The Real Thrill Of Riding A Sportsbike
When you tell people you own a superbike, the main thing they think is that you go really fast.
Inevitably, as a friend asked me the other day, they will ask what speed you’ve done on it.
I answered him saying I’d seen 190mph on the clocks. The reactions from others listening in ranged from impressed to disgusted to the usual mutterings about killing yourself.
Sure – it’s impressive that I’m in the 300kmph Club, and that puts me in with a select few, but answering the question and thinking about actually doing it, I realised something.
Not only is it pretty damned easy to do 190mph (ok, so maybe it takes some balls but essentially anyone can sit there and crack the throttle open), but there wasn’t much drama involved, and other than the ability to say I’ve done it… meh! It’s not much fun, to be honest!
The REAL thrill I get from riding bikes is from banking the bugger over to obscene lean angles through the corners, and from the colossal acceleration!
Getting your knee down is part of the cornering experience, and I am a bit of a knee-down junkie who needs a fix every so often! What most people don’t understand is that you CAN get your knee down at slow speeds! All you have to do is hang off the bike and tighten your line through the corner, then lean that baby over until the glorious sound of plastic on tarmac sounds over the engine!
It’s a pretty unique view of the world when you’re hanging off the side of a sportsbike. Your body makes up a third of the total weight of you and the bike, so to do it well and safely you have to gain an intimate and instinctive understanding of body positioning, balance and how bikes go around corners.
A lot of people have heard talk of ‘countersteering’ and see it as the be-all end-all of cornering. It’s not. EVERY vehicle that has two inline wheels HAS to use countersteering otherwise it wouldn’t turn at anything over walking pace! This includes bicycles and Harley Davidsons – whether you realise you’re doing it or not!
Accelerating on a bike also takes more skill than you might think. If you open the throttle on most sportsbikes you’ll either spin up the back wheel and launch yourself to the moon in a highside, or the front wheel will come up and smack you on the back of the head.
When you get it right, it’s awesome! I did a video to time what my bike would do from a standing start, and found I can do 0-60mph in 2.5 seconds after only a few attempts!
You simply won’t get that performance from a car. People talk about how fast their car is when it does that speed in 6 seconds – but I’d be getting bored long before then!
Combine the two, like at Rockingham International and I can vividly recall pinning the throttle open whilst scraping my knee on the floor all the way to 120mph+!
Now THAT is a buzz!