Before you start peppering me with hate mail about how on earth a Yamaha R7 could possibly be the best Sportbike, let’s remember what our MOBOs are about in the first place. It’s not strictly about performance. If that were the case, then clearly the Yamaha would be pretty far down the totem pole. How the machine works is a factor, sure, but it’s also about a motorcycle’s significance in the greater overall context of its category and motorcycling in general. Considered in this context, the R7 should start to make a little more sense.
Coming directly off of a six-bike shootout the previous day of paltry 900cc nekids, I knew I needed to focus on rewiring my brain to handle the beast that is the Aprilia Tuono V4. I’ve been a fan (and owner) of the Aprilia Tuono V4 platform for some time now – and I’m not the only one around here. From earning the editors’ top spot in our 2017 Supernaked Streetfighter Shootout!, to bringing home the people’s choice award in our Writer’s Choice: MO’s WSBK Sport-Touring Showdown in 2019, the Tuono’s list of accolades run deep through the years both at MO and other publications worldwide – and it just keeps getting better. With an ever more hard-edged category though, the Tuono hasn’t won them all.
Big manufacturers rarely open up their factory doors to the inquisitive eyes of journalists, and when they do, it is typically to show off the state-of-the-art nature of their manufacturing process. Recently, Arai opened its factories for a host of international journalists to show how their premium helmets, which are seen around the world on the grids of the pinnacle classes of each respective motorsport category, are as much the product of hands-on craftsmanship as they are technological advancements. The reasoning behind this openness was the desire to show why Arai believes they make the best motorcycle helmets in the world. The tour was enlightening for all who attended because Arai had the opportunity to show how its long-held core philosophy about head protection affects almost every step of the helmet construction process.
Well yeah, the FTR did not win our little Monster 1200/Yamaha XSR900 comparo, and is currently taking heavy fire in the Comments section from the sportbike purists. But as you know, MOBOs are also selected using other criteria, including historical significance, originality, and the debating skills and/or ability of a given bike’s proponent to wear the other contenders down with BS via Google Hangout.
Usually when we have a shootout here at Motorcycle.com, the participants are somewhat defined for us. First, we choose a class of motorcycle, and then, we put the latest versions of those bikes in a head-to-head-competition. This time we’re doing something a little different. Each MO editor chose whatever bike they wanted to ride to Monterey, CA, for the U.S. round of World Superbike. The only caveat would be that the bike had to be capable of participating in the annual Pirelli Track Day that takes place the day after the races finish at Laguna Seca. Okay, there was one other rule that I tried to enforce, but the one editor just couldn’t bring himself to choose a bike that had OEM bags available for it.
Right, when BMW told us they were done with R nineT models a year or so ago, they never said they were done with R nineT SLASH FIVES! Upon homing in on the /5 at the end of the press release this morning, I thought oh cool, a new small boxer… but that is not the case. The original /5 bikes of 1969 were available in 500, 600 and 750 sizes (R50/5, R60/5 and R75/5), but this one’s powered by the same 1170cc boxer twin all the other R nineTs use. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. This one’s more a styling homage to the old /5.
Blah, blah, blah, we say it all the time – the Aprilia RSV4 is one of our favorite bikes ever. But seriously, it really is special. So how, then, does one improve upon a fan favorite? Give it more power, of course. That’s exactly what we have with the new 2019 Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory. On the surface, you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong in saying Aprilia telegraphed this move long ago – four years ago in 2015, actually – with the Tuono 1100, even though doing so would make the RSV4 illegal for basically every racing class out there.
The all-new 2017 GSX-R1000 is “a huge impact model for us,” Takeshi Hayasaki, president of Suzuki Motor of America, told us at the Gixxer’s launch earlier this year. As such, part of the new GSX-R’s media launch included tours of Suzuki’s three main facilities in Japan where we could witness the care and precision that goes into each bike’s development and its production.
Flying us to England to witness the reveals of its new Speedmaster and Bobber Black seems an outsized expense for Triumph considering that riding the latest Bonneville line’s variants wasn’t part of the trip. However, the significance of the Modern Classics to Triumphs recent sales successes can’t be overstated: The Bonneville lineup accounts for 25% of the company’s total production.
It takes a really special motorbike to win our MOTY award, and the Super Duke GT comes from premium stock, as it’s based on the winner of our 2014 Motorcycle of the Year, the 1290 Super Duke R. The uncanny beauty of the GT is that it retains the wonderful virtues of the R and expands the platform with a plethora of comfort and convenience updates that enhance the bike’s appeal without appreciably hindering its performance capabilities.
Anniversaries and birthdays that end in 0 tend to garner more attention. So, why should the 10th anniversary of Can-Am Spyder production be any different? Not surprisingly, Can-Am/BRP invited Spyder owners to join them in Valcourt, Quebec, the place where the Spyder began, for a birthday bash. As with most rallies, organized and self-guided rides were planned, ample amounts of food was available, music was heard in multiple venues, and awards were given for custom machines. However, Can-Am went even further by introducing three anniversary Spyder models and opening its factory, design center, and R&D center for attendees to tour. Not many manufacturers would do that for any occasion.
Writing about motorcycles for a quarter century has given me incredible opportunities on and around bikes of all sorts, many of which are the kinds of behind-the-velvet-rope things available only to motojournalists. I feel truly blessed when I look back at the breadth of experiences bestowed upon me just because I can fumble out a few words describing them.
By now, we’ll assume you’ve thoroughly read, digested and formed your own conclusions about the street portion of our Exotic Superbike Shootout featuring the Aprilia RSV4 Factory APRC ABS SBK SE, BMW HP4 and Ducati 1199 Panigale R. If not, click on the link to get yourself caught up. Simply put, these street-legal superbikes are apex predators, residing at the top of the most exotic, cutting-edge and downright fastest sportbikes on Earth.