The most obvious comparison between a naked-bike and a faired motorcycle is how aerodynamics affect straight-line performance. But it’s not that simple; we’re not comparing exact like for like. For example, the Yamaha MT-10 uses the outline of the Yamaha YZF-R1 engine but retuned with cam timing, exhaust, cylinder head and bottom end modifications for more midrange performance.
Yamaha say it’s 158 horsepower against the YZF-R1’s full 197 horsepower – but has more than the faired motorcycle up to 9,000rpm. Also, the Yamaha MT-10 (naked-bike) is geared down by two teeth on the rear sprocket, so it should be quicker in top gear roll-ons.
The Triumph has also similar motorcycles; the 128 horsepower Daytona has a short-stroke version of the middleweight triple, while the Street Triple has the p;d. Long-stroke, 105 horsepower engine. Meanwhile, the two 650cc Kawasaki’s (Ninja 650 and ER6n) have most in common; their parallel-twin 650ccm 72 horsepower with 64Nm torque four-stroke engines are identical, so differences must only be aerodynamic including the riding position. The results are what we expect – motorcycles with fairings are ‘generally’ faster. But even over a 400 meters drag race, naked-bike wind resistance and drag makes themselves felt, even against shorter gearing.
The exception is the Yamaha MT-10’s top-gear roll-on where the crossplane engine of the naked-bike uses stunning midrange heft to beat the Yamaha YZF-R1. In real world terms, it makes a huge difference to single-gear overtakes and scores a big practical plus point for the naked-bike side.