Rocketman: The 8 Best Superbikes

Oct 23, 2018

Category: Rides

Back in 1969, Honda released their CB750 unto the world of motorcycle racing. Little did they know what they had built — and started. The superbike category — previously one that hadn’t existed — was then opened up by the pioneers behind Honda Powersports, a craze and addiction that has only served to expand over time into the track-built behemoths we see today.

But what constitutes a superbike? Well, for starters these sport bike variants typically boast a displacement of around 1000cc — which is insane considering how lightweight these rides have become over the years. In layman’s terms, they’re a rocket on wheels — often boasting top speeds of 180mph or higher. Also, which may come as a surprise to some, supebikes need to be street legal and available to the general public for purchase. All the while, these bikes must meet the standards of the track. Quite the niche market we know, which is why the current market is somewhat limited in diversity. Not to worry though, this is experts-only territory and thankfully what is out there comes from trusted manufacturers.

2019 Yamaha YZF-R1M

Built for technical track riders, the 2019 Yamaha YZF-R1M is one formidable piece of machinery. For starters, we have a 998cc inline 4-cylinder engine featuring titanium fracture-split connecting rods — an industry-first for production motorcycles — while a class-leading electronics package offers total ease of operation, digital rider aids such as traction control and unified ABS keep things relatively safe, and an advanced aluminum Deltabox frame provides optimum rigidity balance for those tight knee-dragging turns. And that’s just the beginning. This is the closest iteration ever to the iconic MotoGP YZF-M1 so you can expect nothing but top-tier here.

Weight: 443 lbs
Displacement: 998cc
Colors: Matte Black, Blue, and Gray

Learn More: Yamaha

2018 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R SE

Did Kawasaki just build the ultimate race-replica superbike? We’ll leave that up for you to decide. But what we do know is the Ninja ZX-10R SE hosts all the makings of an adrenaline-fueled sled compliments of a 998cc liquid-cooled engine, Kawasaki’s Electronic Control Suspension for quick and easy access to suspension settings, a set of Brembo brakes, seven-spoke forged aluminum wheels, a chassis designed for lightning-quick cornering speed, and state-of-the-art integrated handling and power technology. Not to mention a sleek stance.

Weight: 458 lbs
Displacement: 998cc
Colors: Flat Spark Black, Metallic Matte Graphite Gray

Learn More: Kawasaki

2018 Honda CBR 1000RR

At the end of the day, superbikes are all about performance. It’s been the mantra since day one. However, with increased competition and innovation in the works, Honda — the original superbike builders — decided to up the ante with the CBR1000RR and the CBR1000RR SP (pictured above). Both options are incredibly powerful, due to a 998cc liquid-cooled inline four-cylinder engine, and light thanks to modern technology on the factory floor. Both models also host Honda’s throttle-by-wire system, a full LED lighting package, an Öhlins Smart electronic control suspension, lightweight lithium-ion battery, and a titanium muffler among many other key specs.

Weight: 430 lbs
Displacement: 998cc
Colors: Matte Black Metallic, Grand Prix Red

Learn More: Honda

2018 Suzuki GSX-R1000R

Three decades ago Suzuki first dropped the GSX-R line. And to quite the success, more than a million editions have been sold since then. Now, here’s the speed demon of the family: the GSX-R1000R. It’s their lightest, most compact, and most aerodynamic model ever. Featuring an aluminum frame and a powerful 999cc four-stroke four-cylinder engine, this intense ride hosts an exclusive Variable Valve Timing system alongside Ride-by-Wire throttle bodies for a wild ride with precise response. Also, the R1000R hosts an Inertial Measuring Unit, Brembo T-drive brake rotors, Suzuki’s Motion Track Anti-Lock Brake system, and a smooth SHOWA Balance Free suspension. What a beauty.

Weight: 448 lbs
Displacement: 999cc
Colors: Blue, Black, and White

Learn More: Suzuki

BMW HP4 Race

What do you get when you combine German engineering, an all-carbon frame, and a powerful 999cc four-stroke four-cylinder engine? In our humble opinion, it’s this frighteningly fantastic sled positioned for white-knuckling even the most experienced riders. Each HP4 Race is handmade by the specialists over at BMW Motorrad and hosts a 2D software package for racing performance specs, carbon wheels, shift assist, and Brembo GP 4 PR brake calipers among a slew of other Moto GP-friendly features for track day. Only 750 are available for the taking, however.

Weight: 378 lbs
Displacement: 999cc
Colors: Light White, Racing Blue Metallic, Racing Red

Learn More: BMW

2019 Ducati Supersport

A superbike roundup without Ducati? That’ll never happen. And how can it? For the Italians sure do know how to pair power with design. The 2019 Supersport is no exception — complete with a sporty yet elegant look, a 937cc Testastretta 11° engine, first-class technological support including ABS, DTC, Ducati Quick Shift, Riding Modes, and an LVD Display. What also comes stock with the ride is their Ducati Safety Pack that includes Ducati Traction Control and Bosch 9MP ABS for optimal handling.

Weight: 403 lbs
Displacement: 937cc
Colors: Titanium Gray, Ducati Red

Learn More: Ducati

2018 MV Agusta F3 675 RC

Using exclusivity to their advantage, MV Agusta is releasing no more than 350 units of the F3 675 RC. Which is ideal for the rider looking to stand out from the crowd on the track. Not to mention each superbike comes individually identified for good measure. Performance-wise, each limited edition ride features a 675cc three-cylinder four-stroke engine for some serious power behind the throttle. Additionally, its lightweight ALS Steel tubular trellis frame allows the powerplant to really shine on the asphalt, while the like of a Progressive Sachs rear suspension, a Marzocchi “Upside Down” telescopic hydraulic fork, and a multi-disc slipper clutch provide a smooth and reliable ride.

Weight: 363 lbs
Displacement: 675cc
Colors: Red & Pearl RC White & Green

Learn More: MV Agusta

2018 Aprilia RSV4 RF LE

As if the RSV4 RF wasn’t already impressive enough, Aprilia just had to go and release a Limited Edition only available in North America. Now, we’re jumping for joy — especially since this ride now features winglets (the first production model to do so) — alongside an Öhlins suspension, Brembo braking system, a state-of-the-art electronic controls package that includes cornering ABS and clutchless downshifts. That, of course, paired with the superbike’s 999cc V4 65° four-stroke liquid-cooled engine doesn’t hurt either.

Weight: 450 lbs
Displacement: 999cc
Colors: Gray, Red, and Green

Learn More: Aprilia

The Best New Motorcycles Under $5,000

Looking for something a bit tamer? Check out these new motorcycles for less than $5,000 you can add to the collection. You won’t be disappointed.

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