A few days riding seven of the most powerful sportbikes available on public roadways without incurring a single speeding ticket is next to miraculous. Johnny Law, wildlife, tourists, and sharing hotel rooms with one another are only a few of the occupational hazards we navigated when conducting our 2017 Superbike Street Shootout. The street-centric comparison may be representative of the actual lives most of these motorcycles will lead in the real world, but for us it’s a necessary precursor to where we prefer to be and where these bikes should actually be ridden: the racetrack.

“If you own one of these and don’t take it to the track, then you’re simply not getting your money’s worth,” says our Editor-in-Cheese, Kevin Duke. “If you want a high-performance streetbike and have no plans to bring it to a racetrack, you’d be better off with a Tuono or FZ-10 or 1190SX or Super Duke.”

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“We’re junkies loose in the pharmacy with all kinds of motorcycles here at MO, but every year – or at least every couple of years – when it’s time for the big Superbike Comparison!, well, all of us get even more amped-up than usual,” says John Burns in his latest Whatever – Sportbikes Forever! column. Burnsie goes on to describe the mixture of adrenaline and fear when piloting open-class sportbikes when removed from the bonds of laws and etiquette. And he couldn’t be more right. Launching a 180-horsepower Aprilia or BMW onto the banked straightaway at Auto Club Speedway, engulfed in the sound and fury of dizzying forward thrust, is an intoxicating thrill, to say the least.

Which one of these seven is the most thrillingest is what we’re here to discover. Our reigning Sportbike of the Year, Aprilia’s RSV4, won the street shootout by a minimal margin, but Honda’s new CBR1000RR put up an admirable fight by virtue of its surprising agility. And let’s not forget the excellence offered from the other manufacturers, including the World Superbike-winning Kawasaki ZX-10R, the MotoAmerica-winning Yamaha R1, the newly updated Suzuki GSX-R1000, and the class-redefining BMW S1000RR, all of which are worthy of your attention and consideration. Here we go.

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Retaining its 7th-place position from the street shootout, the EBR 1190RX lost a few percentage points in this venue largely because its foibles at legalish street speeds move front and center when at track pace. Take that single, large rim-mounted front brake, for instance, a complaint among all the testers.

2017 Superbike Spec Chart Shootout

“The 1190’s oddball front brake didn’t deliver the level of confidence needed on a high-speed racetrack, feeling weak relative to the others and causing me to run off in Turn 1 when I asked for the same level of braking at the same lever pressure,” says Kevin Duke. “It needs a strong pull to access its full power.”

If you’re desiring a fast trackday bike and don’t mind one that’s rough around the edges, can overlook its substandard front braking performance, and are willing to tolerate shrinking parts availability, the EBR 1190RX is a bargain at the $10k price several EBR dealers are asking.

If you’re desiring a fast trackday bike and don’t mind one that’s rough around the edges, can overlook its substandard front braking performance, and are willing to tolerate shrinking parts availability, the EBR 1190RX is a bargain at the $10k price several EBR dealers are asking.

The EBR’s best attributes – quick transitioning, a solid chassis offering good edge grip, and quality suspension – remain, allowing skilled pilots to take advantage of the EBR’s strengths. In the hands of our expert-level roadracer, Fabrice Vilder, he estimates he was an average of 2 seconds slower compared to the other bikes in the test. Not too shabby for a bike lacking the braking performance, much of the electronic wizardry and overall polish the others possess. Chalk up the EBR’s nearly-as-fast lap times to its impressive 162 horsepower and shootout-topping 87 lb.-ft. of torque.

“EBR sadly is a bit out of its depth,” says Burns. “Still feels really light and quick-reacting and seems to have power to stick with just about any bike out there. It’s just the integration of systems where it loses milliseconds (seconds in my case), its responses don’t flow as seamlessly together as the other bikes, with their lean-sensitive ABS, quickshifters, etc. Having said that, it’s the only one I could afford, at $10k, and it would be fun to try and smooth everything out. The power is already there…”

The 1190RX delivers impressive power figures from the biggest engine in this test. (Oddly, the EBR has an abnormally long throttle sweep that requires far more rotation to reach its stop.) Kawasaki and Yamaha are fighting one another for worst midrange torque curve, while the GSX-R’s variable-valve-timing system shows its powerband-broadening abilities. The CBR has a remarkably effective zone from 7000-10,000 rpm. Considering the BMW’s amazing pull up top, it’s incredible that it’s not really lacking at any part of its rev range.

The 1190RX delivers impressive power figures from the biggest engine in this test. (Oddly, the EBR has an abnormally long throttle sweep that requires far more rotation to reach its stop.) Kawasaki and Yamaha are fighting one another for worst midrange torque curve, while the GSX-R’s variable-valve-timing system shows its powerband-broadening abilities. The CBR has a remarkably effective zone from 7000-10,000 rpm. Considering the BMW’s amazing pull up top, it’s incredible that it’s not really lacking at any part of its rev range.

Like the polarizing looks of the Yamaha YZF-R1, the EBR managed to wedge apart testers to the point of unfriending one another on Facebook. Guest tester Thai Long Ly and Evans Brasfield best represent the two opposing camps.

I know my esteemed colleagues aren’t as giddy as I am with this corn-fed muscle bike, but I’m definitely a fan,” says Ly. “The chassis is excellent, as is the suspension. But aside from that, the EBR is certainly outclassed by its peers from a refinement and electronics standpoint. Like a one-night stand, this bike is raw, wild and satisfies if you’re willing to abandon all small details and niceties and just go for broke.”

To which Brasfield rebuts, “I have few things nice to say about the EBR. Perhaps it is a failing on my part. The brakes didn’t exhibit the judder I felt on the street, but I never gained the confidence in them that I had on the other bikes. The engine produced good power with a great exhaust note, but the vibration in the upper rpm range diminished any enjoyment I had.”

“Overall, the 1190RX is simply a short step behind the contemporary state of the art,” Duke observes. “It’s one of the coolest machines in this test, but here amongst the latest and greatest sportbikes, it feels a bit crude.

We were happy to have the EBR represent the V-Twin segment of superbikes since Ducati declined to include the big Panigales in its press fleet, but it is outclassed in this field. Now, let’s move on to the bikes in this shootout from OEMs that aren’t being liquidated.

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The first reshuffling of the deck comes with the Kawasaki dropping from its fifth-place finish in the street shootout to sixth place on the track. Not because the Ninja did anything worse at track speeds, on the contrary, most testers quipped that the harder you push the ZX-10R the better it performs. It’s downfall in the track rankings is mostly due to the Yamaha performing much better here than it did on the street. More on that later.

“Similar to the BMW in a way” says Vilder of the ZX. “A freight train but with added front-end feel. This is the bike of the group that requires a bit more muscle and effort to go fast on, but it’s also very rewarding. The more you push, the more it gives. I can see myself achieving great lap times on the big Kawi having spent a few more sessions on it.”

Editorial Director, Sean Alexander, echoed those thoughts, adding, “The track-friendly nature of the ZX-10R’s power delivery and the stability of its chassis make it confidence inspiring, and that confidence in turn makes ever more rewarding the quicker you go. It’s easy to see why it makes such a good Superstock and Superbike competitor at the world level. I really love it on the racetrack.”

The Ninja’s gauges are dated when compared to the full-color TFT displays of some of its competitors, but the rainbow tachometer sweeping across the top of the cluster is one of the most easily visible tachs here. “I love its big bar graph tach; it’s the only one I ever have time to look at,” says Burns.

The Ninja’s gauges are dated when compared to the full-color TFT displays of some of its competitors, but the rainbow tachometer sweeping across the top of the cluster is one of the most easily visible tachs here. “I love its big bar graph tach; it’s the only one I ever have time to look at,” says Burns.

Most of our testers agreed the Ninja has high limits and performs better the harder it is pushed. Part of that impression is the ZX’s lack of low- and midrange grunt, also a complaint in our street shootout where midrange power is more important. Even though it’s easier to keep the Kawi’s inline-4 on the boil at the racetrack, a broader powerband is always desirable in getting power to the ground more easily.

“The Kawi pulls strong up top, but its midrange power is weaker than the others,” says Duke. “Evidence of the ZX’s racetrack competence is that I was able to punch out very similar lap times over several laps back to back.”

The Kawasaki and Yamaha are at the bottom of the curve when it comes to midrange horsepower production. 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. The Euro bikes are seemingly unaffected, showing massive power advantages at the top end of the curves. “The EPA noise regs are probably doing more harm than good,” rants Duke. “Frustrated owners of affected bikes can get their ECUs reflashed for immediate power gains costing just a few hundred bucks, and since they’re already modding their engine, they may want to add an aftermarket exhaust system, which is likely to be louder.”

The Kawasaki and Yamaha are at the bottom of the curve when it comes to midrange horsepower production. 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. The Euro bikes are seemingly unaffected, showing massive power advantages at the top end of the curves. “The EPA noise regs are probably doing more harm than good,” rants Duke. “Frustrated owners of affected bikes can get their ECUs reflashed for immediate power gains costing just a few hundred bucks, and since they’re already modding their engine, they may want to add an aftermarket exhaust system, which is likely to be louder. ”

Completely opposite of the EBR’s underwhelming front-end stopping power is the Kawasaki’s use of Brembo M50 calipers, which provide fantastic braking performance and feel whether at street or track speeds. No real surprise, as we’ve gushed about these Brembo binders numerous times.

We’ll let Thai conclude our thoughts regarding Ninja. “This easily could be my third-place bike, and if ridden in isolation, has the goods to be a long-term commitment,” he says. “The brakes are strong and the ease at which the bike navigated the track made me smile uncontrollably with every passing lap. And with the speeds at which we descended the front wall into turns 1 and 2, any sudden smiles had to sneak past looks of terror as I clung to the clip ons for dear life (did I mention this bike hauls ass?). But this green and black Ninja always stayed composed and had me turning fast and fun laps time after time.”

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Like Kawasaki, Suzuki also suffered a slide in placement going from fourth place in the street test to fifth place at the track. However, had we the more expensive GSX-R1000R model ($17,199 vs  $15,099) with all the additional bells and whistles that come with it, the Suzuki would have placed better than fifth, as it does nothing poorly.

“The Gixxer was the biggest surprise on the track for me,” says Brasfield. “Within the first lap I felt at home on the bike with it responding exactingly to my every whim.”

 

The Gixxer’s tail section is petite, but some found it unattractive, reminiscent of styling from the mid-90s, as is the oversized muffler.

The Gixxer’s tail section is petite, but some found it unattractive, reminiscent of styling from the mid-90s, as is the oversized muffler.

As we mentioned in the street test, the GSX-R may be a new model but it hasn’t lost the traditional, familiar, comfortable sitting in, not on top of, feeling Gixxers are famous for. And to some degree this what Evans is alluding to when speaking about feeling at home on the bike. Switching to our go-fast racer impression, Vilder had these positive remarks about the second most affordable bike in the shootout.

“The motor is a force,” the expert racer says. “Suzuki engineers manage to find midrange and tons of top end power via their patented VVT technology. Although our test bike lacked the quickshifter/auto blip feature, it’s obvious this is a lethal track weapon, and don’t be surprised to see the Elias and Hayden duo give Yamaha a hard time this year.”

Kind words indeed. But Vilder wasn’t finished. “Easy bike to go fast on, great power, nimbleness, and balance. Great bang for the buck. They’ve also stepped it up in the quality dept and the bike feels and looks as good as it performs,” he says.

Alexander put it simply: “The Suzuki has that elusive trait shared by a lot of truly great racebikes: It gives no drama and produces no surprises, seeming to disappear below its rider while it gets on with the task of hauling ass.

They’re not our beloved M50 calipers, but they are Brembo monoblocks, and none of the testers complained about the stopping performance of the Suzuki.

They’re not our beloved M50 calipers, but they are Brembo monoblocks, and none of the testers complained about the stopping performance of the Suzuki.

From each tester’s butt dyno, as well as the official dyno charts above, it must be presumed that Suzuki’s use of variable valve timing is responsible for GSX-R’s excellent midrange in both horsepower and torque production. Of all the inline-Fours in the test, only the BMW and Suzuki provided enough grunt out of Auto Club Speedway’s slower corners to remain in second gear. For good drive on the Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha first gear must be selected.

“Its VVT technology seems to have paid off, delivering more low-end grunt than any Japanese literbike, while still pulling hard near its upper end until – like all the Japanese bikes – power production is curtailed due to noise-emissions regulations,” says Duke.

 

At 444 pounds fully fueled the GSX-R1000 is the third lightest bike in the shootout, and only three pounds heavier than the next lightest bike, Yamaha’s YZF-R1. However, the Suzuki feels lighter than it is both on the track and street. The Gixxer was the only bike in this test aside from the EBR that didn’t have a quickshifter, a component available on its pricier GSX-R1000R brother as standard along with auto-blipping downshifter. “Going old-school with clutchless upshifts wasn’t a big deal, but it did feel somewhat like a blast from the past,” Brasfield opines. “These are the good old days of motorcycle technology!”

At 444 pounds fully fueled the GSX-R1000 is the third lightest bike in the shootout, and only three pounds heavier than the next lightest bike, Yamaha’s YZF-R1. However, the Suzuki feels lighter than it is both on the track and street. The Gixxer was the only bike in this test aside from the EBR that didn’t have a quickshifter, a component available on its pricier GSX-R1000R brother as standard along with auto-blipping downshifter. “Going old-school with clutchless upshifts wasn’t a big deal, but it did feel somewhat like a blast from the past,” Brasfield opines. “These are the good old days of motorcycle technology!”

Again, here’s Thai Long Ly to walk the Suzuki off stage.

“Although I had fun, I never felt like I had to own it,” he says. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic bike that goes like stink, but it’s sorta like the pretty waitress at the 3am post-gig dinner. You flirt, tease and exchange numbers, but never actually get around to calling her despite the initial connection. And that’s too bad, as this is the best Gixxer to date.”

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The fly in Kawasaki’s and Suzuki’s ointment is the Yamaha YZF-R1. Our sixth-place finisher in the street test moves up two positions in the track test because it’s simply a more track-focused motorcycle, whereas the other two bikes better balance the their street/track strengths and weaknesses. But, it was close, the R1 scoring only 0.16% better than the Suzuki – a bike costing $1,600 less than the R1.

The biggest complaint about the R1 on the street, its seating position, didn’t have as large an impact on the track. The R1 still came in last place in the Scorecard’s Ergonomics/Comfort category, but its scores moved up from 76.4% to 87.9%.

“Ergos are fine on the racetrack, where you are too terrified to feel pain,” explains Burns.

All bikes in our test were outfitted with Bridgestone’s sticky Battlax Racing R10 tires. The DOT-legal race tires coped well with triple-digit horsepower and triple-digit speeds, even on Auto Club’s several long left-hand corners that gnaw into rubber. Despite the challenges to the tires, our testers didn’t complain about grip until nearing the end of the day when they were spent.

All bikes in our test were outfitted with Bridgestone’s sticky Battlax Racing R10 tires. The DOT-legal race tires coped well with triple-digit horsepower and triple-digit speeds, even on Auto Club’s several long left-hand corners that gnaw into rubber. Despite the challenges to the tires, our testers didn’t complain about grip until nearing the end of the day when the buns were spent.

As noted earlier, the Yamaha is the second-lightest motorcycle in this test, but that’s not how it feels. There’s just no getting around that the R1 steers heavier than most other bikes in this test. The trade off is absolutely rock-solid stability in fast sweepers, or, especially, at top honk on Auto Club Speedway’s high-speed banking.

“The R1 makes a good case for itself on the racetrack, where its committed riding position and geometry allow a rider to carry very high corner speeds,” says Duke. “It is among the heaviest steerers but very stable,” he continues. “The crossplane-crank motor impresses on track, with a rider able to feel the rear tire dig in under power, accompanied by exhaust music like Rossi’s M1.”

For this test we chose the standard YZF-R1, but for $1,700 less you can purchase a YZF-R1S. The differences are minimal, and for the average recreational rider, the money saved could buy a lot of trackdays. At the other end of the price spectrum ($21,990) is Yamaha’s YZF-R1M that comes with Öhlins Electronic Racing Suspension (ERS) – nice!

For this test we chose the standard YZF-R1, but for $1,700 less you can purchase a YZF-R1S. The differences are minimal, and for the average recreational rider, the money saved could buy a lot of trackdays. At the other end of the price spectrum ($21,990) is Yamaha’s YZF-R1M that comes with Öhlins Electronic Racing Suspension (ERS) – nice!

When we conducted our last superbike shootout two years ago, the new-at-the-time Yamaha R1 placed fourth in the track shootout, and it’s doing so again here against newer machinery from Kawasaki (upgraded in 2016), and the new-for-2017 Suzuki. So the R1 is aging well and maintaining its level of performance. Our racer-for-hire, Vilder, who competitively pilots a similar R1, came to this conclusion regarding the Yamaha.

“Although the R1 is entering its third year of production, it is still very much a contender. As a package, it is hard to beat,” he says. “The chassis is forgivable, very stable. I would say it matches the Aprilia chassis and performs well on tight tracks or long sweepers.”

And don’t accuse Vilder of favoritism for the Yamaha – he ranked it third on the Scorecard.

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For the first time since its 2010 introduction the BMW S1000RR finds itself out of the top two positions. The bike is still on the podium, but third on the box is a first for the S1000RR. Albeit the margin was probably one of thinnest in MO Scorecard history as only 0.09% separated third from second place. What’s triggering its fall from grace? It’s mainly the little things, but here in particular, price is one of them.

While we try to keep things fair by acquiring bikes of equal performance for similar prices, it never fails that BMW sends a model upgraded with most of all of its many options. In this case, the accoutrements of forged wheels and electronic suspension upped the Beemer to the most expensive bike in the test by $1,600. Yes, the price hurt the BMW’s scores in the street shootout, but not enough to significantly affect the outcome. On the track it’s a different story because the performance scores of other bikes in the shootout narrowed the gap.

“As equipped and set up, this is easily the best S1000RR I’ve ever sampled on a racetrack.” said Alexander., adding “The BMW’s was flawless and the wheelie control actually works unobtrusively now. Couple this electronics tuning with this chassis geometry and these damping tweaks and you get a bike that finally feels perfectly sorted for track use. I loved every second on it here at Fontana, it was instantly comfortable and very, very quick.”

“The optional forged wheels on the BMW endow it with amazing agility, but it needs to be said the Premium Package with forged wheels adds $3,150 to the cost of the bike,” Duke notes. The optional package also includes Gear Shift Assist Pro, Ride Modes Pro, ABS Pro, cruise control, heated grips and the semi-active suspension.

The S1000RR’s age can be seen in its gauges. The information conveyed is easily legible, but the aging cluster needs replacing if the BMW is to maintain its status as a premier European sportbike.

The S1000RR’s age can be seen in its gauges. The information conveyed is easily legible, but the aging cluster needs replacing if the BMW is to maintain its status as a premier European sportbike.

The increased price tag of the BMW also includes semi-active suspension, and while on the street the mostly push-button affair is a welcome nicety, on the track a lot of performance junkies will most likely prefer to spend the money elsewhere and fine-tune their suspension units the old-fashioned way. The electronic suspension worked well at the track, but a decent manual suspension can usually be adjusted to adequately control wheel movement at a racetrack.

Probably still the most impressive aspect of the BMW is the output of its engine. The Aprilia drew equal to the BMW in horsepower last year following a host of internal engine improvements, but BMW’s been making astounding power since its introduction seven years ago, and the Japanese literbikes still haven’t caught up, at least not in the EPA-legal tuning we must deal with here in North America.

“I’d imagine that a motor designed nearly a decade ago would be losing its luster in a hotly competitive field like superbikes, but that’s not really the case with the S10000RR, which pulls like a mo-fo past 180 mph on the banking at Fontucky,” says Duke.

It’s difficult to argue with the wide-ranging performance of the S1000RR, but its funky appearance and aging design caused it to lose some Cool Factor points in a few of our testers scorecards.

It’s difficult to argue with the wide-ranging performance of the S1000RR, but its funky appearance and aging design caused it to lose some Cool Factor points in a few of our testers scorecards.

The S1000RR is the second-heaviest bike in this test (460 lbs), but you’d never know by the quickness of its steering. The only other bike in this test that steers as efficiently/effectively is the lightweight Honda.

“When it comes to bending these bikes into a corner, the BMW is my second favorite, lining up just behind the Honda,” says Brasfield. “Given Auto Club’s technical nature, I was aware of the S1000R’s flickability throughout every lap. The Gear Shift Assist improves with every iteration, but the downshifts aren’t as buttery-smooth as the Honda and Aprilia.”

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Moving up one position from third in the street shootout to second on the track is Honda’s venerable CBR1000RR. True to the heritage of the original CBR900RR, the 2017 iteration is the epitome of lightweight and mass centralization. At 433 pounds full of fluids, the CBR is the lightest bike in the test by only eight pounds, but it’s how the Honda carries its weight that makes all the difference in the world.

“The CBR’s agility is astonishing, especially considering it has plain ol’ cast wheels instead of the cheater forged hoops on the BMW,” says Duke. “This latest RR continues Honda’s well-deserved reputation for creating motorbikes that are easy to ride quickly. Its agility and composure make it the most cooperative bike here, and it would be my first choice if I were to enter an endurance race.

The new CBR1k is a working example of the old adage, light makes right. As well as the Honda performed at a high-speed track such as Auto Club Speedway, it’d really shine at a tight, twisty venue such as Barber Motorsports Park.

The new CBR1k is a working example of the old adage, light makes right. As well as the Honda performed at a high-speed track such as Auto Club Speedway, it’d really shine at a tight, twisty venue such as Barber Motorsports Park.

User-friendliness is a term more often associated with a bike’s streetability, but it applies here as many testers noted how easy the Honda is to go fast on. The combination of flickability and stability is certainly part of the equation, but also are aspects such as its smooth response to rider inputs, as well as the fine tuning of its electronics and controls.

2017 Honda CBR1000RR And CBR1000RR SP Review

“The Honda was the pleasant surprise of the group for me,” says Vilder. “Incredibly easy to go fast on, everything is perfectly calibrated. The controls, ergonomics and geometry of the chassis lets you put the bike exactly where you want it to go. Just hop on and feel like a pro! A confidence-boosting motorcycle that puts a huge smile on your face lap after lap, effortlessly.”

Tokico calipers don’t jump out as wheel jewelry like our beloved Brembo M50s, but the radial-mount two-piece clampers and 320mm discs performed better than we expected. Great stopping power as well as feedback at the lever.

Tokico calipers don’t jump out as wheel jewelry like our beloved Brembo M50s, but the radial-mount two-piece clampers and 320mm discs performed better than we expected. Great stopping power as well as feedback at the lever.

One of the last superbikes to come equipped with a full electronics package, Honda nonetheless got things right.

“The CBR’s electronics were highly impressive at helping a rider extract maximum performance, throwing out a confidence-inspiring safety net while not neutering the superbike experience,” says Duke.

The CBR’s quickshifter with auto-blipping downshifter (a $579 option) was mentioned repeatedly for being one of the smoothest shifting transmissions of the seven bikes. A few testers did experience a couple of false neutrals, but it wasn’t something easily repeatable.

Leaving the track after his first ride aboard the Honda, Evans excitedly points and exclaims, “I can't believe it’s not butter!”

Leaving the track after his first ride aboard the Honda, Evans excitedly points and exclaims, “I can’t believe it’s not butter!”

However, there exists a problem with the Honda that’s painfully apparent at a fast track such as Auto Club Speedway: Horsepower. Producing a lackluster 153.2 hp at 10,600 rpm, the CBR has an eight horsepower deficit to the next most powerful bike (Suzuki 161 hp), and a whopping 27 hp deficit to the mighty Aprilia. But the Honda did place second in this shootout, so we can’t be accused of being blinded by horsepower.

“As fast and furious as anything in the infield. On the banking, though, everybody blows by the Honda” says Burns. “Shifts great leaned over and the quickshifter doesn’t upset the thing at all. No issues, I’d put it with the Aprilia if it had a few more horses, which you’d never miss at most tracks.

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MO loyalists saw this coming. For the uninitiated, the Aprilia RSV4 is a staff favorite and arguably one of the greatest sportbikes of our time. Since its introduction, the RSV4’s strongest attribute has been its superlative chassis. In succeeding years Aprilia has prioritized ensuring the RSV is equipped with class-leading electronics, and as of two years ago, an engine as potent as the BMW’s. And then this year the RSV4 was upgraded with TFT gauges, M50 calipers, C-ABS, up/down quickshifter; full list here. With all the puzzle pieces in place it’s no wonder the RSV4 won our 2016 Sportbike of the Year award and this year’s street and track shootouts.

2017 Aprilia RSV4 RR/RF Review

“The chassis communicates every nook and cranny the track offers up to the asphalt-eating Bridgestone R10’s,” says Ly. “Pick an apex and hit it. And hit it fast with no remorse – you’ll make it out the other side. This bike takes certain skill to ride fast but rewards inherent talent with increased speed and confidence. If the BMW is a sledgehammer, this Noale native is a sniper’s rifle.”

Upgraded for 2017 with a host of new electronics including a TFT color display, up/down quickshifter, and cruise control, the Aprilia RSV4 – once the BMW’s apprentice – has become the master.

Upgraded for 2017 with a host of new electronics including a TFT color display, up/down quickshifter, and cruise control, the Aprilia RSV4 – once the BMW’s apprentice – has become the master.

Similar to the Honda producing only 153 ponies yet placing second in the shootout, the RSV, at 470 pounds wet, is the heaviest bike of the group but is still able to come out on top. It doesn’t exhibit the lightest steering – the Honda owns that category – but it is nonetheless able to efficiently transition through a tight infield section, then stretch its 180-horsepower legs down the front straight, shed speed like being caught in a tractor beam with its Brembo M50s, all the while exhibiting unshakable stability.

“The RSV4 is amazingly competent on a racetrack,” says Duke. “Once again, Aprilia’s efforts at centralizing mass helps mask its somewhat porcine weight, whether shedding big speed though braking zones and deftly trail-braking to the corner apex or lighting the V-4 afterburners down a straightaway.

“But, as much as I love the Ape,” he continues, “it must be said that its steering responses are slower than the ultra-lightweight CBR and the BMW with its cheater forged wheels. It makes me want to sample Aprilia’s RF version and its forged wheels to find out just how much better it steers.”

According to yours truly, who rode the RF model equipped with the forged wheels during the bike’s launch at COTA (2017 Aprilia RSV4 RR/RF Review), the difference in steering lightness is night-and-day obvious.

“It’s a beautifully packaged, affordable and reliable exotic,” says racerboy Vilder about the ‘Priller. “Flawless and exquisite-sounding motor with usable power throughout the rev range, with a great chassis and electronic package. It’s an easy motorcycle to go fast on and a beautifully finished motorcycle that awakes passions and defines form and function.”

Throw the RSV4’s MotoGP good looks, snarling exhaust note and uncommon V-Four engine configuration on top of its monstrous power output, sublime chassis and first-class electronics, and you’ve the recipe for superbike success.

Throw the RSV4’s MotoGP good looks, snarling exhaust note and uncommon V-Four engine configuration on top of its monstrous power output, sublime chassis and first-class electronics, and you’ve the recipe for superbike success.

Sean offered the only dissenting voice when it came to the Aprilia’s track performance, saying, “When it comes to which bike I’d actually buy, the Aprilia wins by a mile. But in this particular test, on this track, and with this exact chassis setup, it didn’t suit me as well as the 2016 RSV4 RF that we rode at Laguna two years ago. That one was the best stock superbike I’ve ever ridden at race speeds.”

While the Aprilia only scored 1.89% better than the second-place-finishing Honda, it might as well be a mile. With finishes as close as 0.09% between second and third, a nearly 2% win is a veritable landslide.

“It’s phenomenal that you can get a magical piece of Italian exotica like this for less than the price Honda charges for its CBR with the optional auto-blipping quickshifter,” Duke observes. “Not only is the ‘Priller far more exotic, it also boasts Cornering ABS, independent wheelie control and on-the-fly-adjustable traction control by dedicated finger/thumb toggles. Oh, and let’s not forget that mellifluous V-4 soundtrack that Honda probably wishes it could match like it did back in the glorious RC30/45 days.”

062327-2017-shootout-superbike-track-group-02

Lap Times

Two years ago we conducted our superbike shootout at Laguna Seca, but the track was using its sound-monitoring station and requiring us to roll-off the throttles between turns 5 and 6 for decibel monitoring, with no specific start and end zones, just instructions to roll off around that area. Unfortunately, that meant any sort of scientific comparison of times would be invalid because we couldn’t have been sure every bike rolled-off the same amount or for the same distance on its fastest lap… the bike that went through quickest or with the least roll-off would’ve had the lowest lap time, and maybe the fastest bike would have had the slowest time, etc.

We vowed not to let that happen again, so for this year’s shootout we decided to do two consecutive full days of testing at Auto Club Speedway (Fontucky) with multiple sets of fresh Bridgestone race tires, tire warmers, full trackside technical support from the manufacturers, and timing for every bike on every lap. We actually do have those times here in our grubby little paws, but we actually can’t share them without seriously misleading you and drawing inaccurate conclusions about the results of this shootout.

The fact is that the track became sullied in spilled oil after a rider’s bike leaked fluids across four corners early on our go-fast day, and then we had to sit out two whole sessions while track crews attempted to clean the mess by spreading oil-dry material over the four turns and the straights that linked them. By the time we were able to get back on the track, the oil-dry material seriously compromised our line choices and the levels of available grip. With only four sessions left in the day, there was simply no way to get all seven bikes back out on fresh tires with our fastest riders. At that point, some of the manufacturers who were supporting our test explained their concerns about using lap-time data because the track conditions were not consistent for each motorcycle. They weren’t wrong; there honestly wasn’t any way to get every bike onto a perfectly level playing field for lap times and guarantee one bike didn’t receive an unfair advantage.

We did get great riding impressions and a ton of valuable data, but the lap times themselves would have just confused the issue. That said, each bike was fast and capable of laps in the mid-1:30 range without much difficulty. The better lap times from the first day were all reasonably close across all seven bikes, with the EBR trailing slightly due to its notable lack of performance in the braking zones. We won’t compromise our integrity by saying any more on the subject of lap times, as we simply can’t guarantee fairness given the track limitations and inconsistencies.

  • Branson

    Nice work again guys! The ranking makes sense. Glad to see the CBR up there too.

  • Jon FZ09

    What were the track times with the control rider???

    • Ty Siebenhaar

      Yeah this is something I’d like to know as well!

    • Born to Ride

      Last time I asked about this, Burns chastised me about the cost of renting out a track for a whole day. In a track day setting, the likelihood of having a clear track for multiple laps aboard 7 separate bikes really isn’t realistic. It’s not the *most* conclusive data anyways as individual riders have different strengths. One bike might be set up perfectly for the control rider and he might go faster on an otherwise inferior bike by sake of confidence levels. Imagine if test rider was the owner of an EBR and as a consequence he knew exactly how many clicks he wanted in each suspender and felt completely comfortable digging that much deeper. Would you be pissed if the last place bike had the quickest lap times for this reason?

      • TechGuy5489

        The funny part is that’s exactly the sort of thing that happens on most shootouts. No need to imagine. It’s unavoidable. You’re talking about guys that tend to have racing experience. They’re going to have *their* bike. They’re going to know how to ride it and they’re just likely to be faster on something they’re familiar/comfortable with.

  • mackja

    The Honda is looking rather interesting, I guess the twin Sportbike is just about a thing of the past so I don’t have much choice, and I hate that, nothing pulls like a twin off the corners. With a race ECM and exhaust on the EBR I am getting 175hp off the rear wheel. Upgraded the master cylinder, front pads and one or two finger braking is all that is needed, I can out brake a few of the others on this test. It is such a shame, If HD would have kept Buell open the 1190 would be much more advanced and refined with all the electronics, but they did not so now it is the end of the road. The motor company said they closed Buell so they can focus on their core business, (Tractors) so now they want Ducati, kiss racing good bye if that happens. As for me I will ride my EBR’s for a long time to come. I still surprise a few Beemers and r1 riders!

    The EBR make a great track bike, few upgrades make a lot of improvement, and for 10K or less, it is hard to beat.

    • Shahriar Rahman

      So glad you shared your experience. I have been thinking about getting an EBR 1190SX for both personal and track usage and your post is giving me confidence (already spoke to Mr. Dean Adams about the exhaust upgrade that would push it in the 168-175 HP range). I did not know that a brake upgrade can be made to address the shortcoming that cost it so much in this comparo, so thanks for that info.

      • mackja

        I updated to Accassato 19×18 brake master cylinder along with the clutch master also. sbs 856ds pads are the best period, I would purchase the caliper cooling vent from the rx and install it on the sx, if you are a really fast guy and hard on the brakes go ahead and remove the caliper spring clips that increases air flow and better cooling. The EBR likes to have a stiff rear spring (rear sag 25mm-28mm for track use) with a good amount of rebound, the sx handle bars will limit how much you can lower the front. Ideal track setup starting point is 485mm from the top of the lower tree to center axle with the front end fully extended, and 322mm rear shock length. The showa race shock from EBR is a bargain and works pertty good, although the JRi is the best option. Lots of info available on these bikes.

        • Shahriar Rahman

          Thank you for such a usefully-thorough answer! Much respect to you for putting in the time and sharing your knowledge.

          • mackja

            Thanks, no problem, you will find that the Buell/EBR community are a really great group of people who will help and provide information eagerly, besides loving my bikes the community is one of the main reasons I ride these bikes. Check out EBR 1190 owners group on Facebook, and the EBR forum.

  • DickRuble

    “Similar to the Honda producing only 153 ponies yet placing second in the shootout, the RSV, at 470 pounds wet, is the heaviest bike of the group but is still able to come out on top. ” — I hope this sentence makes sense to whoever wrote it.. One of the recently hired poll specialists?

    • Iconyms

      A bit awkward I agree but it made sense to me they are saying that the Honda which on paper was one of the worst power wise but still can in 2nd the aprilia is worst weight wise but wins. Take away being that numbers on the paper aren’t everything and sometimes results are surprising…. or something like that.

    • Born to Ride

      I also found the sentence awkward, but the intent is clear. Don’t be such a grammar nazi.

      • DickRuble

        You think they meant to say: ” And just as perplexingly as the anemically underpowered Honda placing second in our ranking, the borderline obese RSV4 manages to steal the crown”?

        • Born to Ride

          Indeed I do, kinder words were attempted at the cost of cohesiveness.

        • hipsabad

          And you’re using an adverb i.e. ‘perplexingly’ where you need an adjective, ‘perplexing’… I hope that sentence made sense to you, we’ve no idea what you ‘re talking about

          • DickRuble

            “..perplexingly … placing..” .. Get it?

          • hipsabad

            no, i don’t. that little “as” makes “placing second” a gerundive phrase here, not a verb. Or perhaps a fused participle if you want to get weirder. But that wasn’t the point of my teasing here, DR; it was rather to emphasize the points made by Born to Ride and Iconym, namely, if the intent is there why the nit-picking, especially in this forum?

          • DickRuble

            It’s not nit picking. This kind of writing wouldn’t be encouraged in a high school, let alone a magazine. I stopped reading the article at and because of that very sentence,

          • hipsabad

            fair enough. Online moto sites don’t hold much literary cogency for me; i’m here for the moto-enthusiasm. ymmv

          • JMDGT

            You take us to a very interesting place. I am concinved that I can view the specification sheet of any bike of any class and know how much I will like it. That being said there are intricacies inherent to each bike that require they be ridden to make any proclamation of thumbs up or thumbs down. Electronics as in the control software the individual components and their overall synergy can be game changers. To name a few. Even though the controls are pretty much in the same positions throttle on the right clutch on the left shifter on the left stuff like that I have found that those features may be standardized to a certain extent I still require hands on usage to get the muscle memory needed to feel my way to the right place meaning I don’t have to feel around to get the proper position on the control to use it. That stuff is important to me. It is probably better said that when combining the data on the specification sheet along with the impressions from the individual reviewers adding in my riding the bike in question only then can I have a real idea of the bikes real performance. As it pertains to me of course. I take what the MO guys say about their impressions and scores with a grain of salt. They may write at a high school level to a certain extent but sometimes that is what is required or needed. Your not nitpicking you just require a higher level of information be given to you in a certain way. When I write something I am so bad at it that I constantly have to edit it almost infinitum to get it right. Auto fill sucks. It is opinion journalism what the MO guys do. It is harder than it looks. I am surprised they do it as well as they do. Fit and finish are also high on my list of motorcycle importance. It is an indicator of the quality built into the machine. Thanks Dick. You made me think about things today. Ride Safe.

          • DickRuble

            We agree, fit and finish matter, in writing or riding. Best

          • Jon Jones

            Pretty good command of our complex language!

          • Johnny Blue

            The way I read it is “perplexingly manages”. So using an adverb looks okay to me. But I might be wrong. English is my second language.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        You have to let him have something to complain about. In California they say if you don’t have small earthquakes everyday, you are going to have a big one. We don’t want him to blow up.

  • Iconyms

    As someone who has a bike with no electronics I would love to see you guys talk about how good things like the cornering ABS really are. I saw some bike show video where they low sided a super duke from too much front brake supposedly with the ABS on and track conditions seemed great. I don’t expect the electronics to make bikes uncrashable but it seemed like a clear case where the ABS should have saved it to me. Would love some good coverage of this type of question.

    https://youtu.be/rmwn0SjY9mM?t=26s

    • Kevin Duke
      • Iconyms

        Sweet thanks!!

    • hipsabad

      for higher cornering speeds, it’s hard to beat bikes with shorter wheelbases!

    • JMDGT

      The Brembo M50 brakes on the Street Triple RS come with master cylinder that enables the rider to dial in the feel more to their liking. Being able to brake so far into a corner makes the world go round. The new electronics available make those features all the better. I am just a road rider but the difference in braking with that set up combined with the electronic safe guards and modern tires are mind boggling to me. Just an enthusiasts point of view but we live in the best of times. These new technologies are wonderful. I have had a lot of bikes without electronic aids but these new offerings are game changers. In my humble opinion of course.

  • John B.

    When Troy reviewed the Honda earlier this year, he had significant criticisms related to the Honda’s electronics package: “The reality was that, while certain areas of the CBR are much better than before, its electronics aren’t at the same level as the rest of the motorcycle.” In particular, Troy described the electronic reacting inconsistently to the same stimulus and inputs.

    Overall, Troy gave the Honda a 87.5%, and concluded his review saying: “As it stands, however, I’m perplexed by the ’Blades few shortcomings, as it detracts from an otherwise solid track missile.”

    In this article, the Honda received praise for its electronics and a 91.94% score, with no mention of the electronic inconsistencies that bothered Troy. The Honda first ride took place at Portimão, which Troy described as a track with significant altitude changes. Perhaps, the Honda’s electronics issues were not as evident at this race track. It seems odd, however, that Honda would pick a track for the first ride that would highlight the bike’s shortcomings.

    From this article I conclude all these bikes are phenomenal and a reader’s personal preferences, more than differences in performance, will drive purchasing decisions.

    Great job guys, as always!

    • Kevin Duke

      Yeah, we were a bit skeptical of Honda’s electronics after hearing of Trizzle’s experience at the launch, but they worked really well for us here at home. Software, unlike hardware, is easy to update, so I’ll guess that Honda’s engineers made a few tweaks over the past few months.

      • John B.

        Great! Thank you for the explanation Kevin!!!

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Good catch! Honda has problems with their MotoGP bike electronics too. I suppose you can only see the problems racing in WSBK or MotoGP, not doing track days.

      • Rick Soloway

        It should be noted that in MotoGP Honda is forced to use the spec ECU manufactured by someone else, and got a late start adapting it to their bike compared to the other manufacturers. On this production bike, that issue isn’t present.

        • Sayyed Bashir

          All manufacturers are using the spec ECU, not just Honda.

          • Rick Soloway

            Yes Sayyed Bashir, but I was pointing out that on Honda having problems with electronics on the MotoGP bike, there were an additional two factors affecting them compared to the street bike: 1. it’s not their own ECU in MotoGP, but someone else’s, and 2. They got a later start on using the spec ECU than the other manufacturers, so don’t have as much experience as their competitors in adapting their software to the ECU.

  • John B.

    I surmise there are at least 4 caveats related to superbike shootout articles:

    1. Long term quality, reliability, and full cost of ownership (maintenance, insurance, etc.) are not taken into account;

    2. Dealer Network – It’s definitely a benefit to ride a motorcycle that has several dealerships in big cities, and at least one dealership in most medium towns. In contrast, it’s less desireable to have only one or two dealerships in a big city, and none in medium and small ones. Having to ride/drive 40 miles to a dealership can be a deal breaker;

    3. ECU flashing and pollution control modifications, among other things, can greatly improve performance. For pragmatic reasons, these articles pertain strictly to stock motorcycles;

    4. Price – Shootouts compare MSRP and not out-the-door market prices. The price difference among these motorcycles is far more pronounced in the marketplace than their respective MSRP’s would lead you to believe. For example, the OTD price for the BMW is about 40% higher than for the Kawasaki, but their shootout scores are only 3% apart.

    • Jon Jones

      Great points, all.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      Great points. You are making a perfect case for Harley Davidson.

    • Jaime Berrones

      i would like to see what happens with these bikes with ecu flashing and aftermarket exhausts, i underestand the noise and pollution control but in the end they are performance vehicles, if i have one i will certainly change those things.

      • Jack

        Yes the Honda in particular is neutered at high RPM without the $60 Zbomb installed. In a way I like that approach though.

    • spiritof67

      #2 knocks Aprilia (the shadow “motorcycle company”) out of any consideration. I live in a state that has the largest per capita number of motorcyclists in America. If I see two Aprilias a riding season, it’s a lot. Aprilia is a false choice, and I’m getting sick of them being treated like a legitimate motorcycle dealership company…they’re not even up to KTM standards!

  • Walter

    Ok, now how about a test of the high-roller models to level the field with the BMW?

  • Steve Cole

    The decision makes plenty of sense to me. I prepped an RF to race this year, and I have about $10K less invested than a ZX10R would cost me at that level. Just add a pile of rear ride height (12mm!) and prep the fairings etc. for the Aprilia and it is an absolute monster. The race ECU and a Graves pipe gave it more power than I would have ever thought – it pulls the front wheel in every gear. It turns like it’s on crack but it holds a line like it’s got 115mm trail (add 12mm to the rear and it surely doesn’t). Just a great bike. It’s not easier to race than my 600s but it turns better than they do… let that sink in.

  • Johnny Blue

    I just can’t figure out how Honda placed ahead of BMW. It simply makes no sense to me whatsoever. It is more disappointing to me than the MO surveys not working on Edge, where clicking on the radio buttons doesn’t show them as clicked. Maybe the software for the scorecards is flawed too?!

    • Branson

      You can disagree with MO’s chosen philosophy, but it’s pretty clear why they ranked the CBR ahead of the BMW based on the scorecard, but particularly the comments in the video:

      The Honda weighed less, handled better, had better ergonomics and was easier for many of the testers to ride fast. Additionally BMW sent a higher spec version even though MO didn’t ask for it, resulting in BMW getting dinged for the significantly higher price.

      • Johnny Blue

        I get it that BMW cheated a little bit, but they (MO) surely step on their own philosophy. Here’s what they said about it in the street shootout:

        “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.”
        If weight is the problem then why’s Aprilia first?
        I’m not saying that the Blade is a bad motorcycle, just it doesn’t deserve, imho, to be before the BMW.

        • Branson

          The BMW is a beast of a bike, no doubt. And I wouldn’t be surprised if it outsells the CBR despite the higher price of the former. They’re both great though. Sometimes I think the new bike gets the tiebreaker because it’s different.

          The Ape is pure visceral, and that’s it’s own thing.

          But what do I know, I’d probably get the R1.

          Damn are all these bikes awesome.

          • Johnny Blue

            I haven’t ridden a S1000RR since 2012. I had the 2011 model. It was and still is the best bike I ever had. Unfortunately it was stolen from my garage. Twice. It was powerful but it also allowed for normal/sane street riding. Now I ride an 03 Fireblade 954. Although lighter than the BMW was, it feels heavier. But I’m happy with it. I don’t really need the latest and greatest. I was only expressing my dissatisfaction that the Honda got a better ranking.
            But I agree, all these bikes are great.

          • disqus_9GQw44dyM0

            Twice? Sorry to hear but maybe time to buy an alarm, video camera or the worlds most vicious Pitbull. Crap, that stinks.

          • Johnny Blue

            I guess the only thing that would work would be the Pitbull, although not 100% guaranteed. The bike had the factory alarm, disk brake lock, chained to a pole in the underground parking with video surveillance. If the thieves want it they will take it.

        • deltadweller

          I have a BMW, not the S1000RR, but the base price is a misnomer, as I’m not even sure you can get a base model. The dealer I bought through said they essentially get every bike fully loaded, “because that’s what sells”. So in reality, the loaded bike is their standard model. The higher price is indicative of the bells and whistles that are on it. You would probably have to special order a “stripped down” model. It’s kind of like a car company charging for air conditioning. How many cars are actually sole without AC, or the “package” it’s included in?

          • Johnny Blue

            True. I’ve got mine in Canada and they were only available fully loaded. I think the alarm was about the only option left to choose from, apart from the paint scheme.

  • Pat Kane

    keep in mind Kawasaki is DOMINATING world superbike with the 6th place track bike here. When MO says “it performs better the harder it’s pushed” I believe them, while being simultaneously reminded that these are motojournalists and not spry young professional racers.

  • JMDGT

    I thought the Honda would be better after some tweaking. A great top three. I view these as track bikes only at my age. I still want one.

    • Johnny Blue

      Now I wonder how old you are! The oldest person I’ve seen riding on the track/road on a sportbike was 73. His bikes were R6 for the track and R1 for the street!
      The oldest person I rode with on a dual sport, in Bolivia, was also 73… So there’s hope!

      • JMDGT

        I just turned sixty. I tend to be a realist about my age. I am not twenty five anymore. That being said learning to ride on a track is on the list. I feel confident enough in my abilities that I shouldn’t have any real problems doing it. It just won’t be on an ergonomically punishing full on sportbike. I plan on using my Street Triple RS on the track. A more comfortable ride for an old guy like me. Cheers and ride safe.

        • Johnny Blue

          Ha, ha! “an old guy like me”… you sound like me! I’m using the same “excuse”, but I don’t actually think of myself as old. And you’re not old. I’m sure you’ll have a lot of fun on the track! Get your suspension adjusted for your weight if you haven’t already. It matters a lot more than the type of bike. Have fun! Only be warned! It’s addictive!

          • JMDGT

            The RS has world class suspension. I’ve got a book on how to set it up. I’m not really that old. Just not 25. Cheers.

        • mackja

          I am 56 and do 18-20 track days per year, love it, most fun you can have with your cloths on! My goal is to keep doing them till at least 70. It is an addiction!!! WooHoo!!!

  • Roy Bentz

    The Japanese bikes ecu restrict alot of power for a different noise and emissions standard compared to EU bikes. They should do this test with a reflash of the Japan bikes.

    • mikstr

      Why are tee Japanese bikes are all strangled at high rpm (I know, EPA regs) yet somehow the Europeans don’t have to do this? What gives?

      • Roy Bentz

        i think it was number of bikes sold by a company equals higher epa standards.

  • Carl Zaldivar

    I would like to see a track shootout based on what actual track riders do with their equipment. No motorcycle magazine has done this, and I just don’t understand why.

    Here are the elements such a review would entail:

    1. Have 2 or 3 track riders with serious experience on whatever track you’re testing on.
    2. Control tires on all motorcycles (RS-10s, or S-21s, etc..).
    3. Flash the ECU with the most popular option riders use (every bike has them, whether it’s Brock performance, or the race ECU flash Aprilia riders use) THEN use a “Track” exhaust, such as the Yoshimura, and bypass the cat.
    4. Disclaimers all over the place “This test was only conducted on the track, bla bla bla” to make the nannys happy.

    Publish THOSE lap results, THOSE dyno figures, and THEN you will FINALLY have a track comparison that track guys can actually use.

    Why do it ? Because the “me too” review format for track day equipment comparison is getting stale, and it doesn’t really help real track riders decide what their next ride should be.

    There I said it !

    • john burns

      Why not just watch racing?

      • Carl Zaldivar

        Well, sure… but aren’t you comparing what in all reality are track machines, that 90% of all buyers will modify and live with for years ?
        Not that they want to race, but like anyone else, simply want to unleash the full potential of the thing, even if they’ll never realize it in an actual race. For a couple thousand bucks, anyone can reflash the ECU and modify the exhaust, and get another 20-30 HP. One commenter here mentioned that the EPA dings the manufacturer for units sold, in terms of higher restrictions. If that’s true, what I’m proposing simply levels the playing field.

  • disqus_9GQw44dyM0

    I know that Erik loves and is committed to his front braking system. But over the years almost every web site or magazine that has tested his bikes believes it comes up short. If the company makes another comeback (and I hope they do) isn’t it about time to make a change?

    • Jack

      I have been running single brake for years. It is great on the street I will say that. One finger for very hard braking is no problem. Save 3 pounds unsprung and 3 more pounds unsprung rotational. Makes a big difference on a lightened bike.

      • mackja

        I have been riding these bikes with the perimeter brake for 9 years and never have had an issue. I run mid pack advanced pace with the sbs race pads I can make the rear wheel dance with one finger. Being able to brake deep into the corner is an advantage of this system.

  • Gary Gerns

    Yea, but which one fits a 6’3″ 230lb guy the best??? How about some mention of the ergonomics.

    • mackja

      That is my problem with the Aprilia, I am 6′ 1″ and 210lb and the Aprilia does not fit! One of my best friends has one and I road it for about 10 miles and could not wait to get off the thing, Yamaha is no better. Comfort wise the Beemer, EBR, and GSXR have the advantage for bigger folks, have not sat on the Honda so I can’t say, but I imagine it will be pretty good.

  • Bladeknight

    So, overall, track+ street: If money doesnt matter, Aprilia is still a winner, BMW second!!?

  • knormal

    I thought it was interesting to see the CBR jump from a lowly 87.9% cool factor to a 93.2% grin factor. I’d love a RSV4, but as stated below in regards to reliability, I think I’d settle for the ride-it-every-day-without-worry factor of the Honda.

  • Craig Hoffman

    Sounds like an uncorked ECU flashed Honda would be a great way to go.

    I love this quote too from Alexander – “The Suzuki has that elusive trait shared by a lot of truly great racebikes: It gives no drama and produces no surprises, seeming to disappear below its rider while it gets on with the task of hauling ass”. That quote sums up the best of the GSXR line since it’s inception. With the exception of only a few turds (way back in the early 90’s) in the line, GSXRs have always had a “just ride the shit out of me, it will be fine” quality to them.

    I have to wonder though, how come the Euros manage to deliver the goods and stay EPA compliant while the Japanese seemingly can’t? This carries over to off road dirt bikes too. KTMs haul ass out of the box while the Japanese dirt bikes have throttle stops and crap ECU programming.

  • easy rider

    Fk you Honda . Your bikes are shit just like your cars. Can anybody say formula 1 HA HA HA

  • mog

    HUH?
    “They (manufactures) weren’t wrong; there honestly wasn’t any way to get every bike onto a perfectly level playing field for lap times and guarantee one bike didn’t receive an unfair advantage.”

    Does leveling the playing field really work when you say you will not comment upon your deleted lap times for the bikes…. then say “with the EBR trailing slightly due to its notable lack of performance in the braking zones.” ????… no comment should mean no comment.

    ALSO “full trackside technical support from the manufacturers, and timing for every bike on every lap.” Just who was there from EBR that set up the front brakes correctly?

    At $8,900 (not your suggested $13,995), I would suggest from your testing, that those who read this article get the last of the EBR 1190RX bikes, new or used. The 1190RX really does fly at 184 mph in a standing mile and is probably a bit more than most readers will often use.

    A very good article that is flawed by the self admonishment that when you set out a rule of no comment, you not make exception.

    Yes, I admit I like the EBRs and Buells and the article IS very good but the effect of the above cited examples does make an issue exist that should have been caught in edit. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dff19b56142e3f0aa0931be629d7a98aef0545301c0bcc2d6a9101fa5a9a059c.png

  • rgv maniac

    Oranges & apples to a large extent.
    Why not test similarly equipped machines instead of some models with forged wheels, electronic suspension & quickshifters vs some base model machines?
    Where’s the M/V F4? Panigale? KTM?
    And yes, the californian laws obviously hamstring the Japanese machinery inordinately: can’t you perform the comparo in one of the other 49 states?
    C’mon Motorcycle.com, level the playing field or how can consumers accurately make an informed decision?
    A prospective owner also has to factor in maintenance costs, reliability & resale value.
    Where’s the columns for real-world ownership issues?
    As regards styling/appearance & being highly subjective: the Suzuki & Honda are disappointingly bland/uninspiring, the Kawasaki & BMW are functional but hardly gorgeous & the paint scheme on the Aprilia looks juvenile/classless to these eyes. The Yamaha wins the best looking award in the absence of M/V Augusta & Ducati.
    Want to see a beautiful superbike? M/V ‘s F3 800 & F4 1000 are light years ahead of all but the Aprilia & Yamaha (imo).

    • Kevin Duke

      Wow, that’s a lot of vitriol! Did you see the part where Ducati declined to put a Panigale in their U.S. press fleet? Same for MV. As for KTM, the RC8 hasn’t been available for years. The base Gixxer was the only GSX-R1000 available at the time of testing, so no quickshifter, and that’s somehow our fault?

      Are you aware the EPA/DOT are federal programs? A 49-state bike has the same restrictions on noise/power as a Cali bike.