Gallery: Extreme bikes on extreme roads
Aprilia’s new Tuono 1100 V4 Factory, the BMW S1000R Sport, KTM 1290 Super Duke R and the Yamaha MT-10SP are the hardest, most extreme super-nakeds money can buy. The new machines rival sportsbikes with searing performance, cutting edge technology and they’re powered by biking’s most evocative engines: BMW’s screamadelic inline four, Yamaha’s howling crossplane masterpiece and because they’re not shackled by superbike racing rules, KTM and Aprilia have allowed themselves to run riot.
By upping the capacity of its wailing V4 to an 1100 the Tuono’s motor churns out a mesmerising arc of stinging power and bulging grunt. The Super Duke’s rumbling 1.3-litre V-twin is simply a thing of ground-churning wonder.
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It’s race-bred chassis technology all round, too. The Aprilia sits on Öhlins suspension and the KTM on WP’s finest. The Yamaha and BMW have electronic semi-active units – Öhlins for the SP and an HP4-derived Sachs system ont he S1000R, which also runs forged aluminium wheels on this test bike (a £1250 option).
Radial Brembos are a staple on all but the MT-10SP and these super-nakeds are packed with the latest electronics: rider modes, traction control, cornering ABS, quickshifters and autoblippers (except the Yamaha). The Aprilia even has a pitlane limiter and launch control (as does the KTM). And talking of the pointless end of electronics scale, they have anti-wheelie. Why? Fortunately you can turn them all off.
They’re fast and clever beyond comprehension, but they’re refined, too. They all have cruise control, comfy seats, full colour displays (except the Beemer, which makes up for it with heated grips) and the KTM also has keyless ignition. They ooze quality, as they should with their premium prices.
To give them a proper workout we decided to take them across France, into the immaculate south west of Germany and on to the magical B500, south of Baden-Baden.
To read the full test, pick up a copy of the May 17 issue of MCN.