A Racer’s Perspective VIII: Motorcycles

 Bikes.  I admit I know very little about motorcycles.  I got into enough trouble growing up when it came to my car stuff, so when it came to bikes, I sort of swore them off assuming that I would kill myself in some crazy epic crash.  Things I do know: most are two-stroke engines, choppers are loud, dirt bikes are bouncy, Vespas are weird and foreign to me but people love them, Twitch got his name because he has turrets (a name he did not approve of at first), Valentino Rossi is a boss, and you don’t know anything about motorcycle racing if you don’t know about the Isle of Man.  Watch the first thirty seconds of the video below and remind yourself that this is taking place on a public road, complete with trees and fences and wildlife.

It is actually quite close to what you might experience on GTA, except that when you die, you…don’t really come back.  That being said, the riding in GTA is quite the experience. This class yields some of the fastest land-based vehicles in the game, and also some of the most death-defying (or death impending).  Big thanks to freezingkellykel for the awesome snap.  Now let’s get started…

Just like real life, understanding and anticipating weight transfer is a crucial component to not crashing into a tree.  As I have written elsewhere, using the left stick button allows you to move your weight around.  Especially in mid-air, you can pull back on the stick to do a back flip, which can actually make you jump further.  I am always one to put a little bias on the rear wheel when landing, I seem to stick landings better that way.

To wheelie or not to wheelie.  Back in the days of GTA IV, the best way to ride a motorcycle in a racing situation was to wheelie when you wanted a little bit more acceleration, and to lean forward (essentially ducking) when you wanted to gain more top speed.  Ideally, you should be able to do both.  Check out the video posted below.  This guy pulls on a 900hp 2JZ powered Nissan 240SX (S14) on his bike (omg).  Watch, specifically how he rides, and note that he is not only ducking, but is actually generating a small amount of lift from the front tire.  The wheelie is minimal, but that is honestly what you want (especially from a rolling start, like they are).

Problem is, I do not see much benefit from ducking in GTA V, at least not in the same capacity as GTA IV.  I basically wheelie everywhere.  The difference in acceleration between someone who is doing a wheelie and someone who isn’t is blatantly obvious.  The only downside to being on your rear wheel is that you cannot steer.  My advice is this: wheelie everywhere, and get ready for any upcoming turns.  You have got to drop that front wheel on the ground and allow the bike’s weight to settle (this does take a moment) before you can assume that you can take a turn at speed.  Most of the time, when cornering, I am not on the gas, nor brake.  My front wheel will stick if I am not accelerating or decelerating in a turn, and this allows the bike to move smoothly to corner apex, then I throttle on when I am confident I have the bike pointed in the proper direction and lift that front wheel off the ground again.  Ducking?  I rarely do it anymore.  Only when I am going downhill, frankly, do I feel that pushing your weight forward does much.  I even experimented with pushing forward on the turns, but I find it is easier to just take the corner accordingly applying as little brake or throttle as possible.

Before I begin, I wanted to say that my knowledge of motorcycles is limited.  I do take an interest in them, but I do not ride myself, and consider myself an enthusiast from the outside, so if I make any mistakes, I am totally up for keeping a discussion going.  As I have stated before, I hope these reviews are pragmatic in some way, shape, or form, so if it means I need to revisit a bike or vehicle, don’t hesitate to hit me up or reply here.  That being said, lets have a look…

The Principe Lectro (aka nitrous bike, KERS bike, and pictured above) was introduced very recently in the Heist DLC.  I was very interested even before the DLC was available, as the internet was buzzing with a motorcycle that had nitrous!  I hate to break it to you, but there are some downsides to this new bike.  There is no nitrous on this thing, but there IS something that I think is way cooler, and I am surprised Rockstar went so far as to introduce it to the game.  That is the Kinetic Energy Recover System (KERS).

KERS, like nitrous, can provide a sharp boost of extra horsepower and torque at the push of a button.  Nitrous works when you inject NO2 into your combustion chambers of your engine.  Since nitrous is denser than ambient air, it carries more oxygen molecules per volume.  If you back the oxygen up with more fuel and spark, you create more horsepower.  KERS does not work this way.  KERS is actually electrical, storing energy that is normally wasted under braking in a battery that can be used with the push of a button.  Since batteries can become heavy quickly, most KERS equipped vehicles have small batteries, which means that they are constantly being recharged when the vehicle is braking, storing the energy, and making it available to you when you need it.  This was introduced several years ago in Formula 1 racing, and the race strategies/tactics changed radically as a product of this innovation.  Below is a video of Lewis Hamilton (world champion) and his teammate Nico Rosberg talking about the technology and some strategies in using KERS in a real world situation.

The Lectro itself appears to be modeled after a Ducatti Streetfighter.  It becomes available after completing the final heist mission, the Pacific Standard Job.  The bike itself costs $750,000, which frankly is quite an absurd amount considering it is a bike.  Furthermore, the performance of the bike is not necessarily in the top of the class when it comes to crotch rocket street bikes.  Yes, it has KERS, and KERS is way cool.  But the thing is, you run out of juice rather quickly, and have to recharge constantly, which means resorting to letting off of the throttle.  There is a guage under the radar that lets you know how much boost you have, which does come in handy (it is the gold meter).  When boosting the bike can keep pace with the fastest bikes in the class, especially in terms of acceleration.  But that is when you are boosting, when your batteries run dry, you are going to have to really hustle to keep up.  The bike’s handling is good, but if you are trying to keep up with a Bati, for instance, you will find yourself lagging behind until your KERS system recharges.

…this is all before you even get into a proper race.  Currently, if you are to join a race, KERS is not available, limiting the experience to free roam or the heist missions.  For someone like me, this is rather infuriating.  This bike could easily be a wild-card in a race situation.  Allow one bike (this one) to have performance that exceeds all of the other bikes when KERS is on, and when it is not boosting, have the performance level drop to sub-par levels.  THIS would make strategy and using KERS all the more complicated (and fun!) as people using KERS will have to really think about when to use it and when other bikes will have the advantage.  Maybe Rockstar will change this in the future?  It is hard to tell at this point, but to enter a race with this bike is to incur the sub-par performance while not being able to benefit from the KERS system, which is what makes this bike so special.  And with a three-quarter million price tag in stock form, you might want to think twice about purchasing the bike for race purposes.  Another bike I would not purchase (also part of the Heist DLC) is the Enduro.  I will explain the Sanchez later, but I will just tell you right here, buy the Sanchez before you buy this.  I have yet to find a reason to use this vehicle.

A close comparison to the Lectro is the Dinka Akuma, as they appear to be very similar in shape/form (Akuma pictured above).  The Akuma is also (I think) inspired by the Ducatti Streetfighter, and can also have the tube frame look (although there are optional fenders).  It is only $9,000 (or you can steal one for free).  The difference in price between this and the Lectra is so massive that it needs to be pointed out.  Furthermore, the Akuma’s acceleration is not matched by any other vehicle in the game.  In stock form, it maxes out the acceleration rating, so you know damn well this is a fast bike.  In terms of top speed, it isn’t bad.  It is not the fastest, but it is up there, and with the bike’s controllable handling and good traction, this is a good choice for a quick getaway.  I take issue with this bike.  I see it on the leaderboards.  I have been beat by it on several occasions.  But by the numbers, in fully tuned form, the Bati out-performs it in braking, handling, and top speed by a very large margin, and seems to have the same acceleration.  This bike is fast, but for whatever reason, I can’t seem to push it the way I have seen some others use this bike in its fully tuned form.  I will let others weigh in on this bike..

I don’t play single player GTA V very often, but when I do, and I spawn as Franklin, he seems to appear often on the Western Bagger.  After messing around with this bike, I do not have much to report other than it is easy to ride and is very predictable.  Based upon the 2013 Harley Davidson Touring Road Glide Custom (pictured below), I wouldn’t use this bike for racing.  While it isn’t twitchy or scary to ride, it also isn’t very fast, in any category, and does not produce any kind of real benefits in a racing situation.  Having said that, the bike comes with MANY options for customization, and is a real looker.  If you are looking for a low-key pretty looking cruiser, this might be your bike.

The Pegassi Bati is easily my most used bike when it comes to the crotch rockets.  You can purchase this bike in two forms, the Pegassi Bati and the Pegassi Bati RR.  While I do not see any differences in terms of performance between the two, I chose the RR version simply because of the livery.  I love Sprunk (Image is nothing, thirst is everything).  For a non-livery version of the bike, check out PrettyVeronica below (thanks Slimsy1901 for the pic).  It’s top speed both in stock form and fully modified is sooo close to being at the top of the class, but doesn’t quite get there.  Acceleration is amazing on this bike, but what sets this bike apart from others is it’s handling.  The bike deserves attention when cornering, but it isn’t overly difficult, and the traction is great.  While this bike’s acceleration and top speed are both excellent, the real reason you would choose this bike is because of its ability to catch your opponent in the corners. 

From Vinewood with Love

The Nagasaki Carbon RS just sounds mean, doesn’t it?  After going on about the Bati’s handling, I had to at least mention this bike.  It reminds me of a Ducati 1911 (pictured below).  This is not the fastest bike in the class, but it is pretty quick, and like the Bati, this bike has excellent handling, specifically when it comes to sharp cornering or weaving in and out of traffic.  This bike is definitely easy to ride.

Our first chopper would have to be the Western Daemon, and is a difficult bike to find.  It is not particularly fast but definitely has some style if you are into Hells Angels and that kind of stuff.  This is clearly inspired by a 1970s era Harley Davidson or something similar.  Loud and in your face, it is definitely intimidating.  I do not believe you can purchase this one, so you will need to find one on the streets and jack it.  It is quick enough that you shouldn’t get caught.

Up next we have the Dinka Double-T the front end of which looks a lot like a Honda CBR1000RR (featured in the video posted earlier), but the rest is reminiscent of a Aprilia RSV4.  This bike is quick, almost as fast as the Bati in all categories, but not quite passing it up.  That being the case, it is a very fast bike, and is one to be reckoned with.

On the polar opposite end of the speed spectrum, we find the Pegassi Faggio (pictured above).  This is essentially a Piaggio Vespa, which explains the name (it is pronounced “fah-jio”).  Yes, it is the slowest bike in the class.  Yes I have one.  Yes I am keeping it.  I am keeping this crazy little things for a number of reasons.  One reason is for memories sake.  This vehicle was the vehicle you spawned in if you were playing GTA Race back in GTA IV after you died.  This created some quick response questions depending on what class you were racing in.  If you were racing in the super class, you really needed to find another super car to jump into and steal if you wanted to keep up.  If you were racing, say, compact car class, the Faggio was actually fast enough that you might win!  This incorporated into racing a level of “pit strategy” that I do not find in GTA V.  You essentially had to ask yourself if it was worth coming to a full stop, getting off of your bike, and jacking another ride that might be faster.  The bike had excellent handling, had a fair top speed, and great brakes!  The real downfall of the bike was that it had horrible acceleration.  If you could maintain speed on that bike, you could really do some damage and hurt the pride of people who were still driving cars!

But that was GTA IV.  GTA V’s version of the faggio is not the same.  I would argue it is actually slower.  Braking is okay.  Cornering is good.  Acceleration and top speed both are really bad.  Furthermore, when you try to wheelie to get that extra acceleration, you scrape your rear fender, so be careful.  This bike also seems to bottom out a lot when you are going over rough terrain.  I would argue the bike IS worth having if you like running random classes.  This vehicle might be the fastest vehicle in the Utility class (although I have been beat by golf carts, which I have yet to figure out how, as I cannot seem to upgrade a golf cart).

Bringing the conversation back to speed, Shitzu Hakuchou (pictured above)is perhaps the fastest bike in terms of overall top speed.  The bike is clearly modeled after a Hayabusa, one of the most sought after street bikes out there.  Both “Hayabusa” and “Hakuchou” are birds in the Japanese language.  Furthermore, the Kanji on the side of the bike means “death” in Japanese.  Is this inspired by the famed Kamakazi pilots of old?

If you do not have this bike, and you want to win bike races, then go get it.  For $82,000 the amount of speed accumulated by this bike is immense.  Fully tuned, this might be the fastest top speed vehicle in the game.  The handling of the Bati and the acceleration of the Akuma might be better, but it is very close.  Even with all of this speed, the Hakuchou is fairly easy to maneuver.  Not as crisp as the Double-T, but still fairly good.  Furthermore, this bike can wheelie at top speed, which not many bikes can do. This does increase the top speed of this bike.  At top speed, this thing rivals or exceeds the top speed of a modified Adder. 

LCC has two choppers I would like to look at: The Hexer and the Innovation.  For racing purposes, I really do not use either.  If I were to choose a performance oriented notation about these bikes, I would have to point out the Innovation’s top speed is actually quite good.  Both are somewhat generic choppers, in my view.  As far as styling is concered, take a look at the Innovation again.  The chain of the bike is bolted directly onto that huge wheel!  Very sick.

The Principe Nemesis is a pretty quick bike.  Appearing to be another Ducati, this bike has some good acceleration and speed.  I must warn you, however, the cornering on this bike isn’t very good.  But it does seem to take bumps and jumps very well.  While I sold mine fairly quickly, it was not because I did not want it or find value in it’s performance, it just wasn’t quite up to par with some of the other bikes that I chose to keep in my limited garage.  It also did not have much going for it in terms of customization.  I would rather have a badass looking chopper than this particular bike.  Another bike I bought and sold quickly was the Shitzu PCJ 600.  This bike makes a comeback from GTA IV, where I used it quite a bit.  Much like the Faggio, this bike seems to be a de-tuned/watered-down version of its predecessor.  Not slow, but for racing purposes, I expected more from it, especially considering it’s lineage.  Another bike that did not stick around for me Shitzu Vader.  What looks like a Kawasaki Z, just does not quite keep up like I would like it to, given its feel.  Top speed is not the best, but it is very fast.  It is up to you to make this thing accelerate (wheelie) and corner, which is also a little sketchy.

Similarly, I do not have a Pegassi Ruffian anymore, as I do not feel that the performance is on par with the other bikes, however, this bike is a stunter’s bike.  If you lose a race with this bike, it is almost like “so what?  I looked sexier than you did”.  For real, wheelies, endos, flips, tail whips, this bike is just a joy to ride.  Another good stunter’s bike is the Dinka ThrustNot the fastest bike ever, but can hold a wheelie forever, and has good balance.

I have a hard time bringing up the Maibatsu Sanchez (pictured above).  This is the dirt bike of the game.  Available with or without livery, again I find myself choosing good old Sprunk as my color of choice here.  The reason this was difficult to bring up is because, I am not sure how to explain this bike.  It is clearly not the fastest bike in the class.  Even off-road, there are much better and safer choices than this bike.  And yet, I have to tell you that you must have this bike in your garage somewhere.  You have to have it, frankly, because of a controversial topic: while the Sanchez is clearly never a good choice for the motorcycle class races, you have to have this bike because of the off-road class.  I will review the off-road class at a later time, but for now I will say this: the Sanchez is clearly the best vehicle in the off-road class.  It is actually a little unbalanced for the class.  If you do not use this bike in the off-road class against people that you know want to win, then you really must think that they suck.  Even then, it is going to be a hard time catching someone on a Sanchez.  Yes, if you crash, you will probably die.  You will also make up any lost ground rather quickly, and if you begin at the front of a race in a Sanchez and no one else is using one, you have no excuses for losing.  This is not the best bike for off-roading, there are faster bikes, but there are no faster all-around vehicles in the off-road class than the Sanchez.

America’s bike would obviously be the Western Sovereign, which was featured on the map “Tour the Lake”, and also in the Rockstar news, along with other crazy awesome pics from Miss-Sickbiyatch.  Soooo sick.  This bike is actually fun.  It is easy to drive, sounds nice, and has good top speed.  Doing a wheelie on this bike is not happening.  So it might be best to push your stick forward to gain top speed.  And if you are on “Tour the Lake”, be ready to brake hard when you get to the trailer park.  Those turns are deceptively sharp, and your brakes and cornering are not very good.

Biker babe

The Dinka Thrust looks and sounds like the newer Honda CTX bikes.  It has pretty good top speed, not quite as fast as the Hakuchou, but it is darned fast.  Handling and acceleration are both above average.  This bike can wheelie for dayyyyyz so if you want to show off and have something that has good top end speed, this is your bike.  It’s performance might be similar to the Shitzu Vader, which isn’t quite as fast in terms of top speed, but is still worth noting.  This bike might handle a little bit better than the Thrust as well.

So what is in your garage, Recklesss?

So here is the breakdown: I am keeping my Hakuchou for top speed, my Bati for pretty much anything else in the bike class (cornering and off-road).  The Sanchez I keep for the off-road class specifically (to be reviewed later), and the Faggio for the Utility class (also to be reviewed later).  I have my Akuma still, but I will probably sell it first to make room for more vehicles (it nips at the heels of my Bati, but I have to choose between the two).  I also kept my Lectro hoping that an update comes out that allows it’s REAL benefits to be useable in legit races, but we shall see.  As always, I am open to critique on this review, especially for this class as bikes are not my forte, but this IS a fun class, so I hope this was helpful.

*Disclaimer: these are my opinions. While I love racing in GTA, the in game physics are simply not what I would call a driving simulator. Having said that, I believe the physics for a game are very good, which means strategy and knowledge are both crucial to winning races. Furthermore, many of the cars have different strengths/weaknesses and the driver is always a determining factor in winning races. These are my opinions, and I am open to discussion and alternative perspectives on these matters.*

That is about all I got for today.  Stay tuned for more reviews in the near future.  Once again, I wanted to say thanks for everyone in the crew who has been helpful, especially on Xbox One side, this crew is tough to beat in the non-contact class, and I know there are a great deal of racers on other platforms.  Thanks for the pic REENIX!  I hope to see yall online soon.

Live fast, die young.

2 thoughts on “A Racer’s Perspective VIII: Motorcycles

  1. The Akuma’s acceleration in GTAV is only beaten by the Lazer Jet. The Akuma can go from 0-60 in <2.3 seconds, and has great handling for the class. On the straights, a Bati or Hakuchou will eventually beat it, but in the corners, the Akuma can be in and out in no time, and it handles very well.

    The Bati is often chosen because out of the class, it has the third best top speed (Thrust is 2nd and Hakuchou is 1st), but amazing handling, very forgiving to newbie Bikers. It's often the go-to in Motorcycle racing because of these stats. I used to own one for the longest time until I sold it for a Hakuchou.

    As for the Enduro, you're right. It is not worth the buy unless you're buying it only for style. The Sanchez outperforms it in every aspect, and the only thing the Enduro has for it is very high vehicle HP. You can shoot at it for much longer before it blows up, but if the bike's taken 300 bullets, the rider's long since been dead in most cases.

    On the Hakuchou, the top speed is quite immense, but it pays for it by being a bit more awkward to handle, being quite heavier than the other rivals in its class. Though you can wheelie even at full speed, which in GTA, wheelies boost your acceleration and top speed at the cost of not being able to steer.

    I really love bikes in GTAV as much as I love muscle cars, and those are my two cent snippets. You did a good job covering bikes, and I thank you for the warning about the Lectro.

  2. When I jumped on a Lectro in the Lost compound, I was excited. By the time I made it to the street, I knew I’d never buy one. I don’t care about the price. For even $10K, I’d pass. Just sloooow. KERS is neat but it recharges by braking. Who does that?

    I have had them all (Bikes are cheap, love that!). I kept the Bati, Innovation and the Sanchez.

    And few dirt bikes sold in the U.S. these days are 2 stroke. EPA ruined that. Pity, 2 stroke had that awesome burning oil smell and the high pitched whine. Motocross races these days sound like a lawn mower convention.

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