On the racetrack, the fight between the Aprilia RSV4 RF and Ducati Panigale V4 S was so close, it resulted in one of, if not the, closest shootout in Motorcycle.com history, with the two protagonists separated by 0.2% – two-tenths of a percentage point! – on our scorecards. On paper, anyway, the Ducati emerged victorious for a track tool, but it was only our racetrack ringer, Shane Turpin, who ultimately picked the Panigale V4 S – and its $4k heftier price tag – as his weapon of choice. Meanwhile, both Tom and I would elect to save the extra dough and be perfectly happy with the Aprilia – despite what the scorecard says.
You’ve heard the adage a lot if you’re a consistent Motorcycle.com reader – it’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow – and with our recent Lightweight Sportbike Shootout we’ve gone ahead and proved it. By now we’ll assume you’ve already read the shootout, seen our conclusions, and also drawn your own; but what exactly do these three motorcycles look like at speed around Laguna Seca? This is your chance to see for yourself, as we’ve captured a quick lap aboard all three bikes, courtesy of Yours Truly.
It was rough duty but somebody had to do it: Hang out at Laguna Seca’s World Superbike/MotoAmerica race all weekend so as to be there early Monday to ride around on Pirelli’s new supersporty street tire, the Diablo Rosso Corsa II. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this, since Pirelli has been the official tire of the WSBK since 2004 and will continue to be through at least 2020.
It’s getting to be a bit silly what’s passing for a lightweight sportbike these days. In the beginning, it made sense: You had the Kawasaki Ninja 250. And, well, that was it. It only took twenty-odd years, but the other manufacturers eventually took notice that building small bikes to entice new or returning riders was probably a good thing for the industry, and hence, started building little bikes of their own. Honda came around with the CBR250R…just as the competition upped the ante again. Kawasaki pushed the bar with the Ninja 300, then Honda made a weak attempt to follow suit with the 286cc CBR300R. Yamaha then jumped in the game, shoving displacement rules out the window with its 321cc R3 – but not to be outdone, the brash Austrians (via India) at KTM one-upped all of them with the 373cc RC390.
There seems to be much doom and gloom in the motorcycle industry surrounding the state of sportbikes these days. We keep hearing about dropping sales and shifting consumer interest, which will combine to turn the sportbike as we know it into a museum piece one day, gone the way of the Dodo bird.
Building a new motorcycle tire is not easy. As the only two contact points your motorcycle has to the ground, there’s a lot of responsibility involved. In the case of a racing tire, the demands become that much greater; not only does the tire need to remain consistent throughout its life, but it also needs to be better than its predecessor. Sure, this can be said about practically any motorcycle tire, but with racing tires there’s an actual gauge to measure old and new: the stopwatch.
MV Agusta has unveiled many limited edition collaborative models recently of all kinds. It has produced the LH44 edition F4 designed in collaboration with F1 Champion, Lewis Hamilton as well as the Brutale 800RR Pirelli, a tip of the hat to the tire manufacturer following MV’s decision to use Pirelli as its sole tire supplier. MV Agusta has now released its 2018 F3 RC editions.
Just like dinosaurs, two-stroke motorcycles once ruled the earth but are now mostly a thing of the past (save for alligators and crocodiles, you can’t tell me those things aren’t dinosaurs.) Over the past 20 years or so, two-strokes have practically vanished from the streets due to the obvious environmental consequences and strict government emissions regulations. They have been replaced by cleaner, more reliable four-strokes however many people miss the sound, smell and sensation of a two-stroke hitting its power band… what a rush! We are left to nostalgically reminisce about a simpler time when you had to mix oil with your gas and keep a spare spark plug handy. Test your knowledge and see how well you remember the good ol’ days by identifying these two-smokers!
The S1000RR was a landmark model for BMW when it was first introduced in 2009, a new high-performance Inline-Four sportbike for a company that established its bona fides in Boxer-Twin adventure bikes. Since then, the S1000RR has been a perennial favorite for MO’s annual superbike shootouts, even against brand new contenders despite only receiving small updates in 2012 and 2015.
During the media launch of Yamaha’s significantly updated R6 at Thunderhill Raceway, the bikes were fitted with the GYTR Communication Control Unit (CCU) first available on the high-end YZF-R1M. This electronic device logs data incorporated from a GPS sending unit and the bike’s ECU that allows riders to analyze braking, throttle position, gear indication, as well as other data that can be helpful in evaluating performance of both bike and rider.
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.
I could be wrong, but I feel like the demise of the sportbike has been greatly exaggerated. That or I’m confusing the demise of the sportbike with the demise of myself? 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.
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?