2012 Superbike Smackdown IX Track Conclusion

Adam Waheed | June 25, 2012

The R1s unique engine firing order enhances the feel between the throttle and rear tire.
Mid-corner the Kawasaki was rated second-best behind the Honda.
Waheed would pick the BMW to race and the R1 with Graves pipes for trackdays. Siglin would like to race a Ninja ZX-10R for ’12.

Adam Waheed (33-years-old) – 6’0”, 180 pounds – BMW (racing) / Yamaha (trackdays) 

If I was going road racing I’d do it aboard a BMW. It would cost the least amount of money to turn into a road racer. Even in bone stock form it’s got a ton of power and cranks out more juice than any of the bikes with race pipes—how crazy is that!? Sure the chassis would need a few mods including re-sprung suspension and a LCR shock link but other than some body work and numbers it would be pretty easy to make race ready. But if I was just looking to have fun and rip around on trackday I’d get an R1 with a set of Graves pipes with a re-flashed ECU. When set-up correctly it actually handles pretty dang good plus the sound and character of the engine is out of this world. I also like that the bike isn’t overly fast so I never have to worry about it getting away from me under acceleration.

Chris Siglin (31-years-old) – 5’7″, 145 pounds – Kawasaki (racing)

The 2012 line of Superbikes is great this year. Every single bike in the test had interesting qualities which makes picking one to race difficult. I think the bike that stood out the most would be the Kawasaki. The overall package that it has put together is really spectacular. From the chassis, to the electronics to the power plant, Kawasaki has accomplished something that it has come up short in years past. Again, I’d like to reiterate the entire line of liter-

The Aprilias Brembo brakes proved to be very effective in terms of braking force even though they didnt offer the highest lever feel.
The Honda blew us away with its easy and trustworthy handling.
Compared to the other bikes the Gixxer has one of the most standardized riding positions.
(Top) Brian Chamberlain says he thinks the RSV4 is the right sportbike for him. (Center) Veteran road racer says the Honda CBR would be his pick due to how easy it is to ride and Honda’s renowned durability. (Below) Earnest says that parts availability is why he rides Suzukis.

bikes is phenomenal and when it comes down to it, you really couldn’t go wrong on track with most of these bikes.

Brian Chamberlain (38-years-old) – 6’0”, 190 pounds – Aprilia (racing and trackdays)

The Aprilia quickly became one of my favorite bikes in the shootout. Not only is it amazing to look at, but it is also a blast to ride. The RSV4 Factory APRC is basically a racebike with headlights and mirrors. The bike features more adjustability then I could ever wrap my head around. Plus it has different power modes, traction control, wheelie control and even launch control. The chassis is also fully adjustable including the steering head, engine mounts and swingarm pivot location. This might be a little overkill, but it’s cool nonetheless. The V-Four engine is narrow and the bike feels very light and flickable. I found it really easy to transition in tight switchbacks and once at full lean the chassis was composed. The Ohlins suspension seemed to soak up anything you came across and really helped to keep traction at its maximum. I think I might really like the Aprilia…

Tom Montano (44-years-old) – 5’10”, 145 pounds – Honda (racing) / Aprilia (trackdays)

I think the Honda would be the most reliable out of all them. The BMW would be too much. I’m not man enough for that anymore. The Honda is very user-friendly and it works well everywhere. It doesn’t stand out in any one area but it’s not lacking either. The Aprilia I like too but it’s not quite fast enough in stock form. It probably wouldn’t be the most durable either. But in terms of sheer fun factor I’d go with the Aprilia. I love the sound of the engine and once you get the chassis set-up right it is a dream to ride.

Michael Earnest (44-years-old) – 6’1”, 195 pounds – Suzuki (racing) / Any of them (trackdays)

For racing I like the Suzuki because it’s a great platform and it does everything well: Nothing really stands out but everything works together—from the engine, the chassis, the seating position. It’s a easy bike to ride and go fast at the

The addition of the Yoshimura pipe boosted mid-range and top-end power. It still needs more if its going to compete with the might BMW however.
Ken-man, loves the CBR.

racetrack. And with the abundance of parts available for it as a club racer it just makes sense. Because the guy next to you has a footpeg or a fairing stay. Good luck finding a sprocket for an MV. I prefer it over the BMW because the package is a little more well-rounded and the parts availability as is the price.

Ken Hutchison (40-years-old) – 5’8”, 170 pounds – Honda (racing and trackdays)

I’m too fragile now to ever consider racing but if I did, I’d do it on the CBR. It isn’t the fastest thing out there nor does it have the most character behind the windscreen. It is one of the easiest, most friendly motorcycles to ride, and I like that. I’m always comfortable aboard it and it never feels like it’s going to bite me. It’s that kind of trust that makes it so fun for me to ride.

Justin Dawes (36-years-old) – 5’10”, 225 pounds – Suzuki GSX-R1000 (racing and trackdays)

I am actually surprised by what I’d choose to race and/or do trackdays. Some bikes did one or two things great for me, but let me

Editor Justin Dawes says he likes the Suzuki because its easy to ride yet it still hauls butt.
Editor Frankie Garcia would chose the Aprilia as his racebike because of the way it fits him.
Although the KTM excelled in the handling department  it came up a little short under the hood.
(Top) Justin Dawes would like to race with Team Suzuki (Center) Frankie Garcia says the RSV4 fits him best. (Below) Young gun Devon McDonough loves Twins so he rides orange.

down in other areas. But the GSX-R1000 made me feel like a hero more often than the rest. I know my fastest time had to be on the Suzuki. It didn’t have the most feel from the front, but I still could trust it. Mid-corner it was stable and it rocketed out of the turns with a ton of rear grip. It just made me feel confident and allowed me to push harder than on some of the other machines. The Gixxer is definitely for me.

Frankie Garcia (21-years-old) – 5’8”, 175 pounds – Aprilia (racing and trackdays)

Whether it was for racing or just trackdays, I would buy an RSV4. Yes, it does come with a hefty price tag but it also comes ready to rip right out of the box. If you were going to race it, you could fit some bodywork and have a total blast. Of course to be serious it would require some attention in regards to the chassis, brakes, and engine. The Aprilia makes a great trackday bike because of its features. Ohlins suspension, traction control, and a quickshifter come stock on Factory APRC model and that is huge. On top of all that the thing is bad-ass looking and sounds like a monster with a pipe.

Devon McDonough (16-years-old) – 6’1”, 158 pounds – Suzuki (racing) / KTM (trackdays)

I pick the Suzuki as a bike that I would buy to race because out of all the bikes it felt like the bike that was ready to go race! There were no weird characteristics or things about it and it felt like a real racebike. I really enjoyed how the bike felt on the track and sitting on it just felt natural. The power also came on nice and smooth so it made easy for going fast. I would pick the KTM as a bike to ride trackdays with, because even though it doesn’t have the most power it was a lot of fun to ride. I thought it was the most fun because it had manageable power and Twins are always my favorite.

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Adam Waheed

Road Test Editor | Articles | Adam's insatiable thirst for life is only surpassed by his monthly fuel bill. Whether rocketing on land, flying through the air, or jumping the seas, our Road Test Editor does it all and has the scars to prove it.

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