2019 MV Augusta F4 Claudio
Tribute pieces frequently pay homage to a particular year-model or perhaps a certain race, but MV Agusta’s F4 “Claudio” is a piece of art that doubles as a mobile shrine to its designer; Claudio Castiglioni. The factory used the F4 as a platform for a whole host of ’luxe aesthetics that brush up the looks; no mean feat for a bike called “the world’s best-looking bike” back in ’97. This machine is far from all-show/no-go. It comes with track-capable power and the electronics you’ll need to keep it all under control. It’s truly a spectacular specimen, but don’t take my word for it, read on and let me convince you.
Continue reading for my review of the MV Agusta F4 Claudio.
2016 - 2019 Suzuki Hayabusa
It’s a Hayabusa. Is there really anything more to be said? It’s Suzuki’s Gixxer 1,340 cc monster speed machine back again for 2019. The ’Busa is one of the biggest sportbikes out there, so yeah, big and heavy; you don’t want to go slow very long. Once at speed, the bike is in its element. If you look up ’Stupidfast’ in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of a Hayabusa.
(Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Hayabusa.}
2019 KTM 1290 Super Duke GT
KTM has proven itself capable of producing competitive dirtbikes and popular streetbikes, and 2019 sees a next-gen Gran Turismo that targets the sport-tour genre for domination. Sure, the previous model set a pretty high standard, especially if you like your sport-tour machines heavy on the sport, but our Austrian friends managed to raise the bar even more with a handful of improvements this year in the 1290 Super Duke GT. Comfort and convenience were buffed along with the instrumentation, all with even more race-tacular tendencies due to the revised V-Twin powerplant and improved electronic aids. It’s a hotly-contested market that the “GT” looks to compete within, so today, I’m going to dissect this “spawn-of-Beast” and see how it stacks up.
Continue reading for my review of the KTM 1290 Super Duke GT.
2015 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R ABS
The Ninja ZX-6R bolsters Kawasaki’s mid-range sportbike presence with much the same race-tastic tendencies as its larger-displacement siblings, just in a smaller package. It goes far beyond the looks; the factory stuffed a four-cylinder plant inside the windtunnel-tested body panels with a full electronics suite to help keep it all under control. However, this doesn’t necessarily make the “6R” suitable for beginners, but rather an appropriate first or second upgrade, or perhaps as a funbike for weekend warriors. Today I want to take an in-depth look at this Ninja and see how it fares against a comparable model from another of the Big Four.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R.
2016 - 2018 Ducati Panigale 959
Back in ’16, Ducati pushed the supersport envelope with its super-middleweight Panigale 959, and since you can’t argue with success, the Italian marque carries that original model straight over into MY2018. The engine clocks in at nearly a liter with all the performance you’d expect, plus some electronic safety equipment to help you keep it under control and make riding the “959” a user-friendly affair. Race fans find plenty to be excited about, as well, since the Panigale rocks some track-tastic features to go with its already-sporty mien for a look that says “serious business” to all who behold it. It seems the Panigale has the look with the appropriate under-the-hood gear, but how does it stack up against the well-populated market segment in which it falls? That’s what I aim to find out today.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Panigale 959.
2014 - 2019 Honda CBR600RR
Honda’s latest generation of 600 cc, CBR supersports toes the family line with its race-winning blend of power and maneuverability all packed onto a MotoGP-inspired chassis. Much like the original CBR600RR that hit the streets back in ’03 and was built as a racebike replica, the current model features a strong engine along with a front suspension featuring Honda’s 41mm Big Piston Fork for superb handling and snappy action, plus MotoGP-inspired bodywork in a race-tested aerodynamic supersport design.
Continue reading for more my review of the Honda CBR600RR.
2018 - 2019 Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M
Yamaha’s R1 family brings genuine racebike fun to the unwashed masses for a price that belies their capabilities. The base-model R1 and its even more race-tastic “M” variant come with MotoGP-level performance, and indeed are actually set up to be quickly converted for track use, so these are no poser bikes, not by a long shot. A powerful liter-sized mill pushes the R1 family well into the stupidfast category with updated electronic subsystems to help you keep it all under control, and of course, the synergy between the components makes the R1 family much greater than the sum of its parts. Let’s dig in and see what else the Tuning Fork Company has going on with this pair.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R1 / R1M.
2018 Yamaha R1S
Yamaha’s YZF-R1S expands the R1 range down into a slightly younger demographic with the “S” variant that sheds some of its fancy metallurgy in favor of slightly less-noble metals with a concurrent decrease in the sticker shock. The “S” delivers the same thrilling performance as the rest of the line as well, so this isn’t just a detuned or repowered look-a-like, its a bona fide R1 that drops a few race-day features to make a bike that is not only less expensive, but more pragmatic for a daily rider. Now you can get that same feel and performance even if the parking lot is the closest it will ever get to a track. Today, I’m going to see what all the buzz surrounding this bike is about, and see how it compares to other lower-top-shelf models currently on the market.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R1S.
2014 - 2018 MV Agusta F3 800
MV Agusta launched the F3 800 way back in ’13 for the ’14 model year, and apparently is happy with the result since it carries over straight into MY2018. The F3 800 stands with a foot in two worlds — literbikes and mid-displacement sportbikes— and at a glance it seems safe to say “mission accomplie.” A powerful triple delivers the goods with power figures that land near the top of the range for what is appropriate for “civilized” road use. The electronics suite is even more impressive than its hardware, and the whole package comes together to deliver the goods in a manageable manner with plenty to offer riders looking for a thrill but not wanting a full-on race machine or the leather-bound payment book that comes with one.
Continue reading for my review of the MV Agusta F3 800.
2017 BMW HP4 Race
Public demand for race-ready road bikes has never been higher, and the folks down at the Bayerische Motoren Werke are trying to take that momentum to the bank with its HP4 Race. Like many of its track-day competitors have recently done, BMW set about the business of mini-mass producing a bike that carries as much of its factory-team race gear as they are comfortable sharing with the world. However, the factory isn’t risking much in this bid for a slice of the hardcore race-fan market with a limited-edition run of 750 hand-built superbike units, so in addition to the obvious attraction of the technology and power we can add ’rarity’ to the curb appeal. Here we have a 215 horsepower engine pushing the world’s first all carbon-fiber frame with a veritable alphabet soup of features that are surely indispensable for racers looking for an edge.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW HP4 Race.
2017 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000R
Coming off a fresh update in 2017, Suzuki carries its GSX-R1000R into MY18 with a new color palette, but little else in the way of changes. The next-gen “Gixxer” 1000 brings an all-new 999.8 cc powerplant to the table with a claimed 199 horsepower at the shaft and a whole passel of electronic goodies to help manage all those ponies. Traction control, lean-sensitive ABS, launch control and more, Suzuki’s flagship literbike delivers a taste of track-day fun with overlapping safety nets to help keep us mortal, non-professional riders dirty-side down as we explore our electronically augmented performance envelope. MotoGP tech influences the design to give the rider a little taste of track-day performance, or at the very least, ’performance light.’
Continue reading for my review of the GSX-R1000R.
If Ducati makes a mid-weight SuperSport, this is how it will look
The history of Ducati is driven by a unique engineering talent that has always generated motorcycles of unmistakable design and most profound sporting spirit. Throughout their 90 years, the Bologna firm has created machines showcasing passion, emotions, and excellence. Be it their Panigales’, Scramblers’ or the very recent SuperSport 939. But the Italian maker hasn’t had any footfall in the mid-segment supersport arena because they pretty much did not give a damn.
But imagining them do it is going to bring a lot of sleepless nights to the Japanese players who have taken the top slots to the throne in the 600cc-800cc segment. There are no official word or snippets from anywhere suggesting this might happen, but this did not stop our friend Oberdan Bezzi to sketch this potent machine that can come out of the Borgo Panigale factory gates.
2018 Ducati 939 SuperSport
Ducati always has had this insanity in them to time and again bring up machines that push the boundaries of two-wheeled glory, a boundary that will make every other manufacturer look like a speck of dust. For this alone, we must hand it to the Italian with all pomp and flair that they can literally pull off a true bloody special edition.
When it comes to sports bikes with full fairings, there are not many chaps in the world who make them better than these Italians. The Panigale, for instance, is the most coveted superbike for the way it looks, handles and rides. It is one of those Italian Exotics that can sweep you off your feet every time you get yourself near it. And if you do ride one, you know what a fearless machine it is, always wanting to break your spine due to the insanity, unless you tame it.
The current generations of Panigale is a bit intimidating and out-of-reach for a majority of buyers, due to its big and powerful engine and large denominations, in particular for riders who are new to the big bike world. It seems that Ducati has understood this fact, which is why it has come up with the all-new Supersport series, the re-entry of the brand into the family of Ducati. It takes in the 937 Testastretta motor and gets bolted on a relaxed sports bike trellis frame and gets the power lower in the rev range.
2017 - 2018 Honda CBR1000RR
Honda carries its CBR1000RR superbike, a.k.a. ’Fireblade’, into 2018 with little in the way of changes from last year. That’s hardly surprising given the scope and scale of the revisions done prior to MY17 that brought us the newest gen of Honda’s Total Control initiative with a host of electronic goodies to help keep the 189-horsepower engine (10 more ponies than the previous gen) under control. It’s Honda’s first inline four-banger to run a throttle-by-wire induction control, and the factory piled on with Riding Modes, Wheelie Control and more to make the ’Blade serve as a model flagship for the affordable-supersport sector with plenty of influence from the racing department for the ’everyrider’. Today I’m going to take a gander at the new-since-2017 Fireblade and see how it stacks up against something of a more European persuasion.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CBR1000RR.
Triumph removes the Daytona 675 off its shelves
Earlier this week, Triumph removed their only fully-faired machine from their lineup on showroom floors and on their official websites. The demise of their 675cc Daytona Supersports was etched the day Euro IV emission norms came into existence. And with the decline of superbike sales across the globe, Triumph decided to let go of their capable machine.
But we don’t think it is the end of the line for the Daytona brand. Back in June last year, the British motorcycle manufacturer had announced their entry into the world of motorsports by replacing Honda as the engine manufacturer for the Moto2 Motorcycles from the 2019 season. Making use of the talented 765cc Triumph Street Triple engine, the folks at the racing department are putting all their resources into tuning this three-pot motor into a dedicated Moto2 worthy engine.
2018 Ducati Panigale V4
Ducati adds to its Panigale legacy with the 2018 V4 base model and its variants, the V4 S and the V4 Speciale. Dramatic as it may sound, the V4 family may well be the finest streetbikes at their price points, and that’s not just clever sales prose, it’s the troofus roofus. It ain’t just about the raw power — 214 horsepower from the base model V4/V4 S and 226 horsepower from the Special — because the electronics suite is nearly beyond compare with an absolute alphabet soup of acronyms for all the engine/brake/chassis-control features. That performance comes bundled with a sexy superbike visage that looks fast even when sitting still, and all for $21,195 for the base model, so this is a weapon of mass seduction that is drawing down on the general riding public rather than an elite (read: rich) few. There’s plenty more to love, so join me while I dive into this Italian trio to see what else Ducati has going on over there.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati Panigale V4, V4 S, and V4 Speciale.
BMW’s electric supersport to beat the mighty HP4
The HP4 is an exemplary showcase of cutting-edge technology, exotic materials, skilled craftsmanship, design, and creativity. This tells us all about the experience, skillset and state-of-the-art know-how the folks at BMW have that make them rise above and beyond. But what if the same guys one day decide to power their machine with batteries and motors instead of pistons and shafts?
Don’t bother, because they have already done that a couple of years ago. The experimental vehicle eRR, created as a project with the Technical University of Munich, envisioned a BMW badge on an electric supersport motorcycle back in 2015 when the whole idea of electric powertrains was still in the concept stages.
2015 - 2018 Suzuki GSX-R600
The Suzuki GSX-R made a splash all the way back in 1985, and quickly became a motorcycle-household name, complete with a smooth nickname that just rolls right off the tongue. Since then, the Gixxer has been in continuous production over a wide range of engine sizes, and has even been supplemented by the similar, but more street-friendly, GSX-S range. The GSX-R600 continues the family legacy into the 2018 model year powered with a 599 cc engine and sporty handling that is expected in this prestigious line. Today I want to take a look at what Suzuki has done to keep this long-running family viable and competitive against its many adversaries on both track and street.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-R600.
2017 - 2018 Norton V4 RR
British heavyweight Norton Motorcycles aimed to bring Isle of Man TT performance to the public, and it seems as though it has managed to do just that with the V4 RR. Superbike performance and dead-sexy curves are the hallmarks of this ride, and while that’s nothing new for Norton, there are plenty of details that set this ride apart from its usual fare. Carbon and Kevlar make an appearance with a 200-plus horsepower, V4 engine thrown into the mix for good measure, so yeah, this ain’t your run-of-the-mill race-tribute piece — it has bona fide competitive DNA in its design — but neither is it a racebike made street legal, but something in between.
Continue reading for my review of the Norton V4 RR.
Technology abounds with a plethora of alphabet-soup acronyms that boil down to a lot of electronic controls that bridle the scary power of the F4 RR from MV Agusta. (You may not be scared, but someone who loves you will be terrified.) Among them are eight-level traction control, electronically-assisted shift and ABS along with ride-by-wire and four engine maps that control throttle sensitivity, torque, braking, the rev limiter and engine response so you can dial in the controls specifically to suit you and your riding conditions.
Continue reading for my review of the MV Agusta F4 RR.
2016 - 2017 Triumph Daytona 675 / Daytona 675 R
Back in the early 2000s, Triumph’s four-cylinder, middleweight sportbikes were taking a beating by the 600 cc bikes from the Big Four in Japan. The solution? Drop a cylinder, boost the cubes and start a nearly complete, ground-up rebuild based off the old Daytona 600 chassis. The result? A decidedly nimble and powerful supersport packed away in a deceptively small package. After a number of changes, and the addition of the Daytona 675 R in 2011 that went on to win the Daytona 200 in ’14, the Daytona family moved into the ’2017 model year with many of the features that made the range a success, and a few new ones too. Join me while I dissect this British Rose and try to discover why its fanbase is so rabid, far beyond the usual national/brand loyalty we see all the time.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Daytona 675 and Daytona 675 R.