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2013 Triumph Street Triple: MD Ride Review

Having just reviewed two retro-style standards, including the Triumph Bonneville and Moto Guzzi V7 Stone, it was an interesting contrast to hop aboard one of the most thoroughly modern standard-style motorcycles currently available, the redesigned 2013 Triumph Street Triple.

The new bike is lighter with revised steering geometry, and it has improved mass centralization, largely due to the new muffler placement (the old bike had underseat exhaust).  The engine is essentially unchanged, but that can hardly be a point of criticism given the universal praise heaped on this 675cc triple by the press and owners alike.

As you will see below, we found an awful lot of things to like about the new Street Triple, but its low weight, in particular, deserves some careful analysis.  For 2013, an entirely new frame and swingarm saved 3 pounds, the new low-slung exhaust saves 7.9 pounds and the rear wheel another 2 pounds.  All together, Triumph claims a roughly 13 pound reduction in weight versus comparable 2012 models.  The two models are the standard Street Triple (the model we tested) and the Street Triple R.  The R model retails for $9,999 ($600.00 more than the standard model) and includes a fully adjustable fork, rear shock with adjustable preload and rebound damping, anti-lock brakes, and radial mount, four-piston front brake calipers.

This is an extraordinarly lightweight motorcycle given its engine performance.  Think about this.  Our test bike has a claimed wet (fully fueled) weight of 400 pounds.  Given equivalent gas loads, this is nearly 40 pounds lighter than Ducati’s new Hypermotard!  Indeed, it is lighter than several single-cylinder motorcycles.  One reason is that the platform is derived from the Daytona 675, a sport bike that slugs it out with Japanese 600s in a category obsessed with low weight.

The standard model has suspension which is non-adjustable except for rear shock spring preload.  It also has simpler, two-piston brake calipers up front and has optional ABS in most markets (apparently, all US models will have ABS).

Riding the new Street Triple feels like piloting a dirt bike on steroids.  The low weight is quite evident, as is the low inertia associated with the light crank and other engine internals.  With 105 hp at the crank, this lithe machine has nearly twice the power of a modern 450cc motocross bike, for instance.

It is the way that power is delivered, however, that makes the Street Triple so special.  When you hear journalists drone on and on about this engine, including its huge powerband and righteous sound, don’t discount it.  This engine is the real deal.  Simply fabulous.

The intake and exhaust noise by themselves are worth the price of admission, but the surprising thrust delivered down low in the rev range combined with a glorious and powerful high-end shriek close the deal.

The new chassis combines both a nimble feeling and very solid high speed stability.  While the old Street Triple could get a little twitchy, the new steering geometry (including increased trail) seems to solve that without taking away from the entertainment value.  The seating position is comfortable, and the seat height is reasonable even for most short riders.  The bar position has you leaning slightly into the wind.

The brakes on the standard Street Triple are adequate, but down on both power and feel when compared with modern supersport machinery.  Presumably, the uprated front brakes on the Street Triple R remedy this criticism.  While the rear shock with one click of preload seemed just about right, the non-adjustable front fork could benefit from quicker rebound.  This made for a somewhat choppy ride over bad pavement.

The six-speed transmission and clutch worked flawlessly during our test, and the gear ratios seemed to complement the engine performance.

Instrumentation is both legible and useful, including digital speedometer, fuel gauge, trip meter, analogue tach, lap timer, gear position indicator,  etc.

Years ago, a large number of experienced journalists fell in love with an inexpensive, lightweight standard motorcycle . . . the Suzuki SV650.  It was a relatively unassuming machine that made you grin ear-to-ear inside your helmet much more often than many other bikes.  It delivered the essence of motorcycling  in an unfiltered manner.  Triumph’s 2013 Street Triple takes this  a couple steps further.  It feels even lighter and more nimble than the old SV with gobs more engine performance and character.  At $9,399, the 2013 Triumph Street Triple is a bargain, but its $600 more expensive sibling, the Street Triple R, is arguably more so with its uprated suspension and brakes.  For additional details and specifications visit Triumph’s web site.

103 Comments

  1. Neil says:

    I sat on it at the dealer and it is nicer in other colors. The seat forces you to sit on the inside of your sit bones instead of on top of them and it slides you into the tank a bit, but better than the previous one. There are a lot of nice looking bikes to buy if you just want the attention of other bikers when you stop for coffee. It’s a great machine. The exhaust is what the EPA demands. But you can change that. The tail section is not as perfect as say, the 2000 Yamaha R1, but hey. Mufflers under the tail are hot and stinky. It needs to be away from the rider. When you commute, and stop at many lights, you do not want exhaust under you, nor getting vacuumed back towards you at low speeds. People who test ride them, like them above all other naked bikes.

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  2. bill engstrom says:

    ugliest motorcycle to date!

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  3. Norm G. says:

    cue headline for texas gp.

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  4. DaveA says:

    Hey, great photos by the way…very nice! As I am now obligated to do, I must compliment the complete absence of silly near-vertical hanging off behavior. Well done all around!

    Report this comment

  5. Doc says:

    Just to set the record straight for me and many others, any criticism of any bike in any story on this website is not criticism towards Dirk or this website. I love this website and have for many years. Dirk does a wonderful job. That’s why I check it every day. The disappointment is in the some of the people who read it and leave comment. Criticism is a good thing if it’s constructive. I really don’t believe Dirk takes the negative comments aimed at the bikes or products discussed on this website personally. Now get out and ride!

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  6. jake says:

    Underseat exhausts look alot better on streetfighters than these short stubby ones. If you are going against the grain with the styling of the bike anyway, why, Triumph, do you then feel the need to follow trends when it comes to short, stubby exhausts?

    Supposedly, the next Speed Triple will have a similar exhaust and it just ruins the look of that bike too.

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    • joe b says:

      Underseat exhaust are so old fashioned, and could not be in a more worse place. Up high, away from the center of gravity, hot mufflers under where you sit, that idea started about 25 years ago, give it a rest. “Against the grain”, more like with the flow. I’ll keep coming to motorcycledaily, even though I don’t agree with all the negative comments about so much,

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    • Gary says:

      Everyone has their opinion. I didn’t like those bulbous underseat exhausts, and like this version much better. Would rather they be a little smaller in places, but that is thanks to all the crap they have to put on to satisfy the epa and other regulatory agencies across the world.

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    • DaveA says:

      The answer is ‘form follows function.’ It’s not a styling exercise, it works better.

      Report this comment

  7. Tom says:

    I’m feeling sorry for Dirk Edge. Dirk puts out a terrific website, has some wonderful insights into the new bikes. But even with perhaps the nicest standard bike available to day, and the best value — the Triumph Stree Triple – Dirk see the readers’ same old comments for every new bike: ugly exhaust, ugly headlights, ugly tank, ugly price. Hang in there, Dirk! I love your website, and love this new bike!

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    • todder says:

      Agreed, keep up the great work! I can’t get enough of this site.

      Report this comment

    • Gary says:

      Two points:

      1) I’m pretty sure beauty is subjective, and that some of the below posters like the looks.
      2) How is it that criticism of this bike’s style is a slam of this Web site?

      Report this comment

      • T. Rollie says:

        It’s not a slam on the website, but think about the motorcycle journalist who diligently writes these articles day after day. In his shoes, should I a) feel depressed because the readers’ comments automatically say “ugly headlight, ugly tank, ugly exhaust, wrong wheels” or b) just ignore the comments and simply count them and appreciate the higher count?
        I think counting the comments is the correct metric.
        BTW, I really want to buy a Triumph Street Triple R, thanks to Dirk. Thanks, Dirk.

        • todd says:

          The point is that people come to the site and add traffic. Discussion and disagreements increase traffic and popularity, all of which increases the value of the ad space on the page. Don’t underestimate the value of trite criticism.

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        • Gary says:

          Hi Rollie … You can react to comments like I do … Ignore ‘em and make up your own mind. I have never given a rat’s arse what anyone thinks about my taste in bikes. One of my favorite bikes was the original mid-70s GL1000 Gold Wing, which was “naked.” And you better believed I got a lot of ribbing from friends at the time. Screw ‘em.

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    • mickey says:

      Surely Dirck realizes that this is basically a 50 % country. 50 % of the marriages end in divorce, theres approx 50% repubs and 50% dems, you can’t get half of this country to agree on anything, so it should be no suprise that half the people will like what ever has been posted about and half are going to find fault with it. No biggie, its what makes America great, this giant melting pot of individuals.

      Sometimes when someone has a complaint, I have to look harder to see what the heck they were talking about, ( like tank seams or fender beaks, or tail light brackets) then I usually see it. Sometimes it then bothers me as well, or it doesn’t. I’m sure its the same for everyone here.

      My wife watches a lot of home decorating shows, and I often wonder what accounts for some peoples tastes. They’d probably wonder the same thing about how my house is decorated.

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  8. Ricardo says:

    I’ve never been a fan of the speed triple, great motor, ugly bike design. I like the Thruxton and the Bonnevilles though.

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    • Mark says:

      Having owned one I can tell you its not about the looks (although I happened to really like the looks but that is very subjective)One of the coolest, best handling bikes I have ever owned. Amazing motor. The Bonneville is a civic in comparison to performance.

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  9. Doc says:

    Are you guys kidding? You are bitching about the exhaust? Hell, that’s the best part of this thing. This bike is ugly. Don’t really care how well it handles if I can’t stand looking at it. The styling is awful and will not age well. The best looking bikes in Triumph’s catalog are the the Bonnevilles

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    • joe b says:

      I own a CB1000R and its exhaust is similar, and everybody hated it when it came out. Now that I own the bike, I like the exhaust. Its not a bazooka like my old GSF1250, and neither like my VFR800, with both mufflers under the seat. “Where and what do you do with the muffler”, has always been the question no one asks.

      pretty easy to see a styling trend, it will continue.

      why does everyone want to say its ugly? what are they smokin’?

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      • Doc says:

        I’m not a big fan of underseat exhaust. They’re ok but I prefer a 4 into 1 or a 3 into 1 in this case. The overall styling of this Triumph is awful. That tail section is terrible. Why can’t designer’s come up with a good looking rear end. I would put my new CB1100F against this bike in all areas, especially styling. The back end isn’t all jacked up in the air and the exhaust is very attractive. Reminds me of the CB400F of the mid seventies. I look for style that a designer put some thought into. Not to just out-ugly someone else.

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  10. mugwump says:

    It’s heresy I know, but I’d love to know what kind of mpg can be rung out of it when your not enjoying it.

    Report this comment

  11. Ed says:

    Does Triumph offer a kit to replace the headlights with the original good looking round headlights? I used to love their Speed/Street triples but those new wierd shaped lights ruin it for me.And what the hell was wrong with round exhaust pipes?

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  12. Mark says:

    I have ridden the ST many times and it is an excellent bike. I used to like the old version, never really liked this version. Then I got to thinking about it.. who are they marketing too? A bunch of old farts that read MD on the web from work?? No, they selling to the next generation of Triumph fans!! High performance motorcycles! We can still complain about how the Bonneville doesn’t look like the old version. I am saving my lunch money…..

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  13. ducatidon says:

    If these exhaust systems get any uglier (and States prevent me from changing them)I’m going back to cars. At least I don’t have to look at it.

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  14. Ken says:

    The flyscreen + visor kit greatly improves the looks of the front end.

    I just checked the Triumph website, and it shows the standard ’13 Street Triple including switchable ABS. Dirck?

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    • Dirck Edge says:

      ABS is optional on the standard Street Triple in most markets, although I understand from speaking with a Triumph representative that all US models will come with ABS. I clarified this in the story above. Thanks for pointing this out.

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    • Norm G. says:

      in the EU, ABS has been mandated as standard fitment to basically all motorcycles come 2015/2016. ever wonder why honda would bother adding the unnecessary cost and weight to a CBR250 “wheez-mobile”…? well there ya go. (frankie dunn voice)

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  15. Gary says:

    I love Triumph triples, and I am certain this bike runs, stops and turns great. But I can’t get behind a bike that looks like it has been crashed, then cobbled back together. When did this become fashionable? The headlights are simply hideous.

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  16. Marcos says:

    Maybe it is just me but the exhaust looks just like the honda cb1000. i am sure that it is a great bike, see quite a few here in Madrid, but those headlights sure need getting used to.

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  17. Dave says:

    This is a great bike

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  18. RobbieAG says:

    The bike sounds great; I’d love to ride one. I just can’t get past the bugeye headlights…

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  19. Bones says:

    Love this bike!

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  20. Norm G. says:

    re: “When you hear journalists drone on and on about this engine, including its huge powerband and righteous sound, don’t discount it. This engine is the real deal. Simply fabulous. The intake and exhaust noise by themselves are worth the price of admission”

    spot on. dare i say it’s the purest experience currently available motorcycling.

    oh and speaking of triumph, has this been posted/discussed yet…?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GG8fgmz3LQ&feature=youtu.be

    somebody in newnan pulled off a coup…!!! LOL

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  21. ABQ says:

    At first glance I thought that it was an article about the kawasaki EN-01. It looks just like it.

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  22. Wendy says:

    Did I miss something? How come the comments section is all about SVs?

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    • Dino says:

      Check the article again… A comparison of the Street Triple to the SV was made in a very favorable way. That always opens the debate of the bike reviewed AND the bike it was compared to…

      Both great bikes, IMHO…

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  23. Allworld says:

    I have the 2009 R and love it. Now there is more to love.
    I think Triumph needs to keep an eye on MV Agusta,theirrcomingg on strong. Triumph should consider reworking their 800cc used in the Tiger, as they did to this engine that is used in 2013 Daytona. At any rate this is a fun bike, so much nicer than the Monster, the Shiver, the FZ8….

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  24. RRocket says:

    Part of the reason so many people fell in love with the SV650 was price. At $5,700 it was a bargain.

    The Triump at ~$10K?? Not so much.

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    • Selecter says:

      In the same era, Triumph’s own Speed Four was $6500… the SV wsa hardly a bargain, lacking the adjustable suspension and really good brakes of the TT600-derived S4.

      Times change… the last year (2008) that the SV was available (in fully-faired form), it was $7000. It’s direct descendent, the SFV650, is $8000 now. And just like the Speed Four back in 2004, the Street Triple is a bit more expensive (though not hugely so) than its Suzuki counterpart, it also offers… you know… quality components.

      A $5700 bike these days is 500ccs. The SV is gone for good, and still grossly overpriced on the used market (at least in the midwest).

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      • Norm G. says:

        re: “A $5700 bike these days is 500ccs…”

        …IF (and that’s one big if)… you can get one. the market roll out was global.

        (note, the price for the one you actually WANT is $6 grand.)

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    • Ken says:

      The lovable old SV was relatively crude. The 2013 Street Triple ‘R’, “at ~ $10K,” is the complete opposite, in that respect. To me, it seems like a bargain.

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    • DaveA says:

      Please tell us what significantly less expensive alternative 400 pound 105hp bike w ABS standard we should be looking at that makes the new Speed Triple overpriced.

      hint: there are none.

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    • Marc F says:

      Fully adjustable suspension (R version, that is), the best chassis and handling on the market, the best engine on the market, class leading weight, and near Japanese reliability? This bike is an amazing bargain and a comparison to an SV is very unfair to the zook. It belongs in comparos with the Duc Street Fighter, Superduke, Tuono V4, and it’s own big brother Speed T… and it’s a more fun and competent bike than any of them. Only falls short in looks, IMO, as it has gotten considerably “busier” in the two redesigns it has seen since intro. Not the simple, clean, and raw look it started with.

      I’ve been on most of these bikes and the old STR was already the best street sport bike on the planet, IMO. The new one should just be more of that. The only bike I can think of that gives it a run for the money is the Hypermotard, and that’s simply because it offers a very different way to play, rather than better or worse.

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  25. Crazy Shamus says:

    The exhaust is ugly? this whole dam bike is ugly!! How many beers have you guys had!!!

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    • Norm G. says:

      re: “How many beers have you guys had!!!”

      i’m on my 4th. who’s askin’…?! LOL

      Report this comment

    • blackcayman says:

      The middle part is not bad – I can say the 2012 model was a very capable lightweight middle class standard. So like many things in life….looks aren’t everything

      The can is an easy fix – maybe you could dig up a Vetter for the front end???

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    • Hefner says:

      Beauty is in the eye of the beholder… But I agree that the exhaust is ugly, as are the headlights. The rest of the bike however looks just fine to me, and I’m sure there are many fine looking aftermarket exhausts.

      Now about those headlights…

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  26. todder says:

    Love to have one…just not friendly ergos for a 6″3′ dude like me. Wish they came standard with adjustable rearsets.

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    • Snazzy says:

      Agreed. Leg room seems to be lacking in a lot of current ‘streetfighter’ bikes, with pegs going further rearwards. After hopping off one recently and back on my old VFR, the VFR almost felt like a cruiser. I don’t find low bars as much of a problem on long rides as knee pain from folded up legs. I can understand why though, with many of them simply redesigns of existing supersport models.

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    • Dave says:

      Tough balance between cornering clearance and a low enough seat height for the average size guys. I’m with ya’ (6’4″). Sometimes I think that’s one of the big drivers for the “Adventure” thing.

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  27. Bud says:

    I’d love to see you do comparison of the Street Triple and the MV 675/800 Brutale

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  28. mk says:

    Man you guys are on a roll. Review, after review, after review. Hot damn!!!

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  29. Garak says:

    Sure the exhaust is pretty ugly, but they have to make it compliant with regulations and I’m sure Triumph is aware of this new trend of owners replacing the factory exhaust with an aftermarket piece.

    Report this comment

    • Gary says:

      Yep, leave it up to our benevolent government to screw things up. However replacing with an accessory exhaust like some think will not be a possibility as some States are legislating against the use of any exhaust other than the approved manufacturers one. Thanks to those that always have to have a loud exhaust on whatever.

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    • MGNorge says:

      “New trend”?

      I’d say factor in an Arrow piece at the time of purchase if the stock one offends so much. Unless you’re being facetious, stock cans have been taking their place on garage walls since motorcycles came to be!

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  30. Todd says:

    Awesome. Too bad I’m not good enough of a rider to tell the difference between the capabilities of this bike and others. I guess that’s why used bikes are such a better value. Luckily, a few years from now I will be able to pick this bike up for five grand

    -todd

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  31. Fangit says:

    I’m sorry but that exhaust is just plain hideous and it really spoils the bikes overall styling. What were Triumph thinking. Oh yeh I know, more Triumph aftermarket exhaust sales.

    Report this comment

  32. Gary says:

    Sounds like a great bike. It’s obvious they must have gotten that muffler from Honda though. Triumph really seems to be doing well model and review wise. Bloody way to go blokes!

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  33. Michael H says:

    It needs a gas tank with seams.

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  34. Norm G. says:

    re: “Years ago, a large number of experienced journalists fell in love with an inexpensive, lightweight standard motorcycle . . . the Suzuki SV650…”

    …inexperienced noobs, women riders, club racers and pros, suzuki salesmen, etc.

    Report this comment

    • MGNorge says:

      Gee Norm, tell us what you really think of the SV!

      Report this comment

    • HotDog says:

      500,000+ miles on 23 bikes and I got a 2012 650 V-Strom. Go pretend somewhere else. It’s a great bike.

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    • Randy says:

      That sounds like a compliment to me.

      Report this comment

      • Norm G. says:

        YAAAHHHTZEEE…!!!

        Report this comment

      • blackcayman says:

        Norm – you are way off base. In 1999 – 2000 I was managing a Suzuki shop and rode all kinds of motorcyles as demos. I had a dedicated 2000 Hayabusa demo and a 2000 SV650. I also rode what ever used bikes we had (about 30-50 at any given time).

        The little SV was simply a pleasure to ride. No it wasn’t suitable for bigger riders who would over work the suspension and it wasn’t great for 85 MPH Sport touring (The Mighty Hayabusa filled that role).

        It was light and flickable, had a decent little V-Twin powerband. If you missed it, its your loss.

        P.S. – one used bike was a very clean low miles V-Max. I used to take it out to lunch and do 0-150 MPH runs – just to feel that unique blast of power! Laughing in my helmet every time.

        I set me personal Land Speed Record on that Silver and Blue Hayabusa – an indicated 185 – Just like Joe Walsh’s Maserati

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  35. skybullet says:

    Power to weight ratio = all around PERFORMANCE. Not just acceleration but cornering too. I love a bike that handles, I’ll bet this one does. Let’s hope this is a trend followed by other mfgs.