Are two wheels genuinely better than four? Yazan mulls the question over with both his Nissan 350Z and his new Suzuki GSXR600
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They say that four wheels move the body, but two-less moves the soul. Recently I couldn’t help but wonder if there might be something in that.
I realize that raising such a question in crankandpiston.com‘s house is The Management Fleet equivalent of kamikaze, but whether four wheels are actually better than two is a question that’s been gnawing away at me for a while now, and this month, I finally acted on it.
Just a few days ago, I decided to make Zaina (my ten-year old Nissan 350Z, to unaware readers) a bit jealous by parking a younger, sleeker model next to her. It’s a Suzuki GSXR600 – already christened ‘Suzi’ – and while it might not be the fastest bike in the Japanese chain, it more than meets my modest needs. 0-100kph is finished in three seconds flat and top speed is 255kph, not too shabby from a four-stroke engine that’s the same size as two small soda cans.
But are those sporty two wheels really better than the Nissan’s four? Well in terms of maintenance and service costs, yes. Upon arrival, the Suzuki had a major service (oil change, filters, coolant, brake pads, etc etc) for less than $270. Day-to-day, that fuel tank costs only $5 to brim, no mean feat given that, in a straight-line, the Suzuki will still butcher a Nissan GT-R or a Ferrari California. Even the initial cost for a used GSXR600 was less than the cost of a new set of tyres for either of the above. In terms of two wheels over four, the bike world is off to a good start.
On the other hand, the 350Z has proven to be one of the most reliable cars I’ve ever driven (including brand-new ones). Landing back in the Nissan’s sport seat after a weekend on the bike is one of the most rewarding feelings in recent memory, and while the interior might not be the largest, it’s still very satisfying even for a 6’5’’ man. I did consider switching into a more comfortable car – I have the Suzuki now for performance, after all – but nothing even came close to the sense of satisfaction the 350Z offers in terms of daily usability and weekend thrills.
I’ll admit I came close to pulling the trigger on a second-hand Ford F-150 Raptor, since it opens many possibilities for desert camping and hauling the GSXR600 if needs be. The idea was scrapped when the Nissan, at let’s say ‘ambitious speeds’ nestled into the corners on my drive home from work in ways the Raptor simply could not. Nor could I survive with the Suzuki alone. The free parking, the independence during a long ride and the ease of moving through traffic are all big pluses. But everytime I take a drive in 350Z, and savour the way the back end steps out with limited prompting, I can’t bring myself to do it.
The 350Z stays. Two wheels may yet be better than four, but I’ll stay on the fence for now.
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