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89 Katana vs BMW s 1000 RR

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  • 89 Katana vs BMW s 1000 RR

    Now, having resurrected the 30yr old Katana 750 out of my brothers basement, I can speak to differences between a full on sport bike and a sport- tour. While having owned a Katana from new back in 2000’s, it should come to me as no surprise that the Kat would be more comfortable. While anyone could at a glance see that the riders body position is more upright, it goes well beyond that. On the ergonomics level the seat shape and padding for the kat are clearly best for longer rides, while the BMW wins out when cutting though the twisty stuff. While it will shock no one that the BMW s 1000 RR is built for that kind of stuff. The BMW seat allows you to shift body positions easily while you still feel planted in the saddle.

    The biggest plus in favor of the Kat is the stop and go of traffic. While one might not expect the water cooled BMW to be a thigh cooker it surely is. Most anyone would think an air cooled bike would have been a hotter ride in slow traffic conditions. I think it comes down to two factors, first is the shape and vent openings on the BMW fairings. The vents dump straight back onto your legs. Secondly, is the radiator fan, which push hot air out the same openings. Opposed to that the Kat vents are just behind the lip of the seat and below the riders leg. That I feel that keeps the hot air away from the rider.

    On the 89 Kat I was surprised to find it lacked a gear indicator. I found myself looking to shift even after reaching top gear. The BMW conversely almost has to much data. While both have a fuel gauge, tach and speedo as well as trip. The BMW adds a second trip, braking and acceleration gauges multiple riding modes, temp and gear indicator, lean angle and so much more. Well, after 30 years of advancements this comes as no surprise to anyone I’m sure. I will caution anyone not to get caught looking at the braking, acceleration and lean angle gauges while riding. Save it for after the ride and if your really into seeing the data, mount a camera with a view of the dash and play it back after the ride. I did this while making runs on track days. I found it fun and interesting to see forces and when they came into play.

    comparing the handling, performance and power just wouldn’t be fair against a 30 years old bike. So, I’ll not do it here. Not knowing the hp output of the Kat all I can say is lighter, race design, and 250 extra cc @ 199 hp speaks to the BMW’s racing / street fighter prepose. That said the Kat comes on strong when you take to the roads and aren’t looking to break the sound barrier or set a new track record. No matter weather your on a highway or twisty back country road the Kat gives you great comfortable ride, good performance and handling. Based on my personal preference I think I’d like to add a steering damper because after riding my s 1000 RR I prefer the tighter feel.

    While these two bike are generations apart each works well as it was designed to do. I’m lucky to have to option to ride either one as I wish. For those who don’t have that option a good look at what type of riding you’ll do most often should be considered when choosing the bike to buy. 30 years didn’t outdate the Kat to the point of becoming a trailer queen like I have seen done to many a muscle car. While new maybe cool and things like ABS surely add to safety, it doesn’t mean a good older bike can’t be a great option. So, when it come to which bike I’ll ride it just comes down to what I have in mind to do that day. That all Said I love them both for different reasons.