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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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  1. Congratulations on your new standard (not sportbike!). I think you will really enjoy it after you get used to it. Corners are really easy after riding cruiaers. Just takes practice to be comfortable. As for the loud pipes, please don’t. We don’t need any more obnoxious riders. The feds are about to crack down on these guys anyway. It’s totally ridiculous when you go to some nice quiet park and it’s overrun wih very loud (and slow) Harleys. They are the main public relations problem for motorcyclists. Besides, the safety factor is overrated. I’ve put over 30,000 miles on my FZ1, mainly in my daily commute in the Dallas, Texas area and I have had no problems.And it is very quiet. Just practice safe riding tecniques.
    Anyway, happy riding!

    Comment by Les Gregory — 4/22/2006 @ 5:11 am

  2. She’s a beauty James. You will like the performance, braking and handling. Plus on a sports standard the riding position is a comfortable one. Good luck with her.

    Comment by Gymi — 4/22/2006 @ 11:08 am

  3. Congratulations, you got yourself a fine work horse there. Don’t you find it more comfortable than your Star? People tend to think cruisers are more comfortable than “sport” bikes. But often it is not the case. I know that both me and my girlfriend found my Honda 919 way more comfortable than the Star I had before. My experience is that cruisers gives you a sore but, because your weight is solely distributed to you coccyx. Super sport bikes gives you a sore back and wrist because of the extreme forward leaned riding position. Not to say that there is anything bad about these bike types, it’s just the way it is. So if I where to choose a bike on pure comfort, I would go for a bike like your ZR-7S. The best combination is of course to have one of each.

    Happy ridin’ mate.

    Comment by Jesper — 5/1/2006 @ 1:14 am

  4. Honda rocks the @#$% out of me

    Comment by Jon — 5/22/2006 @ 5:58 am

  5. Nice ride. Get a set of risers ans some gel grips, that will help with the pain in your palms. Check out www.zr-7.com and www.riderforums.com for other ideas and help with your questions about the ZR-7S.

    Comment by Frank — 7/24/2006 @ 6:33 pm

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