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Modified Superbike Comparison

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
2010 Modified Superbike Comparison

The Cost of Sportbike Performance
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How much better can one really make today’s liter-class sportbikes? Stock machines are now capable of turning the dyno with as much as 180 rear-wheel horsepower and in some cases come standard with trick bits like traction control, Ohlins suspension and carbon fiber bodywork. Even the cheapest of modern big-bore sportbikes make upward of 160 hp and feature parts that put a decade-old factory Superbike to shame. Thus, is it even worth the time and money to modify your literbike for street or track use these days? Let’s find out...

For this three-way motorcycle comparison we added varying levels of performance modifications to three of today’s hottest sportbikes – from totally stock, to modified street bike, to fully-kitted Superbike. As for the bikes, we made sure to include one of each popular sportbike engine type – a traditional Japanese Inline-Four and a pair of Italians Vs – one a V-Twin and the other a V-Four – each class-leading in their respective categories.

The Ducati Performance 1098R goes flying into Turn 2  one of the areas where the Italian steed gained a lot of time compared to the other bikes.While the GSX-R was ultra stable and massively fast through Turns 8 and 9  in the slower Turn 2 the slightly sluggish steering held it to the back of the group.Turn 2 is an area that really shows a bikes prowess mid-corner  and the stock Aprilia performed amazingly.
Fully-kitted V-Twin Superbike (top); modified Inline-Four street bike (middle); stock Italian V-Four (bottom).
Aprilia’s all-new RSV4 Factory remains untouched, coming in as one of the most anticipated and hyped sportbikes to hit U.S. shores in the past decade. The Suzuki GSX-R1000 gets a host of Yoshimura modifications, while Ducati’s 1098R hits the track with nearly everything Ducati Performance sells – this is the bike for the guy who has everything and wants more. A true track-only Superbike.

As for costs, both the stock Aprilia and modified Suzuki come in at roughly 20-large, while the Ducati tips the scales at an if-you-have-to-ask-you-can’t-afford-it 70-grand. To put them through the paces we took all three to the ultra-fast Willow Springs International Raceway, the perfect place to let these high-horsepower steeds stretch their legs. Our VBox data acquisition system was also fitted to each to bring you as much juicy track-based information as possible. That was followed up with quarter-mile performance and dyno testing, as well as usual weights and measurements.

Now we know that by modifying each to different degrees as well as different price points opens an endless can of worms for criticism and backlash. Why pick one bike to modify over the other? What would happen if the shoe were on the other foot?...etc, etc.  It’s for this reason that while we have done more than enough data to pick a winner, due to the massive differences of each bike, this will be a comparison, not a shootout; the winner would be too far to cost-biased. Think of it as three separate full-tests all bunched into one. Then you be the judge and jury as to what best fits your wants and needs, as well as your pocketbook – we’re just showing you the hard data and rider opinions to help you decide.

Thank You...

It’s no easy or cheap task to supply tires for a comparison, but the Italian rubber company stepped up with its Diablo Supercorsa Slick race tires, which performed flawlessly. The Pirelli rubber's grip and feel was universally praised and held up to all the abuse our 1000cc Superbikes could throw their way and then some.

CT Racing
Providing trackside tire support was the hard-working CT Racing team. Owner Corey Neuer is a knowledgeable tire supplier as well as talented motocross and road racer himself, so when the guy gives advice, we listen. If you want Pirelli’s on the West Coast there’s only one place to buy them: CT Racing.

Yoshimura R&D
Want more performance from your sportbike, Suzuki especially? There are several companies one can turn to, but only one with the racing pedigree and tuning history of Yoshimura. They took our Suzuki GSX-R1000 and turned it into one potent street-legal Superbike, and this is only Stage 1. The Japanese tuning giants and MotoUSA have plenty more in store for the project bike, so be sure to stay tuned.

Ducati Performance
While the Ducati Performance 1098R Superbike may not ‘technically’ be ours, or was even built for us, just the ability to ride the bike for the time we did was privilege. And the fact that a company like Ducati would make such a high-dollar motorcycle and then let a magazine flog it for a month shows just how passionate and performance-driven the Italian manufacturer is.

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marlon -600 super sport comparison  May 25, 2010 08:43 PM
could you please have 600sport bike comp.
tik -Ducati  March 15, 2010 07:05 PM
Trust me Ducati are much more powerful compare to aprillia and suzuki.I wish I have one of these bikes!
ExFactory -Modified Superbike Comparison  March 12, 2010 03:38 PM
Steve and all the staff there I have to say and I don't say this to often but this was probably one of the best reviews I've ever read in print or otherwise! Very very good! About the only thing I could think of to add that would have been really nice to see is if you overlay all the laps over one another to easily see the comparison. Aside from that just a great great job! PS: Of course having the BMW and others would have been great but perhaps next time.
Steve R. -RSV4 is where it's at...  March 12, 2010 01:01 PM
Nice article guys...so what you're really trying to say is that if the Ducati and Suzuki were not modified, than the aprilia would have smoked both of them...? The aprilia doesn't even have an after market exhaust in this comparo, yet was only .7 of a second off of the pace. Do this over, run them all stock and or put the akrapovic full system and ECU/Race Mapping on the aprilia and then we will see what bike sets the pace. Not surprised by this result...good job.
Rob B -Comparo Picture  March 10, 2010 05:06 PM
Didn't realize that the Aprilia is a v-twin. V-double twin, yes. :-)
Superlight -1098R vs Desmosedici  March 10, 2010 03:50 PM
Moto, asking which of these two is the better machine is like asking if you like redheads or blondes - there is no wrong answer, its what you personally like. If you identify more with the WSBK series and big torque then the 1098R is your bike. If, on the other hand, you relate to the cost-no-object world of MotoGP and its more exotic machinery, then its the 'Sedici. No right or wrong answer.
YzF-Yamaha-R1 -The Cost of Sportbike Performance  March 10, 2010 02:56 PM
i just love how you explained that R34
MotoFreak -R34  March 10, 2010 12:49 PM
I should have been more specific. The reason for my question to SteveO was based on the fact that he estimated the price of the 1098 at $72,000 and the Desmo is very close at $75,000. A better question may have been... having ridden both bikes, and seeing that they are same basic price, which would he prefer? I'm not buying a $75,000 motorcycle; I was just curious. I'm not looking to achieve inner peace with the bike.
R34 -RE: MotoFreak - Awesome Video/Photos  March 10, 2010 08:34 AM
"the superbike 1098R in this comparo or the Ducati Desmo RR?"

Apples to Oranges dude...2 stroke or 4 stroke? Truck or Car? 4 Wheel Drive or 2 Wheel Drive? Milk or Coke? Coke or a cocktail?

It's not about what is the better bike, it is now about which flavor you'll lean toward more due to night and day bike characteristics, personality, and style...that directly relates and applies to your own traits. "The Best Bike" will talk to you, sending messages on the one-way to your noodle letting you know to look no further, because she is ready to be your glove...the perfect fit (best bike).

MotoFreak -Awesome Video/Photos  March 10, 2010 06:46 AM
I was wondering your opinion SteveO. Not that I will ever have the money, but which would be a better bike; the superbike 1098R in this comparo or the Ducati Desmo RR?
adam -superbike comparo  March 10, 2010 03:43 AM
Well MCN just made a superbike comparo of R1,ZX-10R,Fireblade,1098S,MV Agusta F4, KTM, BMW and RSV4 and BMW won :) RSV4 came second and F4 third. Hope that you guys will be able to get all the bikes for the shootout here as well.