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2010 Roehr 1250sc First Ride

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Motorcycle USA has posted the results of Executive Editor Steve Atlas’ first ride of the new Roehr 1250sc sportbike.  I’ve written about the Roehr’s technical specs and general background before, but this is the first time I’ve seen an independent write-up of it.

MCUSA has a lot to say about the bike, some of it good:

[I]n the world of B-roads and canyon passes the Roehr is right at home. It works reasonably well at the track but without a doubt, the power and the unorthodox way in which it’s produced, is more suited for street riding…

This type of power delivery is exactly what is needed to make it a fun and entertaining sportbike on the street. And while Walter [Roehr] himself can tell me how great that engine is and the potential it has until he’s blue in the face, it’s hard to get your head around it until you actually ride the thing. And after riding it on the roads, there’s no question the supercharged V-Twin philosophy works very well.

Some of it bad:

It handles very similar to the 1198 though it simply doesn’t have the gearing to keep pace with its Italian counterpart. Initial power is on par but it runs-out quickly as we were often hitting the rev-limiter while finding that happy medium between getting a good drive and battling to keep traction from the stock Diablo Corsa tires…The problem is that the engine hits redline before ten-grand so there’s not much margin for error when connecting corners on the track because it builds quickly.

Although it seems like a handful on the track, the ergos seem built for track days.

Seating position and ergonomics feel very much like a Tamburini-era Ducati. The reach to the bars is a bit stretched out, the tank is long and skinny, the riding position is aggressive and the cockpit itself is reminiscent of the Italian Twins.

To be fair, this isn’t a bike designed for the track.  So, despite the sportbike looks and ergonomics, it’s really a street bike, and from what the write-up indicates, it’s not really designed for the track.  Obviously it can be done, as the reviewer did here, but the Roehr apparently isn’t really at home there, as the reviewer repeatedly assures us.

So, if it wasn’t designed for the track, why the tortuous Italian ergonomics?  Who wants to ride on the street stretched out over the gas tank?  And if it’s not designed for the track, then why have the fully-adjustable–and expensive–Öhlins setup?

Reading over the review, it seems like this bike is neither fish nor fowl.  It’s got all this race-spec stuff jammed on a bike that has a power-cruiser engine with a redline at 9500 RPM.  It has massive–nearly 100lb-ft–street-usable torque, but you’re forced to tuck like Valentino Rossi just to take a spin to the corner store.

Then there’s the price.  At $42,000, it’s not going to be a high volume selling item.  For about half the price, you could get a Ducati that will smoke it like a cheap cigar.

So who’s going to buy it?  And why?  I mean, it has a great engine for a sport-tourer, but not a sportbike.  It’s got great sport-bike/track ergonomics, but not a very suitable powerplant.  From what I can tell, riding it on the street will quickly get tiring and uncomfortable, and when it hits the track, a 193HP CBR will eat it for lunch.  It may be exactly the bike Mr. Roehr wants to ride, but I don’t see it as a good competitor with either street or sport bikes at it’s price, so I have to wonder, who else besides him wants to ride it?

It seems like an interesting bike, but, at the end of the day, it also seems like the answer to a question that no one asked.

i, n the world of B-roads and canyon passes the Roehr is right at home. It works reasonably well at the track but without a doubt, the power and the unorthodox way in which it’s produced, is more suited for street riding. Very few production motorcycles utilize forced-induction so this wasn’t something I was used to. In fact, it was the first sportbike of this kind I’ve ever ridden.

Thankfully, it’s well engineered and the ‘scary hit of power’ commonly associated with other forced-induction-powered bikes just doesn’t exist on the Roehr. But, that’s not to say it isn’t fast. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. Power comes on from low rpm smoothly and gets the American-made 1250 moving with some serious steam. As one can see from the dyno chart it makes 167.5-hp at the rear wheel, which is nothing to scoff at on any level.

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