We here at Motorcycle.com are a bit spoiled. You see, stepping up to the top shelf of a manufacturer’s lineup for us is as simple as asking for it – no credit check required, so it’s easy for us to love pricey KTM Super Dukes and MV Agusta Brutales. However, there are much more affordable ways to get into the naked sportbike market, and here’s a trio of fun, fast and cool ways to do it for around 8 or 9 grand.

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Truly, this collection of roadsters – Suzuki’s GSX-S750, Kawasaki’s Z900 and Aprilia’s new Shiver 900 – has all the performance most anyone needs to frolic in the canyons, let alone stay ahead of traffic, and agreeable ergonomics enable versatility for everything from commuting to touring. While this threesome isn’t a perfect fit in terms of specifications, they are priced in the same range and offer similar sporty performance.

Related: 2018 Suzuki GSX-S750 First Ride Review

Related: 2017 Kawasaki Z900 First Ride Review

Two bikes are conspicuous by their absence: the Triple threats of Yamaha’s updated FZ-09 ($8,999) and Triumph’s Street Triple S ($9,900). Sadly, we were unable to wrangle them in time for this comparison, but we intend to assemble the two Triples when available and will include the winner of this shootout to find out how they stack up with each other.

Related: 2017 Yamaha FZ-09 First Ride Review

Cost

Suzuki’s GSX-S750 is the cheapest way to get 100 rear-wheel horsepower, with an MSRP of just $8,299 for the base version we tested. Antilock brakes are available only on the blacked-out GSX-S750Z, which retails at $8,899, $100 more than the ABS-equipped Z900 in this test. Aprilia’s Shiver 900 adds Italian flair and an elevated price, retailing at $9,399 with its standard ABS.

Related: 2018 Aprilia Shiver 900 First Ride Review

The standard GSX-S750 lacks ABS but has the lowest MSRP in this test at $8,299. We think it’s a really attractive motorcycle considering its price. However, a non-ABS Z900 retails for just $8,399 and proudly offers more power from its bigger engine.

Style

Like any vehicular purchase, a consumer’s decision to buy a motorbike depends largely on how it strikes their eyes. We think this trio nicely pulls off charming profiles despite their sub-$10k price tags, but how each is alluring depends largely on the tastes of the beholder.

Suzuki’s Gixxus appeals best to those with more traditional tastes, displaying clean lines and subtle accents within a vivid blue primary color. At the opposite end of conservatism is the polarizing Z900, with a fresher visage that probably speaks loudest to younger riders.

The bold and edgy Z900 looks especially sharp with its green frame highlighting its chassis and the green pinstriping on its wheels. What looks like aluminum lower frame elements are actually plastic covers, similar to what Yamaha did with its FZ-07.

The Shiver falls somewhere in between, with its red-accented trellis frame, shock spring, cylinder head covers and wheel stripes adding considerable pop within a relatively calm colorway. Dual undertail mufflers are visually interesting even if they frustrate mass-centralization efforts.

“In terms of looks and finish, the Aprilia is unmatched,” opines Ass. Ed. Ryan Adams. “It feels like a much more expensive motorcycle than it is.”

Ergos

Naked sportbikes like these are a more rational choice for a street sportbike than the committed riding positions of supersport-style sportbikes, requiring much less folding of a rider’s body parts. Of this trio, the the Shiver offers up the least demanding position, with a generous amount of legroom from its comfy 32.0-inch seat height and a moderate reach to the handlebars. The Gixxus isn’t far behind, with a slightly tighter knee bend forced by higher footpegs but a nicely plush saddle.

The Shiver is blessed with semi-exotic Euro styling and offers a comfortable, open riding position.

Kawasaki fitted its Z900 with a thin seat that provides the shortest reach to the ground at just 31.3 inches, nearly a full inch lower than the Suzuki’s. Our testers griped about its resultant deficit of padding and the tight knee bend forced by the low seat. Taller riders would be well served by ordering up the Ergo-Fit Extended Reach seat ($179.99.) from Kawi’s accessory catalog, as it offers an extra inch of legroom along with a snazzy carbon-fiber pattern and embroidered Kawasaki logo.

Powerplants

Aprilia’s newly enlarged V-Twin in its Shiver and Dorsoduro 900s has a welcome boost in output over the previous 750cc versions, but its 896cc motor is fairly tame and not quite enough to make the Shiver feel like an updated version of Noale’s former 1000cc V-Twin Tuono. Horsepower peaks at a modest 82 ponies when measured on our MotoGP Werks dyno.

The GSX-S750 holds its smaller head fairly high in this class, offering nearly 100 rear-wheel horsepower by revving higher than its bigger rivals. An impressively flat torque curve makes the Suzuki feel stronger than actually is, and its peak twist amazingly comes up just 2.6 lb-ft short of the 146cc-larger Shiver! Minor abruptness when reapplying throttle is our only beef about this overachieving powerplant.

Although down 150-200cc in engine displacement, the GSX-S750 spits out the second-highest horsepower number in this comparo and nearly matches the peak torque of the V-Twin Aprilia.

Power hogs will gravitate to the 948cc Z900, which cranks out an impressive 115.6 hp at a reasonably low 9800 rpm. It’s relatively docile when ridden with a mild wrist, but it goes on a tear at WFO above 7000 rpm. Second-gear clutch-assisted wheelies ensue…

“I enjoyed the extra power when compared back-to-back with these other motorcycles,” Adams states, to which we all agreed.

The Z900 is the clear winner in terms of power, making more of it at every rpm in its rev range. The Shiver’s newly enlarged 896cc V-Twin gets handily out-torqued by the four-cylinder Z thanks to the Kawi’s extra 52cc. The Suzuki’s motor, despite being significantly out-gunned in terms of displacement, rarely feels a step behind its larger rivals when out on the road.

Features

Along with the obvious distinctions between divergent powerplants, the breadth of features offered among this trio is where they further diverge from each other.

The GSX-S is fairly basic, with a traction-control system and a slipper clutch amounting to most of its highlights, along with radial-mount front brakes with four-piston calipers on its inverted fork. It lacks ride modes, adjustable suspension damping and an assist-style clutch, and it’s the only one of the group to use a steel swingarm instead of lighter aluminum swingers on the 900s. Kudos to Suzuki for allowing TC to be disabled and for allowing it to remain switched off when the engine is restarted; a TC light notifies the rider it has been disabled.

The Suzuki’s instrument panel is highly readable, with a large GPI and digital speedo. A large bar-graph tach resides up top.

The Kawasaki adds rebound-damping adjustability to both ends of the suspension equation, along with the preload adjustments of the Suzuki. It’s equipped with a trip computer but lacks traction control, ride modes and radially mounted front brakes. Our tester was fitted with the optional ABS system. All three bikes are equipped with clocks, fuel gauges and gear-position indicators.

The pricier Shiver is, relatively speaking, slathered in features, including TC, ride modes, a steel/aluminum frame, and a lovely TFT instrument cluster with a trip computer and ambient temperature gauge. It’s also the only bike here that has three-way (preload, compression, rebound) adjustable suspension. Optional is the Aprilia Multimedia Platform that allows the instruments to sync with a smartphone. ABS is standard and can be disabled if desired, unlike the Kawi’s ABS.

Yeah, a good set of gauges doesn’t have to be TFT, but the latest examples, like this one borrowed from Aprilia’s RSV4 and Tuono, are beautiful and readable while adding a touch of high-end class.

Ride On!

While the aforementioned details play a part in a prospective buyer’s decision, it all pales next to what is offered by the riding experience of each bike.

Despite the nearly 200cc gap in engine displacements, the four-cylinder Japanese duo feel remarkably similar, aside from the amount of legroom offered by their seating positions. Their weights are nearly identical, with the Suzuki’s 467-lb fully fueled number just undercutting the Kawi’s 469-lb figure. However, the Z900 holds a bit more fuel in its tank (4.5 gallons vs. 4.22) and it carries ABS hardware, so it’s actually the Z that weighs the least, even if it’s just a couple of pounds.

The lightest bikes in this test bookend the heaviest one.

The Shiver gave extra work for our scales, pressing down with 500 lbs (well, 499…) of force.It feels obviously heavier when picking it up off its sidestand, and it can’t blame a generous fuel capacity for its extra lard, as Aprilia rates its tank at just 4.0 gallons, which may inhibit the Shiver during sport-touring duties. During our video shoot ride day, which is notoriously a worst-case scenario for fuel economy, our Shiver’s low-fuel light (and tripmeter countdown) activated as it traveled just 80 miles. The Kawi sucked in nearly as much fuel but has a half-gallon-larger tank. Meanwhile, the Suzuki burned a half-gallon less pump juice than the ‘Priller to lead the fuel-economy sweepstakes.

The Gixxus pleases ears with its snarling intake growl that surely gives pride to an anonymous acoustics engineer working in Hamamatsu. The Z also sounds really good, although lacking some of the invigorating rasp of the GSX-S. The Shiver V-Twin is an entirely different animal, spitting out a bass-heavy drumbeat distinct from its higher-pitched rivals.

The Shiver distinguishes itself in both its powerplant and its hybrid steel/aluminum chassis. With the laziest rake angle and longest wheelbase, it’s not quite as agile as its Japanese rivals, but lightweight wheels borrowed from the Tuono help it respond quickly to steering inputs.

The Suzuki has the heaviest clutch pull but with a wider engagement zone than the light-action slip-assist clutch in the Z. The Shiver counters the Japanese cable clutches with a hydraulic slipper unit to ease pull efforts a purported 15% compared to the defunct Shiver 750.

No notable foibles are discovered in typical use around town, aside from the Aprilia’s gearbox sometimes being reluctant to find neutral when stopped. Each machine proves easy to handle, as all decent sporting standards should. The Suzuki’s power deficit is barely noticed thanks for its flat torque curve and the slickest-shifting tranny of the group.

“Despite the 750’s lack of displacement,” notes Adams, “while riding these motorcycles back to back, it was clear the Gixxus was not outclassed in the least.”

Don’t think the Suzuki’s undersized engine is an impediment to quickly ripping up a canyon road. “It has the smallest powerplant but still made very usable power as long as you kept the motor spinning in the higher revs,” FNG Brent Jaswinski notes. He also appreciated the knurled footpegs with raised edges that provided more grip than the rubber covered pegs of its classmates. Long peg feelers rarely grazed the ground when leaned over in corners.

The Shiver’s lower-revving Twin chuffs out torque in a smooth and satisfying manner, even if swapping transmission cogs requires more effort than the others.

“With the only V-Twin of the group, which obviously didn’t rev as high or make as much horsepower as the Kawi or ‘Zuk, it made up for it with its low-end torque,” elaborates Jaswinski. “This made the bike fun to ride around town and in the tight canyon twisties. It has an infectious exhaust bark when you rap the throttle, as well as a nice decel-pop that adds sporty character.”

But in terms of pure sport, it’s the Z900 that takes top honors.

“The Kawi makes fun, grin-inducing power all the way up to 10k rpm,” Jas gushes. “It has great midrange power, and a feather of the clutch lofts the front end predictably.”

All three of these bikes have solid handling characteristics, with predictable turn-in responses and adroit capabilities when leaned over and hustled down a twisty road. The Kaw and Suz again feel quite similar, which should be no surprise considering their identical trail figures (4.1 inches) and nearly identical wheelbases (57.1 inches vs. 57.2, respectively). The Z has the steepest rake angle of the group at 24.5°, but it didn’t tip into corners appreciably quicker than the 25.2° Suzuki.

“I thought the Suzuki had the quickest turn-in,” Adams counters, “although it didn’t feel quite as composed in corners as its competitors.”

Specs aside, it wasn’t clear to our test crew which bike has a handling advantage, as all three provided as much performance as we dared when ridden in the confines of the street. Your speed in the corners will be defined by your performance capabilities more than what’s available from these motorbikes.

Jaswinski, our tallest tester at 6-foot-1-inch and pictured here, gave the Shiver kudos for the roomiest seat of this trio and for its comfortably large pillion pad with the only passenger grab handles in this trio (the Z9 and GSX-S employ seat straps) that could also double for cargo tie-down points. He adds the Shiver is a “solid-performing bike that doesn’t have any obvious shortcomings.”

The fully adjustable suspension of the Shiver keeps its weight nicely damped, and I rate it best of this group, despite the non-linkage rear shock. However, we must give props to the engineers at Kawi and Suzi for dialing in proper settings in their less-adjustable suspenders, which none of our testers griped about.

Brakes were a slightly different story, with our riders preferring the GSX-S’s radial-mount 4-piston calipers for their richer initial bite and feedback.

“Even though it is the only bike without ABS, it has the best brakes of the group, hands down” Jas reports. “They have strong initial bite with predictable and linear braking feel as more pressure is applied. I only ever needed one finger on the lever.”

The Suzuki has our fave brakes in this group.

With radial-mount 4-piston calipers, braided-steel lines and a sophisticated ABS system, the Shiver appears as if it should win the battle of the brakes. However, they require a fairly hefty squeeze to access their full power and were rated at the tail end of this group.

The Kawi’s brakes are decent but not great. The 4-piston front calipers offer good power, despite being the only non-radial set in this trio and having the smallest rotors (300mm). Our beef with the brakes is mostly with its antilock system.

“The Z900’s brakes worked great so long as their application was smooth,” Jas elaborates. “However, under heavy or abrupt braking, the ABS initiated a little too eagerly with somewhat disconcerting modulation at the lever.”

Perhaps Kawi’s ABS system isn’t quite as advanced as the Shiver’s, on which we didn’t note a problem with premature intervention. We would’ve liked to have tried disabling the Z’s ABS to find out how differently the brakes performed, but there is no way to switch it off like is possible on the Shiver.

And The Verdict Is…

This shootout proved to be far more competitive than the spec charts and our predictions initially indicated, as we became enamored with each bike for their versatility and all-around performance.

At the tail end of our scorecard by just a fraction is the still-estimable Shiver 900, which primarily got penalized by having the highest price, the heaviest weight, and the least amount of horsepower. Taking those objective parameters out of the picture and relying on our subjective scores, the Shiv actually finished a very close second to the victor of this comparison.

In the final tally on our scorecard, there was just a 3.15% gap between first and last places.

“After attending the launch of the Shiver 900, I was certain it would have held its own a bit better against the two Japanese competitors,” Adams summarizes. “I thoroughly enjoyed the low-end torque from the 90-degree V-Twin, however, the party was always over too soon in terms of power. For the price, and depending on your plans for the motorcycle, it comes in a close second for me to the Z900 as a great do-everything motorcycle, as long as everything doesn’t include pumping out better horsepower numbers.”

Taking the runner-up spot here is the over-achieving GSX-S750, which delighted us with its fun-to-ride nature and its overall competency in doing everything we asked of it.

“The Suzuki is a great platform for a newer rider looking to get into sportier riding without sacrificing comfort or around-town maneuverability,” Jaswinski states. It’s remarkable the Gixxus rated so highly, given its significant deficit in engine size.

And that leaves us with the winner of this shootout, Kawasaki’s alluring and value-packed Z900. It’s a stunning performance bargain, especially considering the non-ABS version retails for just $8,399, and it’s further validation for choosing it as the Best Standard of 2017 in our annual MOBO awards.

The Z900 is not only a better motorcycle than the Z800 it replaces, it’s also a better bike than the Z1000 it also replaces. Its performance-per-dollar ratio is as good as it gets.

“The Kawasaki completes the best all-around package with its 115 horses, radical styling, and good cornering stability,” Adams raves. “If it weren’t for the too-low seat height in relation to the footpegs and the early intervention of ABS, we wouldn’t have anything to complain about.”

Scroll down to see our full scorecard.

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  • Old MOron

    Alright! I’ve been waiting for this shootout.
    Sounds like I would be happy with any of these three.
    So I choose… the Z900RS 🙂

    Hey Duke said it, “a consumer’s decision to buy a motorbike depends largely on how it strikes their eyes.”

    • Gabriel Owens

      Fz09 wins!

    • BDan75

      I can deal with a lot of ugly if the bike is good enough. I mean, even FZ-10 ugly. (Maybe not R1200ST ugly, though… )

      But yeah, prettier is generally better. I just hope the “retuned for torque” 900 engine isn’t too watered down.

      • Born to Ride

        If it is then a set of ninja 1000 pistons and some head work will flavor it back up right quick.

  • Alaskan18724

    I’m happy.

    • Gabriel Owens

      Drinkin again.

      • Alaskan18724

        Well, yeah, but that’s beside the point. Regular motorcycles are back. Of course, these are all now marginalized by the Z900RS. And I’m still good with the CB1100EX. And call me crazy, but I saw the 2017 HD Lowrider S as the best looking standard since the ZRX. Maybe since the GS1000. The original one. That’s right, a standard.

        • Alaskan18724

          Look at those pegs and bars. Where they should be. It’s only a seat away.

          • Born to Ride

            I really like the low rider S too, but its real price is 20 grand and you still need to go buy shocks, a seat, and a proper handlebar. No thanks.

          • Alaskan18724

            Agree about suspenders. Last month my dealer had three, said $17k OTD. Bet HD is going to be discounting, given the week’s news. It just LOOKS so badass. In a good way. It’s like Darth Vader found Jesus.

          • Gabriel Owens

            Ok, you win the internet.

          • Alaskan18724

            Maybe the best post ever.

          • Douglas

            If I were ever gonna buy another scoot with footpegs, that wd likely be it….but now I’m spoiled to footboards. So it’d hafta be an EGlide….or a Roadmaster (if they’d switch to their new conventional fenders, ala the Elite)….being old(er) has drawbacks….you’ll find out (I hope).

          • Alaskan18724

            As we speak, brother. As we speak. I WANT a Lowrider. I’d park it next to my ‘06 AMF-lookalike. I’ll probably BUY floorboards. Like your choices; the Indian’s motor is jewelry. I also was not prepared for how perfectly the BMW K1600B just fit me. I’m roughly the size of a college tight end, and the BMW felt tailored.

        • Gabriel Owens

          Saw the lowrider, but did you sit on it?

          • Alaskan18724

            Yep. Saddle’s weird. Corbin would be my first stop.

          • Gabriel Owens

            Im 6’1 and found it to be quite cramped.

        • DickRuble

          Whatever you’re drinking, just stop. You’re hallucinating.

          • Douglas

            Well, tell ‘im how he oughta think, there Dick….in fact, tell us all. You seem 2b v good at that….(as an aside, clue us in on what’s wrong w/ the Low Rider, aesthetically…..and watch it….Sayyed may be perusing this one….)

  • gjw1992

    The weight of that Aprilia’s a shocker. I usually assume 4-cyl means 30 or 40lb disadvantage to start with. But yes – th e900RS with the better cycle bits and despite the power drop bodes well.

    • Born to Ride

      Shiver has always been a porker. I think they may have actually got the weight down from where it was.

  • Jason M.

    That Gixxus is a looker, love that blue!

  • Larry Kahn

    Looking forward to the Z-1 retro based on this 900. Any comments on engine smoothness/vibration to the rider? Have they quelled I-4 buzz?

    • Kevin Duke

      Yup, much less buzzy than old Z1000, quite tolerable even for long stints.

    • Eric

      It’s particularly one of the smoothest i-4 on the market. It’s not as smooth as a GPz1100 from 1996 (like a sheet of glass from 0 to 11,000 rpm), but it’s supremely smooth for an engine with a single counterbalance shaft.

  • Kos

    Guess I’m dating myself, but none of these are easy on the eyes.

    Aprilia is neutral, Kawi is a bit ugly, and Suzi takes the ugly crown.

    • Born to Ride

      I got it the Suzi > Ape> Kwak in the looks department. I really like the blue and black and I think it has the least offensive headlight. But I mean… Z900RS…

  • Born to Ride

    If not for the Z900RS, I might have considered the Gixxus 750 for my Japanese roadster once they start to depreciate on showroom floors. I was going back and forth between that, and picking up a used 919 or SV1000. But that’s all moot now.

    • Gabriel Owens

      No fz09?

      • Born to Ride

        I despise the FZ09. To the point where I’m not even sure it’s rational. Every shape and angle on it is like an affront to aesthetic taste. I would take that engine in the new R6 chassis/bodywork all day and twice on Sunday though. Total waste of a wonderful powerplant in my book.

        • Alaskan18724

          So—how do you actually feel about the FZ09?

          • Born to Ride

            Lemme put it this way, take all of what I said about the way it looks, and then realize that its coming from a guy who was okay with buying a Terblanche multistrada.

          • Alaskan18724

            Z900RS. Proof that the FZ09 was inspired by an insect.

      • Eric

        I feel something happened at Yamaha as a corporation in the last 10-12 years. Maybe they took on new design management? Watching the documentary about the history of Yamaha, there was a significant emphasis on combining beauty with power coming from the corporation. ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrvPyA-m68g ) Seems after about 2009 that philosophy went out the window. I still like their powerplants more than I like the powerplants from most other manufacturers but the aesthetics of the various motorcycles they’ve created are a very clear departure from their past philosophy. Don’t remember what a beautiful Yamaha looked like? Check Google for 2004 R1 wallpaper. As an owner of the new Z900 (non-abs), the FZ-09 still has a strong pull of appeal to me, not because it handles better (it doesn’t), not because it has a greater fuel range (it doesn’t), not because it looks better (subjective, they both look equally as ugly), but because it has a shot of power off the bottom and a visceral feel/character from the i-3 that no i-4 (crossplane or not) will match. It’s an overachiever for 847cc. And because the bike still weighs very little (425 lb) it competes with stuff 100cc bigger. It’s not the most refined, not the most smooth, not the best looking, not the best handling (in stock form, but what’s new under 12,000 dollars?), but it has something of a FUN factor that few can match in this range of bikes.

        And I prefer powerful Vtwin sports bikes more than any other engine. 1290 SDR anyone? Lay down the big bucks.

        • Born to Ride

          I don’t understand any of their bikes from a design standpoint. The R bikes all look really great and modern to me, but everything else they produce is a total dud. Here’s to hoping the new Tenere isn’t that much different aesthetically from the concept bike.

          • Eric

            Like I said, design aesthetics were pretty great during the early to mid 2000’s and then something went off the rails. The R1 looked worse every time around. This is the first real contemporary time Yamaha really produced a few naked bikes so there’s nothing to compare to unless you want to rewind 30 years. Yet I wish the naked bikes had some beauty like the faired bikes of the early 2000’s.

    • Rocky Stonepebble

      I had an SV1000s six or seven years back. Nice bike. Loads of power and torque. Quite good looking. Sold it when I realized I rode my Rz350 far more often.

      • Born to Ride

        I saw one at laguna seca once that was all blacked out with gold wheels, handlebars, radiator cover, and pinstriping. front end was converted to ohlins and the shock was ohlins, and it had an LED round headlight up front. Absolutely beautiful bike, I have wanted one ever since but never get around to pulling the trigger.

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          Fine bike. I really enjoyed mine. But, not too many canyons and alpine passes in my part of Canada, so I stuck to the day to day loads-of-laughs Rz350. Which, coincidentally is also great fun for canyon carving.

          I had aftermarket Hindle pipes on my SV, but other than that, all was stock. Metallic blue. Lovely bike. Really went through tires, though. lol

    • spiff

      So, you going to get one?

      • Born to Ride

        Yes, depending on the pricing, I’ll either be preordering a green one or waiting to the end of next year to haggle.

        • spiff

          If you already have a bike to ride it isn’t a huge deal, but I would be hard pressed not to put a deposit down.

          • Born to Ride

            I have 3 haha, but the pull of impatience is strong.

    • DickRuble

      Yeah.. a pristine SV1000s for $3000 or a four banger that nobody knows how it rides for $9000 and change.. moot point indeed.

      • Born to Ride

        And the SV1000 will never look like the Z900RS. I’m not above admitting that it’s an aesthetically driven purchase. You’re right in that the SV1000 is lighter, has a more soulful engine that is easy to maintain, and is far less expensive at this juncture because they can only be had used. If Suzuki built a classic roadster with the SV1000 engine, I would be in heaven, but they don’t, so I’ll have to settle for the next best thing.

        • DickRuble

          Next best thing: Honda 919.

          • Born to Ride

            Idk about the build quality, but the suspension is what kept me from pulling the trigger in the past. The sv1000 can have late model gsxr suspension for less than 1000$ with Ebay parts. Front end swap would happen eventually on either one, but the GSXR clamps can accept ohlins sticks right off the bat I’m told. I still want an SV1000 project bike, but at the moment the Z sounds and looks wonderful

          • DickRuble

            The SV1000 has a race perimeter frame. The Z just a run of the mill spine frame. And it may have a linkless suspension, though I can’t tell for certain from the pics. You don’t need to go crazy with swapping suspension. You can ride it as is until you have time to swap the fork springs and oil with optimal ones.

            http://www.suzukicycles.org/photos/SV/SV1000S/2006_SV1000SZ_b_800.jpg

          • Born to Ride

            It’s link type, same as the SV650 but it mounts offset to the other side of the swingarm. To swap a gixxer shock in, you buy a set of dog bones for 25$ or machine them yourself, then a flea bay shock out of a gixxer 750 for 50$, get it sprung to your weight, and viola! Supersport rear end for a couple hundred bucks.

          • DickRuble

            i was asking about the Z900RS suspension.. link or linkless?

          • Born to Ride

            They refer to it as “back-link”, so I’m going to guess linkage is involved. Could be wrong.

  • Gabriel Owens

    To me the fz09 is the bike that re-invigorated this category.

    • Mikael Jansson

      If they could just fix their fuelling…

      • Eric

        FZ-09 inherited the XSR900 ECU tuning in 2017. But who keeps the stock exhaust, stock ECU, stock intake filters on these things anyway?

        • Mikael Jansson

          I probably would! 🙂 I tried the 2017 MT-09, but it was more-or-less unusable in A mode, or like someone worded it: “a kangaroo with anger management issues”

          • Born to Ride

            Spongy rear end and wonky chassis geometry don’t help it either. It’s almost as if that bike was purpose built to squat and wheelie under acceleration.

          • Mikael Jansson

            At least it’s better than the 07. Man! 🙂
            Guessing the SP ed. (if it becomes reality) takes care of the 09’s suspension at least.

          • Born to Ride

            It needs a longer swingarm with a higher pivot, lower headstock, and shorter forks. Basically, it needs to become a different bike…

          • Eric

            Better is subjective. In the subjective opinion of a lot of moto-js, the FZ-07 was a ‘better’ package because the engine and chassis complemented each other. The FZ-09 engine was like a gorilla trying to break out of a cage.

            It’s better now. Not perfect, but better. I’d still have to spend 2 grand to make it ‘exceptional.’ And I might just do that……with an FJ-09. I’m getting too old to enjoy a butt on fire, a sore neck, and aching knees. I want more miles and I’m going to get them! Cotton pick

  • Sentinel

    The abysmal fuel range of the Shiver just kills it for me. I’m really looking forward to your test of the new Z900RS when you get the chance. I’d take that bike over any of the ones tested here.

    • Eric

      Agreed. The Dorsoduro version is even less at 3.17 gallons. Evidently manufacturers believe people can’t stand riding motorcycles these days for more than 80 miles before wanting to get off and fiddle with their iphones and take selfies. Pathetic. Who’s deciding these things on committees anyway?

  • StripleStrom

    I think I would skip all of these and buy a GSXS1000.

    • Eric

      Lots of value there. Just has some serious flaws which made me ultimately decide less power isn’t a bad thing. Gear ratios on the GSX-S1000 are stupid for that engine’s flexibility. Throttle is choppy (ECU reflash mandatory). Otherwise it makes good MPG, power, and has a super solid and stable feel. Brakes are very good.

    • spiff

      Dealers will discount them as well.

  • Eric

    One consideration for those of us that don’t live in a perpetual warm climate, the Z900 makes a minuscule 336 charging watts. I know that’s not on most people’s radar, but when you start adding heated pants, jackets, grips, gloves, GPS, radar det, other stuff you’ll be way past running out of charging power. Funny thing too, the Z1000 and Ninja1000 versions of this engine make 336 watts. Yes the 948 was derived from the 1043.

    (Just for example) Triumph Street Twin cranks out a boat load at 660 watts. Guess Kawasaki figured the stator pumpkin would stick out as far as a R NineT engine jugs with a real coil beneath it?

    And please Motorcycle.com, start publishing charging watts @ X rpm as part of your bike statistics. If you could do that, that would be greeeeeat, mmkay? Seems only Rider Magazine does this.

    • DickRuble

      Heated everything…You don’t need a motorcycle.. you need a sauna.

      • Eric

        And you could use some empathy. Where do you live? South Florida? When you ride in Minnesota late into the fall season, let me know how you stave off hypothermia. Let me know how that works for ya.

  • Vrooom

    It would be cool if the objective scores were based on some standard outside these three bikes, so you could compare those scores to those in another shootout. Make 200 hp. the standard for engine, etc. etc. Well written and great photos!