Any bike nut who’s fascinated by performance loves sportbikes. But consumers often have a narrow focus on what makes for a desirable sporting machine, often opting for a faired crotch rocket rather than a relatively comfortable naked roadster. But while naked sporty bikes from Japan have almost never sold well in America (R.I.P. Suzuki SV650…), unfaired sportbikes from Europe are in relatively high demand.
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.
You may look at these three bikes and think to yourself this is a no-brainer, the Beemer easily bests the other two for sport-touring honors. That’s what we concluded from our riding impressions and reported in the accompanying video. But then we returned to the MO offices, filled-in the blanks of the ScoreCard and, to our surprise, the most sport-touringest bike of this group nearly lost.
Built for the track, ridden on the street. The bikes here represent the bleeding edge of superbike technology and performance from their respective OEMs. No matter the circuit, each model is capable of setting a blazingly fast lap time. Gauging superiority among these three on the street is a much more difficult result to quantify.
The biggest event in American motorcycle racing goes down this weekend, as the MotoGP circus comes to our shores for the USGP at Laguna Seca near Monterey, California. As a primer, Yamaha invited us to its corporate headquarters for a Q&A session with its GP riders.
I have to admit, when I was asked to cover The Bikers Reunion in New Liskeard for the third year in the row, I had to ask myself “What’s the point?” A hot, sweaty mess in the public campgrounds, into the wilds of Northern Ontario, with gangs of chromed-out Harleys and faux-tough bikers getting even sweatier in “tent city” was not my idea of a good time. And I’d been there twice before. My first year, in 2011, I got there late and hid in my RV with the AC on full blast. I walked around, but was pretty skeptical of the “refugee palace” where locals and bikers alike were “partying” on Canada Day. My second year, I had 24 hours with a photo and video crew to get to the bottom of the event that I’d dismissed the year before (follow this link for that story.) I’d ridden over from Sault Ste. Marie on Highway 64 (one of my favorite roads) with just enough time to sleep, miss the start of the first group ride, eat some deep fried pickles and head back to the Soo.
Spanning 12.42 miles in length, with 156 turns and a climb of 5000 feet to the 14,100-foot summit, the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is one of the most spectacular and dangerous motor races in the world. Runoff is nonexistent, the cliff drops straight down, and the only objects to break your fall are trees or jagged rocks. Racers have been tackling the mountain since 1916, and while some have met their demise on the mountain, far more have successfully crossed the finish line, with many famous names listed among the winners.
If we told you that you could purchase a brand-new urban performance bobber with a blacked out V-Twin engine and components, a stripped neo-industrial appearance and a low seat height that’s ideal for new-ish, female or those “short of leg,” all for under eight grand, would you bite? There are two motorcycle manufacturers producing such a bike. Your choice is between the proven machine with a few well-documented idiosyncrasies, or the upstart contender that’s eager to take on the champ.