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2009 Honda CBR1000RR Comparison Track

Monday, May 18, 2009
2009 Honda CBR1000RR Smackdown Track Test
Honda CBR1000RR
MSRP: $12,999
Curb Weight: 447 lbs.
Horsepower: 149.64 @ 10,700 rpm
Torque: 76.62 lb-ft @ 9600 rpm
Quarter Mile: 9.68 @ 138.8 mph
Outright Top Speed: 183 mph
Racetrack Top Speed: 155.59 mph
Superpole Best Time: 1:56.09
Overall Ranking: Champion
Thy champion returnith. Like an undefeated gladiator walking into the Roman Coliseum to fight his next battle, the Honda CBR1000RR enters this shootout with the target square on it. But like the bred-to-kill gladiator, so too is the Honda. They’re not here to make friends. They're here to win. Honda has always spent a great deal of time and effort getting its press bikes well set up and performing their best, this year being no different. And like a familiar face, it was reassuring to get back on a bike which you knew would instantly boost your confidence.

Right out of the truck everyone was extremely comfortable on the Honda. Last year at the more tight and technical Pahrump it dominated, but this was almost to be expected as the CBR is unquestionably the smallest and most agile of the group. Literally feeling like a 600 when you first swing a leg over, none of the other bikes comes close to the compactness of the RR. But this was a new day and a new track and a new set of challengers. Thunderhill is much longer and faster than Pahrump, so keeping up with the monster motors of the Kawasaki and all-new Suzuki was going to be no easy task. Standing the test of time, at least in this group, looked nearly impossible.

That is, until we rode them all. It’s hard to believe that the Honda would once again shine so brightly, but that wasn’t to say it didn’t have a serious fight on its hands in the form of the new GSX-R1000 K9. Suzuki’s latest and greatest liter-class beast brought serious heat: But it wasn’t quite enough.
2009 Honda CBR1000RR Smackdown Track Test
2009 Honda CBR1000RR

With the rest of the bikes in this group, it’s typically the engine that first catches your attention. In the Honda’s case, it’s the aforementioned diminutive size and extremely nimble chassis. And while Thunderhill is fast, it’s also very technical and puts great emphasis on the ability to quickly change direction as well as a premium on how well a motorcycle handles. With the Honda it feels as if by the time your brain thinks about changing direction you’re already there, requiring only the slightest tug on the bars. It’s by far the easiest to ride aggressively.

“The Honda’s ability to turn-in quickly was one of the most neutral of all the
2009 Honda CBR1000RR Smackdown Track Test
That's one nice rear end. No, we're talking about the bike you weirdo.
bikes,” Sorensen said. “It took very little effort to flick the bike in, but it wasn’t twichy at all and gave excellent feedback from the front as you turn the bike from left to right.”

“Once again the CBR1000RR seems to feature the most well-sorted suspension package of the test,” Hutchison adds. “It required the least adjustments according to our test riders to dial it in and was the most confidence inspiring bike of the test for me personally. I could push harder for longer sessions than I could on any other bike. That’s because I wasn’t thinking about anything but riding when I was on the Honda. It isolates the rider from the track and lets you focus on the task of putting corners together and having fun while doing it.”
2009 Honda CBR1000RR Smackdown Track Test
It was hard to separate Waheed from the Honda.

Taking a look at the data you can see several interesting things. In Turn 2, while the lean angle may not be the highest, it’s one of the fastest to complete the corner as well as holding one of the highest speeds at max lean. The same thing can be seen in Turn 14 where it is the quickest of all the bikes to get though the corner, though max lean is right in the middle of the field. This shows that not as much lean is required from the Honda to still maintain the same speed or better than most of the competition. It’s also interesting to point out that it has some of the lowest max lateral grip numbers, showing that on this flying lap I was sliding the Honda to a certain degree in both turns more than the others. It’s the Honda’s solid set-up and very communicative chassis that allowed this to be possible without crashing. And equally as important as handling to achieve this was the connection my right wrist had with the rear wheel, another area the Honda shines.

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2009 Honda CBR1000RR
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Power delivery is crisp and spot-on, never intimidating the rider, only asking him or her to push harder, open the throttle sooner and go faster. It’s not as intimidating as the Kawasaki or as strong up top as the Suzuki, but where the Honda makes up time is coming off the corner. Due to its much more real-world gearing and torquey engine, acceleration in the low- to mid-range on the Honda is the best of the Inline-Fours no question and surpassed only by the thumping Twin-powered Ducati.

2009 Honda CBR1000RR Smackdown Track Test
AFM fast guy Michael Earnest was instantly at home on the Honda and hauling the mail right out of the gate.
“The Honda motor is probably one of the most deceiving in its power delivery,” Sorensen remarks. “The band in which it lays down the power is seamless; there are no steps, gaps, or hiccups as you twist the throttle. It’s deceivingly fast. That being said, in the upper gears this bike doesn’t have that “warp drive” feeling the Suzuki and Kawasaki have.” 

Says Hutchy: “This may not be the most powerful bike of the bunch, but you would never know it by the way it performs. It provides a level of connection with the rider that is difficult to achieve, giving it an advantage over a lot of these bikes.”

A quick look at the dyno numbers supports this, with the Honda spinning the rear wheel drum to the tune of 76.62 lb-ft of torque, nearly two lb-ft higher than the next Inline. As for power, though, it could only muster 149.64 hp, which is well down the field. But a closer look at the graph reveals that from 6000 rpm to 10,000 rpm it’s actually the strongest of the Inline-Fours, which is typically where the bike is ridden around the racetrack, though tapers off from there where as the Suzuki and Kawasaki keep on pulling. As far as top speed on the front straight, its lack of peak bhp didn’t cause it to suffer too badly, ticking the beacon at 155.59 mph, putting it right in the middle of the field. But what goes up must come down, or in this case, what speeds up must slow down. And, again, Honda has one impressive set of stoppers.

Click past the beacon at 155 mph, sit up and grab the front lever. Awesome initial bite greets the rider, decelerating the bike with haste but not causing the chassis to get out of shape. With a great leverage ratio and progressive action, not to mention massive amounts of continued power, the Honda slows as quickly and precisely as the rider asks – no more and no less. Are they the best of the group? No doubt it’s between the Honda, Kawasaki and the Ducati, with voting nearly split between the three. Though, a quick glance at the data chart shows the Honda to generate the highest braking G-forces by a healthy margin going into Turn 14. There’s no question that they are a precision instrument, which is what the Honda CBR1000RR is all about.
2009 Honda CBR1000RR Smackdown Track Test
Hutchy heads out for some fast laps on the Honda CBR1000RR. He says the Repsol graphics helped him drop 2 seconds per lap. We don't believe him...


“For me the Honda has the best brakes, for sure,” Waheed interjects. “But the Kawasaki, those are right there as well. It’s hard to say, but there no question these two bikes stood atop the competition by a healthy margin in terms of braking.”

“The brakes are superb,” exclaims Kenny. “I have a tough time saying exactly what it was but they have a level of feel at the lever that I didn’t seem to find from the other bikes. It allowed me to brake with much more confidence than other machines.”

Equally as precise and equally as ‘Honda’ is the transmission and slipper clutch. Like the Suzuki, one never thinks of the transmission on the CBR as it never does anything wrong. There’s no worrying about hitting a false neutral going into a fast corner or missing a full-throttle up-shift – it just plain works. Same goes for the slipper clutch, which almost perfectly blends the amount of slip with the amount of back torque, getting the rider into the corner smoothly while still relaying back a feeling of being planted to the ground.

“It’s a Honda and it worked like a Honda should – flawlessly,” Sorensen said in his final words about the CBR. “But the question for this test is: How does it get around the racetrack? When I look at the lap times it’s hard to pick anything else. Riding the bike, it never does anything stupid, it works very well. It may not be as exciting to ride as some of the other bikes, but it is a tool on which to go fast, and that’s exactly what it does best: lap the track fast.”
2009 Honda CBR1000RR Smackdown Track Test
Once again the battle for top spot was close. In fact, the closest we've ever seen.


Yes, this is exactly what the Honda does – lap the track very fast. It topped our Superpole session with a lightning-fast 1:56.09, as well as having the best average lap time (1:56.88) of the bunch. And it did so very easily. Maybe even too easily? It’s for this reason that when it came time to tally the numbers it was, in fact, second to the GSX-R1000 on the subjective half of the test, which won us over with its wildly entertaining engine. But when the objective performance numbers came though there was no question who the winner was. It may lack some of the personality of the Suzuki, but there’s no question which is the best bike of the bunch.

They say defending any title is always harder than getting the first (just ask Chad Reed), but Honda’s CBR1000RR took everything thrown it’s way with ease and extreme precision, proving that so far it’s one of the few Superbikes to stand the test of time. Once again, say hello to the MotoUSA Superbike Smackdown Champion, the 2009 Honda CBR1000RR.



2009 Honda CBR1000RR Track Gallery
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Honda CBR1000RR Dealer Locator
Honda CBR1000RR Highs & Lows
Highs
  • 600 size 1000 engine
  • Massive mid-range
  • Superpole killer
Lows
  • Love-it or hate-it graphics
  • Ummm....
Kinelogix Honda Data Chart
2009 Honda CBR1000RR Smackdown Track Map
When pulling the data we honestly expected the Honda CBR1000RR to be top dog in more than just one category. Where it did shine very brightly, though, was on the brakes. It topped the data sheet going into Turn 14 by a healthy margin and this comes as no surprise as the Honda's brakes and light weight made it the easiest bike to get slowed down. This data chart also shows that numbers aren't everything, as even though it wasn't at the front in terms of numbers, it still laid down the fastest Superpole lap (1:56.09) with ease.
2009 Superbike Smackdown 1/4 Mile
2009 Superbike Smackdown Quarter Mile Times.
2009 Superbike Smackdown Superpole
Honda CBR1000RR Final Settings
Thy champion returnith.
Front
Preload – +4 Turns
Rebound – -1.5 Turns
Comp. – -1.5 turns
Ride Height – Std.

Rear
Preload – Position 7
Rebound – -0.5 Turns
Comp. – -0.5 Turns
Ride Height – Std.

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Comments
Dennis -Its all about set-up  October 7, 2010 07:03 AM
The CBR is definitly a great bike. Its horrible with a 190/50 on the back as the manufacturer intentionally made the rear shock short. Once you have a 190/55 and reduced the front from a 120/73 to a 120/70 the handling will astonish you.
From the Factory rear shock preload in in neutrual position 4 out from full soft and front preload is 6 out from full stiff. Thats ok if your 68 likos with full riding gear. once you got your sag dialed in, its ashocker. I am 79 kilos with full gear. Front preload 8 turns out from FS and rear preload postion 5. The track handling on this bike is amazing. My first lap on my CBR beat my best ever lap on my ZX10 by 1.9 secs. I have C-ABS and it works great. I have put the Bazzaz traction control on the bike and the TC definity backs you up. point is, the cbr1000rr needs a bit of twicking, only tires and Sag settings, its fab, the first time u ride you forgot its a new bike. easy as pie.
Nick -BRIAN - CBR RIDER  May 21, 2010 11:06 AM
Yep Brian, the CBR is nice easy bike. Having owned it for two years I would describe it as a litre bike for dummies.
Brian -CBR rider  April 26, 2010 12:16 PM
Shlema - ) not too bright are you? The Honda is lighter and gets off the line quicker. The other bikes start gaining ground but by the time they do it's too late. Food for thought, The Hondas take a long time to break in. where the GSXR and ZX-10 have "loose" motors already. My '09 CBR started to come in after about 1,000 miles and it keeps getting stronger and stonger while my friend GSXR has started to drop off over the last year. We got the bike about the same time and at first he would pull away from me from start to finish consistently. after I hit about 1,000 miles we were pretty much dead even, now I crush him consistently 1-2 bike lengths in the quarter. The R-1 is tweeky going into turns. Really responsive, but not nearly as stable as the CBR or GSXR and it's really scary at the upper limits (not in a good way). I have riden every bike on here (except the Ducatti) both on the track and on the street. For day today riding and some occasional track riding the Honda is #1 (once it's broken in -- out of the crate GSXR is tops). The tighter geometry helps get you into and out of the turns (especially for smaller riders). The CBR gives more control, stability, and feedback on the track. After the CBR it's GSXR, ZX-10 and R-1 last (as unbelieveable as it sounds). Bottom line is they are so close in weight, and horse power, it comes down to the skill of the rider and personal comfort add in the gearing set-up if you are on a track. Any pro rider is going to crush any novice on the track regardless of who is riding what. But when slitting hairs, bike versus bike the Honda is on top.
xaviwer reyna -iam discord  April 24, 2010 11:17 AM
i belive that yamaha r1 is the better superbike .
Shlema -)  April 13, 2010 09:42 AM
Funny, Honda has fastest 1/4 mile time with lowest top speed. How could it be?
romeo -mcn vs motousa  March 13, 2010 12:26 PM
WSBK and MotoGP are here in Europe unfortunately all good riders are also here.2009 R1 remain and still king of street bike why??? just check all previous success from grand prix to testing specially on MCN. If motousa rated the R1 last because probably about bitterness of not really carefully doing their research. Too bad R1 won all major grand prix from 2009 like one guy mention above WSBK, MotoGP endurance GP Ducth GP British SBK WorldSuperSports champion and more...Still were not enough you've got to be kidding!!! by the way I own 2009 R1 just to let everyone knows its so SPECIAL because its a crossplane. In engine engineering very common to have flat and n v type but for the R1 absolutely a very good collection you can have... and last but not least its a winner bike after all isn't it!!!!
Newby rider -Get a grip girls  February 24, 2010 06:14 AM
I had my first year 2009 season on a bike. These kinda comparisons are good to know because guys like me - who are not up for track on our first year need also the info about stock bikes. What was really strange to me was the fact that these guys think yamo to be one of the not comfortable bikes. Weird, I have been sitting on all of those and it seemed yamo to be one comfiest. I'm currently riding a gsxr 750 - chose it because of the price and the fact that 1000 is a bit too much and 600 needs a lot of rpm to get the job done. Friend in my garage is riding 3rd year R1 and is insanely skilled and thrilled with the perfomance and all. When both stock - just as fast - but strangely the vibration that was mentioned in test accures on my older bike too and next to the R1 suzu sounds like race bike even stock. On a long drive down the coast its not that good though....
Yamaha -please !!!  February 23, 2010 07:56 AM
please, kawasaki over Yamaha??? not even close, this test sucks! The Yamaha is nr1 second in line is either honda or Suzuki. Every review shows that the R1 is thé bike to be on and then they say you should drive a kawasaki and not a Yamaha.

WHO WON THE 09 CHAMPIONSHIP IN SBK?? YAMAHA!!!!! where was kawasaki?

winnracing -owner  January 24, 2010 07:28 AM
i was surprised over the yamaha rating, but these are stock bikes & even a fine auto may need minor adjustments after purchase. Ive road all these bikes, there all great bikes! I think the yamaha shoulda been replaced for this testing? great feedback though... P.S, "BUT"... A CBR1000 is whats setting in my garage, right beside a goldwing...!
Joe -1000RR  January 16, 2010 06:21 PM
My dad's motorcycle is faster than your dad's motorcycle.
shane4000 -cbr1000rr  January 5, 2010 08:52 AM
i own the 2008 cbr1000rr as it is a great bike as i love the bike, but i think alot of people forget these are stock bikes they have not been tuned or piped or chiped so a stock r1 sucks bottom line but if you want to spend 1000 bucks on pipes to make the bike run better do not wast your money.
RabidDog -Thanks for the review!  December 15, 2009 12:15 PM
Thanks very much for the effort put in to rating bikes that most of us would consider buying. It is nice to see feedback from people on the bikes. I think that what people need to remember is that these bikes are not race bikes. If you want to race them you gonna do a great deal of work on them and should be effectively tweaking the bikes for the different tracks you riding/racing. From a stock riders point of view it is nice to see which bike would make a good commuter and occasional track day bike. Keep up the effort and I look forward to next years review.
Billy Bob -racing  December 12, 2009 10:03 PM
I just spent a season racing a Ducati 749r, then I bought a CBR 1000rr. I didn't really connect to the Honda, So I bought an 1198. Lets face it All 5 of these bikes are awesome, So just find the one you feel good about and go haul ass! By the way the bike that usually wins races are the ones with the best riders!
Conner -Food for thought.....  December 10, 2009 09:16 AM
Nice stock comparo of new bikes. Now a new 2008 cbr 1000 is selling for $7000 (overstock), vs $11800 for a 2010. Imagine the suspension and power and weight reduction mods you could do for the $4800 difference. Or just save some dough for a pile of great tires. Few people ride stock bikes anyways. If your racing, rules will dictate the better tool to win with. Mildly Modded 2006 Gsxr 1000 will run with any of these bikes. Heavy modded bike will smoke'em in all arenas. GP winning bikes have nothing to do with showroom models.....
AMA Expat -Race Bikes vs. Street Bikes  November 12, 2009 05:40 PM
Unfortunately Jerry here doesn't understand that none of the manufacturers race their bikes in stock form in any of the organizations he mentions below. This is a STREET BIKE TEST. Duurrrrr.
Jerry -KM is talking nonsense he knows nothing about bikes, yamaha dominated the world in racing 2009  November 7, 2009 09:14 AM
The r1 dominated the world this year in racing, Second in the usless watered down AMA superbike league, The r1 Won world superbike championship, british superbike championship, dutch superbike championship, 24 hrs endurance the list goes on and on......R6 won the world supersport championship, M1 won first and second place in MOTOGP championship, what happend to Suzuki gixxer1k, honda cbr100rr, and kawasaki zx-10r and ducati 1198? i don't see any of them winning any championships hmmm makes you wonder how these guys tested these bikes? Watch KM come up with excuses to why his honda cbr1000rr didn't win any championships this year, don't feel bad, suzuki, and kawasaki, ducati got an azz whooping by yamaha this year, the r1 and R6 are too good of bikes. come on let's hear the excuses now....
KM -CBR1000RR  October 11, 2009 08:03 PM
I have a 2008 CBR1000RR and the bike rocks; the bottom line is if you want a liter bike thats fast, stable, and reliable then buy a honda. Read the article and you will see you dont win the super bike shootout two years in a row unless you are doing somthing right.
usmc_drew -CBR 1000 2008-2009  October 6, 2009 05:52 PM
What changes were done from the 2008 to the 2009?
David-Racer -ZX10R  September 25, 2009 02:21 PM
There is nothing more fun to ride than a ZX10R. I own both the ZX10R and 08 CBR1000RR. The honda is smooth but the ZX10R is WAAAYYY more fun and feels way faster... I think I Am faster on the 10R too.
My brother has the R1 and it lives in my garage as well..... Took it for a ride and couldnt wait to get off it. Felt like the power of a 600, and its FAT and heavy. I think Yamaha missed the boat with this new bike. I like the GSXR though....thats a nice bike.
Peter M (Aussie) -Gixxer 09, 1000  September 23, 2009 05:54 PM
How many of u guys spend that much time on da track anyway.

The bike that shines for me is the new 09 GSX R1000, street ridability, good throttle reponse, torgue and ergos (6ft 1") for long rides and short bursts.

I have tested the Blade, Kwaka and the R1. And I gotta tell ya the R1 is the most uncomfortable ride I have ever experienced, the Blade and Kwaka are great and at the top of the comfort zone is the GSX R1000.

I took all of these bikes for test rides over at least 10 miles and I tell ya on da road the GSX R1000 has it all.

And if I want to duck down to Eastern Creek for a track day, Akrapovik fitted with my BT tyres and oggies on, then I'm set for a bit of fun.

You serious wanna be's who DON'T compete professionally should shut ur holes because most of da serious buyers out there are people who want the complete all round bike....AND I GOTTA SAY AGAIN... SUZUKI have delivered this time around...Congrats.
Adam -Superbike Shootout  September 18, 2009 12:53 PM
Funny, the only two bikes I would consider owning are the two that finished at the bottom of the rankings. For me, the Ducati is easily the bike to own for the rider experience on public roads and the simplicity of design.
Rick -Honda Fan  September 13, 2009 09:46 PM
The 2008 CBR1000rr takes the prize. It runs strong with a stock exhaust mod and a Z-Bomb timing adjust. The bike would start to lose power at 10.5k. Now it accelerates right up to 13k. I would think the increase is enough for mid 9's in the 1/4. The engine is compact and the bike feels like a 600 until you open it up. The gearing, clutch, and brakes do the job. I has been driven almost 4500 miles and it broke in solid. No oil is consumed between oil changes. On level ground, it has enough torque to pull from idle and change all 6 gears w/o touching the throttle. The only gripe is the delicate plastic intakes and difficult snap on cowls.
Jerry -the r1 is the bike to beat  September 7, 2009 12:32 PM
Honda, Suzuki, Kawasaki better come up with a liter bike that can keep up with the R1, the R1 is the bike to beat this year, want proof? just ask every true racer, its bike of the year, won many awards and shootouts, but most important at the highest level of racing World superbike champion to be the R1, suzuki, honda and kawasaki are getting their azzes kicked all over the world by yamaha , not only the r1 but the R6 as well. and motogp champion, and josh hayes recent success in AMA superbike.
Gen.. -handling, top speed, torque, rpm, looks, etc  August 25, 2009 02:54 PM
I'll tell you guys, that no matter how good the bikes are. you can never choose a champion. considering
Riders....different people different opinions and mind set about bikes

Bikes....trying to get the right set up before launching it..who will use? different riders.

Specs...that the best the companies think for their bike..who wil ise it.....different riders..

Riders again...some riders stick to their riding skills and can't cath up to the bikes' settings.
But some rider can easily adapt the bike settings.

Race...different teams different skills that can set-up a different settings.. who will have the best bike? the team is good not the bike.

quarter mile?....how could you test those bikes for quarter mile, they are not drag bikes...

I drove a honda i got a yamaha r1 09, fireblade to my friend, suzuki to my bro...
these bikes needs a rider that fits them, and will we all truly says that each of us had the best bike...why ? different person...

I got to say, all bikes are great...
What's the use of all the setting? you need to learn from the stock bikes...not the other way around...or else, you will never be happy on a stock bike


peace

cbr600rr -1000cc shoot out  August 1, 2009 07:34 AM
does anyone look at compression ratios honda 12.3:1 vs 12.9:1 kawasaki.every other brand have to have higher to keep up.honda makes more with less that true enginering,even look at the 600s honda 12.2:1,susuki 12.5:1,yamaha 13.0:1,kawasaki 13.9:1 and honda still woops them.
vinay -r1 - horse power  July 22, 2009 04:34 AM
else where the r1 sold other than in the U.S.A the power rating is around 180 bhp,around the globe i think that Yamaha downplayed the power ratings for the bike maybe because of regulations .!!!! but i have few friends who have the 09- r1 . it rocks to the core .. 149 b hp- for the American version , i think its a raw deal from Yamaha
Carkiller -duc  July 15, 2009 09:43 AM
A twin vs inline 4 well there is the big difference. twins have a great sense of balance that goes with out saying. I have always wonder how anyone can compare the two they both make power so differently and both have there strengths and weaknesses. I have owned a old 916 to ride and race and had a old 900rr both were great but the 916 is the best in that turn but the 900 out powered it out of the turn.. I now race cbr600rr and 1000rr the best bang for your buck.. 1098 well to much money for me. Its all about the rider and how he fills on a bike I have been riding and racing for about 15 years now ya I am old. I always said 4 over 2 is always better in the end. Sorry just what I fill. Ride them that’s the only way you will find you true love..
guest -how did chuck beat steve on the duc?  July 13, 2009 08:31 AM
as the title says, on each bike steve is over a sec faster. how did chuck get faster than him on the duc? lol.
cj -torque riding?  June 29, 2009 11:03 AM
Your post is nonsense. All riding is HP and Torque riding. HP is a function of Torque and rpm.
2009R1 -R1  June 21, 2009 09:03 AM
The reason the new R1 lacks top-end HP is because it needs to be ridden more on the low-rpm band than the other bikes (more torque riding than hp riding)
TexasKidd -'09 Shootout  June 20, 2009 06:35 AM
Another great job bringing us the facts and nothing but the facts in classic Dragnet fashion. I think the bottom line here is that most of your readers miss is the fact that as far as street riding goes. One has two options in claiming who's bike is best. First would be who can make it from red light to red light the fastest and second who looks better doing it. The fact remains that the last place bike in this comparo is way more machine than what can be used to it's fullest on any street. As an old road racer, I personally hate seeing kids killed every day on the streets riding machines that mommy and daddy bought them when they had no business on them in the first place. The weakest of all these bikes is more power than the average rider can handle and if you argue this statement try participating at a Track Day near you and find out real quickly that you are not as good as you think you are. So buy the bike that appeals to you, feels good riding it, respect the power, don't ride over your ability and all will be good...... RIDE SAFE MY FRIENDS!
Yamerhaw -Track and Top speed....  June 10, 2009 04:35 PM
i would liked to have seen some track testing at a track where top speed would have been an issue...i bet the Honda's lap times wouldn't be nearly as impressive then, compared to the Suzuki and Kawi....remove the top speed limiter and it would be HORRIBLE news for the Honda
Big O -Review  June 6, 2009 06:30 PM
This was an awesome review, straight and to the point and all aspects. The point made was put up or shut up right out the box. I see alot of guys crying about what if they installed aftermarket parts. That's not what the test is about. And sure some bikes more have an advantage over others in certain areas but this is about overall results in stock form, the results are what they are. Awesome job guys and looking forward to next years results.
shane4000 -bikes  May 31, 2009 07:32 AM
you know ducati are great bikes but your paying for the name then the bike. Me myself i would never get a ducati becuase im not looking for a 15 to 20,000 dollor bike to where i can get that other money i would of payed for a ducati and hope the hell out of a jap bike that will handle and do every that a hoped up ducati will do.
MV1000 -No need to ask MCUSA to test with after market parts  May 31, 2009 04:38 AM
Folks, It is great that MCUSA is testing stock configurations, and they should ensure that companies send them stock configuration. That gives us a good idea what we are getting for our money right out the showroom. It is unrealistic to ask them to test performance with aftermarket parts given the large number of parts, and combinations, the tuning needed, the large cost. If you want to see the performance of these bikes with racing exhaust, and weight reduced, etc., that's what the AMA Superbike or World Superbike championship is for. Clearly in each of these championship one of the bikes dominates. But there are other factors at play like the tehnical expertise of the racing team, and the skills of the rider. But you can't do much about that. There is no way to get a pure objective apples-apples comparison. Cheers!
sodominsane -to sly  May 28, 2009 03:06 PM
i totally agree with you on the winner part. as someone who has raced bikes (as a hobby) im here to tell you that most of the modern bikes are engineered really really good. And to pick a winner in a shootout is like splitting hairs. and i would guess that most racerboy wanna bes, you know the kinda guys who ride around in a pack at the local bar district pulling wheelies, would not be able to tell the slight difference anyways and even after you modify bike for the track there is a huge variance to what each rider likes.for example i always put my best times down when supention setting softer than most people. but each wanna be that ever looked at my bike always was like "why is your suspention set so soft, i got mine dialed up as hard as possible,cause i ride hard....." nah its just you read somewhere that most pro racers like the settings hard as far as chicks go. if you need a bike to pull chicks you got problems. and besides most chicks know very little about bikes....thye car more about how it look (condition and paint job) and how cute they look on it. and car evey little about who has a more horsespower or stability in a curve. besides i have pulled way mmore chick with my 10,000 dollar vibrator (harley davidson) than i ever do with my sportbike
Stenman -Comments  May 28, 2009 01:22 PM
I appreciate the banter. Glad to see not everyone agrees with me. But I'm gonna tell you a little story. I owned the Jap sport bikes my whole life. Been to the racing clases and competed locally so I can ride a little. I bought my 2008 CBR1000RR last year second one to arrive at my dealership. Great bike no doubt. Then I traded it in on my 2008 Duc 1098. Wow. I will never own anything other than a Duc. The brakes, power delivery, sound, handling, stability all torched my ol' 08 CBR1000RR. It takes alot of adjustment in riding styles to get used to the 1098 or you will punk the rev limiter on a regular basis after riding the CBR. But once you spend a few hours on it, it is substantailly better in all aspects.
shane4000 -honda  May 27, 2009 05:28 PM
i just got that cbr1000rr holy cow that thing rocks it is one dam quick big as it throw me back in the seat and pulled so fast, as i was just like wow. It is by far the best handling big i been on for road's and i can get on it in a turn and give it gas and it still wants to lean more. So anyone out there looking for a great bike get that cbr1000rr it rocks
Mark -Blade  May 27, 2009 08:45 AM
Great work!!!Bravo Honda!!!
Sly -winner  May 26, 2009 11:10 PM
Great test but I really don't understand why anyone would buy a bike based on the fact it won a shootout? Or why there has to be a winner? What bike is best is so subjective that declaring a winner amongst bikes which are so similar is BS. When a race team get a new bike it is just the start and it takes a lot of testing, mods adjustments etc to get it to anywhere near it performance potential. You could get one rider out on say the Suzuki and if it is not set up to him or he misses the right setting it could feel like rubbish. Look at Moto gp the only rider who can ride the Ducati is Stoner imagine you read two tests on the Ducati one by Stoner and one by Haden? They should pick a bike based on how many chicks you can pull with it! I think the Ducati just won...
fastlaneLA -reply to OneofSeattlesfastest  May 26, 2009 03:26 AM
first of all, i own a ducati 1098R and ready to smoke ur gixxerass on any track my friend..those riders that u call them CLOWNS have a point about ducs. u r just a hater...i own a 05 gixxer 1000 as well and guess what my 1098R makes better timings every time. It is just a better bike. I do agree u can buy 3 new gixxer for a 1098R but guess what you own a bike and u dont seee it like taxi all over the city like a gixxer. u keep hating LOL
ykracer7 -great review  May 26, 2009 03:16 AM
Great review guys. Anything a rider needs to know for 09 models. I own a black 1198s myself and in love with it since the first ride. I extremely enjoyed to learn a great deal about all these sportbikes from your comparison articles.
SuperPowernator -Comparo Test  May 25, 2009 12:11 PM
Nice test guys, it was an interesting read and without a doubt all the bikes are better than good. One question I always have in reading a tests like this is how difficult it must be to jump from a Ducati twin to the Japanese 4's and visa versa. It seems to me that it would be really difficult to be as efficient on the Ducati as the 4's when it's only 20% of the time spent riding. Keep up the good work!
GeddyT -Aftermarket tests  May 24, 2009 12:01 PM
I find it funny that people are desperate for info on what these bikes can do once uncorked. "Gimee THAT comparo M-USA!" Well, uh... that comparo is already being provided free of charge at your local race track eight or nine weekends per summer. Want to see what a pipe and PC, shock and fork cartridges, 10Kg weight shaving will do? Go check out your local club racing scene! They'll all have pretty open pits where you can get right up close and personal with the riders and machinery and most riders will gladly tell you about their bike and what they've done to it and how it's working out.
cloud9 -aftermarket tests unlikely imo  May 23, 2009 01:55 PM
Too much cost. Everyone wants to know what the bikes would do with pipes, power commander's and what not but it's just too much money to fit out 4 or more bikes with full race exhausts and power commanders. I'm shocked they are able to do even these reviews with the track cost, tire cost, and other miscellaneous expenses added in.
shane4000 -selling  May 23, 2009 11:17 AM
i really like how the honda seem to be a great bike as myself got a 2007 zx10r with bolt on akrapovic and k&n and pcm3 and been thinking about selling it and getting the honda. The thing im running into right now is my zx10r is fast and it does every thing i want it to do and turns where i want it to go. I guess the thing im asking what is the honda going to give me for town ridding that i all ready have.
skyraider -thumbs up MUSA  May 22, 2009 10:28 PM
Reading some stupid comments one would realize immediately that common sense is not that common. Some people can't seem to get the word "stock" into their thick skull (their kind would buy a knock-off brand name product and convince themselves it's the best just cos of the name, BREMBO anyone?) Shame. YOU GUYS AT MUSA HAVE DONE AN AWESOME JOB. It is absolutely mind-boggling to think of all the prep work that went into this - and we're getting it for free?!! More power to you I say (maybe next year invite Mr. Stenman - that is if he owns a bike or even rides)
ep -RE: YZF-R1  May 22, 2009 10:06 AM
it might be more accurate to say that it's a mistake to put the R1 last in terms of potential. but the numbers don't lie. it's heavier, less powerful, and doesn't have as much feel. the result is that the R1 is the least track worthy bike out of the box. obviously it's got a ton of potential though. drop 10 kilos, bump up the torque and hp by about 5% and give it better springs and we'd have a clear winner.
YZF-R1 -YZF-R1  May 21, 2009 12:52 AM
it's a misstake to put YZF-R1 at last
Sachin -Great work  May 21, 2009 12:00 AM
Very good shootout guys, keep it up. I have slight feeling that MCN got a bit too over excited with this cross-firing R1 and hence their biased reviews. However, I still like the new R1. But yes, the Fireblade is just something else :)
Sean -"Part 3" here here!  May 20, 2009 11:22 PM
I agree it would be pretty cool to see the bikes compared with pipes and maps (and any US only electronic top end neutering fixed). Perhaps fork springs too. I know you gotta draw the line somewhere on what mods to include (and most racers throw on a shock and fork valving too) but considering so many guys throw on pipes and there are no sound and emission regs at race tracks it would be cool to see the full potential of the stock motor designs. I'd also be curious if this brings the weights closer. Great job and fabulous moto stylee fashion - you guys are like the Sex in the City of moto journalists LOL. (Just kidding). BTW if you ever need any help with your testing or on camera stuff I can be bribed with a ride on that RSV4 when you get it.
Shaswata Panja -Who are right?  May 20, 2009 06:53 PM
I just cannot get it in my head....The R1 was tagged as the best superbike of 2009 by MCN by a long shot...With the fastest laptimes by a long margin...It was at some track in Spain where most of the BSB guys and some of the WSB guys do their pre season testing...The telemetry released by MCN also confirmed that the R1 won..And now the US web mags like MO and Moto USA are going ga ga over the Fireblade...Whose opinion should I take as the defintive conclusive result?
Steve Atlas -RE: Jimbo - To Motor-USA  May 20, 2009 01:08 PM
We had no trouble at all. I took ours easily right up to the 186 mph speed limiter without any problem. The Kawasaki could have easily gone faster as well, had the limiter not been there...
PandaR1 -R1 down on power  May 20, 2009 01:04 PM
I have a 09 R1 and just yesterday got it back from a full leo vince system with PC5 and a custom map on the bike. Stock pull on the bike was 147hp, now after all said and done its pulled at 162hp yesteray and yes you can deffinately feel the differance.
cloud9 -honda is good at what they make.  May 20, 2009 11:42 AM
They may not have the most diverse sport/standard/beginner friendly bike line up but what they do make is almost always exceptional. Just wish they had more options for beginner riders and standard riders alike. None the less if they continue to make top notch sport bikes I can forgive them.
James -Stenman - WTF?  May 20, 2009 07:28 AM
...Who does this guy think he is anyway? Or even better, do we really care or even care what he thinks? This shootout was one of the Best that I have ever read anywhere. additionally, it is on par with the rest of the world. Right now the CBR is the bike to beat out of the box. We should all know by now, that a full race spec machine pretty much changes everything. What was tested here was bikes in stock form and the CBR prevails again. Keep up the great work guys! Stenman is obviously mad about how the Ducati stacked up. I know it's disappointing, but even the Moto-usa staff is not Haga or Bayliss so the bike in stock form was just not enough to get it done. Wait... I know... Maybe Ducati can come back next year with it's all new 1298CC bike and get 3rd or 4th again. Peace -
Michel -Really great shoot-out  May 20, 2009 06:00 AM
Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed reading every bit of this shoot-out and watching the videos of course. Also you guys shouldn't pay too much attention to some of the mindless people whining that this shoot-out sucks, because it is better than pretty much every review I have seen here in the Dutch/Belgian magazines or MCN for that mather. From what I have read about the KTM RC8R it would probably get a solid 6th place here, so you guys aren't missing out on the KTM. Was reading a review of 3 bikes in a Dutch magazine, the KTM, the R1 and the CBR1000RR and the KTM came in last place (R1 second and the Honda 1st). Already looking forward to next year's shoot-out with the RSV4 and the S1000RR!
Jimbo -To Motor-USA  May 20, 2009 01:05 AM
Quick question. Is it true that the Kawa gets a bit too scary close to the top end speed? Been talking to some people across the pond and apparently only a handfull of testers actually reached the top end speed, while the rest used those results as a reference. Supposedly, it gets really unstable close to 160-ish?
Ralf -Stenman & Honduh  May 19, 2009 11:29 PM
You guys are real clowns, I mean how easy it is for guys like you to crap around, but then if you don't do it how will we all know what idiots are you!! Thanks.. MotorcycleUSA for a great smackdown.. CHEERS!
thewall -Dang!  May 19, 2009 08:49 PM
I knew I should have worked at a motorcycle e mag. We can't smoke anything at work. So great write up. You guys are getting better and better at pointing out the real world performance behind the standard stats, bhp, torque, weight, and really getting into the character of the bikes.
OneofSeattlesfast -Comments On Comments  May 19, 2009 07:06 PM
Nice response Steve. I don't know what's wrong with Stenman but we can assume he's a kid. I have not seen many impressive privateers on Ducati's. Maybe it's because those who buy Duc's are the more buttoned-up type and don't have the crazy gene that is necessary to be fast. The track record at our local track (Pacific Raceways) seems to always be on a GSXR1000 which incidentally was beat again last weekend on a...GSXR. I have a couple pals on the 08/09CBR1000 and it IS easy to go fast on. I'd buy the CBR1000 for sure if they paid contigency money but Honda doesn't. So the GSXR1000 would have to be the obvious choice. Suzuki makes a great track bike right out of the box. And costs almost half to fix when (not if) you go down.
Steve Atlas -RE: Stenman - Clownshow!  May 19, 2009 05:22 PM
HAHA. Sounds like someone needs to stop drinking so much Haterade for breakfast? There's so much anger in you! Are you okay? Do you need a friend? Though it's comments like yours, and the one's below who like the story, which let me know I did my job. Love it or hate it, either way I'm happy... Also, in response to your comment I suggest you start a motorcycle magazine and website of your own and compete against us. We should be easy targets since we just sit around and smoke crack all day, right? HAHA.
Hutchy -Honduhhh & Stenman  May 19, 2009 05:02 PM
Honduhhh: thanks for taking up the mantle for us while we were off firing up the bunson burner. We love you man. Stenman: Hey, often times my buddies call me Kenman. That means we're like, totally almost bros buddy. I can't believe you'd hate me and my boys so much though - seriously killin my buzz bro. Now, while I am sorry you feel we are clowns (We feel the same way after a good smoke session though) - I'd like to point out that we love the 1198. But it would be tough and expensive to race right out of the box - but it does feel the most like a race bike in stock form. Kinda Catch 22. But we love Ducati's still and as far as the Brembos go: Just because they are Brembo doesnt make them the best. The high end aftermarket equipment isn't exactly the same as the OEM-level equipment. But its still very, very good. As far as the ZX not winning in racing lately, I know it sucks that they dont win a lot of stuff but in their defense, Jordan Szoke just wonthe Canadian title on a Ninja ZX10R last year. But we agree, they should be doing better. Also, the Aprilia is not available to anyone in the USA right now but when it is, I promise they will give us one and we will put it up against these bad boys just for kicks.
Stenman -Honduuuhh!  May 19, 2009 03:47 PM
Duuhh is right...The 1098/1198 brakes are still the best of any bike period.. BREMBO!!! Every body runs 'em or they lose... And the were not testing on the street they were testing on the track... Duuuhhh!!
Honduh -in reply to Stenman  May 19, 2009 03:39 PM
"Stenman - Clownshow! May 19, 2009 03:32 PM These guys should stop smoking crack before they test bikes! Brakes: Ducati 8/10 Kawi 10/10 not a chance. One word BREMBO!!!" The brakes are not as good as last years 1098. What part don't you get about that? "Race bike of choice" Ducati 5/10... with that ranking alone you lost all credability." So many Ducatis are filling up the grid at local club races ... NOT. "You guys are idiots." How old are you? 15? "The R1 ranked 5th? WTF?!" Yamaha marketing does not a winner make. "Kawasaki has not finished on the podium with a superbike since Jesus wore short pants..." And a street bike has exactly what to do with a racebike? "idiots!" I revise my estimate to 14. "Aprillia did not give you guys a bike because they know you guys are clowns..! Now 13.
Honduh -in reply to shane4000  May 19, 2009 03:33 PM
"shane4000 - the r1 May 19, 2009 04:42 AM you know with some pipes and tuning done to the new r1 it would be up to the top of the pack" you know with some pipes and tuning done to the old CBR, the old ZX, and the new GSXR, the new R1 would be right back down in fourth ... where it belongs.
Stenman -Clownshow!  May 19, 2009 03:32 PM
These guys should stop smoking crack before they test bikes! Brakes: Ducati 8/10 Kawi 10/10 not a chance. One word BREMBO!!! "Race bike of choice" Ducati 5/10... with that ranking alone you lost all credability. You guys are idiots. The R1 ranked 5th? WTF?! Kawasaki has not finished on the podium with a superbike since Jesus wore short pants... idiots! Aprillia did not give you guys a bike because they know you guys are clowns..!
shane4000 -the r1  May 19, 2009 04:42 AM
you know with some pipes and tuning done to the new r1 it would be up to the top of the pack, not sure about top end power might be the same but you will get 150 hp or more.
EB -Part 3  May 18, 2009 07:53 PM
You guys should do a third part to the shootout - compare the horsepower gains and weight savings by going with an aftermarket exhaust / custom map. (and in the 1000RR's case, throwing in the Z-Bomb which fixes the CBR's top end limitation) After that, bring the bikes to the track and see who benefited the most, and at what cost.
Puckner -Thanks MUSA  May 18, 2009 07:18 PM
Thanks for the reply. I figured as much with the graph being labeled wrong but lately most sport bikes have been gaining some extra weight(three way cats. and much BIGGER mufflers)just wanted to be sure. Well at least the potatoes aren’t slowing Spies down any.
John H -CBR neutered?  May 18, 2009 06:40 PM
Actually, I heard that US-spec CBRs' top ends were also neutered, might want to check that out...
MotoUSA -RE: Ty - Great Review  May 18, 2009 03:33 PM
Thanks Ty. We know Yamaha doesn't like to make it well know, but as compared to the Euro version we are down about 6 horsepower in peak power. As for the rest, as far as we know they are the same, though with the new government sound regs. (this is why the Yamaha has less power) we're not totally sure. Hope this helps.
Brendan -Enjoyed that  May 18, 2009 03:00 PM
Nice, enjoyable-to-read review. Great stats and comments backed up with stats. Well done, thanks guys.
Ty -Great Review  May 18, 2009 01:29 PM
Great review, guys. Can you find out though, please, whether or not any of the bikes have different performance specs for U.S. vs. European markets? (I believe a mention was made in a comment following the street test with regard to MCN's CBR vs. R1 test, where the R1's midrange was purported to have dominated the CBR's.) I'm not married to any particular brand. I just would like some logic and consistency behind the various comparison tests. In particular, how to explain the apparently significant relative engine lethargy for the U.S. spec R1s compared to the impression from European tests? Are European R1s putting out more power? Or are the other manufacturers' bikes in Europe putting out less? I'm sure you guys could easily find out if there are any differences between U.S. spec and European spec. Please do so. (I realize that you may consider this moot as obviously we do not have access to Euro spec. bikes here for purchase; nevertheless, it would be helpful to know.) Thanks!
Robert -Superbikes  May 18, 2009 12:33 PM
I loved the article you did on the superbikes. It's like you read our comments from before when you asked what we would like to see and you incorporated those into your review of these awsome bikes. I am very surprised the Ducati is not ranked higher although I am a Suzuki rider for life... (I have GSXR DNA in my blood.) But just wanted to say great work, extremely enjoyed the review and I learned a great deal about all these wonderful machines from reading this. Keep up the great work!!!!
MotoUSA -RE: Puckner  May 18, 2009 12:26 PM
The weight graph was labeled wrong and is being fixed. Those weights are with the tank full just as is marked in the spec charts. Sorry for the confusion. As for the Yamaha, after riding it we were wondering the same thing...
Puckner -Weight? Trap speeds?  May 18, 2009 12:08 PM
Hi MUSA staff, I have a few questions. First how much do these bikes weigh?? In your side bars on page one and two of the article it has a bar graph of the bikes weight but says “tank empty”. The weights given in the bar graphs on page one and two are the same weight given with each bikes individual profile at the beginning of that models page but the weight there is listed as “curb weight”. Curb weight is WITH full tank and all other necessary fluids. I don’t care which weight is “tank empty” just the actual curb weight (with gas) because the bikes I ride need gas to run so a tank empty weight would be as useless as a without wheels and tires weight. Also, was there a potato in the in the ram-air ducts of the R1? I ask because its trap times in the 1/4 mile were barely more than 3 mph faster than some of the 600s tested a few weeks ago.