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Actually, I throw my mountain bike on the bake of my R1100RT all the time. It straps on nicely (wheels off, of course), and is only marginally wider than the bags. The extra width is high up, so I happily lane split on Bay Area freeways with the bike on the back. It takes a while to put the whole thing together at the other end, and is a general pain in the ass, since you have to exchange bulky M/c riding gear for lycra MTB riding gear at the destination, but the looks I get make it worthwhile.



As for the snowboard, the only solution I can think of is a street legal dirt bike. Suzuki DRZ450 or street legal XR650 should be just the ticket. Plug in your electric gear, strap the board to the bike, and away you go. OK, maybe that is a tad extreme, but I do have a friend who rode year round in Chicago on a dual sport. He only went through 4 chains per winter, too. I suppose he could have washed it occasionally...
 

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Re: Power in the right places?

I don't know a thing about how the GP1 bikes feel, but the difference between a twin and a four is fairly well recognized. Tires are subject to both static and sliding friction. The former is how much the tire resists sliding before it starts to slide, and the latter is how much resistance is offered once grip has already broken. Static friction is MUCH stronger than sliding friction.

Engines deliver power in distinct pulses when each cylinder fires. When the bike is really making power (and the engine is revving high), those power pulses are delivered very frequently, especially on a four, which has four pulses for every 2 revolutions of the crank (usually). Once the tire starts to slide, it is the much smaller coefficient of sliding friction that is responsible for stopping the slippage. If another power pulse is delivered before the tire regains grip, it is likely that the tire will continue to slide. Since a 4 delivers power to the tire twice as often as the twin (more actually, since the fours make good power at higher revs, so the engine is spinning faster), the 4 is MUCH more likely to cause the back end to slip under power. This means that a well ridden twin can usually be under power quite a bit before an inline four in the same corner at the same speed. That makes a twin a LOT easier to ride. Even the difference between an inline 3 and a twin of the same displacement is quite noticeable (Triumph Daytona vs Mille R, for instance). This is, at least partly, why the V-four in the Ducati GP1 bike will have the same firing order as the twins (2 cylinder at a time, rather than 4 distinct pulses).

The comment about the power of the big G making it far superior to the other open classers was made about racetrack performance. At the racetrack, it isn't about how easy it is to ride a bike, but how fast you get it around the track. That is not the case on the street, where it is all about rideability. At least, it is if you are planning to survive to your next ride. I don't have enough time in the saddle of an open class four to say which is the better bike, but I have tens of thousands of miles on triples and twins, and I know that I prefer the delivery style of the twin over anything I have ridden, including all of the bikes reviewed in the open class shootout. Then again, I am far from the fastest person at the track, and my sense of self preservation usually overrides my right hand on the street, too.

There is no question that the Aprilia would lose the top gear roll on test, but let's see which bike performs better when you snap the throttle open 3/4 of the way through a 2nd or 3rd gear turn. The big G will slide and then high side (or probably just loop you over backwards), and the Aprilia will just drive nicely out of the turn. Basically, the twin is more tolerant of any mistakes AND has the ability to go very fast when ridden well on the street, where excessive power is only a liability. How often do you or I have an opportunity to go to wide open throttle in top gear, anyway. I try to keep my bike OFF the freeway (and out of Nevada) whenever I can.

In the interests of 'journalistic integrity' I should disclose that I bought a Mille on Saturday and absolutely ***** LOVE it, just in case you couldn't tell.
 

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Yes, but then I am always up for more track days. I would be slightly concerned that a trackday attended by such a potentially wide audience would have real potential for being a squidfest (lots of black and red flags can ruin a track day). It would be important to have really good organizers for the event. I would think that you would have to have some pretty strict adherence to a fairly tight ruleset in order to make it work (inside passing, wheelies, groups, etc).



Access to test bikes and tire service would be REALLY cool, though. The opportunity to ride competing bikes side by side on the track doesn't come up very often unles you spend enough time at the track that your friends become willing to lend you their bikes. An MO track day would be the perfect opportunity. I'd probably go, especially if you could get the use of the full Fontana track for a reasonable price.



 

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Re: Power in the right places?

Well, the fact that there were complaints about rear wheel spins on the four immediately after getting off the twin (I think, I haven't read the thing in days, now) is what led to my posting. I haven't ridden every bike made for the last umpteen years the way professional motorcycle testers have, but I have ridden a GSXR1000 ('01), an R1 ('02), a Triumph Daytona ('99) and Speed Triple ('01), and both a Mille R ('00) and Mille ('02) fairly extensively, and the Mille, for reasons that I cannot put into words, really is the easiest bike to ride well of all of them. Not necessarily the fastest, but the one on which I ride the smoothest and feel like I am riding the most correctly from a tehnical standpoint. I'll find out at my upcoming trackdays whether it is also the fastest, although it is an unfair comparo, since I have maybe only done 30 track miles on each of the inline fours.
 

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Re: Beans, Beans...

I second the motion for a test of the 'others'. I almost always factor the 'character' of a bike into my decision, and the other category frequently comes up top. Sure, they have wildly different peak power, but in the right hands, supposedly slow bikes can do surprising things.

How about a Daytona, Benelli (yeah, right...), R1100S, VFR shootout.

I would like to see the Firebolt compared to the other twins, too, even if it is as a sidebar like the infamous BMW K1200RS in the sport tourer comparo in a certain other motorcycle magazine. Ride it in the same tests, and if it performs, include it in the test, but if it fails in some way, tell us about it all the same (or push it into the Other category). I am sure there are readers out there who are interested in bikes that don't win a straight shootout against the competition. It would be nice to be able to buy an American made sport bike, for one thing.

I'd like to see a comparison of the 'second' bikes, too. Falco against Sprint RS against GSXR750(?) against ZX9R. I don't know what we would gain from such a test, exactly, but I bet it would be fun, and maybe even interesting to read, especially since it is twin against triple against four.
 
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