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Modified Superbike Conclusion

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
From left: Ducati Performance 1098R  Aprilia RSV4 Factory and Yoshimura Stage 1 project GSX-R1000.
Three class-leading sportbikes. Three varying states of tune. Which bike is the best bang for the buck? You be the judge.

So what do lap times cost? A lot. Reason being today’s stock sportbikes are so good from the factory that to get anything more from them takes loads of time and money, as well as rider skill. So if you want to go faster, we recommend buying additional track time before investing too much in aftermarket parts. That is, unless you’ve got a fat enough wallet that allows you to have both, in which case we say go nuts. As long as you have someone knowledgeable helping you set the bike up, you’ll have an absolute blast. We sure did…

In all, this was one of those offbeat and extremely subjective comparisons where you can infer just about anything you want from the data and rider opinions. While the amount of money you put into a bike doesn’t always directly translate into massive gains in lap times, it’s the ease at which those lap times come that is most noticeable. I had to push far harder on the Aprilia to get in the 1:28s, where 1:27s on the Yosh Suzuki and 1:26s on the Ducati came easier each step of the way. Not to mention, had the track temperature not been so frigid and the Suzuki had proper gearing, the times surely would have been quicker, showing truly how capable all these bikes are.

And while this wraps things up for the Aprilia (we will have an RSV4R in our upcoming Superbike Smackdown) and the Ducati Superbike (we’re sure sad to see it go), the Yoshimura Suzuki is just getting started. So be sure to stay tuned as we will be building a full American Superbike-spec machine out of the GSX-R1000 and plan on racing it in several events, including one big one you won’t want to miss!

For My Money

Though stability was comparison-leading for the Yoshimura GSX-R  it lacked some in terms of flickability compared to the others  which we will be working to remedy in Stage 2.
Atlas - Yoshimura GSX-R1000
Steve Atlas – Executive Editor
This is about as hard of a pick as I’ve ever faced. Each one of these machines has qualities about them that I absolutely adore. The Ducati chassis handles almost telepathically and the Ohlins suspension relays so much feedback to the rider it’s nearly overwhelming at first. Mate that to the torque-laden engine and the bike is pure ecstasy to ride. Only problem is ecstasy has a price, and it’s $75,000. As for the other two, the Aprilia’s chassis is nearly that of the Ducati’s while the Yoshimura Suzuki has an engine that puts just about anything I’ve ever ridden to shame. Thus, all things considered, I’d take the Yoshimura GSX-R (because I can’t afford the Ducati) and massage the chassis – Wait, that’s exactly what I did do, so be sure to tune in for Stage 2 and 3 as we bring you the results…

MotoUSA VP Ken Hutchy Hutchison instantly fell in love with the all-new Aprilia RSV4 Factory.
Hutchison - Aprilia RSV4 Factory
Ken Hutchison – Editorial Director
Well, I can’t afford any of these bikes right now but if I was planning on hitting track days and riding my bike to the end of the earth, which is what I like to do, then the choice is easy: The Aprilia RSV4. It’s not the best looking and it doesn’t have the same style as the Ducati but it is the bike I could easily ride all day. I like the Yoshimura GSX-R but it was overkill for me. The Ducati is just plain too awesome for me to want to deal with. The Aprilia, however, was easy to ride but it was still really fast and sounded bad-ass. I’ve always liked the V-Four engine design but it never excited me like this one does. Man, get this bike dialed in the same way the GSX-R is and it would be incredible.

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.
Waheed - Yoshimura GSX-R1000
Adam Waheed – Road Test Editor
Without question I’d take the Yoshimura-prepped GSX-R1000. Its way more comfortable than the Ducati and the Aprilia and it absolutely rips on the racetrack. Even better is how easy it is to ride. I also like how stock it looks, making it an absolute sleeper when you’re racing that guy next to you at a stoplight. This may sound funny, but for the price you simply can’t beat the performance and day-to-day practicality of this Yosh-built Superbike.

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Nick -Love the comparisons  May 31, 2010 06:17 AM
This was a great comparison, but I would really love to see a comparison of equals. It seems in most of the comparisons, we have exotics and super exotics against the Big 4. How about a comparison of the 1198S, RSV4 Factory, and the RC8R? Even more interesting would be to see these in comparison after you have added a few mods to fix the normal stock problems, like new master cylinders, engine mapping, racing exhausts, etc. I know Ducati and Aprilia have their standard upgrades that you can order from them, not sure about KTM, but wow, what a comparison that would be!
KarmaDog -fun stuff  March 17, 2010 12:01 AM
One thing I would love to see you guys do is use the same model bike with three or four levels of money spent. Then get three or four riders of good to insanely great skill levels to post some times to get a idea of when to much really is to much.
Jacob -Mods  March 16, 2010 09:41 PM
Seems every single sport bike has to have the same modification applied. A new pipe/system. And with that comes a PC, release some ponies and be rewarded with some sweet music. Stock pipes all seem to look so ugly, also some after market rubber is a must on some bikes, apart from that we mere road mortals don't need much more performance mods.
Gunther -nice!  March 15, 2010 05:24 AM
Love the review. I know it's comparing different animals, but it does give a good idea of where the bikes limits are when ridden by a proper rider. As said: if you want to go faster, mere mortals need only book more track time. Stock bikes are just that good. Once you hit a limit somewhere you can start thinking about modification.
BirdeyeDrew -Need a "Mere Mortal" Upgrade Comparo  March 11, 2010 03:39 PM
Loved reading this comparo! Would also like to see a comparo where you take standard sportbikes and make the kinds of upgrades that mere mortals can usually afford (exhaust, ECU/PCIII, fork revalving/springs, shock, etc...) to see what the potential is for these bikes. If you keep the cost of the bike and upgrades combined to something less than $18,000 or so, it would be interesting to most of us....
JJ -Superlight - Comparison  March 11, 2010 08:12 AM
Why didn't you guys throw a pipe on the Aprilia, and some fork internals on the Yosh bike? It would have taken this comparison up a notch.
Racer1 -good article...  March 11, 2010 04:55 AM
This was a well written test with proper caveats made up front about it not being a real comparison as such. One thing strikes me though... clearly with stock bikes having so much performance out of the box, you run into the law of diminishing returns regarding how much extra performance you get as you pour more and more money into a bike. These expensive marginal performance gains make total sense on the track, you are racing similar equipment and lap time differences are measured in 1/10ths. I really see no need for it on a road bike though. Are people really riding their stock gixxer 1000s at the limit on the roads and feeling the need for that bit more power? I don't think so!
Marcin -Comparison  March 10, 2010 06:06 PM
I like the idea behind this comparison but I wish you made it a little more realistic. Why would you get a different motor for the gixxer when a stock one with full exhaust and tuning will get you in the 170hp range. I would like to see more money spent on suspension work. There is a great handling bike hidden somewhere in that Suzuki.
Cam -Yes!  March 10, 2010 12:18 PM
I also really enjoyed this comparison. Good job guys.
Chuck -Superlight-Top Dollar?  March 10, 2010 10:51 AM
“but realize that the money spent will not come back at resale, especially on the Suzuki”, Valid point about the resale on performance parts…but whether it is a Euro bike or a Asian bike the resale on add ons is the same, poor. Also every time I surf through Craigslist, Ebay, or any classified I see Ducati, Aprilia etc. selling at depreciated prices very close to or sometimes even worse than the Asian bikes. But hey some people still think Harleys hold 90% of their retail value even if they are 2-3 yrs. old.
Superlight -Comparison  March 10, 2010 05:31 AM
It sounds good to suggest someone modify their bike with performance goodies, but realize that the money spent will not come back at resale, especially on the Suzuki, which is too garden-variety a bike to ever command top-dollar.
Superbikemike -nice!!!  March 10, 2010 05:24 AM
fun comparo.....