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.