When it comes to motorcycling, there are several manufacturers which have repeatedly tried to showcase their very best through their flagship motorcycles. Each and every manufacturer has one special motorcycle in its stable, through which they try to display the best of their engineering prowess.
Save for some manufacturers such as Harley Davidson, Indian, Triumph and the likes which have their flagship motorcycles in the form of cruisers, a majority of the bike manufacturers have a liter class supersport in their portfolio as their range topping motorcycles. With the supersports, bike makers try to lure the enthusiasts, as these motorcycles are rich in dynamics and features – leaving the rider only with true and focused riding and nothing else.
When it comes to liter class supersports, the world is divided into two parts – Japanese and European. In this list, there are four Japanese and five European liter class supersports, which comprise to be the ultimate list for all those who desire to have the best of a motorcycle maker in one bike. Let’s have a look on the nine of the best liter class supersport machines which have made their parent manufacturers proud, time to time.
Let’s start with the motorcycle which started it all. The Yamaha R1 is regarded as one of the first movers in the segment of liter class supersports and igniting the war among the superbike makers for showcasing their best of engineering on two wheels through this category of motorcycles.
The motorcycle has seen several changes since its inception in 1997, with the latest generation model being the closest one to the Japanese marque’s MotoGP machine, the crazy YZR M1. Not only the silhouette, but various features such as crossplane crankshaft, 6-axis Inertial Measurement Unit, Deltabox chassis, ABS, Traction Control, three different ride modes and many more have been borrowed from the MotoGP spec motorcycle. The features such as twin projector headlamps with LED DRLs, fully digital instrument console and single side mounted muffler are some of the firsts for the R1.
The current generation Yamaha R1 is powered by an all new four stroke, four cylinder, liquid cooled, 998cc engine, which pumps put 200 PS of power and 112.4 Nm of torque. The motorcycle was recently launched in the Indian market at a price of a whopping Rs. 24 lakh.
Commonly known as the ‘Fireblade’ among the enthusiasts, the Honda CBR 1000RR is another Japanese liter class motorcycle which has been trying its best in matching the credentials of Yamaha R1. The motorcycle receives minimal styling and mechanical upgrades frequently, and the current version looks much fiercer and focused than ever before.
Some of the features which make the CBR 1000RR special include MotoGP derived slipper clutch, aluminium gull-wing swingarm, Showa suspension at both front and rear, Honda Electronic Steering Damper (HESD), customizable four display modes for tachometer and 5-level shift indicator in the multi-function LCD display, Honda Intelligent Security System (HISS) and ABS.
Being a successor to the CBR 900RR, the Honda CBR 1000RR is evolved every time on the basis of Honda’s ‘Total Control’ concept, which makes it a perfect balance between an outright supersport motorcycle and a sports tourer. One of the best supersports for everyday riding duties, the new Honda CBR 1000RR comes with an improved version of the four stroke, liquid cooled, inline four, 999cc engine, which now delivers 180.8 PS of power and 114 Nm of torque.
While it misses out on the host of electronics which make the likes of supersports of this day and age more desirable than ever before, the Honda CBR 1000R Fireblade can be fairly regarded as one perfect jack of all trades. Available in the Indian market in five different variants, prices for the CBR 1000RR range between 15.46 lakh to 18.00 lakh.
Another Japanese liter class supersport which somehow mirrors the credentials of the Honda CBR 1000RR is the Suzuki GSX R1000. Since last 25 years, the GSX R1000 is the perennial of Suzuki’s engineering prowess in the liter class supersport segment.
As compared to the manic nature of liter class supersports of today’s day and age, the Suzuki GSX R1000 proves out to be a supersport which can be ridden with equal prowess on both the tracks as well as streets.
While it is not bestowed with over the top fancy electronics, the Suzuki GSX R1000 surely comes with ABS and three different riding modes as standard. But this lack of electronics may soon become a thing of the past, because Suzuki is reported to be developing an all new GSX R1000, which is supposed to shatter the benchmarks currently set by the Yamaha R1 among the Japanese liter class supersports.
The Suzuki GSX R1000 is powered by a fantastic four stroke, liquid cooled, four cylinder, 999cc engine, which puts up 191 bhp of peak power and 110 Nm of maximum torque. Currently, the Suzuki GSX R1000 retails for Rs. 15.95 lakh.
When it arrived in the global market as well as the Indian big bike scenario, the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R instantly became the hot favorite among the enthusiasts, probably due to the fact that it was, and still is, a perfect balance between outright supersport and everyday sportsbike.
The road going version of the current Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is blessed with a host of electronics and gadgetry, which makes this motorcycle a spectacular value in a bike of its class. To start with, the Ninja ZX-10R features aluminium twin spar frame, Sport – Kawasaki Traction Control (S-KTRC), Kawasaki Intelligent Antilock Braking System (KIBS) and fully electronic steering damper sourced from none other than Ohlins.
Powering the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10R is a four stroke, liquid cooled, inline four, 998cc engine which pumps out 200 PS of maximum power and 112 Nm of maximum torque. Taking the ram air induction into the account, the power bumps up to even more insane 207 PS. Thanks to the seriousness of Kawasaki for the Indian market, the motorcycle was launched earlier than expected, though at a very high price tag of Rs. 16.95 lakh.
If there is one motorcycle which has totally changed the rules and definitions of the liter class supersport segment, it has to be the BMW S 1000 RR. Hailing from a land best known for making uber rich luxobarges and sharp supercars, the S 1000 RR has been showcasing the best of German engineering on two wheels ever since its inception back in 2009. The motorcycle has recently received its first major upgrade, thus taking the game forward in an even more extreme manner.
The BMW S 1000 RR is a very different motorcycle when compared to the other bikes of its league. First comes the quirky asymmetric design philosophy, which though is subjective, but gives the S 1000 RR an unmatched identity of its own. In the recent facelift, the distinguished headlamp design, the gills on the sides and every other contour has been mildly redesigned to make it feel upmarket.
The facelift has also rewarded the BMW S 1000 RR even more features than before, a front on which the motorcycle was already a champion. The new bike comes with a redesigned instrument console, ‘Shift Assistant Pro’ for changing gears without the usage of clutch, Dynamic Damping Control (DDC) for the automatic adjustment of suspension as per rider’s preferences, Dynamic Traction Control (DTC), Antilock Braking System (ABS), Automatic Stability Control (ASC), three different riding modes (Rain, Sport and Race), two more optional riding modes (Slick and User), electromotive throttle actuator control and revised ECU mapping.
The new BMW S 1000 RR sources its power from a four stroke, four cylinder, oil cooled, 999cc motor, which oozes out a ballistic 198 bhp of power and 113 Nm of torque. Belonging to a very niche segment of superbikes, the new BMW S 1000 RR is priced at Rs. 34.7 lakh.
It seems that the folks at Ducati thought that the Panigale 1199 was short of enthusiasm, so lo and behold, here comes the Panigale 1299. The Ducati Panigale 1299 shares its entire design and silhouette with the erstwhile Panigale 1199, which itself is a good thing to start with, considering the fact that even yesterday and still, the Panigale is the most beautiful motorcycle in the liter class motorcycle segment.
Move over the drop-dead gorgeous design, and the Ducati Panigale 1299 packs in a beast under its skin. The motorcycle is now fitted with a four stroke, liquid cooled, Superquadro L-twin, 1285cc engine, which is nothing but the bored out version of the previous 1198cc mill. This new engine develops a mammoth 205 bhp of power and the best in class torque output of 145 Nm.
In the typical Ducati fashion, the Panigale 1299 comes with a host of electronics and features, such as sci-fi fully digital instrument console, fully ride by wire system, Ducati Quick Shifter (DQS), front Marzocchi forks, rear Sachs monoshock, Pirelli Diablo Supercorsa SP tyres, cornering ABS, riding modes, power modes, DTC, DWC, EBC, fully RbW, auto tyre calibration, auxiliary adjustment buttons-ready, DDA+ with GPS-ready. Yes, all these equipment do command a hefty premium of Rs. 32.3 lakh.
The Aprilia RSV4 is highly regarded as one of the most capable and all rounder motorcycles in the liter class supersport segment. It does possess all the pizzazz usually associated with automobiles hailing from Italy, with the trademark three-part front headlamp design.
Inspired by the company’s machines participating in the WSBK championship, the Aprilia RSV4 comes with a four stroke, liquid cooled, four cylinder, 999.6cc V4 engine, which puts out an impressive 184 bhp of power and 117 Nm of torque.
A natural trait of all the European motorcycles, it is fully loaded with electronics and features such as Aprilia Performance Ride Control (APRC), which includes Aprilia Traction Control (ATC), Aprilia Wheelie Control (AWC), suspension units from Sachs, Aprilia Launch Control (ALC) and Aprilia Quick Shifter (AQS), riding modes and ABS.
Through its limited showrooms in India, Aprilia sells the RSV4 at a hefty price tag of Rs. 24.65 lakh. The motorcycle is also available in an even more focused variant named as ‘RSV4 Factory’, which comes with fully electronically adjustable Ohlins suspension and carbon fiber parts.