I heard that one of my local biker friends was selling his sports bike and buying a Harley. This was a surprise as he had a reputation for being a fast rider but he had decided to change course. I thought I could do the same but from off-road to sports bike. We sorted out a deal whereby I got his EXUP and he traded in my XL250.
The bike was about 4 years old when I got it and was in nice condition. I had the wheels powder coated and I put new tyres on it. Of course except when being MOT'd, it had a tiny number plate and a full race exhaust can.
So, being used to riding my 70bhp R100RS what was it like to have nearly twice the power? One word - WOW! You could potter around in top gear and it was as gentle and a lot smoother than the BMW, but change down 3 gears and rev it - a different animal! Obviously not really needed on the road but what fun. I had great difficulty at first keeping anywhere near the speed limit, it went so quickly without me realising it. I soon decided I couldn't go to work on it, I wasn't awake enough to be doing warp speed at 6 in the morning.
I didn't intend using the EXUP for rallies but as that's mostly what I use a bike for it went to plenty. I did the Tartan and the Tamar rally on it, took it over to Ireland to watch the North West 200. Long distances were no problem but I suppose my back and wrists must have been stronger then.
My only problem with the bike was that I never felt I would be able to use all the available performance but I did try! On the motorway at 70 mph you were doing less than 4,000 rpm and you still had a genuine extra 100 mph to go and another 6,000 revs.
Going to the
rally on the back road after Moniave I decided to only use the first 3 gears and the red zone of the rev counter. This is a tight and twisty single track road but open enough to see anything coming towards you. It was less than 10 miles but that was enough for me when I got to the main road I just stuck it in top gear and cruised along
(at 120 mph!).
I went over to the TT on it and again frightened myself with the speeds it was capable of. I went on Jurby Airfield and had several runs up and down trying to get it flat out in top but only managed to see 180 or so on the clock. I was in the company of a Norton Rotary and left that for dead but he was a lot more confident braking to do the turn at the end of the runway on the gravelly surface than I was.
In 1992 when I bought my EXUP it was still the top superbike. Then Honda brought out their Fireblade and changed the rules. I actually went to a local bike shop on my FZR to trade in for a Fireblade, they had an ex-demo Urban Tiger one. I spent about 30 minutes in the showroom looking at it. I was the only person in the shop except the two salesmen who were sat at their desks chatting. On my way out they asked if I was interested in anything but I said 'No, don't disturb yourselves, I don't think I'll bother'. So I didn't get a Fireblade.
I never got any points on my licence in the 10k or so I did on my FZR but it was too fast and I decided it was only a matter of time before I got into trouble, it was my own fault, a lack of self control.
I sold the bike to someone from work who was transferring to a job 25 motorway miles away. He wanted a commuter bike, well if he was late it wouldn't be the bike's fault.
- Ted Trett