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Human nature will no doubt have caused you to scan the results before reading this summary. And no doubt you will already have formed your own opinions as to whether the scores are justified.
If there is one thing which amazes me most about our overall winner, the BMW S1000R, it is its ability to impress such a wide variety of riders. Even dyed in the wool lovers of the voluptuously textured V-twin character seem to come away from the experience of spending time on the BMW with a surprising appreciation of this sharp and clinical in-line-four screamer. I even have to admit to being a little bit disappointed that one of the other great bikes among this seven hasn’t been given the opportunity to share some of the limelight hogged by BMW over the past few years. It doesn’t seem fair, but once again, that’s how the scores tallied up. My only explanation is that the S1000R transcends individual riders’ appetites and peculiarities by its unique combination of attributes – it’s an undeniably exciting bike to ride, delivers phenomenally confidence inspiring front-end feel, and pampers the rider with a suite of well-refined electronic assistance for their comfort, safety and empowerment.
Coming an extremely close second, just three points behind, is the freshest face in the gang – Yamaha’s MT-10. And what a breath of fresh air to the streetbike market it is too. The MT-10 does many things better than the BMW, and has a motor so silky and vivacious that it starts to seduce you from the first thumb of the fun button. If you like or can live with its looks, you’ll love the MT-10’s big personality, stunning performance, and all-round practicality.
For the Aprilia, third could easily have been first place had we managed to get our hands on the RF version for this test. It’s firmer, more adjustable suspension could have made all the difference. But whether it’s the RF or RR version, if there was ever a bike created to make you feel good on a multitude of levels, it’s the Tuono. It makes you feel special, alive, and sings to you in a way which makes you want to turn up the volume to eleven hundred on every ride.
3rd Ducati & Yamaha
1st Ducati & Triumph
1st Aprilia & Yamaha
3rd Ducati & Yamaha
3rd Aprilia & Triumph
2nd Ducati & Yamaha
3rd Aprilia & BMW
Tyres form a large part of a bike’s handling characteristics and capabilities, but often a bike’s factory fitted tyres are not chosen purely on their performance. For this test we chose to even out the competition by fitting all the bikes with the same rubber. Each bike received its recommended sizes, but all shared the same excellent level of grip and longevity offered by the Pirelli’s new Diablo Rosso III tyres.