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.
While it may not have won our recent comparison test against the Aprilia RSV4 RR, that’s no reason to dismiss the bike. The completely revamped 2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is an impressive motorcycle. Kawasaki’s engineering staff had a tough task on its hands when taking the previous generation ZX-10R – which had just finished capturing a World Superbike championship – and making it better, but it’s undeniable that Team Green has done just that. So, for this week’s Top 10, I’m going to highlight 10 of my favorite features of the new ZX-10R.
By now we’ll assume you’ve read our comparison test of the 2016 Aprilia RSV4 RR and Kawasaki ZX-10R. If not, read it here (and shame on you for not reading it yet!) Both machines pack a wallop of performance for less than $17,000, and even though the ZX-10R didn’t come out the winner in our comparison test, it’s by no means a boring bike to ride. Kawasaki stepped up big time when updating the new 10R – which was a pretty good performer in its own right considering it won the 2015 World Superbike championship – and the 2016 model bests its predecessor in almost every category.
Look around the liter-class sportbike landscape. The field is littered with some of the most technologically advanced and blindingly fast motorcycles the world has ever seen. Trickle-down technology from the world of MotoGP and World Superbike is making its way to production motorcycles faster than ever before, and it’s hard to deny the sportbike landscape is all the better for it.
Join defending World Superbike champion, Jonathan Rea and 2013 WSBK champ, Tom Sykes as they unveil the all-new WorldSBK-spec Ninja ZX-10R. The ZX-10R is a whole new model for 2016, and the anticipation of seeing its technical specification and new livery couldn’t be greater. The Barcelona presentation is closed to the public, so consider this a personal invite to an exclusive event.
The chance to review an all-new motorcycle prior to the bike’s world launch is about as rare as a Vincent White Shadow, but that’s the opportunity our Australian correspondent, Jeff Ware, received late last November when he got to spin laps aboard Kawasaki’s all-new ZX-10R. Because the new 10R is the most exciting new sportbike of 2016, we jumped at the chance to publish Ware’s review so we could be among the first in the world to share riding impressions of this important new machine. Our review was cleverly titled “First First-Ride Review,” because Motorcycle.com’s official first-ride review was intended to be posted after the bike’s world launch.
Each year around this time the MO staff gathers to contemplate the new breed of tasty two-wheelers coming our way. This is also when each editor begins positioning himself for a particular press launch. Last year, Preemptive Editor, Troy Siahaan made it abundantly clear that only an act of God would keep him from the R1 launch. This year he’s communicated the same thing about the new Suzuki SV650, a bike that, democratically, didn’t even make this list (Ouch. -TS).
Our Australian correspondent, Jeff Ware, was blessed with the jackpot of motojournalist opportunities: testing an important new superbike-class contender ahead of its official world launch event. Ware, author of our recent 1980s Turbo Bike Shootout and the test of a Cagiva 500cc Grand Prix racer, is one of just five journalists to have spun laps of Oz’s Wakefield Park circuit on Kawasaki’s latest ZX-10R, the most exciting new regular-production sportbike of 2016. Ware says he expected improvements, but what he experienced was stunning. —Kevin Duke
Its 2:23 am and I am lying in bed wide awake. I have my hotel window open and I am listening to the rain coming down. Just two weeks earlier if you’d told me I was going to be in a tiny hotel room in Alcaniz, Spain, I would have laughed. But that’s where I am, and I am filled with so many different emotions. Different emotions because I am here as a guest to ride World Superbike Champion Jonathan Rea’s Kawasaki at one of my favorite tracks, Aragon.
Despite winning the 2015 World Superbike championship in dominant fashion with Jonathan Rea, and the 2013 title before that with Rea’s teammate Tom Sykes, Kawasaki isn’t resting on its laurels when it comes to its aging Ninja ZX-10R platform and today announced its successor in the 2016 Ninja ZX-10R. Since the current platform’s release in 2011, its European rivals have upped the bar in the literbike wars considerably, and with Yamaha’s introduction of the new YZF-R1 last year, the battle for literbike supremacy is tighter than ever. Now, Kawasaki believes it has a contender more than able to take on this stacked field.