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The 17K Fantasy Club

Over the last few weeks I've spawned a fantasy of buying a flasher-more-expensive twin or even a brand-spanking-new 600-four as an upgrade of my current bike. Thus the following '17K Fantasy Club' list, ie spanky newish machines that are procurable for no more than the 'trivial' sum of $17,000.

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I've been trying to settle on machines that arent a huge step up price wise. I'd been planning to buy something with more horse-power, but not neccessarilry something more expensive, which is how I ended up with the 10K Club, ie the TRX, VTR, 900SS, 1100Sport and ZX6R

But I'm taunted by the following beauties, in a terrible-schizophrenic-financial-way...

Kawasaki ZX-6R

Specs: 636cc 106HP 4-Cyl DOHC fuel-injected Liquid-cooled 4-stroke with a 6-speed box. Dry weight 162kg, 18L tank, 1400mm wheelbase. Dual 280mm front discs (2-pot), single 220mm (2-pot). Tires: 120/65R17 front, 180/55R17 rear
Reviews: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Notes: There's something I love about the lines of this little beauty. Its got an agro-wasp-like front end and just looks more angry than its size would suggest. OK, so it seems like the extra 36cc is cheating a little, but it stacks up favourably against the other super-sport class 600cc machines on offer this year. Features of note (that the other 600's dont share) are dual Tokico radial mount calipers and upside-down forks.

Suzuki SV1000

Specs: 996cc 110HP 90 Degree V-twin DOHC 8-valve fuel-injected Liquid-cooled 4-stroke with a 6-speed box. Dry Weight 185kg, 17L tank, Tires 120/70R17 front, 180/55R17 rear
Reviews: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Notes: I had a test-ride on one of these and was really impressed. An evolution of the TL1000 with over 300 engine changes alone and some pretty obvious considerable cosmetic changes, very angular, you either love 'em or hate 'em. Fitted with Suzuki Dual Throttle Valve (SDTV) digital fuel injection system.

Ducati 748

Specs: 748cc 87HP L-Twin DOHC fuel-injected Liquid-cooled 4-stroke with a 6-speed box. Dry weight 196kg, 17L tank, 1410mm wheelbase. Dual 320mm front discs (2-pot), single 220mm (2-pot).
Reviews: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
Dyno: 1 | 2 | 3

Notes: OK, so I'm only going to score an 'older' 748 for this kind of money. At the moment you can pick up a 96-97 bike for about $17K. These machines are simply a joy to behold. Great to listen to, a feast for the eyes, and by all accounts brilliant to ride. The sorts of comments you hear are "the 748 doesn't do anything a modern 600 will do much better at two-thirds to half the price." which is often followed by the likes of "Not Just a 996 for Wimps" ... or the romantic... "748's aren't about the head so much as the heart".

Triumph Daytona 600

Specs: 599cc 110HP (crank) liquid-cooled in-line 4-cyl DOHC fuel-injected 4-stroke with a 6-speed box. Dry weight 165kg, 18L tank, 1390mm wheelbase. Twin 308mm floating front discs (4 pot), single 220mm disc rear (single pot). Tires: 120/70R17 front, 180/55R17 rear.
Reviews: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Notes: A winner in its class at the IOM TT this year, and competitive against the Japanese 4-cyl 600's in the British super-sports competition. This is a replacement machine for the very-average predecessor of 3-years the TT600. It definately looks meaner, injection / throttle response is improved, frame is stiffer and lighter, loads of other changes. The Daytona finally arrived near the end of 2003, the first couple will be show-room-only bikes touring the dealerships and it sounds like none have been sold by our local guys ... yet.

Buell Firebolt XB9R

Specs: 984cc 84HP(EU) 45 V-Twin fuel-injected Air-cooled 4-stroke with a 5-speed box. Pushrod-operated over-head valves w hydraulic self-adjusting lifters, 2-valve, dry sump with Kevlar final drive belt. Dry weight 175kg, 14L tank, 1320mm wheelbase. Single 375mm rim-mounted front disc (6-pot), single 230mm rear (single pot). Tires: 120/70R-17 front, 180/55R17 rear.
Reviews: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

Notes: I really do love the look of these things, and all the reviews I've read say they're a great handling machine, if a little down on power compared to others bikes in the same price range, a sports kit (muffler, chip mods etc) is currently available to boost HP, but that piddly 14L gas-tank is gotta be a pain to have to refill all the friging time. Cost wise, it looks like the XB9 is being discountinued next year, could be some big price-drops shortly.

Suzuki GSXR/750

GSXR/750 - 2002

Specs: 749cc 129HP Liquid-cooled 16-valve DOHC in-line 4 with a 6-speed box. Dry weight 179kg, 18L tank, 1400mm wheelbase. Dual 320mm front discs, single 220mm rear. Tires: 120/70R-17 front, 190/50R17 rear.
Reviews: 1 | 2 | 3

Notes: Gixxers I've been thinking about, but mostly the 600 machine which I'd dismissed as being too small (as in dimensions, not capacity). The 750 I was thinkin might be a little threatening for a light-weight like me, probably scare myself shitless. You cannae deny the performance/look/sound of them tho, handling is supposed to be wicked, and they're meant to be reasonably comfortable to ride (for a sports bike) over longer distances.

Is That it Al...?

This list may not actually look that fantastic to some. There's really nothing outrageous here. I've not included any of the big capacity more sporty twins (SP1/2, TL, SV, 916 etc) which you can also buy for around 17K. The truth is, I dont think I'm up for handling them.

A big capacity four is out for the same reaon, and the 2003 model Japanese four-cyl 600's are starting to leave me a little cold when I see or hear them. I'm sure they're wicked fun to ride, and in case you were wondering the triumph is in there really coz its just that little bit different to the other 600 screamers.

Sorry to dissapoint you if you thought yor bike was gonna appear here.

How I'm Leaning

I thought I'd keep a wee list of how I'm leaning over time, what I like the look of as the time draws near to buy a new machine....

December 2003 - No real changes to the list for December. Still keen on all of the above, if slightly less on the Buell than I was. The ZX-6R is still taunting me, as is the GSXR which is bloody good bang-for-the-buck.

November 2003 - I've added the ZX-6R to the above list coz its been taunting me (more than the other 600's) everytime I spot the one thats sitting in Hamilton Motorbikes' shop floor. Feels good size wise to sit on, and I'm gonna get out and test-ride the little bugger ASAP.

Septermber/October 2003 - The 'fantasy-list' hasnt really changed a lot over these two months. I still cant justify buying any of these machines at this stage in my riding career, but I could be easily swayed if I got a good trade-in deal on my 600ss. Of any of them, the most realistic purchase is probably the GSXR, enough power to keep me happy for a long time, reasonable price, and I wont have to wring its neck like I might the 600's.

August 2003 - If I had the money to burn, and the thick-skin to buy and ride a brand-new bike, at the moment I'd be popping into Road-N-Sport and signing up for a spanking-new Buell Firebolt. I know its a harley engine, but the rest of it is definately 21st Century. The only disturbing thing seems to be the rev-limiter cut-in at ~7,5000rpm which with factory gear-rations is a meagre 120mph

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