I’m poking around craigslist for a bicycle to ride in SF and take to the playa. After being out here 2 weeks and seeing the traffic and parking situation, I’m considering buying a motorcycle. The city heartily encourages motorcycles. In areas with parking meters, you can always find a spot designated for bikes. Where a car pays $0.25 for 10 minutes with a 1 hr limit, the bike meters are $0.10 an hour with a 10 hour limit. In areas with no meters, you can always find motorcycles parked on the sidewalk or tucked into tiny parking spaces… sans parking tickets. In addition, most of the major local streets have a bike lane. Of course those are supposed to be for human powered bicycles but they lend greatly toward getting a motorbike to the front of a lineup of cars at a red light.
So I’m definitely getting a bicycle… I need it for the playa. I wouldn’t dream of using an internal combustion engine in it’s stead on the playa.
Now there’s the question of a motorbike. I did a little browsing on craigslist for prices and such. I don’t know much (read: nuffum) about motorbikes. I found a couple used bikes and googled about them. Here was a 1994 Ninja for $1,800. Hey, I’ve heard of the Ninja. Google .
You expect certain things from the Ninja. Power. Quickness. Agility. Focus. Bravado. Attitude. Heavy on the attitude. Still, unless you catapult-launch F-18 Hornets or 6500-horsepower Top Fuel dragsters for a living, this Ninja is a revelation. Prepare yourself for the strongest literbike in the world. Understand that it’s lighter than most 600s. And while that’s sinking in, make a mental note to pack an extra Depends.
One hundred mph arrives before the 13,000-rpm redline in first gear. Shift into second at triple digits and a practiced throttle hand can lift the front Dunlop for obscene distances. The 10R covers a quarter-mile in less time than it takes to read this sentence, and it punishes incompetence, impudence and stupidity even more quickly. Too much throttle, almost anywhere, and it’ll stick you in the ground like a golf tee.
This Ninja doth not suffer fools. It eats them. Whole. Any sportbike commands respect and first-rate skills. Kawasaki’s all-new ZX-10R demands more of both than any motorcycle currently for sale, along with simply heroic willpower. Nothing in any showroom punts you forward with such pure, concentrated, brute force. Its predatory silhouette alone makes small children, domestic pets and impressionable girls hyperventilate. If it lived next door, the ZX-10R would bet heavily on the Oakland Raiders. It would own an overwrought Rottweiler named Cujo and play all 11 Metallica albums every weekend with the dial cranked up to 11. Your mother wouldn’t approve. Your black-sheep uncle doing time for armed robbery would advise against it. Twenty years after the first 900, Kawasaki’s latest literbike is entirely stunning and unmistakably a Ninja.
And this blows what’s left of my mind…
And here’s the kicker. Add that 433-pound wet weight to the 170-pound rider we use for spec-chart calculations, divide by 161.9 horsepower, and you have a weight/power ratio of 3.72 pounds per. It just doesn’t get any better than that, sports fans.
My model airplane brain goes off on this, thinking (this line of thinking isn’t technically accurate but phoey on you, it’s my blog!)…
1 hp=750 watts… so each pound get’s it’s own 200 watts to drag it along. My 1.5 lb model plane peaks at about 180 watts.. or about 120 watts per pound. So this bike offers almost twice the power per pound as my looping, rolling, 0-90mph in 5 seconds, nearly vertical performance model aircraft! If you put a propeller on this bike, it would perform dramatically more powerf^H^H^H^H^H^H dramati^H^H^H^H^H^H^H intens^H^H^H^H^H^H betterer than my plane.