By riding one of these. It’s a Honda NSR500.
You’ll need to see it (or an early manifestation of it) undressed.
Yes, the rider was sitting just behind and on top of the exhaust system. It was originally an upside down design, with fuel on the bottom and exhaust on top, I think to keep the weight lower down. It was, I’m guessing, a warming experience.
In the event it didn’t take Honda long to realise that they’d be better off arranging things much like everyone else so they did this:
Just to understand the above image, it’s a V4 which is canted forward so that one bank is almost vertical and the other almost horizontal and facing forward.
Honda had to swallow their four stroke pride once it had been discovered by MZ in the socialist workers’ paradise that the secret to extracting power from a two stroke lay in the exhaust and having made the jump to smokiness the NSR dominated racing throughout the 90s. In its latter years it produced about 200 bhp from its 500cc. It was also alleged to go from 50 to 150 bhp in the space of 200 rpm which made for a somewhat interesting riding experience. It was seemingly quite docile at low speeds and could be handled at high speeds once you understood that you had to keep the revs up. It was the transition from no power to all the power that could kill you.
* if thus equipped.