A mate of mine passed his bike test about 20 years ago, spent a couple of years occasionally wobbling about on an SV650 and then got it nicked. In a fit of understandable rage he vowed never to own a motorcycle again; their just too ‘nickable’ he said. But now his youngest has left for university, he’s started to make noises about buying another bike. In his heart, he wants a superbike, but his head doesn’t think it’s a very good idea. And unfortunately he’s getting very mixed advice from his circle of ‘motorcycle mates’. Some are telling him he needs to get another 650 and work his way up to a ‘big bike’. But others remind him that ‘the throttle works both ways’, and he’d be fine on a 200bhp monster. And I don’t really know what to say to him.
He hasn’t mentioned anything to his wife yet, so we’ll call him ‘John’ to protect his identity. Now John was never particularly adept at motorcycle riding. In the two years he was a ‘motorcyclist’ he only really rode once or twice a month, and only ever in the summer months. I’ve no doubt that he’ll slide back into his motorcyclist’s boots as if he’s never been away from them. The problem is, his motorcyclist’s boots are the boots of a fairly inexperienced motorcyclist.
He wants to own a superbike, and that’s absolutely fine. Nobody is telling him he can’t own one. John’s a wealthy man and money isn’t really much of an object for him, so he can certainly afford one. The more conservative members of his inner circle are telling him to spend a few years on something a little bit more sensible first. Once he’s got the hang of that, crack on and buy a 200bhp+ bike. But to jump on one straight away, after not riding for 20 years, would be an act of folly, is their argument.
And whilst I agree with them that, that would be the sensible thing to do, I find myself in a bit of a quandary. Because if you want to be sensible, there’s never a good time to buy a 200bhp+ motorbike, is there? Because they’re not ‘sensible’ by any stretch of the imagination. In fact they’re the opposite; they’re ridiculous, as I’m sure anyone that’s ever ridden one will vouch for. And that’s why we love them. But a couple more years on an SV650 isn’t really going to prepare him for it. It wouldn’t prepare anyone for it.
And let’s be fair, although superbikes are capable of nigh-on 200mph these days, the throttle, as previously mentioned, works both ways. And with rider modes aplenty, there’s usually the option to calm things down a bit, just until you get used to it. Even if it does mean putting it in ‘wet mode’.
So I’m struggling to get off the fence on this one. Half of me wants to tell John to do the sensible thing… But the throttle works both ways and you don’t have to keep it pinned the whole time, so you can ride a superbike safely, if you want to.
I think if I’m being honest though, despite me thinking he’ll ‘probably’ be fine on a superbike, I think I’m going to end up succumbing to peer pressure and agreeing with the majority that are telling him to get something a bit less powerful. But it doesn’t have to be a pokey little twin. Let’s meet in the middle. He want’s something sporty that’s got a bit of poke, so why not go for a Kawasaki ZX-6R, or a Mv Agusta F3, or that kind of thing, rather than a fire-breathing litre bike?
There are a ton of options… have you got any suggestions?