2009 Ducati 848 Comparison

Posted on 9:31 PM by My_revival

Are you a man or woman of style? Do you have passion for elegant design with performance to match? If so, Ducati’s 848 may have your name all over it. Heck, it looks fast with the kickstand down...

Completely unchanged for 2009, the Duck is every bit the Italian supermodel dressed in white, and the Ducati squad backs up that beautiful styling with plenty of performance in this mini-version of the 1198 (or mini-1098 as compared to its big brother last year). Check out the 2009 Ducati 848 video and see for yourself why we love this motorcycle so much.

Due to a bit of a tough time getting the Ducati set up on Michelin's radical tires, we weren’t able to get it as dialed in as we would have liked. Ducati's Jeff Nash (former AMA Pro Thunder Champion) got us the ballpark after busting his knuckles all day and that's when the solid trellis chassis showed us just how much potential it has.

Hitting you smack in the face every time you got on the 848 is the sheer difference between this and all the other bikes, especially the Japanese machines. Its tall, narrow and feels like a unicycle compared to the saddle girth of the R6 and ZX by comparison. It's designed as a racebike for the street and Ducati makes no bones about it. It is what it is: A racing motorcycle with lights.

The middleweight Twin requires higher corner speed and less shifting to get the most out of it, and when jumping from the Inline-Fours to the Ducati it takes a few laps to get used to things. It's also far more rigid compared to the competition and every last bump and crack in the pavement is felt by the rider, almost as if one is running their hand directly against the pavement – no doubt in completely stock form this motorcycle has the most promise of the group to be an awesome track weapon.

It s a Ducati. What more really needs to be said
It's a Ducati...what more can we say...
“Given the means, if you’re not going to change a thing, for a trackday bike the Ducati would be my choice,� Sorensen says about the race-worthy 848. “This bike has always made me feel I can get away with things I couldn’t on other bikes. I think you can explore limits in your riding further with this machine.�

One of its major advantages is the engine, which by far makes the most horsepower of the bunch (112.3 hp @ 10,300 rpm), as well as the biggest torque numbers (57.6 lb.-ft. @ 8100 rpm) by a healthy margin. Once we uncorked the Ducati at HPCC all those ponies showed through. It recorded the highest top speed of the test, passing the gun at 165.41 mph with effortless ease, not to mention sounding like a FA-22 fighter jet in full attack mode. Damn it sounds good! And despite a tough-to-use and grabby clutch, it powered to the fastest quarter-mile time of the bunch, laying down a 11.09 @ 134.37mph. No question if the Ducati was as easy to launch as the Suzuki it would have been the only bike into the 10-second bracket.

The 09 Ducati has one of the most advanced cockpits of the bunch  though the bar-graph-style tach can be hard to read at speed
Single-sided swingarms just plain look cool. Period
Ducati’s 848. Undoubtedly the prettiest of the bunch
Think Italian Supermodel - Beautiful, but expensive. The difference is you can actually buy one of these.
“The 848 is still one of my favorites,� says Hutch of the Ducati, “but for some reason it didn’t shine as brightly as it did in the past. It didn’t seem to have as huge of an advantage over all the multi-cylinder bikes this time around.�

Garcia disagreed, saying: “The 848 is a really strong Twin. It is nothing like the other five bikes but is still a fun and a good bike to ride or race. It has the most torque out of all the bikes, it just took some getting used to when it came to shifting. It was hard to tell when it was going to hit the limiter.�

As Garcia and some others pointed out, the weak point of the Ducati at the track is its notchy shifting and the fact that it is one of the three bikes in the test without a back-torque-limiting clutch. The wet clutch works well but the long throw of the shifter and vague feeling through the lever works against it - but not everyone needs it as two of our top three bikes were sans-slippers.

“The transmission is one area it would be nice to get the fit and finish of the Japanese bikes,� adds “Funny Man� Sorensen. “The large throw between gears and less positive shifts make it harder to be consistent on the Duck. It takes a bit of time to get used to the function of this machine. The clutch, on the other hand, I had no complaints.�

Mid-corner stability is where the Ducati really shines, once again showing just how racy the V-Twin is in completely stock from. When cranked on its side the Duck begs and begs to be leaned further and futher, taunting you to approch elbow-dragging lean angles like a girl at the bar giving you 'the eyes.' This stability helped boost the Ducati to fourth overall in the Suerpole session with a best lap of 1:21.54. Nearly every one of our testers ranked it top in this department. And rightfully so.

“Stability on the Duck is a different feeling compared to the other bikes,� says Sorensen. “I get a feeling of being connected to what is going on with traction in both front and rear in corner entry and mid corner. I have always felt this chassis asks to be ridden harder as you go faster.�

“The 848 is like a slot car,� Hutchy confirms. “Once you get it on track it sticks and carves a turn like no one’s business. It’s fairly unflappable and it’s no wonder it is so rewarding when ridden on a faster, more-flowing racetrack.�

In the Ducati’s case an extremely stable chassis comes with the byproduct of sluggish steering. Pulling it from side-to-side takes effort, as one had to wrestle it from left to right in transitions. And compared to the competition, this put the Italian Twin at the back of the pack, scoring low on the track subjective catagories in this area from nearly every rider in the group.

Waheed explores the vast range of the Ducati s torque curve
Exploring the Ducati's impressive torque curve can be quite fun. But do what Adam does and keep it off the street.
“As always, the 848 takes more effort to muscle into a turn initially than the Inline bikes do,� notes Ken. “It makes it a more-manly machine.�

“The Ducati’s turn-in is probably one of the most stable but the trade off is slower transitions left to right and more effort flicking the bike in,� observes Sorensen. “For me personally, I think this trade off is more than worth it. I have said it before and I will say it again, this chassis is the truest race-bred machine of all the bikes in this shootout.�

While proving to be liked by all for its rigid and racy feel at the track, with this comes a high level of discomfort on the street, much due to its aggressive stance. Only our resident hooligan Waheed praised the Ducati on the roads, because in his words “it wheelies the best with all that torque.� But Waheed isn't quite right in the head, if you know what I mean.

“The Ducati ergonomics are much more geared towards the racetrack,� Sorensen adds. “There is a lot of weight on the rider’s wrists and a fairly long stretch from pegs to seat. This seating position is more comfy than the previous 999/749 combo, though a full-day street ride still leaves you quite sore, but then again I'm a wimp.�

Across the board it was chosen as the best looking machine, fully living up to the Ducati standard of being the Ferrari or Porsche of the motorcycle world. When it comes to styling those Italians don’t mess around (except for maybe the 999/749, but that’s a whole different story).
“The Ducati looks awesome, much better than the rest,� Waheed interjects. “Those Italians know how to make beautiful
Sorensen instantly felt at honme on the V-Twin
Chuckie felt instantly at home on the Italian V-Twin...
motorcycles, cars, clothes – you name it they have the best style. Do you have any idea how much they build the 848 with passion and it shows.�

Impressive performance numbers – highest top speed, quickest quarter-mile, and biggest horsepower – allowed the Ducati to work its way up the chart. This was aided by its racetrack ability, though a lack of set-up time did hold it back ever so slightly. But what kept it from the top was its far too aggressive street nature and price premium. Even so, considering how closely matched this group is, coming home third to the rippin’ Kawasaki and do-it-all Honda is by no means something to be ashamed of. The Italians sure made a real good one in the 848.


2009 Suzuki GSX-R600 Comparison

Posted on 9:37 PM by My_revival

2009 Suzuki GSX-R600 - Wallpaper
Suzuki GSX-R600
MSRP: $10,399
Horsepower: 105.15 hp @ 13,000rpm
Torque: 43.91 lbs.-ft. @ 11,300rpm
Weight: 421.2 lbs w/fuel, 399.5 lbs w/o fuel
Superpole Time: 1:21.03 (Atlas)
¼ Mile: 11.11 @ 132.33 mph
Top Speed: 162.22 mph
Overall Ranking: 5th-place
While easy to forget about, the sleeper of this year’s shootout is the 2009 Suzuki GSX-R600. Updated slightly last year, the Gixxer remains unchanged for ‘09, with the exception of bold new graphics and hot-looking white wheels, but it’s still plenty capable. Had we ridden this bike in a stand-alone test I can say with 100-percent certainty we would have loved it. But in this cutthroat world of Supersport Supremacy, anything less than perfection can mean the difference between running up front and bringing up the rear.

At the ultra-fast and flowing Willow Springs big track the Suzuki proved to be very stable and with some minor suspension changes was extremely easy to ride quickly. The tradeoff for this stability was a lack of some flickability compared to the other machines, not to mention the wet weight of the GSX-R (421 pounds) was one of the highest of the bunch and no doubt it showed. There’s still plenty to like about this motorcycle, so don’t forget about the Suzuki GSX-R600 video review for a glimpse of what the baby Gixxer looks like in action.

“The Suzuki didn't turn in so well,” Garcia interjects. “I felt like I had to fight it to go into the corner. But the Suzuki had a good overall suspension package. The shock matched the fork quite well and gives the bike some great mid-corner stability.”

“Once in the corner the Suzuki is rock solid,” agrees Chuckie. “Very easy to make corrections mid-corner, no complaints at all in regards to the stability of the chassis.”

Dhien adds: “Suzuki’s heavier feeling front end was a bit disappointing compared to the others, taking quite a bit more effort to get turned. It’s much more planted once in the middle of the corner, though both the fork and shock lacked feedback compared to the competition.”
Bold New Graphics and white wheels highlight the changes for '09. We've got the admit, those white wheels do look good...
The '09 GSX-R features white wheels that really cap-off a retro theme that we all thought is really cool. We dig it baby.
Suzuki's gear-indicator is a nice touch, though the different power modes just plain aren't needed on a 600
A-B-C Modes on a 600 - really?

Putting power to the ground on the Suzuki has never been an issue and most all commended its rider-friendliness, but when it comes to the “exhilaration factor” and sheer speed, the GSX-R is starting to show signs of its age. While it was slightly updated last year, this basic platform has been around since 2005. It still pulled solid dyno numbers (105.15 hp @ 13,000 rpm), but on the track if felt far less exciting than just about everything else. This was also partially echoed during our pilgrimage out to HPCC for performance testing, as it was tied for third in top-speed testing with a 162.22 mph pass as its best. Also, with its very easy-to-use clutch and extremely precise launches it mustered a 11.11 @ 133.74 mph, leaving it tied for third-place in the quarter-mile. While this is favorable, there is no doubt its weight (421.2 lbs.) and bulbous fairing played a major role in holding it back.

“With advancement in technology it’s sometimes hard to keep up,” explains Professor Sorensen. “Some of the other manufactures have made advancements in low-end power delivery and it clearly shows. The Suzuki makes decent power through the rev-range but feels more flat with no hit anywhere. Much less exciting.”

Frankie backs-up Chuck's sentiments. He wasn't overly impressed with the Suzuki despite its results at the drag strip that had it tied with the ZX with an 11.11-second effort in the quarter mile: “I was really surprised with the GSX-R motor. It felt the slowest of all the new middleweights. It also would cut out occasionally (when getting back on the throttle) around 10,000 rpm – 11,000 rpm.”

We're at a loss for what would cause the engine to cut out as Garcia mentioned, with our only guess being something to do with the ram-air as it didn't show up on the dyno at all. Also receiving mixed reviews among the bunch were its brakes. They had plenty of outright power, but a lack of feedback through the lever causes reason for concern.

“Suzuki was just missing a bit of a ‘bite’ compared to the others,” Dhien says. “It had power, but it lacked a bit of rider feel.”

The real surprise of the test, however, came in our Superpole session. Despite the tight and technical nature of Streets of Willow, not a track one would think the Suzuki is suited for, the GSX-R proved many wrong. At the hands of Atlas it posted the third-quickest time of this highly-competitive pack, a lightning-fast 1:21.03, topping the Honda, Ducati and Triumph. Who would've thought?
Hutchison hauls the Suzuki around for a fast lap. Smooth power delivery made the 'Zuki easy to ride.
Hutchison hauls the Suzuki around Streets of Willow. Smooth power delivery made the 'Zuki easy to ride.

Yet another star on the board came when it was time to ride them on the street. Suzuki again proved to be neck-and-neck with the Honda and Kawasaki for top honors. Its wind protection and ergonomics were voted some of the best of the bunch, as was its stability and user friendly engine.

“Somehow riding a Suzuki has eluded me my whole life,” Kennedy says. “So, this being my first time riding one I was surprised with how happy I was with it. Honestly, I don't know why I would have assumed any different. And I also sat in it rather than on top of it, which always makes me feel comfortable. I would say that the Kawasaki and Suzuki were tied for top spot in my book. I'm not totally sure if the fact that I was surprised with how instantly comfortable I was with the bike made me not really pay attention to any short comings, but either way that says a lot.”
It still has plenty of power to get the front end light
Kieffer's still got that race-style in him.

Adds Simon: “The Suzuki’s motor was great. It felt as if there was plenty of power all the way through. Positioning on the bike is very comfortable as well, as was the wind protection. Definitely a great street bike.”

When the votes were in and the points tallied, the Suzuki’s age proved just too great to overcome. Low subjective numbers on the racetrack, plus top speed and quarter-mile times toward the back of the pack were nearly impossible to make up for. It’s undoubtedly a great all-around performer for all-level riders and its strong street prowess helped to close the gap, but in this tightly-knit pack the Gixxer was only able to manage fifth spot. Though judging by the release of a new GSX-R1000 this year (stay tuned for a First Ride in a few weeks!) and Suzuki’s track record of updating the 600 and 750 the year following the 1000, we would expect a new or updated model for 2010. And I’m sure Suzuki knows exactly what is needed to give it that razor-sharp edge…


2009 Kawasaki ZX-6R Comparison

Posted on 9:35 PM by My_revival


Had the 2009 Kawasaki ZX-6R not been green, it's doubtful any of us would have even recognized it!

Remember that total nerd in high school? Coke-bottle glasses, spent way too much time in the library on his ‘computer,’ played Dungeons and Dragons… You know, the one all the cheerleaders laughed at and the only reason you would invite to parties was to be the butt of practical jokes? Now fast forward to your 10-year reunion. Here comes that total nerd, though almost completely unrecognizable. He’s a mega-buck-making, Ferrari-driving, far-better-looking, computer genius with the hottest chick in the place at his side. Look who’s laughing now…

For Kawasaki and their ZX-6R, they left last year’s shootout as the high school nerd. But they came back this year as the computer genius with the babe on his arm. What a difference a year can make! This must have been said multiple times by nearly every rider who threw a leg over the ZX, yours truly included. For complete technical details check out our First Ride of the green machine in Japan, but in a nutshell, it’s totally new from the ground up. Say hello to the ZX-6 on a MotoGP-inspired binge. It should be noted it’s still the heaviest of the group in terms of wet weight, but they have just made it much more compact and less noticeable and by no means does this hurt performance. In fact, check out the 2009 Kawasaki ZX-6R video for yourself and see how the Ninja stacks up against the competition with your own eyes.

 09 Kawasaki ZX-6R has one of the most information-filled gauge clusters of the bunch while still being very readable.Styling of the new Kawasaki ZX-6R resembles its big brother  the ZX-10R.2009 Kawasaki ZX-6R - what a difference a year can make!
All-new styling from the ground up highlights a vastly improved ZX-6R. It's hard to even grasp the difference from '08 to '09 it's so drastic.

While without a doubt everything about the machine was impressive, first and foremost is the engine. From the bottom of the pack last year to the top this year, both on the dyno and real life, this motor just plain rips!

“Wow, what a difference a year makes, Kawi has done extensive development in the motor department!” exclaims Sorensen of the new ZX. “This bike has low end grunt that carries all the way through the top end power; very useable and extremely tractable.”

“This year the Ninja takes the prize,” Hutchy says. “It feels fast, has a healthy mid-range and a strong top end.”

As a result of this motor, when it came time for performance testing out in the Mojave desert the Kawasaki proved it was right on pace. Despite still being 422.3 pounds wet, the plentiful amounts of horsepower and slick aerodynamics allowed it to record a ripping top speed of 164.25 mph, third-best of the group. As for the quarter-mile, the Kawasaki clutch wasn't the best for launching - though it wasn't as bad the Yamaha either. As a result it only laid down a 11.11 @ 133.74 mph. While this still may have been good enough to be tied for third, with a better launch that beast of a motor could have been battling for the top spot.

In fact, not a single tester in the group had one bad thing to say about the new 6R powerplant, including Dhien, who sums things up, saying, “Kawasaki’s engine was amazing! It felt like I was on a bigger displacement machine!”

One could argue that Kawasaki has always been known for their monster motors, it’s the sheer size and chassis of their sportbikes where they sometimes struggle. But as mentioned before, just like its ZX-10R big brother, the 6R went on a serious gym regimen this off-season and came back much smaller and meaner looking, with a whole bunch of trick parts to boot.
Chassis and engine changes made for a 6R that is light years ahead of the previous generation.
Atlas laid down the fastest lap of the Superpole session on the Kawasaki and was instantly at home on the all-new Green Machine.

Headlining that list of trick parts and widely praised was the BPF (Big Piston Fork), though it took some time to get used to in the beginning. Due to its design it has little to no dive when you're on the brakes. When this is something you are trained to feel, once taken away it’s almost strange. That is, until you get used to it. Once up to speed, the gold 41mm Showa suspenders provide loads of feel, tons of feedback and soak up anything the bumpy Streets of Willow can throw at them with ease. At that point you wonder why everyone hasn’t gone this route. Actually most all race suspension is already this way, as are a few production bikes (Suzuki’s all-new GSX-R1000), but this is the first production 600 to have it and I can guarantee more will follow.

“This was my favorite fork of the test,” adds Sorensen. “Next time you are in a dealership look closely at this unit. These came straight from Factory Showa. Once again they have raised the bar to what a street bike comes with stock. Joey Lombardo (Kawasaki technician) made a two click adjustment to the fork and it felt like the equivalent of 7 to 10 clicks on a normal fork. For racing you probably don't need the Ohlins cartridge kit anymore, these are that good!”
When it comes to real-world power  there’s no doubt Kawasaki’s new ZX-6R has raised the bar! Is that Hooligan-boy Waheed again
Yep, you guessed it - Waheed again...

In fact, they are good enough for Jamie Hacking to take fourth-place with them in the 2009 Daytona 200 – bone stock! No re-valving, no spring changes, nothing. Straight out of the box Hacking nearly put the Kawasaki on the box in the biggest AMA race of the year. If that doesn’t say enough right there, we’re not sure what does.

“Along with new power, the Kawasaki has a totally new chassis that feels more compact and more agile,” continues Chuckie. “The bike turns in quickly and is very precise with quick transitions left to right. It’s also very positive mid-corner, with great feedback from both front and rear. Where the old chassis used to have numbness and a feeling of not knowing what is going on, this new package is now a racing machine.”

This extremely capable all-around package proved to be number one in our outright Superpole Session lap times by a tenth of a second over the race-bred Yamaha. In Atlas’ hands it laid down an extremely respectable 1:20.23, while for Sorensen it was his first bike of the group, recording a 1:24.66, which dropped it back to third in the average time standings. Though there is no doubt as the session progressed so did Sorensen, hence riding the Kawasaki first may have been a disadvantage. That’s just the luck of the draw.

But where the Kawasaki solidified its place at the front of the pack was on the roads. Where the Yamaha is a pure-bred racer first and foremost and suffers on the street, the Kawasaki truly does it all, competing toe-to-toe with the Honda and Suzuki for best street bike.

“It has the size of the ZX-10 and me being 6'5" means every bit helps,” Kennedy comments. “Immediately it put me in a good place just sitting on the bike. But getting going sealed it for me. Plenty of power, especially on the street, probably even got too much, but it’s addictive. And the stock suspension set-up seemed to support me and my 205-pounds quite well.”

“By far one of my favorite bikes of the day!” added Simon after our street ride. “Overall this motor had everything I look for in a bike – tremendous amount of torque coming out of corners and continuously pulling from the bottom to the top end so much harder than the rest of the bikes. The way the bike turned through all the tight corners was sensational. It really leaned over and seemed to stay down and go where you wanted it to go better than the rest.”

On the street, the bikes which riders like and dislike quickly become apparent. Usually this is noticed by how quickly riders try to snatch up the keys when leaving a rest-stop or gas station. The Kawasaki and Honda keys were always gone first...

At the fast Big Willow all of the competition had a tough time keeping the new ZX-6R in sight.
This is the view the competition had of the ZX-6R in 2009. Say hello to the 2009 MotorcycleUSA.com Supersport Shootout champion!
“For me the Honda is still the best street bike, though the Kawasaki is right there now. But with how good it is at the track plus nearly Honda-level streetability just puts it over the top,” sums up Waheed.

There it is ladies and gentleman, the numbers are in and for the first time in two years a new Supersport Champion has emerged. By virtue of one awesome engine in both the real-world and on the dyno, plus solid performance numbers, overwhelming subjective marks on the track and a street ranking a mere two points shy of the Honda, the nerd has returned to the high school reunion as the stud, hot babe in tow and sports car in the parking lot. Game, set, match - Kawasaki’s all-new ZX-6R is the new Supersport Shootout King.


2009 Honda CBR600RR Comparison

Posted on 9:33 PM by My_revival


As our reigning Supersport Shootout champion, the Honda CBR600RR enters the ring for ’09 with the belt around its waist and a target on its back. And a big target it was!

The only changes to grace the Winged Warrior this year consist of slightly updated bodywork that covers more of the engine and new colors. Nearly everything else remains the same. As you can tell the bike is still a contender and in our 2009 Honda CBR600RR video you can hear what our riders had to say about it and take a spin with us around Willow Springs as well. It is also worth noting that an extremely well-engineered ABS version of the CBR will be available for the first time ever on a production Supersport this year, though for our high performance-based testing the standard model was preferred.

One can quickly see why Big Red comes in as the previous champ. Its solid base set-up and ultra easy-to-use engine make it an extremely versatile machine. It was a favorite of many in the test, although equally as many think the Honda is starting to show signs of its age.

“The Honda has smooth power delivery,” says Sorensen. “This motor may not have the technology that the Yamaha and Kawasaki have, but it comes close. The Honda’s power is a little deceiving because of the seamless rev-range.”

“It had very smooth power, the most seamless of the group,” Garcia comments. “The only thing it could use is some more grunt in the mid-range. Compared to the rest it just doesn’t come off the corners the way I would like it to.”

2009 Honda CBR600RR - the last of the Japanese with an under-seat exhaustHonda s gauge cluster is fairly simple yet easy to useNot much new on the  09 Honda CBR600RR with the exception of a bit larger fairing
Clean lines and a high level of fit and finish define all parts of the Honda. As for its overall styling? Some thought it was time for a change.
The Honda is for sure down on power as compared to the competition and on the dyno it shows. Bringing up the back of the pack with 98.06 hp @ 13,600 rpm equates to some issues on the track, but on the other hand it does make very competitive torque numbers, producing 42.35 lb.-ft. @ 11,300 rpm. This translates into very smooth and easy-to-use power. Combined with the seamless transmission and great clutch feel, it was able to record an impressive 11.10 @ 128.99 mph, putting it second only to the fire-breathing Ducati on the quarter-mile. But come top speed testing at HPCC, that lack of outright HP started to show. Despite being the lightest of the bunch at 402-lbs with fuel, it could only muster 161.19 mph, putting it second-to-last and nearly five mph down from the class-leading, and 250cc-larger, Ducati.

“Kawasaki has definitely closed the gap on the defending class champion CBR,” comments Hutchinson, “though the CBR is still solid and very easy to use.”

While the engine had mixed reviews, everyone was on the same page when it came to the transmission. That page being the top. Every gear is engaged with a positive feel, clicking in smoohtly without being clunky - it's as near to perfect as it gets. These smooth and positive shifts give the Honda top honors in this category.

“Honda has never had any issues in this department, always extremely smooth shifts, very positive,” says the 2-time AMA Champ of the transmission.

“Honda‘s transmission tightness made it an overall non-drama-smoothie,” adds Dhien.

But where the shifting was smooth as silk, the lack of a slipper clutch hurt its track prowess. It’s now the only bike of the bunch not to have a back-torque-limiting unit, and in this group it really shows. On more than one occasion when hammering for Superpole times the rear-end got out of line on corner entry, hopping due to the lack of a slipper.

Michelin s Dale Keiffer didn t have too much trouble coming to grips with the 2009 Honda CBR600RR. He s still got that racer style
Michelin's Dale Keiffer didn't have too much trouble coming to grips with the 2009 Honda CBR600RR. He's got that racer style.
“This was the CBR's weak point. It did not have a slipper clutch and has a ton of decompression,” Garcia adds.”That made it great for backing it in, just not the best for going fast. Even so, shifting was spot on.”

As a whole not much else can the argued against the Honda on the racetrack. It may not be as focused and razor sharp as some of the competition, but it just plain does everything very well. It’s an extremely versatile machine.

“I loved the Honda at Streets of Willow, loved it!” exclaims Waheed. “It and the Kawasaki were up there as my two favorite bikes. It’s surprising how it continues to be this good when it’s one of the oldest here, but the boys at Honda really did their homework when they made the RR and it shows. It is standing the test of time.”

When Superpole came along, as luck would have it, Honda pulled the first spot out of the gate for Atlas. This never helps, though I still posted a very respectable 1:21.97. As for Sorensen, he went last on the Winged Warrior and set his fastest time of the session, throwing down a 1:22.49. While in outright supremacy it was at the back of the pack, when the two times were averaged it moved all the way up to second spot, behind the Yamaha, proving just how capable the Honda still is at the racetrack.

And when it came time to rack up some serious street miles, the Honda once again showed how utterly awesome of
What was Waheed s favorite bike at the tight and technical Streets of Willow  Yep  the Honda
What was Waheed's favorite bike at the tight and technical Streets of Willow? Yep, the Honda...
an all-around motorcycle it really is. When the miles got long and butts sore, everyone was drawing straws for good ol' Big Red.

“Arguably the best bike for the street,” says motocross ace and new-born street rider Scott Simon. “Everything about this bike is just great! Positioning, turning, braking and the motor were all incredible. It is such a comfortable bike to ride and cruise down the freeway or go full throttle through canyons and drag your knee. By far the most versatile bike I have ridden. The power was exceptionally smooth, although there was always still plenty of it left to go as fast as you want. I’ll be excited when I can go get one of my own again.”

Both Dhien and Hutchison agreed with Simon and were instantly fans of the Honda on the roads. But there’s no doubt the Honda’s styling is starting to look outdated – one of the areas where it loses subjective points.

Atlas felt right at home on the Honda. Almost like he s raced it in the past  or something
Peace-out competition! Everyone has been trailing the Honda for years and this time around it was once again battling for the top spot.
"Visually is the Honda's biggest shortcoming for me,” says Kennedy. “I'm sure you're not supposed to pick a bike based on its looks just like you're not supposed to pick a football team based on its colors, but screw it, I can't help it. Even though it's smaller looking, I could still move around on it and the engine definitely pulled in the low and midrange. You get going quick, but call me shallow or whatever, I just want to look better doing it!”

Though it may be looking a bit dated, there's no doubt the Honda still performs. Taking top scoring on the street portion plus coming home with second-place track scores, it's easy to see that when Honda first released this bike they did their homework. It truly has stood the test of time. But low performance numbers -- top speed and dyno -- was enough to hold the Honda back to second position. Though considering the competition, that's downright impressive from a bike of this age.


2009 Buell 1125R DSB Comparison

Posted on 9:29 PM by My_revival


Surprise, surprise, surprise. The ugly duckling becomes the beautiful swan. Well, maybe not beautiful, but it sure has grown up since our first peek. Buell turned a machine that in prototype from was a nightmare into a race-winner and hands down the shock of this test. After our experience at the original press introduction, which revealed a motorcycle that would accelerate with the throttle closed and give off enough heat to cook an egg on your thigh, it was nearly impossible not to enter our DMG Shootout with a list of questions hanging over this American-made sportbike: How would it handle, is the suspension up to task and have the engine woes been resolved?

But who doesn’t like a good surprise now and again, right? Hopping on the Buell reveals a totally different machine compared to the other two motorcycles in this test. Who would have thought a V-Twin Buell would turn-faster and sharper than the best 600cc Supersport made? I know I didn’t. Until we rode them, that is. The high handlebars and extremely centralized mass make for turning quickness rarely seen from a machine of its size (54.4-inch wheelbase) and weight (434 lbs). Being so light on its feet makes it deserving of the Flickability King award for this shootout. Aggressive chassis geometry, said short wheelbase and low center of gravity aid in the 1125R’s dexterity. This philosophy is the core-basis of nearly all Buell motorcycles and has been from the beginning.

“It looks and feels really big at a standstill; it’s bulky and heavy when sitting on it, but… What a blast to ride,” Dhien reports. “The seating position is roomy and feels like I am quite low to the ground. In my opinion it’s by far the most flickable of the bunch, turning from side-to-side with the slightest of tug on the bars. There’s nothing fancy with the cockpit but a big tachometer makes it easy to read and a racer doesn’t need much more. It’s a very predictable motorcycle with good feedback.”

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2009 Daytona SportBike Shootout
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Its fuel-in-frame chassis proved to be extremely stable, with the suspension at both ends responding to changes with precision. The fork may not be as amazing as the BPF unit on the Kawasaki, but once dialed in feel and feedback is quite communicative. Don’t let its size fool you, huge lean-angle is the name of the game for the 1125R.

“When pushed, the Buell’s suspension doesn’t feel quite as taut as the Kawasaki or Aprilia, yet it delivers an enormous amount of feel,” Waheed explains. “Despite its large exterior appearance it actually changes directions really fast and with much less effort than the Aprilia. Once turned the chassis is exceptionally composed and tracks well over bumps.”
2009 Buell 1125R
Kawasaki's Ninja ZX-6R was right with the Buell 1125R all day at Streets of Willow.

Like the chassis, Buell’s outsourced Rotax V-Twin powerplant works quite well too. Power is smooth and seamless with no big hits anywhere in the rev-range. Fuel injection has been greatly improved from pre-production to now and doesn’t exhibit any of the scary traits we first saw. Worth noting is that the Aprilia and the Buell both outsource their engines to Rotax, though for Buell’s needs the Aprilia powerplant wouldn’t cut it, thus they had the Austrian firm design them a totally new V-Twin powerplant from the ground up, aimed at more performance. Yet another factor DMG didn’t factor into the equation while making the rules…

Our biggest complaint: vibration. Even on the track, where this is mostly overlooked, it’s impossible not to be taken back by the buzzing through the bars and footpegs. For a short stint it was easy to put up with, but when it came to putting in a string of four to five laps one’s hands and feet become numb rather quickly. Tooling around town this sensation isn’t as bad, but once the 1125R is at speed it’s all but impossible not to notice.
2009 Buell 1125R
The most horsepower and torque of the group made lifting the Buell's front wheel quite easy.

Buzzing bars aside, the engine works extremely well. In fact, the powerband is so good that we discovered the Buell to be the easiest on the rear tire of the three by a good deal – we experienced nearly double the tire life from the Buell rear tire as opposed to the Kawasaki. That big V-Twin pulse and excellent rider feedback makes power-slides both easy and fun. We found this extra grunt hard to resist considering the 1125R churns out 122.7-hp and 68.5 lb-ft of torque compared to the 108.3 hp and 43.3 lb-ft of torque churned out by the ZX-6R. No doubt if this translates the same in race trim, come the end of a race the Buell boys should have a huge advantage. Thus, it was no surprise it lapped fastest in our test, laying down a 1:21.14 and doing so on heavily worn tires.

“The engine in the Buell is so easy to exploit,” Waheed comments “It feels like you’re riding a vibrating sewing machine as power production is smooth through its rev-range. Anytime you want a burst of acceleration, simply hammer the throttle, regardless of what gear you are in. It also revs out especially fast, even compared to typically faster revving Inline-Fours.”

“The engine is very torquey and it pulls strong all the way to the red line,” Dhien adds. “Good gearbox (never missed a gear) and an engine that is the strongest of the bunch made the bike the most fun to ride. And the good thing is you don’t have to look at it when you’re the one riding it.”
Eslick celebrates the Buell victory in the first Daytona SportBike race at Fontana.
Eslick celebrates after one of his three wins so far this season on the RMR Buell 1125R.

We did find the unconventional ZTL perimeter braking system to not deliver the power, feel or feedback we desired. While slightly better than the Aprilia, the outright initial bite wasn’t there, requiring excessive lever effort to get the Buell slowed from speed, far more than needed from the Kawasaki. They also exhibited a dead spot the first half-inch of pull, in which the level seemed to travel into the stroke too freely before creating pressure and initiating pad compression.

And though the brakes may not be the best and the bike tips the scales at a slightly heftily at 434 lbs, which falls in the middle of the Kawasaki and Aprilia, the Buell 1125R surprised all of our testers with its fickability, stability and extremely easy-to-manage power delivery. All these add up to a package far superior than most give it credit for.

Although, we understand that it’s hard to give credit to a bike that looks like a deformed alien, once you get past the looks this beast is all business. We’ve yet to meet a rider who finds its styling appealing. It’s a shame, as the bulbous bodywork and strangely-high upper fairing hide beneath them one of the better V-Twin sportbikes on the market. Who knew so much potential sits under that funky fairing? We sure didn’t – until now!

And The Winner Is…
2009 Daytona SportBike Lap Times

Who’s the winner and who’s the loser? Talk about a loaded question – especially in this case... By virtue of top performance scoring and coming in a close second in the subjective category, Buell’s 1125R finishes on top of our DMG sportbike comparison. It may not have been the top pick for everyone, but the numbers don’t lie – just try not to be seen on it in public.

But, in reality, this comparison dives much deeper than just the motorcycles. It isn’t solely about the machines, but about the racers, fans and DMG. Considering the new rules, the only winner we see in all this is DMG – and subsequently Buell as well. Don’t get us wrong, more power to Buell for taking advantage of what looks to be lopsided rules; any one of the other manufacturers would have done the same. Where the shame falls in our eyes is on DMG for instigating something this absurd before testing it’s fairness. No trials, no hard tests (at least to our knowledge) – they just pulled the rules from where the sun don’t shine and called it law. It appears from their series of releases defending the rules they based them almost solely on power-to-weight ratio, but we all know much more goes into a machine's competiveness than this ratio.

While the rules are a bit hazy, which seems to be intended as such from DMG, there’s no doubt anyone observant can see the advantage Buell has; easier to push harder, more steam coming off the corners and is better on tires. Plus, the added weight given to them, at least at this point, is nothing more than a press ploy. Not to mention, where most seem to think the Inline-Fours have a major advantage in corner speed and the Buell gets it back coming off the corner, we found in stock form the Buell is right on par with the Kawasaki mid-corner, leaving the Inline-Fours with little-to-no advantage. In fact, when it came to the ease of changing direction, the Buell is superior to the lighter Kawasaki.

As a result we would have to say the real losers here are the fans, the motorcycle industry and the riders on anything other than a Buell. We all want close racing and no one is against having an American manufacturer in the series, but let’s at least make it fair. Even in the Aprilia's case, the Buell has a definite advantage.

What would we do to make things more equal? Air restrictors on the Buell to keep the HP down, or even more weight than currently outlined could possibly slow it down. But maybe we are focusing too much on restricting the Buell instead of empowering the others. I say allow the 600s to user lighter aftermarket wheels to aid in acceleration and fickability. This would help close the gap while still not adding excessive costs. As for the Aprilia, from our view this could be the toughest fix. I think if the KWS team were able to get the bike's weight down it could be competitive as is, but this is an issue that stems from the stock RSV1000R, not a DMG rule issue, and would take large piles of cash to achieve. Hence, I say allow the Aprilia 1mm overbore to give them slightly more displacement and some much-needed power (this would be cost effective as well), and then make them adhere to the same minimum weight as the Buell. Sounds complicated, I know, but what do you expect when they think 1000cc-plus V-Twins should race against 600s?


2009 BMW S1000RR Specs & Details

Posted on 9:27 PM by My_revival


2009 BMW S1000RR Specs

Displacement: 999.00 ccm (60.96 cubic inches)
Engine Type: In-line four
Stroke: 4
Fuel System: Injection
Valves: 4 per cylinder, titanium, with individual cam followers
Fuel Control: DOHC
Engine output: 193 hp (142 kW) at 13,000 rpm
Peak Torque: 82.5 lb-ft (112 Nm) at 9,750 rpm
Dry Weight: 403.4 pounds (183.0 kg)
Wet Weight: 455..3 pounds (206.5 kg)
Power-to-weight ratio: 2.31/2.34 pounds per horsepower without/with Race ABS
Starter: Electric
Lubrication System: Dry sump
Cooling System: Liquid
Gearbox: 6-speed
Transmission type final drive: Chain
Clutch: Multiple-disc clutch in oil bath, mechanically operated
Overall length: 84.4 inches (2,145 mm)
Frame Type: Bridge-type aluminium fram, load-bearing engine
Rake (fork angle): 25.8º
Trail: 3.7 inches (95 mm)
Front suspension: Telescopic fork, Ø 43 mm
Front suspension travel: 125 mm (4.9 inches)
Rear suspension: Cast aluminium single-sided swing arm with eccentric adjustment for rear axle, central spring strut, spring pre-load hydraulically adjustable (continuously variable) at handwheel, rebound damping adjustable
Rear suspension travel: 4.9 inches (125 mm)
Front tire dimensions: 120/70-ZR17
Rear tire dimensions: 180/55-ZR17
Front brakes: Double disc. ABS
Rear brakes: Single disc. ABS
Exhaust system: Closed-loop 3-way catalytic converter, emission standard EU-3
Top speed: 124.3 mph (200.0 km/h)
Exhaust: Small and short rear-end muffler, pre-silencer and electronically controlled interference pipe flaps as well as a fully controlled exhaust gas manifold and two fully controlled three-way catalytic converters.
Fuel Tank: Aluminum for reduced weight
Color options: Mineral Silver metallic, Acid Green metallic, Thunder Grey metallic, Alpine White/Lupine Blue/Magma Red.
Comments: Optional Dynamic Traction Control in conjunction with Race ABS. Various riding modes available at the touch of a button for wet surfaces, regular road requirements, race tracks with sports tyres and race tracks with slicks. Optional HP Gearshift Assistant for shifting up without operating the clutch and without the slightest interruption of torque and pulling power.

The long-awaited official launch of the BMW S1000RR superbike took place this past weekend at Monza. This is the first full blown In-Line Four cylinder supersport machine ever produced by BMW.

Claimed performance numbers look impressive on paper too: 450 lbs wet, 403.5 w/o fuel, 193 horsepower at 13,000 rpm and an incredibly high-tech appearance makes this one of the most anticipated motorcycles of the year. Loaded in base trim the S1000RR is replete with Dynamic Traction Control (DTC) and race-ready ABS along with Formula 1-inspired valve actuation the S1000RR is a technophile’s dream.

The following pages are taken directly from the BMW Press release on the 2009 S1000RR Superbike:

A further most signifi cant feature likewise contributing to active safety of the highest standard is DTC Dynamic Traction Control also available as an option and masterminded electronically for supreme precision and practical value.
The new S 1000 RR offers the highest standard of technology also on its suspension and running gear. Weighing just 206.5 kg or 455.3 lb in road trim and with a full tank  BMW s new supersports is by far the lightest machine of its calibre displacing 999 cc and featuring ABS brakes.
BMW has created a supersports bike that has best-in-class performance combined with supreme riding dynamics.
With this world debut, BMW Motorrad is indeed establishing a true milestone in the world of sports machines, combining engine output of 142 kW (193 hp) with overall weight of just 204 kg (450 lb) including fuel (183 kg/403.5 lb dry weight, 206.5 kg/455.3 lb overall with Race ABS).

Specifications of this caliber make this supersports machine not only an absolute highlight in terms of its power-to-weight ratio and performance, but also, equipped with Race ABS and DTC Dynamic Traction Control, a new benchmark in terms of riding dynamics, safety and innovation.

Active safety when braking is significantly enhanced by Race ABS developed especially for the S 1000 RR as a genuine supersports and available as an option straight from the factory. A further most significant feature likewise contributing to active safety of the highest standard is DTC Dynamic Traction Control also available as an option and masterminded electronically for supreme precision and practical value.

Facing various riding conditions such as wet roads (“Rain”), regular road conditions (“Sport”), a race track with supersport tires (“Race”), or a race track with slicks (“Slick”), the rider also has the choice of various engine characteristics and set-ups available at the touch of a button. And last but not least, Race ABS and Dynamic Traction Control are combined with the respective riding modes and coordinated with one another to ensure a supreme standard of performance and safety all in one.

Valve drive like in a BMW Formula 1.

The primary objective in developing the new S 1000 RR was to create a supersports with supreme engine power combined with optimum rideability for the highest conceivable standard of all-round performance.

The water-cooled four-cylinder inline power unit chosen to provide these qualities is brand-new from the ground up, developing maximum output of 142 kW (193 hp) at 13,000 rpm and revving up to a maximum speed of 14,200 rpm. Maximum torque of 112 Nm (82.5 lb-ft), in turn, comes at 9,750 rpm. Following the example of BMW ’s Formula 1 engines, the two intake and exhaust valves per cylinder made of extra-light titanium are operated by very small and equally light single cam followers. In conjunction with the short sprocket driving the camshaft via an intermediate gear, this ensures supreme revving qualities at the highest speeds as well as exact maintenance of valve timing combined with very compact dimensions.

Technical challenges of this kind as well as a development period of just four years made the S 1000 RR the ideal project for consistent  all-out use of CAD  Computer-Aided Design  technology as well as the most advanced calculation methods  for example for the machines aerodynamics.
The S1000RR utilizes upside-down forks with a fixed tube.
Lightest supersports with ABS.

The new S 1000 RR offers the highest standard of technology also on its suspension and running gear. Weighing just 206.5 kg or 455.3 lb in road trim and with a full tank, BMW’s new supersports is by far the lightest machine of its caliber displacing 999cc and featuring ABS brakes. One of the features that ensures this light weight is the aluminum bridge frame integrating the engine tilted to the front at an angle of 32° as a loadbearing element for optimum torsional stiffness on minimum weight. The front wheel runs on an upside-down fork with a fixed tube measuring an ample 46mm or 1.81" in diameter, while a torsionally stiff swing arm made of aluminum holds the rear wheel in position. The spring and damping action required is provided by a central spring strut pivoting on a guide lever.

The rear frame section of the S 1000 RR is a welded light-alloy structure belted to the mainframe, combining low weight with superior stability and a high standard of robust strength particularly important to riders and teams on the race track.

BMW Motorrad Race ABS specifi cally developed for supersports requirements and available as an option straight from the factory ensures maximum active safety when braking  again making allowance for the outstanding performance and unique character of the S 1000 RR.
Race inspired ergoes accommodate tall and short riders while providing for an engaging riding experience.
The rider’s seating position leaning forward towards the front wheel for an active style of riding is simply ideal for the sporting rider with his particularly dynamic style. Developing the S 1000 RR, BMW Motorrad has given particular attention to the superior ergonomics of the machine, providing ideal qualities for both small and tall riders and therefore focusing consistently on the rider’s individual requirements. The tank section is as slender as on a 600-cc machine, giving the rider the assurance of excellent control and handling at all times.

As an absolutely new development from the ground up, the straight-four power unit featured in the S 1000 RR comes with displacement of 999cc, with cylinder bore of 80mm and stroke measuring 49.7mm. The particularly short stroke/bore ratio of just 0.621 provides the foundation for an absolutely outstanding high-output power unit with supreme performance at all times. Maximum output is 142 kW (193 hp) at 13,000 rpm, peak torque is 112 Nm (82.5 lb-ft) at 9,750 rpm. And with its engine weighing just 59.8 kg or 131.8 lb, the S 1000 RR boasts the lightest 1000-cc four-cylinder in its entire segment.

The S 1000 RR comes with the most advanced and sophisticated digital motor electronics currently available on a motorcycle. The software incorporated in this sophisticated BMS-KP  short for BMW Engine Management with Anti-Knock Control  is an in-house development by BMW Motorrad specifi cally for motorcycle applications.The rev limit on the production version of the S 1000 RR is 14 200 rpm  while in purely mechanical terms the engine could run much faster.
(top)The software incorporated in this sophisticated BMS-KP (short for BMW Engine Management with Anti-Knock Control) is an in-house development by BMW Motorrad specifi cally for motorcycle applications. (below) The rev limit on the production version of the S 1000 RR is 14,200 rpm, while in purely mechanical terms the engine could run much faster.
Cylinder head and cam follower valve drive based on BMW Formula 1 technology.

Overall output, performance characteristics, the quality of the combustion process and fuel consumption depend largely on the cylinder head and valve drive. In its design and overall configuration, the four-valve cylinder head featured on the S 1000 RR thus offers ideal duct geometry, compact dimensions, optimum thermodynamics, and an efficient heat balance. The narrow valve angles help to provide ideal intake ducts as well as a compact combustion chamber for high compression and optimum all-round efficiency.

Seeking to achieve maximum power and supreme running smoothness even at very high speeds while at the same time offering a very stiff structure, keeping moving masses to a minimum and optimising the timing overlap on the valves, the S 1000 RR comes with cam follower control on all moving valve components, with the cylinder head very compact in design, particularly in terms of its height.

With its compression ratio of 13:1, the power unit of the S 1000 RR comes right at the top in terms of production engines, offering an ideal combustion process for optimum power yield and maximum efficiency.

Torque is transmitted from the crankshaft via a straight-toothed primary drive at a ratio of 1:1.652 to the anti-hopping wet clutch with a total of ten friction plates (diameter 132.4 mm or 5.22").

While Race ABS gives the rider valuable support and therefore represents a very signifi cant safety factor when applying the brakes  it is not able to re-define or change the laws and limits to riding physics.
While Race ABS gives the rider valuable support and therefore represents a very signifi cant safety factor when applying the brakes, it is not able to re-define or change the laws and limits to riding physics.
Applying the anti-hopping principle, BMW Motorrad meets all the requirements of supersports riding, particularly on the race track. The braking power of the engine in overrun is transmitted to the rear wheel by the clutch only in part, that is only to a limited extent. When braking hard and shifting down at the same time, this prevents the rear wheel suddenly running under much less load due to the dynamic distribution of wheel loads from abruptly locking and juddering, keeping the motorcycle smooth, stable, and easy to handle also when applying the brakes.

The dog-shift six-speed gearbox is very compact and light. The individual gears are shifted by a light, composite steel shift cylinder and shift forks resting on three points. To keep the gearbox and transmission system as compact and short as possible, the primary and secondary shafts are positioned on top of one another, thus saving a lot of space. Again, this reduces the overall length of the engine and allows the use of a long rear-wheel swing arm in the interest of optimum traction.

Variable intake manifold length for an optimum torque curve and maximum power.

Fuel injection is fully sequential, meaning that fuel is injected individually in accordance with the intake stroke of the respective cylinder into the intake duct. To improve the torque curve, the S 1000 RR comes with highly elaborate intake manifolds varying in length according to current requirements: Depending on engine speed an adjuster motor fitted on the airbox varies the length of the intake manifolds through map control in two stages.

Free choice of “Rain”, “Sport”, “Race” and “Slick” riding modes for optimum adjustment to road and track conditions.


2009 Aprilia RSV4 Factory First Ride

Posted on 9:24 PM by My_revival


Our friend Michael Neeves from Motorcycle News UK got an early go on the ultra-compact Aprilia RSV4 superbike.
Not even grey skies, rain and a sodden Misano race track can dampen MCN’s excitement for Aprilia’s new £14,999 RSV4 Factory. We’ve waited a long time to ride the Italian firm’s dazzling new V4 superbike, which cost 25 million Euros and three and a half years to develop, but it’s been worth it.

We’ll have to wait a little longer to ride it in anger in the dry, but even in soaking conditions, it’s clear this is shaping up to be one of the best superbikes ever built.

A slightly damp Senior road tester, Michael Neeves, tells us the five reasons why:

V4 Power Delivery

Riding in the wet is something usually to be tolerated rather than enjoyed, but I loved every drenched, visor-steamed moment on the RSV4 Factory in the rain at Misano, which makes slippery Donington look grippy in the wet. When the chequered flag came out to signal the end of each of our riding sessions I could’ve cried.

The Pirelli racing wets had a lot to do with this, as did the softened Ohlins suspension to suit the conditions, and the beautifully responsive chassis. But the main reason I was having so much fun is down to Aprilia’s new 999.6cc 65-degree V4 engine, the jewel in the RSV4’s crown.

Pile into a slippery turn  bang down through the gears and the RSV4s slipper clutch removes most of the engine braking and prevents rear wheel lock-up on all but the most slippery sections.
Six-foot tall Neeves just manages to squeeze on the tiny RSV4. Smaller riders fit, and look, better.
The V4 Aprilia is as friendly and easy to ride in the conditions as a Suzuki SV650, but with the straight line speed a FireBlade would be proud of.

With the medium of the three engine maps selected, getting on the throttle out of a corner and feeling for grip in the wet is easy. I’m not tensing up, waiting for a big bang of power to come crashing in like with a conventional Inline-Four or big, brutal V-Twin. Everything seems to happen in slow motion, thanks to the RSV4’s linear torque curve and seemingly lazy power delivery.

Off the throttle it’s the same story. Pile into a slippery turn, bang down through the gears and the RSV4’s slipper clutch removes most of the engine braking and prevents rear wheel lock-up on all but the most slippery sections.

Along the straights the Aprilia’s equally impressive. With the throttle pinned to the stop, power just builds and builds. Sophisticated electronics silently monitor everything to perfection: a flutter of exhausts valves, fuel injection squirts, fly-by-wire inputs and variable-length inlet trumpets all work with the magical V4 layout, so there are no big steps in power. What you get is seamless speed, a hardening engine note and increasing pull on your arms, stomach muscles and neck as you hang on under acceleration all the way until the power drops off at 12,500rpm.

Short-shifting is the best way to get a move on in the rain. Using the motor’s deep well of mid-range torque, it’s flexible enough to use a gear higher through the corners or to change up along the straights around 9-10,000rpm instead of the redline. It gives the rear tire an easier time and still lets you turn in serious speed. The gearbox also works better under less load. The changes are quite slow using full throttle and is crying out for a quick-shifter.

Theres lots of low-down grunt  a fat midrange and a storming top end  a fantastic mix of big twin and in-line-four.
The chassis and suspension has so much feel you can open the throttle hard and the Aprilia RSV4 digs in and flies around bends.
There’s lots of low-down grunt, a fat midrange and a storming top end, a fantastic mix of big twin and Inline-Four. Now where have we heard that before lately? Yep, it’s a lot like the new cross plane crank R1 in that it has usable power everywhere. It’s deep, growling engine note is similar, too. But unlike the Yamaha, the engine is far more compact, which allows the RSV4 to be smaller and more agile.

The V4 motor is so linear and smooth. As WSB rider Shinja Nakano told me: “It doesn’t feel fast, but the speed is there.” It is deceptive and it’s only when a corner rushes up and it’s time to brake you realise how damn quick you’re going.

With a claimed 180bhp at the crank, I reckon it’ll make around 150-155bhp at the rear wheel when we get to dyno it. That’s a bit down on the best of the Inline-Four superbikes, but as the new R1 has recently taught us, it’s not how much power you have, but how you use it.

It’s the Complete Package

The RSV4’s motor is powerful and flexible – but it’s physically small, too (around 175mm narrower than an Inline-Four) and that allows the RSV4 to be extremely compact. What’s more, it all works as one, Swiss Watch-like, a tightly-packed, harmonious package between engine and chassis.

Considering the conditions, there’s not much I can tell you about the RSV4’s handling other than there’s lots of feel transmitted through the chassis. The Ohlins forks and rear shock have a superb range of adjustment and today are softened off to give lots of movement in the rain for feel, and they still give the support needed for relatively hard braking and acceleration.

With its MotoGP-style short engine/long swingarm layout, rear tire grip is maximised and it’s the same trick now being used on the new GSX-R1000 K9 and Fireblade.

The riding position is very racy, with low bars and high pegs, but with plenty of room to move back and forth on the seat, there’s little sensation of bulk on the move. It feels short, like a supersport 400 and there’s no lazy weight transfer on and off the throttle like a typically big litre bike. Side to side, the RSV4 is incredibly agile.

The Aprilia RSV4 has about the same amount of usable power as the new cross plane crank Yamaha R1 but packed into a far more compact engine  making the RSV4 smaller and more agile.
The 'sport' map allows you to ride the RSV4’s seamless mid-range torque rather than hold onto risky revs in the wet.
Variable Engine Maps

Life wouldn’t have been quite as rosy in the wet if it wasn’t for the RSV4’s choice of three engine maps. I used the ‘sport’ map for most of the riding sessions, as it lops off 25% of the V4’s torque in the first three gears, making it friendlier getting on the gas out of corners. In the high gears you still get full-fat power to play with.

I also tried the ‘road’ map, which gives you around 140bhp and very soft power, enough for it to be possible to hold the throttle wide open for more of the time, although it wasn’t powerful enough to get down the longer straights quick enough. I didn’t try the full-fat ‘track’ map with full power and torque in the first three gears, as there’s more than enough power there already in ‘sport’ mode in the wet. I didn’t want to join the eight or so fellow journos who tasted wet Misano tarmac during the launch, either. One even fell off following the camera car, so dodgy were the conditions. We’ll wait for a dry test to sample full power in the lower gears.
The chunky top yoke and Ohlins fork tops dominate the riders view. A multi-function LCD display shows everything from speed to the engine map youre using. A big tacho takes centre stage  it doesnt matter where the needle is  theres always power on tap.
This back straight section allowed Neeves to give the RSV4 full throttle for a few seconds, pushing him right back in his seat and unleashing the roar of the V4.

The Noise...

The roar of a V4 superbike is a rare thing on our roads, but get used to it because the Aprilia is coming and it sounds spectacular. The RSV4’s racket is distinctive Aprilia and is remarkably similar to the RSV twin, but with a howling, dirty metallic MotoGP V4 overtone. God, I want an RSV4!

The Beauty

Ogling the RSV4 in pitlane I wasn’t sure if I’d wet myself or if the rain had finally soaked through my leathers. It is beautiful. It’s not shiny and blinged out like a Ducati.It’s more subtle, like a factory MotoGP bike. The styling is gorgeous, especially the Batmobile tail unit (a pillion seat and pegs are an optional extra, but don’t bother, I’ve seen bigger bird tables); the compactness awe-inspiring; the attention to detail absolute.
According to Aprilia, as it was built as a race bike first and foremost, it’s easy to take apart, too, which makes the guys and girls on the Aprilia production line in Noale happy. To take the engine out there’s just one electrical connector to unclip, despite the host of electronics on-board.


2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Comparison Track

Posted on 5:20 AM by My_revival


Suzuki GSX-R1000
MSRP: $12,899
Curb Weight: 460 lbs.
Horsepower: 155.16 @ 11,700 rpm
Torque: 74.74 lb-ft @ 10,100 rpm
Quarter Mile: 10.01 @ 141.9 mph
Outright Top Speed: 186 mph (limited)
Racetrack Top Speed: 158.04 mph
Superpole Best Time: 1:56.20
Overall Ranking: 2nd Place

“All-new” is a term thrown around pretty loosely in the motorcycle PR world. Some new blinkers, a lighter exhaust and 'Bold New Graphics' is typically enough for the PR spin doctors to call a motorcycle “all-new.” This is exactly why when we first learned the Suzuki GSX-R1000 was going to be totally updated last winter we were a bit skeptical – just as we always are. But when we first rode the 2009 GSX-R1000 K9 a few weeks back (it was a late release like Suzukis always are) we realized a funny thing – it really is all-new. In fact, it’s the first time the bike has been totally redesigned since its inception in 2001. (Funny, I swear I’ve ridden several ‘all-new’ or ‘totally-redesigned’ GSX-R1000s in the last eight years. Guess I must not have read the fine print on the press kit or something?)

For a complete breakdown of everything that’s changed be sure to check out the 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 First Ride. But to sum things up, the '09 upgrades include redesigned bodywork, a totally updated, more powerful engine, twin titanium exhausts, updated chassis geometry and Showa’s new Big Piston Fork. And that’s just touching on the big stuff…

As for what one first notices when riding the new Suzuki … well, unless you are scared to explore the limits of the right grip, it’s without question the power. Keeping the front wheel on the pavement in any of the lower gears is a serious exercise in restraint, sometimes borderline impossible. The sheer rush of acceleration through your body is exhilarating as the low-end pull hammers you back in the seat right up through the rev-range, grabbing a shift at redline and continuing with just as much vigor in the next cog up. No lies, the GSX-R wouldn’t have a shade of trouble pulling redline in top gear if the speed wasn’t limited to 186 mph. We wouldn’t be surprised if it tapped out well into the mid to high 190s. Stock.

2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Smackdown Track Test
2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000.
2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Smackdown Track Test
All-new from the ground up.

And while all this power is a good thing, without control the rider isn’t able to do anything with it. This is where the beauty of the Suzuki really lies, as when it comes to putting large amounts of bhp to the pavement there isn’t a single bike in this group nearly as effective. Instant throttle response and direct rider connection with the rear wheel allow riders to dial the throttle on sooner and faster than you would expect considering its place atop the horsepower and torque rankings.

“The new Suzuki should get top honors for outright most power, at least when it comes to seat-of-the pants feeling,” Sorensen remarks. “When this thing hits its stride it goes into warp drive like no other bike out here. While the power is smooth and tractable, it is the top end rush that feels so fast and really puts you back in the seat like you wouldn’t expect.”

Exclaims Earnest: “The Suzuki has a great motor, revs high and has really good over-rev. No doubt a class-leader when it comes to that engine. Man, I really like that Suzuki!”

Though the power itself received praise from across the board, a couple of our riders noted some vibration.

“I would have ranked the GSX-R motor higher but it seems to vibrate more compared to the other bikes so it had to be noted at some point,” adds Hutchison. “Taken into account just the

2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 Smackdown Track Test
Everyone commented on how planted and stable the Suzuki was when leaned over.

overall rip-snorting power of this beast, though, it’s hard to beat. It makes great power.”

A quick glance at the dyno chart and it’s easy to see why. Though it got nipped for the outright most bhp by the Kawasaki, it’s still right there, laying down a healthy 155.16 hp, only a hair behind. But a closer look also reveals that the mid-range is slightly better than that of the Kawasaki, as is the low-end. It isn’t until well into the high rpms that the green machine catches back up. As for torque, the Suzuki is also much better than the Kawasaki all throughout the rev-range, peaking at 74.74 ft-lbs; the only Inline-Four that makes more torque is the Honda.

What does all this translate into at the racetrack? The highest Max Acceleration of the bunch coming out of both Turn 6 and 14 as well as a lightning-fast top speed of 158.04 mph at the end of the front straight, nearly 1.5-mph more than the second-place Kawasaki. This goes to show that peak power isn’t everything. It’s the low-end and mid-range advantage of the Suzuki which gets it off the corner harder, allowing the speed to build earlier, translating the entire way down the straight. Goes to show how important corner-exit drive really is. And a lot of this corner-exit drive is the result of a good transmission mated to an easy-to-use and positive clutch.