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2005 Superbike Smackdown II Track

Monday, May 16, 2005


2005 Superbike Smackdown II Track
Okay, by now you've probably read the street portion of our 2005 Superbike Smackdown. In this exemplary crop of literbikes, Suzuki's new GSX-R1000 scored highest in a street environment thanks to the best powertrain in the group and an amazing lack of flaws.

But what if you don't give a damn about things like wind protection, seating comfort, mirror effectiveness and a heavy clutch pull? You just want to know how this 730-horsepower quintet sorts itself out in the no-limits environment of a racetrack.

Well, that's why we've been separating our track testing from the street results, allowing you guys to sort out for yourselves how important each category is to you and to weight them accordingly. We've created a separate scorecard for the track on which our testers rate each bike in 10 categories, and the results can be seen on the last page of this test.

As usual, we also offer MCUSA's "For My Money" section in which our test riders throw objectivity out the window and judge each bike based solely on personal preference. Comparing your skill level and experience to that of our testers might help you make a better decision about which bike is best for you. Despite a by-the-numbers winner rising to the top, it wasn't the only bike chosen by our individual staffers.

For this test, we wanted a place that would highlight the awe-inspiring power of the literbikes, so we decided to head to Portland International Raceway and its 3200-foot front straight, where the speedometers of a few bikes in our test displayed more than 180 mph!

We gathered our usual collection of testers who have had plenty of racetrack experience, and forced Korf at gunpoint to video our action. We also invited along one of the PIR's legendary champions, Shawn Roberti, who has assisted us with our other racetrack comparison testing. Roberti knows his way around PIR, so we knew we'd be getting lap times fully representative of each bike's capabilities and not just a quick time from the bike he went out on last.

All five test riders in rank-and-file while filming on-bike video. Ken leads the pack into turn 7 on the CBR1000RR.
Portland International Raceway was the scene of our track test. Long straights offered the opportunity to see what this quintet was really capable of doing.
Lap times were logged all day on our new MyChron Light TG Lap Timers from AIM Sports so we wouldn't miss any of Roberti's fast laps during the open trackday. We also strapped on our Vbox data acquisition system for some hot laps with Roberti, so we are able to bring you information about how hard each bike accelerated, slowed, cornered and maxed out its speed on the front straight.

We planned on two days of testing and using one of the new sets of race-compound DOT tires now available, but neither happened. Rain spoiled our first day at the track, and the tires that were originally promised became suddenly unavailable. Instead we reverted to the same Dunlop D208GPs that impressed us during our 2005 Supersport Shootout and adjusted each bike to suit.

Okay, that's the setup to what became a spine-tingling, nerve-raising, butt-clenching experience riding these hellacious maulers in the confines of a concrete-lined runway. Sick speeds, sweaty brows and big smiles ensued.

Turn the page to find out which bike finished fifth, and then keep turning until you get to the winner of MCUSA's Superbike Smackdown 2 Track Edition.

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