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There is Fast … and Then There is Fast; Or, Why You Don’t Need More Horsepower

Most riders, frankly, will never understand this point, and that is okay.  The point is this: for most of us (leaving aside elite racers competing against one another on a race track), rider skill is the single most important ingredient when it comes to going fast. Sure, equipment is important, but rider skill, once your equipment reaches a certain level, trumps all.  

On the street, in particular, rider skill is the dominant factor when it comes to carving up twisty roads. Been in a group ride where an air-cooled Moto Guzzi with tubed tires left participants aboard Ducati and Aprilia superbikes for dead on a canyon road? I have. The riders on those superbikes weren’t half bad, either.

The video below may not be the best example. Nevertheless, aboard his World Supersport R6, Corentin Perolari destroys the competition at a Magny Cours track day. With just 599cc, he leaves the other riders (many aboard full superbikes) in his wake.  Skill – and line selection – allow him to pass riders as if they are standing still (including a rider nearly dragging his elbow through a corner at 1:53). Have a look.


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119 Comments

  1. Simon Says says:

    I’ve stuck with a GSX-R750 for my track riding because I can ride it harder than a 1000, I’ve got the throttle wide open more often and I can concentrate on improving my riding. I been at more than one track day when easily the fastest rider on the day has been a pro racer out practising on a R6. I ride at Eastern Creek in Australia and have also ridden at two track days which have preceded a round of the Australian Superbike Championship, so all the “boys” have used it for testing. Scary is all I can say.

  2. fred says:

    As an old, slow rider who never was very fast, I have to disagree with one of the claims in the article. Being “fast” on the street requires skill, but far more than that, it requires a willingness to ignore the legal consequences, as well as the elevated risk of death and injury, both to oneself and others.

    Even a mildly skilled rider on an average bike can far exceed legal speeds on most roads in the U.S.A.. Fast street riding is more limited by prudence & good judgement than it is by either skill or horsepower.

    As far as the track video is concerned, some of the speed differentials seem a bit excessive. Hopefully the participants were properly informed as to what was about to take place.

  3. Track Junky says:

    Good article. I agree that skills are more important than the bike on the amateur level. I’ve been doing track days for 11 years. Attended many riding schools including the California Superbike School several times. I ride a GSXR600 on the track and discovered that I lap several seconds faster on a liter bike. Why? More straight line and corner exit speed. My 6 is an excellent track bike but when I rode a BMW1000RR at Barber at CSS, I was blown away. The fun factor was through the roof. My next track bike will definitely be a liter bike. Crazy acceleration is a beautiful thing.

    • todd says:

      The point of the article is to develop your skills. If you are experiencing lots of acceleration, you are braking too much for the turns. Keep your corner and exit speeds up and you’ll be passing guys on the liter bikes.

      • Jeremy in TX says:

        Acceleration is why liter bikes are faster. The whole point is to brake hard and spend as little time leaned over as possible so you can get back on the gas.

        I agree, the article is about getting faster through skill development. You can develop skills on a SV650 and pass some poor riders on liter bikes.

        Or you can develop some skills on a liter bike and never get passed by anyone.

  4. Racer says:

    I won’t lie, I can ride at the level of the MotoGP racers. The weird thing about it though, is when I do there’s never any of my riding buds around to witness it. So sad for me.

  5. Track Junky says:

    Good read but comparing a pro racer to non-pros or street riders is like comparing a pro golfer to a weekend hacker. The racer could be on a Ninja 400 and lap faster than those guys. He does everything better and that 600 he’s on is NO JOKE.

    I do agree that skills are more important than the bike. I ride a GSXR600 on the track and I’ve been passed by guys on Ninja 400s and I’ve passed guys on 1000s. Thing is a more powerful bike allows a rider to catch a slower bike in the straights unless the rider on the slower bike is MUCH faster in the corners. Then he’s too far ahead to be caught.

    After riding the BMW1000RR at the California Superbike School, I discovered that a liter bike would definitely drop my lap time because I would exit a corner faster and I would be faster in the straights. That cuts a few seconds off every lap. Blasting around a track on the Beemer was a totally different experience. I know I said “goddamn” several times every lap because it was so much fun. My next track bike will be a liter bike. The fun factor was on another level.

  6. takehikes says:

    I had a buddy that was good enough he got to race at Daytona. he knew the fast way around was as close to the wall on the banking as possible. In practice he is going balls out and as close as he could to the wall (he said he felt like he could touch it) …….when he got passed on the outside between him and the wall. He knew then it wasn’t the bike, it was the rider and he for sure was not going to win the race.
    A Few years back I bough ta very high performance model and sold it after a yeaer. I have been riding since the 60’s and realized that even with all my experience the bike had more talent than I did.

  7. motorhead says:

    If one wishes to be a faster rider, get a lightweight 600cc (or smaller) bike that fits well and practice all the time. On the other hand, if one just wants something bigger and faster and more expensive and may even make one slower (because it’s heavier and scarier) then splurge on a liter class bike.

  8. RRocket says:

    Wow!

    So are you telling me that the guy who races motorcycles for a living is faster than guys who don’t? Who’d have thunk it?

    In other news…the sky is blue and grass is green….

    • bmbktmracer says:

      I think the point is that trading in your 180 HP R1 for a 210 HP S1000RR is probably not going to have any positive impact on your lap times.

      • tomg says:

        ….correct but if you are an amateur, trading in your 100hp 600cc bike for a 150hp liter bike will probably drop your laptimes. You won’t go any faster in the corners but you will accelerate and go much faster on the straights. Heck, just being able to ride around the track in 1 or 2 gears will help drop your lap times. That is easier on a liter bike. One less thing to worry about.

  9. Sean says:

    “need” versus “want”

    This applies to most things in life for those fortunate enough to have the means. I don’t need a large pizza, but I want one. I don’t need a 3 car garage, but I want one. I don’t need 180hp, but I want 180 hp.

    I don’t need X, but I want X.

    It’s not a hard concept.

    • Track Junky says:

      Exactly. I ride a ZX-14R on the street because I want to. It’s more comfortable than a smaller sport bike and I can still rip and run with those guys. The 14R fits me like a glove.

  10. bmbktmracer says:

    Many years ago I got passed by Reg Pridmore at a track day. It was an exciting way to learn that my future as a superbike racer might be in doubt. hahaha

    • Mike says:

      I was at a riding school. The instructor was a famous racer but whose name I’ll omit out of much respect, was…how shall I put it…older and out of shape.
      However, on track with a much less powerful bike, he pretty much dispelled anyone’s thoughts of becoming the next Valentino Rossi.

      You have it or you do not. You can learn but there’s always the guy flying by you with the natural talent or worse, the natural talent plus zero fear gene.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I really don’t see a need for anything faster than a SV650 or Ninja 650. You can buy a Fender Stratocaster and still not play like Jimi.

  12. A P says:

    Riders like this racer and the organizers who allow them to do this are why I stopped doing trackdays. The whole “there’s a group for any level rider” advertising line is BS at most trackdays. There are invariably racer “buddies” that organizers (often ex-racers themselves) turn a blind eye to, allowing them to get “passing practice” at other participants’ expense. I paid my fees to get into the trackday, but can’t rely on the organizers to keep the racers/squids behaving properly in the appropriate group.

    I have repeatedly suggested to industry figures and organizers that there is a need for “slightly faster than street speed” trackdays/schools. The racing farm system that is trackdays/school is well established, but seems to need enough punters to make the business model work.

    I find it ironic that the industry puts together all manner of think-tanks and high-sounding initiatives to improve rider skill/safety, then balk at separating the racing farm system from the average street riders who don’t want “fast” as much as they would like track time to improve skills and have FUN at their own pace. That average-rider pace is NOT laptimes that would gain a position on a racing grid.

    I still say track riding is the most fun you can have with your clothes on… but not for me if I have to share the track with racers, squids and adrenaline junkies.

    • Jim says:

      People who ride slower than me are less skilled and people who ride faster than me are squids.

      • A P says:

        Sorry Jim, it is more about the relative speeds vs. absolute laptimes. The trackday/school organizer I used most commented that while I was the often slowest rider out there, I was having the most fun.

        Even the racing organizations and their farm system (sorry, trackdays/schools) recognize it is imperative to keep the speed/skill differential as small as possible.

        In absolute terms, I’m slow when compared to any racer/trackday star that can do grid-qualifying laptimes. But as a 65+-year-old rider with 40+ years continuous street riding experience (on everything from a vintage 250 2-stroke, to a 600RR, to Gold Wings) and a decade of track experience, I do OK.

        If readers want to see proof of my premise that the current trackday system is racing-oriented, spend some time on Youtube looking at local trackday videos. Then compare those laptimes against the published motorcycle lap records for that track. Even in the “slow” group, laptimes posted in many videos are within the 110-125% of the lap records for the appropriate class, let alone just to qualify as backmarker on an amateur grid.

        Squids in my definition are riders who ride recklessly, not just faster than me. Surviving 40+ years on the street means I am doing something right. My only street crash was when a car driver ran a red light and hit the car directly in front of me, and I had no time to stop. I never crashed on track.

        May your riding career be as safe and fun as mine.

        • roma258 says:

          I am frankly confused by your comments, having done a fair share of trackdays myself. If you are the slowest rider out there, you have no business being in the A group where the racer boys do their thing. You should be perfectly perfectly content mixing it up in the B group with the rest of the punters.

          At my peak, I was riding in the A group and more or less holding my own, but the racers would still blow my doors off. And that’s fine, those guys usually know what they’re doing and make clean passes and go on their way. Why should it bother me? If anything it’s the “squids” as you so eloquently put it that one really has to worry about blowing their lines and knocking you off the track. Any trackday org worth their reputation would not let these squids get anywhere close to the A group, so frankly….I’m not sure what you’re even complaining about.

          • A P says:

            There it is, the “but that’s not racing” argument. EXACTLY. Most street riders are not interested in riding at racing speeds, let alone sharing the track with those that do.

            Where is it written that a road course can only be a “race track”? It can also simply viewed as a piece of road connected at both ends, used for pleasure riding and skill improvement no matter what speed segment. The trick is separating riders like me from the racer/trackday-star crowd.

            Where did I say I EVER was in the “A”(fast) group? I was in a “medium” group exactly once, but too often in the “slow” group had to share the track with riders AND RACERS who should have been in faster groups. But these legends in their own minds didn’t want to be embarrassed by REALLY fast riders/racers in those faster groups. So to get “passing practice”, they dropped down to where they knew they were “fastest”. Ironically, that is what the article was about, a bunch of “I’m fast” trackday stars rudely getting their butts handed to them. Sucks when the tables are turned eh?

            Again, I am proposing the industry run separate trackdays aimed at “average” street riders where the top “fast group” speeds are in the the 100mph range, not 150-170.

            From a business model perspective, there are the relative handful of racers/trackday-stars that the industry caters to vs. the literal millions of street riders in North America.

            The fastest way to comprehend just how fast/skilled even local racers are is to spend some time riding a track, even at what you would consider donkey-slow speeds. It is obvious most North American riders don’t think it is worth the price of admission to race events. Motorcycling is, after all, a participation sport.

            So to get more butts in bleachers, maybe the industry (from manufacturers down) needs to consider operating “just above street speeds” trackdays/schools as a marketing tool. They’ve tried “win on Sunday, sell on Monday” and “if you build it (shuffle classes and rules to fill grids), repeatedly, so why not try something different for a change?

          • roma258 says:

            A P I have to wonder what kind of Mickey Mouse track orgs are you running with. Literally any org I’ve ridden with had pretty strict rules about passing, depending on the group you’re in. Noobs only on straights, B group only on the outside, etc. And never, ever have I seen racers bump down to lower groups in order to get passing practice. That’s insane, nobody would allow that kind of speed differential and would get meatballed immediately.

            And I am talking orgs that I even thought were a bit fast and loose, but that sort of thing would never fly. And ofcourse were absolutely more catered towards street riders, while others attracted riders who wanted to push their speed and yes, racers.

            I don’t know what region or even country you ride in, but my experience with most Northeast US orgs is the exact opposite of what you describe and I am mostly writing this so other readers don’t get the wrong impression over how trackdays are run. Racers are always limited to the fastest group “A group” period.

          • A P says:

            To reply to your post lower down, as the “reply” button seems to drop after a certain number of posts in a thread.

            In short, I decided not to be “in the way” of such racing luminaries as yourself. The problem comes for the current trackday farm system when the majority of riders at my level stop going to the track. Imagine what happens to the current business model if only the fastest track riders went to track days… Or only the fastest 5 racers showed up in each class. Gee, didn’t the AMA just go through nearly that exact problem over the last decade? Note that Ienatch is telling retirement-age riders they should consider trackdays/schools, and even racing. Smells of desperation for market share to me.

            While the trackday/school system is smaller up here in Canada, the same problem exists… the difference between the racers/fastest track riders, and riders at my level AND SLOWER cannot be grouped/managed at the same event and still give everyone a reasonable amount of track time (which all pay for). The rules only deal when speed/skill differentials are not too big. Ergo, my issue.

            Just because I am positing a different stream of track activity which is currently not available under the existing system is no reason to attack me and be insulting. The thousands of hours of trackday footage on Youtube tells a VERY different story than you post. Indeed, the story video shows how a top level racer can think he is making “clean” passes from his perspective, and yet be far too aggressive for less accomplished riders he is passing.

            Racers and trackday-stars already have their trackday system, and anyone not “fast enough” should just pay to sit in the bleachers and be entertained by a crowd that doesn’t think we “belong” on track. And then the racing orgs complain of low attendance and nearly non-existent tv/streaming viewers. Well THAT worked out well.

            I can get MotoGP streamed and watch the best of the best… why would I bother watching MotoAmerica or Cdn Superbike? Back when I started following roadraces, to see a race you either went to the track or waited until the videos came out after the season was done. You could read about the races in the glossy mags or Roadracing World.

            What would it matter to you if the industry also provided trackdays/schools as I describe IN ADDITION to the existing system?

            But of course we’ll never know, because of attitudes like yours throughout the entire industry. You’re probably younger than I, but decades from now when us Boomers who largely kept the North American motorcycle industry alive since the 1980’s boom/bust are gone from motorcycling, you may wish the industry had taken on my suggestions to expand racing awareness back into the street riding crowd and eventually the mainstream public.

          • Anonymous says:

            AP, look into Reg Pridmore’s CLASS schools. It’s exactly what you’re describing.

          • roma258 says:

            A P, I did not insult you once, go re-read my comments. I do question the description of a typical trackday experience you provide since it strikes a completely false note compared to what I have myself experienced. I also noticed how you don’t actually address any of the specific corrections I made.

            Your description of racers sandbagging in slower groups is especially malicious and inaccurate and I’d hate to see it scare away any potential track day customers.

            As far as track days offered to non-racers, they already exist, as a simple google search would confirm:
            https://www.tonystrackdays.com/category/9284/non-and-sportbike-days.htm

            And I’m sure if the demand is there, more orgs would be happy to provide. Again, nothing personal, but I hate to see inaccurate information disseminated unchecked.

          • A P says:

            One last time:
            Roma258, you assumed I was riding in the A (fast) group, and stated the blatantly obvious, move to a slower group. This was after I replied to Jim and explained I had 40+ years street riding and a decade of track… I WAS in the “right” group.

            You also called the organizers I ran with “mickey mouse”. They are no less professional than most US orgs, with policing some rules less strictly the only exception. While I agree they don’t enforce their rules as strictly as the orgs you attended, you must understand the smaller markets where organizers have to decide whether they will offend the regular attending racers/trackday-stars or occasional slower riders. They chose the fast crowd, so as not to go broke. I understand that, having watched several small trackday organizers go broke.

            You will notice in my other post I know about Tony’s trackdays, but am not going to travel such long distances for a trackday. Considered it a few years ago before I sold the 600RR. Besides, I am within 6 hours driving of top level tracks Mosport and Calabogie. I have ridden them both.

            There is nothing “inaccurate” about my posts. Being a racer and A group rider, you don’t see a “hard but fair” pass from the perspective I and most street riders do. Again, there is literally thousands of hours of trackday footage on youtube, and the laptimes speak for themselves. As do the large speed differentials and inappropriate passes in the “slow” groups shown. Just to circle back, like the article video, but in slow groups.

            And you still didn’t answer my question on why the current racer/track-star system and its participants should object to a separate “just above street speed” system. Tony’s has been doing it for 20 years and it hasn’t spread to organizers in other parts of the continent yet. There is obviously sufficient and growing demand in the area Tony’s covers, you would think the same would hold true in other major population areas. Especially when the potential existing street rider market in North America is in the several millions of people, not low 100’s of thousands like racers and trackday stars.

            I’m not proposing taking anything away from the current trackday/racing-farm system. I am merely recognizing it for what it is and stating a significant disincentive which discourages more street riders from participating in it. I am proposing a proven solution should become more widespread and supported by the motorcycle industry as a whole.

      • Track Junky says:

        I agree, Jim. I’ve done track days for 11 years and 99% of the time, the fast, reckless riders are warned then dismissed from the track. It’s been my experience that Slow guys in faster groups need to swallow their pride and ride in the slow group. Don’t complain about guys passing to close or too fast when you’re in the A or B group.

        Personally, doing track days has made me a MUCH better/safer street rider in so many ways. Not panicking during an emergency situation on the street is the primary benefit of doing track days. I’m 53 and will hit the track until my body won’t allow it.

        • A P says:

          I didn’t start seriously track riding until I was 49. I also said then that I would ride track until they nailed the lid on my coffin. But every year the speeds and aggression of other riders/racers increased, to the point where trackday riders were getting killed and seriously injured far too often. And it was increasingly evident I no longer belonged in even the “slow” group. Up here in Canada one major organizer actually labels their groups at the riders’ meeting as “fast, faster and fastest”.

          So I sold my 600RR and used the cash I would have spent at trackdays/schools and bought an F6B Gold Wing. I upgraded the suspension and have fun comfortably tossing an 800lb monster through the twisties at nearly the same sane but quick street speeds as uncomfortably on my 600RR.

          I’m happy for you and Jim. Perhaps the rule enforcement is better in the large market track orgs as they are not so close to being bankrupt, so can afford to kick out riders with no regard to future profits. But the end result is still that there is only fast-rider/racer trackdays, as the range from slowest-to-fastest speed/skill differentials cannot be fully covered by 3 groups.

          No one in this thread (or the industry) has explained why a separate system for “just above street speed” trackdays/schools somehow harms the current system. It gets us “too slow for track but a little too fast for street” riders out of the racing farm system AND off the streets, which is what those opposing my idea say they want. But my guess is the current trackday system would not be so profitable without a fair number of short-term punters, just like racing would go broke if only the racers who stood a chance of winning showed up on the grid. Backmarkers have to be there to pay the bills, especially if there are no butts in bleachers or eyeballs on screens, and therefore no sponsors.

          It’s not like trackdays have not changed over time. In the 1980’s, the bike shops and race teams up here used to simply rent the track for their racers to practice, then encouraged interested street riders to show up, pay their money, sign the waivers and go out on track. No tech, no groups, no EMS/ambulance onsite. Then the post-crash/injury/death lawsuits began, and the system we see now was adopted. The sponsored racers often didn’t even have to pay, the punters paid the track rental.

          The racers were not happy when the new system came in, as it was now expensive for them to practice. So when the schools began, guess who were paid as instructors to help make their racing program financially viable… some of the fastest racers. Who then used the track stars in the fast group for passing practice, like in the video above. And fast group riders who didn’t like getting strafed by racers moved down groups…

          So as the North American motorcycle industry increasingly struggles to survive, let alone grow, new ideas will be needed. The old marketing formulas no longer work like they did. Those who want to be riding long after I’m dead may want to think carefully about what they wish for.

        • Bart says:

          Yup. Some riders would prefer to remain the fastest “C” than get bumped and be the slowest “B.” I’d bump ’em once they could demonstrate to me they could hold their lines OK, esp at the end of session. I’d make a couple of closer passes on them and we’d talk about that in the pits, what its like for others.

          As a former racer, I relate to the “problem” they have trying to tone it down in other groups. When I was a calibrated club racer, slowing down just a fraction of a second per lap felt like I had parked the bike and was a waste of gas & rubber. Pushing the boundaries at race-pace was where it was at, all or nothing attitude. We had race practice days for this, before track days were “invented.”

          Some race guys just can’t turn it back for social trackdays, they have to be approached or dismissed before things get out of hand on the track.

    • Reginald Van Blunt says:

      A P makes a very good statement of common sense with the qualification of experience. All I ever wanted to do was go faster without the obvious concerns of riding on the street, kind of like flying an airplane. Racing is an absolutely transitory accomplishment depending on luck in any one moment as much as skill. Love the term ‘slightly faster than street speed’.

    • motorhead says:

      Yo, AP, join the next slower group for more fun and happiness.

      • A P says:

        To close this thread for everyone:

        motorhead: read my posts, I was in the slow groups for a decade, only once in medium…

        everyone else: CLASS is school-only, how about trackdays? And from the CLASS website FAQ: “We figure that, on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being absolute beginner and 10 being racer), we teach from 3 to 10.” I am proposing trackdays on that scale for level 3 to
        6. Basically, the fat part of the motorcyclist bell curve, where the most riders naturally land. The MSF-style courses/activities cover levels 1-3.

        My research shows there are a few small-market organizers in the US that provide 3-group trackdays where racers and trackday stars are specifically excluded. Here’s one:
        https://www.tonystrackdays.com/category/8657/about-tonys-track-days.htm
        https://www.tonystrackdays.com/category/9284/non-and-sportbike-days.htm
        “We cater to the first time track day rider, as well as the responsible veteran rider that knows his or her limit. If you are hoping to race with your buddies, or to show everyone that you’re the fastest…then you will not have a good experience with us.”
        Why the motorcycle industry is not all over Tony and Condon’s street-rider model is beyond me. They have proven it works, so what’s the hold up… oh ya, the old win on Sunday, sell on Monday” marketing chestnut… ”

        The only numbers I could find for US street bike ownership was in the range of 8 million active riders. There is another 8 million who hold licenses but don’t have a currently registered bike. In Canada, the ratio is 1/3 active, 2/3 non-riding m/c license holders.

        https://www.jsonline.com/story/money/2017/07/24/millions-people-have-motorcycle-license-but-dont-own-bike/491701001/
        As an aside, it is interesting that the statistical info in that news article doesn’t readily appear in motorcycle news outlets…

        Assuming only 1/4 of active US street riders are interested in trackdays/schools, that is still a potential market of over 2 million. How many racers and equally fast track-stars are there in the US? Certainly not 2 million… more like 1/10th of that at best. Good business strategy, ignore the mass market and concentrate on a sliver of the riding public, let alone general population.

        Agreed, getting the average street rider to the track a couple times a season is going to be initially more difficult than just sitting back and snagging adrenaline junkies and prospective racers. But as insurance premiums rise, traffic gets more dangerous and laws penalizing “spirited” street riding get more punitive, it should be easy to convince street riders to get their “just above street speed” fix, and simultaneously increase their skill level for safer street riding.

        Seems a slam-dunk to me, but I don’t have the cash or industry insider support to market/run trackdays. Plus I want to ride at these trackdays, and having helped run trackdays I know the organizer is too busy to pleasure ride. I’m over 65 and don’t need the BS of fighting an industry that would just steal my market if it proved successful on the small scale.

        I know I will be able to ride until I die or health stops me. Once in a while my wife and I will rent a small local road course for a few hours, so we can have the track to ourselves. Expensive, but it’s the only way my wife will ever see a track given the aggression at most trackdays in Southern Ontario.

        For younger North American readers, you may want to think carefully about where the big players in the industry are focused now (expanding developing nation markets, damage control in North America and Europe) and how the introduction of autonomous vehicle “friendly” laws, insurance risk apportionment and gov’t planning will add increasing disincentives over the next decades.

  13. Provologna says:

    Fantastic video!

    Would a faster MotoGP rider do to this R6 pilot what he did to the rest of the field? If so, that is almost impossible to comprehend.

    I used to do the Marin Sunday Ride, on and off, from 15-45 years ago. The first section from Tam Station to Stinson Beach is narrow hairpins up and down the SW corner of Mt. Tamalpais. Most of the first group were singles; I-4 RRs were the exception. I’m old enough to remember Kevin Peltz; his first bike was a Suzuki T500 Titan, then later a 1980 GS1100 w/Kosman laced spoked race wheel set (epic drama seeing that bike in the first group vs. singles half the weight). Phil Cotton was always in the first group, first on his Guzzi 850 LeMans, then later Suzuki GS450, red with Guzzi tank badge.

    Alex McClean owned and ran Motorcycles Unlimited while Alex purchased and developed the local real estate. Best mc store I ever visited, and of course, having little experience, I had little idea how great it was at the time. Alex raced when he was young, and he displayed his gorgeous collector race bikes upstairs with parts. Son Craig owned and raced a Ducati SuperMono; his amateur records may still stand at Sears Point. Craig appeared at the SMR on one of the store’s scooters, and of course, was still in the first group (he might have arrived first, can’t recall for sure).

  14. Mike says:

    Kevin Cameron said it long ago…
    “If you want a faster bike become a better rider”.

  15. Ken says:

    Yeah, what Bart said! That guy is riding in the way less experienced class. It’s the same as letting Jared Goff play QB at Ventura JC. Enjoy this one 🙂

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KVit4vSAMsk

  16. I try to avoid the track, as I tend to get competitive and ride past my skill level. I tend to ride
    tight roads in the smallest of groups, and only get near the limits I allow myself when riding alone. I try not to use the brakes in order to have a cushion when needed. It helps that I didn’t start riding until I was 20. The past 55 years on the roads have been fun and fairly safe, while sometimes fast enough for jail time if apprehended. I am older and slower, but still able to scratch out some excitement now and again.
    All y’all ride safe and have some fun.

  17. Bart says:

    I raced for 9 years, ran track days for 16 years after that.

    The skill thing: has to have a healthy dose of good judgement or it is gonna get somebody hurt. Trouble is, most good judgement comes from bad judgement!

    You other guys are right about those so-called “skilled” riders who have a resume of broken bones and crashes. Not required for skill with good judgement, who know when & which way to turn the happy handle. I don’t ride with those crasher guys anymore.

    The fast guy in the video should not be in that group. I would call that a C or slow B group with a fast A pace guy strafing them inside/outside. Not safe, not good judgement because of the high overtaking speed, just not needed at a track day. That guy has never had to write a check for track day insurance like I have. Signing the release don’t release a rider from riding in a manner that risks others on the track. Or…maybe French guys are just slow, but I doubt it. Been there.

    Not that I haven’t done it myself, but I don’t go looking for that anymore. My best results in affecting rider attitude were done when I had a passenger and we’d just ease around riders then blast off into the next turn on my 750. That usually lead to a conversation in the pits about what was going on out there, opened some pathways to improvement.

    I have tried to get street riders to practice max braking with the front brake (the most powerful part of any motorcycle) and they just don’t want to do it. Frustrating. I front brake calibrate every time I left the house. Wet or dry, that one skill can save your life.

    Thanks for the article Dirk!

  18. todd says:

    I may have already said this but, the slowest riders I’ve known have always bought the “fastest” bikes. It must be pretty humbling to be out-ridden by someone that’s on a 40 year old bike with bias-ply tires.

    • wsg says:

      not really. all I saw was some guy zooming past on a crappy bike. I quit associating my skill and riding savvy to speed around 5th grade.

  19. Jason says:

    I remember an article in Sport Rider about a club racer that put a Ninja 500 engine into a ZX-7rr. He claimed to lap faster with the 500cc engine than the 750cc engine.

    • Bob K says:

      I hated the ZX7. The power delivery just wasn’t that good and the airbox was too small for it. I don’t know what he had to do to make the 500 mount properly but I can understand how it probably felt better.
      .
      As a dirt rider too, I have to admit that when I owned a XL600R from ’83 with perhaps 25 RWHP, I was a smoother rider in the woods than I was with a 37 RWHP 450X. The power delivery was broader and easier to manage and instead of having to concentrate on keeping the HP under control instead of it controlling me, I was able to thread through the trees a lot easier and more confidently. A heavy poorly suspended beast for sure and no e-start but it was easy as hell to ride. The 450X and Christini were better suspended and lighter but were harder to control and ride well for my skill level. But a 250X was too peaky and had no bottom end.

  20. Jeremy in TX says:

    Well, since I’ll never attain that level of skill, I may as well order up more horsepower!

  21. Grover says:

    I think that riding motorcycles in So. California for 40 years and hundreds of thousands of miles and staying alive and uninjured equates to superior skills and judgement. It must also take a lot of courage as some professional racers won’t ride on the street because they think it too dangerous of an endeavor. So who really has the bigger balls?

    • wsg says:

      word. I’m glad the entire world has not gone mad. I bet you dont ride a bike with 150cc and 2hp either.

      is it actually ok to like power, ride on roads, and ride well enough to stay alive long term? youd think its a crime reading these articles and comments.

  22. wsg says:

    second post to this article. the title and posts, and this persistent attitude about horsepower is getting on my nerves.

    you love your model t and 13hp honda from 1962 – rock on with it.

    if they sold a bike with 700hp id buy it and enjoy it. even if only to be garage jewelry. wouldnt wreck it either. and… gasp, might actually get into the power if I chose to.

    when did it become a crime to value a powerful bike? no, you cant use all of it on the road. you couldnt hold a ford pinto’s pedal to the floor all day either… but I bet you have a car/truck with more power than that now.

    ive had them all over the course of 40 years. mild to wild. to this day I still enjoy the firebreathers vastly more than soft ass bikes.

    you and your air cooled guzzi can carve up a canyon faster than valentino rossi on crack for all I care – your bike still sucks.

    • Scott the Aussie says:

      Its a free world after all, or a free market. I found it to be a reasonably intelligent article, and there is point to it, only that if you want to get faster learn to be a faster rider.

      And the one I learned in the 80s – if you want to see how slow you are, go racing!! I’d geuss that was the fast group on the track he was riding with, as the difference between a racer (even a club racer) on a race bike and track day heroes on superbikes is usually pretty extreme. Racers just ride faster, break deeper, lean further…

      One of the current Moto3 hotshots in a fast track day would also be a mismatch. They don’t slow for nothin. 🙂

      • mickey says:

        “if you want to see how slow you are, go racing!”

        A lot of braggers on how fast they are in the canyons would get an eye opener as to how slow they really are if that were to happen. I always wonder why these ” I leave everyone behind on my old X with junk tires and shocks” aren’t earning big bucks riding for a manufacturer, when in the end they are just faster than their buddies who in turn aren’t that fast to begin with.

        Professionals in any sport are just so much better than the best amateurs.

        I realize I’m slow. Steady, but slow lol.

        • Bob K says:

          “if you want to see how slow you are, go racing!”

          Yeah, that was an eye opener when I first took the class to get my provisional license. Took all first season to get to most everyone’s level in the Novice classes I was in. And there still were a handful of sandbaggers that should’ve been bumped up to Expert. Bastards would nearly lap me by the last lap when I first got started.

  23. Don E says:

    I used to go very fast on my Honda Trail 90, or at least it seemed like it.

  24. bmidd says:

    There’s always that one guy at a Track Day….

  25. Ryan H Craig says:

    The first thing most riders need to be faster, on the track or the road, is better skills.

    The next thing that would make them faster would be better suspension and/or handling. Running a litre bike, or even a 600 RR, on the street at anywhere near their performance limits sounds like a recipe for ending up dead or seriously injured to me.

  26. Kevin says:

    Went to the California Superbike school at Road America many years ago when they transitioned from Kawasaki GPz-550’s to Ninja 600’s. I was onboard the Ninja going about 115 mph through the back section before turn 13, when an instructor on last years GPz-550 passed me like I was going backwards! Oh ya, he turned around and gave me a thumbs up!!! I was doing everything I could to go fast and couldn’t have gone one mile per hour faster. Very humbling experience.

  27. Mick says:

    Over the years, I have noticed that the people who seemed to equate a willingness to break the law with rider skill seldom ride long term.

    I had been riding for decades before I ever rode a street bike. Once on the street, I was really surprised at how many really poorly skilled riders there are. Some of them had been riding for a very long time. So if you are tossing a pro out with a bunch of riders from the general street riding public. You are bound to get what we see here.

    At least those people are out there honing their skills. I feel that there are way too many street riders who have no interest in acquiring better riding skills. Those people are one tricky situation away from what could be a very hard crash.

    I found it interesting that while living in the Netherlands I met the guy who gave the motorcycle cops observed trials training. This was after I had already noticed that the Dutch cycle cops were a pretty skillful bunch.

  28. Joe Bogusheimer says:

    I guess you can’t blame a lot of guys for thinking that they need a faster bike to get faster. The manufacturers and magazine industry for years basically pushed that story. Even today we still get open class sportbike shootouts where lap times are a major factor, as if any of that makes any difference at all on the street.

    • Bob K says:

      “I guess you can’t blame a lot of guys for thinking that they need a faster bike to get faster. ”
      .
      Sometimes you do. When Texas World Speedway was on the schedule in CMRA in Texas, my lower powered bikes (heavyweight twins and Sportster class) couldn’t stay on the banking of the start/finish straight. I’d get up on it and start going down halfway down the straight. 🙁 Always had to look out when entering turn 1 cuz of faster bikes coming down from above while I was down on the inside.

  29. mickey says:

    Watching someone with the right combination of skills, knowledge, courage and determination pilot a motorcycle around a course or through a set of curves is truly a thing of beauty and awe inspiring.

    A guy told me I didn’t have the skills to pilot a 145 horsepower sport tourer. I said ” I know, but they don’t make 100 horsepower shaft drive sport tourers”.

    The extra 45 horsepower doesnt make me any faster, in fact it may slow me down some. I know and understand that.

  30. randy says:

    On the street where going super fast is not safe or legal, having a bigger motor is much more fun than wringing the hell out of a small displacement bike.Its all about the torque.

    • PatrickD says:

      Wrong. It’s much more fun wringing the neck of a smaller displacement engine.

    • wsg says:

      Randy – you are 100% correct and I’m going to prove it.

      lets say a person “mr X” (a person that enjoys motorcycles) goes over to a friends house. the friend has 2 motorcycles and offers mr X the opportunity to ride both.

      oh, what fun! (fun, remember fun?) mr X jumps at the chance and takes them both for a spin. one bike, a 400cc low power affair. it allows him to wring it out and bang off redline at will. he gets off smiling. smiling. because ALL bikes are fun.

      bike #2 is a 1200cc 180hp monster. he rides it. it feels like the hand of god reached down and personally squeezed his adrenal gland. mr X returns with that dumbfounded glazed over look in his eye. you know that look… the I just banged the hot chic and won the Indy 500 on the same day look.

      Mr X goes home, fires up the old computer and starts looking at motorcycles. you and I both know he doesnt give a damn about the 400. straight to listings and reviews of the fancy 1200. how much power – ooo that suspension is cool – and wow, it comes with brembos too.

      you know it. I know it. manufacturers and marketing departments know it. its not an opinion — its a fact.

      when there is a story on mc daily about some tepid 650 twin it gets how many hits? post an article about the latest Italian 200hp piece of lovely and watch the fiber optic light up.

      why? because fast/powerful bikes are FUN. simple as that. always has been, always will be.

      • Dino says:

        Well said.. I agree. You only use as much power as you command at the time. In my opinion, it is not “fun” to run out of power.
        Maybe it’s fun to ride a motor at ITS limits, but not for me. To me, that is like the kind of fun when the Squidly kids ride their crotch rockets at slow speeds, clutch in, and letting the motor just ping off the rev-limiter… What kind of fun is that? It’s just noise.
        Give me a big motor, good mufflers, and I’ll just quietly have my way with the ride!

      • Dave says:

        There have been numerous stories about small displacement bikes on MCD and they all get tons of hits (you don’t remember the R3 & FZ07, Ninja 300, 650 articles?). They’re also selling very well, often to riders who are moving from bigger/heavier bikes. Smaller bikes are saving the US motorcycle industry, but they’re happy to sell you a $15-20k superbike, if that’s your thing.

        • mickey says:

          “Smaller bikes are saving the US motorcycle industry,”

          source for this info?

          • Dave says:

            Normal observation. Dealerships are selling a selection small bikes again, when several years ago, the only viable choices were a pair of 20 year old Kawasaki’s (250 & 500). Between 2008 & 2014, They lost young customers, now they’re coming back.

          • mickey says:

            Dave interestingly on today’s ride I stopped at the local Honda-Yamaha shop. I asked the head sales guy which class of bikes were his most popular sellers this year. He said 700cc and down, the small bikes”. I said “really? I never see one on the street” and he said “I know. I never see them either. Not sure what they do with them once they buy them, but that’s what sells. We can’t sell big bikes”.

            color me shocked, but it seems you were right.

      • paul says:

        So please explain to me why I have so much more fun on my CBR125R around town than I do on my Valkyrie or even my VFR.

        This environment allows for speeds anywhere from 30mph right up to 60mph. Numerous starts and stops and lots of curves and corners.

        I’ll take the 125 or my 250 DS anytime over my larger bikes. I’m not a show-off, I don’t need an audience (look at me), I am not out to impress anyone, but I do love riding a bike to its fullest extent in the right environment, ie, no Interstate whenever possible.

        • wsg says:

          Paul… the story and style I wrote it was meant to touch a nerve. I’m glad it did. but, you’ve asked a rational question – so I’ll answer it. take a second and think about it.

          I dont have as much fun dominating a bike, as I do when riding a bike that has the potential to dominate me.

          pinning the redline on a 125 and grinding off the footpegs is well traveled ground. could do it all day long.

          does that mean I’m going to do that on a 200hp bike, HELL NO. its why I currently reside above ground. but the potential, the “thrill” for me resides in what I can’t/shouldnt do. there is no thrill (for me) in melting down the piston of a small bike. its a headache, nothing more. if you dig it, then cool. id encourage you and everyone else to do what makes you happy. but killing small bikes doesnt automatically make someone pro caliber material. neither does it mean that people that buy powerful bikes have small pee-pees. its a matter of preference.

          • paul says:

            so your writing style is always to run to extremes in order to win a point, no melted pistons here, I know what I’m doing because I actually ride motorcycles.

          • wsg says:

            running to extremes would be to point out a character flaw which requires domination to attain fulfillment. but I didnt go there until you did.

        • mickey says:

          Paul the fact that you have as many “big bikes” as you do “small bikes” shows that you realize a need/want for larger motorcycles even for yourself.

          Sure a 125 would be more fun in town than a Valkrie, but a Valkrie would be more fun running over Bear Tooth Pass for example, or just a sprint over to the next state to visit a State Park or something, and I doubt you take many passengers for a ride on the 125.

          Unfortunately finding a do it all bike is much harder than it would seem. For many of us a 650 class bike just isn’t enough, but a 1300 class bike is often too much. Like using the same hammer for all construction jobs. Sometimes you are driving a tack and sometimes a 10 penny nail. Different tools for different jobs.

          • paul says:

            Mickey, I agree with what you are saying and that is really what I meant when I stated “but I do love riding a bike to its fullest extent in the right environment, ie, no Interstate whenever possible.” I was referring to all of my bikes. I also have sold the Valkyrie and kept the VFR and now have 3 small bikes ranging from 100cc up to 250cc.

            I still agree with PatrickD. While I enjoy riding the bigger bikes I can attest to the “bigger fun factor” tearing around on the smaller and more nimble bikes.

            I will likely buy the Ninja 400 as my next and likely last bike, even though I can afford to buy just about any bike I desire. I’m 64 years old and have been riding since my teens and started out on dirt and trail bikes in the 60’s.

            My favorite bike of all time is my VTEC VFR, that is a keeper.

      • todd says:

        I’ve ridden and owned both. I have just found it is much easier to ride a small/light/skinny tire bike faster than a large, overly powerful/fat tire bike. I’m no racer but small means fast and nimble to me. Big and powerful isn’t fun since I don’t get excited by adrenaline kicks in straight lines.

        • mickey says:

          for amateurs that may be true.

          But for professionals not so much

          250cc Moto #3 riders are generally the slowest around the track

          600cc Moto 2 riders are quicker

          1000cc MotoGP riders are the fastest

          Personally I get no enjoyment out of furiously using a gearbox, rowing up and down to get anywhere. I prefer the luxury of gobs of hp and torque to pull me along. My feeling is you have enough horsepower when you no longer seek more and you have enough torque when shifting becomes mostly optional. I might be faster on a technical section of road on a smaller bike if I work at it, but I don’t care to ride like that

          • Ralph says:

            “250cc Moto #3 riders are generally the slowest around the track

            600cc Moto 2 riders are quicker

            1000cc MotoGP riders are the fastest”

            Racetrack conditions are very different to road conditions. A 1000cc MotoGP bike is a very light and nimble bike. On the road we rarely get to use big hp. But we can always use good agility.

          • todd says:

            Mickey, I’m just saying on a smaller bike I don’t need to slow down as much for the turns. I can go around corners noticeably faster on a smaller, lighter (and less expensive) bike than I usually can with a large bike with wide tires and twitchy powerful throttle. Since there’s not much slowing down there’s not much need to speed back up again. I like to be smooth, not trying to get max speed out of every straight section. Most of this is done in maybe one or two gears and, by the end of a long twisty road, my average speed is higher even though my top speed was lower than it would have been on a bike with more power. This is what I meant by “faster” as in taking less time to travel a distance even though top speed may be lower.

          • mickey says:

            It would probably be that way for me too Todd, because I don’t possess the skills to ride a big bike fast, but I know guys that do.

            I too try to ride smoothly and pick good lines, very little braking, very little shifting, very smooth with throttle inputs, but that’s not the absolute fastest way thru a series of curves most of the time. For me it is (and obviously for you) and it can be done on a 50 hp bike or a 150 hp bike or a 250 hp bike. Both styles can be very effective however.. Marquez vs Lorenzo if you will.

            again big horsepower is no good to someone who doesn’t know how to use it, but if you do know how to use it, there is no substitute for horsepower on a racing motorcycle. Ask Dovi

        • Jeremy in TX says:

          Smaller, lighter, and less powerful does equate to easier, in my experience, but not faster. During the track days, I was always faster on the 1000’s than the 600’s. So were the majority of riders I knew. But it definitely took more out of everyone.

          Same off-road. I recently got to sample 350 and 500cc four stroke enduros back to back on a pretty technical circuit. Keep in mind these bikes are from the same maker and use the same frame, suspension, brakes, etc. and are within a couple of pounds of each other weight-wise. I was only marginally faster on the 500 through the circuit, and I’m convinced all of that extra time came from the quarter mile or so of very open track on the back of the circuit that let me use the extra power and also due in no small part to the fact that I had memorized the course while aboard the 350 first.

          Every change of direction was noticeably more effort on the 500, and every application of the throttle required far more finesse and concentration to keep the bike pointed in the right direction.

          In contrast, I felt like I could have enjoyed a nice cup of tea while navigating the course on the 350. I can’t ever remember riding a bike that was easier to go fast on in that type of terrain.

          • mickey says:

            I agree Jeremy. For an amateur or one less experienced, smaller lighter, easier to handle will generally mean faster, but for someone with the skills and ability, given a smaller less powerful bike and a larger more powerful bike, they will always be faster on the more powerful bike. In road racing, in Moto X, in Flat Track, in desert racing and on the street, the skills transfer if you have them. (and just to be clear I DON’T have them.. I’m not going to faster on anything..or to put it another way I’ll be slow on everything) lol

          • Ralph says:

            “they will always be faster on the more powerful bike”

            Mickey, you need to be more specific. What you said may be true if comparing an R6 to an R1.
            But if comparing an R6 to, say, a ST1300, the smaller, less powerful R6 will always win.

            When riding through city traffic or on very tight twisty roads and comparing the ST1300 to the much less powerful Husqvarna Vitpilen 701, the Husky will win easily. If staying within the speed limits, or close to them (in other words, real-world road riding), the Husky would beat the big Honda almost everywhere.

          • mickey says:

            Yes Ralph of course on similar style bikes but one with more displacement and power

          • Dave says:

            In my experience, the “bigger is always faster” theory only applies to the very most skilled riders (exert-pro). I have seem many intermediate level racers (better riders than 90% of street riders) go faster on 600cc SS bikes than they could on open bikes.

            At the most recent MX des Nations, there were several cases where guys on 250’s were going faster than others on 450’s and that was wet, sandy track, where HP should’ve been a deciding factor.

            It’s just not that cut & dry.

          • Jeremy in TX says:

            I disagree. It doesn’t apply to pros and experts only. It can apply to everyone within the bounds of his or her own skill potential.

            I am a very average rider. Period. I am not sandbagging when I say that. Yet I can be faster on more powerful bikes than I can on slower ones. I am a true believer in what Mickey says about “baby steps.” Learn in tiers.

            You saw some guys lap faster on 250s than others on 450s, but that doesn’t mean anything. Those slower guys on the 450s are almost certainly faster on the 450s than they were on 250s. The fast guy on the 250 just has more potential than the slow guy on the 450.

            I reached my pathetic potential level on a 125 years ago. That doesn’t mean that others won’t be faster on them. It just means that I won’t get appreciably faster on them. But I can be faster on a 300 than the 125. I don’t much care that Graham Jarvis could pass me going up a hill on a KLX110.

          • mickey says:

            In my experience, the “bigger is always faster” theory only applies to the very most skilled riders (exert-pro).

            Exactly what I have been saying all along.

            The expert in the video was faster than the amateurs he was passing, but he could have undoubtedly ridden even faster on a more powerful bike because he already possessed the skills necessary to do that.

            The premise of the article is good, in that you don’t need more power until you have mastered the power you have, once you have mastered 250 class power you can move on to 600 class power and once you have mastered 600 class power then you can move on to mastering liter class power. Baby steps.

            It would be rare for like talented professionals to go faster on a smaller bike than on a bigger bike, no matter the venue.

            btw that transfers to other sports as well… I had a friend that was a truly good golfer. Gob smacked other locals in tournaments. Took 6 months off his job to try his hand on the pro circuit. They ate him for lunch and sent him back to work at the factory. He was a big fish in a small pond locally. When he got into the ocean with the really big fish he found out he was really just a minnow.

  31. Barry says:

    I remember Kevin Duke, who’s a pretty good track rider as you know, writing about a Ducati intro where he was hard on the brakes for a corner when a bike went by at full throttle. He thought someone had seriously missed their braking point and was expecting to see a crash, but the other rider hit the brakes, backed into the corner, and blasted away. It was Carlos Checa, guest for the event. As you can see from the Perolari video, those guys ride at a wholly different level.

  32. joe b says:

    Like watching a 125 pro out in the wrong practice session with OT (old timers on big bikes). whats your point?

    • Montana says:

      I was in a hurry to get geared up at Mothers on Palomar Mountain one day because I didn’t want to get stuck behind a group of 5 white-haired guys on old, air-cooled Beemers. They were getting geared up as well, but at a much more relaxed pace, so I was able to get to the South Grade ahead of them.
      Every one of them passed me on the way down. They looked like they were cruising instead of racing.
      Shortly afterwards, I traded my 4 cylinder, 1000 cc sportbike for an SV 650. It’s a lot more nimble. I’ve been looking for those guys ever since.

  33. wsg says:

    fast vs fast… it’s true, to a certain point. the measure of skill is not always speed. an individual with a greater tolerance for risk will often be “faster”. does that make them “better”? on the road? multiply that level of risk acceptance over the course of time. decades. is the rider with multiple surgeries, wrecked bikes, and willing to put others on the road in danger “better”? if you think so, then this recreational pursuit will eventually teach you some serious lessons.

    • Bob K says:

      Wholly agree. It’s actually amazing how many hardcore racers don’t even ride on the road. I know some. They’ve admitted that they feel road riding is more dangerous and especially since we have lost some good friends over the years.
      .
      The type of risks are different and everything is completely random. At the track, it’s the same thing lap after lap regarding surface type, lines and direction of travel and although the other riders (obstacles) are somewhere different each lap, it’s mostly predictable and you’re amongst other highly skilled riders aware of the same things. I’d dare say riding at the track is safer. While the handling and operational skills are increased and transfer to the road, the situational awareness and predictive skills are completely different.
      .
      As such, since 1986, I’ve had 1 low side and 1 high side at the track as a club racer (never a contender) and in 30 years of road riding and long distance travelling (about 500k miles) I’ve had one highside (due to a mechanical failure). I’d say I’m a better than average road rider.
      .
      As for fast, that only comes into play as part of the reason while I’m still alive and riding 30 years on, because I’m usually always going slightly faster that the traffic around me. It’s safer for me to close in on a 4 wheeler than for them to close in on me and my power to weight ratio is helpful for getting the hell outta there when thing approach a critical lack of safety ratio.

      • Ralph says:

        On the road –

        “The type of risks are different and everything is completely random.”

        “the situational awareness and predictive skills are completely different.”

        Totally agree with you, Bob K. People need to realize that the racetrack is a very ‘sterile’ environment and to win races you need a high degree of mastery of a limited range of skills. Racetrack experience is great for improving your skills, but it probably only teaches you half of the skills needed to ride well and safe on the road.

        I agree with this article. Skill is more important than power. I have a lot of fun riding the smallest of my bikes (400cc single) because I can wring everything out of it. It is very satisfying to get the most that the bike has to offer. On my biggest bike (1000cc, 143hp) I sometimes find it frustrating because I have to always ride it reservedly. Using maximum power on the road, even in first gear, makes me eligible for a speeding fine. In second gear, if caught, my licence would be suspended.

        • Dino says:

          I guess that is the divide… a personal choice (and differing personal choices are not a bad thing!).
          I am just the opposite. I would get frustrated from running out of power (and have on some of my past bikes). My biggest bike, I probably have never hit “full power” in over 10 years. I have never wanted for more power, and that thrills me.
          Hey, as long as your riding, and you like what you ride, then everyone is right!
          Stay safe, and have fun!

          • Ralph says:

            I started riding in the era when the most powerful bikes only had about 80hp, so ‘wringing the neck’ of every bike I got on became my default riding style. It isn’t actually the power of my biggest bike that frustrates me. It is the level of speed limit enforcement and severity of the penalties. Otherwise I would use every bit of the bike’s power. My main point is, I have just as much fun on my smallest bike, and because of that I have just as much respect for riders of smaller bikes. In fact, from my experiences with people I have met, the biggest ‘wankers’ usually ride the biggest bikes.

  34. gpokluda says:

    The best money I spent was a couple of sessions at Reg Pridmore’s school. Made me a much smoother rider which is way more important than HP. I remember during my first session being passed by the instructor with a passenger on a old Seca II.

  35. Reginald Van Blunt says:

    Used to watch old guys racing, who had a genuine history in the sport, and noticed that they just motored around the track, straight up, while others were all kinds of dramatic going slower. It was beautiful. Have seen a BMW R1150 just eat sport bikes in the mountains very often, by an experienced friend. Fun to observe, especially the tight shiny leathered ones on Italian go fasts.

  36. Dave says:

    I get and agree with the point, but a professional on a prepped 600cc supersport isn’t exactly at a “deficit”. Ha ha!

    I bet he scared a few of those rider’s leathers dirty..

  37. JPJ says:

    It’s very obvious by the posted video that his riding skill is above the others. This is a track day. His close passes and closing speed, would not be tolerated, at some track days. It could be he is running in the intermediate group, because not enough advanced riders on this particular day.

    • Tommy D says:

      I agree. This is a racer up against track day riders. The passes and closing speeds are wince worthy. Sort of like dunking a basketball with the hoop set lower playing against 10 year olds.

  38. Anonymous says:

    But the older I get, the faster I was.

  39. BOB says:

    That kind of late braking takes enormous cojones.

  40. Tom K. says:

    What did Clint say? “A wise man knows his limitations”.

    • Joe Bogusheimer says:

      “A man’s got to know his limitations.” was the quote, I believe.

      • Bart says:

        Every limit presupposes something beyond it.

        In less philosophical terms, its the humility lesson us racer/track junkies take over and over.

        There is always somebody faster. Fun to watch from the front row seat provided on a track bike.

  41. MGNorge says:

    Yep, but motorcycles being what they are will always have their owners comparing HP and torque levels. I’ve never known it to be otherwise except amongst cruisers and touring riders. Out on the street it’s always been rider finesse and intelligence. Take it to the track if you want to race then compare time slips.

  42. T says:

    So true. Having road raced all over the US for 25 plus years I now take my BMW RT to the occasional track day and love stomping expensive sport bikes. Most street riders could stand to get better, which in turn would make the safer riders.