Honda VTR1000 SP-1
05 August 2002 00:00
'Nah, you don’t want one of those mate. They're rubbish'
That was what the desperate idiot salesman at my local Aprillia showroom was telling me when I went in to have a looksy at the RSV.
'This Mille would run rings round a bloody VTR I'm telling ya'
With that really un-needed advice I took a five minute ride (which they always only are) to my local Honda dealer and handed over a wedge of cash along with the keys to my GSXR 750. After a bit of messing about I thumped out on a slightly muffled SP-1. My first thoughts when I fired it up were that it'd sounded un-soulfull and needed a decent zorst.
I got on the bike pulled out on to the road gave a little throttle, instant whoosh! (coffee?)
That strange new feeling of being effortlessly wafted along is still fresh in my mind nearly a year later. This is definitely one of those everybody has to try it at least once feelings.
So, why did I go for the Honda? and not the Aprillia of perhaps a Ducati?
Well, I like to make my own mind up about what I buy. Although I read all the mags and reviews on bikes you've still got to remember that the score the bike gets at the end of the so called test is simply an opinion.
I've heard of a few things with the SP-1 that are classed as problems. Most famously being the jerky throttle and poor fuel consumption. It's certainly interesting with the on/off feel at first but I can honestly say that after three or four months I'd totally got used to the way it all happens and haven't had a problem with it at any time.
Fuel consumption is not even an issue with me because of what it is. (a Superbike and not an MPV) it has been poor though doing approx 80-90miles until the little dash light comes on. The only annoying bit is keep filling it up! (Honda do a bigger tank for £450)
The only other problem I've found is that when performing a tight turn i.e around town or U-turn, my hands disappear under the bulbous top edges of the tank which makes it impossible to use the throttle so you end up stalling the bike mid turn.
I've nearly come a cropper more than once by doing that but then I guess that's just bad planning on my part!
Other than that this bike is superb, gun it down your fav B-road and be rewarded with a grin from ear to ear as the way it tracks gives you so much confidence maybe a little too much as I'm normally seeing 20mph more than I thought on that sexy, trick dash.
As most twins it has the ability to totally confuse your sense of speed because it never sounds laboured in any way but there's nothing to worry about because the Nissin 4 -pots are fantastic. On the road never needing much more than a couple of fingers to really slow things down.
Although it has a lot of brute grunt it still likes to have the top 5 segments of the snake like rev counter to be filled in for proper Colin Edwards style Ducati bashing!!
In a straight line it's not as outright fast as my old (1997) GSXR 750 but it's a much more satisfying delivery. In the twisty stuff the Honda makes the old Suzuki feel like a bit of a dinosaur.
I haven't once done a track day on my SP-1 which just goes to prove that all the hype about it having a slow turn speed or a soggy front end is of total irrelevence to someone like myself. Just go and try one, truly superb.
They're a lot more exclusive than the others too, and in my opinion look a shed load better what with that huge intake on the front and as mines an official Castrol Honda promotional replica nothing even comes close!!
Also, being 22 when I bought it there isn't many other lads my age with a bike a special as this.