WhyBike Motorcycle Blog

New Bike: ZR-7S

By James - 4/20/2006

I have been riding cruisers for the past 7 years and thought that it was high time to venture out of my comfort zone and see what all the fuss is about with sport bikes. I saw a great deal on a low milage red ZR-7S and had to pick it up.

It was 7 years ago when I was sitting in the MSF classroom when a woman, one of two in the 15 person class, raised her hand and asked “Am I the only one not getting a sportbike after graduation?” One other person raised his hand, I recognized him from before the class when he got off his Goldwing. Everyone else, including me was set on riding sportbikes after getting their license. Of course the class was skewed to 18 - 22 year olds who really just wanted to learn how to do wheelies and didn’t care if their girlfriends were uncomfortable on the rear seat. At the breaks all the talk was about R1s and R6s, CBR600s and Ninjas. After all was said and done, I lucked out and found a great deal, and more importantly good sense, with a Vulcan 500. A parallel twin that you can ride all day, feet forward and lots of chrome. Well ok, a little chrome and a lot of mirrored plastic. Since then it has been all cruisers and I have been content. But if I am to truly experience motorcycle culture, I need to straddle the line between light and dark, good and evil. So I got a sport bike.

ZR-7SI am not sure what to call it really. A sport tourer? I don’t have saddle bags yet. It is definately not a super sport with the open engine. And it is not a standard with the fairing. The name will work it’s way out as I ride it. One thing is for certain, I am glad I didn’t start out on a sport bike. Way too much power for what I didn’t know 7 years ago. I have been struggling with the differences between my V-Star and the ZR-7S over the last week. It was raining and windy the day I got it so I only got to ride 300 miles and I am trying to learn how to use it’s advantages and disadvantages to my favor in my daily commute.

I keep lugging the thing. I am so used to the low end torque that I need to remember to keep the revs high. Once in the power band the thing just keeps pulling. And leaning is hard. After getting used to the threshold of scraping pegs it is hard to push past it, even though I KNOW the ZR can go further. That is just mental. It is nice to be on a thinner bike for splitting lanes but without my pipes nobody hears me coming. I have been cut off more in the last week on the ZR than I did all of last year on the Star. It is a different mentality. The ZR is about finesse and performance, the Star is about brute force and style.

The one complaint I have are the bars. After about an hour my palms start to get sore. I am guessing it is a lot to do with posture. I slouch, I know it and I am trying to keep my knees tight to the tank and elbows in and back straight. That helps a lot but I get lazy and slouch. Raisers might help, but lets see what happens after I break it in.

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