2014 Four-Cylinder Streetfighter Shootout

MotorcycleUSA Staff | June 5, 2014

With two full re-designs, two updated models, and another entirely all-new machine, this riding season marks the year of the big-bore streetfighter… and that can only mean one thing: Shootout time! In the first part of the test, Ducati’s Monster 1200 S faced off against the KTM 1290 Super Duke R ABS in a Twins-only competition. Now, the four-bangers battle it out in the Four Cylinder Streetfighter Shootout (Ed. Note: we hoped to add Triumph’s Triple-powered Speed Triple 1050 to the mix however it was unavailable for this group test).

Headlining this year’s test is BMW’s all-new S1000R ($14,950 as tested). The single-R is based off the Motorrad department’s brilliant and two-time Superbike Smackdown shootout-winning S1000RR superbike. While it shares the RR’s 999cc Inline Four, the S1000R also sports a bevy of intelligent chassis and powertrain tweaks to make it more accommodating for pure street use. Since we didn’t publish a First Ride report, the Beemer is a bit of a wild card. However, based on our experience with the double-R, we expect it to be an immediate contender for the top spot.

Kawasaki also has something new in the form of its fresh-faced Z1000 ABS ($11,999). Year after year, the Z1 remains a perennial favorite through the combination of its short wheelbase, and punchy and very wild-sounding 1043cc Inline Four engine, making it well suited to one wheel riding. This year, it sports edgy and highly futuristic styling, along with engine and chassis enhancements to give it more zip on the road. But is it enough for the green bike to climb out of the friend zone and become a bona fide winner?

Although you may not know it, MV Agusta has long been a player in the streetfighter scene with its ever-growing line of Brutale naked sport bikes. And the 1090 RR ($18,998) represents the most prized version. This 1078cc Inline-powered Italian has the distinction of being the veteran of the group having not received any big hardware updates since its last major overhaul four years ago. Still, the 2014 Brutale does benefit from improvements in the form of updated engine and traction control programming, as well as clutch internals. That said, it’ll still have its work cut out for it in its first-ever MotoUSA Streetfighter Shootout appearance.

Aprilia’s Tuono V4R ABS ($14,499) is another newcomer having never competed in current form. Built from the Italian company’s Word Superbike championship-winning RSV4 platform, the Tuono shares much of its componentry including the rip-roaring 999cc V-Four engine and Comparison-winning Traction Control electronics. For ’14, it gets a 0.4-gallon larger fuel tank, new front brake calipers (with ABS), and some subtle engine, transmission, and electronic enhancements. Since we started doing these giant multi-bike streetfighter comparisons eight years ago, the Tuono nameplate has collected wins two out of three times. And its newest iteration looks to build that legacy.

Once again, we bounced around the streets of SoCal spending a few hours at the controls of each motorcycle in a variety of different scenarios ranging from freeway cruising and lane splitting to fast-paced mountain road sorties. We followed it up with a track excursion out in central California farm country with Let’s Ride Trackdays at Buttonwillow Raceway. There, we did our standardized collection of performance metrics which we then combine with rider feedback and dyno information to accurately rank the capabilities of each bike. Points are then tallied according to our faithful ‘street’ scorecard, giving us a winner.


MotorcycleUSA Staff