Originally Posted by SpaceManSpiff
Moronic, I would be interested to hear what your impressions were...are you going to write them up?
Here's my view as I have had a couple of rides, first with the R for an hour or so, and then a few days ago a short stint on the standard model (which I had already ordered at that point).
Having ridden on the pavement for the last six years I couldn't really tell a difference about the impressions on gravel roads/off-road. Mind you, I learned nearly the hard way that the Off-road drive mode frees the traction control quite a lot... "Yes, I'll take the R-model but please fix the crash-damage first"
As my current steed is a '91 GSX-R 1100 with slightly tuned engine, I was already impressed with the power figures. 141 hp at the rearwheel, according to a bike magazines dynotest, is the same number as my Gixxer produces. And yes, the ponies are all there. Winding up the throttle really makes the scenery go by fast. And the brakes are equally as good, although maybe due to the weight not as powerful as the single disc on the new Duke 690.
The TC does it's wonders as when on gravel you can go silly with the throttle. The street tires offer no grip so giving the 1190 a handful on the gravel at +100 kph makes the bike wag it's tail a bit and the TC light keeps flashing happily. And speed keeps going up, even with the rear spinning (or trying to). Or maybe it was just that the controlled traction that did assist to really get the speed up, instead of making the roads look like a farmers playground.
The R was a tad too high for me, and I suspect knobbies makes it that much higher that me with a 82 cm inseam wouldn't be comfortable anymore in off-road conditions. Even with the OEM tires I had a few doubts about making a u-turn on uneven ground, had to think if I need to get out of the saddle to keep the bike upright.
Suspension on the R felt firm, don't know if it was in standard form or had some dialling in done. The standard models chassis felt a bit more plush, although I had only a short ride with it and that on pavement. Couldn't feel any difference between the Sport/Road/Comfort -settings but as I said, a too short and street-oriented ride...
The worst part with the 1190 is the turn indicator switch. It has about one millimeter of movement which makes it feel numb. So atleast before I got a feel for it I had to check the dash to see if the blinkers were on or not. But as that's the worst part, well, I think it's a heck of a bike. Best parts - poweeeer. Makes me laugh out loud, so it's a definitive plus in my book.