2014 Ultimate Streetfighter Finale + Video

Aprilia Tuono V4R APRC ABS vs BMW S1000R vs KTM 1290 Super Duke R

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This is one of those cases where what looks good on paper and in theory fails to live up to expectations when put to use in the real world. Although the BMW narrowly won on the ScoreCard because of its lesser cost, it’s the KTM we subjectively rate higher. This action can’t be fully justified or explained, (Dainese Editor, Siahaan, makes a commendable attempt on the previous page), but purchasing a motorcycle is rarely an act of pure practicality.

The Super Duke R has a certain something, a je ne sais quoi, a savoir faire, some other French idiom … We don’t know and obviously can’t explain it here, but we like it and we want one, cost be damned.

Still, when cost is a critical factor, as it is in the metrics of our ScoreCard, the BMW S1000R narrowly emerges the winner of this shootout and becomes the new king of streetfighters.


Yep, this shootout was a close one!

2014 Ultimate Streetfighter Shootout Scorecard
Category Aprilia Tuono
BMW S1000R KTM 1290
Super Duke R
Price 100.0% 95.0% 65.0%
Weight 82.5% 100.0% 87.5%
Engine 89.2% 94.2% 99.6%
Transmission/Clutch 95.0% 94.2% 80.8%
Handling 93.3% 91.7% 90.0%
Brakes 89.2% 90.0% 97.5%
Suspension 88.3% 98.3% 91.7%
Technologies 90.8% 97.5% 85.0%
Instruments 88.3% 95.8% 89.2%
Ergonomics/Comfort 80.0% 86.7% 95.8%
Luggage/Storage 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Appearance 90.0% 90.8% 93.3%
Cool Factor 85.0% 77.5% 90.0%
Grin Factor 92.5% 83.3% 95.0%
Overall Score 90.12% 92.13% 92.07%
Price and weight are scored based on objective metrics. Other 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.

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  • JMDonald

    Of all the available motorcycles these bikes will always be on the top of my personal list. When I think about riding I think of these machines. It is a great time to be alive.

    • Will

      Considered all 3 and wound up buying a leftover 2013 Tuono V4 which offered a $1,500 rebate. OTD including taxes, etc. was $12,900 so I think I got a helluva lot of bike for less than 13k. That V-4 engine is motorcycle Viagra and I was still excited four hours after the ride home from the dealership (do I need to call a doctor?).

      • Kevin Duke

        No doctor required! Sounds like you got a great deal!

        • Will

          That’s good to know. I’m sure my condition is not covered by insurance.
          I also test rode the S1000R and Z1000. I was kinda disappointed in the Kawasaki (too buzzy, short-geared & frenetic feeling) but I thought the BMW was outstanding overall. I didn’t find its engine as buzzy as some have reported and the suspension offered a near magic carpet ride-like experience. Only thing I didn’t like was a clutch that engaged late in the lever travel (but an easy fix w/ quick twist of adjustment screw).
          Here’s a quick take on S1000R vs. my Tuono V4R:
          BMW has more linear powerband that pulls smartly from the bottom / Aprilia powerband feels more layered & really starts to stonk as it enters the lower midrange.
          Navigating the S1000R’s display is much easier / Tuono’s is not very intuitive or user friendly.
          Aprilia wins hands-down in engine character although the BMW is surprisingly raucous for an I-4 – it features a nasty intake snarl and spits on overrun.
          Summary: you only live once and I rolled the dice on the Aprilia over the BMW (saving over $2k made the decision easier). I have a gut feeling that if I had rode the Super Duke R I would have lusted after it but still settled for the much cheaper Tuono.
          P.S. – the actual MSRP of the fully-loaded S1000R is $15,445 including the $495 Destination charge. Dealer fees (Handling, Documentation) could easily add $500 or more so it helps to be a savvy negotiator and try to get the dealer to eat the fees and work off the price of just the bike itself. I was able to get the dealer down to $14,700 + tax/tags on the S1000R before I chose to go w/ the Touno.

  • Old MOron

    Since these bikes are all awesome, and since they’re all better than I am, I guess I’d buy the one that is least expensive or easiest to maintain.
    Perhaps you gentlemen (ahem) can add scheduled maintenance to your score card. The bike with the least frequent maintenance would score highest.
    Anyway, I enjoyed the comparo. Keep up the good work.

  • Ser Samsquamsh

    Gas mileage isn’t a huge concern probably but the range on the Tuono seems pretty minuscule at 20mpg. That would be really annoying having to stop every 5 minutes. I have a VFR and the v-4 sounds awesome buts a lot of heat on you and drinks gas. maybe that’s just the engine format?

    I tried out the Super Duke after your last video and was pretty shocked how comfy it is. I was expecting the bike to rip my head off but it’s so controlled plus it looks like it could take a pothole without cratering. It’s a bit pricey but it looks amazing to me.

    The BMW is a bit weird looking but the cruise and heated grips would be seriously handy around where I live.

    I was going to replace my bike with a ninja 1000 or the new VFR 800 but both of these super nakeds are uber tempting.

  • Old MOron

    Okay, previously I had only read the narrative, as I was at work. But I just watched the video on my lunch break. Well done, guys. Very, very well done.

    Having said that, I gotta do some MOronic taunting.
    The haircuts, what’s up with the haircuts?
    T-Rod, you lightened your locks. What’s next, Blondie, a boob job?
    Duke, I’m sure that haircut was real cool when you were in high school, but that was a while ago, wasn’t it?

    • Kevin Duke

      I guess we’re doing okay if the biggest knock on our production is our haircuts!

  • Shlomi

    Ok so I’m debating between two bikes the Duke and the BMW.
    I ride B roads which are narrow, and bumpy, speed range is 40-80 MPH. I get that BMW has the better suspension as I can switch from sport to comfort when the road gets too bumpy, I get that the BMW is more nimble, lighter, and agile. I get that the Duke will be able to ride on the torque wave which means less gear changes, riding position on the Duke seems more comfortable as well.
    What’s the better bike for me? I currently ride Multistrada 2nd generation which performs well on the roads I ride. However, the Multistrada is a bit heavy, soft, and slow to steer when the pace become brisk.

    • Ser Samsquamsh

      I noticed that the wind blast on the KTM was very manageable. There was basically no buffeting or neck strain under 80mph.

      • Price Action Guru

        Did they ever release the fly screen the pictured it with?

    • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

      For the last few years when asked the question, “what bike would I buy for myself,” my answer has been Multistrada. The answer to that question now is Super Duke R. Does that help?

      • Price Action Guru

        Since you have previously liked the Multistrada as the bike that you would buy for yourself, I am interested hearing your thoughts on comparing and contrasting the Multistrada 1200 vs the Super Duke R.

        One may say they are not the same bike, but you appear to have liked them both very much, so hearing your thoughts may be enlightening.

        And like Shlomi, I too have a Multistrada 1200, and I have been shopping for a nake/super naked.

        • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

          The Multi has been, and still is, one of the best motorcycles for combining performance, comfort, and long-distance capability. The Super Duke R gives up a lot of long-distance capability (no hard luggage, cruise control or fairing protection), but what it lacks in long-distance capability it makes up for in the performance category. Comfort is a wash between the two. Admittedly, I’m a big fan of liter-size V-Twins and I just can’t get enough of KTM’s 1290 powering the SDR. Also, for me, I’ve been loving the Multi for years now, and it’s time for a change and the SDR is that change. If, however, you’re desiring travel and touring over track day performance, the Multi remains the better bike.

          • Price Action Guru

            Thanks for the feedback.

          • Shlomi

            Tom thank you very much! When I bought the Multistrada I had dreams for cross states trip….reality happens and day rides of 200-300 miles is all I can do now. How is the KTM build quality? Does it fit $20 OTD price tag?

          • http://motorcycle.com/ Tom Roderick

            There were no negative comments among the editors in regards to quality. I’d go as far as to say it’s equal to anything on two wheels from Germany, Japan or Italy. I still think the $17k MSRP is kinda steep (especially compared to the S1000R) but I’d be willing to bite the bullet and pony up. Or, be patient and wait for that repo unit or the divorce-forces-sale used example with 600 miles on the clock.

          • Shlomi

            Tom this is great feedback. I get your passion about the KTM. I owned the Duke 690 prior to the Multistrda, and still miss that character. What I don’t miss is the roughness and all or nothing attitude. I couldn’t ride it less than 100% all the time. I hope the SDR is as hard core, but also allows slower pace when I’m not in the 100% mood. Thanks again, this been very helpful.

  • enzomedici

    I would pick the BMW S1000R because Aprilia and KTM dealer support are pretty much non-existent. Plus, the gas mileage on the Aprilia is horrendous. You would lose any race because you would be gassing up while everyone else rode by.

  • Mr. J

    what road is that guys??

    • Kevin Duke

      The’re in the hills around Malibu.

  • Auphliam

    I have to say, this shootout series has been one of the most interesting/captivating I’ve seen on MO. Well done, boys.

  • Price Action Guru

    MV Agusta Brutale 1090RR or Corsa should have been in the final comparison.
    In my opinion, like the Aprilia Tuono V4R, the Brutale is a race bike with handlebars.

    Perhaps written a follow-up article on how the Brutale stacks up against the final three??

  • John B.

    Really great work guys! When I attended the Dallas Motorcycle Show last Fall, I spoke at length with a high level BMW executive who was responsible for setting the S1000R’s U.S. msrp. He spoke enthusiastically about the S1000R and provided very interesting information related to the S1000R’s development. Near the end of our conversation he stated that he believed the S1000R is the best bike in this class (no surprise there). He added, however, that he thought the KTM SD was the only other super naked in the S1000R’s class; especially with respect to manufacturing quality. He said I should buy the KTM if I decided not to buy the BMW because it (the KTM) is an outstanding motorcycle. In fact, he praised the KTM so much that I wondered whether a BMW-KTM merger were feasible. He felt the Z1000 was a good choice for people who wanted to spend less money, but felt the Aprilia lacked manufacturing consistency….. As a 6’3″ rider with chronic back pain, I would choose the KTM because comfort is the critical factor for me. PS – I did not notice the presenters’ hair. I imagine being a public figure is not all it’s cracked up to be….

  • Craig Hoffman

    KTM is on a complete tear in the off road market for quite a while now. It seems they are making real inroads in the pavement market as well. If this keeps up, everybody is going to be riding orange.

    KTM and the Euro companies in general are alive. I wonder a little about the Japanese. Some interesting bikes from Japan here and there, but it is like they really lost something during the great recession.

    All useless theorizing about corporate psychology aside, make my hooligan bike a KTM please. :)

    • Piglet2010

      There are several KTM models that interest me (Freeride E, 450 SMR, 690 SMC R, 390 Duke, 690 Duke R, and RC390), but guess what – not one of them is imported to the US. So I will look elsewhere.

      As for the Japanese, they could almost care less about US and even Europe – South Asia is where the sales volume is. The US is probably the worst per capita motorcycle market in the developed world, and in most of the country you will mostly find people who buy huge cruisers as Lifestyle Accessories™.

  • Steve Cole

    I still prefer the Tuono. But that’s because I love the motor and the take-no-prisoners way the bike works.

  • Holy Kaw!

    Great article. I’ve been trying to figure out my favorite here as well, I agree, not easy.

    For me it’s between the KTM and the BMW because I don’t like “peaky” High Performance engines on a Motorcycle if I’m trying to go fast around corners… (the “old” Tuono would’ve given the KTM a good run… as far as Fun goes at least)

    The BMW was one of those “What would be cooler than a naked based the S1000RR?” thoughts I had that became reality, I was excited! Cruise control and integral heated grips did nothing to reduce my drooling (the other gizmo’s are fine but wouldn’t be selling points for me unless “free” which to their credit BMW effectively did). It’s performance is Far beyond my capabilities, I thought it looked great in Red. The BMW is a Fine Motorcycle.

    The KTM showed me that an “older” 6’2″ Guy can be – comfortable – on a High Performance Motorcycle. The KTM makes me want to go ride it, it’s FUN (I know, all Motorcycles can be Fun but I think some are “Funner” than others). Torque is a Beautiful thing. I have some questions about the KTM’s reliability, without basis. I guess the KTM will take the flag but it’s as close as one of the recent Moto 3 races.

    The KTM (in Red) with a modest fly screen/quarter fairing, cruise control and heated grips would qualify as a “Perfect” Motorcycle IMO.

    PS “What would be cooler than a naked based the S1000RR?” A 2015/2016 ZRX1400 with a top shelf chassis, heated grips, cruise control, in Red ;-)

    It’s nice to see that the bikes carry enough fuel for a decent range.

  • Steve Cole

    I don’t know why people think the V4 puts out a lot of heat. It puts out less heat than my track GSXR does and also less heat than my V60 Tuono did. And it’s a LOT cooler than my old 1050 Sprint ST. I have a RSV4, mind.

    I’d still buy the V4. It’s always entertaining.

  • http://www.fleetavenue.com.au Andre Villalba

    The BMW S1000R reminds me so much of the BMW 2 series. Such a magnificent experience to hear their engines and see them make their turns…

  • bj

    Great review.
    KTM is the bike to own but the BMW is a good bike and good value. Doesn’t quite do anything as well as the KTM, or look as good but it is feature packed, cheaper, a good bike and deserves scoring to showcase that.

  • Jaybo

    Your poor yanks. Aprilia don’t seem to trust you squids with the full output engine. My Australian version is putting out 167 at the rear…..
    Reading the article, and comparing the scores don’t add up… The V4 was everybody’s favourite engine, but got the lowest score….? Was this manipulated to give the newer bikes leg up? It’s definitely the reason I bought mine. And the electronics package. Being able to dial in my slides at track days, like a GP star is worth the price of admission right there…

    • Kevin Duke

      The Aprilia’s engine is sweet, no doubt. But take a look at the dyno chart and try to find any point at which it outperforms the others. And the fuel-saving electronics strategy is a PITA when riding around town.

  • DH

    Good job on the shootout boys. Bought a ’14 Tuono and can’t stop giggling inside of my helmet. If you think the V4 is intoxicating with its stock exhaust, try it with an aftermarket pipe. Highly recommend the SC-Project CRT. Sounds like the spawn of a Shelby AC Cobra and a P51 Mustang WWII fighter. Besides, which of your cul-de-sac neighbors deep down inside, in places they don’t like to talk about, really don’t want to hear the sounds of MotoGP? It’s clearly better than Pavarotti.

  • Avery Buda

    For a shorter (5’9″) rider who would be doing very little track time if any at all, what would be the better bike out of these three? I understand the KTM is fitting for larger riders but how does it fit a smaller rider. Also which bike has better ergonomics between the s1000r and superduke?Thanks to anyone who can clear up any of these questions for me

    • TroySiahaan

      I’m an inch shorter than you and fit both the BMW and KTM well. The KTM is very comfortable, IMO, for an everyday street bike. What makes it comfy for tall folks (upright bars, lots of legroom) doesn’t deter it in any way for shorter folks like us. I’d stop short of calling it a sport-tourer, but it’s pretty darn close.

      • Avery Buda

        Thanks a lot for the help you answered all of my questions.

    • Kevin Duke

      If a lower seat height is a major consideration, the BMW’s is the closest to the ground and is by a considerable margin easiest to manage by short legs. And if you might never get on a racetrack, also consider the Z1000 and Monster.Try them on for size at a dealer to find out how they fit you specifically.

      • Avery Buda

        Thanks for the help! I’m not in love with the looks of the z1000 but I will be sure to check out the monster.