We’re getting a little giddy around here as we begin to gather the gamut of new superbikes for our most intensive shootout of the year! We’ve got a fabulous two-day street ride to begin our testing, stringing together some of our favorite twisty roads on an overnight trip to begin our superbike shootout. And then the hardcore performance testing will take place over two days at Auto Club Speedway with our friends at Fastrack Riders. If you can be near Fontana, California, May 26-27, you should sign yourself up for a fun day at the track with us!

Fastrack Riders

The year 2017 will go down as a banner era in the development of street-legal superbikes, with two totally new literbikes from Japan in the form of Suzuki’s GSX-R1000 and Honda CBR1000RR. They join the formidable ZX-10R that debuted just last year and the sexy R1 that launched in 2015, the last time we put together an all-hands-on-deck superbike shootout.

2015 Six-Pack Superbike Shootout Final Answer!

The GSX-R1000 is new from the wheels up, and it’s a massive step forward from Suzuki, whether talking about the 1000R I rode in Australia or the regular 1000 reviewed by Trizzle a few weeks ago at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas. Troy “Trizzle” Siahaan also was the editor behind the review of Honda’s massively updated CBR1000RR ridden at Portugal’s Portimao racetrack.

Also revving up the category is the recently updated RSV4 from Aprilia, which Tom Roderick reviewed from COTA just a couple of weeks ago. And no literbike comparison in the better part of the last decade could be complete without BMW’s scintillating S10000RR, a bike that has won or nearly won every MO superbike shootout since its debut in 2010.

V-Twin engines have always played a significant part in superbike racing, and that theme will continue in our upcoming shootout. Ducati has, since the beginning of superbike racing, been the V-Twin challenger to its four-cylinder competitors. However, you won’t see one in our shootout, as Ducati didn’t bother stocking its press fleet in 2017 with any of its liter-plus-size Panigales. Maybe it’s because the Italian brand is preparing for a V-4 future in superbikes…

But fear not, booming V-Twin lovers, as EBR has stepped in to uphold the honor of superbikes with less than four cylinders! Yes, the American company is still in business and was willing to supply us with one of its 1190RXs. Although its design is now three years-old, it’s still an appealingly unique cocktail of agility and torque. EBR’s RX also has the lowest price of the group, a wallet-friendly $13,995. Keep in mind, though, this price doesn’t include ABS or an Intertial Measurement Unit (IMU), the only bike in our comparo without both.

2014 EBR 1190RX Review – First Ride

Each of the bikes in our test (except the EBR) are available in versions with higher specifications, but we’re focusing this time on the base models – the 1000R variant of the GSX-R isn’t yet available, so we’re sticking with everyone’s least-expensive versions. Since a couple of the bikes are equipped stock with antilock brakes, we’ve ordered up all the bikes (save the EBR) with ABS.

As such, our $14,999 GSX-R1000 is the least expensive of our four-cylinder superbikes, the ABS adding just $400 to its base MSRP. Kawasaki’s ZX-10R is the next step up in prices, to $16,099 with ABS ($15,099 w/o), followed by Yamaha’s slinky crossplane-crank R1 at $16,699. Honda’s lightweight CBR1000RR retails for just 100 Benjamins more, at $16,799 ($16,499 (w/o /ABS). Sneaking in under the $17k mark is Aprilia’s intoxicating RSV4 RR, and its $16,999 MSRP is a scant $200 more than the Honda!

So that’s four bikes priced within just $900. Or maybe it’s five if we can include BMW’s S1000R. Its retail price for the base version without options starts at just $15,695, and we requested our tester to have as few options as possible. That said, we’ve learned to expect a BMW without options to be as rare as Brough Superiors, and we haven’t yet been able to confirm the state of the S1000 tester we’ll soon pick up.

2017 Superbike Spec Chart Shootout

If you’re a regular MO reader, you’ll recall that Trizzle already primed the superbike pump with a shootout preview you can revisit in the link above. He included more details than we have here, so it’s a good reference for those who are keen to have all the info about what we’re expecting during our week of testing. The specs we put together for Trizzle’s preview can be seen by hovering over the image below.

Meanwhile, we’re licking our chops in anticipation of ripping up the canyons and squeezing out more than 170 mph on the front straight at Fontucky! Keep your browser tuned to MO!

 

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  • SRMark

    Glad to see the Buell in the mix

  • DickRuble

    Base models with prices $15K-$17K.. With rising interest rates, don’t expect motorcycling to become a hot trend among 20-somethings.

    • MyName

      I looked at buying a Ducati 999 after I got my first career job at 22. It was the insurance that changed my mind. It was going to cost more than the bike itself in TWO YEARS. TWO!

      • DickRuble

        Probably because the average time from purchase to rebuilt title for such bike is about two years.

    • Born to Ride

      Most 20 somethings have no business being on these bikes anyways.

      • DickRuble

        Would that include you?

        • Born to Ride

          Good thing I can’t afford them then. Except maybe the Buell…

          • spiff

            Great, the one without the nannies.

          • Born to Ride

            Just how I like it. TC off, race mode engaged. =D

      • John Ferguson

        99% of riders have no business being on these bikes.

        • toomanycrayons

          “99% of riders have no business being on these bikes”-John Ferguson

          99% of us don’t live with porn stars, either. What’s your point?

    • gjw1992

      In the UK, Personal Contract Plans (PCP) have been fuelling a lot of bike sales (and the car sales bubble) for a few years now – moderate deposit, 3 years of monthly payments, limit your mileage, then hand it back or pay the final amount and hope to sell it at a premium. Start again. Which is why ‘premium brands’ are selling well as depreciation and so the payments on them are surprisingly low. Anything like that in the US?

      • DickRuble

        It’s called leasing here. No clue if they do it for bikes.. My guess would be no. Over four years you end up paying more than the car costs new and you have to return it in mint condition. We’ve invented all forms of customer skinning and crap TV shows. If you’ve got it, we’ve invented it.

        • spiff

          Shame we don’t build it.

        • Walter

          Totally wrong from my leasing experience. Much Less than 1/2 purchase price paid after 3 years at 15,000 miles/year. And while the cars are returned in vg condition, I wouldn’t call them mint.

          As with any financial transaction- it works for some and not for others: so blanket statements are often wrong.

          I think BMW & Ducati are the only manufacturers offering leases in the US; and they seem ok if they match your requirements.

          • DickRuble

            Just checked with someone who leases a loaded 2015 VW Jetta. His 4 year lease is $450/month and started late 2014. The 2017 model costs $26,000 full MSRP. Over his entire lease he is paying $20,000. Not to mention higher insurance rates and mileage limitations.

          • Walter

            Reading that, 3 questions come to mind:
            1) who negotiated his lease, Homer Simpson?
            2) does he have a 2 digit credit score?
            3) at that rate, why the heck didn’t he buy instead of lease?

            As an aside, 2017 Jettas in NJ can be leased for as little as $90/month for 3 years for one with a list price of $20,000. Triple that to really load it up and not have to put anything down and you’re still comfortable under paying the cost of the car for your lease. And in case you’re tempted to call bullshit: check out http://tinyurl.com/mzgzqxr

            And BTW, if he’s looking for a 950Supermoto, I’ll give him a deal on my 65,000 mile one—$15,000

            lol

          • DickRuble

            As it happens he leased it in NJ. I’ll ask the exact model when I see ihim. The lowest price he had found at the time was in PA for 370 or 380. I think you’ll find that the advertised $90 is PER WEEK.

          • Walter
          • DickRuble

            Yeah. when you get to the dealership they’re out of that special, very, very popular yet under-equipped model that requires $2600 down. They have the GLI for $360 though…

          • Walter

            As I said- triple the amount and you’re still way way under what your friend’s situation is.

            I’ll lyk what the dealer says though- as it so happens that I’m interested in one of those as a local car to replace my 15 yo Passat and I’ll be going to the dealer Monday.

          • Walter

            As I mentioned last week- I went to the VW dealer today, and they had both cars (actually they had several at that same price) available for exactly what the ad says.

            I didn’t want cloth interior (it was nice enough cloth, just not a fan of it) and did want a few other features that moved me into an SEL. With $0 down and just $500 for my Passat (basically what it would fetch at auction) it was $290/month for 36 months and 10,000 miles a year.

            Basically, the only way I could get to what your friend is paying is to buy 2 of them- a stripper and an upscale one lol

            Long story short (maybe too late lol): the 100,000 mile checkup on my Passat showed nothing amiss, so I’ll probably wind up keeping it for the nonce.

          • WerkJasper de Knegt

            I don’t think you can read mate! It clearly shows $89 dollars a month.
            I think that at that price you eighter have to pay a large sum of money at the end or you’re only allowed a very limited amount of miles. And at the end the car isn’t even yours….

          • Walter

            So nitpick over a dollar a month lol

            It was 10,000 miles a year. Which was fine for me.

            And yeah, that’s what a lease is– you don’t own the car at the end and have the option to buy it or return it.

            The important thing here is that, depending on circumstances, sometimes it’s better to buy and (get ready for it) sometimes it’s better to lease.

          • WerkJasper de Knegt

            I’m amazed by the pizes. In the Netherlands they’ve introduced private leasing a couple of years ago. Everyting is included, road tax, maintenance, tires if the were to wear out. The only thing you have to pay for yourself is the petrol. A micro car like the VW UP! and a four year lease with 6250 miles a year wil cost you anyting upwards of 200 euro/month depending of how you spec the car. That’s about 230 US dollar!!
            https://www.sixt.nl/fileadmin/user_upload/vw-up-5d-weiss-2013.png

      • ColoradoS14

        Ducati and BMW now offer this in the US, as long as you dont do crazy miles and trade up for a new model regularly it seems to be an ok deal.

      • sburns2421

        It is not really a lease in the US for BMW and Ducati. It is financing with a balloon at the end. Both programs are similar. Finance for four years with a known fixed value for the bike (balloon payment) due after 48 months. For BMW it comes out to almost exactly half of what is initially the financed amount (i.e. finance $14k, your 48 payments pay $7k of principle and your balloon is $7k.) I assume Ducati is the same although they have so far only published the monthly payment examples, the numbers look the same.
        Ride it as much or as little as you like. Trash it for all they care. You still owe that fixed amount at the end. It is not a guaranteed trade-in value as I understand it.
        They hope after four years you trade it in for their new model and start again, but you would also have the option of refinancing or selling it yourself.
        If you were to keep it, it really is the same as financing for 8 years as 4.99% or whatever the quoted rate is assuming you can still get that rate for the second four years, not bad I suppose if you cannot afford higher payments and a shorter 60 month finance time frame. Then again, if you are working that close to the bone on affordability perhaps $20k toys are not in your budget.

  • Old MOron

    “Sweetly singing”? Where have I heard that before?

    With tales of the brave MOrons
    How their naked ears were tortured
    By superbikes sweetly singing

    The broadly painted darkies
    Run laughing from your right wrist
    And you want to take the speedbikes
    To Fontucky after winter

    Guitar outro: wah wah wa-wa-wah wa-wa-wah wah wah…

    • DickRuble
      • Old MOron

        First you ask for it in verse, then you say “Stop! Stop!”
        Oh well, if you can’t be an “influencer commenter” http://disq.us/p/153e3t2, maybe you can be an umbrella boy http://www.motorcycle.com/events/motogp-le-mans-preview-2017 .

        • DickRuble

          .. when I said verse I meant alexandrine.

          • Old MOron

            This Ruble has mettle: undaunted he proceeds.
            Influence of MOrons he easily achieves.

          • Old MOron

            Since you like Latin-romantic forms, how about terza rima?

            That Ruble could falter
            Does not occur to me
            He’s like the rock of Gibraltar

            Read his posts. No doubt you’ll see
            His influence spans ages
            And his readers follow with glee

            His thoughts should be printed on pages
            The flimsy Web is not enough
            To sustain his wit when it rages

          • Born to Ride

            Do me! Do me! haha

          • Old MOron

            Roses are red
            Violets are blue
            You are a MOron
            I am one, too.

            Okay, okay… Ahem:

            Born to Ride, his eponymous call
            His school Polytechnic
            But that isn’t all

            From his start spinning wrenches
            In the shop with his dad
            To the engineering bench
            And his knowledge of CAD

            He applies good science to the task at hand
            But his talents run deeper, and his vision more grand

            Those long years of study at the local JC
            Made him a thinker well beyond you and me
            Ask him of ethics, or letters, or more
            Then pay close attention, or he’ll show you the door

            Sideways on his Raptor, he’s got power to spare
            Meet him at Cahuilla if you dare.

            Oh, don’t be afraid
            It’s known from here to China
            When the chips are down
            He’s got sand in his vagina!

          • Born to Ride

            I love you man.

  • mackja

    I track an EBR and I can tell you it will hold its own with no problem, just get the geometry and suspension set up dialed in and you will have an ear to ear grin on your face!!

    • DickRuble

      Not a chance. These guys are used to plushy rides.. If it doesn’t come with cruise control and air conditioning it has no merit to them.

      • Old MOron

        That’s right. T-rod even insists on having three wheels and an automatic transmission nowadays.

        • DickRuble

          Old age catching up to him..

      • mackja

        LOL, they are not that bad, although I know they like their electronics. I can provide set up measurements to make it a bit easier.

  • Roy Bentz

    the new gsxr 1000r will do thesame bhp numbers as the zx10r or even less. Throttle electronically capped at 60-70% throttle at 10-11k rpm. EPA reasons

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhYJk1a–XA

  • ADB

    Thanks for including Buell in the mix. My son has an EBR 1190 RX, and though it may be missing ABS, and the newest electronics, it is truly a fabulous bike. Especially for the price.

  • Classax

    Right now the EBR offers the best bang for your buck! I think once they get them all on the track they will find we past the point of diminishing returns with regard to HP a few years back. Without the electronic nannies half the field is a high side looking for a place to happen. I’ll go out on a limb and say the RSV4 will take home first place and the EBR will be rated last. The snowflake generation can’t live without their nannies.

    • Fivespeed302

      You nailed it.

  • William Walker

    On the chart, the weight of the EBR is way off. It weighs about the same as the S1000rr – about 419 dry and 450 wet. They list the BMW as 420lbs and the EBR as 450lbs – they are not 30lbs different.

    • Classax

      Mine tips the scales with a full tank at 422lbs thanks to DA Designs! Handles like a 250 with liter bike power.

  • Aaron Brodsky

    Man, those are expensive bikes. A cool test would be to use a universal body work so the all look the same. Then test them.

    • Fivespeed302

      Not only would that be impossible, it would be completely pointless. If you’re thinking about aerodynamic advantages of one vs. the other, the difference is minimal. Bodywork doesn’t really become aerodynamic until you use something like the Vetter.

  • Aaron Brodsky

    Also, you can get a super fast killer liter bike used for a fraction of the price.

  • Will Viljoen

    Because of the bargain price the BMW would have to be the best overall package when factoring in bang for your buck. And its a BMW not a Suzuki…

  • AM

    Buell is DEAD. And very dated. what’s the point?

  • mog

    CALCULATED WEIGHT???
    Try the calculator without your Joe Rocket gloves on ! ! ! !
    190 kg or 418.9 pounds.

    • Kevin Duke

      Measured 451 lbs with its tank full…

      • mog

        Must be leaded gas, huh?

  • mog
  • Hugie

    Its a shame that Buell EBR is getting ink/attention now! Where were the reviews last year, the shoot out, the tests, the long term run on the only American sport bike??? Although I love the fact it was included in this test, it’s a little bit too late!

  • mog

    EBR will have the last laugh.
    Now that the closure of the company is final (as of May 24th, 2017), the 1190RX and SX will sell during a two month auction. This means anywhere from $4,000 to $9,000 per bike.

    Although Just a few hundred (?) bikes, that will significantly interfere with the sales of all the other super bikes tested. That means 1.5 to 2 million dollars of foreign super bikes will be sidelined on dealers floors while the EBR inventory gets cleaned out.

    To top it off, many HD dealers will repair the bikes and Liquid Assets will be selling parts for quite a while. Someone said the bike is dated. It sure beats about anything he or anyone else could afford currently, for the same amount of money.

    Let’s see, a Ducati or Aprilia for $20,000 or an EBR for $5,000……. yep!! Now do you get the point???

    Competitors will (for the short term) rue the day that EBR shut down.
    Follow the money.