Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: West of Mississippi
I have read a few articles in the past with street bike and street car comparos (ZX-7R vs. Ferrari F40 or something similar, I can't remember exactly). They were both the high performance versions of bike and car for the street, and both using street tires. I always remember the outcome being the same. The car would pull away from the bike on the corners, and the bike would pull away from the car on the straights; I don't remember the braking distances. If it was a curvy tight track, the car would win; if it had a lot of straights, the bike would win. I think I probably read at least 3 articles like this with the same results.
I also seem to remember one article that actually had the G forces. The car was somewhere in the high .90's and I seem to remember the bike being somewhere in the .70's. They always said that four flat contact patches was better than two curved ones with the ability to lean.
My guess is that this still holds true as long as you keep the machines and their relevant parts equal, i.e. if one uses racing slicks, then both should; or if one is a "real" sports car, then the other needs to be a sport bike.
In my personal street experiences (I have never raced against a bike on a track), there have been times where I am on the highway and have a long sweeper or just a little canyon run and it is at a time when it is safe to push the car to 8/10's because of no traffic close to me. And occasionally I have had a car or bike behind me trying to keep up (this has happened with me driving my Fiero, my Focus SVT, my Boxster/Cayman/911, or my Elise/Exige). When it was another car, I would leave them in the dust in cornering 95% of the time (this is due to many factors), but occasionally I would get the guy or gal who is also an enthusiast and they had an idea of what their car could do and they would keep up very well. But in all the cases involving bikes; they never came close. When it came time to take a corner, especially a long sweeper like I-25 Southbound to I-40 Eastbound, they would turn into a little dot, but then catch up in no time on the straight.
And for those of you who do not condone street racing; I do not approve of it either and will only do a friendly game of chase when I really feel it is safe and reasonable to do so. I would never do a side by side race on the street with cornering and weaving between cars. It basically has to be me and the other vehicle, and we are playing follow the leader with a good distance between us. And if it is a bike, it needs to be a guy in full leathers and a helmet, or I will not do it either. I don't want a kid who thinks he knows what he is doing try to keep up and then wreck their bike; I would feel very responsible if I knew they were trying to keep up.
Anyway, my point is that my own personal experiences in 20 + years of driving support the magazine tests that I have read. Cars win in the corners, bikes win on the straights.
2009 Mini Cooper JCW - Dark Silver/Black - sport suspension/cold weather package
2008 997 GT3 - Carrara White/Black - PCCB's - 350 lbs of weight reduction
Past Lotus Cars: 2005 NFB Elise, 2007 CO Exige S, 2005 AR Elise, 2008 CO Exige S 240