For those who’ve lapped up every word, expression, and metaphor of the performance novel that was our 2017 Superbike Track Shootout and Superbike Street Shootout, the heir apparent is as obvious as the bike coming in last place. For those still wallowing in anticipation, unable to decipher our MOrse code, you can take a breath because, without further ado, we give you…
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.
As Bob Dylan wrote, the times, they are a’changing. All you need to do is take a look at our latest superbike shootout to see that technology is playing an ever-increasing role in how we ride motorcycles. What about simpler things, like instruments? Well, superbike instrumentation has been changing, too. Of our seven superbike contestants, only one has an old-school, swept needle tachometer. The remaining six count on some kind of bar graph. Three of the bikes have LCD screens delivering at least some of their information while the remaining four utilize color on TFT screens. So, we thought we’d ask our loyal *MO*rons what they thought about the instruments. Vote for all the instruments you like, and we’ll figure out which is the best.
It’s been two years since we summoned together the superpowers of the sportbike world. In that time the Aprilia RSV4 RR, Honda CBR1000RR, Kawasaki ZX-10R, and Suzuki GSX-R1000 have either been heavily revised or completely overhauled. These changes beg a reinspection into the pecking order of world’s premier street-legal superbikes. Can Japan wrest away the literbike crown from the European OEMs, Aprilia and BMW, that have dominated the class since 2010?
We’re getting a little giddy around here as we begin to gather the gamut of new superbikes for our most intensive shootout of the year! We’ve got a fabulous two-day street ride to begin our testing, stringing together some of our favorite twisty roads on an overnight trip to begin our superbike shootout. And then the hardcore performance testing will take place over two days at Auto Club Speedway with our friends at Fastrack Riders. If you can be near Fontana, California, May 26-27, you should sign yourself up for a fun day at the track with us!
As far as 2017 is concerned, this might be the year we remember as the one that saw the entire liter-class field go electric. No, I don’t mean like that. I mean electronic rider aids – every major player in the field has them now. Honda and Suzuki, with their CBR1000RR and GSX-R1000, respectively, had held out on introducing riding aids (beyond differing power modes in the Suzuki’s case) until this year. Meanwhile, the rest of the competition has leap-frogged ahead, introducing highly advanced traction control, wheelie control, launch control, slide control, and all kinds of other controls previously only seen on MotoGP machines.
Here we go again. The wild ride that is Erik Buell Racing has announced that it is headed for another precipice. Will this be the one that finally, completely wipes the letters E, B, and R from the motorcycling landscape? Who knows, but we’re running out of fingers and toes to count the number of near-death experiences our favorite beleaguered motorcycle company has endured. What little we do know is contained in the press release below.
Each new naked demands of us another shootout. The catalyst this time around is Yamaha’s R1-powered FZ-10. Introduced in July as a 2017 model, the new FZ-10 stands as the only liter-size Japanese streetfighter offering enough performance and attitude to bring the fight to the currently dominant nakeds. Add to that a rare appearance by an EBR 1190SX, and two stalwarts of the class, Aprilia Tuono V4 1100RR and Triumph Speed Triple R, and we’ve the ingredients for a spicy streetfighter omelette.
As we expected after uncovering trademark filings earlier this month, Erik Buell Racing will debut a new model called the Black Lightning at the Long Beach International Motorcycle Show. Based on the EBR 1190SX, the Black Lightning offers more upright ergonomics and higher torque delivery for urban riding.
With EBR’s recent trademark filing for the name Black Lightning, we’re waiting in anticipation to see what Erik Buell will bring to us next. However, while we await the Black Lightning, let’s go back in time and visit one of Buell’s earlier cult hits, and possibly the grandfather to the Black Lightning: the S1 Lightning. The MO staff dubbed the bike “ Buell’s Monster” and even called it “The most radical motorcycle yet from the Buell Motor Company.” With its hopped up Sportster 1200 engine housed inside a sporting package far removed from the cruiser the 1200 V-Twin was originally intended for, the S1 was a radical bike then and remains a cult classic today. Read on to see what the early MOron crew thought of the bike.
Liquid Asset Partners LLC, owners of Erik Buell Racing, have filed a trademark application for the name “Black Lightning” for use on “motorcycles and structural parts therefor.” The application was filed Oct. 27, just over a month EBR sent out a press release promising something “quick, dark and low” this fall. The name “Black Lightning” would certainly fit the descriptors “quick” and “low.”
Soon we’ll be assembling the combatants for our third naked bike shootout this year. Why another one? Because Yamaha’s new FZ-10 is forcing our hand. Our First Ride Review of the FZ-10 was published at the end of July, a mere week before our Naked Sports Six-Way Shootout hit the digital newsstand in early August. Prior to that, our 2016 Ultimate Streetfighter Shootout between the two reigning kings of the naked bike world – Aprilia and KTM – was published all the way back in April. Leaving the FZ-10 as ridden but not juxtaposed.
In today’s Ask MO Anything, Seamus O’Connor from San Jose, CA inquired about purchasing an EBR bike. John Burns, MO’s in-house sage, responded with an affirmative purchasing decision. No one’s questioning Burnsie’s advice, but we’d like to know what our readership thinks about EBR, and if purchasing one is an iffy proposition or a sound investment. The EBR 1190SX gave our 2014 MOTY, KTM’s Super Duke R, a run for its money ( Brutish V-Twin Streetfighter Comparo), and now the MSRP of the SX has been reduced $4k ($12,995). Sounds like a bargain, or does it?