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Old 08-16-2013, 02:29 PM   #91
_cy_
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wpbarlow View Post
Ok, discount the 750SS. Pushing them both hard, the 1972 Duc 750GT and 750Sport would run rings around the 90S as well
here's basic spec's for Duc 750GT ... looks pretty darn close to R90S to me... I'd believe slight performance difference, but run rings around R90S with low 12 second 1/4 mile times .. ya right

-------

Producing 50 horsepower at the rear wheel, the 750 GT wasn't a zenith of high performance in stock trim. It ran down the quarter in a lazy 13.3 seconds at 101 mph in '73
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Old 08-16-2013, 02:51 PM   #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _cy_ View Post
here's basic spec's for Duc 750GT ... looks pretty darn close to R90S to me... I'd believe slight performance difference, but run rings around R90S with low 12 second 1/4 mile times .. ya right

-------

Producing 50 horsepower at the rear wheel, the 750 GT wasn't a zenith of high performance in stock trim. It ran down the quarter in a lazy 13.3 seconds at 101 mph in '73
.
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Old 08-16-2013, 05:36 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by _cy_ View Post
1950's Vincent Black Lightning at 150mph top speed would still be a Superbike today. Brough SS100 had a top speed of 100+ mph but that was in 1924.
Not hardly-- about the same top speed as 600 supersport, and I don't think a current manufacturer would be able to build something that stopped as poorly or handled as badly. Well, maybe a startup Chinese manufacturer whose frame of reference was 1955.


Great ahead of the curve bikes in their day, and still objects to be admired today. But that's about it. Time inexorably marches on and drags along progress.

But don't take my word for it- here's a road test from (I think) 1971
http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/mod..._lightning.htm
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:06 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by wpbarlow View Post
Not hardly-- about the same top speed as 600 supersport, and I don't think a current manufacturer would be able to build something that stopped as poorly or handled as badly. Well, maybe a startup Chinese manufacturer whose frame of reference was 1955.


Great ahead of the curve bikes in their day, and still objects to be admired today. But that's about it. Time inexorably marches on and drags along progress.

But don't take my word for it- here's a road test from (I think) 1971
http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/mod..._lightning.htm
I have a friend who holds records in two classes at Bonneville with a Vincent.

1600cc class, partially streamlined, fuel, 225 mph and change.

1600cc class, bare bike, fuel, 215 mph and change.

It's still in the SCTA record book. I crewed for him a few times.
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Old 08-16-2013, 06:13 PM   #95
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Originally Posted by wpbarlow View Post
Ok, discount the 750SS. Pushing them both hard, the 1972 Duc 750GT and 750Sport would run rings around the 90S as well
Ducati-- for the "backroad thoroughbred seeker"
Moto Guzzi-- for the "low slung long-winded gran tourismo machine" seeker
BMW-- for the person who wants the "most exclusive, most luxurious, sports-touring machine"

It's a really great issue, btw.


BTW2-- no one has come up with a more logical argument than that expressed in post #67
I owned a 750GT and back in the day it was as slow as a wet rag. The 750S didn't appear until mid '73. Friend of mine owned one after I swapped the 750GT for a Honda 750 four.

We used to regularly drag race each other and practice top speed runs with each of us taking turns on the other's bike - the Honda would ALWAYS easily beat the Duke.

Never rode an R90S, but did ride a fair few 75/6s, which I found decidedly unimpressive performance-wise. If the 90S was equivalent to the Duke then it would also have been easily beaten by a Honda 750.

In '73 I also rode a Z1 for the first time, it was so far ahead of any other bike at the time there was simply no comparison. I lost my licence on it in the first 5 minutes of the test ride, 0 to 60 between downtown intersections in a 35 zone.
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Old 08-16-2013, 07:51 PM   #96
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I should have been clearer- when I made the 750GT/90S comment I was talking about handling. BMWs from that era had flexi-frames when pushed hard, Ducatis didn't. In other areas (acceleration/braking etc.) they were pretty similar. And yes, they were 1/4 mile "slow" compared to a couple of other bikes in the same mid-70's time-frame. I never claimed either was the first superbike.

Bonneville records, especially for modified classes running big displacement and fuel are pretty impressive, but they have little relevance in this discussion.

Oh, and the Ducati 750SS was cited as "hardly a production bike" with some 400 odd (it's an eternal debate among the Ducatisti) being built. How about Black Lightnings with only 30 built between 1949 and 1952?

Again, I'll stick with the Norton Commando as the first (one word) superbike, while acknowledging that prior to it there were many (two words) super bikes (as in pretty cool).
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:28 PM   #97
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Old 02-20-2014, 01:39 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by kbasa View Post
Kawasaki Z1. That was the first one.

World's first "superbike" definitely Z1. A Norton Commando was considered an unreliable bike that looked good. At the time a Triumph Trident or BSA Rocket were considered in the same league as the Norton. All considered bikes of interest, but just so unreliable. The Z1 was a 'super bike' because it was both powerful and reliable.

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Old 02-20-2014, 06:24 AM   #99
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World's first "superbike" definitely Z1. A Norton Commando was considered an unreliable bike that looked good. At the time a Triumph Trident or BSA Rocket were considered in the same league as the Norton. All considered bikes of interest, but just so unreliable. The Z1 was a 'super bike' because it was both powerful and reliable.

Yabut, i want to know which one was described first, in print, as a "superbike". I want to know where the phrase came from. So far the earliest evidence i can find is for the Norton Commando. I was hoping that some inmate would have an answer for us, not just an opinion.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:31 AM   #100
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Opinion

I purchased a 15 year old Combat Commando from the then defunct Norton Dealer in New Orleans in 1986. He told me that when it was new it was the first Superbike for about 10 minutes until the Kawa Z1 was crowned. We all know that motorcycle dealers don't lie.

I love Vincents and Nortons and Broughs etc etc, insert museum legend here. I also think that industry and expectations change, if Vincents Indians and Broughs we're the best bikes in the world, then why did they fail? They failed for the same reasons Triumph, Norton, and BSA failed, they refused to change and develope new designs.

Packards and LaSalles have great reputations and loyal followings, they just failed to excite interest in the end.

Let the beatings begin, I'm sure I deserve it.
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:21 PM   #101
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Just another Baby Boomer, but...

First, great post of that 1970 Cycle article. I had not seen that. My favorite is "Eight for the Open Road" from (I think) May of 1975, where they compare touring bikes, which included not sport bikes like the R90S, or the then only-SS version of the Honda 750, but did include the Harley Davidson FLH 1200, Moto Guzzi 850-T Interceptor, Suzuki RE-5 & GT-750M, Honda GL-1000 Gold Wing, Norton 850 Interstate, Kawasaki Z1B, and BMW R90/6. It is extremely interesting and really illustrates well the transitional nature of the industry at the time:
http://yeoldecycleshoppe.wordpress.c...-bmw-kawasaki/
But to get back to the Superbike topic. It's pretty clear it was an accepted term in 1970- no denying that. But my gut recollection is that it really entered the vocabulary with the Z-1. I never liked the Z-1, but have to hand it to them. After the Z-1, everyone talked about Superbikes. Before them, it was a term you heard occasionally, but not regularly. I subscribed to Cycle from about 1972 to sometime in the 80s, and just recall there was a clear 'before' and 'after' with that term
Though in my mind, the R90S is what I still want. Not so for a Z-1.
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Old 02-21-2014, 10:06 AM   #102
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Yabut, i want to know which one was described first, in print, as a "superbike". I want to know where the phrase came from. So far the earliest evidence i can find is for the Norton Commando. I was hoping that some inmate would have an answer for us, not just an opinion.
Then all you're gunna get is a marketing department spin, so what? The Norton Commando was not considered a "superbike" in the opinion of the general public at that time. It was considered a nice looking bike, totally unreliable, and really a last hoorah of the dying British motorcycle industry. Nice to look at, but not many people wanted to own one. It's greatest contribution to motorcycling is probably the push it gave for people to turn to Japanese bikes e.g. Honda's CB750.

The Z1 was nice to look at, and everyone wanted to own one. It was the first "superbike" in the eyes of the public. Just my memory, and opinion.


Taken from Wikipedia

Mk1 750 cc[edit]

The Norton Commando was introduced in 1967 at the Earls Court Show. The first production machines completed in April 1968 had bending frame problems, removed with the introduction of an improved frame in January 1969.
There were numerous other design problems which were gradually addressed over the years, although some persisted to the end. The early clutches could not handle the engine torque, and two small internal pins would shear off, leading to severe slippage (later resolved). The side-stand tended to break off, leaving a hole in the frame beneath the engine, while the center-stand was too short to provide good support for the motorcycle, dragged on the pavement, and tended to break in half (both later improved). The engine rubber mounting system, which isolated the rider from vibration very well, left the engine to its own devices, and it shook like a commercial paint can shaker, gradually destroying anything attached to the engine.

The rocker arm oil supply pipe was steel, and would fracture from vibration (later improved). The head steady would also fatigue and fracture from vibration (later improved). The Amal carbs had float needle leakage from vibration, which led to flooding and fires, exacerbated by having the ignition points located under the right hand carb (relocated to the right side of the engine after the first year). And the carburetors wore out quickly from vibration (persistent problem).

The points advance mechanism would take a set and stick in the advanced position, resulting in a very fast idle (never resolved). The main bearings were of two types, ball and roller. The main roller bearing would gall at high revs, leading to main bearing failure (resolved after the Combat model debacle). The threaded aluminum knobs holding the seat would strip, leaving the seat loose (never resolved). The chain guard mount would fracture (later improved).
The exhaust pipe manifold nuts were problematic to the end, loosening from vibration no matter how tightly they were fastened, leading to a ruined cylinder head and constant rattling of the header pipes. The brake light switches were unreliable, leading at times to no brake light indicator (front was improved with disc brake). The steering head bearings were ball-type, and took a permanent set under the bearing pre-load, leading to weaving at speed (later switched to roller bearings). There was a rear chain oiler which covered the rear wheel in oil, and had to be pinched off by the owner.

The speedometer drive mechanism operated from the rear wheel, with a long cable to the speedometer. This drive mechanism wore out very quickly, as did any replacement, leading to no speedometer reading (never resolved). The early tachometer drive jutted from the right side of the engine, and was vulnerable to being struck and snapped off (relocated to front of engine). The primary chain tensioning bolt tended to loosen at inconvenient times. The rear chain adjusting bolts pushed, rather than pulled, the rear axle, and would bend, making them difficult to turn. Nor were there index marks to allow equal axle positioning on the right and left side of the swing arm. The ignition switch mount would break from vibration (later relocated). It would be interesting to know how many buyers were injured or killed by one or more of these flaws.

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Old 02-21-2014, 12:52 PM   #103
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"They Coined the Phrase to Describe It"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honda_CB750

Its on Wikipedia so it must be true.
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Old 02-21-2014, 01:23 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by JohnCW View Post
Then all you're gunna get is a marketing department spin, so what? The Norton Commando was not considered a "superbike" in the opinion of the general public at that time. It was considered a nice looking bike, totally unreliable, and really a last hoorah of the dying British motorcycle industry. Nice to look at, but not many people wanted to own one. It's greatest contribution to motorcycling is probably the push it gave for people to turn to Japanese bikes e.g. Honda's CB750.

The Z1 was nice to look at, and everyone wanted to own one. It was the first "superbike" in the eyes of the public. Just my memory, and opinion.


Taken from Wikipedia

Mk1 750 cc[edit]

The Norton Commando was introduced in 1967 at the Earls Court Show. The first production machines completed in April 1968 had bending frame problems, removed with the introduction of an improved frame in January 1969.
There were numerous other design problems which were gradually addressed over the years, although some persisted to the end. The early clutches could not handle the engine torque, and two small internal pins would shear off, leading to severe slippage (later resolved). The side-stand tended to break off, leaving a hole in the frame beneath the engine, while the center-stand was too short to provide good support for the motorcycle, dragged on the pavement, and tended to break in half (both later improved). The engine rubber mounting system, which isolated the rider from vibration very well, left the engine to its own devices, and it shook like a commercial paint can shaker, gradually destroying anything attached to the engine.

The rocker arm oil supply pipe was steel, and would fracture from vibration (later improved). The head steady would also fatigue and fracture from vibration (later improved). The Amal carbs had float needle leakage from vibration, which led to flooding and fires, exacerbated by having the ignition points located under the right hand carb (relocated to the right side of the engine after the first year). And the carburetors wore out quickly from vibration (persistent problem).

The points advance mechanism would take a set and stick in the advanced position, resulting in a very fast idle (never resolved). The main bearings were of two types, ball and roller. The main roller bearing would gall at high revs, leading to main bearing failure (resolved after the Combat model debacle). The threaded aluminum knobs holding the seat would strip, leaving the seat loose (never resolved). The chain guard mount would fracture (later improved).
The exhaust pipe manifold nuts were problematic to the end, loosening from vibration no matter how tightly they were fastened, leading to a ruined cylinder head and constant rattling of the header pipes. The brake light switches were unreliable, leading at times to no brake light indicator (front was improved with disc brake). The steering head bearings were ball-type, and took a permanent set under the bearing pre-load, leading to weaving at speed (later switched to roller bearings). There was a rear chain oiler which covered the rear wheel in oil, and had to be pinched off by the owner.

The speedometer drive mechanism operated from the rear wheel, with a long cable to the speedometer. This drive mechanism wore out very quickly, as did any replacement, leading to no speedometer reading (never resolved). The early tachometer drive jutted from the right side of the engine, and was vulnerable to being struck and snapped off (relocated to front of engine). The primary chain tensioning bolt tended to loosen at inconvenient times. The rear chain adjusting bolts pushed, rather than pulled, the rear axle, and would bend, making them difficult to turn. Nor were there index marks to allow equal axle positioning on the right and left side of the swing arm. The ignition switch mount would break from vibration (later relocated). It would be interesting to know how many buyers were injured or killed by one or more of these flaws.
Whoever wrote that had a lot of hate inside. Some of it is valid, but the rest results from lack of mechanical knowledge and/or proper maintenance.
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Old 02-21-2014, 04:34 PM   #105
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Whoever wrote that had a lot of hate inside. Some of it is valid, but the rest results from lack of mechanical knowledge and/or proper maintenance.
Sure about that? Could the Norton have been just another example of the poor manufacturing and design standards and the lack of innovation that drove the once dominate British motorcycle industry into virtual total extinction. Why did the whole world totally abandon British motorcycles in the early 1970's, think it was just looks? A Triumph of the time was considered to be a better handling bike than a CB750. As I recall the Norton Commando had largely disappeared of the roads by 1972 due to the Japanese invasion. That's 4 years from the time it was first released.

I can still recall a conversation between two older two mechanics I worked with in the 1960's discussing that even a 50cc Honda step-through had twin leading front shoes and a 650cc Triumph of the time didn't.

Don't get me wrong, I'd be happy to have a Norton now as a vintage bike. But then I'd also have an original VW Beetle or Mini Minor. Time changes values.

I'm not sure why the OP wants to know what magazine first published the term "superbike". But in my lifetime if a group of motorcycle enthusiasts were discussing the merits of bike X v's Y, and someone mention a certain bike the whole group would just nod in agreement and react if god had just appeared. I was only in my teens at the time so the bike belonged to a generation before me. There was only this bike, and then everything else was a distant second. That bike was the Vincent Blackshadow.

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