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Comparison test: Ducati, Kawasaki, KTM, Triumph and Yamaha

How much power does the man need?

Riding a motorcycle is fun. Are strong motorcycles more fun? Stunt pilot Mai-Lin explains to the men’s world at MOTORRAD how much power a bike needs – and how much it doesn’t.

Mai-Lin’s smile leaves no doubt: she enjoys riding a motorcycle.

The 24-year-old talks about her Honda CBR 600 F and her appearances with it with obvious enthusiasm. Mai-Lin-Shi Senf, as the woman from Hamburg is called by her full real name, is a professional stunt driver. The only one in Germany, one of no more than a dozen female motorcycle acrobats worldwide. It was only five years ago that the then 19-year-old – completely a biker and with a Honda CB 500 that was suitable for a level driving license – saw her first stunt show. A little later, her 34 hp bike lifted the front for her first wheelie. Since then, the blonde has been wheezing, stopping and drifting as often as possible, "after the haulage companies call it a day", in some storage place in the port of Hamburg.

S.he himself has said goodbye to the time clock. Shows and engagements in TV productions throw off enough to give up the job as a dental technician. Especially since the Hanseatic woman keeps her Ich-AG lean in terms of staff. She doesn’t need any help for the internet presence (www.stunt-girl.net) or the bookkeeping any more than on the long journeys to the appearances in the van. It is the enthusiasm for her exciting job that Mai-Lin drives with her one-woman business.

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Comparison test: Ducati, Kawasaki, KTM, Triumph and Yamaha
How much power does the man need?

WR 250 X (32 PS) from Yamaha, the 654 high-performance single from KTM in the chassis of the Duke R (71 PS), the 675 cc triple in the Triumph Street Triple R (108 PS), which are new this year published Kawasaki Z 1000 (137 PS) and the power max of the squad, the Ducati Streetfighter S (159 PS). Admittedly, all characters are a bit apart from the mainstream. Above all, naked bikes of all displacement classes and numbers of cylinders are geared towards driving pleasure.


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Yamaha WR 250 X, KTM 690 Duke R, Triumph Street Triple R, Kawasaki Z 1000 and Ducati Streetfighter S in comparison.

Mai-Lin climbs back and forth between the machines with great interest, feeling the seating position and ergonomics. The anticipation and the tension of going on a test lap together with the four colleagues from the MOTORRAD men’s world can be seen in the power woman.

Departure. Mai-Lin immediately jumps on the Yamaha, probably not wanting to overpower himself for the warm-up phase. With the WR 250 X’s peak output of 32 hp, it certainly doesn’t. Especially not in city traffic. As if they were mobile pylons, the talented movement scurries around the sheet metal bodies with the 137 kilogram 250 cc. Only when the line of cars clears and narrow country lanes give way to the arterial roads can the perplexed gentlemen catch up on the bigger bikes. While the ease of being on the WR continues. The inhibition threshold to pull the throttle courageously disappears in a very short time.

The lively moped quickly gives the scepter to even the inexperienced, giving everyone the feeling of being in control of the situation. The four-valve engine lives from speeds. Little happens below 8,000 rpm, and it’s over at 12,000 rpm. Which forces Mai-Lin to keep stirring in the six-speed gearbox. That can be fun, but after half an hour the mood changes. The desire for the boss’s job is gradually becoming a burden in the rotary and treadmill of the 250cc drive, tarnishing the enthusiasm for the cultivated manners of the small single cylinder. Not even Peter Mayer, MOTORRAD editor and Supermoto fan from the very beginning, can protect the Winz-Drifter. The driving performance is too tame, like the 30 to 100 km / h pulling speed, which takes more than twice as long as the competition, to fail to recognize that displacement and thus power are difficult to replace.

Stopover, partner swap. Mai-Lin wants to change saddles, virtually take the step into the world of adult motorcycles with the KTM. After all, with 71 hp, the Single pushes the historically highest performance of a standard single-cylinder onto the dyno. Single cylinder – not only for the stunt girl so far the synonym for torque and power from the lower speed range. For the Duke, nothing but a faded cliché.

Like an explosive device, the LC4 unit hits the gas, hacking below 3000 revs for a moment, only to trumpet its way through the rev range a moment later, all the more impulsively. Ultimately, the KTM even struggled with the almost 40 hp more powerful Street Triple in the torque measurement (from 30 to 100 km / h). The single staged the increase in speed with vehemence, with a fabulous increase in power of 19 hp between 4000 and 5000 revs even with the Ducati. An experience that test boss Gert Thöle is completely enthusiastic about. Again and again he let her do a wheelie and enjoyed the emotions of the bike to the fullest. Has simply ignored that the single at 6000 tours, and thus well before his performance zenit at 7300 rpm, warned with hearty vibrations to change gears.


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Country roads, the playground for naked bikes. Whether with 32 or 159 hp.

Mai-Lin is less carried away by the rugged alpine charm. She cannot understand how much fun Gert felt in the full occupation of the pilot on the LC4. The stunt woman is particularly troubled by the narrow usable speed range of just 2000 revs in practice. She is amazed, especially here in the singles area, the winding streets with which Duke have to constantly stir the gears, feels tormented by the vibrations, in short, simply not comfortable on the KTM. The question of whether 71 hp is enough for driving fun doesn’t even arise. And Gert has already answered it with his enthusiasm for the Austrian.

The bar is being raised. Georg Jelicic, top tester at MOTORRAD and recreational racing driver, hands the triumph into Mai-Lin’s hands. With a wink. He knows why. The power pack of the Street Triple R produces 108 hp. Quite a bit for a 675 cc engine. Is there still room for elasticity and pressure from the low revs? Mai-Lin doubts – and already gives the thumbs up after the first kilometer. Direct hit, the three-cylinder concept has one more fan. And with it the performance class around 100 hp? In this form, yes. Because the British engine only knows the chocolate side, pushes forward almost vibration-free from 2000 tours, organizes its way through the rev range with refreshing ease and incredibly homogeneous power development. A character who makes the tour on the increasingly winding streets child’s play, not only for Mai-Lin. Even racing freak Georg has long been a Street Triple fan and is enthusiastic about the British woman’s almost unbeatable universality. A bike with always enough power that won’t overwhelm anyone. Actually the perfect motorcycle drive.

Only volunteer and big bike lover Mathias Heerwagen does not allow himself to be carried away by the triumph euphoria. As much as necessary, but not more? It’s like black bread with fruit every day. That is why he is reluctant to get off the Kawasaki. After all, he enjoyed the 137 hp – a slice of sausage on a sandwich, so to speak. It was always nice to see how easily the 1043 cm³ four-cylinder climbs up from 2000 revolutions even in sixth gear at 50 km / h after driving through town or after hairpin bends the gentle whisper of the four-cylinder develops into a roaring acceleration storm (0-100 km / h: 3.3 seconds). A dream. Almost a copy of the Triumph performance characteristics – with a fat surcharge on top.

That inspires respect for the 55-kilogram lady. Your carelessness on the Triumph does not arise in the saddle of the Kawa, which is also 32 kilograms heavier. Not even that omnipresent sense of power. This awareness of leaving everything behind with a little twist of the right wrist. One that the 100 hp league cannot offer.

The Ducati goes one better with 159 hp. Mai-Lin doesn’t even need to ask Andi Bildl, Vice-Head of the MOTORRAD test operation, whether that makes sense. Ducati fans love everything that comes from Bologna. The stronger the better. And it is impressively confirmed by the powerful acceleration of the 1099 engine. Hardly any engine is able to convey the feeling of being drawn from the full so impressively. With this intense experience of long-lasting acceleration (0-200 km / h: 8.8 seconds) and V2 acoustics, turning the throttle is almost addictive, even on the shortest straights.

But it also rearranges the meaning of horrific engine power. Even Mai-Lin seems to succumb to the character of the Duc, rolls with the Italian to change drivers much later, says von "insane punch, great sound and Ducati feeling" – even if her shining eyes squint at triumph.

Yamaha WR 250 X


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The Yamaha WR 250 X.

Technical specifications

Engine:
Water-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, four valves, injection, Ø 38 mm, six-speed gearbox, displacement 250 cm³, rated power 22.6 kW (31 PS) at 10,000 rpm, max. Torque 24 Nm at 8000 rpm, double loop frame made of aluminum, upside-down fork, Ø 46 mm, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, front disc brake, 298 mm diameter, rear disc brake, 230 mm diameter; 110/70 R 17 tires; 140/70 R 17.

Measurements and weight:
Seat height * 920 mm, weight with a full tank * 137 kg, tank capacity / reserve 7.6 / 1.5 liters.

Price:
6850 euros, additional costs around 150 euros

* MOTORCYCLE readings


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Mai-Lin stunt pilot.

"A 250 simply power lacks. 32 HP may be enough for beginners, but not for long-term fun."


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Test editor Peter Mayer.

"Turn, shift, be in control – small cubic capacities offer special stimuli."

MOTORCYCLE rating


Drawing: archive

Review Yamaha WR 250 X

KTM 690 Duke R.


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The KTM 690 Duke R

Technical specifications

Engine:
Water-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, four valves, injection, Ø 46 mm, six-speed gearbox. Displacement 690 cm³, rated power 51.5 kW (70 PS) at 7500 rpm, max. Torque 70 Nm at 5500 rpm, tubular steel frame, upside-down fork, Ø 48 mm, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, front disc brake, Ø 320 mm, rear disc brake, Ø 240 mm; Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 160/60 ZR 17.

Measurements and weight:
Seat height * 870 mm, weight with a full tank * 159 kg, tank capacity / reserve 13.5 / 2.5 liters.

Price:
9.495 euros, additional costs around 250 euros

* MOTORCYCLE readings


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Mai-Lin stunt pilot.

"That hoe, these vibrations – the KTM is a few numbers too heavy for me."


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Test chief Gert Thöle.

"The Duke embodies the supermoto spirit. Where else is there 71 HP in a flyweight chassis?"

MOTORCYCLE rating


Drawing: archive

Rating KTM 690 Duke R

Triumph Street Triple R.


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Triumph Street Triple R.

Technical specifications

Engine:
Water-cooled three-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, four valves per cylinder, injection, Ø 44 mm, six-speed gearbox, displacement 675 cm³, rated output 78.0 kW (106 PS) at 11,700 rpm, max. Torque 68 Nm at 9200 rpm, bridge frame made of aluminum, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, double disc brake at the front, Ø 308 mm, disc brake at the rear, Ø 220 mm; Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 180/55 ZR 17.

Measurements and weight:
Seat height * 830 mm, weight with a full tank * 190 kg, tank capacity 17.4 liters.

Price:
9187 euros, additional costs around 250 euros

* MOTORCYCLE readings; ** Incl. Windshield 197 euros


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Mai-Lin stunt pilot.

"Feel-good bike – exactly this word characterizes the Street Triple. Nobody needs more motorcycle."


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Top tester Georg Jelicic.

"Fastest time in the handling race, most homogeneous power output, luckily 108 hp are enough."

MOTORCYCLE rating


Drawing: archive

Review Triumph Street Triple R

Kawasaki Z 1000


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Kawasaki Z 1000

Technical specifications

Engine:
Water-cooled four-cylinder four-stroke in-line engine, four valves per cylinder, injection, Ø 38 mm, six-speed gearbox, displacement 1043 cm³, rated output 101.5 kW (138 PS) at 9600 rpm, max. Torque 110 Nm at 7800 rpm, backbone frame made of aluminum, upside-down fork, Ø 41 mm, two-arm swing arm made of aluminum, double disc brake at the front, Ø 300 mm, disc brake at the rear, Ø 250 mm, ABS; Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 190/50 ZR 17.

Measurements and weight:
Seat height * 815 mm, weight with a full tank * 222 kg, tank capacity 15.0 liters.

Price:
11,295 euros, additional costs around 180 euros

* MOTORCYCLE readings


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Mai-Lin stunt pilot.

"What is the Kawa made for? So much power out at the top and no wind protection. The punch demands respect."


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Volunteer Mathias Heerwagen.

"Typical for this horsepower class: power goes with you. That brings sovereignty – even if the full power is rarely used."

MOTORCYCLE rating


Drawing: archive

Review Kawasaki Z 1000

Ducati Streetfighter S


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Ducati Streetfighter S

Technical specifications

Engine:
Water-cooled two-cylinder four-stroke 90-degree V-engine, four valves per cylinder, operated desmodromically, injection, Ø 60 mm, six-speed gearbox, displacement 1099 cm³, rated output 120.0 kW (163 hp) at 9500 / min, max. Torque 115 Nm at 9500 rpm, tubular steel frame, upside-down fork, Ø 43 mm, single-sided swing arm made of aluminum, double disc brake at the front, Ø 330 mm, disc brake at the rear, Ø 245 mm; Tires 120/70 ZR 17; 190/55 ZR 17.

Measurements and weight:
Seat height * 825 mm, weight with a full tank * 198 kg, tank capacity 16.5 liters.

Price:
18,700 euros, additional costs around 255 euros

* MOTORCYCLE readings


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Mai-Lin stunt pilot.

"This is not a machine for would-be bikers. The Duc demands full concentration – and that’s exactly why it’s fun."


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Deputy Head of Test Andreas Bildl.

"Enough of everything. The V2 engine not only gives you the feeling of being the boss in the ring – you are too."

MOTORCYCLE rating


Drawing: archive

Rating Ducati Streetfighter S

Our conclusion

Is Mai-Lin Right or MOTORCYCLE? Probably both.

How much power does the man need? If you ask like this, Mai-Lin can give you the answer after this test: 108 hp. This is how much horsepower the three-cylinder Triumph Street Triple R delivers. The famous treble stands out with its excellent performance, impressive elasticity, thrilling revving, outstanding manners and, on top of that, a great sound. In addition, it is packaged nicely and does not cost the world. That is why Mai-Lin is right: Nobody needs more motor (wheel).

But what does need mean? To have the power over the dormant power of a 160 or 140 PS hammer, to feel the unmistakable punch of a 70 PS strong, pounding high-performance single or even to experience the feeling of a 30 PS motorcycle permanently at its limits to bring, all of this has its own charm, which eludes mere reason – like riding a motorcycle itself.

Increase in performance


Drawing: archive

Increase in performance per 1000 rpm

Why is an engine easy to control or difficult to control? Why does it feel aggressive or gentle? That doesn’t always have anything to do with sheer performance. The increase in power is also a decisive factor as to whether the driver can use the power at the exit of the curve in a dosed manner. It should be as even as possible. No problem for the Yamaha. The WR 250 X has been criticized for its low overall level. The basic rule for them is: the higher the speed, the better. The KTM offers a show. After the record performance boost between 4,000 and 5,000 rpm (19 hp increase!), The performance band degenerates further down the line and even decreases in performance from 7,000 turns. On the country road, this means: shifting, shifting a lot to keep the engine speed in the usable range. Exemplary again, the Triumph. Between 3000 and 7000 rpm, the power output develops almost exactly in ten PS steps. One of the reasons for the wonderful dosage of the triplet. The Kawasaki performance level does not rise quite as homogeneously. However: In practice, the overall high performance level of the Z 1000 and the smooth characteristics of a four-cylinder engine largely smooth out the fluctuations. The same applies to the Ducati. The huge power boost between 3000 and 4000 / min whitewashed the trailer almost unnoticed at the 5000 mark. The brilliant performance at the exit of the curve challenges the pilot. Don’t worry, the Streetfighter has traction control for emergencies.

Performance measurement


Drawing: archive

How much power would you like to have?

How much power does the biker need? To answer this question, MOTORRAD put together a test field with five fundamentally different machines. Their top performances range from 32 PS (Yamaha WR 250 X) to 71 PS (KTM Duke R), 108 PS (Triumph Street Triple R), 137 PS (Kawasaki Z 1000) to the 159 PS strong Ducati Streetfighter. Much more important than the peak power that is rarely used in practice, however, is the type of power output. This property can be read from the torque curve. A high level as well as a plateau-like course of the curve over a wide speed range indicate a powerful pull. The flat torque curve of the Triumph is exemplary in this respect, while the curves of the Kawasaki Z 1000 and the Ducati Streetfighter are at a higher level, but show significant fluctuations. However, only that of the two can be felt while driving "kick" the Kawa at around 7000 rpm, while the Ducati overwrites the weak phase on paper in practice. The actually exemplary torque curve of the 250cc Yamaha has only one flaw: It takes place at a low level due to the displacement.

Fight against the stopwatch


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They are all the same in front of the stopwatch.

Quite simply, when sprinting from a standing start, pure performance is decisive: the stronger, the faster. It is understandable that the Ducati sprints to pole position. A distorted picture prevails when accelerating from a hairpin from 30 km / h in second gear. With the Yamaha and the KTM, second gear does not reach 100 km / h, you have to shift. The short translation gives the Austrian advantages over the much stronger Triumph. The Duc also suffers from its long gear ratio, but thanks to its performance advantage it stays on par with the Kawa at the top. Thanks to the largely uniform conceptual alignment of the test bikes, statements about the characteristics of the engines can be made on the handling course despite the different weights. This is the only way to explain the best time of the Triumph (190 kg) ahead of the light but rough KTM (159 kg) on ​​the tight track. The same applies to the duel between Kawasaki (222 kg) and Ducati (198 kg) in which the Z 1000 was only just ahead of the game thanks to its smooth and easy-to-dose four-cylinder engine. The fact that the lively and light Yamaha (137 kg) fell so far behind under these circumstances is simply due to its performance deficit.

Driving dynamics:

   Yamaha  KTM  triumph  Kawasaki  Ducati Acceleration 0-100 km / h  6.3 sec  3.9 sec  3.7 sec  3.3 sec  3.2 sec
Acceleration 0-140 km / h  –  6.7 sec  6.1 sec  5.2 sec  4.9 sec
Draft 30-100 km / h  8.4 sec  3.6 sec  3.9 sec  3.1 sec  3.1 sec
Handling course  1.01.4 min  0.58.5 min  0.57.4 min  1.00.3 min  1.00.4 min

When do the engines behave most cultivated?


Drawing: archive

"Comfortable speed range" of the five bikes tested.

Engine performance is not everything, but it makes a significant contribution to the fun of riding a motorcycle. How much power is used when driving is also determined by factors such as concentricity, vibrations and even the soundscape of a drive. In other words: Each unit has a subjectively felt comfort speed range. A lot helps a lot, applies to the Yamaha WR 250 X. Between 8000 and 11000 revolutions, the quarter-liter engine has to be turned almost to the maximum for species-appropriate progress on the bonsai supermoto bike. The single of the KTM Duke R has by far the narrowest usable speed range. Below 4000 revs, the drive vibrates, above 6000 revs. Therefore, in normal operation, it usually gives away ten of the 71 hp peak power at 7300 rpm. If the performance zenith at 11,800 rpm may also indicate high revs, in practice the 8000 mark is enough for the Triumph three-cylinder. The 80 hp there are enough for a brisk pace. And if you want, you have wide limits upwards (maximum speed: 13200 / min) and down (idle speed: 2000 / min). As with the Kawasaki engine. At 8000 rpm, the four-cylinder with an impressive 123 hp already generates 90 percent of its maximum output. Which is why it is not difficult to do without the infernal exhaust noise in the upper third of the engine speed. The Ducati-V2 is less pacified, preferably showing a good nursery in the range between 3000 and 7000 rpm, i.e. between 30 and 100 hp.

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