Race bikes evolve constantly, so the tire manufacturers must race to catch up. Race tires evolve further, passing the race bikes, but eventually allow them to catch up and get back on track. And this motorcycle of life, goes around and around and around, like a dropped forged wheel.
The joy and fun of riding supermoto is something I personally love, but apparently this sentiment isn’t shared by most. It’s too bad, really. Supermoto offers all the fun of track riding for a fraction of the cost of taking your sportbike to a trackday. And if you’re a dirt guy, there’s even some of that, too. By their very nature, motocrossers are light, narrow, agile, and come packed with potent engines. Converting them into SuMos isn’t more than a wheel change, brake swap, and suspension tweak away, and yet the apparent demand is so small most OEMs – with the exception of Suzuki and its DR-Z400SM – haven’t taken notice.
For many, the thought of going to school has never been very exciting – I know I spent a large chunk of my youth counting down the days until school was over. But really, the reason many of us couldn’t wait to get leave the classroom was because the subjects were pretty boring. While we were physically in the classroom, our minds kept wandering to the one thing we’d rather be doing – riding motorcycles!
If you’re a fan of high-performance sportbikes, BMW’s new HP4 Race should be at or near the top of your must-ride list. This carbon-framed and -wheeled ultra-sportbike achieves new levels of what’s possible from a production superbike. Imagine about 200 horsepower in a bike weighing less than a Ninja 300!
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.
The chance to ride a real-deal 250 Grand Prix World Championship bike is the stuff dreams are made of. I grew up obsessed by 250GP racing. In my teens, in the 1990s I knew every rider, every race number, had the posters on my bedroom wall and all of the races taped on videotape! As soon as I got my Learners, I was on the road on an old RZ250FN, followed by a few TZR250s before I started roadracing on RGV250s in 1995. Even my RGV racebike was painted the same colors as the Ralf Waldman HB 250. Riding the RGV proddie, I dreamed of one day being a 250 GP rider.
With Fastrack Riders Academy entering its third year, Fastrack has again decided to enlarge its offerings beyond those of an organization that merely does track days. Since many riders don’t have the months required to participate in the Academy, Fastrack Riders University (FRU) offers many of the same lessons and teaching techniques in an à la carte format that is led by former racer Eric Bostrom.
We all know what school self-taught motorcyclists end up attending: The School of Really Hard Knocks. Really hard. Since we think that MO readers are somewhat more intelligent and skillful than your garden variety motorcyclist, we thought we’d ask about your level of moto-education. What categories of riding schools have you attended? Have you stayed with street only, or maybe dirt only. Did you move up to performance riding? Perhaps even racing?
In 2015 I wrote a column about how Sportbikes Are Terrible. In short, I felt (and still do) that production sportbikes have become so focused on the racetrack that riding them on the street anywhere other than a curvy road is borderline torture. Take either of the Ducati Panigale variants, for example. Rolling works of art, on a track they are some of the most fun you can have on two wheels. But would I want to ride one a few hours to the track, do a trackday, then ride home?
Just in time for the holidays, Aprilia has announced it will be making its most advanced version of the RSV4 – the RSV4 R FW-GP – available to a select few (read: the uber-wealthy). In continuing with the Factory Works program Aprilia Racing launched last year to provide deep-pocketed customers with race-worthy RSV4s in both Superstock and Superbike trims to conform to national and international race organizations, the FW-GP represents the ultimate in Aprilia Racing technology that’s currently available to the public.
Companies that go racing love to promote how the lessons learned at the racetrack trickle down to the products we use on the street. Besides being great marketing fodder, the idea behind racing is to develop products that will benefit the everyday consumer. We generally think of sportbikes (and liter-class sportbikes in particular) as being direct translations of racetrack development trickling down to production models, but we sometimes forget about the only part of the motorcycle in continuous contact with the road: its tires.