It’s all up for grabs with these true superbikes. Seriously...eight insane two-wheeled rippers, some equipped with the latest technology available to your average enthusiast. Quick shift, traction control, etc.
I have to give Honda credit for bringing a user-friendly ‘monster’ into the mix. Its ergos put the rider at ease on an otherwise intimidating track environment or an unfamiliar road. If my focus was on track days, I’d have to choose the economical closed-course-oriented Kawi. It’s basic economics and a manageable parts budget.
The hard part of the equation is percentage of time in the saddle at warp speed vs. dollars these days. I’d rather spend the time and money on the BMW. It’s comfortable when asked to be tame and sick fast when the human traction control is turned off. Enjoy some fun roads without breaking the bank at my local racetrack on tires and spares. I go with the Beemer as my first choice, I’ll leave a spot in the garage for the other seven standouts!
While getting a call from Bradley to ride eight of the best open class bikes there are sounded like an awesome idea at the time, eight bikes and four days later, it was still an awesome idea! All these girls were amazing, but in the end it came down to two. It’s like having two of the best cupcakes set in front of you and you are only allowed to pick one, one of the toughest things I ever had to do. And while some bikes are clearly better for the track than others, and others are clearly better for the street, I narrowed it down to the Kawasaki ZX-10R and the BMW S 1000 RR. With the difference in cost just over a $1000, both with traction control, I decided to go for the more powerful, quick-shifted BMW. In my opinion, it’s the best all around bike, along with the love or hate styling, (which I love). It’s an amazing well-rounded street bike, then slap a number plate on it, and its more than competitive at any local club race bone stock, its that good.
With all the new bikes and updates going on in the literbike class this year, I was assuming that the unchanged Kawasaki was going to get left in the dust. In the past, standing still for even a year often meant the difference between contender and has-been. But in the blinding flash of trick new machinery, it’s easy to forget what a solid performer the ZX-10R really is. Yes, it doesn’t have the peak numbers of the astounding BMW, but it’s close enough that the only place you’ll be getting left behind is on fast racetracks (and we’ve already shown what an ECU reflash can do for the Kawasaki).
Granted, it’s not as if the S 1000 RR is not any fun to ride. There are many aspects of the new version I like better — but there are some I don’t. I’m not sure why BMW engineers felt the wheelie control needed to be more intrusive, and while the chassis feel is better, the recalibration of the suspension now makes for adjustments that are too coarse.
The Kawasaki just has that chassis feel in the corners that gives me confidence, and although peak power numbers are great, I care more about what’s under the curve. I’ll take the ZX-10R, use some of the money I save to reflash the ECU, add some tweaks and I’m good.