My top five bikes of the noughties

By Chris Newbigging -

First rides & tests

 01 January 2010 10:30

As another decade in biking draws to a close, the MCN office has been rife with debate over the most important bikes in the last ten years.

MCN staff will be sharing their lists on motorcyclenews.com – this is News Reporter Chris Newbigging’s personal pick of the biggest machines from 2000-2009.

 

1) 2006 Triumph Daytona 675: After years of producing characterful, well-built sports tourers and naked bikes with some nearly-there attempts at cracking the 1000cc and 600cc sportsbike markets, Triumph finally managed a true competitor for the Japanese with the 675 triple. Personally, I’m too tall for 600s and hate the lack of power lower down – but the waif-like Triumph is just tall enough to fit me, and the relative spread of power makes you wonder why anyone bothers with a Japanese 600. Yes, some of the early ones drunk oil and went bang, but that’s what the oil dipstick and warranty is for. They’re better now, and as a gorgeous British bike capable of beating the world, we should all really have one.

 

2) 2008 Ducati Desmosedici RR: There are many reasons why the Desmosedici isn’t worth £45,000 – it’s not actually that powerful, the chassis doesn’t work even on track unless you can really push it to the limit and you can only get one, horrifically expensive tyre to fit the wheels. But having ridden one (only ¾ of mile, but that distance was all up Goodwood hill at the Festival of Speed!), I’m in no doubt that ‘Des’ is one of the most amazing machines ever made. The close link to the 2006 990 MotoGP Desmosedici is clear – the sound, looks and feel make any Joe Schmo feel like Casey Stoner heading out for qualifying.The lasting impression is of the immense, linear drive combined with the noise.

 

3) 2008 Victory Vision: For anyone not scoffing, there is good reason why the big ol’ Vision is one of my favourite bikes. For starters it’s a fantastic riding experience – it’s comfortable, refined and loaded with enough gadgets to keep you comfortable and amused for 100’s of miles at a time (I know, I rode one to the Le Mans MotoGP). But more importantly it proves that big, characterful American cruiser-type machines don’t have to be slow and ill-handling with crap build quality. Park the Vision anywhere, and after the initial presence impresses other riders, the stunning build quality is noted. Despite it’s bulk, it has good ground clearance and the rider gets enough feedback to hustle it at a surprisingly quick pace too. It tramples all over the competition.

 

4) 2009 Yamaha VMAX: Put the new Yamaha VMAX’s engine in a car, and it would be impressive. In a bike, its f****** amazing. Clever electronics save the full 180bhp for when you crack the throttle hard – until then it’s still ludicrously torquey with unique character from the V4, which makes it great for cruising around 50% effort enjoying your £16k motorcycle. But when you wring its neck it’s astounding – it’s one of few bikes that has less grip the hotter the tyre gets, as the monster torque and wheelspin completely overheat the rubber. The black lines it leaves are like big streaks of a child’s crayon, and despite only having five gears you’re constantly feeding it gears until it stops dead at 150mph. Unlike the old VMAX, the chassis (just) keeps it under control – get the VMAX settled, pick a line and it’ll round corners surprisingly well. Be careful in the first three gears – get on the throttle exiting a corner and you may well find the rear wheel spins and slides right out. Fun – if you can control it…

 

5) 2007 Ducati 1098: When the iconic Ducati 1098 came out, I snuck out on the boss’ long-termer and did a quick 60 miles. Nowhere special – around the outskirts of town, in to Lincolnshire. It blew me away – the typical Ducati slow but stable steering and suspension that only comes in to it’s own above 80mph was present, but unlike the lazy engines in other Ducatis, the 1098 spins up quickly deliver killer midrange and holding on for most of the rev range. It reminded me of the TL1000S I owned at the time, but with 30bhp more, and the unmatchable feeling of being on something special Ducatis somehow give you.

 
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