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2012 Middleweight Sportbike Shootout

Monday, November 26, 2012

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2012 Suzuki GSX-R750 Middleweight Shootout Video
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Suzuki’s classic GSX-R750 goes up against the latest offerings from Europe. Watch the 2012 Suzuki GSX-R750 Comparison Video and see how it rates this year.
Make no mistake about it: the world of sportbikes is evolving. From the inclusion of high-tech electronics fitted to make these 400-something pound rockets easier to ride, to mechanical hot rodding born from racing, it’s obvious that sportbikes are changing—fast. Need more proof? Look at how the middleweight class’ engine displacement has morphed from 600 to 675cc, and beyond.
The Japanese were the first to push the technology envelope two-plus decades ago with release of the original superbike: Suzuki’s GSX-R750. This motorcycle developed a cult following based on its racing success that transferred directly to the road. With a reasonable price tag and race-inspired design it became one of the most attainable and sought after replica racers ever built. Although it was pushed out of the spotlight when the liter-bike class took off in the early 2000s, the Gixxer 750 remains a viable option because of its svelte 600-based chassis, nimble handling and brawnier motor performance. Today, Suzuki still funnels R&D dollars to the project, routinely endowing it with technical updates to help it maintain competitiveness against smaller and larger machines alike.
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2012 Triumph Daytona 675R Middleweight Shootout Video
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Triumph’s venerable Dayton 675R sees a new challenger from Italy. Will it be able to maintain its rank in this fiercely contested class? Watch the 2012 Triumph Daytona 675R Comparison Video to find out.

Triumph was the first European brand to break the so-called gentleman’s agreement in the Supersport class by shining Japan’s 600cc Inline-Four formula for its own 675cc Triple-cylinder engine configuration. Although the Daytona 675 and its up-spec ‘R’ twin haven’t seen the kind of success some expected in top-level road racing, the British bike has become a force to be reckoned with on showroom floors. Stronger bottom-end and mid-range acceleration along with a playful engine howl equate to a motorcycle that flies out of dealers year after year. And with an all-new updated model set to launch this winter that trend is sure to continue.
Italy’s MV Agusta is the latest manufacturer to enter the class with its all-new F3. The MV shares the same Inline-Three engine configuration as the Triumph with a hybrid aluminum and pressed-steel chassis keeping in line with its bigger F4 superbike-class brother. It also sports an advanced electronics suite that rivals anything out there—even in the Superbike class. After a bit of a delay the F3 has finally reached U.S. dealerships, but the question still remains as to how it compares against the venerable competition.
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2013 MV Agusta F3 Middleweight Shootout Video
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MV Agusta hopes to ace the competition in the middleweight sportbike class with its F3. View the 2013 MV Agusta F3 Comparison Video to see how it was rated.

Although it isn’t exactly new, Ducati’s V-Twin powered 848 EVO slots into this class, too. Ducati didn’t have a machine available for this test so we’ll have to wait until our mega eight-bike Supersport Shootout this spring before we see how it ranks in the class. Lastly with the recent re-introduction of Kawasaki’s 636-powered Ninja ZX-6R sportbike there is yet another official entry in the new-age middleweight class, but due to the logistics of its world press event detailed in the 2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R First Ride we weren’t able to get a test bike in time.

2012 Middleweight Sportbike Shootout dyno charts.

For the test we racked up miles on odometers during the eight-to-five work week to evaluate what they were like to ride to work. We followed it up by a few days at the racetrack to experience what they are like to play around on over the weekend or during faster paced rides. We also ran up and down the drag strip to establish key performance numbers followed by some fourth-gear pulls on our in-house dyno—all in an effort to unequivocally prove what is the best middleweight sportbike currently on the market. Numbers were crunched and points assessed via our tried-and-true Formula 1-based scorecard. Finally, as opposed to our big track-only shootouts, we opted to run the stock tires as to more authentically ascertain the true performance of these bikes right off the showroom floor.

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j0seph   December 11, 2012 11:13 PM
dear Adam, can you please tell me how you test 0-60 mph here. I see the GSX-R750 made it in 3.19s, and the S1000RR made it in 3.35, faster than any other superbike, in the 2012 smackdown. (?)
corran   December 3, 2012 04:58 PM
There are a lot of us that buy these bike purely for canyon riding and track. We don't make them into track bikes because we DO go on the street, but we do NOT go shopping, commute etc. Thus... all the points which testers look at when comparing bikes that take into consideration things like comfort, ease of use in town and so forth are of no interest. Equally stupid is the 1/4 mile drag test.... really, who cares? What Id like to see is a PURE PERFORMANCE test. Track and canyon, balls to the wall riding only. Take these same three bikes, drop all the insignificant town and commute benefits/disadvantages of each bike, and then decide based PURELY on high performance only, which is the best. I doubt very much that the GSXR would win this test (I owned a GSXR 750, and have a Daytona 675 and F3 now, and in my opinion the F3 would win hands down this kind of test - for me). So... Motorcycle USA, how about a Sportbike and Superbike test series where ONLY PERFORMANCE RIDING is considered as points of merit?
Maxx   November 27, 2012 11:50 AM
A truly underrated class of great bikes.