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2012 Middleweight Sportbike Shootout Conclusion

Monday, November 26, 2012

Once the suspension settles the F3 has a planted feel mid-corner.
Our only real complaint in the drivetrain department is its lack of a racing-style slipper clutch.
The GSX-R750s engine is not only punchy but smooth and very easy to wheelie and play around on.
Refined. That is the Suzuki in a nutshell.
Adam Waheed (33-years-old) – 6’0”, 180 pounds – Suzuki GSX-R750 (street) MV Agusta F3 (Track)

I’ve owned a few GSX-R750s in my day and it’s one of my favorite road bikes. It’s civil enough to ride to church but still serves up more than enough performance to clown around on afterward. Sure it doesn’t have quite as much character as the MV but it’s still a blast, and all you’d need to do to get that level of excitement is throw on a pipe. The GSX-R is just as solid on the track, too, but it’s hard to argue against the wild-ass, light-your-hair-on-fire demeanor of the MV. Sure it’s loose and moves around a lot—plus the range of suspension adjustment is limited—but I just really enjoyed ripping it. Plus no one has one yet here in the States so it adds a degree of exclusivity which I like.

Frankie Garcia (21-years-old) – 5’8”, 175 pounds – Triumph Daytona 675R

If I were to buy one of these three sportbikes it would be the Triumph. The bike comes with a super bad-ass three-cylinder engine and has enough torque to pull a train. The bike doesn’t require any suspension mods because it comes stock with a set of Ohlins pieces front and rear. The bike is just insane and ten levels above the other machines in its class. The engine is better, suspension is better, and it looks trick. Can you tell I like the Triumph?

Brian Steeves (33-years-old) – 5’9”, 170 pounds—Suzuki GSX-R750

It’s hard to get away from what Suzuki has built for 25 years. You could teach your mom how to ride the GSX-R750 and still go to the track and rip it yourself. It comes from the tens of thousands of laps engineers have done over the years. Factor in its reliability and it’s an easy decision. The Suzuki is a motorcycle that has stood the test of time… and one that resonates with a budget-minded rider like me.

Aaron Colton (20-years-old) – 6’2”, 170 pounds – Suzuki GSX-R750

Not only does it have the smoothest power delivery, but it seemed like the most fine-tuned. It’s got a killer motor, great brakes and it is really comfortable on the street. You really can’t go wrong with this bike and it is a ton of fun. I also really liked that you didn’t have to have the thing all spun out like the other bikes. It was more forgiving and easy-to-ride. I’d for sure buy the Suzuki.

2012 Hypersport Shootout Fuel Specs2011 Luxury Touring Shootout 1/4 Mile 2012 Hyperbike Sound Test2012 Hyperbike Sound Test
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Thommo675   December 15, 2012 06:22 PM
@ Turbo329: consider yourself corrected :-) preload is entirely about changing the geometry of the bike.
Turbo329   November 28, 2012 05:20 AM
Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the function of preload was to put the springs in the firmer part of their stroke. Some motorcycles (Like the ZX7R) had a preload adjuster that didn't actually compress the spring and only altered ride height. Understood. However, a true preload adjuster will both compress the spring and affect ride height. I'm not familiar with the GSX-750 but does the the preload adjuster not compress the spring on this model? If it does, then it should help with accessive dive and a wallowy sensation on the bike under fast transitions. I understand that if the springs are too soft then no amount of preload will fix that but they didn't clarify that in the test.
Superlight   November 28, 2012 04:22 AM
motousa_adam, this just goes to show (again) that each of us has very different tastes aesthetically. I dislike the bodywork design on the Suzuki before any paintwork or decal package is applied. I would never add a graphics kit to any bike - yuck-k-k.
Piglet2010   November 27, 2012 10:26 PM
How come the "Rider Subjective" ratings lack a category for hooliganism - which bike is the best for wheelies, stoppies, burnouts, etc?
Piglet2010   November 27, 2012 10:24 PM
@ Turbo329 - The Suzuki would be faster that it was if it had the same rubber as the other bikes; on the other hand I would expect its tires to last much longer.
Thommo675   November 27, 2012 02:40 PM
@Turbo329 Suspension pre-load doesn't change the spring stiffness, only the ride height. Damping adjustments will change the speed at which the springs will compress/decompress when under load, but not the overall amount that they compress if the load is sustained (unless of course you pre-load them so far that you end up bottoming out, which is not conducive to keeping the bike rubber side down). The only way to make soft suspension firmer (and reduce the overall movement it makes under a given load) is to bung new springs in there. Soft suspension has been a pretty common (although not damning) criticism of the new GSX-R750 from reviews I have read. I guess Suzuki realise that most of the 750s they sell rarely, if ever, see a racetrack and even more rarely see it in the hands of someone who can actually ride the bike to its potential.
Turbo329   November 27, 2012 12:49 PM
GSX-R750 with soft suspension? Did you guys at least set the preload, or did you ride it right out of the crate? It wouldn't surprise me that the lightest bike with the most torque would set the fastest lap if given some attention to detail as far as the suspension goes. Nice job otherwise.
motousa_adam   November 27, 2012 10:52 AM
@VinceXB -- the '11 Daytona 675R did in the 2011 Supersport Shootout. @AnthonyD -- I dislike them too... and yes, most probably if they are avaliable this spring. Thommo675 -- Ducati did not have a bike for us to test this time. It would have been nice to see how it ranked but I think the GSX-R would still have beat it IMOP. @Superlight -- I actually like the way the GSX-Rs look. I would buy one that probably wrap it with a Factory Effex kit -- maybe matte black/oliver drab.
neo1piv014   November 27, 2012 06:37 AM
I love the Daytona, but after sitting on one, it just wasn't for me. Combine that with some oil leaking problems I've witnessed first hand on those Triumph three-cylinder engines, and I just don't see myself swinging for one. The M3 is a decent looking bike, but I don't put that much of a premium on visual flair. Sure, it's a little unfair putting 675s up against a 750, but if they cost the same, then they sort of did it to themselves. The GSXR may not be the best looking bike, but it still looks rock solid to me, and its performance is top notch. I'm glad to see it win.
Rucuss54   November 27, 2012 05:53 AM
The Suzuki looks dated, like they had leftover stock from the year 2000. Triumphs 675cc motor out torques the GSXR below 5000rpm is a big plus for around town squirts, really surprised by the weak low rpm torque of the Suzuki.
Superlight   November 26, 2012 08:31 PM
Thomm, I respect the Suzuki's performance credentials; I just can't stand to look at it. Japanese design and I don't get along well together.
Thommo675   November 26, 2012 07:18 PM
Excellent comparo guys, and nice work on the video pieces. Great to hear plenty of sound clips of each bike at full noise. Did you consider putting a Ducati 848 Evo Corse SE in the mix as well? It would have been interesting to see how that would have gone up against this pack. If I was looking at buying a new middle-weight sports bike right now I would be looking exclusively at the 3 bikes you reviewed plus the Duc. I think they are all in a single class in consumers' minds (if not all in a single racing class). @moto-pat: capacity-class outbreaks have been going on for years before the Daytona 650... kawasaki's 636cc from 2002 is but one example. @superlight If you find 126hp (at the rubber) in a 419lb (wet) package yawn-inducing, then you have a massive excitement threshold! I reckon that all of these bikes are freaking awesome, and would be ecstatic with any of them, just as I am still ecstatic with my 5 year-old Daytona 675.
Superlight   November 26, 2012 05:06 PM
Let's see. The Suzuki rules itself out immediately due to its ungainly looks and routine engine configuration (yet another I4, yawn), though I respect its performance numbers. The Triumph I like better, but it's long in the tooth (the basic bike is how old, even with the 2013 revisions?). The MV has issues, but they can be fixed with investments in premium suspension components, whereas the other two will never look as good as the F3.
AnthonyD   November 26, 2012 03:39 PM
Will you guys be using the '12 R model or the new '13 675 Triumph in your big shootout?
AnthonyD   November 26, 2012 03:27 PM
I HATE ties!
Superlight   November 26, 2012 03:15 PM
It's always interesting to read comparison tests, but the final buying decision is always with the individual and their list of product requirements, not some magazine or Internet site's journalists. I find the Suzuki about as ugly as sportbikes come. It would fall off my list immediately as I value that attribute highly. The Triumph is better, but decidedly crude in details compared to the beautiful F3. Performance-wise the Suzuki and the Triumph do much better, but neither has the characterful sound of the F3 at full song. It's obvious MV spent some time tuning intake/exhaust, as the effect is stunning. What I would have liked is the MV with the Triumph's Ohlins suspension, but that was not possible without spending megabucks for the Oro version. Yes, I bought an F3 and am in the process of "refining" the machine for less weight, more eye appeal and improved dynamics. It will take a while and involve spending more money, but I hope the result will be a machine with a look and feel neither of these competitors could match - we shall see.
VinceXB   November 26, 2012 12:42 PM
Did anyone expect either 675 to beat a 750?
moto-pat   November 26, 2012 11:46 AM
Great bikes all but I thought the 600's were the Middleweight class? Guess I missed something. Should they be middleweight +, Middleweight full-figured, or queensize 600.
Triumph was the first to cross the line but it was in 2005 with the Daytona 650. I remember because I had bought a new 04 Daytona 600 and was not appy about it's one year manufacture run. It was a great fun bike though.