIT: oops! Here's a sound clip of my first completely stock ZX10r. The first gear change after the period of hesitation - where I'm looking over my shoulder leaving the pit lane - is at about 100mph. Snigger. So much fun. EDIT clip not allowed.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 01:11:16 AM by OuzoStreet »

Offline gvy

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Re: Early 675R compared to a few other bikes I've owned
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2020, 06:48:48 PM »
Hi Ouzo,

I read this with a lot of interest. Very well written.
To be honnest I have now 4 additional sheets open on my browser... MCS Suzuki TL 1000S, MCS Yamaha YZF R1, MCS Kawasaki ZX10R and MCS Triumph STreet Triple 675.  Just to compare while reading your topic.  :028:

Geert

Offline OuzoStreet

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Re: Early 675R compared to a few other bikes I've owned
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2020, 07:20:11 PM »
Thanks Geert, that's very kind of you. I wrote it in a Word document and then pasted it into the web browser on my phone. Unfortunately all the formatting went to hell and as I corrected it, for some reason I decided there was too much punctuation! Having just re-read it I wish I could edit the post all the commas that I took out  back in.

Please don't fact check me, I'm probably wrong as always  :001:.

I'm currently striping the ZX10 down to change the fork oil, splurge dailectric grease in some connectors and generally give it a once over. For a bit of a laugh I dug out my Street Triple clock mounts and headlights temporarily fitted them with cable ties. Photos to follow...

Engage imagination  :001: Maybe I'll put the flyscreen on tomorrow and see if that helps. Unlikely! To my surprise, the aperture in the headstock on the ZX10 is slightly smaller than on the Street/Daytona so the headlight bracket won't fit, which is why the lights are sticking out so far. Although I'm goofing around, I'm quietly wondering if the ZX10 would look ok with 2020 765 headlights and clock mount... The stock ZX10 lights, top fairing, mirrors and side fairings weigh 6.5 kgs, so there might be an opportunity to save some weight by converting my bike to a.....Triwaki? Kawumph? Trisaki?  :001:
« Last Edit: March 26, 2020, 07:34:35 PM by OuzoStreet »

Offline adiepage

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Re: Early 675R compared to a few other bikes I've owned
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2020, 10:21:46 AM »
Hey OS.  I'd normally reply and quote the original but both of your two posts are pretty substantial and it would be very wasteful of space to repeat them.  However, I must say that BOTH of those posts are - for me - just BRILLIANT.  Well thought out, well written, informative, interesting, insightful and intelligent.  Top marks, Sir.

BTW., I initially read through the first post mentally inserting a few commas!  :001:

You should get bored more often ............  :038:

Regards,

Adie

Offline OuzoStreet

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Re: Early 675R compared to a few other bikes I've owned
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2020, 11:44:25 AM »
Thanks Adie. When I reformatted it after the copy/paste balls up, I don't know why I messed around with the grammar so much. Oops! I was so infuriated when the editing window had passed. If I had brains....

They're all fun bikes with bags of character. I've been very lucky all things considered. I kind of wish when I bought my first new R1 I'd had the money and the foresight to buy two and put one in storage. With a few tweaks it would be a great bike for me now.

Offline OuzoStreet

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Re: Early 675R compared to a few other bikes I've owned
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2020, 12:55:03 PM »
Ok, I couldn't resist. I'm convinced this could be made to work. LSL even make a top yoke for a fat bar conversion like on our Street Triples. Bet the 2020 lights would look great.

Now I REALLY need to get on with the fork oil and stop spamming my own thread  :001:

Offline gvy

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Re: Early 675R compared to a few other bikes I've owned
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2020, 07:38:21 PM »
But it looks to be a lot of work to electrically and mechanically "clean" that engine  to make it a nice naked bike.

Offline OuzoStreet

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Re: Early 675R compared to a few other bikes I've owned
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2020, 08:00:24 PM »
Pffft, I don't know what you mean - it's no more than an afternoon's work with some duct tape and a crayon :001:

I certainly won't do anything about it at the moment. The next thing is to get a quote for making a new map for the stock ECU, whilst trying to tease out of the engine tuner just how much better the engine will feel. If I go ahead, and if it makes the engine feel how I want, then the next job will be the suspension and possibly lower gearing. Everything else can wait until after that. However, saving 11.3kgs off of my Street has made it feel a lot better so Colin Chapman's mantra is never far from my mind. If I did that to the ZX10 it would be epic! Imagine 150bhp in a road legal bike that weighed a little over 400lbs.

I've still left if for sale here on the forum, so if someone wanted it I'd probably let it go and move onto the next thing....and then regret it massively! I tend to change my mind about these things daily!

Sadly no one makes the perfect bike for me at the moment; something that is light enough, has the right riding position, torque and power. I had hoped the new Thruxton RS would be a candidate, but I just couldn't detect the 6kg weight saving - it's still a heavy bike to push around for my weedy self. The Street RS is close, but I would need to ditch the bars immediately and there isn't a bolt solution that I like at the moment (not sure I want to do another single headlight conversion). My beloved LSL clipons would not fit due to the taper in the fork tubes. It's a shame as I love the chassis on the 765.

I quite like the mysterious seat unit on this one - makes it look much more modern. The stock one looks daft these days.

 


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