GIVEN THE WAY THE CLASS LEADERS PERFORM, SOMETHING IN STANDARD TRIM IS ALWAYS GOING TO COME SECOND, SO...
THE BLACK MAMBA
JOHNNY ‘THE GAWLER’ GAWLER
The advent of Autumn signals the ominous knell of the Fast Bikes longtermer test. For every leaf that falls, a new part is rushed on to an FB machine in the hope that its effect will improve its performance to such an extent that our pet tester and chief lady pleasing modeller will crown it the best modified machine of the year.
But let’s go back a few steps here, and underline why we have longtermers on fleet and why we spend so much time and money making them better.
Well, new sportsbikes are the cornerstone of our lives. They’re what make the industry tick and they’re the reason why we get up in the morning. Going on a launch is great, testing them against their peers is a blast, but it’s only after you’ve done thousands of miles that you can really appreciate the multitude of facets that each machine possesses that we can really speak with true authority. So when you lot phone up, email or Facebook us (and lots of you do, and we welcome this) asking us whether you should buy bike X, Y or Z, our response is born from our intimate knowledge of these machines. And remember, this year’s new bike is next year’s old bike, so with well over 100 longtermers going through the FB office over the years, our knowledge is deep and our opinions brutally honest.
But why spend thousands on modding a new bike? Well, we’re only reflecting what you lot are doing. If you didn’t buy these mods then they wouldn’t be being built. Yoshimura, BST, Dynojet and a whole host of other companies simply wouldn’t exist if you didn’t buy their products. The demand out there, and it’s created by you.
The dynamic ability of standard bikes is staggering, but stock bikes are built to a price and are also made to pass various laws and legislation. Aftermarket parts bypass these regulations, and their effect can be staggering. And like with the bikes themselves, our job is to assess the performance of every add-on, from a simple screen to a set of carbon wheels. We judge whether they work, and then its up to you to work out whether you want to afford them, or not.
Being bikers, we’re not standard people in the first place – we want more from life and find our kicks on two wheels. And of those two wheels, the desire to improve, lighten, make quicker and improve looks is truly compelling. There’s no obligation to buy here, merely a desire to dream. After all, you never know when those six numbers might come up. Enjoy the test – Rootsy.
YOUR TESTER IS: THE BLACK MAMBA
Yes, the Mamba is back. After another busy year of racing, testing and product evaluation, I now come and slum it in the Llandow café while waiting for the track to dry and the action to commence. You don’t know me, but you know me, if you see what I mean. And besides, it doesn’t really matter who I am. For the purposes of this test I am your impartial adjudicator, so I’ve said no to Rootsy’s cash incentives, no to BJ’s harem of women, no to Beaky’s airbrushing skills, and no to half of Al’s burger and chips. All the Mamba wants to do is to sample the goods in this modified form – and continue to talk in the third person, the Mamba likes that a lot…
I’ve ridden almost all of the bikes in stock trim, thanks to the day job, but every modified bike is unique and there’s some added extras that I’ve never tried and want to evaluate. Naturally tight fisted, any mod has to perform and if they don’t help you win, to me, that’s a sin. Right, where did I put my ill fitting leathers – it’s time to get suited and booted.