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2012 Superbike Smackdown IX Track Conclusion

Monday, 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.

Superbike Smackdown IX Track HP
Superbike Smackdown IX Horsepower Comparison Chart
Superbike Smackdown IX Track Torque
Superbike Smackdown IX Torque Comparison Chart
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KTMFan   November 18, 2012 03:11 AM
I love following along with these shootouts and I have no illusion of ever riding this well but I do have to say that after ownig two Honda 600's and two Honda litre bikes, I really like my RC8R. I know its not the fastest and it didn't win any awards this time around but its perfect for me. Don't go buying a bike solely because it won a shootout on the web, go ride it (if you can), sit on it, see how it makes you feel when you look at it. What seems like issues with these bikes (10 lbs of weight savings and reflashed ecu's) will make no difference if you just don't like the bike. Great review by the way guys! I'm still rooting for Orange just because I like it better!
Hutchy   July 12, 2012 10:55 AM
@Interns.... haha we don't even let them out of the office during work hours! Besides we like what JFC has to say in the forums. We need more input, more opinions and more passion for riding on these comments. So, sorry guys but JFC1 will have to continue working 9-to-5 until further notice.
Razzic   July 5, 2012 04:33 AM
@JFC1 : Yeah I do ride around in full leathers all the time, I've come off without leathers cause I was just riding on a hot day without the proper protection and still have the scars from it. Now you realize how many people are sooo stupid for either not caring or thinking it wont happen to them (as I use to when I was a bullet proof teenager) , all it took for me to come off was a taxi to cut across 3 lanes and collide with me and I came off, even if you are the most pro rider you can't control what other people do.
purebusiness1   June 29, 2012 02:02 AM
The only modification that the 10R needed to win the fastest lap was an ECU re-flash. The stupid government pencil pushers have forced Kawasaki to limit as much as 25hp at 13,000 rpm (about 15hp at max power output). This is because of noise regulations. BMW actually snuck past this regulation somehow from what I read. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the real cheater here is BMW for not following noise regulations like the other guys. Thankfully, there are places that do the ECU re-flash... See this video if you don't believe me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tjX_vNgRdek
AnthonyD   June 27, 2012 09:45 PM
JFC1 has too much time on his hands. MCUSA should pick this guy up as an intern or something so he can stop writing essays of criticism in the comments.
Hutchy   June 26, 2012 02:48 PM
@JFC1: Yeah, that analysis and comparison of a 600 versus a 1000 is a very valid point. Sure, we all love the power of a open class sportbike. They rip and are fun as hell to ride. Are they siginificantly faster? Not really. Some tracks with longer straights favor the big bikes but a track thats all turns like Chuckwalla simply favor smaller bikes, since there's not a lot of room to let them stretch their legs. But where in 'Merica man. We're here to kick ass and take names brother so lets get away from the computer and ride! @Maxx: Oh Maxx, Maxx, Maxx. Is that why the MV throttle was only opening half-way? I was wondering why it only went 74mph on the straight! We looked and found a wing nut jammed in the throttle body so it totally makes sense now. Seriously though. The 1-point ranking doesnt mean it was 10-times worse than the 10-point bike, just that in this world of points, scores, winners and losers we simply have to put a rank to these bad boys. That's all it is. @Razzic: What a coincidence, the Honda PR team said the same exact thing!
Justin Dawes   June 26, 2012 11:55 AM
@Maxx The scoring is a points system not a 1 to 10 rating. A bike gets only 1 point if it is last in that category.
Maxx   June 26, 2012 10:50 AM
Great comparison, but how in the hell does one give bikes at this level of performance a 1 in any category? 1 in acceleration and 1 in braking did you guys even roll-on the throttle or squeeze the brake?
gp10r   June 26, 2012 07:03 AM
In a first step, I'm enjoying a lot this comparison.
Question: Why nobody talks about the restriction from 11500rpm which owns ZX10R?.
rogase   June 25, 2012 11:11 PM
How good does the Gixer sound with the pipe. Nothing sounds quite a like a gixer 1000
guambra2001   June 25, 2012 07:39 PM
Awesome shootouts guys, the CBR must be incredibly easy to ride to inspire the confidence that it does. I would still pick the ninja because it has the safety net of tc and abs for a good price and you can unlock a couple more ponies with a unleashed ecu. Thanks for the great read.
Razzic   June 25, 2012 01:02 PM
wc524 You sound like a typical fan boy, get out buddy, you make yourself sound like a moron. Facts are facts, every motorcycle review pretty much got the same results. Also most ducati people (not all, like my father, just most) buy ducati for its looks, its a look at me toy, pathetic, we are measuring REAL world performance and it didn't come through, want a box of tissues? I'm glad Audi bought out Ducati, maybe they'll have the performance WITH the looks for a change, then I might even consider buying one, but then I'd be part of that wanker crowd.
Razzic   June 25, 2012 12:57 PM
I'm glad Honda won, they really are a DAMN good bike with no electronics package it still handles the best, tops the track spot and gets 2nd in the street test also. What I'm REALLY wondering is though if BMW did what every other bike there did and wacked on aftermarket or factory optional parts if it would have got the #1 Spot from Honda, I somehow doubt it still as Honda always seems to get the fastest track times, like the below poster said I think its smart what BMW did, you get everything for stock in such a good package (although Honda is cheaper again and topped the track test) its just convenience, I love them both though, Honda was my all time favourite bike but it looks butt ugly at the moment, BMW while it looks better (to me) I still own and wont upgrade from my 2007 repsol blade as it has the looks and functions awesome what I need it for, maybe when it gets a bit longer in the tooth and BMW or Honda make a bike I cant resist looks wise and tops the test in every category I'll buy one, but at the moment its always lacking just SOMETHING so I can hold off :)
Rucuss54   June 25, 2012 12:42 PM
BMW was smart to leave it stock, the bike has everything for $15K. All the others need $1000+ in mods to get close, BMW offers you convenience, turn the key and go ride.
adrianfelipeandrade   June 25, 2012 11:15 AM
Hi to everyone, As informational purpose, My past bike was the Honda CBR1000RR 2011, and I just have to tell you, The Bike Is Phenomenal, amazing Handling and Mid-range Power, It is just a fabulous Bike, unfortunately I was Crashed by a car and i lost it.... At this time my new bike choose maybe will be the BMW S1000RR 2012, and I just incline my choice for the POWER and the Tech Aids... The Honda CBR1000RR 2012, doesn't feel really a new project, and I don't want to buy a Bike that in the nearly future /maybe 2013-2014) will be radically changed. All that i said here is just my personal opinion about the market, and I dont radically disagree with the choice of the best Track Bike for this SmackDown Test, but , again I think that there is no a Fair Game with the BMW, leaving it with the HEAVY AND STOCK Exhaust, I Think if the BEEMER had it this update the things for the CBR will be tougher...
AnthonyD   June 25, 2012 11:14 AM
Great test guys. Thanks for the work you put in. I want to party with Mr. Garcia.
mi2tom   June 25, 2012 10:50 AM
wc524 So far japanese bikes in WSBK have not get full support from their manufacturing company.
B-kings Rock   June 25, 2012 10:39 AM
Chuckle factor times two...can't help it....CBR still surprising everyone, along with the Gixxer. Great and very comprehensive test...hat's off to you guys. THANKS!

GhostRider11   June 25, 2012 10:25 AM
Obviously the Best Bang For the Buck: 2012 CBR1000rr! Don't knock it until you try it for yourself! That being said, after reading the Street portion of the 2012 Smackdown, I went out and purchased a new black 2012 CBR1Krr. My tires were 85% broken in on the (10 mile)ride home from the dealership. Any of these liter bikes would fair well in the hands of a real racer on the race-track! So for the general public it really boils down to rider preference and affordability, don't you think!? I haven't had the chance to ride the beemer yet but last weekend I took the new 1199-S for a demo-ride! The new Ducati is tiny even compared to my 2011 DS 848-Evo. It's everything being said about it too. It cooked my butt more than my EVO does! The 1199 is a race bike and nothing else. The engine noise is loud even at idle, brakes and clutch were soft, and there's no way I would want to have this bike for commuting purposes. And don't even think about riding it over the limit... you don't want to lay this bike down!
wc524   June 25, 2012 09:41 AM
mi2tom, your point isn't even valid.

BSB hasn't had the funding from other manufacturers BESIDES Jap bikes, so to say Jap bikes are the best is completely retarded.

Ducati/Aprilia focus on the biggest stage, and so far they have kicked the pants off the Jap bikes for years in WSBK. Now let's get back to apples-apples.
adrianfelipeandrade   June 25, 2012 09:22 AM
Hi Everyone! I had this personal comment, Adam you said for the BEEMER "It is important to note that the BMW didn’t benefit from the weight savings of a racing exhaust, as it opted to compete in stock form.", and I just think that this is not fair, just see http://www.akrapovic.com/en/Motorcycle/Products/Pages/Product.aspx?BrandId=7739b9e7-91c5-4b30-9b61-948202f7c91b&ModelId=d3d3a1af-c68e-45e4-90ac-8315f813ada4&ModelYearId=f37573bd-92bf-41de-becc-72c9584880a4&ProductId=153&ProductFilter=Active&DisplayName=BMW%20S+1000+RR%20S-B10E1C-HRC+Evolution+Line+%28Carbon%29 or any other brand of exhaust systems like arrow (BMW Sells an Akrapovic Piece for Racing Porpuose) and you can see that system could save at least 14.8 lb, and if you want to use just the Slipon the save thanslates to a 3.1 lb in the worst case. And I Just was talking about weight savings, not Increase of power... Remember that is just my personal opinion... As see in the other ones , every bike has an Aftermarket Full System... It is not Fair Game Guys... Please consider that.
mi2tom   June 25, 2012 09:18 AM
Honda makes the best bike in the world! Traction control and all or for ladies. Look at the BSB guys riding with their traction control and wheelies control turned off. And the japanese bikes are on top.
raber   June 25, 2012 09:17 AM
The BMW would not benefit from a racing exhaust???
What are you talking about.
A full racing exhaust is most certanily alot lighter than the factory exhaust with the catalytic converter, not to mention big hp gains in the midrange.
These tests are frustrating.

Rucuss54   June 25, 2012 08:11 AM
Even without TC the Honda had the highest combined lap time, impressive. BMW is rough, hard to ride,3rd slowest and came out second place? The Kawi is the total opposite of the BMW and even with tall gearing it had better lap times, Should've been 1.Honda 2.Kawi 3.BMW tied with Suzuki.
wc524   June 25, 2012 08:05 AM
I laugh at the results of these shootouts. It's almost like a manufacturer pays off for the result to boost sales.

Ducati got nixxed.

The data doesn't lie, Top MPH in corner-speed in 2 out of 3 corners yet you give it a 3 in "Objective" and a 2 in Mid-Corner "Subjective"...

Seriously guys, a 5 and 4 for Fork and Shock? Is this because you don't know how to adjust/setup the bext suspension in the world?

Side to Side flick rate - 1 .....really?! and that's supposed to be "Objective"

"the biggest problem we encountered with the Ducati was driving off the corner. The reason can be attributed to the rear suspension being set-up so awkwardly"...."It was pretty abrasive and felt undersprung at the rear"
screamer69   June 25, 2012 07:05 AM
lets see, the Kawi is cheaper than the BMW and turns the fastest lap to boot..i know what i would race..i think lap times should determine track winners imo...great job though guys.