So finally I got myself a toy that I was missing for quite a few months: a nice Suzuki GSX600F, known in some markets as Katana 600.
It is a great sport touring which was built on the engine of the incredibly fast GSX600R, but tuned for touring cruising speeds, that is, power is available on the low to mid revs range, while the GSXR will always deliver it at high revs. The average speed limit here is 50km/h, a few streets are 60 or 70, and most highways are 80. Few are 90, 110 around Oslo. Using an engine that is tuned for low-mid is much more suitable for these situations.
Here it is:
What I miss from my Harleys is the torque, they are low-rev engines that will deliver you power at 2000 RPM, full torque at 3500, typical from custom motorcycles. You barely have to change gears around town. But the GSXF has an inline-4 engine that likes to rev, at 3000 RPM the bike is asking for gas, and will "wake up" at 5000 RPM and really run smooth at 6000 RPM. By this time you are already over the legal speed limit and having to lower gears to keep the engine close to its operational rotation. But this I knew, can't complain now.
The sound. Well, it is a japanese inline-4, so it sounds like one, it is sweet. But this factory double 2-1 exhausts are a bit too soft for me and not loud enough to keep me safe from car drivers that barely pay any attention to the road because they are too busy texting on their phones while driving. Again, being a Harley rider it is really difficult to find an engine that sounds as nice as a proper Harley V2 with a good pipe. Of course this is subjective, you ask any sport rider what they prefer and they will say it is their inline-4 or V4. My favorite, by a lot far, was a Sportster 883R 2006 carburated that I had some years ago, with Vance & Hines slip-ons that sounded REALLY loud and strong. It was the pinnacle of the Harley sound. It took me less than 1h to sell it, everybody knew that bike because of its distinctive sound.
Comfort. This can be subjective too. As I spent thousands and thousands of kilometers on custom bikes, of course I am more comfortable with them with forward controls and tall ape hangers. Going to a sport touring is a completely different experience, completely. It is uncomfortable in the beginning, when I sat my ass on the bike to bring it home, it was like "WTF am I doing with this". Then I started riding with a more open mind, trying to forget about ape hangers and accepting the bike as it is, and now I feel more at home with the near upright position of a touring and am getting ready to go for the long trips, which is my primary use for motorcycles. I just need to sync the carburators, install a GPS and that's it.
So guys, soon I will be able to bring to you the pictures of hidden places again, due to the freedom of getting anywhere I want at the time I want. This is what I used to do, traveling by MC to photograph, one thing justifies the other. When I have more interesting stuff I will keep the blog updated.
Bye and ride safe!