a weekend with the yam and about 300 km around the country. obviously it is still a bit early for a definitive judgement, but i think some first impressions may be interesting.
there is a number of ‘firsts’ related to the purchase of this bike.
it is my first bike
– with a fairing
– with more than 2 cylinder (only the duc had two, all my other bikes actually had one)
– with more than 4 valves (yes, the duc was 2 valves / cylinder)
– with more than approx 55 hp (i think the ktm620 was my strongest bike to date)
– that goes faster than 200 (haven’t tried yet)
– that revvs over 10.000 rpm (maybe the exc comes close)
– that weighs more than 200 kg
i can tell you, it takes some getting used to. when you sit on it the first thing you notice is that the bike is rather high. after the duc this was a bit of a surprise, but then again the monster was pretty low & i always had to be very careful when driving up or down the sidewalks.
the yzf is also quite heavy, even though some 3 years ago its weight was pretty much standard in the 600 cc sports category: according to the test magazins it has some 220 kg wet (no, not after the rain, but with all fluids – water, oil, fuel – on board).
the engine starts pretty easily, needs the choke for about 20 seconds,that’s all, after that it runs smoothly in all situations. so much so that in the beginning i frequently revved it when i pulled the clutch because i was not sure whether the engine was still running. 😉
i am not quite at terms with the clutch yet, but basically it is pretty ok, much easier to pull than the hydraulic clutch of the ducati even though it is mechanically operated. i still need to be very careful when engaging it, it is quite easy to be a little too hard on the throttle, as a result the bike rockets off instead of pulling away smoothly. nearly lost my dear wife on one occasion. 😉
that brings us back to the engine. wow. like a turbine. at idle speed you hardly hear it, and even at high revs the sound is never disturbing. i usually travel with about 3-5000 rpm, i think i still need some getting used to the fact that the engine is actually built to be pushed over 10.000, which seems to be the best range since the engine produces its power at around this level.
you can, however, use the engine from about 3000 rpm but the real fun starts at about 7-8000. then it takes off and you have so much to do with shifting and hanging on to it that it gets quite difficult to control the speed.
it is also very difficult to ride the bike slowly. not because it actually makes you want to ride it hard, but because you dont really notice how fast you actually are until you have a look at the speedo. the fairing shelters you from the wind, there are hardly any vibrations and certainly not a lot of noise, and everything is just very relaxed … up to speeds that were distinctly uncomfortable on the ducati.
the chassis also does a very good job at keeping things calm at higher speeds. quite stable but not stubborn. the only thing i find a bit odd is its tendency to fall into slow corners. not really alarming, just a bit strange. of course you can counter this with a little throttle, but unfortunatley the throttle has a little too much play and needs to be adjusted. well, i’ll do that some time.
flicking the bike from one side to the other is a little harder than on the duc, here the higher center of gravity and the plus weight play a role, but the difference is very small indeed. i am pretty sure the yam can take corners faster than the duc – with a little getting used to.
it also accelerates pretty well out of corners. although there the monster seems to have the edge (seems to have a little more trorque, but actually the yam has more) i am quite sure this is only due to the way the yzf does everything with deceptive ease. you really have to watch that speedo to see what’s going on.
but the most important issue is naturally the comfort, and there the yamaha really scores. both krisztina & me enjoyed our rides without any ‘buts’ and ‘ifs’. i am quite astonished such a sporty bike can offer this level of comfort. ok, 300 km is not a lot, but on the duc we would have felt it, no question.
high praise for the fairing, it really shelters the rider against wind and a lot of weather. that does not mean you are not getting wet, but it certainly helps a lot. even my hands were only sort of damp after a ride through frequent showers, so i can still wear my summer gloves instead of the rather thick and clumsy winter gloves.
i am still trying to figure out what the bike can do in turns, but with all the wind and rain on the weekend i didn’t have too much chance yet. and there was also kris on the back seat. she is a brave girl but i remember well when she started hitting my helmet because i was leaning into the curve a little more than she thought would be safe. 😉
well, so much for now. seems like a good choice so far, but i’ll keep on testing it. 😉 and i’ll let you know.