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.
Seriously, after a while the parade of hot new bimbos grows old. They’re all great, but they all have their own demands, their own need to have their buttons and controls manipulated in the one certain way that makes them happy – a requirement older bikes just don’t have.
Actually the first minute or so of this vid is a great graphic presentation of the Yamaha “Crossplane” crankshaft it introduced in its 2009 R1. Crossplane is a cool marketing word for a four-cylinder crank that scatters its four pistons equidistantly around its 360 degrees – each one 90 degrees apart – instead of everybody else’s flat, or 180-degree crank, where two pistons are at top dead center while the other two are at bottom dead center.
It’s been a couple years since we posted our Top 10 Honda Sportbikes list. There always exists subjectivity in such a list, but since the Honda topic was generally well-received, revisiting the idea, this time showcasing Yamaha sportbikes, seemed apropos. Like the Honda list, we’re keeping this one limited to street-legal models available stateside (except one, sue us).
By now we’ll assume you’ve already read my First Ride Review of the 2017 Yamaha FZ-10, which means you already know I’m a fan of the bike. I give kudos to Yamaha for producing a motorcycle worthy of bringing the fight to the three class leaders of the super streetfighter class: the KTM 1290 Super Duke R, BMW S1000R, and Aprilia Tuono V4 1100.
In light of the new Yamaha FZ-10 I rode a few days ago, let’s travel back 10 years to the intro of the 10’s predecessor: the FZ1. It, too, was a more comfortable version of the built-for-the-track R1, but in stark contrast to the new FZ-10 it’s styling can only be considered bland by comparison. Styled more for the gentlemanly set, it’s a bit strange Gabe Ets-Hokin was the one who got to ride this bike at the intro (zing!). Nonetheless, the FZ1 holds a soft spot in many rider’s hearts for being more than just a naked R1 with a handlebar – it’s a comfortable long-distance machine that can also handle the bends. Here’s Gabe to tell you more.
One of the most hotly contested categories in motorcycling today, the liter-class streetfighter field has a contender from nearly every manufacturer out there. But if you’ve read the numerous streetfighter reviews posted on Motorcycle.com and other outlets, you’ll know that three models – super streetfighters, if you will – stand above the rest: the BMW S1000R, Aprilia Tuono V4 1100, and KTM Super Duke R.
It’s a question we’re asked all the time: “What’s the best motorcycle for a new rider?” It’d be great if we could give the same answer every time, but in reality the answer depends on many factors – rider size, competency, wants, needs, and desires among them. Small displacement bikes are generally a good place to start, but read enough forum commenters and before long you’ll find someone who shares their tale of how they started on a literbike and lived to tell the tale.
Yamaha has confirmed specs and pricing for the MT-10 streetfighter slated to go into production later this year. The MT-10 has generated a lot of buzz since its debut at EICMA 2015, with both fans and detractors either singing its praises or criticizing its outlandish looks.
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.
From the unchained environment of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where performance is the sole consideration for victory in our 2015 Six-Way Superbike Track Shootout, we move to the confines of public roadways to determine which superbike renders the best street-legal exhibition. As tight as our track test results were, the street shootout was just as close with a half-percent separating second from first place. If the MO offices were located in Florida, I’d demand a recount.
I felt as giddy as a kid at Christmas when I heard Yamaha’s new R1 was prepped and readied for MO’s home-soil evaluation. We already knew it was ready to challenge the best of the best – our Troy Siahaan came back from its launch raving about how the R1 is resetting the bar in the stupefyingly magnificent superbike class – but I was anxious to find out for myself just how impressive it is.