Testing Blog: Three bikes… One Hour

I’ve just run across town to return the Ducati Streetfighter 1098. In traffic it is a surging, charging, bucking beast, the engine just doesn’t live till 4,000RPM and anything below sees it straining at the leash. I’ve exchanged the SF for the Hypermotard 796, which is a 50% reduction in power and is truly a genial bike. Later today, I’ll take it out and push it around a bit to see what’s what, but the 796 quickly drove home that more power isn’t better when it comes to in town riding. That and having had a Hypermotard 1100S last season, it felt instantly familiar.
The real surprise was running out to Richmond to return the GSX1250FA (the not-Bandit as we’ve nick named it) to Suzuki. The Suzuki may not be fast, but it is one of the quickest rides through traffic I’ve been on. The linear power, utter predicability, refinement and upright ergonomics had me thinking sacrilegious thoughts like, “If I had to commute, I’d buy one of these.” It really comes down to ease of use and human factors, the GSX1250FA maps to your expectations, from the pull of the throttle, to placement of the mirrors, to switchgear that doesn’t intrude by trying to be brand definitive. It was a great note to send the Suzuki home on, look for the review next week.

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