NOTH­ING STOPS FASTER

En­gi­neered to Per­fec­tion - in the UK and USA

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Qual­ity Bri­tish and Amer­i­can brakes Vee-ro­tors™

Choose from UK made or­ganic pads or semi-sin­tered Vee pads for feel and con­trol, or US made sin­tered cop­per al­loy brakes that de­liver mas­sive brak­ing power, im­proved wear life and re­duced brake noise. These ro­tors are Bri­tish made us­ing Ger­man mill rolled pre­ci­sion stain­less steel ro­tor blades with new VEE pro­file weight re­duc­ing pro­file which are mounted onto light­weight al­loy cen­ter hubs us­ing the EBC patented SD square drive but­ton tech­nol­ogy. Color hub op­tions also avail­able. VMD Clas­sic ro­tors are avail­able with black an­odized hubs.

the track at speed as han­dling proved less re­spon­sive and pre­cise. Fluid steer­ing in­puts paid div­i­dends and made the most of avail­able cor­ner­ing clear­ance that saw the FZ scratch­ing pegs and muf­fler a bit ear­lier than the rest.

The only bike here lack­ing IMU cor­ner­ing ABS, it’s worth not­ing our only nit re­gard­ing the FZ’S brakes was “stop­pie struck” Colton wish­ing the ABS could be turned off like that of the other bikes here. One other omis­sion stood out in this fast com­pany as summed up by the ed­i­tor-in-chief. “Okay, so maybe I am get­ting soft, but it’s a glar­ing omis­sion not to have auto-blip down­shift on the Fz-10—and the R1, for that mat­ter.”

With stock tires re­mounted, we hit the road the next morn­ing for an overnight ride out to the coast and back. Draw­ing the lucky key for the ini­tial free­way tran­sit down I-5, I set the FZ-10’S cruise con­trol at 80 mph and en­joyed the roomy er­gos and sooth­ing silky beat of its cross­plane four. The Tuono is equally smooth and pleas­ant at high­way cruise, and while the KTM’S pair of cof­fee-can pis­tons pro­duce a dis­tinctly coarser beat, it, too, feels re­mark­ably re­laxed even near­ing 100 mph in top gear. Bar damp­ing is a BMW up­date for this model year, yet the fine-pitched tin­gle that re­mains in­duced hand numb­ness for a few of us. But when the go­ing got cold along the coast, the Beemer’s heated grips made it the key of choice. At one par­tic­u­lar road­side stop Colton left his as­signed bike and bel­lied up to the to BMW bar to thaw his paws.

Al­ways the source for killer tricks, our street freestyle pro dis­played a prac­ti­cal ben­e­fit of the KTM’S su­per­moto ABS mode: hack­ing the rear and skid­ding into a per­fectly squared-up park­ing job as we lined the curb ad­ja­cent to a Cal­is­toga cof­fee­house. Even Hoyer caught the fever and was cap­tured on film wheely­ing the BMW over a crest in the coastal red­woods.

Such an­tics are a part of naked sport ap­peal, and to a rider our fa­vorite road miles came the fol­low­ing morn­ing head­ing east on High­way 128. Picture the Star Wars for­est moon of En­dor, only these naked crotch rock­ets man­aged the speed slalom with­out in­ci­dent. “Rid­ing the Aprilia through the red­woods on that wind­ing road was one of the sin­gle great­est 20 min­utes on tar­mac of my en­tire life,” came Hoyer’s con­vinc­ing tes­ti­mo­nial. “Third-gear crossed-up power wheel­ies at 85 mph with fil­tered sun­light and mist hang­ing in the air, the an­i­mal growl of the great­est street­bike preda­tor on the mar­ket echo­ing through the trees… It was so good I al­most didn’t be­lieve it was real.”

I was aboard the FZ-10 through the wooded stage and en­joyed a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence. To my de­light, even on its mid­dle of three TC set­tings, the snappy Yamaha al­lows long clutch­less floaters out of se­cond- and third-gear cor­ners.

Per­haps nearly as amaz­ing was the fact we rode past a taco joint in Boonville and didn’t stop. “I’ve had nine tacos in three days,” was a per­sonal-fa­vorite Hoyer quip on the trip. Upon re­turn to Wil­lows we con­vened at Sub­way and came to a gen­eral con­sen­sus over lunch. Our BMW sim­ply suf­fered too many mys­te­ri­ous ills, and even though this de­fies the Mo­tor Works rep­u­ta­tion for re­fine­ment, it rel­e­gated the S1000R to the bot­tom of each tester’s or­der of pref­er­ence. Locked in a split de­ci­sion for the run­ner-up slot is the Yamaha and KTM, the least and most ex­pen­sive bikes here. “I thought the FZ-10 might suf­fer against this pow­er­ful, more ex­pen­sive group of nakeds,” Hoyer noted, mak­ing a strong case for Yamaha’s $12,999 per­for­mance bar­gain. “It re­ally didn’t suf­fer much at all. It does feel a bit wider and slightly heav­ier, but its right-now en­gine re­sponse and su­per-com­posed chas­sis made it a great bike at the track and an even greater bike on the street. It’s amaz­ing, es­pe­cially at its price.” One thing re­mains though: The KTM is King of the Moun­tain and will stay so un­til some other su­per naked makes the climb to raise the bar.

While the guys didn’t buy into my choice of a foot-long toasted spicy Ital­ian at the sand­wich counter, we were all in agree­ment that the Aprilia Tuono 1100 RR ranks right at the top both road and track. It pos­sesses true su­per­bike per­for­mance in ev­ery area: en­gine, elec­tron­ics, han­dling, and brakes. And it does so with a de­gree of com­fort, ci­vil­ity, and Ital­ian spice and flair that in­spires you phys­i­cally and emo­tion­ally to de­sire more track time fol­low­ing a two-day road ride. And that is a moun­tain of ev­i­dence in our book.

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