In 1993 I was sent on my first major motorcycle launch for Bike, and I was nervous. The ZZ-R1100D was, Kawasaki claimed, the fastest production motorcycle ever, and I had spent most of my time on a Zephyr 550. But the big ZZR was a joy, looking after the tentative with its silky throttle response and linear power, while allowing maniacs to go very, very fast. I seem to remember one Dutch journalist spending a night in the cells after being caught doing 172mph – the cop (we were in America) was in no mood for leniency as he’d just let off two Brits clocked at 178mph.
Twenty five years later and here we are again: off to test a new Kawasaki intergalactic battlecruiser, the H2 SX. And despite a supercharger and a blizzard of electronics, the similarities between the H2 and its grandpop are remarkable. The comfortable, mildly sporty riding position, the docile response at the bottom of the rev-range and the oh-my-giddy-crap top-end… Obviously the H2 SX is superior in every way, but not by as much as you might imagine.
The difference between a 25-year-old sportsbike and the Panigale V4 is likely to be a tad starker. In fact, according to Bike’s uber-fast test rider James Haydon, the new Ducati is so fast it’ll distance itself from current sportsbikes, never mind old ones. You can read James’ verdict this issue.
If such exotica is not your thing, there are plenty of other options this month – from new Triumph Tiger 800s to toused adventure bikes. Here’s to the next 25 years.
Plus this issue includes your 2018 Holiday guide - From Cuba to Scandinavia, the USA to New Zealand Bike’s Holiday Guide brings together the best biking destinations on the planet and the tour companies who can make your dream holiday come true…
Putting the SX into sports touring
Kawasaki take their ballistic supercharged H2, fettle, add panniers and hey presto sports touring gets a SX change…
Ride to the end of the World
Patagonia - It’s a cliché, but Patagonia will take your breath away again and again and again. A true wilderness destination with a vast spectrum of landscapes and cultures.
Buy now >>
'I could have won BSB races on this!'
A shift from twins to V4 makes the new Panigale Ducati’s most important sportsbike since the legendary 916. Has the gamble paid off? And will it change our ex-GP star’s mind about Valencia?