2018 MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR First Ride Review

March 16, 2018 Tom Roderick 0


2018 MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR

Editor Score: 85.75%

Engine 18.5/20
Suspension/Handling 13.0/15
Transmission/Clutch 9.5/10
Brakes 8.25/10
Instruments/Controls 2.5/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 8.0/10
Appearance/Quality 10.0/10
Desirability 9.0/10
Value 7.0/10
Overall Score 85.75/100

Billing yourself as a boutique manufacturer of motorcycle art invites intense scrutiny and whether fair or unfair, a cosmetic blemish or performance shortcoming when found is profoundly magnified. It’s the cross MV Agusta must bear, along with its tumultuous history of financial liquidity as well as its family history of adopted ownerships. Regardless the burden, MV remains relevant by ceaselessly pushing the boundaries of motorcycle design by offering enthusiasts something more than a two-wheel commodity.

A 2018 example of MV’s commitment to bettering its stable of show horses is the revised Brutale 800 RR. While not every reason the old model Brutale 800 lost to the new-for-2017 Triumph 765 Street Triple RS in our 800cc Euro Triples Streetfighter Faceoff has been addressed by MV engineers at the factory in Varese, the litany of updates do mandate another shootout be commissioned (hint, hint MO staffers).

2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS First Ride Review

A continuing gripe since the bike’s 2013 introduction has been the throttle response of its ride-by-wire system, an imperfection that felt digital at the twistgrip and was especially aggravating at urban speeds where mere road imperfections created a herky-jerky nature that made smooth, consistent throttle application an impossibility. MV solved this problem by implementing a new throttle return spring and tweaking the Brutale’s MVICS system’s algorithms for improved throttle sensitivity. Our day aboard the Brutale proved their efforts fruitful, as throttle response was as natural as an old timey cable operated system manipulating a bank of well-tuned carburetors.

Triumph’s 765 Street Triple (right) came out with color TFT instrumentation for 2017 while the Speed Triple followed in 2018. Compared to the Brutale’s black and white LCD screen the MV’s instrumentation certainly doesn’t seem very artful.

Another improvement of the Brutale is its redesigned gearbox and shift lever system. Selecting any one of its six gears is a buttery smooth operation but only realized while in stop-and-go traffic because anything above 30 mph outside of town you’ll be using the new up/down auto-blipping quickshifter to select gears. Although our ride offered limited opportunity to seriously hustle the Brutale through a winding set of lakeside curves, the quickshifter system proved itself on par with the likes of the Speed Triple we recently tested. For track day enthusiasts the quickshifter will certainly help lower lap times.

2017 Triumph Street Triple RS Review: First Ride

The Brutale’s handling characteristics remain as sharp as ever. For 2018 the RR model comes equipped with a steering damper to help quell any front end nervousness. Mounted above the top triple clamp, the damper features a twist knob for easy adjustment on the fly. A more aggressive street ride, or especially a track session, would have helped shed light on any irregularities, so for now we’ll have to abide by our previous proclamations that the Brutale will impress any rider with its agility and eagerness to turn into a corner. Helping the Brutale maintain its reputation as a premium corner carver is its boast of a counter-rotating crankshaft which negates gyroscopic forces.

The CRC steering damper is an upgrade over the base model Brutale. The RR model also boasts more horsepower, 140 hp @ 13,100 rpm vs 110 hp @ 11,500, as well as more torque with the RR claiming 63 lb-ft @ 10,100 rpm vs 61 lb-ft @ 7,600 rpm of the standard model.

Front end braking power and feedback isn’t lacking for anything, at least within the speeds and environment we were testing. Having said that, the curious combination of Nissin master cylinder mated to Brembo calipers should be noted. If blind testing were possible, I’d never have suspected the mismatched combination existed on the Brutale. However, with knowledge comes complaining, and the fact that the premier Brutale isn’t fitted with Brembo’s premier M50 calipers, especially at this price point (Street Triple RS is and for less money), is a glaring point of contention, not to mention a loss of bragging rights.

2018 MV Agusta Brutale 800RR Pirelli Announced

Spring rates on the Brutale’s Marzocchi fork and Sachs shock are stiff for casual street riding, meaning you’ll definitely feel road imperfections, but they seem to do a good job absorbing those same imperfections as speeds start climbing. As with the brake components, the Brutale’s suspension may perform adequately, but when it comes to the preeminent name in suspension, Öhlins is what comes to mind (2018 Speed Triple RS wears fully adjustable Öhlins 43mm NIX30 fork and fully adjustable Öhlins TTX36 shock).

The Sachs shock is of the fully adjustable variety, but MV doesn’t make adjustments easy by hiding the screwdriver adjustment knob behind a frame spar. The inverted 43mm Marzocchi fork is also fully adjustable.

An area where MV failed to make any improvements is with the footpegs. Utilizing a large one-piece bracket for both rider and passenger footpegs that must allow for stylish but in-the-way exhaust system on the right side and shift linkage placed inside the bracket on the left side dictates a wide feeling between your feet. This is exacerbated when on the balls of  your feet and having your ankles forced out even wider due again to the bracket’s one-piece design and positioning of the exhaust.

Here you can see how the footpeg bracket is pushed outward by the exhaust, and visualize how the the design will also impede ankle movement. Above that, outlined in red, is the seat/tank juncture protuberance that’s uncomfortable and seemingly unnecessarily. MV is sometimes a victim of its form over function creations.

Another ergonomic complaint is a seat/tank juncture that features a sharp protrusion right where your inner thighs come in contact with the bike when in a relaxed riding position. I got used to it by day’s end, but it really is an uncomfortable feature that shouldn’t exist on a premium bike from the likes of MV Agusta. Otherwise, the rider triangle is quite comfortable with plenty of legroom and a short reach to the wide one-piece handlebars. The seat retains a rather thin, hard cushion, but this is often subjective and differs for riders who spend more time on the street vs those who enjoy spinning track day laps.

2015 MV Agusta Brutale 800 Dragster RR Quick Ride Review

The $18,498 MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR is intoxicatingly alluring; a motorcycle you’ll make an unwarranted trip to the garage just to ogle its beauty and fantasize about next weekend’s ride. But it lacks technology such as cornering ABS and cornering TC as well as the aforementioned color TFT display –  technologies that are hard to overlook on a motorcycle billed as exalted among nakeds. Saving the money and going with the new $16,350 2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS or the more closely related and even less expensive Street Triple RS ($12,500) can be a tough decision to make. Or, for frugal motorcyclists, pocket a few dollars more and go with a Twin, the $7,599 2018 Yamaha MT-07 Ryan Adams recently ran through a Spanish car wash.

2018 MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR

When it comes to what compels a person to buy an MV Agusta, former MO chief editor Kevin Duke wrote it best in his 800cc Euro Triples Streetfighter Faceoff, “The MV earns its greatest kudos when it’s time to park down at the Burger Barn. Style-wise, its attention to detail is superb, making MV’s ‘Motorcycle Art’ motto more than just the empty words from a PR flack. It boasts alluring elements no matter where you look, whether it’s the steel-trellis/aluminum hybrid frame, the magical open space below the seat, the single-sided swingarm, or the triple-exit exhaust.” Nuff said!

2018 MV Agusta Brutale 800 RR First Ride Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS First Ride Review

February 22, 2018 Tom Roderick 0

It was a sad day in southern Spain, not to mention a long way to travel, to be peering out from the garage as intensoning rain dashed any hopes of spinning another lap around the Circuito de Almeria. With only a single session under our belts, and that one merely a familiarization one at best, there was nothing left to do except get wet on the ride back to the hotel.

2017 Triumph Street Triple RS Review: First Ride

On the bright side of the dampening gloom was a first half of the day spent flogging the 2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS around a variety of delicious Spanish backroads, sampling its arsenal of upgrades, especially those of the electronic variety. Endowed with cornering ABS and cornering traction control thanks to a new Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), as well as a variety of riding modes and cruise control, all visible and selectable via an eye-pleasing full-color TFT display (first seen on the 2017 Street Triple), the new Speed Triple now stands on equal electronic footing with the likes of competitors such as Super Dukes, Tuonos and FZ/MT-10s.

A nicety found on both the S and RS models is backlit switchgear. From the left handlebar, accessing the bike’s menu of ride modes and individual settings for ABS, TC, etc., as well as cruise control is an intuitive process requiring little familiarization.

Fireball Brasfield wonderfully detailed the litany of upgrades and new features the 2018 Speed Triple enjoys in his preview article, so we’ll dispatch with pointless reiterations and move on how well the Speed Triple works in a street environment, and further lament the ill-fated weather that robbed us of our track impressions.

2016 Triumph Speed Triple R Review

In 2016 Triumph claimed 104 new engine parts when John Burns and gang last reviewed it during a multi-streetfighter shootout to and from the World Superbike races at Laguna Seca, where the S model placed second behind the Tuono V4 Factory. Two years later the British OEM has outdone its own amount of new engine bits and pieces by one, endowing the 2018 Speed Triple with 105 new engine components.

Outfitted with Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tires, the Speed Triple delivers confident sticktivity during aggressive riding behavior.

The result is a claimed seven percent increase in horsepower and four percent increase in torque, which should result when dyno tested to a half-dozen more horsepower and a half-as-much increase in lb-ft of torque compared to the 2017 model. Triumph also claims a six pound lighter dry weight on the RS model (mostly due to the lighter Arrow exhaust cans), while the S model remains relatively the same weight as before at 423 pounds dry (MO measured wet weight of 478 pounds). More power and less weight are always welcome, but it’s not enough of a power increase/weight decrease to be conclusively noticeably without last year’s model on hand with which to make a direct comparison.

However, the engine does spin 1,000 rpm higher, and even being robbed of our track day, it’s no leap of faith to think that this won’t be anything but beneficial at the track or even during spirited street rides. “Some of us were wishing Triumph allowed it to rev out a little further than its 10,000-rpm rev limit,” John Burns commented in his multi-streetfighter shootout. You got your wish, Burnsie.

Only Rain mode reduces power output to a claimed 100 hp, the other settings change the throttle map’s aggressiveness of power delivery. Rider mode allows you to customize the settings according to your personal preferences.

What certainly remains, and improves, is the Triple’s broad spread of power throughout the rev range. From our 2016 Naked Sports Six-Way Shootout we know the Speed Triple already produced the second-most low-end torque next to Ducati’s Monster 1200S while being out-displaced by 148cc. It wasn’t the torquiest engine, but the Speed Triple delivers more torque where it counts compared to other nakeds. In the horsepower department, six more ponies will put the Speed Triple equal to that of the Monster 1200S and Kawasaki Z1000 at 130 hp, but well below the Tuono’s rear wheel measurement of 160 hp.

The variety of damp, dry and wet roads provided ample opportunity to use the rider modes for their specific situations. Engine response, TC and ABS settings – switching from Road to Sport to Rain – all seemed perfectly matched to the environment and riding style of the given situation. Considering the amount of wet we had to deal with, the Rain setting especially seemed perfectly designed for delivering the right amount of everything providing a rider the confidence needed for dealing with tricky weather/pavement conditions.

Not only does the front brake lever adjustable for distance from the handlebar via the dial at the end of the lever, but the barely visible dial on the inside of the lever adjusts the firmness of the action. For example, when it was wet I’d set the lever to be squishier for better feel at slower speeds when the front tire is more prone to washing out, while under dry conditions at higher speeds a firmer setting was preferable.

Triumph says the company improved the Speed Triple’s gearbox and slip assist clutch. More importantly is the addition of Triumph Shift Assist which provides the advantage of clutchless upshifts/downshifts we all love so much. At slower around-town speeds the action can be a little clunky but the same can be said about a lot of quickshifter systems. Once up to aggressive levels of speed the Triumph system seemed smooth and efficient, especially during our truncated stint at the track.

We all laughed a little when BMW’s S1000RR came stock with cruise control years ago but now nearly every sportbike above $10k comes so equipped. Considering the more comfortable nature of Speed Triple taking longer trips might be in the cards, but even during short stints of straight road riding, I find myself using cruise control just because it’s there. Like other units I’ve sampled, Triumph’s cruise control is easily adjusted up or down in one-mile-per-hour increments.

Brakes remain the same Brembo M4.34 units found on last year’s model. Rear brake is a single Nissin 2-piston caliper gripping a 255mm disc. Suspension units on the RS model consist of a fully adjustable Öhlins 43mm NIX30 fork and fully adjustable Öhlins TTX36 shock, while the S model wears a fully adjustable Showa 43mm fork and Showa shock with rebound and compression adjustability.

While the rain robbed us of testing the RS’s track mode setting, its up/down quickshifter and all its bevy of other improvements at speeds and lean angles only a racetrack can deliver, it’s streetable qualities – where this OG hooligan will spend most of its time – have assuredly delivered a Speed Triple worthy of its heritage. Even in 2016 the lesser-powered naked managed to defeat newer, more powerful competitors by virtue of its user-friendliness and real-world streetability, and the 2018 version continues those strong points only now with the creature comforts of a modern electronics package.

Retail pricing for 2018 is $14,350 for the S model and $16,350 for the RS, an $850 and $1,450, respectively, price increase over 2017 Speed Triples. A reasonable increase considering all the improvements. For what you get upgrading to the RS from the S model (Öhlins suspension, keyless ignition, cornering ABS, advanced traction control), the $2,000 premium is hard to overlook as a great value.

Some of the figures on paper may seem inconsequential – a half-dozen less pounds here and a few more horsepower there – but it all adds up to further refinement of hooligan that’s been a part of the motorcycling spectrum for nearly a quarter-century. And its pricing certainly makes the Speed Triple attractive when compared to its Euro counterparts from KTM (SDR $18k) and Aprilia (Tuono RR $15.5k and Tuono Factory $18k). Triumph says the new models should be in dealerships by May, so you don’t have long to wait.

Our one session around a damp Almeria circuit provided me the opportunity to twice spin up the rear wheel and send it sliding out of alignment exiting corners, and that was with the bike in Road mode. Thankfully I can report that traction control did its job and kept me from hitting the deck.







































































2018 Triumph Speed Triple RS First Ride Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

Best Streetfighter/Hooligan Of 2017

August 8, 2017 Tom Roderick 0

Not since the heady days of the 600cc sportbike wars have we witnessed competition between manufacturers as fierce as it currently is between Aprilia’s and KTM’s super streetfighters. With the arrival of the Super Duke R in 2014, the monstrously torquey V-Twin-powered hooligan has been in a lock step dogfight with the Tuono and its rip-roaring V-Four. So enamored were we with the SDR it won both Streetfighter and Bike of the Year awards in 2014. For 2015 the SDR retained its streetfighter of the year title over the Tuono, but in 2016 an updated Tuono took away the SDR’s streetfighter crown by virtue of offering a nearly equally equipped but more affordable RR model alongside its top-of-line Factory version. The Tuono duo also claimed honorable mention for motorcycle of the year in 2016.

For 2017 both bikes were again tweaked with a variety of mostly electronic upgrades, gaining full-color TFT gauges and cruise control in the process. Again this year the Tuono is available in two flavors, RR and Factory, while the SDR remains a solo act with a couple of optional packages available for upgrading the bike’s already astounding performance. Because the bikes are so equally matched, we’re basing our choice of winner (like we did last year) upon the Aprilia’s dual-model offering, and more so because of what the RR brings to the table at a price point thousands below the MSRP of the base model Super Duke R.

Best Streetfighter/Hooligan  of the Year Winner: Aprilia Tuono 1100 V4

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The 2017 Aprilia Tuono was presented to the media at COTA following the MotoGP races alongside its racier RSV4 brethren. The same-day introduction provided an interesting venue for not only comparing and contrasting the similarities and differences between the Tuono and RSV, but more so between the RR and Factory Tuono models. The RR brings to the table everything the Factory model does (157 rear-wheel horsepower V-4 engine, Brembo M50 front calipers, up/down quickshifter, as well as a litany of other electronics) for a relatively affordable $14,999. At $17,499 the Factory model enjoys Öhlins fork, shock and steering damper in place of the Sachs units on the RR. And, even at this higher price, the fully outfitted Tuono comes in $600 under the price of the base model Super Duke R, that, at $17,999, still lacks adjustable traction control and an up/down quickshifter.

2017 Aprilia Tuono 1100 RR/Factory First Ride Review

We’ve noted in the past that between the two the Tuono is the more formidable track weapon compared to the Super Duke R. In fact, in our First Ride Review of the 2017 Tuono we posed the question: Is it still a streetfighter if it’s this good of a track bike? The Tuono’s shorter gearing was evident when spinning laps around COTA, but otherwise even the RR model is a scalpel of a streetfighter in a closed-course setting compared to the ganglier SDR. Sharing the same chassis with RSV4 it’s no wonder why the Tuono is as good as it is at the track. On the street the Tuono is every bit the Super Duke R’s measure, making deciding between the two a matter of personal preferences that even we couldn’t reach an accord, awarding a rare tie outcome in our 2016 Ultimate Streetfighter Shootout.

However, outfitted as it is and brimming with equal performance at a price $3k less than the base model SDR, it’s impossible not to give the Tuono RR the nod as the streetfighter to have for 2017.

The lowly RR is so good in fact, that following a full day at Laguna Seca on a well-used 2016 Tuono RR equipped with a fresh set of Pirelli Supercorsas, Sean Alexander committed buying a Tuono 1100 as his very next motorcycle. He was serious, saying that he can’t imagine a finer motorcycle to ride 500+ miles on the street and then also have that much fun on a racetrack. When he dreams at night, he dreams of a V4 Tuono.

Honorable Mention: KTM 1290 Super Duke R

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When it comes to KTM, any bike with word Duke in its title guarantees you a stellar streetfighter. The 390 and 690 Dukes are the smaller-displacement single-cylinder streetfighters in KTM’s hooligan lineup, and while the 1290 Super Duke GT may be draped in touringish attire, make no mistake, it’s the most aggressive, high-powered and bag-equipped sport-tourer we’ve ridden. But if unadulterated naked performance is what you desire, look no further than the Super Duke R. The SDR’s 1301cc Twin pumps out more than 80 lb-ft of torque as early as 3,800 rpm on its way to a peak torque output of 96 lb-ft at 8,100 rpm. The arm-yanking thrust, regardless of gear chosen or speed travelling, is intoxicating.

2017 KTM 1290 Super Duke R First Ride Review

The base model SDR brings to the table all the qualifiers of a great streetfighter, but to keep pace with the menagerie of electronics available on the Tuono, an SDR owner must purchase the Performance Pack ($475.99) to get the quick-shifter+, motor-slip regulation (MSR), and smartphone integration known as KTM My Ride, and the Track Package ($299.99), which includes Track ride mode (in addition to Street, Sport, Rain), the option to disengage the anti-wheelie function, Launch Control, adjustable traction control, and a choice of Street, Sport or Track throttle sensitivity. The combined price of the two packages bring the Super Duke R’s MSRP to a hard-to-swallow $18,775 ($1,276 more than the Factory Tuono and a whopping $3,776 more than the RR model).

The Super Duke R is not as track-oriented as either Tuono model, but it’s a formidable naked able to easily dispatch fully faired sportbikes, and might be the best sporty motorcycle for big and tall riders. On the street the SDR is hard to beat, offering a roomy seating arrangement and more available power where you need it most, compared to the Tuono’s tighter rider triangle and revvier four-cylinder. Too bad KTM can’t reign in the price a little. If Aprilia can include an up/down quick-shifter on a $15k Tuono RR, we think KTM should be able to include the same technology on an $18k SDR.

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Best Streetfighter/Hooligan Of 2017 appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

2017 Superbike Shootout Vanquisher

July 1, 2017 Tom Roderick 0

For those who’ve lapped up every word, expression, and metaphor of the performance novel that was our 2017 Superbike Track Shootout and Superbike Street Shootout, the heir apparent is as obvious as the bike coming in last place. For those still wallowing in anticipation, unable to decipher our MOrse code, you can take a breath because, without further ado, we give you…

An interesting breakdown of how we came to our conclusion.

With seven bikes demanding seven riders (eight considering there was a separate guest tester for the street test vs. the track test) over the course of multiple days on public roads and multiple trackdays, scales, dyno runs, tire changes, suspension settings, electronics variables, photos, videos – it’s an exhausting undertaking. A labor of love, but also of critical evaluation, analysis, and, yes, math.

The MO Scorecard is divided into Objective and Subjective scoring sections. The Objective section has four fact-based categories (Price, Weight, Pounds per HP, Pounds per lb-ft of torque), worth a grand total of 210 points (total points determined by the amount of bikes in the test). Looking at only the Objective scores reveals an outcome of another nature, and spotlights why it’s important to ride and subjectively score the bikes, because numbers on paper do not determine a superbike shootout winner.

With an MSRP of $13,995 the EBR 1190RX handily won the Price category, and by virtue of its relatively light weight and largest displacement engine took all the points in the Pounds per lb-ft of torque category. The EBR was the only bike to win two Objective categories. The two most powerful bikes, Aprilia and BMW, found themselves at the bottom of the Objective category largely because of price and weight, even though the two shared top honors in the Pounds per HP category.

Ridden in a vacuum the EBR is a ferociously fun, high-performing superbike. It’s only when measured against its contemporaries that it falls short. “Sad they lost a few years of development fighting financial problems instead,” says John Burns.

Ridden in a vacuum the EBR is a ferociously fun, high-performing superbike. It’s only when measured against its contemporaries that it falls short. “Sad they lost a few years of development fighting financial problems instead,” says John Burns.

If the EBR was so dominant in the Objective category, why didn’t it place better overall? Because Objective scoring in a shootout consisting of seven bikes carries a total of 210 points, whereas Subjective scoring among seven testers totals 840 points, imposing a more significant judgement. This is where a bike’s nuances really come into play, but even then the separation between machines is oftentimes microscopically minimal. A perfect example is the 0.03% difference between the Kawasaki and Yamaha in the final combined scores. Hypothetically, a small price change between the Kawasaki and Yamaha could rearrange the two bikes’ finishing positions.

“The top two bikes for me (Aprilia and Honda) were pretty clear and took few thought units,” says guest tester Thai Long Ly. “The third step of the podium is where things get crowded. “Here, something as trivial as cruise control (on a sportbike, that is) could put one bike ahead of another – they’re all that evenly matched.”

Unlike Subjective scores, Objective scores remain the same regardless of venue; street or track. For the testers involved in both the street and track shootouts, it was painfully obvious the Yamaha was a much better track bike than it is street bike – mainly because of ergonomics – and the Subjective scores reflect that sentiment with the Yamaha moving from sixth place in the street Scorecard to fourth place in the track Scorecard.

“Ergos are fine on the racetrack, where you are too terrified to feel pain,” Burnsie poignantly states.

The combined Subjective scores of the Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha are closer than conjoined twins, a mere 0.19% separating the three. Which makes Thai’s quote all the more appropriate. “Every single bike here is worthy of ownership,” says Ly. “They’re all incredibly fast, incredibly stable, and incredibly fun. Which one you buy comes down to feel. How does it feel and how does it make you feel? So buy your favorite shape or color, set the suspension for your weight and go smash!”

The combined Subjective scores of the Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha are closer than conjoined twins, a mere 0.19% separating the three. Which makes Thai’s quote all the more appropriate. “Every single bike here is worthy of ownership,” says Ly. “They’re all incredibly fast, incredibly stable, and incredibly fun. Which one you buy comes down to feel. How does it feel and how does it make you feel? So buy your favorite shape or color, set the suspension for your weight and go smash!”

Interestingly, when we published our track shootout we reported the Honda CBR1000RR as placing second, ahead of the mighty BMW S1000RR. A correct statement when looking at the combined overall scores which accounts for both Objective and Subjective scores (see chart below). What went unmentioned is that according to Subjective scores, testers still preferred the BMW over the Honda. It was the extra price of the BMW’s Prestige Package ($3,150) that cost the S1000RR second place in the track shootout. However, the BMW’s street and track scores were marginally higher than the Honda’s, awarding the BMW the overall second-place trophy. But not by much, with only 0.06% separating the two.

Leaving us with the Aprilia RSV4 RR, which unequivocally won each category of the scorecard, defeating the second-place BMW in the street shootout by 1.72%, defeating the second place Honda in the track shootout by 1.89%, and winning the overall by 1.85% over the BMW. The Aprilia’s win is a veritable landslide victory considering the slim margins between other bikes in the shootout.

“Thrilling. Visceral. Exotic. Sexy. The only bike here that can satisfy Jenna Jameson,” says porn historian Thai Long Ly.

“Thrilling. Visceral. Exotic. Sexy. The only bike here that can satisfy Jenna Jameson,” says porn historian Thai Long Ly.

So, our 2016 Sportbike of the Year can now add 2017 Superbike Shootout Champion to its mantle of MO awards. Here’s E-i-C Kevin Duke to explain why the Aprilia is so damn good.

“It’s phenomenal that you can get a magical piece of Italian exotica like this for less than the price Honda charges for its CBR with the optional auto-blipping quickshifter,” he says. “Not only is the ’Priller far more exotic, it also boasts Cornering ABS, independent wheelie control and on-the-fly-adjustable traction control by dedicated finger/thumb toggles. Oh, and let’s not forget that mellifluous V-4 soundtrack that Honda probably wishes it could match like it could back in the glorious RC30/45 days.”

And from MO’s Editorial Director, Sean Alexander comes these wise words of wisdom. “At these prices, my opinion is that you’d be crazy not to buy the Aprilia or EBR, why be normal?” he says. “Seriously, you can get another inline-four, even one with a ton of bells and whistles, but it’ll just be a fast tool like all the rest. At least with the Aprilia and Buell, you’re getting something a bit less common.”

For those who may have missed them the first time around, below are the videos from our Street and our Track episodes.

Street:

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

Track:

Get the Flash Player to see this player.

 

2017 Superbike Shootout Vanquisher appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

2017 Superbike Shootout Vanquisher

July 1, 2017 Tom Roderick 0

For those who’ve lapped up every word, expression, and metaphor of the performance novel that was our 2017 Superbike Track Shootout and Superbike Street Shootout, the heir apparent is as obvious as the bike coming in last place. For those still wallowing in anticipation, unable to decipher our MOrse code, you can take a breath because, without further ado, we give you…

An interesting breakdown of how we came to our conclusion.

With seven bikes demanding seven riders (eight considering there was a separate guest tester for the street test vs. the track test) over the course of multiple days on public roads and multiple trackdays, scales, dyno runs, tire changes, suspension settings, electronics variables, photos, videos – it’s an exhausting undertaking. A labor of love, but also of critical evaluation, analysis, and, yes, math.

The MO Scorecard is divided into Objective and Subjective scoring sections. The Objective section has four fact-based categories (Price, Weight, Pounds per HP, Pounds per lb-ft of torque), worth a grand total of 210 points (total points determined by the amount of bikes in the test). Looking at only the Objective scores reveals an outcome of another nature, and spotlights why it’s important to ride and subjectively score the bikes, because numbers on paper do not determine a superbike shootout winner.

With an MSRP of $13,995 the EBR 1190RX handily won the Price category, and by virtue of its relatively light weight and largest displacement engine took all the points in the Pounds per lb-ft of torque category. The EBR was the only bike to win two Objective categories. The two most powerful bikes, Aprilia and BMW, found themselves at the bottom of the Objective category largely because of price and weight, even though the two shared top honors in the Pounds per HP category.

Ridden in a vacuum the EBR is a ferociously fun, high-performing superbike. It’s only when measured against its contemporaries that it falls short. “Sad they lost a few years of development fighting financial problems instead,” says John Burns.

Ridden in a vacuum the EBR is a ferociously fun, high-performing superbike. It’s only when measured against its contemporaries that it falls short. “Sad they lost a few years of development fighting financial problems instead,” says John Burns.

If the EBR was so dominant in the Objective category, why didn’t it place better overall? Because Objective scoring in a shootout consisting of seven bikes carries a total of 210 points, whereas Subjective scoring among seven testers totals 840 points, imposing a more significant judgement. This is where a bike’s nuances really come into play, but even then the separation between machines is oftentimes microscopically minimal. A perfect example is the 0.03% difference between the Kawasaki and Yamaha in the final combined scores. Hypothetically, a small price change between the Kawasaki and Yamaha could rearrange the two bikes’ finishing positions.

“The top two bikes for me (Aprilia and Honda) were pretty clear and took few thought units,” says guest tester Thai Long Ly. “The third step of the podium is where things get crowded. “Here, something as trivial as cruise control (on a sportbike, that is) could put one bike ahead of another – they’re all that evenly matched.”

Unlike Subjective scores, Objective scores remain the same regardless of venue; street or track. For the testers involved in both the street and track shootouts, it was painfully obvious the Yamaha was a much better track bike than it is street bike – mainly because of ergonomics – and the Subjective scores reflect that sentiment with the Yamaha moving from sixth place in the street Scorecard to fourth place in the track Scorecard.

“Ergos are fine on the racetrack, where you are too terrified to feel pain,” Burnsie poignantly states.

The combined Subjective scores of the Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha are closer than conjoined twins, a mere 0.19% separating the three. Which makes Thai’s quote all the more appropriate. “Every single bike here is worthy of ownership,” says Ly. “They’re all incredibly fast, incredibly stable, and incredibly fun. Which one you buy comes down to feel. How does it feel and how does it make you feel? So buy your favorite shape or color, set the suspension for your weight and go smash!”

The combined Subjective scores of the Kawasaki, Suzuki and Yamaha are closer than conjoined twins, a mere 0.19% separating the three. Which makes Thai’s quote all the more appropriate. “Every single bike here is worthy of ownership,” says Ly. “They’re all incredibly fast, incredibly stable, and incredibly fun. Which one you buy comes down to feel. How does it feel and how does it make you feel? So buy your favorite shape or color, set the suspension for your weight and go smash!”

Interestingly, when we published our track shootout we reported the Honda CBR1000RR as placing second, ahead of the mighty BMW S1000RR. A correct statement when looking at the combined overall scores which accounts for both Objective and Subjective scores (see chart below). What went unmentioned is that according to Subjective scores, testers still preferred the BMW over the Honda. It was the extra price of the BMW’s Prestige Package ($3,150) that cost the S1000RR second place in the track shootout. However, the BMW’s street and track scores were marginally higher than the Honda’s, awarding the BMW the overall second-place trophy. But not by much, with only 0.06% separating the two.

Leaving us with the Aprilia RSV4 RR, which unequivocally won each category of the scorecard, defeating the second-place BMW in the street shootout by 1.72%, defeating the second place Honda in the track shootout by 1.89%, and winning the overall by 1.85% over the BMW. The Aprilia’s win is a veritable landslide victory considering the slim margins between other bikes in the shootout.

“Thrilling. Visceral. Exotic. Sexy. The only bike here that can satisfy Jenna Jameson,” says porn historian Thai Long Ly.

“Thrilling. Visceral. Exotic. Sexy. The only bike here that can satisfy Jenna Jameson,” says porn historian Thai Long Ly.

So, our 2016 Sportbike of the Year can now add 2017 Superbike Shootout Champion to its mantle of MO awards. Here’s E-i-C Kevin Duke to explain why the Aprilia is so damn good.

“It’s phenomenal that you can get a magical piece of Italian exotica like this for less than the price Honda charges for its CBR with the optional auto-blipping quickshifter,” he says. “Not only is the ’Priller far more exotic, it also boasts Cornering ABS, independent wheelie control and on-the-fly-adjustable traction control by dedicated finger/thumb toggles. Oh, and let’s not forget that mellifluous V-4 soundtrack that Honda probably wishes it could match like it could back in the glorious RC30/45 days.”

And from MO’s Editorial Director, Sean Alexander comes these wise words of wisdom. “At these prices, my opinion is that you’d be crazy not to buy the Aprilia or EBR, why be normal?” he says. “Seriously, you can get another inline-four, even one with a ton of bells and whistles, but it’ll just be a fast tool like all the rest. At least with the Aprilia and Buell, you’re getting something a bit less common.”

For those who may have missed them the first time around, below are the videos from our Street and our Track episodes.

Street:

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Track:

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2017 Superbike Shootout Vanquisher appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

Tom Roderick’s Final Top 10

June 29, 2017 Tom Roderick 0

062917-top-10-tom-roderick-00-jump

It’s been a good run. In early 1990 I began my powersports career selling motorcycles at a small Honda shop on California’s Central Coast. Twenty-seven years later and I’m bidding adieu to full-time motojournalism. The period between beginning and end has been a tragicomedy chain of events, a frayed yarn of two-wheel adventures, and an experience I can’t imagine having lived differently.

Cellphone, bathroom mirror evidence that MO’s newest editor is of the selfie generation.

Cellphone, bathroom mirror evidence that MO’s newest editor is of the selfie generation.

My six years as a MO editor will certainly be some of the fondest, as my friendships with most of the staff date back prior to my official hiring in 2011. In addition to forming fond memories, my time at MO provided me the opportunity to check off some remaining items from my personal moto-bucketlist, as well as partake in some very cool extracurricular activities. The following are 10 highlights during my time at MO, but hopefully I can make an occasional cameo to fill an extra seat during the next multi-bike shootout.

For those still lamenting the loss of former MO editor Troy Siahaan, say hello to Ryan Adams, Troy’s younger, more attractive replacement. Here to better represent the youthful side of motorcycling, Ryan comes complete with tattoos, stretched-out earlobes, a metrosexual personality, but no beard. Ryan’s resume already has a history in the powersports industry, and he owns some respectable motorcycling skills. In fact, he was just telling me how he recently crashed his KTM 1190 Adventure… but I digress. As for me, I’ve been told I’m irreplaceable.

Tom Roderick’s Final Top 10 appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

Alpinestars GP Plus Leather Suit Review

June 27, 2017 Tom Roderick 0


Alpinestars GP Plus Leather Suit

Editor Score: 90.25%

Aesthetics 10/10
Protection 9.25/10
Value 8.5/10
Comfort/Fit 9.5/10
Quality/Design 9.0/10
Weight 8.5/10
Options/Selection 9.0/10
Innovation 8.5/10
Weather Suitability 8.5/10
Desirable/Cool Factor 9.5/10
Overall Score 90.25/100

The one thing I’ve learned wearing AlpinestarsGP Plus Leather Suit is trackside photographers have no problem picking me out of a crowded field of leather-clad motorcyclists. Whether I’m at a press launch with a bunch of other journos all outfitted with newish leathers, or at a trackday thick with fellow sportbike junkies in sometimes outlandish attire, the asymmetrical styling of the GP Plus suit is more obvious and attention-grabbing than a naked Margot Robbie (we should probably test that statement for accuracy…).

New for 2017 and sandwiched between the slightly more streetable Motegi leathers ($999.95) and the slightly more track-worthy GP Pro leathers ($1,349.95), the GP Plus suit ($1,199.95) bridges the small gap between the two. A quick comparison reveals that where the Motegi suit is fitted more for street use, the GP Plus is a more committed fit for aggressive track duty, and while the Motegi has External Dynamic Friction Shield (DFS) shoulder sliders, the GP Plus boasts that as well as DFS knee sliders, but not the elbow sliders found on the GP Pro suit. The GP Plus also has calf expansion gussets whereas the Motegi does not.

Fitment of the GP Plus suit is next to custom. The U.S. size 44 fit like the proverbial glove on my 5-foot-11.5, 183-pound frame, including the Track Vest 2 with integrated CE-certified Level 2 back protector worn underneath.

Fitment of the GP Plus suit is next to custom. The U.S. size 44 fit like the proverbial glove on my 5-foot-11.5, 183-pound frame, including the Track Vest 2 with integrated CE-certified Level 2 back protector worn underneath.

From the first outing wearing the suit at the KTM Super Duke R launch at the Losail Circuit in Qatar back in December of 2016, the GP Plus was never an impediment – meaning no break-in was required. I put the GP Plus suit on, jumped aboard the SDR at an unfamiliar track and never gave it another thought. Comfortable from the get go. There’s something to be said about it not being a big deal that a new suit fit my average-size frame so well, but I’ve had worse experiences with suits not fitting near as comfortably. In fact, the only better experience I’ve had is with my last custom-made suit.

The suit’s track-focused fitment helps, and so does all those stretch panels; accordion stretch panels on the back and elbows, poly-fabric stretch panels on crotch, underarms, calf and back of the knees. High-density perforations around the chest, arms and legs help moderate temperatures, while the collar is lined with a neoprene material to prevent chafing.

All three suits, Motegi, GP Plus, and GP Pro are constructed from 1.3mm cowhide, and come with removable, washable mesh liners, and internal CE-certified protectors in the shoulders, elbows and knees. The big difference between the GP Plus and GP Pro suits is going to be the Pro’s ability to incorporate Alpinestars’ Tech-Air vest and back protector.

Because the GP Plus suit isn’t compatible with Alpinestars’ Tech-Air system (available in the U.S. beginning this August, $1,149.95) I chose to sample the Track Vest 2 ($199.95). The snug-fitting vest incorporates a CE-certified level 2 back protector, as well as an adjustable kidney belt, and the added benefit of poly-foam padding throughout the vest. For even more protection you can add the optional CE-certified level 1 Nucleon KR-Ci chest protector ($39.95).

Because the GP Plus suit isn’t compatible with Alpinestars’ Tech-Air system (available in the U.S. beginning this August, $1,149.95) I chose to sample the Track Vest 2 ($199.95). The snug-fitting vest incorporates a CE-certified level 2 back protector, as well as an adjustable kidney belt, and the added benefit of poly-foam padding throughout the vest. For even more protection you can add the optional CE-certified level 1 Nucleon KR-Ci chest protector ($39.95).

Weighing 11.3 pounds including all internal crash protectors and knee sliders, the GP Plus suit tips the scales around one-half to three-quarters of a pound more than the last two similar one-piece track leather suits I’ve reviewed; Dainese Veloster Perforated One-Piece Leather Suit, Rev’It Stingray Leathers. Not enough of a weight difference to really notice, but the additional airflow from the perforation on the Veloster leathers can certainly be felt compared to the more minimal perforation of the GP Plus suit.

We here at MO try our darndest not to crash, which makes reporting on the protective nature of motorcycle crash protection a knotty affair. But sometimes it does happen, like when former MO editor Troy Siahaan unknowingly volunteered to be a crash test dummy a couple years ago while wearing a set of Alpinestars GP Pro leathers (MO Crash Tested: Alpinestars GP-Pro Leather Suit Review).

Otherwise, a MotoGP crash study from a few years ago ranked every brand of leather suit manufacturers participating in all three classes. According to the study’s findings Alpinestars performed well, scoring highest overall. Below are a few highlights of the study while the full posting is here, and the complete public study here.

  • 25 different leather manufacturers represented 124 riders across all three classes.
  • Dainese is the most well represented brand overall, with 22 riders wearing its products. Alpinestars comes next with 18 riders, and Spidi is third with 14 riders.
  • Of the total 7275 points available, Alpinestars scored the most points of any leather manufacturer with 2056. Dainese is next at 1711, with Spidi third at 1411.
The SMX Plus Boots ($369.95), and GP Plus R Gloves ($199.95) nicely tie together the asymmetrical GP Plus suit package.

The SMX Plus Boots ($369.95), and GP Plus R Gloves ($199.95) nicely tie together the asymmetrical GP Plus suit package.

For the little bit more money ($150) the GP Pro suit costs over this GP Plus suit, the additional features, and because it is compatible with the Tech-Air system (a costly upgrade, but maybe worth saving for), I may to choose the GP Pro over the GP Plus. But if it’s style you’re after, the GP Pro doesn’t come in the cool asymmetrical designs of the GP Plus, and that’s actually what attracted me to the GP Plus in the first place.

The GP Plus is available in sizes 46-60, and three color schemes, two asymmetrical, Black/White/Red Fluo/Yellow Fluo (pictured above) or Black/White/Yellow Fluo, and one symmetrical style Black/White/Red. Learn more about the GP Plus, Motegi, GP Pro suits and others, as well as the Track Vest 2, Tech-Air, SMX Boots, and GP Plus R gloves at alpinestars.com.

Alpinestars GP Plus Leather Suit Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

Alpinestars GP Plus Leather Suit Review

June 27, 2017 Tom Roderick 0


Alpinestars GP Plus Leather Suit

Editor Score: 90.25%

Aesthetics 10/10
Protection 9.25/10
Value 8.5/10
Comfort/Fit 9.5/10
Quality/Design 9.0/10
Weight 8.5/10
Options/Selection 9.0/10
Innovation 8.5/10
Weather Suitability 8.5/10
Desirable/Cool Factor 9.5/10
Overall Score 90.25/100

The one thing I’ve learned wearing AlpinestarsGP Plus Leather Suit is trackside photographers have no problem picking me out of a crowded field of leather-clad motorcyclists. Whether I’m at a press launch with a bunch of other journos all outfitted with newish leathers, or at a trackday thick with fellow sportbike junkies in sometimes outlandish attire, the asymmetrical styling of the GP Plus suit is more obvious and attention-grabbing than a naked Margot Robbie (we should probably test that statement for accuracy…).

New for 2017 and sandwiched between the slightly more streetable Motegi leathers ($999.95) and the slightly more track-worthy GP Pro leathers ($1,349.95), the GP Plus suit ($1,199.95) bridges the small gap between the two. A quick comparison reveals that where the Motegi suit is fitted more for street use, the GP Plus is a more committed fit for aggressive track duty, and while the Motegi has External Dynamic Friction Shield (DFS) shoulder sliders, the GP Plus boasts that as well as DFS knee sliders, but not the elbow sliders found on the GP Pro suit. The GP Plus also has calf expansion gussets whereas the Motegi does not.

Fitment of the GP Plus suit is next to custom. The U.S. size 44 fit like the proverbial glove on my 5-foot-11.5, 183-pound frame, including the Track Vest 2 with integrated CE-certified Level 2 back protector worn underneath.

Fitment of the GP Plus suit is next to custom. The U.S. size 44 fit like the proverbial glove on my 5-foot-11.5, 183-pound frame, including the Track Vest 2 with integrated CE-certified Level 2 back protector worn underneath.

From the first outing wearing the suit at the KTM Super Duke R launch at the Losail Circuit in Qatar back in December of 2016, the GP Plus was never an impediment – meaning no break-in was required. I put the GP Plus suit on, jumped aboard the SDR at an unfamiliar track and never gave it another thought. Comfortable from the get go. There’s something to be said about it not being a big deal that a new suit fit my average-size frame so well, but I’ve had worse experiences with suits not fitting near as comfortably. In fact, the only better experience I’ve had is with my last custom-made suit.

The suit’s track-focused fitment helps, and so does all those stretch panels; accordion stretch panels on the back and elbows, poly-fabric stretch panels on crotch, underarms, calf and back of the knees. High-density perforations around the chest, arms and legs help moderate temperatures, while the collar is lined with a neoprene material to prevent chafing.

All three suits, Motegi, GP Plus, and GP Pro are constructed from 1.3mm cowhide, and come with removable, washable mesh liners, and internal CE-certified protectors in the shoulders, elbows and knees. The big difference between the GP Plus and GP Pro suits is going to be the Pro’s ability to incorporate Alpinestars’ Tech-Air vest and back protector.

Because the GP Plus suit isn’t compatible with Alpinestars’ Tech-Air system (available in the U.S. beginning this August, $1,149.95) I chose to sample the Track Vest 2 ($199.95). The snug-fitting vest incorporates a CE-certified level 2 back protector, as well as an adjustable kidney belt, and the added benefit of poly-foam padding throughout the vest. For even more protection you can add the optional CE-certified level 1 Nucleon KR-Ci chest protector ($39.95).

Because the GP Plus suit isn’t compatible with Alpinestars’ Tech-Air system (available in the U.S. beginning this August, $1,149.95) I chose to sample the Track Vest 2 ($199.95). The snug-fitting vest incorporates a CE-certified level 2 back protector, as well as an adjustable kidney belt, and the added benefit of poly-foam padding throughout the vest. For even more protection you can add the optional CE-certified level 1 Nucleon KR-Ci chest protector ($39.95).

Weighing 11.3 pounds including all internal crash protectors and knee sliders, the GP Plus suit tips the scales around one-half to three-quarters of a pound more than the last two similar one-piece track leather suits I’ve reviewed; Dainese Veloster Perforated One-Piece Leather Suit, Rev’It Stingray Leathers. Not enough of a weight difference to really notice, but the additional airflow from the perforation on the Veloster leathers can certainly be felt compared to the more minimal perforation of the GP Plus suit.

We here at MO try our darndest not to crash, which makes reporting on the protective nature of motorcycle crash protection a knotty affair. But sometimes it does happen, like when former MO editor Troy Siahaan unknowingly volunteered to be a crash test dummy a couple years ago while wearing a set of Alpinestars GP Pro leathers (MO Crash Tested: Alpinestars GP-Pro Leather Suit Review).

Otherwise, a MotoGP crash study from a few years ago ranked every brand of leather suit manufacturers participating in all three classes. According to the study’s findings Alpinestars performed well, scoring highest overall. Below are a few highlights of the study while the full posting is here, and the complete public study here.

  • 25 different leather manufacturers represented 124 riders across all three classes.
  • Dainese is the most well represented brand overall, with 22 riders wearing its products. Alpinestars comes next with 18 riders, and Spidi is third with 14 riders.
  • Of the total 7275 points available, Alpinestars scored the most points of any leather manufacturer with 2056. Dainese is next at 1711, with Spidi third at 1411.
The SMX Plus Boots ($369.95), and GP Plus R Gloves ($199.95) nicely tie together the asymmetrical GP Plus suit package.

The SMX Plus Boots ($369.95), and GP Plus R Gloves ($199.95) nicely tie together the asymmetrical GP Plus suit package.

For the little bit more money ($150) the GP Pro suit costs over this GP Plus suit, the additional features, and because it is compatible with the Tech-Air system (a costly upgrade, but maybe worth saving for), I may to choose the GP Pro over the GP Plus. But if it’s style you’re after, the GP Pro doesn’t come in the cool asymmetrical designs of the GP Plus, and that’s actually what attracted me to the GP Plus in the first place.

The GP Plus is available in sizes 46-60, and three color schemes, two asymmetrical, Black/White/Red Fluo/Yellow Fluo (pictured above) or Black/White/Yellow Fluo, and one symmetrical style Black/White/Red. Learn more about the GP Plus, Motegi, GP Pro suits and others, as well as the Track Vest 2, Tech-Air, SMX Boots, and GP Plus R gloves at alpinestars.com.

Alpinestars GP Plus Leather Suit Review appeared first on Motorcycle.com.

Dates For 2017/2018 Progressive International Motorcycle Shows

June 27, 2017 Tom Roderick 0

The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows (IMS) today announced dates for its upcoming 2017-2018 tour.

Begin Press Release:


Progressive International Motorcycle Shows announces 2017-2018 dates

Santa Monica, CA (June 27, 2017) – The Progressive International Motorcycle Shows (IMS), the industry authority on connecting powersports’ leading brands with highly qualified enthusiasts and buyers, today announced dates for its upcoming 2017-2018 tour. The IMS Tour will travel across the United States, stopping in seven influential markets to provide consumers and enthusiasts with an inside look into the latest and most innovative motorcycles, gear and products from leading companies in the industry, as well as showcasing what the motorcycling lifestyle has to offer.

“We are very excited to announce the dates and cities for the upcoming 2017-2018 tour, as this year we are planning to deliver the most in-depth and immersive experience yet for our attendees,” said Tracy Harris, senior vice president of the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows. “We will continue to support the powersports industry through our events, while cultivating a place for motorcycle enthusiasts to gather and share a one-of-a-kind motorcycling lifestyle experience.”

The 2017-2018 Progressive IMS Tour dates and cities are as follows:

  • Long Beach, CA: November 17-19, 2017, Long Beach Convention Center
  • New York, NY: December 1-3, 2017, Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
  • Minneapolis, MN: December 8-10, 2017, Minneapolis Convention Center –NEW DATES
  • Cleveland, OH: January 26-28, 2018, I-X Center
  • Dallas, TX: February 2-4, 2018, Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center –NEW DATES
  • Chicago, IL: February 9-11, 2018, Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
  • Washington D.C.: February 23-25, 2018, Walter E. Washington Convention Center NEW DATES

Since its inception in 1982, the IMS Tour has become the largest touring powersports event in the United States and is supported by industry-leading original equipment manufacturers (OEM’s). IMS has a proven impact on the consumer motorcycle market and industry. Its attendees are 18 times more likely to purchase a powersport vehicle than the general motorcycling population because they’ve attended IMS. Additionally, 31 percent of the IMS 2015- 2016 Tour attendees purchased a new or used vehicle within 12 months of attending a show.*

Several new show attractions will also be added to the upcoming tour, including a new lifestyle section, an adventure and travel section and fresh stage content. This will accompany fan-favorite attractions such as the stunt show, Win Play Vote, IMS Vintage and more.

Also returning to the 2017-2018 tour is title sponsor, Progressive Insurance, a supporter of the IMS Tour since 2004. For over 50 years, Progressive has been a proponent of the motorsports industry and has played a significant part in the IMS Tour since being named title sponsor in 2010.

“We’re excited to hit the road for what will be the biggest Progressive IMS Tour yet. As title sponsor, we’ll be bringing another can’t be missed experience deeply-rooted in motorcycle culture,” said Eric Doubler, direct business leader at Progressive Insurance. “In working closely with our partners at UBM and Match Marketing Group, we look forward to connecting with passionate motorcycle enthusiasts across the nation by providing a full throttle, interactive experience for riders of all ages.”

With 36 years of experience, the IMS Tour is truly dedicated to providing a platform for OEM’s, brands, and powersports enthusiasts to connect and foster relationships. The IMS Tour has grown into a comprehensive gathering for the powersports industry, and will provide a top-notch experience for its community in the upcoming 2017-2018 tour. Starting in Southern California, the tour will provide motorcycle enthusiasts across the United States the opportunity to swing a leg over hundreds of new 2018 models, score the hottest parts, gear and accessories and enjoy hours of live entertainment.

To learn more about the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows Tour, please visit: motorcycleshows.com

Dates For 2017/2018 Progressive International Motorcycle Shows appeared first on Motorcycle.com News.

2017 Superbike Track Shootout

June 23, 2017 Tom Roderick 0

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.

“If you own one of these and don’t take it to the track, then you’re simply not getting your money’s worth,” says our Editor-in-Cheese, Kevin Duke. “If you want a high-performance streetbike and have no plans to bring it to a racetrack, you’d be better off with a Tuono or FZ-10 or 1190SX or Super Duke.”

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“We’re junkies loose in the pharmacy with all kinds of motorcycles here at MO, but every year – or at least every couple of years – when it’s time for the big Superbike Comparison!, well, all of us get even more amped-up than usual,” says John Burns in his latest Whatever – Sportbikes Forever! column. Burnsie goes on to describe the mixture of adrenaline and fear when piloting open-class sportbikes when removed from the bonds of laws and etiquette. And he couldn’t be more right. Launching a 180-horsepower Aprilia or BMW onto the banked straightaway at Auto Club Speedway, engulfed in the sound and fury of dizzying forward thrust, is an intoxicating thrill, to say the least.

Which one of these seven is the most thrillingest is what we’re here to discover. Our reigning Sportbike of the Year, Aprilia’s RSV4, won the street shootout by a minimal margin, but Honda’s new CBR1000RR put up an admirable fight by virtue of its surprising agility. And let’s not forget the excellence offered from the other manufacturers, including the World Superbike-winning Kawasaki ZX-10R, the MotoAmerica-winning Yamaha R1, the newly updated Suzuki GSX-R1000, and the class-redefining BMW S1000RR, all of which are worthy of your attention and consideration. Here we go.

062327-2017-shootout-superbike-track-ebr-05-1190rx

Retaining its 7th-place position from the street shootout, the EBR 1190RX lost a few percentage points in this venue largely because its foibles at legalish street speeds move front and center when at track pace. Take that single, large rim-mounted front brake, for instance, a complaint among all the testers.

2017 Superbike Spec Chart Shootout

“The 1190’s oddball front brake didn’t deliver the level of confidence needed on a high-speed racetrack, feeling weak relative to the others and causing me to run off in Turn 1 when I asked for the same level of braking at the same lever pressure,” says Kevin Duke. “It needs a strong pull to access its full power.”

If you’re desiring a fast trackday bike and don’t mind one that’s rough around the edges, can overlook its substandard front braking performance, and are willing to tolerate shrinking parts availability, the EBR 1190RX is a bargain at the $10k price several EBR dealers are asking.

If you’re desiring a fast trackday bike and don’t mind one that’s rough around the edges, can overlook its substandard front braking performance, and are willing to tolerate shrinking parts availability, the EBR 1190RX is a bargain at the $10k price several EBR dealers are asking.

The EBR’s best attributes – quick transitioning, a solid chassis offering good edge grip, and quality suspension – remain, allowing skilled pilots to take advantage of the EBR’s strengths. In the hands of our expert-level roadracer, Fabrice Vilder, he estimates he was an average of 2 seconds slower compared to the other bikes in the test. Not too shabby for a bike lacking the braking performance, much of the electronic wizardry and overall polish the others possess. Chalk up the EBR’s nearly-as-fast lap times to its impressive 162 horsepower and shootout-topping 87 lb.-ft. of torque.

“EBR sadly is a bit out of its depth,” says Burns. “Still feels really light and quick-reacting and seems to have power to stick with just about any bike out there. It’s just the integration of systems where it loses milliseconds (seconds in my case), its responses don’t flow as seamlessly together as the other bikes, with their lean-sensitive ABS, quickshifters, etc. Having said that, it’s the only one I could afford, at $10k, and it would be fun to try and smooth everything out. The power is already there…”

The 1190RX delivers impressive power figures from the biggest engine in this test. (Oddly, the EBR has an abnormally long throttle sweep that requires far more rotation to reach its stop.) Kawasaki and Yamaha are fighting one another for worst midrange torque curve, while the GSX-R’s variable-valve-timing system shows its powerband-broadening abilities. The CBR has a remarkably effective zone from 7000-10,000 rpm. Considering the BMW’s amazing pull up top, it’s incredible that it’s not really lacking at any part of its rev range.

The 1190RX delivers impressive power figures from the biggest engine in this test. (Oddly, the EBR has an abnormally long throttle sweep that requires far more rotation to reach its stop.) Kawasaki and Yamaha are fighting one another for worst midrange torque curve, while the GSX-R’s variable-valve-timing system shows its powerband-broadening abilities. The CBR has a remarkably effective zone from 7000-10,000 rpm. Considering the BMW’s amazing pull up top, it’s incredible that it’s not really lacking at any part of its rev range.

Like the polarizing looks of the Yamaha YZF-R1, the EBR managed to wedge apart testers to the point of unfriending one another on Facebook. Guest tester Thai Long Ly and Evans Brasfield best represent the two opposing camps.

I know my esteemed colleagues aren’t as giddy as I am with this corn-fed muscle bike, but I’m definitely a fan,” says Ly. “The chassis is excellent, as is the suspension. But aside from that, the EBR is certainly outclassed by its peers from a refinement and electronics standpoint. Like a one-night stand, this bike is raw, wild and satisfies if you’re willing to abandon all small details and niceties and just go for broke.”

To which Brasfield rebuts, “I have few things nice to say about the EBR. Perhaps it is a failing on my part. The brakes didn’t exhibit the judder I felt on the street, but I never gained the confidence in them that I had on the other bikes. The engine produced good power with a great exhaust note, but the vibration in the upper rpm range diminished any enjoyment I had.”

“Overall, the 1190RX is simply a short step behind the contemporary state of the art,” Duke observes. “It’s one of the coolest machines in this test, but here amongst the latest and greatest sportbikes, it feels a bit crude.

We were happy to have the EBR represent the V-Twin segment of superbikes since Ducati declined to include the big Panigales in its press fleet, but it is outclassed in this field. Now, let’s move on to the bikes in this shootout from OEMs that aren’t being liquidated.

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The first reshuffling of the deck comes with the Kawasaki dropping from its fifth-place finish in the street shootout to sixth place on the track. Not because the Ninja did anything worse at track speeds, on the contrary, most testers quipped that the harder you push the ZX-10R the better it performs. It’s downfall in the track rankings is mostly due to the Yamaha performing much better here than it did on the street. More on that later.

“Similar to the BMW in a way” says Vilder of the ZX. “A freight train but with added front-end feel. This is the bike of the group that requires a bit more muscle and effort to go fast on, but it’s also very rewarding. The more you push, the more it gives. I can see myself achieving great lap times on the big Kawi having spent a few more sessions on it.”

Editorial Director, Sean Alexander, echoed those thoughts, adding, “The track-friendly nature of the ZX-10R’s power delivery and the stability of its chassis make it confidence inspiring, and that confidence in turn makes ever more rewarding the quicker you go. It’s easy to see why it makes such a good Superstock and Superbike competitor at the world level. I really love it on the racetrack.”

The Ninja’s gauges are dated when compared to the full-color TFT displays of some of its competitors, but the rainbow tachometer sweeping across the top of the cluster is one of the most easily visible tachs here. “I love its big bar graph tach; it’s the only one I ever have time to look at,” says Burns.

The Ninja’s gauges are dated when compared to the full-color TFT displays of some of its competitors, but the rainbow tachometer sweeping across the top of the cluster is one of the most easily visible tachs here. “I love its big bar graph tach; it’s the only one I ever have time to look at,” says Burns.

Most of our testers agreed the Ninja has high limits and performs better the harder it is pushed. Part of that impression is the ZX’s lack of low- and midrange grunt, also a complaint in our street shootout where midrange power is more important. Even though it’s easier to keep the Kawi’s inline-4 on the boil at the racetrack, a broader powerband is always desirable in getting power to the ground more easily.

“The Kawi pulls strong up top, but its midrange power is weaker than the others,” says Duke. “Evidence of the ZX’s racetrack competence is that I was able to punch out very similar lap times over several laps back to back.”

The Kawasaki and Yamaha are at the bottom of the curve when it comes to midrange horsepower production. Note how the power of the CBR (after being the highest-output four-cylinder in the 7000-8000 range) flattens out after 10k rpm, followed soon after by the ZX, GSX-R and R1, so that they are able to pass the EPA’s noise-emissions regulations by partially closing throttle plates at high rpm. The Euro bikes are seemingly unaffected, showing massive power advantages at the top end of the curves. “The EPA noise regs are probably doing more harm than good,” rants Duke. “Frustrated owners of affected bikes can get their ECUs reflashed for immediate power gains costing just a few hundred bucks, and since they’re already modding their engine, they may want to add an aftermarket exhaust system, which is likely to be louder.”

The Kawasaki and Yamaha are at the bottom of the curve when it comes to midrange horsepower production. Note how the power of the CBR (after being the highest-output four-cylinder in the 7000-8000 range) flattens out after 10k rpm, followed soon after by the ZX, GSX-R and R1, so that they are able to pass the EPA’s noise-emissions regulations by partially closing throttle plates at high rpm. The Euro bikes are seemingly unaffected, showing massive power advantages at the top end of the curves. “The EPA noise regs are probably doing more harm than good,” rants Duke. “Frustrated owners of affected bikes can get their ECUs reflashed for immediate power gains costing just a few hundred bucks, and since they’re already modding their engine, they may want to add an aftermarket exhaust system, which is likely to be louder. ”

Completely opposite of the EBR’s underwhelming front-end stopping power is the Kawasaki’s use of Brembo M50 calipers, which provide fantastic braking performance and feel whether at street or track speeds. No real surprise, as we’ve gushed about these Brembo binders numerous times.

We’ll let Thai conclude our thoughts regarding Ninja. “This easily could be my third-place bike, and if ridden in isolation, has the goods to be a long-term commitment,” he says. “The brakes are strong and the ease at which the bike navigated the track made me smile uncontrollably with every passing lap. And with the speeds at which we descended the front wall into turns 1 and 2, any sudden smiles had to sneak past looks of terror as I clung to the clip ons for dear life (did I mention this bike hauls ass?). But this green and black Ninja always stayed composed and had me turning fast and fun laps time after time.”

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Like Kawasaki, Suzuki also suffered a slide in placement going from fourth place in the street test to fifth place at the track. However, had we the more expensive GSX-R1000R model ($17,199 vs  $15,099) with all the additional bells and whistles that come with it, the Suzuki would have placed better than fifth, as it does nothing poorly.

“The Gixxer was the biggest surprise on the track for me,” says Brasfield. “Within the first lap I felt at home on the bike with it responding exactingly to my every whim.”

 

The Gixxer’s tail section is petite, but some found it unattractive, reminiscent of styling from the mid-90s, as is the oversized muffler.

The Gixxer’s tail section is petite, but some found it unattractive, reminiscent of styling from the mid-90s, as is the oversized muffler.

As we mentioned in the street test, the GSX-R may be a new model but it hasn’t lost the traditional, familiar, comfortable sitting in, not on top of, feeling Gixxers are famous for. And to some degree this what Evans is alluding to when speaking about feeling at home on the bike. Switching to our go-fast racer impression, Vilder had these positive remarks about the second most affordable bike in the shootout.

“The motor is a force,” the expert racer says. “Suzuki engineers manage to find midrange and tons of top end power via their patented VVT technology. Although our test bike lacked the quickshifter/auto blip feature, it’s obvious this is a lethal track weapon, and don’t be surprised to see the Elias and Hayden duo give Yamaha a hard time this year.”

Kind words indeed. But Vilder wasn’t finished. “Easy bike to go fast on, great power, nimbleness, and balance. Great bang for the buck. They’ve also stepped it up in the quality dept and the bike feels and looks as good as it performs,” he says.

Alexander put it simply: “The Suzuki has that elusive trait shared by a lot of truly great racebikes: It gives no drama and produces no surprises, seeming to disappear below its rider while it gets on with the task of hauling ass.

They’re not our beloved M50 calipers, but they are Brembo monoblocks, and none of the testers complained about the stopping performance of the Suzuki.

They’re not our beloved M50 calipers, but they are Brembo monoblocks, and none of the testers complained about the stopping performance of the Suzuki.

From each tester’s butt dyno, as well as the official dyno charts above, it must be presumed that Suzuki’s use of variable valve timing is responsible for GSX-R’s excellent midrange in both horsepower and torque production. Of all the inline-Fours in the test, only the BMW and Suzuki provided enough grunt out of Auto Club Speedway’s slower corners to remain in second gear. For good drive on the Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha first gear must be selected.

“Its VVT technology seems to have paid off, delivering more low-end grunt than any Japanese literbike, while still pulling hard near its upper end until – like all the Japanese bikes – power production is curtailed due to noise-emissions regulations,” says Duke.

 

At 444 pounds fully fueled the GSX-R1000 is the third lightest bike in the shootout, and only three pounds heavier than the next lightest bike, Yamaha’s YZF-R1. However, the Suzuki feels lighter than it is both on the track and street. The Gixxer was the only bike in this test aside from the EBR that didn’t have a quickshifter, a component available on its pricier GSX-R1000R brother as standard along with auto-blipping downshifter. “Going old-school with clutchless upshifts wasn’t a big deal, but it did feel somewhat like a blast from the past,” Brasfield opines. “These are the good old days of motorcycle technology!”

At 444 pounds fully fueled the GSX-R1000 is the third lightest bike in the shootout, and only three pounds heavier than the next lightest bike, Yamaha’s YZF-R1. However, the Suzuki feels lighter than it is both on the track and street. The Gixxer was the only bike in this test aside from the EBR that didn’t have a quickshifter, a component available on its pricier GSX-R1000R brother as standard along with auto-blipping downshifter. “Going old-school with clutchless upshifts wasn’t a big deal, but it did feel somewhat like a blast from the past,” Brasfield opines. “These are the good old days of motorcycle technology!”

Again, here’s Thai Long Ly to walk the Suzuki off stage.

“Although I had fun, I never felt like I had to own it,” he says. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fantastic bike that goes like stink, but it’s sorta like the pretty waitress at the 3am post-gig dinner. You flirt, tease and exchange numbers, but never actually get around to calling her despite the initial connection. And that’s too bad, as this is the best Gixxer to date.”

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The fly in Kawasaki’s and Suzuki’s ointment is the Yamaha YZF-R1. Our sixth-place finisher in the street test moves up two positions in the track test because it’s simply a more track-focused motorcycle, whereas the other two bikes better balance the their street/track strengths and weaknesses. But, it was close, the R1 scoring only 0.16% better than the Suzuki – a bike costing $1,600 less than the R1.

The biggest complaint about the R1 on the street, its seating position, didn’t have as large an impact on the track. The R1 still came in last place in the Scorecard’s Ergonomics/Comfort category, but its scores moved up from 76.4% to 87.9%.

“Ergos are fine on the racetrack, where you are too terrified to feel pain,” explains Burns.

All bikes in our test were outfitted with Bridgestone’s sticky Battlax Racing R10 tires. The DOT-legal race tires coped well with triple-digit horsepower and triple-digit speeds, even on Auto Club’s several long left-hand corners that gnaw into rubber. Despite the challenges to the tires, our testers didn’t complain about grip until nearing the end of the day when they were spent.

All bikes in our test were outfitted with Bridgestone’s sticky Battlax Racing R10 tires. The DOT-legal race tires coped well with triple-digit horsepower and triple-digit speeds, even on Auto Club’s several long left-hand corners that gnaw into rubber. Despite the challenges to the tires, our testers didn’t complain about grip until nearing the end of the day when the buns were spent.

As noted earlier, the Yamaha is the second-lightest motorcycle in this test, but that’s not how it feels. There’s just no getting around that the R1 steers heavier than most other bikes in this test. The trade off is absolutely rock-solid stability in fast sweepers, or, especially, at top honk on Auto Club Speedway’s high-speed banking.

“The R1 makes a good case for itself on the racetrack, where its committed riding position and geometry allow a rider to carry very high corner speeds,” says Duke. “It is among the heaviest steerers but very stable,” he continues. “The crossplane-crank motor impresses on track, with a rider able to feel the rear tire dig in under power, accompanied by exhaust music like Rossi’s M1.”

For this test we chose the standard YZF-R1, but for $1,700 less you can purchase a YZF-R1S. The differences are minimal, and for the average recreational rider, the money saved could buy a lot of trackdays. At the other end of the price spectrum ($21,990) is Yamaha’s YZF-R1M that comes with Öhlins Electronic Racing Suspension (ERS) – nice!

For this test we chose the standard YZF-R1, but for $1,700 less you can purchase a YZF-R1S. The differences are minimal, and for the average recreational rider, the money saved could buy a lot of trackdays. At the other end of the price spectrum ($21,990) is Yamaha’s YZF-R1M that comes with Öhlins Electronic Racing Suspension (ERS) – nice!

When we conducted our last superbike shootout two years ago, the new-at-the-time Yamaha R1 placed fourth in the track shootout, and it’s doing so again here against newer machinery from Kawasaki (upgraded in 2016), and the new-for-2017 Suzuki. So the R1 is aging well and maintaining its level of performance. Our racer-for-hire, Vilder, who competitively pilots a similar R1, came to this conclusion regarding the Yamaha.

“Although the R1 is entering its third year of production, it is still very much a contender. As a package, it is hard to beat,” he says. “The chassis is forgivable, very stable. I would say it matches the Aprilia chassis and performs well on tight tracks or long sweepers.”

And don’t accuse Vilder of favoritism for the Yamaha – he ranked it third on the Scorecard.

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For the first time since its 2010 introduction the BMW S1000RR finds itself out of the top two positions. The bike is still on the podium, but third on the box is a first for the S1000RR. Albeit the margin was probably one of thinnest in MO Scorecard history as only 0.09% separated third from second place. What’s triggering its fall from grace? It’s mainly the little things, but here in particular, price is one of them.

While we try to keep things fair by acquiring bikes of equal performance for similar prices, it never fails that BMW sends a model upgraded with most of all of its many options. In this case, the accoutrements of forged wheels and electronic suspension upped the Beemer to the most expensive bike in the test by $1,600. Yes, the price hurt the BMW’s scores in the street shootout, but not enough to significantly affect the outcome. On the track it’s a different story because the performance scores of other bikes in the shootout narrowed the gap.

“As equipped and set up, this is easily the best S1000RR I’ve ever sampled on a racetrack.” said Alexander., adding “The BMW’s was flawless and the wheelie control actually works unobtrusively now. Couple this electronics tuning with this chassis geometry and these damping tweaks and you get a bike that finally feels perfectly sorted for track use. I loved every second on it here at Fontana, it was instantly comfortable and very, very quick.”

“The optional forged wheels on the BMW endow it with amazing agility, but it needs to be said the Premium Package with forged wheels adds $3,150 to the cost of the bike,” Duke notes. The optional package also includes Gear Shift Assist Pro, Ride Modes Pro, ABS Pro, cruise control, heated grips and the semi-active suspension.

The S1000RR’s age can be seen in its gauges. The information conveyed is easily legible, but the aging cluster needs replacing if the BMW is to maintain its status as a premier European sportbike.

The S1000RR’s age can be seen in its gauges. The information conveyed is easily legible, but the aging cluster needs replacing if the BMW is to maintain its status as a premier European sportbike.

The increased price tag of the BMW also includes semi-active suspension, and while on the street the mostly push-button affair is a welcome nicety, on the track a lot of performance junkies will most likely prefer to spend the money elsewhere and fine-tune their suspension units the old-fashioned way. The electronic suspension worked well at the track, but a decent manual suspension can usually be adjusted to adequately control wheel movement at a racetrack.

Probably still the most impressive aspect of the BMW is the output of its engine. The Aprilia drew equal to the BMW in horsepower last year following a host of internal engine improvements, but BMW’s been making astounding power since its introduction seven years ago, and the Japanese literbikes still haven’t caught up, at least not in the EPA-legal tuning we must deal with here in North America.

“I’d imagine that a motor designed nearly a decade ago would be losing its luster in a hotly competitive field like superbikes, but that’s not really the case with the S10000RR, which pulls like a mo-fo past 180 mph on the banking at Fontucky,” says Duke.

It’s difficult to argue with the wide-ranging performance of the S1000RR, but its funky appearance and aging design caused it to lose some Cool Factor points in a few of our testers scorecards.

It’s difficult to argue with the wide-ranging performance of the S1000RR, but its funky appearance and aging design caused it to lose some Cool Factor points in a few of our testers scorecards.

The S1000RR is the second-heaviest bike in this test (460 lbs), but you’d never know by the quickness of its steering. The only other bike in this test that steers as efficiently/effectively is the lightweight Honda.

“When it comes to bending these bikes into a corner, the BMW is my second favorite, lining up just behind the Honda,” says Brasfield. “Given Auto Club’s technical nature, I was aware of the S1000R’s flickability throughout every lap. The Gear Shift Assist improves with every iteration, but the downshifts aren’t as buttery-smooth as the Honda and Aprilia.”

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Moving up one position from third in the street shootout to second on the track is Honda’s venerable CBR1000RR. True to the heritage of the original CBR900RR, the 2017 iteration is the epitome of lightweight and mass centralization. At 433 pounds full of fluids, the CBR is the lightest bike in the test by only eight pounds, but it’s how the Honda carries its weight that makes all the difference in the world.

“The CBR’s agility is astonishing, especially considering it has plain ol’ cast wheels instead of the cheater forged hoops on the BMW,” says Duke. “This latest RR continues Honda’s well-deserved reputation for creating motorbikes that are easy to ride quickly. Its agility and composure make it the most cooperative bike here, and it would be my first choice if I were to enter an endurance race.

The new CBR1k is a working example of the old adage, light makes right. As well as the Honda performed at a high-speed track such as Auto Club Speedway, it’d really shine at a tight, twisty venue such as Barber Motorsports Park.

The new CBR1k is a working example of the old adage, light makes right. As well as the Honda performed at a high-speed track such as Auto Club Speedway, it’d really shine at a tight, twisty venue such as Barber Motorsports Park.

User-friendliness is a term more often associated with a bike’s streetability, but it applies here as many testers noted how easy the Honda is to go fast on. The combination of flickability and stability is certainly part of the equation, but also are aspects such as its smooth response to rider inputs, as well as the fine tuning of its electronics and controls.

2017 Honda CBR1000RR And CBR1000RR SP Review

“The Honda was the pleasant surprise of the group for me,” says Vilder. “Incredibly easy to go fast on, everything is perfectly calibrated. The controls, ergonomics and geometry of the chassis lets you put the bike exactly where you want it to go. Just hop on and feel like a pro! A confidence-boosting motorcycle that puts a huge smile on your face lap after lap, effortlessly.”

Tokico calipers don’t jump out as wheel jewelry like our beloved Brembo M50s, but the radial-mount two-piece clampers and 320mm discs performed better than we expected. Great stopping power as well as feedback at the lever.

Tokico calipers don’t jump out as wheel jewelry like our beloved Brembo M50s, but the radial-mount two-piece clampers and 320mm discs performed better than we expected. Great stopping power as well as feedback at the lever.

One of the last superbikes to come equipped with a full electronics package, Honda nonetheless got things right.

“The CBR’s electronics were highly impressive at helping a rider extract maximum performance, throwing out a confidence-inspiring safety net while not neutering the superbike experience,” says Duke.

The CBR’s quickshifter with auto-blipping downshifter (a $579 option) was mentioned repeatedly for being one of the smoothest shifting transmissions of the seven bikes. A few testers did experience a couple of false neutrals, but it wasn’t something easily repeatable.

Leaving the track after his first ride aboard the Honda, Evans excitedly points and exclaims, “I can't believe it’s not butter!”

Leaving the track after his first ride aboard the Honda, Evans excitedly points and exclaims, “I can’t believe it’s not butter!”

However, there exists a problem with the Honda that’s painfully apparent at a fast track such as Auto Club Speedway: Horsepower. Producing a lackluster 153.2 hp at 10,600 rpm, the CBR has an eight horsepower deficit to the next most powerful bike (Suzuki 161 hp), and a whopping 27 hp deficit to the mighty Aprilia. But the Honda did place second in this shootout, so we can’t be accused of being blinded by horsepower.

“As fast and furious as anything in the infield. On the banking, though, everybody blows by the Honda” says Burns. “Shifts great leaned over and the quickshifter doesn’t upset the thing at all. No issues, I’d put it with the Aprilia if it had a few more horses, which you’d never miss at most tracks.

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MO loyalists saw this coming. For the uninitiated, the Aprilia RSV4 is a staff favorite and arguably one of the greatest sportbikes of our time. Since its introduction, the RSV4’s strongest attribute has been its superlative chassis. In succeeding years Aprilia has prioritized ensuring the RSV is equipped with class-leading electronics, and as of two years ago, an engine as potent as the BMW’s. And then this year the RSV4 was upgraded with TFT gauges, M50 calipers, C-ABS, up/down quickshifter; full list here. With all the puzzle pieces in place it’s no wonder the RSV4 won our 2016 Sportbike of the Year award and this year’s street and track shootouts.

2017 Aprilia RSV4 RR/RF Review

“The chassis communicates every nook and cranny the track offers up to the asphalt-eating Bridgestone R10’s,” says Ly. “Pick an apex and hit it. And hit it fast with no remorse – you’ll make it out the other side. This bike takes certain skill to ride fast but rewards inherent talent with increased speed and confidence. If the BMW is a sledgehammer, this Noale native is a sniper’s rifle.”

Upgraded for 2017 with a host of new electronics including a TFT color display, up/down quickshifter, and cruise control, the Aprilia RSV4 – once the BMW’s apprentice – has become the master.

Upgraded for 2017 with a host of new electronics including a TFT color display, up/down quickshifter, and cruise control, the Aprilia RSV4 – once the BMW’s apprentice – has become the master.

Similar to the Honda producing only 153 ponies yet placing second in the shootout, the RSV, at 470 pounds wet, is the heaviest bike of the group but is still able to come out on top. It doesn’t exhibit the lightest steering – the Honda owns that category – but it is nonetheless able to efficiently transition through a tight infield section, then stretch its 180-horsepower legs down the front straight, shed speed like being caught in a tractor beam with its Brembo M50s, all the while exhibiting unshakable stability.

“The RSV4 is amazingly competent on a racetrack,” says Duke. “Once again, Aprilia’s efforts at centralizing mass helps mask its somewhat porcine weight, whether shedding big speed though braking zones and deftly trail-braking to the corner apex or lighting the V-4 afterburners down a straightaway.

“But, as much as I love the Ape,” he continues, “it must be said that its steering responses are slower than the ultra-lightweight CBR and the BMW with its cheater forged wheels. It makes me want to sample Aprilia’s RF version and its forged wheels to find out just how much better it steers.”

According to yours truly, who rode the RF model equipped with the forged wheels during the bike’s launch at COTA (2017 Aprilia RSV4 RR/RF Review), the difference in steering lightness is night-and-day obvious.

“It’s a beautifully packaged, affordable and reliable exotic,” says racerboy Vilder about the ‘Priller. “Flawless and exquisite-sounding motor with usable power throughout the rev range, with a great chassis and electronic package. It’s an easy motorcycle to go fast on and a beautifully finished motorcycle that awakes passions and defines form and function.”

Throw the RSV4’s MotoGP good looks, snarling exhaust note and uncommon V-Four engine configuration on top of its monstrous power output, sublime chassis and first-class electronics, and you’ve the recipe for superbike success.

Throw the RSV4’s MotoGP good looks, snarling exhaust note and uncommon V-Four engine configuration on top of its monstrous power output, sublime chassis and first-class electronics, and you’ve the recipe for superbike success.

Sean offered the only dissenting voice when it came to the Aprilia’s track performance, saying, “When it comes to which bike I’d actually buy, the Aprilia wins by a mile. But in this particular test, on this track, and with this exact chassis setup, it didn’t suit me as well as the 2016 RSV4 RF that we rode at Laguna two years ago. That one was the best stock superbike I’ve ever ridden at race speeds.”

While the Aprilia only scored 1.89% better than the second-place-finishing Honda, it might as well be a mile. With finishes as close as 0.09% between second and third, a nearly 2% win is a veritable landslide.

“It’s phenomenal that you can get a magical piece of Italian exotica like this for less than the price Honda charges for its CBR with the optional auto-blipping quickshifter,” Duke observes. “Not only is the ‘Priller far more exotic, it also boasts Cornering ABS, independent wheelie control and on-the-fly-adjustable traction control by dedicated finger/thumb toggles. Oh, and let’s not forget that mellifluous V-4 soundtrack that Honda probably wishes it could match like it did back in the glorious RC30/45 days.”

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Throw the RSV4’s MotoGP good looks, snarling exhaust note and uncommon V-Four engine configuration on top of its monstrous power output, sublime chassis and first-class electronics, and you’ve the recipe for superbike success.
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It’s difficult to argue with the wide-ranging performance of the S1000RR, but its funky appearance and aging design caused it to lose some Cool Factor points in a few of our testers scorecards.
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If you’re desiring a fast trackday bike and don’t mind one that’s rough around the edges, can overlook its substandard front braking performance, and are willing to tolerate shrinking parts availability, the EBR 1190RX is a bargain at the $10k price several EBR dealers are asking.
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Leaving the track after his first ride aboard the Honda, Evans excitedly points and exclaims, “I can't believe it’s not butter!”
The new CBR1k is a working example of the old adage, light makes right. As well as the Honda performed at a high-speed track such as Auto Club Speedway, it’d really shine at a tight, twisty venue such as Barber Motorsports Park.
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The Gixxer’s tail section is petite, but some found it unattractive, reminiscent of styling from the mid-90s, as is the oversized muffler.
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At 444 pounds fully fueled the GSX-R1000 is the third lightest bike in the shootout, and only three pounds heavier than the next lightest bike, Yamaha’s YZF-R1. However, the Suzuki feels lighter than it is both on the track and street. The Gixxer was the only bike in this test aside from the EBR that didn’t have a quickshifter, a component available on its pricier GSX-R1000R brother as standard along with auto-blipping downshifter. “Going old-school with clutchless upshifts wasn’t a big deal, but it did feel somewhat like a blast from the past,” Brasfield opines. “These are the good old days of motorcycle technology!”
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The 1190RX delivers impressive power figures from the biggest engine in this test. (Oddly, the EBR has an abnormally long throttle sweep that requires far more rotation to reach its stop.) Kawasaki and Yamaha are fighting one another for worst midrange torque curve, while the GSX-R’s variable-valve-timing system shows its powerband-broadening abilities. The CBR has a remarkably effective zone from 7000-10,000 rpm. Considering the BMW’s amazing pull up top, it’s incredible that it’s not really lacking at any part of its rev range.
The Kawasaki and Yamaha are at the bottom of the curve when it comes to midrange horsepower production. Note how the power of the CBR (after being the highest-output four-cylinder in the 7000-8000 range) flattens out after 10k rpm, followed soon after by the ZX, GSX-R and R1, so that they are able to pass the EPA’s noise-emissions regulations by partially closing throttle plates at high rpm. The Euro bikes are seemingly unaffected, showing massive power advantages at the top end of the curves. “The EPA noise regs are probably doing more harm than good,” rants Duke. “Frustrated owners of affected bikes can get their ECUs reflashed for immediate power gains costing just a few hundred bucks, and since they’re already modding their engine, they may want to add an aftermarket exhaust system, which is likely to be louder.”

2017 Superbike Track Shootout appeared first on Motorcycle.com.