Drag Race: Three Sports Tourer Motorcycles Try To Take Down A 200+HP Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Drag Race: Three Sports Tourer Motorcycles Try To Take Down A 200+HP Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R

Will the BMW S 1000 XR, Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX or Aprilia Tuono V4 succeed in beating Kawasaki’s flagship liter-class bike? Let’s find out

With each passing day, motorcycle manufacturers are pushing the envelope of peak power that you can churn out from an engine. As a result, both sportbikes and sports tourers are getting more powerful and faster, to the extent that the gap between these two categories has shrunk.

This raises a very valid question - Can a modern-day sports tourer motorcycle keep up with (let alone beat) a modern-day liter-class sportbike? I’m sure this is a question, that many people want to know the answer to.

Lucky for us, Revzilla had the same idea, owing to which they brought along three leading sports tourer bikes - the BMW S 1000 XR, Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX, and Aprilia Tuono V4 - to a drag strip, pitting them against a Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R. Here’s how it went down.

The Contenders

Drag Race: Three Sports Tourer Motorcycles Try To Take Down A 200+HP Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
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The three sports tourer motorcycles here are all based on liter-class bikes and make a healthy amount of power. Check out the table below for their details:

Bike Power Torque Based on
BMW S 1000 XR 165hp 84.08 ft-lb BMW S 1000 RR
Kawasaki Ninja 100 SX 138hp 81.8 ft-lb Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
Aprilia Tuono V4  175hp 89.25 ft-lb Aprilia RSV4 1100

All three bikes went up against the 2021 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R which draws power from a 998cc, inline-four mill that makes 203 horsepower and 84.8 pound-feet. Along with a big power advantage, the ZX-10R also weighs 456 pounds, which is less than all other motorcycles here.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R vs Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX

Drag Race: Three Sports Tourer Motorcycles Try To Take Down A 200+HP Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
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The first race takes place between the Ninja 1000 SX and the ZX-10R. As expected, the ZX-10R eases past to take the win, thanks to its huge power advantage

Being the heavier and less powerful bike of the two, it was quite obvious that the Kawasaki Ninja 1000 SX would struggle here, and that’s exactly what happened.

Even though the Ninja 1000 SX gets a pretty good launch, the ZX-10R jolts ahead and gaps the sports tourer Ninja in no time, ultimately taking the win by a decent margin. It’s worth noting, though, that the Ninja 1000 SX has panniers on it which would make it less aerodynamic and heftier, so it can go a tad bit faster than this. Still not faster than ZX-10R, though.

On to the next prey.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R vs BMW S 1000 XR

Drag Race: Three Sports Tourer Motorcycles Try To Take Down A 200+HP Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
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With the more powerful S 1000 XR, though, is a lot closer to the ZX-10R and even gets a better launch, but ultimately loses out, again due to the ZX-10R’s peak power advantage

The BMW S 1000 XR makes a lot more power and weighs less than the Ninja 1000 SX, giving it a better fighting chance against the ZX-10R.

As soon as the lights go out, the BMW S 1000 XR, surprisingly, jolts ahead, taking a slight lead on the Ninja ZX-10R. However, once the ZX-10R slots into second gear and puts its power down, it eases past the S 1000 XR and takes the win, but by a shorter margin than it did with the Ninja 1000 SX.

Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R vs Aprilia Tuono V4 1100

Drag Race: Three Sports Tourer Motorcycles Try To Take Down A 200+HP Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
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Thanks to its torquey motor and almost same weight as the ZX-10R, the Tuono V4 gets an early lead over the ZX-10R. Wondering who wins? Well, swipe up to find out.

This is where things get VERY interesting. Not only does the Tuono V4 weigh almost as much as the ZX-10R, but it also makes considerably more torque which can be crucial in drag racing.

So how did it go? Well, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R won. However, things were a lot closer here and the Aprilia Tuono V4 was ahead of the Ninja ZX-10R for a few seconds after the launch, post which the Ninja’s power advantage led to its win.

Drag Race: Three Sports Tourer Motorcycles Try To Take Down A 200+HP Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
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However, things get very interesting when the Tuono V4 and the Ninja ZX-10R go head-on

What’s interesting, though, is that Aprilia has equipped the Tuono V4 with an electronic limiter for the first two gears which makes it slower initially. According to the present, had there been no limiter, the Aprilia would’ve been even closer to the ZX-10R.

Key Learnings

Drag Race: Three Sports Tourer Motorcycles Try To Take Down A 200+HP Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
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What we learned from these drag races is that surely sports tourer motorcycles are closer than ever to liter-class bikes and serve as a properly powerful yet practical alternative to the latter. But when it comes to outright speed, liter-class bikes still prevail.

Revzilla also performed a couple of other tests to prove the mettle of the sports tourers, which you can watch below:

Punya Sharma
Punya Sharma
An avid motorcyclist who's always up for a ride to the canyons or the race track. My riding skills are better than my writing skills. ;)  Read full bio
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