2020 Suzuki GSX-R1000
Suzuki improved its GSX-R1000 ahead of MY2020 in a bid to “reclaim the King of Sportbikes crown” as the factory so succinctly puts it. This rebuild comes close on the heels of the last revamp that landed just a couple short years ago, but it adds some significant features, most of which can be found “under the hood” or in the electronics suite. A couple of tweaks to the frame tune handling characteristics while the cornering ABS feature and variable valve-timing engine carries over from the previous generation. All in all, Suzuki turns in a very streetworthy racebike that’s nothing short of a technological showcase on two wheels.
2021 Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP
Honda spruced up its CBR1000RR-R SP superbike and plans to release it summer of 2020 as a 2021 model. The long-rumored updates will finally hit the road in the foreseeable future, and the factory even relented in its long-standing practice by actually using the “Fireblade” moniker in the U.S. market. The factory stuffed in its most powerful four-banger with over 200 ponies on tap and followed up with top-shelf electronics to turn out a machine that, in its own words, is “born to race.”
2020 Ducati Panigale V4
The MY19 Panigale V4 was Ducati’s best-selling bike worldwide, and the factory looks to build on that success through a host of improvements ahead of the 2020 season. Ducati’s engineers struck a balance by increasing rideability and potentially laptimes to deliver more of what made the previous generation such a hit. Top-shelf electronics and a 200-plus horsepower engine complete the package, and it all comes wrapped in low-drag, windtunnel-tested bodywork for both performance and curb appeal.
2020 Ducati Panigale V2
Ducati heads into MY2020 with a revamped, low-displacement Panigale that the factory rebranded from the Panigale 959 to the Panigale V2. It’s a mixture of old and new with new body fairings over a modified monocoque frame, upgraded suspension components, and six-axis ride-quality controls to deliver extra safety on the road. Power comes from the Superquadro V-twin plant with over 150 ponies on tap to serve as the icing on the cake.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R750
Suzuki keeps improving and expanding its signature supersport series, and the 2020 GSX-R750 carries the torch first ignited by the original Gixxer 750 all the way back in 1984. Granted, the “late model” Gixxers dropped the steel frame in favor of aluminum, and the air-cooled engine has been replaced with a jacketed mill, but the overall mission for the bike remains the same: to provide the general public with the most race-ready production bike available for legal use on the street. Of course, the rest of the market has caught up to Suzuki and the supersport segment is flooded with similarly capable rides — and a good number of more capable sleds — though the most race-tastic of them are far more expensive than the $12K-ish GSX-R750.
2017 - 2019 KTM RC 390
KTM’s RC 390 saw a major revamp ahead of MY2017, and the Austrian giant carries that revised model through into 2019 as the smallest starter-super to be offered in the U.S. market. Don’t be fooled by the small displacement; this is a proper racebike trainer with all the handling performance you’d expect from larger machines.
2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M
Yamaha announced the new 2020 YZF-R1 and R1M to boost its supersport lineup with improvements throughout the build. A refined engine pushes optimized fairings and cowlings across the board, and the R1M has panels made of carbon fiber in a bid to keep weight down. The upgraded electronic ride-quality and safety suite has new top-shelf goodies to make this latest generation R1 family a marvel of engineering. While it isn’t a racetrack-only bike, it definitely falls in the stupidfast category, and of course, track days are still a viable option with very little tweaking to set it up for the circuit.
2018 - 2019 Aprilia RSV4 RF / RF LE
Ahead of MY2018, Aprilia gave the RSV4 RF a significant rebuild that included a new set of Öhlins stems and beefed-up electronics along with improved anchors, all of which are driven by a race-proven, 201-horsepower V4 engine. This is a bike built for the would-be racers and fiery-eyed stoplight burners out there, and it comes with all the street-legal goodies you need to enjoy it on the public roads. If you’re into actual track use, the factory would like you to know that this machine is a full second faster than the outgoing model; take that for what it’s worth. Additionally, the factory offers the RSV4 RF in a limited-edition build with its own special design and livery that sets it apart from the standard version.
2016 - 2020 Suzuki Hayabusa
It’s a Hayabusa. Is there really anything more to be said? Suzuki’s Gixxer 1,340 cc monster speed machine is back again for 2020. The ’Busa is one of the biggest sportbikes out there, so yeah, big and heavy; you don’t want to go slow for very long. Once at speed, the bike is in its element. Look up ’Stupidfast’ in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of a Hayabusa.
Aprilia put together the Tuono V4 1100 range for folks who want racebike performance but have no intention of ever taking it past the parking lot at the track. The “RR” serves as the base model with the aptly-named “Factory” as a factory-custom model that pulls exclusively from the top shelf for the most discriminating elbow-draggers out there. Both versions rock newly-revamped electronics suites, but of course, the Factory takes that a step or two further, as well, with the new RSV4 superbike’s DNA in evidence across the board. If you’re looking for a street-legal bike that’s also a racer-like bike, Aprilia’s Tuono V4 line may be your Huckleberry.
2019 Ducati Panigale V4 S Corse
Ducati expands its Panigale lineup and replaces its “1299” with a new model that’s meant to take over as the new apex-predator – the Panigale V4 – and the new Panigale V4 S Corse builds on that platform with a race-worthy package. Not only does it closely resemble the MotoGP version with much the same look and equipment, it doubles down with the factory race team’s unmistakable colors in its unique livery. Lest there be any confusion on this point, let me be clear; this is not a wannabe/poser machine. It doesn’t waste any weight on the road-legal gear that’s rather superfluous on a racebike, and it’s intended for the closed-circuit and proper road-courses only. However, no expense was spared in the ride-control electronics department, and the robust suite makes this a veritable marvel on two wheels.
2017 - 2019 Ducati 1299 Panigale R FE
Ducati released the 1299 Panigale R Final Edition in 2017 with much celebration. This last edition of the 1299 Panigale R superbike comes laden with top-shelf electronics and racing livery in a finale for the twin-cylinder Superleggera-derived Superquadro engine.
2019 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR
Kawasaki beefs up its street-legal racebike game for MY2019 with the improved Ninja ZX-10RR superbike. This hotly-contested sector caters directly to the fiery-eyed pegdraggers out there, and should be considered a continuation of the closed-circuit competition between the pros, just in a different venue. A new engine drives the windtunnel-tested chassis with a number of internal improvements along with a handful of suspension tweaks to handle all that extra power. Best of all, it comes with the necessary gear to make it street legal but can be quickly stripped for track days.