It’s that time of the year; time to grab the keys of the best superbikes that were launched in 2020 and throw them into the ring against each other. Which one will come out on top?
It’s the last issue of 2020 but the pandemic hasn’t been so bad for the sports bike fraternity. We’ve seen the genius of Honda’s all-new Fireblade, Ducati’s baby Panigale V2 and Triumph’s final supersport hurrah in the form of the brilliant Daytona 765 Moto 2 joining the regulars. Well, the veterans too received their own batch of updates starting with our favourite – the Aprilia RSV4 1100 factory with its gen-2 Ohlins, Ducati’s ferocious Panigale V4 with its a set of wings to keep it on the ground and several homologation special tweaks. A couple of stalwarts remain unchanged but still deserve a place in this year’s ultimate showdown and that list includes the Suzuki GSX-R 1000R and Kawasaki ZX-10RR and of course the Yamaha R1M. Last year’s winner – the BMW S 1000 RR remains largely unchanged but why fix what ain’t broke, right?
The ensemble includes nine of the best superbikes that you can buy today and we have tested them on road – everything from a smooth road to bumpy farm tracks, motorways and high streets even, for comfort and usability. In the second part we took them to Cadwell park to test their agility, stability, feel, tech and brakes because these are the things that you’d talk about at the bar. And we have also tested the bikes on the dyno and the weighing scales. That’s not all, we have also data-logged everything collating 0-160kmph timings and 160-0 deceleration times to throw some science into the test. It’s the ultimate test of the ultimate bikes on road, track, dyno and scales. It’s the Ultimate Sportsbike Test 2020 and there can be only one winner.
This is a 36-page booklet that can be purchased here. Or you can also get it for free with the December issue of evo India magazine.
BMW S 1000 RR:
The S 1000 RR is an exceptional motorcycle, no second thoughts about that and it won this test last year. The M Sport is brilliant on road but its capability on a circuit takes the sex appeal to a whole new level. The Shiftcam does its magic in the low and high range, leaving no stone unturned. But is still good enough?
Aprilia RSV4 1100 Factory:
You have to hand it to Aprilia for the RSV4 has been in the business for over five years now. It is still one of the quickest and most enjoyable machines of them all. Aprilia has introduced the excellent Gen2 Ohlins suspension this year and the new paint job definitely helps shed a few tenths.
Ducati Panigale V4S:
Without doubt, the V4S is the most potent of all the bikes on the test managing to produce skid marks both on and off track. For 2020, the mid-range has been made more usable but every time you wring the throttle, the V4S wants to throw your elbows off their sockets. Reason enough to be declared the winner?
It’s mad to think that it’s been over six years since the CP4 R1 hit the scene. For 2020, there has been comprehensive rework. Power and weight aside, the R1 has been brilliant on track. It’s bloody good when it comes to the tech and has a 250GP vibe to it. What’s not to like?
Kawasaki ZX-10 RR:
Jonathan Rea has been consistently been making the ZX-10 RR work on track making a laughing stock of its rivals. Once the motor spins up, there’s no stopping this Kwacker. It has decent brakes and good tech but it has started showing its age after all.
The runner-up of 2017 edition of the Ultimate Sports Bike has been a great machine since day one but the rivals have shifted the goalpost. Being a Suzuki, it is still a great everyday machine; even on track as well. The torquey motor is super tractable and the top-end is adequate. But is it adequate enough?
Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP:
On paper, the latest ‘Blade is the best in all departments: be it brakes, power, weight and tech even. But the race-focused dynamics expect you ride the balls out of the machine. And once you start doing that, the ‘Blade just gets sweeter. It may not suit everyone but it has the potential to be the winner of USB 2020.
Ducati Panigale V2:
Look at the Panigale V2 from some distance and you will mistake it for the V4 S. It looks smashing, has all the tech that you require and is far easier to live with on an everyday basis, when compared with the Panigale 959. But does it have the guns to fight against the bigwigs?
Triumph Daytona 765 Moto2:
If the bikes were judged on the basis of fun, the Daytona 765 would be at the top of the list. We already know that the Moto 2 edition is sold out and Triumph has decided to discontinue the supersport. But what if you were to wanted a used bike?