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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

The Singles Revolution — Round Two

While the Big Kahuna recuperates from surgery to repair an injury sustained
in a motocross accident, the staff at MotorcycleDaily has put together a sampling of the many, many E-mails we received in response to our October 5 article Lightweight Street Singles — The Next Revolution?

What is it about a single cylinder street machine that brings out the beast in a man (or a woman)? Perhaps these unedited e-mails hold the key . . . read on, and enjoy?

I think it is a great idea. 
I am a middle aged cruiser rider with
aspirations toward the sporty
side.  I hope the trend takes form and
arrives this side of the pond
before I get much older.


I think this is a great idea; a pure single street bike. As you
“Forget the super-motard idea.” I just can’t see that style of bike
popular for the mainstream US rider.

For the street single I
think the bikes must be under 300 lbs.,
counterbalanced, reasonably priced
(under the current price of the Suzuki
650 twin) and have adequate power. I
would see the naked look with the
ergonomics of a standard as potentially the
most popular.

I would buy one. It would be a fantastic city and back
roads bike.

Just read your article on your ‘single’ theory.  I reckon it’d
magic.  I’ve always lusted after the super motards like the Husky
and KTM Duke.
But over the past few years I’ve been drooling over
Tritons.  I’ve never
ridden one, but I reckon a new single with a retro
feel – not flat out
retro like the Kwaka W50 or whatever it is – something
with the same
flavour.  A factory cafe racer if you like.


I’ve been riding and tuning a Yam SRX6 since -91 and find singles the
thrilling type of bikes. Of course I’ve been thinking about Motards
and stuff
to get the edge only low weight can give. But the Borile is no
doubt taking
it a few steps further. I find it more than interesting and
agree with each
and every word in the article at
“Imagine it, the Borile designer had the guts
to make his
street bike with only a kick starter — no magic button.”
say: Occams razor and the concept of parismony makes a
lot of sense and I
hope it will conquer the world!

I have been wanting a single cylinder street bike for years-I just
bought a Ducati 748, but had there been a lightweight single I would
bought it. Imagine something the size of a 250 GP bike with a single 600
engine, weighing in at 230 pounds … for now it’s just a dream … too

Loved the looks and concept of the Borile-unfortunately I feel it
not be a sales success in the land of “Bigger is better.” A handful
hardcore enthusiasts could appreciate it*s charms but this concept
wouldn*t be popular in the U.S. When dealers are discounting
F4*s,ZX6R*s,GSXR600*s by a grand it*s hard to justify the presumed
vs. performance difference. Just my opinion-I*ve been wrong before.


Please God yes!!!  We need machines like this in the


i’m with you all the way, chief.  background:  started riding when
i was
9.  worked my way up from mini-trail, ct70, sl70, suzuki 185,
h1, kawasaki z1.  graduated from college, sold bike.  20
years later, i
get lucky and land bmw motorcycles as a client.  next
thing, there’s a
“company” r11r in my garage.  leave agency for another,
turn in company
bike, buy my own r11gs.  get too many tickets, sell gs,
and buy f650.
couldn’t be happier.  i found on the gs that unless i was
on the
tightest of roads, i had to be doing close to triple digits to feel
if i was actually riding/pushing the thing.  not smart for a
dad.  a
friend let me borrow his ktm duke and i was hooked big
time.  wanted to
buy one but was discouraged by reliability issues – i
commute on a
bike.  thought about cobbling together my own version xr
650, wr 400,
etc.  but it just seemed like too much trouble.  so i
went with what i
thought of as the reliable but somewhat soft f650. 
well, add
progressive springs, an ohlins shock, staintune exhaust and the
bike is
totally transformed.  even with the 19″ front and dp rubber, it
great.  in fact, i just got back from keith code’s class up at
glen and the bike was so much fun.
these singles are so versatile
and smart.  you’re not going to get
thrown in jail for going 140. 
you can corner with anybody and outcorner
most.  they’re easy to deal
with.  insurance companies are cool with
them.  i would really love
to see manufacturers build more of them.  or
at least bring to the u.s.
some of the models that are available
overseas.  can you imagine the
2000 xr 650 with 17″ wheels, proper
lighting and a big 320 up front? 
you know honda’s got the bits to do
it.  i also think these are the
sorts of machines that chapter 2 riders,
old fucks like myself who are
returning to the sport after 10 to 20
years, will really dig.  it’s
riding the way we used to ride.  i’ll make
a deal with you – i’ll talk
up the single thing to everybody i come
across if you publish as much news
and as many reviews of these bikes as
you can.  thanks for the look at
the borile.  by the way, they made
another single a few years ago. 
it looks something like an old
bsa/triumph.  check it out on “the
thumper page.”


I like the look of it but i think the idea with racer with
“no” weight would totaly awesome. I own and work on a SRX and I like thumpers
much. Mine thou have to high weight and have to few horse
Mr. Editor,
When I was in college in the middle ’70’s, I essentially
created my own
hot rod street single by putting street gear on a ’73 Penton
(175cc KTM engine), so I understand your premise and concur with
That was a magic little engine with a killer speed rush power band
an RD-350 and would really scat on the street with good tires. I
it only weighed around 190 pounds – very light. I had a Honda CB500
the time and the Penton would win all roll-on and drag races up to
75 MPH when the CB500 would eventually overtake it. However,
scooting around the cramped side streets and ease of handling
parking with bicycles, the little KTM was my choice. Seems like
remember somebody putting on of those little KTM motors in a
and going 200 mph at Bonneville.
Your article was quite a
coincident. For a while now I have been
contemplating “streeterizing” one of
the new Cannondales or one of the
Jap MX’ers. I think the Borile is right
along these lines. I would like
to have one, but in America at the moment,
the Hawg mentality rules and
I don’t think it would be economically feasible.
I don’t know if there
are enough of us old geezers to sell this kind of bike
to – all the new
people want a FatBoy.


I think the idea of a single-cylinder sportbike is as good as you think it

is, but a company will not sell something in the U.S. if it thinks it will

fail. After all America is known for big V-8 muscle cars and Harley’s as

transportation. The single-cylinder bike might be good for new riders but

for a person who rides a tuned R1 or something similar it’s probably going

to make them laugh no matter how light it is. There is a max

horsepower(reliable that can be sold under warranty) that can be gotten out

of a single-cylinder and it will probably be found rather quickly if it’s

being developed. Ducati has about done the same thing with the twin. They

got Desmovavle now what will it be next other than more cc’s? Anyway this is

all my thoughts on the idea of single-cylinder sportbikes and the fact that

if it happens and turns into a fad it probably won’t last long. This is

America after all. Just throwing my share of gas on the fire.Good day to

Awesome stuff.  Looks like I’ll have to retire my SRX clubman
soon.  Thumper racing looks as if it’s going to get as expensive
as GP
in the future.  Oh, well, there’s always
BTW, I love riding my warmed over ’84 XL600R on the
street.  I’m
awaiting the anouncement of the new Buell thumper.  I
might like to warm
it’s motor a bit, now that might be a fun ride. 
Don’t think I could
aford a Borile.
Looks interesting; I’ve had a FT 500 Ascot for years…not
exciting, but I like her! Now a strong street single, that could put
miles of smiles-like my Ducati 900SS-wow!  Dennis F.
If I could buy that thing at any reasonable price, I’d buy it in a

heartbeat. In fact, I want one so bad, I’m getting ready to try and build a

single of some description from
available parts.

Hello, just read the article on the Borile single. WOW!!!!! 
I have owned mostley twins ( BMW,MotoGuzzi) and a few singles
( SR500,XT600, LS650). I currently
own a 95 MuZ Skorpion tour which I bought
new in feb. of 97, I have over 24,000 miles on it now.
I purchased
it because it was the only all street single over 500cc that has
wheels. ( I hate cleaning spokes)
I am currently awaiting info about the
“Buell single”, I prefer haveing
“belt” drive verses that “chain”. And if
the Buell looks like the regular
Buells, and retains the belt drive, and has
at least 40hp.  It will be my
next bike.
simply SWEET bring it to the states!!!!!!!!!!
That is an excellent idea.  I think it would be better if they would
some attention to a lighter, easier, less powerful motorcycle, but
have the fun factor.  Motorcycle manufactuers are starting to go
to nuts
with this whole top speed thing.
My brother returned from the Milan show with a brochure of the
which we both found to be just gorgeous, but still just misses the
mark. I
think there is a core group of enthusiasts in this country who
this type of machine. I have owned many bikes, perhaps 15-20, but
favorite is still my old Yamaha SRX 600. It was very close to the
street bike for my purposes, with the one criticism being that it was
on power.
I believe there is a market for a modern, retro style
street single cafe
racer suggesting the classic four stroke racing singles of
the 50’s and
60’s. Perhap recalling the Manx Nortons or the classic Triton
cafe racers.
If designed correctly, with a modern engine, proper proportions,
etc. there
would be a market. The Japanese have never gotten it right.
Witness the
Honda GB500, Yamaha SR500, and a few others. Mostly they were
short on
guts, and certainly missed the mark styling wise. My SRX was oh-so
but not quite. The real “passion” was missing.
But I can
envision the bike that ought to be built! A four stroke single,
perhaps 55 or
60 horsepower, 250 pounds. Polished allow gas tank, clip
on’s, rear sets,
tubular frame, perhaps with the engine as a stressed
member, solo seat,
minimalist styling, elemental. If you can find anyone
interested, I can
design it. I appreciate and understand the machines, the
aesthetic, the
appeal of the big single cafe racer. I believe it NEEDS to
be built.
Motorcycling today is about niche markets. There are many of us
out there
waiting for this machine.
my main bike is now a honda vtr 1000 but when i really want to play
i bring out my yamaha srx 600.  i don’t know what it weighs but
handles like it’s on rails and has plenty of power.  it won’t
run in a strait line with anything like an r1 but it seems to have
tendency to almost rear end them in the turns.  it also doesn’t have
electric start but that isn’t that big a problem.  at over six feet
and about 210 i don’t have much trouble starting it.
That Borile is beautiful.
A big yes to the street
singles. A friend of mine rides an SRX600
Yamaha, and my dad rides a sweet
GB500 Honda.
I sold my DR250S and I have a new DRZ-400-S Suzuki on order
that will be
immediately be put to super-motard status with 17″ wheels,
gearing, and lowered suspension. Don’t know if I can hold out
I enjoy your site. Thanks for the
   I think theBorile looks pretty hot! I am not sure of how well
would sell in the horsepower crazed US, but I would like to have one.
course I am a thumper nut, I have an SR500 cafe racer and an SRX 600.
also have 4 various off road/ dual purpose thumpers.
there a possibility that we will see a test on the Borile, even if
it’s a reprint from a foreign magazine?

I was just referred to your web article on the Borile 500, and at the
you asked for feedback.  O.K.
First of all, I’m am the owner of a
Bimota BB1, A Yamaha SRX-6, and a Hawk
GT with a transplanted SRX-4 motor –
a.k.a.  the Yamahawk).  I love
singles; actually, I love 4stroke
singles.  I’ve hauled ass around the
racetrack, and I’ve toured the
length of Germany, Austria, and Hungary on a
one-lunger (my Bimota), and I
still love them.  Sure there were times in
Germany when I had to get on
the Autobahn to bypass crowded cities and
wished for a TL1000S as I was
swallowed whole (while riding a steady 160kph
no doubt!!) by Mercedes coupes,
all the while the bruises on the backs of
my legs swelling, but all in all,
singles are just great bikes.  My
friends, with their MG1100Ss, 900SSs,
TLs, and the like would do almost
anything for the chance to ride my BB1, and
eventually most of them will
get their half hour in the saddle.  But I
don’t like them riding my single
– not because it’s basically irreplacable,
but because I love every second
of it.  I don’t want to miss out.
now it’s time to say what I think about this Borile.  Well, first
all, it’s ugly.  I like classic bikes – I own a ’75 Ducati 750
SSReplica –
but I’m not so sure about the dipping style of the frame, or the
model P-looking tank.  That’s because when I see the ‘CR’ in the
name, I
expect to see a CR.  That seat has enough room for two (even
though there
are no passenger pegs).  It has normal bars where there
should be clip-ons.
 Finally, the lower tubing for the rear sub-frame
seems too long.  The
wheels, forks, and swingarm all look great, but get
rid of the Harley air
cleaner!  This bike should be renamed the Borile
C, and a Borile CR should
then be presented as a real cafe racer. 
Having live in Europe, I know that
tastes run differently there, and I’ve
developed a liking for several forms
of European motorcyclery that I didn’t
like earlier in my life.  But, like
the Centauro,
this Borile would never find a home with me.

Hey Gents,
I was reading your article on singles and decided to
with my opinion.
IT IS AWSOME!!!  I shit you not, before I
saw the pictured
bike, I couldn’t see myself riding anything without a full
fairing, but that
bike has changed my thinking.  I think that the kick
start will just rock!!
How would I get one in the states?  How much
would they cost?
Thanks for reading
There’s no doubt in my mind, once a few singles appear
on the street with performance parameters as described, these things will take
off.  Nothing beats light weight and low end punch when dealing with real
world traffic and speeds below 65 mph.  I live in an area with no freeways
and traffic flow below  60 mph and I’d buy one in a flash.  On top of
that manufacturers will have a field day with the new niche market.
Nowadays, with crowded, bumpy roads being the reality
for most motorcyclists, thumpers mean more fun than the 200 mph
hyperrockets.  Those big death traps are tickets (or worse) waiting to
happen, and are too fast for most riders anyway.  Its no fun just hanging
on to a bike, only to come blasting up to panic- inducing corners which always
seem too tight on a psycho bike like the R1.

Things are different on a single.  Instead of
point, twist the throttle, and blast, you can just pin the throttle to the stop
and sail through the corners.  It’s more like racing on the street than
riding a 100 hp superbike, which is, in my opinion, pretty lame.

So the up shot of it is…I would love to see more single cylinder sportbikes
availiable in the US. (I own half of the models availiable, an MuZ Skorpion
Sport)  But US riders,  aren’t really motorcyclists, for the most
part.  They are weekend poseurs, and for them, what you ride is muchh more
important than the riding itself. 

It’s rather neat I agree.  For me personally it would be
much neater if it had a CR500 motor in it.  That would be
Or better yet, if Honda would somehow Bribe the
Government into letting them slap some signal lights on an NSR500V ( even if it
was de-tuned to 110 bhp ) and mass produce it down to even $15,000.00. 
Imagine what a spine-tingling, blood curdling, brain-bursting, concussion
causing, Nut-Numbing, sensation that would be………..And all with the sound
of a large Mo-ped !!!!  Bloody incredible, but highly
On the other hand, I’d certainly buy a naked
street single before I’d even contemplate the notion of turning my head to 
look into a Buell window shop.. Unless they had a good looking woman’s ass
hanging next to it….
I’ve had an ’88 Honda NX 650 for about 6 years, and enjoyed the hell
of it.  Never had it (seriously) off road – it’s a street bike.

Actually, it’s my sport bike.  As long as things stay tight and
there’s not much I can’t hang with.
I’ve also got a Bandit
1200s, which is, uh, worth a few grins.  But when
the sportbike boys
come out to play, the NX gets the call.  When it comes
to making serious
time on a tight backroad, light makes right.  Besides,
it’s fun playing
sleeper, especially at one-fourth the cost.
Keep up the good
Light is right, and you can’t get lighter than a single.  Even an R-1
or R-6
is a pig in comparison.  A small, light, built-for-the-street
machine with
the benefits of a modern, more powerful single would be pure
Hi there,
sending a message from Australia regarding the Borile
            Mate, i’ve
just come in my pants. The Borile is Sex on two wheels.
I’m a SR500 owner
and i would love some more info on this bike .
           Keep on thumpin
cos Borile are on the right track.
Dear Editor,
     I’ve allways
ridem singles. My first byke was a XR200R Dual
porpouse bike (Brazilian
Model). It was great fun, and a plasenat
experience. I learned how to ride on
it. Now I’m riding my 97 Yamaha
Xt600E. I call it the locomotive. It’s just
like one with it’s mig
600cc single air-colled 43hp engine. I just imagine
what would it be to
ride a 110/130 kg dp bike with more then 50bhp to play
I plan to buy the new KTM 400cc 4 stroke single next year for
riding.  I’d seriously consider buying a single cylinder, 4
street bike like the one pictured in your article.  My brother
has been
after me to buy a street bike and go riding with him, since I used
to be
a street rider.
Hey Guys,
The Borile is kind of neat.  A sharp looking
Retro set-up.  I have seen the
early pictures of it and it has improved
quite a bit since the first
version.  The one bolt on frame tube is
confusing on the side of the
cylinder and if he had matched the curve of the
pipe with the tube it would
have set it off.  Gee, and they just
announced the new KTM Duke would weigh
something like 360lbs without
gas?  How DO they DO it?  Engineering


they build it, I will buy!!
My off road riding partner
has a YZ400.  This is a stunning piece of
machinery and the perfect
powerplant for a street bike, torquey, powerful,
and reliable as a
rock.  But to build a sub 250 pound bike for the street to
wrap it
around is unbelievable. 
When I sold my 84 Ninja 900 years ago, I
said it was my last street bike,
this would change all that.
Editor, Motorcycle Daily
Regarding the new Borile
Single as shown today on your very fine
and much appreciated website, I
proffer the following comments:
Your words to the effect that a largish
Single is the very essence
of what a motorcycle should look and feel like is,
of course, true.
I personally have experienced and owned examples of Singles,
and Fours. I currently own a Single, a 1967 BSA 441cc model
the “Shooting Star”. I have previously owned other BSA
including Gold Stars, and Ducati Singles ranging from 200 cc
450 cc.
I am afraid that unless something unexpected happens, the
Singles market is fairly dead in the U.S. I had some hopes for
new Buell single, but latest spy photo’s and info has killed that.
engine has been “dumbed down” to 500 cc and 30-something
horsepower, a true
tyro bike, what a waste.
Circa 1979-80 Honda brought in the GB500 Street
Single which
languished on dealer’s floors until enthusiasts bought them up
reduced prices. They are *prized* today and still command the
that the original owners paid for them new in 1980. But has any
the Big Four tried this again? No.
The Yamaha SR500 and subsequent
SRX600 Singles attracted a niche
market of enthusiasts, but not enough to
maintain the importation of
the model by Yamaha USA. These models are still
around, but seldom
seen (compared to the GB500s which appear regularly on
classic bike
Verifying the potential (but unfortunately
limited) Singles market is
the American made “Snorton”, see it at
on “for sale”).
While some of us would rush down to our dealers with cash
in hand for
the likes of the Borile Single, I don’t think there are enough of
to get the interest of dealers in the United States. My latest
Single, a Ducati 350 Desmo purchased new in 1974, (not
owned) had to be imported from Canada.
To the editors:
I live in a small, civil-war era
village 50-interstate-miles from the
nation’s capitol.  While I would
rely on larger, more all-weather bikes for
the daily jaunt, the Borile looks
like the answer for trolling small streets
here and a Saturday on the Blue
Ridge Parkway not far from here.

Amen to the Street Single idea!! I have desired such a machine
several years, and have even toyed semi-seriously with the idea
developing an FZR 400/XR 650 hybrid for my personal use and abuse.
article has me thinking about that project again; a FZR thumper to
my Buell X1 company….hmmmm.
I like the idea.
I’ve ridden one on the street, a fun,
lightweight is “the” around town
Realtively low powered and low weight machines
have been offered to us
before. The Honda NT650 and CB1? Yamaha’s FZR400 and
SRX650? While all
these are not pure parallels, they are a close enough
analogy. And their
failure on the show room floor displayed America’s
penchant for the Big
Bore machine(But it better have a fairing!)
for one, love the concept of hot street singles, KTM’s Duke II,
SuperMoto and
the Vertimati Supermotard, makes my blood boil( Oh the
Wheelies..Oh the
Stoppies, Oh the the chucking 250lbs very late into a
corner then going
underneath porkers like my T595), until I consider
trucking the 45 min
freeway trip to get close to the twisties. My
feeling is that Street singles
are a niche market item, that won’t gain
mass sales, and will cause any
adventurous mass manufacturer to rethink
themselves next time they consider
building a bike that isn’t designed
for the largest buying group.
we could all own multiple machines then singles might do well, but as
most of
make do with a one motorcycle, It’s just a great idea.

I think you’ve hit the nail right on the head,
albeit a little premature. I believe the future of motorcycling belongs to
singles and twins. With 4 cylinder streetbikes becoming as amazingly light and
as powerful as they have been over the last 5-10 years, twin cylinder engines
become more feasible as an alternative. If you can get comparable horsepower out
of a twin cylinder engine as compared to a 4 cylinder, you have the added
benefits of simplicity,lower cost and light weight in a narrow package.
Twins are becoming mainstream fast, singles are
a ways off yet because of power and acceptability.
An oval piston single(twin joined @ the piston)
would be just the ticket .

Dear Editor:
Yes, to lightweight singles street
However, I would only buy a sport bike.
Let’s see. 
270-290lbs, Counterbalanced, 60+ish HP. SPORTBIKE!  Not standard.

 Not Dual-purpose.  Not SuperMottard!  SPORTBIKE!
version of Ducati Supermono comes to mind.

I’ve owned 38 bikes in 7 years, but only kept one… a 1986
Yamaha SRX6.
It’s got an FZR400 front end and wheels so that I can run
I shortened the subframe 11 inches, made a solo seat, and finished
off with a Ducati Monster tail light and 78 Kawasaki Kz650
Routed the exhaust high and tight, with a Supertrapp can. It makes
piddling 37hp and 33ft/lbs torque. Full of gas it weighs 325lbs.
You get
the picture. Tight, twisty roads is what it’s all about.
And it splits lanes
real well here in San Diego.
Got my eye on the ’00 XR650. Two inches less
suspension travel, 17 inch
rims, a big honking disk brake, and maybe a late
’60’s early ’70’s
Honda Scrambler type gas tank and seat. Yeah’ that sounds
about right!
I’ll be shocked and amazed if anyone actually imports a
street single
of this nature, but all I can say is, I surely won’t pay $8000
for one.
(hello KTM!) Shouldn’t singles be less expensive to
Probably, I’ll build it myself. I won’t hold my breath for
Love your sight. It’s the best, most timely, and informative
Keep the shiny side up!

Singles are the way to go.  It’s not just how many
cylinders a bike’s got, it’s light weight and power to weight.  I’m
finishing a project bike, Honda NSR250 chassis with Mike Velasco-tuned XL650
thumper motor.  Expected dry weight: 235lbs.
There’s a “Thumper Page” on the ‘net, but I forgot the 
page.  Randall Zempel ( has actually made
a TZ250 with an XL650 motor.  It races at Willow Springs. He’s actually
written a couple of stories about building the bike, as well as a GB500
racer.  You could possibly reprint them…


Saw your piece on the Borile 500cc thumper on-line.  I
agree completely with
your assessment of the potential for a thumper street
bike built with
cutting edge technology.  I ride a stock ’81 Yamaha
SR500.  Pure joy despite
being underpowered by today’s standards. 
The challenge will be convincing
the big guys that this will catch-on in the
marketplace.  If they aren’t
convinced, we are unlikely to see a thumper
that’s ‘affordable’.  How many
Dukes could KTM sell in the US if the
MSRP were around $4k?