CCM RM30, KTM 520EXC, KTM Duke II, VOR 503SM – Supermoto test p3
If you’ve never ridden a Supermoto, you’ll need to adjust your style. Stepping onto one from a sports bike is a shock at first. Any fool can twist the throttle on a 170mph superbike on a straight and feel like a god but getting the best from a Supermoto takes more skill.
For starters, they feel very tall and cranking them over doesn’t feel as natural as on a sportsbike. But with time and experimentation, you’ll soon get the hang of it and realise what you’ve been missing.
On the downside, there’s zero wind protection but you’re not going that fast, especially if you find the right roads. Use the bike as intended and it won’t be a problem. Motorways are not recommended. But there are bonuses to sitting up high, like seeing over traffic.
And because Supermotos are light and manoeuvrable, they’re easy to flick between traffic in town.
If you’ve had any off-road experience, you’ll take to Supermotos like Elvis took to cheeseburgers. With relish. The less you’re afraid of bikes moving around under you, the more you’ll get from these.
Chris Walker raced motocross for eight years so he’s used to dirt and in the market for a Supermoto: I have to be careful what I ride when I’m contracted to race for a factory, but as I’m unemployed now I can ride what I like. I’ve been checking out Husqvarnas on the Net but I’m not sure what I’ll go for yet.
These bikes are all raw, but sometimes the experience can be too raw. The VOR 503 is a great bike but let down by no electric starter and a kickstart which, being Italian, was temperamental to say the least. At least an hour of our day was spent trying to fire the bike into life.
I’d never buy a bike with just a kickstart moaned Niall, and Walker was equally unimpressed after working up a sweat trying to get the evil bitch started: It’s a cardiac arrest machine is this wheezed the supposedly-fit-as-feck professional rider (who had a super-size McDonalds for lunch).
The good news is the 2001 model will have an electric starter. Phew. But let’s not be too quick in our criticism – VOR have only been about three years.
VOR was formed after fisticuffs broke out between the brothers behind Vertematti off-road bikes and one sibling left to form VOR in 1999. And he’s done a pretty good job considering his lack of Supermoto experience, as Walker’s praise proves. I like it, it’s got monster grunt, but it vibrates like fook.
Well, almost proves.
Mackenzie liked it too, despite the fact it spat him off ungracefully as he tried to show off on a sand-strewn road. That’ll learn him. It vibrates a lot but it’s a really strong engine and the power’s great.
The standard hlins shock and Paioli forks came in for praise as would be expected, and the overall light feel of the bike makes it easy to throw around. Matched with effective Brembo four-pot brakes and that torquey, lively engine, the VOR should be a serious contender on your Supermoto shopping list. But it may be wise to wait a few years as TWO chief road tester Gus Scott suggests: VOR haven’t been around long but they’ve made a good start and should be right up there soon.
But much as the VOR was appreciated, one bike stole the show for all of us. As soon as the KTM 520 was wheeled out, Walker was all dribbles and wood, checking out the Braking four-pot calipers and disc, the Excel wide rims, and the Dr.K carbon end can. This bike looks the nuts.
And it rides as good as it looks.
Since the bike’s privately owned, we’d been warned to treat it with kid gloves and not take it off road. much. But holding Chris Walker back from a trick bike is like holding George Best back from a pint of strong continental lager. Impossible, and before I can even mouth a warning to him, he’s off on the back wheel in a cloud of dust leaving us spluttering to the crisp, violent bark of the Dr.K can.
The KTM is the closest thing here to a full factory competition bike and Walker’s obviously at home on it straight away. After a blast on tarmac and then the dirty stuff, he comes back grinning like a gargoyle: I’m having one of these. Definitely. It’s a real dirt bike that’s just got road tyres on and it’s the one bike here that goes as good as it looks. The way it brakes and turns and the responsiveness of the throttle is just pure competition stuff.
It’s just proper.
The 520 is in a class of its own. It’s a more refined bike and feels so light and responsive. The lightest tap on the gear shifter surges you forward, the throttle’s so crisp the slightest turn can lift the front wheel and the brakes and clutch work in complete harmony to offer an awesome Supermoto experience.
The only thing anyone wanted to change is to add two smaller front discs instead of the one large item. Those brakes are good but you can feel the bike picking itself up in corners if you grab a load of front brake because of the single disc, said Gus.
Whatever you plump for, you’re going to laugh – that’s part of the manufacturer’s warranty. As Mackenzie says: a lot of people ignore Supermotos because they’ve never ridden one. If they did they’d probably love it.
Too true mate.
Unless you’re a sado masochist (you know who you are), you won’t want to go far on a Supermoto – they’re not comfortable and have tiny tank ranges. But for a blast with your mates, there’s few bikes which will provide as many smiles per mile.
Just how far you want to go when buying a Supermoto is up to you. All the bikes here are individual but if you still want some practicality for everyday riding, the KTM Duke II is probably the best choice here.
If you want a factory competition replica without practicality, KTM’s 520 should suit you very nicely, sir. The VOR 503 with kickstarter is annoying but that’ll all change with the electric start version, and If you want to buy British (and why not?), and get a bike that’s a compromise between a real racing Supermoto and a sensible road bike, then the new CCM R30 is the best looking bike the firm has ever built and great fun to ride. Now all you have to do my friend, is decide.
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