In spite of protestations from various peanut gallery season-ticket holders who claim disinterest, our mostly annual Superbike Comparison remains MO’s single biggest deal of the year when it comes to clicks and comments. Apparently, many people who don’t have much interest in owning any of these motorcycles are still really interested in riding them vicariously, which is fine by the MO staff; we’re willing to make the sacrifice, for a few weeks anyway. Whether you lust after one or not, it only makes sense to be interested in them, since this is where the new performance stuff turns up first, as motorcycles, like everything else, grow more sophisticated.
Tire manufacturers have a unique challenge when developing tires for sportbikes. Truth is, most sportbikes on the road will hardly, if ever, see a racetrack. Their time will largely be spent cruising around on the street during the week, with an adrenaline-pumping canyon ride or trackday on the weekends. The challenge engineers face is creating a tire with a center that will last, while also giving the rider side grip for navigating the bends, both on the street and the track. The different tire manufacturers have each come up with their own solutions to accommodate these needs, and what we have in this week’s Sport Tire Buyer’s Guide are choices from eight different tire manufacturers. Each tire is meant to live the majority of its life on the street, but is capable for the occasional trackday if needed.
Yamaha’s been on a roll lately, with bikes like the FZ-09, FJ-09 and FZ-07 stealing headlines by proving that affordable and competent motorcycles aren’t synonymous with dull and boring. If that wasn’t enough, Yamaha also unleashed the new YZF-R1 and R1M to the masses, showing the world in one swift kick how far it can push the boundaries of technology on two wheels.
If there’s one thing you can count on in the world of motorcycledom, it’s that MV Agustas will always be beautiful. Case in point: the Brutale. In this case, the 750cc inline-Four Brutale S, designed by none other than the great Massimo Tamburini. In this week’s Church of MO feature we go back to 2004, and Sean Alexander’s impressions of the stunningly beautiful 750 Brutale. Sean was still at his fighting weight back then, AMA racing and all, which makes his thoughts about the MV all the more interesting. Does beauty translate into a winning street and track naked? Read on to find out. Also, be sure to check out the five-page photo gallery for a lot more pictures.
As the only true Super Motard remaining from any of the major manufacturers, Suzuki’s DR-Z400SM is the default choice for anyone looking for a street-legal dirtbike with 17-inch wheels, street tires (Dunlop D208s, specifically), electric start, and a 12-month warranty straight from the showroom. So when Content Editor, Tom Roderick, and I decided we wanted to reacquaint ourselves with supermoto after a long dry spell, our option was pretty obvious.
No shootout has been as difficult as this one pitting the Aprilia Tuono V4R APRC ABS against the BMW S1000R and KTM 1290 Super Duke R. Not just in how tight the outcome of the scoring (which was stupid close), but more so in the intangible elements of emotion, sensation and the if you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand bliss of why we ride motorcycles.
Remember when superbikes from the late-‘80s were 750s and were the baddest motorcycles on the track, the ones we paid our hard-earned money to go watch those gods we call professional roadracers toss around at the limits of adhesion – and sanity? We do, too. But since the superbike class has moved on into the realm of the literbike (and 1200cc for Twins), many riders (and manufacturers, sadly) have forgotten the breadth of performance available from sportbikes whose displacement falls between 600cc and 1000cc.
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.