2015 - 2018 BMW S 1000 RR
BMW has always had a presence in the motorcycle racing world, in fact the word “Beemer” was coined specifically for BMW’s race bikes of old, and the factory continues its blitz into the 21st century. The S 1000 RR is already part of that history, and it is marketed as a race bike, though truth to tell, the official factory race bike gets some features you won’t see on the street, but that isn’t unusual. Moved by a 999 cc engine that delivers nearly 200 hp, the S 1000 RR is nothing to take lightly. Salient point is; this bike is very close to the official race bike, which makes sense considering that it started life as a race bike in ’09 that spilled over into production for the general public the following year.
Continue reading for my review of the BMW S 1000 RR.
2016 - 2018 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 2018. 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. Stupidfast. Look it up in the dictionary and you’ll find a picture of a Hayabusa.
(Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki Hayabusa.}
2018 Kawasaki Ninja H2 SX / H2 SX SE
Kawasaki’s Ninja H2 made a splash when it hit the market last year, and if you missed the window-of-opportunity to score one of the first-run models — or perhaps it was priced a tad out of your range — then I have some good news for you. Introducing the Ninja H2 SX and H2 SX “Special Edition.” Brand new for 2018, the H2 SX line presents itself as a sort of hypersport-next-door with large-ish windshield and relaxed rider’s triangle as part of the comfort-oriented features package. This new line adds a dose of “super” to the sport-touring genre with its supercharged four-banger that cranks out a generous 101 pounds o’ grunt with enough electronic fandanglery to help you tame the beast, or at least protect you from yourself somewhat. Commuter or ’really’ fast tourbike, the SX siblings cover a lot of everyday-riding ground for riders who are looking for more than run-of-the-mill performance. Is it too much? Let’s dig in and find out.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki H2 SX and H2 SX SE.
2014 - 2018 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.
2017 - 2018 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->mot1937-R6 in MY17, 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. I’ve been really looking forward to dissecting this blue rocket, so join me whilst I partake of what Yamaha has to offer.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R6.
2017 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.
2016 - 2017 MV Agusta Brutale 800 / Brutale 800 RR
MV Agusta introduced the world to its Brutale family back in 2003, and we’ve been smitten ever since. Racy good looks and Italian performance have been the hallmarks of the line, and the factory doubled down in 2016 with a heavily updated version of its 800 and the even more race-tastic 800 RR. The revisions brought changes from the bones up with a completely reworked frame to carry the improved engine, and a whole passel of electronic features to help you keep it all under control. Riders can expect around 108-horsepower from the base 800, and even more from the RR, so these new kids on the block definitely uphold the reputation for performance established by earlier incarnations. I’ve been looking forward to getting to know the new Brutales, and now that I have I can say that I wish I’d done it earlier. Read on to find out why.
Continue reading for my review of the MV Agusta Brutale 800 and Brutale 800 RR.
2015 - 2016 Yamaha YZF-R6
Yamaha introduced us to its 600 cc supersport, the YZF-R6, way back in 1998. Fast forward to 2015 and we find the R6 still at it with even more of what made it popular in the first place. The Tuning Fork Company’s 2015-16 R6 brings over 120 horsepower to the table with an edgy, racetrack power delivery that will definitely appeal to the fiery-eyed pegdraggers and race fans out there while keeping things in perspective for legal street use. If you’re into the closed-circuit stuff, the R6 is good for that as well; evidenced by Supersport and Superstock championship runs that Yammy had in ’15. Fans of the family will remember that the R6 ran the first production 600 cc engine to break the 100-horsepower mark back in ’01, and Yamaha hasn’t let up on the pressure to keep the R6 competitive and popular in an increasingly crowded street/race sector since.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R6.
2017 Ducati 1299 Superleggera
Ducati raises the bar for semi-production race bikes with its limited-edition 1299 Superleggera. A space-age, carbon-fiber frame, swingarm and wheels carry Ducati’s most powerful twin-cylinder mill to date with 215 horsepower on tap to push a mere 368 pounds. Yeah, that’s right. The good news is that Ducati installed everything it could as far as electronic features go to help riders control all that power and keep the thing dirty-side down. I’m talking a veritable alphabet soup of gadgetry here, so let’s dig in and start deciphering it.
Continue reading for my review of the Ducati 1299 Superleggera.
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 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.
The YZF-R1 family brings MotoGP styling and performance normally only experienced by the privileged few to the streets for consumption by the “everyman.” Blessed with DNA from the purpose-built YZR-M1 (Mission One) racebike, the R1 range comes with varying levels of race-tastic features, though all three siblings could be considered as racy as one could possibly need outside a closed-circuit course. An on-board gyro enables a number of digital rider aids, such as the bank-sensitive traction control, slide control, ABS and more. Yamaha used its four-cylinder, Crossplane Concept engine to power the R1 family, the same mill as the FZ-10/MT-10, just in a more track-oriented package. Sales in recent years have begun to shift away from the supersports as buyers began to favor naked/streetfighter bikes, and this M1-based trifecta represents a significant push into a waning market. Are they trying to reinvigorate the class, or just trying to grab what is left of that slice of the market? Time will tell, meanwhile let’s check out what Yamaha did to bait the table.
Continue reading for my review of the Yamaha YZF-R1, YZF-R1S, and YZF- R1M.
Meccanica Verghera Agusta quickly made its mark on the motorcycle-racing world back in 1945 when it started producing motorcycles in post-war Italy. Legend has it that the brothers Agusta shifted from manufacturing airplanes to motorcycle both to save the jobs of the factory workers and to fund their own penchant for racing.
Over the years, MV Agusta has remained a rather small company with an over-sized footprint on the track, who in 2010 added the 1090 RR to the already decade-old Brutale family. Although the 1090 is available sans the “RR” through Canadian dealers, the factory restricted U.S. imports to the more race-tastic and powerful “RR” model for 2017. MV Agusta isn’t a brand that gets a lot of recognition in the U.S. because reasons, so join me while I illustrate why it should.
Continue reading for my review of the MV Agusta Brutale 1090 RR.
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.
Introduced in 1992, the GSX-R600 has been in almost continuous production with a brief hiatus from ’94 through ’96, and it continues its legacy into the 2016 model year (so far). 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.
2015 - 2018 Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS
Take a Ninja® ZX™-14R, tune it for touring and what have you got? If you guessed a Concours 14, you get the prize. Kawasaki delivered the 2015 Concours 14 ABS with a whole slew of improvements over the prior year — some cosmetic and some for performance — and carried that over to 2018. At the core, the Kawasaki kept the 1,352 cc engine derived from the Ninja® ZX™-14R in a chassis tuned for touring. The sport-bike DNA is quite evident in the overall styling, so whether you love it or hate it, you don’t ignore the Concours 14 ABS. Slap some new paint it on for 2018 and we’re ready to go.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Concours 14 ABS.
Honda puts plenty of “super” in its next-generation, 25th anniversary (of the CBR900RR) edition superbike line with the newly redesigned CBR1000RR SP and SP2 bikes. While the Fireblade name has long been associated with race-capable machines, that connection to the track has never been clearer than with this pair. Less weight, more power and even more electronic wizardry than ever before, Honda’s flagship literbikes bring the pain for a lot less cheddar than some of their, shall we say, ambitious rides. (CoughRC213V-Scoughcough.) This pair were among my faves from the INTERMOT show, so let’s dig in and see if the bikes live up to the hype and have what it takes to keep the Red Riders relevant and competitive for that all-important street/circuit market.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda CBR1000RR So and CBR1000RR SP2.
The GSX-R1000 has been around for a minute, since it replaced the GSX-R1100 back in ’01 in fact, and 2016 sees the release of a total of three Gixxer 1000s with the GSX-R1000, the ABS version and the Commemorative model up for grabs. I’ve had an appreciation for Gixxers ever since I scared myself on one back in ’94, and the fact that Suzuki has managed to keep the family relevant for so long makes me appreciate it even more.
Buyer enthusiasm for race bikes is starting to wane a bit in favor of some of the more naked, streetwise machines, but Suzuki doesn’t let that dissuade them as they push right ahead with their flagship production racebike. Join me while I take a look at what Suzuki has going on with this latest effort to keep things going with the venerable Gixxer line.
Continue reading for my review of the Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Interest in race-replica models is beginning to wane in favor of the more public road-oriented naked bikes and streetfighters, but you’d never know it looking at the work Honda put into the RC213V-S.
The “S” is based on Honda’s RC213V factory racebike currently competing in the MotoGP circuit, and it is important to mention here that this is the bike that carried Honda to the Riders’, Constructors’ and Team Championships in both ’13 and ’14.
While this isn’t quite a straight-up racebike with turn signals, it’s a fairly faithful reproduction and is as close as you will find among the production bikes on the road today. Let’s face it — to unleash a 100-percent genuine racebike on the public would be irresponsible at best, and criminal at worst, so the factory had to nerf it just a little bit. These bikes are hand built by specially trained mechanics using model-specific tools at a rate of one unit per day, part of the reason for the limited-edition run. Join me while I see how close to that line the Red Riders dance with this awe-inspiring machine.
Continue reading for my review of the Honda RC213V-S.
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 moves into the ’15 and ’16 model years 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.
When I hear the name “Triumph,” my mind immediately goes to the old classic styles, or the new bikes made to look like the old classic style, and always within cruiser/standard bracket.
Given the long history of cruiser and Western-style performance bikes, it’s easy to forget that Trumpet has been making performance streetfighters in more of an Italian or Japanese style in the form of its Speed Triple family. The name is a reference to the old Speed Twin, and the Triple family tree has grown through a few branches to bring us to the almost all-new-for-2016 Speed Triple S and Speed Triple R.
As more and more Western riders — Americans specifically — become more aware and covetous of performance road machines from someone other than the Big Four in Japan, I expect this family will make a suitable candidate if your short list includes some of the streetfighters from Beemer, MV Agusta, KTM, Ducati and the like. Join me while I check out the new stuff Trumpet has in store for us this year.
Continue reading for my review of the Triumph Speed Triple S and Speed Triple R.
When it comes to sportbikes, and there are plenty to choose from, it’s one thing to build a racey-looking bike, but something else entirely to mass produce a bike that truly would be as comfortable on the track as it is on the street.
The Kawasaki Ninja has a long and illustrious racing history, and the ZX-10R carried Kawi to podium finishes over the years, and championship status in both the ’15 Rider’s Championship and the Manufacturer’s Championship, so it’s natural that Kawi would tap it to carry its race technology to the streets.
Enter the new-for-2016 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R and ZX-10R KRT Edition. Kawi blessed this bike with all the race-proven, superbike technology that propelled the Kawasaki Racing Team to its position as the dominant racing superpower within the aforementioned brackets. Usually I get to study bikes that do little more than pay lip service to the hardcore race enthusiasts, but this time, I’m faced with the Real McCoy, and I can’t wait to delve in and see what Kawi put together for us this year.
Continue reading for my review of the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R ABS and ZX-10R ABS KRT Edition.
Tricolour, gold and that Number 1: the fairings of the campionissimo evoke the exhilarating world of racing and the atmosphere of the tracks where the legend of the unbeatable MV Agusta Grand Prix bikes was born. Bikes that made Giacomo Agostini a motorcycling legend and have now re-emerged from the past thanks to the most faithful replica ever: the F3 800 AGO, packed with unsurpassed technology that provides jaw-dropping performance and unparalleled riding pleasure.
Continue reading for more information on the MV Agusta F3 800 AGO.