It’s been two years since we summoned together the superpowers of the sportbike world. In that time the Aprilia RSV4 RR, Honda CBR1000RR, Kawasaki ZX-10R, and Suzuki GSX-R1000 have either been heavily revised or completely overhauled. These changes beg a reinspection into the pecking order of world’s premier street-legal superbikes. Can Japan wrest away the literbike crown from the European OEMs, Aprilia and BMW, that have dominated the class since 2010?

2015 Six-Way Superbike Track Shootout

2015 Six-Way Superbike Street Shootout

The last time a Japanese motorcycle won a MO superbike shootout was 2009 (2009 Literbike Shootout), with Honda’s CBR1000RR coming out on top. The next year BMW introduced the S1000RR and changed the landscape of top-class sportbikes, winning every shootout it’s been involved until the Aprilia RSV4 seized the crown in 2015. Chief superbike flogger Kevin Duke clarifies the Beemer’s impact in his Best Of 2010 Awards.

2017 Superbike Spec Chart Shootout

“After years of incremental increases in performance among sportbikes, along comes a fresh player to shake things up in the literbike world in a way we haven’t seen for more than a decade when the first-gen R1 debuted,” said Duke.

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Two years ago BMW’s S1000RR defeated Aprilia’s RSV4 RR by 0.5%, the CBR1000RR was already ancient, Ducati had Panigales in its media pool, and we didn’t even bother including a Gixxer. 2017 is a changed superbike landscape.

Following the RSV4’s ascendancy to the superbike bridesmaid  in 2015, the RSV4, now equal in power output to the mighty BMW, claimed MO’s Sportbike of the Year award for 2016, and narrowly defeated Kawasaki’s new-for-2016 ZX-10R in our $17,000 Superbike Faceoff. For 2017 the RSV4 returns with improved electronics, which we covered in our First Ride Review last month. Is it enough to keep the new Honda (2017 Honda CBR1000RR And CBR1000RR SP Review) and new Suzuki (2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Review, 2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000R Review – First Ride) at bay?

This shootout outlines how these sportbikes perform in street environments, from city riding to freeway droning, and, the best part, flogging them on some of our favorite twisty roads. Their racetrack prowess will be discussed in an upcoming article.

The results of our testing weren’t unanimous among our cadre of seven testers, so we again had to rely on our comprehensive Scorecard to sort out the differences and distinctions of each bike. Frankly, a consumer could be very happy with any of these adrenaline-producing machines.

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Twin Notes

You’ll notice the glaring absence of a Ducati in this shootout. You’re also unlikely to see one in another American-based comparison test, as Ducati hasn’t stocked its U.S. press fleet with any of the big Panigales. It almost seems as if some of Ducati’s American reps might be unwilling to risk the chance of its bikes losing in shootouts. We had a similar problem in our 2015 shootout when Ducati suddenly backed out of our track testing and we scrambled to use a private-owner’s Panigale S instead. That bike finished a strong 3rd in 2015. Another contributing factor could be the long-rumored V-4-engined sportbike expected to debut at the EICMA show this fall, a move that would likely demote the Panigale as the Italian brand’s flagship. It makes us wonder if 2017 could be the the final season of World Superbike racing in which a V-Twin claims a victory…

But a superbike shootout wouldn’t be the same without a V-Twin in the mix, and we were able to source an 1190RX from EBR Motorcycles to provide a deeply booming exhaust note to our mix of four-cylinders. Ironically, EBR’s current owners, Liquid Asset Partners, announced during our testing that it was unable to secure additional investors for EBR, so all of the company’s assets are back up for sale to the highest bidders.

Liquidation Sale On EBR Motorcycles Factory Assets

V-Twins have had a huge influence on superbike racing since the series came online in the 1970s, winning loads of championships for Ducati and inspiring Honda, Aprilia, Suzuki and Bimota to build V-Twin contenders – not to mention driving the actual displacement limit to 1000cc for all bikes, not just the twin-cylinder ones. Suddenly, the V-Twin superbike looks to be joining the endangered-species list.

—Kevin Duke, Editor-in-Chief

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Get ’em while they last. With the announcement – untimely delivered while we were out testing these bikes – of EBR’s next demise (Liquidation Sale On EBR Motorcycles Factory Assets) prices have dropped to an advertised $10k for a new 1190RX. For equity we kept the MSRP of $13,995, but who can deny the allure of such a bargain for 162.3 rear-wheel horsepower?

The 1190SX is right in the thick of things with Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha. The CBR is surprisingly underpowered, especially when compared to the 180ish ouptut of the two Euro contenders, Aprilia and BMW. Note how the power of the CBR (after being the highest-output four-cylinder in the 7000-8000 range) flattens out after 10k rpm, followed soon after by the ZX, GSX-R and R1, so that they are able to pass the EPA’s noise-emissions regulations by partially closing throttle plates at high rpm. It appears once again that the Euro bikes are unaffected.

The 1190SX is right in the thick of things with Kawasaki, Suzuki, and Yamaha. The CBR is surprisingly underpowered, especially when compared to the 180ish ouptut of the two Euro contenders, Aprilia and BMW. Note how the power of the CBR (after being the highest-output four-cylinder in the 7000-8000 range) flattens out after 10k rpm, followed soon after by the ZX, GSX-R and R1, so that they are able to pass the EPA’s noise-emissions regulations by partially closing throttle plates at high rpm. It appears once again that the Euro bikes are unaffected.

Boasting a color TFT display and traction control, the EBR is otherwise devoid of electronics. In its streetfighter 1190SX guise, we didn’t mind so much placing it third in our Yet Another Streetfighter Shootout!, but in this group of envelope-pushing superbikes the EBR’s lack of electrons is hard to overlook.

“The platform feels fantastic but the whole package just isn’t as refined as the other bikes, like it’s five years behind the times,” says John Burns. “For me, it’s a raucous modern interpretation of a `90s Ducati 900ss with twice the power. It’s the only Twin here and vibrates a bit more than the others, but always in a really good fuzzy-amp way to me.

For street use the EBR’s trend-bucking single, large, rim-mounted disc, and reverse caliper provide suitable braking performance.

For street use the EBR’s trend-bucking single, large, rim-mounted disc, and reverse caliper provide suitable braking performance.

Some of us, such as guest-tester and master of the sexual innuendo, Thai Long Ly, found even more reasons to like the discordant V-Twin.

“I love the raw, visceral feel of the motor. Like a thick manly shoulder rub from a homeless bodybuilder, or so I’ve been told,” says Ly. “The EBR rumbles like something this powerful should. Its unrefined nature and unpolished performance is something I can completely identify with. I like it.”

Like polishing the back of one’s shoes, the view of the EBR’s underside shows a nicely finished motorcycle including the tucked-out-of-the-way kickstand.

Like polishing the back of one’s shoes, the view of the EBR’s underside shows a nicely finished motorcycle including the tucked-out-of-the-way kickstand.

Measured with a 451-pound curb weight, the EBR is the fourth-heaviest bike here, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. Light on its feet with a willing and confident chassis, the EBR was admired by our testers in the twisties.

“I didn’t know if I was going to be a fan of the EBR all that much, but the more I rode it the more I liked it,” says Dirtbikes.com editor Scott Rousseau. “On the street, it feels small and light, and it’s also nice and stable all the way through a corner.”

Conversely, Evans Brasfield noted that “vibration makes it feel unrefined, unfinished. Some people call that character, I just found it mildly annoying. Great sound, though! Opening the throttle releases a bellow that makes up for many of the EBR’s shortcomings.”

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A motorcycle’s ergonomics are certainly in the spotlight when conducting a street test, and for the Yamaha its low Ergonomics/Comfort score of 76.43% was a damaging blow to its overall standings. Burnsie was the most vocal among us regarding the R1’s seating position.

“I’m actually a Yamaha guy who owns a 2000 R1, and I continue to not get this one. It’s a great sportbike after you get to where you can unlimber it – but getting there is a literal pain in the ass for 5-foot-8 me,” he says. “Once you make it to S2, though, it’s got great systems integration that rivals the Honda’s, advanced cool techy gauges to play with, awesome suspension and brakes, a great gearbox and the next best engine sound after the Aprilia’s V-4. But it’s the last one I’d pick if I needed to go 400 miles in a day.”

In terms of torque production, nothing really touches the EBR – the only bike in this test with more than 1000cc. The Yamaha produces the least amount of torque, which is a detriment at street speeds where riders spend more time away from peak horsepower, and the ZX also shows a lag in midrange output. The BMW bests the four-cylinder bikes when it comes to pound-feet numbers.

In terms of torque production, nothing really touches the EBR – the only bike in this test with more than 1000cc. The Yamaha produces the least amount of torque, which is a detriment at street speeds where riders spend more time away from peak horsepower, and the ZX also shows a lag in midrange output. The BMW bests the four-cylinder bikes when it comes to pound-feet numbers.

The R1 scaled in at the second lightest in this test, which was surprising to our testers who judged its steering to feel heavier than that of the lightweight Honda and others. Two testers had problems coming to terms with R1’s front end, while some others found the brakes at street speeds to be wooden without much feedback.

Outfitted with some of the best electronics available, testers comments varied from praising the Yamaha’s color TFT display to condemning its twitchy throttle response in ride mode A. And while it does have a quick-shifter going up, it lacks an auto-blipping downshifter. Nonetheless, the R1’s transmission was a favorite among a few of us.

When it comes to appearances there’s no arguing the Yamaha is in a class of its own, but avant garde styling can be polarizing. Some of our testers love the look of the R1, while others are less enamored.

When it comes to appearances there’s no arguing the Yamaha is in a class of its own, but avant-garde styling can be polarizing. Some of our testers love the look of the R1, while others are less enamored.

“The Yamaha’s crossplane-crank motor does seem to be able to dig into pavement and hook up for strong corner exits,” says Duke, “and it sounds just like Rossi’s bike!” The rest of our testers agreed the sound emanating from the R1 is bested only by the magical V-Four of the Aprilia.

Yamaha built the R1 to be an ultimate track weapon to compete and win in superbike categories around world with little regard to its streetability, and it shows. For the serious performance junkie willing to overlook street shortcomings, the YZF-R1 could be for you. Its sixth-place ranking was a scant 1.5% behind fourth place, and that may very well change when ranked in our upcoming track test.

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The current version of Kawasaki’s ZX-10R came to life last year, and while we didn’t host a multi-bike showdown in 2016, we did conduct a two-bike standoff between the Kawi and 2015 superbike-shootout winning RSV4 RR. In that comparison (The $17,000 Superbike Faceoff) we lamented the fact that the Kawi made less power than the Aprilia, but also that the Kawi doesn’t begin producing serious power until it reaches 8,000 rpm. That critique remains and is largely responsible for the ZX finding itself placed behind the new Suzuki GSX-R1000.

“The Ninja pulls with the ferocity of seven whole gerbils before finally unleashing its steroidal demons somewhere above 7,000 rpm,” says Ly. “Like me in the morning, it takes a while to wake up, though the engine feels great if you’re patient enough to wait for the smooth I-4 to finally find its go.”

Soft bottom end power is no detriment to lofting the Ninja’s front end. Note the easily accessible spin-on oil filter.

Soft bottom end power is no detriment to lofting the Ninja’s front end. Note the easily accessible spin-on oil filter.

Besides its sub-8000 rpm power outage, the Kawasaki garnered few nitpicks other than extra heat around the rider’s feet (especially the right ankle). Its handling was so benign that it drew few comments.

“At first I thought the Kawasaki was slow steering compared to the others,” says Brasfield, “but after spending more time in the saddle, I think it’s more that the ZX just wants to be told what to do. Give it firm input, and it’ll follow your lead. Get wishy-washy or ask it nicely to do something, and it becomes recalcitrant.”

Brembo M50 calipers, fully adjustable Showa Balance Free fork, and 90-degree valve stems speak volumes of Kawasaki’s attention to quality and details.

Brembo M50 calipers, fully adjustable Showa Balance Free fork, and 90-degree valve stems speak volumes of Kawasaki’s attention to quality and details.

Most testers found the Kawi’s ergos to their liking, commenting on the natural-feeling throttle, excellent transmission, and user-friendly electronics. The Ninja is built for excellent track performance while maintaining its social graces when ridden at street-legal speeds on public roads.

“Amazingly panoramic mirrors,” says Editorial Director Sean Alexander. “Even this one fat guy I know can see around and behind himself on the ZX-10R, no side-shifting or elbow lifting required. Hey it’s the little things.”

Rousseau agrees, saying “The Ninja’s ergos are similar to the CBR’s in terms of feel if not outright dimensions. I think the Kawasaki might even have the edge on this field in overall comfort when in sport-touring mode. About the only thing I noticed was that the bar position that is so comfy over the long haul tended to make it a little harder to crank the bike into corners.”

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Scoring among the Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha is the epitome of splitting hairs as the three are only separated by 1.46%. In fact, the spread between the Yamaha and the Kawasaki is a scant 0.73%, while the difference between the Kawi and Suzuki is the same scant 0.73%. When you remove objective scoring (price, weight, power) from the results, there exists only a 0.03% difference in subjective scoring between the Kawasaki and Suzuki in favor of the Ninja. And While the Suzuki and Kawasaki performed similar dyno runs, it’s the mid-range grunt of the Suzuki that pushed its engine performance score well above the Kawi’s (92.5% vs 88.2%).

“The motor feels great down low and the bike pulls hard for an inline-4,” says Thai. “The engine is a bit vibey around 5k and doesn’t start smoothing out until you’ve swept past 6k, where it keeps pulling and pulling until redline.”

It’s nearly impossible to walk by the right side of the Suzuki and not wonder why the muffler appears to be three sizes too big. Yoshimura probably likes this.

It’s nearly impossible to walk by the right side of the Suzuki and not wonder why the muffler appears to be three sizes too big. Yoshimura probably likes this.

It may be a new model GSX-R, but one thing it hasn’t lost is that traditional, familiar, comfortable sitting in, not on top of, feeling Gixxers are famous for. It’s one of the most streetable seating positions in sportbikedom that provides not just rider comfort, but also confidence in the bike’s ability to quickly navigate a stretch of canyon switchbacks.

“The Suzuki has that sneaky trait shared by a lot of great and highly effective motorcycles: it begins to disappear beneath you as you get on with the business of riding,” says Alexander. “That may sound a little boring, but it’s high-praise indeed.”

The Suzuki’s digital display is one of the only non-color instrument clusters of the group, but it boasts the largest screen of them all. The Kawasaki at least has that color tachometer that’s easy to see, even peripherally.

The Suzuki’s digital display is one of the only non-color instrument clusters of the group, but it boasts the largest screen of them all. The Kawasaki at least has that color tachometer that’s easy to see, even peripherally.

It needs mentioning that at $14,999 the base model GSX-R1000 is the price leader among the group (not including the liquidized EBR). Its MSRP is $1,400 less than the next more expensive bike, the ZX-10R ABS KRT Edition at $16,399 (It retails for $16,099 with ABS; $1,000 cheaper without). Had we the non-ABS standard ZX, the Suzuki would still have won on the Scorecard, albeit by an even closer margin, but then, out of fairness, we would have to have used the non-ABS GSX-R that retails for $14,699, taking things back to where they began.

2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Review

2017 Suzuki GSX-R1000R Review – First Ride

Lacking the quick-shifter of the R model didn’t hamper the standard Gixxer’s transmission, as most testers praised its slick shiftability and excellent slipper clutch. However, there was a noticeable abruptness in throttle response when set to A mode; changing it to B mode removes the harshness while not restricting top-end power.

“The Gixxer’s suspension is very good considering the bike’s price,” says Duke. “Despite the really choppy road surface climbing up Palomar, the bike’s wheels exhibited no chatter.”

While attractive in its MotoGP livery, the GSX-R1000 did suffer a case of banality noted among more than one tester, but we’ll use Thai’s colorful description to surmise the group’s general opinion.

“This is a great bike that does everything extremely well,” he says. “It’s the super cute girl that studies hard, has a great body, is loyal and wants to be your girlfriend. But you’re just not into her. And that’s too bad. Because it’s really an amazing bike that handles like butter. I thoroughly enjoyed riding the Gixxer for no other reason than the bike hauls ass and feels easy doing so. But as a streetbike, I need more bang than bland.”

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It was years in the making, but finally, at last, a new CBR1000RR has arrived with an electronics package from the 21st century. The Honda impresses simply lifting it off its sidestand. At 433 pounds full of fluids, the standard model CBR1000RR beats the next closest curb weight of the Yamaha by eight pounds, and its own SP model from two years ago by the same amount.

Eight pounds may not seem like much until you ride the Honda. The CBR’s light weight and mass centralization make it as light on its feet as a ballet dancer, able to carve a tight set of switchbacks with Ginzu efficiency. Reaching deeper into the bag of cliches, the CBR1000RR is a liter bike with the handling proficiency of a CBR600RR.

“I love it. Hold up… let me rephrase that. I f’ckin love it!” says Thai. “This bike is light, fast and fun. The motor makes far more power on the butt dyno than the DynoJet ever acknowledged, but who cares. The bike just rips. I’m a small guy and this bike feels small to me. Like a 600 that can drop the hammer of the gods with cat-like stealthiness when scratched.”

Information on the CBR’s color TFT display is nicely arranged, and is easily legible on the fly, although there is some redundancy in the default setting with dueling tachometers.

Information on the CBR’s color TFT display is nicely arranged, and is easily legible on the fly, although there is some redundancy in the default setting with dueling tachometers.

Ah yes, the dyno, the elephant in the room. Outputting 153.2 ponies at 10,600 rpm is embarrassingly low among this group of superbikes. Until, however, you factor in the CBR’s weight. Compared to the most powerful, as well as heaviest two bikes, the Aprilia (470 pounds) and BMW (460 pounds), the Honda is pushing 2.8 pounds per horsepower to the their 2.6 pounds per horsepower. Certainly adds up, but when looking at torque, the Honda has the advantage by pushing 5.6 pounds per pound-foot compared to 5.7 pounds for the BMW, and 6.1 pounds for the Aprilia. It’s the light-makes-right scenario, and it helped earn the Honda a low 90s percentage on the Scorecard, narrowly missing out on second place in the shootout.

“At one point on tight Mt. Palomar I thought, ‘Dang I love this nimble and midrange-intensive Aprilia,’ only to look down and realize I was on the CBR,” says Burnsie.

That’s not actually the engine you’re looking at, it’s plastic covers for the engine. According to Honda it’s not for aesthetic purposes, it’s to help meet stringent noise limits. Honda, always playing by the rules.

That’s not actually the engine you’re looking at, it’s plastic covers for the engine. According to Honda it’s not for aesthetic purposes, it’s to help meet stringent noise limits. Honda, always playing by the rules.

The optional up-and-down quickshifter (a $579.95 option) received high praise from all testers, and the transmission scored resoundingly well on the Scorecard, but a couple of us noted occasional false neutrals. Maybe it was user error, but a crash by Guy Martin at IoMTT hints at there being a problem with the Honda’s transmission (Guy Martin’s lucky escape | Isle of Man TT 2017).

Otherwise, the Honda was praised for having the smoothest running engine of the bunch, exceptional user-friendliness, fantastic feel and braking performance from its Tokico calipers, and possibly the best ergonomics.

“The Honda has the second best riding position for the street, straddling the razor’s edge of sporting purposefulness with real-world comfort,” says Evans. “Give it a cruise control, and it’d challenge the BMW for the best all-around performance seat.”

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Defeating the Honda by a narrow victory (0.22%) says a lot about the Honda, because the BMW had to cheat to get here. Sure, the Scorecard punished the BMW for being the most expensive bike in the test ($1,600 over the Honda’s as-tested price of $17,378) but it wasn’t enough to upset the podium.

What those extra greenbacks get you are forged wheels and electronic semi-active suspension. If you can afford the options they’re worth their asking price because nothing beats pushbutton suspension on the street, and lighter wheels are perhaps the best way to elevate a bike’s performance. And even if we could get a standard-issue S1000RR for its $15,495 MSRP, it most likely still would have come in second place in the shootout, if not first.

“Now I see what the fuss is all about,” says Thai. “This bike just does it all, and does it all well. It’s the sandals of superbikes, rolling over everything with the nonchalance usually found in Range Rovers. The motor makes power everywhere. Over here. Over there. Under that. Behind this. Look anywhere and the bike just pulls and pulls like two fistfuls of hair in a drunken ladies’ night bar fight.”

The non-color, non-TFT display with analog tach is showing its age among the flashy color new stuff but still clearly conveys the information required.

The non-color, non-TFT display with analog tach is showing its age among the flashy color new stuff but still clearly conveys the information required.

Weighing 460 wet pounds, you’d expect the BMW to be noticeably slower to transition, but it’s simply not the case. Credit the lightweight forged aluminum wheels that allow quick transitions. The BMW is as nimble as the Honda while also exhibiting more stability in fast sweepers. About the only time you feel the Beemer’s heft is when picking it up off its sidestand. BMW engineers have also perfected the bike’s electronics package with an up-and-down quickshifter that works well at any speed in nearly any situation.

“I’ve had the good fortune to ride every generation of the S1000RR, and it just keeps getting better all the time,” says Rousseau. “My only gripe is that there’s still quite a bit of vibration that seeps through to the S1000RR’s handlebars, which limits the fun factor on longer rides.”

Take a gander at what is arguably one of the most comfortable seats in all of sportbikedom, with padding that is a magical combination of comfort and support. For the passenger, probably not so much, but, let’s be honest, these bikes aren’t built with passengers in mind.

Take a gander at what is arguably one of the most comfortable seats in all of sportbikedom, with padding that is a magical combination of comfort and support. For the passenger, probably not so much, but, let’s be honest, these bikes aren’t built with passengers in mind.

Now the elder member of the superbike class, the BMW S1000RR is aging like Valentino Rossi; it may not dominate the way it once did, but it’s always running near the front and remains popular among superbike fans.

“I think the BMW may be the best all-around bike here,” says Brasfield (although he scored it behind the Aprilia). “The engine is ready whenever you need it. The suspension rocks. The brakes are bulletproof. There’s a reason why the S1000RR is always in the running in our superbike shootouts.”

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Until our track test results are calculated, the Aprilia can’t officially claim back-to-back championships, but it is the winner of this year’s superbike street test. Two years ago it was the Aprilia’s bump in horsepower that put it on equal footing with the BMW. This year it’s the bike’s upgraded electronics (including cruise control and cornering ABS) that helped keep the RSV4 on top of the superbike street heap.

The voting wasn’t unanimous, with one tester (me) choosing the BMW over the Aprilia as the best overall bike on the street. It’s my opinion that my fellow MOrons allow their emotions to cloud their objectivity, drunk on the sound of Aprilia’s V-Four, but maybe that’s more representative of how people purchase motorcycles, emotion trumping practicality.

Burnsie explains his disaffection for the BMW here: “Like being suckled by a Valkyrie, you get nutrition but not quite love, no emotional attachment.”

When it comes to describing the sound emanating from Aprilia’s V-4 powerplant, we’ve exhausted the thesaurus. Simply put, it’s a sound you never grow tired of hearing. And part of the soul-stirring reasons why emotional motorcyclists find themselves drawn to the Aprilia over the BMW.

When it comes to describing the sound emanating from Aprilia’s V-4 powerplant, we’ve exhausted the thesaurus. Simply put, it’s a sound you never grow tired of hearing. And part of the soul-stirring reasons why emotional motorcyclists find themselves drawn to the Aprilia over the BMW.

Like the BMW, but more so by 10 pounds, the Aprilia is heavy – heaviest of the group – but it doesn’t adversely affect the bike’s handling. Sure, it would accelerate even better were it 30 pounds lighter, but the RSV’s chassis is as good as it gets when it comes to enabling motorcyclists to ride faster.

“The ergos are aggressive, the seat is hard and unforgiving, but all this does is help the world-class chassis communicate every nook and cranny the asphalt has to offer when you’re pitched sideways at speed,” says Thai. “Telepathic is how I’d describe the handling. Just get on it and go. Fast.”

Full-color instruments is part of the Aprilia’s upgraded electronics package for 2017. Watching the lean-angle graph is interesting but dangerous, which seems a bit gimmicky. The R1 also has one.

Full-color instruments is part of the Aprilia’s upgraded electronics package for 2017. Watching the lean-angle graph is interesting but dangerous, which seems a bit gimmicky. The R1 also has one.

Amazingly, the RSV RR achieves this level of telepathy without resorting to forged wheels and electronic suspension, although it’s Sachs units were highly praised, but even more so were the Aprilia’s electronics.

“Independent electronic controls is the way rider aids should all be,” says Duke. “Wheelie control needn’t be tied to traction control.”

“The Aprilia’s throttle response is spot-on, and its electronic shift assist is super precise – it was my favorite transmission of the group,” adds Rousseau.

The profile of the Aprilia RSV4 hasn’t changed much since its introduction, but the bike’s performance has increased substantially. For the ultimate expression of Aprilia’s RSV4, look to the the RF model ($23k), or the exclusive FW-GP version, which, if you can afford it, would look wonderful parked next to your RC213V-S.

The profile of the Aprilia RSV4 hasn’t changed much since its introduction, but the bike’s performance has increased substantially. For the ultimate expression of Aprilia’s RSV4, look to the the RF model ($23k), or the exclusive FW-GP version, which, if you can afford it, would look wonderful parked next to your RC213V-S.

Besides being heavy, the physicality of the RSV is small, with most testers commenting on its diminutive dimensions and narrow-between-the-knees feel. Like descriptions for the sound of the Aprilia, we’ve also run out of complimentary phrases for Brembo M50 calipers, which the RSV4 is now outfitted. They’ll remain the benchmark in braking power and feel until something truly better comes along.

“After climbing off the cruel-shoes R1 and onto the Aprilia for the first time, finally I can sit up comfortably and cruise along – and now with cruise control even!” says Burnsie. “This one totally refutes the R1’s insistence that you have to suffer for your sportbike pleasure. It’s actually comfortable and goes like stink. I’d ride it to San Francisco in a heartbeat.”

The seat’s shape and padding isn’t quite as wonderful as the BMW’s, but that doesn’t seem to affect everyone the same way.

The seat’s shape and padding isn’t quite as wonderful as the BMW’s, but that doesn’t seem to affect everyone the same way.

Here’s Sean Alexander, in a rare moment of emotional transparency, summing up the romance novel that is the Aprilia RSV4 RR.

‘It’s everything. It’s the bike to buy, it’s the bike to date, it’s the bike to marry, and it’s the bike to run-away with… because it certainly runs away with all of our hearts.”

Awww. And Sean wasn’t the only one. The words lust, sex, love, and sublime were used on multiple occasions in the notes of all testers. How can anyone argue with that?

We hate to see ya go, but we love to watch you riding away.

We hate to see ya go, but we love to watch you riding away.

Look soon for our track shootout that’ll rank each bike according to its racetrack performance, followed by the overall selection of our 2017 superbike shootout champion.

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  • JMDGT

    I have never owned anything close to these wonderful machines. I like them all but the Honda calls out to me more than the others. Spoken like an old Honda guy.

    • Mahatma

      TBH I don’t think you can go wrong with either one of these missiles…

  • John B.

    It had to be the Aprilia based on MO’s previous reviews of these motorcycles. Hopefully, BMW will take note, update the RR, and once again leap forward the state-of-the-art among liter bikes. Great article. No surprise there either.

  • sgray44444

    How about a sidebar with tester height / weight and their ergonomic ratings of each bike… you know, for us old and tall guys.

    • Burns, Rousseau, Ly, and Duke are our testers of modest height and girth. Brasfield and Roderick are our “average male” testers, and your’s truly is our tall and massive tester.

      • sgray44444

        I guess my real question would be this: for your average sport enthusiast / canyon rider who doesn’t do track days and is on the larger side (6’4″, 250 lbs.) is there any reason to buy one of these or should I be looking at the Ninja 1000 and GSX-s1000f? Just how far off are the more comfortable sport options from the best presented here?

        • 12er

          At 6’6 I cant give a reason for owning one other than you think they are cool, if you’re street only… I used to run off and hide from my sportbike buddies on a semi well setup KLR in tight stuff. 300lb guy on a 30hp semi dirt bike…

        • John B.

          How about a KTM Super Duke 1290? It’s the most roomy super naked, has much more comfortable ergos than these superbikes, and has all the speed and power anyone could need on the street.

          • Stuki Moi

            Try the ZX14R as well. Another sportbike for big guys. And perhaps the S1000XR.

          • sgray44444

            I really like the ZX14R, but it’s a little on the heavy side and the insurance is insane.

          • 12er

            Thats my dream track bike, but I cannot be trusted on one on the street. My one demo ride proved that.

        • In all honesty, the ultimate comfort to performance bike is the KTM Super Duke R, but for just a tiny bit less comfort the Aprilia Tuono is the bike for me to buy with my fat 6’2″ body and long inseam. At 6’4″, especially if you spend a lot of time going in a straight line, then the Super Duke GT would honestly be a great choice. But I’d still take the Tuono for just about anything, ultimate comfort be damned!

          • sgray44444

            I’d sacrifice some comfort for ultimate performance, but some of the 1000 class bikes are a little too tight.

        • Tennisfreak

          What you are looking for is the Aprilia Tuono V4 1100.
          Best “comfortable” sport bike you can get, blow the snot out of a KTM Super Duke.

        • Mad4TheCrest

          From my experience with a superbike (albeit a Ducati), you’ll love the superbike’s top notch suspension and brakes but it won’t feel ‘right’ going at reasonable road speeds. These bikes come ‘alive’ the faster you go, which can be too fast for regular roads.

    • Lee

      To my way of thinking, height by itself doesn’t help much. It would have to be height together with inseam to see if the rider has a long or short torso and long or short legs. Two six-footers with radically different inseams are going to fit a bike much differently. It’s like buying riding pants with kneepads – two riders with the same inseam could have different proportions between length of thigh and length of shin. How does weight factor into ergometrics other than a rider’s big belly could bump into the tank?

  • ZeroCold

    You should have borrowed someone’s stock Panigale S for the test.

    • Tom Murray

      Well I guess if Ducati don’t want to play ball, they won’t get to feature in articles like this…it is foolish to think that most potential buyers of one of these bikes won’t be reading every Web article to see what they’re like…

      • spiff

        Mom wouldn’t let the Monster 1200R play with the other kids either. It is a bunch of Bologna if you ask me.

        • Kevin Duke

          Yep!

        • Tom Murray

          Fact is, you can’t claim to be the best and expect riders to take it on good faith…you have to prove it, and that means letting your product be compared against what’s on offer. I distinctly remember the Ducati salesman (in 2008) that told me “If you need to test ride it (Ducati 1098) then it’s not the bike for you”…. I drove 2kms down the road, test rode a CBR1000RR for 175kms and bought it that day.

        • Fat Owens Fat

          Italians are known to do that. Ferrari is notorious for saying NO to car magazines who want to pit their performance models against its rivals. They will only accept your invite if you sign a contract that says they will be allowed to bring so many technicians, equipments and then setup their own car around each racetrack around the world. Top Gear did call them out for that many a times. Not surprising that Ducati didn’t want to play ball.

    • Kevin Duke

      Ha! That’s what we had to do last time!

  • Chris

    Does that CBR dyno look very similar to the previous gen. CBR’s, or no?

    • Stanislav Rieger

      yup, looks like it has the timing retardation after 10k rpm for USA market again. After unlocking it will have more hp.

      • Chris

        Yep. Makes the great deals on a previous gen. CBR make more sense.

        • Mad4TheCrest

          You miss the electronics going with the old model, but if the e-toys don’t impress the old model is just as good a handler (or can be made so).

          • Chris

            I didn’t miss them, I just don’t want them..at least not for the extra cost, complication, and potential reliability issues. Naught against them, mind you; just not my ‘druthers.

    • Fat Owens Fat

      Yep much like the R1, it loses a bit of top end because of your Cali emission regulations. The R1 comes with optional ECU that takes the power back to 199hp from US spec 190hp(crank figure).

  • Branson

    Nice work MO! The rankings make lots of sense.

    Look forward to reading the track test.

  • vincent

    2:30 in the video, Where is that place please ? And where are those roads ? Cities names.

    • That was shot above Lake Elsinore on South Main Divide Road, approximately here: https://goo.gl/maps/rAoMLVqx9mp

      • vincent

        Thanks a lot Tom ! And where was shot the video named “Another street fighter shootout” you released in December 2016 ? You always pick beautiful sceneries for your videos and I envy you so so much guys. I’m a french guy living in the north of France and I think where you live is beautiful. I love your videos.

        • The “Yet Another Streetfighter Shootout” was filmed on Glendora Ridge Road here: https://goo.gl/maps/7yahCcJkq4L2
          Most of our videos are shot at various locations around Southern California. There’s certainly no shortage of curvy roads and beautiful scenery. However, I’ve ridden through Southern France and there’s some amazing riding in that part of the world. I’m not too familiar with Northern France, though.

          • vincent

            Northern France’s nickname is “the flat country”. It’s a lot less attractive than southern California in my opinion. Great you visited France, where did you go ?

          • Years ago I rode a Ducati along the coast from Bologna to Barcelona then across Spain to Portugal for a GP race. Then back across Spain, over Andorra, and a bunch of backroads through Southern France on my way to Munich for Intermot. That was before getting married and having a daughter 🙂

          • vincent

            WOW ! What a great trip :)) Thanks for your replies and have a good day.

      • Bruce Steever

        DON’T TELL THE CIVILIANS ABOUT OUR ROADS! Tom, I know where to find you…

  • Holy crap! Ty uses metaphors like a ninja master with a bottomless bucket of throwing stars at the driving range. Like a pregnant mouse firing mouse embryos out of its tiny vagina. Like an angry dragon breathing fire at a platoon of mounted nights. Like a submarine firing torpedoes at a convoy of sitting ducks. Like a pinata bursting open from a blow of Babe Ruth’s bat. A ready-made MOron!

  • Branson

    Excellent article, but have a question.

    Can you give a little more qualitative feedback on the roll-on performance for each of these bikes. You’ve mentioned that the CBR and GSXR both have solid low mid-range, and the Ninja doesn’t. But does that translate to practical street riding? I mean, if you’re in 5th or 6th gear and have to unexpectedly make a quick pass, how does each bike rank at being able to roll-on and make the move quickly and safely?

    That kind of info is important IMHO for selecting a bike that’s going to spend most of its life on the street.

    • Kevin Duke

      We did several roll-on tests during our ride, but there are few places on the street when you can get seven bikes side by side blasting to 100 mph. And also, then you’d need to make sure all the riders are the same weight. If this is a critical point for you, a close look at the dyno charts will fill in most of the details.

      • Branson

        Gotcha, I can read the charts as well as infer between the lines of the shootout and rider comments.

        Thoroughly enjoyed this feature, one of MO’s best.

      • It is however fair to say that the Honda did punch way above its dyno numbers when it comes to head-to-head roll-ons against such monsters such as the RSV4 and S1000RR.

        • Fat Owens Fat

          Weight loss techniques work for both man and machine. Leaner, meaner, stronger!

  • Tennisfreak

    Really surprised the Aprilia won the street. I know the engine is lust-worthy and the bike is amazing but unless some major changes have been made from the 16 model its pretty darn uncomfortable.
    In fact I’d say the only bike more uncomfortable than the Aprilia is the Yamaha.
    BMW is just so rock solid and comfortable.
    Honda built an amazing machine.
    I’m a little disappointed in the Suzuki, was expecting more power from the new engine.

    • Roy Bentz

      EPA Regulations for Japanese Bikes are the problem. Since they sell more bikes/vehicles the EPA has a higher bar for them.

      This is old but this is the problem.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjX_vNgRdek

      • James Marshall

        Excellent post there Roy an a very interesting video. I was shocked when i saw how low the power outputs on those bike were in comparison to UK spec bikes. In a recent Uk test, the R1 made 190 rwp, the Kawa 192, the Suzuki 185, Honda made 180, BMW, I think 195. All stock bikes from the Factory.

        • William Marvin Parker

          cue Sean alexander, ” this was not a test of modified bikes”… I agree, stock comparisons are silly…nobody keeps those ridiculous exhausts..

          • Bruce Steever

            I do. Therefore, your generalization needs an asterisk.

    • James Marshall

      The Suzuki makes 185 rwp in UK tests. All of these bike are hopelessly down in power in comparison to UK spec bikes at least. R1 makes 190, Kawa 192 etc etc…..

  • FreelancerMG

    Cool review. The only thing that comes as a slight question to my mind is the apparent bias towards the Aprillia and against the Yamaha. You panned the Yamaha that it’s racing ergos and overall firm suspension as a strong detriment to the Yamaha as a street bike and gloss over it on the Aprillia giving it barely a mention and then throwing in an apology for it’s racing ergos and crap seat that it’s better for the bike as a racing/performance machine. What seemed to get the Yamaha a fairly solid ding on it’s streetbike score (which I agree with) doesn’t appear to be equally held against the RSV4.

    While I’m not saying the Yamaha is better or being a Yamaha fanboi and all, but there does appear to be two very different voices for both bike’s strong race focused ergoes and suspension setups with one getting penalized street points and the other written off and seemingly swept under the rug and being excused away as “it’s a race bike so it’s forgiven.”

    • Kevin Duke

      Not one of our testers felt the Yamaha was more comfortable or equally as comfortable as the Aprilia. Amazingly enough, the RSV4 was rated fairly highly for comfort. As cool and as capable as the R1 is, it did few things better than the other excellent bikes in this comparison.

      • FreelancerMG

        I never said the Yamaha was more comfortable than the Aprillia. I was just noting that similar terminology was used for both bikes as far as its ergos and what got the Yamaha a relatively huge hit to its score was seemingly swept under the rug for the Aprillia. I know you guys really love the Aprillia and it seems to show very much. The review doesn’t seem very objective since it seems that any shortfalls for your apparent favorite were either ignored, quickly mentioned and brushed aside or turned to a benefit instead. It reads very biased and subjective and that there was a perceived winner before the shootout even began. Even if not intended, the way it was written gives the perception of favoritism and in a sense, tarnishes the spirit of a shootout in the first place.

        • As a guest tester with no real skin in the game (not staff/on payroll) I can assure you there is nothing but honest assessment on our agendas. I came into this test with an open mind and after several days aboard all these machines, I left with a very clear and focused opinion of each and every bike.

          Ridden in isolation, they’re all excellent and worthy of garage space. Only when hot swapping back and forth will you start to perceive very real differences between them. Sean and I couldn’t be farther apart on our views of this specific R1. There are several reasons for that, but the bottom line is that if the majority of us liked a bike, it means the bike is GOOD. The Aprilia is aggressive… but still comfortable. It’s amazing how they did that. The Yamaha is aggressive. But uncomfortable (for the street). Not sure how else to communicate that any clearer.

          And for the record, the two mandates I’ve ever been given before a test are:

          1. Don’t crash the press bike!
          2. Tell it like it is.

          Happy I was able to comply.

  • mog

    $5,850?
    EBR 1190RX?
    Such a price is quite possible in the next month or so as Liquid Asset Partners tries to dump their motorcycle inventory.
    Even a few of the 100, 1190RS race bikes may be left, for less than half the original price. Of course the standard 1190RX (rear view shown) is quite fetching.

    Me thinks a depressive dimple might be in the other six manufacturer’s sales charts until the last new EBR units are sold off, probably in September. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/445c3e2d2959ef80e87b07e48db387201c0514fb48b084a26f7f94ca7047e41e.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9edd7b0e9f2309a9dcf7fabe14207e4eaa66265d3528168d07bccf80e1d3cb93.png

    Keep tuned to the LAP auctions, your dream might just be a reality.

  • Lee

    Bernsie says the Yamaha’s ergometrics make it a pain in the ass on a 400-mile trip. Assuming a 400-mile trip includes an overnight, is there a way to pack luggage on any of these bikes or any bike with a wasp tail rear fender? I understand there are saddlebags for supersports, but they’re tiny.

    • Bruce Steever

      Backpack or bust.

      • Lee

        I was hoping you wouldn’t say that. My friend just bought a Yamaha with a wasp tail and that’s what he did. A backpack on a hot sunny day is no fun at all.

    • Stuki Moi

      Cortech makes a set of contoured throwover saddlebags that fit most wasptails. They’re not not huge, but hold a meaningful amount of stuff. They also attach tight enough, and have enough structure, to turn the wasptail into a much wider platform for strapping on a tailbag or duffle.

      For serious commuting/light touring convenience, the saddlebags have quick attach clips that allows secure attachment/detachment of a matching tailbag in about 4 seconds. And that tailbag is one heck of a laptop case/briefcase; expandable to fit anything from Ipads to 15-17″ laptops, with a comfortable handle for carrying.

      No affiliation with Cortech, but those bags are a pretty darned impressive piece of kit. They sits close in your wind shadow, hence out of the wind. I’ve had all three pieces on at legitimately high, sustained speeds in windy areas, without issue at all. Not even enough movement to cause any scratching to the paint underneath them, after several years of use.

      • Lee

        Thanks for that Stuki. It sounds like I could buy a bike with a wasp tail and go touring, maybe even camping if my gear was compact?

        • Stuki Moi

          Not sure if it’s just coincidence, or if Cortech employs very on-the-ball webmarketers who monitors comment sections for product mentions, but just today I noticed a press release for the bags right on this site 🙂 With a video that gives a good illustration of their size, looks and function.

  • mackja

    Nice review, all these bikes are truly amazing, but for me I like twins, and love my EBR’s. I agree Yamaha is not comfortable at all, while the Aprilia engine is awesome it is not comfortable for me either, so that is a no go. Suzuki and Honda I have not sat on or ridden yet so I can’t say. There are a bunch of Beemers on the track and they are beast. The EBR brakes have great feel and are great on the street, on the track install a set of sbs race pads and the difference is night and day. It is a shame EBR is going away, at least for now with Erik you never know! They have a ABS prototype at the factory so electronics where being worked on. Seems like ever since Ducati got embarrassed by the EBR a few years ago they took there toys and went home and won’t play any more.

    • Vagelis Fragos

      If the SBS DS pads make a “night&day” difference in braking performance, it was really stupid of EBR to not install it as OEM in the first place……. it was all these things that lead EBR to its shut down……. poor decisions to the point of being really stupid

      • mackja

        Race pads don’t work well on the street, it takes getting some heat into the pads to make the work. Installing them as OEM would be the stupid thing to do. Not going to argue, the financial problems with EBR can be directly traced to Hero motor corp for not paying the 20+ million they owed EBR for the development of 13 new motorcycles which produced 4 running prototypes. Hero has had a history of stiffing companies Honda got stiffed to and that is why they severed there relationship with them. Other factors are involved, but the bike is truly fantastic as several testers stated even with out all the electronics it is still a top notch machine.

        • Vagelis Fragos

          The main problem for EBR was 0 sales ……. If there were significant sales for EBR, the Hero fiasco was not going to bring EBR down…… I think that investors would have stepped up ……. Why EBRS did not sell ??? Well, one of the reasons was that testing the RX against Jap and Italian superbikes on the track and finding the brakes clearly inferior to the 2disc setup, created a bad reputation for the ZTL that is very hard to eliminate, even if the brakes are not that bad…… It was EBR’s responsibility to provide well prepared RXs for tests, even if that meant fitting expensive SBS DS pads just for those particular tests…… Information spreads very fast, and the rumor for the ZTL2 is not very good at the moment….. I personally had no problem using ZTL Race pads on the street ….all is needed is 1-2 stops when the pace increases……

          • mackja

            You can sit here all day and say shoulda woulda coulda, most of the people who criticize the brakes have never ridden the bike. Granted a dual disc set up probably will work better, but then you loose some agility and have more weight upfront, in engineering this there are give and takes. I personally have a street EBR and a track EBR, I have no complaints with either, OEM pads work great on the street, if you are riding hard enough for their to be a brake issue you are riding way to fast for the street, should be riding on the track. I do believe the bike was to high priced initially by 2 or 3 thousand dollars. Hero skipped out for more reasons than slow initial sales. They stiffed a German company also.

  • Arch Koven

    Great article as always. Which bike do you think is best for short riders? I’m really short, 5 ft 6, with a short inseam. I have serious problems with the seat height.

    • At 32.5 inches, the Suzuki and EBR have the shortest seat heights here which is a good starting point for reducing the seat height further. Also consider the narrowness of a bike’s seat/tank juncture, as this goes a long way in helping a taller bike feel shorter. The Honda’s seat height is a little taller (32.8 inches) but its seat/tank juncture is very narrow.

  • Old MOron

    I can’t get video at work, so I finally watched this thing tonight. Really good work, MOrons. Great drone footage. Great vistas. Nice banter between the MOronic testers. Good video transitions. Just good work all the way around.

    I like how the microphone matches JB’s whiskers exactly. Sean was gesticulating pretty emphatically at about 1:45. Was he trying to impress that little MOronette? How’d he do?

    • Emphatically? Hell man, I normally gesticulate like an Italian prostitute arguing with a meter maid.

      • Old MOron

        It was a rhetorical question solely intended to caricature your MOronic movement. But your reply was funnier than mine. Great simile!

  • Patriot159

    OK, OK, I’m convinced these bikes can wheelie! Bunch of hooligans! Funny how the Honda didn’t seem to get quite as much love in some individual tests but matches up well in the group, like the looks too. At my age the upright ergos of naked and ADV bikes are greatly preferred, but if I were to own one of these it would have to be the Italian exotica of the Aprilia.

  • All great bikes even though they are not my style. I would love to get one to decorate my place (If i was a millionnaire) 😛

  • Mike Wassemiller

    They need to do a review with ECU’s flashed and after market exhaust…its the only real way to measure what the motors in these are fairly capable of producing…Dyno comparisons like this are horse shit because of all the Emmision restrictions these bikes have to meet…..

    • Bruce Steever

      Might as well bolt up turbos, too. The point of any media test is apples-to-apples stock machines, just like the average joe will buy.

      • Mike Wassemiller

        That comment about turbos is rediculoys… 50% plus at least of all people that buy these bikes do buy aftermarket pipes and flash the ecu… it is a legit argument all of these bikes are so plugged up with emissions you cannot truly measure though their potential stock that’s my whole point… last year they were comparing the new generation ZX10R against older bikes that didn’t have to meet up to the new European Standard of emissions it was a totally unfair comparison on the dyno but once you flashes the ECU and put a cat delete pipe on the Kawasaki put out way more power than the bike it was compared too… what I think would be fun as if they did stock runs on all of them and then a follow-up run with pipes and tune… get a good idea just how much potential each bike has to put out

        • Craig Hoffman

          Testing flashed ECU bikes might not be practical for a big comparo like this, but it would make for some great follow up articles. You are right, it is remarkable what a flashed ECU and easy external mods can do for a bike. I have an ’06 FZ1 with an Ivan’s ECU, Akra full exhaust and a PCIII on it, and that old girl still goes hard. Got a GMC Canyon diesel pickup, that also responds incredibly well to ECU tuning.

          I consider the cost of a tune as a necessary expense on pretty much any new vehicle to eliminate the ass gasket sanitized for our protection tuning that pretty much everything comes with nowadays.

          • Mike Wassemiller

            Thank you and well put it would definitely be a fun follow-up article because I’m sure some machines would have bigger horsepower gains in others percentage-wise like I was trying to explain to Bruce there’s no doubt so much money spent into all the R&D to try to pull all this horsepower out of a plugged up motor however they’re also designed to be easily applicable to the racetrack so opportunities are there as they are tuned to pull big horsepower out of them as well. I get to see the different before and after bikes that Nels at two wheel dynoworks does but it would just be fun to see a major magazine show what the true capabilities of these machines are not just as they sit with a leash on them cuz in my opinion it’s not a truly thorough and fair review they are all however amazing machines

          • john burns

            indeed our lovely and talented dyno operator was working on just such a comparo for a Competing Publication; he said the ZX-10 made 200 hp with Power commander and exhaust…

      • Mike Wassemiller

        Bruce…the turbo comment is silly…these bikes are made to perform…some of the newer bikes like the Gen 5 Kawi 10R have to meet newer European emmision standards so it’s not a fair comparison against some of the other machines as occured last year in a comparison to a 2015 R1….they were close to the same…but put a cat delete pipe on and flash the ECU and the Kawi put out noticbly more power…Id bet 60-70% of people that buy these do get pipes and ECU tunes so it is a legit argument…Id like to see them test them all stock…then a follow up test with cat delete pipes and ECU tune… would be fun to see the difference in numbers… I know my Gen 5 made 168 rear wheel stock but makes 192 with a pipe and Flash on it

        • Bruce Steever

          You’re pulling that “60-70%” number out of thin air. Show me solid data that even 51% – a basic majority – of people modify their bikes along these lines. and i’ll concede the point.

          Most people bolt on a pipe and never touch the engine or fueling. I make this claim having seen OEM sales figures and compared them again what ECU folks are doing in terms of business.

          Don’t mistake your riding buddies as representative of the industry as a whole.

          • Mike Wassemiller

            Well the road race team I ride for is 2 wheel dynoworks out of Wash State.. so obviously I see a lot of bikes come in for tunes.. sure I don’t have hard numbers …seems like a lot and either way yes that’s just an assumption whether it’s 10% 30 or whatever don’t you agree it would be fun to see all the stock numbers and then all the bikes afterwards? the motors are so much more capable but definitely restricted because of emissions that’s just my point and to compare those bikes while they’re all put on a leash because of those emission controls just doesn’t give a fair representation of what they’re capable of..that’s my point not trying to have a big argument with you buddy we’re obviously both motorcycle enthusiasts and hey what’s wrong with a little more torque and a little more horsepower 🙂 I’m not one of those punks riding on the street I enjoy going fast on the racetrack but it’s nice to have a little more throttle control and acceleration when you need it on the street as well… I think one of the things I enjoy the most is just all the amazing people I meet in the motorcycle industry from all different sides of the spectrum. I happen to have a Harley Road King a 2016 ZX10R and also a second 2016 ZX-10R which is a race bike came out of retirement after two decades and I’m out having fun again. Whats your story Bruce and where are you from? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/81a22d4393b93916f29dead146c56a2550d446571abe93257052211e7fa6db93.jpg

          • Bruce Steever

            Whelp, at the risk of getting into some kind of online dick measuring competition, I’ll tell you where I’m from.

            I started at the dealership level, where I worked pretty much every role except for GM. I then got into media, first for a little sportbike rag called 2Wheel Tuner. I moved on to working for Dealernews as a senior editor. I worked as a technical editor and trainer for one Japanese OEM. I was managing editor for Motorcycle Consumer News. I now work as an instructor/developer for a different Japanese OEM.

            So yeah, I have s pretty good perspective, being tied in with industry numbers and all.

            I’m not trying to call you a liar, it’s just that I used to run magazine comparos, and it rustles my jimmies when someone questions the methodology of a big test like this, just ’cause.

          • Mike Wassemiller

            Well I have to say I’m a little jealous of that resume haha very impressive and that’s cool yeah I’m just a motorcycle Enthusiast who has raced bikes through the years and enjoy the sport. You definitely have a better Insight on the true numbers of people that mod their bikes No Doubt. No big dick shoot out here nothing but respect and like I said it’s a pleasure meeting all different motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world. We’ve had a lot of fun this year I retired the Washington State Superbike champion after winning a few other championships in 96 to raise my daughter and just came back in this year and I’ve had a lot of fun and support building a really fun race bike. I think it’s pretty amazing what the motorcycle companies have to deal with in trying to develop a high-performance motor with all the emissions on it it’s got to be a challenge no doubt so much R&D put into how to effectively pull horsepower out of a limited breathing motor and to see how the electronically control and limit the throttle open position Etc it’s been a learning experience for me this past year back when I race we pulled the tanks off pulled the carburetors off Shim the needles change the Jets excetera haha all this new technology is something else. Thanks for sharing your background it’s fun to chat with people who do have good knowledge and are well-versed in this industry and the Machines. Do you live in the states? Sorry for any spelling errors I’m using my phone voice text so hopefully you can understand what I’m saying ha

          • Bruce Steever

            Well, they one thing i can’t claim is any experience on the racing side of things. I’ve worked on race bikes, and i’ve been to too many trackdays and schools to count, but i’ve actually never turned a wheel on the track against competition.

            I should fix that, one day.

          • Old MOron

            Hey Bruce, I’m just sort of mentally connecting some dots here. Won’t be offended if you don’t reply. Any relation to Ms Ruth at West Valley Cycle Sales?

          • Bruce Steever

            No harm in asking, but no, that’s not me.

            My dealership days were served in Costa Mesa and Lake Forest.

  • Walter

    Nice report- thanks.

    Especially this classic:

    “Look anywhere and the bike just pulls and pulls like two fistfuls of hair in a drunken ladies’ night bar fight.”

  • BDan75

    Re: the Suzuki’s muffler, I recently saw a video (can’t recall where) in which one of the bikes tested had a plastic fairing covering the mid-pipe just fore of the muffler. It really helped the looks, IMO, by masking the visual contrast between the small pipe and the gigantic can.

    Thing is, that’s the only place I’ve seen it. I doubt it was aftermarket. Anybody know if this is a factory accessory, or something that’s offered on a different trim level of the bike?

  • Fat Owens Fat

    I really love that Honda color scheme. Matt black and red accents really accentuate the body lines. It looks even better in person than in pics. Think I’m going to put a downpayment on one of these, the SP isn’t that much more for the money here and it has the semi-active Ohlins Electronic Control (S-EC) suspension trickery that’s going to make it even better on the road with automatic adjustments over varied surface conditions. The MCN shootout also included torrential rains and bad roads and they rated the Blade the best road biased SBK.

  • Fat Owens Fat

    Btw guys, when you speak of track comparisons, are you testing these same base models on the track or are you talking about comparing the top spec brothers of all these models on track since they’re advertised as “track focused”?. If you’re testing these base models then I have to ask if you’re going to pit the Hp4/Fireblade SP/R1M/RSV4RF/ZXRR models and how long would that take?

  • PAra

    Great to see Aprilia winning another shootout, new Tuono V4 wan MCN shootout and now RSV4 RR won here. Excellent. Love Aprilias

  • utacity .

    i’d certainly like some more info on this shootout than stock configuration . an ecm flash on all bikes and comparing that to stock would be nice comparison. i’d also like some discussion of reliability..if you check the forums for example, you’ll find ebr has had some issues with that front exhaust header blowing out and there is an entire story on why its not a tubular header. i’d like to know the goals of each brand…is it to make a race bike that works on the street or is it a street bike that is so good it can be used on the track? in the case of ebr i think it was flat out supposed to be a race bike and then sold on the street without taking into consideration street needs. i know that is part of the charm for many ebr fans/owners, but i dont think thats how the other brands do things.