After thousands of cumulative miles over all variations of riding environments, including acceleration and top speed testing and hours in the dyno room of our friends at White Brothers, we’re able to bring you a personality profile of the Reality Bike cast of 2004 along with how they scored in our scorecard.
#4 – 72.6%
Honda 599: Mr. Nice Guy
You can take the 599 for a 30-minute ride and come away thinking that it’s significantly slower than the other Fours in the group. And you’d be wrong. There’s plenty of sporting potential in the Hornet, and its rider is rewarded with an uncomplicated and fun riding experience. We’ll let Heidi sum up. “The 599 would be a great learning bike, especially for riders who have shorter legs. An experienced rider could out-ride it instantly, but for a newbie it’s a fun and easy bike to ride and learn on. It is forgiving and smooth and flickable.”
#3 – 81.3%
Yamaha FZ6: Dr. I. Ronnie
The FZ has more sides to it than a Buckminster Fuller geodesic dome. It’s comfy and it’s racy; it’s chic yet a bit awkward; it’s slow but it’s fast; it’s both feminine and a brute. It’s an irony in metal but a package full of functionality, so it’s an excellent choice for someone who’s enticed by a supersport like the R6 but knows the FZ is a more rational mount for the types of riding he or she will do.
#2 – 82.7%
Suzuki SV650: The Puppy
Playful is as playful does, and like a puppy nipping at your heels, begging for you to take it for a run, the SV implores its owner to take it out for a good thrashing. If it were a car it would be a Mazda Miata, a fun-loving machine with just enough power to get you into trouble. It best straddles the line between docile entry-level bike and wheelie-pulling hooligan, and its lovely V-Twin won the hearts of a few of us.
#1 – 87.3%
Triumph Speed Four: Nick Nasty
If you’re looking for a polite entry-level machine, may we suggest leaving the Triumph showroom and heading to a Honda dealer? This is the bike that is akin to all those hammered CBRs and Gixxer 600s that have had all their plastic ripped or crashed off, amped with attitude and a feisty demeanor. “So I vibrate a little, you wanna make somethin’ of it?” Its powerful front brakes are touchy enough to set an unwary rider on his ear, but that’s just the way its hard-riding and mischievous riders like it, that’s our version of reality.
The perfect reality bike has yet to be built. If it were, it would have the grunting torque of the SV, the top-end hit of the FZ, the adjustable suspension of the Speed Four, the refinement and smoothness of the 599 and the wind protection somewhere in between the FZ6 and the Triumph.
In the meantime, we declare the Triumph Speed Four the winner of our Reality Bike shootout. It may not be best suited to you in particular, but it just might be the best value in motorcycling today.
Check out the For My Money feature if you want to find out which bike our riders would buy if they were to spend their own meager cash on one.
Thanks to Racing Systems Analysis for its online “weather station” that helped us determine the accurate correction factor for our performance data.
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