The four European bikes, all having very different dimensions and very different engine configurations, were all… well, very different. With its run-of-the-mill 1,000cc inline four, the BMW S1000R’s 114Nm torque figure was understandably the most modest of the bunch, but it made for an easy, calm and collected bike to ride slowly while still being able to pack a punch when made to really sing. At £12,965 it’s the most reasonably priced steed from this side of the world – for the money, I can’t imagine anyone would be disappointed if they bought one, but as Bruce found out, if you want to take one on track, you’ll need to be prepared to put your big boy pants on and hold on tight – he found it a bit too much of a handful to post a particularly sensible lap-time.
On the subject of lap-times, the Triumph Speed Triple RS, the least powerful and slowest in Frodo’s flat out speed run, impressed us all with its pole-setting lap-time. Its sublime handling made up for its lack of ponies round the test track so much so that Bruce was able to push it harder than anything else in the search for the best lap-time… which he found on the Trumpet. And it mightn’t have been the mentalist most exciting bike on the street, but its road manners certainly made it a splendid bike to ride on the road.
If ASBOs rather than manners are your thing then KTM’s big 1290 Super Duke R might be right up your street. Despite a bunch of extra ccs and a load more power, the 1290 wasn’t as at home on the track as the Triumph; its long suspension travel and its slightly lumpy engine took some getting used to, but it didn’t embarrass itself. On the road the KTM was the perfect hooligan. Its temperamental quickshifter might have put paid to mile long wheelies, but you could still do plenty on it that you ought not to, and we all had a scream aboard the big KTM .
But for all the grins that are an inevitability on the Beemer, the Trumpet and the KTM, it was difficult to ignore the near perfection of the Aprilia Tuono V4. I say near perfection, it wasn’t the fastest round our test track… but it made up for that in sheer excitement. Insatiable power, incredible brakes, all the tech and great road holding made the Aprilia the full package. And not only was it the full package, it was a premium package – but you pay through the nose for it. Whether it’s worth the extra money, though is a tricky question – and I suppose that depends on exactly what you want from your bike.
But don’t make a decision just yet, dear readers, oh no. We still have four more big, fast super sexy super naked bikes to showcase. Waiting in the wings are the very best Japan has to offer the super naked sector. The monstrous Yamaha MT-10, the retro Honda CB1000R+, the screaming Suzuki GSX-S1000 and the lean, green Kawasaki Z1000 are ready and waiting to kamikaze the Euro bikes battleship… will there be a huge bang or a big splash? Grab a copy of next month’s mag to find out.
once again, as we It will be all out warfare, East Next Month: the Beast from the super naked. Can next crown the top Japanese to grab a copy has to offer? Be sure better the best Europe month to find out...