Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Rocklin, CA, USA
After 3500 track only miles on my 916s, I have some opinions about the desmoquattros. First, I think the skill level of riding can affect the choice of bikes. My observation at track days is that most people cannot ride a modern sport bike to its limits. Only the "A" group, which many times has racers, are the people skilled enough to really wring out their bikes and push them to their limits. Riders in the other groups want powerful bikes to blast down the straights but do not have the skill to brake, enter turns, and keep up their corner speeds, optimally. A person with more skill in these areas can easily stay in front of a high powered 1000 cc sport bike. For me it comes down to having fun. Having fun is a bike that is stable, decent brakes and decent power, in that order. It has only been over the last few years, as my abilities have increased, that I find the 916 underpowered and wish I had more power. It took me a few years to get to this point. Also I find the desmoquattro bikes in stock trim to be a bit heavy and require much effort to turn. I agree with one of the other posts that would be better to put on lighter wheels to get the bike to turn in a little quicker. As I got faster on my bike I would find it a little unnerving to tip the bike into really fast corners (100 + mph). I would have to set up to turn so far ahead. Sometimes if I waited too long I would then take it a little wide. Pretty scary to hit the rumble strip on exit.
So I would say if you have alot of experience and are fast, then go with the most powerful bike. If not then either the 996 or 916 or even a 749 and put the money into lighting up the unsprung weight.