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Zero

   

Gilera RC 600R

 

 

 

 

Make Model

Gilera RC 600R

Year

1992-

Engine

Liquid cooled, four stroke, single cylinder, DOHC, 4 valves

Capacity

558
Bore x Stroke 98 x 74 mm
Compression Ratio 10.5:1

Induction

2x 30mm carbs

Ignition  /  Starting

Electronic  /  electric

Max Power

53 hp @ 7800 rpm (rear tyre  45.5 hp @ 6750 rpm )

Max Torque

5.0 kgf-m @ 5750 rpm

Transmission  /  Drive

5 Speed  /  chain

Front Suspension

40mm Telescopic forks, 160mm wheel travel.

Rear Suspension

Monoshock, 260mm wheel travel.

Front Brakes

Single 260mm disc 2 piston caliper

Rear Brakes

Single 220mm disc 1 piston caliper

Front Tyre

90/90 -21

Rear Tyre

130/80 -17

Dry-Weight / Wet-Weight

141 kg / 152 kg

Fuel Capacity

12 Litres

Consumption  average

15.0 km/lit

Braking 60 - 0 / 100 - 0

16.2 m / 46.3 m

Standing ¼ Mile  

13.3 sec / 153.9 km/h

Top Speed

155.6 km/h

Gilera: back in the GPs next year and already back into road bikes in a big, single way. Roland Brown gets an early taste of the tempting RC600

WHEN THE EUROPEAN borders come down, one of the biggest plus points for the British biker is that machines currently available on the Continent but not here will suddenly come within reach. Among the tastiest of this year's forbidden fruit is the Gilera RC600, which never came even close to being imported by Heron — but which in 1993 could be yours for little more than its price in French francs and the cost of a ticket through the Chunnel.

The RC600 is the latest version of the Milan firm's tough-as-teak single-cylinder trail bike. Gilera thumpers have been around on the Continent for several years, and this bike's predecessor won the Silhouette class for production based bikes in last year's Paris-Dakar Rally. Now the RC has been restyled — by no less an artist than Gilera's ex-Bimota design chief Fedcrico Martini — and refined to make a more rider-friendly roadster.

The engine remains a 558cc liquid-cooled single, its four valves operated by twin camshafts turned by a toothed belt. Instead the flat plastic flanks of the new petrol-tank cover hide the area in which many changes have been made: the cylinder head. New cams and valves, as well as pistons, airbox and exhaust, combine to lift claimed power output from 48 to 53bhp at 7500rpm, which compares well with the efforts of Japanese rivals such as Honda's 46bhp Dominator and Suzuki's new 45bhp DR650RS.

The frame is steel, with conventional forks at the front, Gilera's Power Drive rising-rate monoshock at the rear, and a single disc at each end. Steering geometry has been steepened slightly and the forks are now 43mm jobs from Kayaba, who supplied this year's Gilera factory desert-race bikes, in place of the 40mm Marzocchi used before. Like Ducati with the new 900SS, Gilera have abandoned Italian suspension parts for Japanese.

Rear shock is a Boge unit with its mounts strengthened (another Paris-Dakar tip) and linkages subtly repositioned. Seat height is reduced from 920mm to a much more reasonable 890mm but the RC is still tall and lean, and still sounds mean and rorty through the silencer exiting below the seat on the right.

The nose-fairing gives protection only to the instruments — which now include a tacho in place of the old model's clock so wind pressure is taken by the rider's body as the Gilera accelerates away, stonking

along very smartly provided you can keep the front wheel near the ground. At ultra-low revs the engine's a bit rough but smooths at 2500, and by 3500rpm there's enough grunt to lift the front wheel effortlessly.

Come five thou the Gilera lengthens its stride, revving through the 7300rpm redline in the lower gears if you let it. A balancer-shaft keeps vibes to typical big-single levels at the six-grand, 75mph cruising speed that the bike felt capable of retaining all day (although the rider would benefit from some more protection). Flat-out, with my head behind the clocks, the RC hammered up to bang-on an indicated ton, with a little more to come given a long enough run-up.

Not that an RC600 pilot has to slow too much for the corners. Despite steepish geometry the RC never felt close to producing a wobble even in bumpy bends, and on the straight could be held flat-out with none of the weave with which many big trail bikes are cursed. Suspension at both ends was ace spite the long travel, with the non-just able Kayabas justifying Gilera's lack of patriotism. The forks red a little in response to a hard grab at the front disc, but generally we a refreshingly taut feel on tar-ac. The wide bars and quick steer-g meant the RC could be flicked around with even more ease than its 01b dry weight suggests. On rough, gravel-strewn country ads the RC was great fun, and ideal for nipping through the traffic. Even on the open road it was nippy, floating along with enough import to suggest that, although e wind-blast and the buzz through at and footrests would become moping after a time, you could appoippily keep riding until the disappointingly small 2.7-gallon gas tank ran dry.

Ironically, the only time the Gilera was not at home was when I headed into a muddy field to give its off-road prowess a brief test. Here it was soon floundering because the Dunlop Trailmax tyres, which had been fine on the road, filled their shallow tread with mud and failed to grip.

Because of it, the bike's potential could only be hinted at, and you would have to fit a pair of enduro boots to do the RC justice off-road. But the Gilera's competitive pedigree and obvious quality suggest it should still do the business, and with its extra comfort and poise the RC600 has taken a step towards becoming as handy on the street as it is in the desert.  In Italy it costs about £3850, a couple of hundred quid more than the Dominator but £2500 less than Cagiva's 900 Elefant. Never mind buying one in France. Throw in the cost of a one-way flight to Milan plus a few-dozen tankfuls of petrol, and post-'92 you could have a high old time bringing a new RC600 back across the Alps for not much more than four grand all-in. Perhaps this united Europe lark isn't such a bad thing after all. C

Source  BIKE of 1992

 

 

NOTE: Any correction or more information on these motorcycles will kindly be appreciated, Some country's motorcycle specifications can be different to motorcyclespecs.co.za. Confirm with your motorcycle dealer before ordering any parts or spares. Any objections to articles or photos placed on motorcyclespecs.co.za will be removed upon request.  

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