Game Changers

June 18, 2020 | By Mike Seate

The CRM team is back in sun-drenched So Cal this week, testing an array of new 2020 streetbikes for upcoming issues of the magazine. The market seems to me finally shrugging off it’s sluggishness as thousands of people who are tired of living inside their homes are discovering and re-discovering the thrills of two-wheeled travel. The crew we put together for the test rides all had stories to tell of local dealerships selling out of small and medium displacement machines, which is quite a turn-around from just a few months back. We had a chance to ride a few machines that certainly don’t fit either of those categories- Kawasaki’s supercharged H2 naked and Ducati’s much-ballyhooed 207 horsepower V4 Streetfighter. Both of these incredible, high-performance bikes are capable of the Double Ton – yes, 200 MPH- a speed reserved for Moto GP racebikes just a couple years back. It appears the performance bike game has torn up the existing rulebook, the one dictating that even hypersports bikes like Suzuki’s venerable Hayabusa would be limited to “just” 186 MPH by the factory. These days, anyone with the pluck and credit score can ride away on a machine that’s so bloody fast and capable, it truly does require a complete re-thinking of just what fast motorcycles are capable of. So what are they like to ride? Well, after sending a day riding the canyons, hills and blasting along the Pacific Coats Highway aboard both bikes, I can attest to the fact that they ain’t for the faint hearted! The sheer acceleration of the deceptively smooth H2 is the stuff of science fiction- aim the front whel at a spot on the distant horizon, and before the brain can absorb just what’s happened, you’re already far beyond the point in the road and hurtling towards some distant apex. The Ducati is more pure 21st Century cafe racer than the sport touring H2; it’s excels in long, fast sweeping corners where the massive torque and inch-perfect handling make it an unchallenged weapon in the right hands. Check out our Dream Team’s impressions in upcoming issues where comedian and fast guy Alonzo Bodden, custom cafe builder Jay LaRossa and track day master Joe LaCroix give their insight on some of the fastest wheels on the planet.