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2014 Heavyweight Supersport Road Shootout Conclusion

Monday, February 24, 2014

Adam Waheed, 34, Road Test Editor – 6’0”, 178 pounds – Suzuki GSX-R750

I’ve always been a fan boy of Suzuki’s GSX-R750. And as usual it proved to be the most versatile and well-rounded package and the bike I would ultimately purchase. But, I can’t lie—I did enjoy riding the Panigale more. Overall it’s a much better street bike than the 1199 and I was really blown away by how useable it is on the road. And if there wasn’t such a huge disparity between it and the GSX-R I wouldn’t hesitate pulling the trigger on a purchase.

Chris Northover, 27, Superbike Road Test Editor– 5’8”, 156 pounds – Racing: Ducati 899 Panigale

The Ducati was the big surprise on the road for me – its spread of power and super stable handling were really impressive. The dash and electronics are so well integrated, once you have them set up, that you can toggle between riding modes as easily as you’d flick on your turn signals or shift gear. The only place I felt it struggled was around the tightest hairpins, where its longer wheelbase and slower steering held it up. But it was definitely my favorite.

2014 Heavyweight Supersport RoadShootout Specs
MV Agusta
F3 800
899 Panigale
Engine: 798cc liquid-cooled Inline Three 12-valve Engine: 898cc liquid-cooled L-Twin; 8-valve Engine: 750cc liquid-cooled Inline Four, 16-valve 
Bore x Stroke: 79.0 x 54.3mm Bore x Stroke: 100.0 x 57.2mm Bore x Stroke: 70.0 x 48.7mm
Compression:13.3:1 Compression:12.5:1 Compression: 12.5:1
Fueling: Fuel Injection w/ twin injectors per cylinder Fueling: Fuel-injection Fueling: Fuel-injection
Transmission: Six-speed cassette-type with electronic quickshifter Transmission: Six-speed cassette-type with electronic quickshifter Transmission: Six-speed cassette-type
Clutch: Wet multi-plate slipper clutch; Cable actuation Clutch: Wet multi-plate; Hydraulic actuation Clutch: Wet multi-plate slipper clutch; Cable actuation
Final Drive: Chain; 16/43 gearing Final Drive: Chain; 15/44 gearing Final Drive: Chain; 16/43 gearing
Frame: Steel tubular trellis and aluminum Frame: Monocoque aluminum Frame: Twin-spar aluminum
Front Suspension: 43mm Marzocchi fork with spring preload, compression, and rebound damping adjustment; 4.92 in. travel Front Suspension: Showa 43mm inverted fork; three-way adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping; 4.72 in. travel Front Suspension: 43mm inverted Showa BPF; three-way adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping; 4.7 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Sachs gas-charged shock with spring preload, compression, and rebound damping adjustment; 4.84 in. travel Rear Suspension:Sachs gas-charged shock; three-way adjustable for spring preload, compression and rebound damping; 5.12 in. travel Rear Suspension: Showa gas-charged shock; four-way adjustable for spring preload, high/low-speed compression and rebound damping; 4.9 in. travel
Front Brakes: 320mm discs, radial-mount  Brembo monobloc calipers Front Brakes: 320mm discs with radial-mount Brembo four-piston M4 monobloc calipers Front Brakes: 300mm discs with radial-mount Brembo monobloc four-piston calipers
Tires: Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa; 120/70R17, 180/55R17 Tires: Pirelli Diablo Rosso Corsa; 120/70R17, 180/55R17 Tires: Bridgestone BT-016; 120/70R17, 180/55R17
Curb Weight: 428 lbs. Curb Weight: 437 lbs. Curb Weight: 427 lbs.
Wheelbase: 54.23 in. Wheelbase: 56.57 in. Wheelbase: 54.7 in.
Rake: 23.6 deg. Rake: 24.0 deg. Rake: 23.0 deg.
Seat Height: 31.96 in. Seat Height: 32.48 in Seat Height: 31.9 in.
Fuel Tank: 4.22 gal. Fuel Tank: 4.5 gal. Fuel Tank: 4.5 gal.
MSRP: $15,798 MSRP: $14,998 MSRP: $12,299

2014 MV Agusta F3 800 Street Photos
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2014 Suzuki GSX-R750 Street Photos
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2014 Ducati 899 Panigale Street Photos
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OutOfTheBox   May 14, 2014 03:04 PM
Your personal experience hardly rules the motorcycle market. Riders crash by tucking the front under braking, and if ABS can prevent that then its adoption even by the best racers is inevitable. What you will be looking for is some sort of class where ABS and TC are not allowed. TC is already too good, it's on too many bikes both road and race, and it is not going to disappear. Absolutely you can turn it off (at least for now) if you want, but that doesn't mean that not having it all makes sense. From there the natural extension is anti-wheelie and anti-stoppie and I would absolutely support the extension of TC and ABS to cover those issues. So would you if you lost time because your bike tended to wheelie too much.
Miffy   April 14, 2014 06:03 AM
I've never had a bike with ABS, never had one with TC... it just isn't something I'm going to care about now. Everyone I speak to turns that shit off on the track, so it doesn't make you faster, it just slows you down. If you know how to ride a bike, you'll never need it on the road either, if you do not know how to ride a bike, don't buy a brand new one as you will crash, all part of the game with being a new rider. So many people I know get into biking and spend a load of money on an expensive bike and then are too scared to push it. You have to start off cheap and watch Twist of the Wrist 2, that taught me how to ride properly, before that I was obsessed with hanging off like a monkey lol.
Miffy   April 14, 2014 05:54 AM
Now lots of tracks have a DB limit, the Ducati goes over the limit at Silverstone here, it would be annoying to buy a bike and not be able to do track days on it. Was like 105DB or something and if the bike goes over you wont get refunded your money, you just wont be allowed to go on the track.
OutOfTheBox   March 5, 2014 06:04 PM
...........in any case, it *is* close to "maximum braking"...stopping 25 feet longer out of 120 feet is 20% longer. Now you can argue that that it isn't "close" but that is completely subjective. You know, the kind of stuff they feast on at RideApartSucks.
OutOfTheBox   March 5, 2014 05:50 PM
Piglet, RideApartSucks is calling you home. Seriously. ABS is not about "maximum braking". It's about not wrecking while braking because the wheels lock-up. Likewise, that's what the "real value" of ABS is. Keeping the wheels from locking-up under braking. Follow the call, dude.
Piglet2010   March 1, 2014 06:00 PM
As the real value of ABS is for unexpected low-traction conditions, having a system that needs to be off to get close to maximum braking is a significant failure in engineering.
RENDELL   February 28, 2014 07:29 AM
@mistery I concur with you on this matter. If I could have 2 or 3 bikes in my garage I might purchase the Ducati. For now, I can only have 1 bike so I need one that does it all exceedingly well. That bike is the GSXR-750.
mistery   February 27, 2014 12:05 AM
Great write-up. Really see significant differences between these bikes. And I have to say the MV is still the least impressive bike. Great figures on paper but when put in action it just doesn't tick the right boxes. The looks are exotic as ever but very dated as well. It looks like the F4 did back in 2000 and for that asking price you would imagine a bit more effort. IMHO the gixxer is still the best choice for the every day rider. Somewhat cheap, best midrange, best mpg, ample ergonomics and tightest overall package. Just another japanese bike but its still the most refined offering.
OutOfTheBox   February 26, 2014 09:16 PM
"Seems silly to give such an advantage to the Ducati in braking when, on the street, the vast majority of riders will have the ABS on." Yeah look if you hadn't seen this test, if they hadn't actually tested it, you'd just assume that ABS would give the best results. One more question: did they test it on wet roads or dry roads? It amazes me that people make so many assumptions about bikes they've never ridden much less ever tested objectively and then act like total experts.
OutOfTheBox   February 26, 2014 09:07 PM
Yes but the point of this test was to test the bikes' suitability on the street, so "max performance" shouldn't be the rule. But this is a great test. First it shatters, hopefully, the illusion that braking distances will always be minimized with ABS because ABS is so much better than a rider's control. Maybe some people will actually learn from this, that such assumptions can not only be wrong, but also deadly. I would ask for a dyno test in each engine-mode...it's a bit much to ask for one in each gear, but power-curves vary by gear also. Now really guys one more test is out there waiting for you guys to take on the gauntlet: a Ninja 300/Z6-R/ZX-10R shootout, and maybe even a CBR250/CBR600/CBR1k shootout. I triple-dog-dare you to do one with the Busa and 14R :) Sportbikes tested with on-board telemetry on the track, all the bikes compared on the street (really a track-test by Waheed with standard tires on a standard track with telemetry should be required for each bike with even a hint of sportbike pretensions). Pleae please please do it at least once :) trust me such a test will last a long long time. All I will say about the Panigales is that if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen; and I suspect that a lot of people like me feel that those mirrors are hideous. Blinkers *and* mounted right up next to the windscreen? Nooooo...completely ruin the looks except from the side where you can't really even see them. And the Gixxer (which does headshake too under hard acceleration) looks *great* with a good paint-job. That tri-colored scheme just doesn't work for me. Anyway guys, great shootout, gracias. Everyone has an opinion...solid data trumps all.
motousa_adam   February 26, 2014 12:49 PM
You make a interesting point but ultimately maximum performance rules that's why we dyno the bikes in fast mode, etc.
GAJ   February 25, 2014 11:19 AM
Seems silly to give such an advantage to the Ducati in braking when, on the street, the vast majority of riders will have the ABS on. Under those conditions the Ducati was by far the worst in terms of braking distance from 60mph.
Superlight   February 25, 2014 06:00 AM
It's nice to know you guys prefer the Ducati's styling over the MV, but I respectfully disagree. Both look great, but the Ducati's exhaust is still troubling - it just doesn't look finished and creates the exhaust heat problem mentioned in the test. The MV, on the other hand, came up with a great exhaust design solution - the 3-pipe look is novel yet enables the rear wheel to be fully visible. I also prefer the single headlight of the MV, but the Duke looks good as well. I think we have a brunette/redhead situation here as far as styling goes - this is a personal choice issue. The Suzuki? I wouldn't give it a second look no matter how well sorted it is. Typical Japanese design, being poorly integrated and favoring decals over bodywork forms. Yech-h-h.
thisistoomuchwork   February 24, 2014 05:49 PM
I've got to stop jumping to the end of the article and then spouting my mouth off. I look like a fool and its just not responsible. But I can't edit what I just said so I guess I'll let it stand on principle, lol. Cheers.