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Superbike Vs Superscooter - Page 2
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Superbike Vs Superscooter
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This was always going to be an easy win for the GP800. The Kawasaki is a great bike and makes about a billion horsepower but around town it’s basically…ass. I spent the entire time trying not to speed. Now this isn’t an exaggeration, I mean the entire time…every second. First gear on the Kawasaki redlines at 160kph (100mph), which is a fair bit higher than the average city speed limit. This long gearing makes the 10R hard to launch quickly from a standing start and the bike will then aggressively wheelie in first gear. So having any fun with the throttle means you’re instantly doing far in excess of 100kph (62mph) and trying desperately to keep the front wheel on the ground. Now add in the idiotic ass high and hands low riding position, include a very high seat along with a fairly top heavy centre of gravity and you get a device that just doesn’t suit city traffic or things like wet roundabouts…oh and I haven’t even mentioned that you have to change gears, do hill starts etc etc. Navigating a 190hp superbike on wet city streets is a lesson in massive frustration.

Now the Gilera is a different story. Around town the GP800 is a genuine surprise. I was expecting the GP800 to be like other maxi scooters. Basically like a big heavy automatic tank. The extra horsepower the GP800 makes over other maxi scooters instantly turns it into a weapon around town. Put simply…virtually nothing will beat you from the lights. Yes the ZX-10R is quicker to 100kph (62mph), it clocks it in 3.7 seconds to the Gilera’s 5.4 seconds. This however doesn’t tell you the complete story. Getting a superbike to hit these sort of times is hard…very hard. It takes a very competent rider and most wouldn’t get anywhere near a 3 second time on the road. So a superbike rider would have to be ready and waiting. They’d have to carefully balance revs and clutch and they…might beat you. All the GP800 rider has to do is simply twist the throttle. Overtaking slower traffic on the GP800 is incredible, simply twist the throttle and you instantly pass said slower vehicle. Now add in a lower centre of gravity, weather protection, plus some storage and it’s not a surprise the GP800 is the hands down winner in town. The Gilera isn't perfect however, it’s certainly way too cumbersome to be a real competitor to a smaller scooter in the city.

Performance riding. This is where the Kawasaki comes into its own. We took the two bikes on a day long thrash over every sort of road imaginable. The Gilera put up a good fight but sadly it really didn’t have a chance. The 10R is in different league here. Now at sensible speeds the Gilera will actually do a fantastic job of keeping up with the average motorcycle rider. It flows from corner to corner with a rather surprising competence while keeping the rider in complete comfort. However when the pace is upped the Gilera begins to feel heavy and a little rushed. It reminds me of a slightly sporty cruiser. Like a sporty Harley Davidson with much better brakes.

The ZX-10R really starts to make sense as the pace is upped. The aggressive riding position suddenly feels right. Sore wrists and aching knees are forgotten, all that matters is the road ahead. The Kawasaki is like a massive adrenaline shot. It either scares you into a shaking mess of a person or converts you onto a crazed speed freak ready to break every speed limit ever created on the face of the earth. I’ll try and explain it to you. Ridden in anger the 2008 10R is literally violent…it accelerates so fast it’s all consuming. When I really upped the pace it was at great risk. I risked either being caught speeding and thrown directly into jail or more than likely…death. No the GP800 is not anywhere near as fast as the 10R on fast sweeping roads. It is however much less likely to kill you.



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