2020 MV Agusta Rush 1000
MV Agusta built the Rush 1000 with a single purpose in mind: drag strip domination. The factory took its 200-plus horsepower Brutale engine and mounted it in a bike that, in true dragster tradition, carries only what is needed to function. No weight is wasted on superfluous equipment or body panels to convert as many of those ponies as possible into brute acceleration. Those weight-savings measures extend to the engine and include the use of titanium to reduce the reciprocating mass of the mill and deliver faster revs. The electronics suite is all about that drag-tastic life to deliver the safety and control you’ll need to manage the power and keep the thing rubber-side down.
2019 - 2020 Kawasaki Ninja H2 R
Many of the major players offer a pure-D racetrack hypersport for the public’s consumption, and for Kawasaki, that honor falls to the freshly updated Ninja H2 R. The H2 R brings to the table the best Kawi has to offer along with top-flight aerodynamics and a supercharged engine on top of a full electronics suite making it a threat on the track right out of the box. That’s about the only place it’s a threat though, since the H2 R is far too awesome to be street legal, and as a track-only bike, it wastes not an ounce on any silly old mirrors, headlights, or turn signals. Carbon-fiber components complete the package with their own brand of lightweight strength.
2020 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 RR
Aprilia rolls into the new decade with its racebike-inspired Tuono V4 1100 RR. The factory drew on its own not-inconsiderable WSBK experience to turn out this track-capable ride, and the targeted demographic would be those riders who actually aspire to hit a closed-circuit or road course. A 175-horsepower V4 plant delivers the goods with a full array of revamped, race-centric, ride-quality electronics and corner-sensing technology to complete the package. Essentially, what we have here is a liter-sized superbike with some of the bodywork stripped down to produce a very capable naked streetfighter.
2020 Aprilia Tuono V4 1100 Factory
Aprilia created the 2020 Tuono V4 1100 Factory to deliver real racebike experience in a naked-sport package for riders who may actually get beyond the parking lot at the local track. Since Aprilia acts as the racebike division of Piaggio & C. SpA, it brings considerable trackside expertise to the end product for a genuine racebike experience no matter where you ride. V4 power drives an aluminum chassis with robust ride-control electronics with a definite bias for track use, and it comes adorned with weight-saving carbon-fiber bits and bobs to minimize mass. This is a serious bike for serious riders. Don’t be fooled by the relatively low price that slides in just below the $19k mark. That accessibility doesn’t fully express its overall worth as you shall soon see.
2020 Aprilia RS 660
Aprilia, the racebike-building division under the Piaggio & C. SpA umbrella, treated us to a glimpse at the future during 2019 EICMA with the unveiling of its new RS 660. The RS 660 rolls with windtunnel-tested bodywork that aids comfort and stability over a new, parallel-twin powerplant. A robust electronics package comes standard, so you can count on top-shelf safety and ride-quality gadgets to help you keep it between the lines.
Top 5 new Sports-Tourers coming in 2020
Call them bikes that perfectly fill the gap between thrilling sportsbike and the gigantic touring machines, sports-tourers are naturally long haul motorcycles with sportbike expectations built to get the best out of that long way home. Here is our list of 2020’s top five machines offering the same capabilities as touring bikes but without sacrificing any of the sporty performance.
They tend to be a bit lighter and corner well but aren’t the most comfortable. The riding position tends to be a bit more relaxed compared to sports machines, and there’s better wind protection, much better pillion comforts, transmission with lower gearing, and usually a whole quick-release pannier system designed.
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 Kawasaki Ninja 1000SX
Kawasaki steps up its game ahead of the 2020 model year with new body components, updated electronics, and a smoother-running engine for its Ninja 1000SX. The factory also tuned up the ergonomics in an effort to improve long-range comfort and even chucked on an adjustable clutch lever for a little bit of lagniappe. Improvements in rideability, control, and aesthetics join the liter-plus engine and Ninja pedigree to deliver a refined product to the masses.
2020 Kawasaki Z H2
Kawasaki’s H2 crossed family lines from the Ninja superbikes over to the “Z” supernaked range with the 2020 Z H2 model. This brings with it the supercharged engine that made waves when it landed in the top-shelf Ninjas to make this bike the flagship of the Z range. The magic doesn’t stop there ’cause Kawi blessed it with a veritable alphabet soup of electronic features that increase safety and rideability all at once. Best of all, the Z H2 wastes not an ounce on superfluous body panels, so the 100-plus pounds of grunt converts directly into acceleration to make it even meaner than the much-vaunted Ninja line, and the price schedule keeps it within reasonable reach for the majority of riders.
2017 - 2020 Yamaha YZF-R6
If you’ve ever wanted to own a bona fide racing machine but didn’t have the money or vanity to go for one of the $100K-plus literbikes on the market right now, I’ve got good news for you; Yamaha updated its mid-size YZF-R6 in MY2017, and it can be had without selling a kidney or your firstborn. At just over the $12K mark, the R6 claims over 120 horsepower with a host of features to help riders manage the tremendous forces this thoroughbred generates. The 600 cc-ish bracket has been getting a little stale as of late between competition from the liter category and the burgeoning interest in the 300 cc bikes, so the updated version of a proven mid-size racetrack champ is exciting news indeed.
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.
2019 Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory
Most of the major players have some sort of street-legal racebike on the market, and for Aprilia, that honor falls to the RSV4 1100 Factory. Aprilia pulls from the top shelf for the electronic safety and comfort systems to put together a machine that delivers track-like performance with a veritable alphabet soup of under-the-hood features. Aprilia gives you everything you need to manage the power that sets a new standard for a production V4 with over 200 ponies on tap.
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.
2018 - 2019 Aprilia RSV4 RR
The “RR” version of Aprilia’s race-tastic 2019 RSV4 superbike is something of a dual-purpose ride. The "RR" is essentially a racebike made street-legal that can easily be set up for trackday through the use of the optional Track Kit. The liter-sized mill cranks out over 200 horsepower, and the “RR” comes with an electronics suite packed with top-shelf ride-quality gadgets to help you keep it rubber-side down.
2019 Ducati 959 Panigale / 959 Panigale Corse
Like all the major players on the world stage, Ducati offers (relatively) street-friendly models in the 959 Panigale and 959 Panigale Corse for 2019. This pair showcases the Italian giant’s performance chops from the brushed-up stressed-skin structure all the way down to the newly-tuned innards of the 955 cc engine to compete against the other top-shelf, racebike-like offerings. Top-shelf electronics finish off the package to give them all the rider aids and safety systems you can reasonably expect at almost any price point, so you have a chance of keeping it dirty-side down while you raise your riding game.