Athletes in comparison: Yamaha TRX 850, Kawasaki ZX-.6R, Suzuki GSX-R 750, Honda CBR 900 RR


Athletes in comparison: Yamaha TRX 850, Kawasaki ZX-.6R, Suzuki GSX-R 750, Honda CBR 900 RR


Stronger, faster, lighter is the maxim in the supersport circus. An unusual comparison of incomparable variants on the subject of sportiness. Driven at full power and on the last furrow.

Standing applause in the Circus Maximus when the gladiators move in: the fastest super athletes born in 1996 enter the ring for the ultimate exchange of blows. Light, all under 210 kilograms, extremely strong and well trained. Just athletes. Curtain up, taraaaaa, fanfares, cheers – and then something like that: the skinny Yamaha TRX 850 steals shyly on the podium, the audience is amazed, whistles from the cheap stands. “What is Mickerling doing here? Those aren’t the national youth games.” Yes, exactly, what does the weak one want TRX 850 in the Circus Maximus? Play along, just play along. It only has two cylinders, but five valves in each. After all. And 80 and a couple of crushed horsepower. Not bad either, but just not enough. And then the chassis, like in Schorsch Meier’s time – made of tubular steel. So bad cards.

Buy complete article

Athletes in comparison: Yamaha TRX 850, Kawasaki ZX-.6R, Suzuki GSX-R 750, Honda CBR 900 RR

Athletes in comparison: Yamaha TRX 850, Kawasaki ZX-.6R, Suzuki GSX-R 750, Honda CBR 900 RR

Kawasaki prances into the stadium. Poison green as always, well trained, sinewy. Hardly a year and already world champion – or something like that. In any case, Udo Mark made a clean sweep of the boys in the Thunderbike Trophy with his ZX-6R, and at MOTORRAD she was crowned sports queen in 1995 ahead of the CBR 600 F. All yesterday‘s news – forget it buddy. Or why do you think the white and blue fan club in the east curve is now totally freaking out? It’s there, the new one, the strong one, the fast one – the GSX-R 750. “Built to win”, say those from Suzuki. With 128 hp and a slim 205 kilograms, it’s child’s play. But when children play, you never know how it will end.

Especially when the crusher is still playing back there: Yes, exactly, the one with the air holes in the sports suit. CBR 900 RR – that wouldn’t be so bad on its own, but there’s Honda in front of it, and they know how to build motorcycles. They would have fine-tuned the new Fire Blade, put in big-bore kits and added weight. Well, let’s see. The rules of the game are clear, pure sportiness is required. Which has nothing to do with accelerating to 250 km / h in no time with smoking rubber.

Much more important: thrust in all positions, maneuverability, handling, braking, banking – in short: everything that makes motorcycling fun in its most extreme form. And so that nobody cheats, the speed and engine speed are electronically recorded during the race track sprint. And because nobody gets the idea of ​​putting on rugged mountain boots for the 100m sprint, all four are wearing Pirelli Dragon sports shoes: always a good choice in terms of handling and stability.

All strength and honesty: The engines. The current patent recipe for maximum performance is apparently: four closely lined up, water-cooled cylinders, two camshafts, four valves and airways plunging vertically into the combustion chamber. At least that is how the uniform technology is presented in comparison with all four-cylinder engines. Yamaha’s TRX-Twin tries to compensate for the speed handicap of the two 424 cm3 large pots with five valves, but sticks strictly to the four-cylinder model in all other assemblies: water cooling, two camshafts, dead straight intake throat. The Kawasaki and Suzuki engineers have trained their strength athletes to run silky smooth over the entire speed range. Honda’s 900, on the other hand, tingles annoyingly in the handlebars and rests, depending on the speed. For this, the CBR engine pushes forward from speeds at which its opponents are still powerlessly groaning. Cubic capacity. Coupled with the fact that Honda trimmed the engine setup for full torque instead of sheer power.

The rear light is getting smaller and smaller, the CBR 900 RR makes itself indefensible in the pull-through test. Wacker marches behind the Yamaha twin and reaches the 160 km / h mark in the last gear before Suzuki and Kawasaki. Just two-cylinder. It shakes the tubular space frame roughly below 3000 rpm, but then quickly comes to rest and no more than 2500 rpm later presses a whopping 91 Nm of torque onto the roller. But what does all of this have to do with sportiness? Draft? Torque? Smoothness? All Quark – Poooower !!!! Please, you can have lots. With the Suzuki GSX-R 750 you can sprint up to 200km / h in 10.8 seconds, the CBR 900 needs almost three seconds more. But watch out that you don’t roll backwards with your new Suzuki, it would be a shame material.

Maybe the little Kawasaki is enough, it can do it in 14.2 seconds – without any capers. And where is the Yamaha? Hopefully nothing happened there. Ahh, yes, now, back there. All right: 26.9 seconds for the “sprint” from 0 to 200 km / h. A really timeless motorcycle, this TRX 850. Let’s say goodbye to the purely academic measurements and race. In Ledenon in the south of France it is also winter, but not quite as winter as it is here. And they have a race track down there, top notch. Up and down, left, right, fast, slow – just great. And suddenly torque and torque are the number one topic again. Nothing is easier than a brisk lap with the TRX two-cylinder. Brake, downshift, accelerate. The Yamaha rushes gently but powerfully out of the corners. It’s just a shame that the five-speed gearbox doesn’t shift nearly as smoothly.

But it doesn’t matter if the switchgear no longer works when braking, the main gear stays in, the five-valve engine stamps itself cursingly free again and turns unrestrainedly to the stop. Where the 130-horsepower rockets burn black lines on the asphalt with all their power, the TRX pilot crashes through lying down, gas at the stop. Sooo much fun and soooo little stress. But with a top speed of just 183 km / h on the home straight, much too slow. With the ZX-6R from Kawasaki we are getting closer to the matter. The on-board computer records 197 km / h as the best value. No wonder with the engine and transmission. Once you have found your switching points, there is nothing left to stop you. Fantastically smooth, without any shift in load, the little four-cylinder gets going, turns as hard as it can and can be shifted with absolute precision. Up or down, it doesn’t matter, the aisles are rock-solid. A poem. But still way too slow.

Bring the Suzuki grenade. On the rear wheel and off the post. A real racing engine, pretty tough around the bottom, well in the middle, and at 10,000 rpm it pulls your arms out. When the front wheel is still flying into third gear, which is 175 km / h according to the recording, you need good nerves and an even better balance. And that despite the eternally long overall translation, which does not harmonize at all with the winding course of Ledenon. Therefore shift through at lightning speed, the gearbox joins in, brake, downshift – ratatatatatatat, the rear wheel is already stamping and jumping endlessly. Little trick with such trouble: when downshifting, keep the clutch pulled slightly, just enough so that the engine still brakes, but the hard pounding is lost when the clutch slips. If you can still do the trick in the hustle and bustle of faster laps, it helps, but still a real bummer. Too much play in the drive, too soft shock absorbers in the rear wheel, and the whole thing combined with an abrupt and jerky use of power when applying gas.

“Built to win”? You actually imagine a winning motorcycle differently. It’s a shame, so much power, so much speed, and still only in first place in the measurements on the home straight with 206.8 km / h. The CBR 900 hisses through start and finish at just under km / h slower. And that without ram-air magic and with a rather rugged aerodynamics. A whopping 95 Nm of torque catapulted the 206 kg plus driver up the steep home straight like a sling. The front lifts up gently and predictably from the asphalt, if it gets too much, simply put the next gear in, the engine pushes on impetuously without the last bit of speed. You should only take your time to shift gears, because when you rush to change gears, the hard and bony gear shifts in the lower gears sometimes get lost in intermediate idle. Only Yamaha is out of the ordinary: the chassis.

Why not, thought the Yamaha designers, and framed their TRX-850 engine with stable triangular braces made of tubular steel, which visually clearly distinguishes it from the uniform aluminum bridges of the four-cylinder armada. One did not want to risk doing without modern suspension and wheel guidance, so between the 41 mm telescopic fork and the aluminum swing arm, wheels and tires in the current 600 mm Supersport format rotate and two four-piston stoppers on 300 mm brake discs tamper with. The computer specialist checks the electronics one more time, click, all right, time is running out. It’s nice when the moving vehicle is not in such a hurry and has some time to fine-tune the ideal line to the last millimeter. This works perfectly with the TRX 850. The pilot will find a comfortable place on the Yamaha, from which the twin can be perfectly directed. As if made for the brisk day ride on the country road, just a little too upright on the race track, too civilized, you feel right at home behind the knobby but narrow tank.

To brake you need strong paws, but the TRX does it by itself to turn in and tilt. If the asphalt carpets ripple, the TRX fork runs out of reserves and the front section nervously chugs over patches. As usual, Yamaha also uses a spindly 17 millimeters for the new TRX-850 ?? Front axle in simple clamps. The result: steering precision and braking stability leave a lot to be desired at a jagged speed. The rider takes note of the shortcomings, but does not allow himself to be deterred in his weird project. Sparkling, footrests, side stands and lap times shorten, then it’s shift. The chronometer shows a clean 1.42.2 minutes. compliment.

But not only the absolute lap times are impressive, the analysis of the electronic recordings also attests that the TRX is extremely good-natured and has the highest cornering speeds on the very delicate sections of the track. Kawasaki’s ZX-6R seems like the demanding and angular test track is tailored to the slim body. Out of the boxes and bang – 1.40, 4 minutes: best time. With the super handy, finely adjustable chassis, the best brakes in a quartet and lively thrust, the little Kawasaki gets going, as if stung by the tarantula. There really wouldn’t be anything to complain about if it weren’t for that annoying fork flutter that makes the entire front end tremble with every hard braking process. The problem is not new, only Kawasaki had hoped for a final solution for the 1996 models through thicker walls on fork tubes and frame profiles. Nothing. Of course, Suzuki’s future high-flyer cannot put up with the brilliant performance of the ZX-6R.

And indeed, the GSX-R 750 sweeps around bends of all kinds with astonishing precision and as light as a feather. The lightweight sticks razor-sharp towards the apex, sucks on the ideal line as if on rails and pulls its path along the shortest route. All attention, the little Kawasaki can’t do much better either. Unfortunately, with the brilliant cornering qualities of the GSX-R 750, the outstanding properties have already been dealt with.

There is little that is good about brakes. Difficult to dose, the six-piston calipers leave little room for maneuver when switching from full throttle to full braking at lightning speed. Either all or nothing. Regardless, if you get the time with power, there is enough there. Small problem with this: Even with the extra-wide 190 mm roller on an equally extra-wide 6.00-inch rim, the Suzuki does not find the right grip. The rear of the Suzuki, which is extremely short with a 1400 millimeter wheelbase, turns too quickly when accelerating. The bottom line is 1.40.8 minutes remain for the best lap. A lot of fine-tuning is still to be done to fully exploit the potential of the new Suzuki. It starts with little things like the slippery, unsteady seat cushion and ends with the poorly adjustable and inadequately responsive brakes in the rain.

MOTORRAD tried a few changes right away. Dunlopad brake pads from the accessories trade turn the six-piston biters into well-dosed stoppers, and a temporarily glued seat pad on the duck’s tail securely fixes the driver in his position. Honda promises the highest level of perfection inherent in the new edition of the CBR 900 RR. Everything new, everything better, everything more stable – and yet not faster. The Honda sails unobtrusively around the track, brakes superbly, albeit not as perfectly as the ZX-6R, drives as obliquely as the Suzuki, albeit with shuffling footrests, and pulls confidently out of corners, like the TRX, only with more power . Perfect? Somehow. Sure, the 16-inch front wheel doesn’t steer quite as precisely, and in terms of handling, the CBR doesn’t stand out against the Suzuki. Perhaps it’s simply because Honda doesn’t want to win races with the new CBR 900 RR, just buyers. Between the Ardeche and the Mediterranean.

The next round does not lead to the start and finish, but through the winding streets of the southern French Provence. In the Thermo-Boy, because it’s cold, and with a backpack because the rain suit is packed there. Only the Honda driver doesn’t need a backpack, it has a trunk, snap – with a lid. Always handy enough for the country road, the CBR 900 RR collects plus points. And again: the engine. Bums in all positions, lively and economical. The seating position is almost comfortable, at least for super sports conditions. The flawless suspension comfort of the finely appealing suspension elements would look good on many a tourer. You don’t have to say a lot more about workmanship and equipment: just Honda.

To the surprise of the test team, the sporty, taut Suzuki chassis also ironed third-order country roads. Even the sitting position, which is often a merciless torture in hard-core racers, is okay. Functionally equipped, with smart details, the new Suzuki is worth the money. Visually, the fat rear wheel roller, for which he likes it, looks great. On the country road, however, the exactly 195 millimeter wide tire punishes the Suzuki driver with annoying tilting in undulating corners at half an incline. But that’s it, the real competitive athlete, uncompromising and passionate: Suzuki. Well educated and developed according to the standards of the Honda CBR 600 F, the Kawasaki is a very personable companion in everyday life. Not only does the small ZX-6R reduce harmful emissions via a secondary air system (KCAS), everything else is there that you can appreciate between Monday and Friday without putting the super sporty talents under a bushel.

What more do you want? More draft. That’s right, but only if you measure the ZX-6R against the displacement giant. More efficient? No way, a whopping 100 hp is more than enough for public roads. There is another example of this: the Yamaha TRX 850. Sonorous sound, properly equipped for the money and optimally motorized on roads where motorcycling is really fun. What was hinted at on the racetrack is confirmed between the Ardeche and the Mediterranean. It’s not the brute power, but the ideal compromise that matters.

TRX 850 or ZX-6R, no matter which, certainly bikes for every day and almost all roads in the world. Undoubtedly with weaknesses, but the bottom line is the actual surprises in the test. Should be just a joke to turn the power box a long nose or at least to glue it to the rear light. But the joke forces serious thoughts. In the case of the TRX, 45 hp less and just 1.4 seconds slower on the race track than the Suzuki best time. Or even more clearly with the ZX-6R: 20 hp less, but half a second faster. Sure, the route: curvy, bumpy, not for real strength athletes. Let the quartet take to the autobahn, dead straight and then full lot with the open big bikes. Then you just blow the TRX and ZX-6R away. Definitely, but to be completely honest, that’s exactly where we never wanted to go.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *