Top 10 All-Time MO Shootouts

Tom Roderick
by Tom Roderick

Motorcycle Dot Com, formerly known as Motorcycle Online (origin of the MO nickname), has been conducting motorcycle testing for nearly 20 years. Basically, since the year after the internet was made available to the public.

The hell you say!?! Prove it.

Run, Forest, run! O.J. and the white Bronco. Sabotage! R.I.P. Kurt Cobain. Harding vs Kerrigan. Northridge 6.7. Ireland, Macpherson and Hunter.

Since then, motorcycle reviews, and especially multi-bike shootouts, have become our specialty. So, to commemorate our illustrious online presence and motorcycle expertise, here’s a look at the most popular shootouts from the last 20 years. Keep in mind that our older shootouts have had more years to accumulate traffic than our more recent ones.

10. 2008 Supersport Shootout

At the height of the supersport wars, when OEMs were minting new or refreshed 600cc weapons every two years, we conducted the 10th most popular shootout in MO’s history; our 2008 Supersport Shootout. That year, the GSX-R600 was Suzuki’s best-selling model in the company’s portfolio. Yamaha introduced a YZF-R6 with YCC-I (Yamaha Chip Controlled-Intake), first seen on the 2007 R1. Honda’s CBR600RR was the reigning Formula Xtreme champ (prior to the DMG changeover and U.S. roadracing fading into obscurity). Also included was our reigning 2006 supersport shootout winner, Triumph’s Daytona 675, as well as Kawasaki’s ZX-6R. And then … those Wall Street jagoffs killed the party by destroying the world’s economy.

Read More: 2008 Supersport Shootout: CBR600RR Vs Daytona 675 Vs ZX-6R Vs R6 Vs GSX-R600

9. 2007 Air-Cooled Twins Naked Comparo

Unlike number 10, where all the bikes in that shootout still exist, most of the bikes gathered for our Air-Cooled Naked Comparo a year earlier are no longer with us. Gone is the air-cooled Ducati Multistrada 1100, the Moto Guzzi Breva 1100 and the Buell XB12X Ulysses, leaving the BMW R1200R as the sole survivor. The Beemer didn’t win that shootout, but came in a close second to the Multistrada – a bike Ducati has since re-engineered into the liquid-cooled Multistrada 1200, itself a winner of numerous shootouts.

Read More: 2007 Air-Cooled Twins Naked Comparo

8. 2005 Adventure Touring Comparo

In twenty-oh-five, adventure-touring was still coming of age. The players in this shootout ( BMW R1200GS, Kawasaki KLR650, KTM Adventure, Suzuki V-Strom and Triumph Tiger) are still present, in one form or another, but they face an increasingly diverse range of competitive models from other manufacturers. As much as things change, however, they also remain the same. Our top two picks from nine years ago are also our top two picks from this year’s Best On-Off-Road / Adventure Motorcycle. Hint: It’s the BMW and KTM.

Read More: 2005 Adventure Touring Comparo

7. 2007 Liter Bike Shootout

MO’s website got a redesign in 2007, and so did Yamaha’s R1 and Suzuki’s GSX-R1000. The 2007 R1 became one of the first motorcycles with a ride-by-wire throttle, while the new Gixxer saw the introduction of ride modes in the form of adjustable mapping. But it was the Honda CBR1000RR, heavily revised the previous year, which earned the 2007 literbike title. Its torquey and accessible powerband was pleasing on road and track, while its responsive chassis and suspension was our favorite of the bunch. Kawasaki’s ZX-10R, revised in 2006, was too bulky to run with the big dogs and finished last.

Read More: 2007 Literbike Shootout

6. 2007 Power Cruisers Shootout

A couple years into the newly-branded Star Motorcycles regime, the 2007 Power Cruisers Shootout included two Yamaha s, the V Star Midnight Warrior and VMax. The three other competitors were Harley-Davidson‘s VRSCR Street Rod, Victory’s Hammer and Kawasaki’s Vulcan 1600 Mean Streak. The editors all chose a different bike according to their personal tastes, but were also in agreement that the Midnight Warrior was the best at at combining cruising with powering for a price that was more affordable than the others. This cruiser shootout remains more popular than the number seven in this list, the 2007 Literbike Shootout from the same model year. And people wonder why we cover cruisers as much as we do.

Read More: 2007 Power Cruisers Shootout

5. 2006 Light-Middleweight Cruiser Comparison

Did we just mention in number six of this Top 10 list the popularity of cruiser shootouts? If not, allow us to put forth number five in this list, the 2006 Light-Middleweight Cruiser Comparison. For this shootout we gathered the Harley-Davidson 883 Custom, Honda Shadow 750 Aero, Kawasaki Vulcan 900 Classic and Suzuki Boulevard M50. After what seems an exhaustive amount of time riding to the beach and taking photos, a winner was finally determined, and it wasn’t the Harley.

Read More: 2006 Light-Middleweight Cruiser Comparison

4. 2006 Suzuki SV650S V. 2006 Kawasaki Ninja 650R

It was 650cc V-Twin vs 650cc parallel-Twin, Suzuki vs. Kawasaki, in this mid-range, inexpensive, commuter-by-weekday, track-tool-by-weekend conflict. Since the demise of the Honda GT650 Hawk, the Suzuki SV650 had been in a class of its own until the arrival of the Ninja 650R. But after battling it out on both the street and track, the new, fully-faired Ninja just couldn’t upset the quarter-faired Suzuki. A lot’s changed since this shootout, so maybe it’s time we revisit this one with the modern versions of these machines.

Read More: 2006 Suzuki SV650S V. 2006 Kawasaki Ninja 650R

3. Hyosung GT650 Vs. Suzuki SV650

Even more popular than our SV650 vs. Ninja 650 is this shootout pitting the SV against the lesser-known brand from South Korea, Hyosung, and its SV lookalike, the GT650. This shootout actually pitted the fully-faired GT650R against the quarter-faired SV, but, as was noted in the story, the R model at $5999 or the quarter-faired GT650S at $5499 were both less expensive than the $6449 Suzuki. Since this test, in 2005, the GTs have been upgraded with fuel-injection, and the MSRPs have increased $600 to $6599, basically what the Suzuki was back then. Of course, the Suzuki is now the SFV650, and its retail price has jumped $1700 to $8149.

Read More: Hyosung GT650 Vs. Suzuki SV650

2. Honda Gold Wing Vs. BMW K1200 LT

For number two on this list we journey all the way back to the turn of the century. In 2000, Honda’s Gold Wing had yet to be upgraded from the 1520cc flat six-cylinder to its current 1832cc displacement, and the K1200LT was the new pinnacle in BMW’s touring arsenal (the inline six-cylinder K1600GTL not even a pipedream at this point in time). These motorcycles were crusaders of electronics we consider obligatory nowadays, such as antilock brakes and cruise control. Interestingly, the Beemer was fuel-injected while the big Honda remained carbureted, fed by a single carburetor for each bank of three cylinders.

Read More: Honda Gold Wing Vs. BMW K1200 LT

Three For Five: Budget Bombers

Surprised? The most popular shootout in MO’s history isn’t comprised of exotic sportbikes, incredi-cruisers or luxo-tourers, but of affordable, real-world, everyday motorcycles. In 2007, $5k bought you a Kawasaki Ninja 500R, a Suzuki DR650SE and a Hyosung GT650 Comet. The Hyosung was judged the winner of the shootout by virtue of it being a really good value, with handling, power and big-bike looks for $1,000 less than the nearest competitor. Today, the Hyosung GT650 retails for $6,599, the DR650SE for $6,499, and a non-ABS Ninja 300 stickers for $4,999. With this bargain bike comparo being our most-viewed shootout ever, it makes us think Honda may be on to something with its 500cc platform (winner of last year’s Best Value award), and Yamaha with its new FZ bikes (winner of this year’s Best Value award).

Read More: Three For Five: Budget Bombers

Tom Roderick
Tom Roderick

A former staffer who has gone on to greener pastures, Tom Roderick still can't get the motorcycle bug out of his system. And honestly, we still miss having him around. Tom is now a regular freelance writer and tester for when his schedule allows, and his experience, riding ability, writing talent, and quick wit are still a joy to have – even if we don't get to experience it as much as we used to.

More by Tom Roderick

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2 of 6 comments
  • Jim L Jim L on Aug 22, 2014

    And no mention of CrAshley. How could you?

  • Buzz Buzz on Aug 23, 2014

    I think the Sport Touring shootout needs to be on the list. We rode from Torrance to Reno arriving late at night. We then headed down to take a top to bottom cruise through Yosemite.

    We proceeded to get pulled over for speeding and got tickets for speeding, no insurance and conducting business in a National Park without a permit. We got tossed out of the park.

    Fun stuff!