The 1000cc sports bike class has ripped in two and there are now two distinct camps. In the ‘extreme’ corner there’s the super-powerful, electronically-enhanced superbikes, like the Aprilia RSV4, BMW S1000RR, Ducati Panigale and Kawasaki ZX-10R. Over in the other is the new Fireblade, GSX-R1000 and R1.
These much-loved Japanese machines are the old guard and have all been worthy MCN superbike group test winners over the last 11 years.
They’re still blindingly fast, with handling to exceed the talents of most and are cheaper and gruntier than their top-spec European rivals, but they’re now left behind in the race to set the ultimate lap.
But let’s face it, lap times don’t really matter in the real world and actually, has the Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha not changed much because they don’t need to? Is it actually cooler to go for a Blade than a BMW?
We took the R1, Fireblade and GSX-R1000 on a road test to the Nurburgring along with a Kawasaki Z1000SX wild card.
What do you think; do we really need superbikes with more electronics than Apollo 11 or are simple superbikes like the Fireblade the way to go on the road? Let us know in the comments below.
We've put together three real world superbikes currently for sale on mcnbikesforsale.com which we think are excellent bikes on the road.
2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000, £4,500
Suzuki went straight to the top of the superbike tree in 2005 and stayed there, pretty much ever since. The reasons for the Suzuki GSX-R1000's dominance are simple. Sublime, lithe ergonomics and handling, radical styling and full-on usable power. So good BMW used it as a benchmark for the S1000RR.
2009 Yamaha R1, £6,595
The 2009 R1 changed the game with it's MotoGP-derived cross-plane crankshaft. Thanks to the clever engine design it grunts off corners like a V-twin, while giving superb feel through the rear tyre, and howls along straights like the mad, bad in-line-four it really is.
2009 Honda Fireblade, £7,000
The 2009 Fireblade was the first ABS-equipped superbike. The system isn't intrusive and stays in the background until you really need it, as good ABS systems should. The magic of the Honda Fireblade is its grunt and searing acceleration - the power is easy to use all the way through the rev-range and the throttle response perfect.
To read the full test, pick up a copy of the June 13 issue of MCN.