This category is one of our favorites here at MO, and it proved to be the tightest contest of our 2016 MOBOs – we initially decided to give it the second tie in the eight-year history of MO’s annual Best Of awards. After all, our recent face-off between KTM’s Super Duke R and the Aprilia Tuono 1100 Factory was a virtual tie, with their scores separated in our rankings by just 0.1%! And, in pure subjective terms, our two testers were divided.
What finally tipped the MOBO scales in favor of the Tuono is that it’s available in a lower-cost version than the $17k-plus MSRPs of the Tuono Factory and the Super Duke. Sure, the $14,799 Tuono 1100RR lacks the sweet Öhlins suspension of the $16,999 Factory, but it boasts the same power from the deliciously wicked V-4 engine and uses the same chassis and wheels, so you’re not missing out on much considering the significant $2,200 difference in price.
Whichever one you may choose, the Tuono 1100 is guaranteed to stimulate even the most hardcore sport riders and hooligans. I personally know of five people who have purchased their own, and even after many months they still rave about them.
In particular, the 1077cc V-4 powerplant is as good as a sportbike engine can be. It’s already fabulous at start-up, a mean cackle spiking your heart rate as it foreshadows the MotoGP-like soundtrack getting ready to tear out your eardrums as four 269cc cylinders scream to and through 12,000 rpm. There’s at least 155 horses trying to melt the rear tire (or 160.6 hp for the one in this shootout), and nearly 83 lb-ft of torque is always willing to loft its front wheel. The Tuono’s mill is actually far superior to the 175-horse powerplant in Aprilia’s superbike, the RSV4, as long as you’re not on a very, very fast racetrack.
Of course, it’s not just the Tuono’s engine that makes it fabulous, as it’s got a race-bred chassis and high-end electronics, too. But, oh my, that engine! It’s a heart thumper and adrenaline pumper of the first order.
It’s no secret we here at MO have been huge fans of the 1290 Super Duke since it debuted in 2014. It came out on top of our exhaustive three-part streetfighter shootout that year, and it went on to take our prestigious Motorcycle of the Year award based on its incredible dexterity and versatility for a monstrously powerful giant dirtbike that can embarrass pure sportbikes on both road and track. Its 1301cc V-Twin cranks out a ridiculous 96 lb-ft of torque and 154 horsepower, which gives the Super Duker urgent acceleration that’ll twist your brain.
But what’s most incredible about the SDR is how well it adapts to almost any environment. It makes for a surprisingly good commuter, it’s a reasonably comfortable super-sporty sport-tourer, and it’ll even tear up a racetrack quick enough to humiliate guys on bikes with number plates. Brembo M50 brakes are as good as they get, and KTM’s electronics suite now includes state-of-the-art Cornering ABS.
And there’s one more way the 1290 Duke stands out: It’s probably the best sportbike for riders who need to shop in big-and-tall stores. The open riding triangle that engenders comfort on the highway also provides the extra room for larger riders. Over the years we’ve heard big riders say they can’t ride sportbikes because they can’t fit comfortably on them. With the SDR, that excuse is over.
|Motorcycle.com Best of 2016 Categories|