If you think your car is fast, it’s probably not. Sure, you can buy a car from your local Ford, Holden, BMW etc etc dealership for around $70k that’s probably got around 300kw. Serious power in anyone’s book don’t get me wrong. The problem is they’ve got a whole lot of weight to lug around with those 300kw. Seats, doors, a roof, four wheels you know all the stuff that makes a car, a car. The big practical lug that gets you to work or up to the shops.
So what if I told you, you could go to a dealership next door, spend around a quarter of the money and get something with 130kw…What’s so special about that I hear you ask? Well it only weighs around 200kg, has no doors, two wheels and will give you acceleration that will make your knees weak and has a severe lack of convenience and comfort. Welcome to the world of the litre superbike. The superbike has been around since the 50s when the Vincent Black Shadow blasted across the Bonneville salt flats at 240 km/h (150mph) and over the years has culminated in bikes like the 1199 Panigale R and BMW S1000RR, which from the factory will take you close to 300km/h (187mph) as long as you have the space, commitment and necessary mental illness.
Now I’m not so lucky as to have ridden any of the bikes mentioned before hand but I do have the privilege of owning a 2009 Kawasaki ZX-10R. First and foremost, I’m not a great rider. There’s guys and girls out there that have forgotten more about riding a bike fast than I have learnt. I do however like to get my bike onto the track and really experience what 130kw at the rear, 190mm wide tyre feels like. Sure you can do it on the road, but when you can reach go to jail speeds in first gear it’s not as much fun (some people might disagree with me there).
A litre sportsbike on a racetrack is the ultimate superlative. In the automotive worlds there is probably no greater shock to you senses this side of an open wheel racer. The induction noise sounds like its going to suck the leathers you just wriggled into off, the exhaust screams like an un-happy child and the acceleration does its best to tear your arms from your shoulders, all while the front wheel of the bike lofts into the air or skims along the road (depending on the position of your right hand). Why would you put yourself through this? well, as they say, “if you have to ask you won’t understand”.
When I get my bike around a corner with my knee slider scraping along the tarmac, knowing that I probably couldn’t go too much faster next time I get a feeling that is impossible to explain. And at the end of the day I think that’s why people ride bikes, whether it’s on a track or on the road. It’s a unique feeling of trying not to kill yourself and having fun….”if you have to ask you won’t understand”