2014 Super Naked Street Brawl + Video

BMW S1000R vs. Ducati Monster 1200S vs. Kawasaki Z1000 vs. KTM 1290 Super Duke R

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Kawasaki Z1000 ABS

Thoroughly refreshed for 2014, Kawasaki’s avant-garde Z1000 was designed to place its rider in an upright but aggressive riding position that, when coupled with its unusually low headlight nacelle, creates the illusion of a disappearing front-end.

Thoroughly refreshed for 2014, Kawasaki’s avant-garde Z1000 was designed to place its rider in an upright but aggressive riding position that, when coupled with its unusually low headlight nacelle, creates the illusion of a disappearing front-end.

I could be wrong (again), but I bet maybe 5% of the people who buy one of these is gonna ride it as hard as we just did. If you have enough track experience to grind its undercarriage, you probably already have a track bike, and if you ride it fast enough up and down Angeles Crest Highway to start finding its limits, you probably already have a “real” sportbike.

For the sort of everyday real-world urban assault/commuter use most people are going to use these bikes for – especially if you live someplace where curvy roads are few and far between – you can probably find just as much happiness with the Kawasaki as with any of them. It’s a rigid, tightly bolted-together taut little package in yoga pants – even a little too taut for some: “It’s weird to have the seat of an Italian bike – the Monster’s – be vastly more comfortable than that of a Japanese all-rounder like the Kawi,” says Duke. Some of questionable taste even like the way the Z looks, which is not bad once you get past the Salvador Dali limp headlight.

An interesting feature of the Z’s instrument cluster is the separation of the tachometer’s readout, with 1000-3500 rpm left of the MPH indicator while 3500 to redline resides as an illuminated display across the top.

An interesting feature of the Z’s instrument cluster is the separation of the tachometer’s readout, with 1000-3500 rpm left of the MPH indicator while 3500 to redline resides as an illuminated display across the top.

The new Showa Big Piston Fork up front really steps up the Z’s game, and the rear keeps up its end too – but the rear feels harsh over bumps compared to the other three bikes here (which are all really good), and that same tautness doesn’t allow the rear wheel to track as well as the others through bumps, cranked over and with the power on hauling the mail on a fast backroad: Those bumps feed to the front, where they don’t exactly upset the steering but due to the lack of steering damper, give the Z a less confident feel than the others.

Purists might like that there’s no traction control, and the Kawasaki’s relatively low output feels like it doesn’t need it on dry grippy pavement, anyway. Meanwhile, the BMW and KTM are using every bit of their horsepower and chassis advantages to clear off into the distance, laser-beaming confidently from apex to apex on an invisible wave of Teutonic electrons, “Ride of the Valkyries” booming out their exhaust pipes.

The Z gets a lot of grief for its polarizing looks, and although it’s not the hottest prom date, it’s not the worst … more like the girl with tats, piercings, green hair and a body to die for.

The Z gets a lot of grief for its polarizing looks, and although it’s not the hottest prom date, it’s not the worst … more like the girl with tats, piercings, green hair and a body to die for.

Trying to keep up means you’ll have to shift more, and you need big throttle openings to keep the 1043cc inline-Four fed, followed by more brakes, which begin to feel grabby when your inputs start to get hurried – then the gearbox starts feeling hard to downshift. In sport use, compared to the others, the Z needs to do more with less, and eventually begins to feel harried and porpoisy. The others are simply easier to ride fast. Riding medium or mellow, the Z’s fine.

Speaking of which, though its counterbalancer keeps the engine smooth at cruising speed, the Z is geared ridiculously low – probably to keep people from getting a death grip on the bars at 150 mph and starting a nasty oscillation. Raising the gearing a bit would make it an even better urban bike/commuter and would make it way easier to exploit its big fat torque curve. It already has a great ergonomic layout, ABS brakes, and if history is any indicator, greater long-term reliability and fewer things to go wrong, than anything else in this contest.

Only down six ponies to the Duc and seven ft-lbs to the BMW, the Z’s old-school inline-Four delivers power in a highly-usable fashion on the street, making it something of a stoplight weapon. It’s smooth too, noticeably less tingly than the BMW on the highway.

Only down six ponies to the Duc and seven ft-lbs to the BMW, the Z’s old-school inline-Four delivers power in a highly-usable fashion on the street, making it something of a stoplight weapon. It’s smooth too, noticeably less tingly than the BMW on the highway.

At $11,999, the Z is also the cheapest bike here. But as T. Roderick points out, a mere $1,151 more might put you in the base-model S1000R (if you can find one for MSRP). That’s about 10% more money for about 20% more motorcycle, if high performance is the goal. If you want a Kawasaki to keep up with the BMW and KTM, you’ll need to shop in the ZX-10R department.

–John Burns

KTM 1290 Super Duke R

Unlike the flowing corners on a track, tight canyon roads reveal the SDR’s gangly nature. Transitioning from one side to the other, the tall and long-wheelbase KTM travels more distance and feels physically largest.

What is it that makes a truly great motorcycle? Is it funky styling that introduces something uniquely cool to look at? Is it the strongest motor in a given segment? Maybe it is a chassis and suspension that work well, everywhere? Perhaps it is a wide performance envelop and the ergonomics to remain comfortable long enough to explore it? The answer ultimately, in the case of the KTM 1290 Super Duke R ABS is quite simply “All of the above.”

This is a motorcycle that can’t help but encourage its rider to ride it however they may want. A machine that can tour all day in comfort and also be highly entertaining on a 15-minute balls-out blast up the gnarliest canyon road, the Super Duke is kind of like a Kawasaki Versys 650, with equal comfort, even better handling, way-more style, twice the brakes, and three times the motor, all delivered in a package that weighs less than that nimble little Kawasaki 650. It really is that good, and is perhaps only a small windscreen away from true all-around perfection.

Fast? Oh yeah, it’s incredibly fast, as Burns so eloquently put it: “On fast roads, anytime the tach needle gets past 5000 and the motor starts making that moaning noise, the KTM is gaining on whatever’s ahead of it seems like. Its fantastic suspension makes the small chop disappear leaned over or upright.”

Although the KTM and Ducati wear the same front Brembo M50 Monobloc calipers with the Ducati gripping 330mm discs and the KTM 320mm discs, Burns felt the KTM provided better stopping power. “The KTM's superior ergos make it a more confident braker to me, even if the hardware is the same. Higher bars, feet in a better place, nicely shaped tank to clamp thighs upon, no?”

Although the KTM and Ducati wear the same front Brembo M50 Monobloc calipers with the Ducati gripping 330mm discs and the KTM 320mm discs, Burns felt the KTM provided better stopping power. “The KTM’s superior ergos make it a more confident braker to me, even if the hardware is the same. Higher bars, feet in a better place, nicely shaped tank to clamp thighs upon, no?”

But crazy insane outright velocity isn’t the only thing that makes the new 1290 Super Duke R so special. “The SDR has that sit-in, familiar feeling that makes it easy to ride fast as well as being comfortable for anything from commuting to light touring.” Says MO’s resident conspiracy theorist, Tom Roderick, adding, “The SDR’s upright riding position is more reminiscent of an Adventure-Touring bike than it is a Streetfighter.”

Duke chimed-in with: “Rider comfort is exceptional on the SDR; only short riders will complain due to the tall seat.” Burns then piled-on with his own comfort observations: “Man, for 5-foot, 8-inch me this thing just has perfect ergos. It’s so skinny at the footpegs it splays my pelvis less and makes the seat more comfortable, and there’s no rear suspension linkage taking up real estate so you can tuck your heels-in even tighter. As well-controlled as the suspension is, it still seems to offer a bit more plushness in the first bit of travel compared to the other bikes.” That last bit is a set of traits that are no doubt enhanced by its five inches of front- and six inches of rear-wheel travel.

I have to agree with my fellow editors, I spend a day touring SoCal’s inland empire freeways on this Super Duker, pre-shootout, and arrived back at my home feeling fresh as a daisy thanks to the KTM’s smooth ride, tall/cushy seat and generous legroom. Bottom line? This is a remarkably comfortable beast of a motorcycle.

The look of the Super Duke R has been described by our editors as “striking, cool, post-industrial, stealth fighter, contemporary, not pretty but not ugly, techno-funky.”

The look of the Super Duke R has been described by our editors as “striking, cool, post-industrial, stealth fighter, contemporary, not pretty but not ugly, techno-funky.”

It’s friendly as well: “For a clutch that has to clamp onto almost 100 ft-lb of torque, lever pull is amazingly light,” says Duke. He has a point there, that beast of a BEAST of a motor doesn’t really punish anything except its rear tire. The KTM is also friendly in other ways, like the aforementioned comfort, or its ability to go just as fast as anything else on two wheels without making the rider work hard at all. Well, perhaps a bit of effort is expended when trying to hang on as the thing accelerates – relentlessly – and the wind-blast builds. In traffic, maneuvering around lesser vehicles is simply a piece of cake, and thanks to the commanding view afforded by its upright riding position and long-suspension, the KTM is one of the most comfortable motorcycles on which to lane-split that I’ve encountered in years.

It’s no slouch in the electronics department either, as it offers not only traction control and ABS, but also selectable ride modes to tailor the TC and engine power delivery to one of three settings, Sport, Street, or Rain. Another electronic nicety… heated grips! Top it off with well over 40 mpg in real-world riding, or even 37.9 mpg when flogged relentlessly in the canyons and you get the picture of a motorcycle that truly can deliver the goods on every front except wind protection.

The SDR's motor has huge amounts of thrust all across the rev range. It's so stout at every rpm, it almost feels as if it has a little turbo bolted on. This is a seriously impressive motor!

The SDR’s motor has huge amounts of thrust all across the rev range. It’s so stout at every rpm, it almost feels as if it has a little turbo bolted on. This is a seriously impressive motor!

Gripes?  Yep, two.  First is that previously mentioned lack of wind protection, which is a weakness shared equally by every bike in this test. Second is an annoyance unique to the KTM: Switching off its traction control (and wheelie control) requires the bike to be stopped. And, despite needing a long button press to disable it, the TC would occasionally somehow turn itself back on while riding, and that’s a fairly significant flaw if not confined to our test unit.

Throughout our combined track and street testing, Roderick raved about the BMWs electronic doo-dads and its feature-to-value ratio. He made some good points, theoretically. In the real world, the KTM was the bike for every single rider on the street and once again at the track, Tom included. He is to be commended for trying to retain his impartial analytical professionalism, but one need only step back and observe our collective group fighting for the KTM’s keys, to realize just what an absolute superstar the 2014 KTM 1290 Super Duke R really is.

Value means more than a simple cost/benefit analysis. More to the point: When it comes to motorcycles “benefit” is more than a list of features, because how a bike makes you feel also carries tremendous weight. In this group, the KTM is the winner, by a mile.

–Sean Alexander

2014 Super Naked Street Brawl Scorecard
Category BMW S1000R Ducati Monster 1200S Kawasaki Z1000 ABS KTM 1290 Super Duke R
Price 50.0% 37.5% 100% 17.5%
Weight 100% 100% 80.0% 92.5%
Engine 90.3% 88.8% 76.9% 95.6%
Transmission/Clutch 90% 83.8% 73.8% 91.9%
Handling 97.5% 79.4% 70.0% 94.4%
Brakes 87.5% 88.8% 85.0% 92.5%
Suspension 96.3% 82.5% 70.6% 94.4%
Technologies 99.4% 86.9% 66.3% 89.4%
Instruments 93.8% 71.9% 83.1% 87.5%
Ergonomics/Comfort 85.6% 74.4% 82.5% 98.8%
Appearance 89.4% 81.9% 84.4% 88.1%
Cool Factor 86.3% 81.2% 70.0% 91.3%
Grin Factor 86.3% 80.0% 70.0% 97.5%
Overall Score 91.1% 83.2% 78.1% 92.2%
Scores are listed as a percentage of editors’ ratings in each category. The Engine category is double-weighted, so the Overall Score is not a total of the displayed percentages but, rather, a percentage of the weighted aggregate raw score.​​

Although Duke and Roderick had the BMW ahead on the ScoreCard, Alexander’s and Burns’ scores weren’t as kind to the S1000R, thus pushing the KTM past the Beemer by the narrowest of margins. What it comes down to in the end is the fact that KTM has crafted a streetfighter, that, even with a relative technological handicap, manages to outperform its competition in every way.

This image sums up the hair by which the KTM defeated the BMW in this shootout as well as the track competition. These two now go head-to-head with Aprilia’s Tuono.

This image sums up the hair by which the KTM defeated the BMW in this shootout as well as the track competition. These two now go head-to-head with Aprilia’s Tuono.

Unlike the split decision between the KTM and BMW, the editors were unanimous in their ranking of the Ducati third and the Kawasaki fourth. The Ducati should be a little better for $16k, and honestly, the same can be said for the Kawasaki at $12K.

The Ducati easily hung with the BMW and KTM when blasting out of the tight corners. The Z1000’s handling unfortunately doesn’t match its visual impression. The Kawi feels heavy and reluctant to change direction.

The Ducati easily hung with the BMW and KTM when blasting out of the tight corners. The Z1000’s handling unfortunately doesn’t match its visual impression. The Kawi feels heavy and reluctant to change direction.

Next, stay tuned for the ultimate streetfighter title match between the reigning champ Aprilia Tuono V4R APRC ABS, and our new title contender the Super Duke R, along with the S1000R which we’re throwing-in for good measure.

BMW S1000R Ducati Monster 1200S Kawasaki Z1000 ABS KTM 1290 Super Duke R
MSRP $14,950 $15,995 $11,999 $16,999
Engine Capacity 999cc 1198cc 1043cc 1301cc
Engine Type Inline-Four 90° V-Twin Inline-Four 75° V-Twin
Bore x Stroke 80 x 49.7 mm 106 x 67.9mm 77.0 x 56.0mm 108 x 71mm
Compression 12.0:1 12.5:1 11.8:1 13.2:1
Horsepower/Torque 155.3 hp @ 11,200 rpm / 79.7 ft-lb. @ 9,500 rpm 130.8 hp @ 8,700 rpm / 84.8 ft-lb. @ 7,400 rpm 124.0 hp @ 10,400 rpm / 71.6 ft-lb. @ 7,900 rpm 156.0 hp @ 9,100 rpm / 96.5 ft-lb. @ 8,200 rpm
Fuel System Electronic fuel injection Electronic fuel injection Electronic fuel injection Electronic fuel injection
Transmission Six-Speed Six-Speed Six-Speed Six-Speed
Final Drive Chain Chain Chain Chain
Frame Aluminum composite bridge frame Tubular steel Trellis frame attached to the cylinder heads Aluminum Backbone Tubular space frame made from chrome molybdenum steel, powder-coated
Front Suspension Dynamic damping control semi-active suspension Ohlins fully adjustable 48mm usd forks 41 mm inverted SFF-BP fork with stepless compression and rebound damping and spring preload adjustability / 4.7 in. WP Suspension Up Side Down
Rear Suspension Dynamic damping control semi-active suspension Progressive linkage with fully adjustable Ohlins monoshock Horizontal back-link single shock with adjustable preload and stepless rebound damping / 4.8 in. WP Suspension Monoshock
Front Brakes Dual 320mm floating rotors, fixed radial-mount 4-piston calipers Dual 330mm semi-floating rotors, radial-mount Brembo evo M50 4-piston Monobloc calipers, radial pump master cylinder and ABS Dual 310mm petal-type rotors with radial-mount four-piston monobloc calipers and ABS Dual rotors with Brembo evo M50 4-piston Monobloc calipers and ABS
Rear Brakes Single 220mm rear rotor, single piston floating caliper 245mm rear rotor, 2-piston floating caliper and ABS Single 250mm petal-type discs with single-piston caliper and ABS Single rear rotor with two-piston caliper
Front Tire 120/70 ZR17 120/70 ZR17 120/70 ZR17 120/70 x17
Rear Tire 190/55 ZR17 190/55 ZR17 190/50 ZR17 190/55 x17
Seat Height 32.0 in 30.9 – 31.9 in 32.1 in 32.8 in
Wheelbase 56.7 in 59.5 in 56.5 in 58.3 in
Rake/Trail 24.6º/3.9 in 24.3º/3.7 in 24.5º/4.0 in 24.9º/4.21 in
Curb Weight 459 lbs 461 lbs 487 lbs 469 lbs
Fuel Capacity           / MPG  / Est. Range 4.6 gal36.9 MPG

170 Miles

4.6 gal39.0 MPG

179 Miles

4.5 gal36.3 MPG

163 Miles

4.7 gal37.9 MPG

178 Miles

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  • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

    Bring-on the Aprilia!

    • Shawn McDermott

      I just traded my 2012 Tuono for a 2014 s1000r. Its the better bike. I think the editors should include FUEL RANGE AND ECONOMY. I can tell you right now that was a MAJOR factor in me ditching the Tuono. Try going back country riding and telling you friends after 45minutes you need to stop for gas soon.

      It at least should be considered for the STREET test.

      • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

        We consider it in every street test. It was recorded and reported in this one as well.

        • Shawn McDermott

          Where?

          • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

            Bottom of the spec chart. (I just added it a minute ago, appears the chart cut-off in the version originally posted.)

  • Rob Lore

    On the spec charts all 4 bike are listed as 148HP at varying RPM with some above the published Redlines, also the TQ number don’t seem quite right.

    • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

      This has been repaired.

  • David Gasser

    When taking cost into consideration, It is much more likely to score a deal with the Z1K than the European motorcycles. I got my 2011 Z for $3000 under MSRP.

    • Craig Hoffman

      Agree. I bought my ’06 FZ1 new in ’06 for 7.9K OTD. The real cheapskate way to go is to get a used Z or FZ1 and spend about 2K on mods. For around 6.5K you have a ripping bike that can still use some suspension attention. Or you could just buy a used liter class sport bike and comfort mod it. Despite the disadvantages, I simply like the bikini faring no plastic look and ease of maintenance of the naked bikes. Oil changes take about 10 minutes on my FZ.

      Big advantage of the converted sport bike (aside from ludicrous power) is their better suspension. Good to see Kaw put the good big piston forks on this latest naked bike. That is a new development!

    • Shawn McDermott

      Yea true, but the whole time you’lkl be wishing you saved a few more pennies for a BMW. Patience.

      • David Gasser

        If you truly want the BMW, I agree, wait, save and buy what you want. Motorcycling is a passion! I just happen to be a fan of Japanese motorcycles.

  • Ser Samsquamsh

    Your job kicks ass. Also, kick ass job! Love these big shootout videos. All those vrooming bikes on open, sunny roads: enough to keep me sane. It’s just above freezing with about 3 inches of gravel on the roads where I live:)

  • Inirida Rangel

    my wife and dog pic here…
    nice write up. had a 2012 speed triple, but wanted wind protection on a sport bike. ended up buying a new 2012 left over zx10r. put helibars, zero gravity sport touring windscreen. $11600. not too bad on comfort and mega hp. also have a 2013 ktm300xc. if the 1290 had wind protection, it would be THE bike to have. – Alan

  • Mark D

    A 1,000cc naked bike is, by definition, a completely ridiculous motorcycle. I love that the Kawasaki acknowledges this and just runs with it. I think it looks great, and having seen a few on the street, it has undeniable “presence.” For my money, and skill level, its tough to beat.

    • gjw1992

      Ridiculous yes. But enormous fun as well. I love my s1000r and with a rucksack and tail pack, am planning to tour it. Which might also be ridiculous, but WTH!

  • john burns

    Neckerchief Editor? I have never had my fashion sense questioned by a Village Person before.

    • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

      Fortune favors the bold!

    • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

      Fortune favors the bold!

  • Craig Hoffman

    That Kawi has another 20 hp in it from the middle through the top end with a full exhaust and Power Commander with a good map in it by the way. 124 ponies is far from the end of the line for the Kawi. Adding that stuff may not make it a winner, but the Kawi, like seemingly every non front like Japanese sport bike, is pretty stuffed up as delivered from the factory.

    My ’06 FZ1 was seriously like that. It had a rag shoved down it’s throat and two corks shoved up it’s ass. Amazing what a little uncorking work via ECU hacking and a full exhaust can do on that now old design. It would be fun for you guys to ride a full house 150 hp FZ1 with Traxxion fettled forks and a Penkse shock, you know, for research purposes. :)

    The Euro bikes sound so good right out of the box. Very cool for non front line sport bikes. They are serious as heart attacks, no full plastic or roll your own mods as required by the Japanese bikes to reach their potential. That is truly impressive. I wish Japan would get a clue and just give it to us straight up in this segment.

    • Shawn McDermott

      20hp? Doubt it…mayber 5-10 TOPS. You could saw the same with teh s1000r with that logic

      • Craig Hoffman

        I have seen dyno charts over at Ivans and experienced it myself on my ’06 FZ1, with an 18 hp gain from 5,000 to the rev limiter. A full exhaust really transforms the Japanese liter class standards – like night and day. The Japanese put so little effort into tuning (or is it detuning) them. The Euro makers actually seem to get it and they ship their bike optimized much better.

        No doubt a fully tweaked BMW or KTM would be a fearsome thing indeed. I have not idea what gains they may have locked away. I suspect they would gain less, as they start off so much better.

  • Noah S

    Great piece. Curious why the Speed Triple wasn’t part of the test?

    • Kevin Duke

      The Speed is still a wonderful bike, but it got beat by the Tuono last time ’round, so it didn’t make the cut this time. Yet, if I had one parked in my garage, it would be difficult to make a strong financial case for trading it in on a new SF.

    • enzomedici

      Because it has under the seat exhaust pipes from the 1980s still. The Speed Triple is in serious need of an update.

  • Holy Kaw!

    Thanks Guys for the article, it was entertaining and informative. All these bikes sound like fun, I can’t wait for the three way shootout.

  • Sentinel

    I’m really curious about engine vibes getting through the chassis and
    into the rider. The only one of these bikes I’ve gotten a chance to test
    ride so far is the Z1000, and the engine vibes permeating through
    every part of the bike and into my body had me ready to get right back
    off the bike within about 15-20 minutes. I just couldn’t stand that
    grating and uncomfortable buzz going into my body like that. I realize
    that some people are more sensitive to this than others, but an
    uncomfortable level of engine vibes getting to the rider on the Z1000 is
    a very common complaint, so it’s definitely not “just” me.

    Are
    any of these other bikes like Z1000 in that regard? The bike I’m most
    personally interested in is the BMW and that was the one that you actually mentioned as being buzzy due to it having no counterbalancer in the engine.. How is S1000R when compared to the Z1000 in that regard? Is it more buzzy or less?

    • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

      The BMW a little more buzzy in the pegs and bars to me personally. The Kawasaki’s typical inline-four wasn’t as noticeable and I know from experience that the upgraded 2014 Z1000 is quite a bit more smooth than previous model year Z1000s. Vibration is a funny and elusive thing though, different riders change everything. (mass, harmonics, gear selection/rpm, personal sensitivity, etc.)

      • Sentinel

        OK, so that’s one response (from you) saying that the BMW is more buzzy than the Kawasaki, and Shawn McDermott here saying just the opposite! lol

        Of course if it comes right down to it I’ll be test driving one for myself anyways, but thanks for the review and thanks for sharing your opinion on this, and yes, it’s all pretty subjective either way.

        • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

          With all due respect to Mr. McDermott, he just bought a new S1000R and has several posts here talking it up. (It is a great bike) however, my one comment on the Z1000 ought to be considered as three, because at least three of us testers claimed the BMW was more buzzy than the other bikes in the test, I’m just the only one who replied here.

          • Shawn McDermott

            Well maybe the frequency of the buzz is different. That being said the buzz didnt stop me riding the bike. SO far I love the s1000r more then my Tuono or SPeedy R

        • Kevin Duke

          Yes, definitely test ride anything you’re serious about. I’d say the Z buzzes like most inline-Fours displacing a liter or more. It didn’t bother me. The BMW is vibing more than the Kaw at speeds above 80 mph.

          • Sentinel

            My primary concern is freeway cruising speed and below of course. So if it’s not really bothersome in that range that’s great. As long as it’s not distractingly buzzy above that I wouldn’t have a problem it.

    • Shawn McDermott

      Less buzzy when I rode them

      • Sentinel

        OK, so that’s one response of the BMW being less buzzy than the Kawasaki, and one saying just the opposite! lol

        • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

          I’m with Shawn on this one. The Kawi is the buzzier inline-Four, especially around 7000rpm.

          • Sentinel

            Thanks Tom, I really appreciate you guys taking the time to help me out here, and of course I’m a huge fan of the reviews you do. You have a great mix of personalities and tallent there, and no one, at least not in the US that I’m aware of really rivals your online publication for reviews. As for the engine buzz issue, I just happen to be one of those people that are very sensitive to a relatively high level of transmitted engine buzz and vibes. I’ve been on the hunt for a new bike for a long time now, and this is one of the things that has to be seriously considered before any purchase can be made. Reviews and comments like yours really help identity this as a potential issue with bikes and helps me to hone in and weed through my list of potential purchase candidates.

          • Shawn McDermott

            I would suggest a test ride.

    • Josh Saiz Matterz

      Does it vibrate your vagina as well??? Sheesh how much are you going to whine about a problem that will continue to plague a motorcycle until they build them with four-wheels…

      • Eric S

        Gee, fuckstain. Are you really so much more a man than everyone else here? I’d doubt it. I’m calling you out, you little bitch. I’d love to see you say all that shit to these people’s faces, but I’m guessing you wouldn’t. Typical fucking coward. Berating people as “vaginas” and “morons”, when you are hiding behind your keyboard. You are a fucking joke.

    • Kevin Duke

      Vibration has been reduced on each new generation of Z1000. It wasn’t an issue for us on the new 2014 edition.

      • Kevin Duke

        Unless you ask Tom (below)…

  • Carl Shelton

    Where is Triumph Speed Triple R?

    • Shawn McDermott

      Probably outdated? IU have one myself actually.

  • Reid

    Here’s how I see it:
    Z1000 – naked sport touring bike that really doesn’t live up to the awesomeness of its Z1 forbears. Also, the looks are way too polarizing and avant garde for my taste. This could have been a cool, more modern take on the ZRX formula if it had evolutionary (or even slightly retro) styling rather than…whatever they did to this over the last generation.

    Monster 1200 – for bankers and lawyers only. The Monster is supposed to be a fairly lightweight, lairy, hairy, brutish performance naked machine (at least as far as looks go) with a rorty engine to back up the styling. Instead it’s heavier and has bad corning clearance.

    BMWS1000R – subtract 30 horsepower from the RR version and call it a day. Even if you don’t need it, why not have it? Nobody with this kind of coin to throw at a bike is a newb rider (or they won’t be alive long). Too many gizmos for me. However, it should be noted this is the only real “streetfighter” of the bunch. The rest are what I call “super standards” or old-school performance bikes (from the time before fully faired repli-racers). This bike probably shouldn’t be included in this test.

    KTM 1290 Super Duke – crazy in every way, even in the price tag department. It’s heavy, sure, but it’s not a stripped-down sportbike either. It’s a Duke, which, like the Monster line, is just a standard with some oomph. It’s my pick of the lot, but I’m partial to KTMs. I would surely be killed if I rode it.

    • Shawn McDermott

      Sound about right

    • Craig Hoffman

      In the engine bay, the Duke is the one, no doubt. It is the dyno king but the dyno can’t measure character and feel. A twin just feels good. It appeals on a primal level. Twins generally do not make as much horsepower as reasonably comparable I4s. The Duke has a little extra displacement and evidently is very well tuned. As a result, the KTM lets you eat your horsepower cake and have the character too! That is a win.

  • Eric S

    Methinks Ducati doesn’t pander to you testers enough, or something. I have the Monster 1200-S, and you guys are high! Not only is it the most beautiful (the others are all dogs by comparison), it is also the most well built. BMW uses cheap Chinese crap parts. The KTM may be sturdy, but it is as ugly as a female Austrian wrestler, and its cowlings look like they were made by Mattel. The Kawasaki? I’ve never been much for cheap-o Jap crap, so it doesn’t even register. You cannot even compare the inline four to a twin in this category, so drop the Beemer and the Kawa. Who gives a rat’s ass about high-end power in this segment? If you want a track bike, get a fully-faired superbike. I am highly disappointed in your views of the Monster. Ducati makes the prettiest, and gives them the most character. That is what is important in this segment, not race-derived B.S. The only other bike here with character is that fuuuuugly KTM. And none of these other bikes comes close to the braking setup. What’s that? Your rotors are less than 330mm? NEXT! You don’t have Ohlins suspension? CHEAP CRAP!
    Get a life, you posers!

    • Shlomi

      I own a Ducati Multistrda 2013, and if I were you I wouldn’t talk about build quality of the Ducati.

      • Eric S

        A 2013 Ducati Multistrada is rock solid. I’ve owned 4 Ducs, all rock solid except the 2002 Monster S4. Anything 2009 and later, Bologna got its shit together. I have no idea what you are talking about dude.
        Look man. If you’re not a Ducatisti, don’t buy a Ducati. If you are a Ducatisti, don’t talk shit because you made the wrong choice for yourself. Sell the bike and get what is right for you. If that happens to be cheap Chinese crap with a whiny inline four and a BMW stamp on it, then go for it.
        So I’ll talk about the build quality of the Ducati all I want, thank you. Ducati N.A. has stood behind their products more than American Honda would, and that makes me a lifer with them. Pure Ducatisti to the core.
        But anyone who states the build quality of a 2013 Multi in a negative manner is out of his f-ing mind.

        • Shlomi

          let me see: rear break that does not work (check on forums no rear break on all models 2010-2014), fuel tank which expands there was a class auction and Ducati replaces every expanded fuel tank up to 5 years for Monsters, Multistarada, Sport Classic, 848, and more… with the same fuel tank (i wish that was a joke), front fork seals leaking (yes that Ohlins high quality stuff), stutter engine in 2010-2012 models only after market ECU solve the problem, the list goes on, fuel gauge that stops working. I like my Multistrada but this is despite the build quality…I’m not a “Ducatisti”, I’m a motorcyclist whore who replace brands when I feel like.

          • Eric S

            Yeah, had the tank expansion issue on my ’10 Streetfighter S, and had it replaced once. Stutter engine idea is subjective. It’s an Italian bitch man, what do you expect? Never had any problem with the Ohlins, on the Streetfighter or this bike. Cannot fork seals leak on any bike for a multitude of reasons? I didn’t see the tank issue as bad quality as much as incompatibilities with our shitty, ethanol-laden gas here in the US. I get it, and sorry to hear it. My dealer has always taken care of me on the warranty end, with not much hassle (Yay Pro Italia!), and Ducati N.A. replaced a radiator a couple weeks outside of the warranty period just because I could not get it in for service due to the shop being booked, and I asked them nicely if they could help me out. I went through the same deal with Honda on a bad ABS unit on a 2009 CBR1000RR and got nothing but runaround and denial.
            Well, I can tell you the engine stutter issue is non-existent on the Monster 1200-S, and they went back to an aluminum fuel tank. People bitch that this Monster gained weight, but they don’t want an expanding fuel tank. I prefer the aluminum and no expansion. Is your dealer Pro Italia, or other, because PI would never have let these things go on as you have explained.

          • Shlomi

            Agreed, having good dealership makes a different. Happy that you found one, I have no complain about my local dealer. Still my time worth $$$$ and I rather not spend it at dealership fixing bugs under warranty.

          • Shawn McDermott

            Ive had 2 ducatis. A multistrada..which had the same issues you described and a Streetfighter. The build on both werent as good as the price you paid.

          • Josh Saiz Matterz

            Amen

          • Josh Saiz Matterz

            So you paid overpaid for a bike because it says Ducati on it??? what a moron…Ducati’s are not the bikes they claim to be…you must get off on looking at Ducati pics

          • Eric S

            What do you know about it? I didn’t buy it for the label, asshole (since you decided to start the name calling). How many Ducatis have you owned? Anyone who uses a “z” instead of an “s” in a word is just a ghetto punk. Project much, “Moron”? You must be in your 20s. Good luck making it to 30 with that attitude.

          • Shawn McDermott

            Well this escalated.

          • Eric S

            Of course it did. You claimed there is nothing special about Ducatis. Did I get on your case? No. Why? Because you’ve owned two (so should have a basis for an opinion), and you didn’t name call. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. This little cum stain, on the other hand, has no basis for his statement, and pulled the name-calling. Probably a jealous hater who couldn’t scrape together enough from his fast food job to even buy a 5 year old jap bike. Look, I took responsibility for my B.S., and I have no space for his kind of shit. He’s been an asshole to others on here as well. So, Josh can go jump on his ’02 Gixxer, and fuck off with the rest of his pussy-ass “bike club” full of 20-somethings who couldn’t get laid at a whorehouse. He’d likely get his ass handed to him if he were riding alone.

          • Shawn McDermott

            It gained weight because it went liquid cooled…

          • Eric S

            Yes, I wasn’t meaning to blame it all on the tank.

    • Old MOron

      Ha ha ha ha ha!
      No, wait. I’m still laughing.
      Ha ha ha ha ha!
      EricS, meet KPaulCook.
      Paul, Eric.
      Ha ha ha ha ha!

      • Eric S

        ???

        • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

          KPaulCook, later known as KSpike, was the original MO troll. He was epic in the absurdity and self-centered righteousness of his posts. His conspiracy theories and face-palm inducing moments were frequent and large. (just answering your question marks)

          • Eric S

            Thank you Sean. OK, so maybe I deserved that. I came on pretty strong. It’s obviously no secret that I am an avid Ducatisti by now, and I defend Ducati rabidly. This is because I’ve had the best experience with them. So it’s all down to personal preference, I suppose.

            In an attempt to be more objective, I really disagree with the comments on braking. The Monster has killer brakes, and truly the best when it comes to the specifications. Again, down to personal preference.

            What really set me off was the fact this article gave examples of all the instrument panels, except the Monster’s. I am surprised that the Monster’s TFT panel, which changes with the selected riding mode, and is just plain awesome, is not even represented. It has little touches like a yellow area on the tach from 7000 RPM, until it warms up, then the yellow area shrinks to the normal zone starting at 10000. At night, the background is black, but turns to white in daylight. I’m an I.T. guy (not a banker or lawyer), so this kind of thing is a huge plus to me. I wonder why this wasn’t represented.

          • http://www.motorcycle.com/ Sean Alexander

            The Monster’s new TFT display is absolutely gorgeous 75% of the time. Then it completely disappears in direct-sunlight. It was dinged heavily for that fact in the individual score cards. I mean looks like the screen is simply turned-off when riding with the sun overhead but slightly at your back.

          • Piglet2010

            If you believe the test results from KD’s former employer MotoUSA to be representative, the Ducati 1200S is the first bike to stop faster on clean, dry pavement with ABS *ON* – the importance of being able to leave ABS on for the intermittent slippery spots without paying a penalty is a game changer.

            http://images.motorcycle-usa.com/14_nakedtwinso60-0%20Braking.jpg

          • Kevin

            You quote mushroom cultivators USA? Incredible!

          • enzomedici

            …and yet they can’t even put a proper fuel range gauge or a gear shift indicator on that nice TFT display.

    • Shawn McDermott

      I’ve owned 2 Ducatis. Theres nothing special about them.

  • John B.

    There is not a single base model S1000R ($13,150) for sale in America (prove me wrong). As such, it’s misleading to say the bike costs a little over $1,000 more than the Kawasaki ($11,999). $14,950 is the minimum real price for the S1000R, which makes it 24.6% more expensive than the Kawasaki. As writers, surely you realize that, among other things, it takes more time and better materials to make a higher quality product. Only in motorcycling do we compare products with a price difference of 25 or even 50 percent, and hold them to the same standards.

    I enjoyed this two-part series, however, the venues for the shootout could not have been less relevant to the riding I, and likely many of your readers, do. I live in Dallas, Texas and do not ride at the track. That is to say, I ride long distances through urban sprawl on mostly flat and straight roads. Rather than watching expert riders ride these bikes on tracks and on twisty canyon roads that do not exist in most urban population centers, I would rather see average weekend riders test these machines while riding near where they live.

    Human nature being what it is, we should expect the most senior editors to take the most sought after assignments. Nevertheless, it would not hurt to bring along one non-expert just for grins.

    • Shawn McDermott

      I live in Houston so I have a similar experience. The long stretches with the Cruise control help on i10 and i45!

    • Shawn McDermott

      24.6% isnt that much….3k more basically. Worth it for all the upgrades.

  • Shlomi

    Great review, I can’t wait for the final round with the Aprilia. I went to look at the BMW (no demo bikes at the moment as they are all sold out) and it look the business. My only complain was long stretch to the handlebars. I owned couple of KTM before and they all felt like off road bikes with built quality of off road bike. Does the Duke feels like 20 K bike? Another test of reality if you buy the BMW today and sell it next year, I’m sure it’s value would be higher than year old super Duke. The KTM/ Aprilia just do not hold value like the BMW.

  • BTRDAYZ

    Honda should have made this bike.

  • wolzybk

    All of these are great bikes, and I could be happy with any of them. Which one is for you depends on what you want and how you ride. For me, a nakedbike/streetfighter needs to be versatile; I don’t want a laser-focused sportbike that just lacks wind protection.

    I testrode, a few weeks ago, a Monster 1200S and a V4 Tuono back to back, and much preferred the Monster. The Tuono is a great sportbike, but it’s too much a sportbike. If that’s what I’m buying, I could just get the RSV4 and be done with it.

    The Monster was more comfortable, had the adjustable seat and a functioning passenger perch, and was plenty fast enough and fun enough. With the aluminum tank, that takes care of the major flaw of many recent Ducatis, and should be a durable and reliable machine, if maintained reasonably well.

    I ride every day — work, errands, basic transport — that’s why I don’t have a full sportbike in the first place. (What I do have is the original 1993 M900 Monster, which I bought new, and now have 227,000 miles on. It has served me well.)

  • enzomedici

    I love the S1000R, but that catalytic converter is atrocious looking and it looks like a 3 year old welded that together.