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2011 Superbike Smackdown VIII Street Conclusion

Friday, May 6, 2011

Adam Waheed – 6’0”, 175 pounds – KTM RC8R
The overall character of the RC8Rs engine is not nearly as rambunctious as the Ducati 1198.
Associate Editor Justin Dawes really enjoyed the RC8R and picked it as the bike hed buy on the street.
Digital Media Producer Ray Gauger though the KTM was one of the most comfortable bikes to ride. Though the seat could be a little softer.
Its hard to find any faults with BMWs S1000RR.
The Kawasakis control layout and overall ergonomics is far more accommodating than years past.
The BMWs multi-mode engine power map and traction control system performs well and is easy-to-use.

I’ve always liked KTM’s RC8R but up until this year it’s been out of reach due to its lofty price tag. But now that it is priced at a more reasonable level it’s something that I think I could afford. I really like the strong bottom-end engine performance and its ergonomics. It’s a very comfortable bike to ride even with its rock-hard seat. Plus it looks out of this world. The only thing I’d add to it is a pipe and a slipper clutch. After that it would be perfect.

Justin Dawes – 5’10”, 225 pounds – KTM RC8R
When it comes down to the bike I would buy with my own hard-earned dough I would slap $16,499 big ones down for the RC8R. It is not the best bike in the test, but I can't help pining over it at the end of the day. Every time I throw a leg over it I'm instilled with confidence thanks to the low center of gravity. Cornering is comfortable and predictable, and the Austrian superbike allows me to ride near my limits longer than some of the other machines. The power is so much better than last year that it makes it perfect for street use and adequate for the track. In my opinion the CBR is the perfect superbike, but the KTM is perfect for me.
Ray Gauger – 6’5”, 180 pounds – KTM RC8R
I’d pick the KTM because it fits me the best, looks cool, and sounds bitching. I really like the powerband and how you don’t have to rev the piss out of it to get it to go. I know it’s probably not the fastest but that’s not what I’m about anyways. I had no problems getting it to go where I want and I like all the features of the dashboard. Some of the other guys complained that it didn’t have a slipper clutch but I didn’t miss it. I’d pick the KTM for sure.
Brian Steeves – 5’9”, 165 pounds – BMW S1000RR
If I was more on a budget I’d buy the CBR or Suzuki. I’ve owned both brands of bikes before and I know they are tough and would last a long time. But if I had the cash I would buy the Beemer. For the money the performance it delivers is almost too good to be true. In fact I think if the President of the United States knew what this bike was about it would be banned in a second. So hopefully he’s not reading this…
Joesph Agustin – 5’11”, 165 pounds – Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R
The thing I really like about the Kawasaki is its traction control and adjustable power maps. It makes it easier for me to ride. I don’t have a whole lot of experience riding sportbikes but when I ride the Kawi I feel like I do. It’s a really easy bike to ride. It’s engine power is just mellow enough for me but when you rev it up it really goes. I also like the way it looks and the way it fits me.
Bobbi Ali – 5’9”, 175 pounds – BMW S1000RR
I’m a die-hard Ducati guy but I can’t help but love the BMW. It’s not the prettiest but sure is the fastest. Not only that but it is fairly easy to ride But I was amazed at how well the BMW performed on all road surfaces.
Check out this photograph courtesy of Kevin Wing taken atop Palomar Mountain in California.
Superbike Smackdown VIII is in the books. Let us know which of these bikes you would put your money on.

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Technomancer   June 29, 2011 05:42 AM
Wildpig, here are some facts. After a recent boo boo on my S1000RR, I was charged $102 for the clutch lever, $266 for the front plastics, and $490 for the left side plastics. This is all OEM, parts cost only, at the dealer. Labor is $84/hour. I'll be interested to know what they charge at Yamaha or Kawasaki for those items for their newest sport bike. The numbers are on a par with Ducati, for the others I really don't know. I don't think your experience with BMW adventure bikes is representative of resale values for the S1000RR, which is in very high demand. They are getting $7000 to $9000 for wrecks with salvage title on eBay, and the uncrashed bikes I see sold used get only $1000 off purchase price. So I don't think you know what you're talking about here. - John
klm2691   May 14, 2011 10:30 PM
Horse-power sells bikes in the US, that is a fact. But as far as I can tell by all the related articles on all the bikes the Honda and the Kawasaki seemed to be the easiest to ride quickly. Not to mention both can be had in my area for $14000 "out the door"! That to me makes these two bikes the best "values" out of all the ones tested. We all have differing opinions as to what the "best" is, but the professional riders all seemed to ride the "least" technologically advanced bike to the "Superpole" winner. And that same bike was judged the best "street" capable machine of the group. That speaks volumes to me, and "frugality" has me looking as to which are the most practical and cost-effective for my bucks. All are great machines, if you can afford the most-expensive, buy-it!
Hutchy   May 13, 2011 12:30 PM
Both the MV F4 and the Aprilia RSV4 were invited and both manufacturers chose not to provide a bike. We would ike to have them in the test for sure but we cannot force anyone to show up.
don't_judge_me_easily   May 12, 2011 08:26 AM
dear editor...i gotta interested with your article but i feel something is missing in here.I'm a biker too and i myself owned the Ducati,Honda CBR and i quite agree with what you write about them.On the same time i wanna know why you don't put MV Agusta F4 into this article?I owned 2010 F4 model and i'm proud with it.
jrgt1k   May 11, 2011 08:26 AM
Wildpig, not sure what state your in, but I too, live in San Francisco area and have a S1000RR. Got it in April last year. Went to all the dealers around here, there were 5 at the time. All the same price, list price. No more no less. They all told me that BMW was strictly enforcing a no premium pricing rule on the bike. I know of several S1000RR owners who did pay that 16,200 price. Mine had the motorsports color option so it was 16,200 + the paint price.
sloppy   May 10, 2011 08:00 PM
Pig, you do your own wrenching? I bet your Momma is proud. I do mine too. Nobody really gives a sh-- if you change your own oil, brakes and tires. Join the crowd. Who buys a bike for resale value? The problem with a Harley is that you might have to ride it. If anemic power, crappy brakes, and getting vibrated to death means its a good investment well I just might stick to CD or a bond and blow my money on something that's actually fun to drive. I will take the BMW and the resale hit any day over a Harley.
wildpig   May 10, 2011 04:48 PM
scoot -- yer an idiot.... i have a harley a bmw an a triumph,, i have over 300,000 miles under my belt............... did i mention i do all my own wrenchin an that said wrenchin is -- first class? u people sure dont seem to know much at all about bikes,, performance,, re sale values-- on i get it --yer online bikers----
wildpig   May 10, 2011 04:44 PM
mortal you're on drugs............ u cannot buy a bmw s1000rr anywhere in my state for 16,200. period. parts-- who r u tryin to kid== bmw parts are most expensive than any other brand..... we wont even talk about the lack of re sell value........... really im just wonderin what planet you're on..............
mortalc01l   May 10, 2011 10:22 AM
Mr wildpig is entirely uninformed and speaking total nonsense. The BMW CAN be had for $14k without the ABS/Traction electronics package, or $16K fully loaded including the Motorsports paint package which is a $750 option. I paid $16,200 and I am in San Francisco which has the worst prices in the USA Also resale values on BMW's are ALWAYS great. Try finding a used BMW S1000RR and see how much you end up paying for it if you can find one. Parts are no more expensive for the BMW than they are for my ZX-10R or my Triumph Daytona 675...
RENDELL   May 10, 2011 07:00 AM
HokieRider: I read a price comparison on a BMW sportbike compared to Japanese sportbikes and what you said is true about the BMW costing many times more for replacement parts than a Japanese sport bike. For those with a lot of disposable income it probably isn’t an issue. Reading through the lines in this comparison and watching the video I detected which bikes would be ideal for real world riding when I’m not at a track. I canyon carve a lot on weekends but I commute even more because it’s the only fun I can have early in the morning on weekdays. There are so many different philosophies on it. One I hear is: I have a car, I don’t need a comfortable sportbike for real world riding. For me, I try to use my bike for everything unless I’m carting friends or family around. My only bitch is I’ve had my bike stolen before trying to do it all.
HokieRider   May 9, 2011 09:05 AM
These reviews are great and all, but I wish they would add other real world costs and concerns to the street comparison. Examples of that could be insurance costs for each bike (based on the same rider profile), routine service costs and intervals, dealer and service network, and typical parts replacement for a street oriented low side (levers, turn signals, mirrors, fairings, etc). Now don't quote me on this, but I kinda remember seeing that a BMW brake lever was like 4 or 5 times as expensive as a Honda or Suzuki lever. There's a lot of added concerns (to me anyways) besides purchase price and relative performance that will weigh in on my decision when I step up to my next bike. I mean let's face it, all these bikes will melt your face off (figuratively) on the street, so I think of principle concern is what bike is best to live with day in and day out. I would also like to see them add more opinions on commuting, runs to the store, and two-up riding in addition to the typical canyon commentary. All that said, my practical side loves the CBR, but my impractical side loves the RC8R.
Scoot   May 9, 2011 08:54 AM
Mr wildpig is a little off in his estimate of BMW. It is a know fact that Harley Davidson is the king of zero resale value. The market is loaded with used harleys and give away prices. Try and find a used BMW. My neighbor and my brother have had there 2 year old harleys for sale for over a year and can not get an offer for 1/2 of what they paid. Too much competition from the used harleys in the newspapers. Quad City Times has 26 used harleys for sale at prices that are well below book value. Do a little research before you open your stupid pie hole. You sound like an uninformed harley owner. I'll bet good money you have a harley with the 3 foot tall handle bars, no muffler and an official harley pirate outfit.
Physics   May 7, 2011 05:07 PM
Willie: These 1/4 numbers are slower than what they got last year. For example they had the CBR running 9.706s @ 141.7 last year. Also, Sport Rider mag got still faster numbers last year (9.67s @ 150.3 for the CBR and 9.57s @ 156.1 for the BMW and 0-60 times of 2.6-2.8 for all the inline-4s). Different tests with different riders in different conditions will yield different results. Also, the braking distances this year are about 10 feet longer than they were last year. As far as the cruiser with the 2.5 0-60 and 10.11 1/4, my guess is it was one of those cruisers stuffed with a car engine, right? As a cruiser it has a much longer wheelbase and therefore it's center of gravity is much farther from the rear wheel. This means that with enough power (say from a car engine) it will be able to out accelerate a shorter wheelbase sport bike because it will take more acceleration torque about the axis of the rear wheel to lift the front. Another example is that the Diavel can hit 60 fast than an 1198, because of its longer wheelbase. That is the limiting factor on low speed acceleration for sportbikes. The trade off is that the short wheelbase makes them very nimble as well.
Willie   May 7, 2011 12:16 PM
Your numbers seem a little low for all these bikes. Surely you can't be saying that all these bikes are as fast...slow as you say. What's sad is Cycle World has a 700lb crusier with 0-60mph at 2.5 seconds And a 1/4 mile of 10.11 at 137mph. Drag Times seems to agree with CW. Are you telling the folks that your numbers are the only true results on the web?
guambra2001   May 7, 2011 09:47 AM
Is it me or does it always seem like they have something against the ducati? Because it came last on the track comparison, and it comes last on the street too. I mean I know that is not the most pleasant bikes out there, but my goodness it looks amazing, performs great, and it's designed to be ridden hard.

The ZX10R looks and performs great too, but I agree on the results and the BMW remains king.
RENDELL   May 7, 2011 08:48 AM
I have the 08 CBR 1000RR and I love it. After reading this and watching the video I want the KTM RC8R, please God! I had an '03 Honda RC51 and like the KTM it wasn't the lightest and fastest but it was the most funt, in my opinion. There's something about the grunt and feel of a V-Twin in a sportbike chasis that is pure bliss. Bonus: the KTM looks like an athletic supermodel. If I wasn't going to Afghanistan next year I'd get one today.
wildpig   May 7, 2011 06:11 AM
you 3 major problems with the bmw 1000rr. -- 1- you wont buy it for 16,000-- try 18,2 to 18,4. 2- ZERO RE-SALE VALUE, realistically- 45-50% immediate loss-- bmw;s dirty lil secret. 3- outrageous service costs far in excess of competitors bikes.......... you can debate till you're blue in the face those 3 facts-- but they are facts an they will not change no matter how many opins are tossed out. bottom line -- bmw -- over rated.